Cassie: As much as I’d like to stay here with my Mom for a minute or two longer, we can’t afford it. I know that. So I go through the doorway without another word, and set straight to clearing the path for everyone else. Moving what little debris is blocking the area that we’re exiting into. I don’t stay on the ground for long, though. Leaving the rubble behind, if only for a dozen feet or so, in order to get a better view.
“…seeing this in pictures and seeing it in person is…”
This kind of thing can’t happen again. The sheer amount of area that had been destroyed. All the lives, human and otherwise. My forehead wrinkles, distressed, and then angry, but I can’t let this be the focus either. I have an all too clear of that coming storm after all. Weather patterns don’t naturally move that fast, so that leaves us to assume who is coming. Which is good. Mission accomplished, right? Now we just have to deal with her.
“Incoming at three o’clock, gentlemen.”
Freddy: I thought about what Ms. Sandsmark said and knew that he had been putting a lot of thought into things lately. Sometimes you had to lead with your heart. The head was there to help balance it out. When we stepped out into the wasteland that was once Coast City he glanced around watching as Wonder Woman took to the sky.
I took this brief and I do mean brief moment to calm my mind. I needed it to settle and my heart it needed to be steady. They couldn’t afford them to pull me in opposite directions. Instead I needed to be focused, because when Cassie spotted the approaching storm that was Isis I knew that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
Wally: Wally really hadn’t a clue what was going on between … well, all of this. And he wasn’t talking about what happened to Coast City and the lead up that made Luthor President. It only happening three years ago meant Wally didn’t understand most of what was going on in the political climate, and school mostly just gleamed over the facts as they couldn’t really go into too much detail about. But, that was fine. Wally … well, he didn’t even bother to look it up outside of school, even though his mentor, his Uncle was directly affected by this.
So, once they stepped through the doorway and Wonder Woman took to the sky, he looked to Freddy, then back to the oncoming storm. What was he doing here? He had no idea. But, he sure as hell wasn’t about Isis win. Because it sounded like she was bad news and bad news needed to be taken down. To bad they couldn’t search the Vault more. Surly one of the many things that Wally saw in there could be used. Though, he got the feeling they were all ‘Off-Limits’
“So, what’s the game plan?”
ST: Stepping through that set of double vault doors, opens in to what was likely once upon a time the sub-basement of Coast City’s Museum of Science and Industry. MOSI, was once filled with children laughing, playing and learning. It is now little more than a husk, a shell of remains that have only recently begun to be cleared away. Leaving the bulk of that work for Wonder Woman to do right now with brute force. The assistance of the Flash and Shazam’s would-be Champion will certainly help, but the effort to get through to the surface are going to take a little bit of time.
During which time, all the way across the country in that terrible farm town of Metropolis, Isis has been punishing the Museum there. Her agent had been downed, felled and perhaps captured. Yet that hadn’t stopped the spell he cast, which animated the museum’s undead exhibits. They were simply running amok. Attacking anything and anyone in their path. Which included Isis, for about a half-second, it took for them to be shattered to dust beneath her terrible power.
Once the Trio of Heroes emerged from the Vault though, her assault on Metropolis came to a very abrupt end. That single-minded pursuit of the Amulet that Freddy had gotten away from Fawcett City with, driving her to abandon the attack on the Vault-door in Metropolis. If only Cassie had her Cellphone, she would receive the phone calls telling her all about the excitement she’s missing by her boyfriend. Or the concerned requests for updates from Timothy Drake.
Those few moments the Trio have to breathe? Are just about -all- the time they get. No sooner do they dig themselves out from beneath the rubble of Coast City’s Museum than Cassie begins getting that eerie feel down her spine again. Freddy gets something even more. That same sense he got when he first opened the door to the Wizard’s sanctum, from that basement in Fawcett City. When he first put eyes upon…
“Ignorant Child! Do you even know what you’re doing?”
His words begin before their eyes even clear of the brilliant flash of light, explosive lightning that seemingly brought him to this place instantly. It was merely hours ago that Freddy saw him, at the Wizard’s Sanctum. Then beneath the school tearing in to the mostly helpless Crocodile Men.
He sure seems a lot more angry now than then, and he wasn’t exactly level headed then either. Was he?
“She is coming, boy and if she takes the Gods from you, she will raise this entire world.”
Cassie: Throwing an arm up over my eyes is not nearly enough to protect them from the sudden, unexpected flash of lightning. You’d think I should be getting used to that sort of thing. It’s been happening an awful lot lately. I’m still seeing spots, dancing across the dark and my vision, as I lower it and focus on who or what’s just appeared in front of me. I don’t need to be able to see though. That’s a voice that’s been burned into my brain, even if I know now it wasn’t really him. Teth Adam. Black Adam.
Part of me wants to say that no, we probably don’t know what we’re doing. And yet, here we are doing it anyway.
“She already came for it once. Better here than all of Metropolis going with it.”
I’m not sure we need to justify ourselves to him. I’m still not sure he’s entirely blameless in this situation, but I drop abruptly out of the sky, landing with a soft whump in front of Adam. Not close in front of him though, with narrowed blue eyes.
“Raze it? Or raise it?”
Wally: There’s a flash of lightning and Wally is surprised just how bright it is, and then the voice that comes from behind when his vision gets caught up to his brain. Rubbing his eyes.
“Insolent child? Who speaks like that today? Aren’t there better words? If you need a thesaurus for Christmas, you can count on me…Mr… Shazam?” asking as he finished rubbing his eyes seeing the big guy in black with a white lightening bolt across his chest.
“Buddy of yours? You guys could be twins. Though, I think he’d look better in red.”
Obviously Wally didn’t know really what was going on.
Freddy: I’m pretty sure we know what’s headed our way. I don’t answer Wally just yet, because I have a feeling. “Well, if things go as well as they have been for like the last several hours of so.” You know terrible. “Isis is going to be just one half of the problem, because I’m pretty sure Murphy’s Law is about to kick…” Before I can get it out there he is ready to punish me with insults and threatening glares…again. I shield my eyes for a moment before turning back towards everyone’s favorite Kahndaqian.
Can’t we put a pin him for like I don’t know at least a week?
“Homonyms gotta love them and Wonder Woman makes a fair point. Communication is key.” Yeah I know stir him up. “I mean you are the unmitigated ruler of Kahndaq and such and the US isn’t on great terms with the country. Wouldn’t you being here be considered an Act of War or something” I can’t help myself I should stop.
“But seriously if you’re here to tell me I’m a foolish child, threaten me and shake me until I give you the blessings. It’s not going to happen. Just like I told your possessed wife it’s not going to happen. Honestly, this is your fault, her fault and anyone that decide to play fast and loose with the rules. Now we have to clean it up. I have to clean it up. If anything, you’re really pissing me off because you couldn’t for a moment think, “Oh that might be a bad idea.” Even more the fact that you accepted something you knew wasn’t right. So, I don’t know who’s the more foolish here. Me because I want to fix this or you because you won’t take yourself of repeat. Sad fact is that the same choices keep being made and things just go from bad to worse.”
That said. “I’ll take us both out before I let any of the powers of Shazam be twisted into something they weren’t meant to be so huff and puff and blow me down, get out of my way or do something that could be considered I don’t know. Useful for once since you woke up and decided to start this vicious cycle over again.”
Adam: Cassie receives little more than silence. At first. Because the hooded figure of Black Adam is utterly zero’d in on Freddy Freeman. There is a sort of stone cold look in his eyes as he beholds the Challenger for the power of Shazam. “The Fate of the World dangles in the balance and you speak to me of meaningless politics, Challenger? Has the Wizard fallen so far, that he must recruit challengers from the ilk of Cowards now? The politics of this country are meaningless to me, when the entire world is at stake.”
When Freddy speaks. And speaks. And speaks some more. It merits a reaction. In that Black Adam slowly, especially for people like Wally West, raises his hands in order to pull the hood back. There is a long, measuring look from Freddy, to Wally, then Cassie. It doesn’t take Batman to realize he is considering them for threat levels. So then, what does it actually mean when he tilts his head in the direction of the Flash?
“Isis is even now riding the winds here. She chases that Amulet, in order to restore the soul it holds to life. She is seeks to use the power of the Gods to tame Death itself. You have brought her to one of the largest masse graves in the world. Since it is clear to me that the would be Champion and this Demigoddess are insane. Surely at least you, Speedster, have the ability to process this quickly. She is going to raise this City, to get that Amulet. Think quickly. How many Meta-Humans died here? How many can the three of you fight, before she takes his power -and- the Amulet?”
Cassie: I would probably find Wally’s running dialogue actually really funny at virtually any other moment, but right now I’m a little concerned with what’s going on around us.
“I wouldn’t call him that, Flash.”
Freddy himself says a lot of what I couldn’t help thinking myself. Black Adam is probably more powerful than any of the rest of us, maybe all of us, put together at the moment. I’m not sure I appreciate the way we’re being looked at either. I don’t wince at what he says, but my mouth does pull sharply to the side in displeasure. How was I supposed to know that? How would any of us know that and where else were we supposed to take this? I suppose the answer becomes nowhere, really, so much as a matter of speed for finishing it.
“And what if the Amulet’s no longer there to be taken? What happens if it’s destroyed?”
Something no one else has wanted to give me a straight answer, or any answer on. Third time’s a charm. It’s clear Isis will follow the thing anywhere. It wasn’t even safe in my Mother’s magic vault. Leaving us two options. Well. Three I suppose. Running with it forever. Letting her have it, or…
Wally: Listening to Freddy, and then Black Adam, Wally stroked his chin for a moment. Then looked to Wonder Girl, and turned to look at Freddy.
“We keep running, and she finds it. Like Wonder Woman said. ”
“Or, we destroy it. Or.. I don’t know… throw it into orbit. If I angle it right, and really push myself… I think I can launch it into sub-orbital around the planet. Let her chase it. Or maybe we can get someone like Superman to take it into orbit and launch it into the Sun. Unless you can?” asking as he glanced to Cass.
“I don’t really know what’s going on. But it seems that amulet is her homing beacon. And if she needs to be stopped..” trailing off as he gestures to the amulet that Freddy holds.
“If he” gesturing to Adam “Iis right. We’re nowhere near strong enough to take on a city full of dead people.”
Freddy: “Raise then” Adam isn’t the one to make a mistake, but you know sometimes you have to know, because really razing a wasteland doesn’t do much to help it. Raising the dead. Different story.
“I’m going to need that amulet.” That’s been running through my mind all day.” Two thoughts that I’ve tossed around. I didn’t get an answer from the question that I asked. I didn’t ask about destroying the amulet, because when you think about it what happens to what’s contained within. Cassie asked point blank if the essence of Osiris float away or something else. There was no answer, no real acknowledgement.
Here we are again.
“I have an idea.” Choice it’s always been about choice. Push it all away. The threats. The comparisons. Wondering whether or not you were the right person. If you can do it. I’ll do what I need to do, but I can’t ask anyone else to do it.
“She won’t listen. She won’t stop. She has a one track mind.” So why not? “I need you to trust me.” He said with nod before turning towards Adam.
“I need you all to trust me.”
Adam: For the first time Cassie has said something that merits Black Adam’s attention. It’s as if she said the strangest thing too, because he looks at her like she has grown a third eye. “Others have tried to destroy it. It contains the entirety of a God’s essence. The Wizard himself, the one that this Challenger seeks the approval of, created it to house the essence of a mad God. It is strong enough to do so for thousands of years. It’s destruction is nearly impossible, but only nearly.”
“My question to you, Child, would be whether you’d actually kill one of your own in order to destroy it. And what happens to the one who does so? Surely it would not be further ‘Blessings’ from the Gods, if you were a God-Killer.”
Now Freddy is done with insults and asking for trust? There’s little of that in the air. Zehuti isn’t needed to know that the three of them do not trust him. Nor does he trust a Challenger, who’s so clearly failed in his duty to be a Champion. Admittedly, Freddy isn’t the only failed Champion in attendance, but you won’t hear Black Adam make that statement out loud.
“I could kill the three of you and take the Amulet, but that would take time we no longer have,” pointing past Cassandra in to the distance, at the storm that now spans the entire line of sight in the distance. “Since it is clear you will no do as I say, nor do I have the time now to force your hands. I will give you, the three of you, this opportunity.”
Two massive arms cross over barrel chest, in acceptance. “Let it be known, if you fail. That it is on your conscience.”
Cassie: “No. We’re not enough for that. Not to mention the… wound that would probably rip open.”
Not just from the inevitable weirdness that’s going to come from more risen dead, but the world itself. If the media were to roll up and show us fighting people’s departed loved ones, no matter the actual reason. I actually rather like Wally’s plan about orbit, I mean. That might work, or at least take her off world to find it. It doesn’t really eliminate the problem, but maybe at least delays it a little. Delaying the problem won’t help Freddy finish his trials, such as they are, however. I shake my head at his question, though.
“I’m not sure that I could. I’ve never flown that high, and I still have to breathe… I could still try though.”
I’m willing to try despite that, but Freddy apparently has a plan. Trust him? That I already do. He’s already proven far more insightful than anyone else I know, the things he picks up and the knowledge he has of all this that I don’t means I’m down to continuing to trust him, or trusting… Black Adam who likes to point out he can kill people apparently.
“I think if you were going to do that, you would have opened with it, Adam.”
He gets an almost withering look for saying that failure would be on anyone’s conscience. It already would have been. But that’s the key difference between the three of us and him, I think. Producing the amulet, it’s offered out to Freddy without me taking my eyes away from Adam, or the storm. Once he takes it, unless Freddy’s plan requires my presence right here, I’m taking to the air again. Maybe I can make a distraction of myself enough to slow her down, though I doubt it’ll be terribly effective. She’s here for the Amulet.
Wally: “Nearly, not impossible. If this were at the heart of the sun. She won’t survive.”
Pausing a moment, then looking at Cass and Freddy
“…Right? I mean, the pressure and heat alone…” sighing, he didn’t want to know if she would live or not. She probably would, knowing the way this was going.
“Right. Well, you do you, Freddy. We’ll hold her back as best we can.” what was he going to do? Well, he was going to do what he did best, and that was going to be run.
Wally could only think of one thing right now, and maybe that a little wind resistance would stop her. If anything slow her down. So, when he feels that he’s ahead of Wonder Girl, and infont of Isis, he’d start running in a circle. Trying to create a tornado vortex, pushing himself harder and faster. Wanting to push himself to that edge, wanting to keep his new found friends alive.
Hopefully Wonder Woman remembered this last tactic, except they weren’t on a roof top and he was going a whole hell of a lot faster.
Freddy: “What are you talking about. Anything’s possible when we put our minds to it. I believe in you Cassie. I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. ” I take the amulet from her hand gripping it tightly. “Were the line that stands between Order and Chaos. The Fellowship stands upon the edge.” Right here. Right now. “You didn’t make a bad choice. You made the right now. The one that protected Metropolis.”
He glanced towards Flash. “Believe in yourself, Flash. Believe the impossible is possible. Believe you swifter than the wind itself. You can catch light and hold in your hand. Believe that see it. Make it happen. Never stop running. We can do this. ” I might be leaning on Achilles with this. To bolster them. Cassie doesn’t need it really, but every bit helps.
“Remember who you are. I know what you did Adam. Thank you. You know, you never told me your wife’s name. Then again, I never asked. I know who you are, Adam.” He pushed off the ground floating into air. “We always have a choice. Don’t forget that. No one ever forget that. Keep them safe. Contender to Champion. Be the Champion one more time. The true one, not the false one. I may get one shot maybe two. I don’t know. Too much death. Too many bending to wills. Whether you want my trust or my obedience I don’t know Adam. One is earned, the second gets us known where. But let me try to save your wife” I look towards the approaching storm.
Isis was locked away in an amulet. Destroying an amulet. Destroys the god. I’m not giving anyone anything to feast upon. No more death. Do the right thing. Why can’t people talk to one another without talking down to one another? I said I would rather lose the powers of Shazam rather than have them fall into the hands of another, but she won’t stop until she gets what she wants, until she raises her husband.
I continue moving higher into the air remembering what Isis said if I die she will come for the power. The power of gods can be used for more than championing. She told me. She’ll burn them down like a candle he told me. Once extinguish they’l be gone.
“I can’t do it alone.” I say almost in a silent prayer. “I know you’re there watching waiting to see what I’ll do. What hand I’ll play. Everything has been about force about power destroying or trying to be a wall, but I’m a gnat. I’m in this. I’m not trying to prove myself to anyone. I’m trying to protect worlds. If it means I fail. I fail. I won’t let her take one more life or bend one more to her will. All I ask is a chance to try to end this. I am a contender not a champion, but I will not give up and don’t think I’m giving up now. Solomon. Mercury. Achilles. I need you now. You trusted me with your blessings. I need you to help me keep balance.
“Isis is the goddess of Life and Magic, elements sway to her, but dead…the afterlife. She reaches further than she should, because that belongs to someone else. I wish to end to talk to your wife to end this never ending storm. I need your aid.” If I become a Godkiller to protect them all i will, but I have to try. Holding onto the amulet I take a deep breath and lean on the three blessings to help me. Solomon I can’t flee not any more. I have to stand my ground. Achilles will help us. I need to be me. My strength of will to guide me through.
Adam: “Hold her back?” Sigh. “This isn’t something that can…”
There goes the Flash. Even Black Adam is a little surprised at the man’s speed. It isn’t the first time that he’s seen someone be so fast, but it might be the first time it was someone that didn’t have the blessings of a God doing so. A pity, Adam thinks, that he left so quickly that he won’t hear the warning.
“…you can hold back.”
Because it simply isn’t. There is no stopping Isis. Not empowered as she is. Black Adam himself stands there, cape flapping in the wind, as silent witness to what he has to assume is going to be the death of these children. The sole thing that impresses him? Is their friendship. Perhaps even a slight bit the bravery, though ill-placed as it seems to be. It is enough, on it’s own, to move him. Bring himself in to the air near Wonder Woman.
“The woman beneath the power of Isis is a good person. This is not her, that does this. The Gods are not always there to aide us.”
For now he watches. Seeing the way the Flash moves. The wind he kicks up. That tornado effect that he brings in to motion. There is a wince on Black Adam’s face though. Clearly he does not believe this will work. He says as much to Wonder Woman. “The Speedster creates a tornado, to slow down a being who commands the very air he’s whipping in to a frenzy. Did someone forget to tell him who he was fighting?”
Adam falls silent though as Freeman ascends in to the air. His silence allows the rest of them to hear Freeman’s words. Word, actually. For the first time Black Adam smiles.
ST: Adam smiles because he knows what Freeman has done. He’s said the God’s name, while holding the Amulet in his hands. The clues were always there. Right in front of them. Isis had taken a second hostage. Minerva had been her host, to try sneaking beyond the sorcery of the Wizard in Fawcett City’s Bank. The other Hostage, the forgotten one? Had been intended to House the spirit of the God, Osiris. Isis, the Goddess, needed a Host for her Husband.
Freddy connected the dots finally. In the vault. Perhaps realizing why Black Adam had demanded the Amulet and his powers. He needed them if he was to restore his wife. Unlike Cassandra or Freddy, destroying a life, even that of a God was not unthinkable to him if it brought his wife back to him. Whether that be through killing Osiris, bannishing Isis back to her Amulet. Or becoming Osiris himself? He was clearly willing to accept those outcomes.
Freddy made the choice for him. For all of them. Though little does he realize, he needed far less power to free to Osiris than he thought. Osiris wants to be free, after all. What he does with it now that he has it? That is the question.
The storm front has reached them. True to Adam’s words the Cityscape of Coast City is changing. Each drop of water from the rain, blooms a flower. Life is emerging from the rain. Which the flash only helps by whipping the water far and wide with his tornado. With life comes rebirth… and with that….
Comes the raising of the formerly dead Citizens of the Husk of Coast City. At the eye of storm is Isis.
Cassie: “I guess I have to be Legolas. Closest to a female character I’ve got.”
I’m not actually certain how much an issue most of what Isis might raise from Coast City would be for any of us. Two of us are in the air. Wally is faster than.. everything. I really have nothing else to compare it to. I don’t have the senses necessary to pick up exactly how fast he’s going, outside of ‘faster than I can believe.’ The effects are immediate. Much like the ones that comes with Isis’ arrival. The metas though, that may be another story and what we will really have to worry about and contain if she manages to get to any of them. Or at the very least to keep them off of Freddy.
“And yet, here we are. Just the same.”
I only spare a glance at Adam himself as he rises near me. I still don’t understand his game entirely. Maybe a little, down at the core, but what’s boiled out from there. What would I do, or wouldn’t I do, for Conner?
“What did you put in Minerva’s pocket. In Fawcett. Because I’m thinking this is as much your fault as anyone else’s. So is there a good reason you’re not putting a stop to it? If, like you said, this isn’t her? Then maybe she needs a jolt. Again. Who’s she going to take that better from? I’d sure want someone who loved me to stop me from doing something I couldn’t take back.”
Wally’s doing what he knows how to do. So I’m not going to answer that criticism. I am however, moving a hand to my belt, the loops uncoiling like I bid them, glowing and glimmering with the threads that made it. And energy. It’s not the only thing crackling though. The thick gold bracelet around my wrist, last bangle from my return trip to the Subway that I hadn’t taken off. I’ve got my own power, and I”ve got tools that I’ve been given. It had been a matter of will, and mentally entitled bossiness to get it to take that shape in the first place. It should work the same way in reverse again but for now, I’ll settle for the lasso. Wally may not slow her, but he can distract from my flyby that seeks to snare her in its loops.
Freddy: I spoke the name. I turned the key and I returned him to the land of the living yet he was within me. I could feel him, coursing through my veins. I tell myself that I must remain as I am. Frederick Christopher Freeman. I stand here between worlds. I can lose myself to this, but I choose not to, because I know who I am. I think of my parents. Gramps. I share with the god of the afterlife all that there is to know of me and the world I seek to protect. I hover in the air and share with Osiris all that has happened, all that I know.
“Peace. I wish to bring her peace, bring them all peace.” I whisper. “Help me.” I know gods are not kind and benevolent, but how much longer can this go on.
I focus on everything that is within my grasp as I come down to see the storm before me. He fights for control, to reach the surface, but it is not that I want to keep him at bay. I want to keep in control. I want to remain who I am. Freddy Freeman. I cannot lose this fight.
I feel my lungs with air so he can feel it. He lives again, but this. Look at this. I need him to see his wife, to see what she has become. How, far her madness has taken her.
I need to distract her. I reach out with the power of that I hold. I am the lord of the dead right now and they will not attack my friends. They will not hurt them. I will hold them at bay while using one of them or many of them to whisper to the Flash as he zips by. Amulet. They must retrieve her amulet. Take it. Release Adam’s wife from the prison she’s in.
I come into view for Isis to see. She needs to see and sense that Osiris is among them again. Draw her attention so she will not see what comes for her. Focus. No more fighting this city has seen enough death. Isis will not allow herself to be reasoned with.
“Isis…” I call to her to draw her attention away from my allies, my friends and Adam. Maybe if we make it through this I’ll get him a copy of Gran Torino. Seems like something he’d like. “Enough death.” I tell her. There has been enough death. Let them believe again. “Live again.” She wants death, but Osiris is not only the god of the dead, but of resurrection. Take this chance. I hope they got the message. Isis will be distracted on several levels. Cassie knows if we fight her head on she will burn through the powers she’s gathered. If I distracted it may be what we need.
ST: “Eh? What are you talking about, Woman. I wasn’t in Fawcett City, until Freeman released me from the Wizard’s Sanctum. Ask him yourself, he unlocked the door. I’d been there long enough to read most the Wizard’s Library. By the time I escaped, she had already come and gone from that retched place.”
Black Adam might be someone that Cassie loathes, but he doesn’t sound like the sort to be such an open liar. What would he have to gain by lying about it, especially right this second? There’s no doubt that he might lie, but why would he do so for such a trivial thing. By all views he seems to be literally crackling with energy, ready to do battle with the woman he calls Wife. There’s this low grumbling noise from him though as Cassie speaks of jolting Isis, bringing out Adrianna from the haze of Isis’ powers.
As Black Adam watches The Flash simply runs in circles. While his airflow is not encumbering Isis in her approach, is it is doing something impressive. At first it was sending the rain in all directions, but as he has gotten control of it (dice!) the vortex he is forming has begun to whirlpool the rain in to the funnel. Keeping it from going everywhere. Though some might think the life-giving rain of Isis would be something good for Coast City, those first few wretched hands that raise from the ground? Suggest something different entirely. Though, Cassie is correct for now. There is really no one around for those few Zombies that rose to get at. Yet.
Of course, Kyle Rayner might think differently a few blocks from the Battle. Born on Monday. Christened on Tuesday. Married on Wednesday….
The efforts of Shazam‘s hopeful Champion are having an effect as well. Though perhaps not immediately the one that he was hoping for. As he gives Osiris breathe, the old God struggles for freedom that much harder. Freddy can feel it. The confinement has done much the same to Osiris that it did to Isis. Seemingly it has made the old God almost mad in it’s thirst for Life. Though even as Freddy struggles with keeping himself from losing control to the God of Death, he can also feel how the words take hold on him. Osiris does look upon Isis. Takes stock of her. Sees what she is become, how she is behaving.
Unfortunately for Freddy Freeman? Osiris does not care that Isis is perverting her power for him. Or rather he cares more about his freedom than he does for Isis. It is undoubtedly a strange recognition for Freddy. He thought to use the Old God’s love to stir something. To kindle some feeling that would have Osiris join in the effort to soothe Isis. But what he finds? Is that Osiris cares not if Isis is burnt out entirely in this endeavor. Whatever it takes, he will be free.
It is only Wonder Woman that takes a more direct physical approach. Her lasso, made from a literal weave of the Golden Fleece, is put to work. Thrown out, guided and commanded by the divinity inside of her. It rarely misses it’s target, unless she is thrown off by something struggling against her control. This is no different. As he lasso finds itself at home around Isis? Cassie might well recognize immediately the problem with her plan. The lasso responds to Divinity and while she, Cassie, is descended from Zeus? She is but half the Goddess that Isis is. Even as it encloses on Isis, true lightning channels up the rope from Isis and in to Cassie. A distinct opposite reaction from what normally happens.
Of course. Freddy was trying to reach someone. It just so happens, that it isn’t Osiris that sees what he’s doing. The angle he’s going for. It’s Black Adam. Hovering there. Ready to fight for the world, even as he’s seemingly accepted the fate of his loved one. His Adrianna Tomaz. Unmoved by Cassie’s arguments at first, he sees what Freddy is doing. Who he’s trying to reach. Freddy pleads with an unhearing God for aid, but it isn’t a God who answers him. It’s the hands of Black Adam. Moving in as Wonder Woman distracts Isis. With Freeman holding one Amulet, Adam seizes the one dangling from Isis’ throat.
He’s no sooner touched it, than he says a single word: “Shazam!”
More lightning. Only this is not a bolt from Cassandra’s father. It springs from the Rock of Eternity. Striking down upon Adam, upon Freddy and Isis. Both amulets. Filling the sky with a hint of Ozone. It also leaves the all-too human forms of Teth-Adam, Adrianna Tomaz and Freddy Freeman plummeting out of the sky. With no powers to save them.
Cassie: But I saw you, is of course the immediate thought. Tim had shown me the traffic camera footage, and especially seeing him now in person? I’d say there was no mistaking what I saw. I’ve had a whole lot of lessons lately, though, in how things aren’t exactly what they look like, sound like, or walk like. And I don’t think he was lying. He seems confused that I would have even asked. Which means someone else put that Amulet in Minerva’s pocket? While looking like Adam. Then there’d been the Adam in my dreams which I already know was not really him. Not a hard conclusion to jump to right there.
What Wally does? Is really impressive. Adam might have scorned him for what he was doing, but it wasn’t just an attempt to slow her. He’s sparing us a lot of the zombies, just by redirecting the rain. Saving us an awful lot of additional trouble. We’ve all got different strengths. Weaknesses that are offset by each other. Maybe this really can work… all in all? He’s a whole lot more successful than I am.
I wasn’t trying to take Isis down. Even out. I just wanted to do my attempt, useless or not, to slow her. Make her listen at best, the way I’d been able to command Grunge. Turns out it doesn’t work nearly so well. Quite the opposite in fact. Muscles tense as I’m the one that gets that jolt instead. Normally your hand recoils from heat, or pain, but when you’re electrocuted it’s the opposite. Fortunately, controlling the lariat is in large part a mental exercise. Which means that I don’t continue to get those god-volts on…and on… I’m tumbling out of the sky, body still not any more obedient to what I want it to do.
If I were thinking clearly, it probably wouldn’t have worried me as much. Hitting the ground doesn’t do a whole lot to me anymore. Especially not a normal falling speed. I make a decent crater but that’s about it. In a way, it might have been a bit of a blessing, because I’m face down and groaning when lightning fills the sky again, if my hair weren’t already on end it probably would be now. There’s still a bright, blinding after image though. And I’m barely making out the falling shapes in the sky.
Forcing myself up fortunately doesn’t really require getting my limbs working. It’s not my most graceful, or enjoyable, flight upwards to try to snag them all, tempting as it honestly is to only save Freddy and I’m immediately ashamed tha tthe thought actually occurs to me. That’s not like me.
Wally: Wally has a unique view of the world. When he’s running, everything slows down around him. Nearly coming to a standstill. So when he finally gets the rain in a giant twister and holds it there. He’s stunned by the sheer brilliance of the lightning. But he see’s it traveling down. Yes. Down. Not up. This wasn’t normal lighting, obviously. He watches it strike Adam, then Isis, and finally Freddy Freeman. It was an incredible sight. But, then they were no longer their superhuman selves. Breaking away from the vortex, he speeds towards where everyone is falling. Through all this, he can see Wonder Woman, second by second try and catch the three.
So, Wally decides to make a vortex *here* to try and bring them all down safely. Or at least slow their descent enough for Wonder Woman to catch them. Hopefully there’s enough time for him to do this.
Also, that rain? Hopefully it’s not magiked anymore or Wally’s running isn’t going to be done any time soon.
Because Zombies are bad, Mmmkay?
Freddy: I could feel it. I could sense it. It seemed that Isis’s made desire to resurrect Osiris was matched by Osiris desire to live again. He did not care. Perhaps afterwards he would, but in this moment he could give a damn. How would she feel about that? It didn’t matter, because it all came to an abrupt end the moment Adam was able to undo what he had done. He brought down the lighting and it was broken the cycle of the moment was disrupted and Freddy found himself falling.
ST: The three of them begin to tumble. As if someone had flipped off a light switch, Black Adam & Shazam were no more. So too was Osiris gone, Isis as well. All three beings now completely human, utterly normal and frail. The two amulets literally thrum with power. All of these things drop out of the sky. Plucked from the heavens with a single word. Spoken with equal parts love for his wife and anger at what had become of her. In doing so, Black Adam made use of Freeman’s gamble. Perhaps not exactly what Freddy and Solomon had planned, but how could they have counted upon Teth-Adam doing something such as this? Him being moved by Cassandra’s words of love and what she would hope for from those she cares about.
On the ground, the Flash is ever in movement. His efforts had stopped most of the rain. Keeping it bound to a single area of the city. Then keeping the Zombies it created bound with the air flows of the vortex he created. With Isis once more restrained within the Amulet, he moves yet more. Taking his tornado with him in an effort to offer a buffet of air that would blunt the fall of the three humans. Giving Wonder Woman a chance to ‘make the save.’ With the only choice she has left, being who or what she’ll rescue. She simply lacks the appendages needed to grab all three people and both amulets.
Ah, but that is not all that has changed. Though it is unseen? As the three fall to the ground? Freddy Freeman is quite more than just unconscious. He’s there. In the Rock of Eternity. Where the Wizard awaits him. Though it is perhaps not the Wizard he knew. The young man, a boy really, awaits. His eyes still full of life and wonder. With a voice that sounds as if he were about to ask Freddy to come outside and play.
“You have many questions, Freddy, but now is not the time for you to have all of the answers. There is something greater at work here than just your Trial. This world is ‘Broken,’ so too are the Trials. They are broken, because we must have a Champion that understands not everything is as it seems. Hercules has given you his Blessing, because now you understand that Strength is not always the power to punch through walls. There is no greater strength than love, Freddy.”
“The Old Wizard is gone, for now. The way to the Sanctum, along with the door to the Rock of Eternity are closed. So they must remain for now. You’ll understand why soon enough. For now, Freddy Freeman. Awaken and say your name.”
Cassie; Fortunately I don’t really need extra appendages to catch all of them, though I could probably have done this a lot more neatly with them. Without Wally’s help, it likely still wouldn’t have been possible because I’m definitely not at my best in this moment. My muscles are slow to respond, and the result is something more like a bull rush than the gentle scooping out of the air I would have normally tried otherwise. Using my momentum to move bodies forward, rather than down, an arm snatched here that’s probably going to result in a pulled shoulder joint for Black Adam, a very sore knee and hip for Isis’ shell when I grab an ankle and maybe a bruise from my own shoulder for Freddy’s abdomen. I’m sure they’ll forgive me when they’re not crushed instead from impact with the ground.
I don’t even try to grab the Amulets as they tumble to the ground. People first. Things later. Even impossibly powerful things. Trusting to Wally’s continued currents to help get me and the rest of them to the ground a little more gently than I might otherwise manage right now. Panting for air, more thanks to the electrocuting that’s left me short of breath than any real exertion, I struggle back up again once I’ve put them down. To look for more threats whether it’s in the form of still risen zombies or…
I’m not discounting anything right now, honest.
Freddy: My eyes opened and I found myself no longer in the company of friends. “Eternity.” I had been brought here once to begin the Trials. To be deemed worthy. Worthy to begin, to be blessed by the six gods. Looking around I expect something anything perhaps a lecture, but instead I get a bright eyed kid who feels familiar, but I’m pretty sure I don’t know him. Or did I? My lips part to say something anything, but instead he’s talking like the Wizard if the Wizard was one fur coat shy of sounding like a Care Bear.
“Hercules.” This was his trial. Shutting my eyes I make a soft sound. Never stop trusting your gut. I did have questions and I wanted answers, but it’s not the first time that I heard that there was something greater at work than just my trial. For the first time in a long time I listen. I don’t say anything meaning I don’t ask questions or start letting my mind go. Instead I absorb what was shared including the fact that the Old Wizard is gone…for now. Does this mean he’s the new Wizard? The substitute Wizard?
The way to the Sanctum and the Rock of Eternity have been closed. The must remain close. Must. I focus on that, but I also focus on what he says next and I do just that opening my eyes. “SHAZAM!”
Adam: The word from Freddy’s lips is enough to rouse not just the power of Shazam, but also Adam. Though not the man that either of the two of them have seen before. Standing, albeit not as steady as he otherwise might, is not Black Adam. Nor Teth-Adam. Even like this, he still dwarfs Freddy Freeman. Theo Adam has been a worker, a soldier and a slave. He’s no mere twig of a man. Nor does he share the face of the man in the Video from the Bank. He is someone else, someone different.
With a grunt, that becomes a sickening crunch, the man forces his own shoulder back in to joint. Even as he is doing this, it’s quite clear that his eyes have begun to dart around to look at the placement of the amulets. Though the reason for that, too, might surprise the two of them. “…my thanks, for finding a way to undo what you believed that I did. Know this, though. Adam sought the Wizard’s Blessing for giving her the power of Isis.”
“With your permission, I shall take Adrianna back to our homeland. I know that you will not trust me to take both her and the amulets back to Kahndaq, so I offer you this. When you realize that you cannot keep them, but you cannot destroy them? Bring them to Kahndaq. I know how to insure they’re never misused again.”
Cassie: Freddy’s once again sudden transformation makes me stiffen in alarm, a reaction I can’t help and that makes my whole body groan at the sudden movements. It isn’t just him that’s changed, though. Adam has as well. I actually look apologetic over his shoulder, even with who he is. So it would seem the strange impulse to just let him fall hasn’t continued on to being okay with hurting him, even accidentally.
“I think that’s probably best.”
I don’t think we can really even detain him. And I don’t mean physically, either. Whether or not I trust him to make sure they’re not used poorly is up for debate, but the fact that he’s willing to not fight us for them currently? Says something.
“When we discover who has been posing as you, I will let you know as well.”
My own bit of goodwill. Mostly, though, I would want the same courtesy if someone was masquerading as me.
Freddy: Gone was the familiar and now there was…the desolate. At least that was one way of looking at it. There was promise here in Coast City. In the distance you could see the structure that was being built not to far away, but if that was a startling sight then there was who was Black Adam, but no more. He was quite different, still taller and bigger, but there was something less Adam about him. The arrogance and threatening demeanor was gone. When he spoke he sounded very different from the man who threatened my life on more than one occasion.
Not everything is as it seems. It rung in the back of my mind. Glancing towards Wonder Woman when he spoke of the amulets. I rather be rid of them, but for the moment I think we should do as he says. Something tells me that we need to just take it a step at a time. I know I needed to regroup. With our permission?
“The let this be the end of it for now. Return home. See to Adrianna. She’s been through a lot. You both have. When the time comes we will come to Kahndaq.” The amulets were still a danger. Right now I rather not tempt fate if I could manage it. “Safe journey.” Masquerading as him, that was different, but it does track with a few things. Right now I could go for a burger.
Adam: “He was not lying when said they can be destroyed, with great effort. Should they be? The Gods are important. Even if people in this age don’t understand the way they once did. Though those two may be broken, they are ageless. Who is to say they cannot be healed?”
There is no more to be said about though. While he could surely transform and renew the battle for the Amulets, there is little to be gained in doing so. He no longer seeks them for their power, no longer believes they would be what is best for Adrianna or her brother. At least, not right now. Not yet. Perhaps in the future, when the Gods within are more… sane. Which means that there is nothing to be gained, when time can be given to these two in order to earn their trust perhaps. Or at least their respect.
Even with the injured shoulder and lacking the power of the Gods, Theo is able to scoop the limp form of Adrianna up off the ground as if she weighed no more than a child. As he does, he takes a moment to acknowledge what Cassie has said. “I would appreciate that. Strange powers are at work. This Country’s problems have begun a domino effect all over the world. This clandestine group, that killed the former Champion. They left the world of Magic unprotected.”
“Some might think that merely happenstance, but neither I, nor Black Adam believe in coincidence. Be on your Guard and know that all three of you are equally welcome in Kahndaq. You will find sanctuary there, should you need it.”
A final nod of the head to the would be Champion and the Demigoddess. Much like before, he takes only a moment more to look over the Speedster, almost as if he wants to say something more to him specifically. Then with a whispered ‘Shazam’, the more feeble Theo is gone once more. Replaced by a figure that doesn’t even deign to look at them, before taking to the air and heading away at a speed that isn’t much slower than the Flash.
Cassie: I don’t know that they should be destroyed. It was only really even a question I’d posed because there had seemed to be limited options at the time, and I was fishing for an answer. Destroying a God is… not something you’d think you should be able to do. Not to mention that power has to go somewhere. The resulting potential for disaster? World destroying when you’re talking two of them. And for the moment, it’s no longer needed. I’m not a destroyer. I’m a hero.
“I’m starting to feel much the same way. Thank you for the offer.”
Once Black Adam’s out of sight? I let my knees go. Which drops me rather unceremoniously on my spangly ass in the rubble around us. Everything still feels like not fully solidified jell-o right now. They say you should experience a taser, before you attempt to apply it to anyone else. Well. Now I know, I suppose. Finally catching my breath, or at least making an attempt at it.
“Your face… looks like what I’m thinking. I need a milkshake. Before we do that, I think we should make a trip back to Metropolis. All of us.”
Because people will want to know what happened. And the answers are going to not just come from Wonder Woman this time.
Freddy: I meant what I said and what I thought. I did not want to see them destroyed. I rather try to find a way to help,. Right now as they are I think they’re driven by instinct more than anything. Osiris could care less if Isis survived or not. He wanted freedom more than anything just as Isis wanted him back more than anything.
I don’t know what’s more scary the fact that this guy is likable more so than Black Adam or the fact that I said almost the same thing to Conner and Cassie in the library. That when Billy Batson died that threw everything out of order. I had so many questions, but I knew answers weren’t coming not by a long shot, but it was obvious someone was taking advantage of the fact that there was no Champion and that magic was broken. It almost made me wonder if they didn’t have a hand in setting it all in motion.
“Will do and you do the same.” I’m sure he will, but it still needed to be said. “Thank you for the invitation.” Khandaq. That would be different.
Returning the nod I watch as Theo transforms to everyone’s “lovable” ready to murder you superhuman. I didn’t expect anything from him, but the fact that he didn’t call me a foolish child, shake me like a rag doll or threaten to murder me…..let’s call that progress for about five minutes.
“Milkshake and burger, but you’re right. We need to let everyone know we’re ok. See how bad the damage is and compare notes.” I know always with the comparing of notes.
Cassie: “More than that. I mean. Yes, we need to let them know we’re okay, but we need to let everyone know what we did tonight. Together. So, gentlemen, you have until we get back to Metropolis, because I’m nicer than Superman. And I’m not going to put you on the spot, on camera, and make you pick your name in three seconds.”
I think Flash has his picked, but I don’t know for sure what Freddy wants to be called. And I have until we all get there to decide what, and how, I’m going to say it.
Good thing I’m the slow one, here.
Freddy: “Oh..” That part. I thought we were supposed to be doing this together. Helping each other out. Arching my brow I nodded. “Alright. Until we get back to Metropolis.” Though I was pretty sure I had name. At least that’s what the substitute Wizard said. Yes, that’s what I was going to call him. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t all in my head and even if it was I’m still going with that.
“You wanted to be called something other than Wonder Woman?” I glance over at Cassie considering that. “What would you have picked?” Oh yeah she was probably going to get peppered with questions from both me and Wally.
Batman: “Alternatively. You can take the Invisible Jet.”
When did Batman get here? It’s best if you don’t ask that question. Or even think about it. Just accept the cellphones that are being offered and load in to the plane that you can’t really see. Other than the open-door and Alfred Pennyworth waving everyone up the marginally visible ramp.
Cassie: “…I dunno. Actually. My choice started with things that I didn’t want to be called, and then went from there. It’s. Kind of grown on me now, though.”
“…Batman. Thanks for bring th…my jet.”
When did Batman get here? I’m not going to ask that, I know better. Also I’m actually incredibly happy for both the phone, and the ride. And the time that’s going to allow for speech prep. He’s still getting some side-eye as I go up the ramp though.