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> The Stormcrow, A Superhero's Tale
post Aug 1 2020, 09:24 PM
Post #261

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From: Las Vegas

A good followup, tying up loose ends. Jan was gracious to offer an alliance with Lt Hunter. . . his loss though. Looks like Chief N-9 will be a valuable ally.

Her aerial departure opens a whole new era to her flying. Her magic is blending with and making her flying much more mystical. I like the approach that Blood Raven taught her that magic seems largely a matter of exerting her will over the laws of nature. It is no wonder that:
’She allowed a genuine smile to cross her features.’
- - So much better than a Teresaesue faint one. wink.gif

No rest for the weary though, as there appears to be more trouble brewing in Motor City.

Nit: 'January imagined there was something for her {to?} learn from that alone.'

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post Aug 5 2020, 06:39 PM
Post #262

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From: Ellicott City, Maryland

Ha ha World of Guncraft. laugh.gif I love how you change all these popular names around.

Uh oh. So Wayne Anthony Mills might have something to do with this.

I was in his PC before the cops took it," Gadget said in her ear. "I like this kid already. His name on World of Guncraft is AfroSamurai2004. We'll have to see if he wants to game with us."

Oh my gosh! laugh.gif Buncha nerds!

Yeah, my nephew would teabag downed enemies in Halo and Oblivion back when he was more of a gamer. Yuck.

I like that. She blurts something out loud to Gadget, forgetting that nobody else can hear him.

Awesome, she played Skyrim. And she's going behind the stupid lieutenant's back, and might have a sniper on her side. Yeah, because that's better for her. January is awesome, but she no lone fighter like her great aunt.

Uh oh. Nazis downtown. I'm actually looking forward to January maybe kicking them around. I hope that's okay to say. It's how I feel.

I am sorry you had to deal with that swat team. I bet it made you look at the police in a different light.

Oh it wasn't that bad, and not a SWAT team at all. It was regular police. My room got a little messed up. I was terrified at the time, but it wan't nearly as bad as what the Mills just went through. I was living in a big house with 7 people (2 of them weren't supposed to be living there) and one of them, this lady who'd just moved in literally a month before, actually offered to make coffee for everyone. She calmed everyone down. Maybe if the one guy hadn't fessed to growing things would have gotten worse. sad.gif In fact from what I understand, if he hadn't confessed, ALL of us would have been in trouble. Even though the 'operation' was obviously in his living space.

I was living in Portland Oregon at the time. Maybe if this had happened in Detroit... things might have been much different.

Finally, we are cool with seeing more of Lieutenant Hunter. He's a ass. But if you bring him back, you have the power to bring African Goddess back, right? wink.gif

This post has been edited by Renee: Aug 5 2020, 06:54 PM
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post Aug 8 2020, 06:55 PM
Post #263

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From: Between The Worlds

Acadian: Jan did take her own advice, eventually. Even when her dander is up, her character shines through. Chief N-9 will appear in at least one future chapter. He will kick it off in fact, when supervillains make a nuisance of themselves in at the Lakeside Mall, and he calls in Stormcrow for an assist.

January's real wings are indeed a huge evolution in her super abilities. They really open up the world for her to travel and explore. We will even start seeing her beyond Michigan's borders in upcoming episodes.

Thanks for the nit. Proofreading is a value.

Renee: World of Guncraft and Sword Science Online were fun names to invent.

A giant bunch of nerds! Swatting began in nerd culture, so I leaned into that heavily.

When it is no longer ok to punch Nazis, we will be in really big trouble... But it won't be January doing the punching, at least not yet. Someone else is already Downtown.

There will be another African Goddess sighting later this chapter. Maybe in 4 or 5 more episodes.

A pic Downtown and the River

Renaissance Center Roof

Pic of Jefferson and Griswold

Close up pic of the streets

Motor City Pride is a real event

Nazis really did protest at Motor City Pride

The National Socialist League is based on a real Nazi group

Odal Rune


Chapter 5.13 - Crystal Death

Blood Raven gazed down at the rainbow of celebrants that filled Hart Plaza, over 700 feet below. Like the many rainbow flags they waved, they came in every color of the spectrum. They were likewise every age, and every gender. Thanks to January, she had learned that there was more to the latter than the standard two options she had always been taught. Life was a spectrum, rather than a handful of rigid selections, and the throngs below exemplified that fact.

It was at once exhilarating and frightening to a person her age. How the world had changed since her birth. If anyone had told her while she had attended Mrs. Gibson's School for Proper Young Girls that one day there would be bridges over every river on the eastern seaboard, she would have laughed in their face. Now there were not only bridges, but highways, and railroads, and airports - ports for air travel! - everywhere. Once upon a time a squirrel could have traveled from Maine to Florida by hopping from tree to tree, its feet never touching the ground. Now it would use one of the Wright Brother's aeroplanes to get there!

But the changes to the land were nothing compared to those of the people. To think that a white person could marry an African! Or was the term a person of color? She knew it definitely was not a colored person, and absolutely not a Negro, at least not anymore. Oh it was so difficult trying to keep up with the vagaries of modern language! It was even worse than technology.

Or that homosexuality could be so openly acknowledged! What a world. Of course she had read Sappho and giggled with the other girls, when Mrs. Gibson was safely out of earshot of course. But the thought of two women walking hand in hand in public, or kissing one another... Poor Mrs. Gibson would have surely died of apoplexy had such a subject even been broached in her puritanical presence!

Her life as Neo-Pagan writer Branwen Renner had certainly opened her eyes to the Queer community. That was the term January said she preferred. The only thing modern Pagans did not tolerate was intolerance, as oxymoronic as that sounded. But given the fact that at one time Ann Renner would have been hanged for writing her books, it was a necessary oxymoron. January would have been hanged for merely existing back then.

Sometimes the world changed for the better.

Blood Raven spun on her heel and strode across the roof of the Renaissance Center's highest, central tower. The Ren Cen was not a single building, but rather a complex of seven glass and steel skyscrapers. The cylindrical central tower was the highest, stretching just over seventy floors tall. It was the highest building in the city in fact. This central spire was surrounded by four smaller, diamond-shaped towers. Finally, a pair of even lower structures rose up to one side of the complex.

The peak upon which she stood was crowded with antennas, satellite dishes, and gigantic cables that were clamped down to the rooftop. A small radio mast rose up several dozen feet from the center of the tower, surrounded by low clumps of machinery and venting. Only a technophile like Cray could imagine what all of it was for.

She idly recalled that when the complex had been built, it had been by the Ford Motor Company. Yet now the General Motors logo glowed from the electronic sign attached to the side of the central spire. However, that particular building was in fact a hotel. Only the six other towers were office space housing the administrative headquarters of the automotive giant, along with a prominent health insurance corporation.

She paused at the edge of the roof, and glanced down at the wider ring of another level a story below. This lower roof supported the window washing apparatuses, which appeared like nothing so much as giant tuning forks set into a trackway that ringed the building. Clustered around the center of the structure were even more mechanical devices, conduits, and satellite dishes. What would these people do without their satellites? They probably could not boil water without a computer to instruct them how.

Blood Raven looked beyond the rim of the lower level rooftop. Directly below her ran Jefferson Avenue, which was set back from the Detroit River, and ran parallel to it. Between the boulevard and the water stood the Ren Cen complex, Hart Plaza, and the entrance to the tunnel to Canada, among other sites. Behind the divided street rose the numerous skyscrapers of the Financial District. They were a chaotic mix of styles, from Art Deco artworks, to modern glass and chrome masterpieces. They reminded her of nothing so much as toys casually tossed aside by giants in a playground.

She let her eyes wander away from the Downtown core, and gazed across the flesh of the city that spread out far beyond the towering skyscrapers. Far smaller buildings lumped together in the manner of cells, while streets ran between them like veins and arteries. Only rather than carrying blood, they transported people to and fro. They were the real lifeblood of the city when it came down to it. The narrow belt of the Detroit River bounded the tissue of the city to her right. In every other direction, the metropolis seemed to spread out into a haze of infinity.

Nestled between the banks of the relatively narrow river was the hourglass shape of Belle Isle, connected to the American side by a single bridge. A winding roadway curled back and forth along its uneven coastline. Smaller roads crisscrossed the interior, leading to parks, memorials, an aquarium, sports fields, marinas, and more. A thick clump of woods nearly filled the far end of the island, where the remnants of the old zoo slowly crumbled into dissolution.

Last weekend the isle had been filled with people for the Grand Prix. She had waited there for most of the day. She had suspected that the Conjurer might make another summoning attempt nearby. But she had miscalculated, and instead he had struck at Ferndale Pride.

Now the island was practically deserted. That would give the Conjurer plenty of privacy for the summoning ritual. Yet it was still near enough to Downtown for him to find some measure of cover in the steady flow of people traveling to and from the festival in Hart Plaza.

She turned her gaze north and west from Belle Isle and scanned the tiny rooftops that spread out near the riverbank. Her eyes eventually settled upon one in particular. It was an abandoned warehouse not very far from the Renaissance Center and the Downtown core. The Conjurer had struck there just two weeks earlier, during the Electronic Music Festival. It had been the nearest she had come to apprehending him so far. But by then he had learned the art of anchoring his summonings, so that a simple banishment could not dispel them. She had been obliged to deal with the monster the old-fashioned way. That had given the Conjurer ample time to escape.

Would he return to the scene of his past crime for another summoning? He had not done so yet. But he also seemed to enjoy crowds, the larger the better. Perhaps it was simply because it was all the easier to lose himself in the sea of faces? Motor City Pride was the largest event taking place over the weekend. If anything would draw him forth, this would be it.

"Something is going on," Cray said over their communications link. His voice was soft, yet gruff. It reminded her of the feeling of wool or fleece on her ears. Not an unpleasant sensation. "I see a crowd of police just off Jefferson, by the Scientology Church."

Blood Raven wheeled about and strode back across the roof to face southwest. She felt her cape spill out into the wind behind her, and whip up high into the air along with the brilliant red strands of her wig. She smelled nothing arcane in the air, not even the simple spells of a neophyte. She closed her eyes and trained her magical senses upon that spot, yet still, there was no feeling of magic actively working to alter reality.

She opened her eyes once more and stared down at the area her technical specialist had indicated: the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Griswold Street. The Church of Scientology did not look like a church at all. It was a small, white office building of the Neo-Classical style. Nestled between the massive skyscrapers of One Woodward and 150 West Jefferson, it was a dwarf among giants. Behind it along Griswold Street stretched out a four story parking structure. Standing in the driveway of the latter was a crowd of people.

She brought up her hands in front of her face, and swiped them to either side. At the same time she called up her aion - what January would call mana - and turned loose the tiniest drop of it. She willed the energy to display the location. A window rimmed with golden energy sprang up in the air before her. The street and parking garage leaped up in tight magnification within, as if she viewed the area through a spyglass.

Now that she had a close up view, she could see that a score of Detroit Police officers were gathered around the entrance to the parking structure. They appeared to be ordinary patrolmen, wearing blue uniforms and black armored vests. They did not sport riot gear, nor carry weapons beyond their sidearms and pepper spray. Some even wore rainbow colored hearts pinned to their uniforms.

"This can't be for a big shot," Cray said. "The festival has VIP parking right next to Hart Plaza. Not that they would have a police escort anyway. Not even the mayor has this many bodyguards."

"Not this mayor," Blood Raven breathed. "Yet the previous one…"

"Well that one is still cooling his heels in prison," Cray replied. "I don't know what this could be, I don't have any-"

Cray's words stopped abruptly when a group of over a dozen men, and a few women, strode out of the parking structure. All were dressed in black, sporting red armbands emblazoned with swastikas. The men's heads were shaved bare, or nearly so, at least those not wearing black, coal scuttle helmets. All bore tattoos. Some were of swastikas and SS runes or skulls. Others were less obvious fascist markers such as solar crosses and the number 1488.

Many carried bright red shields, that curved inward like an old Roman scutum. All of these were decorated with a black, Norse Odal rune in the center. Written in Gothic script across the top of the design were the letters "NSL".

Blood Raven's eyes instantly narrowed in on the pistols openly hanging from the hips of many of the men. Some even carried rifles slung over their shoulders. She absentmindedly noted that none of the female Nazis were armed. She wondered if that meant they were less homicidally inclined than the others. Or if being women, they were not allowed to carry weapons? After all, white supremacists were as poisonous to women as they were to everyone else.

Blood Raven also noted something odd on their shoulders, some sort of rounded electronic devices. One of them carried neither a rifle or shield, but rather a large camera, the kind used by television crews. Several other ordinary cameras were slung from his neck as well.

Shouts in German ripped through the night air, intermingled with high-pitched screams. The acrid stench of gunpowder filled her nose, along with the disturbing aroma of burning human flesh. The latter was a distinctive stench, nauseatingly sweet, metallic, and savory at the same time. The boom of a 75mm cannon rang in her ears, along with the chatter of machine guns. She felt steel rip apart under her claws as she carved open another Panther tank. Then came the mouthwatering ambrosia of fresh blood, and the hot life force that jetted with it.

"Nazis," Cray's voice brought her back to the present. This was Detroit, not France, and it was no longer 1944. Then he explained the mystery of those strange devices on their shoulders. "Those are GoPros that they're wearing. They're recording all of this."

"The only thing Nazis love as much as murder is propaganda," Blood Raven growled. She could not stop herself from baring her teeth. At least she prevented them from transforming. Two and a half centuries had at least taught her to keep her fangs in check. No matter how great her bloodlust rose.

Now it was raging, as it usually did at the sight of a swastika. The beast deep inside of her rose up and howled for blood. Not for sustenance. She had fed well in preparation for this day's possible work. The monster within cried for vengeance. Selene, the Mother of Vampires, had gifted her progeny with many blessings. But the moon goddess had also passed on this curse in their blood, this passion for death, for its own sake. She could already imagine the sound of bones cracking under her hands, and the glorious feeling of blood spraying warm across her skin.

She clamped down hard on her fury. She was not an animal. She was not that monster, which threatened to overwhelm every vampire. That threatened to overwhelm every human. She was better than that, stronger than that, more disciplined than that.

In any case, it was broad daylight, and millions would be watching. This was not the time for killing swathes of fascists. France had taught her that was best done under the cover of darkness...

Blood Raven ended her viewing spell by swiping one hand left across the surface of the magical window. Then she stepped off the roof of the Renaissance Center. Out of reflex she warped reality around her, and reshaped it according to her will. Gravity no longer tugged at her feet. Instead she simply ignored the laws of physics, and moved through space as she desired. In only a matter of moments she arrowed down from her lofty perch to the street below, and held herself suspended above Jefferson Avenue.

She hovered there, and stared down Griswold Street. The Scientology building now rose at her left shoulder, with the parking garage beyond it. The massive tower of One Woodward shot up at her right side. Far in the distance straight ahead she could even see her own lair: the black and gold masterpiece of the Detroit Radiator Building. It loomed over the far end of Griswold like a Gothic sentinel, as she now did herself opposite it.

Walking directly toward her down the sidewalk were the Nazis, with the police officers forming a cordon about them. Pedestrians nearby stopped what they were doing and stared in shock. The Nazis ignored them. Instead they strode down the street as if they owned it. As if they were the masters of the Earth.

They had much to learn...

"Don't kill them!" Cray pleaded. "Not now, not like this."

"The SOE taught me how to deal with these creatures," Blood Raven replied evenly. She heard car horns blaring beneath her, and brakes screeching. She hoped there would be no collisions as drivers stopped their vehicles right in the middle of Jefferson to gawk.

"They want a show, to put on their website," Cray insisted. "They want people to overreact, and do something crazy, like start a fight. The more dramatic it is, the more money they make in donations."

"They seek another Charlottesville," Blood Raven considered. "Not in my city."

She gestured with one hand, and every camera strapped to a Nazi cracked. With another wave of a finger, so did the massive TV camera of the videographer, and all of the smaller cameras that hung from his neck.

She waved her other hand from side to side, and a field of golden force sprang up across Griswold, stretching from building to building on either side of the street. That completely blocked the road off from Jefferson Avenue, and Hart Plaza beyond. They would never reach the festival. Not while she existed.

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post Aug 8 2020, 08:46 PM
Post #264

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Very neat for a change to have an episode from Blood Raven’s perspective. You have done such a nice job of showing us who she is that when we had the chance to travel inside her head here, her private thoughts were completely consistent with who you have shown her to be. That said, it was still nice to put more of a fine point on her history, attitudes and struggles she faces controlling the beast within.

Ripping open a German tank with her hands conjured images of Wonder Woman – another superhero I’ve come to enjoy. tongue.gif

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