3660/Zodiac Rising: Collecting the Crown (3 of 3)

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Zodiac Rising: Collecting the Crown (3 of 3)
Date of Scene: 06 October 2020
Location: Gotham Museum of Natural History
Synopsis: Cancer returns with another quartet of Avatars after the Crown of Ophiuchus. Daytripper and some unexpected allies stand in her way. It's a showdown in Gotham.
Cast of Characters: Amanda Sefton, Jean Grey, Kurt Wagner, Billy Batson, Achilles, Sara Pezzini
Tinyplot: Zodiac Rising

Amanda Sefton has posed:
They say New York is the City That Never Sleeps. Gotham, on the other hand, is more like the City That Never Dies -- though not for lack of trying. The neighbourhood of Chelsea, on Miagani Island, is quieter than most... mainly because it's the university district and a thriving center of arts and sciences. Thus, the crime rate is slightly lower.

The Gotham Museum of Natural History sits on High Street, not far from the University. It is a broad, squat building that has a vaguely toadish quality, for all that it reflects the same art deco style as the rest of the city. Its exterior is well-lit, particularly given the city in which it resides. But the lights dim, flickering almost as if they were gaslamps rather than electric halogen. A shadow creeps over the building, muffling it as if it were wrapped in fog. There is no literal fog, of course. Just a dimming of mundane perception to make it harder for them to see what is happening right underneath their noses -- unless, of course, they're actually paying attention.

In front of the wide glass entrance, a vortex of dark violet and green energy swirls into existence, coalescing into a portal that disgorges a quartet of demonic looking figures. One silhoutte is clear -- the crab-bodied woman who may be among the most dangerous of the lot. She is followed by an aquiline man in the garb of an Ancient Greek warrior, sporting a bladed staff, raises his arms as they clear the portal. The entryway into the building shatters, blowing inward. Smokey figures appear on the steps, demonic warriors with reptilian features coalescing into solidity. Aquarius has summoned his minons.

Libra soars through the broken gap, not bothering to await his companions. Why should he? The humans within have been no problem until now. Why would it be different in Gotham than in Metropolis?

Behind him, Aries turns away from the group. He reaches out his hand. A wall of flames springs to life on the steps leading up to the squat building, creating a barrier for any heroes arriving to stop them.

In New York, Amanda, pacing as she leafs through a heavy arcane tome, lifts her head like a deer catching wind of a predator. A crystal she has been using to monitor magical activity tied to the energy that corrupted the Torc of Leo and the Armlet of Scorpio glows an angry red. Instantly, she's in motion. Blue energy swirls around her, replacing jeans and sweater with the beruned leather regalia of Daytripper. She calls a deep-pocketed, long-strapped satchel and an 18", crystal-tipped rod to her hands before pulling up her deep hood and catching up the red crystal. She calls out to Kurt. "We need to move!"

(Yes. She has her mouth back, Cancer. Nyah!)

She then sends a text out to Detective Pezzini, alerting the Brooklynite to the crisis: "Gotham museum is under attack. AS." As she hits send, she utters a soft spell. Somewhere, not that far from the Detective, a glowing green portal opens... leading straight to Gotham.

Despite the effort and using the rod to help focus her energy, she opens another portal. Through it, the front terrace of the museum in Gotham can be seen -- as can Aries giant wall of flame. Cursing softly in German, she steps through, knowing Kurt will be at her back.

Jean Grey has posed:
Speaking of Cancer... the crab-like woman monstrosity skitters in the middle of the group of Avatars, her voice soft and commanding the others, "Don't get distracted. The only thing that matters is the acquisition of the artifact. We work for the glory of our /true/ Master... don't ever forget that." She glares at Libra, apparently displeased at their gloryhounding from before.

Then she smiles, "Position yourselves, I'll see if I can draw their attention, since I maimed their wizard last time. A pity... I'd like to... play with her, some more." Little does she think that she's going to get another shot at that...

Kurt Wagner has posed:
It's the waiting that is the hardest part. Mind you, the fighting can be a little on the painful side too, depending on how things go. But no, no, the waiting is definitely the worst.

Of course the bright side with all that waiting is the fact that it has given Kurt Wagner a little more time from the ordeal of being mystically possessed, of being on call to some evil magic time, his little lackey in lion-form. It's pretty draining -- physically and emotionally -- but the fuzzy blue elf is starting to feel a little more like himself once more. Ready to spring into action once Amanda gives the go ahead.

As a general rule he is not a big one for weaponry. That's not exactly his speed. But he can make exceptions when required. Which is why a belt circles his waist tonight, a pair of scabbards hanging there with the hilts of his rapiers tucked safely away. Just in case. Of course it's hard not to pace, hard not to question Amanda every minute or so with 'So, you sense anything yet?'. The fact that all this is personal helps. Some.

When the portal finally opens up in front of them it is an unusual somber elf who follows behind the sorceress, traversing miles like it was nothing. That, at least, is familiar territory for the mutant. "Do what you need to do," he says to his oldest, dearest friend quietly. There's no need to promise that he has her back. It is now, as always, a given.

Billy Batson has posed:
Shazam was flying along, after doing his usual survey of food carts and diners. In this case it was Thai Palace. Interesting fact, invulnerability doesn't completely deaden the tongue to spice. He could take lava to the face but, wow, how many Scoville or btus was that platter?

Flying along when something tugged at him. It tugged like when he was going to fly past 'Uncle' Achilles and needed some bolstering only this time, nothing he would want to meet. Something old and malicious that used humans as toys or clay or food. Without a thought he turned from home and cracked the sky to get to Gotham.

Thunder rocks Gotham. A bolt leaps down from the sky resolving into the image of a man in red -no, not the Flash! Damn!

Shazam appears in the bolt that burns the pavement, landing in a crouch, one hand touching the cement. The lightning sparks fade as he rises, eying the flaming steps and the others. He waits for one of the grownups to speak.

Achilles has posed:
    "Well, it's time to hand the shift off to the next pair." offers Angelo. Yeah, it's a NYPD stakeout, but he didn't want to let Sara suffer alone, so he pulled rank. Okay, he didn't pull rank. He just reminded her that technically he is a cop too and could back her up.
    It was a simple stakeout of a potential suspect in one of the perfectly normal mundane cases for NYPD Homicide. "Oh hey look, there's Detective Martelli's car now." he says as he gestures out of the windshield of the generic sedan he offered to drive for the stakeout. "I think it's time for waffles." he adds as he leans back.
    Hearing Pez's phone go off, he lifts a brow. "Sup?" he asks her out of curiosity. It's been a long night already, and he is looking forward to having a chance to stand up straight for a bit, and maybe grab a shower, a bite... all of the comforts of NOT BEING ON A STAKEOUT!
    Either way, he lifts his arms and stretches backwards... just before the portal subsumes him and Sara. The next thing he knows, he's sitting on the sidewalk nearby Amanda. How undignified. "Um. Please forgive the utterance Detective but.. what in the -actual- fuck?" he asks.
    The odds are Sara is more aware of the goings on here than he is. Okay, the odds are -everyone- is more aware than he is right now. Either way, -his- entrance is far less cool and awesome than Shazam. But that really isn't a shocker. Heh, Shazam. Lightning. Shocker. Okay skip it.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Just as Sara stifles a yawn, the phone pings an alert. Sara slaps her hand over her wrist as though stung. The Witchblade wants her attention, an image of crabs overwhelming a city wall clouds her thoughts as she fumbles for the phone.

"Amanda wants us in Gotham," the detective reads aloud, as the world blurs in front of her eyes and a portal forms.

"What the..." she exclaims. The sidewalk is hard under her bum as the quiescent bracelet on her right wrist snaps into life, forming a silver mantle of interlocking armor clawed at the fingertips, climbing to her elbow. She scrambles to her feet, reaching for Angelo, eyes riveted on the latest entrants into the museum. It looks like a bus of hell's children has been dropped at its doorway for a hellish school trip.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Do what she needs to do? Amanda gives Kurt a wry smile, hand already reaching into the satchel for a small vial of blue liquid. She snaps it open and knocks it back. A stim potion to replace the energy drained away by the portals. For a short while, anyway, she'll feel no pain and hardly notice the drain. She looks at the flames. "Get me past that?" she asks him. Because she doesn't want to waste this precious stim energy on flight. By rights, they should extinguish it. But the priority, in her mind, is stopping the Avatars from getting to the crown.

She spins as the lighting flash heralds Shazam's arrival, raising her rod. But when she recognizes his symbol and, by extension, acknowledges his reputation, she relaxes marginally. "Oh, good. A heavy hitter."

Then, Angelo and the detective as they arrive. Just not quite how she was expecting. "Sorry," she says. "I hope you're good at dealing with monsters." She points to the wall of flames. "We need in there. Now. Don't let them get to the Antiquities Wing." Because where else would the artifact be?

Aquarius strides in to the facility, glancing briefly to Cancer as she orders them about. He is not the best team player. But he's better at it than Libra -- who has always ignored anything without wings. Except Serpens.

As security guards come rushing to the scene of the break-in, he smiles, directing his demonic minions forward. "Bring them to me," he orders, eyes glowing a venomous green. Soon, they will serve him.

Aries follows Libra towards the Antiquities Wing. Both he and the flyer are moving quickly. As they encounter guards or hapless janitorial staff, they strike quickly. Soon, there is blood on the floor and screams in the air.

Jean Grey has posed:
Cancer glares at Aquarius, snapping a pincer in irritation at his obstinance, and she planned for Libra being Libra. And of course, that's when the heroes step in... or, in the case of Shazam, lightning in. "Oh, the Wizard's puppy... this should be *FUN*." The glittering rings and chain ensemble flash on her right human-esque hand, in a pattern that Kurt, at least, might recognize when he sees her.

Of course, he might be a little distracted as she snarls, "No time to waste! Hurry with your new slaves... pity, I'd like to have made improvements." She pauses, not bothering with subtlety either, since the wizard likely warned them of her powers.

If nothing else, Amanda could have written down a note...

Achilles has posed:
    Up to his feet in an instant at the sight of what's going on. "Monsters." says Angelo as he rolls his neck, "To paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi. Monsters are our speciality." He has no idea who some of these people are. But he can't help but recognize the guy who is calling upon so many aspects of so many gods and heroes.
    "After you kid." he says as he begins moving and as he does so, a shield forms on his left arm and a spear appears in his right. "You know the routine." he says over his shoulder to Sara as he begins advancing. Not running... advancing.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
After what he's seen the last few days he is hardly daunted at all by the scene outside the museum. The wall of flame might be nice and showy -- it's a classic for a reason -- but it is not exactly a huge obstacle for the superhero set. Even less so for someone who can teleport between places as easily -- and quickly as someone else might take a step. "Amateurs," he says with a dismissive sort of snort, perhaps channelling a little of the now banished Leo and his contempt for his fellow servitors. But the quick, ready grin that flashes a moment later is all Kurt. Someone needs just a little more time to get back into the right head space.

Slipping an arm through Amanda's, the fuzzy blue elf grins once more and motions towards the entrance of the museum, past that wall of flame. "Shall we?" he asks flippantly, taking a step towards the blaze. And then they are simply not there, replaced by a rapidly vanishing cloud of inky smoke with just a hint of brimstone to color the evening air.

An instant passes and the pair emerge inside the lobby of the museum proper. "I will be right back. I fear the on call security might be biting off a bit more then they can chew, ja?" he offers up to the sorceress before giving a theatrical half-bow and vanishing once again.

His time as Leo is still a bit of a nightmare, hazy and indistinct. But some of what his former aquaintances are capable of is still present in his mind. Enough to have a few notions on how to thwart them. Step one? Take away the innocent bystanders. He's a one man evacuation team.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The Witchblade identifies the monsters that have come out from under the bed to stalk the real world. Sara reels under the onslaught of information, hearing names that belong to ancient Greek mythology. Speaking through gritted teeth to Angelo at her shoulder. "Into the building, the Greek Wing. That explains why we were both transported here. Through the flames."

The last said with trepidation. The Witchblade answers the unspoken question by transforming her jeans, light jacket and tennis shoes into a jousting knight's dream of mirrored armored, sharp greaves and a helmet covering her dark hair. Before she pushes down the faceplate, "Now, Angelo, now!"

Billy Batson has posed:
Shazam listens to the summary. "I maybe can do something about the flames. They already know I'm here. I'm blaming your courage for this if it goes butt up Unk!"

Shazam flies into the fire before instantly accelerating to mach 1 straight upwards. The sonic boom may break a few windows but hey, the stair are fire and the floor may be lava right now. And windows are cheaper than a Shazam-sized hole in the wall. Hopefully the boom puts out the fire and stuns any nearby demons.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
As they appear in the foyer, Amanda raises the rod in her hand. A light explodes overhead, illuminating the darkened building. Then, however, she sees Cancer. "You!" She calls the monsterous woman out. "Not again." She points her rod straight at Cancer and a bolt of magenta energy flares from its tip. It is not, however, a concussive bolt. It is a shield. She fully intends to trap Cancer as she once did Leo. The difference is, this time, she's not just using a net. She's using a dome. Because if that creature touches anyone... it won't be pretty. "Do not let her touch you!" she calls out to her allies. "Get to the others. Stop them before they get the artifact!"

And, indeed, it is a very special artifact Libra and Aries hunt. A circlet of gold with a serpent's head in the middle of it. It has been mistaken for Egyptian, though it is of much older make.

Aquarius conceals himself in the shadows. The humans he has mesmerized have no protection from the heroes or the demons that walk among them. But as long as their eyes glow green like their master's they are safe from them. Nightcrawler will discover, however, that they still have their weapons and they will shoot at any of the heroes that come near to them... or near to the wide concourse that leads to the Antiquities Wing.

Shazam's efforts do not go amiss, nowever. The fire starves for lack of oxygen. That makes getting into the museum very easy, now... Providing Cancer doesn't escape that shield Amanda seeks to encase her with.

Jean Grey has posed:
Cancer howls, "Oh you little wretch, you got your mouth back! Impressive!" She sneers at Amanda, "When our master succeeds, I'll make sure he gives you to me... I've got some plans for that pretty mouth of yours that will make last time seem positively pleasant."

Seeing the shield closing in, the massive crab-like hybrid woman suddenly contorts, her body almost flowing like it was water as she barely escapes the domed construct. Her lips curl into a sneer as she glares at the heroes gathered. "So many pretty faces, and the Wizard's Puppy to boot! Oh, so many toys to play with..." She slowly resolidifies, but it appears the narrow escape from the dome drained her energy for the moment...

Achilles has posed:
    And as the flames dissipate.. their lingering energy and light is reflected on the bronze face of Angelo's shield as he accelerates to a charge and sprints through where the fires used to be. In the movie version, this is a slow motion scene as his celestial bronze armor forms about his body in much the same way that the Witchblade formed on Sara's body. Just.. you know.. less cute because she is FAR prettier than Angelo.
    Either way, he comes charging through the last vestiges of the flames and lifts his shield to defend against the bullets from the civilians. But he is pretty much ignoring them as he executes a flawless lunge of his spear to stab the Celestial Bronze rear end-cap right into Cancer's body as she is in the process of reforming. Just to be clear. The blade of the spear is facing him, and the partly dulled end-cap is what it lunging for the face of the Avatar of the Crab. Yep... He is trusting Sara to cover his back as he works here.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
He doesn't have the raw power of some of the others present, but he is as quick as any and has far more practice than most. His focus is on minimizing damage to those caught up in this battle first and foremost -- even when they are turned against them abruptly. As Aquarius' enchantments take hold Kurt teleports in amongst the turned guards. As he moves in amongst them he works to strip their weapons away, hands, feet and tail lashing out to send guns skittering across the floor, teleporting every second or two, never presenting a stationary target for them to get a bead on. He has no interest in hurting them any more then he has to. Just keeping them from hurting anyone else. Or themselves.

Kurt pauses, glancing back to where the others try to deal with the monstrous Cancer, calling out, "The Avatars, they're possessed. They should all have a totem on them, an item of power. If you can get it, if you can take it away they should be freed," the fuzzy blue elf says. At then he grabs hold of a pair of the enchanted guards before rapidly teleporting all through the room. *Bamf* *Bamf* *Bamf*. And when he's down? A pair of the guards are on the ground, rapidly disgorging the contents on their stomaches.

With a quick glance Amanda's way to make sure she's alright, he calls out once more, "I'll go for the crown." And then the mutant Nightcrawler is gone again, this time not reappearing in the increasingly chaotic lobby.

Billy Batson has posed:
Shazam flies downward and through the doors into... madness. Monsters! Orcs (why not?) Humans with glowing eyes! Billy is suddenly daunted.

Wisdom: their eyes glow. They are puppets. Find their puppeteer, and you free them. Power: you can light the heavens. They will not hide from you in darkness. Shazam lights the ceiling with a crackle of lightning and Achilles... whacks the scariest creature he ever saw. As his lightning crackles he searches for other demons or whatever these things are.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The young detective wielder of the Witchblade carries a magic that is as old as the entities walking the halls of the museum. In some manner, the young woman is not different than the ones possessed by the Avatars.

Innocents, as innocent as any human being who put family and loved ones first, subverted to another will. There are moments when Sara feels the Darkness subsume its union with Angelus. Fears it until she remembers it is no different than any day in her life as a police officer where she must choose the best path forward.

All of this flashes through her mind as she looks at the halls slicked with cleaning fluid by janitors whose eyes flash green. Bullets ping against the armor ricocheting against the marble walls.

The ring of metal reprises the echo of bullets and Sara darts forward to Angelo's side, the Witchblade crackling with energy that she directs at the Crab-Woman hoping to stun her into a state that will allow Amanda to capture her. The hall is lit by an otherworldly blue light.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"Not gonna happen," Amanda growls at Cancer. Nevertheless, she gives Kurt a short nod as he bamfs away. She knows, just because he is here, that Cancer has a helpless victim wrapped within her twisted form. But, in the end, all that means is that Amanda won't kill her. She'll do her utmost to disable her, instead. Because she also knows, if the host is hurt... she can heal her. Just as soon as the totem is stripped from her. Besides... really? Cancer has way too many mouths. The sorceress just isn't sure which one is worse: The one with the vocal chords or the one with the monsterous teeth.

It doesn't much matter in the end. Although the other heroes attack the crab in an attept to subdue her, she escapes before Amanda can complete the shield. And as she swings her rod around to try again, Shazam's lighting reveals that the orcish demons have dissolved into smoke and are reforming as something decidedly more Balrog-esque. The giant elemental creatures sweeps its claws across the foyer. Amanda, caught off guard, goes flying, slamming into a wall with a heavy grunt. She slides down into a boneless heap, stunned. The rod rolls from numbed fingertips.

Without their weapons, the humans still try to attack the heroes. But, when they are 50' or so outside of the foyer, down the concourse or outside, the mesmerizing power that holds them fades, leaving them disoriented and confused.

When Kurt bamfs in to the Antiquities Wing, however, Libra and Aries are there ahead of him. The ram turns when he hears the bamf, swinging his mighy axe at the hero, the cuffs on his wrist glittering in the moonlight that slants through high, clear windows. Libra spins in the air and throws a heavy net to try to capture the good hearted elf.

Jean Grey has posed:
Cancer winces at the strike from the spear-butt of Angelo, snarling, "Really! Pulling your punches? A far cry from your history, little man!" She would have raised her pincers, but that's when the Witchblade strikes!

And Cancer /howls/ in pain, roaring as she instinctively lashes out with a massive crab-pincer. Fortunately for Sara, the avatar is too distracted by pain to actually do her creative fleshwarping. Instead she's looking to knock the heroine for a loop. And maybe into a wall so the blinding pain stops, as the looping chain and rings on her humanoid right hand glitters brightly from the arcane blue light that's engulfing her.

Achilles has posed:
    "You've no idea how to win a battle, do you?" asks Angelo of Cancer. He shrugs and adds, "Real battles are won with teamwork." And that said, he surges forward, using his big bronze shield to try to hem in the creature. Heedless of his own safety, he is trying to keep it from escaping Sara's power. The spear and shield are good weapons for this. Good tools. He's not worried about whether he gets any glory or the kill or whatever. Victory is what matters, and victory is something he's got a lot of experience achieving. Yep.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Really it's probably the only thing that keeps Kurt from being the perfect scout. That little popping noise that accompanies his teleportation. His powers might not let him span the globe, but there is also no huge expenditure of energy, no need to summon up a portal. One minute he's there, the next minute he's gone again. Combine that with his natural coloration -- perfect for sneaking around in the dark -- and he's the next best thing to a ghost. But still, that *bamf*, that brimstone. Almost perfect. Sometimes that's enough.

As the big ram whirls on him with that axe, the pair of rapier's are in Kurt's hand in an instant. He can't possibly match Aries' strength so instead he relies on cunning and speed -- he plays to his strengths. He doesn't try to block that mighty blow, but instead just directs it to his side, giving ground, backing away. Nor does he ignore the airborn Libra either. They might think they have him where they want him. They're mistaken.

For just a moment when Aries' charges again Kurt hesitates, catching a glimpse of that cuff. That nightmare haze lifts and those golden eyes widen as he realizes where he has seen it before. Just like that the image of Cancer's hand flashes through his mind's eye as well, recognition dawning. And while he might wish to aid his friends, first he has to keep them from killing him. So with Aries bearing down on him, with Libra's net cast the fabulous Nightcrawler is suddenly not there any longer, leaving the mighty Ram in his place to get tangled in the net.

*Bamf*. Kurt reappears half-way across the exhibition room, perched atop a glass display, those large, agile feet clutching the sides of his perch to spread his weight and keep it from collapsing beneath him. "I think you're going to disappoing your master," he says with a grin, doing a backflip off the pedastal, reaching to lift the enclosure away and claim the fragment that he's almost sure is the object of their search. Like, ninety-five percent. Maybe ninety. A lot of these old artifacts pretty much look the same to him if he's going to be completely honest...

Billy Batson has posed:
Shazam accidentally frames the shadowy demonic form with his lightning. He increases and redirects it at the demon's head. Lightning crashes down his arms, wreathes his bracers before exploding outward at the creature in a sustained blast. A burst if lightning or a bolt is incredible enough. A sustained beam of the stuff writhing like a snake so much more. Shazam's eyes burn white hot as he gives it his all, ramping up the power.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The crackle of blue energy blends into Cancer's howl - blind to everything around her, Sara doesn't see the demons form into a giant form. The darkness thickens as a claw sweeps her feet from under her, and a hammer slams into her chest. She slides across the floor to tangle with the feet of a glass case filled with delicate artifacts, dazed and bruised, bones still intact from the strength of the Witchblade's armor.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Aries is tangled in Libra's net. He roars in rage, and flails, but cannot easily dislodge it. But Libra is not so encumbered. Neither is he without other options. Kurt bamfs away, yes. When he reappears, Libra spins. The talonwhip in his hand cracks the air. The metal claws on its end wraps around the serpent head of the circlet as Kurt's hand wraps around the golden band. The avatar pulls, snapping the circlet from the fuzzy elf's fingers. As soon as the avatar's hand closes around it, a violet and green portal crackles to life behind him. Again, he lets out a hawk's scream of triump that echoes throughout the museum, falling backward toward the portal.

The balrog howls as lightning rakes it. It raises its fiery fists, pulling back to hit Shazam with very nearly as much force as the god-chosen champion hits it. Still, the holy hero drives the evil entity back. In the shadows, eyes glow red and Aquarius lets out a growl of pain and fury... Until he hears Libra's call. Then, he rises up on eldritch winds. They whip around him as a portal crackles to life before him.

If Cancer wants to escape... that's her ticket out of there. *If* Aquarius is generous enough to hold it open for her. He steps through... the balrog's fire explodes, lighting the museum stone on fire as the creature is blown apart.

Beneath a hail of flame and debris, Amanda groans, throwing up an arm and conjuring a sheild to protect herself as she recovers from the stunning blow.

Jean Grey has posed:
Cancer snarls at Angelo, "Maybe my tactics aren't so shoddy after all." She then leaps with surprising agility backwards, as the need to tie up the heroes is over, cackling as she runs with incredible speed... and then she plunges into the portal!

Aries, well, if he wanted to come along he shouldn't have gotten caught in the net. Oops.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Hey, he's fast, but he's not speedster fast. Not quite. Maybe it is the lingering influence of Leo's arrogance, but Kurt just didn't expect that whip to be quite that fast and before he can teleport away the last piece of the crown is soaring across the room, right into the hands of the enemy. Except... not really the enemy. Just another victim like himself. Another pawn.

The fuzzy blue elf leaps, hurling himself into the air and *bamfing* once more almost as soon as his feet leave the ground. He reappears an instant later -- an instant too late as it so happens -- and the flying Avatar is gone. "Verdammt!" Kurt curses, turning towards the entangled Aries, walking over and plunging his twin rapiers into either side of the net, pinning it to the ground and making it that much more difficult for the brute to pull himself free before he can fetch a little magical assistance. "Apologies my friend. With luck we can have you back to your own self before the evening's up. But first..." he says, vanishing once more.

He is pretty sure that it is all over. The last piece of the puzzle is gone, no doubt already in the hands of the dark master that his mind can't quite bring itself to recall, at least not yet. But at least he can make sure that everyone is okay. And the fuzzy blue elf appears back in the lobby, that golden-eyes gaze immediately seeking out Amanda before checking to see if anyone else might need his help.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara lifts herself on one elbow, under the helmet her nose bleeds from the impact. The sense of defeat doubles the sensation of moving through a heavy slurry of concrete. The Witchblade lends her the force to rise. Wobbly she staggers toward Amanda, a wink of blue telling her the elf that she had seen and identified as a friend is back.

"Angelo," she croaks. "Help me with Amanda."

Achilles has posed:
    So pressing forward, giving Cancer no room to move, no room to fight. Pinning the creature with maneuver, skill and determination. Angelo instead got to simply watch as the creature somehow evaded his best efforts all without seeming difficulty at all, and then dove into a portal. It made no sense to his mind.
    His head tilts, and then he hears Sara's voice. He thought she was behind him. He looks back as he hears the croak and then the shield and spear vanish as he rushes over to help.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Shazam, hero that he is, takes care of the flames in much the same way he did the ones on the steps -- though, to be fair, these were somewhat harder to extinguish. Even magical flames sometimes require oxygen, however. And without Aquarius' magic to sustain them? Yes. They go out. The walls are blackened, but they still stand.

Amanda finds herself surrounded by her allies. "Shiesse," she grunts, coming to her knees. She looks up, sees both Sara and Angelo near her. "Gods damn it, I hate these things."

Then, Kurt is there, and the sorceress is climbing to her feet. He's empty handed. She closes her eyes for a moment, head falling forward a little in defeat. "Please tell me there's another piece waiting out there," she says to him. Though, she has a sinking feeling there's not.

Which means their only remaining advantage is that the Avatars don't yet have the full map. They don't yet fully know where the Tomb of Zalmoxis is. Where the Hellmouth is. Where their master's Master is waiting to come through and destroy the world.

There's still hope.