In the Dark

“We need to be quiet,” hisses Raptor to his blue-and-yellow clad companion, another variant of himself known as Blue Jay, as they stroll through the gothic arches of the crypt. “Why?” Blue Jay asks, voice echoing through the subterranean depths, holding aloft the glowing base-ball sized Escort Sphere. Tapping the sphere, Blue Jay looks deep into it and smiles, “the Escort Sphere says there’s another version of us here, old Chum. Looks gloomy, but it can’t be bad.” “You’re assuming all of us are good,” Raptor hisses as shadows rush forward towards the unsuspecting Blue Jay. Diving forward, Raptor lunges at Blue Jay – sending the brightly costumed ally topping over and rolling across the crypt floor. The Escort Sphere drops and rolls forward, landing between the feet of a new comer. Blue Jay and Raptor gaze at the… thing before them. Twisted, lanky and gaunt, with a elongated head and low-dropping jaw sporting a maw of razor fangs below two arching, tattered crow-wings. “Looks like whatever killed this world,” Raptor begins, plucking out an array of razor-sharp boomerangs. “Also transformed us into some sort of carrion crow,” Blue Jay finishes, retrieving a pair of exploding throwing-discs from his belt.

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In the Dark

Dhampir

The man stands over the hulking, spiny monster – charred black in the sunlight and half buried beneath the fallen side of the building. “Damn fool, Feral” the man states to his companion, a young boy, “looks like whoever he tried to bite last nite bit back with a rocket launcher. Brought down the wall, and buried this sucker.” “Where’d their victim go?” The boy asks. “Hard to say,” the man shrugs, “tracks all confused with the rubble. Could be they high-tailed it. Could be they’re buried underneath.” “There’s a town, about a mile down the road,” a hooded newcomer offers, standing in the shadows of the ruined structure. “Come out where I can see you,” the man warns. “Okay, okay,” the hooded man nods, walking slowly – hands raised – towards the man and the boy. As the new comer steps out into the sunlight, the man pulls a pistol and charges forward. Stepping behind the newcomer, the man yanks down the hood. The new comer stands in the sun, squinting. “He’s pale,” the boy comments. “Anaemic,” the man confesses. “He didn’t burn,” the man offers, “that might be good enough. Though I heard tell of Vampires that can withstand the sun.” The newcomer simply grins, shakes his head and pulls a long blade from the back of his jacket.

 

Dhampir

Raptor

The creature came at the bird-garbed Raptor, humanoid in shape but of a body wholly riddled with fungus – great, clammy hands outstretched. The vigilante, rather than darting away, dashed towards the monster’s grip – ducking and sliding feet-first along the shallow, muddy swamp between the beast’s legs. Whatever head the monster had before simply dissolved into its body and, as Raptor rose to his feet, appeared once again to face him – emerging wholly out of the monster’s former back. Plucking out an array of his boomerangs, Raptor hurled the instruments at the creature in a broad, open armed swing. Spinning, wildly, through the air at the creature, several imbedded themselves into whatever blasphemy passed for its flesh. Others cleaved off chunks from the shape of its shoulders and forearms. If the creature noticed it gave no sign, lumbering forward in advance even as its flesh regrew – enveloping the imbedded boomerangs. “Where’s my sidekick?” Raptor demanded, frustration welling up inside the normally stoic vigilante. In response the creature stopped its pace, vomiting out a emerald-masked skull from its stomach area. Stooping in shock to pluck up the skull, Raptor failed to notice the creature reaching for him once more. Abruptly, however, his concentration was broken by the sound of ferocious wings swooping for him. The winged figure bowls into Raptor abruptly, scuttling him from the monster’s grip. As the two pick themselves up, the winged new comer turns to Raptor, plucking out an array of boomerangs from his belt as he speaks; “We don’t have time to be sentinel, not yet, Raptor.” “Right, Eagle,” Raptor nodded in reply.

Raptor

Confidence

“Have we become so overconfident?” Hans asks Yuri, pointing towards the great hulking creature bloodily chopping on the neck of a cocktail-dressed middled aged man in the middle of the street. Yuri turned his gaze to the creature as well, observing its tough, leathered grey skin and elongated, bat-like ears. Hans elaborated, “as a species, I mean?” “Did you just paraphrase Del Toro’s The Strain to me?” Yuri asked, leaning on the nearby wall. Hans nodded in reply, but the question only perplexed Hans more with the confirmation, “you know he was writing about humans?” “Oh yes I do,” Hans confirmed, licking his lips and showing off his twin, pointed canines, “but given the current spectacle and state of things, I believe the question applies to us now.” “Oh?” Yuri questions, raising an eyebrow as he does so. “Well, take that fellow there,” Hans continued, “I remember when we merely stalked the shadows, lived incognito. Now here we are, revelling in it all like some vulgar revolutionary.” “You must remember, Hans,” Yuri counters, “that us True Bloods hid in plain sight. Others, like that brutish fellow there, never had the opportunity.”

Confidence

Fly Bird

Birdie rolls through the flat. Hearing the commentator buzz over the radio, Birdie is reminded that she has fallen behind in the race. As the machine begins to approach the climb – a massive, artificial ramp reaching high up into the sky, Birdie is reminded that she still has a chance to win this race. Pushing her foot and the accelerator to the floor, Birdie’s car approaches the climb – shaking and rattling with the friction of the road. Hesitantly, Birdie reaches for the leaver and slowly places her hand upon it. Taking a breath, uttering a prayer, she yanks the leaver down, hard. The Mobius Reactor kicks into gear with a hum, in response the car’s path becomes smooth and quiet and the machine thrusts itself forward. Fire streaming from the machine, trailing behind her, Birdie hits the ramp and – heart pumping – re-joins the racing pack, darting and weaving her car through the other races rocketing up as they engage the climb. The commentator’s words screech like gigantic birds of paradise in her ears as she rockets forward with Birdie slowly coming to the realization that she is back in this race.

Fly Bird

Riding Again

The lifeless forms littered the floor of the canyon had but recently been active Adam’s – Frankenstein Monsters animated by a movement of Humours about their patchwork-corpse bodies. The tin stars that adorned their forms, the weathering of their skin and the guns that hung on their hips indicated that these had been hard creatures, spending their time in the outdoors riding fast and shooting straight into any danger that lurked in the wasteland of the Sublime. These Adam’s had been Rangers. No doubt some ambush had claimed the Rangers. Marauders, hiding along the rim of the canyon undoubtedly – or perhaps Mexican Hitlers (the clones of a long-dead dictator) or Killbots. Neither side had the need of flesh and bone to repair themselves the way an Adam did. Still, the sides of the canyon were treaterous and anyone who climbed down risked a long slow descent filled with the possibility of a fall. It didn’t matter to him anyway. He had gathered up what Parts he could from the remains, picked over by carrion-eaters and scavengers chased away when he arrived. He sat now, cutting away from bodies those few parts that remained in good order and stitching them together with others of their kind, working slowly and carefully the needle and thread. Soon, with the application of electricity, the Rangers would ride again.

Riding Again

Bear

Salvanas had killed the bear’s rider. He had thought the beast would simply lose all will to fight, but instead it only engaged the great shaggy bear – prompting it to charge at Salvanas. The Elf’s unit had scattered to avoid the monster and Salvanas had gotten separated from his them, finding himself in a maze of back alley ways and streets. Salvanas had been advised that the riding bears of the Moghund were not as savage as their wild counterparts, but as it sniffed around trying to find the Elf, Salvanas scarcely believed it. Propping his back firmly against a wall, Salvanas hastily reloaded his rifle and prepared a frost spell. When Salvanas saw the creature’s snout emerge, sniffing along the ground he burst forth – blasting the bear with freezing arcana. The bear stopped in mid-motion, covered in white frost and frozen in place. It gave Salvanas the moment he needed to level his rifle and shoot. A second later, the ice shattered and the bear roared forth. There was little Salvanas could do.

Bear