“Seriously? Do you guys really think I’m that dumb. Granted, Fiona jokes that most of my smarts are located north of my knees and south of my waist, but I’ve been keeping notes,” Highlander said. “Of the last three hundred hands of poker I’ve played with you guys, I have once gotten three kings, I have been dealt jacks or better forty-two times, and I’ve had seventy hands of various other pairs. And that’s just been playing for poker chips. Now you want to play for real bux. Do you really expect to play poker for real bux with a bunch of guys who have magical powers and the ability to manipulate matter?”
“You act like you don’t trust us,” Arcane Ace said as he gazed upon the solitaire game he had dealt out. The cards moved by themselves and he won his fifty-third consecutive game of solitaire without touching a card. The cards moved from the lines on the table into the suited stacks on their own as Highlander shook his head, watching the deck as it shuffled itself and dealt another game.
“Look, I totally trust you guys when we’re in the field and facing down demons and criminals and vicious aliens, but at a card table? Do I look that stupid?”
Ace began to answer, but Infinite Tempest waved him to silence.
“Don’t answer that. It’s just a friendly game to wile away the time between assignments,” Tempest said. “Besides, we have guys coming over from different leagues tonight. Don’t you think we should be good hosts?”
“You three can be good hosts. You just want me to be a good and willing sucker,” Highlander said. “I’ve got no way of countering the powers you guys can use to get good hands or influence how others bet.”
“You just seem to be distrusting,” Starmaster said. “You really need to get over that.”
“Oh, boy. Another night of poker, I see,” Fiona said, shaking her head and smiling as she spoke. “Tell me, Dear, do you have enough refreshments and snacks to handle all the guests?”
“We have enough to feed Santa, if he shows up, and probably enough for Skelanimal, and maybe enough for Winter’s Fist and Midgardsormr if they come,” Highlander said. “We should be just fine.”
“Come on,” the red-haired beauty said. “I looked over the supplies. There’s enough for you if the game doesn’t go beyond 10:30. The way you eat – you think you can feed everyone with what’s in the fridge and the cupboards?”
“I though of that,” Highlander smiled. “There’s more coming. Ace and I called one of the those delivery service to deliver drinks and we had Tempest call several pizza places for delivery.”
Infinite Tempest piped up, “We have over seventy pizzas coming. And breadsticks and wings, too.”
“I see,” Fiona said. “You made sure you have enough money with you to pay for that?"
“We have enough to tip the drivers,” Highlander beamed. “They’ll be happy.”
“Tips for the drivers and money for the food itself are two different things, Hon,” Fiona said.
“Don’t worry. We put the food on credit cards,” Ace said. “We’re good.”
“Credit cards? Did you put that on OUR credit card,” Fiona asked, wide-eyed.
“No, sweetie,” Highlander said. “We put the food on the Star Force Diner’s Club.”
“Omigawd,” muttered Starmaster as he head bumped the table in front of him. “Silver Paladin will be on me for weeks after that bill comes in.”
"Why didn't you whip up some magical food for us, Ace?" Starmaster asked as he checked the available balance on the Star Force Diners Club card.
"For poker night? Nah." Arcane Ace shook his head. "I did that once and was accused of cursing the 7-layer dip."
"Why did they do that?" Infinite Tempest asked. He pulled on a pair of tight rubber gloves.
"Everyone seemed to like them, until the host's wife had to go and clean their bathroom." Arcane Ace tried to hide the smile on his face but not his laughter. "Never use magic beans when you cook. They are... highly volatile."
Fiona scowled. "That's a big no then to that, then. Keep your magic beans to yourself."
"Does anyone know if Krystal is showing up?" Starmaster looked up from his datapad. "How about Crossroads and Gerraxia? You invited them, right?"
"Did someone mention my name?", quipped Krystal from the doorway.
Krystal grinned, flipped a chair around, and straddled it in a most unladylike manner.
Starmaster glanced up, and noticed that Krystal's appearance was far from normal for her.
She wore a slightly faded 'Nirvana' T-shirt, fully faded bluejeans, ankle-high pink tennies, and most incongruously, a 'dealers' visor of dark amber plastic. Her trade-mark glasses were nowhere to be seen.
"Krystal?! Is that you?", he asked.
In a very cheery tone, Krystal said, "Sure... Even I dress down in my off-hours."
Krystal tossed what appeared to be a gold doubloon on the table. Ace squinted at it as if something was off about it.
He went to pick it up, but Krystal said, "I wouldn't if I were you... it projects a telepathic static field and a mana neutralizing field. We will be playing on skill alone, boys..."
Ace appeared slightly affronted, as he said, "You don't trust us?"
Krystal grinned again and said, "Sure... I trust you... now...".
The doorway was still open, and Rosa hesitantly poked her head in.
"Is this the Games Night?" she asked.
Krystal smiled, and motioned for her to join the table.
"That's not... Crossroads, by any chance?" whispered Fiona as she looked Rosa up and down.
Starmaster shook his head quickly. "No, although there's a bit of resemblance, this is actually Macaia's Daughter. You may know of her from having dealt with Casa Nova some time back when Cupid's rampage was on-going."
"We can exchange the probing questions a bit later, I think," interrupted Krystal as she put a hand on Rosa's elbow. Rosa exhaled with a bit of relief, her anxiety a bit on the high side.
"Glad you could make it," smiled Starmaster as he pulled a chair over. Rosa nodded with a small grin, then sat.
"Happy to be here. Forgive my nervousness, been a while since I got to meet new people *outside* of battle, if you catch my drift."
"Don't we know it," chuckled Starmaster. "Drink?"
Rosa flicked her head back, feeling a bit more at ease. "Definitely. Something tall, icy and fruity. Who's bartending?"
Player ID: 10890 | Sig by Acidburn
"Greetings," Silver Paladin entered the room side by side with Chaz Hamilton. While identical in many ways, next to one another it was easy to tell the more athletic Silver Paladin from Chaz's slightly softer features. Silver Paladin also had a less cheerful smile on his face than Chaz. "Chaz insisted I come to play."
Chaz rolled his eyes. "I know you would rather be watching Forged in Fire on the History channel, but you need to get out and socialize. Get to know the other heroes better."
"Besides that," Krystal said as she fixed Rosa a drink. "Chaz needed you to come so he would have an excuse to be here. What's your angle this time? An expose on what snacks heroes prefer while off duty?"
"I don't have to make everything into a story." Chaz placed his hand overtop his chest. He wore a t-shirt beneath a light pink pocketed dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. "You wound me, Krystal."
"And don't think I didn't notice you turning on your pocket microphone just now. Don't take your new position with B.A.D.G.E. too seriously. This is an off-duty gathering."
Chaz reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, thin recording device. He deactivated it as he walked over to a table laden with booze and beverages. "Can't blame a guy for trying. How about I play bartender for the evening to make up for it."
"Do you know how?" Highlander asked.
Chaz grabbed a tall bottle of tequila and tossed it behind his back and back over his shoulder, catching it with flourish.
Many in the room let out a startled, pleased gasp and applauded the act of showmanship.
"I may not have super-powers, but I do have some skills." Chaz said while pouring several drinks for the growing crowd.
"I think we might need to set up another table or three," Arcane Ace said. "I hope you have room for everyone."
While they waited for others to arrive, Arcane Ace moved away from the table where Krystal's doubloon rested and performed some tricks to try to keep those present entertained.
The difficulty was making things levitate, reading minds, or disappear didn't arouse any real levels of surprize from the heroes in the room. Most present could do those things already, so he needed to up his game if he wanted to please them.
He performed a few minor illusions, his performance driven by his charisma and efforts to misdirect. Krystal Fae watched, clapped politely, but didn't appear very impressed.
It wasn't until he neared the end of his performance that he spoke about the mistaken premise of time. He walked over to Krystal and asked her to stand up from her seat. A green envelope rested on the platform of her chair. He waved his hand at the envelop and it lifted into the air. A blank card slid out of the envelope and rotated before her before sliding back into its place.
"Take the envelope and open it, Krystal. There is a special message inside for you."
She smirked, but did as he asked. She pulled out the card, but it was no longer blank. It had beautiful roses growing out from the paper as she withdrew it, until she not only had the card in hand, but a lovely bouquet as well.
A few "ahhs" came from the bystanders.
Krystal had the same unimpressed look on her face. She opened the envelope and scanned within it, as if searching for more. "Is that all?"
"But you haven't read the card yet, have you?" Ace grinned.
She sighed and opened the card. She read it and slowly broke into a wide grin. Setting the bouquet down onto the card table, she placed her fingers tenderly into the fold of the card, withdrawing a small lock of hair tied with a dainty pink bow.
"What does the card say?" Fiona asked.
Krystal smiled warmly. "It's a Mother's Day card. From my daughter. And a lock of her hair."
She then took the lock of hair and held it up to her nose and sniffed it. Once done, she place the hair back in the card and then both into the envelope. She lifted an eyebrow in Arcane Ace's direction. "You do know I can do a DNA match back in the lab, don't you?"
"What's wrong, Krystal? Don't you believe in magic?" Arcane Ace raised his own eyebrow back at her and then bowed for the clapping crowd.
Arcane Ace: ID 23078
In reply to this post by Silver Paladin
A loud crash sounds from outside the open door. As the others rush to see what on earth happened, a young man crawls out from the trench in the lawn. Bags of groceries - snacks by the looks of it - are scattered all across the grass and under the bushes.
"Sorry! Sorry, folks... Still working on figuring out how this flying thing works. Don't worry, I am apparently invulnerable... so far... I think.", says the man as he dusts himself off. "Brought your snacks - Oh No..."
He quickly starts gathering the various foods and dips from the ground, stuffing them into already broken bags. As he does so, he quickly looks up and sees Starmaster. "Oh hey, Boss! I got a job doing deliveries... I had no idea it was your house. Is this your house? I thought you lived over in Starforce. Where the hell am I?"
The other heroes, turn to look at Starmaster, who can only sigh heavily. "New guy. Junior League. Mostly harmless... Lykos, this is, well, everyone. Everyone, this is Lykos."
Lykos stops gathering up the jumbled snacks to realize that the others around him are not just heroes, but people he has watched during the Lady Phoenix fight with awe. His eyes widen as they move from face to face, finally landing on Highlander.
"Hey! I know you I used to be able to fight you in the King of the Mountain! It was pretty evenly matched for awhile there. Now you kick my butt though. I haven't won in a fight against you since well before Christmas. I keep trying though. Momma didn't raise no quitter", Lykos says with a grin as he scoops up the last of the snacks and carries them inside to the table, leaving a trail of dropped snacks behind him.
Gerri walked in a t-shirt and jeans. This was strikingly different from the green and gold costume she usually wore. Though her sneakers were gold. She had a couple of bags in her hand. She looked at Lykos, "You should be a little more careful when flying. You almost ran into my shuttle. James insisted I bring cookies."
Krystal waved her over, "Fairy Food this time?" she asked.
"Of course, James heard you would be here," Gerri replied. She handed a box to Krystal Fae. She put the others over with the other snacks. "I see you made sure this was going to be a fair game, Krystal. Did you think of anyone else's powers or just us magic, and mentalists? I heard about a new shadow ninja guy out there."
"You must be Fiona," she said as she looked at the red haired beauty sitting next to Highlander. "I'm Gerri, or The Sword of Gerraxia. It's nice to meet you."
"So, what are we playing? Five Card Stud? Seven Card Stud, Texas Holdem? Black Jack?" Gerri asked with a smile.
"Swords are for fighting."
Krystal shook her head and watched with amazed amusement at the voracious appetite displayed by Highlander.
“Fiona, you weren’t exaggerating when you said your husband enjoys eating,” Gerri said.
“I don’t believe it,” Krystal said, staring at the big man’s sixth heaping plate of wings and third 18” pizza, each of which were rapidly vanishing. “How can one man eat that much food and not weigh over a ton?”
“It’s always baffled me,” Fiona said. “He’s always eaten like that. And, if you noticed, all he drinks is scalding hot coffee – very strong, very black. I’ve seen him drink maybe two or three glasses of wine – small ones at that – in all the years I’ve known him. No beer, no alcohol, just coffee, a bit of water now and then, and occasionally milk. Oh, and he can’t pass up chocolate ice cream.”
“And everyone is dressed casually,” Gerri remarked. “Granted, he’s wearing a rather garish Hawaiian shirt, but why is he still wearing his mask? Does he ever take it off?”
Fiona chuckled, “He takes it off when he showers and when we – uh, you know.”
Arcane Ace chimed in, “If you ever saw him without his mask, you wouldn’t ask why he always wears it. He’s doing you ladies a favor.”
“Ace! I happen to think Duncan’s looks are appealing!!!!!!!”
“Of course you do, Fiona,” Ace laughed. “He’s your hubby. You’re obligated to feel that way.”
Fiona playfully punched Ace’s shoulder and admonished him to stop.
Highlander was engaged in a round of five card stud with Starmaster, Director Nova and Infinite Tempest while Ace was bantering with the ladies. Able to see over the big man’s shoulder, they could see the hand that Nova had dealt him:
“He never has good luck,” Fiona whispered. "At least he’s smart enough to not try to draw to an inside straight.”
“That’s been a typical hand for him all evening,” Ace said. “And he thought I’d try to cheat him. No one needs to cheat him, he just has lousy luck.”
"This is an interesting exercise." Silver Paladin stared intently at the cards in his hand. "Gauging the chance you're unknown palm is mightier than the one i possess."
"Hand, not palm, Silver," Arcane Ace said. "The cards dealt to you are called your hand."
Silver Paladin nodded, "Hand. Thank you."
Gerri slipped a small stack of chips into the pot. Her face had a stern bent to it, as if on the battlefield, giving away no clue to her happiness with her hand. "I call."
"How about you, Tempi?" Ace asked. "Are you in or out?"
"I fold," Infinite Tempest replied.
"Astra?" Ace glanced at the young heroine. "By the way, where are Futurina and Wyldfyre? I thought Poker Night would be a sure bet for the two of them to attend. For him, at least."
Astra smirked at her cards, clearly debating the strength of her hand. "Ummm. I'm in." She tossed a few chips into the pot, "They had an exhibit to go to tonight. They might join later."
"They've been awful chummy," Fiona commented as she passed by, dropping off some refills of beverages. "Is she going to make an honest man of him some day?"
"I don't know if that is entirely possible," Infinite Tempest chuckled. "He does seem much less volatile of late. I actually heard him say 'Good morning' yesterday. He never says anything nice about mornings."
"He told me a few weeks ago that 'the only reason mornings exist is to keep night from bumping into afternoon. They are best slept through' when I knocked on his door looking for a sparing partner." Silver Paladin said.
"I for one am glad the two of them are getting along," Fiona said as she picked up empty glasses from the card table. "Highlander nearly threw him off the top floor the last time Wyldfyre called me 'Sweet Thang'!"
Dancing out of Fiona's way, Lykos brought a bowl of chips and dip to the table. Glancing down at the hand Silver Paladin holds, he comments, "Aces, nice." and returns to the table to unpack more groceries.
"So how do you guys play? No one ever taught me poker. I hear it is mostly getting matching cards - like in Go Fish!", he comments from the table. Holding up a package he asks, "Did someone order fish? Or did I mix someone else's order into this one?"
After a long pause he yelps, "Oh Crud! I forgot I am supposed to be delivering more groceries! Bye Everyone". He runs for the door and once away from the Nullifier Field he leaps into the sky, narrowly missing the powerlines.
Silver Paladin looks at Starmaster, "You put him in the Junior League, you said?"
"Yes," Starmaster replies. "I thought he could do less harm there for now until he trains a bit."
Futurina and Wyldfyre casually strolled in. Futurina was in her normal attire of blue leather armor and blue leather biker jacket. She didn't like to wear gowns unless it was formal and she considered her outfit casual, despite being combat gear.
"I thought Elf and Fae laws prevented you from revealing your existence to humans? Why doesn't Futurina abide by those laws?" Fiona asked.
"Those laws don't apply to me," Futurina stated.
"She's an exile," Krystal explained. "She can't go home." She studied her cards before putting in more chips.
"It's really a shame," Gerri stated. "She helped the elves quite a bit."
"They blamed me for your great grandmothers death," Futurina remarked. "I almost had enough good deeds to be let back in. Then my friend died, they blamed me and made the exile permanent."
"So the laws of the elves don't apply to her," Wyldfyre smiled. "Just our laws. Who's winning?"
"I'm afraid I'll have to sit this out," Futurina noted. "Your nullifier is magic, Krystal, and has no effect on me. I was really looking forward to playing Klartag tonight." She pulled out some octangular cards with elvish script on them.
"What's Klartag?" Starmaster asked.
"An elvish card game of chance," Krystal stated. "It's a lot like poker but the cards are different." She sighed and pulled out the nullifier that Catalyst made. "This will nullify your abilities, so you can play." She turned on the device. Futurina smiled.
At the drinks table, Rosa sat chatting with Chaz, who was in his element serving up beverages.
"No cards for you?" asked Chaz as he poured a whiskey sour for one of the newcomers.
"Shoot... I can barely play Spades, I know nothing about bluffing and all the stuff people do for poker... I'm just here for some camaraderie and a chance to let my hair down a bit."
"Well this may very well be the right place," he chuckled. "Amazingly great crowd showed up. If I was 'on the clock', I could definitely procure some good stories."
Rosa, starting to feel fully at ease, nodded and grinned.
"Hey, you have some mental powers right... promise not to try and pry into my mind, okay?" asked Chaz in a playful tone of voice.
"Scout's honour... or Guides' honour,... whoever the groups are called these days," laughed Rosa. She looked around the room, eyes wide.
"Why is everyone in this room a bonafide hottie?"
"Someone's starting to feel a little nice,..." whispered Chaz to himself.
Player ID: 10890 | Sig by Acidburn
This post was updated on .
Futurina walked over to Chaz, "Would you please hand me a goblet?" She asked and held out her hand. Chaz took a breath and handed her a wine glass. "I said a goblet."
Chaz handed her a metal and intricately designed goblet. The look in her eyes scared him. She took out a bottle and poured its contents into the goblet. The liquid was nearly black but had a slight red hue to it. "What is that drink?" He asked.
"A very potent dark elf drink," Futurina began, "I retrieved it from Svartlheim. It's called Black Cherry Wine. It'll knock out a dwarf in a few drinks. It's my favorite. I'll sip on this all night."
"It can't be that potent in a slip of a woman like you drinks it," Chaz stated.
"Would you like a shot?" Futurina smiled with an air of mischief. Chaz took out a shot glass and she filled it. "Don't say I didn't warn you." She walked back over to the table to play.
"I wouldn't drink that if I were you," Astra warned.
"Why?" Chaz questioned.
"Because if she says it's potent, it's potent," Astra cautioned. "Also, she's immortal, and she sips it."
"You're pulling my leg," Chaz stated and down the shot. Big mistake. Futurina wasn't joking on it's potency.
Chaz smiled. The taste was instantly more incredible than anything that had ever passed over his lips. He could taste the cherries, but more than that, he could taste each and every one used to make the beverage. Some more sweet, some sour, but all delicious. The water that kissed the cherries as the rain fell contrasted to the flavor of the water that nourished the tree through its roots.
Even the sunlight and moonlight that bathed the fruit in their frequent glow left an impression on his tongue. Why hadn't he ever known that light had a flavor before?
"Theis iss aaaammaazzzingggg..." He wanted to tell everyone how extraordinary the liquid was that traveled down his throat. It didn't burn like hard alcohol but instead struck the back of his mouth like a warm hug for his tonsils. Every care in the world melted away as it traveled down into his stomach.
His mind didn't register that he had fallen to the ground, although the gathering of people around him bore some of his attention. Krystal yammered about something as Futurina nodded.
When did Krystals's hair become so red?He always appreciated her hair as being quite lovely, but now it shone as if it on fire. No. Not on fire. Made of slowly burning strands of pure flame in waves of red, auburn, orange, and umber. As a matter of fact, everything around him shifted to a brighter hue, as if someone maxed out the color saturation toggle of life itself.
Others talked amongst themselves while some laughed and pointed.
And all Chaz knew what that he wondered if any of them knew how wonderful he felt. He was flying and floating and having sex all at the same time...
"We can move him into one of the bedrooms," Fiona said. "How long will he be like this, Futurina?"
Futurina gave a half-grin as she finished a sip from her goblet. "Krystal may want to have the Sentinel put him on vacation for the next week."
"Some one could just heal him," Gerri pointed out. "He'll have one heck of a hangover in the morning. Even I know not to down Black Cherry wine from Svartlheim. I don't even drink Fey Wine and it's not half as potent as that."
"Careful, they do use magic in their brewing," Krystal warned. "I think it better he sleep it off."
"He'll be fine," Futurina said. "Allow me to heal him." She knelt beside him, her eyes began to glow as she placed her hands on his chest. The silver blue psionic energy coursed through his body healing any damage done by the liquid. "He'll purge the toxins in the morning and have a massive hangover. He'll be functional otherwise. Just let him sleep."
"Why would you give him that?" Rosa asked.
"He didn't believe me," Futurina stated. "Now he'll know better than to doubt me."
Starmaster psychically checked Chaz over, "You're sure the magic won't have any lasting effects?"
"It never has before," Futurina responded. "It's really not like they want to kill anyone, just teach them a lesson." She took another sip from her goblet.
"Swords are for fighting."
It had been awhile since Awesome hadn’t stopped among the people of the B.A.D.G.E. Being around encouraged him to stop and observe how things were in the barracks and probably he would have just left before dawn. Suddenly, strange and strongest sounds catching your attention! Screams!
In high speed, Awesome enter in the hall, but, for your surprise, was only a poker playing. Almost heroes in a tablet, drinking and... well, one passed out from drinking!? Everything seemed under control. Even so...
"Err... anyone need help?"
His expression was awkward. They were all heroes there. And considering money bets, this was not the best time to ask that question!
Silent Shadow went unnoticed by Awesome. He saw the other heroes playing cards. He went shadow form and entered the room. They didn't seem to notice him and he peeked at all of their hands.
He noticed Chaz sleeping on the floor. He placed a coat over him for a blanket. He took notice of everyone there. They didn't seem to notice him but there were a couple of things that seemed to be blocking their powers. His abilities were not magic nor Morphon based. His powers came from physical training and focus of Chi. Perhaps that's why it didn't affect him?
He took a selfie with Starmaster in his shadow form. He took a picture of the group as they played. He never saw Krystal Fae dress that way. Gerri seemed to be the Sword of Gerraxia, but who was the elf woman?
They began to play a game he had never heard of using octangular cards. The suits were Trees, Vines, Swords, and Arrows. They had Kings, Queens, Princes, Princess, and High Guard, number cards 1 through twelve. It seemed similar to 5 card stud but slightly off.
He left without anyone seeming to know he was there. Sometimes being silent can be a curse.
This post was updated on .
Two male heroes soon came in and joined the fun and games going on. "Hi Krystal," one of them said. "Been a long time since we last saw you." "Yes not much here in this new universe but lots in the old SHC universe," said his twin brother.
Bad puns aside, these were not ordinary heroes but the Chad brothers of Ice Ray Academy, friends of Krystal and protectors of good from evil magic users and villains. "And as a small treat we have from a forgotten Earth a variety of wine called Arcian Red. Long ago an ancestor of ours found the recipe to this legendary wine."*
ID: 11292 Back to rping in group chats however not too often due to mental issues (imagination under strict recovery orders.) Still playing Heroes Rising though.
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