Being in Philadelphia should be more fun.
I won't tell you why we're here. It's all part of our secret plan to take care of business. Nick is currently traumatized, and you bloggers aren't helping matters.
So why did Nick disappear? Why all the Stealth? Why is he being so quiet, and doing his best to not tell you anything at all about "Mastermind", and what his continued existence means?
It began when we reached this apartment. I was in Philadelphia for some time when I was younger. You all know this already. Now, even after I left my home and escaped from my fellow spiritually demonic brethren, I still stayed in Philadelphia for a while and kept an eye on things.
Nick desperately wants to tell the world everything, but like anyone who's been traumatized, his emotions are a bottled up mess that he just won't let loose. Angry, bitter, confused, he's going through all the stages of his loss all over again.
There are stories. The historians will pick apart what happened in Philadelphia for years to come, but there is a reason why they fear Nick Dwyer: the lengths that he will go to protect someone he cares about would make the devil crap himself.
I can't say I liked "Maiden" very much. She and Nick are worried about telling you a lovely story for posterity, but how about I cut to the chase?
There were five rogues. Rogue Wizard (The Presence's Father, Our Original Villain), Rogue Nemesis (Mind fucker, considered Nick a rival), Rogue General, Rogue Assassin, and Rogue Duelist. Those weren't what I called them, but they're the labels Nick used.
Rogue Assassin and Rogue Duelist don't matter to us. Time Lord ended up dealing with them around New York. They're another story's problem.
So at this point, you know of three sides in this war. The Rogues, who wanted to take control of the Upstairs, the Upstairs normal army, which was trying to deal with them and my people, and of course the Downstairs and demon-kind. Under normal circumstances, this would be considered extraordinary. Nothing like this has happened in hundreds of years.
There was a fourth side though. Nobody saw this coming. I didn't.
There were a lot of people like Nick and Time Lord in the world at one point, game pieces on the board, but what you might not realize is that there were a lot of game pieces on the board that were meant to "wake up" and support the Rogues. Nick was one of them, but he was made to forget that fact. There were pieces for my side, and for the Upstairs, and that was supposed to be the game. Then some other people put pieces on the board. And a whole bunch of pieces for all three sides decided to take a fourth option.
Nick believes that people are basically good. He believes that if Humanity understood the world around them, and knew the stakes and that they were being used as pawns by otherworldly forces, they could rise up and gain some kind of cosmic harmony. Maiden talked about that a little while ago.
That's exactly what humanity did. When they did, the first decision they made was to take care of the game pieces in play that they couldn't control. The Rogues were a threat to Humanity, the Higher Planes were a threat to Humanity, and the Lower Planes were a threat to Humanity. It was basic math really: subtract enough problems, and the world is your oyster.
When a young girl suplexes a wannabe combination murderer and rapist into the ground, cracking the concrete and breaking his skull, people take notice. "The Presence" had been on a hit list for a while. After all, Mastermind was one of Rogue Wizard's friends. They knew his daughter had some power to spare, and now they knew that she was one of those very rare people who could manifest it and affect the physical world. At least, that's what they THOUGHT happened. That made her a risk they couldn't afford to let run around.
So Nick, The Presence, and Time Lord began to deal with the next major threat: a group of "Celestials" as Time Lord called them hellbent on taking something in Philadelphia for their use.
I'll let Nick handle that particular white lie, but I want you to imagine dealing with that particular mess, and then waking up one morning to discover that the person you are connected to across space and time by an irrevocable bond of love is also waking up... handcuffed to a radiator in an abandoned apartment in Philadelphia.
Humanity rose up, and they faced all the monsters in the world, even if they were the kind, gentle, human loving and protecting monsters.
I hate you all. Humanity is a bunch of shortsighted, ignorant, hateful beasts on two legs that think they know honor. They name an entire trait after themselves, call it "humanity", and then proceed to ignore it. You're all bastards, and even now, Nick Dwyer will defend you.
These bastards let all three sides kill each other, and when nobody had anything left to give, they attacked with all the cunning and political bastardy they could put together on short notice.
You want to know why you've got the Slendershit breathing down your neck? Because humans like you destroyed all the great armies that kept the Fears and other great monsters in check. There are things popping up all across the world that used to play nice and clean, because they didn't want an angry demon or righteous angel to drop their asses for causing trouble on their turf.
Humanity's greatest heroes fought and earned their independence from the natural order. And now the world's coming closer and closer to destruction, and there's nothing left to hold it together, now is there?
But whatever, I'm not a historian. I'm a detective. And I detect the end of the fucking world. The barrier's collapsing, people are getting eaten, and an entire generation of shamans and mystics died trying to save you, or became the monsters that destroyed the fighting forces of heaven and hell. There are a couple independents, like that bunch that Nick keeps in contact with over the internet...but they're a bunch of amateurs.
Face it humanity. You fucked up. Nick and Maiden are probably going to spend weeks telling the whole story, but you know what? It's your imperfect, mortal choices that caused every bit of pain you're feeling right now.
Who is Mastermind? He's the hero that took control of the world for humanity, and doomed you all to being the victims of the Fears and the legendary monsters held back for centuries. Welcome to Earth, when the barrier breaks, it'll make hell look like a picnic.