9507/Sorcerer's World: Into the Flames of Hell

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Sorcerer's World: Into the Flames of Hell
Date of Scene: 07 January 2022
Location: The Gates of Hell
Synopsis: The Justice League and their allies, with the help of Victor von Doom assault the gates of Hell itself, seeking the Candle of Neron to attempt to level the playing field with Felix Faust and stop his mad schemes before they are realized.
Cast of Characters: Victor Von Doom, Diana Prince, Bruce Wayne, Wanda Maximoff, Arthur Curry

Victor Von Doom has posed:
It has been several days since the monarch of Latveria, Victor von Doom last graced the Hall of Justice with his presence, bringing with him both a gift and perhaps even more importantly, advice. The gift was straight-forward enough; the means to pursue their defeated ally Dr. Fate through time and alternate planes of existence in the vain hope that the sorcerer who already failed to stand against Faust might somehow make a difference a second time. It is a false hope, but Doom has long since learned that lesser men and women frequently rely on such.

So while the gift of the ritual that allows the Justice League to pursue their failed Lord of Order was the enticement, it is the advice, that they pursue those powerful relics of magic not yet in Faust's possession so that they can seize the initative and take the fight to mad magician himself that was his greatest offering.

While there might be any number of places that this quest to level the playing field could potentially begin, Dr. Doom has never been one to aim small. It is not enough that they already have an enemy in Felix Faust. In the Lord of Chaos, Mordru. In Eclipso, one-time Spirit of Vengeance. And the other disperate allies that they have assembled. No, Doom has set his targets on no less a target then Hell itself.

His last appearance at the Hall was made without invite or warning and while he might not strictly speaking have an invitation this time either, he did make it plain that he would return once prepared. And this time he does not steal into the Hall like some unwelcome trespasser. No, he is most definitely announced. Even if the manner might be more than a little pretensious.

Horns suddenly sound, a bright clarion call within the meeting chamber at the heart of the Hall of Justice and a great booming voice travels throughout the Hall of Justice. "Prepare for the arrival of Victor von Doom, unquestioned ruler of Latveria and the world's best hope," that great voice proclaims, echoing down the halls of the Justice League's headquarters. Those horns continue to sound for almost a full minute, a musical greeting for anyone who follows the source back to the long chamber. And then, finally, a whirling portal begins to open, the sight of a castle's throne room briefly visible there before the armored figure of Dr. Doom steps through.

"As promised, Doom has come. It is time for the campaign to put an end to the odorous sorcerer of cheap magicks, Felix Faust once and for all. The beginning of his end starts in Hell itself. Doom trusts that you supposed guardians of the world stand ready for this endeavor," he says, that undaunted ego just as imperious and shameless as ever.

Diana Prince has posed:
Diana stands in her blue cloak, designed with the stylish look of eagle feathers. She stares at Doom upon his arrival. Her eyes are focused on his. She raises her chin up some upon that arrival, then exhales softly after he speaks.

"At this point, I am not so sure that this heralds his demise... He has proven to be an extremely adept individual at evading our pursuit..." Diana says with a grim undertone to her voice.

"However. If you feel confident in this direction, than I am willing to see it through and assist with this. His terror has gone on far too long, and he must be stopped." The Princess tells him in response.

"Where do we begin then?" She asks now.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Batman has extricated himself from the situation in Manhattan, though the Batplane remains on stand-by to get him back there should he need it. He'd learned about Doom's offer secondhand, and given how scarce he had been lately it was perhaps a little alarming to find him at the Hall of Justice. More so waiting alongside Diana, arms crossed over the bat symbol on his chest. When the lauding trumpets blare, he tilts his head to look towards the ceiling and frown.

"Subtle," he murmurs flatly to Diana, before focusing on the arrival of Doom. He had some ideas of his own about what might be found in Hell beyond their current mission. For now, though, he lets Diana do the talking. She's the diplomat.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
It may indeed be arrogance incarnate to believe that he can have more success then the League to date when it comes to thwarting the designs of Felix Faust, but if there is one thing that Victor von Doom has no lack of it would most assuredly be arrogance.

The armored figure takes just a moment to sweep that gaze over the meeting hall of the League, imperious eyes visible through the slits in that steel-plated mask that conceals his features as his attention finally shifts to the Amazon Princess and Gotham's Dark Knight there to greet his arrival. "Perhaps. But then this Faust of yours has already underestimated Doom in turn. Now is the time to make him pay for such a serious miscalculation," he says flatly. "He has sought far and and wide in his quest for allies and artifacts of a mystical bent but he has left one trove untouched. Perhaps he feared to make the effort. But Doom has no fear. Together we shall seize it and it shall give us the means to bring Faust and his allies up short, before he can enact his insane plan."

Of course, from what little Doom has revealled of his own plans there might be more then a little insanity to them as well. But whether supreme confidence or utter madness, Latveria's monarch seems convinced that they can be achieved. He has been right thus far about the difficulty in recovering Dr. Fate from wherever he is trapped. Perhaps he is correct in his assumption of what can be achieved with boldness.

"The Lords of Hell have at their disposal some of the most powerful items of mystical might that can be found in this reality. With Doom's aid you will be able to acquiare these and turn them against Faust before he can complete his rituals. But to acquire these artifacts we shall first have to achieve a foothold in Hell itself. Do this and I shall have my Doombots hold the Gates to the Underworld long enough to acquire these powerful tools. The first of which is this," he says, murmuring a strange word as an image suddenly appears of an elaborate black candle resting in an intricately carved wooden box. "The Candle of Neron."

Diana Prince has posed:
Diana gives a glance to Batman before she looks back to Doom, a faint smirk having shown on her face for a moment.

"Hell... is not exactly a place that any of us wish to go. But if it is an option, that will lead to the end of this magical madman's strife upon the world... so be it then."

Her eyes go to the candle in the box, and it makes her furrow her brow just a little. "Where are we to find this candle then?" She asks as she looks back to Doom.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
There's trouble afoot. It happens to be green.

Not an evil Kermit on the Dark Side come to bring cookies either. That might make the matter a whole lot easier.

A woman approaches the Hall of Justice not long after those stentorian horns cease their sounding and silence gathers close again. Metallic arrogance shuns the modest spectacle of an Avenger in Metropolis. Why, the Scarlet Witch is downright discreet in showing up, letting whatever complex and elaborate security systems sweep her over and confirm her identity as she darkens the doorstep.

Wonder Woman and Batman have much larger fish in a kettle, but she raises her palm to her delicate filigree metal coronet. "No wonder I have such a headache. Is no one to leave off this week?" she asks.

"Greetings courtesy of your New York friends." A smile shows, though she looks a touch tired.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
"This is just another dimension," Batman tells Diana, "Like Apokolips. Like any number of them. The physical and cultural laws may be different, but I refuse to believe there's anything special or intentionally malevolent about it. The malevolence is in the things that live there."

The Dark Knight opens his mouth to say something further when the Scarlet Witch arrives. He nods his head in greeting, the corner of his mouth quirking into a faint smile.

"Ms. Maximoff can act as our mystical liaison."

Beneath his cowl, his eyes flit up to Doom: "We appreciate your offer to help, but we hope you'll appreciate in turn that we could use a second pair of eyes. Your motives don't have a history of being entirely altruistic."

Victor Von Doom has posed:
"Think on it as such if you so choose," Doom says coldly in reply to the Dark Knight. "There is a degree of truth to those words, though those who embrace the mystical energies of the universe as well as the scientific," in short, those rare few like his ever so humble self "understand that there is more to that plane of existence then just that. The denizens drawn there are undeniably evil, though fortunately there power does know it's limits. Which is one reason that we shall be able to achieve our ends despite their best efforts," the Latverian monarch states, that supreme confidence shining through once more.

If the armored figure is at all concerned with the Scarlet Witch's arrival -- or the news that she is to accompany them -- he certainly gives no signs of it. He only inclines his head slightly, that steel faceplate making it impossible to tell how he is feeling. "Do as you need. The more resources you direct to this endeavor the sooner success shall be achieved and we can turn our attention to ending Faust," he states, anger simmering in his words. Oh, he most certainly has not forgotten the slight of the mad magician trying to compel him -- him of all people! -- into obedience.

"When you are ready Doom will open a portal. It shall take us to the outskirts of Hell. Once there we must seize the Gateway. The realm is as much... metaphysical as it is physical but you shall find it not entirely unlike literature would present it. There are levels that can be accessed once the Gateway is held. Neron's citidal is on one of these levels. Different lords inhabit the others and we can turn our attention to their most powerful relics once our entrance is securered," the tyrant offers up, that masked gaze shifted from each of them in turn.

Diana Prince has posed:
Wanda's arrival gets a soft smile from Diana as well. She spent a few years with the Avengers, and still lives just a small distance from their mansion in New York. "Good to see you, Wanda. It seems we may be embarking on something here that very well could use your expertise in assisting us with..." The Princess says with a tone of grimness touching the latter words. Her eyes go to Batman, then to Doom before she looks back to Wanda once more.

"We have been... plagued, trying to find a man obsessed with the magical arts, and using them in anyway he can to gain more power..."

The words from Doom, and Batman, has Diana nodding her head softly two quick times. She reaches up and lets her dark blue Eagle robe fall from her shoulders, catching it in her left leather wrapped hand, she drapes it over the table beside her. "I am ready then." She says, as she reaches for a few items off said table to attach to the back of her leather harness encircling her form.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The Scarlet Witch hasn't disguised her face or person. Like the lovely Amazonian princess, her identity would bleed through immediately anyhow. "I always strive for what is best, but polite of you to notice," she tells Doom. "We use the distraction above to descend below and curtail the troubles following after Faust like an unpleasant odor. I do wish the circumstances were better, Diana. Afterward, let us make plans for a less-charged visit?"

She walks lightly and quietly to make a square of their triangle; more positively, a diamond. The rings on her fingers glimmer, and she rolls a polished bone band along her thumb. Sigils slowly bleed in with a soft blue glow. The scent of crisp woods under a winter sky adds to the air, resins and crushed needles. Breathing it in revivifies the young woman, banishing hints of weariness that accumulate with the world in peril. Or slightly more peril than it tends to be.

"To the citadel, then. I'll focus upon keeping our enemies at bay and Batman freed up to move against them unless you have a preference otherwise?" Let the master tacticians in Diana and Batman supply that information. No worry of Doom; he will take care of himself. 1

Bruce Wayne has posed:
"Agreed," Batman answers with a nod to Wanda, rolling his shoulders to draw the cape away from them so he can crack his knuckles again the gloved palm of his other hand.

One last look between the Avenger and his fellow Justice League member, and the Dark Knight sets his attention on Doom and whatever mystic portal he is about to summon.

"We're ready."

Victor Von Doom has posed:
There can be little doubt that theirs is an alliance of convenience only. Victor von Doom has a sense of honor of a sort to be sure, but he can hardly be considered truthworthy. Unless it is to trust that he will be pursuing an end that benefits himself. That end goal might indeed align with their own for the moment but clearly they are not willing to blindly take him at his word. That is almost certainly for the best. And clearly it does not discourage Latveria's monarch in the least.

"Like many dimensions, be it the realm of Nightmares or the Domain of Dread Dormammu, Hell is not intended to be fully... comprehended by the human mind. This spell shall put a... filter over your consciousness to allow your mind to interpret what you see, to retain your sanity. But be aware, it means that there will be slight... variances in how you perceive your surroundings. How each of you sees and interprets what you will find in Hell will differ slightly," he offers up as a brief word of warning. But if it is warning it is not enough to dissuade the hooded, armored figure as he tosses one last glance over the trio who has come to accompany him. Then, turning away from them he raises arms clad in that same armor overhead and begins to chant, strange yet tantilizingly familiar words and phrases spilling out in a rhythm that is almost closer to song then mere spoken word.

As Doom speaks those words it is almost like the swelling of the tide washing over the room. One instant they are standing in the meeting hall of the Justice League and then next they stand at the base of a towering cliff face of sheer black rock that stretches skyward, impossibly, endlessly high.

The wave crests and once more then stand in the Hall, for just a instant. Then perspective shifts again and gaze is torn from that cliff at their backs to the stark, lifeless plain in front of them. Craggy rivers cut through the desolate landscape though no hint of water seems to course through those ravines, a sickly reddish glow emanating from them instead.

Flash. The wave crests and again they find themselves back in the Hall, that long table dominating the room. But just for an instant. Again perspective shifts, again they find themselves in that desolate plain. Bent, broken shapes rise up out of that endless expanse, broken spires and crumbling remains of structures. A gaze of dust blows across the barren landscape -- or perhaps it is ash -- little flecks that seem to trick the eye to coax one into distraction.

Again there is that flash, the Hall of Justice resolving once more for just an instant before they are back, this time for good. Twisted shapes creep over the ground or fly through the air -- presumably the welcoming party to this domain of evil. And in the distance a wall stretches, as far as the eye can see. Stark, black iron stretching upwards while a single portal rests in that wall, blazing with a seemingly uncontrolled fire. If the plains are spotted with those twised shapes of Hell's servitors, the Wall itself positively teems with activity. "There. Hold that and all the levels of Hell are open to us. Hold that and the machinations of Faust will be at an end."

Diana Prince has posed:
Diana shows Wanda another soft smile. "That would be wonderful." She replies quietly before her eyes go back to Batman, then to Doom. She reaches for one last item, a golden javelin with a silver dagger tip. She holds it at her side now, her armor worn across her form, though this time she has a golden palduron worn over her shoulder that she took damage too in the last fight against the Parademons... Is she still injured? Or just being precautious?

When they fade in to the new surroundings, Diana's long dark hair starts to wave gently around her shoulders, her eyes start to scan around the area, going to the far horizon and tracing along that endlessly long wall.

"Well then... I am remiss to say that these types of landscapes are becoming all too familar with this situation." She says before looking to the others.

"Can his presence be felt near?" She asks.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The world flashes before them, superimposed by another. Wanda blinks when the barriers fall, and she stands in another dimension but essentially part of this one, not stepping sideways into an adjacent universe. It would make little difference otherwise except to roil her stomach.

This time she stands on her two feet, closing her hand into a fist. Small flashes of her mutation erupt in pomegranate red vapors. The blasted plain no longer bears her weight as she floats herself up the little bit extra to maintain balance, though such concepts are hard to imagine here.

"It looks no lovely place to linger," she warns. "I do not see him immediately, but concealing such a presence won't be inevitable." The Sight feeds much information, her gaze widening.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Over the years, the Batman has become used to strange things. While Hell may be among the strangest yet, he does not outwardly let on. Instead, he surreptitiously depresses a button on his gauntlet, his cowl now recording everything he sees (and on several spectrums he is not actively monitoring) to a miniaturized drive in the suit. Something to investigate later.

Batman turns his attention to the wall, zooming in through his heads-up display and annotating a number of perceived weak points. Though it's all taken with a grain of salt. Who knows what constitutes weakness and strength in a dimension so perverse and chaotic as Hell.

He reaches into his belt, producing a batarang which he clutches between his fingers. The razor-sharp point catching the gleam of the dull, uncomfortable light.

"Then let's take it."

Arthur Curry has posed:
    In each flash and transition, with the rising of that eldritch tide, the world takes on moments of alteration. Around them as the landscape adjusts it leaves motes of change in that wake, some of little remark beyond that alteration to tableau and realm. Others of great sweeping difference with the rivers of lava, or horrid wasteland seen. The significance difficult to discern perhaps with that mental filter given by Doom, though not all entirely malicious.
    For at the last of the wipes that brush from one reality to the next, there's an addition of a golden figure that stands behind the cadre of heroes and draws attention to its arrival with a /clink/ as the haft of a trident clicks upon the stony ground revealing the figure of Arthur Curry.
    Clad in fiery gold armor with dark green gauntlets, in the haze and lighting of the hellscape they take on a crimson hue and the wild countenance of the man is limned from below granting an almost demonic tone to his features. Hair tied back, expression grim, the words he offers neither prophetic nor revealing as he replies to Batman with no hesitance in tone as if he had been there all along.
    "To arms then."

Victor Von Doom has posed:
"If we are fortunate Neron, perhaps the other Lords of Hell as well, will be lured out when we assault the Gate. Once we hold it all the Circles of Hell will be accessible. His Citadel is in the Eighth Circle," Doom says flatly, staring out over that desolate expanse. "As soon as we have the Gate I will summon my Doombots to hold it and engage who attempt to retake it. But Neron is not the only threat," the hooded figure states, already starting to lift up from the ground.

Even as they stand there perspective seems to... shift, the distance to that wall sometimes shortening considerably and sometimes seems to stretch even further away. There is no hint of movement in it or anything of the like. One moment the Wall is simply a hundred or so feet ahead, towering above them and then next it might be three miles away. Likewise everything out in that plain seems somewhat disjointed, not quite fixed in place, always in flux, subtle to be sure, a slight shifting of shape as the ruins of those buildings seem to alter just a little bit every few seconds.

"Satanus. Lady Blaze. Other Lords all might decide to take an interest," he notes quietly before those dark eyes glint behind that steel faceplate that hides his features away. "Mephisto." That name he says very much like he does Faust's. It would seem that mad magician is not the only one he has a bit of a personal dislike for.

For Wanda, the sense of ambient magic will be... considerable. Some of it clearly radiates from Doom, the magic of their travels to this reality clearly lingering -- as he suggested would be the case. Those moving, twisted shapes also imprint on that extra-sensory perception as well though in a particularly unpleasant way. They are like the scent of rotting meat in her mind, a wrongness of being that is unmistakable. The whole realm radiates magic but at least out here, on the outside of the Wall there do not appear to be any practitioners of strength laying in wait.

Perhaps those demons and the taint of wrongness that lays so heavily on them is enough.

The Dark Knight's own resources are likely getting a feast of information to be stored away, thought just as Wanda's magic registers the wrongness of the demonic forms, so to does Batman's imaging array.

Doom glances over their number once more, hand dipping beneath that green cloak that covers his armored for before reimerging, tossing a handful of silvery disks about a foot in diameter each out in front of the group. "Step on them if you choose. They will respond to your thoughts and allow you to move through the air more swiftly," he says flatly. "Or trust to your own feet," he adds, seemingly indifferent to whether they take him up on his offer.

Then he, at least, is airborne, sweeping towards the waiting fiery portal. And around them, the twisted, demonic shapes in air and on land begin to swarm forward, that motion seemingly the queue they were waiting for to descend upon the invaders.

Diana Prince has posed:
Diana stands with her golden javelin held in her right leather wrapped hand. She looks to her left toward the others, glancing back to see Arthur, and then toward Doom as he drops those discs. She lowers her javelin down to her side before she looks upward. "Then we have a lot to do before us..." Diana says before leaping in to the air toward that wall and toward the shadows up ahead.

Apparently she doesn't need the fancy doomdiscs!

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
"They would be better to preoccupy themselves in troubles elsewhere, but never so simple. I don't intend to welcome their hospitality any more than you do," she directs Victor's way. Malformed shapes form an atonal back beat to the hammered lands separated from more temperate, welcome realms. The Scarlet Witch skims above the barren bedrock deprived of so much as a seedling, her arms held to her sides. Neither a javelin or trident acts as her arms, nor batarang as the retort against a devil's many sins.

Her gaze is elsewhere, plundering what awaits and she relays, "As expected, he isn't in the vicinity. None among the incoming targets share his signature that I can distinguish." When Doom hurls one of the silver discs, she intercepts its path with a lure of crimson light wrapped around it, hauling it after her, some dinghy in the wake of a speedboat.

Her flight path zips for the portal, and she plucks one of the objects from the top of her boots. Hurling it ahead of her leaves it skipping and hopping at the demons, glowing lurid red. They can wait for it to bloom. It never will.

Her main weapon here is the very essence of chaos infused into her marrow, shot and threaded in reflexive gestures, like a cat kneading a blanket. A series of rays burst from her palm and strafe the ground ahead of Batman, holding true to her promise.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Batman regards the flying disc for a moment before ultimately settling on making his own way. He takes a few steps forward, bounding into the air and using one of the airborne discs as a stepping-stone. His cape flares out behind him and he takes to the air, the memory cloth catching whatever amounts to air in this place and allowing him to glide in the same direction as the others.

"Make this as quick as we can," he calls, mouth settling into a grim and determined line, "I don't want to spend any more time on the enemy's battleground than I can help."

Arthur Curry has posed:
    Rising up with a burst of energy that sends stones scattering in a out-rushed circular pattern, Arthur takes flight upward with golden trident in hand. The metal glinting in the eerie light, he rises toward the horde of abominations that find this moment to be their's to seek glory in the downing of the invaders that dare trespass upon their master's home.
    Beween the tines of the trident lightning explodes into being, dancing from spear-tip to spear-tip, broadening to expand around the haft, bursting to leap upon the metal armor for that half-Atlantean, then leaping into his off hand to gather in a surging ball of power.
    No further words come from him, no explanation voiced. His presence is given reason enough when he extends hand and trident forward and those dancing tendrils of electrical power take that moment to slash outward and find home in the bodies of those that dare approach and menace the heroes. Leaping from nightmare to nightmare, crackling with magical power it helps to light up hell albeit briefly with golden light.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
The shapes that swoop down at the sky at them, or launch themselves across the ground in great bounds are twisted, rippling forms, bulging with muscle and covered by scale. Some are nearly black as night while others practically gleam with a fiery glow. Some are thick, twice the size of a man while others are all lean, corded muscle, seeming to flit through the air or across the ground in a blink of an eye. None are natural in the least, but perhaps the most disturbing element of them is the complete lack of symetry. That, more than anything else, gives them their twisted features.

They travel in packs, grouping up as they seek to harass those who approach the Gateway beyond, those tricks of perception continuing to keep that great barrier just out of reach though each time that Wall seems to loom up before them it is a few feet closer. One group descends towards Wonder Woman, the inhuman beaks not shrieking but gurgling, little flakes of blood flickering from their mouths when they snap at the Amazon, the clawed ends of their wings slashing at her.

Of course the Scarlet Witch has her own way of dealing with any that would attack her and those bolts of chaos clear a path across the plain like a hot knife through butter, blazing a trail for the Dark Knight to follow in.

Their other flank seems to be in good shape as well, thanks to the Atlantean and the Trident of Poseidon, lightning lashing out at any of the demons that sweep down towards him. Still, a pair of the larger, more hulking variety of beasts suddenly burst up from the ground below, hurling themselves at the man.

For his part Doom seemingly keeps his focus straight ahead, though it is hard to not get the impression that he is taking everything in, weighing and measuring his allies of the moment. When threatened the gauntlets of his armor are levelled, blazing with energy for just a moment before powerful blasts blow straight through the demons or knock them aside. "Atlantean," he calls out. "The next time the Gate appears in front of us use your lightning to scatter the flames that fill it," he urges. "If you can then use your chaos magicks to hold back those flames, keeping them from filling the portal once more we can pass through to the far side and the waiting gates that lead to the other Circles. I will pause only long enough to summon up my Doombots to hold the wait and then follow you to Neron's Citidal," he urges, turning his attention to Wanda.

Diana Prince has posed:
The Amazon Warrior hits the skies at tremendous speed! She rushes at the winged monsters that are aiming for her, and the very first one she finds, she ... skips right past by slapping the javelin down against its screaming maw, and using it to propell her forward further where she delivers a flying kick in to the face of another, which leads to a ramming charge of sending multiple shadowy bladed winged monsters flying backward away from her.

Then the dark sky becomes a haze of shadow, mixed with the glowing length of rope of her lasso as she starts using it to pull creatures toward her, only to skewer or smack them back with bone shattering strength!

She hears the command from Doom though, and makes her flight path of violence take her back around toward Arthur, watching the path as it unfolds for them.

Arthur Curry has posed:
    The skies near to him swept clean, Arthur brandishes the trident with energy still crackling up and down its haft. A burning errant piece of demonic monstrosity hurls itself at him only to be /booted/ hard across its 'face' sending it careening into a stone pillar that crackles and crunches it into the ground and the river of lava near.
    More gather below him as he soars, several making that leap to launch themselves bodily upward as their wings snap and flap, great toothed maws roaring in eternal rage as one after another crawls over its comrades to try and get to grip with some part of the mortal-world defender.
    Only for the trident to be gripped with both hands and the half-breed of Atlantis gathers an aura of power around him. A distortion is in the air that ripples a single moment before he crashes /down/ to land while slamming the trident into the ground with a loud /bawhumpf!/ It causes an explosion to ripple outward with such mayhem and power that it blows those near apart and cripples those further, causing a great shock-wave to bowl over those in a wide circular clash of power.
    When he straightens he holds the trident aloft, power glowing and ready for when that Gate is brought forth. Until the needed moment when it reveals itself and the electricity blasts toward the flames.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
Wanda stays out of melee range wherever possible, using her greater airborne mobility to ascend over the demonic mass. But it isn't perfect. The silvery disc floating around her cycles in wild loops, serving more for deflecting blows or smashing demons on the head. When she's struck by one getting her ankle and hurling her back, the witch grunts to quash any concern. She pulls Doom's disc over and it takes over maneuvering, pulling her out of reach of another misshapen monster about to be struck down by the Justice League. A nod to Latverian monarch signals understanding.

"Here we go. On Aquaman's lead." Pain modulates other keys, but thinned to a purpose, she can manage. Her hair lifts around her a little while she pulls herself up to her knees, the metal skating sideways to face the relative direction of the Gate. Thin strands of bloody light leak through her fingers and lowered shadows.

Invisible pockets stewing with altered fortunes take shape. The first wave peppers the path ahead of them in staggered curtains when the time comes. Other hexes wait to be detonated by a thought or contact, and small shifts can mean a distance when added up. Fire turned to water, flames extinguished by a passing cape. A fist missing the Dark Knight or a batarang sliding home instead of deflecting off rough hide. Time creeping slow and others too fast, exhausting the resource and wiping out the fire in another pocket. In the lightning glow of the Atlantean trident discharged, she brings to bear the calculus of possibilities, statistics rippling from the personal embodiment of all that might and never may be.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
As Batman swoops into the fray, he relies on Wanda's magic to maintain an opening. No magic or superhuman abilities for him, just raw determination. His hand falls to his belt, coming away with a handful of gelatinous spheres the size of marbles. He hurls them overarm towards the gate, each exploding into a much larger cloud of fire-suppressant foam. He can only hope that fire in Hell follows some of the mundane laws of his own dimension.

His effort at the flames made, he turns to the swooping creatures. A handful of batarangs are thrown, each singing through the air with peerless accuracy. He keeps a small profile, using the super-powered individuals for cover where he can.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
The demons out on the plains really are not much of a match for them, but then the dozens that flock about them now are nothing compared to the hundreds, thousands that seem to cling to every available surface of that Wall. That would be the challenge -- if their intent was to fight. But that is what Doom has promised his robotic army for. The showy distraction that might just let them get in and out without having to face down a Lord of Hell directly.

As the herd thins, Wonder Woman is more than a match for those that remain, her airborn agility allowing her to run cover for the rest of them, that flashing, golden lasso arcing out to trap those twisted, demonic forms and reel them in to be quickly dispatched. The air might not be cleared of threats and those twisted forms might keep coming, but their rear is clearly covered. What little hope they might have against the alient princess is thoroughly crushed however as the Dark Knight joins the fray as well, picking off stray stragglers that otherwise might find a way through or past the hover Amazon's defenses.

Perspective continues to remain skewed, the landscape around them continuing to flicker about, continuing to change shape and distance seemingly at random. But when those gates shift once more, when they appear a mere dozen or so meters ahead Arthur and Wanda are clearly ready. That gap in the Wall is filled with blazing fire, the heat apparent even that far from it as the flames rage. But those bursts of lightning seem to scatter it, cut a path through the worst of it, flame replaced by smoke. And before those flames can reconstitute themselves waves of chaos see to it that they don'tm all seemingly at chance perhaps but enough to give passage through.

On the far side of that newly opened gap eight circular stone structures can be seen rising up. Like so much else in this dimension their lines are strange, alien and unsettling. And for the moment each of them appear to be nothing more then some sort of monument. But it is not hard to guess that those eight strutures most be the portals to the other eight Circles.

Doom does not hesitate, swooping through the open gateway as the howls and shrieks of the demonic defenders begins to sound from all around them. No sooner does the King of Latveria reach the far side of the wall then he stops, one hand upraised, pointing to the seventh of those stone circles. A glow begins to envelop his hand and a beam of brilliant red light bursts from him, lashing out to the center of that gap. But instead of shooting straight through the circle the beam instead stops as if cut off in midair. Instead a portal begins to form, the image of a stark stone passageway visible beyond. "Go, now, Doom shall hold the way," the armored figure says sternly.

Even as he does so his other hand sweeps up in the opposite direction, his gaze turning back towards the wall and the sight of hundreds of demons beginning to clamor down or take flight to wash down over them. And as he does, a dozen or so golden portals open up around him. All at once a stream of robots -- many looking like automated, hoodless versions of himself while larger, floating tnaks and sweeping aerial drones begin to pour through those rifts. The air is suddenly filled with blasts as Doom's army begins to open fire on the forces of Hell.

Victor Von Doom has posed:
Beyond that gateway, in the Citidal of Neron the stark hallway runs about fifty feet before abruptly coming to a dead end. Disturbingly, despite looking like stone there is a give to the ground and walls and the disturbing sensation that they are walking on flesh. And while it would appear that Doom has led them to the end of the line, the Dark Knight's electronically enhanced sensors will show that the hallway continues on unblocked, despite what everyone else's eyes might be telling them.

Diana Prince has posed:
Diana keeps watch over everyone as best as she is able. While Arthur and Wanda have specific tasks to tend to, the Princess makes sure to keep their backs clear, while also supporting Batman's efforts. She breezes past the Bat, in fact, and takes a moment to help fend off his flank from the attacking forces of Hell that are bearing down upon the Dark Knight.

When she swings the forms of the skewered demons off of her lance, she spins around to see the Doombots peppering their enemies with plasma fire.

She sees the gate, and looks to those with her. "We have our exit!" The Princess shouts before she fights her way to it, lasso spinning, javelin striking, stabbing and sweeping around in front of, and behind, her form as she makes her way toward it!

Once through, her boots touch down on the strange fleshy floor, she doesn't pay much heed to it though as she she takes several stomping steps within the hall before turning to help cover the others from making it through as well!

Arthur Curry has posed:
    Into the portal, into the gate, beyond the reach of the demon's hate. The heroes are brought forth in the citadel with its disgusting interior of flesh and sin. The Atlantean has no hesitation, leaving one venue for the next. He advances down that hall and pauses before what he espies, casting his gaze back behind him to the figure of Doom.
    Suspicion is evident in the golden eyes of the Atlantean noble, his expression grim and dour as the trident's haft squishes into the ground. He looks between himself and the others of the League, whatever silent message needing to be conveyed it likely is given wings by the years of their working together though likely the Scarlet Witch can imagine what preys upon his thoughts.
    When more demons menace their gate he will hold, but for now he lifts his voice and finally murmurs, "Our path seems blocked."

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The Scarlet Witch leaps from the disk once they approach the gate, hauling it along as she zips through of her own locomotive power. Lured to the relative sanctuary of the gate, she races after Wonder Woman and Batman. That may make her last through the flame-crackled route, though no better in facing off against a blank wall and endless stone.

In a citadel of a high devil of some sort, she makes a face conveying her contempt without so much as a sound crossing her lips. "There has to be more than this."

She takes a sparing moment to check the small objects at the top of her boots, ensuring they are stowed. The floating disk swings in aimless circles over her head like a demented amusement park balloon. An edgy, nervous quality slips free for a moment as she fully turns. "What do you make of it?" she asks the others.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Batman pauses a moment upon approaching the hallway. One moment the eyes of his cowl glow white, and the next they retract to allow his blue eyes to stare at the unfiltered view. He turns his head slightly to the others, pointing at the obstruction with one gloved hand.

"The obstruction's an illusion," he announces, heaving a batarang at it to test, "You should be able to walk right through it. In theory."

Victor Von Doom has posed:
Beyond that portal into the Eighth Circle of Hell a battle of truly epic proprotions rages onward, the robotic hoards of Latveria in fierce battle with the legions of Hell. Metallic squeals sound as metal soldiers are torn limb from limb and explositions resonate across that endless battlefield as laser blasts and concussion beams fly, holding the demonic army at bay.

Of course while they continue to have a view of the courtyard back where they came from, none of the sound seems to transmit, leaving them in silence in their fleshy passages. It might take a little working up to it, to force one to press through that non-existent wall that blocks their process, but the Dark Knight's mechanically enhanced vision is correct. Of course, emerging on the far side is not likely to offer any reassurance as the group is faced with a labryinth that seems to stretch on for miles. Though once again the electronic filters in the Batcowl cut through the illusions to reveal that there are only two separate passages forward.

While the Dark Knight might be able to see the truth of the passages, it is the Scarlet Witch who can feel it. Her own power is substantial and of course there is Doom's as well. He might be arrogance personified, but when it comes to mystical might he takes a backseat to a very select few. But down the right passage is a being that may indeed dwarf them both. Down the left... the feeling of power is subtler, more concentrated. Not a person... but an object perhaps. That would almost certainly have to be their target. The Candle of Neron.

Even as the group has a chance to start to share these revelations, that ground underfoot begins to writhe, the passage around them beginning to undualte, to collapse inward. Almost as if the Citidal were trying to swallow them whole.

Diana Prince has posed:
The squish of the floor under Diana's boots has her trying hard to ignore the sensation of it. She feels the floors adjusting and moving... Her eyes scan out over the labyrinth that lays out ahead of them, a foul wind rushing over them through the corridor.

"Well... this is an upgrade." She quietly quips before she turns to the others. "We are searching for that candle." She reminds everyone. "Whatever is here likely has hidden it well..."

Diana holds her lasso coiled up in her left hand, her javelin still in her right.

"We should be on our guard, we will be in much more confined quarters if we are to fight in these halls..."

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The world ahead feels strange to the witch, and worse, the ground deserves to be banished from memory. Choosing to float rather than allow contact, she grimaces a little. "Not much of one," she replies, pushing her way through the wall after the others. It might be better to look totally within a realm of being that few but the magicians and witches of the worlds ever experience.

"The path veers to the right where there is a battle we cannot win. To the left lies the source of a different truth and hope." One finger indicates the way to go, though she still has her gaze glowing unnaturally bright.

She coughs, and makes a face. "The air in here tastes utterly terrible. The sooner we're moving on the better for all of us. Would you both like to look ahead or do you want me to? I'd prefer not."

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Batman doesn't take much notice of the ground. As disgusting as it is, he's waded through worse over the last twenty years. Even if he hadn't, he's gotten adept at blocking out all distractions in favor of precision focus. Making their way further into the strange realm. A glance is paid to Wanda and Diana before he volunteers, stepping forward to lead the way.

"I'll scout ahead."

Victor Von Doom has posed:
The quarters are definitely tight and they seem to be getting tighter still as that too soft passage begins to writhe and contract. At least the roof is not caving in on them, or the walls slamming together in some sort of death trap. But that would almost be better in some ways. There is nothing even to smash, as those fleshy walls simply give way around any blow and continue to narrow and contract.

They might know the passage through this citidaln but know they will have to survive it.

They are, seemingly, at the mercy of the Dark Knight's electronically enhanced vision, his technology seeming to thwart the illusionary magic that seemingly suffuses the walls of this place. But a casual, glancing touch gives them another resource as well. That false labryinth that looks so very complex -- at least to anyone but Batman? A glancing touch of Wonder Woman's lasso is enough to banish it. Even Neron's illusions cannot stand up to the truth revealled by the Amazon's lasso it seems.

Who better to lead the way towards their goal then the Dark Knight? That ability to focus, to ignore the somewhat disturbing surrounds likely serves him in good stead when that fleshy floor suddenly opens up like a pulsing ulcer, the mouth-like pit seeking to draw him in. Or the little nodules that suddenly explode in a spray of acidic bile, splattering the floor and walls, making them smoke, the scent of burning flesh filling the passage.

But up ahead the convulsing passage seems to grow solid once more and there, in a chamber sits a wooden box that looks very much like the one that Dr. Doom conjured up before setting off on this little venture.

Diana Prince has posed:
Diana looks to where Wanda gestures is a challenge they don't want to face.. She grimaces at this before she looks to the other option. Her eyes go to Batman as he takes the lead, and she trails behind him now, her lasso coming to brush upon a wall, causing it to reveal its weakness to the divinely twine that she holds wrapped up in her grasp. "Quite a place..." She quietly comments.

As the progress further along, the floors undulating ways cause Diana to lift up and control her flight in mid air now, rather than walk upon it any further... perhaps she can't get it out of her mind quite as readily as the Bat can!

The exploding acidic spews get Diana to twirl her javelin back behind her back, and pull forth her metallic round shield. She holds it up and keeps close to the others to help block any such foul burning liquid to splash across them, and rather let it sizzle off the Themysciran steel of her blocker!

"There!" Diana says, seeing what she thinks might be what they are after. "Our mark." She says, peering past her shield's edge now.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
Wet, suppurating flesh trying to close in on the Scarlet Witch brings a sliver of something out from the depths of her psyche. She is her daughter's child though the media knows the green-haired Queen of Genosha or her brother's mercurial temper much better. Her father would not tolerate the unwanted touch.

Those slithering, slippery surfaces pressing to claustrophobic dimensions would dare, even in illusion. Would presume.

Her soft voice is a lash, denial infused in a single phrase. "Begone." With it goes a subconsciously generated pulse wave in all directions, a globe of cleansing air and dispelling magic--clear, pure magic and not chaotic mutantion--expanding rapidly from her and pushing almost as far as the wooden box before it's extinguished.

In other words, the wetworks squad has come to clean up for Batman to do his job.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Batman has no intention of letting others handle this dangerous artefact. The name of Hell's game, as far as he knew, was corruption. Wonder Woman or the Scarlet Witch in any sort of corrupted state spelled bad news in any language, mundane or infernal.

He reaches out, picking up the wooden box. He doesn't pause, doesn't hesitate. He simply picks it up, turning it over in his hands to examine it and then turning back to the others. He clutches it tight, with no intention to give it up.

"Time to leave."

Victor Von Doom has posed:
So their objective is within reach at last. Though for who knows how long. If the Scarlet Witch's senses are to be trusted Neron hasn ot been lured out to face Doom's robotic armies. Which means he still might arrive at any moment.

How much is illusion and how much is reality? It is difficult to tell. And to a certain extent it does not matter, at least not when the unleashed energies of the Scarlet Witch was over the walls and floor of this twisted citidal, the twisted magic wiped away. At least for a time. Long enough perhaps for them to get in and out of this place.

No sooner does Batman scoop up the box containing the Candle of Neron then a quiet voice sounds in the chamber. "The presumptive arrogance of you all," a surprisingly soft voice says as the fallen angel seems to simply walk through one of the walls. For just a moment the black cloak that he wears appears to be wings of the same dark shade, but then leaving the white haired, armored figure regarding the group contemptously. "You are barely worth destroying," he adds, crackling black energy lashes from his hands, leaping out towards them all, blowing right through them...

...as the images of the Justice League and their Avenger ally simply fades away, all of them standing in slightly different places then it appeared. Likewise amongst them stands the armored form of Victor von Doom once more, a contemptously light in his eyes, apparent even past that steel face shield. "You are not the only one that can play with petty illusions, Lord Neron," Latveria's monarch says desrisively. "Perhaps you need some time alone to think about what you've done," he adds as a muffled boom sounds from back towards where they entered the citidal.

Neron's eyes widen, in anger and surprise and he turns towards that writhing, fleshy passage. "What have you done?" he bellows, as outside, in the First Circle of Hell those robotic tanks blow the circular gateway asunder, abruptly cutting off the Eighth Circle.

For Neron, it means that he is trapped, at least until he can complete the rituals necessary to once more create a link between Circles. For Doom and the others? The dimensional energies holding them in Hell are abruptly severed. The world flashes, a suddenly barrage of color and light until they all find themselves rather forcibly spilled back into their own plane of existence.

It is not a gentle ride, but they are back in the Hall of Justice. With the Candle of Neron as their prize.