QUEEN OF HEARTS
Midnight was approaching when a dark boat came charging out of the darker night.
When ABIGAIL WHARTON exited the boat onto the docks at Magnussen Park she looked exactly as JACK YOUNGBLOOD expected her to. Her demonic wings were folded close to her powerful yet sinuous body as she stalked purposefully onto the shore with a fiery glow to her somewhat reptilian skin, and a clomp as her cloven hooves echoed off the dock. Despite the demonic cast to her features he could still perceive a bit of his lost love in her aspect and it nearly broke him in half. She started monologging about her eventual triumph, but her sources in town were not as good as was expected. She clearly only knew a little about the prize that those waiting on shore were working to protect.
MATHEW “WOOF” RILEY was not as distracted as the young Warden and was the first to act from his camouflaged position. The bullet from a .50 caliber Barrett anti-material rifle is a terrible thing yet it had little effect as it slammed into Abby’s slight form.
This caused DETECTIVE ROY MULLENIX to pause and consider if she was indeed there or not. But as far as he could tell she was the real deal. Disconcerted, he concentrated on aiming at the boat’s engines with his own rifle to prevent any chance of her getting away.
Jack also witnessed that the powerful rifle had little effect and realized that a creature that could shrug off such a blow would be dangerous indeed. So he summoned his most powerful shield using spirit magic and added enough power to it to make it last for more than just a few moments. LIEF WOTENSEN, astride his motorcycle, Sliepnir, used the remnants of the tracking spell still on his spear to determine that his friend, AUNT B, was indeed on board. He immediately called out to his allies to let them know.
OSAMU NISHIMURA (西村修) proceeded to sneak past the demon intent on rescuing the kidnapped woman. He was nearly struck by Detective Mullinex’s bullet as he fired a blast directly into the engine block of the boat. The monk crept aboard the small vehicle his entire form cloaked in shadows. He noticed a hatch in the cab of the boat and immediately proceeded below decks to find if Aunt B was there. In his haste, he missed the figure hiding in the cabin of the boat. As Osamu went down the hatch he was immersed in an impenetrable darkness. Luckily, his sight was enhanced by his cloak and he immediately spied the older woman chained to a chair surrounded by what he thought were explosives. He channeled his Ki into making himself as strong as possible and began to work on helping the woman escape. Unfortunately, while he was distracted with saving Aunt B, the hatch slammed down, trapping him inside the bowels of the vessel.
It was then that Jack used his magic to summon his father’s spirit to battle the demon. JOHN FRANCIS YOUNGBLOOD JR. had been struck down by Abby when she was first possessed, his spirit linked somehow to the Warden Sword that Jack wielded in his name. His body lay comatose in a heavily warded hospice. To say that Jack’s father had a grudge against the Denarion was an understatement. Jack screamed out his father’s name three times and on the third incantation threw the Warden’s Sword up into the air only to be caught by the spectral hands of the elder Youngblood. With a snarl John charged the demon before him but he was evaded easily because of her superior speed. The effort of keeping a spirit even partially corporeal was taxing and after a flurry of blows John tossed the sword back to his son with a curse, his thirst for vengeance unquenched.
When Roy’s bullet slammed into the fallen angel causing no damage Jack finally realized that she was only a simulacrum and called this out to his companions. He turned and proceeded to the docked boat. Lief, thinking that this whole encounter might be a ruse, roared off on his motorcycle to see if Abby or her minion might be using the other picnic area for the ritual.
As Jack jumped aboard he was confronted by Abby, looking much like the girl he had fallen in love with years before, emerging from the cab of the boat. Summoning a flaming shield of Hellfire, she taunted the young wizard, her face twisted into a cruel visage of pure hate that wrenched at Jack’s heart. Her furious mental assault shattered the distraught warden’s spirit shield leaving him dazed and vulnerable. Roy’s high caliber bullet striking the demon’s shoulder was the only thing that saved Jack. This time the bullet did draw blood… flaming blood.
Realizing that he was nearly exhausted Jack poured all the power he could summon into a titanic force blast. It slammed into his lost love’s fragile looking body with enough energy to stop a commuter train. She was blasted to the shore, smashed and broken. As Abby staggered to her feet a round from Riley shattered her body.
Leaving the bloody remains of a much more solid simulacrum.
With dawning horror Roy was the first to spot the fallen angel through his rifle’s scope. Calling out a warning he was helpless as she descended on the exhausted Warden with supernatural speed. To see her was to see your fears made flesh. Her form shaped by each who perceived her. Everyone battled with that moment of fear.
The Denarion slapped at Jack with a vengeful backhand and taunted him for thinking that the stereotypical demonic schoolgirl was even possibly the real her. The blow would easily have flattened a rhino and the only reason Jack survived it was because of the protective spells he had woven into his biker jacket and the blessing that Leif had given him before the battle. Still he was knocked across the deck of the boat as Abby jumped ashore with a snarl. Osamu finally managed to wrench Aunt B’s chains from their tether. He kicked a hole through the boat’s side and leaped to shore determined to get the kindly old healer to safety.
Despite their skill, neither Roy nor Riley could keep the shadowy demon-dame in their sights as she stalked unerringly toward the sniper nest. Jack, almost completely exhausted, attempted to follow Abby but slipped and fell on the wet boards of the dock calling out her name in despair.
It looked as if their Doom was upon them until Leif roared up on his motorcycle at full speed slamming a spirit spear into the demon’s chest. The wound exploded in a splash of flaming ichor as he then commanded the mystical bike to go to Osamu and aid in his escape. Screaming in rage and pain she smashed into Detective Mullinex as she reached his position sending him flying. It was clear that at last they were facing the real demon when Riley’s high caliber round blew a hole big enough to put a fist in right through her stomach. Gasping in pain the fallen angel must have realized that there was no way she would be allowed to finish her ritual to locate the statue. She melded into the shadows vanishing right before their eyes. Flushed with adrenaline Roy, Matt and Leif sent taunts after her fleeing form while Jack Youngblood lay crumpled on the dock muttering her name in a complete daze.