Wax And Wane Pt 3

From the Story Arc: Coming Home

Previous Story in the Arc: Wax And Wane Pt 2 by Victoria Victrix (Monday, January 12, 2009)

Next Story in the Arc: Wax And Wane Pt 4 by Victoria Victrix (Monday, January 12, 2009)

(posted Monday, January 12, 2009)

((written by Red Djinni))

Kings Row, the west side.

The safehouse had once been a hub of activity for the Jester’s Fury, one of the many supergroups that had fallen and faded from the public eye. The surviving members had scattered to the winds. Some had retired while others had stayed on as some of Paragon’s greater or lesser known heroes. The rest had travelled to the far reaches of the globe. There were other places to fight the good fight.

One of the Furies, Rancor, had kept the safehouse. For years it had been a place to hide, to plan and sometimes to stash those he needed to protect. These days, it was the home of one of his lieutenants. Her name was Juhana, callsign “Pride’s Edge”. Her story had been lovingly crafted on the fantasy of some superhuman race, a distant cousin to man and feline. She certainly looked the part, and she had fooled them all. She had even fooled Rancor. She sat in front of a glowing terminal and entertained herself by sifting through his incoming intel, smug in her certainty of his trust.

“Bah, this human technology,” she had once snarled to him. “What would I know of it? Why would I care for it?”

The short, trusting fool, she smirked, hacking past his main security measures. She began to scan the most recent reports, paying particular attention to reports on Council activity. Too bad she couldn’t go further. The paranoid little man, gone for months without so much as a goodbye, had somehow placed mystical barriers and booby-traps on the more interesting files stored on this and other terminals scattered about the city. She would have given much to see them, but to have access to the regular reports Rancor received from his host of contacts was enough to keep the Master happy.

She blinked as the screen burped and flickered, and went blank.

“What…?”

A sharp staccato beat steadily from the terminal as words flashed across the screen.

Initiate: End of Days

“WHAT?”

The room lit up, as hidden glyphs flared to life on the floor, the walls, the ceiling. A strange sigil, resembling an enormous glowing eye, manifested in the center of the room. Juhana shrieked as the room was cleansed in a flash of magical fire. She lowered her trembling hands in awe. The room, save herself and the terminal, has been razed to smoking ashes. She stood there, stunned, until she realized the terminal was still hard at work. She spun and watched as the screen erupted in a flurry of activity. Encoded messages, transmitted on secure channels, rapidly scrolled by. Her eyes flickered in desperation to keep up. She only managed to catch a few lines, her attention drawn to a few familiar names.

…yes, I’ve been away. My apologies, Mandy, for not telling you. Whatever intel you have sent, be assured that it is still being processed, still being used by trusted people…

… it’s time, Jack. You’re ready…

… don’t care what that Nagy girl tells you, it’s three quarts of milk, not two…

… want to thank you, Miranda. That memo on the Skulls last Christmas, that helped end a pretty bitter gang war…

… don’t trust you, Dartmouth. But then, I never had to…

… won’t be there for the end, Lukas. Give Vivian a kiss for me, and when it’s time, make sure you aim for her heart. Better yet, take off her head. Her regeneration’s a monster…

… approached in time. You’ll know when it’s for real, Victrix. I’m sure the phrase they’ll use will ring a few bells…

… but it’s getting to be that time. I won’t be back, Susan, not if you’re getting this. I love you. I’ve never said it before, but I do.

And at the last, the words stopped moving. Juhana’s comm unit began to beep, but she paid it no heed. She was fixed on reading her own name on the screen.

… and here, at the end of it, I wanted you to know, Juhana darlin’. I knew it all along. But you should have guessed, I even told you once.

Best to keep your enemies close.

Give my regards to Requiem. May you both rot in your own filth.

“No,” Juhana snarled, her hands clutching the side of screen. The monitor went black. The great eye of the sigil widened.

And looked at her.

“NO!” Juhana screamed, her last breath of defiance as the glyphs gained voice, shrill and terrible. The safehouse disappeared, imploding, leaving in its wake only a roar of rushing air to fill the void.

Outside, Kings Row began to wake. People stirred, went through their morning rituals, and went about their day. Few noticed the newly vacant lot.