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5 mos ago
Current person who hasnt logged into the site in 2 days: hey guys im back :). Me so wrapped up in a game of verdun that i think i'm actually in WW1: what will happen to the farm if i do not return
4 likes
1 yr ago
[at my second rodeo] This ain't my first rodeo.
7 likes
2 yrs ago
once you learn you can call your dad by his first name he loses all power and you can freely kill him
7 likes
2 yrs ago
they should change the name of the 'most recent visitors' thing on ur profile to 'perverts'
6 likes
5 yrs ago
If your grave doesn't say "Rest in peace" on it you are automatically drafted into the skeleton wars
8 likes

Bio

BORN TO DIE / WORLD IS A FUCK / 鬼神 Kill Em All 1989 / I am macho drag / 410,757,864,530 DEAD COPS

NOTHING FROM NOWHERE I'M NO ONE AT ALL

what is yourre favorite tea? i like all kinds

Most Recent Posts


The Vanburen Estate - Garage



Shane was one of the last to make it through, his brief back and forth with Trisha placing him behind the gung-ho members of their group like Justin. He didn't notice however, more surprised by Trisha's compliance than anything. It faded fast as he moved towards the mirror, the serene snow laden construction site giving way to a crystal highway toward chaos. Their home, already having weathered quite a beating, was in near ruins as a floating abomination brought down the wrath of a Goddess.

Shane didn't need to hear its threat before he'd already drawn his gun. Justin evidently had the same idea, throwing two steel balls at the creature before it could finish its demands. Shane barely had time to note the reappearance of the Skeleton before he fled the commotion. The Triple Goddess reeled at the impact, hopefully feeling some kind of pain and not just merely out of surprise. Either way, Shane took the time to move forward, overhearing Sabrina amidst the commotion. Silently thankful she still seemed alright.

"Might have some internal bleeding..."
Sabrina


Shane cringed. Maybe she wasn't all alright. "Go barricade yourself somewhere," he said, rushing past his sister towards the monster in their Yard, "We'll be fine."

As if to accentuate that point, Oscar erected a wall of earth to shield himself and Sabrina from the Triple Goddess, who'd already reoriented itself enough to bombard them with spikes of ice. His body enveloped itself in a swirling blue glow as his face contorted with rage.

BANG!


BANG!


Two shots, hard to miss a target that bright and large. Whether it did anything, Shane was too high on adrenaline to tell. He wasn't aiming to hurt it, or at least wasn't confident conventional weapons could do the job. But he could take the heat off his family a little, it'd no doubt hurt like hell, but he could take it. He could take anything.

He was about to fire once more when a car was thrown over his head towards The Triple Goddess. Their expert, Tuyen. She wasn't lying about her capabilities it turned out. Shane continued, walking The Triple Goddess down. But something stirred inside him, a sound that slithered into his mind and made his heart feel like it would explode out of his chest. He glanced back, noticing the long haired Maybe-Vanburen huddled in a corner blowing into some instrument. His gaze darted back towards the Triple Goddess. Whatever the guy was doing, it made him feel stronger.

It felt like he was younger, standing down against another kid at school for some perceived slight or another. Ready to fight off the world. Ready to die. The aura around him shined a brighter blue, bordering on translucent. Shane let out a primal yell. It seemed as if the drained Vanburen had come back to life. In truth it was a small trick he'd learned at the Academy. Yelling helped prepare the body for the physical pain to follow.

BANG!


"COME ON!"

BANG!


"I'M RIGHT HERE!"

East Araminta - Construction Site



It was like the attack all over again. An issue of immediate survival, but all of it paled in comparison to the damage the family did to itself. When Shane's hand met Tansy's arm, he grasped with all the anger he'd been holding on to since the sky opened up and threatened to level their home for good. But as the light was snuffed out, it seemed Shane's yell did more to hurt Tansy than anything he could do physically.

Any self-reflection was gone from both parties however. As Trisha flew into a rage and Tansy settled into simmering contempt. Tuyen struggled to contain the fury of his younger sister - who'd always been a lot more ferocious than her height might have you believe. Shane stood beside her, cutting Trisha off from lunging towards Tansy, while also acting as a wall in case Tansy tried the same thing. He didn't even have time nor care to consider the reasons behind what Tansy had done, instead just trying to keep the walls from collapsing the metaphorical house. Before that could happen literally.

It wasn't overly difficult. Trisha was several inches smaller than Shane and Tansy was more content to stand and gather herself. Trying to maintain a handle on the situation after it had flown so far off-course. She directed more than a few ugly glances towards Shane as well as her sister, but Shane didn't care. Instead, his direction was turned to the stone girl lying in the snow. She looked terrified. Cracks formed like spiderwebs around her cocoon of earth, slowly chipping away to reveal the person underneath. Presumably left by the Skeleton as a message or some sort of threat, it seemed to be a footnote to everyone else there. Magic or no, Shane didn't have much hope for how she'd be if the stone gave way.

'Poor thing.'

Arabelle's arrival through the mirror shifted his thoughts. Shane gave Trisha a terse push back, just enough to create further distance between her and Tansy. Considering the rest of the family and that kid Justin were pouring forth, it seemed like the feud could be put on the backburner while they got themselves ready. Tansy swooped in to fill them in on the situation, in all honest she seemed pretty shook up.

“We know. Morgana’s also on the way,”
Ezra


Shane didn't say anything. Instead, his response was a low growl of annoyance as he wiped his face with his cold numbed hands.

At the least, it seemed they were on a united front: stopping the Triple Goddess. They'd even managed to bring back the reluctant wiccan, so there was that. Not much of a victory, but the Vanburens could really use one win in their column tonight. Everyone seemed poised to run in as soon as Arabelle reopened the mirror to their home. Shane took the chance to take a step back, removing his gun from inside his jacket pocket, then placing it down in the snow while he removed his jacket.

It wasn't pleasant, the winter wind hit him with greater ferocity as he knelt down and laid his jacket over the stone encased woman. He didn't look at Trisha as he adjusted his coat in such a way that the wind wouldn't blow it off, but his voice was clearly directed at her.

"If you're not coming with us, you could stay with her," He tilted the woman and tucked the sides of his coat underneath her. Honestly, he wasn't sure why he was bothering, seemed like her time had passed. But it felt more right than just leaving her in the cold. "If all the stone comes off, I don't think she's gonna be-... well, better safe than sorry." It was pretty unlikely Trisha would do as he asked, but at least it gave her a chance to be helpful even if she didn't join the family. However slim that chance may be.

Shane picked his gun back up and shook the snow off, taking the time to examine it with scrutiny. Safety on, reasonably clean, loaded. Wasn't likely to be of much use, but considering they'd been embroiled in magic and talking Skeletons, maybe even a Triple Goddess could bleed.

His arms at his side, he turned to face the mirror, awaiting Arabelle opening it to whatever the hell awaited them on the other side.

"Let's get this done."

East Araminta - Construction Site



It was beautiful, really. Shane didn't appreciate the show, but he'd been given the best seat in the house. A slight bump on the site that let him bare witness to the orange lightshow around the home he'd grown up in. No doubt the home that also contained two members of his family, at least.

The realization didn't hit him immediately. Instead, the colours danced across his sunken broken eyes. As far as he was, he could feel the heat radiate from the light, burning his skin as if in accusation. Like the judgement of some deity falling upon him. Felt its power, its anger, its danger. Only then did he start running.

'Move.' Synapses firing back to life, veins coursing with adrenaline. Like an addiction being fed, other than alcohol. In Shane's mind, his options had decreased to a singular course. Car wouldn't make it in time.

“Ezra said if the Wiccans show up or if something goes wrong to give him or Arabelle a call. Supposedly she can use the mirrors to open a gateway if we need reinforcements or to retreat."
Tansy


It'd have to do, hopefully they were speaking concretely and not hypothetically. Shane's cheeks were red, internally he felt like a precise machine, externally he was like a beast. Exhaling steam as his shoulder collided with the door to the Foreman's Office and he spilled inside. There it stood, like salvation. The dress mirror with the blanket still laid at its feet. A grunt escaped Shane's lips, then he was a machine once more. Lifting the mirror up with his hands clasped on either side, he began manoeuvring out of the office, internally thankful he hadn't been working in the factory this morning.

He got closer and closer to the group, meeting a sight that was stranger and stranger. The skeleton, gone. A petrified corpse on the ground. Tansy and Trisha were arguing. Shane didn't care. He was busy keeping the mirror aloft, though was more so dragging it at this point, shielding the mirror itself using the stand and wooden frame to bare the brunt of the snow laden gravel.

As he reached everyone, he spun the mirror around so the reflection was facing them. Tuyen was already on the phone. Good. He looked over towards his sisters, ready to shut this petty crap down and get mobilized, when he had to shield his eyes from yet another offending light show.

This time, from Tansy. One hand covered his face, the other flailed out before grasping the mirror, making sure he didn't knock it to the floor in his newfound blindness.

"You will call Oscar and ask Arabelle to mirror us home,"
Tansy


It was like a choir, singing out in a register that scratched the tip of your brain. The kind that makes dogs lose their minds. Shane wasn't even the target and it felt like an assault on his senses. This was her definition of "creating a light"? He should've known.

"STOP, DAMMIT!" Shane yelled, heightened tension necessitating even him emoting beyond quiet contempt. In all honesty he wasn't even sure his outburst would register among everything.

It was all falling apart, like the world was ending.

Shane kept his eyes squint shut, removing his hand from his face and outstretching it to grab Tansy. If this were how The Vanburens went out, he wouldn't spend it passively watching his siblings tear each other apart. Hopefully, Tuyen would get through soon to Arabelle. Would be a shame for the family to tear itself apart before creatures beyond comprehension got a chance to do so.

East Araminta - Construction Site



It was an odd feeling. Standing, pointing a gun at a talking Skeleton who seamlessly dodged answering anything of weight. Not a few days ago, Shane was working in a warehouse in the morning and drinking himself into a stupor in the night. He quietly holstered his gun, if only because logical thinking had caught up to instinctual reaction and he'd fully accepted a nine millimetre would do little against an... Undead?

"It's not fair that you all have to shoulder the burden of your bastard father's fuck up after fuck up. You all are very inexperienced in the world of magic thrown into it head first. You will not survive without the assistance of a master such as myself.... so consider me..."

"... Your guardian angel."
???


They knew little of magic, that was true. Even Oscar was going mostly off written text instead of practical experience. But, Shane knew enough to distrust anyone who placed such emphasis on their importance to someone else's being. Particularly if that person was a magical creature who'd evaded any kind of concrete answers.

The thing was about as slippery as mercury, no doubt just as toxic.

Yet, despite that, he was swaying his sisters. Trisha, expectedly, perked up when the creature started badmouthing James every other sentence. Tansy, also expectedly, was unimpressed for those same reasons but seemed willing to trust the Skeleton provided he gave some tangible proof of his abilities. Fair request, but even if he was as powerful as he claimed, that still didn't make him trustworthy.

“-But that doesn’t make you an expert. Tansy is right, it’s easy to fake knowledge with words.”

“Answer the questions, then prove it.”
Tuyen


She was breathing quicker, she was shaking just slightly. She was projecting a stronger front than she really felt. But, she wasn't wrong. She didn't seem to trust their "Guardian Angel" anymore than Shane did. Trouble was, playing along with this things game was costing them time. If Georgie actually did manage to show up, they'd have made no progress and really would have to rely entirely on this Creature.

"We're running out of time," Shane reiterated, glancing at the watch on his wrist, "If we want to get set up in time, two of us'd better get started on the trap. Other two can stay and grill... Him."

It wasn't an easy call to make. Tansy didn't get along with any of them, same could be said for Trisha. But Shane and likely Tuyen were the heaviest hitters who could probably deal with the outcome of the Skeleton not playing ball. Probably. They'd be less likely to get taken in by the Creature's bold claims and promises of strength. Commanding or even politely asking them likely wouldn't work. Instead he gestured towards the construction area.

"I'm gonna move some of the machinery, if someone could cut the tarps for the tunnel Tansy was talking about, that'd be good."

With that, off he went. Sure that both sisters would reject the idea outright to remain with the Skeleton-Man-Creature-Thing. As long as Tuyen, their magical expert, remained with the magical creature, that was fine with him.

Getting twenty-five percent of the plan done was better than zero.

East Araminta - Construction Site



Ring ring.

Ring ring.

Ring ring.


On and on it went. The longest sound in existence. He'd phoned back twice just to make sure. Hopefully it meant they'd already left and the house had been emptied. Either the Vanburens would have some good luck, or none whatsoever.

Shane turned to face his siblings, Tansy already reconciling back into her saccharine demeanour. Reminiscent of a werewolf turning back into a human after terrorising an entire town.

"No one's answeri-" He'd sought to push past Tansy and Trisha, avoiding another pointless argument that wasted time. Instead, he'd been interrupted himself.

Shane was hardly the most emotive guy, but the contrast in voices was felt even by him. It's words like sandpaper to the senses as he turned to face a cloud of the void. Instinctively, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his gun. Realising a second after that it was liable not to do much against the horned skeleton that emerged from the shadows.

"For the children of the great and magnanimous James... Vanburen. You all are not as nowhere near as foxlike as he was. The man would stab his own brother in the chest before letting anyone see him as unintelligent!"
???


Despite internally acknowledging it's unlikeliness to be of any use, Shane kept his gun trained on the skeleton while it spoke. It paid him no mind, indeed it seemed to be more interested in putting on appearances as it summoned and drank from a bottle of wine while laughing like an old family friend.

“If you know our father so well then you would know it is not smart to insult him. Who are you? How have you invoked the Triple Goddess’s ire?”
Tansy


Until Tansy spoke up, Shane hadn't even been focused on the figure's words. Only his grandiose actions and mannerisms. It reminded Shane of the type of men James occasionally had surrounded himself with at his parties. The types who wore "eccentric millionaire" like badges of honour to live up to. It would figure Tansy would find her nerve as soon as James was brought into it however, her previously timid response fading as her powers activated. With the bright glow and chorus of voices, it was more likely than ever that her previous explanation of her abilities was downplaying at best, or a lie.

Regardless, her bright glow reminded Shane of his own abilities. It was still taking getting used to. Still aiming his firearm at the skeleton, Shane began to glow a deep blue. Prepared to throw up a defensive wall to protect Trisha and Tuyen behind him if need be.

"Aw... everybody's a critic... or are you all under the impression I'm an enemy? Or God forbid in league with that Triple Goddess? Trust me, she hates me more than she hates you all."
???


Shane wished Oscar were here. He knew a little of the types of strange beings they may encounter from James' writings, but he'd hoped they wouldn't factor into the Vanburens personal issues of removing the curse. All Shane could do currently was speculate, or at least not reveal he knew less than he really did. The horns and skull, maybe he was an enemy of the Triple Goddess, but that didn't rule out a connection to The Horned God?

"You might not be an enemy. But firstly, we aren't friends. Make no mistake on that subject." Shane's voice, low and direct in counter to his sister's haughty tone. Almost unconsciously weaving with and against her to project defiance against a being whose power they had no way of gauging.

"We're running out of time. If you're here to help somehow, answer my sister's questions then do what you're here to do. Otherwise..."

Otherwise, do what you're here to do. Shane could only hope he wasn't as big a threat as he assumed. Considering the 'trap' plan seemed to have bottomed out some time ago.

Gold City - Alleyways



Obscuring his face did little, no matter how much he pulled the cloak forward, they always stared. Even among the downtrodden and the desperate, there was a way about Cain. An air to his movements and mannerisms that marked him. He presence was unwelcome. Wrong.

He pulled the cloak further, shielding the worst of his scarring from view. It did little to hide his blackened sclera, which he compensated for by keeping his face towards the floor. Disposing of two would-be thieves and killers had emboldened him, but travel brought him right down to reality once more. It was back to the mission at hand. MIRAGE.

"Pardon me." Cain muttered as he bumped past an arguing couple, indifferent to his presence. His voice was small, harsh and accented, but small nonetheless. It had to be, as one of the many things that brought suspicion on The Raggedy Man.

Feeling of self-consciousness reaching its peak, a reprieve was given. In the form of an explosion that rocked the area, panic flooding the people around Cain as they began fleeing for their lives, knowing no one would come to save them. Cain gritted his teeth, Gold City was a hotbed for activity, but his hunch was that only one group would be as bold and powerful as to create such a spectacle in the middle of the day.

He gripped his cloak harder, breaking into a sprint towards the explosion.


Gold City - Rooftops



"WOO-HO-HOOOOOOOO! WOO!"

It was pretty goddamn exhilarating. Lucas had been at ground zero for the big bang, less an outright explosion and more like a big sonic "fuck you" that tossed debris up into the air. He leapt from concrete to concrete, feeling pretty damn pleased with himself as he emulated a number of agile movements he'd seen in various forms of media. It culminated in his last jump, landing on a narrow piece of debris and twirling on it like a helicopter propeller before jumping at the last second and landing nearby The Breicens. Too wrapped up in the robots fleeing to notice his very badass display, figures.

”Well, I sure ain’t giving up without a good chase. You got a ride, Lucas?”
Jill


"Do now." he replied with a grin, taking her arm and hoisting himself onto the machine.

Despite the several hundred miles-per-hour capable machine underneath being more than capable of wrecking him in a number of different ways, he felt pretty secure. He'd ridden with Jill a couple of times now and whilst the first time was worrisome, it soon became apparent that Jill was too good to crash out if she tried. Now it was pretty fun, kinda like a video game.

On they sped, drifting in ways that some of the top racers in the world would blush at. Lucas spared a glance back now and then, seeing Jasmine bob in and out of view as she tried to keep pace. Still, despite being fast enough and furious enough to outride a magic witch, the machines had eluded them for the time being. Lucas felt his enthusiasm get a kick in the proverbial nuts as Jill made a particular call on her dashboard.

Isabella.

They had an awkward relationship, to say the least. Lucas was carefree, irreverent and kind of lazy when not off fighting. Izzy, as far as Lucas was concerned, was cold, irritating and had a giant stick up his ass. The fact that they did share similarities doing nothing to build bridges, as likely neither of them would be willing to admit as such. Lucas found him intimidating before the training and the big family reveal, now he found him a pain in the ass. At the very least they tried staying out of each others way, though Lucas couldn't help be curious if Izzy was just as unaware of their half-brothership as him, or if he knew the entire time and kept to himself as part of that 'detached mentor' shit he liked to do.

”Alright. Well, we got Lucas down here too, you should come say hi.”
Jill


Lucas knew exactly what his "big bro"'s response would be, but he didn't wish to stick around to hear it.

He leaned forward, barely picking up Izzy's voice from the call. Yelling as loud as he could to be heard over the whizzing traffic at their current speed.

"I'M GONNA TAKE THE ROOFS, THEY MIGHT BE HIDIN' SOMEWHERE. JUST TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T MISS 'EM!"

There, that was sensible enough. Still an excuse to exit but not one so blatant, Jill was just back and the last thing he'd want to do is burden her with his problems. Or, have Jill involve herself as he was known to do. As soon as the words left his mouth, he perched himself on the seat, balancing for a few moments before making an impressive leap upwards.

It was pretty good but not quite enough to clear the roof, forcing Lucas to climb the last few feet to get atop. After that, he was gone. Kicking up pebbles as he ran from roof to roof.


Gold City Financial District - Park Row



"You must be making some awful big bucks to associate yourself with a terrorist organization like this. All this trouble for one little rock?"
Arianna


"Sure." The Gunslinger answered quietly. "S'their business."

A step back. Towards the door. His eyes darted around at the drones, fluttering around like bees, threatening to do worse than sting if it came to it. His gaze returned to Arianna, hands still up. He had to give her credit for a subtle display of power, despite how clearly terrified she was. Any other day, none of this would be worth Voyt's time. But considering his "compatriots" had already screwed the pooch and blown the operation's cover, he wasn't allowing himself to come back empty handed. If nothing else than to slightly annoy Abel that his rank and file were not on the level of a mercenary.

Another step back, closer towards the door. His tone was measured as he spoke.

"I'd rather not shoot you. But we both know I'd kill you before your drones could swoop in. Hell, I'm quick enough I might destroy them too." It wasn't entirely posturing. Voyt's draw and firing speed were well known, but the machines were closer than he'd like and he'd rather not put his money where his mouth was. "You do whatever you feel you gotta. I'm goin' in there. If you try stoppin' me, you'll regret it."

There it was, cards on the table. He was calling Arianna's bluff. Not that he really had much choice, he was getting that information one way or the other. Unlike Abel's sycophants, if Voyt failed to deliver then he'd likely be "disposed" by MIRAGE itself or the League's endless supply of idiots with weapons once they realised The Gunslinger wasn't under protection anymore.

His free hand gripped the door handle, swinging it open and revealing the back entrance to the company building. His other hand held his gun, still trained on Arianna. He gave her a moment. A chance to try him then and there or drop her flags and let him go in peace.

One foot stepped inside the building, one last look at the Horizon Frontiers Agent.

East Araminta - Construction Site



The more they walked, the more Shane questioned himself. The idea itself was sound but the stage for its execution was much to be desired. He'd hoped the site would be more... complete than it was. Plenty of open space, multiple entrances and exits, not much to keep everyone else concealed. Not ideal.

A low annoyed sound rumbled from his throat as he began to think again. The girl, Tuyen, was on board at least. Hopefully her experience could help pick up the slack if things didn't go according to plan. Trisha, even despite her back-and-forth with Tansy, seemed content to help scout the cultists movements. So, the group should know where they're coming from and have time to re-position as needed. Even still, it wasn't a great position to be in. Tuyen agreed, echoing Shane's sentiment that a more narrow area would work in their favour.

Tansy moved forward, disappearing into the Rehab Centre with some sense of purpose. Shane hadn't really considered the building to be that viable, though it did have some walls and ceilings it had just as much open space and seemed liable to collapse from a stiff enough breeze. Regardless, Tansy set to work moving around tarps, creating some makeshift cover in the building. It was better than nothing, at least. She returned to the group with a smile as Shane examined her handiwork.

“We could take some of the extra tarps in storage and those hanging around outside to create a narrow passage in here and limit line of sight. They won’t prevent anyone from breaking through them, but neither did the walls of our house so I feel like that point is moot,”
Tansy


Fair enough point, Shane had certainly seen the dogs be more than capable of tearing through the sturdy walls of the Vanburen Manor. He wasn't quite as sure that the cultists, however many there ended up being, would follow right along their path like rats in a maze. Still, he wasn't quite ready to put it past them either. The problem, in Shane's mind, was that while it made it easier to spring the trap, there were plenty of ways for some cultists to slip out of their grasp.

Shane's eyes darted towards the machinery. He could try move them over to the Centre. Use their weight to reinforce some of the walls or close up the gaps in a way that wasn't quite so obvious. As he considered voicing this, Tansy continued talking. On her way to a sudden meltdown.

“Where is that little psychopath!? Did none of you idiots check if she was actually coming? Areyouallthatfuckingstupid!?”
Tansy


She continued, a moth attracted to her own indignation. Frantically dialling a number on her mobile. Truthfully, Shane had hoped to see the brat here by now himself, but they'd only just recently arrived. As far as he'd been told, Ezra had left behind people to drag her out here if necessary. There wasn't much time to point this out to his eldest sister as she tossed her phone onto the asphalt with an, admittedly pretty decent, spike.

Her sense of decorum overrode her rage as she returned to the performance that kept her centred. Inhaling and calming herself for the performance. Shane side-glanced at Trisha, assuming his sullen sister must have be having the time of her miserable life after such a sight.

“Ezra’s not answering. Could one of you call Georgie and find out what’s happening?”
Tansy


"Don't have her number." Shane stated plainly, as if he didn't just see Tansy lose all semblance of control for the first time. "I can't imagine any of us do. I'll call the house, see if they're still there."

As he turned and took a couple of steps away, it occurred to Shane how much more difficult things would be here with Georgie's inclusion. Sparing a glance to the group as he went through his saved numbers. Tansy, who's confidence only seemed to break around Georgie's loathing. Trisha, who had hated Georgie since day one with the sentiments very much returned. Tuyen, whom, from their brief interactions, had seemed to engender no trust from Georgie regarding her skills. Shane himself, whom Georgie had on more than one occasion implied ambivalence to if he'd be dead soon.

Couldn't help it. As the phone rung, Shane reached into his jacket pocket and took out a small steel flask. A present from James. With practiced movement, he gulped down its contents. Sharply hitting his tongue and rolling down his throat like liquified fire. It made things more bearable as the dial tone continued to ring on and on.

'Pick up, dammit.' He thought to himself. Teeth clenching as he swayed the flask around in his other hand.

Gold City - Rooftops



Gotta give credit where credit is due, Jill still could make an entrance. Even had a little one liner tee'd up and everything. But you couldn't subside on just sizzle, you needed to add a little steak to it.

All of these self-aggrandizing thoughts and more flooded Lucas mind as he ran even faster, kicking up pebbles while nearing the edge of the final building. A sizable gap separating him from the action. It was time to show these bozos how a real star entered the scene.

"WAAAOOOH!" Letting out a high pitched martial arts yell that only comes from watching too many movies, the shadow of Lucas sailed above Jill. Leaping right to the next building with his leg extended.

BRUTAL TIGER!
BRUTAL TIGER!


Jill had dealt with the Psycho Bitch holding the scythe, so Lucas collided with the Psycho Bitch holding the shield with his patented flying kick. The shield was certainly high tech and most assuredly sturdy, but Lucas' momentum, strength (and dashing good looks) hit it with enough force to send Oh-Four careening backwards. The sound of metal scraping against concrete as her feet skidded against the roof, complete with black scorch marks as he managed to barely keep her feet against the ground.

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!?"

Lucas stood up and adjusted his jacket, letting the dust fly off in a way that assuredly had to look very cool. He grinned.

"Lucas Miller."

Cracking his neck and shifting into his fighting stance, he gestured with his palm in a way that even machines understood the language of.

Bring it.


Gold City Financial District - Park Row



"Howdy partner,"

"I'm guessing you're looking for a certain shiny bauble too?"
Arianna


In the time it might take a person to inhale or blink, Voyt's revolver was removed from the holster under his shirt and aimed at Arianna's head.

He knew of her. Somewhat. Bird Girl. As he understood it, she wasn't much of a fighter. That she decided to face him alone meant she was either suicidally overconfident. Or, help was on the way.

"Yeah." He said simply, cocking back the hammer of his gun for emphasis. No real point trying to hide it now. He'd been confident he could slip past Horizon Frontiers' "little birds", he very nearly did were it not for the intellect of his contractually stated allies.

"The people. The information. S'all in there. If you try fight me. Or, more accurately, I have to open your head right here and now? Those scared folk'll panic even more." Eyes narrowing. "Which'd make it tough to get information it seems we're both after."

"Likely, you got pals on the way," he took the opinion that she wasn't stupid, if that assessment was incorrect, he'd find out momentarily, "But, until they get here? You're in a stand off."

"Either lemme do my job, givin' your cohorts time to arrive. Or I drop you right now and get what I need anyway."

His eyes glowed red. Power coursing through his veins and into his weapons as he internally charged a shot.

"Y'had me in your sights. Now you're in mine. No matter how confident you're feelin', that's a bad place to be."

The ball was in her court. Were it anyone else in MIRAGE they likely would've tried to kill her immediately, but Voyt really didn't feel like killing someone. He knew his skills well enough to know he'd be in and out before the cavalry could stop him.
"Start spreadin' the news...

I'm leavin' today."

"Thank you Commissioner." A decorated officer stands on stage, medals clinking on his jacket as he shakes the Commissioner's hand, relieving him of his speech to collected applause. He turns to the podium and clears his throat. Smiling as he lays out a crisp sheet of paper and reads aloud to the hall.

"In each graduation of recruits in the Police Academy, awards are presented to outstanding members of the graduating class. Each recipient is given an engraved plaque for various categories." Reaching into his breast pocket, he retrieved a pair of glasses as he flipped the sheet over.

"At this time, I'd like to ask the Mayor and the Police Commissioner to present the following awards." The Commissioner stood back up, making the task look Herculean for some polite laughs from the audience. The Mayor opted for the professional approach, statically maintaining a beaming smile as the two moved next to the podium.

"Our first award, is The Mayor's Award. This award is given to the Student Officer who attains the highest overall average scoring. With an overall average of ninety-nine point sixty-five percent; Mayor de Blasio presents this award to Police Officer Shane Vanburen."

Forward he walks, greeted with applause as he steps onto the stage. He stands straight, as rehearsed. Saluting the Commissioner, the Mayor and the man at the podium. He steps forward once more, taking the plaque with practiced dignity and shaking the hands of both men. The Commissioner gives him a smile.

"Lookin' forward to workin' with you, Son."

Shane turns - plaque shining proudly as its held against his chest. Hand of the Mayor on his shoulder as the cameraman readies the shot.

Click.


The Vanburen Estate - Foyer



His mind was elsewhere. Perhaps internally trying to put together the moment he made whatever choice had led him to this mess.

Elsewhere enough not to notice the creeping glow until it began encroaching the right side of his vision. Like the sun creeping in through curtains. He snapped back into place, aware of his surroundings. Hearing his sister's voice. Sounding like dread.

“Look at me—”“Shane!”
Tansy & Ezra


Head snapping to the side. Whatever had been clouding his mind, lighting the ruined foyer of the manor, had receded. All there was now was Ezra dragging in an object cloaked in a white blanket with some effort on his part.

Shane gave only a slight nod and stood up at his eldest brother's request for aid. Picking up the bottom half of the object as thought it weighed nothing at all. He still had his uses.

Tansy offered only customary prying into the details, an object hidden from view and carried by Ezra especially should have flared up every intrusive instinct in Tansy's mind. Instead she merely let the matter drop as Ezra stated he'd explain later. A show of understanding unheard of from Tansy, especially in regards to Ezra. Shane gave her a glance as he and Ezra passed by on their way to the car. She avoided eye contact with a look he couldn't quite place.

Indignation? At being denied answers yet again? No... Shane was familiar enough with that look even before their relationship severed. It was something else, more bitter in her throat. If Shane didn't know better, he'd say it looked like regret.


East Aaraminta - Construction Site



It was a rather strange feeling. Driving past the ostentatious sign of James Vanburen, promising the construction of the Vanburen Memorial Rehabilitation Center. Of all the siblings, including the ones that didn't live in the manor, Shane felt he saw James the least. But even he was pretty sure a giant sign like that wouldn't have been his Father's first choice of advertisement.

He was depicted with that smile people liked to remember him by. The one that seemed to assure you in all the ways you wish you were believed and understood in. Shane, middle child that he was, couldn't help but wonder to himself what the hell James would be thinking as his children drove by him in the wee hours towards the construction site. Too late to ask him now.

Again, showing he still had some value, Shane more or less dragged the object - revealed by Ezra to be a mirror - by himself. Laying against the wall inside the foreman's office, per Tansy's directions. For better or worse, she'd perked up in the car ride over.

“There. Ezra said if the Wiccans show up or if something goes wrong to give him or Arabelle a call. Supposedly she can use the mirrors to open a gateway if we need reinforcements or to retreat."
Tansy


'Let's hope it doesn't come to that.' Shane thought to himself. Their line-up wasn't exactly awe inspiring. When the strongest relationship you have in the group is with Trisha, things aren't looking great teamwork wise.

Tansy helpfully pointed out the keys to the construction equipment. Owing to his current means of employment, Shane could just about drive a forklift. Beyond that... Questionable. Now wasn't the time to try experimenting either. Still, it was good knowing where things are. Some of the equipment could be used as a makeshift weapon if the need really arose.

The girl, Tuyen tried getting the lay on all their abilities. He sympathised with her, she already seemed liable to implode at any moment and now she was left with the all star team. Still, her powers sounded useful in any case. Trisha's did too, whether she would actually make them useful would be a completely different story. Already snipes began to bubble as Tansy put on the pleasantly passive aggressive big sister act. She at least took the chance to describe her own ability, making a blinding light. This caused Shane to side glance her, the light in the foyer and her look of disgust. She was playing her cards close to her chest, no doubt in his mind.

"I can soak up hits and blast them back at people." Shane stated, looking at Tuyen and trying to be as candid as possible. Perhaps too much. "I can take the dogs head on. Beat a couple down back at the house. I was a Police Officer. I know how to fight and how to use a gun."

'All too well.'

He couldn't help himself, thumb resting under his jaw as he turned back and stood at the open door of the office - looking out at the rest of the site. Synapses firing as he began piecing together what they could try here. A fool proof plan was not happening, they were too uncoordinated and the teenagers were too unpredictable. The goal was to stack the deck. If they were luring the cultists here, then Georgie would be with them too. No matter what they had in mind, she would go against it. That had to be taken into account.

His thumb began restlessly rubbing against his chin as he pondered just about every best and worst case scenario.

"Mind if we look through the grounds now?" He asked without asking, taking a step back outside into the cold, back still towards the ambush team.

"I'm thinkin'... I can probably take the most out of everyone here, so maybe have me out in the open." Voice dropping off into the mumble as he squinted and looked towards the bones of the future building, he'd get a better idea of how to go about it when they were over there. He turned.

"I could draw 'em towards me. If Georgie actually shows up, I'll have the Horned thing. I can keep it secure with my... Power. Then, assuming they don't go for me immediately, we can lure em towards a point of the site. Hit 'em from every angle."

Brow furrowing as pieces formed together in his mind. Wasn't perfect, but it was a start they could jump off from.

"Have Trisha's creature things act as scouts, if they can do that." He looked towards Tuyen. At one time he could've found the words to reassure her, channelled the charisma of James Vanburen to confirm all the best scenarios were possible. That they could achieve them together. Instead, all he could offer her now was a slightly more determined look as he spoke.

"You could use that to manuever behind 'em" He pressed his knuckles against each other for emphasis. "Hit 'em from both sides."

The Vanburen Estate - Foyer
@Atrophy



The wind assaulted his back as Shane quickly returned to the embrace of the manor. All but seeing his cheeks flush red from standing outside merely for a moment, he was happy to retreat to the comparatively warmer confines of inside, even if the wind was still whistling through portions of exposed wall. Unfortunately for the reclusive Vanburen, he had found he'd traded one cold view for another.

“And for a moment there I thought you’d run off on us again. Not like there’s a precedent,”
Tansy


Ignore. Block it out.

Shane lifted his hands to his mouth and blew into them for warmth, letting Tansy's onslaught of small talk wash over him like a wave. He was well aware what it was, the verbal equivalent to body blows before setting up the big right hook. Being amongst multiple members of his family was bad, but at least they distracted themselves with their own agendas and score settling. One on ones were awful. Interrogations. People in his family only spoke to Shane when they wanted something.

“But it’s not all bad, I suppose. It’d be kind of fun to have us all under one roof again. Give us all plenty of time to catch up. You know what I was thinking about the other day?”
Tansy


He looked up from his self-made cocoon. Eyeing her with his cold stare. Almost missing her setting up the knockout blow as he pondered the first half of her statement - with Tansy it could well be sarcastic or sincere.

Only at the last second did he foresee the big right hook.

“I was thinking about how you never told me why you quit the NYPD."
Tansy


Justifications spilled from Tansy's mouth, a convincing job of almost sounding earnest in her concern. She deserved to know. The family deserved to know. Rumours. Danger. Protection.

It was a subject Shane had steeled himself with, not that the average person could really tell. But, compared to how he was with it initially, he was practically a saint in regards to his patience on the topic. That is to say, he didn't immediately leave the second it was mentioned. But when he'd returned, naturally, it was only anyone wanted to talk to him about. He found it easier to dismiss regular people from his life, but it always felt more difficult when up against his family.

His jaw clenched, his eyes shut. As if hoping that when he opened them, Tansy would be gone. The Christmas party rang in his mind. Truthfully, Tansy had made some valid points when she laid into him that night. But it was all a blanket to shield her real concern, herself. Even now. Motivated only by the damage Shane's quitting of the force might do to her. She liked to hide her real fears beneath empathy. Even when they'd been close, he'd seen her do it so effortlessly, but wrote it off as merely a skill adopted for the sake of business. It was a bit like their Father in that regard, but James was harder to get a read on. Easier to believe. With Tansy, once you spotted the strings, you could see the performance.

You just knew.

“Otherwise I don’t know. Please, Shane, I know you already used your monthly quota of words but just talk to me.”
Tansy


He opened his eyes, saw the tears welling in hers.

An unexpected hurdle that made him falter. He felt the anger that bubbled inside him subside, if only somewhat. Even when he knew it was an act. He fucking hated himself for it, but he could feel the venom that was about to lace his words regress.

'Should've just been an actress.'

Not to say the question still hadn't stirred enough inside of him to provoke visible emotion on the normally glazed Vanburen. All the tears in the world wouldn't keep him from holding up the walls that had gotten him through the days for a long time now.

"What are they?" He said, voice as cold as the air outside. "The rumours."

Arms folding on their own accord, eyes narrowing in a stare that Shane previously reserved for interrogating a suspect. "'Cause whatever they are; maybe they're right."

He stepped forward.

"If whatever you, or these people, think I might've done was so bad." A sneer. "Then maybe, there's a good reason I haven't gone spreadin' it around."

If you didn't know Shane it would really be impossible to tell, it may well still have been for the Vanburens with how little they saw of him. But his expression softened. Somewhat. Trading stern for sincere as his arms uncrossed and his eyes relaxed into the dull but composed look they always carried. He didn't step back however, needing to ensure his words weren't taken as any power play. Any psychological angle bullshit some of his family liked to play.

"You. Them." He gestured to deeper inside the house. The Vanburens. "Whoever's talking about me. You can all think whatever you want. I really don't care. But, my entire life, even you've got to admit I've never done anything with the intention of hurting this stupid family."

Stepping back, exhale escaping his lips. Shane slowly sat himself down on a sofa next to them. Spring green, miraculously untouched save for the dulling of colour as a layer of dust laid atop it.

"So I'm asking you to trust me, when I say you're better off not knowing." He looked ahead toward some vague distance, beyond the hall, beyond the home. Eyes tired. "Whether you can live with it or not, it doesn't matter. What happened, happened. No good comes from digging it back up."

He cleared his throat after a moments silence hung in the air. His voice ached. He'd been talking far too much today.

'Really hope they're about done.'
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