The History of the Amesha Spentas and Armaiti


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[Armaiti and The Order may be found on Justice Server]

Part 1: Rise of The Amesha Apentas

Before the Babylonian conquest of Persia the empire was a land rich with resources and culture. The Persians had faith in a pantheon of gods divided by the greatest good and darkest evils. It is here that The Order of Amesha Spentas has its foundations.

The Amesha Spentas, beneficent immortals, were a host of seven gods’ servants of Lord Wisdom, Ahura Mazda. They were gods without being gods creatures without being creatures. Forever locked into conflict with the dark Daevas. Each of the seven Amesha Spentas represented a different virtue. It was these virtues, known collectively as the Seven Virtues of Lord Wisdom that the Order was founded on.

In the area that would one day become the city of Baku mystics from across the deserts gathered.
Each following a vision granted to them by one of the Amesha Spentas, chosen as a living example of one of the seven truths.

Once gathered the high host of Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas appeared once more. Granting the progenitors a fragment of their divine essence and entrusting them with their purpose. It was on this night The Order began.

Defenders of the common people those who could not protect themselves from foul sorcery and the black art. Their arcane knowledge heightened by divine grace. The Order has never wavered in this cause.

For centuries they served the Persian lands, until the time of Alexander and the fall of the empire. The Order was scattered to the four winds as the helped small villages escape the Roman armies. Establishing new cabals in the cities the found themselves in.

During these splintered times the rite of Qismah began, an oath that must be completed before the Exemplar may rest. As Sraosa, First Exemplar of Obedience passed his essence and title on to his heir and undertaking his final journey to find each cabal.

This final journey took nearly two hundred years to complete. Traveling though the roman lands and into Hibernia. Charting each point and the path taken so that the final cabal may complete reunite the seven Exemplars.

The Progenitors had long since realized that there time was long sense over it was only the divine essence that had bound them to the mortal world. Even after transferring his essence to the second Sraosa he continued on for nearly three hundred more years; overseeing the opening of communications between each cabal.

Once finished each of The Progenitors passed on their essence and traveled back to Baku to found the Mother House. This a final resting place for Exemplars and elder members of The Order.

Years passed as the Order grew, cabals founding covens in close cities. With the rise of Britain The Order chose to move the Exemplar of Devotion, Armaiti to London so that she may found a new cabal in the growing city.

The cabal grew quietly, gaining support though the 1800’s. With a respect to the mystics of the British Isles they watched over the small island chain. It was in 1898 when things changed dramatically for The Order. As was their tradition The Amesha Spentas moved to quell the power hungry Circle of Thorns.

For six long years The Order attempted to block the Circle from corrupting more souls with their quick path to power. At the Onset of the First World War The Order of Amesha Spentas had depleted nearly all its resources and lost more that sixty members in the London cabal. The flight of Thorns to America was a bitter relief. At the end of their recourses had this feud carried on much longer the London House would have surely fallen. However, even as the Thorns shrank away to lick their wounds and seek the Lost city Oranbega there was no doubt of their return and rise to power.

It took the Amesha Spentas years to recover for the damage of the Thorn. This is where the sixth Exemplar of Devotion story begins.

Part 2: Free Will, Initiation of Celeste.

It was 7 o’clock; the sun had set over the hills as Celeste finished her evening studies. Closing the circle she uttered a quick prayer to Vohu Manah for granting her the wisdom of her ancestors and to Mah as the moon would guide her path this night. Taking her jacket from the closet she slipped it on over her tank top and jeans. Taking her ritual kris she slid the blade into a concealed pocket inside her coat.

The manor had been in the family for over two centuries. Tonight was her second initiation; she would be formally recognized as an Adept in her craft. Not quite eighteen and already achieving the rank some parishioners never reach. Age was of no consequence to her though her destiny would demand more than that.

She moved quickly around the hills and out into the thick grove of evergreens. Even with her jacket the increasingly cold night air chilled her as she followed the trail though the growing fog. Reciting a simple incantation her body warmed from an inner heat.

The Order waited for her as she knew they would. Gathered were the five other adepts and two remaining elders, as well as the cabal’s matron Armaiti, her mother.

“I’m pleased to see you are willing to accept this new initiation and the responsibilities that it entails.” Her mother’s worlds were cold as they so often were, but Celeste understood the gravity of this night.

“I am willing to accept this new responsibility and all that it entails.” The circle of cabal members opened to her allowing Celeste to enter the circle.

The ritual and initiation continued though the night exhausting all who were present. Celeste recited rotes of ancient text as she looked for the approval of her ancestors and the heavily host. As the sun broke the night in the grove there was but one final test.

“Tonight you have called to The True Amesha Spentas their spirits are with us as you take the final step. Choose whose path you shall fallow.” Celeste had though about this night for the last six months her studies had always been those of Devotion and Obedience but the call of Order had always been strong in her.

“There is no choice for me my path has been written since birth. As Daughter of Armaiti, I cannot stray from her Devotion it is this path I choose.” The words lingered as the matriarch let out a small sigh.

“Then it is decided Armaiti, will you give the disciple your blessing?” Celeste’s mother Exemplar of the True Armaiti chanted as the winds grew around them. Celeste could feel there pull, lifting her as if touched by the breath of the goddess herself. Her body floated limp in the air for a long moment.

Eye’s watching from the darkness as a gnarled hand reached out over the sea…

Celeste’s body dropped. Barely able to sit up the fatigue was so great. “I have been given vision.” Her body collapsing as she finished. The matriarch closed the circle finishing the ceremony before moving to her daughter.

No one dared interrupt them; the cabal members stood silently watching. Armaiti cradling her she stroked her daughter’s hair. “Oh, Celeste, you should never be fettered to me as you are. You were never obligated to follow in my path.” Whispered unto sleeping ears, Armaiti looked out into the woods and the breaking morning.

The end of the ceremony and close of the last argument Celeste was to have with the former Armaiti.

Part 3: Qismah

Years passed. Celeste devoted herself to rebuilding the cabal in London. As they had never truly recovered from the years of was with the Circle. The year was 2001 six years since the night of her second initiation. The vision of the Thorn’s return to power still haunted her.

To prepare the Cabal Celeste had traveled into the city proper. Seeking out the children born with the potential for magic but had been lost to the mundane world. Though they were still young the spirit was willing and soon the winter cabal was blossoming with new practitioners each dedicated to the cause of stopping the Thorn’s return to England.

Her mother the fifth member of the Order to stand as Exemplar of Armaiti was nearing her four hundredth birthday. Celeste had often wondered what it was like to never age. Even now at twenty five she had to wonder what her mother must be feeling to see her daughter only four years younger that she looked. Imagining ten years later twenty years later the thought of her mothers never ageing body chilled her. Thus is fate. These fears would come to a head soon than she suspected though.

On May 23rd 2002 Celeste’s life would change forever. At the Rikti invasion began London was not exempt. Armaiti had no choice but to act. After keeping The Orders Presence rather unknown outside of the occult circles, Armaiti brought The Orders London cabal out of the shadows as they fought alongside the United Nations Security Council to defend Great Britain with the covens scattered though the isles.

Celeste mobilized her initiates gathering them inside the London to help the wounded and as a last in of defense. Though sorely under trained many sacrificed there lives without question to save any they could.

While engaged in a battle in Cambridge Armaiti was critically wounded. Only the Devine essence kept her from death as she was forced to escape the onslaught.

Returning to the London House after nearly four months of war Armaiti put a call out for the cabal to return to her. Within a week those left had returned to the cabal’s home outside London.

“The Order of Amesha Spentas has dedicated their lives to defending those who cannot defend themselves. In mans time of need we cannot falter to any scourge that would plague this world. However, my body has been broken by this war and I fear I will not be here to see the end of this battle.” The cabal had gathered once more in the aged grove to hear the decrees of Armaiti. “We will persevere but I must pass on this mantle to one who can preserve our ways. It is time for the last rite, Qismah.” The grove was silent now.

One lone Adept spoke up “The elders are gone. Many killed during the first wave of the invasion.”

Silence.

“It does not matter. The elders were once students. As you students will one day become elders, thus is the nature of time. As there are no elders left to counsel me I will choose my hair. Those unwilling to accept this responsibility kneel and look away.”

Celeste did not move. Unsure of herself she could not look away from this. Her mother had been there for her years ago, she would be here for her now. Closing her eyes she waited.

“Is there no one else willing to stand?” Celeste swallowed hard as she stood in darkness. “As there is only one who will accept this challenge my choice is simple.” At this Celeste opened her eye’s looking around the circle she was indeed the only one standing all had bowed before the Exemplar. “Celeste if you are willing, come to me.” The voice that came from her mother was not any she had heard before. The only sound now was that of Celeste’s own footsteps and the low methodical chant that ushered from the chosen of Armaiti. This was an incantation none present had witnessed before but as the ancient rote uttered from the Exemplar it found a chorus in the circle.

Embraced by her mother there was pain in every sensation; growing to a crescendo of agony before there was nothing. Darkness embraced her and there in the void she could see her mother looking down at her.

“Come daughter it is time to receive my final gift to you.” Celeste stood realizing they were not alone. Six figures wavered around them blinding spiritual beings she had to look away into the darkness beyond the circle. “Look at me. Behold what you shall become.”

Turning Celeste could not stop the gasp. Her mother withered and decayed every year of her time within the mortal coil evident. Surrounded by the same blinding light forming the vague outline of what could be a human form. “Mother!”

“Silence, hold steady the time of judgment is upon you.” Came from a figure she could not make out in the circle. With that the aura surrounding the exemplar reached out piercing her chest without pain she removed Celeste’s heart. Her body grew cold and she could barely stand as it was placed onto a scale with only a feather to balance against.

Teetering only a moment the scale held its balance. From the circle around her there came a commotion. The spirit around the exemplar spoke now with the same voice Celeste had only just heard from her mother. “Armaiti Exemplar of Devotion it is time for you to choose your Qismah.”

The shell that was her mother spoke now. “Grant me the strength to see this battle to its end. Let me find eternity with the peace of mind I had before this war began.”

“Let it be known that the Qismah has been chosen. The Amesha Spentas shall grant you one final breath.” With this the essence that embraced Celeste’s mother grew tiny sinking back down into the body. Without thinking she rushed to her mother’s side grabbing her to she would not fall. There eye’s locked as this great essence that had welled inside Armaiti left her body in a bust of light, infusing the new Armaiti.

Instantly she was filled with visions. The pages of history opening before her every lifetime every story was her to see. The death of a star, the birth of a star. This was Armaiti’s destiny. Reborn once again, she was forever the Beneficent Immortal the Exemplar of Devotion.

Armaiti awoke to see her mother young again. Standing together embraced in the grove the parishioners chanting as the ritual ended.

Looking over the world with new eyes she and her mother finished the ceremony in silence, preparing to address those around them. Even without speaking though Armaiti could feel the new hope that radiated from her children.

“Our matriarch has chosen her Qismah.”

The cabal with the strength of the new Exemplar and the experience of the former returned to London. Unified they were able to protect a small district in the city keeping it as a safe zone for the injured. The next two months passed slowly as what was left of the local law enforcement helped as much as possible.

Part 4: Death of a Star.

January 4th 2003, this was the day Armaiti the 5th passed from this world. Her body was taken to the Mother House in Baku where she was cremated in the tradition of The Order.

Sadness swept the London cabal as the mourned her loss in the wake of the Rikti invasion. But there was little time to morn as those that remained helped to rebuild the London House and the city itself.

A new winter had fallen over the London cabal when they first started hearing reports from Paragon City. The invasion was over but the Rikti had stirred something far worse. The Circle of Thorns who had long been sealed away in Oranbega had grown strong in there years of solitude.

Long nights were spent deciding what to do. Even with the recourses left after the war and a year of recovery there was little the London House could do. As weak as the cabal was something had to be done.

The decision finally was made. The Dover coven would join the London cabal and Armaiti would travel to Paragon city to form a new cabal there. The remaining elder of the Dover House would be left as patriarch of the new London coven.

Only Zurvan god of infinite time knows the fate of London House and Armaiti as this History has not yet been written.


 

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The Order of Amesha Spentas is looking for members. Although rather small now we are looking for Magic Mutant and Natural origins of any archetype. This is a causal group.

If you are interested please contact Armaiti on Justice or reply to this tread.


 

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Part 1: The Watcher

Armaiti sat perched on a large stone with a view over Perez Park. The moonlight bathed her exposed skin giving her a light blue appearance as the red highlights of her armor shrank into darkness.
When she had arrived in the states a month ago she hadn’t realized the sheer numbers she would be dealing with. She had expected resistance but after venturing into the tunnels towards Oranbega she had seen them hundreds of Thorns waiting to spread there venom on this world.
The cabal was still young her. Armaiti had only been able to recruit a few locals to her cause. As she looked down at the bushes that covered the doorway into the Thorns Tunnels she wondered if they would be enough. Both had the potential for her craft though it was doubtful if they realized it. Jeb a self proclaimed Jedi with the ability to manipulate cold and then there was Super Decoy, he was young but he had a fighting spirit his childhood had taught him how to resist almost any pain. Though they called it different things the source was the same. Both had learned to reach that inner fire that fuels all magic.
There was a cold silence as Armaiti watched the Thorn members slip into the passage way paying careful attention to the arcane gestures that opened the lock. Now it was only matter of time till the others arrived. A healer in Skyway City had told rumors of the Thorns connections to the spirit world. He feared they would soon open a permanent gate strengthening there bonds with the darkness.
The night drew on and Armaiti could now hear the faint sounds of chanting from within the catacombs. Jeb and Decoy had yet to arrive and time was running short.
‘Where were they?’ Sliding off the stone Armaiti made her way to the tunnels entrance. Repeating the mystic sigil the door creaked open for her. With a quite blessing she whispered across her fingers channeling the energy to break the lock. Jeb and Decoy would have to catch up. After watching the aura of the Thorns lock dissolve Armaiti slipped though the doorway.


 

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Part 2: Discord and the Restless Spirit

The chanting was louder now and the smell of incense mingled with the musty sent of the fungus growing on the walls. Before Armaiti could take in everything there was an overwhelming pull of spiritual energies. Focusing it she could feel this drawing her further down the cave tunnel her mind racing to catch up. This was all consuming, nearly unbearable compared to the light pull she had felt from there street conversions. They had to be close to completing the ritual.
Moving down the halls the walls felt as if they were vibrating Armaiti’s vision blurring as what seemed like steam seeped out from around her. A moment of confusion and Armaiti was thrown back as an archer lodged a bolt from his crossbow deep into her shoulder. An arc of blood trailing in front of her as Armaiti fell back. Landing on her back the ground was warm but there was a coldness, and pressure growing around her. From the mist she could see the twisted face begin to form as if the life essence leaving her somehow fueled the spirit its body becoming harder with ever breath stolen from Armaiti.
“Enough!” Unleashing a torrent of energy the Spirit was banished back to his plane while the archer found himself slammed against the wall. As she stood Armaiti pulled the bolt free. With a silent motion the wound closed and Armaiti turned her attention back to the archer.
He had already started running crying out for the other guards leaving Armaiti no time to think over her next action. Rushing down the hall she began gathering her strength into a concentrated bolt. Turning the corner she opened the mental seal releasing the energy. The archer’s body dropped in a quite slump in front of his coven member. The Thorn looked up from the body his eye’s burned with heated rage.
“Destroy her.” His words were calm barely hiding the hate wrapped within his cloak. It was no mere servant this time the Daemon bound to the mage solidified between him and Armaiti. With only a gesture the Daemon called to others corrupted by his power. Before she could react ghosts had materialized at her sides.
“For the Amesha Spentas” The words passed her lips as she called for the strength of her ancestors.
“Woo Buddy!” The sounds a shotgun rang though the tunnel as the mage was caught off guard. “You didn’t think we’d let you have all the fun?” Jeb said with a laugh as the fully materialized ghost behind Armaiti found how susceptible to cold he had made himself.
Shifting quickly Armaiti moved from the flanked position as Decoy plowed into the materialized spirit. He just flashed a quick grin before unloading a volley of punches. “Thought you could just leave us behind huh?” Decoy joked before leaping back into a jump kick forcing the ghost to become incorporeal again.
There was a brief relief hearing there voices as she began her own assault against the Daemon. “No time for jokes, they are nearing completion of there ritual. I can feel it.” Thrusting her palms Armaiti channeled strength from the well inside her. The Daemon was taken back for a moment before he floated in closer to Armaiti. Black tentacles reached from the ground to surround her. There touch carried the pain of the dead. Trapped Armaiti could do nothing as the Daemon raked his spectral claws across her body.
The air grew colder as Jeb moved in to get a better shot at the Daemon. The shotgun firing again he cried out. “This is my BOOM stick!” Pumping off round after round the light in the hall seemed to glimmer in Jeb’s eyes with wicked intent.
Swinging his claws blood spilt from Jeb’s arm as he reeled back from the Daemon’s blow. Armaiti struggled with the tentacles to get free. Focusing inwards she drew what little strength she had left to final break the hold around her. Quickly she spun around with a burst of energy. The Daemon seemed unaffected physically but his image began to waver. Jumping into the air Decoy’s fists and body passed harmlessly though the spirit as he faded into the astral realms.
“Coward, scared a meat sack can topple you?” Decoys shouted as his arms failed though the Daemon’s body.
“He can’t be hurt by us while he hides in the shadowlands. We must focus on what we can affect.” Turning to another spirit Armaiti fired off a quick bolt of mana but it followed suit with its master fading out. The sound of laughing seemed to pour from the walls. “Decoy, stop the Thorn!” Armaiti’s fist hitting the ground a wave of energy erupted tripping the fleeing mage.
Springing onto the fallen Thorn the Decoy unleashed the rage he had held back. Blow after blow the mage never had a chance to stand. When his body stopped moving Decoy looked back at Jeb and Armaiti. “We passed a fork in the tunnel back there. Have you seen what’s down that way?”
“Never got the chance, I tracked an archer this way.” Armaiti looked pasted the kid still watching the specters waiting for there chance to strike. “This seems to be the vein they want to protect; the Portal is likely to be here. But the spirit energies here are all consuming I can’t focus on the source.”
“What ever you say boss, lets just get it taken care of. Put theses spooks back in there place.” Jeb’s southern drawl pulling the words. His accent always heaver when he was nervous about something.
Dusting himself off as he stood Decoy started back down the tunnel without another word. Even while the spirits continued to hover near by Armaiti and Jeb had little choice but to follow.
The spirits though they had completely faded Armaiti could still feel their presence. Turning a corner she barely had time to get her bearings before the loud crack of Jeb’s shotgun snapped her attention further down the hall. Decoy was pinned down by nearly half a dozen guards, the buckshot sending two of them flying.
“Boy you better get on your feet.” Jeb spat as he emptied the shells from the gun. “We ain’t got time for funning around.”
As Decoy was standing Armaiti slid between him and two of the guards pummeling the first with a flurry of charged palm strikes. The guard never had a chance to defend himself.
Decoy avoided attacks with a black flip that caught another guard right at the connection of his throat and head. With a meaty snapping sound he was dead before hitting the ground.
The two remaining Thorns began to back away before breaking into a run. “Way do they keep running?” The words were out of Decoy’s mouth faster than he could start chasing them.
“Damn it. IT’S A TRAP!” Jeb barked as he ran after him. The cold realization came to her at the same time. Jeb was right and there was no way to stop Decoy now. Sprinting to keep up with Decoy Armaiti watched as he leapt into a larger open room crashing down on the fleeing guard. Crossbow bolts springing from the shadows to greet him. “I hate it when I’m right.” Jeb’s faithful boom stick let off two quick slugs as Armaiti dashed towards the shadows to find the archers.
“Humph, she finally arrives. Armaiti, your Order is dead and no mater how hard you struggle none of your hopes or dreams will ever return them.” The madness mage stepped from the darkness. “Ye who enter here abandon all hope.” The mage let out a laugh that swept though the cavern. “Destroy them.”
Armaiti was left in stunned silence as the mages presence alone seemed overwhelming, “I, we…” Walking forward his aura seemed so be all consuming pushing Armaiti to her knees.
“Don’t let him work that mojo on you!” Decoy shouted before plowing into the mage. Archers continued to take easy shots at his exposed back.
Unsure if it was Jeb’s shotgun of Decoy’s words but Armaiti began to shake off the mage’s enchantments. “Bastard! My Order never fell, nor shall we!” Her blood boiled and her body blazed with the inner fire she channeled. Lunging at the mage with a volley of arcane energy Armaiti would see him dead for those words.
No words passed as the three made good on Armaiti’s words. Jeb and Decoy focused on the archers while Armaiti proved how alive and well the Amesha Spentas was.
Even with the dozen crossbow bolts already embedded in Decoy slowing down the archers beating was not going to happen. Jeb, steadfast, watched from the cave entrance firing shot after shot with marksman precision. He was wrong this was no ambush it was a slaughter.
Armaiti continued to pound relentlessly into the mage till he could do nothing more than hold his hand up in defense begging for her to stay the fist. This was unique most other mages of his rank would commit suicide in a final attempt to obtain victory. Armaiti paused.
“Foolish girl your anger has caused you to forget your purpose.” The mages bloody smile glimmered in the torchlight. “Now run back for to your little home and hide in the deepest corner of the furthest room. We’re coming for you.” His words reinforced as the cavern rumbled with demonic force.

“The portal it’s opening!...”


 

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Part 3: Fall Apart

“…The other passage quick!” Armaiti’s voice trailed as she dropped the mage and headed back down the tunnel.
“I sure hate it when I’m right.” Jeb dropped a sandbag slug into the chamber firing a shot into the mages temple knocking him out incase he could be useful later. Decoy flung the remaining guard to the side running after the others.
Already winded from the fight Armaiti had trouble keeping up with Jeb as Decoy younger and more energetic barreled past both of them towards the tunnel fork. The tunnel continued to shake loose stone and dust clouding the air.
The rumbling grew to a thundering in the second passage. Armaiti could feel the underlying pulse of energy as the conduit was nearly complete. Still there was a distinct chant that permeated the one’s hearing.
Decoy was out of sight by this point so far down the hall the dust had completely obscured him from vision, then screams came.
Rolling though the mist came howls like a wounded jackal. Armaiti’s legs pumped to catch up stopping dead in her tracks to witness Decoy pinned to the cave ceiling by some invisible force as Specters set deep gashes in his flesh. Decoy struggled with them but what ever held him did not budge. His eye’s glazed rolled over to Armaiti, unfocused. It was hard to tell if he could even make out who was standing there.
“Run…” His voice was weak and fading. The endurance that has seen him though so many other fights fleeing.
The lock was broken. Her restrains unbound as the shell erupted with pure energy. Armaiti’s hand moved pulled by marionette. Fingers tracings arcane runes with only a word they flashed with power as a well of mystic force was channeled in torrential strike. The spirits caught in the attack we unprepared. Banished, in one stroke, of a brush that painted the true art.
Decoy’s body dropped with a heavy wet sound. Placing her hand on his chest the energy that radiated from Armaiti’s body seemed to recede, though her hands still pulsed with a faint white glow. Decoy’s wounds began to close.
“What happened?” Jeb’s voice came from behind them.
“Don’t know. I found Decoy on the ground. I’ve given him a healing charm. He should regain conciseness in a moment.” Something was missing, she knew that much, what it was remained unclear.
“Get up boy.” Jeb nudged him with the barrel of his shotgun. “Times waist’en.”
A bruised hand jerked the gun down into the dirt as another planed itself on Jeb’s shoulder for support as Decoy righted himself. “Then what are we standing around for?” His voice was rough, dry. Staggering for a second as he hacked up some dust Decoy brushed himself off.
Another pulse of energy and the tunnel rocked. As the moved though the hallway no one ran now. There was caution now, as the vibrations from the portal continued to grow stronger. The dust was so thick now that only a faint beacon could be seen in the distance.
As they passed into a gathering chamber only Jeb noticed. Decoy still a little dazed form his earlier experience. The negative energy in the camber was so overpowering to those aware of it Armaiti could do little more than walk while trying to keep her focus. The chanting now seemed to ebb and flow with the waves of energy from the Portal.
“Watch out!” Jeb’s cry came a second to late as the stone ledge Decoy walked by gave under him. Armaiti jumped to grab Decoy’s arm only to slide down into the pulpit with him.
Coughing as he stood Decoy helping Armaiti as she got to her feet. “Not good.” Decoy pointed with his words. No more than fifty feet from them was a circle of thirteen mages working to complete the ritual, wrapped around a shimmering pool of light. The leader draped in deep red and purple cloth conducted the rite as though before an orchestra as six Daemons watched from the shadows.
Breathing was labored, as Armaiti and Decoy recovered from there fall. There was no way the Thorns had not heard them yet there was no reaction from them at all. They had been written off with no concern.
Armaiti began to trace the rune of defense. Her fingers glowing with a faint light the mark lingered in the air as she invoked the ward. Decoy followed suit putting what little training Armaiti had given him to use.
The chanting stopped. “Your simple charms will do you no good now.” The conductor dropped a small talisman into the pool with a flick of the wrist. “Nyn Priya!” With those words the portals light turned black. Shadows danced as the escaped from the pool and the chamber was filled with dark laughter from the unbound spirits. “Now my faithful destroy them!”
The spectral minions too numerous to count swarmed down on Armaiti and Decoy. There icy fingers like blades spitting flesh. Decoy did what he could to hold them at bay but infused with the forces that charged the chamber his blows simply slipped though them.
Even as Armaiti did what she could to hold them back too many still overwhelmed her forcing her to the wall as blades of fingers cut deep across her exposed chest and face.

Trapped.

Darkness.

Void.

Nothingness, Armaiti steeled herself for the inevitable and as her mind prepared to evacuate the body shots rang out from the distance. She recognized the sound instantly.
“Decoy, grab her and go!” The shotgun overshadowing anything else Jeb might have said. Shouting from a vantage point of a hooked stalagmite as he fired shot after shot saying a quick blessing for each round.
Mustering what strength he had left Decoy plowed though the ether to hind Armaiti on hand and knee. Ducking he slid an arm around her. Instinct was all that was left. Thick blood soaked instinct.
With what strength she had left Armaiti clawed her way up with Decoy’s help. Jeb’s suppression fire drew their attention long enough for the others to climb out of the pulpit.
The spirits rushing at Jeb he watched as Decoy and Armaiti stumbled back into the passageway. Firing off one last shot he let himself fall backwards catching the ground. Sprinting the length of the chamber to reach the hall Jeb quickly caught up.
As they ran the tunnel was seemed to carry the laughter and howls of the specters giving chase. That and the repeating sound of Jeb’s shotgun. The cave seemed to stretch as they ran towards the entrance.
A bolt flew past as Armaiti began to come to a vague realization of her circumstances. Pulling free of Decoy she began to move on her own. Channeling what strength she had left Armaiti turned releasing a wave of energy pushing back the spirits closest to Jeb.
Jeb grabbing Armaiti’s arm as he ran past, nearly tripping her. Without question Armaiti followed past the turn into the main passage. The entrance was insight. That would mean little to the spirits though. There had to be some way.
As they hit the doorway Decoy struggled with the entranceway. It held tight with supernatural force. Fortunately Decoy’s metahuman strength outweighed the skill of the Thorn who girded the passageway. Pushing the others though the door as quickly as possible he slammed it shut behind him.
“The ward was reset.” Armaiti pushed past Jeb who held the door with Decoy. Looking into the aura of the ward Armaiti began to twist the weave of energies. Altering the sigil to allow passage and reinforcing it with what strength she had left. Stepping back she lifted her arms as her body began to rise. Following suit Jeb latched on to Decoy as the drifted up and over the walls of Perez Park.
Armaiti collapsed on a nearby roof. With her face buried in one palm the other supporting her as she sat propped up against a warm HVAC duct. Tears dropped silently from between her fingers. She could hear Jeb and Decoy touch down near her.
“Go home.” Armaiti’s voice was barely a whisper. “Go home and prepare for tomorrow.”
“What’s tomorrow?” Decoy’s youth came though with the statement.
Jeb just shuck his head and slipped a pack of cigarettes from under his robe. “If they don’t track us down and off us in our sleep we’re going to need to hit the streets. The capes go running from, there caves. They’ll be out in numbers with swollen egos.” Lighting the cigarette Jeb took a long drag.
“Just go.” Armaiti said nothing else. There were no other words that night. Jeb had waited for a short while before finding a fire escape for Decoy, drifting into the night shortly after that. Armaiti sat silently for hours reliving the night over and over again till well past dawn.

Reckoning…