Like a wild tiger would attack its prey, a stench that was akin to that of decaying innards saturated my senses. Suddenly I found myself lying awake. There was little light, save a murky darkness slightly illuminated by an unknown source. Immediately, nausea hit me like a surging tide. My first thoughts, of course, were of retching. I tried to turn my head, but found myself held down tightly by the head, neck, arms and legs. The vomit within me however, would not be so easily daunted. Soon I would be lying in the remorseless wastes of my own body.
Violently I twisted and jerked at my unforgiving binds. It was useless. The movement only served to torment my queasiness more. So there I sat with vomit covering my face in some uncertain, terror-inducing tomb awaiting the unknown. I was still of sane mind, therefore I decided to put it to good use. I couldn’t turn my neck a great deal without choking myself. I had to depend upon my peripheral. As my eyes pivoted left to right searching for details to my whereabouts, I found myself constantly heaving at my malodorous predicament. It was nigh impossible to conjure a thought of eating, yet obviously my empty stomach could not give up anymore of its refuse, less I be coughing blood. I focused. From what I could tell, the room was an empty vault.
Cold, heartless stone in every direction greeted my wandering gaze. I could make out no particular light source, yet there was light. The room, for lack of a better term, was rather large: enough to fit several people in a circle around my platform. I say platform because I was perceptibly raised above any adjacent flooring that may have been around. My peripheral revealed no floor. I took this much information in before fear crept back into my being. It was worthless. My next thought amid my almost overwhelming horror was how I came to be in this place.
To keep my calm my nerves, I tried to recall how I came to be here. I mumbled aloud, but my speech quickly switched to thought as the sour taste of my own bile trickled into my mouth. Last I recalled I was in my laboratory deep within a forgotten Huastec ruin in Mexico: one of my many hidden laboratories across the world; hidden because my research was considered highly illegal in many circles. I had to hide like a rat – negotiating deals with despicable warlords and corrupt leaders across the world. I may have done horrible things, but it was for a greater good – a greater understanding of our world. It was all a means to an end. The cryptids… I kept them all over the globe, but the Huastec was the central locale. So many... That’s when it came to me - those assistants. Something was rotten about them. One minute they were the most intelligent colleagues in the world, the next they were speaking to me…like…like actors reading from a script. Then there was the explosion…the black out... The beasts… Dear god, the beasts were free. …the cryptids, I was confronted by one. In the dark… Then it roared. ...The putrid stench, then I remembered nothing.
I wake up here in this place. I remembered the assistants were counterfeit... frauds. I remembered faintly them peeling off their facades before my eyes. This was their doing. Yes that I remember. Too much blackness. I remember never truly being awake. Can’t recall what they were doing to me… a séance… chanting… It burned… My god, what did they do to me. I can feel it. It’s still inside of me…and it burns. So much pain.
I hear voices echoing as if coming from a corridor in the distance. I recognize one of them immediately. In and out of consciousness and pain, it is difficult to make out their words. I don’t recognize the voice of the other, but I hear a name…Keijo. There is more… Something about a church… The natural order? Then they mutter my name…Dr. Odierno. My body shudders at the onslaught of my impending doom. What have these psychos done to me? What… what will they do? With my body turning against me, it is good to know my sense of hearing is intact. As they approach and their voices become more distinct, I listen intently. Footsteps are all I hear for a while. Then I see their shaded images as they enter the room. I quickly play dead and eavesdropped for all it was worth. The clamor of what sounds like dozens of feet race around my platform. A rustle of clothing follows then silence but for the sound of breathing all around me.
“He is so peaceful isn’t he Father?”
“Indeed. The brothers are ready and have cleansed themselves in preparation. His body and mind are also cleansed and ready for the purification rites.”
“Trifling melodramatics, it really doesn’t matter what his body and mind are ready for. For you see, the act takes place now regardless of who is ready. Wake him up. I wish to taunt him.”
“But of course.”
Behold to my Descent into Chaos
Berserker: superior (rank 2)
The time for my weakly veiled deception is up. A shockingly cold splash of water hits my face. It is pleasantly refreshing as I am parched and it washes a bit of the refuse from my face. The slap that follows is not as pleasant, nor is the following three. “Don’t fuck with me, Dr. Odierno. I know you’re not sleep. Open your eyes and confront your destiny.” It was him. That sick assistant of mine. But he wasn’t my assistant at all. No, this is the madman that had obviously killed my aids and took their place. He and his…I don’t know what they are…followers, psychos. A cult perhaps. Madmen…all of them. Another slap follows. “What are you thinking about, Dr. Odierno? Do you remember me? I’m different now to you I suppose. You knew me as Dr. Smith. Well, look at me now. Who do you see?”
Violently, my platform and I in it begin to shake. I’m not sure how he manages to shake the entire platform like that, but I am sure of the damage it is doing to my already queasy stomach. I retch out a forceful, yet fruitless heave. He laughs carelessly then the trembling subsides briefly. “Just refer to me as MPP. I don’t normally give my name, but then again seeing as you are now eternally ours… Anyway, the little woman next to me is Keijo of the Natural Order. Now, I suppose you’d like to know why you are here.” I do not answer. This madman is full of his self and seems to like to hear the sound of his own voice. I indulge him. “You sir, are now in the employ of Ms. Keijo who likewise looked to me for a little assistance in the manpower department - brute force and all that jazz. Therefore, you are now and forever a servant of her ever-loving patroness of the Natural Order. You, Dr. Odierno are going to be a legend… a saint. For you sir, are going to introduce the world to the natural order.” He says. “The only order that matters…” He drifts off briefly and then turns back towards me, “…disorder, that is.” He explodes with hysterics followed by a sudden room-shaking tremor. The woman in the hooded robe he named as Keijo flings her hood off and begins chanting loudly. The other hooded figures surrounding me follow suit. As they did, Keijo showers me with numerous unidentified concoctions. Mixtures of sensations from pain to ecstasy pour through my very essence. Percy roars in laughter as the room spins…literally. The room is indeed moving or at least everyone in it is. But through it all Percy seems to stay motionless. Is he doing this? I can’t think. I can’t move. Dammit, am I succumbing to the madness?
In like manner to the room, my body begins to tremor, convulsing with seizures that are so aggressively strong they break my bonds. Regardless I am still held down by some powerful, yet straining force. I can feel my own growing strength pressing against it. What was becoming of me? Where was this power coming from?
Within seconds, I begin to see distorted images in my very mind. Faces. Horrible faces and images. Terrible. They taunt me, push and pull me, but my body remains held down. With my own strength I try to rise and it feels as if my body is being slowly ripped to shreds. My mind screams in a cacophony of voices. Whose voices? Then they speak names. Many names. It seems like endless names. Eventually they begin to overlap and become a torrent of garbled nonsense. I beg. Plead. Please, please stop… Outside my perception, the chanting grows louder. Unrelenting. They are doing this to me. But what? What are they doing? Finally, I can feel it… as if my own personality is being pressed into the farthest corner of my own psyche. In the forefront are the things. The faces. The horrible things. They cackle and howl at me. My standpoint is that of a child backed into a corner by a sea of molesters. I am helpless within my own body. My wits are shredded, I whimper out the only thought I can muster, “Who are you?” I whisper meekly. Then to my horror, all the horrible faces turn their attentions towards me and in unison return,
“We are Legion.”
Then I hear another voice outside this unreality. It is that wretch who refers to himself as MPP. He speaks in a cold, distant tone, empty of the previous merriment, “He is breaking my hold. It is time…
Giving Birth to Hellfire's Reign
Energy Body: supreme (rank 3)
With but those words as warning, I begin to plummet seemingly through the floor itself. It was as if the floor opened like a maw and swallowed me whole. I watch with a frantic eye as dirt, gravel and frighteningly, my life pass before my eyes. Why? Why should I die this way? The question discharges violently from my thoughts as my body soon becomes wracked with unceasing pain. More than pain…it is more like torturous agony. It is as if my body is being burned and ripped apart all in one cruel attack. I can’t…I… look down; the dark of the corridor of my descent opens to the blinding blue of the day sky. My own screams of horror fill my ears. I cannot believe what I am seeing before my eyes: a massive floating landmass speeding away from me as I fall to the Earth’s surface. Then as soon as I see it, it disappears.
All I can do is flail in fear as more terrors assault me in my fatal descent. With a shocking jerk, my senses are once again plunged into the recesses of my mind. The evil faces return. The voices again taunt me. Strangely, I can still see my fate as if separated from my body. I can tell they are allowing this, for they delight in my anguish. I pray to pass out, but my prayers go unanswered. Meanwhile, my body becomes alight in a blazing fiery glow. The pain inside of me doubles. The mass of my falling body also doubles and rather than a floundering burning man soon to die, my body more resembles a blazing, monstrous predator poised to decimate his prey. What had they done to me? What horror had they brought upon me? Why me? Why…?
A Flight of Despair
Flight: superior (rank 2)
Knowing that no answer would come, I quickly sweep away my self-turmoil and against my will continued to view my descent into madness. That’s when I see the impossible. The psychosis of what these sick people had done. It seems that I am not only meant to die in the fall, but I am to meet my death at the feet of the Earth’s mightiest defenders, the Sentinels of Liberty and Justice. No longer is my body falling in a straightforward design, but now it curves and arches towards one of the corporate office buildings of the SLJ. I watch in awe as flaming wings carry the body aloft. As I…no the creatures which inhabited what was once me, bow around a corner of the building, I see that horrible MPP or whatever he would have himself be named. He wears an ornate masquerade disguise which resembles a devil. Adding to my shock is the realization that he is too flying effortlessly above a window. His clothing flapping and his hair whipping from the breeze of my body’s passing. He laughs uproariously and cheers as the fiery body of Legion whisks by with me as their mental captive. The last glimpse I see is of him entering the office building with several of his wicked disciples in tow. Good god, this corporate office of the SLJ is not a place of many heroes. Those people will be slaughtered. But I am not to be a witness of this event, for I am again plummeting towards the main entrance of the building.
Giving Rise to Lamentation
Growth: standard (rank 1)
Before I can even make for the door, the Khazan police force is hitting my new bestial body with everything within their arsenal. The sounds of sirens, handguns, screaming and most unbearably the demons assault me. They cackle and mock within my mental tomb. I watch as people scream in the wake of my mass which is finally settled aggressively upon the street. What will these hideous demons do? Please do not let me witness… I scream futilely, “RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” The demons delight in my attempt and allow vivid display of their next move; the vicious onslaught of every living thing in the vicinity. As they kill, the things…this Legion, they double in size. Like a blazing infernal maelstrom it savagely tears into man, woman and child. Bullets pass into its body never to be seen again. Nothing in this squad’s arsenal puts it down. At one point in the mayhem, one brave cop makes a suicidal attempt to drive his squad car from a parking garage roof unto the creature’s head. The colossal assemblage of ruin catches the car and rips it into two separate portions. The heroic officer within falls to the ground in a sick thud, his body wasted. This only leads to him being met with a dreadful stomp from the demons. I crave to turn away… Still alive, his body boils alive beneath the hellish flames of the foot. The sight and his screams of pain are unbearable. I try to close my eyes and soon remembered that in my mental prison I have no eyes. I cannot dampen this madness no more than a drip of water will squelch a volcano. There is no benevolent being to beg mercy to…there is only Legion. And they have hysterics and carry on.
Unholy Be Thy Name
Eldritch Energy: supreme (rank 3)
The next few minutes are a blur. As I gave in to the fact that I cannot turn away, I watch numbly. Heroes do arrive. From within the building, they came. Only a few, but they came. And in similar ghastly fashion, the horrific multitude that had taken over my body melts into them with a fury unlike any I’d seen in man or beast. No living thing escapes the street. SLJ emergency beacons go off everywhere. Sirens can be heard in the distance. Soon, the monster will be taken down as surely the Beta team or Alphas will put it down with impunity. But then I see him. The man in the mask: that malevolent, twisted bastard that started this abject horror. From the periphery of the structure, he flies away again with his followers in tow looking no worse for wear. Before him, a peculiarly dressed figure crashes lifelessly from a window and into the street. I try to turn away, but the demons make me watch. The body lands with a sickening crunch and literally splashes on the pavement. There are no signs of shock however as the street are more of a beleaguered slaughterhouse than a street. With a casual gesture, MPP signals the beasts that controls my body. Turning quickly to the building, the things surge with a tidal wave of energy. With an earth quaking gait, the Legion leaps head first into the building. It shakes and tremors vehemently and suddenly a tornado-like upsurge of Legion’s hellfire multitude sweeps up the length of the building. Even through the chaotic noise of the attack you can hear the tortured sounds of the survivors within as they burn alive. Likewise, Legion rushes its body up the length of the building ensuring that it is thoroughly engulfed in the juggernauting flames. At the tower’s precipice, Legion breaks away and takes to the sky, disappearing into an unknown void. At the same time, the corporate office collapses like a house of cards in flames. So many lives lost. What in the name...? Darkness covers me. Without warning, I feel my senses rush back in control of my body and there is blessed darkness.
Finally, I wake upon the same slab as before. I am back in control of my body, but again clamped down against my will. I look around at vague images as my eyes adjust to the light. “Lord Athural is dead.” The man known as MPP says in delight, “To the victor go the spoils.” Surely my mind has gone with the insanity, because before my eyes I witness what seems to be a fairy flittering into the room. In her hands, she struggles with a small bag. Setting it on my chest, she opens it and reveals several small gems. She gives them to her cohorts and quietly kisses them on the cheek and whispers in their ears as she does. My mind races; surely they hadn’t committed these atrocities simply to steal jewels. “Voodoo, Koji and my darling Percy, I give this gift to you.” She speaks as she hands them out. My thoughts roam, the madmen have handles? This was lunacy. Keeping the last gem herself, she speaks again, “From Athural’s kingdom I give you Ravenna’s gems. With them, you shall all gain a bit of dominion over She That Creates. With them, we will be gods among men upon her arrival. Congratulations gentlemen.” The four then roars in exaltation. My eyes close in melancholy. I had heard enough. My thoughts are manic. So this was the rest of the life of the illustrious Dr. Odierno? I was to become a walking atomic bomb for psychotic madmen bent on bringing some…thing to this world. And, who was this She That Creates? Creates what? What could be worse than what I had become? What could be worse then these psychopaths? I close my eyes. I dare not dream.