Chapter 11 - A new home
With the heroes gathered and ready, the child gathered them into the same place where they saw their dreams.
"The time is come and your gathering is an example of the severity that it represents. You have each pledged, for your own reasons, to do what must be done, no matter what the costs. As much as many of you would desire to go directly for the beast, it cannot be done that way. Your powers for the most part are weakened from millenniums of limited use. They must be strengthened. You must learn to work as one and they are threats on this plane that must be dealt with first."
"You each possess the varied skills to win when you work together. Each of you make matched sets. Lisa Snow and Steve Mendoza, you are the controllers of this plane's elements. That is to say you control much more than just earth, fire, wind and water. Your powers are to control the whole of nature on the four scales but only together can you blend the full force of your abilities. Dria Balley, Victor Garcia and Adrienne LeVeque, you manipulate the energies of your plane. The spiritual, physical and arcane to be more precise. Rider and Chang Ming you are the rawest of the forces and the oldest, light and darkness. Before this plane existed they were the whole of creation. Now it is deeper. You are guardians of the creation elements and it is not a charge to be taken lightly. If you lose control all that you know will be lost at your hands. This is why you have but a small portion of your full power."
"When the beast is confronted it must be on his plane of chaos. Learn to use your powers here, now against its weaker soldiers. Working together you will get stronger and better. The hunters that are creating the mindless zombies continue to feed their master and must be stopped. That is your first mission. Find them and stop them."
"How do we do that?" Steve asked.
"Chang and I took care of that. The combined hit of dark and light has them tagged." The rider replied.
"How do we stop them? They took our best shots and just got back up." Victor added.
"Dria Balley is the only one that can make it so you can. She must counter the energy the hunters use to control the soulless ones. Their power comes from the hunters."
"You mean I have to sing again. Do I have to learn new songs?"
"No Dria, your powers unlike those of the sorceress are within you in that you must just imagine what you desire and the words will vocalize on their own."
"So how do mine work then?" Adrienne asked of the child.
"You have to learn your spells Adrienne LeVeque. It is not a lack of power, it is a lack of knowledge and that you must earn on your own." The child replied and she rolled her eyes mumbling something about it being easier if it was just given to her. "Lisa Snow you are unique in that you have learned on your own, how to use your abilities but you have just scratched the surface of what your true skills are. Rider you can find the hunters and I ask you to do so. When located inform us and the others will join you."
"Whatever gets us done the fastest." He replied and left the room.
"The rest of you will be transported to a safe location where you can train and learn how to use your gifts. Follow me."
The child led them out of the room and into what looked like a warehouse. There was a door leading to a kitchen, a hallway leading to rooms with their names on the doors but oddly enough two that had no names on them and wouldn't open. A sizable living room was at the end of the hallway connected to a dining area. The entire basement was a workout room. It was set up with targets, weights, and everything else that was needed.
The rooms contained a bed, desk and book-case with books suited to their skill sets. Of course, Adrienne was unhappy with the accommodations since they were basic and bare. The bed was not an antique and neither was the furniture. The complaints stared immediately. By now no one seemed to listen to her complaints and just dismissed them as whining.
They all gathered in the living area and the child continued.
"This is your home for the duration of the mission. Your families will be protected during that time. The books in your room will explain how to use your powers and what to expect. While you can't be with those you love and care about, they are globes in your rooms that will allow you to see them. Train in your skills since soon you will need them." With that the child vanished, leaving the heroes alone with each other.
The time spent waiting on word from the rider was spent by each getting settled in and reading on their abilities. Adrienne eventually settled in to the fact that she was going to be here and stopped complaining when she read what she could do. A schedule was set by Lisa and Chang after they spent time in the gym trying to work out their skills both individually and as a team. Dinner was prepared by Lisa and Dria who seemed distracted.
"What's up, buttercup?"
Dria slowed her chopping of the vegetables and sighed. "I read in the books that the beast will use our fears against us."
"You just have to remember that they are only fears. We just have to be strong and overcome them." Lisa replied in her best motherly tone.
"But what if you know what's going to be used and you don't fear it but want it to stay private."
"Then you are going to have to learn to not fear it, I suppose. Maybe once it is not private any more, you will not have a reason to fear it." She said continuing to prepare the meal.
"The thing is, it's not something that I am ashamed of. I'm just not ready to make some things public yet. I want to get through this and make a living singing. Not because of something that shouldn't matter."
"We cannot help some things."
"Well maybe if it comes out now. It may not be so strong right?" She asked seeming to look for hope.
"Hopefully... I really hope that it is so."
"If you had a secret that you were afraid would become something that would define you or make people look at you differently..."
Dria trailed off and had to compose herself for a moment.
"Were you once a man? No really, don't. Not much you could do would change how people look at you. What is it that you are trying to hide?"
Dria tried to smile and set the knife down.
"It's something that my parents know, a few select friends, and some others. I want it private because it's really no one's business. That and I want to be known as a singer not a singer that likes women."
"Is that all? I would not worry so much. Once people hear your voice they will not care much about that at all. And your male fan base will grow with that news. They tend to have a thing with hot women and threesome."
"You took that so well. Most people freak and look at me like I got two heads. I'm just afraid that if it becomes public and I get a deal after that, I'll never know if it's because of my talent or some weird sense of owing me something because of who I sleep with."
"Girl, you forget what I do. Girls liking a girl is normal in my line of work. But you would have that no matter what."
"I must admit you do have some good calendars," Dria said smiling," Thanks. Guess maybe I should tell the others and take that weapon away from the beast. The less we give it, the less he can use against us right."
She would have continued but at that moment the riders mental call came through. She had been practicing opening doorways but needed much more.
"Did you hear that?"
Lisa nodded as the others came pouring in.
"We heard and are as ready as we can be." Chang said.
Lisa and Dria exchanged a quick look and smile before the doorway to hopefully the right place opened.
The rider appeared back in his home, the abandoned rectory. He had his job and focused on it till night fall. He had the fix on where they were but the problem was they were in teams and he had three locations to look at. There was no way they could take them separately. He focused on the strongest signals and followed that to the general area, then tracked it even more down to a hotel where two of the known eight hunters were tracking their prey.
"They split up. I got two of them." He sent back mentally to the team, "We need everyone now."