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Snippet #2824264

located in Scarriden, a part of many of horror, one of the many universes on RPG.

Scarriden

Villains are not the most frightening thing in the shadows here.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucian Mitchell Character Portrait: Markus "Shadowfaux" Vasco Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: MoH Posting Grounds
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LUCIAN MITCHELL
the villain - #40314a - outfit
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xxHow the most dangerous thing is to love
xxHow you will heal and you'll rise above
xxCrowned by an overture bold and beyond
xxAh, it's more courageous to overcome

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Erin had kids with her too. Jesus, how many kids had been in there? He needed to talk to her, he needed to tell her about Markus and they needed a plan, he had to go back, he needed to go back and get Markus-

And then Erin stopped. There was blood now, even more blood than had been there before. But it was Erin, she’d be okay, right? She had to be. She’d always bounced back before. But she wasn’t bouncing back now, she was on her knees and she couldn’t get up. He almost skidded on his knees on the ground as he went to catch her. He just nodded as she spoke, unable to reply. This was wrong. Why was she talking like this? She’d be back, right? She had to be back. They needed to make sure that Aegis burned and that they did it together.

And then she was gone. Lucian was kneeling on the ground, clutching a dead body. But it was fine. It was Erin. The first time they’d met, she’d technically been dead too. So she’d come back, right? He stared blankly at her, waiting for the signs of her coming back. They weren’t there. She was still, far too still. And then it hit him. She wasn’t coming back. Not this time. And she’d known it. He went to wipe his tears, and saw his hands were covered in blood. Erin’s blood. He’d lost Erin. He’d lost Erin and Markus. He’d lost the only two people in the world that gave a damn about him. What was the point of anything now?

And then a gunshot went off, inches above his head, and he flinched. It snapped him back to reality. The kids were still there, looking terrified. The kids. All of this had been for the kids. He needed to get them to safety. He wouldn’t let Aegis lay another hand on them. So Lucian picked up Erin’s body and got to his feet. “Charlie!” He called. The redhead appeared from somewhere, looking pale and yet still determined. “Round up the younger ones. Keep them moving, we need to get them away from here while I think of a plan,” he called. She nodded, jumping into action.

He would have carried Erin forever if he could. But he couldn’t. So, he carried her just far enough away and hid her body somewhere he could come back for it, somewhere where Aegis wouldn’t find her first. And then he went back for the kids. Walking away from her was the hardest walk he’d ever had to make. And when he went back for the kids, he made sure that nobody who dared try and harm any of the kids walked away from there. There was no mercy left in him.

It took him three days to get all the kids sorted. It would have been even longer, if Charlie hadn’t shown up at his door with two strangers. She had introduced them as Tarren and Nova, and they were people who specialised in getting kids like them out of bad situations. They’d done it once for Charlie, and they’d been looking for Charlie ever since she’d gone missing. And through all that time, they’d saved possibly a hundred kids. Together, the four of them sat down and worked out somewhere for each and every kid. Somewhere safe, with guardians who would look after them because they were freaks too. Lucian made sure they were adequately funded to look after the kids. He would work through the night, making sure he had answers and solutions for them when they got up in the morning. And then, when their work was done, he was alone again.

He’d gone back to try and find Erin the day after she had died. But when he went to where he’d left her, she was gone. He could only presume that it meant Aegis had gotten a hold of her. He could only presume that it meant that he had failed her again, just like he’d failed Markus. It was probably better that the kids were off his hands now. At least then he couldn’t fail them too. He went back to his own apartment. He didn’t care if Aegis tracked him there. At that point, he wasn’t even sure he would have fought if they had shown up. But nobody came. For days, it was just him rattling around the hollow apartment. The days passed in a blur of intoxication as he did everything he could to numb the pain. When the pain broke through, it was like someone was standing on his chest, crushing him and stopping him from breathing; except the release of death never came. The pain went on and on, only dulled a little by whatever he had in his system.

And then, one morning, he woke up with a crystal clear mind. And instead of pain, there was an even more familiar emotion now. There was fury. Erin’s words pounded through his head like blood through his veins. Burn Aegis. Burn it all down. Aegis had taken everything from him. They’d even made sure he didn’t have anywhere to go to mourn. They needed to burn. And so Lucian sat down at his desk for the first time in days. And he began to work.

He pulled together everything they had on Aegis. When he looked, when he wasn’t immediately focused on a single crisis, he could find another two locations he needed to scout out and destroy. He was pretty sure that there were more; he’d just need to find them.Two was a good start. The first one was a minor base. Nothing much of information or use there, but still, he took what he could and destroyed the rest. And he made sure the building burned. He didn’t watch it burn; he didn’t need to. The smell of smoke in his lungs was more than enough.

It was in the middle of the night after that first mission that the idea came to him. He knew that Aegis needed to burn; but there had to be more to it. He needed to make sure that everyone who had ever contributed to it lost everything they had and make sure they could never rebuild again. And so he went through his files. This would be a slow approach. This was a pyre that would have to be built slowly to make sure that it left no remains. He pulled together all of the evidence he had about the prominent politicians, leaders in the police force, anyone who was anything, and their involvement in Aegis. He created a fake email with no traceability back to him; and he sent it to every journalist he could find, local, national, international.

It hit the media a few days later. Not that big of a story, but it caught people’s attention. That was all he needed. A few days later, another Aegis base burned, and more information was leaked. This time, about the atrocities that Aegis was involved with. More outrage, more questions to be asked. But now there were more eyes watching him, and so he needed to be more careful. They hovered on street corners when he went out and about, always far enough away that they weren’t obviously following him. Cutting and dying his hair was an impulse 3AM decision when the paranoia began to get to him. Simplifying his dress for these missions was an unfortunate requirement. He couldn’t be recognised as either Lucian or Maelstrom. And besides, he didn’t feel like either of those people any more, and he already didn’t recognise himself in the mirror. Cutting his hair and dying it blue made him feel closer to whatever the hell he was becoming. In one base, he found a mask that looked all too familiar in a stray desk. Markus’ mask, the one Lucian had handmade for him. It became a part of his outfit, even if it didn’t fit right. He needed to have something of Markus with him.

The tide was turning. As Lucian left his apartment one day, he found himself in a throng of protestors, rebelling against the treatment of supers and the government’s involvement in Aegis. Every time a new public face stood up to protest, Lucian did a deep search on them to see if they had been involved. If they had, he made sure to leak everything he could find on them. People were demanding change, and it was beginning to come. Other supers were beginning to emerge in support of the movement, giving their own testimonies. As Lucian passed one rally, he spotted a familiar redhead clutching a megaphone and a sign, leading a chant, making him smile for the first time in days. Their eyes met in the crowd, and she just raised her sign a little higher, nodding ever so slightly. He returned the nod before disappearing back into the crowd

It was slow progress. He was finding more and more Aegis bases; most of them small, backup locations that weren’t necessarily in active use, but places they could move to if need be. And so they burned. One or two of them were in office buildings with other offices; people who didn’t deserve to lose their livelihoods because of Aegis’ sins. In that case, he would spend hours destroying everything himself. It was leaving one such office that he was first spotted by a passerby. But it was enough. Rumours and whispers began of this masked vigilante destroying suspected Aegis bases. When he was photographed hopping the fence of a building that was on fire, the whispers only got louder. Who was this strange, mysterious super? Who were they? Were they a new figure or an old one? Were they in fact involved in Aegis?

Of course Charlie was the one to figure it out first. She arrived back on his doorstep, a whole group of supers in tow this time. If they could divert the attention from just one person, they said, they could be more successful. And so Lucian sat down with them and discussed their plans. God, he was so sick of working alone. But even still, they were strangers, and he couldn’t trust them. And so when he proceeded, he proceeded with caution, making sure that he didn’t give any information to anyone until he was sure he could trust them. And even then, he gave them the least amount of information he could get away with.

And it all paid off. More buildings burned. More information was leaked. More people turned on those in charge. And more people fell. Important people were being found dead, and while protestors and rogue supers were being blamed, Lucian knew when he was looking at Aegis’ work. The supers who could speak publicly did so, condemning the murders and distancing them from the Anti-Aegis work that was being done. There wasn’t much that could be done about the rumours, so they chose to ignore them and focus on the task at hand.

Lucian thought that having something to focus on would help to fix him. He was so engulfed in all of this, he didn’t want time to think or to feel. But he felt and he thought anyway. He’d go to ask Markus his thoughts, or roll his eyes at Erin, and he’d just find a void where they should be. The pain would come crashing in anyway, and he’d still have to get up and continue to try and make things right. He couldn’t even drink or take anything stronger to keep the pain at bay, because he needed to be lucid for their plans. Being anything other than his absolute best would only fail them more than he had done already.

One day, in the middle of a planning session, he realised that the number of bases they had to destroy was growing smaller, despite their continued research. They had found them all. They could see the end of the tunnel. And Lucian realised that he didn’t know what he was supposed to do with himself when they were all gone. When Aegis was gone. He knew he could go back to his life of the glamorous Lucian Mitchell- but life as Lucian without Markus to spark off felt wrong. The before felt like a different person; someone he couldn’t ever go back to. Lucian could only see one ending in sight for him. He didn’t have the will to figure out any others.

Charlie had come up with a new super persona for him. At first, it was just to tell the press who was leaking information to them; and then the world began to recognise this person as the Aegis vigilante. Atlas: the titan with the weight of the heavens on his shoulders. He wasn’t exactly the most popular super, with opinion divided between direct action and violence being wrong, and the fact that he wasn’t doing anything worse than what Aegis frequently did to supers. But one name was beginning to gain popularity; the small but fierce Haze, known best for leading rallies herself, discussing what she had endured at the hands of Aegis openly and without fear; and for her power of light manipulations.

Charlie was one of the more inexperienced supers, but she was learning fast. She was angry and determined, and that got her a long way. She still went out with somebody else for all of her missions; but that was at her own request. She knew her limitations and accepted her inexperience, but didn’t let it hold her back. All the time, she was growing and learning and improving. Lucian was glad to know that there was someone who could, and would, carry on their work.

Eventually, there was just one base left on Lucian’s list. It had been left until last deliberately. It was the base where he’d lost both Erin and Markus. The others saw his reaction to it and offered to come with him; but he needed to do this himself. This was the end of the road for him. This was where it all ended. He wore Markus’ mask and the only reminder of Erin he’d been able to find that he could use; a leather jacket that probably would have been oversized on her but just fit him. And he walked straight into the building, knowing what he was walking into. He had “backup”; heroes outside the building who could be there at a moment’s notice, and who could warn him in the case of an ambush. But he was doing this alone.

He started at the bottom floor, combing the labyrinth for kids he’d missed, for more of their subjects. The fact that the floors were empty did nothing to either comfort or unsettle him. He worked his way up the building until finally found what he was looking for. It was hard to believe that they’d missed it the first time, but it was so well hidden that one could walk past without ever realising what it was. It was a server room, the server banks containing every bit of information that had ever passed through Aegis’ hands, details of everything Aegis had ever done. Lucian stared at the blinking lights for a few seconds. Every horrible thing that had happened to him was on those servers. Every horrible thing that had happened to him, to Markus, to Erin, to every kid who had ever been any sort of misfit. It was difficult to not just begin to break everything there and then. But instead he stopped and pulled out his laptop. The quiet of the room, just whirring of fans and of the AC along with his own tapping at his keyboard, seemed oddly anticlimactic. But from inside the server room, he could access Aegis’ files, where he could pull the last few bits of information they needed. And most importantly; it was where he could destroy it all. Between him and a few others inside the few remaining bases, they could bypass the safety processes and make sure everything was corrupted beyond recovery. Once that was done, Lucian turned back to look at the servers. Using his powers wasn’t exactly going to be the most efficient way of doing this; but it felt so right. He reached deep inside himself, and let it all out. Glass shattered and alarms began to blare. That didn’t matter any more. Escaping didn’t matter any more.

He smashed the servers into pieces, using his hands and his powers, making sure they’d never be recovered. But despite the blaring alarms, nobody came running. And that’s when Lucian realised what was happening. Aegis would have the final say. They would be the ones to destroy the last of their buildings in the hopes of taking down the instigators while they were at it. Lucian laughed, his laugh echoing around the destroyed server room. He’d foiled them without them even knowing it. By coming alone in a suicide mission, he’d completely ruined their plans. They’d taken everything from him, but he was still getting the last laugh. He sent a text to the others waiting outside.

“Keep everyone outside the building. I think they have it rigged. On my way out now.”

He knew that he probably wouldn’t actually make it out in time; and he knew that he wasn’t supposed to either. After this, there was nothing left for him.

And as if the universe agreed, the explosive charges went off seconds after he sent the text. He blacked out as he collided with something hard, sinking gladly into the darkness.