As the sun set on an abandoned town in New Mexico, a town built on oil and violence, void of human life for nearly 100 years the sound of the howling wind roared through the streets creating a small sandstorm. This place was truly a ghost town, rotting and slowly fading into ruins from years of neglect. As the sun fell below the horizon, the smell of burning tobacco came over the entire town, signaling the arrival of it's sole resident, the ghostly gunslinger Desperado. The cowboy spectre looked to the sky, then armed his six shooters in a blaze of speed that would be undetected to even the fastest eyes. The cowboy sensed a presence, an evil one...
Warsman had heard of this town, League City. It was supposedly once a goldmine of a town that sat on a thick vein of silver, where riches turned into bloodbaths in the streets in about a week.
He was hoping to extract what little silver the city had left in her. As he passed the city limits, he felt a strangeness in the air, smelled death as the wind brushed against him. Something was wrong with what remained of this hellhole, but he cared little if anything for superstitions and tales of haunted ghost towns.
The buildings were barren, subject to years of rot and decay, virtually nothing of the splender of years gone by. Barrels held no water, just sand and the occasion animal skeleton. Doors were off their hinges, dangling helplessly in the wind.
He looked around cautiously, as if something knew he was here.
"Show yourself, spectre, lest I find you myself." He whispered harshly under his breath.
The spirit of the old west heard a call in the distance "show yourself spectre" the call was little more then a whisper, but the spirit was aware of all that happened within his town, and decided to drive off the tresspasser. Becoming invisible, the ghostly gunslinger snuck up on a nightmare of flesh and metal. Science, what a horrible discovery though the cowboy as he slowly creeped up on the cyborg.
With the sole intent of un-nerving Warsman the spirit passed an invisible hand across the spine of the cyborg, with the intent of creating a feeling of fear in the tresspassers soul.
That'd creep em out enough I reckon
Desperado moved on passing through the walls of a local saloon, and sat down pouring himself a glass of century old whiskey believing Warsman would move on like all the rest...
The ghostly Gunslinger became tangible and lit a cig, his addiction to nicotine had followed him past the grave.
"If you intend to frighten me, you do it poorly."
Warsman stared straight into the eyes of the spectre as he poured a glass of ancient liquid, sipping it with nonchalant glee.
"I am no mere traveller here in your town. I am Warsman, something you will never forget."
Forming his hand into a piece of light energy rather than of flesh, Warsman strode into the saloon, the heat from his newest weapon enough to catch smaller pieces of the place on fire, such as playing cards or tablecloths.
"This is no game, ghost."
Teleporting to cover more distance quicker, Warsman reappeared in front of the phantasm, reaching out his deadlier hand in an attempt to both crush and burn the creature into submission.
A hand reached towards Desperado with deadly intent and simply passed through him, the spirit stood and walked through Warsman
"And here all I wanted to do was enjoy a drink pardner'"
The cowboy spectre walked halfway across the saloon which had since began to burst into flames due to Warsman's show of force, and his voice grew cold
"Won't let an old man rest in peace polecat?"
The geist armed his shotgun and fired a blast of energy that punished the sins of it's target
"Then you will see no redemption, only vengeance hombre!"
Warsman was confused on how his hand had phased through the foe like he was nothing. He was surely something, because Warsman's eyes had never been wrong. No delusion passed through his mind, no insane dream or ill thought about what he had seen.
The bullets, under normal circumstances, wouldn't have been much of a problem against his flesh, but these were different. They dug into his body as if they were fiery worms burrowing into him as they were passing through any obstacle with ease.
The burn was worse than anything and sent Warsman to the floor in pain. He cooled his hand so that he could touch his wound, make an estimate on the damage. He winced at the pain, but stood nonetheless. Looking at his foe, or rather the illusion of madness that had appeared before his eyes, he smiled.
"Is this the day I finally go mad? If so, then I will not die to my own delusions!!"
His hand flared up again, busting out a wall that had stood near him with the shockwave of the energy exibited. His anger turned to madness and madness turned to power. His insane grin on his face, he leaped at the creature, screaming a battle cry like a crazed barbarian warlord, aiming to crush the phantom's throat as he would force him through the nearby wall and into the street, which had given away to the darkness of night.
Desperado's foe was un-nerved clearly, and the gunslinger knew it, as his opponent leaped towards him the ghostly gunslinger phased into intangibility and Warsman's massive frame crashed through the wall behind him, splintering the wood and collapsing the old structure that once was The Lucky Ace Saloon.
The gunslinger stood in the falling debris which passed harmlessly through him, and pointed his spirit shotgun once more ready to fire it at Warsman.
But at that moment the sign of the old saloon fell and caught Desperado in his shoulder while he was solid.
"Argggh! Dirty son of a wh***! That.... Hurt?"
At that moment the ghost realised that when he was able to injure his adversary, he himself was vulnerable.
Warsman had an opening Desperado himself had not foreseen, but the ghostly gunslinger also now knew he had a weakness and was ready to face off against the elegant cyborg regardless.
Falling to the ground, Warsman looked down at the ground. The wound he had recieved earlier had not stopped bleeding, despite Warsman's healing factor, and blood pooled at his fingertips.
"This is no dream..." he realized, pulling himself up.
He heard the ghost's curse and looked at the creature with wonderment in his eyes in place of madness.
He stumbled forward, looking at the thing with a puzzled look on his face, like an innocent child instead of a murderer and a madman.
His hand suddenly flared again and he punched the ground, sending a torrent of sand into the air, making him impossible to see through the cloud. He teleported, reappearing behind his foe and his hand primed for the creature's skull if he were to attack. He remained as quiet as an assassin in the mist, in his mind thinking of the ways to dissect this speciman and take into account what made him so formidable.
The spirit of the old west vanished and in the air Warsman heard the answer to his previous question from all sides
"What am I? I am the man that gunned down Jesse James, the bounty hunter who took down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the man who Black Bart begged for his life to. I am the unsung legend of the old west."
In the cloud of dust that Warsman had kicked up two glowing red eyes shined through in an eerie and frightening manner.
"But the damned cancer sticks took me out before my legend could be finished, and the same scum I killed became heroes in the eyes of history and what did I become? Angry. I am now to those who follow a path of malice what I was to the scum of the west...."
Warsman heard a bang behind him simultaneously with the voice of the man responsible for discharging the shotgun
"...I'm an executioner"
Warsman fell to the ground again, but this time he recovered much faster than before. Blood from his previous wound had stopped, the attack apparently causing lasting damage that cancelled out his healing systems for a moment.
Instead, it was replaced by blood seeping from his new wound. However, he stood with relative ease, looking into the eyes of his foe, who until recently seemed like a delusion.
He smiled as blood trickled from the corners of his mouth.
Warsman laughed, his voice echoing throughout the night air and the barren streets.
"Explain how you're an executioner when I still draw breath."
Warsman's right hand exploded with another surge of energy, making a remaining wall of the saloon crash over in splinters. He would wait for the ghost to attack, since that was his only weakness, and then he would reach out to impale the creature with his deadlier hand.
As the dead man stood in the midst of a building that was collapsing around himself, he reached into his trenchcoat and drew a six shooter from an inside pocket, he saw Warsman drawing energy into his hand as the last pieces of debris blocked his vision, the cyborg Warsman had grown more vicious since the fight began, and Desperado knew losing would mean the death his soul had avoided so long ago.
"Well pardner. guess you have me dead to rights."
But the gunslinger knew his surroundings all too well and phased out of the physical plane of reality and then reappeared on a nearby rooftop, firing a blast of soul energy from his six shooter that broke through the ground and ignited an underground oil well.
"This is my hell and home pard, might as well make you feel the way I do, at home."
Desperado phased back down to the dirt road and stood in the flames, arming and pointing both shotgun and six shooter at Warsman, firing both weapons in a flash of spiritual energy, but being burned horribly for a couple seconds in the process amongst the flames of the underground fire burning to the surface.
"Your strategies are predicatble." Warsman smirked as the flames engulfed whatever stood around the two.
Teleporting behind the spectre as he fired his weapons, Warsman aimed his deadlier hand at the creature's then-solid back, hoping to impale a lung.
A sudden shockwave swept through the town, as the oil well ignited even further, sending the Russian skyward, covered in burns and broken tissues. He landed in the center of a bank, the caged pedestals where the bankers used to stand still intact. He couldn't move all that well, but stood despite his wounds.
Looking around, he clenched his fist and the sudden surge of energy knocked out the walls and sent the roof off into the air and onto another ancient building. The fires from the oil well were spreading fast and Warsman thought it wise to give his foe as little cover as possible in their new battlefield.
Along with the sound of booted footsteps, Warsman heard the jingle of spurs moving through the smoke, closer and closer, thud, jingle, thud, jingle, through the thick smoke the ghost moved with purpose thud, jingle, thud, jingle, thud, jingle...
The noise stopped suddenly. The ghost himself was acting as though he were reluctant to face Warsman. That's when several glowing orbs were thrown through the smoke, these were called soul grenades, a portion of soul energy that detonated on impact.
As Warsman layed in the wreckage of the collapsed bank he saw the orbs buzzing towards him and then heard the worst sound he possibly could.... Blam, Blam Tha-boom!
Desperado shot the orbs with pure soul energy from his six shooters blasting them in mid-air and causing a series of deadly blasts, but blasts that wewre only deadly to those who had committed evil acts in their lives.
"Pard' I reckon you find peace around now..."
The ghost had no idea of the fate of his foe, while tuned to the mortal coil he could no longer sense death and was unaware of what lurked in the smoke.
Seeing the death that rained from above him, Warsman smiled.
He raised his hands greedily, his fingers outstretched.
His smile grew into an insane grin as his hands came in contact with the strange energy, some seeping into his skin and some diverting their paths to other portions of his body. A small piece of energy sliced across his left cheek and detonated on the ground, but he ignored the inhuman amounts of agony and pain that he held back with laughter.
Finally, the barrage stopped. Warsman was riddled with wounds, but he stood still, his grin prominent on his face. Looking towards his ghostly opponent, he clenched his fist and the smoke instantaneously cleared, the burst of energy from the piece of light that was once flesh more powerful than before, scattering some debris with the gust it produced.
"I see you."
Warsman took a step forward, blood trickling from the wounds on his upper body to his legs and feet, making his footprints crimson. He suddenly vanished, nowhere and somewhere at the same time. His voice surrounded the phantom.
"But can you see me? Oh-ho, I bet you can't! Shoot what you can't see, shoot what you can't see! Cowboys are dead, cowboys are dead!"
The taunts were seemingly from another plane of existence, a ghostly undertone to them, reverberating over and over through the empty streets.
Warsman created an illusion, on any opponent this would cause confusion, any but one who saw to the soul itself, Desperado acted as though he was going to attack the decoy, but with a quick swivel blasted towards Warsman's true body with the full fury of his soul ripper shotgun.
"Gotta end this now for the sake of whats left of your soul partner"
Desperado removed the mask and bandanna from his face revealing the grimace of Hell itself and approached Warsman.
"I'll feast on the evil that lies within your heart, I'll rip the sin from your very bones!"
Desperado prepared to receive the bounty he most enjoyed cashing in, the taste of evil...
Warsman took the blast without question, falling to the floor in a heap. As the ghost became solid and forced the Russian's eyes open to peer into them, Warsman suddenly sprang to life, reaching out for his opponent's throat, his right hand radiant with light energy.
"I'm the one who's feasting around here!! I'll feast on the pain I bring you with the touch of a SUN!!!"
Warsman raised a fist to crush his foe's skull, his mind completely blank and replaced with madness. Dried blood coated his skin, giving him the image of a demon as his crazed smile showed the only color on his body except for crimson.
"Die a second time, my tormentor!!!"
As Desperado approached Warsman he heard Warsman cry out "Prepare to die a second time" The gunslinger attacked with the only defense he had, his mind, the eye contact wasnt enough by itself, so before the cowboy fell back the spirit reached toward any part of Warsman's body, attempting to pull him into the astral plane. There it would be a battle of minds not powers, There he could show Warsman his true power... Soul energy spilled from Desperado as he fell to the ground.
Everything seemed dark, dreary: nothing like Warsman had seen before. He felt his body growing numb, cold, useless. His breath was a cloud in front of him. There was seemingly no floor, the swirling clouds around him were almost like the only thing solid in this place.
"What is this place? Where the hell am I?!" He yelled into the abyss around him, expecting an answer from something, someone, anyone.
The ghost that had dragged him into here, he suddenly knew the name.
"Desperado....where are you?! Show yourself!!"
Tee hee hee....
The laugh of a small child echoed in the darkness, a normally innocent sound brought a frightening undertone in this reality.
"Let's play cowboys and bandits" A small child walked into the view of Warsman, wearing a cowboy hat, oversized trenchcoat that dragged on the floor behind him, a red bandanna covered most of his face, and he held what looked like a cap gun in his hand.
"Hee hee, your the bandit Warsman!"
The child aimed the gun at Warsman and pulled the trigger, but rather then the pop of a harmless cap being popped, a blaze of soul energy blasted towards Warsman, narrowly missing him, it was now obvious this child was Desperado, in some astral form.
"Ha ha ha, your the bad guy and bad guys never win these games!"
The child laughed loudly, the laughter seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, echoing throughout the abyss of the astral plane. But with a sudden loud bang and a flash of light speeding towards him, Warsman saw soul bullets coming at him out of the corner of his eye, blasts of mystic energy that were rapidly speeding towards his head...
Horror plagued his mind just as much as the thought that he was going insane ran rampant. The child was freakishly innocent, like a demonic entity in the guise of a boy.
His cheek bleeding from the narrow miss, Warsman thought it best to run. But he couldn't move, or rather it seemed that he didn't. The floor was always the same shade of swirling blue and the child's shots became closer and closer to a fatal mark.
Slumping, Warsman looked around for his tormentor, who was still closing in for the kill.
"This world.....is all in the mind.....blood....in a dream?....This is real....and I am in just as much control as YOU!!!!!"
Warsman became enshrouded in a blaze of hellish red as he stood at a lazy attention, his head tilted to the right as his skin became crimson, his wounds either blending in or healing entirely. On his face was a wide, crazed grin. He raised a finger at the child.
The scenery changed rapidly to a place Warsman knew all too well, a flute played in the background bringing a peacefull music to the hills and field, a man sat beneath a tree working on wood carvings, animals moved around him, with no fear, this was a peacefull man, a peace that they sensed.
Tell me what happened to this man, tell me what happened before your soul grew black Warsman?
The gunslinger brought Warsman back to his past, and then added, in a raspy voice
"Before you can face me you must face yourself!"
Desperado was being slightly deceitfull, Warsman's mental attack nearly had pushed him out of the cyborgs mind.
Something about the man under the tree was familiar, but Warsman recognized it from the back of his mind and didn't fully understand.
An explosion from a nearby hill and the man bolted away, out of sight and out of mind. He ran towards a house in a burning village, the building that was his destination consumed by flames as well. Breaking through the wall with his weight, he frantically searched for something, someone. Grabbing at the sheets of a bed, he found the body of a small child, a girl, and kicked out the door, running outside for both of their well-being, but mostly her's.
Finding the girl dead in his arms, he cried, and Warsman felt something die a second timet hat perished once long ago, like he was reliving a nightmare.
"Show none of this to me anymore!!"
He swatted away at the air, hoping to discourage some devil above him. However, the visions continued.
Warsman saw nothing but snow and blood, dead soldiers scattered around him, their faces twisted with pain and silenced agony. He saw the man from before, kneeling. His face was stonier and older, more pained. Under him was another familiar face, one of a brother. Warsman again felt the pain from before and he screamed at Desperado for a halt to these visions.
A third one, though came to his senses, one of his transformation. The man from the previous visions was being forced into a room, bolted to a table before crude surfical implements were put into his flesh, carving away at his humanity, his sanity. Blood pooled on the floor as they put in the machinery, the artificial body parts, and metal tools of death. Screams echoed in his ears, not only of the pained man, but of those in the war, the girl he had tried to save, his dying brother and father, and the laughter of the scientists that crowded around him that day.
A dark smoke filled the air and a inch deep liquid surrounded Warsman's boots, the liquid was blood, blood of the innocent slaughtered at the hands of Warsman and his allies.
You have become what created you, YOU ARE A MONSTER!
Warsman tried kicking away at the liquid, but he slipped and fell into it. He panicked and tried to flee from the place, but he was trapped in a box-like object, the floor of which was steadily filling with the blood of what Desperado called "innocents".
He tried to pound his way from it, even so much as use the light energy from his right hand to blast the walls, but the came closer towards him with every failed attack, like a vice around his throat.
He stopped trying to attack and simply went berserk, slapping away at the pool of blood around him. Looking around for Desperado, he began to shout:
"I AM A MONSTER?!?! Who's the one who vowed TO kill?!? Who's the one who's sole recognition in life was fame over the outlaws he killed?!? YOU are the monster!! A new breed of monster, manifesting in heroes everywhere as we speak!!"
The memories of his daughter snapped him in twain. He screamed and began to bash around like a lunatic, the walls backing away as if afraid of this new maniac within them. He calmed himself down as the pool around him receeded. He curled into a ball on the floor, whispering lies to himself and insane rants to his surroundings at seemingly random opprotunities.
"I killed them....my daughter and brother....myself....I killed them....and I'm perfectly happy!" He snapped, trying to force away the one who probed into his mind.
"You came here seeking silver, what you found, for better or worse, is a greater treasure, yourself"
The gunslinger faded away to leave Warsman to his own demons.
Warsman staggered to his feet, looking around for Desperado....
Finding nothing but a ruined town, he decided just to go home and think about what was done here.
It was all like a dream to him, nothing was realistic and everything was drowned in horror....
His eyes sullen, he wandered aimlessly into the desert, due north, for his estate in Ontario....