2019-11-14 - The Devil's River Part I: Leaks in the Dam


Tragedy at an apartment complex leads to dark dealings and sinister omens.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Nov 14 00:39:00 2019
Location: Upper West Side

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The Henson Building is a mid-range apartment complex in a relatively affluent part of the city, the kind of place that has a doorman, building councils regulating how you can decorate your door at holidays and the kind of rents that make it unattainable from anyone making less than a middling six figures a year. It isn't the kind of place used to trouble. It isn't a place that sees a lot of death, other than the elderly folks passing away in luxury on the rent-controlled floors.

This bourgeouis luxury makes it all the more shocking when the bodies start to fall. Two from the fifteenth floor. THree from the sixth. Another on the ninth. Shattering glass and plunging to the street below, one after another, only a few minutes apart, one after the other. Horrifying enough as it is.

Made more horrifying when men in masks emerge from the surrounding alleyways. Clad in black ceremonial costumes, trimmed in crimson, with masks depicting twisted, demonic visages, they descend on the fallen with knives and begin to carve into them for purposes unknown.

Alarms go off. Signals are scent. For those mystically inclined, a demonic aura, a resonance, an absolute pulse, begins to emanate from the place. The cultists take the blood of the fallen and begin to make a circle around the building, warding it off and protecting them from interruption as they begin their sinister work, whatever it may be.

Within the depths of the building, the author of this particular horror smiles and continues his work, walking the hallways slowly in communion with his own master.


Angela Carpenter wasn't really expecting much of anything to be happening this evening. But then, the minions of Hell are never that polite, as she feels the demonic intrusion and ritual like a stabbing wound in her soul. Which means that she's going to be going back to her old job…

Soon, the angel is clad in gleaming armor, feathered wings carrying her towards the source of this blight as her hair seems wreathed in fire, eyes burning for vengeance against the source of this madness.


From the shadows in one of the alleys, a tall blonde woman with steely grey eyes emerges. At her side, an enormous wolf with a slightly curly coat. "What's going on here, Cuan? We were supposed to return to the house …" she murmurs. The wolf turns it shaggy head towards her and sort of rolls its eyes.

FATE has intervened yet again with Astryds travel through the Underworlds.

"This isn't good. On guard." She tells the wolf as she takes the pin from her hair - a pin that turns into a sword and shield.

"Excuse me?" She asks the first cultist she comes upon. "Would you mind explaining what you're doing?" Fenris will roll his eyes at her cavalier approach.


The symbolism of falling from the heavens isn't lost on Zatanna, and in magic, symbolism is everything. She wishes she had time to research the Henson building, because the location means something. The victims definitely aren't being chosen for their innocence. Zatanna, comfortably wealthy herself, is very aware no one gets rich while maintaining innocence. Revenge, maybe? Cursing the souls of the fallen?

There's no point buying an engagement ring for a theory yet, though. For now, it's enough to focus on steering the flying carpet through the city streets. She's in her work clothes (with thigh-high boots this time: she has learned about fighting crime in a bikini bottom and fishnets in late autumn), shielded from direct view by a cloud enclosing her, silver-black and pregnant with impending rain, though any fool would notice the cloud moving much too fast, and against the wind. No one outside the magic world needs to know Zatanna is here, and also the cloud has a secondary benefit of being a great source of lightning, heaven's perfected fire.

Like she said, symbolism is everything in magic.


Raven, dressed in her black hooded regalia (http://i.imgur.com/aALtJWl.png) — though she's long-since replaced the fishnets with stretchy black leggings that make her harder to see at night — steps out of a portal that closes up behind her almost instantly. The chill air of dusk doesn't appear to bother her as a stiff wind sweeps down the street as she keeps walking, without pause. Stephen told her where to go and his portal put her nearby, but she wanted some distance to allow herself to adjust to whatever psychic grossness there might be. The last time she came up against one of this demon's underlings, it left her feeling like she'd taken a dip in raw sewage. She wasn't prepared, then. But, she is, now.

The light grows dimmer as she strides purposefully toward the ick that she senses, beginning to catch sight of the defiled bodies, carved into by the followers and cultists that work diligently to create a warding circle. She gets close. But, not so close that she can't withdraw, if necessary. She's there to investigate and keep tabs. Well, that's what her orders were. She's not sure if she'll need to engage, but she's leaving the possibility open. Slinking in the shadows of growing evening, she quietly takes note of the less stealthy arrivals of others, drawn to the nastiness for reasons of their own. Flame-haired, winged angel in armor. A lady on a flying carpet. And, finally, another woman— this one is accompanied by a giant wolf— who just directly approaches a filth cultist. Raven's upper lip curls at the fetid air she is surrounded by, likely not sensed by the others. She waits. She watches. She senses and monitors.


The ceremonial minions seem fairly focused on their work. They roll the crumpled bodies onto their back and cut open their clothes, exposing skin spanning the shoulder blades and down to their waist. Then they begin cutting, razor-sharp blades, rune-marked, slicing down the length of their spine. Another holds a small object, in a simple burlap sack, cradled in hand and, when the cuts are made, shoved inside the body.

One looks up from his bloody work, as dusk begins to settle in, casting colors in ruby and tangerine at the horizon while darkness starts to steal the light from the sky.

"Moondark," he says. "Moondark." And then he'll lunge at Astryd with that ceremonial blade.

Angela's arrival is striking and, of course, draws attention, as the few civilians passing by begin to take their leave and run for it. The minions don't seem formidable enough to provide a challenge to her. Unfortunately, the first body seems to have undergone whatever transformation it intended as it rises from the dead, lurching on broken bones and shattered flesh back to its feet. An older woman, clad in pearls and Michael Kors fashion, her injuries have healed but in the position they were in leaving her neck broken and sideways, an arm turned sideways, spine serpentined. Her eyes glow and something can be seen in her mouth, something alive, something writhing.

"MOOOOONDAARRRRK." it says as it suddenly charges, moving with a shocking alacrity as it throws itself at Angela.

For the moment, Zatanna and Raven are both unnoticed by the minions, as of yet, but both have the sensitivities necessarily to feel an astral flicker as something, somewhere, takes note of them. And Raven's empathic senses will let her feel a stronger psychic signature inside, a powerful force that's radiating hatred and casting its consciousness outward in miasma of influence.


The angel lands then, no chorus of trumpets or anything so dramatic, though the fiery halo still crowns her hair, her eyes glowing with the same divine light. When the former woman-turned-demonic-minion charges at her, she draws her swords with blinding speed, flames alighting on the edges as she slices at her would-be attacker. The flames on her blades glow almost blue-white from the presence of such palpable evil, reflecting eerily against her armor.


"Oh really. This will be fun…" Astryd's arming sword comes to parry the ceremonial dagger. Her shield bashes out to hit at the cultist to push him back. "No, the moon isn't dark. I think you need to get your eyes checked."

Cuan retreats to the edge of things and gives Astryd room, waiting for an opening to assist her. Or not.


Zatanna's cloud zooms down from the sky, cartoonish in its cohesion, luminescent with power. It stops twenty feet off the groundno reason for people to not see what she's doing and be suitably afraidand she rises to it, the flying carpet stiff enough to support her like solid ground despite her heels. She points her wand down at the cultists and says very clearly, very coldly, "Gninthgil ekirts kcalb snaicigam." There's a smell of ozone; hairs raise within ten yards as if to greet the sky; crooked bolts of blue-white light lance down, sounding with surprisingly loud snaps that are then drowned out by the peals of thunder as superheated air collapses back in on itself.

Zatanna doesn't put a ton of power into those bolts. She's not ready to become a killer just yet. But if any of the murderers find themselves with stopped hearts or bones broken by their own electric convulsions, well, tough. You reap what you sow.


Raven watches as Angela's fiery sword swings on the cultist, almost in sync with the swift response from Astryd's dagger-wielding hand and shield. However, Zatanna's cloud moves closer still, though decently high in the air, and that has the lavender-hued eyes' focus for the time being. There's a part of her that is truly repulsed by the psychic boil that squats deep within the building itself, casting its tendrils of seeking in her direction, leaving ichor-like psychic slimetrails on her soul-self. Or, that's how it feels, to Rachel. She bites back a shudder and refocuses her attention on what's happening, which is punctuated by the sudden volley of lightning bolts crackling down from nowhere. The sound, being so close to the claps of thunder that accompany them, is almost deafening. She wasn't prepared for that, and she instinctively claps her hands to her ears as she winces in discomfort.


The bolts rain down, scattering a few minions and frying at least one enough that he flies comically up in the air, shoes left behind and smoking as he lands in a jittering spasm of agony. Astryd isn't deeply threatened by the cultist, who seems fanatical but not particularly skilled, face hidden behind a yellow horrorshow mask as he bashes at her shield uselessly with his dagger.

Angela's blades slice deep into the resurrected being, the rictus of Madeleine Westerberg's horrified face made more horrifying as she blows fetid breath across the angel, a scream of horror arising as the blade rips through her body and then she unleashes, vomiting a fecund and fetid ichor from her throat in a column, blasting at Angela with its tarlike structure, burning like acid.

Raven will find something in that darkness recognizing her and reaching back, trying to draw her empathic self in, a tug at the devilish soul-self within her, like attracting to like, a magnetic pull that tries to draw her into the building itself. Whether she'll be able to resist is uncertain, but it will require an act of will to keep her feet from carrying her there.

And more of the bodies rise, the minions having at least done their work on four bodies total, all of them now rising up as broken, sickening revenants looking for victims.


Athanasia manages to get one armored wing up to block the acidic breath. Unlike the miasma of psychic energy, she's a beacon of light and fire burning in the heart of this. Wincing as the vile ichor burns into her wing, she lashes out with her fiery blade, neatly lopping off poor Madeleine Westerberg's head.

That done, she looks up towards the thunder and lightning, then smiles slightly, "Don't suppose you have any rain to go with that… it stings quite a bit there." She doesn't look too badly hurt yet, but she's not going to be flying at full speed anytime soon.


"Enough." Astryd spins, bringing the hilt of her sword to bear on the poor cultists head. That should knock him out - she hopes - and let her deal with some of the others.

She's a bit of a fury with her sword and shield. A trained warrior with a millenia of experience.

As she fights, her own inate power reaches to find the spirits of the fallen. Trying to gather them to her.


Zatanna is grimly satisfied with the results of her attack. She drops the cloud down ground level, its boiling energy dissipating as she lands, revealing Zatanna as if she was stepping onto stage. In a way, she is. She steps off the rug and onto the pavement toward Athanasia, shaking her head; the gesture reveals her hair is no longer hair at all, but a swath of night hanging down to her shoulders, strangely colored alien stars glittering on the other end of the portal.

"Never use water on acid," she tells Athanasia, and points her wand at the sizzling feathers. "Dica emoceb rageniv," she commands it. It's not the nicest spell (or the nicest smell), but it's a great neutralizing effect for most acids.

Most. Here's hoping.


Rachel's a bit dazed in the aftermath of the chorus of thunderclaps and she finds her feet slowly taking her toward the building, toward the filth at the center of it. She grimaces and slows her progress with a stubborn determination… But, she is reminded of her instructions. Investigate, observe, inform me if things start getting out-of-hand. She exhales and stretches the tension from her shoulders as she resumes her slow approach to the building. In the background, cultists are falling, acid is being vomited, then it's being neutralized by magic incantation, and who knows if anyone notices the slight, stealthy figure heading toward the building's entrance…


Astryd will make relatively short work of the minions who dare come her way, letting her take a few more down and leave them laying in her wake. One of the masks falls off and reveals one to be a young woman, her eyes rolled back in her head and showing white as she mumbles to herself, left bleeding by the valkyrie warrior as she babbles incoherent words. At least, to those who don't speak the language.

Zatanna's intervention does its good work, affecting not only the beast impaled by Angela's blades but also the newcomers, who had begun to add their own fountaining spurts of ichor to the fray. Of course, it still stinks pretty bad, the place smelling like a pickle festival from hell with all that vinegar around. At least one seems to sense where the intervention is coming and there's a rip as this one, an Asian man in a three piece suit, his jaw dangling by a string of meat from his head, has his ribcage tear from his back, flaps of skin forming wings as he rises to try and fly up and attack Zatanna.

The first beast has fallen before Angela and, as it crumples, its chest opens and a half dozen gremlin-esque little demons rip out of the slit in its back and scamper off, scattering in all directions.

One of the remaining starts to leap at Raven but stops suddenly, staring her down and slowly backing away, leaving her to continue shuffling towards the building. Rachel can feel the presence she sensed coming towards the front doors coming towards her…


Athanasia flashes a quick grin to Zatanna, "My thanks… watch out!" With that, she leaps into the air, intercepting the flying demon-possessed corpse and neatly snapping her flaming blades through its neck and wing, taking it out before it gets too close to the magician.

She then looks back towards Zatanna, hovering in the air as she says, "Do you know what caused this? I can sense the evil here too easily, but why this place?"


"Babylonian?" Astryd glances down at the woman, frowning. "The flood? The flood of what …" She's fairly certain they don't mean some water based things. "There are no spirits of the fallen." That's said loud enough for the others to hear.

"They have harvested or bound them…" Which does not please the Choser the Slain at all.

"Who is controlling them …."

Her eyes turn to the others and the door to the building, joining the fracas that ensues there.


Are these things undead or reanimated? It's a suddenly important question to Zatanna, whose magic doesn't work on living tissue. She has time to whip out a spell, but the sudden attack has narrowed her focus so much (read: startled her so much) she can't think of a quick way to use the environment to attack her enemy, which means if she guesses wrong about it being undead…

Better not to take the chance. She hurls herself onto the ground, landing on her left side, keeping her heart to the cement, right arm raised in a guard position, right leg cocked for a piston kick that proves entirely unnecessary. Well, better safe than sorry, she muses to herself as she collects her top hat from the ground and springs back to her feet nonchalantly, rolling the hat on its brim along her fingers so it looks like it's dancing its way back atop her head.

"I don't know yet, but for as long as people have been buried with their valuables, necromancy has been associated with greed and wealth. This is a wealthy place, so it could be for the resonance, or it could be as a sacrifice to a greed demon, or it could be cover to just rob the place." She shrugs. "Feel free to beat it out of one of the cultists…" She trails off as she thinks perhaps she spots one, certainly black enough to be one… but why didn't the lightning strike her? New arrival? Shielded from spells? Or a book that shouldn't be judged by its cover?

One way to find out. Zatanna trots over to the young woman the demoncorpse seems so deferential toward, wand raised in preparation for a less permissive greeting from the new doorman.


Rachel feels sick. Like, physically ill. Nauseated to the point that she's sweating a bit, the sheen of it making her forehead damp, though still hidden in the depths of the hood of her working suit. The cloying scent in the air that, likely, no one else can smell, is sickly sweet…the smell of infection, and it has her tongue thick in her mouth, her throat tight. It's getting worse, the closer she gets to the door, to the being that is coming closer to her. It's probably entirely psychic in nature, but, for Raven, it's as plain as the corpses that litter the area — the smell, the sensation, the ick. She gulps back an intense urge to retch as she grips the handle of the door. Zatanna can see her from behind, the outline of her black-clad figure, as she begins to open the door.


The doors swing open and the man that emerges is unusual to say the least. He wears a long cloak, black velvet and trimmed in gold, the hood pulled back to reveal his visage. He's gaunt and pale, with long, greasy hair and a thick Van Dyke that curls at the corners of his mouth. His eyes have gone as yellow as the lining of his cloak and, in the center of his forehead, an emblem of a crescent moon, turned sideways like a horseshoe, glows with an eerie light. Around his throat, dangling, an amulet emblazoned with an emblem ( http://www.empireamulets.com/uploads/2/6/0/4/26044055/bael1_orig.jpg ) lays against his chest.

"MOONDARK! MOONDARK!" cry the remaining cultists and revenants.

He spreads his hands out and has eyes only for Rachel as he steps down, approaching her. His foul influence lays over her, blinding her to any outreach from the others, the attention of all the monstrosities turned towards this man, enough to leave them easily vulnerable to any blows from the heroes.

"Greetings to you, Principessa," he says to Rachel. "Long you are lost, little sheep, but the shepherd calls."

Behind the others, something in the air starts to howl and vibrate and space-time itself swirls and cracks, a sigil manifesting in radiant light, cracking open a pathway through which a figure steps, crimson-cloaked, formidable and furious, a glowing eye of cosmic truth shining at his throat.

"Step away from my apprentice, diabolist, in the name of the Vishanti and under the authority of the Sorceror Supreme."


Athanasia isn't exactly up to date on the Sorcerer Supremes, though she does recognize the title at least. And since he's here to deal with the main cultist, well, there's a whole lot of cultists and revenants that need to be dealt with.

And well, she hasn't been an angel of vengeance for nine thousand years, but it's like riding a bicycle. You never really forget, as she starts carving a righteously vengeful path through the revenants, focusing on them as she's fairly confident that Zatanna can handle the cultists.

Even through the decimation of the revanants, the angel's purity shines bright, a stark contrast to the dark psychic miasma surrounding her in this place, as it threatens to burn it clean.


"I think that might be your answer." The steely eyed blonde mutters to Zatanna, raising her sword at pointing at the … wizard? Cos Player? No, not the latter, she's sure.

"Release the spirits of those you have bound and let them pass over. They are not yours to control or to keep." As Stranges voice sounds out, the Valkyr steps up beside Rachel, swatting away the cultists and revenants that come at her.


|ROLL| Zatanna Zatara +rolls 1d20 for: 10


Lost sheep? Not a lamb, for reasons that seem obvious but are nevertheless probably important. Zatanna recognizes Stephen Strangewho in her line of work wouldn't?and does her best to ignore the impulse to one-up him… or at least to pretend she's ignoring the urge to one-up him as she points her wand at the cultists' ringleader and declares, "S'tsitluc dooh sgag sih htuom!" His hood blows off his head as if in a high wind and winds around his mouth like a bandanna around an outlaw's face, like a snake around a mouse.

"I'm sorry, were you saying something? I couldn't hear you over your mom's Kylo Ren cosplay outfit," she jeers. Her wand vanishes from her handnot magically, that's just some sleight of handas she stalks forward. Something about this monster trying to attack Raven has her hackles up, and she very much wants to put her hands on this cultist.


Rachel's steps slowly plod backwards as the doors open and reveal the diabolist — perhaps called Moondark? — in his entirety. Her eyes lid unsteadily as she struggles to remain conscious in the face of the swell of unholy aura that blossoms out and envelops her. She stumbles backward in slow motion — or, so it seems to her. His voice, oily and intense, echoes in her ears as he welcomes her, beckons her to him.

And, then, Doctor Strange is there in all of his glory, mystickal energies bright and flashing, lighting up the night, eldritch winds swirling and snapping his hair and cape. Rachel hears his voice, cutting through the thick fog in her mind, and she gathers herself for one last action… With a deep exhalation, she collects her intent inside her core and sends it blasting out of her body. Before everyone's eyes, Raven's soul-self comes bursting out of her body with a harsh, ominous cawing — a gigantic black raven with glinting purple eyes — and it divebombs the now-gagged diabolist, crashing through his body and circling to make rounds through any nearby reanimated corpses or cultists it can feasibly reach in the graceful motion. Raven's body, however, collapses on the concrete.


Moondark, for that is, indeed, his name, begins to answer Strange's demand, "You do not command me, Strange! I serve a greater master, one to whom you, too, shall bow as he comes. The Flood shall rise! The Devil's River shifts its course and—MMMMMMMMMMMMMPH!" he cries out as Zatanna's spell strikes, gagging him.

That distraction comes at the best possible time as Raven unleashes her soul self. He hadn't expected attack from that quarter, having mistakenly believed he had Rachel fully under his sway. The empathic and spiritual attack of the mystickal raven tearing through him shatters his concentration, breaks his control.

Whatever had been sparking life into the revenants seems to die. The cultists fall to their knees, weeping as they suddenly realize what they've done. Later reports will reveal that they were the loved one s of those who came from those windows, sons and daughters, husbands and wives. They did not know what they had become.

And, from Astryd's point of view, there's a cracking of the abyss at the center of these beings as the ragged spirits of the slain return from the bellies of the devils that had devoured them.

Strange, for his part, flies to Rachel, the Cloak of Levitation billowing to protect them both as he raises blue eyes clouded with rage, "Fiend!" he cries and raises his hand, scrawling syllables of Hermetic Enochian erupting from his tongue and summoning the Bands of Cytorrak, crimson power wrapping around his limbs and drawing him spread eagle with unbreakable strength.


"Nicely done…" Astryd murmurs to Raven, calling the released spirits to her. The etheral essence swirls around the Valkyr as they gather. "You can rest soon … " she promises them. "For now, seek your vengence …"

With a pointed finger at the now crimson bound caster.


The angel stops, as the revenants collapse right in the middle of her righteous smite. A bit anticlimatic, but she doesn't seem to mind as she glances at the wizards with a bit of a raised eyebrow.

Then she sheathes her blades, absently shaking her wings free of the vinegar with a rustling of feathers as she looks pretty much recovered from the earlier blast. She looks over at Astryd and smiles faintly, "No argument from me on that score." A slight chuckle, as she glances around the room, studying it with an almost clinical air.


Fighting in heels is hard but can be done. Zatanna certainly has enough practice. It helps that the sorcerer is bound in crimson bands, to a frankly unsporting degree, but she is not concerned with giving her enemy a fair chance. She aims for a spot an inch behind his left temple and drives her knuckles into it from the shoulder, fist twisting in midair for a little extra force. The impact jars her wrist even through the padding of her gloves, but in her anger, even her pain is satisfying.


Rachel's body is limp and lifeless-seeming, in Stephen's arms, protected by both his body and the mystickal cape. Her soul-self, though, is soaring majestically in the area, cawing imperiously. Its eyes, which glowed with purple light when it attacked the diabolist Moondark, are now black and glittering in the moonlight; they overlook the scene as the freed people weep and moan over the things they were forced to do. Raven's raven perches nearby, ruffling its wings before settling, watching, waiting for an opportunity to attack, again.


Moondark finds himself gripped by the unbreakable Bands of Cyttorak, the raging red energy of it drawn from a god of chaos, indestructible to all but the most powerful magicks. Zatanna's blow just adds insult to injury, made worse as the spirits of the slain begin to attack him at Astryd's command.

Strange is about to add his own compulsion to it when suddenly the amulet on Moondark's chest breaks in twain. From the crack, demons swarm. Implings, goblins, pestilential things, all of them pouring out like salamanders, oozing slime. And they start to devour the man whole, taking him like prianha, eating his flesh and tearing it apart, swallowing him bit by bit as he howls in agony, his face a rictus of pain. Strange tries to close the portal in the broken amulet but it's too late as the demons begin to flee again, each of them with a piece of meat in their gullet. "Who is your master?" he cries at last and Moondark can only offer up an echoing howl as he's disassembled, tongue ripped from his mouth in the midst of his cry.



There's a fierce look on Astryds face as the Zombie Lord is punched by the magician and devoured by … beings from other planes. It's only as the name of his master is drawn from his soon to be tongueless head that the Valkyr calls the spirits back to her.

"You fought well, I will help you seek your rest … soon." The curly coated wolf pads silently up to them, taking it's place by her side.

"Pandemonium? That sound like a nightclub or a game, not the name of demon lord."


Athanasia frowns a little at the display of the demons, "I see the penalty for failure hasn't changed much among the demonic." She shakes her head a bit, glancing back at the Sorcerer Supreme, then the others, "Admittedly, I haven't really engaged against such fiends in… a while, so I'm not as familiar with these as I should be." The fiery halo around her dims a bit, as the need for rage and vengeance seems to have ebbed a bit with the death of the cult leader.

Then she looks over towards Astryd, "Or a place, or state of mind." Her lips curve into a frown as she contemplates the matter.


Zatanna, arms crossed in front of her face to protect it, stumbles back from the for a moment as monsters burst out of Moondark's talisman like that scene in that Ernie Hudson movie, you know the one, the one they remade with Kate McKinnon where she was putting out crazy smoldering energy—


Is it too late to help?

Maybe, so assume it's not too late.

What can she do?

"Temula riaper flesti!" Zatanna cries, wand whipping up to point at the broken amulet. Might not work, but can't hurt, and anyway, symbolism matters. Moondark is done for but the demons might yet be sealed.


The huge raven takes to wing as Moondark is devoured by the swarm of lesser imps and other forms of pestilent creatures, sweeping past Athanasia, Astryd and her wolf, and Zatanna as it wheels toward the crouched form of Doctor Strange. Somehow, this massive psychic beast pours itself rapidly back into Rachel's body, her chest thrusting upward and collapsing back down as the last wisps of inky black spectral raven disappear within. It takes her a moment of breathing quietly, but eventually, Raven's lavender eyes open and she groans a single word in response to all of the comments about Pandemonium's name… "Chaos," she winces, still feeling sluggish and nauseated.


Doctor Strange watches with a grim visage as the last of the demons vanish into the portal, Zatanna's spell sealing it up behind them and leaving only blood and broken shards in its wake.

"This place must be cleansed," he says. The demonic essences lingering in the place are foul, warping the nearby Astral plane and promoting foulness. "I trust that is within your capabilities, Miss Zatara?" he asks. He, too, is well-informed, it would seem.

He lifts Rachel up in his arms, carrying her against his chest and laying her head on his shoulder, "Hush now," he says softly to her. "Rest. I shall restore your strength at the Sanctum," he murmurs.

To the others, he raises his eyes again, "I thank you. You have protected this realm well today. I do not know what we face here, but I get the feeling we have not seen the last of it. Perhaps, if you were willing, I may call upon you again, if this menace - or, more precisely, the power behind it, this…Pandemonium rears its head once more."


The angel smiles slightly, "Gladly. Just because I don't actively seek out things to avenge means that I'd ignore evil brewing in my backyard." She pauses, then adds, "Metaphorically, anyway. But here." She reaches into a pouch at her belt, and pulls out…

Business cards? Yes, business cards, which she offers to the other magi, "If you have need of my help, you can contact me here. It's a safe place, free of inappropriate influences." The presence of an angel definitely can ensure that, as she gives Raven a concerned look, "For now, I should take my leave." Passing a curious glance towards Zee, the angel moves to go outside, spreading her wings as she prepares to take off.


"Chaos, among a few other things," agrees the sorcerer whose shtick is knowing words. One of the other things is weighing heavily on Zatanna's mind, the original use Milton coined the term for, but oh well. A flubbed trick can't be undone. She notices she's showing off again and decides she would rather enjoy it than feel guilty about it. She doffs her hat to the good doctor and nods down at Raven, dropping solicitously to one knee and resting a hand on Raven's shoulder. "Do you need cleansing too? That looked like a lot of dark resonance you got hit with."

Light, warm, concerned tone. It's not an act, even if her motives are slightly of the ulterior variety. She tips her hat to Athanasia as the Angel makes eye contact and gives a fearless wink.


Still wrapped up in Stephen's protective arms, Rachel's slightly unfocused eyes stray to Zatanna as she lays a hand on her shoulder. Raven's hood has fallen back and reveals the pitch black hair that frames her face. She looks confused by the question, at first. Then, after a beat, she inhales and replies, "I feel like I swam through a sewer that was as long as the English Channel, and that I'll never be clean, but this isn't my first time being touched by the taint of Pandemonium. It will take many, many showers, a lot of meditation, and spiritual cleansing, but I'll be okay," she says in what she hopes is a comforting manner. She smiles weakly and pats Zatanna's hand. "Thank you for all you did, tonight."


"We shall meet again," declares the Sorceror Supreme. He draws his paramour to his chest and, empowered by the Cloak of Levitation rises and crosses over the rooftops of the city back towards his Sanctum Sanctorum. Whatever's going on here is somehow far more sinister - and far more personal - than he may have imagined.


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