Green Serpent (Villain)

greenserpentCode-name: Green Serpent

Full Name: Chiyoko

Faction: Jade Cult, The Way

Twenty Years Ago
“Again,” barked the Ninja Sensei. At his command a young Japanese girl of five years of age slapped her hand against water sitting in a large simple wooden bowl.

The two were the only figures in the main courtyard of a vast temple set high into a remote mountainside. The air was cold and bit at the girl’s tender skin, but she made no complaint as she diligently undertook her training.

Water was displaced with each slap as she struck, and when the bowl became empty she was instructed with the same single word ‘again’ to refill it and start over once more, this time slapping the water with her other hand.

The girl did what she was told because it was what her father wanted, and father’s will was all she had ever known.

greenserpent-page-001Thirteen Years Ago
The girl, now on the cusp of adolescence, but having lived a childhood hard like no other, knelt before a sack of cold, wet sand. She had carried it up the side of the bleak and forbidding mountain as her Sensei had ordered. She had been instructed to creep undetected into the village below, escaping with her worthless prize. Shadows embraced her as she did as she had been told. Without any words of protest she clambered up the mountain with her heavy burden, slowly ascending step after painful step, as icy winds lashed at her slender body.

Returned to the citadel, she knelt before her prize and at a single nod from her Sensei began to rhythmically and repetitively punch the sand, over and over, right then left, then right, then left, until she could no longer count the blows and her knuckles bled, and she continued despite her pain and beckoning exhaustion.

Her task was what her father wanted, so she carried on without question.

greenserpent-page-002Eight Years Ago
A large windowless chamber deep within the ancient stone fortress; burning torches along the walls cast flickering light, leaving dancing pools of shadow around the room.

She was poised, her lithe frame ready for what she faced. A dozen ninjas stood motionless before her, each waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Each had failed the Jade Cult in some way, so each had failed the Green Emperor. Redemption could be claimed by one of their number if he or she slew the Emperor’s daughter. Her task in turn was to slay them all. She was he father’s daughter, and without mercy or hesitation she completed her bloody task, stepping silently through shadows to effortlessly kill the doomed cadre, as her father demanded.

jadeninjagirljpegToday
Her father was different now, reborn but still the Green Emperor. His demeanour was changed, and the Oni Queen had gained his favour, sitting at his right hand. He had gathered new recruits with talents to compete with hers, and worse than that, there was the dog he had bequeathed the title Shadow Mask to.

She had dutifully followed his instructions, establishing a headquarters in Pulp City to suit his plans. But while she was her father’s daughter, he had changed. And so had she. Amid a brutal and brutalised childhood, she had slowly earned her father’s respect. This Green Emperor was different. She did not command the same respect from her new ‘father’. The cycle had been changed. Her position had changed. And with that she knew his power could become hers. She would one day become the Green Empress.

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Youngblood (Hero)

 

youngbloodCodename: Youngblood

Full Name: Eddy Patrick

Faction: Blood Watch
Aroostook County, Maine, a rotting farmhouse. The giant rambling building was overgrown with ivy and lit up by flashes of lightning splitting the purple-black sky. Its ancient decaying form sat alone amongst vast sprawling fields and gently rolling hills.

Standing defiantly against cold driving rain, members of the Blood Watch looked on at the forbidding house before them. For those gathered Supremes, the house was a festering sore in this Maine hinterland. Waiting for V.H.’s signal, Six Feet Under slapped the shaft of his shovel into his left hand, and Blacksmith tightened his grip on his mighty hammer. Ace cocked his pistol in readiness. Moon Coyote loped around behind them, scanning a route to encircle the house, and Blood Rose prepared her mind to transport her Team-mates to their quarry.

youngblood-page-001Battle lay ahead, and the Blood Watch was ready.

What followed was bloody and brutal. The supernatural Supremes stormed the house. Immediately they found what they had sought – a nest of vampires! However the number of blood-suckers surpassed what their intelligence had indicated. From every room poured their enemies, vampires of every type: Carpathians, nosferatu, dhampir, jiangshi, strzyga and countless other variations. This was more than a mere nest, it was a conclave.

No quarter was given. As one undead fell to the Heroes, another flew forward, their forms turning to dust, ashes or flame as each was vanquished without hesitation. Slowly but surely, the Blood Watch turned the tide back, their wounds healed by Blood Rose as they fought relentlessly.

With dawn approaching, the Heroes had to corner the last of the undead to stop them escaping. One by one those who remained were dispatched until just a few were left, trapped in the dimly lit cellar beneath the house. Blacksmith, Ace and V.H. cautiously made their way down the wooden stairs, too narrow to accommodate Six Feet Under’s bulk.

youngblood-page-002Two hissing clawed fiends who leapt from the gloom were dispatched with sword and ghostly bullets. Blacksmith then noticed a flicker of movement. He pointed to the back of the dank chamber where there was a stack of coffins. The three advanced, ready for any threat.

As they approached they could hear a faint mewling, a fearful whimper.

Blacksmith smashed the coffins aside with a powerful swing of him hammer. Of all the things he and his allies expected to see, it was not the sight in front of them. A child-like vampire, looking no more than seven years old, terror in his eyes as the three Supremes towered over him. Ace of Wraiths cocked his pistol and Blacksmith drew back his hammer to bring it down in one fatal blow.

“No,” said V.H. firmly, her tone brooking no challenge, “This child will not go the way of the rest. We had a responsibility to vanquish their evil, and we have. This one is a legacy of that darkness, but we can give him a chance to escape that fate. We take him with us.”

Ace and Blacksmith looked on, surprised and concern battling within both of them as V.H. reached out to the youngling, picking him up as he wrapped his arms around her neck.

batbrat

Is evil born or is it made? Is a 5-year old with vampiric powers a threat or a responsibility? The Blood Watch chose to believe the latter. Unable to slay the young vampire, V.H. believes that if brought up and supervised properly, Youngblood will add much-needed survivability and strength to the Team’s repertoire.

What nobody says out loud however, is that if Youngblood’s powers and hunger are only supernaturally suppressed by one of Blacksmith’s talismans. What happens if that is not enough? The Blood Watch observes carefully, as Youngblood has begun to mature physically and psychologically, his deathless lack of aging suppressed partly by the artefact he now carries with him.

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Doom Train (Villain)

doomtrain1Code-name: Doom Train

Full Name: Warlock Faustibal

Faction: Necroplane

Under shroud of darkness, several cautious figures crept through a yard full of wreckage. Flanked by hand-picked body-guards and two Necro-Servitors, Sanguine picked carefully among the stacks of decommissioned trains and twisted metal that was the railway graveyard of Royal Investments. Something remarkable had occurred there a week earlier, and his Necroplane master wanted to know what lay behind it.

Doomtrain-page-001Sanguine sniffed the air, supernatural senses keenly attuned to his surroundings. The yard was clear; he could clearly discern that above the odors of rusting metal and oil. The facility guards had made themselves scarce tonight as instructed after the shooting incident several days earlier. Shots had been fired at a desperate man, yet no body was found. All that was told to the PCPD detectives who responded was that the guards had scared off an intruder, a thief deterred by flying lead. However it was clear that there was a much deeper mystery afoot.

The smell of dried blood carried on warm air to the vampire, its coppery taste like a beacon through the night. Caution abandoned, Sanguine strode forward. In the heart of the mass of derelict metal he found the broken hull of a train marked with the name-plate emblazoned with ‘Francesca’. This was it, he knew without doubt.

Doomtrain-page-002Sanguine ran his fingers across the place where the blood had dried on the hull. There was a rent here in the side of the engine, as if metal had been torn free by some inhuman force. Something magickal had happened here, something that could potentially be twisted to the will of Tenebrous. He set the Necro-Servitors to work while his body-guards kept watch.

A year later, deep in a Necroplane citadel. A storm of purple lightning raged outside.

Screams echoed all around a dark chamber lit only by sporadic green light emanating from equipment scattered around the room, casting an eerie glow on proceedings.

At the heart of the room was a gurney tilted to a forty-five degree angle, and strapped to it a bizarre amalgamation of man and machine. The man in question, what was left of him, screamed out in pain once more, before at last his spark of what passed for life in the Necroplane finally gave out.

Looking on, Dr. Tenebrous pondered for a moment then signaled to a Necro-Servitor to remove the equipment that had been fused to the dead man. A whirling blade did just as commanded with speed and surgical precision. Another Necro-Servitor carefully and thoroughly washed bodily fluids from the operating table.

“Next subject,” commanded the lord of the Necroplane, inpatient for this experiment to succeed.

“Subject seventeen, proceed. Warlock Faustibal. The warlock has undertaken all the required rites and undergone blood-cleansing. The subject is ready,” intoned an emotionless Necro-Servitor.

doomtrainconceptTenebrous locked his gaze with the warlock. Like the magician’s entire ilk, he was ambitious, yet in this one the fires of ambition raged brighter than any Tenebrous had encountered before. A sinister smile played across Tenebrous’ thin lips.

The warlock was carefully strapped onto the surgical table. He knew what was coming. There would be no analgesic for this procedure as the subject needed to be brought to what passed for death in the Necroplane for the experiment to succeed. He let out no scream as the first saw blade tore into his flesh.

Hours later, Tenebrous stood satisfied, as he glanced upon his latest creation. A towering mix of blackened-iron and once-living being was before him. The last energies of the warlock would be siphoned into the armor to sustain it, for how long was not yet certain. However, what mattered most was what now remained; a powerful fusion of near-lifeless husk and magick-imbued metal.

“I call you Doom Train, and in you there is great potential now as you serve me,” said Dr. Tenebrous as he let out a malevolent laugh. Those fools in Earth’s Heavy Metal had worked to foil his plans, but little did they suspect that the power one of their own would be turned against them.

 

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Night Fright & Leech (Villain)

 

nightfrightCode-names: Night Fright & Leech

Full names: unknown

Faction: Necroplane

Fragments of fears frantically bolted across the desolate Plain of Nightmares, splintered echoes of tormented dreams from worlds beyond the Necroplane.

As they cascaded across dank lands, those wretched imaginings were corralled by nightmare herders, their task to catch all the dark dreams that coalesced into the Necroplane from other worlds, and then to feed them to the armies of the dead. Principal among the herders was Night Fright, an agent of the Necroplane whose murky origins are lost to himself, like a dream forgotten.

nightfright-page-001The herders are not simple plains farmers of dark dreams; no, they are skilled gatherers of the dark stuff of souls. This soul fuel is used to empower the armies of the Necroplane. Hulking Soul Golems are fed dozens of those shadowy eidolons, their outer shell of necro-mechanical armor and their peculiar necro-dermis shackling the tormented shards of unwitting psyches. Necro G.I.’s armed with weapons powered by the dark dreams. And worst of all, the Supremes of the Necroplane drink in the misery and pain.

It is the task and twisted honor of the nightmare herders to gather fuel for the armies of the Necroplane, and foremost among them is Night Fright. It was he that had already drawn out more of the slivers of abject imagination than any other, and it was he that Dr. Tenebrous frequently dispatched to worlds targeted by the Necroplane to sow greater terror and thus feed their world ever more.

 

nightfright-page-002Interlude 1: A distant memory, like watching faded impressions of someone else’s life. Images come unbidden to Night Fright’s mind, of a world other than the Necroplane. Earth? War rages across a city; an invasion by the Scourge and the legions of the Necroplane? In the heat of battle he is in a grassy park full of stone and bronze memorials, and there he faces an oncoming tide of dead soldiers…

 

The herders of the Necroplane ride the wastes aboard brutal Nightmare Engines, crafted when dark dreams become so powerful that they lead to the death of their hosts. Called paradigm nightmares by the Necroplane, those dreams take distinct form in the Necroplane, and seek to re-enter other planes of reality, to afflict the tortured dreams of yet more hosts.

The most powerful paradigm nightmares are transformed into Nightmare Engines when they are shackled in carapaces manufactured by necro-scientists. Powerful jets are mounted to their bodies and nightmares their fuel. Although bound by death-force technologies, Nightmare Engines are unruly creatures, needing a strong master to break them and keep them under control, and Leech required the most cunning and determined of riders to be kept in check.

The dark rider known as Night Fright had seemingly managed to contain the untamable; Leech was the most aggressive of Nightmare Engines, and before being claimed by Night Fright he had disposed of at least half a dozen herders, and had consumed the lives of countless dream-hosts. When the duo met, they knew instinctively that together they could bring greater pain to every world that the Lords of the Necroplane turned their gaze towards. Where other Nightmare Engines were mastered, Leech was Night Fright’s equal. Together they formed a whole greater than their individual parts, and in this Dr. Tenebrous in particular was pleased.

 

nightfright1Interlude 2: Betrayal. An ally, a trusted friend, has warned the invaders. Twisted machines fly forth from the advancing horde, maniacal, leering deathly riders precariously riding those contraptions like twisted demented surf-boards splitting the sky with lopping arcs. They fly towards him. His companions are terror-struck and transfixed. One of the flying metal machines strikes him with incredible force and then blackness follows…

 

In a vast citadel, the Scourge gathered. Mourn swooped above his team-mates, eager to sow screaming terror; a Soul Golem lumbered into position; Supreme Zed crashed heavily to ground. Portal devices were put into operation, and on the other side awaited Sanguine, the Necroplane’s Earth-spawned agent. Necro G.I.’s lurked in readiness, and canisters of zombie plague toxins were ready to convert some of the indigenous population into instant Necroplane agents of war.

Night Fright gently eased Leech into a turn towards the primary portal. They were both ready to feast on the horrors in the souls of any unfortunates whose paths crossed their own. Yet somewhere deep down, Night Fright could not escape the feeling he had experienced something very much like this once before.

 

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V.H. (Hero)

Code-name: V.H. 

Full Name: Victoria van Helsing

Faction: Blood Watch

Dear Quincey,

I am glad that I managed to finally catch up with you.

I am sorry for the London mansion. You know it had to burn. I hope the insurance covers it, and if not, do not worry, as your head will soon be stuffed with garlic and burnt as well.

I have been told that you have been very inquisitive about whom I am, and that you tried to track me down after our first brush in Geneva. Since we will probably never meet eye-to-eye (my teachers did a good job of letting me know how playing with fiends like you may end), I am taking this opportunity to let you know who your killer will be.

We have actually met twice already. The first time, about twenty years ago, was when you graciously slaughtered my family; you and your minions. You thought there were only three children and that was your first fatal mistake. I hid in ice cold water, under the stone bridge, nearly freezing to death. Your heat-seeking vision could not find me.

I will keep things brief – it is like the stories you see in movies. While the Order of the Forge (you know them – you were responsible for the death of their Paris chapter) could not stop you, they were decent enough to save me and train me, and to channel my hatred for you into a set of skills that got me to where I am now.

I spent fifteen long years studying fiends, outsiders and horrors of the night. I know how to kill all of you. Five of those years I was doing my – as you may call it in the corporate world you fell so much in love with – internship, in the Order’s Hong Kong chapter. I passed my final test with flying colors. I beheaded the shadow oni that had replaced the prime minister of a certain country and sent his head to the biggest national television station. To my disappointment, they claimed he committed ritual suicide.

Then I returned to Europe and started tracking you. That was not too hard, as your lifestyle is pretty extravagant and you like to part with your money. You also play too much to who your parents were etc. They should have killed you, you little leech, when you were still in the cradle.

That poor fool, your father, kept hoping until the very end that you were his true son. In a carnal way, perhaps yes you were. However, you were the offspring of the bad blood ‘big D’ left in your mother’s system. But back to the story; I followed the money trail, yes, and that led me to Royal Investments. I then I realized you are not just a bloodsucker, but you are also conspiring against this world with the dead from another dimension (yay, more cadavers to behead!). We have met in Geneva of course, but I had one year less of experience then. I should have known that surrounded by your ‘friends’ and other associates, you would leave them like a lizard leaving its tail to escape.

Fast forward one year, to today, and we are bound to meet again; however this time, I am much better prepared.

You are in my trap. So make it easy for all of us and just die.

Sorry if I could not answer all of your questions and clear any doubts.

Love,

Victoria van Helsing

PS: I am glad that we are sending these good-old fashioned letters. Even for a gal like me, who grew up in the farms of Midlands (I know you, with your cold blue blood find the idea of such open spaces atrocious), reverting to the old ways that my great-great-grandfather and your parents used to stay in touch with each other is very refreshing.

 

PPS: Now slowly turn around. Good night, fiend.

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Green Emperor (Villain)

Code-name: Green Emperor

Full Name: Green Emperor

Faction: Jade Cult

The first memory of each incarnation was always of being reborn after incineration by terrible supernatural flame. The last memory of every incarnation was always the first recollection of the next.

The story was always the same; hatching from a jade egg deep within the heart of a sacred mountain, far away from the dread touch of fire. The hatchling slithering out into darkness and waiting months until scales begin to shed and a human form took shape. Soon, there was a visit from a shadow Oni who brought naga milk to bind the reptilian with human. Then, the first guttural words of command would be uttered to demonic minions: “Bring me my sword and armor.”

What was to follow would ever be a cycle of conquest and bloodshed. And in the end, it always culminated with the same fiery defeat.

This time would be different.

The shadow milk was strong, stronger than ever. This oni was different too; there was something very powerful about the way it moved.  This time, it was the oni who spoke first.

“We will break the cycle. No longer will you defeat the Tiger only to fall at the hands of some peasant that wields the Phoenix power. You will command the other shijin as the Dragon should. The new Oni Queen will lend you her resources to conquer this plane. Times have changed and gods no longer deal with mortal affairs. The world is yours.”

“For a price?”, were the first words of the Dragon this time. The oni grinned at him.

”Yes, for a price.”

 

The days under that darkly numinous mountain came to an end and conquest began. But everything was different. This was not all out war, it was a silent game of Go. The means of war had changed and the Dragon had the best lieutenants to lead his war from the shadows. A mysterious woman in jade vestments who called him ‘father’ led the countless armies of the most skilled shadow warriors the Orient could muster. All crime organizations of the East were subdued and subjugated within a year. An assassin, wreathed in shadow, brought the heads of crime-bosses to the Dragon, just like a cat brings dead mice to the hand that feeds it. Clandestine laboratories and factories across the water were tasked with improving his army Terror Cotta Warriors to face new threats. The oni that had greeted him to this world remained silent every time he asked about the price of the victory.

The orders from the new Oni Queen arrived exactly seven years after the Dragon’s latest rebirth. She directed him to find the underwater tomb of the Black Beast and awaken it. The monster had been defeated and entombed by the White Tiger one hundred years earlier and she stated that its resurrection was the key to breaking the cycle.

Unlike the other shijin, the Beast was a mindless force of destruction that always began the cycle, threatening the world, only to be defeated by the Tiger. Tiger would then be defeated by Dragon, and finally Phoenix would defeat Dragon for the cycle to eventually begin anew. But now the cycle could be broken.

His Jade Cult headed out the next day moving towards the coastline. This world was new to him, but the rules remained unchanged – the jade wave rolled down the mountain, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

 

The sparkling towers of the city they called Hong Kong welcomed the arrival of its Emperor.

He strolled through the streets, amazed to see how this part of his country has changed. The soldiers of the city armed with bizarre projectile weapons tried to stop them but their attempts fell short when one hundred of his newly-modified Terror Cotta Warriors unleashed a barrage of rockets upon them.

Stragglers were cut down by the combined forces of Jade Cult ninjas and oni.  They were almost in the harbor as wall of flickering amber fire rose in front of the Jade Cult army. It was happening again. Laughter rose from the ranks of his demonic allies as two female shapes emerged from the flames and walked towards his army of thousands.

The shorter one wore a crimson gown and a cape of peacock-like feathers that had all of their color replaced by changing hues of red. She bore no weapons but sparks danced around her fingers. The other one wore a white tunic with black stripes and a mask that covered her eyes.

“We meet again, but this time it is different, the Tiger and the Phoenix will not let you awaken the Black Beast of the Depths,” shouted the woman in red.

The massed ranks of oni laughed again, but only until a fireball that fell from the sky destroyed a dozen of the demonic creatures, leaving only smoldering husks and a pool of molten metal that had been shadow weapons.

The Dragon felt fear creep into his jade heart. It was happening again. The Tiger bore her steel claws and covered the distance between them in one giant leap. This was the moment when his sword usually pierced the Tiger heart, but this time, the jade blade got caught in the claws and broke.

The Emperor looked at his sword shortened almost by half. The hilt was still locked with the Tiger’s weapon, so he spun around, and delivered a massive kick to her lower body, sending the woman flying away from her ally, the Phoenix.  He turned again, pivoting on his left foot, only to duck beneath a gout of flame. The temperature rose dramatically, as the Phoenix manifested itself in its fullest, a tiny female shape was the only dark spot in the middle of two massive fiery wings.

His armor started melting like it always did in the course of the cycle. In an act of desperation, he hurled his broken sword in her direction. The blade flew unscathed through the firestorm and hit the bull’s eye, sinking in the woman’s chest. Flames were extinguished instantly and his army cheered. The body on the ground was still twitching as he walked towards it. There was no sorrow or pain on her face, only shock and disbelief.

The Green Emperor twisted his broken sword in the chest of the Phoenix and the fire died in her eyes. Indeed, the times had truly changed. He turned around looking for the Tiger, but she was nowhere to be found. It mattered not, for they were writing a completely new history this time.

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Supreme Zed (Villain)

Code-name: Supreme Zed

Full Name: previously known as Mr. Supreme

Faction: Necroplane

From Dr. Tenebrous’ Research Log:

Day 3: Finally! The patient, Subject Z, is recovering from his death. After my agent Wonder Wight (disguised in the persona of War Woman) successfully implicated him in genocide, and revealed his true identity to an unsuspecting world, it was but a matter of time before events would spiral out of the subject’s control, which of course to the slaughter of his Earthly mother and father. Subject Z then met his end in his Antarctic base when he tried to reveal our conspiracy; an assault by Necro-tech weapons began to convert his tissues to an unliving state. When he understood what was happening, he took his own life.

As commanded, Harvesters recovered his lifeless body, immediately placing it in stasis, while the defenseless Earth was stripped of death-energy. Subject Z has provided an impeccable experimental focus. This revival has surpassed all previous attempts with other trials. His body is literally glowing with all of the necro-atomic fuel we filled him up with, as his dead tissues absorb the energy with seemingly unlimited capacity, thus powering his newly granted life.

The transition has evidently caused serious and significant lasting cerebral damage. The patient seems to be at significant cognitive loss, much more than projected, although that may have useful secondary benefits, and from time to time it behaves as if it was searching for something.
Day 5: Progress has been much faster than I expected. Subject Z may see its first field tests in less than one month. The first observations from combat room exercises show great promise. Upon facing a group of five hand-picked elite Necro G.I.s, the subject received a volley of necrorays, stood up, blasted two of them with its eyebeam and smashed the next two together with its powerful fists. I am noting down a faint trace of emotion, some hint malice in his actions. It grasped the last Necro G.I., flew up all the way to the ceiling and smashed the wretched unliving soldier through the floor, only to continue the slaughter in a room below the combat area. In that chamber were another half dozen Necro G.I.’s and a dozen servitors; they too were brutally torn apart by the subject.

Day 12: All damage from combat room exercises has been repaired. The success of the revivification process has informed how to proceed with other subjects. Subject D, N and R will undergo modified revival processes based on those of Subject Z. Since in life neither D, N nor R had the inherent durability of Z, the levels of necro-atomic energy that will be used has been reduced accordingly. If all three subjects undergo successful revival, the ranks of the Scourge will be swelled, and other options will become available. Optimism is heightened following the apparent early success with Subject Z.
Day 18: Each new investigation into Subject Z’s capabilities seems to serve to underline its vast potential. Its damage-threat level has produced ratings comparable to that of a Soul Golem. Even in a Supreme-class battle environment Subject Z will be almost peerless. If its limited intellect can be harnessed and Subject Z be given suitable direction and focus, it could prove almost unstoppable.
Day 22: Further testing has revealed potentially unparalleled Supreme-level strength; incredible resilience; flight capability remains intact; and even a limited capacity for regeneration.

Day 25: The first field test is over. The exercise was a partial success, involving the subject, now codenamed Supreme Zed, supported by Mourn, a Soul Golem and a cadre of Necro G.I.’s

During the mission Supreme Zed was beheaded by the Blood Watch’s leader, but that didn’t stop Supreme Zed from destroying two National Guard tanks, and battling the accursed Six Feet Under to a standstill. I ordered evacuation of the deployed Scourge Team after V.H.’s blade first maimed then decapitated Supreme Zed; probability did not favor a prolonged and protracted battle at this stage of investigations.

Personal note: I had not anticipated just how powerful the subject could be after less than one month; how powerful will it become in just a couple of weeks more? And it already has begun to hate the detestable Blood Watch?

Perfect.

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Tanuki (Hero/Villain)

Code-name: Tanuki

Full Name: Tanuki

Allegiance: Jade Cult

Outside of the closed ranks of the Jade Cult, Tanuki’s origin is veiled in secrecy, and even within that terrible society few know the truth. One of the Jade Cult’s mysterious spirit-onis, Tanuki is probably the least loyal of that kind, even if ultimately he is the only one that recognizes that fact.

As the Green Emperor has extended his reach beyond Japanese shores and turned his attention to the West in general, and Pulp City in particular, Tanuki has been an instrumental agent of the Jade Cult. Tanuki has found great pleasure in all that the modern world has to offer, and especially the liberty he has seen first-hand in Pulp City, once described as a decadent cesspit by his master. Cesspit or not, Tanuki loves what Pulp City has to offer – he just enjoys being unleashed in the world!

The earthly plane that Tanuki finds himself in is like Las Vegas for a newly confirmed gambler, and diametrically opposed to the feudal Japan that the Green Emperor seeks to re-create after his own design. There is not a single sensation or experience that he does not revel in, and he has learnt the ways of his new world in short order. Tanuki already owns a significant business portfolio, having generated massive profits from speculative investment in the burgeoning Japanese real-estate market of the late 1980’s, withdrawing his investments as he foresaw an imminent crash. He also loves manipulating gullible people and the media, and on many occasions he has planted fake stories for unwitting journalists to pick up on, all part of grander plots; the famed June Summers has yet to fall for one of these elaborate hoaxes and so he views duping her as the prize target in his wild little intrigues. Tanuki often has to pretend that he cares deeply for the goals Emperor and his Jade Cult, but the small raccoon-dog spirit is expert at putting on his ‘engaged’ face, and thus sparing himself the wrath of the only entity he fears – the Green Emperor.

Tanuki has been afforded certain freedoms not given to other Jade Cult agents; the Green Emperor has allowed the mischievous spirit a long leash as he gathers intelligence and makes new contacts to further the Jade Cult’s strategies. This has allowed Tanuki to pursue his own agenda, something he relishes. Seeing a city whose culture was clearly dominated by the super-powered Supremes living and fighting there, Tanuki felt it obligatory that he join in with their customs; thus he fashioned himself a domino mask as he felt this would help him blend in! Of course he has had to kowtow to the wishes of the Green Emperor, and so has adopted traditional Japanese garb as part of his ‘costume’. And so the bizarre sight of a talking raccoon dog hurling magic spells and potions around with abandon is one of the stranger tales that grace the Supreme scene, and Tanuki for one loves his role. His cheerful demeanor is disarming to most of the other Supremes he encounters; few realize the full devious extent of his plotting and machinations.

There are many onis within Green Emperor’s employ, and Tanuki is unique among them. Of all the spirits within the Jade Cult’s ranks, Tanuki’s link to the material world is the strongest, and he is the most difficult creature to banish. Tanuki weaves magic and twists probabilities to service the goals of the Green Emperor, but just as often his own objectives. Tanuki hopes to one day liberate himself from the control of the Green Emperor. He knows that day is probably long off, but that does not stop the strange little spirit-creature from scheming his schemes, in the hope that one day he will be free. However he inwardly acknowledges that to do so is to run a grave risk.

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Moonchild/Moon Coyote (Hero)

Code-name: Moonchild/Moon Coyote
Full Name: Maria Moonchild
Faction: Blood Watch

The story of Moonchild begins with the Arrajo tribe; a small Native American tribe that had suffered for more than a century and half, and which came to reside on part of a reservation jointly held with the Avaje, approximately fifty miles north-east of Pulp City. Today, the reservation casinos are a tourist attraction on the Avaje part of the site. This success has led to some improvement in quality of life on the reservation, although this has not been shared between the two tribes as the Arrajo have shunned this new way.

For the past two decades the Arrajo had suffered the threat of possibly dying out, as no boys had been born among the tribe’s offspring in that time. Marcus Moonchild recognized that some dark force had accursed his people and had led to the tribe producing no boys. He committed all of his abilities as tribal medicine man to combatting that malignancy. He also sought to train his daughter Maria to become the first female shaman of the Arrajo. It was clear to Marcus that whatever the source of the curse was, it was on his tribe alone, as the Avaje with whom they shared the reservation suffered no such problems. From that recognition he was determined that the curse would be broken, and so set to instructing his daughter in the skills she would need to continue his efforts should he fail or fall.

Thus, from a young age Maria learned her father’s shamanic secrets. Years went by, and after her father’s passing, and her coming of age, it was through ritual in the sweat lodge that she finally discovered the origin of the curse that her father had believed to afflict the tribe. Joined in her ritual by the lodge leader, a tribal elder, the two women sat in darkness as smoke swirled around and heat enveloped them. The lodge leader chanted and drummed while Maria freed her mind of earthly constraints. Maria’s vision in that smoke-filled construction revealed images of a black crow demon spreading plague wings over the people of Arrajo. Despite her skills and knowledge, Maria knew she was unable to fight this dark beast. As her vision came to an end the screaming crow flew at the teenager and the elder, talons stretched out to rake them both. The vision ended suddenly and Maria was awake, alert and unharmed, but shaken by the experience. As she looked around she saw the lodge leader lying prone, dead, her face stricken with anguish.

The following night saw Maria nervously enter the sweat lodge again, this time alone with no-one to guide her with chants and drumming. Outside nervous elders waited. She took upon herself the sacred rituals and unbound her shamanic senses once more. Her sight went beyond sight and the vision began.

In her vision a wise albino coyote visited and spoke with her, its voice as old as the lands in which her tribe lived. The coyote explained that the crow could be defeated, but that Maria would need to give up part of herself to do so; a part of her would always belong to the albino coyote and in return, she would get its help to fight the crow. Fearing what the crow-demon would do if she did not act Maria agreed. As she woke from her vision Maria found half of a moon-shaped amulet in her hand.

On the third night Maria looked to the moon above, bright and clear in a cloudless sky. She took that as a sign that the path she had chosen was correct. She grasped the Moon Amulet tightly. Her body shimmered in the moonlight and her form became that of the albino coyote, its body adorned with mysterious markings. The Moon Coyote leapt into the night then, running effortlessly across the reservation towards the larger part that was home to the Avaje. On the outskirts of the Avaje lands Moon Coyote found a darkened lodge. As Moon Coyote waited, a wiry old man emerged from that lodge, his arms adorned with sleeves of crow feathers.

Moon Coyote became Moonchild once more, however her body was now covered in fine white fur, and her long hair that was once dark was similarly white, and her hands adorned with vicious claws. She took a moment to notice this change, noting also her own heart racing, then focused on her quest.

“You are the crow-demon,” Moonchild said, her voice steady and full of certainty.

“Yes, yes I am,” replied the wiry man, “I am Black Crow, and you are another shaman?”

“Yes, I am Moonchild,” she responded “and I fight for the Arrajo”.

As they stood facing once another the wiry man then explained himself; that he had cursed the Arrajo so they would die out so that his tribe, the Avaje, would become stronger on those sacred lands; that he had killed the lodge leader, and years before, Moonchild’s father; and that now Moonchild would die at his hand.

Silence followed. Then both leapt to attack. Moonchild charged forwards, claws slashing out as the wiry man himself transformed into some sort of crow-man. They battled for long minutes before one final slash from Moonchild caught Black Crow across the throat. Dying, he fell to the floor, blood pooling around his body, his curse lifted with his dying breath.

Moonchild had fulfilled her father’s quest and in doing so gave herself over to a greater power. In time she joined Blood Watch, making use of both of her forms to aid them. Her work with those Heroes in turn made her aware of Loup Garou II. She eventually learned of the bond they shared through their possession of each of two halves of the Moon Amulet; each held an influence over the other which unsettled their respective allies. Nonetheless, Moonchild’s courage and unswerving dedication to stopping dark forces is beyond question among the Blood Watch and so for now they respect the bond she has with the hulking werewolf.

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Boreas (Villain)

Code-name: Boreas

Full Name: Boreas

Faction: The Forgotten

The volunteer team was ready to face metaphorical demons that day, but none of them bargained for the demon they found.

The flowing lava on Etna’s slopes turned the night into the fourth of July. The blackened mountain spewed fire that drowned the vineyards and villages.

As soon as the chopper landed, people in orange vests jumped out and started setting up a field hospital and distributing sleeping bags and blankets for all those who lost their homes. Most of the volunteers were unaware that two Americans who wandered off in the darkness right after landing had very little to do with the charity that had organized the relief operation. The only charity that The Coven carried out since the day of its founding was offering a quick and painless death to all who opposed it.

The pair climbed the slopes. At some point they had to stop and strap on breathing apparatus as the fumes became increasingly toxic. Their ESP trackers went crazy when they finally reached the summit. Suddenly, the screens flickered and died.

“John, what was that all about?” asked Martin, a second before he looked into the red eyes of his comrade and his own body was sent tumbling into the boiling crater.

 

The chopper landed on the deck of a ship harbored in a Sicilian port. The pilot informed everybody on board that the rest of the team had decided to stay a couple of weeks more. Two weeks later, when the ship ran aground on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, no survivors were found.

 

Fast forward. Moonchild wakes from her feral dream as she smells an intruder in Twilight Hills. She pokes a razor-sharp nail into the muscled side of Six Feet Under to wake him up. A second later, a man in a black suit shows up on the rocky road. Come on – Twilight Hills? Late at night? Strange man in a suit? You don’t have to be able to smell a trap to know there is something wrong.

The man takes his time to climb the path, and the wind picks up. When the suited man is finally at the summit, facing the two Blood Watch sentinels, he does not seem to be spooked by the presence of a she-coyote nor the hulking man. There is something weird about his eyes and Moonchild bares her teeth and leaps at him, only to be caught in midair by an invisible whipping force that hurls her back into the onrushing Six Feet Under.

The wind turns into a hurricane and both heroes fly high on this lethal carousel ride. The air crackles but they clearly hear how the stranger hisses: Greetings from Stygian, you are all dead, humans. There might have been some more of this dreadful poetry coming, but patience is not Six Feet Under’s strongest suit, so he swims down through the spiraling wind and hurls his shovel, breaking the neck of the visitor.

The wind howls and Moonchild could swear she saw a demon face with fangs dripping of blood in the tornado juts a second before all goes quiet and all that is left is the body of the stranger.

 

A week passes, and all of the heroes in Pulp City know about this new threat – the just-awakened Forgotten that joins the ranks of Stygian’s followers. Blacksmith claims that the evil demon is Boreas, once good but now a harsh godling of the wind who was apparently captured by a Greek pirate king, Aeseus, who kept him in slavery and mistreated Boreas for years.

Aeseus would draw on the godling’s power to rule the seas. In return, he would feed the chained Boreas with the blood of his fallen enemies.  With the passing years, controlling the force of the wind became more and more testing and since the seventy-year old pirate king did not want to pass on his secret to anyone else, he cast the golden cage that restrained Boreas into the fiery bowels of Etna.

When Stygian learnt about the fate of Boreas, she knew that if provided with a human host, the demon of the winds would slowly regain his powers. Instead of sending her underling Hellsmith to do the job and potentially alert other Supremes, she passed the information to one of her cultists that she suspected to be The Coven’s snitch. Once again, her machinations deceived all others.

Boreas is new to Pulp City and his bloodlust and hatred of people high as never before. Fortunately for humanity, he is still weak at this time and cannot support a material body for a long time before having to find a new host. V.H. and other heroes are desperately seeking to permanently banish the demon while he is still vulnerable, and before his true power rises again.

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