11600/Sorcerer's World: The Return of Doom

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Sorcerer's World: The Return of Doom
Date of Scene: 19 June 2022
Location: The Latverian Border
Synopsis: Felix Faust might not be quite as contained within the borders of Latveria as some might have believed. SHIELD and it's allies thwart an attempt to expand the borders of Latveria. Dr. Doom is almost polite.
Cast of Characters: Victor Von Doom, Natasha Romanoff, Koga Miura, Sara Pezzini, Wanda Maximoff

Victor Von Doom has posed:
It has been weeks now. Weeks since the skies over Latveria turned black and Felix Faust and his allies descended upon the nation. Weeks since the Justice League and their allies were able to stop Faust from rewriting the rules of the universe putting the power and chaos of magic over the orderly rules of science.

While Faust might have been stopped from seizing power over all reality, he did manage a much lesser goal; He and his new order have seized control over Latveria. A shimmering wall of light has sprung up, completely encircling the small European nation. Outside that border everything remains as it was. Inside, however, is a much different story. It is as if scientific progress simply stopped in the Middle Ages. Drive a car over the border and it becomes a horse-drawn cart. Carry a gun over the border and it becomes a sword or bow. Modern medicine? Reduced to packets of herbs or maybe a bottle of leeches.

And then, of course are the odd shapes that can be seen periodically, moving behind that veil of light. Inhuman shapes. Thousands of refugees have escaped the nation of course, first in a flood and more lately in a trickle. But all have carried stories with them. Of a rule inside Latveria even more capricious then Latveria under Victor von Doom. Of monsters out of stories roaming freely, serving the Mad Magician. Of experiments designed to extend that veil of light beyond the borders of Latveria.

Clearly Faust still has the same goals as before. And a new power base from which to strike.

And the former monarch of Latveria? Those same refugees only carry more tales. Of a knight in a green cloak who strikes out at Faust's forces wherever he finds them. An unrelenting bandit bringing his own brand of chaos against the ruling force.

Outside the borders of Latveria, impromptu refugee camps have been set up, a virtual tent city where doctors attend to the sick and wounded, where food and other relief efforts are coordinated. And where wary sentinels keep a close eye on that shimmering border of light and the menacing shapes beyond. A vigil that has proven uneventful.

Until now.

The shimmering from the field intensifies, the random pattern of colored lights quickening, shifting rapidly as it does whenever something passes through the ethereal barrier. A shape pushes through that veil of light -- humanoid fortunately -- and finally what appears to be another refugee emerges --the first in three days.

The man is soiled, his homespun peasant clothing filthy and torn. Numerous cuts and bruises mark his flesh and he has the sleek, almost emaciated look of someone who has gone too long without proper food. He stumbles almost at once, limbs barely able to support him. Hollow, watery eyes peer about and he manages to croak out, "They're coming. Heaven help us, they're coming," before keeling over into the dirt.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Faust is dangerous. Magic is dangerous. Doom is dangerous. Latveria is dangerous. Whomever is in control of Latveria.. Or WHATever is in control of Latveria.. Is just the latest in a string of things that all lead to bad ends. So SHIELD has kept a recon team no doubt in near permanent presence monitoring the area, no doubt with specialists from WAND on constant rotation. The Black Widow, currently being rotated in over as part of the shift covering it..

Right when a man is coming out and she's part of the group that's watching the field as it flickers and a man speaking and gibbering of desperation and threats has Natasha Romanoff arriving ever so slowly ass he goes to pick up her radio and goes to speak to it calmly. <<Call i tin. All personnel on observation standby, we are now at alert. All personnel are on alert and standby for combat.>> Which also likely meant given Latveria 'try and survive long enough for the Fantastic FOur or the Justice League Dark to save whomever was left'.

Koga Miura has posed:
Koga, being well... a grunt pretty much compared to something like the Justice League or Avengers, was pretty much also one of the few that was skilled with archaic weapons. He was the one working to pull people in and out where he could. Just in case he was armed with a normal sword, and a bow after hearing how it effected things before.

That had lead to his being nearby and moving that way to check on the man. He wasn't a trained medic, but he could at least check vitals! When the call goes over the radio, he answers back, << I'm with the survivor. Checking vitals and moving him. I'll began telling people to get back. >>

Looking up afterwards, he calls to those that might be standing around or just observing, "Clear back! We need room in case something else comes out! Back, now! Agents, I want an additional 200 feet!"

Sara Pezzini has posed:
With SHIELDs involvement, and being a part of WAND herself, Sara had been keeping an eye on reports regarding the situation in Latveria. She added herself to the list of agents available to join the team watching from refugee camps early on, then decided for herself to pack a bag and head over. Whether she was representing SHEILD, or the Avengers, didn't really matter in the long run. She and Witchblade would be there to offer what help they could.

She'd only been there a day before the refugee came through the shimmering wall. That was all the time Witchblade had needed to identify the type of magic being used. Knowing the type didn't change a thing for Sara or Witchblade, it was merely information.

Getting Natasha's report she responds with a simple, < Witchblade inbound. > before the tendrils of magical metal expand out from the bracelet on her right wrist to form the tell-tale gauntlet on her right hand. She was already dressed in an outfit that could be destroyed, so as the metal was forming, she was headed to the location. The armor wouldn't fully appear until a few seconds before there was a clear threat.

"Romanoff, you calling the ball?" she asks as she approaches, making sure to find out the chain of command on site.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
Latveria borders Wanda's home nation of Transia. She, too, was displaced by war and unfortunate circumstances. The few refugees escpaing from the Latverian state might be surprised who provides them with a warm welcome, a cup of tea, or a heating blanket. The Justice League's interventions are many but the Avengers have not forgotten Latveria. She speaks the language, easily passing for a local, if the escapees do not recognize her. The obligation goes deeper than her passport. The responsibility stretches further than membership on a team. The witch's blood binds her to Faust's follies. Those on the brink of madness or death might be coaxed back by a lullaby weaving in magic. By questions from the quiet woman at their bedside, who slowly assembles a story from the pieces. Occasionally a miracle, though she keeps those subtle when she can.

Miracles might be called for. She steps out from a tent housing children and youths. Her hand is at her brow at hearing Natasha. << I'm here. Inbound soon. >> She does not have a broom to fly in. Jogging the short distance brings her out into the open, almost indistinguishable from the residents. Almost.

Stopping to tell a physician dashing after her, "See what information can come from him. I do not want to disturb him." The towering wall lies ahead of them as she turns to face it. << This wall has tested my patience. Are we the welcoming wagon? >>

Victor Von Doom has posed:
This is certainly not the first refugree that has come through the barrier, nor the first one in rather rough condition -- though it does seem to have grown worse as the weeks have moved on. Apparently the welfare of his new subjects is not top of mind for Felix Faust. Which likely does not come as a surprise to just about anyone. On the surface, there is nothing strange -- aside from the warning the man manages before collapsing entirely, whether due to exhaustion or his wounds.

But this time is different. Usually on passage through that barrier the light show quickly receeds, going back to that pale shimmer that merely obscures one's sight from truly making out details of what is happening on the other side. This time though there is no calming of the troubled waters. This time the intensity of the light show only continues to grow, more and more bright flares bursting from that veil, like a torrent of fireworks exploding one after another.

Fortunately it is not all relief workers and refugees on the other side of that shimmering field. Guardians are in place. Guardians that might be necessary afterall. The dense forests that are -- or were -- on the other side of the border tapper off here to more sporatic cover and grassy fields. Plenty of room to set up the tent city a few hundred feet back and away with a further string of camps trailing away. Until now all of that has been well clear of the border. But that surge of light suggests that the borders might be moving...

Closest to the fallen Latverian escapee, those nearby onlookers hasten to listen to Koga, beginning to retreat though a handfull rush forward to attend to the man, medkits and a stretcher in tow. From the nearest of those temporary enclaves a flood of other agents begin to answer the call of Natasha. Apparently this is an all hands on deck sort of summons.

And then the Scarlet Witch is there as well, amongst the medics on sight. Those words might be prophetic in the most unfortunate sort of way as that shimmering field suddenly seems to... jump. One moment it is perhaps a hundred or so feet away. Then, within a blink of an eye it surges forward, leaping until it is just shy of Wanda, Koga and the contingent of medics that are gathering up the most recent escapee. Despite the overpowering shimmers of light there is that hint of movement on the other side, monstrous shadows discernable as if backlit behind a screen.

Shapes that advance.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
The comments from Sara are responded to first <<I'm on-site coordinator until we're given instructions from further up>> As ranking agent, at least. Until someone higher ranking comes along or she's dead and the next highest ranked one comes over. SHIELD is efficient for circumstances like this.
    <<Appreciate the backup, Wanda>> Her taking a moment to tie in the Avengers comm to the SHIELD one. <<And we're more of a.. Tripwire. We react to what is coming out and try and gather data and slow it down so the next team has a better idea ofw hat they're up against and time to plan a response>> The whole 'enxt team' sounds very positive!
    <<Get the refugees to safety as best you can>> That's given to the camp crew. <<Get a buffer!>> They know how to evacuate. The approaching -things- coming out have Natasha going <<Presume they are hostilea nd treat as such>>

Koga Miura has posed:
Koga gives a nod to the medics, then moves to set himself in the path of whatever might be coming and them. << Roger. And no shooting the samurai, please. >>

With that, he moves a hand to his waist as a gold belt appears. One step he's human, the next that gold belt seems to turn into a shadow of black, green, and gold before it reshapes him literally. What comes out next might be concerning if it wasn't for the fact that it was on their side. The fully armored samurai-looking warrior cracks it's knuckles as it waits for whatever to come out.

<< Perimeter on me, I suppose? >> His voice is slightly deeper, more of a growl as he waits for whatever it is to come out.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Helping direct a few retreating refugees, Sara turns back just in time to watch the shimmering wall jump forward toward them. That is all the more warning Witchblade needs, and instantly the metal tendrils spring forth to wrap themselves around her body, destroying her clothing. For the moment the armor covers most of her body, leaving her stomach and back exposed for the moment. Threat to the Witchblade's wielder determines the coverage, and right now he doesn't believe it too large.

"Let's get these people moving," she calls out to the medics. "You as well, time to go."

Even as she is speaking and the armor is forming, she moves to put herself between those retreating and the shimmering wall, and by the time she takes a firm stance, the metal wings expand from her back. Seconds is all it takes.

< I'll guard refugee retreat until they're all safe. > is then said, unless Natasha has other plans for her, that is exactly what she will do.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
Reality folds and bends forcibly in shimmering waves. It approaches closer to the nexus being holding her ground, her hands firmly at her sides. << That line has been crossed. I am on as good as home turf. The wall is not coming any closer. >> Soft fuchsia glows over Wanda's eyes. A faint shimmer trails across her palms and fingers. The scrolling lines of energy slope over her brow and bleed down her cheekbones in a filigree crown of pure light.

<< We do our best to protect them. >> Shapes coming out present the immediate risk. She rises up off the ground a foot and floats back from the front line.

Wanda's t-shirt peels away in a curtain of sparks, replaced by a fitted sleeveless top and opera-length gloves. A shell of a skirt floats around her legs, drawn this way and that. Reality warping comes from a place deep in her marrow. It happens without much force. Shapes resolve, smaller in the front and larger superimposed on the shimmering wave that leaks too close to the refugee camps. She tilts her head. The head-tilting is universally a bad sign along with the thousand yard stare.

"I said no."

Victor Von Doom has posed:
Clearly those in charge of the relief efforts have been taking nothing for granted -- always a smart decision when dealing with magic. Or really when dealing with Latveria at all. Faust might be a monster but it's not as if Victor von Doom was prized for his reasonableness and predictability. Either way, involving SHIELD is already paying dividends as the closest agents on hand begin the process of evacuating those refugees that remain in the closest camp to the border.

The problem? That border is definitely moving. For the first time since Faust's invasion of Latveria the problem that had been contained by the Justice League is showing that it might not be quite as contained as some might wish it to be. And after that initial leap forward it's progress begins to become slower but steadier, advancing relentlessly, foot after foot. One of the SHIELD medics trips, falls and as the shimmering light washes over him it's possible to watch as the side arm holstered at his side becomes a sword and sheath instead, as that modern jumpsuit suddenly is reduced to a homespun tunic, trousers and very uncomfortable looking boots. The medkit? Suddenly nothing more than a beaten hide satchel.

Still bright, the barrier also seems just a little more... translucent. As that agent falls it is possible to see the half dozen creatures that wash over him. Short and green-skinned with head's looking too large for their bodies the creatures look like something out of the latest fantasy-epic at the theaters. The agent starts to call out before a sword is jammed into his leg, his words cut off by his scream. Then a huge hand comes into view for just an instant and the man is hauled back out of sight, deeper behind that magical veil.

For several moments there is that steady advancement of the shimmering field and then sudeenly, all at once it leaps forward again almost instantaneously. The SHIELD agents hustling the refugees out of the emergency treatment centers seem to have made it in time. Everyone else? They suddenly find themselves behind enemy lines as it were. On the wrong side of that advancing, shimmering wall.

Or in most cases that is the case. Along the line of the border the shimmering wall of enchantment finds no resistance to it's advance. BUt not where Wanda Maximoff stands. The wall presses forward, tries to leap past the Scarlet Witch... and instead breaks against her. A deep 'V' forms, reality shifting to either side of her. But where she stands and immediately behind the advance falters and stops, like a wave crashing against a rock.

To those not in Wanda's wake, to those not benefiting from their own magic, it is as if they are suddenly transformed. There is no delay, no shimmering away of the old for the new to appear. One moment the SHIELD agents hold the most advanced weaponry available to the organization. The next they are a collection of confused individuals holding swords and bows and axes. Cutting edge Kevlar body armor instead leaves them draped in leather and chain mail.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
And then there are those shapes. Dozens of the short, big headed, green skinned advancing with crude, sharp weapons. Behind them there are perhaps a half dozen larger creatures. Grey of skin, twice the size of a man and bearing huge clubs.

More interesting, perhaps to those with magic at their finger tips are the two truly massive figures that haul along a huge cart behind them, chained to it in thick bands. In that cart is a crystal, almost the size of a human being, all multifaceted and turning light the beam of a lighthouse. As the beam shines from it, as that light touches the shimmering wall, the wall leaps forward in response, expanding. And from it, massive magical potential radiates.

Of course, those truly eagle-eyed might spot something else. A shape in the night skies in the distance. A shape discernable from what it blots out. A huge, winged creature winging towards them, skimming low over the tall trees of the Latverian forest.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
The energy whiplashing around has Natasha Romanoff on edge, even as she's going to snap out her guns to ready them to open fire on the things as soon as they come out. She only has time to give an other warning over to the grou along the comm network right as everything -changes-. Guns are gone.
    Attire has gone to that of leather. Widow's Bites turned into daggers. Long bow on her back and some sort of sword made with unfamiliar metal. A mace as well. Natasha hits the ground in a rare daze as she's caught by an even rarer sensation of complete surprise.
    A quick hand goes up to her comm to check ofr it. Not expecting it to be there, but maybe there's some shielding? So instead as soon as the change hits as she realizes seh's where she is she's looking up to the skyline. Trying to get to see the stars to figure out if she's still on Earth. If she is.. IF they match up tothe night skyline of Europe where they're at.. Or they're in another place. Or time.
    Then the huge -beast- is flying along and the SHIELD Agent can only steel herself even as she's goign to break into a full run, looking for the first cluster of things that might be cover.

Koga Miura has posed:
Koga, meanwhile, seems... well, uneffected. The beauties of magic armor perhaps. Or... maybe he's already feudal as it is. That doesn't mean that he's not about to stand there as he moves into the wave.

Looking down at one of his hands. He looks up at the incoming shapes and the big crystal cart. "Huh..."

He starts to say something to his comms, "I seem to be... oh." His comlink has literally turned into a quill like pen sticking out of the side of his helmet.

Reaching up, he pulls it out and tosses it aside, then he calls back, "I'm mostly uneffected!" He pauses as a ticking sound comes from his wrist and he looks at it. Then looks at the others, "If my watch doesn't change back, I'm telling them send the bill to this Faust guy."

Then he looks up to see the big winged thing flying over the trees. Staring at it a bit before he looks to the others. "I think I do not want to know what that is." He shakes his head, then looks to Natasha and the other agents who have been effected. "Get yourselves together. I'm going to do something really stupid."

With that, he leaps forward at the incoming entourage of creatures. He's even got a sword mid-jump as that grows literally with a sheath out of his side that he draws. A katana at that. Crazy samurai monster, anyone? Oh, and he's roaring at them to get their attention on him rather than anyone else.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
< "Oh shit, he's got a dragon," > Witchblade breaths out.

Scanning the things coming through the wall, it is the movement in the sky that grabs her attention the most. She has a pretty good idea of the Scarlet Witches capabilities, even if she doesn't know all the details. Romanoff is another she knows well enough, but Koga she had no idea about. He's large, samurai, probably great for ground combat, which apparently was a damn good thing.

As the shimmering wall moves past them, she watches how things around her change, but the armor, Witchblade is pure magic of the gods himself and remains.

With the refugees and medics out of harms way, she nods once to herself. Spreading the wings out from her back she leaps into the air and gains some height. As she moves a massive long sword forms in her gauntleted right hand, and in her left a large shield forms.

"Romanoff," she bellows, because there are no comms to use now. "I got the big flappy, will draw it off as best I can." No sooner had she finished 'reporting' then she aimed herself at the dragon in the distance and started toward it at full speed while calling out, "Here dragon! Nice crunchy Witchblade for you!"

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
Like a falling tree in the forest, would anyone notice if the Scarlet Witch entered the late medieval period? The substantial changes might be the loss of the earpiece or her phone. Magic charms remain charms on her hip. Twenty-first century problems form a long wedge pointed like a spear straight at the theatre of war. Curtains pull back on green shapes she might call goblins or orcs or something from a Tolkien-derived fantasy RPG movie. A sea of weapons. A veritable storm of swords...

"Worry about the giants!" She points at the grey-skinned men bearing clubs. They hopefully don't understand English well but SHIELD agents should. Koga as a samurai may be able to go over that way. The Witchblade suited up and holding something sharp will hopefully help on the business with the dragon. "I'm on the rock! Deal with the sky when it falls."

Strategizing against large infantry forces supported by heavy brutes actually might not be as hard as it looks. Hours of playing games with fellow Avengers in the tower might be useful. The witch blurs to the side and bolts forward. The beam coming from the crystal is something she avoids, moving opposite its route and hurling invisible curses at the cart carrying it.

The first goes for an axle. Another to the ground ahead to mire the creatures dragging the cart. Another on the wood base tries to warp the boards to be soft and spongy. Her curses avoid the crystal itself; detecting instead if it reacts or her demands stick. Several hundred or thousand right outside the wall know it's 2022. Several trillion lifeforms in the galaxy also believe their reality is all that's real. She is their focal point and damn rigid about giving into the excitement of 1022.

Softening up for the big, angry thud in a bit. Who wants the witch losing her temper? Probably no one but Pietro.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
Hey, things could always be worse right?

Sure, the SHIELD agents are suddenly deprived of all their fancy modern toys. But they still have a heap of training to fall back on. Maybe a few of them even having practice using their medieval weaponry. Of course none of them are given a whole lot of time to adjust. But all of them would have at least been told about what it is like on the other side of the light wall. It won't come as a total shock.

Which is good because they don't exactly have a great deal of time to adjust. In a flash those, well, goblins seem an appropriate name. Accurate? Who knows. But with that green skin and oversized heads they certainly look the part. They leap forward with those notched swords and axes, covering the distance between them and the agents on side with surprising swiftness. The sudden clang of metal on metal fills the night air.

Covering isn't hard to find at least. Latveria had no lack of trees, far less developed then many of the neighboring nations. But the forest that they find on the other side of the veil is practically primeval, thick and dense with plenty of cover. Shadows lay thick everywhere, except when the light of that rotating crystal swings over. That lights up the forest like it is day and each time that beam reaches the shimmering wall of mystical energy ahead it leaps forward once more, transforming everything in it's wake.

It was noticable enough when the SHIELD agents were trapped of course, watching men and women suddenly changed into looking like medevial men-at-arms instead of modern agents. But as the shimmering field streams past the refugee center the pre-fab shelters are suddenly nothing more then decrepit thatched huts and crude cloth tents.

The 'goblins' may be daunting enough, but their larger companions are much more menacing. They too advancing, darting amongst the tree trunks to try and lay hands on the transformed agents. Massive clubs smash against that cover, sending a shower of spinters into the air where they hit. One of the 'ogres' manages to actually grab hold of their foe, jerking the woman right off her feet and holding her up against one of those trees, one huge hand wrapped around her neck and spittle practically flying from it's mouth as it roars in her face.

Natasha is swift and silent and her speedy action lets her disappear amongst the greenery. A few eyes try to tract her, a pair of goblins darting in her wake, peering into shadows seeking her out. With little luck.

for his part, Koga isn't quite so fortunate in the clearing he finds himself in. There's no hiding there and a trio of the goblin-like creatures rush forward, wildly swinging their crude weapons. More concerning perhaps is the hulking, grey humanoid that follows in their wake, raoring and hefting that massive club that looks like it could possibly bat him into lower orbit.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
And then, yes, there is the dragon. Or, again, if it is not actually a dragon it will do until something better comes along. As it nears, the shape of it is simply unmistakable, probably more than thirty-five feet long with a wingspan almost the same. It's red scales glint under the moonlight and as it sees the Witchblade leap for it it is only too happy to oblige. That huge mouth opens, razor sharp teeth on display. Along with a glow. A deep, reddish glow from deep in that cavernous mouth. A deep red glow that becomes a torrent of flame a second later, great, flaming gouts washing towards Sara and over the forest below.

Light isn't going to be a problem, at least judging by the flaming treetops. Burning in a forest fire on the other hand...

Just what the real threat is probably depends on one's perspective. To those on the ground the goblins and ogres are a pretty immediate threat. The dragon certainly would be a fair choice too, particularly as it tries to incinerate Sara... and anything else in the forest below. But to those with finely hones magical senses the biggest threat has to be that roating crystal that absolutely radiated reality-warping magic and is seemingly pushing out the borders of Faust's Magician Paradise. The two massive creatures that are chained to the cart haul it along, steadily and surely, a testiment to their strength. Those long limbs and warty skin all evoke tales of trolls. One more imaginary monster in Faust's collection it seems. Either way, they ignore the fight going on around them, dragging their burden forward. And claiming new territory for Latveria.

That threat is apparently the Scarlet Witch's to contain. Who knows what might happen if one were to be fully bathed in the light of that transformative magic, but either way it can't catch up with Wanda. Her own powers are much more effective against the cart, the crack of the axel snapping actually rising above the sound of combat on all sides, the crystal shaking crazily for a moment before toppling over the side of the cart, warped wooden boards no longer able to support it's weight. It topples, right into the muddy morass conjured up by her, that muck beginning to suck the infused crystal into the ground.

The chains of the two massive trolls snap suddenly, their magical bonds broken and the beasts bare toothy smiles for the Witch, starting forward.

Or one of the trolls does. Suddenly emerging from the forest is a figre in a worn and torn green cloak. A rather familiar green cloak, though one that has seen better days. But the customary armor is definitely not present. Instead of a high tech suit, black plate mail glints under the spreading fires. No blasts of energy rip into the trolls. No jet boots power him along. Instead a massive two-handed sword sweeps right through the neck of one of the trolls, fire suddenly rippling along the blade, searing that flesh. And like the Black Knight of yor, Victor von Doom turns, the visor on that helmet drawn down, still concealing his face. "Maximoff," comes that cold, haughty tone, identify the man better then anything else.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Getting quickly to cover, Natasha takes stock of things. At least several of the other agnets have come through, at least one of which has enough power to level everything in the immediate area. Defensive needs are being handled; one should feel bad for whatever group of marauders that are being caught underneath Wanda's magical foot. But she's leaving out something in that estimate..
    Oh, yes, surviving long enough amongst said marauders. So Natasha is going to try and quickly figure out who is around that's not capbable of lasting so long out in the open from this scenario. Presuming there are other mere human agents like herself caught in the crossfire, all she can really do now is run and charge out to try and get them. She's trying to avoid the main engageement, staying away from the goblins, ogres, and things out of Tolkein's bestiary and hte tales of which the Asgardians or the Themyscirans might speak of fondly as having fought as fiendish foes.
    The goblins are going after her Natasha's going a bit subtler. She doesn't have poison on her blades, the lack of any alteration of the heft of them is indicative of that.. And she's at too close range to draw out and use the bow and arrow. So isntead she just goes to try and throw the small knives that had taken the place of her Widow's bites. Throwing daggers was tricky, particularly against the targets that were armored and had unfamilair anatomy.
    Good thing she had spent nearly a century learning how to throw knives to kill.
    She's moving to try and launch them at two of the goblins, trying to just get them to drp if she cuold wit thrown blades to the throats.
    Looking up into the skyline at the dragon, whether or not her blades would hit and take down her adversaries over.. Right then as she's i nthe midst of melee and that familiar armored adversary goes to make his approach.
    This is already getting more complicated than the last time it happened.

Koga Miura has posed:
Koga, now armed and in a clear spot, can do what he does best. The ogre is kept an eye on. That's what he knows he has to dodge, armor or no armor. It looks big, it looks strong, and it'll probably hurt despite his own abilities.

For now, he's focused on ending the goblin threat. And he takes a breath before moving. Koga's training has him using more traditional swords tactics. But against these? That should be enough! He's aiming to fully end the three little monsters in one strike a piece, trusting that his sword's just as sharp as always. Sharp enough that he's cleaved a speeding car in half at one point or buried it into a steel wall. The samurai's not about to back down from this.

And in a way, it almost looks like he's just at practice rather than a life or death battle. It's moves ingrained into him at least. Ones that he rarely gets to let loose with, but this time? Well, no problems. It's defending others for him. He'll deal with the fact that he probably ended lives afterwards.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The most notable thing that anyone who has been around Sara and Witchblade could have noticed is Witchblade's innate danger sense. Even before something happens, he seems to know it is about to happen and adjusts accordingly. In this particular case, the presence of a red dragon meant fire, and even before the creature sends out a wall of flame, the living metal tendrils rip out of numerous places on the armor to wrap the remainder of Sara's body in it's protection. Even a helmet with full facial visor wraps into place over her head.

Now fully encased in magical metal, Sara lifts the shield up to block the fire from her face as the flames lick over and around her. Fire wasn't about to slow her approach toward the thing, Witchblade was immune to it. Yes, it got hot inside the armor, but that was the price she paid for the protection.

"You'll have to do better than that!" she taunts the creature, as she dives in, taking a swipe at one of it's eyes as she goes. She was trying to turn it away from the refugee camp, to aim that firey breath anywhere but those now hovels and huts.

"Come on lizard, let's see what you really got!" She calls to it, hovering for a moment, trying to determine if it was going to turn. If it did, she would continue the cat and mouse game to lead it away. If it did not, then she would move in to start attacking the beat full on.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The crystal remains the focus for Wanda. She can't have eyes for much of anything else considering that it burns so hot and bright. They play a game of hide-and-strike on her part. Regret pulses through her when the trees burn and the forest streams smoke and soot on gilt sparks. She cannot be everywhere. Trust is a hard currency to spend and the Avengers have taught her not to be a spendthrift in that direction.

Dancing with the gem's beam is not an orderly waltz where partners step, step, step, turn. Romani dances are vigorous to the point of being wild. Restrained and full of promises in flashing eyes. She is airborne, far more free to swing around in the wake of broken chains. The trolls are still on the ground. Her fingers snap and metal shivers in the air. Ground gone soft and wet around huge feet hardens to the consistency of concrete if she has her way.

"I yield this battle to you, Doom." His appearance hasn't been lost on her. Nor that Natasha is fighting on the ground and scything a path. Time is not their ally when she loiters. The beam swivels to turn, and she must run ahead of it, the second hand always chased by the minute and the hour. That crystal is the central point.

Spin and stamp, bringing feet and hands down in a deep bend. Magic ripples through the air. Behind it lies the will and whim to make reality join the pulse-leaping tempo, a staccato flicker beat.

Behind it, the push to make the stone /sleep/.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
The rotating beam from that crystal is no longer quite the threat it was, though who's to say what effect might ersult from it shooting straight up into the night sky. Either way, it's not a concern for long as that muck swiftly drags it under, that brilliant light dimming and disappearing entirely. For now. And as it does, the moving borders of the new magical Latverian nation cease to move. Though they remain where they are, extended hundreds of yards into it's neighbor.

Nor does the fall of the magical crystal seem to have done anything to address the issue of the small army of monsters rampaging through the forest. Dozens of shapes, from small to absolutely hulking dart amongst the trees and clearing, a number of which are now lit up by the burning dragonfire over head. Those goblins in pursuit of the Black Widow skulk through the darkness, snuffling around as they scamper along, low to the ground. Perhaps they smell her, maybe they find some faint trace onm the ground. Or perhaps they are merely being lured in. Overlarge eyes peer through the dark, no doubt seeing better then any human. But not well enough to see the knives that find their mark in the shadowy murk, one catching her target in the side of the neck, another right in those same eyes. Down they go leaving Natasha free to act.

There are all sorts of threats here afterall.

If the goblins expected an easy target in Koga they are destined to be sorely disappointed. Quick and viscious, they clearly excel at overwhelming their foes with numbers. And while three goblins might be dangerous enough against many foes, they are less so against a skilled swordsmen. All three race in, hurling themselves at the armored man, those battered but still sharp blades lashing wildly. Indeed, it is only that sheer abandon that make them any sort of threat at all. Those wild slashes fend off any counterattack for moments, but sooner rather than later all three goblins lay unmoving in that clearing.

Which is probably good because that massive club just barely misses the samurai as the hulking ogre wages into the melee.

Clearly the dragon was expecting to have a charred meal waiting for it after unleashing that stream of fire. It didn't not expect it's foe to be entirely unphased. Those great wings beat, sending all sorts of strange up and downdrafts swirling around it as it leaps forward, charing after the Witchblade with it's stubborn refusal to just melt away. Huge, clawed talons swipe through the sky, each claw like a sword-blade itself trying to impale Sara. And none finding the mark. As she shoots past, away from the heart of the conflict, that great red wyrm turns to pursue.

So mission accomplished?

Victor Von Doom has posed:
The reality-warping crystal might be out of sight, but that is only for the moment. And who knows what effect it might have, even there, covered in the mud. Clearly Wanda has not forgotten that fact though, tuirning her attention towards crystal as she dodges the last of it's beams. And while it might not be in plain sight any longer those with a sense of magic will no doubt sense when the chaos magic within it is stilled. Stopped or contained, at least for the time being.

For his part it would appear that Doom is willing to play his role here, advancing on the remaining troll that whirls to confront it's attacker. There is no mercy from the black-armored man -- as is to be expected. Nor is the kill quite so easy to achieve this time. It would seem that Victor is a more than competent swordsman however, and even as those long limbs lash out at him, trying to snatch him, he ducks low and gets inside the creatures defenses. There is no hesitation as he drives that flaming blade into the creatures guts, the troll simply lighting up like a pyre, burned from the inside out, it's screams seeming to have no impact on Doom's demeanor.

"Warn them," Victor von Doom says, the contempt almost radiating from his voice. "This is not Faust's only crystal. Nor are these the only monsters that answer his call. If they felt that they could ignore this situation because only Latveria was effected let them know that Faust has no intentions to stay within the borders of MY kingdom."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
This gets better and better. Natasha Romanoff isn't quite aware of what the discussion is on the situation, but she's guessing it bodes badly. But she has her own threats to deal with at the moment. Namely a couple of goblins too close to her. One which is dealt with hopefully bh her going to quickly jab a small knife into the throat while she goes to deal with the other by kicking her ankle out to hook at it behind the knee to hopefully send it tumbling over. From there, she goes to finish up the second one by unslinging the mace and going to smash it into the head to cave in the skull a few times. Going to bend over to retrieve the thrown knives. Then she's looking for the next vulnerable SHIELD agent that's in a bad defensive position and going to lend her assistance as she's breaking out at a full run. Natasha is methodical here. SHe has to be.
    One enemy at a time. One ally at a time. She has to keep as many of the ground team alive as she can until the immediate situation is resolved. So she's just trying to herd spies like cats.

Koga Miura has posed:
With the goblins taken care of, Koga can turn his attention to the big threat. That ogre. And he has to duck low enough that it nearly gets the crescent horns on his head.

The brute's got a superior strength it seems, but that is just a normal club.

Koga looks up at it, gives a growl as he eyes it, then looks at his sword. Then at the big club the ogre has. It doesn't look magical or anything. And that gives Koga an idea.

The next swing of the club is met with sword, held two handed as he tries to literally cut the majority of the thing off before spinning and swinging at a leg of the ogre. It can't be steel tough, hopefully, and that's what Koga's betting on. If that works, it should topple it or at least unbalance it enough for him to give a short leap to behead the thing as well.

It's not something he would normally even attempt, but this thing looks big, slow, and dumb as a rock. Not to mention it has to be the largest thing he's faced next to a freaking hell demon so far!

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Yes, the dragon was following her! Shit, the dragon was following her!!!

Sara spins in the air, far more tightly and maneuverable than the dragon most likely was, and starts to lead it away, back toward where it came from. As the talons rips past her, one catches her in the side and knocks her sideways, sending her spiraling for a moment before she regains control.

"That's more like it big boy!" she calls back, trying to get enough distance with the thing before she spins on a dime and charges back toward it.

Now that she was certain it was far enough away from the camp of refugees, it was time to do some damage. At first she tests the dragons scales, slicing across its side with the sword, trying to get an idea of just how much strength she's going to need to penetrate the hide.

Once she has that information, she will go all out against the thing. Using the shield to block the mouth attacks, attempting to dodge the claws and tail, and literally pick away at one location to try and get enough of the hide worn away to thrust the sword into it.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The Scarlet Witch looks down to Doom. Not with contempt, the literal difference in elevation will not allow for anything else. "Any Latverian we find is brought somewhere safe, fed and housed. Stabilized if necessary. I personally saw that," she replies to his accusations. That third-person transition into the first from the warlord ousted from his fiefdom should be worrying! "The danger is a danger to us all. Nationality has nothing to do with it. Faust has loosed something he cannot control."

The crystal mired in mud might be pulled along with her to quarantine and examine. Plans to break into it to find the other similar crystals form are sufficient to place a hex on and around it, for anyone who would dare to wake the chaos magic while a chaos witch is right there. Study before destruction, that's the Tony Stark way.

"The battle continues." The words taste like lemon, bitter and bright. "Please tell me these aren't transformed citizens."

The stream of melee combatants waits to be addressed. Sara's in the sky with the dragon. Where Natasha and Koga are, she has a less clear sense. SHIELD needs cvover all the same. Red energy hoists up a burning tree fallen to its side, and she sends it sweeping through a group of goblins not quick enough to give up.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
The big threat might be contained. For now. But it doesn't seem like it's ended, at least not if Doom's words are true. Equally important is that while the magical borders of Faust's world might have stopped expanding for a time, there are still a number of threats out and about. Though those numbers are diminishing all the time.

While a number of SHIELD agents are down -- injured and perhaps worse in some cases -- increasingly the tide is clearly turning against Faust's forces. The dozens of goblins have been reduced to a mere handful as increasingly their foes find each other amongst the trees and clearnings, forming up so they can't be encircled and using greater reach to put down the big-headed threats. Metal still cracks against metal, but the sounds of battle, the shouts and cries are growing less frequent.

As for the ogres? Well, an effective tactic has been devised for dealing with them too. Run. The creatures are big and reasonably fast, but when it comes to dodging in amongst the trees they don't do so well. Already some of the agents have begun to gather up fallen colleagues, carting them back towards the new border while others guard their retreat.

Another pair of goblins go down under Natasha's blades, the goblins never even seeing their attacker as their oppositions thins even further. Each agent she rescues from a touch situation joins up, working as a squad and it doesn't take long at all for a line to be secured. Things are looking up. So long as the dragon doesn't come back.

It is not a bad plan all things considered. One hit from that ogre's club might leave Koga staring up at the night sky with little tweety-birds flapping around his head, but nothing about the clubs seem magical -- just huge tree-limbs literally ripped or hacked off a tree. Of course most swords would be hard pressed to cut through that sort of length of wood in one blow, but that is no ordinary sword. The ogre hefts that club, lashing out at Koga. Sword meets club and slices cleanly throug as the hulking grey monster over balances, leaning a little too far forward. And as the samurai leaps onto it's back, the ogre reaches back, flailing hands trying to grab a hold. Trying, and failing. It's possible that it's thick neck is even harder to cut through, but that big ugly head falls to the ground, the rest of the ogre following a moment later leaving SHIELD's samurai victorious. And temporarily alone in that clearing.

Having the dragon's attention is definitely a mixed bag. Fortunately the dragon also does not seem entirely... intelligent. More animal then some brilliant monster of legend. But it's claws and teeth are rawzor sharp as they slash at the nimble Witchblade and while nowhere as nible as her, one small mistake could be her last. Those scales also seem to be remarkably hard, difficult to penetrate -- like cutting stone -- but Sara begins to make headway as the creature twists this way and that as she darts in, slashing again and again at the same spot until a small cut exposes what appears to be more sensitive flesh beneath.

Enraged, the creature roars, that flaming discharge ripping from it's gullet once more to try and shroud her -- and the forest beyond -- once more.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
"I know. I guide what people I find to the border when I can," Victor offers up to Wanda in return, the flaming sword in his hand lighting up the nearby surroundings. And if it serves as a beacon for enemies, well, that does not seem to concern Doom. Then again he has already swon his ability to dispatch even formidable foes. "And I hope most strongly that these fowl creatures are not merely my subjects transformed. But better a release from life then to serve Faust as these abominations," he adds, words still cold. And angry. Doom rarely shows that much emotion but he does now. He strides forward, towards that muck and where his sword passes it hardens. Only then does he sink that blade into the ground, beginning to carve out a block -- the encased crystal -- for her. It would seem he is in a helpful mood.

"Take it. Perhaps someone on the other side will be able to find a solution," he grudgingly allows. "And if you find yourself on this side of the barrier again, beware. Can you feel it? How much stronger magic is here? How much more reactive it is to our wishes?" he asks lowly. "It is a trap. First and foremost it answers to Faust here. As some of his allies have found out. Fortune, Blackbriar Thorn, both are little more then his toady's now, so bound by magic they are. Even Eclipso is more servant then partner now," he adds. Then gives a short and unexpected bark of laughter though there is no humor in it. "Should he be defeated I expect that Faust will have far more to fear from his former allies then anything you, the League, or even I could do to him."

Apparently that is of some small satisfaction to Doom. If he -- and everyone else -- can survive at least.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Natasha Romanoff is trying to circle around and moving to try and just gather the agents together. The fallen ones, the injured.. She can't establish a safe area; not in the midst of a melee. SHe can try and give them breathing room. Just running in quickly whenever possible to try and get in some quick attacks to let her confederates fall back. SHe's not bothering to yell out commands or orders; there's no real way to make sure everyone gets them. They can just hold out now and try and regroup later. She trusts her teammates to handle the big threats. She can just deal with the smaller ones to leave as many survivors as they can.

THe huge flaming sword made by Doom has her attention. She goes to take out an arrow and then stabs it into the head of an opponent, the shaft breaking. This is why she leaves those things to Clint. Natasha darts along, moving towards the next set of cover while she would scan hte horizon to try and evaluate how badly the tactical circumstances had gone against them.

One thing at a time. Secure the foothold on this end, drive off the enemy.. And then stop them.

Koga Miura has posed:
Koga takes off after he's downed the ogre, seeking out others as he goes as well as goblins that might be harassing other agents. He didn't get as much attention as he'd like, and he has sharp eyes.

That being said, he seems to consider and sheathes the sword. It literally seems to shrink back into his armor before he pulls out a staff instead. As long as he didn't have to take down an ogre, he could help with the goblins. Even then, the little things were far, far lighter and he can surely use them as thrown weaponry. Especially at ogre heads as he headed back into the mess to help out the other agents.

Oh, and he's going about it by being loud and noisy. He doesn't care as long as he's smashing goblin heads in or flinging them around now. At least as long as he's helping some agents.

"... kami. If my parents could see this, they would probably yell at me for breaking historical artifacts or something. Hah."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The armor of Witchblade does its job of keeping the claws and teeth from piercing Sara's skin, but the strength and pressure are still a factor. Getting knocked around by the claws, and even chomped once in those powerful jaws, a couple of broken ribs are the dragon's reward for his fight. The wounds will heal quickly enough, Witchblade already regenerating Sara's body, but it's not instant like some healing magics can be.

As she works the scales in the same place, over and over, Sara becomes grateful for the high level of endurance offered from Witchblade, and for the strength that allows her to even break through the scales... but the minute there is an opening to the actual skin, she aims her attack to thrust the sword into it even as the weapons grows longer and thicker. Team effort.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
"You are not abandoned. Nor is Latveria." Wanda speaks this quietly, and though the wired device on her could pick it up she's not ashamed to say it. Everyone gets their second, third, or ninety-eight chance. Steve Rogers has rubbed off on her. She accepts the gem floated over to her, wrapping it in another layer of protective energy. "Thank you." Even Doom can get a thank you, treated with respect. Probably the same kind that another tyrannical warlord who happens to get called 'Dad' does. One lives on an orbiting space rock and one is here, but it never quite hurts to be nice.

She glances at the encased gem. "I will treat it carefully. But it cannot offer me anything." The sleeping stone might be inclined. Bookmark; let Clint and Pietro take potshots at a slumbering wish stone.

Floating up there next to a man with a flaming sword is not a cooperative way to handle nasty goblins and ogres even though the tide turns. She takes in the battlefield beyond the ogre, catching Koga pulling out a staff. That's something new. Noises do attract attention. She cracks one of the charms from her waist and hurls the bone disk overhand. It lands in a crackle, spitting green light and a lot of radio white noise. A kind of 'look over here at me' effect.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
As the SHIELD agents are increasingly gathered up into a cohesive force the last of the goblins are dispatched in short order. With Natasha leading them and Koga rejoining their number when one of the ogre's rears up out of the darkness and charges their lines it too does not fair much better. All that size and strength is only so good against a prepared and disciplined force. And as the creature goes down with a strangled gurgle, the few remaining foes linger in the trees. Occasionally a stone comes whipping out of the darkness, and more then one cry goes up as bones are shattered by a fastball any ballplayer would envy.

Clearly the ogres aren't as dumb and beastial as they look.

The dragon is learning a bit of a lesson as well, it's frustration growing as Sara darts in and out, effectively penetrating it's defenses at will. Until she sinks that magical blade right through the scale to the soft underbelly at least. The roar that comes from the great flying wyrm literally shakes the forest as it shrieks in pain. Blood hot enough to burn rolls out from that wound as the creature jerks away. For a moment it's eyes are visible, bright and burning with a mix of rage... and a tiny amout of fear. Then it tries to batter the Witchblade with it's wings, great gouts of air battering at her as the dragon tries to put some distance between itself and the annoying, armored mortal that refuses to properly die.

Perhaps Doom has been somewhat humbled these past several weeks. Reduced to an outlaw in his own kingdom. While the black armor he wears glints in the moon and fire light, that familiar green cloak has clearly seen better days. Either way, the one-time ruler of Latveria does not dismiss her words.

But he can't quite seem to ask for help either.

Finally he turns away, starting back towards the trees. "Do not linger overlong. You have thwarted Faust's will and his reply will not be overlong in coming. He has likely already dispatched one of his pet mage's this way, along with considerably more reinforcements. Your SHIELD agents have done surprisingly well without their modern weapons. I would not pit them against what is on the way however," he says, starting to fade into the trees, pausing for just one moment longer before vanishing into shadow entirely, glancing back.

"Help my people," he says quietly.

Then Victor von Doom is gone.

Koga Miura has posed:
Hearing the overgrown rocks and baseballs, Koga calls to the agents in his more deeper voice, "SHIELD, fall back! Get the refugees out!" He doesn't exactly have authority, but at the moment he's hoping they will listen to the guy that's got powers more or less.

One such rock is used as a baseball to send it back at an ogre before Koga switches weaponsa gain. This time a large bow with arrows appears.

And he starts to fire those arrows, his enhanced eye sight making it easier to pick out the shapes in the trees. The ogres are his targets. Every single one that he can see he aims for head shots. Eyes, throat, anything that will take one down quickly. He might miss sometimes, but he's still at least a good shot and has something with one hell of a distance with his bow.

He continues to fire, giving cover where he can.

He does make note of what does and doesn't work on the ogres when he takes his shots, though, and also what he can do about it next time. At least one of those rocks does hit his armor, but all it does is make him miss a shot so far. He might be bruised later, but well... he can at least tell a lost cause in this case.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
There are only so many combat contingencies that Sara could plan for. Fighting a dragon wasn't exactly in the SHIELD combat book, so when the creature screamed out and used its wings to buffet her with wind, she was unprepared.

Thrown back through the air, she collides with one of the taller trees before starting to fall, but the wing spread again to catch her and lift her back up into the air.

"Ow," she mutters as she shakes her head a little, then searches the sky. Seeing the dragon moving back toward Latveria, she sucks in a deep breath as she shoots after it. Anyone who happens to look her way up on the sky could see her going deeper into the country after the beast. The way she figured it, the threat needed to be tended to. A dragon was exceedingly dangerous against ground troops, and the majority of this battle would be on the ground.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
The cordone has been opened and held and the retreating SHIELD agents increasingly pass through that shimmering wall of light, back to the other side. Back to safety. Perhaps reassuringly, as they do so they find themselves back into their customary uniform, their sidearms and technology fully restored.

With Koga holding the rear of the strategic retreat the team is able to get to safety. It is a bit of a shooting gallery with those rocks whizzing by, but the samurai is able to offer a good reply, sinking arrows into thick flesh. It seems clear that those arrow heads do not sink as deep as they might into a human being -- there's some dense skin and musculature there on the ogres. But eyes prove just as vulnerable. Either way, he has little trouble holding them off until escape across the border is inevitable for all.

Well, almost all.

The retreating dragon flees the Witchblade's wrath, winging it's way towards where the Doomstadt should still likely stand. The heart of Latveria. And in the distance it is possible to see flickering lights. But well before Sara comes in sight of Latveria's capital something else becomes apparent.

She's not alone.

Even in the dark night sky it is possible to see hundreds of winged shapes flying her way. Powerful wings propel stony shapes through the night air. Are those... gargoyles? And behind them are other shapes. LArger shapes. More than a dozen of them. More dragons. But these ones seem to be bearing riders because it is not long at all until the night sky is positively lit up by streaking bolts of lightning hurled her way.

Doom was apparently not lying -- or exaggerating -- about the reinforcements.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
There's no way they can remotely handle all of that. Natasha Romanoff takes a quick tally of the agents they've recovered, and the layout of the area. "All personnel, fall back. We can't win this fight. Get everyone you can out of here and we're falling back to the refugee camp." Where hopefully reinforcemetns will be there to be called in.
    "Everyone that can, help carry the others. Those who can fight, you're on rear guard. Don't engage unless you have to whiel we withdraw."

Koga Miura has posed:
Koga gives a nod towards Romanoff before shooting another ogre, missing a bit before shooting another arrow with a bit more precision.

"I need to hit the range and get some advice on these... that, and figure some way to make these like explode or something..." He says to himself as he covers the retreat.

His using Japanese based yumi arrows is definitely giving him a slight drawback at the moment. He does happen to catch a few more rocks and return fire as they get out of dodge.

"Glad I didn't bring my motorcycle now. Or the bus." He says again, apparently talking to himself to cope a bit with whatever is going through his head as he glances around, continuing to watch for ogres as he hops back out of their range. A hop that's probably a couple of car lengths and avoiding incoming rocks each time.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
That... that was /way/ too many flying things. They were still far enough out that the others likely couldn't see them, so Sara immediately turns her metal clad rump around and pours on the speed to get back to the camp.

"We got some serious trouble flying our way, gargoyles and a /lot/ more dragons," she announces as she dives in toward the group. It was then that she heard Romanoff's orders, and whole heartedly agreed. "I'll remain at the back line, if you need some thing large moved, let me know, other wise I'll ensure nothing gets past me while you get people out of here."

She hated to retreat, but the safety of the refugees was more important than Witchblade's desire to make dragons extinct again. It was an inner struggle, but it was always an inner struggle against his desire for destruction.