The Apocalypse Option

5) Explosive Finale
Jason Vasil's PoV of Story 5

Did he just launch a freaking grenade at us? Who does that?!?

I lifted up the foraged Remington that Kevin handed me and took aim at their Leader. Kevin’s advice that the gun only possessed a half clip ran through my mind. I don’t plan on using the gun really, but I assumed that it would be a slap in the face to be injured by one of your own men’s weapon.

The grenade soared towards my allies on the ground, but Kevin moved to intercept the projectile. He lifted his shield, and with a face full of focus, he shifted it to his desired angle. He let loose a condescending smile, and using a left-handed backswing, he launched the projectile back towards the group of centaurs. “Catch!” He remarked gleefully.

The grenade launched over the centaurs’ heads and landed in the center of the mortal mob behind them. The bikers were instantly set ablaze, running around doing everything they could to subdue the flames. It was about now that I wished I could summon a rain storm. They’d think I’d be doing them a favor, until the water touched their skin, then their screams would most certainly go up a few octaves.

Seeking to distract Kevin from their leader’s grenades, the rest of the centaurs pounced on him. Shotgun shells, chainsaws, etc. All expertly dodged by Kevin. Their leader fired off a grenade, interwoven within the barrage of attacks, but it seems Kevin was ready for it. He pivoted back like a tennis player, simultaneously evading the shotgun blast, and deflected the grenade to a building to my right. Erm… Maybe I’m not safe here.

A metallic sheen overtook Tristan’s skin as he flew up through my line of sight and there, numerous yards above me, he drew his guns and took aim at their leader. That gave me an idea. Seeing a perfect opportunity to get off a crippling shot on their leader, I launched myself off the apex of the cross and vaulted over the battlefield, away from the explosion of the building that was near me.

Mid-vault, I timed my rotations so that when my body hung upside-down, facing my starting position, I got the perfect angle I desired. I calmly pulled the trigger, and landed a crippling blow into the back of his neck. Blood and what looked like oil splattered out of his throat, soiling the ground in front of him. I continued my rotation and, towards the end of my vault, I held out my arm possessing the Remington and spun. I dropped the gun when I knew the momentum would carry it onto the building, and willed my bow to materialize. I nimbly landed in a kneeling position, arms outstretched, and head down, facing away from the carnage of the battle behind me.

From my peripherals, I saw Tim calmly take a swig of his saké, and then his body transformed into the portrait of a red-skinned horned-demon of legend. Afterwards, he simultaneously drew his twin pistols and fired them, one after the other, at the leader. The first pinged off the guy’s head, but the delayed second shot scored home in the now exposed neck of the leader, curious as to whom fired at him the first time. Tristan apparently determined that we weren’t killing the mob as quickly as he liked, and fear for the collateral damage to the town had him lowering his gun. He then yelled out instructions for us to follow to end this quickly.

Kevin was to charge the leader, and vault over him at the last second. He was to grab the leader head as he passed, and carry it with him, exposing the guy’s neck. Tristan and Tim were to fire onto the weakened, exposed neck. Simultaneously damaging him and launching him forward, helping Kevin to overhead throw the guy towards me. And while the guy was midair, unable to dodge a shot, I was to plug him with arrows.

The battle plan required us to act instantaneously, one after the other, but if we could follow through with it then I believe it will land the finishing blow on this guy. With him dead, we could round up the rest and finally leave this loathsome town of purgatory. I was ready to go home.

The puff of a grenade leaving its barrel brought me spinning around to the battlefield. I saw Kevin charge towards the trajectory of the grenade, reaching it at the last second. He swung his shield around and deflected the grenade, but his positioning caused him to not get the ideal shot. The grenade soared past the Leader, missing him by inches. It continued on and flew towards the building directly behind the head centaur.

The building… I was currently standing on…

Crap!

I kicked my Remington off, then was forced to nimbly vault off the building before the grenade hit, using the force of the explosion to launch me elegantly into the air. I hope me doing dynamic near-escapes from explosions doesn’t become an everyday thing, I thought calmly, all the while nocking two arrows and training them onto the head centaur.

I was in a mid-air vault, and Kevin was way out of position. We’re not able to pull off our planned assault. Not only that, but the centaurs were preparing another attack, their own coordinated assault aimed at me seeing as how I was now unable to dodge their attacks. Tristan took this all in, then yelled something to Tim.

Tristan Closed his eyes and took a deep breath, after a second his eyes flashed open and he fired a shot at the leader, the bullet traveled with alarming accuracy, bouncing off his head. The blow didn’t pierce the guys skin, but I don’t think Tristan wanted it to, The blunt shot crashed into the Centaur’s face, forcing him to recoil, his neck snapping back.

Tim let out a sadistic laugh and lifted his slightly glowing guns. The air exploded with the sounds of gunfire as he double-tap the guy in his bared throat, the bullets driving into the creature’s exposed neck, leaving it a bloody mess and launching the centaur backwards into the air. Right into my line of sight.

I was currently directly above him, his face contorted in pain, his mouth open in a scream, silent thanks to his mutilated vocal cords. I Put some slack in my draw string, starting to feel pity for the guy, until I thought about all the wrongs that he have done.

His race has enslaved mechanics from multiple towns to work maintenance on their bodies, then probably killed them afterwards. They have kidnapped and humiliated scores of barely-legal girls, forcing them to be half naked and to slave over them, if not raping them outright. They had probably tried to breathe new life into their dying species, slaughtering humans and defenseless bikes by the dozens. And worse of all, they are all working under the hand of the Titans, their plan, to kill us all. Unforgivable.

I stared down at the man, thoughts of vengeance empowering me as I pulled back the drawstrings as far as they could go. He would not escape me… His sins were unforgivable, and by the power of my arrows, I will send him straight to Tartarus. I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes…

Lady Artemis… Please lend me your strength. I hunt the worst kind of prey known to man. I hunt a creature who himself preys upon innocent mortals. He has broken sacred laws and committed heinous atrocities. For that, I ask you to guide my arrows, to make their twin bites sink into this creatures flesh so deeply that he is purged from this world.

I felt a moment of clarity take over me. With eyes all too keen, I focused down the sight of my arrows, and released them with a sound escaping me akin to a hawks cry. They flew as if in slow motion, weaving through the smoke filled air to sink their teeth into their mark. Their path carried them into the battlefield, where they flew through the open mouth of the head centaur, piercing him through the brain and sticking out the top of his skull to look like devil horns. Or maybe it more so resembles a deer’s stubs, seeing as how deer were prey, just like the race of centaurs were.

My vault sent me back onto the steeple of the church, where I witnessed the head centaur explode into a cloud of red mist. I looked up to the sky and closed my eyes. Thank you, mother.

The remaining 3 centaurs stared wide-eyed at the mist that was all that remained of their leader. They looked at each other, then turned to run. But there were too many bodies and buildings for them to flee like they did before. We quickly caught them and sent them to Tartarus behind their leader.

Seeing that the encounter was finally over, I scavenged the battlefield, picking up a few extra Remingtons and ammo for it while I tried to locate mine. After finally finding it, I returned to the group and saw their eyes on a burning building. It hit me that there was where our van had been stored. “Fate… You’re a bitch…”

I felt an odd tingling upon the back of my neck. I noticed then that it had grown much darker than it had been a minute ago. I looked up and paled… Black clouds had gathered, covering the sky within the last few seconds. At the center of the sky, above Town Square, was a cluster of ominous purple clouds. Then suddenly they parted, like an eye opening in the sky.

Where the sky parted, light shone forth, illuminating Town Square in a sharp contrast of darkness and light. I felt my hair stand up on end and had a metallic taste in my mouth. It came as no surprise when lightning flashed through the clearing of the clouds, striking the ground to turn the sand into a kaleidoscope of blackened glass.

At the center of the blast stood a spry man, wearing a leather jacket and a pair of bright red chuck tailors. He possessed a messenger bag hanging over his shoulder. He raised his head and took us into his gaze. “Finally, you guys made it.” Um… what?

He reached into his bag and drew a scroll from within. “I’ve been looking for you guys forever… You have all been summoned to your respected parent’s presence. I advise you make haste.”

Idk who this guy thinks he is, but he has a lot of nerve waiting to show his presence until AFTER all the fighting was done. But as I fumed internally, he shifted his eyes to Kevin and proclaimed “Hello, son, it’s been awhile…”

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4) Off the Mark
Jason Vasil's PoV of Story 4

As Kevin jumped down to the ground, the rest of us converged on him. He re-affirmed what I saw, that purgatory was in flames. We didn’t seem too bummed out about that, seeing as how we had Bill, but someone pointed out a key fact: Our van was in Purgatory. Son of a… Well, guess it is all good, seeing as how we kinda have to kill all the centaurs now. Kristof escorted Bill to his car and offered him protection while we eradicated the town of abominations. The rest of us headed into the burning town of Purgatory.

My hunter senses were not needed here, since there was prey everywhere in sight, illuminated by the flames they chose to wield. All they really did was make it easier for me to locate them. Our group emerged deeper into town, where the fighting seemed the most intense. The rhythmic sound of steady gunfire brought our attention towards the Town Square in the center of town. Nodding to each other, the group headed in that direction. We broke into formation without a word spoken.

Kevin took point and started to pick up speed. Tristan Took to the skies, but he seemed to do it half-heartedly. I Ran up a wall and leaped off the roof to land on top of a shop. Jumping from building to building, I made my way towards the church overlooking the Town square. Running full sprint towards the roof’s edge, I jumped to the side of a 2 story building to my right, then pushed off it to springboard myself across the street to land clutching ledge of a church window. I pulled myself up and pushed off with inhuman strength to land kneeling atop the roof of the church. I planted my foot against the roof balcony, and leapt from point to point until I reached the apex of the church, and hid behind the cross. Upon reaching my personal sniper’s roost, I took stock of the situation.

A circle of five centaurs resided in the Town square, amid a bunch of fodder carrying torches. And at the center of the circle was a dual-wielding gunslinger, firing off bullets at a graceful, sedate pace. He didn’t seem to be panicking that there were mechanical abominations running amuck, so I assumed he was like the rest of us. He was bobbing his head and moving his lips to a tune that was unheard by the rest of us it seemed. The centaurs started to close in, so I nocked two arrows and aimed at the two Centaurs closest to his blind spots. Seeing that I was set up, Kevin decided to make his entrance. Thus the fight begun.

Kevin charged forward and prepared to unleash a severe backhand. Shortly before the hit landed, his shield appeared, turning his back handed blow into a mighty shield smash, launching the poor sap into the air. The gunslinger’s moment of shock quickly faded away as he leaped into the air and double-tapped the miserable centaur, killing him before he could hit the ground. Only gravity seemed to look away from this guy, because his upwards momentum never reversed. He held himself elevated above the battlefield for a few moments before he drifted back down. Another flying gunman? Whatever…

I leaped up onto the apex of the cross, and let out a piercing whistle. The gawking centaurs took their eyes off of Kevin to follow the source of the noise. Their eyes landed upon my kneeling form, silhouetted by the blinding sun behind me. I released my arrows as their eyelids attempted to shield their pupils from the sun’s harsh rays. Both arrows striking their marked centaur’s in the head. Not quite between the eyes like I was aiming, but I’d have to settle.

I noticed Tristan atop a single story building mumbling some strange incantation. I watched him build up power to a climaxing point, then amid a flash of light… he pulled out his cellphone and started flipping through it. Well that was a letdown… Content that we would take care of the mob I guess? The sound of a shotgun firing brought my attention to The Flying Gunslinger, whom’s chest now possessed a gushing bullet wound. Before I could help out, I notice his skin sew itself up, but the red hue stayed. Actually… The red seemed to… spread to the rest of his body, wrapping him in a demonic aura, full with horns and everything. He glared at the centaur whom shot him, and slowly made his way over to him.

A centaur fired off a shot at Kevin, but his aim was flawed. Unfortunately for him, he grabbed Kevin’s attention. Kevin Marched over to him with a massive grin on his face. Then midstride, he took a massive leap, placing himself above the centaur, with his sword materializing pointy-end downwards. He landed atop the centaur with a sickening sound, driving his sword through the guy’s biker colors and impaling him through his chest. The centaur attempted to buck Kevin off, but he had a stead grip with one hand. The other possessing his bloody sword poised above the centaur’s head, waiting to strike. In a way it almost looked like they were in a ro…

I felt the impact of shotgun shells land upon my right arm. I glanced down and saw that They failed to pierce my skin, but it still annoyed me that they got a hit on me. I scanned the battlefield to find the culprit, but A sedate pace amid the chaos of the battle brought my eyes to The Flying Gunslinger, whom was slowly walking towards the centaur who previously shot him. His gaze never shifting. His eye contact never-ending. A glint of light brought my gaze to the side window of a building located perpendicular to the church, where a sniper’s focus was trained on The Flying Gunslinger. I couldn’t hit him from here, so I spent a moment to take in the trajectory needed to fire upon the sniper while mid-air. Two seconds later, I found the perfect angle needed to complete the shot.

I ran to the edge of the roof, turned sideways, then pushed myself away from the roof at an angle, causing myself to do a side-flip. As I rounded the first rotation, I drew two arrows from my quiver and nocked them. By the time I entered the second rotation, I had my bow trained forward, two arrows nocked, ready to fire. I was upside down when the window became visible to me, the sniper at my mercy. I locked gaze with him through his scope, and calmly released my arrows. My aim was true. Both arrows impaled the centaur through the eyes, one of which shattering glass as it flew through the sniper’s scope. Then my view of the dead centaur was blocked as my forward momentum propelled me through the air. I noticed Tristan staring at his watch and keeping count of something. One hand in the air marking the ticks. After a second, I spun midair, taking me out of my endless barrage of side-flips, and landed gracefully upon the roof of a burning building.

I debated on bowing, but the sound of shotgun shells meeting flesh brought my gaze over to The Flying Gunman, where it looked like half his torso just got blown off. The Centaur behind him holding the smoking gun. My mouth dropped open when a cascade of tendons, muscles, and skin sewn itself back into place, making the unblemished skin look perfect again. The Flying Gunman’s pace never slowed, his gaze never shifted as he reached his target. The terrified centaur did nothing as The Flying Gunman Calmly placed the barrels of his guns under the abomination’s chin. Maintaining eye-contact, he leaned in and whispered. “Every action has a price…” Then, staring the centaur into the eyes, he double-tapped him, causing blood and gore the spray the building behind them.

The shifting of the building underneath me brought my focus back to the task at hand. The building was collapsing, and I was on top of it. Let’s remedy that, shall we? I took a graceful dive off the building, nocking an arrow and calmly releasing it at the centaur holding the smoking gun behind The Flying Gunman. I aimed at the back of his neck, but with all the smoke and wind blowing around the building, it nailed him in the side of the head. Not even killing him. I shifted my Bow back into a wristband and continued my graceful dive.

I heard Tristan yell out “8 seconds!” and I followed his gaze to Kevin. From my midair vantage point, I saw Kevin swing his sword into a circle and then thrusted it into the spine of the rodeo centaur. I heard a terrible shriek, and the centaur stopped bucking. Kevin gracefully leaped off him and landed with a bow. Holy mother of Goddess that was beautiful…

As I neared the ground, I went to spin out of my dive to make a graceful landing, But the sound of a cocking shotgun brought my gaze back to the ground. I saw the barrel of a shotgun facing me, primed and ready to be shot. The centaur wielding it possessing an arrow going through his head. Uh-oh… I was midair, and thus, I couldn’t dodge this attack. As the trigger was pulled, I spun along the trajectory of the shells, causing them to nail the side of my shoulder, and propel my spin faster. My plan for rolling with the impact of the bullets to make them not pierce my skin was successful. Plus, I even used the momentum to land gracefully in a kneeling position as I hit the ground.

I could hear Tristan cheering at what I assumed was Kevin’s awesome dismount, then I saw a glowing bullet ping off of the wounded centaur. The spell he casted previously augmenting the accuracy of the attack. The attack didn’t seem to damage him, but it did cause the abomination to shift its focus. Big mistake.

I reached back and pulled out an arrow from my quiver. In the same motion I drew it forward, and then back as my bow materialized out of nowhere. The arrow perfectly nocked and shot aligned with the wounded centaurs head. Still in one fluid motion I released the arrow, causing it to split my previously fired arrow in half, pushing the arrow’s tip into the centaur’s brain. He crumpled without a sound.

At the corner of my eye I saw the rodeo centaur start lifting his gun, apparently not quite down for the count. I shifted my bow to target him, But Kevin was fully aware of the situation. He leaped up from his bow, doing a “Legend of Zelda style” spinning slash, slicing through the abomination’s jawline. He dropped without preamble.

All the Centaurs that were at Town square has been eliminated. Seemed that all we had to do now was delve through the waves of fodder the mortal bikers added up to. Cleanup duty. I glanced to my party. Kevin was fashioning a makeshift belt-buckle out of the rodeo centaur’s bike parts. He then grabbed the Centaur’s VP emblem and attached it to the buckle. Talk about humiliating the deceased centaur. Tristan flew down towards us, still on his cell. I notice The Flying Gunslinger spit out a tooth, then groan when he realized it wasn’t his.

As we regrouped and prepared to clean the fight up, we heard the approach of dozens of footsteps and a few motorcycle engines. I made my way back to my Sniper’s perch atop the churches apex, and analyzed the situation. An embassy of 4 centaurs with a small army of mortal bikers was approaching us. The one at point wielding a 40mm grenade launcher. Sure it was a nice weapon, but I firmly believed that no technological hand-missile weapon could beat a sturdy bow. And thus I wasn’t impressed. But wait… There were four centaurs ahead of us. If I did my math correctly, they were the last of their miserable race. How convient that they decide to present themselves to us. While I normally enjoy a good hunt, I was growing tired of the little town of purgatory. So I drew back an arrow and waited. Prepared to counteract their attack should they pose one.

The Leader of the centaurs, wielding a P badge, approached us. If his emblem said P ‘president’ Then the rodeo centaur’s must have been VP ‘Vice-President’ And as luck would have it, it was currently located over the crotch of Kevin, attached to a belt-buckle made out of the president’s 2nd in command. Awesome, awesome, awesome!

The Leader didn’t look too pleased, but he offered us a deal. They’d released their prisoners if we’d just be on our way and stop attacking them. Um… No… Kevin regretfully informed him that we couldn’t accept. For we had sworn to kill all of them, in order to retrieve the key that their Leader desired. Because the leader was adamant about us finding this key before he released his prisoners, he had condemned his race to extinction. Greed has a nasty way of catching back up with you. While Kevin talked, The Flying Gunslinger walked off to a vehicle and started playing some metal music. Guess he liked the negotiations parts of life about as much as I did…

Kevin informed the Leader of the centaurs that while we were sworn to kill all 4 centaurs, we were under no obligation to do the same to the dozens of mortals behind them. He stated that they could disperse, and leave the fight fate dictated to just us non-mortals. The Leader said that he appreciated the offer, but he’d have to consort with his men before he could make a decision. And while he made a move to turn to his pack, he shifted and fired off a grenade from his 40ml Grenade launcher…

The arrow held back by only a tiny bit a pressure from my fingertips prepared to soar…

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Fun Ruined
Tim's Point of View

So I was jamming out to some music while driving when i see some lame titan spawn destroying the town i was passing through. Not being one to let the spawn live longer than they need to i felt happy to stop and help them into their graves. Jumping directly into the center so i could just shoot anywhere and hit something i proceeded to kill everything.

next thing i know some spartan shield bashes one of these fools across the street. Not to be out done i took said fool out before he hit the ground. This other dude was flying around on the roof tops playing like hes the comic book hero “Arrow” killed about as many as i did so ill give him props. (even if hes using a bow).

But yeah so next thing i know i get shot. I mean seriously? So i stared him into submission and helped him commit suicide. Needless to say the spawn all died after a the spartan held a rodeo then practically decapitated the cow.

So yeah after all that some other spawn show up with a posse behind them and i get ready for some more fun, except now this spartan starts giving a long ass speech.. Being who i am i i got bored with the chatting and decided to change my music up a little. after a few minutes i guess the conversation came to an end because the talking spawn launched a grenade at us.

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Shoot-out at the Meh Corral
Kevin's Perspective

So our ambush got ambushed, and Purgatory was in flames. The bikers had decided to burn the town down, so we rushed back to make good on our promise of murdering the bastards. We made it to the town square where a bunch of them were circling around, with their minions throwing Molotov cocktails all over the place. Some joker stood in the center of the square with a pair of pistols, just pot shotting at the centaur jerks. Well, Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with, so I joined in the fray. Jason did his acrobat thing, and Tristan got out his cell phone and started playing Flappy Bird or something, hell if I know.

I sent the first bike I came in contact with sailing down the street, when the pistol guy just started flying overhead (Damnit, another one of THESE jokers! Why can’t anyone keep their damned feet on the ground?) and popped two rounds into his head, just exploding it. Bastard wanted to play that game, huh? Nobody wants to let Kevin have his fun? Fine! Jason was bouncing all over the place, popping arrows into any bit of flesh he can find, so I left him to his devices. I saw another mark who’d just tried to put a round in me, and decided to have an adventure.

I sprinted towards him and leaped into the air, landing on the seat of his bike, and shredding his colors as I landed. He started bucking and flailing to get me off, but I hung on tight. I lined up a shot, and waited. After what felt like forever, Tristan shouted out, “Eight Seconds!” At that mark, I drove my sword down to where spine met bike, and he shouted in agony and quit bucking. I bounded off, landed, and took a bow. Deep into my bow, I saw him struggling to raise his sawed-off 12-gauge, so with a jump and a flourish, I slashed my sword across his face, bifurcating his jaw line.

A few arrows and bullets later, the square had gotten fairly quiet, and we had several dead centaurs and a bunch of fleeing bikers. I bent down and grabbed some metal to twist into a rough belt buckle, a fitting trophy for my first rodeo, and used my noble steed’s VP patch to give the trophy a splash of color. Just when things started to get boring, the last of the centaurs (four of the bastards) and the rest of the biker gang (just a whole acre of them jerks) roll up to party. The leader, I assume since it was the guy from before and he had a “president” patch, started talking.

He apparently wanted to offer to release the rest of the captives, and say all of us go our separate ways. I explained how that was unfortunate, since he’d sent us to get the key, and in order to get the key, we had to promise to kill all of the centaurs. It was admittedly a really embarrassing situation, but since it was tricky, he needed to talk it over with his people. They made ready to talk, and that’s when the future head over my mantle decided it would be a good idea to launch a 40mm grenade at me. Rude, if you ask me.

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3) Not My Kind of Hunt...
Jason Vasil's PoV of Story 3

You have got to be kidding me…

I stood outside the smoking van, shaking my head. Couldn’t we get in one of these things at least ONCE without it falling apart? I let out a long, drawn-out sigh. When we get back home, I am going into the woods and I am going to learn how to ride a fucking tiger. No parts need to be changed with a tiger. No maintenance needed to be done. Just let it eat some prey every now and again and you were FINE.

I looked off into the distant desert. We had arrived at the Germany Airport with a four-man party, and landed in an American airport with only a party of three. I guess Knives got on the wrong plane or something, ahh well… We would have questioned the flight attendants about him, but it occurred to the group that we didn’t exactly know his name. Tank thought it best to finally introduce ourselves at that point, and identified himself as Kevin Fisher. I found Tank more fitting, but alas. Leader identified himself as Tristan, so I went ahead and identified myself in turn. Call me rude, but I wouldn’t give my name out to someone who hadn’t already offered up his name beforehand. After that, we rented a van and started heading to… I don’t know…?

“I guess we are pushing it to the next town. I believe there is one about fifteen miles from here.” Tristan proclaimed casually. “Not it!” I announced, but it was unnecessary, since Kevin volunteered. We all got in the van as Kevin walks to the back and proceeds to push us much faster than a normal human could. So fifteen miles in the hot Arizona desert later, we arrive at some small town named Purgatory. You’re joking… Car trouble leading up to a town named purgatory? This was not going to be a good day. Kevin pushes us towards a building possessing an AC unit, then sits down to pant. Tristan hops out, fully refreshed, and walks into what appears to be a store. I took a glance around the city, seeing a tall church steeple not far in the distance. Otherwise, this was a small town. And quiet… MUCH too quiet. I turned to get Kevin’s take on it, but he was no longer beside me, opting to take refuge in the Air-conditioned building I’d guess.

I followed in, seeing a very annoyed Tristan staring at a scared looking under-aged girl. Kevin was next to them, downing containers of water as he slapped cash onto the counter. I looked to the side, and grabbed a Snickers Bar. I figured he if he was throwing cash around then why not? By the sound of the conversation, I gathered that the girl’s father, a mechanic by the name of Bill, had been kidnapped by a biker gang, who made routine visits into the town snagging young girls at will.

Was I surprised that the closest town our van decided to break down near was in the midst of a catastrophe and needed someone to save them? Nope. I had learned by now that Fate is a dick, and is prone to making our lives as miserable as possible. The conversation at the counter halted at the sound of an approaching motorcycle. We all walked outside, Kevin grabbing some type of metal bar or something along the way. What showed up down the road was a normal-looking man on a motorcycle. He didn’t look like he was here to cause trouble. More like he was fleeing from it. In the distance, the rumble of a good six motorcycles pierced the awkward silence. I ran out of sight, then leaped up onto the building. I could hear Kevin telling the cyclist that he’d best leave now because things were about to turn ugly. As I got in place, I saw the new guy smirk, then stood against a side building to watch us work. “This will be tricky with a witness around.” I muttered. I glanced down at the girl from the store, fidgeting at the door beneath me, and sighed. Better and better…

Tristan stood beside the girl as Kevin walked to the road and stuck some kind of spikes into the road at an angle, facing towards the incoming rumbling. I could appreciate a nice trap being set to snare prey. Well, I wasn’t sure if these guys were prey or not, but it never hurt to be prepared. He came back and suddenly had his sword and shield out. Gotta love our new toys. I turned my eyes to the bikers approaching from the distance. There were indeed six of them, but something seemed… off about them. As they slowed down near the spike-trap, I saw that their flesh was blended with the cycle, and vice versa. It was all one body, almost like a modern-day version of a centaur.

They chuckled at the attempted trap, and walked around the spikes. Little do they know that the spikes did their job perfectly, and their charge was reduced to a mere walk. I was poised, ready to strike, as the head centaur demanded that the girl come with him to see the “boss”. I found it cute that he thought he was in a position to threaten us and make demands. But it was also a little sad. I don’t even think that he realized he is nothing but prey in all of this. And he was, indeed, prey. He wasn’t the leader of the Cyclemen, just the messenger. But he had no quarrels with holding a defenseless mortal man hostage nor demanding an underage girl to come with him. He was a blight upon the world that I would happily hunt down.

Kevin wasn’t very interested in him, demanding to know who their leader was. The head cyclist wouldn’t speak out on the matter, so Kevin dismissed him and asked the other cyclists to speak up. When no answer came, Kevin turned to Tristan and asked if he could attack them. “Come on! If you insist, I’ll just kill this guy, (Points to the head Cyclist) and then maybe the others will be inclined to speak up!” After a bit of back and forth between those 2 that seemed to make the other cyclists slightly nervous, Tristan gave in. “Everyone, target the front-man and take him out,” That was all it took.

Kevin pounced on a cyclist, piercing him through his shoulder even before he landed. I pulled the two knocked arrows back and zoned in on the head cyclist, waiting for the best time to strike. Kevin twisted as he pulled his sword out of the fallen Centaur and turned towards the head cyclist. The centaurs ganged up on him and attacked with chains, swords, and even chainsaws. But Kevin just effortlessly dodged them all with a bored look upon his face. Casually reaching behind his back to shift a swordsman’s trajectory of his swing to make it miss by a centimeter. Tristan flew up in the air then did a slow motion build-up leading to what looked like it would be a single aimed-shot from one of his guns. I figured that it was go time! “Hey! Optimus Prime! Up here!” I leaped up 12 yards into the air as all cyclist eyes turned to me. With the sun behind my back to blind the enemies, I released the two arrows straight into the man’s eye-holes. A bullet rang out from Tristan’s gun, producing a hole between the cyclist’s arrow-filled eyes, and Kevin pounced on him, piercing the man through the heart to finish off our coordinated assault. I looked up as the other beasts sped off back down the road. Quicker than thought, I notched another arrow and took aim, but they were long gone. Damn they moved fast. Kevin walked over to the cyclist he downed and retrieved the gas tank off of him. Ok… I could see Tristan huddled over the head Cyclist, but his body blocked my view of his actions.

An appreciative whistle came from the man beside the building, causing me to raise an eyebrow. Seemed he is more accustomed to our daily lifestyle than I had previously thought. Maybe we can get out of here without the hysterics modern day people were so fond of. But the quick, hyperventilating breathing of the young girl on the ground below me quelled that hope. SHE was, indeed, mortal.

After the rest of the group calmed her hysterics slightly, we found out that the Bikers had a temporary outpost not too far from here, but she didn’t know the exact location. And upon seeing that our car was in their workshop, currently broken down, we convinced her to let us borrow her car. We found that the stranger had walked in with us and was listening intently to the situation. He wanted to help out, so we obliged to let him join our group. He introduced himself as Kristof, a son of Loki. While they made with the pleasantries, I walked outside and prepared to find traces of their exit to track them down. Which wasn’t hard, considering the intoxicating scent of their exhaust and the tire thread marks left on the road. Their only though was escape, not covering their tracks. Lucky us. Kristof hopped onto his bike and said that he’d follow us, so the rest of us jumped into the girl’s van. And with my head stuck out a window, we made our way into the desert.

We arrived at the outpost a short time later. Tents were pitched seemly at random. Quite a few big trucks were in the area. The back of one of them was facing us and we could see a mechanic doing his work inside. Walking around the city were a bunch of half-naked girls. Barely legal by the look of them. Neither they nor the mechanics looked like they wanted to be here. Random mortal thugs were spaced around the city, laughing and drinking booze. Kevin locates the source of the booze and suggests we head to the town’s ‘saloon’ to get some information. My eyebrow rose when I saw him heading to a lonely table with a lot of alcoholic beverages resting atop it. Saloon huh? Halfway to it, though, he got stopped by one of the thugs. Seems we were to go see the leader ASAP. It was what we wanted, but Kevin seemed reluctant. Finally, we head towards one of the nicer tents.

We were presented before another Cyclist monster, whom had another half-naked, almost underage girl with him. Upon Kevin’s demands, the leader asks the girl to get Kevin an alcoholic drink, slapping her ass as she walked by. Kevin demanded that the leader released Bill the mechanic immediately, to which the leader gave us his ultimatum. If we present him with a special key located somewhere in Purgatory, then he will release the townsfolk he took from there. Tristan reached into his pocket and pulled a key off his keychain. He handed it to the leader and stated “This key in my hand is the key you seek.” I blinked, completely convinced that he had the correct key. What luck? The leader seemed perplexed that we had what he desired before he made it known to us, and called for one of his men to “test it”

As the scientist left, we demanded that he let all of his prisoners go, which he just laughed at. “I said I would release the prisoners from Purgatory, not all of my prisoners. Kevin seemed fine with that, stating that he ‘just wanted Bill the mechanic anyways.’ A girl busted out crying at the side entrance to the room, holding a beer in her hand. “Oh look, my drink is here. Ty.” Kevin proclaimed. It seemed that the girl was not from Purgatory, and was sad that weren’t here to rescue her, too. I would have liked to reassure her then that before the night was up, every cyclist would be dead, but now was not the time to do so. The scientist walked back into room and, to my surprise, proclaimed that the key was a fake! Who would have known?!? Tristan tried to convince the leader that the scientist was lying so that he could have the key for himself, but the jig, as they say, was up. The leader restated that if we fetch the key located in purgatory, he would hold his end of the bargain. We demanded to know what the key did before we retrieved it, and after some thoughts, he obliged. “This is a key to unlock the doors to the underworlds.” Oh was that it? What harm could come from bring THAT to the titan spawn?

We demanded a vehicle, seeing as how we were only borrowing the one we had now, and they denied our request. We offered to just kill every biker in town and take the hostages back by force, but they denied that too. Stingy people. In the end, we were told that an embassy would meet us at the outskirts of Purgatory where the exchange will take place. So we hopped in the borrow van and headed back to Purgatory.

Upon arrival, we found the girl’s store closed, so we had to track her down to her house. Man… I loved the hunt, but usually the prey was some elusive beast that took cunning for me to track down, and I reveled in the kill at the end of the hunt. THIS hunt for a key is a little below my caring. I’d rather just kill the bikers in town and be done with it…

In short time, we located the girl’s current whereabouts. As we pulled up, Kevin demanded that Tristan explain why we returned empty-handed to the girl. We walked up the steps to the door, and Tristan was prepared to just barge in, but Kevin halted him and proceeded to knock on the door. I waited at the bottom steps as an older man opened up. Kevin grabbed Tristan by the back of the shirt and lifted our leader up and in front of him to explain the situation. After a few sentences, the old man halted our next words and beckoned the shop girl to the door. They explained everything to her and Tristan explained why we returned empty handed instead of with her father and a mountain of biker heads on a stick. When we got to asking for the key, the old man backed the girl up, and went to shut the door in our faces, but Kevin saw it coming and had his arm up already to stop the door. They tried many bartering techniques to convince him to give us the key. Persuasion, intimidation, boasting, etc. None of which seemed to be working. I offered that we could just knock the old guy out and take the key by force, but looking at the death glares I was receiving, I took it that that was a bad plan. I was prepared to sneak into the back door of the house and search for the key myself, but I had a sudden gut feeling that told me it wasn’t in the house.

Finally, we made a breakthrough after we convinced him that we were only using the key as a ploy to bring out half the bikers, upon which we will kill them, then go to their camp to kill the other half of them. He was convinced to tell us where the key is, under one stipulation. We had to swear to him that we would kill every last biker abomination out there. I wasn’t sure if he meant every biker abomination that is in the group plaguing his village, or every one of them in existence, which meant we’d have to track them down across the globe. Personally, I didn’t care which. The old man asked for the girl’s keys back, and we handed it to him. No sooner than they hit his hands, did we ask if we could borrow the van again. He looked past them to the van behind me, saw it was in the same condition we left it in, then sighed as he handed the keys back to us. Then he proceeded to lead us to the Church.

We were lead through the church and to a wooden door. Behind which was a set of stair leading to the basement. I announced that I would stay here and protect our exit while they proceeded. No sense in walking in blind and allowing ourselves to be trapped this easily. So I stood guard with my bow drawn and waited. Not too long after they returned up and walked on. I assumed we got what we came for, and followed them out. I recalled that this church’s steeple was the highest point in purgatory, so I let the group know that I’d wait up here to keep a bird’s-eye-view on the situation. So I climbed up as they left.

With my ‘Telescopic Senses’ I could see them walk up to a group of mortal thugs from the Cyclist’s outpost. One of them had a briefcase, another had a shotgun pointed to Bill the Mechanic’s head. Even from this great distance, I could see them all perfectly. Their conversation was crystal clear to me. I could easily smell the sweat coming off of Bill. But even with all these enhanced senses, I could do nothing from this distance. Even though I could see exactly where I wanted to shoot, I knew that my arrows could not reach that distance. My bow could not handle that which my sight could. It bothered me, but there was nothing I could do about it yet. So I made my way down the church and headed closer to the outskirts of purgatory.

I came upon a hill overlooking the exchange and saw Kevin and the thug with the briefcase break apart from their two groups and move to meet each other in the middle. I notched two arrows and trained them on the thug with the gun. The two men reached each other, and the thug opened up the briefcase and held it out open in front of him. Quicker than thought, I saw Kevin pull back to punch the man with his shield arm. Too fast for the human eye to follow, but not for my specialized Demigod eyes. I zoned in on the man with the hostage, and released my arrows, as Kevin’s backwards momentum receded and he started to propel his shielded fist forward towards the briefcase guy. My arrows hit the man one slightly after the other. The first hit him in the temple, going all the way through, the other landed in his chest, catching onto something and propelling him backwards. Dead before he hit the ground. But before the man’s feet even left the earth, Kevin’s fist smashed through the Negotiators briefcase and he thrusted his shield, end-first, into the man’s chest, making him soar many many yards backwards. The other thugs had just enough time to blink before the fight was on!

I rained arrows down upon the mortals as I saw Kevin grab Bill and toss him to Tristan. Tristan caught him, and escorted him towards the city, trusting the rest of us to get the job done. I saw Kristof Running around punching people. I thought it was cute he wanted to help out until I heard the cracking of bone from here. Damn! He could really pack a punch! He ran towards one guy and dropped down at the last second, as the man looked down at him he launched himself up into an uppercut. His target…… ouch! I swear I heard a pop from up here as Kristof uppercutted the man’s crotch. The man let out a blood curling scream and fell to the ground. Blood poured from the man’s pants, but he looked to be alive. Unlucky him.
We had all the men downed except for the one with the briefcase, whom has yet to attempt to draw a weapon. The rest of them attempted to, but we were too fast for them to even do that much. As Kevin reached him, I saw him randomly hurl his spear into the cliff above them, at the same time I heard a bullet ping off his skin and embed itself into the earth. A sniper, huh? Kevin grabbed the unarmed man and held him up like a shield as he ran up the cliff to meet the sniper. I took aim in the relevant area the spear was thrown and let loose an arrow, I think I hit the man, but he didn’t make a sound so I couldn’t be sure. I saw the man Kevin was using as a shield get shot by a sniper bullet. Damn, he’d shoot his own? But then I saw Kevin launch himself above the cliff-face and descend upon the sniper with his sword aimed downwards. I couldn’t exactly see the sniper at his current location, but judging by the scream I’d say that he died.

Kevin walked into a clearing and looked back towards Purgatory. He froze in his movement and just stared, something was wrong. I focused my attention to his face and saw that it was pale, so I moved my attention to his eyes and used all of my focus to see the image mirrored from within them. And what I saw, was the flickering of flames, coming from Purgatory…

~~

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Car Trouble
Kevin's Perspective

So the good news is I finally learned these jerks’ names. The guy with the bow is apparently Jason, and the Viking is Tristan. I never learned Knives’ name, but it didn’t really matter since he ditched us somewhere between Germany and Arizona.

Yeah, about that. We headed to Arizona because some stupid whim or another. And as luck would have it, we had car trouble. And as luck would of course have it, we get to the next town with me pushing the freaking van the whole way, and the only mechanic in the whole damned town has been kidnapped. Why? Because fate is a stupid bitch and I hate her, that’s why. We find out some biker gang has kidnapped some folks, and sure enough we here a rumbling on the horizon. Soon some joker pulls up on a motorcycle, and if he’s capable of kidnapping a bunch of people, then I’m the Merry Queen of the Sunshine Brigade.

Well, right after that, we hear another rumble and figure more are on the way. I tell the stranger he should probably hide, as I stand out in the middle of the highway with my tire poppers all situated and sword and shield at the ready. Then come the Bikers. Welp, since fate didn’t screw with me enough with werewolves, the undead and goblins, these Bikers were fused to their rides, to be half man, half machine. Damned Mailman couldn’t drop me a letter about THIS crap, huh? Jerkwad.

So frontman for the bikers says for the poor girl at the gas station to come out, and I explain to him as nicely as I could that instead, he just needed to tell me where his boss was. He doesn’t see it my way, so I ask any of his buddies if they want to speak up. Nobody seems forthcoming, and they get agitated, so we make with the stabbing and shooting, and they make with the bleeding and fleeing. Works out well enough, because we borrow a car, and Jason tracks them by the smell of their exhaust. But not before we notice the stranger from before is still sitting there, all calm as can be, like this sort of thing is the kind of thing a person encounters after pulling up into a gas station in the middle of nowhere on a Thursday afternoon. He introduces himself as Kristof, and doesn’t appear to be in possession of far too many knives, so we invite him into our merry band of assholes and jerks.

We come up to a tent village, where all sorts of folks are wandering about. I spy a keg, before we’re rudely interrupted by some punk wanting us to talk to his boss. The boss, another abomination of man and machine, wants some key. Tristan tries to jack with him, but this punk doesn’t buy it. We head back to retrieve this key, and the preacher has it buried under the church. We go on the epic quest to find the key, and defeat it’s deadly guardians, the flimsy wooden door and the long ass walk, and claim the key as our prize. I pocket the key, and we head to the tradeoff point to trick the thugs into turning over the hostage, but the preacher makes us promise to kill ALL of the biker spawn. Kinda wanted to do that anyway, so for once fate didn’t directly piss me off.

So at the meet, a few bikers, not the interesting ones, had Bill the mechanic. One comes forward with a briefcase for the key, and then things got fun. I feed him my shield edgeways, and Jason puts holes in body parts that shouldn’t have holes. I then toss Bill to Tristan to get him out of harms way, as Kristof comes out of the corner railing. His fists hammer like pistons, each punch just destroying these poor thugs. I’d have felt sorry for them, but without thinking, I hurled my spear at a distant target as a rifle round pinged from my metallic skin. In an instant I was off, and sprinted up the mountainside to find my sniper friend. I launched past him and came down, sword first, and pinned him to the ground to bleed. I turned to retrieve my spear and saw a red glow where Purgatory should have been….

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2) Role Reversal
Jason Vasil's PoV

I am the son of a god.

Crazy, huh? But it all added up. The Imposing man denouncing me as his son, The pretty young girl claiming to adopt me, the gifts she granted me, and all the crazy actions thereafter. They called themselves gods at the time, but I had a good reason to doubt their words. Only now do I realize that they spoke the truth. Did the Greek Goddess Artemis really claim me as her own? How cool was that!? Who else would it be? I mean… she gave me a bow, a quiver, and a crescent moon amulet… Of course it was her. If I was the son of a god, then I had a sneaking suspicion that the other members of our group were as well. And I was to be proven right later the next day.

It seems that our spear and shield man, now dubbed Tank, had received a message from his father, whom we found out was Hermes, the messenger god. That the messenger god had sent his son a message via another messenger was downright insulting… and confusing. The gist of the message told us that we needed to protect an Oracle, without associating with said Oracle. We were given coordinates to… somewhere in Europe I believe. And apparently it was urgent. So we hopped on a plane and headed out.

I slept most of the plane-ride. It was my second time to fly and it didn’t sit well with me. I wasn’t afraid of heights or anything, I just preferred the lush greenery of the earth below. We arrived and Mr. Sweet-talker, nominated as our leader, rented us a car. For some reason, he insisted on getting insurance. Premonition? We got in the car and headed into a forest labeled the Black Forest, as told to us by Leader. After a long while we arrived at a sign that said , “IcannotrememberwhatthesignsaidsoIamwingingit” Leader proceeded to tell us that signs were first invented in blah blah blah and were used as a blah blah… “Quiet, I heard something!” We listened in and heard odd-sounding voices yelling, and also the distressed voices of scared humans. Leader drove quickly and came upon a tree blocking the road. A big truck was up ahead, with little goblin looking things surrounding and yelling at a group of humans whom were standing alongside the side of the truck. As we all got out of the truck, I leaped up into a tree, over ten yards up. Yeah, that’s right! As I landed, I saw Leader fly up and well above me, bastard. Bringing my vision back down, I saw Tank wall-run the truck and land in between the goblins and humans. All he said was ‘Hi’ before he stabbed one in the face. The fight was on!

I took drew two arrows and took aim at the two furthest away from each other. In my peripherals, I saw our knife thrower, dubbed Knives, pull out the twin pistols he had recently acquired and proceeded to blast a hole in the wounded goblin’s head. Gore and blood splashed all over Tank’s face, and the bodies of the surrounding goblins. I unloaded my arrows and penetrated the skulls of the outskirt goblins. They lived, but they wished they didn’t. Leader’s sword flashed and streaks of energy came down like lightning onto the battlefield. Tank had shield bashed the face of one of the wounded goblins I nailed, propelling him away into the trees, and at the end of the motion raised his sword and stabbed another goblin, Only to have its head burst open and gore flung to his face thanks to yet another bullet from Knives. I eyed the goblin that was flung away get up and run off. As I raised my bow to end his life, I barely had time to dodge the wounded goblin whom leaped forward to slash at me. I leaped backwards onto another branch to dodge, but he continued his flight to the ground. I noticed that it was the other one that I had previously shot. I prepared for him to turn and leap-attack me again, but he kept his momentum and ran from the fight. I glanced back to the battlefield to make sure none would attack my back, but none others stood besides the previous one whom ran off, conveniently leaving a trail of its blood for me to follow later on. So I turned my eyes to the retreating goblin, matched its speed, tracked it’s likely movement, and fired my arrow to pierce it’s temple just as it passed out of the cover of a tree.

I glanced back to see Tank spit a tooth out of his mouth. My face twisted up in distaste when I realized it was too long to be human… He pocketed the goblin tooth amid coughs and spitting. While they went to deal with the bound villagers, I went to fetch the corpse of the goblin who tried to retreat. I dragged him over to the other goblins, grabbed the can of gasoline from the car, and proceeded to light them on fire. Satisfied, I saw that my party had removed the blindfolds of the victims and helped them out of their bonds. As Leader distracted them, Tank and I lifted the huge tree and flicked it aside like it weighed nothing. I couldn’t help noticing that he had the goblins tooth posed in a necklace. An odd trophy. We went to start our car, but quickly saw that it had no gas, thanks to the goblins we assumed. Leader said it was no problem, that he packed a gas can just in case. After looking around for a few moments, he stopped. His eyes went to the burning goblins, and slowly they shifted to rest on me. I sheepishly shrugged. “Oops?” So, under the eyes of the humans, we slowly pushed the light car to the side, trying to make it look like it took effort. We got in the truck with them and they directed us to the town up ahead to get some gas. They dropped us off at the edge of town and took off, never looking back.

We glanced around town, and saw it was decorated for some holiday, though no one was out celebrating. There weren’t many kids out playing, either. We quickly took in the lack of a gas station, and decided that we would be staying here for a while. A look at my cellphone showed going haywire. The others were having similar luck with theirs’. Strange… “We’re in the right place, so we might as well get the mission done.” I agreed. The few people we saw looked depressed, something I found odd given the festive decorations. We decided to split up to look for information about the where-about of the Oracle. Tank traveled to the library, while the rest of us discreetly asked around for the Oracle’s location. I noticed knives and leader talking to an older woman, so I joined them. She seemed too hurried to dismiss our questions. And she seemed scared. The last tipped us off that she knew something about the Oracle. Leader spoke in a different language, But I assumed he told her that we were here to protect the Oracle from those willing to harm her. She seemed hesitant and distrustful. I leaned over to Knives and whispered “I think it’s going well.” To which he laughed, seeing as how we had no clue what they were saying. After mustering her willpower, she quickly directed us to her house, ushering us to make haste.

The Oracle’s house looked futuristic, even though it looked like a house would in the 70’s. But compared to how Spartan the town was technologically… Once inside and away from prying ears, the Oracle began speaking in English and told us that the town was in the midst of “celebrating” a forced ceremony where the village honored the werewolves whom were the “protectors of the village.” According to her, the city was protected by the goblin tribe, but eventually they were overthrown by the werewolves. So now the villagers had to pay their “protectors” tribute by drafting a group of kids selected at random by colored markings on their birth certificates. These 8 kids between the age of 13 – 17 would be sent to the neighboring woods to be put through a test. They were to be sent off a few miles from town, and they were to try to reach the borders of the town before the werewolves annihilated them. And apparently the Oracle’s daughter had been drafted to attend this year’s ceremony.

She told us how she manipulated fate and got us sent here under false pretenses, that she had a vision of her daughter dying on this day, and needed outside help. She then proceeded to tell us that it was possible to willingly become a tribute if one so desired. I was opposed to the idea of willingly putting myself in a position to be hunted down by half a hundred werewolves. The concept that kids would be in danger tugged at my consciousness, but it wasn’t until my mother’s voice popped into my head demanding that I hunt down these wolves. That I had prey in my sight, so I couldn’t just walk away. Unwillingly, I submitted. At this point I decided to go fetch Tank from the library.

I met him halfway there at town square, and saw he had a pale cast on his face. I knew instantly that he had gathered much information about the town. Speaking in Greek, I told him how the Oracle manipulated us to be here, and how her daughter had been selected as one of this year’s tributes. He scolded me, saying we weren’t supposed to approach the Oracle, oops, then he told me to fetch the rest of the group, that he had a plan, so I obliged. I arrived back at the Oracle’s house and told her that we had a plan but we needed to go talk to our other member to discuss it. She implored us to save her daughter, and we lift amid promises.

We arrived back at town square, and before Tank could get his plan off, an official man approached us and started talking to us in a language I didn’t understand. Leader and Tank started conversing with him while knives and I looked at each other. They started following the man, so we hurried to catch up. “We’re headed to see the mayor at the request of the sheriff here.” So we followed him further into town. I nodded to the man and whispered to knives, “I wonder if he speaks English?” He grinned savagely and replied; “Let’s find out” I raised an eyebrow to him as he casually said “I vote we burn the city down and see what happens.” The official man glared at him, then continued talking to our party, though his eyes never left Knives. Guess he does…

We arrived in the mayor’s office, but he looked severely depressed. He told us how his son, Steiner, had become a werewolf, and that there was nothing he could do to help us. We were interrupted by an arrogant man who just walked in like he owned the place. He was overly polite in a way that screamed superior snob. I instantly wanted to kill him, but by the mayor’s downcast face, I assumed that this was Steiner. He talked to us for a good while, and we politely returned his questions while we clenched our fists. He offered us a tour of the industrialized area of town, told us when we were taking said tour, then left the room.

A quick glance showed us that the mayor was even more depressed than when we entered. I didn’t feel like dealing with him, so I was in agreement with the group when they decided to leave. Halfway down the hall, Tank started to tell us his plan, but the Sheriff called out to us again. I was shocked to find out that he was in agreement with knives about solving the town’s problem with fire. Not burning down the entire town of course, but burning down the industrialized area of town that the weres populated. We ended up deciding that he was trustworthy, and Tank let him in on the debriefing of his plan. Apparently we were to go to the Goblin King, convince him to help us dethrone the weres, then have them reinstate their “protectors” status of the town that they once had. It sounded good enough, though I’d just rather kill them all and let the town go free. Tank gave some last requests to the Sheriff, while we prepared to head back to the goblins we had previously slain, then he joined us as we left.

After we arrived, I walked over to the tree that the wounded goblin was sent flying to thanks to Tank’s shield smash. I glanced in the direction that he was heading into and saw blood on the ground. Bingo! Using that, I tracked the goblin for a while. Finally, all traces of him just vanished. It was like he never existed, but I KNEW he went this way. As I sat there perplexed and at a loss for words, Leader cast a magic spell and a rope shot into open air. We walked forward and were thrusted into a glade set aside by what had to be magic. Goblins were doing some funky dance, then they threw something on the ground and vanished with a small pop. Ok…We walked out to investigate the area.

We inspected the ground, and I saw what might have been a goblin tooth shaped hole. I was still investigating it when Tank pulled his trophy from his neck and it was thrown into the ground. Eyes closed, I could feel the air hum from the power he was channeling. Next thing I knew, we were in what had to be an enchanted clearing. A huge, imposing hedge was before us, and a mob of odd, small creatures were directly in front of us. They didn’t look hostile, yet I was still on guard. Before I could draw my weapon to have it in my grip if nothing else, Tank advised us to stay unarmed. After a few words, they started giving us tips and directions wrapped in riddles. I couldn’t make heads or tails of what they said, but Tank looked as if he knew all along where to go and they just confirmed his suspicions. But I was sure that he was as lost as us a few moments beforehand. A sudden bright light behind me caused me to spin. Knives? He was illuminated like a 100 watt light bulb… The man was glowing brighter than a twilight vampire caught in the sun! The rest of the party merely glared at him until he turned the power down and returned to his normal state.

We bid the creatures adieu, and allowed Tank to lead us. His confidence in knowing where he was going bothered me. I guess there were more than one way to track something. Thinking back to leader’s odd magic thread he used to find the original goblins, I guess it makes sense. Still, it bothered me. We approach an entrance to what I assume is where we needed to go, though we would have to crawl to get in. Perhaps we would find another way? But upon seeing the group position their gear so that they could crawl on through, I let that hope die out. After a while of crawling, we met up with a group of goblins. My first instinct of showering them all with arrows died out when they motioned for us to follow them. We eventually arrived in a room with a goblin guarding the door. After a confusing moment, he started motioning with his hands. Pointing first at his weapon, then at a chest on the ground before us, then finally at a rune above the door to what must have been the king’s room. Seems we were going in unarmed. Again… While we started removing our gear, we noticed that knives just stood there, looking perplexed. “My tattoo is… enchanted? How am I to proceed?” The goblin guard smirked, pulled out a knife, and offered to remove it for him. I couldn’t hide my chuckle, that was funny. In the end, Knives offered to stay behind and sit on the chest to protect it. Thus we went into the room of the Goblin King.

The harsh clang of armored goblins positioned around the rim of the room met my ears, but I immediately acknowledged the presence of two Nemean wolves, positioned on either side of the makeshift throne. They looked scary. If they so much as hinted at jumping towards me, then I was going to grab on of the spears conveniently located on all sides of the room and turn them into a pincushion. But they merely sat there, growling. The Goblin King was positioned on the throne between them. Within a few sentences, I could tell that he had an ego the size of the sun, And a hot temper to match. He conversed with Tank and Leader while I sat back by the entrance of the room. I causally glanced around the room and notice a goblin sneaking glances at me. He had his head wrapped in bandages and blood caked his face. Guess the little guy survived my arrow after all. He flinched when he saw my gaze upon him. Smirking, I waved at him, receiving a tentative wave in return. Behind me I heard the thump of knives being thrown at a target. I could hear both Knives and a goblin conversing. And I raised an eyebrow and turned my head. “Your legs are too tense, You need to spread them further and loosen up!” “That’s it! Now, breath in, and when you’re ready to impale them, exhale your breath as you drive it forward.” What in the hell were they DOING back there?!?

The Goblin King’s raised voice brought my attention back to him. Apparently he was stuck here, and couldn’t help us. But if we dethroned the leader of the Weres, Krieger, from the village, then he would send his men to eradicate the remaining wolves. But tanks plan called for the king to take part as well. By the looks of it, it seems Tank was going to try to enrage the Goblin King and hopefully let the goblin’s fury drive him to attack the weres. Or to attack us, it could go either way. “Grasp it more firmly.” “No, you have to move your hand up and down the shaft to polish it properly” “Yeah! That’s the way!” “The faster you go, the faster the job gets done.” I turned back to the passage behind me. Are they having a circle-jerk in there?!?

I shifted my focus back to the Goblin King, noticing his face red and veins were pulsing in his head. Tank was trying to get him riled up enough to want to fight the Weres, but I had a feeling that we were balanced on a knives edge right now, and the slightest push would cause this whole plan to come crashing down. The Goblin King’s anger appeared to fizzle out, and all that was left was a calm seriousness. We were dead… But he merely glared at us and told us that if we did our part and beheaded Krieger, then he would do his part and eradicate the were infestation from the city, then he would resign the treaty with the villagers. He then told us that we were to leave his lair right now, lest he changes his mind and kills us. We turned and left the room. I was kinda scared about what I might find happening in the room behind us, and my mouth dropped open when we entered. Knives was playing around with a group of goblins, acting all buddy-buddy and play-punching each other’s arms. We announced that it was time to go, and we proceeded to get our gear from the chest. As I was fitting my quiver around my back, I noticed the Bandaged goblin approaching me with a spear in hand. My gut instinct to kill him died out at the submissive mien he possessed. He granted me the Spear in honor of besting him in battle. I liked that. A true smile formed on my face as I thanked him and said farewell. I noticed the spear was small enough to be used as an arrow, and that it was pure silver. Perfect. I packed it up and continued out with the rest of the group. We traveled through the cramp tunnel in silence until we reached the enchanted clearing past the hedge. Leader walked over to some odd mechanism, and started mumbling that this was the way out. He fiddled with if for a few but nothing happened. Finally he touched it and closed his eyes. The air hummed as he embraced his inner god. Then the next thing we knew, we were, the scene shifted and we were back in the original hidden glade.

By the time we got back out of the glade, it was almost dark. So much for our tour of the industry… Guess we wouldn’t be able to convince the weres to attack the goblins like Tank wanted… We hurried to the middle of town where a gathering had taken place. A group of 8 terrified kids were positioned in the middle of the gathering. Seems like we made it just in time. Leader told us that he wasn’t taking the place of a child. I was outraged, until he told us that they would likely confiscate our weapons, so someone needed to stay behind and cart all of our trinkets to the forest where we could have a fighting chance. I liked the idea.. So we handed all our gear over to Leader and he took off towards the woods. Those of us remaining stepped up to take the place of the Oracle’s daughter and a few other unlucky kids. They went and removed all the hidden weapons the villagers tried to smuggle in, chuckling at them. We were next, but we had no items for them to take. I think they respected that. We were ushered into a truck with the kids where we were carted off to the woods.

Leader was trying to tell the young boys that they shouldn’t be sad. That this was a chance for them to become a MAN! Tsk, Nords… We arrived and met with Krieger, the leader of the weres. We were debriefed of what was to be expected of us as prey, and while he kept talking, I zoned in on his scent and that of Steiner prancing around the scene. I would keep track of them while we shepparded the children to safety. After the children were safe, the doggies were being hunted down. They told us we were free to run, that they would give us a generous head start. So I grabbed the nearest two kids and took off with my allies doing likewise.

We barely got into the woods before we heard them coming. We sprinted forward, but I slowed down upon seeing Leader fly down into a clearing. We all headed to him and got our gear. With my crescent necklace in hand, I asked everyone to hold their gear out to me. I dug into the power of the necklace, and sent a silent prayer to Mother Artemis. Feeling a strange power within me, I touched each of our weapons in turn. Visually, nothing changed, But I could tell that they all held the potent power of silver within them now. Game on!

Leader announced to us that they had us surrounded, but were making no move to come closer. I watched everyone use this time to get their armor, weapons and relics situated. I notice that knives gave Leader his gun set before the man flew up to watch the wolves. They were using this time to prepare for a fight. I smirked. I’d rather use this time for a pre-emptive attack! I breathed deep and let my senses flourish. The weres were indeed surrounded us from all sides. I aimed my gaze towards town, and nocked an arrow. They were hidden behind trees, but if I ricocheted this arrow off that tree just right, I will be able to send it right into their line of troops. I took a deep breath, carefully angled my bow correctly, and on my exhale, I released the arrow. It hit the tree and ricocheted just as I had planned. The other looked up at the twang of my bow, then scrambled up when they heard a piercing wail that turned into a wet, gurgling sound towards the end. Damn, I nailed him! I couldn’t help my smirk as every turned from the wail in front of us, to me in astonishment. I could hear the sound of weres gathering by their fallen comrade, then I heard them back away on either side of us, possibly granting us an exit! Leader’s voice came down from the sky, “Guys, they allowed a breach of their line for you to pass through. That was one hell of a shot.” So we finished putting on our gear, grabbed the kids, and headed through their line.

After a short while we were confronted by three weres. I set my kids in a tree and prepared for battle. Immediately, Tank impaled one so hard I was sure it was dead, but It was still standing. I drew two arrows and aimed at the were looking at the children behind me. I allowed him to get closer, so that my aim would strike true. And it did. I unleashed both arrows and they impaled the poor were. He dropped without a sound escaping him. I leaped to a tree about 5 yards away and glanced over to see leader blow the head off the wounded were, once again splattering our poor Tank with bloody gore. The third were pounced at me, but I nimbly dodged back into the tree in possession of the kids. I looked to see Knives run up a tree and do some weird backflip kick to his knife, impaling it in the were. Damn… Our group converged and finished off the were. We retrieved the children and headed towards town.

Multiple skirmishes like that broke out, but we always ended it swiftly. Finally we arrived at the border to town. We sent the kids down and we all walked over the boundary line. At least so I thought, until I saw Tank standing just behind the line. He made sure the kids were alright, then he turned around and waited for the weres to catch up. Crazy man… But they came out of the forest in human form, lighting cigarettes and the like. They smiled at us and proclaimed “Good hunt!” and moved past Tank and towards the center of town. We escorted the kids to the gathering of people. They looked ecstatic at seeing everyone alive. Krieger started talking as Tank sullenly joined us and listened in. Krieger started praising us and begun a long talk about us joining the titans to betray the gods, but Tank would have none of it. Well in the Were’s field of hearing, he tried to motivate us to attack him. He was appalled that we would let him monologue when we could easily attack him now. I agreed whole-heartedly. But I wasn’t going to initiate this fight. I’d fight once the conflict had been started, but I was NOT going to be the one to start it. But in the end, the point was mute. Krieger called over Steiner, and together, they were’d.
~
I leaped onto a building and analyzed the battlefield. Krieger charged tank and slashed him in his gut. For a brief moment I could clearly see his insides, before it magically sealed itself back up. I looked away from them and took aim at Steiner. He was eyeing Leader whom had flown way up into the air. How foolish was he? He left his neck wide open! I inhaled deeply, making sure my mark was true. Then I exhaled upon releasing the arrow. It traveled through the carnage of the battlefield and pierced Steiner through his throat. Damn! Nothing could have lived through that shot. Up above us, I heard Leader trying to convince the villagers to take arms and remove the cur who are infesting their lands. I liked his plan.

I shifted my attention to Krieger, but a soft chuckling brought my attention back. Steiner pulled the arrow out of his throat, and started chuckling again. He went to shatter the arrow, but I willed it to return to my quiver. Steiner glanced at his empty hand and Let out a bark of laughter. It terrified me. He should be dead! He proceed to pounce after me, claws stretched out to slice me. I nimbly jumped to the building to my left. Upon landing I noticed Steiner’s attention shift to the battlefield. I glanced down and saw Knives, dual wielding silver knives, pounce on Krieger’s back, implanting them into his shoulders. Krieger reached back, grabbed Knives by his face, and proceeded to pull him of his back and held him up in front of his furry face. I went to take aim, but upon seeing movement in my peripherals, I flew off the building and landed on the one across the street. But Steiner wasn’t after me. I saw him leave a NASTY line of gashes in Knives skin. But the healed up almost instantly. I drew two arrows and zoned in on Krieger, trying to find an opening. I saw flashes of gunfire coming from the sky above, and in the flashes I saw Tank reaching the apex of his jump, sword aimed downwards. He landed with his sword piercing Krieger’s neck muscle. (whatever it’s called) Krieger looked up, and I unleashed my arrows. Both of them scoring in his throat. He howled in pain, but a nasty wet gurgling replaced the sound as he fell to the ground, Knives being released from his grip.

My excitement for the kill was short-lived when an angry, blood-curling howl pierced the air. The gathering weres started heading towards us, all 30-ish of them. Oh shit, Steiner was mad! I looked over to see his eyes, now glowing an eerie red, were focused upon me. I also saw that the arrow hole in his neck was healed to perfection. Uh-oh… He pounced on me again and slashed. I leaped out of his tackle, but his claws nicked me. They should have completely pierced my skin, but it would appear that my skin had hardened considerably since a previous hunt a year ago where I got sliced and diced by a tiger.

Steiner’s claws didn’t pierce my flesh, and my allies were quickly on him, distracting him from me. Leader finished his motivational speech and the roar from the villagers halted the approaching weres. As did the battle cries coming from behind them. Goblins, courageous thanks to Leader’s epic speech, charged into the Weres and kept them away from us. My gaze went back to the battle at hand as Steiner reached down and grabbed part of the fountain, that had somehow gotten shattered in the fight, and hurled it at Knives. Holy shit! We scuffled for a few minutes, upon which leader yelled out that we needed to all attack together. So we all calmed down and zoned in on Steiner. I drew two arrows and trained them upon Steiner, where I waited for the call to go. Steiner reached down to grab another chunk of fountain, and Leader yelled. Tank rushed forward and stabbed Steiner in the kidney, I released my arrows into the upper part of his back he conveniently left open for me. Knives pierced the top of his head. I had heard bullets go off as well. Steiner just stood there. At first I thought our attacks did nothing, until I realized that he had died where he stood. I was surprised Tank didn’t get hit with all the projectiles flying around. I mean, Piercing Steiner were arrows, knives, and… no… bullet holes? I ran my eyes up and down Tank, and saw him covered in gore and blood, but no bullet holes.

I looked down to Krieger’s corpse, seeing an extra bullet wound and half his head missing. Looking up again at Tank, I realized where the blood and gore came from. The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break. In a bout of anger, he bent down and beheaded the kneeling corpse of Steiner. The remaining Weres who were still alive took off, being hunted by the goblins. The villagers rejoiced as the fight was over. Over the next day we met with The Oracle and her daughter, who were both thrilled at or successful mission. We oversaw the goblins and the mayor of the village’s treaty signing and, persistently convinced the goblins to sign the treaty and uphold their part in the agreement. All I had to do was sit back and look serious, while they did the verbal threats and muscle-flexing. All ended well and we headed out of the village knowing that we had accomplished an epic deed worthy of legends. But we still had no gas for the car…

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Black Forest Surprise
Kevin's Perspective

So there I was in a Nevada Desert, with three dead bodies and three new friends. I had learned that I wasn’t crazy, or at least if I were, I was in good company. I was a child of Hermes, the Greek messenger god. These three were also sons of gods, though not all part of the same cliques. The guy with the bow was like my cousin or something, since he was also from the Greek god clique. The guy that was flying was some Viking or something. The guy that threw all of the quarters, and apparently was a major knife aficionado, was like Mayan or Aztec or something. One of those guys who loved cutting out hearts back in the day.

So we picked ourselves up, got rid of the bodies, and headed to the horizon. We rested up for a few weeks and listened to rumors. Out of nowhere we get delivered a telegram. The freaking Mailman, again, sending us off to Germany. I’d never been to Germany. I asked if anyone spoke German, and the Viking starts speaking in German. Out of nowhere, I was suddenly fluent in it, despite never having even studied it before. There’s apparently more to this God-Spawn thing than I’ve already discovered. So a few hours later, we were at an airport, where apparently our plane tickets were already reserved.

We rent a car and head out to the Black Forest in Germany, because the Mailman is an asshole and told us to do it. We are deep in the forest when we come upon a delivery truck being attacked by several weird ugly creatures. We leap into action, for reasons I’m still not quite sure of, and decide to side with the guys carrying automatic weapons and fight off the weird creatures. I crash through the middle of them while the others take better position, and I mysteriously find my spear and shield in hand again. My rambunctiousness proves my undoing, as the shower of bullets and arrows into the goblin things only results in showering me with gore. Soon two lay dead, and the rest sprint away through the treetops.

The security guys with the truck thank us, and luckily offer us a ride, since we had mysteriously ran out of gas at that exact spot. We get into this village, where apparently they hadn’t heard of the world outside the forest in about 150 years. I head to check out some local records while the other guys ask around, so we can find out what’s going on. A bit of research in the part of the library that I had to sneak into turned up something interesting. Seems there was some sort of goblin festival, where the townsfolk would make offerings to some Goblin King, in return for protection. Then some new folks came into town and kind of shit on the whole thing, then twisted and perverted it. Also, seems these folks were werewolves, because of course they’re freaking werewolves. And also, because the Mailman is a complete and utter tool, we’ve arrived on the same day as this festival. Not a day or two ahead of time so we could properly prepare. No, the Mailman gives us one freaking afternoon to sort this out.

I meet up with the rest of the team, and they’ve gotten some details too through asking around. Some Kraut guy from the security company offers us a tour of his joint, but we ever so politely tell him to go chew on a shoe or something. So we head out to find this Goblin King, to get his side on things. The consummate hunter does his thing, and an hour later, we’re at some sort of mound. We wait a few minutes and out comes these three goblins, who do some dance, mumble some jumbo, and pop into the mound and disappear. Viking guy repeats the dance and the mumbling and away we go into the mound. We appeared in some sort of hedge maze. Some weird glowing things came out, and appeared to be tiny naked women. They said something about needing three things, and apparently a handful of change, a song, and some hair from my head make them happy, because they began a strange rhyme.

Well, it SHOULD have been strange. I heard it, and the words were cryptic and full of metaphor, but somewhere in my brain things got sorted, and they might as well have been giving me GPS directions. We then sprinted through this strange maze to arrive at some demented version of a palace. We go in to see the Goblin King, and he turns out to be a complete punk. He let the dogs run the show, while bemoaning his helplessness. I called him out on it, and he started frothing with rage, and cooler heads decided we should take off. We get back to where we came through first and the way is blocked, with a single torch to denote anything. I felt compelled, and with some strange focus, I touched the torch, and we were back in the forest.

We get back to town just as they’re gearing up for their child murder festival. They call out 7 names, and these poor kids get pulled out to the center of town. Then they ask for volunteers to take their places. The hunter, the circus knife act, and I all step forward, and the viking decides to take the high road or something. I dunno. He takes our trinkets with a wink and fades into the back of the crowd, and we load onto a truck. We head out into the woods good and deep. After a bit, we are all lined up and given some speech about some crap, and given a head start. Kids are scooped up and we set off. The flying viking drops from the sky and we’ve got our toys back, and the hunter says something about the moon, and all of my weapons take on a strange silvery glow. Soon our head start is used up, so we take to the road.

We’re at a decent jog when the first wave hits us. Two slobbering death beasts come up in front of us, and one from behind. I charge the front, and the world stops. I hammer the first with my shield, and he is sent sailing into an ancient pine, the impact making a sick thud. In the same breath, I drive my spear forward, impaling his compatriot. My friends make quick work of them after that, without even putting the kids down.

We cut through wave after wave of dogs, in much the same manner, with the Viking flying overhead calling out information. We finally arrive at the village, and the dogs hard on our heals instantly turn into humans again, acting as if we’d all been in a relay race. We head to the town square and there is the annoying Kraut with his boss. They yammer and monologue for what seems an eternity, before they decide to get down to business. The fight is quick, but brutal, and I MIGHT have thrown a werewolf through the town’s water fountain, but in the end the goblins and villagers rallied out against the remaining security/werewolves as we took out the big guys, the villagers negotiated with the Goblin King for a better deal, and I got a werewolf skull as a cool trophy.

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1) Twist of Fate
Jason Vasil's PoV

It’s near…

I adjusted my duffel bag at my feet and peered at the imposing building across the street. My Instincts told me that my quarry was just up ahead, located in the fancy casino. They have never failed me before, but lately things have gotten odd.
I have never actually been to Las Vegas before. Hell, I usually try to avoid civilization and its people, much less travel to the hottest tourist attraction in the USA. But my hunter instincts were crystal clear in the fact that I had some prey, and they were located in California. I can’t really explain it. It’s like I have an itch, this… compulsion to head to the nearest airport and book a flight to Nevada. The itch wouldn’t leave until I did, so I did just that.
Now I laid in wait, watching the entrance of the place, but the Itch returned. I was to go inside, apparently. I gathered up the duffel bag, possessing the new bow I had just recently acquired, and a matching quiver. Fingering my new crescent necklace, I made my way forward.

As soon as I walked in, the guy at the front-desk gave me a knowing look, almost as if he expected me. Waving off a questioning customer, he made his way to me. “Glad you could make it, Mr. Vasil. Your room is ready for you. Would you like for me to take your bags upstairs?” I edged away from him, shifting myself so that I was between him and the duffel bag. “No, thanks. I will make do as I am, if it’s alright.” I left him there, head bobbing like a love-struck teenager.

The itch had left, so I assume I was at the right spot, though my prey was not. The waiting game has begun. I made my way to sit down in front of a row of one-armed bandits, content to play the part of the money-hungry gambler until I knew what exactly it was that I was tracking. I scanned the patrons, seeing mostly lower middle-class people happy to throw their money away for a chance at the “big take.” It would never happen. They would be here until they were robbed of everything they had, then their presence would no longer be required. Such was the way that casino’s worked. They were the hunter, and these patrons their prey.

Disgusted with how pathetic these people were, I went to turn towards the slot machine in front of me, but before doing so, I caught sight of someone who didn’t fit in. I mean, he wasn’t dressed much different than the rest of the people in my sight, but he didn’t possess the same look in his eyes that the rest of these people had. I couldn’t quite place it, but something seemed off about him. He passed by me, and I tore my gaze from him when I noticed the man at the front desk. He seemed tense, and his gaze kept cycling back to me. I eyed him for a few seconds, knowing that something was not rig-
That was when the gunshots went off.

I ducked down to analyze the situation while simultaneously retrieving my bow from the duffel bag. There were 6 guys, all wearing masks and the same suit as the man whom just passed me. They had their guns pointed to the air and people were running to keep out of the line of sight of their guns. As I threw my quiver across my back and laid my hand on my bow, I saw the front masked man lower his gun into a ready position… Then a roulette wheel slammed into his head and he fell to the floor.
Wait… the fuck? A man was charging towards the group of masked-men, doing whatever he could to keep their attention on him. Alrighty-then. I heard the snap of a whip and I saw a table get sliced in half, clearing the battlefield of obstacles. Finally having the bow prepared, I sprung myself up and did a backflip onto the slot-machine behind me and proceeded to take aim at the closest mask visible.

I have been trained to fire a bow since I was forced to take care of myself at a young age. My mother was killed in a stab-and-grab mugging, and I never knew my father. Homeless, I was forced to live in the woods where I had to try to hunt for my food. An old man found me, dirty and weak from hunger. He took me in and trained me to live off the land. I grew up, every day hunting for my food, or going to bed hungry if my prey eluded me. The old man fed me until he felt I was good enough to hunt for myself, then he refused to feed me, telling me that I should put my training to use. It was a hard way to live, but if it wasn’t for my upbringing, I would never have gained the skills that I possess today. The old man had handcrafted me a bow not too long before he died. I used that bow for the last 10 years, and just when it was about time to replace it, I received my “gifts”

I saw a gunman tense up and prepare to fire at Hercules, so I shifted my aim and released my arrow. I soared through the confusion and pierced the guy through his temple. Right where I had aimed. Holy crap, this bow was amazing!

I heard a gathering of change to my left, and I risked a glance. I saw silver glinting in the air, then I heard cries of pain and confusing coming from a few of the gunmen. I glanced back to see many of them unarmed with cuts covering their hands. I looked at the floor and paled. Quarters? The guy flicked quarters across the room hard enough to cut through skin?

I drew two arrows and took aim at the two trying to recover their guns. I waited until they both grabbed their gun and stood up to take aim. It was then that I released my arrows, nailing both of them between the eyes, though they were about 3-4 yards away from each other. They dropped, leaving only us four unmasked people standing. I noticed the first guy nailed with the roulette wheel wasn’t on the ground. He must have escaped, but the casino guy was running towards us. And I heard oncoming police sirens.

The quarter-guy walked over to a tense policeman who was brandishing his gun. After a few exchanged words, the cop was smiling and acting all buddy-buddy with Mr. Quarters, then waved to all of us as he left. What did he SAY to him?!? The other men were confronted with the front-man of the casino, whom looked positively frantic. Deciding to leave the soothing over to them, I walked over to the downed men and began trying to find enough of a trace to lead me to the one who got away. He didn’t try to hide his escape, so it was easy.

I got up and found everyone heading deeper into the casino, so I followed them to an open vault. Apparently, if I understood the guys frantic stuttering correctly, the casino mask-men were a cover for a more intricate casino heist. Something of great importance was stolen from the vault, and he wanted us to get it back. I was willing to comply, seeing as how he isn’t throwing us at the feet of the Police department for property damage. I scanned the vault and frowned… there were no traces of… ANYTHING in this room. I turned around and saw that even the traces of our entrance to the vault only a minute beforehand were already erased from existence. Eerie.

I figured the best case scenario was to track down the guy whom got away and question him for details. “We’ll get it back, sir. Give us a bit.” So the four of us walked out of the casino together. No one was offering their name to me, so I chose to keep mine to myself as well. The others were talking about calling the cop back over and trying to steal his radio to zone in where the thieves went by listening to the police chatter. That would take entirely too long. “That is unnecessary, guys. I can simply take you to them if you desire.” I received more than one raised eyebrow, but I turned away. I enhanced my senses and started following the trail that the escapee left in his dash to safety, tuning out all else. After a while, I finally found myself in front of a multi-story apartment complex. I looked up at the windows, deciding that he was…. Right…

“There. The apartment four windows up, third from the left.” I looked over to the guy next to me and blanched. He was tugging a freaking roulette wheel with him. And I missed that… How? But he looked up intently at the window in question and smiled. “You guys go on up, I wanna make this interesting. Let me know when you get in position.” Ok…

So me and the other two guys headed up the flights of stairs and halted at the appropriate door. A text was sent to the guy with the roulette wheel. A second later, a crash came from inside, amid the shattering of glass. and the masculine cry of alarm. We broke in and I trained my sights onto the man sitting at his table, staring at the ground next to him. He was subdued by my compatriots, and keeping my bow trained on him, I walked over to see the roulette wheel sitting on the floor, an orange positioned in the 00 position. Damn…

After threats were thrown out, the guy started telling us every secret he has ever had. The Hulk walked in about the time we led the escapee to the topic at hand. We got a name and an address, and that was all we needed. I was prepare to kill the man, but Hulk decided to do things differently. I was appalled at the thought of letting our quarry live, but he seemed adamant that this was would be more fruitful in the end. So I let him deal with it and headed downstairs. I tagged along while they drugged the guy to the police station with a self-written confession pinned to his chest. I still preferred to kill him, but alas…

A while later, we followed the address to a lawyer’s office. I sighed. It would be next to impossible to get anything from him… We walked in the door, Mr. sweet-talker got us passed the secretary, and we confronted the lawyer. I stood at the door to look imposing, but it wasn’t needed. We barely stated why we were here before he started handing us a list of names, telling us that they were hired help, and that us being here means that they failed. He was more than happy to cut all ties with them. As we walked out, I went to put away my bow, only to find that upon thinking that I needed a better way to carry it, it had shifted to a ring. How odd…

The list led us to the second story of the original casino. We barged in only to be taken aback. The man was a very buffed Irishman. And he was stark-naked, so were the dozen girls with him. After he got decent and the room was cleared, he told us what we were looking for and where we were supposed to get it. He handed Mr. Sweet-talker a wishing coin, saying it was the key to us completing our mission. Mr. Quarters strolled into the bathroom and flinched upon finding more naked women in the bathtub. We reeled him in and headed out.

The directions were leading us to the desert, and it was dark by the time we arrived at our destination. Three men were alone in the clearing. One was a huge, seemingly unarmed muscle-man, one was a lithe dual-wielding gunman, and the last was slamming a large staff into the ground. The staff had a black jewel-like object on its head, and unnatural light was coming off of it. My analysis stopped there when a bunch of undead skeletons started popping up out of the ground.

Mr. Sweet-talker Floored the gas petal and headed right towards them. I opened the sun-roof and prepared to start shooting out, but upon seeing bones fly over the hood of the car, I thought it better to wait. Plus the ride got a whole lot bumpier as skeletons arose underneath our tires. I sat back down and looked to see Mr. Roulette wheel was leaning out the window with a spear aimed at man who implanted the staff, whom I assumed was their leader. Where had he gotten a spear, and how did it fit into the car? Looking back on my bow, I guess I couldn’t say much. I looked back at Sir Lance-a-lot to find him no longer in the car? I jarring crash to the side of the car made me fall back. It seemed that the unarmed muscle-head had shoulder-tackled our car… We parked and I jumped through the sunroof, landing atop the car.

My scanning to pick out a target was faltered when Mr. Sweet-talker flew past me and headed towards the sky. My jaw dropped as he was flying in the air, surveying the fight… But the sound of gunshots brought me back to earth. The leader had a knife, and together with the muscle-head, they were fighting Sir Lance-a-lot. But my focus was on their marksman. A smug look on his face. He thought that he was the hunter and us his prey. That infuriated me. A battle-haze came over me and I started firing by bow, 2 arrows at a time. My mind closed itself off, and my body’s battle reflexes kicked in. I relentlessly attacked the marksman, alongside Mr. Quarters, whom was an expert when it came to knives I found out. I found it odd that no matter how many arrows I pulled out of my quiver, it always stayed full. But I had more pressing issues to think about. After a few trades of ammo, I manages to implant an arrow into the marksman head, right between his eyes. I smiled sadistically as his corpse fell. “Think ‘I’ your prey, do you?” I laughed humorlessly… My gloating was short-lived when I found a lance piercing my shoulder, though I felt no pain from it. Oh right, a fight was still going on. Muscle-man seemed furious that his ally was downed, and he was prepared to take it out on me. Unfortunately for him, I had allies of my own.

Together, we all fought an epic fight on a battlefield surround by a growing ring of the undead. As my battle-haze wore off, I saw us four standing, surround by bodies. Mr. Sweet-talker flew down and pulled out the wishing coin. I watched, fascinated, as the staff crumbled, shortly followed by the skeletons. Mr. Knives walked over to the downed marksman and retrieved the trophy guns from him. Sir Lance-a-lot Bent down and retrieved the brass knuckles off the corpse of the Muscle-man. Guess he wasn’t unarmed. I glanced down at the lance still stuck in my shoulder. “Obviously…” I tried to pull it out, and it bursted into shrapnel, damaging me.

Mr. Sweet-talker retrieved the black jewel, while the others disposed of the bodies. And, together, we left the cold desert and the battlefield behind.

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Dead Reckoning
Kevin's Perspective

So there I was. On a strange whim I’d flown to Las Vegas, and while I didn’t know exactly why, I knew exactly which casino I needed to head towards. I approached the front desk and they greeted me by name, as if I were an old patron.

“Hello, Mr. Fisher. Unfortunately your room isn’t quite ready. We will gladly take your bags and inform you when everything is prepared. We apologize for the inconvenience, and would like to offer you this small gift as a consideration.” The concierge took my bag and handed me a pile of brown poker chips with the casino’s logo on them. I headed towards the tables to play a bit and sort through all of this weirdness.

Strange as it seems though, some things never leave you. I didn’t see a gun or anything, but the way this guy walked past me seemed wrong, like some itching feeling in my spine that I just couldn’t reach. I head towards a security guy to get his take when the sharp report of gunfire brought me into action. My mind raced as I counted half a dozen men, armed with automatic weapons and wearing masks, stood in the center of the floor, with countless innocent bystanders nearby.

I couldn’t allow that to stand, and I grabbed the first thing that came to hand. In this case it seemed to be a large disk. I was halfway through throwing it when I realized I had just hurled a roulette wheel without even straining. I began sprinting forward towards the circle, doing anything I could to distract them. Out of the crowd emerged three others. One unleashed a strange bolt of energy from a sword, slicing a table in half to clear a path to the fight. Another leaped atop a slot machine, bow (yes, an actual freaking bow) in hand, and his lance like arrows ripped through two of the gunmen, dropping them before I’d made three steps. A third man, near the change machines, hurled a handful of quarters. I admired his courage, if not his wisdom, until I witnessed the quarters bury into flesh and metal, driving many of their weapons to the ground.

The battle was over almost as quickly as it was joined. One escaped, (the one I hit with the roulette wheel, as luck would have it), but otherwise we emerged unharmed, with no injured bystander, though one blackjack table had met it’s demise, and a roulette table needed recalibrating. We stood there, admiring our handiwork, when the cops came in. I was thinking we were boned, when the guy with the energy sword thing tells the cops, “Hey, these things happen.” The cop shrugged his shoulders in agreement, and then left us the hell alone. I could barely contain my amazement. Out of nowhere the joker from the front desk pulls us all to one side and brings us to the vault. He started yammering on about something being stolen, and it was apparently really important, though I couldn’t for the life of me make out what he was talking about.

So we head out, with a few tokens for later use, and the guy with the bow walks us down a path leading out of the city proper to the outskirts, and points out, “There. The apartment four windows up, third from the left.” He says it like you’d tell someone “Hey, lovely weather we’re having.” Like it’s not a big deal that he just walked to a random stranger’s house. So they head on up, and I hang back to make our entrance a bit of interesting. I heft the roulette wheel, (I told you, a token for later use!) and hurl it through his window. I head up and catch up with the crew, and they’ve got this guy confessing to everything ever. So he coughs up a name and address, and we’re off again, after I torment the guy a bit mentally, then leave him outside the sheriff’s station with a signed confession pinned to his chest.

This next joker was apparently a lawyer, and we head right in. He doesn’t leave much to entertainment to be had, because as soon as we sit down practically, he’s handing us a list of names, telling us that if they’d done right, we wouldn’t be here, so he didn’t care about selling out his associates.

First name on the list sends us back to the original casino, but we head right up to a room. After a bit of back and forth, we get into this giant Irishman’s room, where he’s apparently hosting the orgy convention. He clears out all of the succulent bits before putting on pants and talking to us. He tells us that we are on the trail of some stone or another, and gives old sword guy some coin that is supposed to grant wishes, and some vague directions out into the desert. We all bail on the Paddy, and head out for a road trip to the sands.

We get there near dusk, because of course we get there near dusk, and there are these three guys that apparently went to Cartoon Villainy School. The leader looked like some evil wizard from a bad ’80s movie, and his sidekicks were comically large guy with brass knuckles, and horribly skinny Matrix guy. Well, it would have been funnier, but then a bunch of skeletal hands started raising out of the ground. Sword guy punches the gas, and I leaned out of the window, surprised to find that one of the weird trinkets I had was suddenly transformed into a 6 foot long spear. I aimed it towards the evil wizard guy, and the impact knocked him to the ground and ripped me from the car. The car came to a stop, and we were squared off against these crazies, and surrounded by untold numbers of skeletons.

I immediately stab towards the big guy, even though I was well out of range of this spear. A wave of force ripped from it, much to my surprise, and impacted his chest. He ran forward, and his formerly funny brass knuckles wrecked against my jaw, knocking the spear from my hand. His wizard buddy ran forward to carve his initials into my kidney, and I felt it contact me, but it was if my skin had taken on a metal sheen, and his blade was turned away. Much to my surprise, the other trinkets had manifested as a shield and sword, so I tried to make use of them. As quickly as it had begun, though, my new allies (man, I should learn their names) had made quick work of these punks. Arrow wounds, knife wounds, and bullet wounds abounded, and one guy was freaking FLYING. The guy flies down, pulls out the coin and makes a wish, and the weird stone thing that raised all of the dead bodies crumbles, along with aforementioned dead bodies.

And that, my friends, is how I spent my first day of being the son of a God….

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