- January 09, 2016
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- Prestige Class - The Wild Guardian
- The Red Knight of Damara (Saga of the Vaasan Knight #1)
- Prologue: City that Never Sleeps
- The Road Home (Saga of the Vaasan Knight #2)
- A First Lesson (Preludes #1)
- The Mistress of the Cross-Trade
- Hunter in the Darkness
- Setting the [Game] Table: Riddleport at a Glance
- Interlude: Moon Rise
End Game Approach
"Mary? Mary, where are you, girl?" Dr. Rinehart called out. Mumbling to himself, he made the final calibrations to the Nexus. All of his research and intellect had been brought to bear on preparing his little welcoming present. All the stolen Stark tech, all the occult material he had slowly accumulated over these past several months, all the endless hours of experimentation. After all of this, his plans were now coming to fruition.
Mary had been the final key. It was she who provided the power source to make the Nexus viable.
And now the Roughnecks would at last pay for their affrontery. Then he, "Dr. Ludwig Rinehart," the dread Mysterio, would prove to the fools in the Inner Circle that he should be numbered among them. Soon after that, the entirety of the Hellfire Club would be his for the taking.
"Yes, Dr. Rinehart?" he heard her voice say from somewhere behind him.
"The Nexus is ready. Our wretched foes will soon breach my sanctum. Once they have fallen, I will present their remains to the Hellfire Club and my ascension will be complete, and you will sit at my right hand, dear girl!"
He turned from the massive monitor panel to look at her. She still wore the tattered remnanants of the 'Typhoid' disguise she had been wearing for several weeks.
"Drop your disguise, the ruse is no longer needed," he said to her. "Let the world see you for who you truly are, what you have become. What I have made you..."
He turned back to the panel and waived her off.
"While you are at it, find the wall-crawler," he said as she departed. "I know you know who he is since your last fight in Brooklyn. Whoever he is, bring him here, as well. We will finish off all of our enemies tonight in one fell swoop!"
* * * * *
"So where to, tonight?" Gwen asked excitedly, slipping the hood of her costume over her head.
"I don't know," Peter replied. "We can start out by the Park, and make our way across town toward Hell's Kitchen. There's always something going on in Hell's Kitchen these days."
"Cool!" she exclaimed. This was the first time she'd be wearing the new costume she'd made. It was loosley patterned after the Spider-Man suit, but with a bit more fashion snese and flair. She'd been trying to figure out how to use her telekinesis to fly, but it wasn't working. So she'd still have to put her arms around Peter's shoulders and hold on for dear life as they swung through the city, but at least now they'd look awesome together.
"Ready!" she announced, getting ahold of the hero known as Spider-Man as they readied for take off.
The two super-powered teenagers launched out the second floor bedroom window of May Parker's modest home, prepared for whatever adventure the night would offer.
* * * * *
"Peter, what is it?" Gwen asked him, slightly confused. Her boyfriend had stopped right in the middle of their patrol of Central Park.
"I- I don't know..." he said. "Something's tripping my Spider-Sense, but I haven't felt something like this before. I- "
He suddenly swung down to the ground, Gwen letting go of his shoulders before she could crash into the pavement. He hunched over, pressing his hands to the sides of his head. Something was inside his brain, making his Spider-Sense go haywire.
As soon as he heard the voice inside his mind, everything immediately went still. Shaking away the last of the mental fog, he realized that he recognized the voice. He didn't just know the voice... he knew it intimately. His Spider-Sense began pulling him toward a presence in the center of the Park.
"MJ?" he whispered, looking off into the darkness. "I- I don't understand..."
"Peter," Gwen said, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Peter, what's going on?"
Without another word, Peter Parker raced off with superhuman speed, leaving Gwen Stacy behind.
"Peter!" she yelled after him. Unable to follow him as he swung away into the night, she realized her one true love had just left her alone in the middle of the City without a second thought.
* * * * *
"What the hell?" she asked of no one in particular. It had been almost two hours since Peter had swung off into the night. It appeared he wasn't coming back. She'd wandered around the Park, looking for him. Nothing. So what was she supposed to do now, catch a taxi back home? How could he do this to her?
The last psychic impression she'd caught from him was a fleeting glimpse of another girl. Another girl! Whoever she was, his attachment to this girl was intense. Intense enought to just abandon her...
"Typical, isn't it?" a voice said from somewhere behind her.
Gwen spun around, crouching into a fighting stance.
As she warily looked about, a woman stepped out from the darkness of the surrounding Park. A blue-skinned woman with impossibly red hair. The woman folded her arms across her chest and leaned against the lone lamp post.
"Men! They're always running off after something. Well, except when they're breaking you out of an ultra-max SHIELD facility," she continued, grinning darkly to herself. "Anyway..."
"Think you got nowhere to go, sister? Wrong. I know a group that would not only take you in in a heartbeat," she said, her grin deepening. "They'd help you become who you were truly meant to be."