Hellions Unlimited 16

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Hellions Unlimited #16
Post by Alexander "Cadmus" Baptiste on Apr 23, 2007, 7:14pm

Hellions Unlimited #16
It Catches Up With You.

Cover Description: Cadmus stands, imposing, fully armored, with a gladius in each hand and his shield hanging off of his shoulders and his back facing the reader. His head is turned to the right and he's looking over his shoulder. What is he looking at? Standing behind him, facing the reader, is a similarly garbed female figure, in a similar position. A white cape hangs from her shoulders and she holds a spear and a short sword. She looks over her left shoulder to Cadmus.

Setting: In New York, between the end of Hellions/Gargoyles - Children of the Night and whenever they leave.

Shout out: To Born, for letting me spring board ideas used here off of him, and giving me a few suggestions I decided to use. Thanks.

I'm in a shower in the back of the police station underneath the Gargoyles' clocktower. Washing the blood off again.

Tonight? It came out of Demona, a mystically gifted Gargoyle that duped us into retrieving an ancient artifact called the Nidorum for her. Used in tandem with a spell book, now in our possession, it would have given her the power to potentially eclipse Dr. Strange himself. Assuming she had been given the time necessary to truly come into her power. She didn't get that time. I wish that I could say that she is dead now, but one of those wacky magical spells or curses or whatever keeps her alive so long as somebody calling himself Macbeth is alive. So despite being a potentially disastrous threat to life on Earth as we know it, her nigh immortality ensures that she gets to stay alive. But guess what? Despite being nearly immortal, she still spurts blood the same as anybody else would when she gets a blade through her chest.

I spend quite some time washing it off. Far longer than necessary. Every visible trace of it was washed off long ago. Half an hour ago, perhaps? Not sure. No clock in here. It could be an under or overestimation. A while though. I think that much is certain. But it never really matters if I can see it or not. I can still feel it. It lingers for days on end. It doesn't seem to matter how much I wash, the blood never comes off. I got absolutely drenched in it during the debacle with the Queen and her zombie horde back in Jersey. My skin was starting to crawl just a little bit less then, WHAM, a fight with an ancient Gargoyle lands in our laps. And the blood rained anew.

The obvious solution, I would suppose, is to pull back on the vicious swordplay and the like. That attitude probably isn't the best way to stay blood free. But I wont because I don't want to. It may be a product of my upbringing, or maybe it's just who I am, but I'm a decidedly violent person. I don't believe in fighting the same person twice. Leaving foes to screw us over again in the future… it doesn't seem wise. I value life about up until the point where I'm dealing with somebody or something that doesn't. I haven't attempted to hide anything from anybody, so I don't expect my teammates would be surprised. Not when they withstand the crush-happy pothead.

Would they think different if I had gutted a human?

Time, I suppose, will tell. Nobody has a problem… and I don't want to stop. So I wont. I turn off the shower head and walk out of the shower area, grabbing a towel on the way. Still feel dirty. I don't want to stop the cause, and the effect makes my skin crawl. Tough shit. I'll deal with it. That's what I do.


I push it out of mind while I dry off because, frankly, I think I'm getting about as emo as Will is. All I need is a rousing chorus of "I'm Not OK" to start playing. I think I would like to avoid that if at all possible. I slap a t-shirt and pants on and carry the armor outside to the Iron Bus. Iron Bus. The only thing funnier than Emma driving a bus is Emma driving a bus while bald. I have to snap a few pictures of that. Undoubtedly, it will bring a smile to my face in whatever dark times hit me in old age.

That thought felt mildly dirty.

A gentle breeze hits me when I step outside. Love the night air. I decide immediately that I could use a walk to clear my head. I stash my stuff in my room on the bus and get going.

It takes me somewhere within the ballpark of fifteen minutes for me to come to simple decision: I never intend to take a walk in New York City again. It isn't like there's anything particularly repugnant about the city in itself. Nah. I like it. There's a slight chance that I happen to be wearing rose colored glasses because, hey, the last city I was in was Jersey. But I don't think that's it. I'm genuinely fond of the place. As fond of a city as I can be, I suppose. Which really probably isn't all that fond. There was a point, but I believe that I've lost it…

So I was walking down the street. I only ever came into contact with exactly one homeless person and I gave him the ten that I won off of Will. It isn't as if I needed it. Personally, his heartfelt "You got you're blood money." was all the payment I desired. I continued to walk on, enjoying the fresh air, pretending that I was the only one on the sidewalk to create a peaceful (if delusional) sense of solitude. No problems. Until, of course, I had the pleasure of running into only part of this city more recognizable than its landmarks such as the big green lady of liberty.

The ridiculously high superhuman population.

The way they tell it back at the mansion, though I'm sure some level of exaggeration is at work, half the student body fought Mysterio at one point or another. I heard about a group of New Mutants going out to the movies and running afoul of Absorbing Man and Titania. And of course Marcus used to spout off in class about fighting one super villain or another. Sure, a lot of it couldn't have been more than rumor, but there's also a disturbing amount of truth to it. At the very least in my experience since I managed to run into somebody on my first time sauntering about aimlessly.


I hear a subdued gasp first. That's what alerts me to the fact that anything is even remotely out of order. Some woman behind me, we walked past each other three seconds ago. She sees something, it shocks her, she gasps. Typically that's the point at which I snap around on instinct. I have surprisingly little control over it. The people who trained me hammered it in so hard that reacting the unknown like that is almost a reflex. Which can be annoying because it isn't always the best tactical decision, making it known that I know something is wrong, depending on what the circumstances are. I would have snapped around now, but for the fact that another set of instincts jerks my body in a different direction. It's silent, I can barely make it out. Still only a fraction of a second has passed since the woman gasped. It whistles through the air towards me and I jerk straight up in a quick hop.

I clear about six feet and watch a short sword sail through the empty space that my chest had just occupied.

I come down and spin upon my heel to face the person who would have killed me had it not been for a passerby's gasp. I'm met with a burst of shimmering, twinkling light and my antagonist is gone. I spin once, looking to see if he reappeared behind me. He doesn't. I look to the woman who completely involuntarily saved my life. She looks a little shell shocked. Maybe she's new to the city?


She snaps out of it and gives me no reason to repeat myself. She bolts. Technically, grilling her for information on what my attacker looked like would have been wise, but I have the feeling that I won't have to wait very long for him to reveal himself. And you know what? I get it half right. A loud whistle draws my attention upwards. I end up facing my antagonist. Not a he, as it turns out.

She's immediately familiar. For one thing, she dresses like I do. Not at this moment, granted, what with the t-shirt and jeans, but you get the idea. Spartan helmet, breastplate and a skirt that's barely there (Alright, not exactly like me… no need to show any more leg than necessary. Sorry ladies, but I have some shame). A white cape also falls from her shoulders. She has a long spear in hand and unlike the woman herself who is merely vaguely familiar, I know the weapon intimately.

It's mine.

She sits atop a tall light pole, calm, collected, as if this is the most normal situation in the world. I can barely make out any of her face at all between the helm she dons and the distance between us. I can make out a playful smile upon her lips though. The smile makes me a little more certain of who she is, but I try to ignore it because I'm not altogether fond of the possibility. When she speaks, I'm forced to accept it because while other things have changed, her voice has remained the same.

"How are you doing, Alexander?!" she yells down to me, "You're looking well. Bandaged arm and neck aside."

I forgot they were there, but indeed, my wounds from my short spar with Hudson are taped up. I answer her as if it hasn't been years since we last saw each other. As if she didn't just throw a sword at me.

"I can't complain. Just a short scuffle."

"Well," she says while twirling the spear - my spear - like a baton, "I'm certain that you gave about as good as you got."

Not hardly. Hudson was good and Demona interrupted.

"You know me, Anemone. I did just fine."

"Good to hear, good to hear…" she trails off for a moment. "May want to duck."

I don't even bother questioning it. I'm low to the ground in the next second and the second after that an over sized - I'm talking novelty big, here - python snaps at where I was. I roll forwards and avoid the next bite. I turn mid roll so that I come up facing it in a ready position - looking as if I intend to wrestle the giant snake. I've realized by this point that I'm tired. It's only a couple hours after the debacle with Demona, having fought (and lost quite a bit of blood to) Hudson and, oh yes, having had to deal with Will attacking me in Broadway's body. It has been a long day. And I'm sluggish. Sluggish and staring down a giant snake.

A blade strikes and protrudes from the ground before my feet. It is, in fact, the same one that was thrown at me earlier. I don't bother asking questions and yank it out of the sidewalk. The snake rushes me and I roll off to side, barely evading it.

"Alex, Alex, he's our man, if he can't do it, GREAT!"

She says it that soft voice of hers. I've missed that. The snake smashes its head into a parked car as it misses me. It shakes it off rapidly and comes in again. I figure its own momentum will do all the work for me and slash at it as it comes, but it stops just suddenly enough for me to miss and rapidly flails its body into a new position, using it as a whip and throwing me no less than twenty feet. I roll with it as best I can, which is not all that well. Like I said… sluggish.

It's just about on top of me again by the time I'm back on my feet. I drop the sword. I'm too slow right now to rely on outmaneuvering it. I catch the creature's massive maw as it tries to take my head off. The force of it rushing me and my complete lack of leverage means that I go down. It's forcefully attempting to get at me, to make a meal of me. It's strong. Guess what? I'm stronger.

I rip the giant python's jaw apart. The upper half (along with most of the back of its head) I hold in my right, while the lower half - still attached to its twitching body - is in my left. By the time I stand up again, I'm not holding on to anything anymore and the snake has faded away to nothingness. Anemone stands behind me, clapping. Slow and sarcastically.

"Now I'm not sure what to say." she says as walks around me. For my part, I just look at her stoically… and confused. "I was going to suggest that all of the training that New Olympus pumped into you wasn't a complete waste of time after all. But then again, you ripped it apart. Not exactly indicative of your skills. Assuming you have any to speak of."

"What is going on, Anemone?"

In a sudden, erratic movement she backhands me and the blow knocks me off of my feet and into a parked car. She couldn't do that the last time we saw each other. Then again, I was not aware of her being able to summon giant pythons the last time we saw each other either. So it's new stuff all around.


"What?" I utter as I rub my jaw and lean upon the car for support as I make my way to my feet.

"You seem to have pretty effectively put Athens behind you, Cadmus. So long as you've abandoned your name, I suppose I can do the same. Besides. Codenames seem to be all the rage in America. And when in Rome…" she trails off.

"I never abandoned my name. I-"

"Don't need to tell me anything." She steps closer to me. "I know. Trust me, I know. Needed something to hide behind when you did the whole Soldier of Fortune bit. Was that what they spent all those years preparing you for? I wonder."

For the third time tonight, the same blade finds its way to me. It embeds itself in the hood of the car I lean upon.

"Pick it up. Defend yourself."

I look at her wide eyed. A blind man could see how surprised I am.

"Surely, you jest?"

She waves her hand and suddenly I've lost control of mine. It grabs the hilt of the sword and pulls it out of the car. I find myself forced into a ready position before I can control my own movements again.

"Do I look like it?"

She unsheathes a sword of her own and attacks. I parry the blow quickly and jump backwards, putting the car between us.

"This is insane, Anemone, I will not fight you."

She gently places her foot upon the car and in one quick motion kicks it into me, bowling me over. Pain.

"Guess what I'm going to say? Go ahead guess? Don't want to?" For the record, I would have made a wisecrack if it were not for the fact that I was pushing the car off of myself at the moment. "You. Don't. Get. To. Choose."

I get the car off of me and immediately have to roll out of the way of an incoming spear. My incoming spear. I trudge to my feet in time to meet her blade with mine and keep from being decapitated. We go back and forth. A parry here, a dodge there, rolling and leaping when I can. I try to stay away. Not that I can't fight her. Though on that note, I'm not so sure. She's faster than I am. Not just because I'm slow tonight… watching her move I'm certain that I couldn't keep up for too long on my best day alive. I digress. I'm not trying to put distance between us because I can't fight her (though it may be true). It's a refusal. I won't fight her. I don't understand what has brought her here, what has brought her to this, but it is quite simply inane. I will not indulge it.

Anemone… or Concordia… is becoming irritated. She wants me to strike back. To give her a battle. My staunch refusal is grating upon her nerves. The last few minutes of back and forth have been naught but swordplay - she set the magic aside. But after I leap away from her one more time she curses underneath her breath and makes a gesture towards me. I barely even see it but a bolt of lightening slams into me and runs through my body. I hit the ground smoking.

"God, you couldn't just make it easy, could you?" she says as she walks towards me. I realize that I'm hardly in any pain to speak of. The bolt was disciplinary, like hitting a dog upon the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Circling me, on my knees by now, she rants, "No, wait. That's the problem. I didn't come here to smash somebody barely fighting back!"

"Why come at all!" I reign my voice in when I realize I yelled. "Go back to Greece, Anemone. I don't know what this is about but it seems to be just about 32 flavors of inane. I'm not going to fight you, and I can't imagine why you seem so possessed about fighting me."

She halts abruptly in front of me and just stares for a moment. Then she slaps me.

"No, you wouldn't be able to imagine it, would you? Always were more than a little self possessed. Living in your own universe where nobody outside it matters. X-Gene. It activated after you left. That's where I get the strength. You never bothered to ask."

She sheathes her sword and holds out her hand and the spear she's been wielding reappears.

"I actually was training in the mystic arts before you left - for quite some time - but, hey, it's not like you or anybody else ever paid me any mind. Could have got away with being a mass murderer with ease. Whoa. What if I had? We could be having a whole different conversation now, couldn't we?"

My head hurts. "Talking down a mass murderer…" I squeak out, "yeah, that's definitely in the cards for me… what's the point then? Tell me."

She twirls the spear once and then drives it into my shoulder. And twists. Understandably, I scream.

"I wanted to prove a point, but your staunch reluctance to fight back was getting in the way of that. But I suppose it's for the best. You're tired. It wouldn't have counted anyway."

She twists one more time and I grit my teeth to keep from yelling, but the pain is obviously showing upon my face. She then lets go of it.

"Oh. I also wanted to give you your favorite spear back, brother. I kept it nice and warm for you. Though your blood seems to be doing that now…

"Hah! Yeah, you're getting the hang of it!"

Ten years earlier. Athens, Greece. Way atop the New Olympus Incorporated building. The very top in fact. The upper fifteen floors are dedicated to the secret society that the business side funds. The top most portion of the skyscraper is a massive aviary. This is where we find Alexander dueling with his younger sister of two years, Anemone.

A chorus of "Hah!"'s, "Huh!"'s and other random sounds that children like to make while play sword fighting rings out. Except this isn't so big on the "play". The clanging of steel rings through the aviary, frightening some of the birds. They steer clear. Back and forth, forth and back the children go at each other, a bright smile upon both of their faces. They could do this for hours. Well, Alexander could at the very least. Anemone would get tired. But she's fresh now. And it shows when Alexander ends up disarmed, with a sword tip pressed up against his neck. The two stand in silence for a moment before Alexander breaks it.

"… how the hell did this happen?"

The pair immediately break down with laughter and fall backwards onto the floor. Though they don't manage to wipe the smiles off of their faces, they get enough of their bearings back to make their way over to the fountain in the center of the aviary. Alexander runs his fingers across the surface of the pool of water and looks at his reflection in it.

"Sometimes it's hard to believe."

Anemone doesn't miss a beat. They've had this conversation before.

"I know. Like, how, you know? Maybe Zeus came to mom in the form of a bull or something."

Alex splashes her with water. "Ew!"

"Hey!" She starts, returning fire, "You brought it up! It's a perfectly reasonable theory!"

"What it is, is me picturing Mom with a white bull now because of you!"

"Not my fault if you have an overly vivid imagination!"

She throws up her best "What did I do?" smile and Alex can't help but drop it. He plops back down on the edge of the fountain and looks in again. With the end of the the loud sword fighting, the birds have relaxed again. One of the sun conures lands on his shoulder and pecks at his ear.

"It's just a little overwhelming sometimes, is all. But I love every second of it. I mean, I get to be special. Strong. Divinely blessed. How many people get to say that?"

Anemone's smile wavers a little bit, but Alexander doesn't notice.

"Not too many, I imagine. Unless you live in America."

Alexander opens his mouth to say something but he gets cut off.

"There you are. I've been looking for you for twenty minutes! You're late. And wet."

The dynamic duo turn towards the voice. In a dress reminiscent of a toga, stands their mother. She doesn't exactly look pleased.

"Sorry, I just lost track of the time. I was showing Anemone some stuff I learned…"

Remembering how the duel ended, this causes Anemone to snicker.

"You," their mother states a little coldly, "wipe that smile off of your face. His training is important. You're not to keep him away from it."

Anemone's smile immediately melts off of her face. Head down she says "Sorry." in a very monotone voice.

"Come, Alexander. Alcander has three hours for you today and you've already squandered twenty five minutes of it. The other children have gathered to watch."

Alexander hops off the edge of the fountain to follow his mother. He waves a quick goodbye to Anemone. She doesn't return it, but he doesn't notice. Anemone watches as the two walk away, scratching the chin of the sun conture that flapped over to her once Alex got up just how it likes it.

She yanks the spear out of my shoulder and throws it down to the floor in front of me.

"Keep it. I have my own."

With the blood loss and massive gash in my shoulder and all, I fail at finding a witty comment to throw at her. Still gritting my teeth. In a sharp contrast to her previous actions, however, she lays a gentle hand upon my wound. It stings. She mutters something in Latin, which I can read better than I can speak, and the wound disappears. All of the pain from it remains, but there's no sign that it was ever there.

She steps back. "Catharsis. You irritated me, Alex. I needed that." She turns from me and starts to walk away. I get up to take after her, wincing in shock at the pain in my shoulder. Yet again, I find I'm not in control of my own body as I can't move forward.

"It's just as well, I suppose. Fighting you as you were wouldn't have proved anything. I got impatient from waiting though."

"Prove? What?"

"Your shoulder will be fine in a few hours. I'll see you again brother. Not at a time when you've been tired out from running around with your 'Hellion' friends in that bus. I look forward to it." She looks at me over her shoulder. "Don't you?"

In a flash of bright light, she's gone and I can move again. I stand in the middle of the empty street and stare at the sky for a while. After all of that, I'm still not sure what this was about. Prove herself? Why? What's the point? This whole thing was so… random. I sigh heavily and turn back towards the clocktower. Some family reunion.

I need another shower.

Re: Hellions Unlimited #16
Post by Alexander "Cadmus" Baptiste on Apr 23, 2007, 7:17pm

Real Name - Anemone Baptiste
Code Name - Concordia
Sex - Female
Age (11-18) - 16
Mutations/Powers - Anemone possesses all the physical prowess of her brother, Alexander. She has great strength and durability, though like her brother she is more durable against blunt damage, heat, energy and so on than she is against things like bullets or blades. Though not so great as to be called a power, Anemone possesses running speed and agility that is very noticably beyond that of Cadmus. Though not possessing a healing factor per se, she heals from damage at a noticeably faster rate than baseline humans.

Though she didn't have the benefit of intensive training from New Olympus, the secret society she grew up it, like Cadmus had, Anemone still trained herself in armed combat on her own time while growing up. In their younger days, Alex would teach Anemone things as he learned them, but it didn't take long before pride set in and she wouldn't accept his help. She trained all her life, but after Cadmus abandoned New Olympus she made it a point to spend more time training than ever. She is proficient in the same areas as her brother - swords, spears, archery and so on. The question of who is better is currently up in the air.

The area that sets Anemone apart from Alexander with absolutely no question of who is better is magic - an area Alexander was never trained in. This is another area she was mostly self taught in. A natural affinity for it helped immensely. Her skills with magic didn't truly bloom until she left the society like her brother and gained an… instructor.

Look (describe your characters' height, weight, preferred clothing, etc) - Height runs in the family. Anemone stands at 6'1 and possesses a very much athletic figure. Overly dense muscles allow her to be as strong as she is without being an over muscled hulk of some kind (or some other comic science explanation). She possesses slightly longer than shoulder length dirty blonde hair. She is decked out in Spartan armor for battle situations. A white cape differentiates her garb from that of Alexander.

Basically, she looks like this:


Personality - Anemone possesses a severe inferiority complex, born of neglect from her parents, the higher ups in New Olympus in general and the society that they grew up in in general. Constantly being ignored in favor of her brother has created feelings of inferiority towards him as well as a large amount of bitterness. These feelings have recently come to ahead, creating within her a powerful desire to prove her worth. The air she projects is one of pride, but doubt plagues her every decision.

History - "You already know much of my story, though I would wager that I was never mentioned once. That's the story of my life. My name is Anemone Baptiste. You'll call me Concordia. You know most of the background so I will be brief. My elder brother by two years is Alexander Baptiste, aka Cadmus. Born in Athens, Greece, within the secret society known as New Olympus (We aren't here to talk about them. Read about Cadmus if you want to know what their deal is). Born with his powers in a time when mutation wasn't running as rampant and superhumans weren't flying around all over the place, his abilities were through of as a divine gift from the gods of Olympus. This gross (and pathetic, in retrospect) misunderstanding led to him being admired and doted on all his life. Trained as a warrior to honor Ares, he was the hero of the society.

Without even trying. Without even doing anything.

Like I said, I was born two years later. It was like the pitiful sheep expected something of me. That Alexander was only the first in a line of heroes. Nobody wanted to expose themselves for fools for having had those thoughts, but they were clearly less interested in me once it was clear that I was a normal, human baby. This attitude prevailed for the duration of my childhood. Everybody was overjoyed at his 'divine presence.' Even my parents overlooked me time and time again to focus on Alex. He brought them status within New Olympus. Could you blame them?

The correct answer is yes.

Funnily, Alex was the only person to pay me any real attention as we grew up. In his down time (which there was very little of) he would teach me everything that his instructors taught him. That's where I got my start in combat training. But it didn't take long until he suddenly stopped finding time for me. Until he started believing his own hype and becoming secluded from everyone but his instructors, our parents and his damned birds. Fine. I didn't need him. I'm self taught. Nobody noticed, naturally, but I kept up with him on my own in seclusion - being born more of being ignored than of wanting it to be like that. I trained myself physically, in arts of combat, as well as in arts that would forever set me apart from my brother and make me more than a simple female version of him - magic. New Olympus's resources are great - finding the tomes required to learn was no difficult task. It turned out that I had an affinity for it, though my skills didn't exactly take off until later.

Alexander eventually left us. Not even strong enough to face us when he left, he did it with an elaborate letter. Reactions varied. There was a lot of anger. Some claimed to 'have known all along' that he couldn't have been divine. The number that believed that he could still be a divine gift despite being a mutant is surprisingly high. Our parents were crushed. Even in his absence, he dominates every conversation.

I took being ignored while he was there. I would not stand being neglected in favor of his memory. I left not long after he did. What next? I found God. A god anyway. Or a nymph or a sorceress. Really, it depends entirely on which stories you believe. Sympathetic to my story, she gave me somewhere to continue my combat training and had a hand in my mystical training. It amuses me immensely that by this point, I'm more of what people thought of Alex than he ever was. It was during this time that my mutation sparked. Painfully. Had it showed up sixteen years earlier, we might not be where we are right now.

I'm not out for anything so grand as 'revenge' and I have no complicated plot in mind. I'm nobody's nemesis. I am not a villain. I'm out to prove a point. They backed the wrong horse. They as good as cast me aside in favor of doting on my brother and making a "great warrior" out of him. I intend to show him, show them and show myself that I've become as good as him, no, better than him and that I've done so with vastly less help. I'm making a point - that Alexander is nothing special.

See you soon brother."

Re: Hellions Unlimited #16
Post by Alexander "Cadmus" Baptiste on Apr 23, 2007, 7:28pm

Writers Notes

- Born gave me Anemone's name (and codename), pointed out something rather… stupid Anemone's history that I had overlooked, and really just let me bounce ideas off of him. Again, thanks.
- First Cadmus fic, yay!
- The picture of Anemone is Athena from the Ares mini series. That mini series rocked out loud. Get it.
- Hey, look, Cadmus has a sister. Who knew?
- Just something that I'm playing with that just might culminate in Cadmus overcoming his issues with his parents. Or culminate in him getting his ass kicked a whole lot by his little sister. Who knows, really?
- The "flashback" is not a real flashback in the sense that neither Alexander or Anemone are thinking back to it. Its purpose was to show off what their relationship used to be like, and hint at what Anemone's deal is, create a contrast between the current action, blah, blah, blah. If that didn't get Anemone's problem across, I imagine the profile would.
- What's with me and brother/sister issues?
- That is all

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