A small group of kids, likely ranging between the ages of seventeen to twenty, crawl into the local police station, bloodies and frightened. Most of them are quivering in fear and are barely intelligible, the single female who was able to stop shaking long enough, told them thus;
On a road trip across the country, they became embroiled in a plot akin to the horror movies they used to watch and laugh at - A murderous family entrapped them in what they thought was a ghost town. Two of their friends died before something else happened, something they didn't expect.
Their assailants started showing up dead, rather than each other. Every now and then they would see a faceless man with glowing red eyes in a window, a doorframe, before he stepped out of their sight. At first they though this was the evil being causing their misfortune and death, but it was not so.
Many long hours they dredged through this darkness, hearing a distorted laugh in the distance, quickly followed by another inbred killer, tortured and maimed in the vicinity. One after the other, they tripped over dead bodies that were not their own, but they soon found themselves fleeing from the red-eyed man into the engineered depths of the abandoned warehouse, the creature in pursuit.
They fought off and fled more local murders in these depths, discovering that they found out they were protecting something here.
Eventually they found a runed platform which they unwittingly unlocked in a blast of otherworldy energy. They tried to flee but found the red-eyed creature standing behind them, smiling.
He did nothing, but he was close enough to give their group of survivors a good look. He seemed to be akin to a battle-mage of sorts. Robed yet armored, but definitely not human. His face could not be seen despite how well lit the room was. When he spoke, it was distorted and dark, but understandable.
He explained to them all that he manipulated their fear for them to flee underground to this place, an old alien artifact which he could not unlock with his current resources. Their flat tire, their detours, were all orchestrated by him to direct them to this town and artifact protected by the local cult.
When he finally did attain what he was looking for, he explained that he had no intention of killing anyone. The few kids who did die, were sacrifices to his goal.
They were in no position or energy to fight this man, and acquiesced to his presence. He stepped away, with nary a goodbye or a name. But the path was clear as the entire town of backwater murderers were completely clear for them to escape, complete with abandoned trucks for them to use.
The police were shocked by this story and traced the kids steps, and eventually found everything. The bodies, the underground facility. They even found certain footage of the man who simply waved at the camera.
After some years went by, the very same being was linked to a new organization called the Vanguard, which linked to assassination and perceived terrorism. Criminals and villains alike fell to this elusive Vanguard. Not jailed, not captured, but outright murdered and acted in opposition to the Champions goals.
But their support has already begun... They took action where others did not. Local super heroes dare not contact them, but there are defectors who feel the Champions methods are too romantic for the modern worlds and wished to take a more swift step in the destruction of their enemies.
My Old Enemy
Warning: This is no longer 'canon' in my lore.
The Lord Matthias Swan sat upon what he calls a throne, but what the common eye would call a chair in a Lounge. From observation on the side, they'd see a rich looking man signified by a top hat, cane, and suit. He had a prominent black and red theme to his garb, but the soldiers around him had a black and green theme. They had the Vanguard symbol emblazoned around their armors. Usually on chest or shoulders. It was because of this that the patrons of the Club's Lounge avoided their modest group. He preferred this.
"What if she can't handle it?" one soldier broke the temporary silence that had them locked in an air of awkwardness.
The Madgod grins as he put his sunglasses in an inside jacket pocket, and sat his top hat on the seat next to him, as he got comfortable. He replied simply, "I have a way around that." The soldier, unsatisfied with the vague answer, compelled himself to ask, "If it's not too much trouble..." Matthias interrupted his subject with laughter, "Yes, yes. I understand. You want an explanation."
Kyna Vance, the Vanguard's top operative was out in the jungle following a lead on an old Nemesis of the Madgod's, Alistair. A Blackguard, an ancient and violent order of immortal assassins. Not unlike the Trahlesdas, of which she is the most powerful. Only significantly less subtle and significantly more brutal.
Indeed, Alistair even found a way to con the once honorable order into serving as his personal army, which is unprecedented as Blackguards were only borrowed one at a time.
All the same, it was Alistair who led the assault into Kyna's mind and freed the Madgod in hopes to murder what he perceived to be a weakened state and usurp Matthias, using Madness as a weapon against Earth. However, the miscalculation that the Madgod being trapped in a family-line's mind did not weaken him. If anything, his rage and power grew as he was able to manipulat outside forces and cause the small war that led to Alistair's arrival to Kyna's mind and eventually his own freedom.
As such, Alistair was always second to Matthias in power and never once came close to defeating him, but not from lack of trying.
As it is, Madgod Matthias chose to send his only protege, the most powerful Trahlesda he's ever made. Kyna.
She trudged through the mud and leaves of the forest following previously noted lead with little success... Until she found him. For once, the intel was correct. Alistair himself was standing amoung several of his Blackguard, waiting as guests would within a Viper stronghold. Viper presence was minimal thankfully, but individual Blackguard fight with the strength, speed, and skill of a hundred assassins and despite Kyna's personal power, she dreaded battle with them. She needed to be clever, to find a way to separate Alistair from his entourage, because it will take more than a bullet to defeat any of them. No, they can only die from decapitation.
And she needed Alistair dead, more than anyone...
"How does that work, exactly? Won't it make you weaker?" The soldier asked after listening to the, admittedly, convoluted plan of his Supreme Commander. This is unsurprising, as his mind tends to run as fast as his mouth and it may be hard to keep up.
However, Matthias opted for a simplistic rewording after a sigh of failure from explaining it properly the first time. "Gods never run out of power, boy. Think of it as like a reserve. Like crates in a warehouse. Where most of the real goods are stories in the main rooms. The less prioritized, or the, well, you know, -reserves- are stored. As a God, my power is absolute and handing some off won't lessen mine at all."
He continued, "It's no secret that Kyna will take my place some day. Indeed, some councils already consider her a Goddess of Shadow. Heh. Fitting. She'll never admit it though. Granted that's several thousand years away, maybe more... But there's no reason I can't give her an inch ahead, you know?"
"I see." the soldier admits. "And how does she feel about this?"
Matthias replied with a boisterous laughter, "She doesn't know."
Kyna chose to take advantage of Alistair's old, long dead honorable side of swordsmanship. Much like the Madgod himself, they rarely turn down a direct challenge when superiority with skill is presented.
So, Kyna stood face to face with Alistair across the Viper stronghold courtyard. He didn't attack directly as Kyna did not have any weapons drawn, but he was wary as he knew as well as anyone what they used to call her.
The last thing you never see.
She did not fear, but her dread was masked well.
Alistair playfully called out, "You're not much of an assassin these days, my dear. You're not slipping are you?"
"We're done with you, Alistair. I wasn't expecting to find you but now that I have, I want to be done with you," she replied simply. A deadpan expression and emotionless, cold demeanor as is her usual custom. Unfortunately, this didn't intimidate him.
"Aww. Still bitter about that wife of yours? Quite a shame..."
Never being tricked the same way twice, she drew a sword and struck at him. He replied in kind, telling his men to hold in a circular, arena-like fashion.
He didn't bother to specify killing her if he was to fall. If he did, Kyna would be better than any of them anyway. But he did not plan to die this day.
They fought for a few minutes with an expected i
nhuman speed. Some of the Viper audience were impressed and bantered among each other with musings such as "Not going to piss either one of them off," and "I can't even see what they're doing, they're so fast..."
There was a pause in the battle where Alistair took the chance to taunt.
But Kyna was busy paying attention to something else.
Her heart. The lifeblood of a Trahlesdas' function. Though unlike a vampire, one cannot simply stab a Trahlesda in the chest and hope to kill them utterly. However, that does not lessen its importance. The heart is where the shadow flows.
And hers, started to beat like a human. It's more often inactive unless she's feeling a particular strong emotion like love or rage, but generally it lies in her body motionless while acting as a conduit for her shadowy affiliation. But she was feeling neither of those things, and the pumping just got stronger, her entire chest writhed in pain. It's like she was having a heart attack.
She collapsed on one knee, into the dirt floor, dropping her katana. Alistair was clueless to the events but rather than his inner honorable soul not to take advantage of a weakened opponent... No, this was more of an idle curiosity as he was unable to strike her yet the entire fight. He wondered what precisely was happening to her, but he remained silent.
Her vision obscured. Flooded with a red hue like a mache film covering her eyes. And the power she was feeling... A torrent of knowledge poured into her mind where she let out an audible scream that made a few of the Viper jump.
And then... nothing. At this point she was straddled on fours, peering at the wet ground. She felt almost the same as she had before, only somehow more aware.
She heard an "Oh, -*censored*-" from a nearby Viper Soldier and she wasn't sure why. When she stood, she felt a little extra weight. When she looked up, Alistair just blinked, with an expression of worry and anger. "No..." he says. "No... I don't need two of them! Damnitall!"
Kyna blinked in confusion, still kind of registering what had happened. She looked at her hands and she noticed she was in entirely different clothing. Red and black, armored chest and plated dress. Supernatural clothing... Not unlike she's seen on the Madgod himself. Thinking that, it dawned on her.
She actually wasn't surprised. She fully expects her eyes to be glowing red as well, as well as other aesthetic changes that increased her power but not actually changing the way she feels... Much like a God.
She wasn't surprised. But does she mind? Time will tell.
As for Alistair, he took the chance to flee as Kyna took an overabundant amount of time to figure out what was going on.
She may not be a Madgod, but she is sure closer than she's ever been. As far as some are concerned, there are now two of them.
Matthias sniffed the air after another stint of silence, giving a wide grin and a content "Ahhh... There we go." The soldier, not being an idiot as might be expected from a soldier-grunt, chimes in with the query "Is it done, sir?"
"Oooohh.. Yes and no. Alistair is alive, but on the run. I don't think he'll bother us for a very long time. And Kyna's new-found existence is the very thing that will quiet him down in the years to come."
"Gentlemen! Life is good."