Red X is seen flying towards New York City, on a normal routine visit to his normal swords-smith, however his ring detects an irregularity. The presence of a powerful magic user.
Loran Constantine, a witch and demon huntress, was wandering a mall in the city. The other heroes could handle themselves for a few hours, which gave her plenty of time to unwind until, invariably, she was called on for one reason or another, usually a demon being spotted or something like that. Demons typically have been known to cross over into the physical world, but it's not an everyday deal. Besides that, her powers were next to useless on something not drawing energy from a supernatural source, although her default spell could be used as a long range stun gun when the situation calls for it.
Red floated above the mall and then scanned it looking for the irregularity. As he saw a strange mana source he smirked. "Bingo." He said as he fired a concentrated blast of red energy at the area directly above the energy.
Red. The color of blood, of anger, and of hate. A glowing red light engulfed Loran's vision, tinting everything at first, but quickly overtaking the natural, or rather artifical light in the mall with a crimson glow. There were other people around her, so dodging was out of the question, one witch wasn't worth the innocent, unassuming lives that would be ruined the moment the light struck down. Drawing a sigil in the air and infusing it with the thought of magic, a barrier erected itself around the witch and as many people as it could from impact. Where have I seen this kind of energy before? It's alien to me, yet famillier.
The blast hit the barrier head on and burst violently around it. Red looked confused, and until the smoke cleared and he saw she deflected his attack. "Hmmm, so shes a cleaver little witch?" He mumbled under his breath as he dove into the newly formed hole in the roof. "Witch girl, stand up and fight me....If you dare." He said in a taunting manner.
Loran looked at the man floating through the hole in the roof and wished that there weren't so many innocent people who could be at risk. Her cover was blown a in a single moment. The impact of the red energy onto the barrier didn't shock her in the slightest, everyone else was thrown to the ground from the force of it, but she stood her ground. Around her, there was painic, every person in the building was running to the exits in a panic.
"Just great, disorder and chaos. That's perfect." Loran said, using magic to start flying towards the man. "What do you want with me? I don't even know who you are, so talk. I'm sure we can get through this without any more destruction."
"I am rage, I am vengeance, I am Red X and I will destroy anything that stands in my way." He said as he charged another red, rage filled energy blast which he then fired at the witch.
Loran began charging a spell to counter the red light. Once she had the magic she needed, the incantation was simple, one she chanted a thousand times. "Archi-radi-marga." Grey light streamed from her hand and negated the light, which in turn negated the spell.
"That didn't answer my question, Red. What is your grudge with me? How am I in your way?"
"In order to become stronger.....strong enough to defeat the darkness I must defeat powerful opponents..... You stand between me and my strength!" He said as he fired another pulse, followed up by molding the rage energy into a construct, resembling four Gatling guns.
Loran pulled two vials of a strange liquid from the loops hidden behind her belt. "And I'm a Demon slayer. The stuff in these vials is, to put it in a way you might understand, strong chemicals that, when mixed, can drop even the most powerful Demons to their knees." The effect was a bluff, but the fact both chemicals could be mixed to achieve exactly the right effect was true. What a day to forget to pack some heat on me.
"Good thing I am no demon..." He said a she smirked, firing red hot bullets at her from the four guns he created. "I am a Red Lantern!"
Loran flew backwards and up, trying to keep away from the red laser-like shells that threatened her. One struck her boot legging and burned a hole through it, scalding the flesh below, despite her best efforts to dodge it. "So, that's what you are. Looks like I better stop playing around with you, Red." she said, etching another sigil into the air, this one having no currently observable effect on the area.
Red continued to fire at her, for an unstated reason he felt compelled to defeat her. "you will fall girlly, they all do." He said as he transformed the guns into one large missile and fired it at her.
Loran seemed to take all the hits in spectacular fashion, suffering no damage at all. But, that was a simple ruse, an illusion set up only moments before. The illusion-copy was sturdy enough to physically take the assult like the actuall Loran, fading with the missile impact. The real Loran had been covered with a invisibility illusion that was linked to the copy, meaning the spells ended at the same time.
Throwning the two vials at Red X, she quickly prepared the spell that would trigger a small scale explosion the moment the vials broke, allowing the chemicals inside to mix.
Surrounding himself in red light, he solidified it as a barrier to protect him. "Simple girl, that level of magic wont work on me!" He said as he continued to gauge her skills and determine if she should join his team.
The moment the vials collided with the barrier, Loran finished the spell, creating a small explosion when the chemicals mixed on the surface of the defensive fortifications. "If that won't work, then try this. Anil apah aashni." she chanted the spell, gathering the energy for the spell and shaping it into a sphere, before hurling it at Red X. The ball itself was rather small, but it was prepelled by magic, which gave it some measure of speed and force, but in no means was it a fatal shot.
He tried to deflect it and he was unsuccessful as his ring was running on low. The barrier broke and he was hurled into a building. "Damn, should have recharged it last night." He said as he picked himself up.
Loran panted heavily. Using that second spell drained her energy quicker than she expected. Keeping a sense of bravado about herself, she tried her best to look intimidating. "You done yet? You seem pretty much dead over there."
"I died years ago!" He said as he fired a large beam out his ring, charged by remembering the rage he felt when his home was destroyed.
Loran created a second barrier around herself, which shattered on impact with the light before the blast slammed into her, sending her spinning and flipping though the air before smashing onto a building. She screamed out as her body crashed down on the roof of the structure. The moment she regained her sense, she looked at her hand, focusing magic into it. A small spark, like static electricity, flashed, before the sensation was lost, a sign she had over done it earlier.
Loran forced herself into a sitting position, a clear view of the man responsible right in front of her face. What did he mean just now?
"What do you know about the Lanterns?" He asked as he floated down in front of her, his aura fading slightly. "I can feel that your on The Team, and I know you know Saint Walker II...... so tell me, what do you know about me?"
Loran smirked. "I know too much. I know the Spectrum, how it functions, everything like that. But you, you're something else. You're so full of hate, yet you show mercy. I don't know how you became this way, but I knew the moment you told me your name I was to be careful. So, is it true that you turned your back on the other Reds?"
"They killed my home, so why would I stay with them?" He asked as held out his hand. "And if you wanna know how Ive come to be this way, ask Saint, she knows...." He said as he went to help the girl to her feet.
Loran gladly accepted the help and dusted herself off. "And you plan on waging war, is that your plan? You're strong, but not a one man army. You'd need Superman to fight them all off." she said, thinking that was what he wanted power for.
"I would like to ask you to join a special task force, known as The Acolytes..." He said as he looked away.
Loran felt like she had just been woken from a long dream, a confusing feeling to many. "A Lantern asking a witch for help? That's unexpected. but, in your present prediciment, it would be downright cruel if I declined, so where do I sign up?"
"There is a prophecy, that says I will be the one to stop a cloned Kryptonian by the name of Kan'il-El, he is supposed to destroy life as we know it unless I stop him, he is the darkness spoken of in the Domino City prophecy." He said as he pulled out a parchment.
"Rage's flame will become a beacon of hope,
The beacon shall light the way.
The one sired in death, shall become the darkness.
Shall the beacon fail, darkness will fall
And bring forth the silence of man."
Loran gulped, a feeling of unease had passed over her. Just hearing what they were up against had scared her. "You said Kryptonian? Drown him in glowing green rocks, that should do the trick, right?" she asked, trying to come up with a short cut to killing something like that.
"He was engineered to not be affected like a normal Kryptonian, He is a magic user as well, using Dark Chi." He explained.
"Great. So, we're dealing with Superman's evil copy with no easy weakness, and he's got magic power. Do I have this right?" Loran asked, trying to think up more possible openings to take should they be provided.
"Basically.... But we have 10 months before he arrives." He said as he pressed a button on his glove to open a Zeta Portal to their base. "After you." He said as he powered down from his ring running out of power.
Loran crossed into the portal, wondering what she would see beyond. So many questions she wanted answered, but too few mattered at the moment.
As they entered the base, the computer called out. "Recognized Red X, Z01, Rift Z03." The base looked similar to the Batcave and was full of technology as well as some living quarters. Red walked to the console and Saint Walker II returned to base along side Spellbinder, having been recently recruited for the cause.
Loran rounded on Red X. "Did you seriously have than thing rigged in advance? You're clairvoyent, or just smarter than I give you credit for. Now, there is one thing I want to know. How do you know we only have ten months before this thing hits? I would say I will zap you for lying, but fighting you just now forced my body to resist the flow of magic for a while." she said calmly. It wasn't a good situation to cause a stir in the base.
"Because I have been tracking a magical singularity located in a section of localized space, outside out realm of access. This is where he is "growing" and since not even Spellbinder here can access it and hes from Azarath we have to be prepared and yes I had it set in advanced, I had a good feeling you'd help my cause and besides I need to recharge my ring so a fight would be pointless."
"Good. That saves me a hassle. Now, you have this timed down, so I'd suggest getting in some preperation. Charge your ring, because I have a feeling, just a feeling, that it's gonna take all the power we can muster between us all, and probably more. If this thing is as strong as you said, we might need more." Loran begain, slowly trying to explain.
"The power of the crimson red, Can lead my soul way from dread And heal the deepest wounds of hate Let no one else decide my fate." he spoke into the Red Lantern Power Battery on the console and in a flash of red energy he was glowing profusely with red light.
"Now, let's run through what we got, and where we might find an opening. Right now, what all do we have, power-wise? I think between four people we might have enough to at least find this thing's weak point." Loran said, noting the two others, one of which she knew, but she was too focused to actually pay attetion to them beforehand. "Everything can be beaten, remember this."
"Two spellcasters now and two lanterns of the red and blue variety." X said as he pressed a button and his lantern sunk into the control panel. "Now from what I know, hes still growing and I still can't discover who created him..."
"That means we shouldn't expect anything. If he's still growing, preparing for anything specific would be impossible. Two mages and two Lanterns. And around each other, you both are weaker, am I correct? Red and Blue contradict each other, or did I get the story wrong?" Loran asked, looking at the other three, assessing them in her own way.
He nodded. "Your right, Reds and Blues dont work well together, but I have figured out a way around that, since I am a genius if I do say so myself." He said as he threw Saint Walker II a power dampener which blocked Rage, and subsequently shielded him from Hope. "But it helps that shes also half alien, so even if this fails she will be able to fight without the Ring."
"At least we got a brainiac around here. So, in the worst case, we'll have a smart guy, alien, magic user and a Demon. Yeah, we're probably screwed if it came down to that." Loran said, walking over to the others. "Alright, magic-boy. What exactly can you do? And don't say that you just cast magic."
Ryan smirked and closed his eyes, chanting a short incantation. "Azarath Amekleon Zendara!" He said as he opened them and released a large pulse of white magical energy, this energy ensnared both Seth and Loran holding them in the air before placing them back on the ground. "I am a monk from the magical dimension of Azarath, My "magic" is on a level beyond all earth bound magic users."
"Azarath huh? To be quite honest, that spell of yours was downright impressive." The witch replied rather calmly. "Seems like you know what you're doing with your spells at least."
"But I have a long way to go before I am on my mistress, Raven's level." He said as he went to meditate.
Loran walked back to where she originally stood. "Now we just gotta hope for the best. But because we can't see what this thing is really able to do, how can we defend against it? There's nothing we know other than how much time we have and that it's basically Superman with magical powers."
"Then we prepare our powers for the upcoming battle and recruit more people for the cause." Saint Walker II stated as she flew out the hatch in the ceiling to go train her alien powers while Spellbinder went over to Loran. "Shall we train our magical abilities?" He asked her.
"Yeah. I recovered enough from earlier, so I should be back in bussiness." Loran answered, snapping her fingers to create a grey arc of electric energy, proof of her returned magical abilities.