Today's super-heroes have lost much of what it means to be a hero. Some still try, and are willing to learn, while others view "heroing" much like the professional athletics of this era; they form into teams, accentuate their costumes to inflate a sense of identity, and dream of "making it" to the "big leagues". Gone are the days of close apprenticeships, and the streets are filled with self-styled heroes with no legacies to match their powers. This land has an overabundance of heroes, while so many lands cry out for even one.
After reluctantly deciding that I finally need allies, I have fallen in with one of these teams. I have high hopes for them, and believe that these heroes are learning what it means to be a Hero. They are learning the life of tragedy and sacrifice, one death at a time. I know I will eventually die, probably at the hands of others in this very club ... and I have accepted that.
These children act like they have never seen a hero's death before, and I suspect that they have not. They will see more, they have tasted the addictive nectar of heroism and can not refuse it before it kills them. Remarkable that they haven't learned the price of heroism before now, considering the number and power of enemies this "team" has acquired in a few brief years. Enemies up to and including beings that claim to be Gods ... how many of you reading this have been called Gods?
Last week, I met two "Gods", and travelled through a realm that seemed to be a land of the dead. Manipulating Otherworlds is achievable sorcery, and long life does not impress me; why should I call these things "Gods"? The line between men and Gods has long been blury. I have met Emperors, Sorcerors, Demons, and Undead that have all claimed to be divine, so I am not too concerned about the threats of what seems to be an ineffectual, if wealthy, villain. Unfortunately, it seems that my companions believe in a thick line between Mortal and Divine, and are very frightened about this enemy. His threats have them so frightened that they are already defeating themselves, and their leader has not yet found a way to rally their confidence. He seems to be trusting my judgement, but it is still too early for me to give him advice.
The tide of natural heroes - the new word is "metas" - is swelling. Each time it has swelled before, it has crashed upon a great calamity, war or something worse. I do not know if the calamities happen because of the swelling, or if the population surge is in preperation for the calamity, but I do know that San Francisco has the densest population of "heroes" I have ever seen. The next few years will be fiery, and I am living in a powderkeg.