Published by Quintin Fortune at Shakespir
Copyright 2017 Quintin Fortune
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Lilith walked down the grand skeletal hallway that led to Lord Enki. The remains of countless millions of fallen warriors lined the walls, standing like morbid pillars. The oversized doors opened by themselves, unseen spirits pulling them away. Upon a massive throne of bone sat a man who looked older than time itself. Between the white robes and the long white hair and beard, it was hard to tell there was even a man underneath it all.
She stopped just short of the pit of burning violet fire. It was called the Flame of Souls, and it burned where multiple ley lines intersected. The Halls of the NecroShip was built deep in the earth, close to the source of this flame, when the city was founded. Lord Enki was old even then.
“Your lordship,” she greeted, bowing deeply. “How may I, a humble necromancer, aid you?”
“Rise, Lady Lilith,” he replied, his ancient voice barely above a whisper. “I wish to speak with you of a matter that has come to my attention.”
A breath stopped in her throat. “He knows about Deadguy,” she panicked silently.
“What do you know of the Bound Nine,” he questioned.
Lilith thought for a moment. “They are nine souls that have committed great atrocities in their life. Too corrupt for a better life. Too dangerous to be sent to any Underworld. Not allowed to be reincarnated.”
“I see living in the library has done some good,” Lord Enki said with a raspy chuckle.
She relaxed a bit. “My lord seems to be in a jesting mood,” she remarked.
“Unfortunately, what has happened is no jesting matter,” he replied sharply. “The Bound Nine have been freed.”
Lilith’s eyes grew wide. “Who would dare do such a thing?”
“That is for you to find out,” Lord Enki commanded. “We need discretion in this matter, and you came with the highest of recommendations.”
“Whom, my lord?”
“Your brother, of course. Now, off you go. Time is precious in this matter.” Lilith spun around and began to leave. As she reached the doors, he added “And, in the matter of this ‘Dead Guy’…”
She froze. “Y-yes, My Lord?”
“Make sure he doesn’t cause too much damage.”
“Okay…what does that even mean,” Deadguy asked. He sat in his worn recliner, listening to Lilith’s story. She sat on his couch, a pile of graphic novels pushed to the side.
“It means that I’m right and Lord Enki knows you’re not the Dead One,” she explained.
Our Hero glared at her. It was far too early in the morning for him. “How kind of him, but that’s not what I meant. Who or what are the Bound Nine?”
The necromancer looked at him, confused. “I just said. Nine souls that are too dangerous, too unstable to go into any afterlife.”
“But who are they?”
“They are…the souls of bad men. Men that have caused great travesties upon humanity. Men that…” She stopped, trying to figure out what to say next. “They would be volatile in any sort of ‘darker’ underworld and any sort of paradise afterlife would automatically reject them. We couldn’t just let them roam the earth, so we trapped them in specially crafted soul crystals and bound them deep in the crypt.”
“Not deep enough,” Our Hero remarked.
“If they souls got out,” she continued, unfazed. “They would corrupt those that are most like them, causing them to become even darker forms of themselves.
“Wait, does that mean the current-” he started to ask.
“No,” Lilith cut him off. “That’s all natural.”
“That’s just horrifying, but not important. Who do we go after first?”
“That’s the problem, they’re all top priority,” she explained. “All equally dangerous.”
“Right. Then who’s the closest to us?”
Lilith pulled Gregory from out of her cloak. “Gregory,” she asked sweetly. “Where’s the nearest of the Bound Nine?”
Lilith forced a smile. “Gregory. We’re not doing this again.”
“Technical difficulties,” DG questioned.
“No no,” the necromancer defended. “Just need to get a few things straight.” She shook the skull. “Cooperate,” she growled through gritted teeth.
“Good. Now, who’s first?”
“Lead the way, the necromancer instructed as Deadguy grabbed his long coat.
Kiri Fairchild took off her glasses to take a closer look at the scrolling program text. Something was off, but she couldn’t make out what. Overnight, there had been nine massive spikes of energy around the city. Some where in prominent locations, other were not. It didn’t make any sense.
With a few key strokes, she pulled up the locations in question. She was going to send out a few Professional Heroes to investigate these locations and see what was happening.
A globe of golden energy floated up from the man as he laid on a pile of change. Lilith quickly pulled out an equally golden crystal and chanted a quick incantation. The gold energy tried to escape, but was dragged into the crystal by unseen forces. “That’s one,” she said with a smile.
Deadguy threw a few punches. “That wasn’t so bad,” he remarked.
“We caught it relatively early,” Lilith responded. “The longer the remained souls are out there, the stronger they become.”
“Then ask your Garlic speaking skull who’s next.”
“Not now, Gregory,” Lilith scolded. “Just tell us where the next soul is.”
Kiri ran out of the elevator before it could completely open. Down the hallway she raced, heading directly to Jill’s Executive Office. “Excuse me,” the administrative assistant called out.
“No time Jimmy,” the Techie exclaimed as she barreled through the double doors. She found her boss talking to a woman with black hair. “Boos, we have a-” she stopped once the other woman turned to face her.
It was Genia Lee.
“Um, what,” Kiri questioned out loud.
“Something wrong, Miss Fairchild,” Jill questioned.
“Yeah…what is she doing here?”
“There are deals between ZioTech Industries and Professional Heroes Incorporated that can be beneficial to both parties,” she answered curtly.
“Okay, fine. Anyway, I’ve gotten some information that doesn’t make any sense,” the Techie reported. “These energy spikes popped up overnight, but one was just snuffed out-”
“Does this require my immediate attention,” Jill asked, cutting her off.
Kiri was caught off-guard. “Noooo,” she replied slowly. “I just thought…we might need to…look into it…”
“You can handle it then,” Jill ordered, waving her off.
Kiri was shocked for a moment, leaving the room. ‘What has gotten into her,’ she thought. ‘A few months ago, she would be up and out the door before I finished explaining.’ She was so lost in though that she ended up slamming headfirst into Valkadaidan.
“Ow,” she squealed, holding her forehead. “It’s like hitting a brick wall.” As she rubbed her head, it felt like a fog was lifting. Like something was losing it’s grip on her. “Valk, you need to watch where I’m going,” she fussed.
Valkadaidan just glared at her, then walked off.
“What’s gotten into him?”
Deadguy ducked from the knife attack. He and Lilith were locked in a fight with a pair of red-headed twins. The necromancer was using the spirits of the dead to hold off her attacker. Our Hero wished he could do the same. Instead, he threw a punch into his opponent’s stomach. The blow knocked the wind out of him. He followed it up with a strong left hook, knocking the man out.
He looked back over to see several ghostly fists hitting the other twin’s face and upper body. The twin crumpled to the floor. Two small burgundy spheres floated up from their unconscious bodies. It formed into one and tried to fly away. Lilith whipped out another crystal and captured it before it could get away. “That was a workout,” she stated.
“That was only the second one,” DG remarked. “Don’t tell me you’re getting tired already?”
The necromancer glared at him, then pulled out Gregory. “Where to next?”
“Vanity,” Lilith relayed to Deadguy.
“Vanity, we celebrate, my favorite of sins,” DG remarked.
“I seriously need to sit you down to listen to my Kamelot catalog,” he stated.
Kiri sat in her office, dumbstruck. What was going on? Why was Jill consorting with our enemy? Why was Valk giving everyone the silent treatment? She needed to get to the bottom of this. Her stomach grumbled. “But first, lunch,” she thought to herself.
Deadguy and Lilith sat patiently as the local news personality Chuck Demut sat in the makeup chair. A makeup artist tried her best to hide all the signs of aging from the man’s face. “It’s always nice to meet a fellow news maker,” Chuck said to Our Hero.
“Sometimes it’s not by choice,” DG defended. “What with all the fighting and explosions and minotaurs.”
Chuck turned in his chair, a look of surprised shock on his face. “I reported on that battle,” he announced. “I was right in the middle of it all.”
Both Deadguy and Lilith raised an eyebrow. “Where,” they asked at the same time.
The newscaster turned back to the mirror. He looked hurt. “It felt like I was there,” he grumbled.
“Let’s just nab the soul and go,” Our Hero whispered.
“Not while the makeup artist is here,” she whispered back.
As if on cue, the makeup artist left in a huff. The three were alone. “So, how long have you been a fan of mine,” Chuck asked.
“Long enough to get here,” Deadguy replied.
Lilith pulled out another crystal and began to chant.
“Huh,” the newscaster questioned. His body suddenly seized. It began to shake and convulse. His mouth began to foam. A violet sphere slowly pulled away from his chest. He collapsed in his chair as the soul was dragged into the crystal.
“I was expecting at least a little bit of a fight,” Our Hero said.
A long, loud fart erupted from Chuck.
The two quickly fled the room.
Kiri sat at the bench in an open-air artist display that littered the city. The structure before her was four steel beams made into a three-dimensional X. She somberly hovered her chopsticks over her store-bought sushi. The clouds in her mind had cleared, and she knew something was happening with Jill and Valk. Her mind was brought back to the present when there was a loud CRASH that pulled everyone’s attention. She looked over to see a massive man dressed as a football player charging through a building. Deadguy was on his back, trying to hold onto the helmet. Behind them was a woman in a black cloak.
She quickly threw her lunch away and grabbed her Shock-Ra bracelets from her purse. “Time to get to work,” she muttered as she ran off to join them.
Deadguy gripped the sides of Rampage’s helmet, trying his best to at least steer the unstoppable human train wreck. “Have you ever thought about doing something more constructive with your abilities,” he asked.
“With my felony record,” Rampage shot back, smashing through a concrete bench.
“There’s websites that can help with that,” DG replied, pulling to the left to prevent the armored antagonist from hitting a city bus. The two instead crashed through a glass bus stop.
Rampage reached back and grabbed Deadguy’s head. He pulled the Hero off and slammed him on the ground. He was about to stomp on his head when a massive shock of electricity shot through him.
“Who…” Rampage roared, turning to see Kiri standing behind him. She gave a small wave and a cute smile. He was about to attack when a shot of purple energy. The attack caused him to fall to one knee.
Deadguy quickly ripped Rampage’s helmet off and knocked him out with one punch. The behemoth fell like a tree. The necromancer began her incantation, causing a crimson-colored orb to rip away from him.
Lilith held out a crystal, trapping the crimson soul inside. Deadguy and Kiri stood a few feet apart from each other. Our Hero had his arms crossed. The Techie looked like a child about to be scolded by a parent. They stared each other down. A smirk twitched onto Deadguy’s face. He started to laugh. Kiri began to laugh as well. The two Heroes joyfully hugged each other.
The necromancer politely cleared her throat.
“Right,” DG said. “You remember Lilith?”
“I remember,” Kiri replied.
Deadguy gently nudged Kiri’s head up. “Eyes are up there,” he stated.
Lilith ignored this. “Thank you Kiri, for aiding us,” she said.
“Sooo, what’s going on?”
“Deadguy and I are hunting down the Bound Nine,” the necromancer explained.
“Nine souls that shouldn’t be here,” Our Hero explained.
“Which means the more time we waste talking, the more powerful they become,” Lilith remarked. She held up Gregory. “Where to next?”
“It talks,” Kiri squeaked.
“What did it just say,” she asked Our Hero.
“Not a clue,” he replied. “The subtitles are going by too fast.”
“He’s Gregory. We’re going after Passive next,” Lilith huffed. “Any other questions?”
Kiri raised her hand.
“Can I come along?”
The necromancer threw her hands up in defeat. “Yes. Fine. Whatever.”
The Heroes tried to forge their way through a hoarder’s paradise. Newspaper and magazines from the past fifty years were stacked from floor to ceiling. Empty cups and bags from many fast food restaurants, some long out of business, lined the hallways like paper and plastic sentries. Insects of various types scurried and flew, unaware of their long dead brethren. Tattered remains of wallpaper clung in places.
“Deadguy,” Lilith called out, her voice muffled by her hand over her nose and mouth. “Why are you narrating?”
“Not a clue,” Our Hero responded. “Hey Kiri? You find anything?”
“Yeah,” came a reply from somewhere above them. “Think I found where all those missing socks went.”
“Where are you,” the necromancer questioned.
Deadguy and Lilith looked up to see a giant hole in the hallway ceiling. Kiri was peering down, her Mecha Maiden helmet on her head. She smiled and waved.
“That’s cheating,” DG remarked.
“What? The helmet or my mad ninja skills?”
Deadguy made a face that showed his annoyed disapproval, then continued after Lilith. “Are we sure whoever lives here is still here,” he questioned.
“I didn’t detect any spirits outside of the one we’re looking for,” she answered. “Tam Williams is the only resident here, and he is still alive.”
“If you can call this living,” he remarked, trying to step through stack of news magazine criticizing Ronald Reagan’s first term in office. “It feels more like entombed.
Snoring came from somewhere near the back of the townhouse. The sound of Kiri crashing through the ceiling soon followed. The two rushed to find Kiri getting up while a rather large individual was laying out on a couch with the television blaring.
“That Tam,” Deadguy asked.
“I presume so,” Lilith replied.
Tam woke up and watched the television, completely oblivious to the Heroes.
“I thought you said we were looking for a guy,” Our Hero whispered.
“Are you sure it’s not,” Lilith whispered back.
“Nope. Her name’s Tammy,” Kiri answered, looking over an expired driver’s license.
“Just put the food on the counter over there,” Tammy grumbled, not taking her eyes off the television.
“Let’s just get what we came for and get out of here,” DG said.
Tammy’s head spun quickly to face them. A look of fury clouded her eyes. “You’re not taking anything from me,” she roared.
“Oh trust me, you don’t want what we’re after,” he replied.
There was a rumbling from deep in the bowels of the pile of human flesh that occupied the couch. “This is mine,” she yelled. Before anyone could react, she was up and charging at Deadguy.
“Gah,” he exclaimed, barely dodging the attack in time.
Tammy slammed into a pile of clothes. “You won’t
“You’re up, Lil,” he stated.
The necromancer pulled out another crystal, calling the beige energy from the woman. “All right. Let’s go.”
“What about Tammy,” Our Hero asked. “We can’t just leave her there.”
“My stuff,” Tammy whimpered, then began to snore.
“Kiri,” Deadguy sighed. “Could you put her back on the sofa, please?”
The Techie was in full Mecha Maiden armor. “On it!”
“We need Lust,” Lilith announced.
Deadguy’s eyes grew wide. “I knew this day would come. I’ll get the wine. Kiri, go grab a Marvin Gaye album.”
“Excuse me,” Kiri protested.
“Fine. You get the wine and I’ll get the album.”
“No,” Lilith said slowly.
The two Heroes looked at each other. “Think she’s more of a Barry White girl,” DG questioned.
“Every girl’s a Barry White girl,” the Techie replied.
“Let’s just go,” the necromancer huffed as she stormed off.
The Heroes found themselves in a run-down apartment building that had been turned into a bordello. A few men guarded the front, their muscles trying hard to break the sleeves of their shirts.
“How many people am I going to have to hit between her and there,” Deadguy questioned.
“All of them,” Kiri answered.
“Aw man. I knew I should have eaten my Wheaties this morning.”
“We will endure,” Lilith remarked, trying to sound encouraging. She walked up towards the building while the two bodyguards began to whistle and catcall her. She simply moved her hands away and the two bodyguards went flying off in those directions.
“This could be fun,” Kiri stated.
“Yeah,” Our Hero agreed before the two rushed of after the necromancer.
The three had a fight on their hands while trying to get from the first floor to the top where the Madam of the bordello resided. As they fought their way up, many of the patrons fled while trying to cover their face but not much else.
A long, grand hallway separated the team from the Madam of the bordello, Vivian. Along that hallway stood several bodyguards, some with weapons. The office door opened and Madam Vivian stepped out. She had blood red hair that was shaved on the sides and a smart gray business suit. “What do you want,” she snarled.
“That’s a long list,” Our Hero stated. “I would Cliffs Note it for ya, but it wouldn’t make any sense. We’ve been at this all day and I’m still confused, honestly.”
Lilith pulled Gregory out of her cloak and began the incantation. The bodyguards moved to attack. Deadguy and Kiri moved to stop them. Punches and kicks were thrown. Bodyguards were flipped or knocked out cold as the necromancer started walking forward, continuing her incantation. One bodyguard lunged at Lilith, but Deadguy crashed a right hook on him. He gut checked the man behind the attacker, knocking the air out of him.
Another bodyguard tried to attack Lilith from behind, but was met with Kiri’s Shock-Ra and a swift kick to the stomach. He was sent crashing into the men behind him.
A deep pink glow began to envelope Madam Vivian. “What…are you…doing,” she strained. The three were almost upon her. The glow began to grow brighter. “Stop it,” she yelled. The remaining bodyguards made a last ditch effort to stop them, but the combined might and finesse of Deadguy and Kiri knocked them away. A deep pink orb of energy pried itself away from the madam. She slumped to the floor, out cold. The orb was sucked into the crystal Lilith held up.
“You always know how to show a girl a good time DeeGee,” Kiri stated, pushing a wild blond curl out of her eyes.
“Yeah, well, remind me never to get in a fight with you,” he remarked.
“Don’t pat yourselves on the backs just yet,” Lilith remarked. She held Gregory and wore a worried expression.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Kiri said, looking up at the concrete building. A banner with the name ‘New Order Nation’ and their eerily familiar symbol underneath “I won’t get in the front door.”
Our Hero was rubbing his fist. “Don’t worry. Once we’re done, they won’t have a front door. Or even a building, for that matter.”
“Explain,” Lilith requested.
“A bunch of racist assholes in one area,” the Techie answered. “And I’m two halves of the races they hate.”
“Then there’s me,” Deadguy added. “No one’s quite sure what race I am.” He cracked his knuckles and tugged his fingerless fighting gloves. “Let’s do some damage.”
Before Lilith could react, Deadguy had already kicked in the door. “Party time, Poozers,” he called out. The few black leather-clad recruiters that sat in the Reception Area shot up in confusion. A few charged at him, ready for a fight.
Kiri bolted in behind him, her Mecha Maiden armor on and firing off streams of electricity. The brawl had spilled out into the hallway behind it as more NON Members spilled out into the battle. Lilith stayed behind a bit, more to scare off the fallen NON Members than anything else.
She looked after the battle, trying to find the one that was inhabited by the soul of Ignorance. Down the hallway and up a flight of stairs stood a clean-cut man with broad shoulders and carried himself with a regal air. She noticed he was more concerned with the battle before him. She pulled out Gregory and focused on him.
“,” the skull remarked.
“We will deal with him when the time comes,” Lilith commented. “Right now…” She began her incantation. The man became rigid as the soul tried to stay inside. His body shook as he pulled something out of his pocket.
“He’s got a trigger,” Kiri called out.
“I didn’t say anything to upset him,” Deadguy replied.
“Not that kind of trigger! A bomb trigger.”
The inky black orb of Ignorance was ripped from the man. He squeezed the trigger as something started erupting from underneath them.
“Bombs,” the Techie called out, reading out the display on her visor. “Lots of bombs.”
“Not the way I usually end a party,” DG remarked. “Time to GTFO!”
The Heroes raced for the exit along with the remaining NON Members. The building exploded, causing a plume of fire and smoke to fly into the afternoon sky. The soul was drawn into the waiting crystal.
The three left the smoldering remains of the New Order Nation building. “That was strangely cathartic,” DG said.
“Yeah, it was,” Kiri agreed. “If that’s the worse, then we’re in the clear.”
Lilith shook her head. “Not even close,” she said. “The last two are the most dangerous souls. The ones that were locked away deeper than the others.”
The three came upon a police barricade erected around a large park. The sounds of screaming and gunfire echoed within. “Are we too late,” Lilith asked.
Deadguy charged into the park. “Not if I have anything to say about it,” he yelled. The ladies quickly followed after him before the police could even react.
Our Hero rushed through the trees to find a scene of mass carnage. Bodies of men, women, and children littered the ground. Some had bullet wounds on their chest, others had them in their backs. In the middle of this slaughter soot a man no taller than five feet with an assault rifle.
Deadguy charged the man, hoping to tackle him before anyone else died. The man spun on his heels and fired off a few shots. The bullets covered Our Hero like a sash. He fell to one knee, trying to hold on to consciousness. “No,” he wheezed. “Not now.” Darkness began to cloud his vision. He clenched his fist as the faint sound of bullets hitting pavement tinged his ears. The wounds healed as his vision cleared.
He stood up and ran at the man again. This time he was able to tackle the attacker and pin him to the ground. Our Hero fought back the urge to strangle this man. “Lilith,” he yelled over his shoulder. “Any time now!”
The man struggled as a flaming orb was pulled from his chest by unseen forces. The orb strongly resisted, but was finally trapped inside the waiting crystal.
“I…have work to do,” the necromancer announced, looking over the massacre.
“Fine by me,” DG stated, plopping down on the ground. “I need a minute anyway.”
Kiri squatted down next to him, clutching her knees with her arms. “You okay,” she asked.
Our Hero shook his head. “We were too late,” he muttered. “If only we had gotten to this bastard first…”
“We would have ended up in this same situation with a different soul,” Kiri commented. “Don’t beat yourself up over it.”
“Well, the guy who caused all this isn’t here to beat up,” Deadguy complained.
The two watched Lilith walk among the dead, using Gregory to help guide the souls of the unfortunate victims to wherever they felt they were meant to go. Kiri plopped down on the ground. She chuckled lightly.
Deadguy turned to her. “What?”
“You,” she answered, a funny smile on her face. “You are so in love with her.”
Our Hero went back to watching the necromancer, arms crossed. “More important matters at hand,” he remarked.
“You can’t lie to me, bitch,” she said, gently pushing him.
Lilith walked up to them before the conversation could continue. “We are almost done with our journey,” she said to them. The skull’s eyes were glowing a bright purple.
“Conquest. The last soul,” Lilith said.
“Good,” DG remarked. “This day has gone to shit quicker than a dog with diarrhea.”
“Gross,” Kiri yelled, acting as if she was about to throw up.
“Anyway,” Deadguy said, ignoring her. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere,” a viperous voice answered. The three turned to see a thin man wearing the same outfit Lilith wore. His long, stringy black hair tried to cover the sides of his gaunt face, but it only served to make him look creepier.
Our Hero leaned over to Lilith. “Who’s he?”
“Agrippa,” she called out to the fellow necromancer.
“Hello Lilith,” Agrippa replied, giving an unnerving smile. “My, how you have grown.”
“Anyone else getting ‘child molester’ vibes from this jerk,” Deadguy questioned.
“I can scan him and find out,” Kiri replied, aiming her gauntlet blaster at him.
Lilith reached over and gently pushed her arm back down. “We police ourselves,” she said.
“Enough,” Agrippa yelled. “You have undone my plans, and I am here to put a stop to it.”
Deadguy and Kiri stepped in front of Lilith, ready for a fight. “You sound like something out of a comic book,” he stated.
With a wave of his hand, Agrippa knocked the two Heroes away. The two necromancers remained, staring each other down. Agrippa pulled out a demonic skull from his cloak and started to chant an incantation. Lilith readied Gregory and began her own incantation. Pressure began to build as the two began collecting energy.
Deadguy and Kiri gathered together. “He’s pretty strong,” DG commented.
“Powerful,” Kiri agreed.
He found a branch laying on the ground. It had a few dog bite marks on it. “Let’s poke it with a stick,” he said with an Australian accent. He snuck around behind Agrippa and poked him in the ribs.
“What are you-” Agrippa growled. His question was cut short as Lilith quickly leveled him with a shot of necromantic energy. A snap of her fingers caused spectral hands to shoot out of the ground and pin Agrippa down.
“Time to end this,” she said darkly. She began her incantation, ripping out the royal purple orb from the necromancer’s body. It entered the crystal, ending the quest. Lilith put the crystal with the others and started to walk away. The earth opened up as the spectral arms dragged Agrippa in, taking him back to the NecroShip for punishment.
“Hey, Lil,” Deadguy called out, running after her. She looked back, a pained expression on her face. “You alright?”
“Yes. Fine,” she covered. “Just…I was hoping not to face him again.”
Our Hero raised an eyebrow.
“When I was Thirteen, he started making advances at me. Tried to get me alone with him.”
Deadguy’s eyes grew wide. “What happened?”
“Azrael,” she replied flatly. “He set that pervert in his place. An impotence spell helped.”
“Oh. Wow. Now I feel bad.”
Lilith shrugged. “It’s okay. I’ll see you later.”
The two parted ways, with Deadguy retuning to Kiri. “Aw, she’s not joining us,” the Techie asked.
“She’ll come find us when she needs us,” DG replied.
There was a loud grumble coming from Kiri’s stomach. “Um, can we talk about this over food?”
Deadguy chuckled, throwing his arm over her shoulders. “Come on, let’s hit up that 24 hour Chinese buffet over on Yuan,” he suggested.