June 10, 2016
161. VIRGINIA ICE (LEGION’S GATE)
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
The full extent and array of Virginia Ice’s powers during the Legion’s Gate transition are unknown and unquantifiable at this point…
For centuries an organization known as the Veil, comprised of noble warriors and assassins, have been secretly hunting a race of lost souls known as ghost orphans, with the purpose of sending them to a heavenly afterlife. Additionally, a group of hellspawns known as reapers have consistently interjected themselves into the war, with the goal of corralling the souls for their own nefarious and demonic means. Virginia Ice has been the most elusive and most dangerous of all ghost orphans. But through all of her centuries of maniacal schemes and malevolent machinations, nothing has held more devastating and long-lasting effects than that of the opening of Legion’s Gate….
Peter Philadelphia sat on the cold concrete floor. His living-blade was on the ground beside him, stained crimson, the life force of slain reapers and ghost orphans dripping from the metal. He breathed heavily and was exhausted from mental, physical and emotional stress. His entire future was in jeopardy. Life as he knew it would never be the same. Peter’s brain kept trying to grasp what just transpired. Alas, he was unable to accept the gravity of the reality he faced. The looks of all those around him, and those filtering out of the ruins of Platinum City University’s Central Administration Complex made everything quite clear. There was no escaping the consequences of what had happened, and Peter was forced to swallow the truth. A single thread in the cloth of purpose defining The Veil’s existence had been pulled by his very hand, and the unraveling had begun.
*** MOMENTS EARLIER ***
Fire and sulfur spewed from a swirling orange and black vortex, filling the air above Platinum City with heat and the scent of the underworld. The noble holy warrior Seraph Solomon spoke to Disa Philadelphia, Sheldon Sardis, and the other members of The Veil as they rushed across the Lebanon Memorial Bridge onto PCU’s main campus, where Virginia Ice had already begun the process of joining her ghost orphan spirit with that of Legion – general of the reapers, one of Hell’s army, and right hand to Lucifer himself. Red mist swirled around her and seeped into her body slowly, paralyzing her during the transformation. Solomon knew there was no time to waste. He had to engage Virginia during the process to banish Legion back to Hell, before the two were completely joined; a task that would take some time. However, it would be made much more complicated by the hundreds of ghost orphans standing in the way. Additionally, Alva Devine and a contingent of reapers were also on hand, to assure the opening of Legion’s Gate. So, as the seraph spoke, he instructed Disa and the other hunters to keep the enemies away from him long enough to exorcise Legion.
Along with Disa and Peter, nearly one hundred Veil hunters had gathered for this battle, including Valerie Philadelphia, Reagan Smyrna, Charles Smyrna, Mio Sardis, Caesar Laodicea, Paula Thyatira, Nidia Sardis, and more. Disa and Solomon exchanged looks, then gave the command to attack! The hunters brandished their living-blades and jumped into action! The lost souls fought with vigor and aggression, but they were no match for the skills and dominance of The Veil.
Disa, Peter and Valerie fought their way into the middle of the fray, where reaper queen Alva Devine and her most trusted cohorts, Teivel and Jezabella were waiting. The reapers were a lot more lethal than most of the ghost orphans, and their ghost-blade weapons were just as powerful as the hunters’ living-blades. Disa engaged Alva, and Peter confronted Teivel, while Valerie went up against Jezabella. The powerful, massive weapons of the reapers tested the craftsmanship and quality of the living-blades, but the Veil hunters’ swords proved worthy of the challenge. This prompted the reapers to channel demonic energy, in an attempt to overpower the hunters. However, Disa, Peter and Valerie maneuvered swiftly and smoothly about, countering brute force with speed and quickness. They landed numerous significant strikes on the reapers, causing bad injuries and blood to flow, seizing the momentum. The hellish warriors were not deterred, nor slowed, though. They pressed forward with ferocity. Eventually they began landing blows of their own, bruising and cutting hunters with slices from their weapons and a flurry of punches, knocking them to the ground. A few times the mother-son-daughter trio were barely able to help each other escape death. The reapers had captured the momentum. Meanwhile, the rest of the Veil worked at dispatching ghost orphans.
Sheldon Sardis, Reagan Smyrna, Paula Thyatira and Caesar Laodicea each led separate squads as they cut down dozens of ghost orphans, liberating the lost souls from their earthly immortality, and ushering them through the Pearly Gates. The clans worked in perfect harmony, as if their styles of combat where choreographed to maximize the efficiency of the entire collective. Bright lights shot into the air as ghost orphan spirits were jettisoned above by the dozens, illuminating the sky over Platinum City University. Nevertheless, the hordes of ghost orphans continued to swarm on the hunters. They ramped up their efforts, but the enemy was simply growing too large in number. The bottom line is, The Veil was being overrun.
Solomon used his ring and whip to forge a path to Virginia Ice, but she was surrounded by scores of ghost orphans and reapers. Thus, the seraph engaged her protectors, strategically removing them. First, he recited incantations towards the reapers, blasting them with holy energy from his ring to eradicate their demonic powers. They were shriveled up and left withered to almost nothing, after which he crushed their bodies with his whip. The ghost orphans tried to intercede, but Solomon fended them off until the reapers were all dispatched. Then, he enchanted them with a spell of control, using lesser demons to inhabit the ghost orphan bodies. This gave the seraph full autonomy over them, and knowing he did not have the proper means to exorcise the ghost orphan spirits, he used his control over their bodies to make them drop their weapons, lined them up, and had them walk directly towards the Veil. Solomon served them up on a platter, and the hunters slaughtered them. Finally, he could focus on Virginia and Legion.
Solomon began chanting the most powerful prayers, conjuring massive amounts of holy energy directly from Heaven. A bright blue-and-white beam of magic beamed down from the sky, and engulfed Solomon. Light shone from every orifice of his body. His voice became hypnotic, carrying on in an echoing fashion. Clear ripples of energy radiated around him, like heat from the ground on a blazing summer day. The event caused a shockwave throughout campus, toppling everyone present. The seraph continued to chant, eventually invoking Bath Kohl‘s spirit to descend upon them. Her majestic angelic form flew through the air in the same blue-and-white light, though it was just an outline of her figure. Then, she crashed into Solomon, injecting him with the Voice of God. The strength of the seraph’s words grew to enormous proportions. The walls of several buildings began to crack as the ground rumbled. Disa, Peter and Valerie all knew what was next. Solomon was about to exorcise Legion back to Hell, as he did the four demon kings that had possessed Walter Tubbs, Jocelyn Heredia, Andre Leonard and Bishop Cornelius A. Grippa, which meant the tiny window to slay the ghost orphan inside the possessed body was about to pass. The one chance to kill Virgina Ice and slay Kallisto, the ghost orphan arch villain that lived inside of her, was finally at hand!
The shockwave presented The Veil hunters with a great advantage, as they were much less affected by the surge of holy energy than the ghost orphans and reapers. They used this opportunity to eliminate their enemies in bulk, running through the crowd and wielding their living-blades, as ghosts orphans slowly rolled on the ground or struggled to get to their feet. Eventually, Charles, Caesar and Mio reached Disa, Peter and Valerie. Disa commanded them to engage Alva and the main reapers, while other hunters, including Sheldon, Nidia, Terrence Smyrna and Xylia Laodicea continued to exterminate the ghost orphans. This allowed Disa, Peter and Valerie the opportunity to make their way over to the seraph’s side.
As they approached, the Veil members could feel their insides shake. The amount of sheer power Solomon was exuding amazed the three hunters. They had never seen or felt anything like it before. Solomon’s hypnotic voice held a harmonic duality, as Bath Kohl infused his speech with the Voice of God, slowly closing the vortex to Hell, driving Legion back to whence he came. When they noticed this, Disa and Valerie prepared to impale and behead Virginia, as they had done during the previous exorcisms. All they awaited was Solomon’s word. Peter, however, lowered his living blade.
He stared at Virginia, the woman he had formed a forbidden, yet deep bond with over the years. She was helpless before them, and in those last moments, the emotions they had shared flared up in his heart. His hesitation did not go unnoticed by his wife, Reagan, who pulled away from the peripheral battle to join the main encounter. Peter locked eyes with her, then with the prone Virginia Ice, then back to his wife again. He was torn.
The moment at hand was unparalleled in history. He was standing next to agents of Heaven, as they wielded the raw power of God against Hell’s army. The greatest battle in the history of The Veil against the reapers and the ghost orphans was taking place at that very second. The single moment that could end the eternal war, and possibly shape the future of the entire world, was at hand. Alas, as Solomon spoke to them through his supernatural voice to slay the ghost orphan, Peter could not shake his feelings for Virginia Ice, and remained resistant to killing her.
He also loved his mother and sister, and, of course, most of all, his wife. Thus, while he struggled with his internal predicament over what to do, Disa and Valerie moved in. They raised their swords and yelled with a victorious fury, anticipating the kill. However, when their blades swooped upon Virginia’s body to run her heart through and cut off her head, they missed the mark. Peter had bolted over in a flash, and used his sword to deflect their strikes!
Disa and Valerie stumbled back a few steps. Before them, Peter stood with his living-blade, protecting their mortal enemy. The two hunters were flabbergasted. Their own flesh and blood had betrayed them! Disa yelled at Peter, commanding him to move. The more she yelled, though, the more Peter replied with conviction that he could not let them kill Virginia. Valerie was crushed at the sight. Her own brother had chosen a ghost orphan over his blood and The Veil. She tried to reason with him despite her emotions, but Peter refused to budge. Disa gave him one last warning, by saying nothing could stop her from slaying Virginia and releasing Kallisto to Heaven. Yet, Peter did not reply or move. Disa looked to Reagan, and pleaded with her to say something, but the huntress could not bring herself to form any words, and after one last, intense staredown with Peter, could no longer look at him. Instead she turned, and dove back into the battle against the ghost orphan masses, swinging her living-blade in an uncontrolled rage.
Disa realized she would be the only one who could stop Legion’s Gate from coming to pass, so she charged Virginia, with the understanding and acceptance that she may have to slay her own son. Peter aggressively defended the ghost orphan’s prone body. Every strike Disa sent towards the motionless ghost orphan, Peter blocked or parried. Soon it became a chess match, as she wanted to keep the perspective of hurting her son as a final resort; and conversely, Peter didn’t want to hurt his mother – he only wanted to save the earthly life of the lost spirit he’d grown attached to. He just needed to buy enough time for the exorcism to be completed by Seraph Solomon, so that Virginia could regain consciousness and escape, before experiencing the edge of a living-blade.
So, the two continued to match wits and swords. That was, until Disa’s experience began tilting the scales, and she maneuvered her way around Peter to finally land a finishing strike to Virginia. Realizing what was about to happen, Peter grew desperate and did something he never imagined he was even capable of: he attacked his own mother with lethal intent.
Disa quickly ceased her advancement towards Virginia, and leapt back to dodge Peter’s deadly strike. She was not quick enough, though, as the tip of his living-blade slightly cut her on the side of her neck. Disa’s hand shot over the scratch, as she incredulously witnessed the blood drawn by her son, in defense of her worst enemy. Valerie was in utter disbelief, but had little time to wipe the tears from her eyes, as a trio of reapers suddenly descended on, her forcing her to defend herself. Peter couldn’t believe his own actions, either, as tears streamed from his eyes. What was once the greatest of bonds, families, and Veil bloodlines, was rapidly dying. Within a few moments, Valerie had slayed her opponents, and had made up her mind to attack Peter as well. It was now two against one.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Veil hunters were catching glimpses of the action. They were dumbfounded at the sight of Peter defending Virginia Ice, and being engaged in a ruthless battle against his mother and sister. They were still facing hordes of ghosts orphans and reapers, though, and large piles of rubble and debris were falling from the PCU buildings, so it was impossible for any of them to intercede.
The fight between Disa, Valerie and Peter raged on, as Solomon continued to close the portal and exorcise Legion. Eventually, the mother-daughter duo overcame Peter and they sliced him a few times, before sending him crashing to the ground with a series of kicks and punches. The sight of Peter writhing in pain on the ground hurt Disa and Valerie to the core, but they had no choice. Solomon could not pause the exorcism, and time was running out. So, the two Veil hunters turned toward Virginia Ice, and ran to execute her once and for all. Peter looked on helplessly, and was frantic in trying to figure out a way to save the lost soul. However, he could not come up with a way to keep her alive. Alas, it was in that failure his solution lied. Peter realized that by killing Virginia Ice through natural means, with something other than a living-blade, it would enable Kallisto’s ghost orphan spirit to leave her body, and transfer into another woman, somewhere else in the world.
Peter glanced around rapidly, and soon found a sharp piece of metal that had fallen from one of the buildings during the chaotic events. Saying his last goodbye to the sight of a motionless, defenseless Virginia Ice, Peter summoned all of his strength, and launched the spike at her. His timing was perfect, as the tip of the sharp piece of metal impaled her chest, before the living-blades of Disa and Valerie were able to make contact with the ghost orphan’s body. Consequently, the spirit of Kallisto shot into the air, a fraction of a second before Valerie and Disa could impale and behead her.
As the ancient ghost orphan floated above them, the hunters looked in disbelief. Kallisto had escaped them once more, and this time, it was because their own blood betrayed them. Furthermore, in the moments that followed, they had to witness Peter and Kallisto’s spirit lock eyes for a deeply passionate moment, as the ghost orphan flew away to freedom. The vortex to Hell closed immediately afterwards, as Solomon had successfully vanquished Legion, and prevented Hell’s general from manifesting in the physical world – at least for now.
With his work done, the seraph was finally able to return to Heaven. He bid adieu to Disa, Sheldon and the other hunters, then massive beams of holy magic shot back into the air, signaling his departure, and the end of the battle. The remaining ghost orphans and reapers, realizing they had been defeated, all began fleeing and disappearing.
Slowly, the Veil hunters gathered around Disa, Valerie and Peter, and began to inquire about what exactly had transpired. None of the three had any words. Valerie glared at her brother in simultaneous disgust and sadness. Disa held the same sentiments, but as she went to comfort her daughter, Valerie shrugged her mother’s hand off, and began making her way back over Lebanon Memorial Bridge. With dozens of flashing lights and sirens beginning to descend on the scene, most of the other hunters followed suit. Soon, it was only Disa and Peter left.
They locked eyes with one another, as the extent of the carnage was now becoming evident. Just like Derek Loman had predicted, a great number of the walls of Platinum City University had fallen. And as Disa finally convinced herself to turn and leave, Peter was left sitting alone, with the stark realization that despite saving the world twice in as many weeks, his own world, and perhaps those of many people he loved, had totally and completely unraveled.