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Beginning Echoes of War

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Beginning Echoes of War Empty Beginning Echoes of War

Post by Demonhunter June 1st 2021, 2:36 pm

“I don’t negotiate. Now get the fuck out of my office.” Isroh’s voice, smooth as ever, stabbed daggers of rage into the suited man across from him. Feint shadows of horns and horrors just barely making their way into view on the otherwise totally human man.

“Alright but don’t come crying to me when some yahoo burns your joint to the ground.” The portly man stands, tucking in his disheveled shirt in a hurry.

“They’d be hard pressed to try.” The aloofness Isroh managed to convey only proved to shock the other mafioso. Never had he seen anyone refuse the protection racket he had going on. As soon as the door closed Isroh let out a deep, angry breath. He picks up the tiny tennis ball on the edge of his desk, the puffball Pomeranian who’d been happily in his lap perks at the motion as he tosses the ball across the shiny new office.

“No Bella, we do not negotiate with terrorists, no we do not.” He coos as she brings the ball back.
-------

A few nights pass as the remodeling of Isrohs freshly purchased casino seems to be going well. The king himself chose to stay past the time the workers were working and check over their work. The white marble floors were done, the dark oak wood bar was still in pieces, but he liked the way the wood looked.

In the meantime, his men had been ordered to intimidate and even kill local dealers and every liquor shipment into the city had found itself burning on the road. Vegas was beginning to get the withdrawal itch as liquor and hard drugs came harder and harder to come by. In the back of his mind he was marinating how best to put the pressure on some locals. Fuel was always a great resource to attack. It’s inconvenient enough to piss people off, but no one will starve or get sick if Isroh manipulated fuel shipments and faked a pipeline hacking so it was a pretty safe option. Now just who to pin this on. There were a ton of local mafias, some had already postured at him for encroaching on their turf so there was always that as an option. However he had been looking at a group called Vegas Kings. From what he could gather they weren’t necessarily humans which did put them a bit higher on his collective shit list, however, they weren’t yet violent to him.

He’d have to really think about that. Perhaps a visit to this other group to weigh his options would be in order. Meanwhile he couldn’t help but catch movement out of the corner of his eye. Someone was in his brand new casino.

The shadows seemed to swallow him as the group of men made their way in, gas cans in hand, trailing gasoline the entire way. They were chatting and laughing about some fool who called himself the king, apparently he had the audacity to turn the boss down.

“Did your stupid boss seriously think he’d just do what he’d advertised in advance he was going to do verbatim? Tell me, does this ever actually work?” Isroh groans, stepping out of the shadows a short distance from the stunned goons. As they raised their weapons vines crept out over the marble floors beneath their feet. The demon king could see their human hands trembling on their handguns as Isroh just stared them down, violet eyes glimmering in the darkness.

“I-I, You-” One goon panics and pulls the trigger, snapping Isroh’s head back with the impact. He groans, shaking his head and straightening.

“You’re fucked.” Isroh laughs, vines coiling themselves around the mafia goon’s ankles and yanking them off their feet, face first into the flooring and hoisting them in the air. “Which one of you is in charge here?”

Just a second of silence passed as the men tried to wriggle free from the snaking plants only to find themselves making it worse for themselves as thorns began to bite at the flesh of their ankles. It only took a few minutes for two goons to give up and point the finger at the man furthest to the right.

“Ah, Not only are you stupid henchmen, you’re disloyal as well. You people are slowly working your ways up my shit list. Is your boss watching?” He was met with silence again. “Of course he is. You. Come with me.” He groans as the devil plants slowly release the man, dropping him on his head. The vines only crept further as Isroh drags the man kicking and screaming outside, hauling his gas can with him.

The streets were basically dead aside from about three black suburbans, one of which Isroh recognized as the one that carried the entitled man into his office a few days ago. He let all his disguise slip away, horns spiraling into the night sky as his vines wrap around the shriveling goon once more.

“How in the hell do you survive here being this damned stupid.” Isroh announced after a good number of goons draw down on him. The uncaring devil picks up the gas can and begins to douse the petrified man at his feet in fuel as he screams.

The boss himself steps out of the car, hands in the air.

“Wait, please. This can be worked out. That’s-”

“The time for working things out was when you sat your fat ass in my office chair and made demands. If you’re going to try to burn my shit, you’d best do it yourself.” Isroh dumps the rest of the gas can out on the young man at his feet who just sobs.

"Look I didn’t know you-”

“You didn’t know what? That I could have turned you into a bloody patch in my carpet whenever I damn well pleased?” Isroh growls, flicking his lighter open and holding it ominously about the gasoline soaked man. “Should have considered that when you were the one in danger, not this poor fool.”

“That’s my son, dammit!” The mob boss finally cries.

“... so you’re stupid enough to send your own flesh and blood to burn a casino down. That’s your infamous protection racket you’ve got going here?” The lighter flickered ominously in Isroh’s fingers, as if he were considering dropping it anyway. “You’re going to take your goons and go back to where you came from. You’re going to go over how much you make off this protection racket and 40% gets diverted to me. I own your ass now.”

Isroh flicks the lighter closed, settling his boot onto the side of the groveling young man’s face. “You’re allowed to continue operating under my rules. You’ll be peddling my product and you’ll be leaving the people who just happen to live here well enough alone. Understood?”

“I- wait-”

Isroh bears his boot down further until a sickening pop of the man’s jaw could be heard.

“Dad!” The man cries.
“Understood!? You could always try to shoot me dead.” The devil growls, gesturing in a welcoming motion, as if challenging someone to fire at him.

“Understood! Just let me have my boys.” The old man all but begs, giving a gesture to make his men stand down.

Violent eyes flash a hot red violence for a moment before the tendrils around the man slowly recede and he’s allowed to run back to his father, clutching his broken face. “You get this one. You can negotiate for the others later. Now get off my fucking street.”

Without much room to argue the mob has no choice but to pack up and go home. Isroh is left with the aftermath of two groveling young men, still hanging by their feet in a half-finished casino. He pulls up an empty paint bucket and sits, dialing a number on his phone.

“Hey, I’m going to need more manpower in Vegas. Send me the meanest fuckers I’ve got.” Isroh groans before hanging up. “You two are stuck with me for a while.”
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Beginning Echoes of War Empty Re: Beginning Echoes of War

Post by Olympus July 25th 2021, 3:14 am

Undercover work was dirty business, but Jessica had been through worse.

War was brewing in Las Vegas, and they were here to investigate. Investigate what? Didn’t matter, something. It’s not like she needed orders, she was only a soldier. So Jessica was a bit salty, so what? But things had been hectic recently at Blackguard headquarters. Sure, the rooms were swanky, and she never could thank Katrina enough for helping her out of the dark pit her life had fallen into after that bomb in Afghanistan, but couldn’t the little midget work with her a bit here? Jessica took a long drag on the cigarette; technically she wasn’t supposed to be smoking in here, she did sign a deposit but, Jessica conceded as she tossed the bud into the toilet and flushed, its not like she could make things worse.

Per her orders, they were under deep cover. Identities scrubbed (not that they had much of that in the first place), phones cancelled; families would be notified, if there were any left. She, and the three men under her command, were in some deep shit here, and she knew it. Jessica had seen it all before; the fires of war starting, the seeds planting. There was a major criminal element in this city, and all of it was bristling at the antics of a newcomer. Some major domo had opened a casino in the city and apparently, a bunch of criminals mysteriously started working with him. And Katrina wanted to know how.

So that’s how she ended up in this ridiculous outfit, in this even more ridiculous room. With all fancy tech Olympus has, you would think they would be able to afford a place with running water. But no, they were masquerading as petty thugs. It would be unrealistic. Jessica had to concede she was right. But still, the leather? Who the fuck wears leather nowadays? Especially a leather skirt, what the hell is that? It was all … exposed. Granted, the gleaming metal limbs did strike an imposing figure, but it also left a lot of her skin exposed, something Jessica entirely wasn’t comfortable with.

But it was for the mission. She would have to bare.

They had been working with a gang that their investigation had led them to believe was working in conjunction with Isroh. Slowly, they had been building up trust, not only in their powers, but in their person. The latter was never in doubt; competent metahuman criminals were few and far between, but they were all consummate professionals, and acted as such. And with someone like Asgar on their side, well … this little team had very quickly made a lot of people rich while also making a big splash in the criminal community. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

”Vell? Vhat is it? Are ve finally going to meet zhe man in charge?”

His thick accent was flustered, but the humongous red beard vibrated with excitement when Jessica nodded yes, hanging up the phone and slipping it into one of the pockets on the vest. At least that was a plus. Asgar let out a tiny whoop and jumped, punching the ceiling and, no doubt, costing them the security deposit. Fuck. She considered glaring at him, but decided against it. It really wasn’t worth it.

”Suit up. We move out in five.”

They didn’t have a car, it wouldn’t have made sense, but thankfully they weren’t any slouches in the stamina department; though it took the better part of an hour, they finally made it to the casino. The beautiful Vegas sky lit up the night, shining down on them with all the luster of a million diamonds, but Jessica only had eyes for their objective; the half-finished Casino sprawled out in front of them. It wouldn’t have taken them long to receive the call, and they came as soon as they could. Still, though, Jessica felt it had been too long, and she was eager to move on. So, as a unit, like they had trained, they entered the building.

They were an odd group. Leading them, a raven-haired girl, lacking the traditional markers of beauty. But she was fit, with flashing eyes a color that does not come naturally. A leather vest was bound tightly to a well-formed chest, matched by a leather skirt. The most prominent part would be, of course, the metallic limbs; shining with all the chrome of modern technology, whisper silent, not a servo or gear to be seen or heard, yet she moved them as easily and simply as if they were their own. Anybody with the ability to sense energy, however, would know that the two, small bracelets cinched on her wrist were putting out enough energy to power this city for a hundred years.

The men with her were dressed similarly; black leather. But they couldn’t be more different. Immediately to the left, a very large, somewhat portly man, with a big, bushy red beard, green eyes, and surprisingly delicate walk; he had a massive axe in his left hand that he wielded as if it weighed no more than a feather. Next to him, a tall, lanky Japanese man, wearing leather head to toe. He carried no weapons, but despite that, he had a sense of confidence to him that came from either the competent or the stupid. And the final one, well … other than being tall and seeming to favor a mace with a modern-looking shield, there was nothing to be gleamed from him; his features were entirely covered by a motorcycle helmet.

”We’re here to see your boss.:

Jessica all but demanded in that sentence, flicking open her packet of cigarettes again and placing the end in her mouth. She always smoked in stressful situations. Casually, she lifted the end of her thumb to it and, as if by magic, a flame flickered, lighting the bad habit easily. A deep puff, letting the poison flood her veins, and a sigh. That was the stuff.

”It’s not wise to keep my men here waiting.” She jerked a metallic thumb at Asgar in particular. ”They get impatient having to wait.” As if on cue, the aforementioned Viking leaned against a wall a little too hard, shattering the wood as if it were made of glass. To his credit, he looked somewhat contrite.
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Beginning Echoes of War Empty Re: Beginning Echoes of War

Post by Demonhunter December 27th 2021, 2:56 pm

What a mess. Isroh sits back in his office as some of his boys load their accidental hostages into a black suburban to take them somewhere else. The demon had not intended to take prisoners today, but over all as far as he was concerned this was a net gain. He’s just set foot in Vegas and already had one faction by the balls it seemed. If he played his cards right he might be able to carve out a lead here. He wasn’t ready to start a full scale war yet, he didn’t have the manpower or the resources available in the city. First thing needed was some form of social credit to barter with.

Of the few things that were complete in the casino, Isroh’s office was pristine, as if it wasn’t placed in the middle of a half-built monument to money laundering. Within it, Isroh plops back in his chair, a map of the city projected on his blank wall and a few nonspecific markings corresponding with a few things, namely police stations, schools and crime hotspots as well as the occasional known borders of rival gangs. He seemed to be just staring.

----

Meanwhile Isroh’s ‘men’ were on high alert as the boss had demanded more security after luckily stopping an attempted incineration. Many large men who all seemed almost exactly the same, their faces only varying in a detail or two such as skin color or feature shapes. Otherwise they were very cookie cutter and they moved very oddly compared to truly human guards.

The large man stared down at the odd group that approached, checking for gas cans or something. He tilts his head and thinks for a second. “Boss is in no mood.” His voice gurgles as his skin seemed more pallaid close up, as if about to sluff right off his bones. The rifle clutched in his hand was held at his side and for a moment the shadows behind the man did not show an armed guard, but rather a huge horned beast holding a massive bident in it’s stead.

“Let them through, Mundo.” Isroh’s voice rings out from the balcony that overlooked what would soon be the gambling floor. The pit fiend grumbles as he steps aside from the group, the unmistakable noise of hooves hitting marble as he sulks away to allow the odd gang up the stairs and into Isroh’s office. “Terribly sorry, All my boys are a little on edge. Little rat tried to light this place up last night so they’re assuming everyone who looks at the place side eyed is thinking about torching it.” Isroh waves his hand as if waving something off before leaning back against the railing.

Today was an oddly casual day for Isroh, rather than usual wool suit he just wore a nice pair of deep green slacks and a white dress shirt with an oak colored set of suspenders. His sleeves rolled up showing the many intricate markings up his forearms just to below his elbows. The disguise as a human he wore was flawless, it even stood up to touch. Rather than a horned demon, he just appeared to be a man with a very stylish haircut and nice tattoos.

“Now, remind me. I have a lot of people coming in and out of here. Are you here on security contract or building contract?” Isroh asks, taking a sip from the soda can he’d carried out with him. He knew damned well what they were here for, He mostly wanted them to talk for a while. He could tell alot about someone's intentions if they were just allowed to talk for a bit.
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Beginning Echoes of War Empty Re: Beginning Echoes of War

Post by Olympus June 4th 2022, 8:41 am

The confrontational guard raised more than a few hackles - even inspiring Asgar to growl in return, raising his axe - but none of them dared to confront them. They weren’t scared of Jessica, per se, they followed her out of mutual respect and trust in her leadership … but Katrina? Even Asgar, fearless Viking and Berserkr of the Thorsblott clan, knew better than to get on the wrong side of the short, but very dangerous, leader of Olympus. She was like a large, pissed-off wasp, and Asgar? Well, he hated bees.

It was Bastion who took the most offense, shoving Kuruzaka to the side and placing himself between his comrades, large shield coming to the fore. On the visor of the helmet, a face flickered made of pixels and sharp lines, currently emphasizing an angry expression. Though no words were spoken, both the spirit within and templar corpse recoiled at the demonic presence; it could … not quite see, per se, but feel the demons all around them, and Bastion was not happy.

It was only the comforting presence of Jessica’s hand on his arm and the cool, commanding voice trickling down the stairs that prevented an altercation.

Slowly taking another inhale, she let the smoke slowly drift upwards before crushing it underneath her heel, extinguishing the cigarette in a most dramatic fashion. Hands transitioning into her pockets, she jerked her head, directing her men to go towards the boss, but she stopped in front of the guard, staring down at him with her electric blue-and-green eyes.

”Next time, “Mundo”, learn who’s supposed to be here.”

The aggression was obvious, the threat implicit as she slammed her shoulder into Mundo with surprising strength. She wasn’t normally like this; Jessica liked to think of herself as shy, reserved, capable of rational decisions. Certainly not the type to threaten a simple guard doing his job. But she had a role to play, that of a hard-as-nails merc-for-hire living by the seat of her pants … in other words, everything she was taught to hate in the military. It ate away at the very core of her being, pretending to be someone so despicable, but it was part of the mission.

You live or die by the mission.

His apology did little to assuage the torrent of emotion twirling in Jessica’s gut, though she was careful not to let any of it show in her face. It could compromise the mission if her true feelings surfaced. Unfortunately, her “crew” were less polite; whereas Jessica stood straight as a nail, the other three lounged around as if they owned the place, the loud-mouthed bearded fellow immediately scouring around for something to drink, heedless of the words, while Bastion was guarding Jessica, shield raised, as if expecting one of the demons to come barreling right now. Only Kuruzaka stood next to her, though he was slouched and plucking at a thread on his glove as if it was the most interesting thing in the world.

”Names Manda. You must be the bigshot that hired us?”

She was taking the talk and mannerisms out of every punk teenage girl she’s ever seen, combined with a few sources of media she’s gleaned over the years. The only thing missing was the bubble gum carelessly popped. Funnily, it was at odds with her militaristic posture just lacking a salute.

”This is Brick, Shasta, and the armored guy back there is Barker. We’re here to supplement your security forces. We’re the First Street Gang, here ta serve. Where d’ya need us?”
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