The followers of The Lady Eclipse liked to think of themselves as an unstoppable force, backed by the indisputable might that was their leader. Against normal threats, they may have been right— they were, after all, well-trained and well-equipped, and their numbers were not to be scoffed at either.
This is not a normal threat.
Dereck Forrester, better known as Axe in his line of work, is not a very proud person. Despite this, he does take a certain amount of quiet satisfaction when he hears how people describe him. Axe is, above all else, a professional— he has his quirks, but he does not let those quirks jeopardize his mission. He rolls with the punches and gets the job done. No matter how weird things get, he’ll stick with things and do his very best.
Even so, sometimes things get really weird. Axe reflects on this fact as he watches what looks like a renaissance fair escapee charge screaming into the fray he’s currently involved in, her sword glowing like the sun as she buries it in one of the many thugs he’s been busy dealing with. Given that the black-wearing rent-a-cultists are all openly gaping and staring at her, he’s not the only one that didn’t see this coming.
His shock doesn’t stop him from quickly decapitating another opponent in the shocked silence. Axe is, above all else, a professional. The presence of aid, not just from the lady knight but also from what looks like one of the more well-armored priests that Axe has ever seen, ensures that the remaining thugs are quickly finished off.
“Not that I’m complaining about the assistance, because believe me I appreciate it,” Axe starts, pulling a rag out of one of many pockets and wiping down his axe blade, “but who the hell are you two?”
“You can call me Paladin. This is Chaplain, my brother. We are servants of the Austere Lady and defenders of the peace.”
“Superheroic types? Guess it makes sense you folks would be out and about with something like this going on.” He shrugs. “Doesn’t matter to me, really. Any aid in a storm.”
“Are you not a hero then?” Julianah asks, hand creeping ever so slightly towards her sword.
Jolias seems much less concerned. “Yeah, that axe of yours isn’t really a typical weapon for law enforcement, so we figured you probably were more like us.”
Axe shakes his head. “Nah, I’m not a hero, but I’m no villain either. Name’s Axe. I’m a mercenary by trade. I wouldn’t even be involved in this, but I heard idiots dressed like these guys trying to break my nextdoor neighbor’s door down, and I like Ms. Williams. She baked me cookies last week because I helped her move her new mattress upstairs.”
Julianah seems satisfied with this explanation. Jolias, on the other hand, has seized onto one portion of the previous speech.
“Wait, Axe is your codename? Really? Did you name your dog Dog too, or is this a one-off thing?”
Axe sighs and grumbles to himself. “Old Man, I will forever appreciate what you did, but you have made every conversation I have with someone new into an Abbot and Costello routine and I might just hate you for it.”
“What?” Jolias asks.
“Nothing important. Do you two know where these lunatics are coming from?”
“I don’t really know. We’ve just been chasing the sound of chaos.” Admits Julianah.
Jolias opens his mouth, but whatever he’s going to say is interrupted as an arrow thuds into the ground not two feet away from Axe. Cautiously he picks it up, retrieving a paper that was wrapped around the shaft.
“It says the criminals are performing a heist at the museum.” Axe relates.
“How did whoever shot that know we were talking about that?” Julianah asks.
“They’re just that good.” Axe continues.
“What?” chorus the twins.
Axe shows them the note, written in elegant calligraphy. “That’s what it says.” Indeed, a few lines below the information Axe had related are written the words “I’m just that good.” It is signed “The Explorer” in an impeccable hand.
The trio looks at each other, shrugs as one, and sets off in the direction of the museum.
“Ha! That’s 25! I’m still winning!”
The men in service to The Lady Eclipse are beginning to worry. One cannot blame them for this, given the two foes they are facing. Maximilian McCloud, surrounded by wind and electricity, blasting foe after foe with crackling electricity and pure elemental power. They couldn’t even engage him from range, as the whipping winds were somehow strong enough to fling bullets and grenades off course.
“I don’t think it should count if I have to render them immobile first.”
Somehow even worse was is man in the black cloak, wielding a massive and deadly scythe. Half of the enemies he slays rise to attack their former comrades. Whenever he points at someone, they become debilitated— two men go blind, three go deaf, and others suddenly find themselves weakened or unable to stop their fingers from shaking and twitching.
What’s even worse is that the two are apparently treating this like some kind of game. Whoever kills the most wins. The sound of the conflict has drawn many of the troops sent out into the streets, and many are regretting responding to the calls for aid.
Max grins. “You’re just jealous.”
The Undertaker gives his own half-smile. “I can’t say I am.”
The villains can be forgiven for not noticing that the one among them trying to take command is felled by an arrow in his eye socket. They soon notice when he groans and turns to try and rip another man’s head off with his bare hands.
As things die down (in most cases literally) and the Undertaker’s servants begin to settle down into a permanent rest, he points to one of them. “17, not yet. Over here, please. I see you’ve got something there.”
Removing the arrow from the corpse, not even acknowledging the blood that spatters on his sleeve, Dakkras purses his lips.
“What’s it say?” Max asks
“These men are running interference for a heist on the museum. I knew I had to be there tonight, but not why. This is interesting.”
Max shrugs. “I was mostly just dealing with the situation. If there’s more to do at the museum, I might as well join you.”
The two men walk off through the streets, making their way towards the museum.
By happenstance (or perhaps, by the engineering of a dramatic archer) the five heroes— well, three heroes, one mercenary, and one technically heroic individual— arrive out front of the museum at the same time. Awaiting them is the Explorer, leaning against a pillar near the entryway.
“I’m glad you all could make it!” He exclaims, his voice carrying easily to the group.
“And you are?” Questions Axe.
“I’m glad you asked. I am the Explorer, a— well, let’s just say “Interested party” in the events of tonight. I have brought you five here to help me in dealing with the forces of The Lady Eclipse, who is attempting to steal a valuable tome from this museum. I would have dealt with it myself, but alas it appears the Lady herself has made an appearance, and while I am quite good in a fight I don’t think I’m so good as to take on someone like her alone.”
“So you need us, then.” Julianah fills in.
“Yes! You all are, from what I’ve seen, rather strong fighters, and heroes to boot. I figured you all would want a shot at someone this tough. So, what do you say?”
“I was going to be here anyways. I’ll help you.” The Undertaker intones.
“Personally, I’d like to speak to the person who has caused this much death. So long as she sees justice, I’m in.” Julianah declares.
“Sounds like fun” says Max, grinning.
“Eh, I’d like to get a word in with this Lady too. This was supposed to be my vacation time.” Axe gripes.
Jolias sighs. “I’m not getting out of this am I?”
“I don’t think so, no. So, if we’re in agreement, into the breach!” Shouts Antonio.
A/N: I hope I did the characters justice. It’s hard writing characters made by someone other than you.