Meanwhile, Darius had finally achieved a golf ball that was only primed when hit and didn’t usually explode until it hit something. Of course, the vast majority of the “students” had left as soon as he proposed that they play with the high explosives, instead of simply watching Darius repeatedly blow himself up. That left him down to seven students – the few slightly-crazy ones who either came with armor or went out to get some. His golf-ball-bombs weren’t actually designed to cause much real damage, but the unarmored students had gotten tired of being bruised, knocked flat, and stunned each time a golf ball malfunctioned.
Most of the rest of the group (except for Ranko, who had a cranky baby and new-mother syndrome; she asked the Chauffeur to pick her up as soon as she had him settled with the werewolves) headed out to search for the children’s bodies. Admittedly, it wouldn’t hurt the kids to wait – they’d already been out of them for a decade or so in most cases – but still, they were kids.
Tracing their links with their bodies was straightforward enough: the group had more than enough magical power to get the general directions. It looked like… somewhere in France, near Moscow, Mexico City, Romania, and Brazil. It looked like That demon really had been operating on Earth for quite a while. They picked up Darius – partially because they’d probably want his earth-moving powers to dig up the petrified kids and partially to keep an eye on him – and headed for Mexico City first.
That turned into quite a mess. Darius went into the weirdest form of “berserk” that any of them had ever seen; he couldn’t take all the shoddy architecture and embarked on a spontaneous program of urban renewal. Naturally enough, the police – and then the army – tried to stop him. Unfortunately, Darius was tougher than a tank, highly mobile, and could erect massive stone structures in moments: the would-be defenders own weapons were doing almost as much damage as he was.
Most of the rest of the group hadn’t wanted to fight with the local authorities, and had been forced to flee being arrested for being conspicuous unknown superhuman individuals in the vicinity of Darius’s rampage who weren’t obviously heroically fighting him (they’d hoped that being soothing would work better). Ergo, accessories. They went to look for the children’s bodies. If the locals wanted to deal with Darius on their own, they weren’t going to fight the Mexican army to make them accept their assistance. The links led to – a police station. The place had been used by the local “secret police” or equivalent a few decades before – and the sealed-off lower levels were full of nasty old magic. There were plenty of haunts as well, some of them strong enough to possess policemen and all of them irrational with the rage born of their torturous deaths. There was even some fool of a minor vampire who’d found the atmosphere congenial and had moved into the basement. No wonder law enforcement in Mexico was in such a mess… Trying to clean out the basement in the face of that much opposition produced quite a ruckus.
Meanwhile, Darius had found some respectable architecture – the pyramids of the Sun and Moon. Not to mention some youngsters who’d suddenly found that they could (thanks to the Darkmages global tinkering) start drawing on their power. Fortunately, they had no idea of how to use it effectively. Unfortunately, the Mexican army was still following Darius, and the firefight kept expanding until the Mexican government started broadcasting an open appeal for super heros to come and stop it – as well as an amnesty off to the Avatars if they’d come to stop it.
The Avatars were closest, and apparently decided that an Amnesty was worthwhile: even if they committed some new crimes next week, it would clear a lot of stuff off the books. Still, as long as they made a show of it, there was no reason to take it too seriously. Since the Mandate was about ready to leave anyway – taking along a bunch of street-children who needed to have their demonic power infusions negated – the “battle” was relatively short, ending with the Mandate withdrawing – in part due to frustration at inadvertently being involved with getting the Avatars a pardon for their past offenses.
The next couple of stops were fairly easy. The old KGB interrogation center outside of Moscow yielded several more petrified bodies cast into slabs of concrete – but nobody was using the place and there weren’t any objections to a bit of demolition work.
The tower of Gilles de Rais in France was a historical landmark and a tourist attraction, but it had been exorcised thoroughly long ago. Getting permits to do some digging would have taken forever, but tunneling underneath and filling in behind them was pretty easy.
Romania and Brazil would have to wait for a bit. They had private investigators poking around at the orphanage, probably from Uncle Ardis. Arioch had sent them away with an “everything is normal” illusion, but there were limits to that sort of thing – and the man would probably want to visit his nieces and nephews shortly. They had a woman coming by insisting that she’d only signed the guardianship papers on her son under some sort of duress or something: he didn’t deserve to be assigned to some unspecified by vaguely-ominous rehabilitation program for unmanageable juvenile delinquents, the were triplets wanted to be test cases on werewolf rights in an attempt to get some new precedents set before Vasilko wound up in court – figuring that, even if they wound up getting classified as animals, it wouldn’t change their situation much and that it might help Vasilko a lot, someone had been stealing military vehicles and had been interrogating technicians about where the newest and best ones could be found (probably Deathurge and Panzer), and several deceased teachers had turned up to answer The White Necromancer’s advertisements. He hired Khai Lung, an ancient Chinese tutor in politics, manipulation, and the martial arts (Ranko accidentally signed up for tutoring sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00 in the morning) and Eli Sun Waters – a hippy with some interesting views on communication. He refused to hire a Victorian tutor who thought that they were all disgustingly immortal and one fellow who insisted on turning everything into an exercise in the Socratic method.