In Los Angeles the Protectors base lay in ruins. A combined force- some of the members of Dagger backed – or led – by a couple of saurian individuals in power armor and equipped with formidable energy powers had attacked and swiftly overwhelmed the defenses. Intervention by the Guardians pulled most of the Protectors out – but not before the death of the Huntsman.
Mr Tanner easily breached the security door. The conventional alarms had been easy enough to bypass, his strength was quite sufficient to shatter locks and bars, and most of the protective charms would not react to such as him. His special-issue scanners probed for the neutrino source – and found it, a collection of unidentified pre-human artifacts. Unaware of, and unaffected by, the containment spell on the storage trunk, Mr Tanner easily shattered the lock, opened the trunk, and rummaged through the items within… The ancient, intricately-carved, lump of anthracite coal – an Akkitsi Nikkit, the ashes of old death – was released, to call to its old masters as it had not been free to do for forty years.
And this time they were awake, and listening.
In a place of darkness, the call was heard, and followed – and revealed a massive city, teeming with human souls, and protected by unfamiliar spells – but spells so old and weak that they were no match for the gaze of the NaévLháne Nótâxeme, the Undead Warriors of the Ru’Kahl Death Cult. One came to harvest.
Mr Tanner knew how to deal with the sudden materialization of a unidentified superbeing. For a few moments the harvester was puzzled. Not only was this man possessed of staggering strength, durability, and powerful weapons, but he appeared virtually immune to fear and magic. How could this apparently magic-less human resist its most spirit-withering spells? Wait. It was hard to see with so many souls crowding in upon its supernatural senses, but was this… Ah. Some sort of Golem. How whatever magic must be animating it had been so well hidden from its senses could be considered later: for the moment, a simple spell of entropy could crumble this unliving construct into dust.
But the battle had already drawn the Sentinels, the Mandate (short Kheileos , thanks to finals and a bit of backwards time travel to provide study time and plus Kimai, whom they had no place to stash) and a movie crew (and an assortment of quasi-living museum-themed protoplasmic constructs) from the Producer. Between them they managed to contain the harvester – and, thanks to his distraction by the sheer pressure of souls in Manhattan, managed to steal many of his dark magical talismans before it realized their intent – or that the battle was going against it – and fled. Despite the attempts of additional iterations of Mr Tanner to retrieve the runic Powerstone which had started the entire mess, the Chauffeur managed to take it into custody.
Meanwhile the White Necromancer restored the police who had been killed while attempting to contain the battle as Werehumans – the closest he could come to a true resurrection – and contained the talismans which the group had stolen. He hated to even consider using such black magic – but, unlike most human powers, they should work nicely in the dark dimension of the Ru’Kahl crypts.