Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

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Red Devil
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Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

Post by Red Devil » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:00 am


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At night, New York City festered. The filth and the scum crawled out of the sewers, vermin and vigilantes and petty thugs. All would be cleansed in time. Each thought they ruled the city, and each would learn in time how wrong they were.

Adept Fourteen stood on a rooftop, watching the concrete exterior of a warehouse with piercing crimson eyes. Inside of the building were some of the very worst of the vermin. High-ranking members of three of the city's most powerful organized crime groups. Gun-runners, racketeers, extortionists, human traffickers. All with minutes left to live.

It wasn't a pursuit of justice, that motivated the Red Devil. There was no justice to this world. The strong dominated the weak- such was the natural order of things. He would kill every one of the miserable rats inside the warehouse, for two reasons. For his mission in the largest metropolitan area in the United States was simple.

You will take New York City.

These men weren't the heads of their respective organizations, but their losses would be felt. Weakening the groups that held true power in this city- not the police, but those that they hunted -would make his conquest all the simpler. That was the first reason. The second was even simpler- bait.

With the grace of an Olympic acrobat, the Butcher leapt off of the rooftop, somersaulting in the air, and angling his feet forward, to strike the glass through which he'd watched the meeting begin to unfold. It was a fall no human would be able to survive, without a grapnel or soft padding beneath. But the Red Devil was no human. He had been enhanced by the Pit, complementing his already-impressive posthuman abilities. Simply through careful coordination and precise movement, he could land on his feet, unharmed.

A flick of his wrist sent one end of his weapon out. Two staves, connected by a thin monofilament wire. It extended outwards, nearly taut, before another motion altered its trajectory. The ultra-sharp line circled one man's neck twice, before the other stave flew back to the Fiend's hand. He pulled them in opposite directions, tightening the noose, and sheared clean through his victim's neck.

The other two low-lives were too stunned to even draw their weapons, for a moment. A spray of blood poured from the man's wound, drenching his tailored suit. With the press of a small button, the Devil retracted the wire, two parts of his chosen weapon one once more. As he did so, the Man in Red advanced, face betraying no emotion.

Finally, the two criminals reacted. They commanded respect within their own organizations, in large part thanks to their ruthlessness. Not yet powerful enough that they could instill fear without having to lift a finger. On the left, a gun was raised. Before the man could fire, the Devil threw the staff, striking him in the throat. It ricocheted, straight back to the hand of its owner, while the victim gasped for air, clawing at his neck.

Slack-jawed, the third man simply stared at the Adept. His new nightmare stared right back. Their eyes locked, and the mafia enforcer felt the full fury of the Devil's Gaze. A man like him had killed, tortured, beaten, maimed, and mutilated. The pain of each act was what he felt in that moment. And so he screamed. Loud enough that it could be heard from a great distance away. His brain's natural limiters, which prevented true pain, had been overridden.

When the man's torment was over, he found himself on his knees, a pool of bile on the ground. He'd crawled away from the table, where two corpses sat slumped in their chairs. At some point, during a time which might have been seconds, or hours, he'd soiled himself. The Butcher stood above him, still emotionless.

"Go. Tell everyone. This city belongs to the Devil now."

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Re: Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

Post by Meshindi » Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:59 am

THE SHADOW'S CRAWL
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... AND THE RED DEVIL'S MARCH
"Is that what you call yourself, then?"

There was no reason to beat around the bush.

The unassuming Dock 15 had become an impromptu breeding ground, tonight, in accordance with the usual trend of rat nests which cropped up throughout the city like infestations of rabid scum to taint the well of New York. It had been a jerry-rigged affair; boxes of product and empty containers had been used as chairs, while a definitive table had been cleared of its dust and cobwebs to house the humble beginnings of a poker game upon its face. Texas Hold 'Em-- a slow affair, in terms of most card games, with rounds which often lasted long into the night. Thankfully, Hudson had always been one for utmost patience-- there was much to be gained in terms of information, he found, when much of his active hours were spent listening as opposed to merely fighting; the moronic masses of the criminal underworld often let their lips flap free whenever they were among fellow varmint, and Meshindi could do little else but become a good listener, now, in the wake of events nearly half a year ago.

Odd to think that he was only returning now, after so many months. The Chechens had nearly righted themselves, now, to crown themselves the victor within the void of his absence. That simply would not do-- yet he had to remind himself, ultimately, that he was never the only one who tread the warrior's path. There were many like him, in the end; with similar circumstances to mold the sizable populace of the city, it was only natural that the harsh life within New York created men and women who were vigilantes of the utmost brutality. It was tonight, within the once-crowded chamber of Dock 15, that he viewed this brutal nature firsthand.

The Devil, he called himself. Meshindi knew the power of a name-- the Spinebreaker had been the talk of the city, at one point, yet conversation soon fell away in his absence, no doubt. The title of his persona, as well as his achievement in providing a safer haven for the innocent lives within the city, his city, flew under the radar once more; ultimately, he could not be angry at the fading of his identity into obscurity. It only made his return that more poignant-- so many had heard of the Spinebreaker, and yet none truly saw him. Not until it was too late.

Devil, in his uncompromising lethality, seemed to take such a route as well.

"Will you leave this one alive, to tell of your actions here tonight? Or will you execute him like the dog he is, here, now?"

Meshindi had sworn off the instantaneous neutralization of threats in the wake of his blinding. Often times, the handicap of his promise brought him nothing but the most intense rage, for he was forced to let the scum of the earth walk upon it once more-- yet there was no doubt that the fate the Spinebreaker often held in store, now, for the criminal populace was one that held the possibility of being far worse than death itself. Paralysis, blinding, amputation-- none were safe from the mutilating mercy at the hands of Jonathan Hudson.

Though they knew him only as his namesake. The Spinebreaker.

It was not a title.

It was a promise.

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Re: Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

Post by Red Devil » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:53 pm

Hook, line, and sinker.

The presence of the Spinebreaker was not unexpected. Nor was it unwanted. If not him, there were a dozen others it could have been. Behemoth, Banisher, Vengeance. Interchangeable. None could withstand the Devil's Gaze.

"No," the Devil replied. Ignoring the first question- to which the answer was self-evident. His crimson costume made it clear enough what he was. "He will watch. And when we're done, he'll tell the rest of the city who broke you."

Turning back to the still-shaking thug, the Butcher kicked him in the jaw, sending him onto his back. The man slowly began to crawl towards a corner, not attempting to escape, but merely to find a shadow to cower in.

His weapon, the Fiend sheathed. A 'holster' on his thigh held the staves in place, allowing him to fight with both hands free. Perhaps the Man in Black would provide his counterpart in red with a workout.

The Red Devil's speed was impressive, as was his acceleration. Standing still at one moment, and approaching top speed the next. He'd been standing in the light, but as he left it, the Adept would almost transform. A scarlet blur of motion, a supernatural beast. He slipped into the shadows, kicking off of crates and using the dangling light fixtures as stepping-stones. Each movement was utterly silent.

From Meshindi's left, the Butcher would appear, intent on delivering a strike to his head. Then, he'd slip away once more, only to seemingly materialize at another angle, and launch another attack. A pattern he'd repeat as many times as he was able, assaulting the vigilante as if he were a hundred men, not one.

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Re: Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

Post by Meshindi » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:35 pm

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He'll tell the rest of the city who broke you.

"Hm."

The Devil's voice did not possess an iota of levity to it. Meshindi's eyes narrowed behind the cloth mask-- an empty expression, given the hollow cavities the fallen lids guarded-- as he listened to the threat, head turning to better angle his true sense towards the adversary before him. It seemed like not all vigilantes were collaborative-- a fact he should have foreseen, ultimately, given his own tenets of isolation upon which he had constructed the basis of his morals. To enlist help was to willfully put another in harm's way-- if vigilantes were to exist, then he would not stop such an inevitability from occurring, but he would not groom an impressionable mind in good conscience. Such beliefs were why he conflicted to heavily with the likes of the Society; they believed him a martyr, a ruthless killer, but he had undertaken such merciless acts so no other would have to repeat what he had done. All that he had done, he did for the wellness of the innocents around him. If they were to chide him, so be it.

This, however, was different. This Devil-- he not only sought isolation, but superiority, as evidenced by his promise of breaking the Spinebreaker. Were the two fated to fight, then, in a rotting warehouse filled with rotting souls, when crime still ran rampant within the city? He did not know why the vigilante before him regarded Hudson with such insurmountable ire, but if the treatment of the fallen criminals was any indication of the Devil's inclination towards brutality, Meshindi doubted that he would be shown mercy in the event of defeat. Months ago, he might have scoffed at the challenge, but not now. Not with all that had happened to him. He knew better, now, than to make empty threats and believe himself to be infallible.

The Devil, conversely, did not seem to place weight in such things.

Meshindi pushed himself from the roughened, moisture-kissed crates with only the soft scrape of cloth upon wood, the stale air of the warehouse whirling around him as he touched down upon the floor with a quiet clap of his boots upon concrete. As the Devil sheathed his own armament with the barely-audible scratch and click, Meshindi's gloves curled around the solid base of his nunchaku to lightly pull the weapon from its felt holster upon his belt. The withdrawal was silent; even the slackening of the connecting line between each stick was without sound, every minute aspect of his equipment tuned to relative silence as best as possible. There was no metal chain between the twin poles, but a tightly-nit rope made from composite fiber, toughened and free from the characteristic jingle of chained links to better allow the use in situations which required stealth. Not that he needed such considerations here, now, the adversary before him dreadfully aware of Meshindi's presence.

"You would rather strike me down over the countless vagabond scum which wander this city as we speak?"

A flip of the nunchaku brought the ungrasped pole into the crook of his arm, trapped between bicep and pectoral as Meshindi looked to the side, seeing ear first as the Devil began to move.

"I believe your pursuits are far better invested elsewhere."

Nothing. For a moment, nothing. Then, a simple creak of the lights, a dull squeak akin to a see-saw as the dishes swung to and fro, disturbed by an unseen and unheard presence. The blindness had cursed him with a handicap, but it was one he knew well-- and one he could use to his advantage. The oncoming strike was far to quick and skilled to dodge outright, but the momentary whirlwind of displaced air that accompanied the inevitable gave only the briefest of windows to tighten the stance and weave to the side, curling with the direction of the blow to turn a skull-rattling impact into a glancing blow which only streaked momentary stars across a non-existent vision. Meshindi gave a muffled grunt, his boots sliding with a harsh hiss akin to sandpaper, and he prepared himself to guard for a rapid follow-up, forearm raising to guard the head-- only such a deluge never arrived, and silence subsumed the instantaneous thunderstorm once more.

Guerrilla attacks, then. If that was the way it was to be, then so be it.

The second strike was taken with less force, the brush of displaced dust and air upon the concrete offering the only view of each approaching strike. The Devil's movements were nearly inaudible, if not completely so-- but the blinding of one sense only heightened the accuracy of another, and so the ear assumed the role of the eye with doubled precision and sensitivity. The barest of sounds were heard not by untrained ear, yet Meshindi's were nothing if not trained. Upon the third strike, Meshindi lashed out, seeking to parry the strike with a concise crack of his own nunchaku to deter the limb and punish his opponent concurrently. Immediately after the parry came a low kick-- deliberately designed to cause a leap away from the attack so the Devil's boots pressed hard upon the concrete to give the faintest of sounds with which to work.

Meshindi's nunchaku were flipped once, twice as he edged toward the exit of the warehouse, the dull claps of the singular stick against his concealed form providing the briefest of glimpses into the pervading darkness.

"Fighting one another is a waste of time, 'Devil'."

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Re: Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

Post by Red Devil » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:44 am

The absurdity of mistaking the Devil for some sort of vigilante was almost enough to make the crimson reaper smile. Almost. Had the Spinebreaker not just witnessed him torture and execute three men in short order? Perhaps this man in black thought himself a kindred spirit- an anti-hero, whose methods were brutal, but necessary.

The Butcher needed no such self-delusion. He took sadistic pleasure in punishing the guilty, not in pursuit of retribution or revenge, but simply because it was necessary. As was the utter destruction of his umbral opponent.

"Do not mistake my intent."

A sharp crack broke the silence, as Meshindi's weapon smacked against the armor on the Fiend's forearm. He elegantly leapt backwards, avoiding the kick- his boot making the slightest sound as it scuffed the ground.

"I will cleanse this city."

Perhaps the Spinebreaker was fleeing. He certainly seemed to be heading towards the exit, rather than pursuing his opponent. A tactically unwise move. Running was the correct response, when fighting an Adept. Not slowly shuffling towards the door, as if you were embarrassedly taking your leave.

"Of criminal filth. Of the enforcers of human law."

Whipping his weapon outwards, the Devil attempted the same maneuver he'd used to behead the first mobster. Wrapping the monofilament wire around the Spinebreaker's neck, and then catching the other stave, so as to pull the line taut, and shear through soft flesh. The wire was sharp enough that it would encounter almost no resistance, once enough force was applied.

"I will cleanse this city of you."

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Re: Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

Post by Meshindi » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:51 pm

Contact, once more-- rather than use a ranged advantage or exploit the Spinebreaker's glaring weakness in sight and cognition, he fought up close, personal, where their skills were evenly met and matched. Whether it was out of some intense desire to meet the vigilante as an equal, or some sort of misguided ignorance, he did not know-- nor did he care. Though the fight itself was not trivial-- far from it, with the wire that dug into cloth and flesh alike, sharpened and surgical-- the reasoning was misguided, the motives unseen and unheard. Was this another man he had wronged? Another soul tortured by his earlier killings?

He did not know-- though he did care, truthfully, about why he was currently being fought by a man he did not know in the slightest.

The wire dug through blackened cloth, cutting seamlessly through the material which guarded his skin from the elements. His first mistake, it seemed; when he possessed his curse, the costume he donned was little more than an outfit, unarmored and unprotected. What truly gave him protection was the subdermal armor-- and with the curse alleviated, he was more man than monster. The hardships once invisible to his enhanced form were now woefully apparent.

Like a sliced neck.

What he lacked in protection, however, he compromised with speed-- having moved so fluidly and efficiently with weighted metal covering every inch of the body, the musculature and skeleton had naturally compensated in ways that were an affront to God. For him to move as fast as he had with armored material functioning as skin was nothing short of a miracle-- and now, now, with the weight stripped, the transgression rectified, his body still retained its tuned compensation.

He slipped free, wrists and neck cutting upon the wire as he ducked to avoid the attempted decapitation and delivered a sweep to the legs which sought to push him back. He'd leapt away at his previous kick-- anticipating the same movement, his nunchaku lashed out at the air to catch the crimson body he could not see. Regardless of where he leapt, it swung out in an arc, hoping to catch him wherever he fled-- and as the kick concluded, boot sliding low upon the ground to kick up unseen dust and debris, Meshindi rolled back to a crouching position and listened.

"Better men, women, and monsters than you have tried." He stated, tone curt and simple. No need to mince words with this one.

"And yet, I always return."

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Re: Opening Gambit [CLOSED]

Post by Red Devil » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:13 pm

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"There are no men like me."

No human could claim to be the Devil's equal, much less his better. No human bond compared to the brotherhood of the Adepts. No human suffering matched the feeling of having an inferior species' boot upon your neck.

The Butcher's prey slipped through the tightening noose mere moments before it would have opened his throat. An accomplished act of escape artistry, followed by a glancing blow that struck Fourteen's crimson armor. He didn't make a noise, long since having learned to suppress involuntary pain responses. However, the sound of metal clashing against metal would ring out, alerting the sightless warrior to his location.

Rather than switch positions, the Red Devil straightened, standing tall. Almost inviting a counterattack. Early dawn light was beginning to illuminate the sky, shining through the frosted glass windows of the warehouse. Casting the Fiend in shadow.

In fact, baiting out another strike was precisely the Adept's intent. With the blessings of the Pit, his senses were sharpened- he'd see the attack coming. And when it came, he'd attempt to duck, dodge, or lean out of the way- though he was fully prepared to sustain a blow or two, in service of his ultimate goal.

Once again, he'd try to wrap the razor-sharp wire that conjoined his staves around the Spinebreaker. Not his neck, but his torso, arms included. Tight enough to cut open his costume, and break the skin, but not further. He'd draw blood, but not shear muscle. And once he had the Man in Black in his grasp, the Devil would look into his eyes.

When contact was made, the Fiend's crimson gaze would begin to burn Meshindi. Not his flesh, but his very soul. Every bit of pain that he'd caused would be turned against him. Every life taken, every spine broken. Whether or not the act was just, regardless of any regret he might feel. For an ordinary human, this would be painful. But for such a prolific killer, the weight of his sins would be crushing.

When the process was complete, seeming to the Butcher only seconds, but lasting lifetimes for his victim, he'd release the Spinebreaker without striking back. There would be no need.

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