Episode 9: Cold hands...Colder heart
If his rictus smile could possibly get wider or more vicious, now was the moment. Despite a valiant effort, Franklin Fawkes, alias Void, was faltering. For the second time, immortal endurance proved to be the deciding factor. The diety stepped forward, an impossibly cold, spear of blue light appearing in his hands. As Void slowly sank to one knee, the icy demon raised the weapon for the finishing blow.
That blow never fell. A golden blur shot by, scooping up the gravitic champion in an orb of divine light. Before that truly registered, the avatar of winter death found himself assaulted again. A foreign warrior appeared out of his own shadow, wielding weapons seemingly formed of solid darkness. The wind howled Shakak's rage.
Goryo was almost knocked off her feet by the savage gale. She blocked thrust after thrust of the gods' spear. The wind and cold stole her breath. The same arctic conditions stole the heat from her body. In the first moments of combat, ice began to build up on her clothes. She was not about to flee or fail though. She screamed her defiance.
"Hoochie Koochie!" Came another scream. Black Fox slammed into the dumbstruck villain. "Hi honey! You would not believe the day I've had!"
While the attack of the hirsute heroine did not harm the death lord in any way, her arrival distracted him from Goryo. The shadow warrior took advantage of the moment to slam her dark weapon through the glowing spear of her enemy.
"Not the spear Daniel-san!" Black Fox shouted, wrestling the icy villain. "Sweep the leg!"
"This battle is no joke Fox!"
"Hey! You just said my name! You're gonna give away my secret identity!"
Goryo spun and launched a bone shattering kick into the sternum of the immortal villain. For the first time, Shakak grunted as if in pain. They were wearing him down. Goryo wondered if it would be soon enough.
"You do not have a secret identity, jester."
"I'm not the Jester! The jester wears a clown outfiiii...aack!"
A burst of razor sharp shards of ice silenced Black Fox and sent Goryo tumbling to the snowy ground. Blue light flared in Shakak's cavernous eyes, as he stared down at his victims. His moment of silent gloating cost him dearly. A wrecking ball sized fist slammed into his chest, hurtling him into a nearby building. The impact cracked like the splintering of a great glacier.
"Remain here my friends. Catch your breath. I can keep him busy for a bit." Said Fortress, his long legs carrying him in rapid pursuit of his target.
"Ouch....show off." Groaned Black Fox.
"You know, one day we are going to face a villain who can shut you up." Snarled Goryo, forcing herself back to her feet.
"Shows...What...you...know." Panting, Black Fox pulled herself up, using the blind ninja's arm to steady herself.
"Let's go!" Goryo dashed forward, a Kusari-gama of pure darkness forming in her grip.
"Wait!" Madeline gasped. "Crap...I think...that...Dances-with-wolves-meets-otter-pops, creep...really...hurt ...me."
Then she crumpled in a heap.
"I haf mein fraulein." The electronic tones of Iron Eagle's voice hummed in her ear.
"Oh...hi Ulrech. I'd get up...only...I think I'm...bleeding to death. Kinda busy...with that."
The armored hero scooped her up. "Let's see vaht Seraphim can do about dat...ja?"
The storm had quit expanding, but the ground blizzard was raging fiercely and encompassed a huge portion of the city. Most of her methods of gaining intelligence were being interfered with by the storm. That made Lisa Ortega furious.
"Fujiko! I need eyes on that battleground!"
"We have them Ms. Ortega. Several drones are still airborne and Nelly's team has penetrated the combat zone, but, atmospheric disturbance is making broadcast reception problematic."
Ever since Esteban's murder, Lisa had been in charge of non-combat operations for the Cavalry. Logistics, operations, everything down to janitorial went through her office. She was used to feeling in control. She did not feel in control now, and it grated on her.
"Well...have we had any luck getting any back up, just in case?"
From across the room, Natalie Schumacher chimed in, her perpetually perky voice, hardened in clipped, professional tones. "Roger that ma'am. The Clearwaters' are on their way up from new Mexico, and The Posse is on standby in Austin."
"Fujiko, patch me through to the silo."
"Mitch, is the Warwagon ready to go?"
"Aye. That it is." The gruff technician answered. "Athena, Dorian, Neftali and a pair of Natalie are on board, ready to roll on your word."
"Spectacular. I've got everything I need...except intel. Fujiko is there any way to boost the signal strength from our eyes on scene?"
"Working on it."
While the Cavalry's support staff was having difficulty, several observers were not. From the stroage room of a custom sheepskin factory, Nelly Trujillo and her crew liberated coats. Diligent effort kept their cameras clear of ice. She was not going to let this battle go unrecorded. Despite the deadly cold, they were doing their job.
Elswhere, Li Lung watched with pleasure. Black Fox had been evacuated from the field of combat. So had Void. Goryo was barely moving. Red hawk had collapsed under an onslaught of ice boulders. Iron Eagle and Fortress were still battling valiantly, in what was surely a doomed effort. Then a look of consternation crossed his reptilian visage. he had not seen the Angel since she whisked Void away and the sorceress had not become involved at all. Just as these realizations flitted through his mind, the wintry death god convulsed, as if stabbed in the back.
"NO!" The Dragon mage shouted at the mirror.
Shakak knew fear. He felt his hold on his mortal host begin to fray. Someone had found his prison. Someone who knew the ritual to return him to it. A wave of glacial force exploded from him, throwing his foes to the earth. He spun and a wave of ice lifted him. He rode the avalanche toward where he sensed the skull to be.
He saw them, the mage and the angel. His skull floated between them as they chanted, invoking the ancient curses. The being of emptiness warded them from the worst of his blizzard. His ice wave reared up over them, like a cobra about to strike. His glowing, blue spear formed again in his hands. he could taste the deaths of his enemies. It would be delicious.
Then his world exploded.
He slammed into the ground with a sickening...whomp. Raising his head, a wave of heat washed over him.
"I really want to kill you." Charisma sneered, white hot plasma curling around her. "But you hi-jacked an innocent person for this...so I'll have to settle for kicking the snot out of you."
Pain wracked him again. More fraying. Then his foe yanked him off the ground. A warknife of ice appeared in his fist, only to vaporize in a gout of fire. Her fist rammed into his gut, causing him to double over. An uppercut sent him hurtling into a frozen cadillac.
Hatred surged in the god, as he pushed himself clear of the wreckage. He would not tolerate this...thing defying him. he raised his arm and a war hatchet of cold, blue light appeared in his fist. Only to flicker out as another wave of pain coursed through him, fraying his mortal connection that much more. Piece by piece, thread by thread, his hold on his host was pulled apart, unravelled.
Then...the storm stopped. No warning was given. The snow and wind just...ended. The temperature bounded from below freezing to the mid 60's in a heartbeat. Shakak turned to glare at Street and Seraphim. His knees buckled and he collapsed, but, it was William walks-far-under-big-sky Moore, who hit the ground.
Street felt the icy skull grow even colder in her hands.
"Lucky for him, you managed to pull that off." Black Fox quipped, limping up. "I was just about to school his breech clout wearing butt."
to be continued...