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Feb 21, 11 at 5:21pm ^re: The Chronicles
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Your Smexy Villain
The night was dark, like it always is during the night; it was not quite stormy yet but a light drizzle was falling lightly from the sky; it was the perfect night for a fight: but Maxwell Psyduck Pring was not a fighter, he was a savior, THE savior; as the pleasant prinny plushie plodded precariously past plentiful plethoras of pristine plants, his weary mind wandered down the wayside of windy walks in wooded ways, the only noise being the whistle of the wind, subjected to the whims of the whorls; and quite suddenly, Maxwell shivered and his walk grew worried...there was something amiss; the trees around him rattled rhythmically right as the rushing sound of wings reached Maxwell's ears...there it was; the Savior of Mankind beheld the most horrific sight ever: a Winged Llama of Doom, fur sleek and jet black, its eyes, one blue, and one pink, rolling with fury as it spat acid that melted the trees and even singed Maxwell's afro a bit, but Maxwell's true horror arose from the figure mounted upon the Llama: a man clad in a long, black overcoat that fanned out like a cape; he had long, silver hair that covered one eye, though that did not detract from the man's incredibly handsome features: he had a perfect smile and a perfect face, though his expression was dark and brooding, trying to hide deep emotional hurts; his right arm was a tangled mess of robotics and his left arm was bare and was, in fact, a bear's arm; at his waist was a katana with a hole in the tip that shot lasers, not that the rider needed the lasers - he was a master swordsman who could move faster than the speed of light and could cut through all three of Chuck Norris' testicles at once; the man did not sparkle, but rather glowed with the unearthly pallor of the moon, and though Maxwell did not see it anywhere, he knew that the man also possessed a gigantic robotic mech that could pilot a bigger mech that could pilot an even bigger mech which could pilot the biggest mech in the entire universe which had been invented by Japanese Russians; after a moment of staring at Maxwell, the man descended his winged llama mount and his lips quirked in a smile as lightning thundered ominously across the sky,
"Hello, it's been a while, Maxwell...it's me, your obligatory smexy villain."
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|Al The Killer||
Feb 23, 11 at 5:38am ^re: The Chronicles
Movement II: Preparations
West looked around the lab, examining various daemon encased in silver.
“Mordinicus Daemons,” he said, tapping on one's silvery case. If it was alive, it was in severe pain, and if it did somehow manage to escape, it would have to get through several blessings to reach the freedom it desired, only to be killed by either of the resident hunters in the compound.
He sighed, drumming his fingers on his leg, spinning his chair towards the computer, a screen filled with an outline o the past few week's events, which included: The car bomb in Audio City, the recruiting of Silence Templesmith, the forming of The Huntsmen Guild, and the recruiting of Ezra Frost.
He closed the window, pulling up another in it's place. This one was a huge list of assassins, psychics, and daemon hunters in the area. He had recruited the young Ezra this way, so it had proved to be a valuable tool in his work.
A technopath, the only one of her kind left, her utter existence bathed in mystery. He made sure her abilities weren't mere parlor tricks before she had met her new partner.
It seemed she excelled in rooms with at least some presence of electronic equipment, successfully turning a cell phone into a makeshift taser, and using jagged pieces of silver as the barbs, which helped take out a few lesser daemon.
Yet, it seemed as though she was a capable fighter in “barren” rooms as she had called them; instead using her mainstay weapon, a combination between a butcher knife and a taser. She had used said weapon to eliminate an entire platoon of daemon and ghouls.
Though the Guild was growing, an empath and two daemon hunters does not an army make. He looked at the screen, clicking on a prominent hunter's name.
Bane, he silently read on the screen. A rather large and imposing man, standing at 6'9 and made of pure muscle and hate, Bane had dipped his hands in molten silver, and used his hands as his main weapons.
A brute...we could do better, he thought to himself, choosing finesse and grace over brute strength and reckless abandon. Feeling uninspired, he slipped from his chair and walked to a nearby table, picking up a book entitled “Breach Lords” in dark, gaudy lettering.
Skipping past the introduction to daemonology, he went to the first page of the Breach Lords.
“It appears that the lowest member in the Breach Lords, a daemon named Atticus, resides over the aspect of Debauchery ad drunken revelry and promiscuity.”
West let out a snicker about Silence and Ezra's first target. Lord of Debauchery, eh? He let out a slight laugh, going back to his computer, and using the touch screen to pull up images out Atticuss's realm, Bliss. Lush gold fields appeared at the beginning, as well as at his palace. Th animals and plantlife that lived here took bright colors and acted very outlandish and reckless, taking on the aspects of man's more flamboyant nature.
He zoomed in on the palace, enchanted steel covered in gold foil. The courtyard was covered in lush green topiary, with a large fountain that help a golden statue in it, a satyr spitting wine out of horn, into the fountain endlessly, only to have it filtered a bit and recycled back into the fountain through the same horn.
He went into the doors, viewing the main hallway. Mounds of gold and gems taunted any brave hunter powerful enough to make it into the walls, and guards, daemon in shiny golden plate armor patrolled the area in squads of five, each carrying a dark metal broadsword. Each of these groups were led by an acolyte, a humanoid who gave their soul to become one with a daemon, creating a bizarre crossbreed of daemon and mortal. They carried staves, customized with an enchantment to suit either their or their lord's needs.
He zoomed into the last room available, and found the lord's harem. Women of many different races; Human, daemon, elven, night elven, all stood in the chamber, naked. Each had a dark metal collar around their necks, rigged to explode if they tried to run.
This was a rather sickening realm of the Underworld, which was a commonwealth of different realms, each ruled over by a lord, who could be any race, as long as he could keep order. In some realms, humans were allowed, while in others, they were despised.
To get into this place, he would have to work on Silence's “Envy” aspect, to try and get it to work on two or more people. If that failed, he would have to dress Ezra up as a partygoer, or an acolyte.
This was going to be hard, and it was the beginning of the ending.
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Mar 8, 11 at 3:34am ^re: The Chronicles
Adventures in Hammerspace pt1
"Just ask her out, d00d."
Maxwell Pring and Ray were in a small market place. Stalls of goods lined either side of the dirt road and the houses were shaped from the stone itself, though to Maxwell's disappointment, there were no dwarves.
His fifteen-year-old companion blinked and tore his eyes away from the girl he was staring at, and had been staring at previously, for some time.
"I...I can't," he mumbled, face going red.
"What, you scared, d00d? No worries, I'll go grease the wheels. You just gotta be confident, d00d. I read it in a book once."
And without waiting for a response, Maxwell tottered toward the unsuspecting girl of Ray's dreams, trying hard to remember his best pick up lines. The girl wasn't beautiful in Maxwell's opinion. She was very...plain. Her sandy-brown hair was long and straight and her black dress was of a modest cut, with no frills or adornments. She was a little taller than Maxwell's four and one-half feet of height, and very thin. And...that was about all there was to her.
When he was close enough, he reached up and tapped the small of her back.
The girl whirled around, startled and her oceanic blue eyes widened further when she saw Maxwell.
"Y...yes?" she said the word as though unfamiliar with it. Weirdo.
"So, d00d, my friend over there really likes you. And he lost his phone number, so you should have sex with him."
"W...what?" the girl stammered quietly.
"Uh...did it hurt, d00d?"
"When you fell and scraped your knee?"
Maxwell was starting to panic. His best moves weren't working. He racked his brain for the best pick up line he had and said, "That dress looks really good on you, d00d. Know where it'd look better? On him."
"Psyduck, stop helping!" Ray said frantically, seizing the prinny plushie and clamping his mouth shut. "Um...I'm sorry for my friend's behavior. S...see ya." And then Ray was fleeing as fast as he could while carrying Maxwell, leaving a very perplexed girl behind.
"Good news, d00d," Maxwell said once Ray finally set him down, "I think she likes you. She couldn't keep her eyes off you."
"That was...mortifying," Ray said, eyes downcast and head hung low. "Please...don't ever help me again."
"'Course you know what we've to do now, right d00d?" Maxwell continued, not even listening, "You've gotta show her that you're really interested in a relationship and you won't just up and leave her at any time. So we're gonna stalk her, d00d."
"Psyduck, I don't think-PSYDUCK!" Ray yelled, but Maxwell was already hurrying back down the street. "...Damn it." Ray took off after the Savior of Mankind.
When Ray finally caught up to Psyduck, the pokemon was in a room rifling through the drawers.
"PSYDUCK! You can't just...just go through her things like this." Though, admittedly, she didn't appear to have much. "And how the hell did you get here, anyway!?" Ray continued.
"A long series of off-screen plot-conveniences which-" Maxwell broke off with a gasp. "D00d, there's something very powerful hidden here! Something...unnatural."
"Is it you?" Ray muttered sourly.
"No way, d00d. This is like...god-tier awesome." Maxwell's digging became more frenzied.
"Come on, Psyduck! Don't make me call Officer Jenny! We can't just look through a girl's things!"
"Aha!" Maxwell cried victoriously. He turned to face Ray and was holding a pair of...
"P-PANTIES!?" Ray spluttered, "PSYDUCK, PUT THOSE BACK NOW!"
"D00d, I'm sure this is it. The unnatural aura is coming from these!" Maxwell proffered the black panties to Ray, "Touch them, d00d! The fabric is unnaturally soft. No ordinary method could produce underwear like this! I'll bet these are the most comfortable pair of panties in the universe, d00d!"
"Give me those!" Ray shouted, blushing profusely. Maxwell jerked them away, however, but due to the fact that Maxwell had no thumbs, the panties escaped his grip and were thrown right onto his afro.
Ray's face went pale and he let out a squeak.
"Oh well. Sorry, d00d. We'll have to go tell her that we lost her Super Panties." Maxwell said, beginning to walk out of the room. It seemed to jar Ray out of his stupor.
"No, you stupid pokemon!" Ray said desperately, "We have to get them back!"
"From hammerspace!? D00d, that could literally take forever!"
"Psyduck, please! This is really important to me!" Ray begged, "At least try. If we don't get those panties back, she's going to think I'm some creepy, weird kid."
Maxwell sighed, "Alright, d00d. Let's see here..." The Savior of Mankind reached into the Pouch of Infinity with Ray watching intently to see what the prinny plushie would reveal.
But it was not the panties that appeared. It was...a strange creature. First came a rainbow afro. Then a beady-eyed, penguin-face. A pair of demonic wings and a blue, stuffed body with two peg legs.
"D00d!" Maxwell shouted.
"Psyduck!" Ray interrupted. Both Maxwell's stopped and stared at him. "Err...Psyducks! We still need to get the panties back!"
"No worries, d00d. I've got a new plan," the original Maxwell responded, "I'll just touch this d00d's afro, go into hammerspace myself, and get them back. That'll be much easier than hoping I pull it out of the Pouch of Infinity. And in the mean time, you can explain to him what's going on."
"Sounds good to me, d00d," the second Maxwell replied, lowering himself so that Maxwell could touch his afro.
"Wait, Psyduck!" Ray started, but Maxwell had already touched the other Maxwell's afro and with a pop!, disappeared into hammerspace. "...How the hell are you going to get back here?"
Cele did not smile when her care-taker appeared. She was thinking about the strange being that had greeted her earlier and the boy who had whisked the creature away.
"Cele," the older man spoke, "What's bothering you?" His voice was gentle and concerned as it usually was when he spoke to her. But never with anyone else.
"I...met a...a creature today who was very...strange," Cele said, still feeling every word escape her lips.
"Could it be...? Have I finally found another one of their creations?" The Writer's gaze turned cold and he smiled grimly, "Well, then, Cele. Why don't we see if we can't find this creature."
Cele nodded and accompanied C down the road back to the market where she had first met the bizarre creature.
"Writer. Can I ask...a question?" It was one of the many things that had been bothering her about the strange conversation, but this stood out above all others.
Refer to the BRS teaser if you don't know who Cele is. And go find my character profile page if you don't know who the Writer is (but you should. >=[ )
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Mar 9, 11 at 11:20pm ^re: The Chronicles
"You know, avoiding sleep won’t solve your problems,” Connor remarked. Ion rested his head on one hand, watching the doctor pace his workplace on the vidscreen.
“Hypocrite,” he accused idly.
“Fool,” Connor shot back without missing a beat, not pausing in his pacing. “Does Roshea know?”
“If you only contacted me to inquire about my health I worry for you,” Ion replied bluntly. “Do you have any actual conversation? Information? News?” Connor sighed, stopping his pacing and sitting on a half-built machine in the centre of his lab.
“We’ve been testing the teleporter again and I can’t find any evidence for the malfunctioning you experienced,” he told him with a shrug. “The people you were working with seem a lot more cheerful and a lot less productive.” He shook his head slowly. “As for the shadow you saw, I’ve been doing some research. I went down to-”
“Do you have an actual answer?” Ion cut in. Connor rolled his eyes.
“Possibly. I’m working on it,” he replied. “I’ll send you what I’ve got so far. Stay up on the Station.” Ion nodded once in confirmation as Connor turned away from the screen to tap at his keyboard with the fury of a man possessed.
“How do you sleep?” Ion asked him softly. He paused, his expression falling into one of sadness.
“If I’m tired enough I don’t dream,” he murmured. Ion made an amused noise.
“Liar,” he stated simply. Connor reached out a hand and ended the call without looking around at him.
The head of the Infirmary, while in the process of treating an unlucky mechanic with a lattice of burns up one arm, backed up Connor’s primary accusation.
“Relying on pills is a dangerous route to go down,” she told him, pulling a bandage tight with a wince of pain from her patient. “You’ll become dependent on them. Addicted.”
“To tranquilisers?” Ion remarked, an amused smile tugging on his face. She gave him a long look, the patient looking between her and Ion in confusion. The expression on her face said I know about your past, and it’s no excuse. He didn’t even need to read her mind.
“No medicine tonight,” she suggested. “Then come and see me in the morning.” A look of distaste passed across Ion’s face as she reached for the burn cream.
“I’m sure you’ll enjoy that,” he decided, thinly-veiled disgust in his tone. She waved him away.
“You’re no more special than anyone else, no matter what you’d like to think. Go away. I’m trying to treat a patient here.” Ion scowled, turning away with a dark look on his face.
That’s where you’re wrong.
It took more willpower than he’d expected it to, to turn off the lights that night.
He was sad. Upset.
He was angry.
He was walking through a room floored with warm blood, shining deep crimson.
He was crying. Sobbing.
He was screaming in impotent rage.
He was falling to his knees and painting his face red as he ran bloody fingers down his face.
He was breaking inside. Snapping.
The ire built up inside him, slowly, surely, tightening in his chest, pressing against his soul, trapped there. Bottled up, but he was not in control of the lid. Sealed.
He could taste the copper on his tongue. Felt the warmth soak into his hair as he collapsed onto his side.
His tears were as bitter-tasting as the blood, but they were clear, shining diamonds.
He choked on the words he tried to form.
He knew, oh god, he knew that all the blood was his.
A hand grasped his collar and pulled him back. He choked. In consolation, he was struck across the face.
This was not the first time they’d come.
Ion sat with his side against the wall, his head hitting the padded white surface again and again. The shadows were screaming at him. If they had fingers he knew they’d be clawing him apart. Their words already latched their hooks into his heart and soul and pulled with a vicious, spiteful glee.
This was not the first time they’d ignored his pleas.
He couldn’t close his mind to them. He wished it, but every time he tried to shut them out they just mocked him, hurt him, broke his concentration into little pieces along with his will. They wanted him to join them. They wanted to take the lights from around his body and make them hum along with theirs. Every well-placed word in his head struck him like a knife to the side. A thorn to lodge and twist in his slowly breaking soul. Cracking.
This wasn’t the first time they’d nearly given him to the shadows.
“Please, sirs, ma’am, he’s not in any position to…” Ion heard the Director start up his feeble, empty protests. He hit his head against the wall again. Thud. Thud. Thud.
“He’s in whatever position we say he is,” a woman’s voice snapped. Ion shivered at the sound of it. The door slid open. Ion bowed his head.
“Hello again, Ion,” a man greeted. His voice was deep and friendly. Ion flinched away. “How are you feeling?” Ion looked up at him, his broken eyes bloodshot and rimmed with red. The man kept smiling. Smiling at his pain.
“Let me go,” he whispered, his voice hoarse. He didn’t use it much any more, except for screaming. Screaming and sobbing.
“You know we can’t do that,” he remarked, kneeling down by Ion. He looked away, but the man grabbed his hair and pulled his head back around. He made a muted noise of pain.
“Please, could you just-” the Director started, but the woman gave him a sharp look.
“Leave,” she suggested bluntly. Ion gave him a look of hopeless desperation, knowing even as he did it that he would be let down like he always was. The Director turned away and walked out. Ion bit back a sob.
This was not the first time they’d forced everyone else away.
“Let me go,” Ion whispered for a second time. Broken, frightened eyes met those of the man who had him by the hair. There was no compassion in that face at all. He was here on business only. For… research.
This was not the first time he’d been treated like an object.
“Get him on the floor,” the woman snapped, and the man did, forcing him down despite his attempts to resist. Immobile, he could do nothing, not even psychically. The third man, still silent, looked down at him. No pity. No mercy.
This was not the first time he’d walked a floor made of his own blood.
Ion could hear himself screaming as his eyes snapped open, turning onto his side with a barely-repressed growl of frustration and clenching his fists. The monitoring device set above the bed buckled and snapped as the angel-lights danced and sparked around Ion’s hands. He breathed through gritted teeth, hearing every breath rip its way from his throat as he forced himself to calm down. A horrible hissing sound, creeping with its insipid pitch into his head. He grabbed his head with both hands, closed his eyes, stopped the moan of despair that threatened to escape.
I am stronger than this.
When his heart rate had calmed, he slowly relaxed his muscles and let himself uncurl, sitting up and running one hand down his face tiredly. Nightmares, nightmares, nightmares. He bit back the curse, forcing himself to look away from the side of the bed. No medicine tonight. He was stronger than this.
He walked over to the door and turned on the light, then spent quarter of an hour picking bits of broken machinery from the bed. That task complete, he sat with his back to the wall, leant his head back and waited for morning.
Ion was sat drumming his fingers on the table when Roshea walked in, a stack of files tucked under one arm and a worried expression on his face. The concern only increased when he saw him, and he dropped the files unceremoniously on the table and sat down, looking harried. Ion’s fingers kept drumming.
“You look like hell,” Roshea remarked, sounding uncertain. Ion glanced up at him. Tap tap tap tap.
“Have you ever seen hell?” he inquired absently. Roshea stuttered, uncertain, before shaking his head quietly. Ion smiled slightly. “So how would you know I resembled it?” Roshea grimaced.
“It’s just a figure of speech,” he muttered, pulling a file from the pile and opening it. Ion chuckled, which surprised the edgy captain.
“An interesting one, though, don’t you think?” he remarked. “I’m sure I don’t look to be in the best of health right now, true. I will be fine.” He skimmed the top file onto the table with a swift brush of his fingers. “Now. Shall we talk work, rather than idle chatter?” Roshea looked away, clearly feeling uncomfortable.
“Mm,” he agreed softly, unable to meet Ion’s eyes.
You only live because you’re too afraid of the alternative.
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Mar 11, 11 at 4:13am ^re: The Chronicles
Adventures in Hammerspace pt2
It's like drugs, but without the drugs! =D
The trip to Hammerspace was...dizzy, Maxwell decided. Very, very dizzying. And loud. It was what Maxwell imagined it would be like to be sucked inside of a vacuum cleaner. He felt compressed, as though squeezed into a tiny pipe. Maxwell found himself asking a question he often asked himself at night when he couldn't sleep, "How is it I can hear noise when I don't have any ears, d00d?"
Colors swirled and flashed around him as he sped through compressed time and space. It could've been heavy doses of hallucinogenic drugs, it could've been his afro being thrown back and forth. For the briefest of moments, Maxwell thought he saw a face as well. The face of a young girl, stuffing her face with cake. She liked cake. A lot. Maxwell knew that cake was generally a lie, but the girl's cake appeared to be very real, as did her liking of said cake. Unless the girl herself was a lie. Had she even been there to begin with...?
"I gotta stop thinking about this, d00d." Maxwell thought to himself, squeezing his eyes shut. To his dismay, the psychedelic colors continued to flood across his vision. Or lack of. The girl who liked cake was gone, fortunately. Instead, a heavily distorted tower sprang into Maxwell's mind. It looked almost as though it had begun melting, and then suddenly stopped melting.
"It's like that really weird painting with the watches," Maxwell thought, "Perspiration of Mammary by Salad Bar Dolly."
The twisted tower disappeared and was replaced with the blurred face of what Maxwell assumed was a woman, but he couldn't tell, seeing as it was blurred. For plot-related reasons, no doubt. The woman(?) seemed to be writing something and glancing over her shoulder every so often. She(?) looked up suddenly in surprise and, if Maxwell didn't know any better, she(?) could see him. She(?) smiled and said, "Maxwell. Good to see you're well."
Then she(?) was gone.
"I like women with blurry faces," Maxwell decided, "You can decide they look like whatever you want." He decided that the woman(?) was definitely a woman and that she had green eyes and blonde hair. "I'm gonna call her Bridget, d00d."
The colors in Maxwell's head spun a bit more before the next image came, this one even more heavily blurred than the previous. Maxwell leaned forward in interest, but was quickly disappointed. It appeared to be two men talking. One was very old and not bald, and the other, not old, but clearly bald.
"Are you certain?" Bald man asked.
"Yes. He has no idea." Not-Bald man replied.
"I see. It is possible that he failed..." Bald man mused.
"I don't believe that is possible."
"You would know better than anyone, I suppose. Certainly better than him, given his current state..." Bald man trailed off for a moment before speaking again, "Bring him here. If I can't find her, then at the very least, I will ensure that he never finds her either." Bald man cackled, "I'll end our war once and for all. Unlike him, I have all the time in the-" Bald man stopped and stared, wide-eyed.
"What is it?" Not-Bald man asked.
"I thought I just saw a goddamn penguin. With a rainbow afro."
"This is stupid, d00d," Maxwell thought irritably, "I don't need all of this thinly veiled, foreshadowy crap. I demand to be shown panties, d00d!"
Maxwell's vision suddenly turned to black and the prinny plushie felt himself collide with solid ground at last. He opened his eyes and stood up. His first immediate thought was that hammerspace was boring. There weren't any giant piles of random crap like he'd always imagined. There weren't any objects floating in place either. The most glaring flaw, however, was the noticeable lack of panties lying anywhere nearby.
"I am so disappoint, d00d," Maxwell said out loud. He was in what appeared to be a very neglected courtyard. The stone walls were cracked and dusty, though for some reason, there was no plant growth like one would expect to see in movies. The room was completely empty save for a set of stones encircling a deep, black hole in the ground. Maxwell peered into the depths of the hole and saw nothing. He felt drawn to the hole nonetheless, almost as though it were trying to suck him in.
The Savior of Mankind shook himself. Panties. He was here to find panties, not stare at big holes. Nodding to himself, Maxwell tore his gaze away from the hole in the ground and walked out of the courtyard room through a nearby entryway, hoping that the rest of hammerspace wouldn't be as boring as this.
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Apr 1, 11 at 3:11am ^re: The Chronicles
Adventures in Hammerspace pt3
Oh Dear GOD!
Hammerspace, it turned out, was just as boring as Maxwell had initially surmised. Leaving the courtyard of weirdness had led him to a strange stairwell which had taken him to the doorway of nothingness. The outside of hammerspace was an empty wasteland. Literally.
"D00d, there aren't even tumbleweeds here. This place is completely barren. It's like the future of Charlie Sheen's career!" Maxwell said in wonderment. The Savior of Mankind, still not quite paying attention, turned to return to the inside of the whatever-he-was-in-we're-not-really-sure-what, only to trip over his own feet. The prinny plushie had time to proclaim, "Shit," before he faceplanted into the ground and promptly exploded.
When Maxwell awoke, his body was stiff. In fact, much to his horror, he found that he couldn't move at all.
"Okay, d00d," Maxwell thought to himself, "You've been in tough situations before. This isn't the first time this has happened." He had a horrific flash of exploding and reincarnating in the body of some poor girls teddy bear. Being hugged between some buxom girl's breasts had been...actually, it hadn't been that bad. "Right, d00d. I should prepare myself by mentally imagining the worst possible outcome for this situation." Again, Maxwell found his mind wandering to the most perfect pair of breasts he'd ever had the pleasure of encountering.
"Aha! There you are. Finally found you!" Maxwell felt his eyelids being pulled open and he found himself staring at an acne-riddled teenager with short red hair and a bulbous nose. Maxwell still couldn't move his eyes, but the Savior of Mankind decided that based on the grimy walls and the coolness of the air, he was in some sort of underground lair.
"Okay, what the hell's going on, d00d?" Maxwell wondered. He wanted to know why he couldn't move and where in the hell those panties were. Judging by the appearance of his captor, they most likely weren't here.
As the strange boy turned, carrying Maxwell with him, the prinny plushie got the first real clue as to his predicament. Passing by a mirror, Maxwell saw that he was in a doll's body. A very well-crafted doll.
"Okay, d00d," Maxwell thought, "So my soul is now in the body of a plastic barbie doll. It could be worse."
"Pedro, are you playing with your dolls again!?" a loud feminine voice thundered from somewhere offscreen.
"They're ACTION FIGURES, Mom!" the boy shouted in response. He had an annoying nasally voice that didn't help Maxwell's opinion that his captor was a complete nerd.
"Well come out of the basement, I'm making dinner!"
"No thanks, I'll just eat some tater tots!" Pedro responded.
"I said I'd eat some freaking tots! GOSH!" Pedro yelled back. The red-haired youth turned back to Maxwell. "Now where did I-ah!" he picked up another figure of about equal size to Maxwell.
"Okay!" Pedro cleared his throat and began speaking in a deeper voice, "When we last left our heroes, they had just escaped from the clutches of the evil, yet genius, Dr. Basis and his minions of evil. Having just narrowly saved Princess Malali from the mad doctor's mutagenic minions, Crisis and Zone, the princess and her knight, Sir Ion, were left standing on the cliff side outside Dr. Basis' castle. Unfortunately, Sir Ion had been unable to stop Dr. Basis' solar ray from melting off the face of Malali's sister, Princess Emote."
Oh. Dear. GOD!" Maxwell thought desperately, Please don't tell me this is going to go where I think it is, d00d..."
"Oh Malali!" Pedro said in a deep voice as the doll in his other hand was placed close to Maxwell, "I thought I'd never see you safe again."
"Oh, Sir Ion!" Pedro's voice became freakishly high as he bounced Maxwell up and down to signify talking, "You were so brave rushing in to save me like that. I never had any doubt that you would rescue me!"
"Twas nothing. For you, my Lady, I would lay down my life."
Maxwell then found his face being pressed into the Ion doll's and then grated against it back and forth.
"Boobs. Think about the boobs. Maxwell thought, wishing very badly that he weren't made out of plastic so that he could at least shut his eyes.
"Not so fast, Sir Ion!" Pedro cackled as he revealed a third doll of a child in a white lab coat while setting Maxwell down, much to the Savior of Mankind's relief.
"Dr. Basis!" Pedro growled in the deep voice of Ion.
"Sorry to break your heartwarming little reunion," Dr. Basis sneered, "But you have yet to best me, Dr. Basis! My genius intellect will crush you yet! I've just taken a potion to give myself the strength of one magical jacket!"
"And how strong is that!?" Sir Ion demanded.
"Strong enough!" Dr. Basis laughed. Pedro picked up Dr. Basis' fist and hit the Ion doll with it.
"AGH!" Pedro through the Ion doll across the room and against a cardboard box.
"You see, Sir Ion! You don't stand a chance against me!" Dr. Basis yelled, "HA-hahahaha!"
"We'll see about that!" Sir Ion yelled as the doll, aided by Pedro, jumped from the crumbled ruin of cardboard boxes.
"Be careful, Sir Ion!" Princess Malali shouted.
"SUPER ION KICK!" Sir Ion roared as he crashed into Dr. Basis. The two figures became entangled in a constantly moving heap with the silence being filled with Pedro's psh's, hi-yah'ing, UGH's, and the desperate cries of Princess Malali.
This guy needs some serious *bleep*ing help, Maxwell thought, horrified by what he was seeing.
Eventually, after one final, "CURSES!", Dr. Basis was thrown against a pile of cardboard boxes and buried beneath them.
"You did it!" Princess Malali said, Pedro once again forcibly returning Maxwell to the action.
"Naturally. He was no match for my super strength. Or the strength of our love," Sir Ion said.
"Oh, Sir Ion..." and Maxwell again found himself pretending to make out with the plastic face of Sir Ion.
"No..." Pedro gasped, "No, I need...more of you, Sir Ion."
"...Worst. Day. Of. My. Entire. Life. Ever. D00d!" as Pedro began to remove the tiny clothes of Sir Ion and Princess Malali.
"Yes...yes...!" Pedro groaned in his high-pitched Malali voice as Maxwell was thrown forcibly to the ground and then slammed into by the Sir Ion doll.
Pedro stopped briefly to grab another doll Maxwell hadn't seen before, this one with it's face melted off.
"Oh...Emote..." Princess Malali squeaked, "Sir Ion, can my sister watch?"
"Why just watch? Come join in, there's plenty of Ion to go around!"
"Really?" Pedro squealed in a voice even higher than Malali's that made Maxwell's plastic ears hurt, "Even though my face is melted off?"
"True, but your perfect plastic boobs remain untouched jewels," Sir Ion said.
"Yaaaaay!" Emote said, as her clothes were also stripped away from her.
"I gotta get the hell out of here, d00d. Before I lose my virginity to a *bleep*ing doll!"
|posts in thread|
|Tiger go Meow||
May 3, 11 at 2:39pm ^re: The Chronicles
The Tales of Half-Tail.
The Cat and the Swordsman.
A cat sits upon the side of a mountain spring,
lapping up water and unsuspecting of coming events.
A swordsman, named Botan, wonders upon the feline's space,
and is taken in by the power such a tiny creature possesses.
It will only be a matter of time before events unfold between the two.
[Coming Soon. Will be Edited with First Part.]
|posts in thread|
May 5, 11 at 3:15am ^re: The Chronicles
Adventures in Hammerspace pt4
Obligatory Damthel in Dithreth
Maxwell gasped and jerked awake. He was back in his original body. Thanking whatever gods there were, the prinny plushie got to his feet, recounting the last horrible moments of his torture. It had been an extremely lucky coincidence that as a plastic doll, Sir Ion hadn't had any genitals, so there had been no awkward plastic penetration, but Maxwell was bound to need decades of therapy to recover from the incident. It had been fortunate that after the doll sex, Pedro had thrown Princess Malali aside like a rag doll and Maxwell had promptly exploded and his soul had reincarnated back into his original body. The Savior of Mankind had no idea what had become of Pedro, and he had no desire whatsoever to find out.
Putting the past as far behind him as metaphorically possible, Maxwell continued on his quest to procure the mysterious panties of power. He appeared to be in a new area of hammerspace, a village of some sort that was on fire. A man riding on a winged llama was torching the village from the sky.
"D00d!" Maxwell cried as the winged llama spat a fireball in his direction. He reacted quickly and used his afro as a shield. The fireball promptly vanished into what Maxwell assumed was another part of hammerspace.
"Time for me to be a hero, d00d!" Maxwell said out loud, reaching into the Pouch of Infinity. A long metallic rod emerged. Hoping it would be useful, Maxwell chucked it at one of the attacking llamas. The rod fell short completely and stuck into the ground. The rider laugh at Maxwell just as lightning spontaneously struck the rod as the llama flew over it, burning the poor animal and its rider to a crisp.
"...Just as planned," Maxwell said, as the rider fell off of his mount, and bounced like a ragdoll upon hitting the ground. The Savior of Mankind walked over to the collapsed rider and examined the corpse. There wasn't much left, but he could just barely make out a charred 'N' insignia on the rider's armor.
"You thaved me..." Maxwell jumped at the voice and his wing-arm-thing was halfway to the Pouch of Infinity when he realized it was a woman speaking to him. Her bronze skin was tanned from what Maxwell assumed constant exposure to the sun. Her fiery red hair was cut short and tied back and she stared at Maxwell with wide green eyes. Her garb was a set of loose-fitting cloth that was dark green in color.
"Hey, d00d," Maxwell greeted her. The woman threw herself at Maxwell's feet.
"I am Thelena, the latht printheth of Elinia. My allegianthe ith yourth, mathter."
"Uh...d00d, do you know that you have a-"
"Yeth! I know that I have a lithp!" the woman shouted, face contorting in anger before smoothing, "Thorry. I'm jutht very thenthitive about that."
"Well, sorry. And don't worry about it, d00d, just doing my job," Maxwell said, "Say, can I see your panties, d00d?"
"THAT'TH NOT THOMETHING YOU JUTHT ATHK A GIRL!" Selena shouted, blushing bright red, "Look, I know you thaved me, and I am grateful, but not THAT grateful."
"No, no," Maxwell began, "I'm looking for a magic pair of panties that belonged to my friend's crush. I accidentally lost them."
"...Tho you thtole thom other girl'th pantieth?" Selena asked, eyes narrowing dangerously.
"Well, not exactly, d00d," Maxwell said, "It was more of an accident. I'm trying to get them back so that I can return them."
"And what'th tho magical about them?" the princess demanded.
"I dunno," Maxwell shrugged, "But I've got to find them anyway. What about you, d00d? Who are you?"
"Like I thaid, I am the last printheth of Elinia. A terrible man called Nethia ith conquering our land. He ith killing all of my people. I am one of the only oneth left, tho I have taken up the fight mythelf. I wath doing okay until I got ambuthed here by that rider."
"I see," Maxwell said, thinking. This Nezia person sounded very powerful. Could it be that he had found the panties and was using them for his own purposes of world conquest?
"I'll tell you what, d00d, I'll go take care of this Nezia guy."
"...Can you really do it?" Selena asked skeptically.
"Of course! I'm Maxwell Pring, the Savior of Mankind! Taking down the baddies is what I do, d00d! I'll be back in a bit."
"Wait!" Selena said, "You can't jutht leave me here!"
"Sure I can, d00d," Maxwell replied with a shrug, "I'd rather not see you get involved in any danger."
"Your conthern ith touching, Makthwell, but thith ith my fight ath well. I will accompany you, if it pleathe you. I can thow you the way."
"Sure, d00d, that'd be great. I don't have a lot of time to spare anyway." Maxwell began to think of a way to ditch the violent warrior princess as soon as he could.
"Come on," Selena said, "It'th thith way." The two began walking down a long, winding road toward a mass of black storm clouds in the distance.
"...She sells seashells down by the seashore."
Ray was slammed up against the wall as the monstrous man held him by the throat.
"Don't kill him yet, Killer" another man commanded. Ray's bulging eyes searched for the speaker. The speaker was a gaunt man with long, scraggly hair. But his eyes seemed to pierce Ray and stare into him rather than at him.
"Who are you?" the man asked coldly.
"Ray," the boy wheezed through the Killer's iron grasp.
"My, how cooperative," the man replied, "I like that. You act as you should toward your creator. Keep it up and I may not destroy you. Would I be right in assuming that you have a companion?"
Ray's eyes widened. Maxwell. The duplicate Maxwell had gone out, saying that he wanted to go and investigate the source of the panty power. They wanted his pokemon!
"A...Av..." Ray struggled to get the words out.
"What?" the man asked, leaning in closer, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of you being strangled."
"Avada...Kedavra!" Ray bellowed. Nothing happened.
The Writer's eyes narrowed. "Not amusing."
"S-sorry...Maxwell," Ray gasped as he finally blacked out.
"Let him go, Killer," C commanded. The avatar released his grip and the boy slumped to the floor, "His companion will be back. If I'm right, and it is one of the Writers' creations, then it can lead me to one of them. I'm almost done..." his hands clenched reflexively over his Book. He resisted the temptation to open it and see how many pages were left. Not many more, he knew. But he was almost done. Just five more Writers...five more deaths and he would be free.
|posts in thread|
|Tiger of Wu||
May 6, 11 at 12:18am ^re: The Chronicles
A white bird, a huge, white bird, flew above a small city.
A man was watching and prayed to his goddess.
The being who responded was the devil.
Continued Directly From Unbreakable Chains
Leo and Kovu
"Where is she?" Firinar spat, standing atop the run-way on the Chapal Waddi and taking his usual physical form, a black and white copy of his master. Amadeth snickered at seeing his dark voice come from Malali's monochrome body.
"You know," She began from her chair, looking at both Firins in front of her. "My version of you two are a lot less angry. Maybe you'll be happier with me?"
"Anssswer the quessstion." Firine hissed over her brother's shoulder, eyes alight with rage.
"She has alweady gone." The version of Firine from within Amadeth's suit, voice high and bright, replied. "Once she could move pwoperly she dwessed hewself and demanded we let her thwough the portal to Lar." At this point Amadeth, still sitting, began to ignore the conversation and return to her computer in the open air of the mountain, typing vigorously.
"And you will stick to your word?" Firinar, the dark, demonic version, went on to continue. In kind the high-pitched, comical version of Firinar from Amadeth's suit responded.
"We said we'd let her come back through and we will. We never said when." At this comment the zombified scientist, pretending to ignore the exchange, couldn't help but snigger.
"You have one chance to reconsider." The demonic Firinar squinted his glowing eyes as, behind him, his sister formed her huge scythe within her hands and began to flip and spin as if in casual practice, building up speed and moving from place to place like Taz the Tasmanian devil. Behind her computer Amadeth chuckled before looking up at both demons and turning her monitor so they could see it.
"Don't you just love it?" On the screen was a rather whimsical picture containing a rodent. "I mean it's a hamster and, well, he really loves sweeping." Sneering, Firinar turned to his sister behind him and nodded. With a cackle the dark tornado Firine had become charged straight at Amadeth and her super-computer, fading through her brother and hitting... a wall of light? She stopped her spinning and was thrown backwards as if a ball batted with great strength, launching her from the mountain side. As she was tossed back Firinar squinted and growled at the light that remained before taking a few steps back, arm shielding his face. "Oh," Amadeth went on to continue. "Did I not mention the first thing I did after agreeing to this was ward against the both of you with the Denvara's light?" She chuckled. "How inconsiderate. Well, what's done is done. Run on home now." In a screaming mass of black smoke Firine flew up the mountain side and charged into Amadeth's light barrier again before once more being launched back, further this time. Firinar again showed discomfort, even moderate pain, because of the light. With another, more harrowing cry the black smoke the sister had become rose and charged again but this time was stopped when the brother of the pair reached into it and pulled his sister out by her hair.
"Stop it, there's nothing we can do." He quietly stated, throwing Firine's body into the mountain's surface and causing a large crater in it. "Be not mistaken... we will come for you." With his sister still in his clutches Firinar formed himself into the same black mass Firine had been and jumped away as if launched from a trebuchet.
"Well, at least it worwked." Firine, that is to say the version of Amadeth's universe, smugly stated.
"True." Her master replied, standing and walking out in front of her computer. "I'm still afraid your name sharing will make writing my autobiography a bitch, though. Anyway, we h-..." From behind a formation of rocks a creature appeared before slowly walking over to Amadeth, who knelt down and held out her hand. "Well hello there, brother... erm, sister..." Standing before her, sniffing her hand and recoiling repeatedly, was a beast she felt a certain kin-ship to. "Heh, I'll check later." Oddly it was wearing a type of armour and not just any armour but that of the robotic kind; on its back were booster jets and two guns, on its sides were what seemed to be grenade launchers, its legs were covered in a type of robotic enhancement sleeve and a small, monocle-like red visor covered its left eye. Alongside the roughly made armour was a word painted in white which Amadeth read aloud, pondering its meaning.
"It has been eighty-nine days since I sent Malali back to Lar and began colonization; New Australia has been thriving. I've been looking at the energies of my counterpart and her dyke friend, the so-called goddess Emote. Thus far I've concluded Malali's energy to be better for my experiment and believe if I can take an essence of it and dilute what I produce it would be the perfect serum for experiment 8X. Capturing Malali was easy enough. I sent her to Lar and opened the portals allowing her to return. It was perfect for a surprise attack.
"When I caught her there were two differences; the first is that she had healed her wounds from when she left. I can assume since Lar was on the brink of destruction anyway she used a healer who had little time left and wouldn't recognize her. Maybe those of the Fir family aided her for old times' sake? Who knows.
"The second is that she was riding a Rukh, a huge, white bird said to rival even dragons. As I wasn't anticipating it it managed to escape. So now I sit awaiting my captive's awakening. I don't know why I'm telling you this, you're a cucumber, but there we are." With a sigh, Amadeth casually tossed the cucumber aside. "What are you even doing in my lab?" The cucumber stayed defiantly silent. Groaning, Malali opened her eyes. Quickly getting back into character, Amadeth spoke. "You know, I could have sworn we were much more paranoid than that." Even with her precise and gracious voice her malice was clearly evident. "I mean, if that was me I'd have armed that tiny Rukh with a few spells just to be safe but... not you. Then again, you are a raging homosexual. Maybe I will one day make the same mistake, though I suppose I have the advantage of prior knowledge of your plan, so I guess... sorry, I tend to ramble don't I?"
"You just love the sound of your own voice."
"Just think, if you'd have taken those elocution lessons father suggested I'd have been able to enjoy your voice as well but lo and behold, you're stuck being Ms. Manly. Baroness Butch. You could have been elegant, Malali, a real woman. I'm surprised you've yet to grow a penis."
"I would, if you had grown a penis."
Malali lay on her back, strapped down by at least ten thick, leather, reinforced straps. Two needles connected to long, purple tubes were stuck in her neck, draining her of magical and physical energy. Her skill with the arcane and strength of body meant nothing at this time, not to her captor. Beneath these straps she was naked, her body stuck with various needles and patches hooked up to wires. Some of these were meant to monitor her... the rest...
Looking around with the small amount of space her neck could move, Malali saw herself in a large, dark room. She lay on a hard table and saw only black walls, dim lights and the back of computer systems and monitors which all glowed slightly. Standing in the slight glow of these computers was the decaying, furred visage of her undead Noctes-nymphaefelinus (which is to say, zombie cat-Elf) counterpart, Amadeth. Suddenly the very walls and ceiling lit up. "Look at this, sister. Look at what I have done." On the walls and ceiling were images captured by the many cameras around her new kingdom. There were metallic buildings around cars and trains hovering through the cities. Giant monitors were on the outer-walls of the buildings and they showed the news channels of the country read by a smart-looking Human woman with a man dressed as a sad clown. Every time they spoke of poverty he honked his nose and whenever the term death or one of its variants was used a pie would fly into his face. The buildings themselves were huge and the streets below almost non-existent, everyone moving between tubes high above, connected to the many skyscrapers. "I call it New Australia. That's a temporary name. Guess where I built it?" Amadeth asked excitedly. Malali didn't reply. "Very clever, give the girl a medal."
"How long have I been gone?" The question was laced with venom.
"Three months. I do good work, don't you think? There was quite a bit of time manipulation to begin with but ev-... hah, I'm rambling again. Sorry about that."
It took everything the Nightelven captive had to show restraint. She wanted to scream. She wanted to shout at Amadeth, tell her how she'd break free and rip her apart, but for what purpose? All that would do was please her. No. There was nothing she could do but wait for an opening. When it came, and it would, she'd kill this abomination which shared her likeness and give this country back to those to whom it belonged, after all she couldn't imagine they happily handed it over to such a being, even if it was a dead, lifeless rock to begin with. People must have died for it, more than those killed during the war against The Deathknight, and for each of the-
Amadeth slapped Malali. As her head turned, she noticed a familiar face stuck inside of a machine in the corner.
"So melodramatic." The former said with exaggeration. "Christ, if you're plotting against me at least try to hide it; your expression gives everything away." The zombified scientist scrunched up what was left of her own face into a mocking scowl. "Ooh, me so cranky, hit things with sword, ooga ooga." Chuckling the antagoniser walked back to her computer. "I'll put you out of your misery, then. Have you ever heard of the torture theory?" She sat on the chair behind the computer, her heavy boots clanking against each other as she used her right hand to push up the side of her cheek which flapped open showing the inside of her decayed mouth. "Well, where I'm from it's called the torture theory. Not exactly an imaginative name but anyway, it says that you can know someone for decades but only when dangling them into a volcano can you truly see that person, what they are at the core. What they're truly made of.
"Well, sister, I need to know what I'm made of. What we're made of. I can't torture myself or trust you to do it properly, so I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.
"Obviously you can endure torture, shit I know that more than anyone, so I'm going to step it up a level." Smiling Amadeth held up two wires connected to long, thick needles. She stabbed them into her own temples, her face dropping straight into complete seriousness and her voice following. "I've seen the darkest of people, Malali. I've seen madness at its core, I've loved and hated it for a long time Mal', and now you're going to see it all. Over and over and over and over again." The huge needles lit up, one red and one blue, and down the wires energy of the same colours moved into the computer and then out towards Malali as purple. "I'm going to break you...
"... but... you're still different to me." As sweat began to leak from Malali's forehead Amadeth grabbed the needles from her temples and yanked them out with sickening crack and squish noises. "We're made of the same stuff, I believe that, but it has been molded... you won't break from seeing what I've seen... but..." Holding the needles she walked to her captive and smiled. "You've already barely managed to handle what you've done... aha... over and over and over and over," Leaning over the Nightelf's head the Noctes-nymphaefelinus stabbed the needles into her temples, causing her to scream. Amadeth skipped around the table and continued to sing rather merrily as Malali was shown specific parts of her past, precise points in her memories, and could stifle her screams no longer.
It had been a day since Malali was first strapped into Amadeth's prison. At first she was merely forced to see the people she had killed through her life and, what's more, see their footprint. Amadeth was quite proud of it. Due to the magical nature of the Nightelf and her world those she was connected to more oft than not left a psychic footprint which could be used to catch glimpses of their life. Every enemy she had smote without a second thought for their families, the repercussions of taking away parents, siblings and lovers, left behind their memories of those people. Every soul of the lower circles she had mercilessly sent back unknowing that most of them simply wanted to be free of their demonic forms and that she was damning them further, left behind their pure visions of what they wanted to achieve and what brilliant, good people they could have been, given the right chance. Every soldier she had faced and struck down who had been merely acting on what they truly, honestly thought was good left behind the truth of what they were... people fighting for what they believed to be right... just like her.
She saw into herself, into her mind, body and soul, and what she saw was a monster. It devoured everything and left only war. The more she looked, the more she felt her name to be apt. The more she looked, the more she hated herself.
That was far from the extent of it, of course. Once Malali became unresponsive Amadeth activated the physical torture, manipulating her captive's very own magical energy as if liquid and using it to move around her body through her very nerves, slowly and carefully twisting, pulling and caressing them in ways which would have caused her to become unconscious from pain were it not for the fact she was being kept forcibly awake. She wasn't even given a chance to speak, all she could do was exasperatedly scream as her body was played like a violin and her mind was ripped apart from the inside out using only the memories that were already in there. "I'd say a few more minutes." Amadeth snickered over the screaming. "And then I see our true face." Pacing, the zombie Elf smiled before her own face dropped completely, some parts falling off literally. Within her armour she could feel the Firins, the version from her world, communicating to her that an intruder had broke through the defences of New Australia. As she cursed a side of the room collapsed into a pile of rubble and dust, sunlight piercing the darkness. From the debris emerged Emote.
"Ah, goddess. Here to save your manly queen?" Amadeth mocked, Malali continually screaming in the background. "But this will hurt its pride, your man-beast, and we know h-" She stopped, interrupted.
"I'm going to save you, Malali." As the smoke settled not Hatred nor Anger stepped forward but Love, with layers of dust atop her white dress, and she quickly ran towards her target, the Nightelf captive. Amadeth watched from another part of the room, amused.
"You think you can disable my techno-" Again she stopped, interrupted as Emote pulled a large hand-gun from her dress which she had borrowed from Fear. She fired five blasts of white energy balls into the computers near to Malali and small explosions left their remains alight, providing clear visibility to the room. The computers stopped working and the energy within the wires and tubes faded into nothing. The continuous screams of Malali turned into great wheezes along with heavy snorts and gulps as her mind tried to transition from the hell of its own creation back to reality. "Wow, when people say love is insane they we-" Again Amadeth mocked, being abruptly stopped as three energy shots hit her chest, the open form of her armour causing it to short circuit and knock her unconscious. As the undead cat-Elf lay against the wall Emote, still as Love, holstered the gun in her dress and worked on freeing Malali. The reinforcements of the leather straps broke loose when the computers were destroyed making them easy to rip out of the table so soon the goddess had her Nightelf partner off of it, pulling the wires out of her body and healing the marks they left as she went.
"Malali, it's me." Emote stated, growing louder and more panicked as she spoke. "Can you hear me? I came as soon as the Rukh found me." No response. She slapped her cheek. "Damn it Mal', talk to me. Say something!" Still panting heavily, Malali looked up into Love's eyes.
"S-... sorry..." She puffed as she slowly found her voice again. Emote wiped drool from her chin and foam from around her mouth. "Was... stupid..." The goddess shook her head.
"No, no, you did what you had to." She stroked her face. "I should have helped you more. I'm proud of you, Malali. Now I'm going to save you." She dropped her forehead so it was touching her partner's, looking into her weary eyes and seeing them like she'd never seen before. "We'll wait until you can walk. Don't worry, there are others... we'll wait." Leaning against the table they held each other, the Nightelf slowly regaining control of her body. Her main concern was that they'd be vulnerable to attack but, as the sounds of fighting came in from below through the hole in the wall, she realized Emote had saw to that herself.
"People of Earth, I have met with your leaders and they have agreed on what shall have to be done." On every TV screen and computer monitor the world over stood a humanoid shaped robotic-looking creature. "Australia will be rebuilt! On the ashes left behind by my nemesis I will help bring forth a new age! No longer shall you worry about illness, no longer shall you fear running out of fuel and no longer shall you be bound by stone-age technology. Look upon me with wander, people of Earth, look upon my robotic suit the likes of which you have only dreamed and marvel at what I can and will give you, if you let me. It has been agreed that I will build New Australia into a civilisation like my own, a peaceful country using fully renewable energy sources which your scientists would think of as only magic, a powerful country in which every man, woman and child will be free, healthy and happy. I am deeply empathetic to what has done to your country, your world in general, and I shall offer you all that I have and all that I am. If you wish it away it shall be gone, I will not enforce my will onto you, but know that when you are ready you can have infinity. In two and half of your Human months it will be complete and in three you will decide what you wish to take from me and what you wish to refuse. In four months time I will be redeemed, and will move on to help the next planet in need.
"Heed my warning well, friends. If I am refused, I shan't return. Think deeply and once ready, speak."
"I don't trust her. She's a snake, she'll end up betraying Malali, I know it. We need-
"To make a plan. To just completely destroy the bitch and once we have we'll stomp out-
"Her oppressive regime along with Mal' and give those people their country back but first we-
"Must save Malali but oh god she's got warships and robots and we can't do it but we have to and I just-
"Want her back. We need her back. We must-"
It had been a few days since Malali had gone to Lar. Emote hadn't much experience in the fields of time-manipulation but she assumed that one could have been brought back a minute after one had left even if they had spent months away. Two days was far too long. Amadeth, the person who had helped send Malali away, must have been up to something. Currently Amadeth was stationed in Australia under the guise of one of the aliens who defeated the monster hidden within the black dome during the events of the war against The Deathknight. She promised to aid in the Human efforts to rebuild the country and even make it better. Faced with a being they had only ever seen the likes of in Science-Fiction, and still humbled by the powers used against them by The Deathknight, the world leaders agreed to her proposition and welcomed her as an ambassador from another world.
As one might expect the controversy was echoed across the globe. 'Why should we trust her?' 'How did we not know about them sooner?' 'Why are we bowing to a creature we know nothing about?'. As before, fingers were pointed and accusations were flung to and from everywhere to anywhere. Whilst the people voiced their meaningless opinions Amadeth continued to work with the governments, or at least work under that guise. By the fourth day she had begun using a wide-spread mind control device and everyone working with her instead worked for her.
"Of course we can trust her." They would say to their superiors and the public. "I've worked with her and it's just like working with a Human, only she looks like a robot... so it's better!" Before long the public grew to herald Amadeth as a saviour. As expected, she was all the world would talk about.
"We must get her at the core! We need to break-
"Through the few defences of Australia and destroy-
"Her now, but first we need to get Malali back so-"
"Perhaps you should take a rest, Emote." A calm and serene voice cut through the goddess' ramblings. "You're in such a state you're not even breaking between sentences to change forms. It is... worrying."
"Why does it-
It is true that Emote knew this being. A long time ago she drifted aimlessly through space and was fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on who you asked) enough to stumble upon... well, she wasn't quite sure where or what it was. It was a radiant place some mortals might perceive as heavenly but not as glorious. Pure and humble. It was there that she was asked a question for which she had no answer. The one who asked the question was a being named Credence, someone Emote hadn't seen since she had first met him.
"Please, do not be bitter. I've refrained from contacting you merely because I haven't needed to." Credence said gently. He stood with his hands behind his back, his skin near-translucent and showing silver rivers where a normal man would have veins. Covering him was a simple white robe, completely stainless and sparkling clean. Atop his eyes was a blindfold which wrapped around his head and gently rested atop his long, grey hair. "It is a compliment, goddess. You have adapted well."
"Then why are you-
"Because now I am needed. If I were to leave you to your own devices you would go after Amadeth now and you would undoubtedly kill her. This would result in Malali being stuck in Lar and you being metaphorically burnt at the stake."
"And why's it-
"Any of your-
"Usually it wouldn't be but, be it fortunate or unfortunate, an associate of mine has grown rather attached to Malali as well. Without her to protect it, he would most likely burn this rock to a cinder along with everyone in it. This I cannot allow."
"Before. What's special-
"About this one?"
"Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything." Credence paused to let Emote speak before continuing when she didn't. "If you attack Amadeth now Malali will be lost, you will spark a war in which you yourself would be the focus and when Tetrath eventually returns to this planet with the hope of fighting an old foe he will find her gone and in his rage... well, you know what he can be like." Again he paused and again was offered only silence, thus continued. "Will you accept my aid?"
"Amadeth, if your nemesis was killed in Australia then what caused this?" Amadeth and groups of reporters, dignitaries and the general public had gathered amidst the rumbling machines hard at work to rebuild the the city centre, and surrounding areas, of Birmingham.
"Space is vast and full of life-forms. Your planet was once hidden but my nemesis painted a target on its back for rogues of the molten galaxies to pillage. Unfortunately I was too late to wash away this target but my associate, Ion," A man within the crowd suddenly felt his body tense. "Has already took away this residual energy and is hard at work to make sure that this beautiful little planet stays safe in future. That will be the final question, if you'll excuse me." The robotic form of Amadeth walked down from the makeshift podium and hired security began to hold back the agitated crowd. A safe distance away, Amadeth unleashed fire beneath her and jetted away, to the top of a nearby building half-way through construction. Standing at the top of the steel-frame Amadeth waited until finally a man, a man who fooled even the sharpest of detectives into believing his completely ordinary disguise, ascended on a steel girder lifted by a crane.
"So I am your associate, am I?" He asked with a sneer. Amadeth's suit had retracted into being the more revealing speed suit, her armour becoming more akin to a bikini with gauntlets and boots. Ion regarded her the decayed flesh on her face with disinterest, his subtle attempts at probing what was left of the Elf's mind resulting in nothing.
"Perhaps not yet," Amadeth replied with a smile. "But you will be. I'm glad my personal ad reached you, I had hoped you'd be monitoring this world for word of Malali."
"I grow bored." Ion swiftly moved on. "Propose what it is you have called me here to propose so I may be rid of this planet." Amadeth's smile faded, then returned even wider than it had previously been. The proposal, the reason Ion had been called. To him this would be business, purely and simply, so she had to offer her deal in as much of a business way as she possibly could. The hidden mind-games even behind the psychic powers would decide both of their fates and each tiny movement either of them made struck the other and left ripples behind. She had to be professional.
"Well fuck-nuts," Amadeth stood, lazily balancing on the cold steel. "I need to control people and you can help with that. In return I both inform you of what Malali was hiding in your little fight and give her to you on a silver platter, headless if preferred." She felt her words had landed clearly and with the respect due but the way in which Ion looked through her (in this case, literally) suggested otherwise.
"There are..." Ion finally began, pausing so as to find the right words. "Many mitigating circumstances surrounding this forced debauchery of sanity. Send me the full details of what you wish, I'll assume you know how to contact me by now, and you will hear my reply in two days time."
Amadeth raised her half-furred, decaying hand and gave a gentle wave as Ion teleported back to his space-station.
"Amadeth, the rumour-mill has been heavy with accusations saying that this associate you spoke of, the man named Ion, was one of the two people involved in the battle which caused the destruction of Birmingham; have you any comments?"
Amadeth, completely covered in her robotic suit and showing no signs of her Elven heritage, feline gene-splice or zombie curse (or as she calls it, enhancement), gave a short chuckle which echoed from the speakers in her helmet and then through the microphone in front of her. "There are also accusations that it was I who flew the renegade space-ship into Russia but we know these are just accusations and nothing more. How about instead of I speaking for him, we let Ion answer them himself." She said, somewhat believably as well. From behind a gathering of bodyguards, all for show of course, Ion emerged and walked onto the stage. He took the mic to the sound of confused applause.
"I am Ion." He stated hesitantly, waiting for someone to say something in reply. No-one did. The fact he was a real person in front of them, a relatively normal looking man who could have been from S*bleep*horpe at their best guess, was slightly overwhelming, considering to them it sounded as if Ion would be some kind of alien charity corporation. "I have been called here to help you by my trustworthy associate, Amadeth, and we will do all we can to both rebuild your country of Australia and offer you as much as we can by way of technological advancements; we wish not to patronize your scientists, of course, but with your resources diminishing it seems the right thing to do." As he spoke he probed the crowd and had his subtle input. He wouldn't need to control every single mind on the planet, of course. If his calculations were correct (they rarely weren't) all he needed to do was convince the leaders and the media and the rest would fall into place. "I look forward to aiding you in these coming months and helping you further, should you accept what we can offer. Thank you."
Before long both Ion and Amadeth were atop a nearby building. The latter was lighting a giant marijuana spliff as the former spoke. "It doesn't matter if you don't understand, Amadeth," He looked out over the city of Washington as he spoke. His tone of voice laid on condescension thick and frequently. "I'm going to aid you and I'm going to get what you offered in return. Nothing more, nothing less."
Laying against the bottom of a water tower and taking a long drag of her joint, exhaling through a hole in her neck, Amadeth shrugged. "Well, I've got you at least." She held out the spliff to Ion and he held out his hand in a no thank you gesture, though without the thank you. She shrugged again and within less than four long drags had finished, spending the entire time quietly fighting against Ion's attempts at probing her. Flicking away the butt of the spliff the zombie Elf stood and let part of her suit open, revealing the half of her chest where rotted flesh and decaying wounds replaced where a breast had previously been. In a large hole near to her mechanical heart sat a bag of white powder which she reached for before Ion made a perplexed observation.
"I don't wish to give the impression I care," He began hesitantly. "But I am curious at least... why is there a hamster-wheel in your chest?" Amadeth looked down to the green hamster wheel and chuckled.
"Scientific advancement." She replied with a grin, then placed the bag of cocaine back where it had been and closed up her suit. "Thank you for the reminder, I'll take my leave; I have a date with a pair of rats I can't miss."
As Ion watched Amadeth jump from the building and shakily glided from side to side at a recklessly ridiculous speed he questioned whether his decision to aid had been wise. When he saw her crash into a group of birds and plummet to the ground, he was certain it wasn't.
"Have you reached a decision?" The majestic form of Credence calmly spoke, standing in Emote's palace. He was in the presence of Emote herself, her current head of security Captain Danog and her personal maid, Maitrey.
"We have," Emote's current form, Joy, replied excitedly. "And we will accept any help you can offer."
"You took your time in responding." Credence noted with a warm smile. Emote giggled.
"Fear was swayed by Anger and Hatred but me and Love convinced her in the end." The goddess replied.
"A common feeling, I'm sure." Credence smiled.
"So what is your plan?" Danog asked uncomfortably. Credence slowly nodded and began to pace, as if in deep thought. As if he hadn't already come up with the first stage of the plan the day before he had offered his help.
"First we must infiltrate the building crews of New Australia and find what we can of Malali; when she will return, if Amadeth has any intentions of letting her return and the like. Right now we need to disregard everything that Amadeth does and will do, unless if it's world destruction itself, and focus on Malali." The majestic creature nodded, his grey hair bobbing gently behind his back. He continued to pace. "When she returns I will need around half a day to organize... guests."
"Guests?" Maitrey confusedly repeated. Eventually it clicked. "You mean like the others, the ones they used against The Deathknight?" The maid remembered the tales she had heard about what had happened in Australia. The Executioner, Severein, Nae'blis, Tetrath... could such people be trusted again? Without another word Maitrey left. Danog quickly followed her.
"She makes a good point." Emote continued in regard to Maitrey before sitting on the ground. Amused, the angelic visitor did the same.
"She does. However here we are not constrained to using only void-rips and stabilizing via worm-holes." Credence looked down and began to write on the ground with his finger. "Here we have available to us myself and I am capable of bringing through whoever we so choose, assuming it is in enough of a motionless time-space, a point in time where their being here will not change the events of their lives or worlds." When finished he looked up and saw what appeared to be a goth before him, chin resting on arm-hugged knees and boots touching backside.
"Why not pull them out of any motionless time-space and through time to the time we need them?"
"Because I am only willing to work with space. To manipulate both at the same time to such a degree will cause a shock-wave through the void I cannot predict the nature of."
"So there will be a limited amount of people we can use... perhaps there will be no-one."
"Then perhaps I can kill that whore by my own hands... I'll assume due to my erratic nature I will be useless as a spy in Amadeth's camp."
Emote stood and brushed herself off, eyes staring intently downwards as if she were about to shout at the ground itself. She turned and walked away. "Then I leave command of my people to you." She stated before vanishing behind a slammed door.
Credence sat alone. Through his blindfold he looked towards the door through which Emote had gone, speaking gently. "To show such restraint whilst feeling so helpless..." He stood. "Thank you, goddess."
Amadeth and Ion stood with only each other in a large, dome-shaped room. "Your schematics make no sense to me." Ion stated. Amadeth didn't reply. He supposed they wouldn't considering not much of her technology made sense to him or anyone else. It was... surreal. He had considered before that perhaps there was technology of the same standard he had encountered but could it be what he was seeing surpassed that? Ion shook his head and chuckled; he didn't understand it because it was a different type of more primitive technology, that was all. He tossed the schematics aside.
"So," Amadeth began whilst laying under a large, spherical seat surrounded by machinery and working on it like a car mechanic. "Are the telepathic links sound?"
Ion sighed. "For minds such as these Humans? A stop-watch swinging back and forth would have done the trick... yes, your links should work."
Amadeth rolled out from beneath the large chair she was under and stood. The wheels sticking out of her back retracted into her spine and she walked over to her robotic suit. "Then you have made good on your deal and I thank you."
"And when will you make g-" Ion stopped, fell to one knee, let out a yell of pain and began to shake. Amadeth quickly ran from her suit over to the chair she had been toying with and hit a few keys on one of the surrounding computers before Ion's shaking stopped and he took a number of deep breaths.
"Sorry." The zombie scientist stated, nervously attempting to press her tongue against her cheek and accidentally going straight through.
"No," Ion spat, exhausted. "I foresaw the imperfection of the device... yet I stayed in the room... it is my own fault." He loathed making mistakes and saw fit to act as if it hadn't happened, quickly standing and continuing. "And when will you make good on your side of the deal?"
"I've told you," Amadeth began whilst walking back to her suit. "When New Australia is complete Malali will return, then I will do what I need with her and leave her to you. I should mention something..." She began. Ion could sense what was coming and his eyes squinted. "There's this... well, goddess. Her and Malali used to get down and dirty, you know, the old fish market shuffle, the stinky wrestlin-"
"I get it; Emote. I know of her. What of it?"
"Well she's going to come after me soon enough. I can't keep an eye on everything and there's an opening for security chief, if you want it?" Amadeth, covered in her suit all over except her face, wiped some patches of dead fur from her semi-intact cheek before letting her suit expand around her head in a helmet. "If I die or my technology is destroyed, Malali will be lost forever." Ion looked away disinterestedly. Helping with schematics is one thing, giving up three months is another. "And without her you'll never truly know what caused your technology to falter and will never be able to remedy it."
Ion smirked. Perhaps taking such time out was necessary. "Allow me to inform my superiors."
A large whiteboard was in the corner of the room. Ion sneered at such primitive techniques but Amadeth insisted it was 'how she rolled'. To continue this line of primitiveness the zombie Elf had a large boombox on her shoulder, held by a bent arm. The boombox played an old techno song with a bass-line so heavy it made her patches of fur shake and bounce as she looked from the whiteboard to Ion, who said nothing. Still holding the boombox Amadeth walked over to the whiteboard with a nineties B-boy hop before taking a blue marker pen with her free hand and testing it on her white lab coat. She insisted that as long as she wore it she was a legitimate scientist, much to Ion's annoyance. In another corner of the room Amadeth's robotic suit was, against all logical laws of physics, hanging from a plastic coat peg as if it were a cotton blouse. From the suit echoed a voice, the voice of her very own version of Firine, and both she and Ion (again, against logic) smiled at the suggestion.
Bouncing up and down to the beat of the music Amadeth scribbled both what she had thought up and what Firine had shouted onto the board. She dotted the i's with love hearts and turned the u's into smiley faces. She had also, in the past month, tried to make further contact with Malali's demonic versions of Firinar and Firine with little success. After holding a seance and wasting a drunk afternoon with a ouija board she finally followed Ion's hold on the web and found them. It did not go well. This did not mean it was a waste, however, nor did it mean they couldn't be... persuaded. At that point in time it meant little, though. Amadeth continued bobbing to her music, the Firins (Amadeth's Firins) continued searching for their counterparts and Ion... his eyes were firmly on their guest.
A noise alerted all of them to a presence in the door-way and in entered a miniature beast wearing robotic armour. Amadeth greeted the beast and asked it how its day had been, smiling and nodding as if it were actually replying. When she asked what it thought of their guest it looked at her bemusedly before lazily walking away. Ion glared at the beast quizzically; there was something certainly not right with it. Instead of a single thread it emitted a group of them, all twisted together, some frayed into almost nothing and others fighting each other to either conjoin or dominate. His questions could wait, however. Their guest was a more important matter.
He explained exactly what he could find from her mind. Her name was Maitrey and she was the head maid of Emote's palace, soon to be reassigned as per the bi-yearly shift. After an argument with her partner by the name of Danog (Ion couldn't conclude whether he was her boyfriend, husband or simple sex partner; apparently she herself didn't quite know) she had volunteered to become the first spy to infiltrate Amadeth's groups. The intention of her people was to gather information so that once Malali had returned to their planet they could launch a rescue mission; Amadeth laughed heartily at the thought of her sister needing rescue then conceded that since she herself was the kidnapper it was actually highly likely.
At that point in time Maitrey lay on the ground in the centre of the large room. She was conscious. Her left arm had been thoroughly 'played with' leaving almost nothing of it but chipped bone and patches of torn flesh. Each finger on said arm had been cut off slowly; Amadeth started at each tip and cut a wafer thin slice of flesh and bone before repeating until nothing of the fingers were left. The rest of the arm was victim to a series of brutal rips using what was left of Amadeth's claws, literally tearing off chunks of flesh and tossing them into a plastic bin labelled 'spare parts'. When Ion finally arrived to see Maitrey laying in such a state he asked what the need for it was. Amadeth gave no answer but Firinar explained that their guest was strong-willed and it was for the purpose of making Ion's job easier. Firine claimed Amadeth had just gotten bored.
"I've come to a decision." Amadeth finally stated. She placed down the boombox and headed towards the whiteboard again, taking the pen in hand. On the whiteboard, beneath an underlined title which read 'What To Do With Mary Sue', were a series of suggestions. With a single stroke the zombie Elf crossed out the words 'Make A Stew' and then beneath that, the words 'Flush Her Down The Loo'. She contemplated the next two, 'Install A Camera Into Her Eyes, Surgically Attach A Penis Between Her Legs And Laugh At Her Boyfriend's Reaction' and 'Shoot The Bitch' before finally crossing them out as well. After chuckling at the next suggestion, 'Feed Her To The Tiger Cub', she crossed it out and then the next 'Send Her Head Back In A Box' as well. Eventually there was only one suggestion left without a line through it. Amadeth turned to Ion. "What do you think?"
"Make her head of security." Ion read aloud, contemplating anything they hadn't considered. He nodded. "Perfect."
Amadeth smiled. "I'll get to work fitting her a robotic arm then."
"Be calm." Credence ordered. His tone was like that of an aggravated but understanding father. "If you do this, you will die."
"We can't die, not fully." Firinar replied. Once again he and his sister were in corporal form, as per their agreement regarding Emote's city.
"I meant the mortal." Credence responded more viciously, pointing towards Danog.
"We care no ttt for himmm." Firine answered.
"I can take care of myself." Danog bitterly spat.
"Against Amadeth?" Credence reasoned. Danog looked away.
"They have Maitrey. You must do something." Firinar gravely added.
"If you die, you can't help her." Continued Credence.
Danog slammed his fists onto the table and stood, shouting an unintelligible expression of his angered frustration. A similar noise came from Emote's bedroom before her door opened, the metal knob on the outside denting as it swung open violently and impacted the wall. The wood itself shattered and splintered, leaving a pile of kindling and half a smashed door hanging from bent hinges. Danog's terror was obvious. He knew what was about to happen. "Time and time again." Emote began. Her voice was almost as demonic as the Fir twins' own. "You've been warned." The goddess looked as a tribal warrior and red energy wisp-ed around her, currently as large hands which smashed into the ground. "No shouting," She slowly began to walk over to Danog as the fists grew bigger and continued their furious demonstration. "In my palace." Anger.
Before long she had reached Danog and, using her own flesh and bone hand balled into a fist, she landed a solid punch on the man's jaw which sent him to the ground. She barely broke her stride as she did and after walking past him the large, red hands which spun around her grabbed him and dragged him towards the city's prison. Credence and the Firins knew he would be held there for as long as they continued playing angel and devil on his shoulders. "Even in such states, she has her sparks of wisdom." Credence commented with a gentle smile. Wordlessly both Firinar and Firine faded into black smoke which evaporated into the air whilst they disappeared.
"Ion's log, day fifty six.
"On the request of Captain Roshea I am keeping a personal log of my time helping the mysterious alien Amadeth. This is log number twenty-nine. Thus far proceedings have exceeded my expectations. Whilst I find Amadeth herself to be an eccentric buffoon at the best of times she is organised, focussed and able. New Australia, the country she is building, has come along miraculously and the quarter which she is starting with should be complete within the next two months. The technology she uses is akin to, if not more advanced, than that of our own even if her methods are questionable... but I am not to judge, merely aid and observe. I have been fed certain information regarding Malali and the teleporter mishaps, namely that a warlord with supposed magical abilities named The Deathknight was at the centre of the incident. Apparently I was told this as a show of good faith, though... I still question whether her information is worth all of this trouble.
"In regards to my duties they have remained the same. On the face of it I am the face of Amadeth, her public speaker, but this is of course a front. In reality I am to use the woman named Maitrey as a filter through which I can manipulate the politicians and workers in charge of project New Australia. When not doing so, I am to oversee and control all security operations throughout the country. As when I fought against Malali there seems to be some kind of magnified affect on my psychic abilities. Amadeth has told me the only reason that it happened before was due to Malali supposedly leaking magic into the air and me absorbing it, because of her rage, and I'm told that aside from where it is specifically designed to happen, such as with Maitrey and the device in which she has been restrained, it is highly unlikely for such an affect to ever happen again. I have spoken to Amadeth, however, in an attempt to attain a more permanent state such as the one this device puts me in and she has said that after our time is through, she will aid me in researching it.
"Even without Maitrey I would be able to manipulate these pitiful Humans easily enough but with the magnified affect it is easier to do so from great distances. This means I can stay at New Australia as the head of security for the time being, which means I can keep an eye on Amadeth. She has thus far resisted every attempt at telepathy I have made and I still do not find her trustworthy. I despise her. I will, however, stick to my orders and work with her until I attain the information needed."
"We came clossse to killing uncccle." Firine bitterly stated.
"Indeed." Firinar agreed.
"Thissssecond-rate bitch isss nothing." The sister continued.
"Agreed." The brother replied.
"Ssso why aren't we attacking herrr?"
Why indeed. Could it be because Amadeth had outsmarted them before? Surely they weren't going let a silly thing like caution stop them. Was it because it could result in Malali being stuck back in Lar forever? They could send her a postcard. Maybe she'd die? All the more reason to go ahead with it. Had it perhaps something to do with that self-righteous, meddling Credence? He was annoying, sure, but not enough to stop them from recklessly endangering many lives including their master's. So why-... oh, right. That was it.
Both Firins stood at the edge of the mountain on which Emote's city resided. In the form of Malali, they looked at each other in disgust. Fear. They were afraid. The scourge of the lower plains and the children of the Firvara herself, omnipotent in their home and bested only once by a legendary warrior outside of it. The demon children who were said to be most likely to topple the mortal empires and single-handedly reign supreme throughout the seven continents.
They looked at each other in disgust. Before long both creatures became formless clouds of black smoke and shot like energy beams from an ion cannon directly towards New Australia. They plowed through almost finished skyscrapers until reaching Amadeth's security building, ending the short and brutal trail of destruction with the wall to a gargantuan office in which they sensed her residing. They stopped dead-centre of the room to see Amadeth sitting behind her desk looking over files and drinking coffee which poured out of various holes in her face and neck. The heat of the beverage made the rotten flesh it landed on stink a more putrid flavour of bile. Seeing the two demons in the centre of her office Amadeth picked up the phone. "Yup," She casually said. "Okay, send them in." She put the phone down and then looked up. "Ah, there you are, welcome."
"Do you knowww what your problem isss?" Firine quietly asked. Amadeth rolled her tongue over her teeth.
"Bad breath... or maybe my problem is I fell for the telepathic ranting of an insane psychic and flew off the handle, causing me to fly into an obvious trap and-oh wait, that's you." She merrily replied. Firinar looked around the office seeing various familiar runes. As his sister fumed he walked until hitting a barrier which burnt him at the touch, causing the demon to pull his arm back and scowl.
"You'll pay-" Firinar began before his voice became nothing, only hollow air escaping his lips. Amadeth laughed and held up what looked like a TV remote.
"My own design. Mute button." She laughed again and then stood, parts of her rotten flesh and white lab-coat stained brown by coffee. "I love my job." She walked to the elevator and left the room and the demons to their imprisonment.
Malali stood at the edge of Mount Tsereve in the continent of Eci. She considered all that had happened in the past three months, how she had infiltrated the gathering of soldiers sent to fight the awakening dragon. How she had to refrain from telling her old master, Gala, how happy she was to see him again. How much shame she felt standing in his presence and knowing how far from grace she had fallen. How much pain she felt as he gave his own life so that the world might continue unharmed, a profound irony which amused and killed her in equal measure.
She was in Eci because there, the continent of ice and snow, was where Gala had been born and where his family resided. Since Malali knew the people of Eci would soon be killed by The Deathknight she knew there would be no consequence of her informing Gala's family of his valiant death. She thought it would perhaps illeviate the heavy weight she had been feeling but it did no such thing. Afterwards Malali found an isolated village with an adequate healing guild. She paid them to restore her to how she had been before journeying into The Lower Circles to attain Eclipse. Their pay was triple the going rate; perhaps it would bring them some smidgen of happiness before their deaths.
Malali argued with herself on more than one occasion. She wanted to stay, more than anything she wanted to remain behind and to fight The Deathknight. She could find a Tiaoro and use it to re-enact her attack in Australia, only using more of the arcane arrows. She would die from the Tiaoro but herself, her past self, would live. She'd need not have lost all who were close. Clafir would still live.
But Master Gala had always said his experiments with space and time were dangerous. The wrong event at the wrong moment could not only kill those involved, it could drastically change the entire time-line. Paradoxes would occur with power beyond even the gods and at worse, existence itself could be risked. Never, Malali. Never act recklessly when dealing with such things. She had acted recklessly already. She couldn't bring herself to disobey her master twice.
So she stood atop Mount Tsereve, looking out across the world of Lar. On a day such as this she could see beyond even the top of Krad and all the way to the other side of her world, to the bright and fiery Erif. She tried to smile at the wondrous sight. There was every possibility it would be the last time she looked out at her home. The smile never came. Floating in front of Mount Tsereve was a portal which showed the planet Earth beyond it.
Cocking her head slightly Malali whistled and a huge, white bird came to her side; a Rukh. Rukh's were natural enemies of dragons and had natural telepathy meaning when the Dragon Slayers were active they used Rukh's in their battle. To aid her, Malali had found and tamed a Rukh as well. Her expectation was that the Rukh would return to his flock after they were finished but he didn't. He stayed with Malali and, as far as she could tell, he would accompany her back to Earth as well. After mounting the large bird and placing Eclipse into a makeshift bag at its side, Malali looked out at Lar.
She looked out at her home and said her final farewell.
Benny Meng, AKA Foresight, could predict the future. When working with Wisper, the organization of freedom fighters to which (at this point in time) Basis belonged, such an ability was priceless. Currently he looked out at a battlefield in his own home and saw members of Wisper engaging their main enemies, the group known as S-III, and he saw numerous things going wrong. It was a sneak attack so the non-combatants who hadn't escaped lay injured or dead on the floor. At the front of the battlefield Surge, his and their leader, ferociously tore the soldiers limb from limb, enraged due to the losses his team had already suffered. Not far away stood Blitz and Ashley, the former seeming to go insane on his own (now unrestricted) power and the latter screaming whilst unloading round after round from her various assortment of guns into the groups before her. At her feet lay the lifeless body of William Statler, her husband. Not much further away Basis fought alongside Shell, both of them continuously talking, Basis about how much he wished Malali was there to enjoy the fight and Shell about how little she cared. All he'd talked about since he returned three months ago was his wife from Not-Earth, Mally. Mally this, Mally that. It made Shell sick. She'd never admit why it did but it just did. Laughing, Basis flipped into another enemy soldier and sent his body flying, landing near to the lying corpse of a child named Quick-Step. Proclaiming his own awesomeness, Basis was scolded for not focussing and he soon grew agitated, telling Shell she was just jealous. To this she kicked him angrily, with great force, and sent him directly into the line of fire. He wasn't dead but he was floored and bleeding, heavily.
So much death already. Benny stood at the back, observing. They'd suffered losses but if there were no more surprises they could win this fight and live to see another day. It was at this point Daku, a man who had proven himself stronger than most of them combined in the past, blew a hole into the ceiling and landed directly atop Foresight.
He awoke screaming.
Grabbing a pen and pad from the desk next to his bed he scribbled down notes whilst muttering to himself. "Statler was... her fault... move him... shouldn't be here... change them... die, die, die... save, save, live... no, too much... yes, should work..." Ripping the note from the pad he folded it and put it into his pocket before lying back down and trying to falling back to sleep, ultimately failing.
The next day he got up early and, after his usual morning ritual, he went about his work. First he spoke to Samiria and told her of a carnival which would be taking place not far from where they were. After being told of it she immediately fell in love with the idea of going and Benny walked away happily knowing she'd convince Alex and the children to go with her. The kids would convince Jennifer to go with them as well meaning her father, Surge, could fight with a level head. Next he spoke to Surge himself and told him the exact details of what he saw and how he saw it happen. Daku appearing wasn't a part of the dream, he was certain, meaning he wouldn't show up in the actual battle. The only reason he appeared in the vision at all was so he could suppress it, stop his enemy from gathering the information. Since that was the case Wisper would easily win with precise planning, assuming no wild cards were played. Their leader thanked Benny for the information and told him to move onto phase three of his plan; removal of liabilities.
"Hello." He greeted after returning to his room and dialling a number on his phone.
"Benny! Benny, Benny, Benny Benny Benny BennyBennyBennyBenny-"
"Yes, it's me." The old man laughed. "Slow down child, I can't understand you."
"No, no, nononono, can't slow down, need to prepare for fight, stop the fight, prepare to fight the stops." As the child to whom Benny spoke ran the sound of air rushing into the mouthpiece almost drowned out what he was saying. "Need to get poppy paper, puppies, pentagrams, pyramids, piles of pleasing pills, everyone happy, no-one fight." His mouth was a machine gun and every syllable was a bullet fired in rapid succession. "Daku gets me back, no Basis gets hurt, IQ has toy, no need for all the dying and the fighting and the-"
"Quick, stop. Stop now." Over the phone Benny heard Quick-Step skid to a stop, his reinforced boots scraping the rough pavement. "Take a breath." The child did. "Stay still." He obeyed. "How do you feel?"
"LikeI'mabouttoexplodeandIreallyneedtorun-" The old man took a breath. He hated doing this. "-againBennyletmerunIcan'tstopBennyletme-" Foresight spoke again, Quick-Step continually repeating himself in the background.
"I need you to run to the last warehouse."
"Can you do that for me?"
"-finefinejustletmerunfineI'llbethe-" As Quick-Step took off like a bullet the mobile phone on which he spoke shattered leaving Benny with only a broken signal. With a sigh the ageing Asian put down the phone and stood, walking into the common area in which Basis was telling stories of his time away.
"And then there was this thing called Seery's Hard Liquor. Have the kiddies ever stood up really fast or hit kiddy heads really hard whilst eating ice-cream too fast?" He was speaking mostly to the children who giggled and nodded. "It was like that... only pernament. Then someone turned the ground off and quickly back on, so Basis was falling then wasn't. Then Mally came and had a fight, and Mally called Basis a zombie and punched him in the face so he punched Mally then Otter ruined everything and we proposed and Mally... heh, Mally was awesome."
"We get it." Shell, standing near the back, agitatedly said before mumbling to herself. "You've been to an entirely new universe and ever since you've gotten back she's all you've spoke about, no-one ca-"
"Shell," Benny called from near the door. "Surge needs to speak to you." Composing herself, the girl briskly exited with Foresight as Basis continued telling his story.
"What does he want?" She asked, still clearly in a bad mood.
"Oh, he doesn't want to talk." The girl looked to the man with a frown. "Sorry, you were just about to cause a scene in front of the kids. I thought it wise to intervene." Shell looked away, still showing signs of anger before finally, and reluctantly, speaking.
"Thanks... I guess. He's just a broken record and it's annoying."
"Don't worry, I've got something which might cheer you up. You can't tell anyone else but I'm going to see Quick-Step and you're welcome to join." As Benny explained, Shell looked to him in surprise, even showing a hint of happiness.
"Yeah, sure... but why can't we tell anyone else?" The two of them moved around Samiria and Alex who were heading passed them towards the children to tell them of the day out.
"We're still unsure of where his loyalties lie. I trust he won't attack me or you but the others... I'm not too certain about." Shell thought about Benny's words before conceding, ultimately disagreeing but trusting his judgement anyway. Before long they'd exited the hideout and, a quick drive later, they found themselves within an old warehouse which once was Quick-Step's home away from home's. It had since been wiped clean of any evidence he had been there, needing to keep S-III unknowing that he wasn't entirely on their side. Inside the old warehouse Quick-Step was already waiting for them, running from one side of the building to the other and back whilst audibly talking to himself.
"But Basis was the original so with him we can make it all better but we don't," He wore an all black outfit which covered him from neck to toe and had black, tinted goggles resting on his hair which was also dyed black; he wasn't a fan of the emo look but S-III, the organization he currently worked for, wouldn't allow him to wear anything else as it would make him easier to see. "Want to hurt him too much or kill him so we need to figure out whether Daku's going to-" Mimicking Road-Runner Quick-Step skidded to a stop, smoke rising from the heels of his shoes, and quickly turned to look at Foresight and Shell as they stood at the entrance, both slightly amused. Like a bullet he fired from his position and ran straight into Shell, the both of them flying a considerable distance before hitting the ground and rolling to a stop, the small child holding the taller, more muscular girl as tight as he could. "Sistersistersister! Hihihihihihi!"
"Get off me, freak." With an annoyed grunt Shell forcefully tore Quick-Step's arms from around her and pushed him away before standing and brushing herself off. "I thought we've been over this; no cannon hugs, alright?"
"Shell," Foresight called out to her, still near the warehouse's entrance. "A series of fields in about five seconds, if you'd please." Shell raised an arm and nodded to show she had heard him, taking a few steps back as Quick-Step, still lying on the ground, began to whisper.
"Bennybennybennybennybenny," As he repeated the name his voice became louder. "Bennybennybennybenny!" Again like a bullet, the boy shot from the ground towards Benny Meng only this time he slowed down gradually, thanks to Shell's energy fields, until he was at a paced jog when he reached the old Asian, falling into him and hugging him just as tight as he had hugged Shell. "Bennybennybennybenny."
"It's good to see you as well, Quick." As they embraced the young boy's legs were constantly bouncing where he stood, constantly using the ridiculous amounts of energy he had. "How have you been?"
"I've been good very good," Quick-Step replied, head still buried into the elder man's chest. "Daku's been making me run more missions to see I.Q. but none of them have been to kill anyone anymore so I like it more than I used to but I don't get to see Basis and Shel and you anymore an-" As the young boy spoke a flash of light enveloped the trio and they vanished from where they were into another world entirely.
He didn't know where he was. He didn't know how to get back to where he had been. He was certain there was something he was missing, a piece of the puzzle or a word on the page he wasn't quite comprehending which was indeed a strange occurrence. Not the feeling of something missing, of course, he had felt like that for a very long time, but the fact he didn't know what it was. He couldn't understand it. He had walked down this path before without effort or trouble yet this time he was... he was...
"Lost?" The Knowledge suggested. His master, The Writer known as C, stopped in his stride and spoke very gravely.
"My last nerve is currently being played by your mentally deficient brother," C gestured towards The Beast who was currently having a most enjoyable time romping through the tall, thick trees of the forest. "Continue to put tension on said nerve and it will break and should that happen not only will I dismiss you back into words I will erase your existence entirely." C continued his walk.
The Knowledge took a step forward to speak but The Killer, who was standing a C's side, turned around and gave his ally a grave expression. The old magician looked into the young warrior's eyes and spoke to him telepathically, causing the younger looking of the two to sigh and step aside. The Knowledge caught up to C and spoke his piece. "If I may, master," He knew C was serious so attempted respect. "If our presence is so aggravating why not dismiss us until such a time we need to be summoned again?"
C sighed. How an avatar of his logicality and analytical abilities could be so stupid was perplexing indeed. "We've walked this route before yet now we're suddenly lost? Can you not feel what is in the air? Are you so incompetent that you cannot feel this foreboding?" C stopped again. His voice grew louder and more angered. "I keep you in corporal form because if I am correct then I am in danger and should a sneak-attack occur I'd prefer immediate protection, imbecile!" His voice grew louder still. Even The Killer took a step back and The Beast stopped his joyous frolicking to look at their master. "Now I suggest you stop asking obvious questions and continue silently or I swear I will rip you out of existence and write myself a less testing servant, do I make myself clear?!" The Knowledge resisted the strong urge to smirk. His plan had gone perfectly. Exaggeratedly, the old mage bowed before falling back. Before too long The Beast, having dropped down from the trees, joined The Knowledge in silently walking behind C as The Killer took his place at their master's side.
Had The Beast continued to play in the trees C's last nerve would have surely been broken and he would have scolded the animal. The Beast did not take such scolding well meaning after his violent protest he would have been wiped out of existence and had another being wrote in his place. At a time when, as C pointed out, they could be attacked at any moment such an act had to be avoided even if it meant The Knowledge needed to get himself into trouble so that The Beast would get the message.
And so they continued until nightfall, when C rested. He didn't deem it necessary to rest but The Knowledge convinced him, saying they were safer when in a single, defensible position. "Safe from what?" C had angrily asked. "What could possibly put me, a god, in danger?"
"Whatever it was that made you, a god, become lost." The Knowledge replied in as much an attempt of respect as he could muster. Currently The Killer and The Knowledge stood on guard duty outside of a large tent in which their master slept. The former looked out into the night as the latter sat and studied an old tome. The Beast was meant to stand with them but little over an hour previous he had saw something shiny and ran towards it. Now, little over an hour later, he ran back towards the tent screaming unintelligible roars of perplexed anger. The Beast was fast, ridiculously fast, so the fact the wall of light which followed him was fast enough to keep up was impressive. It meant, amongst other things, that The Knowledge, The Killer and C had only a few seconds to consider it before it engulfed them.
Silence. All around him. Pure and dead silence.
He stood in a storm and panted heavily. He was in an old castle in what he believed to be Sweden and through a large break in the ceiling of the entry hall came a heavy downpour. Light flashed above him as thunder raged from the clouds and he continued to pant. Around his feet were shattered skeletons and defeated daemons, some barely breathing but most decidedly dead. As thunder roared lightning flashed and reflected off of Sin and Punishment, his bladed gauntlets. In the harsh wind his black coat flapped violently and more than once he had to reach out and grab his straw hat as it was taken away by a strong gust.
Silence Templesmith. He screamed into the night.
"I know you can hear me!" Only thunder replied. "Give me The Codex Mephalamus!" As he was journeying towards a city in which a supposed collector was himself in possession of a copy of The Codex Mepalamus, an old book in which he believed he could learn more of his origins, Silence came across an old castle which left a foreboding stink in the ether. At first he was going to leave it be but he sensed something deeper to it, something more than renegade daemons hiding in an old ruin, as if even a daemon lord had taken up residence. Knowing he could find information regarding his search from such a being he walked the path to the castle, at which point the motionless sky turned into a raging storm. Entering the castle Silence was greeted by bookshelves and in the centre of one he saw a copy of The Codex Mephalamus. When he reached out for it the book disappeared and the large castle doors closed whereupon swarms of lesser-daemons and undead attacked him. After dispatching them, he threatened whoever was pulling the strings. "I will search every inch of this castle, find and kill you if you hold it back from me." Again, nothing. Only silence.
He was not a stupid man nor an inexperienced man. He knew there was every possibly that there was not even a copy of The Codex Mephalamus in this castle, that it was simply an illusion, but if that was the case then someone specifically was trying to trap him. Such a person would surely be able to give Silence information, with a bit of heavy persuasion. "Fine." He quietly whispered. "I'll play." After reloading Angel, his high-powered sniper rifle, and picking up Fall, his trusty halberd, Silence walked towards the nearest door and opened it. From behind said door came a burst of pent-up magic which exploded onto him, so powerful it knocked him unconscious.
Swarms of lesser daemons surrounded him, circling as if tigers ready to pounce on their prey. They parted as their master slowly floated towards the unconscious Silence, a wicked grin on his deformed face. The grin quickly faded once he realized he couldn't harm his foe, however. Something, or someone, was protecting Silence as he lay. Perhaps a charm or an old spell, an artefact around his neck? An outside force? It didn't matter. Within seconds, gleaming light devoured the young daemon hunter and he disappeared.
"This is totally your fault."
"This should be entertaining. Go ahead. Explain."
"Well you had to try to be secretive."
"... excuse me?"
"If we ran in like I wanted to, guns' blazing and motorcycle burning, we'd have took them out."
"You're an idiot."
"Maybe but I'm right."
"If we did that they'd have killed us."
"As opposed to what they're going to do now?"
"There's still time before Glados gets here and they won't act until he does."
"Oh, so you have a plan to get us out of here before then?"
"No but I'll think of one."
"Well, try to do it quickly because the light from that little window suggests he'll be here soon, at which point we're cat-nip."
"That doesn't even make proper sense."
"... shut up." Leo and Kovu mutually brooded in silence. They were currently imprisoned in a darkened room and chained to opposite walls by thick shackles they hadn't the strength to break. Outside was a regiment of armed gunman and quite a few of what Leo had come to call Murder-Kill-Bots. "The light's coming closer... and fast." Leo remarked. Before Kovu could reply, the light exploded into their small jail and swallowed them.
Emote had stayed silent as she sat, holding Malali. Even when she changed forms into that of Anger the goddess didn't move. She leaned against the table on which Malali had been strapped and held the Nightelf, stroking her hair. As Love she uttered gentle coos and reassurances that she was safe now though Anger did no such thing. She merely sat and stroked, her eyes never leaving Amadeth who lay half-way between them and the elevator. When Love had shot at and short-circuited Amadeth's robotic suit she inadvertently disabled various gravitational manipulators. Without said manipulation the zombified Elf couldn't lift her body, being trapped beneath the great weight of her suit, meaning she could only lay and wait for either Ion to assist her or for whatever might come next.
Slowly Malali pushed herself off of Emote. Amadeth's head cocked upwards and she saw the alternate version of herself slowly walk towards her. Malali was so bruised and scarred and she moved so slowly and so shakily that one would have been forgiven for thinking of her as a zombie as well. Emote didn't help her. As much as Anger would have enjoyed stomping the last breath out of Amadeth's rotting body, she understood it was not her place. Malali hobbled, having to half-drag her left leg, until eventually she reached the living corpse which was her captor and gently, with a grimace of pain, lifted her leg over her foe and slumped down to sit on her chest. She breathed heavily and beneath her Amadeth played the stoic.
"You want to... to see what I am..." Malali slowly began, her voice like that of a dying cancer patient. "What we..." As if blind, the Nightelf reached out with her left hand and patted the ground around Amadeth's head before finally resting it on her face, feeling fangs beneath her rotted, open flesh. "The real me." She almost smirked. Dazedly, Malali raised her right hand and balled it into a fist before using what little strength she had to bring it down and strike... the ground. A small impact crater surrounded her knuckles as her pained panting turned into the heavy growls of a rabid dog.
Amadeth had disappeared. Teleported, leaving nothing but the stench of decay in the air.
Malali would have laughed or screamed if she had the strength but it wasn't there. She simply held her position before Anger walked over and, using the red energy she commanded, lifted her from the ground. "Let's find your stuff and get out of here." Red wisps elongated from the goddess' tattoo and supported Malali so she wouldn't fall as she walked. The two of them started by walking towards a machine in the corner, a type of large, metal chair with four machines connected to it via a multitude of wires; the first machine monitored the person who sat in the chair, the second monitored what they sent out, the third monitored the machine itself and the fourth was for Tetris. Both women looked at the machine. Malali recognized the person within it.
"You're very lucky, the risk of a teleportation mishap was high." Ion stated casually whilst looking out over the battle below. Amadeth, who now lay on the floor of his security office, laughed.
"Is that why you waited until the last minute?" She laughed again as Ion's bodyguards assisted her out of her robotic suit. "So you wouldn't lose your source of information?"
"Nothing personal." Ion replied. "How are we to proceed?"
Amadeth undressed one of the bodyguards down to his underwear and covered herself with his clothes before turning back to Ion. "Proceed?" She smirked. From an outside perspective, you'd be forgiven for thinking they didn't regard each other with utter contempt. "I don't even know the situation."
"We currently have ten powerful intruders that I can detect, though I believe three are a part of the same being, and numerous Humans assisting in the revolt. I am unsure," As he said the word, Ion's mouth twitched. "But believe there to be another who is trying to block me from these others. Most do not seem to know of their intentions though I have managed to find two intentions amongst the lesser Humans, those being to cause chaos and to find Maitrey."
A metallic click repeated as Amadeth nodded. "Can you turn the Humans against each other?"
"As stated, someone is blocking me from reaching them."
Again, Amadeth nodded. "Spare no soldier. Use our power booster as much as you can and kill them all."
"What of Malali and Emote?" Ion asked. Masterful tactics required even the small details be taken care of.
"I'll engage my back-up power supply and take care of them myself." Amadeth replied before turning and walking away.
"And in the meantime?"
"Worry not." She grinned, exiting the room. "There is one who can hold them for now."
[color=#666666]This message was edited by Tiger of Wu on May 06 2011.
|posts in thread|
|Tiger of Wu||
May 6, 11 at 12:18am ^re: The Chronicles
It sniffed the air and looked around excitedly. 'Here.' It punched the ground and then stood high on its two legs, beating its chest. 'Again.' It ran.
C sighed. "Remind me, why do I put up with such a creature?" He drearily asked. The Knowledge looked around and saw the incoming soldiers, instinctively raising barriers to keep them or any projectile weapons away. "Why do you not follow him?" C asked.
"If you were to come to harm, it would not bode well for I." The Knowledge replied. C laughed a short, hollow laugh before opening his book and writing a short sentence, closing it again.
"Your barriers are indefinite here. I am safe. Begone." He stated. For a few seconds The Knowledge hesitated. If he left C alone the results would no doubt be harmful all around yet if he let The Beast run free... finally, he ran in the direction that The Beast had gone. Standing at C's side The Killer gave his master a quizzical look. The Writer chuckled before holding what page of the book he had opened to show he had only pretended to write. "Of course I will not hide behind his barrier. This smells like the work of one of my brothers. Shall we find him?" C grinned and The Killer reflected the smile before turning to the soldiers, who now aimed in wait, and running at them through a hail of gunfire.
Meanwhile, a daemon hunter's eyes opened to a sub-machine gun aimed at his face. He was ordered to remain still and for a moment he obeyed, looking around himself subtly. Five Humanoid soldiers surrounded him, each covered in a black, tactical style uniform with a bright pink trim. They didn't show any signs of being daemon's themselves but certainly gave off... something. In the near distance he could feel something akin to a strong daemonic presence as well. He felt his halberd beneath his gauntleted hand and, in one quick movement, Silence had spun and jumped so as to stand and used his weapon to floor his enemies. A few beams of red energy shot in random directions in the commotion and before any soldier could grab their weapons and aim again, they were quickly taken care of. Silence stood and looked around; he was no longer in the castle and no longer felt the same power from before, the daemon lord. Instead he felt something different. Minutes ago he was on the trail of a copy of The Codex Mephalamus. There was a chance the source of this power he felt would lead him to one as well, and perhaps provide some much needed answers, so he headed towards it.
Nearby a small group barricaded themselves into a building. "Remember, there is no need to go out and fight." Captain Danog said from the centre of the circled group. "We merely need Ion distracted."
"We will return for you once we have secured Maitrey." Credence gently added, standing in the centre with Danog. General Danog, the Captain's father, had tried to argue that he should join them but was eventually persuaded that he would need to remain with the others as he was the best tactical mind they had, excusing Credence himself. "Remember, if the signal is given then we won't be able to return. Retreat immediately via the escape routes discussed, understood?" The soldiers confirmed and saluted, and the Captain and Credence left.
"-nd they've been working on a new drug so I stop running into things and they say I won't have to use it with my nose any longer and that- wherethehellarewe?" Quick Step broke his embrace with Foresight and turned to Shell. "Didyoudothis?" Shell shook her head.
"Who do we know with teleportation? Benny, what's going on?!" She asked with almost a hint of fear. Benny shook his head.
"I did not see this coming. I saw us at the warehouse, laughing, but not this..." The old man responded.
"Well how about working some Houdini around here and finding out." Quick Step added, with more than a hint of fear. Shell shook her head again.
"Houdini didn't read minds, he was an escapist."
"This place is... ridiculous. No questions, we need to move off of this bridge," Shell and Quick Step looked around only to realize that the large park surrounded by skyscrapers in which they stood was connecting two said skyscrapers together, suspended high above the ground. "And go left, then five floors up into room 8041; Quick, you'll need to keep pace."
"Move!" And as they ran away from the incoming soldiers, two others were in their own peril...
"How did he get here?!" Leo shouted. Kovu shook his head.
"You really need to stop getting involved with these kind of maniacs." He replied. Both he and Leo were in what appeared to be some kind of futuristic hotel room. They barricaded a door with their backs as it continued to be pounded on from the outside. The two of them could here a wispy, gruff voice which Leo had heard before, but which he found others oddly deaf to.
'Two-legs fight,' The Beast demanded of them with glee, banging the door again and again.
"Sorry about this," The Knowledge called with a smirk. "But if you'd like to inform me of where we are and how we can return to where we were, I could call him off for you."
Kovu looked to Leo then whispered. "So we aren't the only ones."
"Remember those documents we found about The Antarctic Incident?" Leo responded just as quietly. "Those Malali pointed us to in exchange for the bike? Well-" And in that moment both of the feline men were thrown forwards as the door broke into twenty pieces and The Beast beat his chest happily. He looked at the duo of Two-Leg Brothers before him, sad to see that Leo still wore his Man-Clothes and even sadder that the new Other also wore armour, all but his helmet which had been taken from him whilst imprisoned.
All of this was off-set by the fact that neither of them had any Bang-Sticks or Metal-Teeth, also confiscated from them when captured, thus The Beast was happy. Leo and Kovu, however, were not. "Couch," Kovu yelled and, utterly in sync, the two of them rolled from the floor and ran to the large cough, picking it up by each side. Leo took point and ran towards The Beast, who entered the room with excitement, and with a yell the feline tossed up his end of the couch and rolled away, leaving Kovu to push it with a mighty burst of strength directly into The Beast's bare chest where it stayed. The two of them were in a deadlock of strength, the feline straining as much as he could to push his antagoniser out of the room but failing as The Beast held himself in place and grinned wildly. From behind Kovu came a shout and a series of steps and, again in perfect sync, Kovu pushed the couch upwards a bit and spun to the side as Leo ran in and drop-kicked it with as much strength as he could, causing The Beast to fly back and crash through a door into the opposite room.
Both Leo and Kovu burst out of the room in which they found themselves and ran down the hallway. "What I said before," Leo began as behind them The Beast picked himself up. "I had a point. Malali was a part of Antarctic. If Grey Matter is the cause of this she's probably here too and without weapons we could do with an ally." The Beast burst through a wall with a mighty roar and then took off after the fleeing bipeds as The Knowledge trailed behind, hoping he could keep the situation from exacerbating but hesitant to intervene. It was rare for The Beast to find others like him; he could have a bit of fun.
"Sir," A voice of a soldier far away from the scene began. He was clearly leading his people yet he still spoke as if to a superior, though used no communications device. "We've found Silence and will proceed to engage."
"Stay your position," The superior, Ion, replied via telepathy. "New orders will relay soon." Ion stood at the top of the security tower, the twin to Amadeth's personal tower. He sat down at a table atop which there was a holographic map of the immediate area along with small balls which floated in different directions, black representing soldiers, white civilians and red being intruders. Indeed, the leader of the small defence force was just around the corner from Silence and Ion closed his eyes before opening them and looking through the eyes of said leader. He turned to his group. "Confirmed, we are to engage. No holding back men, lets take this scum down." The soldiers ran forward and set up position, aiming across the bridge which Silence was currently crossing. The glass dome above caused an echo as Ion shouted to him, through the body of the man he possessed. "You have one chance to stand down before we open fire."
Without so much as blinking, Silence turned heel and ran. The soldiers hesitated before firing giving him enough time to dive back into the building from which he had come, using a strong gust of magical wind to hit the inside control panel and slam the heavy, metal doors behind him.
"We can still get him." Ion called. "Go." The soldiers ran forward before a burst of laser fire came from within the building and the doors, covered in marks, opened. A soldier like them stood aiming a weapon towards them before dropping its aim with relief.
"I tried to get him but he was too fast," He began, gesturing back towards Silence. "He went left, come on we can still catch him."
"Proceed." Ordered the superior. The soldiers ran towards the building and then into it, turning left as advised. Before long only two people remained on the bridge, the soldier who advised the others and the squad leader who Ion had taken over. Silence looked to him with a sour grin.
"You knew?" He asked. It was the only explanation for him not going with the squad. Silence aimed the weapon he held at the squad leader before his body shifted back to it's original form, now leaving Ion's squad leader and the daemon hunter. "Why did you let them go?" There was no answer. The squad leader simply raised his arms and the bridge began to violently shake. Silence turned to try and escape but the door behind him was firmly shut. He shot the control panel but it did nothing. He shot at the squad leader but the effect was minimal, he simply fell to his knees and continued his telekinetic struggle full of holes. As Silence tried to think of something else he could do the bridge broke free of the towers it was attached to and collapsed into the darkness below.
"And you are?" C asked on the opposite side of the two towers which centred the country.
"You seem powerful." Shell stated, looking into The Writer's eyes. Quick-Step bounced from foot to foot and pointed to The Killer, who stood next to his master.
"Youlookpowerful!" He shouted excitedly, eyes bouncing from the smoking wounds The Killer had attained in his reckless combat. It was rare for him to be so reckless but it was rarer still for him to disobey his master for the sake of protecting himself.
"They are powerful." Benny finally told them. Since all five of them had become distracted with one another the people from whom they fled had caught up with them.
"Be still or we'll fire," Called one of the soldiers. The bridge on which they stood had only two exits, both of which were covered by a small squadron of armoured, well-equipped infantry. "Lay down your weapons and surrender."
"Why I have no weapons." Replied C with a smirk.
"Don't think us idiotic," Called another soldier closer to The Writer. "Put down your book and pen."
C turned to the soldier with eyes ablaze with fury. "Blashpemer! Heresy!" In a flash The Writer had his book in hand, open to a fresh page on which rested his pen. The soldiers began to fire shots and each that flew towards C bounced off of a force-field and back towards the shooters, effectively slaughtering them. On the opposite side Shell raised a barrier to protect herself, Quick-Step and Benny before the young speedster of the group dashed like a lightning bolt around the gunfire, knocking out the soldiers with a short burst of speedy strikes. The Killer remained in the middle of the action, disappointed he hadn't the chance to render any limbs from their owners.
As the mismatched group calmed down the structure on which they stood began to shake. Some would call it un-stylistic to use the same technique twice but Ion was more one for results, thus like with Silence he focused and with his new-found levels of power he ripped the bridge from the towers to which it was connected and it fell into the dark abyss below. Knowing he had little time Quick-Step grabbed Benny as the ground began to crumble and he moved towards Shell but the chaos and the lack of control he had left him to only dodder atop the falling wreckage before seeing sense. Shell was his big sister. She would face a hydra, a dragon, she would face Basis and win. Benny was old and though doing well for his age he was no genetically engineered being. That's not true, actually, he of course was a genetically altered being but not in a truly physical capacity thus-
Quick-Step stopped his rambling thoughts, which occurred in all of a millisecond, and he ran up the falling bridge. Without breaking stride he grabbed a gun from a falling soldier and shot at a window to the nearest tower which caused it to shatter. Throwing the gun away, Quick jumped with as much force as he could muster... and it wasn't enough. He floated near to the window and, weighed down by Benny, he missed his mark. With a grunt of strength the child tossed the elder man towards the window and then he himself fell, looking back to see Benny scramble madly to safety.
Inside the building Foresight rested against the wall. He was known as Foresight for his ability to see the future and yet, even actively seeking immediate threats, he hadn't foresaw the bridge collapsing. Someone or something, intentionally or passively, had blocked his ability. As Benny looked to his left he saw said someone or something approaching him.
Back in the security tower Ion smiled. He tapped the table in front of him in a small gesture of victory and kept him smile even when seeing the heavy bruising on his arm. For a second, however, his smile faltered and very faintly, perhaps in the distance, he heard the sound of metal clanging.
In Amadeth's personal tower Malali and Emote stood practically alone. There was the person in the mechanic chair and various bits of machinery but nothing more. Amadeth had been rather sloppy, however, and instead of disposing of Malali's weapons and armour or keeping them in a safe place she had tossed them into a secret cupboard and left them there. The duo found the cupboard and in spite of the fact the Nightelf was gravely weakened, she at least now had the Dragon Slayer armour to protect her. She couldn't properly lift the great war-hammer known as Eclipse so she instead had the head resting on the ground and she used it like a walking staff. "That stupid bird still hasn't come back." Anger stated. "Why did you pick a coward?"
"It was mating season." Malali replied wearily. "The others were nestled away. He was the only one I could find." She replied, referring to the Rukh who she had used to aid her Dragon Slayer disguise back in Lar.
Something preemptively interrupted Anger as she was about to reply. A large elevator door opened and from it emerged a small creature who quietly growled before firing a stream of ballistic bullets and missiles.
"We need to split up." Kovu shouted, far away from where Malali and Emote were.
"That's a horrible basis for a plan." Leo replied.
"But he's already fought you," Kovu referred to The Beast, who was currently chasing them. "So he'll be more interested in fighting me for variety." This, of course, was bullshit. For whatever reason the vicious creature was focusing on Leo; when it caught up with them it went for him and when it threw projectiles they were always directed towards Leo. Fortunately Leo hadn't noticed this. Why was this the case? Kovu didn't know. He couldn't remember every detail of what Leo had told him about his fight against The Writer and his first encounter with The Beast so whether he was wanting revenge for being defeated or simply to test whether the one he defeated had grew stronger, Kovu couldn't be sure. There were some things he did know, however.
The first was that if they were to escape the situation they were in they would need to first figure out exactly what the situation was. Leo seemed more inclined to find some weapons and fight, thus the task rested with Kovu which of course tied into the second fact; they would find nothing whilst being chased. This all led to the third fact which Kovu had deduced being that Leo would have to divert the attention of The Beast and the old man who followed. The fourth and final point was that the duo, through Kovu's precise planning, were nearing a 'governmental' vehicle station. Judging by the various hover-crafts they had seen through the glass windows in the buildings and from the bridges, this would give Leo a good enough way to escape without The Beast being able to catch him, and by the time The Beast realized the plan Kovu too would be gone. And so they went, and so it was.
They ran into the now-unguarded vehicle station and found a hover-bike which Leo found was button operated in every-way; Amadeth's research into Humans led her to believe simplistic button-mechanics would be friendlier than the complicated ways of her old world which required oddly shaped keys and ports in which to put them. With a shaky start Leo glided along the ground and then he yelled with merriment whilst accelerating hard before sharply breaking and turning. Kovu hid away as The Beast and The Knowledge entered the vehicle station and the wiser of the two spoke. "Must we continue this chase?" He asked exasperatedly. The Beast gave no reply but tentatively sniffed the air before Leo zoomed passed them atop his new-found toy, causing both to turn and run after him.
At the bottom of the city, amidst the dark smog beneath the clean buildings and bridge-circuits which connected them, Silence Templesmith walked. The ground beneath him was wet and soft but he could discern no colour from it and the only source of light, other than the little which passed through the black smoke, came in the form of red beams which appeared every now and then from different directions; he had thus far kept himself out of the red beams' paths. There was nothing daemonic or similar about the beams or their source but the fact they floated at head height and came in pairs led Silence to a rather disconcerting conclusion.
There were numerous red beams floating around him now, as if attracted to where he was. They would swoop across and he would duck under them and quietly move low on what he had decided to be the muddy ground. Silence used the bottom of buildings as cover until he was sure the path to the next was clear, and he always checked behind him for other beams of the red light. He was certain of only one thing; the direction he was headed towards certainly held the semi-daemonic presence he had sensed at the beginning. He thought about what such a strong presence could hold and inside of the darkness he saw the path before him clear and he quickly rushed forward, half-walking into the building which he had hid behind. Two things happened because of this.
The first is that Silence realized that despite the fact he had avoided death thanks to the soft ground and his spell of gust, his nose had been rather badly damaged. The second is that his gauntlet hit the metal base of the building causing a rather loud noise. He thought nothing of the noise and raised his hand to his face before twisting his nose into a more suitable position; he was surprised that he hadn't noticed such pain earlier. His haste and confusion must have hidden it from him, and now that he could do so properly he took a deep breath... what he smelt was horrible. It was similar to-
His thoughts stopped. In front of him a gathering of red lights moved quickly towards him like a wave. When he turned he saw that another came from behind him, and two from the left and right as well. Before long the glowing eyes and whatever infernal creatures held them in their heads would be staring at him causing Silence to disregard the smell and unsheath his halberd, though before the eyes reached him they turned upwards to look at (and, as such, light up) another broken bridge and three figures falling downwards towards them.
The chaos of the moment was over quickly. There was debris in the forms of mini pieces of rubble and large chunks of the bridge, and C, The Killer and Shell were all groggily and painfully trying to comprehend the situation; The Writer himself had begun to form an escape but before he could finish they had landed, meaning instead of floating easily downwards they simply struck the ground with a little less force. A shock-wave from the impact had threw Silence to the ground next to them and he made a startling discovery as beams of red light lit up the ground in front of him. The soft feeling, the smell... they were currently atop (and, as such, the entire city was currently built into) what appeared to be the open wound of a living creature.
Another person had made a startling discovery not far away in the higher parts of the city. Leo cursed Kovu once he realized that he was acting as a decoy and promised to take revenge as soon as this was over. He could think about urinating in his soup later. Now he needed to focus, which was hard when you were racing between building's atop a hover-bike whilst two crazy sons of bitches were chasing behind you. The first son of a bitch was The Beast who, when Leo took to the skies, decided he would jump from building to building like some kind of insane King Kong on steroids. On more than one occasion he had been millimetres from taking Leo out completely which was more than a little concerning. The second son of a bitch was The Knowledge who had taken to the skies in a way much similar to Leo, using his power over wind to fly. For whatever reason, perhaps because he couldn't at that time, the old mage hadn't fired any fireballs or the like and for this Leo was thankful.
Of course, the fact a small child ran up a building-side and then bounced like a blur from where he was to standing atop the nose of the hover-bike took away any previous thanks Leo had had. "Whatcha doing?" Quick-Step asked with a grin.
They flew passed the window of a building inside of which Benny Meng was being told the situation by Credence. "So you were blocking Ion's mental powers and accidentally blocked mine as well?" The old man asked, nicely summing it up for his confused head.
"And now that we're all here we've launched the rescue operation," Danog continued hastily. "So if we could please start moving, I would appreciate it." Benny nodded and then they continued in the direction they were headed.
"Foresight," Credence began from behind the two of them.
"Please, call me Benny."
"Of course, Benny." Credence paused then continued. "A lot of people are in a lot of bad situations at the moment. After delivering Danog to Maitrey, I believe we can help them."
Credence's proposition was cut short as an explosion rang from above them, from the tower in which Malali and Emote were. Malali was propped against her war-hammer whilst Emote bounced around the room, using pockets of red energy to contain the explosives which were flung at both of them. Their attacker came in the form of a small, silver and black Tiger, essentially appearing to be just a cub, but around it's body was a type of armoured harness attached to which were machine guns and grenade launchers. In large letters across this harness was the word Arimus. "I don't remember the Dwarf having a pet." Emote called out. Throwing her hands to her sides the goddess formed a thick shield in front of herself and with it she ran through a hail of gun fire. The red energy twisted into a war-hammer which she used to try and smash the tiger cub's head but the booster jets attached to the animal's harness let the tiny creature escape unscathed.
Malali said nothing.
"Killer!" C shouted, scouring the ground for his pen. His loyal avatar appeared beside him holding the writing utensil. C took it from him before squatting downwards and stroking the ground beneath him. He smiled, wrote a demand into his book and then flicked through the pages. "She's using a live creature as a way to power the entire city." He laughed. "Diabolical. I like it. She... who is she." He flicked through the pages again. "Amadeth also known as Laytra also known as Malali." From not far behind him, Shell's hands tightened into a fist.
"Malali created this place?" She looked to the flesh on which she stood and her stomach turned. "Basis... who is this woman?"
"So you don't know?" C asked. He had heard the old Asian man speak her name as Shel and there was no mention of her being connected to Amadeth as he skim-read through the zombie-scientist's past. "Then... I suppose we have no reason to kill you." Afterall, a pawn in the right position could save or destroy even a king, with the right guiding hand. "So shall we find this Malali together?"
"Daemons." The Killer spat, and then he pulled a pole-arm from nowhere and stuck it to The Writer's neck. He then transformed back into Silence, a determined scowl on his face. "In the nearby tower. What can you tell me of them?"
C smiled. Usually in a situation like this he'd order The Killer to disembowel them both and call it a day. The absence of The Knowledge had a strange affect, however; just like how a child will usually wear themselves out and behave without a parent demanding they be good, C found he had an edge more logic and sensibility now that his usual avatar of logic was out galavanting with The Beast. C looked into the pages of his book again for the sake of this new second pawn and he confirmed that the twin demons (the difference between demon and daemon in this case being unimportant to C, thus unmentioned) worked for a creature known as Malali. Once The Killer broke out from beneath the rubble which had trapped him he was berated by his master, then the mis-matched group of four headed towards the security tower in which the trapped Firins, Ion and Amadeth resided.
"Why are you here?" Ion asked, talking to Amadeth. She sat on a couch in the centre of the room with a beer and popcorn watching a large screen on which Emote protected Malali from waves of soldiers and a small tiger.
"I need to watch the cub's progress," She replied, taking a swig of beer which leaked from her throat and smoothly ran down her repaired armour. "And this is the only couch in the security tower."
"Because you put it there."
"Exactly, so shut up."
Ion turned away from Amadeth and focussed on his work. Were he a less patient person he'd have killed her a long time ago. "There is a lesson to be learnt from this." He stated. Amadeth turned to him and chewed on some popcorn, waiting for him to continue. "We have but you, myself and that animal. Malali, however, has an entire squadron of powerful allies here to save her."
Amadeth laughed. "They're here to distract us, Ion dear. Not all of them like or even know of Malali." She replied merrily. Ion turned to her with almost a smile.
"Of course not."
"I.Q. told me about the man-cat project but I never knew you could fly!" Quick-Step screamed excitedly. Leo simply screamed, trying his best to not completely spiral out of control. Still chasing Leo, The Beast jumped with immense force and like a steroid induced sportsman he tackled Quick-Step from the vehicle and into the nearby building; or at least, he almost did. Fortunately The Beast had decided that small Two-Leg Non-Fur wasn't worth his time thus he tossed him away, at which point he had ran up the building side and dived back onto the nose of Leo's hover-bike. "Some people eh, yeesh." The child casually said whilst brushing himself off. From the building in which he was embedded The Beast jumped straight towards them again, though this time Quick-Step foresaw it and like roadrunner he powered his legs up so he could dash away.
He was, of course, standing on the nose of a hover-bike. His cartoon-esque movements caused the bike to flip forward before he dashed away like a crack addled Sonic the Hedgehog. This in turn caused The Beast to completely miss his mark, Leo, and the almost flying form of Quick-Step was millimetres from completely taking out The Knowledge who followed not far behind them. He watched as Leo struggled to get the hover-bike back into an upright position and once he finally did he found the speedy child once against standing in front of him. "Hi again." He cheerily chimed.
"How do you keep doing that?!" Leo shouted with frustration. Then it clicked and in his mind a plan came together.
Back below the black smoke C and Killer ran with Shell and Silence. At this point the red beams had found them and upon this various dark creatures appeared from all directions and chased after them. Shell vaguely recognized them as the same creatures as those which Basis had described from the war against The Deathknight; humanoid in appearance but ultimately deformed and twisted, black shells containing only anger and malice which they directed towards whatever their master told them to kill. The glowing red eyes were new but Shell surmised that she was in the same place as Basis had been and she was facing the same kind of enemy. The fact that Basis confirmed that everything on the country was decimated by alien weaponry after it was evacuated simply made this fact all the more worrying.
They were no match for her twin sai, however. Like most humanoids slicing their throat killed them, at least initially, and her barriers were more than enough to keep her safe as they moved. Silence favoured decapitation using Fall, his halberd, and every now and then he would fire Angel, his sniper rifle, into the hoards which attacked them. The power of the sniper rifle let it tear through the black creatures with ease, ripping a path through which they could continue. The Killer, of course, had a different... method or style would be the wrong term as that would imply some level of thought went into it. He simply bounced from enemy to enemy and ripped them apart, sometimes grabbing one by the legs and using it as a club or projectile. This all served to give C time, since the relentless creatures seemed infinite in supply and just wouldn't quit. They required something larger to clear the crowds and be it a wave of fire, a storm of thunder or a stampede of animals The Writer was able to conjure a way to allow the small group to continue until finally they reached the base of the security building, and the current safe-haven of Ion and Amadeth.
Higher within Ion's security building, three people stood and discussed their next move. "We must part here." Credence stated. Danog nodded in reply; if Credence said he'd be safe until reaching his target, then he wouldn't argue or think twice. "We will return to the others and see about calming down the situation. You can use the elevator to-" Interrupting Credence, a small explosion came from below them and once the elevator doors opened they revealed no elevator, just an open shaft and dangling wires. "As I was saying, you can use the stairs to-"
"Got it." Danog interrupted. He held the gun he had taken from the corpse of a soldier tightly before running to said stairs and then up towards the top of the building.
"Ready?" Credence asked, turning to Benny Meng.
"No." Benny replied. Then, their minds and bodies became one.
"A gun!" Leo screamed, still flying chaotically around with Quick-Step on the front of his bike once again. "Get me a damn gun!"
"But Daku said I wasn't allowed to participate in arm deals anymore." Quick replied, shifting his upper-body to avoid bolts of fire and thunder which were now being flung by The Knowledge. "He said he didn't want me to keep selling them for more of my slow-down-powder." The wizard had surmised that if this child had gotten Leo killed The Beast wouldn't be happy and, since C wasn't around to withdraw him, he would go on a rampage which would quickly make them a lot of enemies. It didn't take a genius to see it wasn't wise for them to make more enemies, not with the levels of power he could feel in the ether.
"It's not an arms deal," Leo replied. He swerved so as to avoid The Beast which caused Quick-Step to fall from the bike, though before long he was back atop it. "I'm not paying you, so it's more like charity." Quick thought for a second before he disappeared, soon re-appearing with what can only be adequately described as a huge fucking bazooka. "I said gun, not WMD!"
"It was all I could find!"
"Oh forget it," Leo yelled with frustration. He grabbed the rocket launcher-esque weapon from Quick-Step and aimed it at The Beast atop a building not far behind them. The result was a devastating beam of energy designed by Amadeth which, if asked, she would describe as a particle-y acceralated sub-atomic something or other. The Beast had avoided the beam by a whisker and as Leo reared up for another blast he found that the weapon had a rather long reload time, due to the nature of (again, as Amadeth would describe) the weapon's residual kinetic time-loop. It was a simple premise; the residual kinetic energy from the weapon's blast charged up a time-machine which altered the state of the weapon to that of before it was fired, meaning it effectively blew the same blast repeatedly. She called it Chekhov's Paradox. The time machine took a while to charge, however, thus leaving Leo and Quick-Step sitting ducks (or high-speed flying ducks) once again.
But then Leo's instinct kicked in. He heard his inner voice speak, something primal within him, and it told him that there were other weapons in a nearby tower. Listening to this voice, he flew towards the tower as Quick-Step finally got bored and tackled The Knowledge out of the sky.
In aforementioned nearby tower Emote continued to defend Malali. She had gone from Anger to Sorrow and all she had to do was stand in front of Malali and no weapon, ballistic, explosive or otherwise, could penetrate the barrier which surrounded her. She stood, staring silently towards the silver beast, and showed no sign that she would soon let down her guard or let it be broken. It was at this point which a speeding hover-bike flew into the building through an open hole in the wall and hit the goddess directly, sending her flying out of the tower.
"Holy crap!" Leo called after jumping from the bike and allowing it to crash into the opposite wall. "What was-" His speech was cut short as he reflexively bounced backwards, avoiding a grenade. It exploded to knock the already dazed Malali off of her feet, and though the walls had all but crumbled and the ceiling had fell long before, Leo had to admire the strength of the floor on which they stood. His admiration was short-lived, however, as he turned to see a small tiger-cub covered in a kind of armour-harness not too far away. The cub was light in colour, more silver than white, though it's stripes were as dark as one could imagine blackness capable of becoming.
Leo looked into the eyes of the small animal and growled. The cub cocked its head and then growled in reply, causing Leo to turn and see Malali laying on the floor and greatly weakened. Leo turned back to the cub, hissed and then rolled to his right before picking up the large gun which he had used outside, now seeing it was fully 'charged' again. He aimed it towards his new enemy; before he could fire The Beast soared into the room and tackled him to the floor, causing the weapon to be launched from the building and down to whatever waited for it below.
In the second tower, the security tower in which Ion resided, a mis-matched group of four ascended within an elevator. C and The Killer almost gagged at the stench of such mortals in such an enclosed space and Shel pondered the meaning of what was occurring. Silence, un-ironically, said nothing. He felt himself closing in on the aura of whatever dark creatures were here and he focussed his mind so he would be ready for when he met them. The elevator reached the top floor of the tower and the doors opened to a group of security soldiers and a hail of laser-fire.
Within seconds, the beams had bounced from Shel's force-field and the soldiers dropped dead.
"You've got the wrong tower." Ion began, looking out of the large window with his hands behind his back. "Your precious love is waiting in- oh," He paused, turning to look at them. "You're not Danog. How... unexpected." Even without heightened powers, Ion was rarely wrong. So why now was his mind focussed not on this small group and instead of Danog?
"You're not the one we seek." Killer quietly spoke.
"No," Ion replied. The guns of the now-dead soldiers floated in front of him, and a faded glimpse of a smile appeared momentarily on his face. "But I am the one who will kill you."
"Release me you annoying little child!" The Knowledge shouted, wrestling atop a building with Quick-Step. The child bounced from underneath the wizard and jumped to his feet before launching a blurred onslaught of fists. The wizened old avatar had easily surmised the young boys powers to be of speed and thus he manipulated the air in front of him with a mass amount of wind creating a semi-vacuum which slowed down Quick-Step's punches enough that he could predict their trajectory. With hands hardened by stone The Knowledge met his enemy blow for blow until the child backed away, his hands bloody. Between the two of them a pillar of fire and earth appeared and shot at Quick like a bullet, hitting him directly and launching him from the building. He saw another falling object, something that appeared to be the gun he had retrieved for Leo, and after hitting a piece of falling debris from the same direction he jumped towards the gun and spun mid-air, firing it at The Knowledge.
The force of the blast was too powerful for him to control, however, and akin to a child with a fire hose the young boy spun through the air as the beam from the weapon carved through buildings like butter, eventually ending with him dropping the weapon and being thrown into the building where Leo and The Beast had gone.
Shell ran through the gunfire with a force-field around her causing the energy projectiles to bounce harmlessly into walls and through windows until the guns dropped and the young girl pulled out her twin sai. She threw them at Ion who dodged them with ease and they bounced off of drum-like barriers which appeared around him. After a short time of the weapons bouncing and Ion dodging them Shell reached out and grabbed one of them before stabbing it towards Ion's face, the mind-manipulator easily dodging it and kicking Shell away. He disliked that, kicking with his own, actual leg. So unseemly and barbaric.
"You hold the key to those daemons," Silence stated, sensing the aura of a master-follower relationship between the Firins and something within this room. "You control them. Where are they?" Ion gave no reply, he simply smirked and shrugged. Perhaps under normal circumstances even fighters such as these would have avoided a battle but Ion knew they needed to be dealt with and his best chance of defeating them would come if they were angered, weakened and blinded. He put the ideas into their minds that defeating him would give them what they desired and he smiled as Silence raised his halberd and charged.
The other two, the ones who looked almost like brothers, stayed within the elevator for a second. C looked up to his larger counterpart and nodded, then The Killer dove into the fray. C himself exited the elevator and sat on the ground near to it, opening his book and trying to decipher whether what he was thinking was indeed true.
Malali gasped and panted, laying on the ground and still considerably weakened. She had crawled towards the chair in the corner, the one connected to the computers. Even in the haze of explosions it hadn't been damaged so she assumed she would be safe near to it. After a small amount of time she would join in the fight. She could do it, with just a little time. She lay at the base of the chair and closed her eyes.
Meanwhile, Quick-Step tackled The Beast off of Leo and did his best to dodge the bullets and explosive projectiles. Something in his mind was telling him that the creature he knew by the name of Mally was at fault and that she needed to be subdued. Fortunately Quick knew other people with the uncanny ability of telepathy, so when Ion tried to put the idea into his mind he knew to ignore it. This did leave one unfortunate issue, however; if someone was trying to implant the idea into his mind, then they would surely try the same with the others.
As if on cue, The Beast dove towards where Malali was lying with a ravenous roar. Quick-Step tried to tackle him away again but without the element of surprise he was batted away like a fly. When the animalistic avatar reached the Nightelf he beat his chest in triumph. He then became surrounded by puffs of light blue smoke and felt an arm around his neck as a small, female humanoid clutched to his back. She repeatedly hit him on the top of his head with her free hand. "Super goddess timing!" Joy squealed merrily, continuing her juvenile assault.
Duck, step, turn, push, sway, step, duck, weave, kick, telekinetic throw, duck, step.
Ion moved as if he had choreographed every step he took with the three who assaulted him, as if they had practised it a million times before. A quick mental peak revealed the immediate intentions of his enemies and simple logic was enough to show Ion how to avoid being skewered. Silence would slash, Shell would stab and Killer would swing and in one fluid motion Ion would move from their advances to being directly behind them, out of harm's way.
"Killer," C called, still sitting next to the elevator. Whilst Silence and Shell continued their futile attack, Kill obediently ran to his master. "Take this," C held out a small cylindrical canister. "And impact it against his face." Apparently the idea of writing Ion out of existence had yet to occur to either of them but, as The Knowledge had often mused, what was the point of insanity if logic was thrown into the mix?
The Killer took the new weapon from C and wasted no time, diving at Ion only to hit air and tumble along the carpet. As Shell was struck with a flying paperweight, Silence raised his halberd and Killer threw the grenade he held. Apparently the grenade, perhaps due to being of C's direct creation, had gone under Ion's radar thus he didn't think to dodge it. It landed near to his feet and exploded creating a great flash and a deafening bang.
For a few seconds there was not a sound except for the residual effect of the flash grenade in the ears of those it had affected. When the smoke cleared, the view was quite... odd. Ion saw that Shell was still floored from the paperweight, Killer still had yet to return to his feet and The Writer still sat, arms protecting his precious book. As a testament to their respective strength, however, Ion himself and Silence were still standing... and that wasn't all. In the haze Ion had lost his sense of reason and instead of dodging Silence's incoming attack he had tried to block it with his arm. In spite of the fact logic dictated his elbow downwards should have been lopped off Ion stood with nary a scratch, his flesh and bone arm somehow holding back the heavy and metallic halberd with ease.
As he tried to comprehend what had happened, a head popped up from a couch in the corner of the room which was pointed at the wall. "Christ, you people are noisy," The elegant and posh voice of Amadeth called. She stretched her neck with a sickening crack before shaking her head, to everyone's bemusement. "Can't a girl get a few minutes of regeneration in her own country? Jeez."
Quick-Step tumbled to a stop, landing next to some metal debris, and he saw out of the corner of his eye that the little tiger cub with the heavy artillery was currently staring at him and trailing him with his guns. Knowing that this wasn't normally a good sign, the small boy quickly darted for the nearest opening in the broken walls and the animal followed. Nearby, another animal jumped into action. The Beast reached around to his back with his long, thick arms and he grabbed Joy as easily as King Kong grabbed Hollywood starlets. With a roar he threw the goddess with great force towards a wall and immediately before she struck said wall the goddess disappeared in a puff of smoke, reappearing at The Beast's side. Her momentum was equally as forceful as before the teleportation, which is to say enough to send even the large frame of The Beast from his feet. The both of them crashed into the same wall at which Joy was originally thrown and whilst one let out a dazed growl the other giggled and slapped the ground.
Weakly, Leo pushed himself to his feet. He stumbled into part of a wall, almost falling out of the open hole in it, and he tried to keep a clear head. Apparently the same instinct which told him to head for that building now told him that Malali was the cause of this and she had to die. What to do? He moved towards where the Nightelf lay in the hopes of at least questioning her when The Knowledge burst into the room with wind and flame, immediately charging at Leo in a haze of elemental fury.
If Silence, Shell and Killer had been struggling before, they were on the brink of being defeated now. Not only were they against Ion's seeming omniscience but a furred, zombie, Elven cyborg-looking creature as well... could this situation be anymore demented?
Shell had retreated from the offensive and focussed on using her force-fields to defend Killer and Silence who continued their attacks with reckless abandon. C scanned his book, demanding it show him how he could defeat them and rid himself of this situation but it provided no answers, leaving him rather infuriated. As he was about to bring the tower down to rubble, a door near to where he sat burst open and a Human man ran in wielding one of the sub-machine guns of Amadeth's soldiers. When he entered Ion immediately looked towards him and his mind turned blank, leaving him open to an attack from Killer which sent him across the room.
"No!" Danog called. He fired a few beams of energy at Killer before turning his fire to Amadeth, all whilst running towards Ion. On reflex Shell defended the man as Amadeth shot back at him and before The Killer could rip his throat out, C told him to stand down. Ion lay dazed and confused and above him Danog kneeled, looking into his eyes. "Oh god," He called, almost teary-eyed. He held Ion's arm and, for the first time, Ion realized that in place of his organic limb and fused cross... there was a robotic arm. "What have they done to you?!" Danog shouted, feeling Ion's neck and then chest. Chest? Ion lifted his head and looked down at his chest. He had... breasts. "Maitrey, hold on, please, please hold on!" Danog continued to shout.
In that moment Ion realized that he was not looking out of his own eyes. He squeezed shut his eyelids and focussed before reopening them and finding himself back in his own body, strapped to a chair with various needles injected into him.
Back in the security building Amadeth laughed heartily, looking down at Danog and Maitrey. "I have to admit, even I'm proud of myself for that one." She stated whimsically. "It took a lot of effort to use his own power against him and convince him he was her," She pointed towards Maitrey. "Even more to convince him she was the one magnifying his powers, and not the other way around," Afterall being made immortal by a goddess and spending a thousand years in her service had side effects. "But I'll be fucked if I didn't give it a good run." She laughed again.
With Ion no longer manipulating them to fight, Shell, C, Killer and Silence hesitated. What were they to do now? The woman who had attacked them, who had named herself Ion, no longer fought and this new creature seemed to have no intention of fighting them. What would happen next?
Before they could reach an answer, it was forced upon them.
Ion moved dazedly in the chair as the straps which held him down broke off and the wire injected into him removed themselves, with a little telekentic persuasion. No longer restrained, he fell from the chair and landed right next to where Malali unconsciously lay. He looked at her and couldn't help but smirk; two former enemies who had brought a city to destruction, now helpless and broken. Unable to move his body Ion could only think of what had happened. When had she first used his powers against him? Perhaps when she first powered up the chair and it interfered with the web, when it caused him to falter. And that woman, Maitrey, was she in on it? Even as things were, Ion couldn't help but admire her ruthlessness. The scheme itself was cowardly but the execution was almost perfect, to play on his prejudice and convince him she was a moron to blind him to her tactics. He admired her. He hated her. For this she would die.
On the other side of the room Leo stumbled to his feet and began to move towards Emote and The Beast when The Knowledge burst into the room in a tempest of wind and flame. He charged at Leo who avoided him with a bit of luck, and though he was injured he struggled through it and dodged each projectile his enemy furiously launched. "I thought you were the sane one!" Leo shouted, remembering his previous confrontation with The Writer and his avatars.
"I'm still a product of my master's mind," The aged wizard shouted back, hands becoming enveloped in rock. As if he were performing a hadoken, The Knowledge shot his hands towards Leo and a stream of jagged stone burst forth as if from a machine gun. Leo nimbly dodged the bulk but was still struck by a large quantity of the projectiles which finally floored him again. "And I grow sick of this place," The Knowledge went on, not knowing of the psychic persuasion Ion was using from across the room. "And I grow sick of you!" What appeared to be gauntlets of rock appeared around his fore-arms and he ran to Leo, before an explosion knocked him off of his feet.
One might be forgiven for forgetting that all of this carnage and madness was taking place within a newly built city, a country sized city but a city nonetheless. Within this city were groups of families who had been chosen to test out the New-Age of technology and to see what they truly thought of Amadeth's creation, and whether the world of Humans could truly accept this alien's help. Currently one such family was running for their lives as a large building collapsed, falling towards them and promising nothing but death. Most people had evacuated but in the chaos there were still those left behind and the few who weren't gunned down, such as this family, tried as best they could to escape. With nowhere to go but between the intricate layout of bridges, the family of four could do nothing but run.
Until the young daughter fell. The father screamed for his wife and son to keep running as he turned and ran back towards her; she tripped on a body and landed so awkwardly that her ankle was broken. There was perhaps ten seconds left and the father grabbed her in spite of her pained screams and he ran as fast as he possibly could to the other side of the bridge... until he, too, fell. There was no time to get up, no time to run. He held his daughter's face to his chest and prayed at least that it would be a swift death.
And the building collapsed. The glass of the bridge shattered. Then... silence.
The man opened his eyes to see the toppled tower floating above him. Even the shattered glass of the bridge's roof had fallen so as to avoid him and his daughter. He turned his head towards where his wife and son had ran and standing beside them was a man, an old man with very pale, almost translucent, skin. He had long hair and wore a blindfold, and his facial features suggested he was probably East-Asian. He currently held out his hands, as if holding up the tower mid-air, and then as he threw his arms to the side so too was the tower thrown. It sailed between buildings and broke a bridge to cut off a group of soldiers before falling harmlessly to what madness awaited at the ground-level of the city.
Credence's powers along with various magical items combined with Benny Meng's ability of seeing the future allowed the two of them to fuse and form a perfect plan for saving those who needed saving. Credence knew that his plan would fall into place in regards to Malali; the only factor which was left loose was the people of the city. The hybrid creature created by the two of them walked gracefully towards the man and his daughter, still on the floor. He leaned down towards the girl's leg and clutched it, at which point her crying stopped. The father, still in shock from what had just happened, watched with even more shock as his daughter, who had just had a broken ankle, sprung to her feet without a problem.
"What next?" The strange, majestic being asked before quickly speaking again. "Ah, yes, the coup de grace." He looked down at the still dazed man and smiled before nodding towards his family, and then turning and quickly walking away. A team of soldiers appeared from the direction towards which he walked and upon seeing him they dropped their weapons, removed their masks and calmly moved towards the family so they could join them in evacuating the city. "I am aware, yes," It stated aloud once more. "We need to do this, cut the battle short, we will have enough time. ... That will be fine." Before long, after practically floating across bridges and through buildings, the hybrid of Benny Meng and Credence came its destination. In front of him were two huge towers and at the top of one a whirlwind of flames was visible; the other emitted bursts of gunfire with short intervals. At the foot of the creature was a thing that can only be adequately described as a big fucking bazooka. "Lock and load." It said, picking up the weapon and aiming it at the towers. "I've always wanted to say that."
"Heyyy kid, want to make sssome gold?" Firine asked with a grin. Silence pushed himself to his feet with a scowl.
"Where's the codex?" He asked. Firine giggled.
"Ssstraight to the pointtt," She remarked. "I like assssertivenesss in a man."
"Where is it?" Silence repeated.
"Daedroth or Mephalamus?" Firinar asked, to which Silence' eyes widened.
"Mephalamus." He replied.
"I guessss we could tell you, if you let usss out." Firine smirked, poking the invisible barrier in front of her and using the way it burnt her finger to demonstrate its existence. Silence said nothing and then shook his head; he had no reason to trust them. Then Firinar began to talk.
"Fine, release us and we'll release them." He stated darkly. In the centre of the Firins' prison appeared two people whom Silence immediately recognized as his mother and father. Without thinking, he charged towards them before being obstructed by the same barrier which trapped the demons who taunted him. "In our world, souls are traded like currency." Firinar went on. Islana, Silence's mother, moved her head around as if trying to look for something; it was a futile effort, however, since her eyes had been gauged out.
"Dayne?!" She called. "Is that you? Dayne!" Silence tried to keep calm.
"Your illusions mean nothing." He spat, looking at his mother. Firine giggled.
"Illussssions? No, Sssilence. We traded thessse two for a boy called Zzzach." She remarked with bite.
"They had the scent of Daemons," Firinar continued for his sister. "Which I suppose would be your fault."
Silence turned and began to walk away; leave those two and their cheap tricks to rot in their prison and leave, he told himself. Then the flames began. He jerked his head around and saw his mother and father as he had imagined them on that fateful night, beaten within an inch of their lives and slowly and painfully burning, their last breaths being haggard screams of pain and terror. "STOP!" He finally shouted, once again at the barrier and punching it with futility. The screams turned to silence and the two writhing bodies lay broken and weary.
"You. Release. Us." Firinar stated, nodding towards a small control unit built into the half broken wall. "We. Release. Them."
Even the strongest tower can be toppled by finding the right place to weaken it. Silence had just been weakened perfectly and even though he didn't believe what he had saw, he couldn't just take it. He didn't need more images of death to haunt him... he walked over to the large computer and saw a myriad of buttons and levers amongst which there were two big red buttons with stickers on each; one had the word 'Lock' above a smiley face and the other had the word 'Release' above an angry face, typical of Amadeth's whimsy. Silence pressed the release button and sure enough the barrier surrounding the Firins disappeared.
Once again without thinking, Silence spun and fired his sniper rifle directly at Firine's face. Her head exploded and painted the walls with a black substance akin to blood, then within the same second a smoke-surrounded black sludge spurted from her neck and a new head reformed. Silence stared in disbelief; Angel, his sniper rifle, was currently loaded with silver bullets. Said bullets had various runes etched onto their side specially prepared for the occasion and... they did nothing.
"That wasss not niccce," Firine purred happily. "But sssince we promisssed, you can keep them." Her dangling hand pointed towards Silence's parents who, against all logic, were still laying there. The illusion hadn't disappeared once the barrier had faded which meant... could they be... ? Firine took her favoured form of black, whirlwind death and shot from the building and Firinar gave Silence a scowl before joining her. Once they had left and the daemon hunter had regained his senses, he dropped his gun and ran to his parents. He knelt down next to his mother and turned her over to face him and found... dust. Both she and his father turned to ash before an ominous wind blew them into the ether... and atop this broken building, psychologically manipulated by a pair of lowly demons, Silence screamed. The floor beneath him cracked as he pounded it in his anguish. Once again helpless and unable to save them, even though this wasn't even them, he screamed. A toppled tower.
In between the two towers was what could be considered the centre of New Austrlia; it was a huge platform with some grass, trees, decorative benches and so forth, and now it also donned the rather unique look of debris and ruins scattered around it. Unlike the bridges it was supported from beneath meaning it didn't fall down to the dementia which awaited below. Amongst the debris were bodies. Danog, Maitrey and C had been fortunate enough to land in the vicinity of Shell who, at risk of her own life, erected a force-field to protect them all. The strain had knocked her unconscious, however, thus when the former three arose from the dust and rubble she did not. When he stood C could see three other bodies which he recognized all too well; The Beast and The Knowledge had been all but crushed and The Killer barely managed to keep his already broken body in one piece as well. With a sigh and simple flick of his pen on his book, C withdrew The Beast and The Knowledge. Not far away from them was Leo. The Knowledge's wind magic had inadvertently kept Leo alive at his own expense, though the neko was still severely wounded. He could tell what would happen next and, in spite of how much he wanted to stay and play, Leo knew he had to take advantage of this opportunity to escape and return to his goal of finding out what was going on. Especially since now that little voice in his head he had mistaken for instinct had stopped talking.
Emote, Joy still in control, appeared not far away in a puff of blue smoke. On her shoulders were both Malali and Ion, all but unconscious. She couldn't sit idly by and let him die, after all, especially since Malali might want to be the one to kill him and it would have been unfair. She set down the two of them and then teleported to Danog and Maitrey, immediately speaking. "You need to find the others and escape," She said, looking at Maitrey and pausing. The woman had what appeared to be an entirely robotic arm as well as a few metallic implants around her body. "Cool arm," Joy sincerely stated. "And the bald look works really well on you." She reached out her hand and stroked Maitrey's gleaming head. The woman smiled weakly in reply; it lacked strength but it was genuine and that was all Emote could hope for. "Go, before something kicks off again." And, with naught but a simple nod, Danog and Maitrey ran towards where the others had left. "And remember about him!" Joy shouted after them. Danog waved to show he had heard and when Joy turned back around she saw Amadeth standing in the centre of the platform, holding a book.
She scanned through it with amusement as C looked from the sidelines, quietly watching. At some point within the past minute she had taken his book and, in spite of The Killer's protest's, C let her toy with it as she willed. "Well," Amadeth called happily, holding the book within robotic-ally enhanced armour covered fingers. "I guess if I just rip the pages out," She opened it to three blank pages and gripped them. "You'll be po-" As she ripped the area around the book exploded. The book itself was totally unharmed, it simply careened into the air and then arched towards C who caught it with ease. Amadeth, on the other hand, was launched a considerable distance and C nodded towards The Killer who charged at her with a ferocity most mortals wouldn't dream of having. When he reached her a gargantuan beam of light tore a hole through his stomach and, with another sigh, C recalled his creation back into becoming only words on a page.
When the dust cleared Amadeth stood and looked as if she hadn't even just been blown thirty foot away. C looked at her and on his face there looked not to be anger but simple offence, as if Amadeth had called him a naughty name. "You think I wouldn't enchant my book?" He asked, almost confused, as if the creature before him had counted to potato. "It must be painful, being diseased with stupidity."
"Are you trying to taunt me?" Amadeth asked with a smirk. C laughed in reply and shook his head, then his demeanour turned from playfully offended to completely outraged as it should have been before. He held up his book and pen, which he had been writing with.
"Distract you," He corrected, and slowly a single creature like those from the bottom of New Australia limped up a makeshift ramp and onto the platform, its eyes producing two bright beams of light. It had one leg and one long stump without any hinge and the same could be said for its arms, except the elbow-less arm was more like a large sword. Covered in what appeared to be black rock, it painfully limped up to the platform and eventually its beams of light found Amadeth... at this point, it stopped dead. The light grew more intense and spread wider as if they were coming from torches which had just been given new batteries. It glared at Amadeth and then, like a banshee, it screamed into the night. Within the next second it was riddled with bullets and gone.
Amadeth turned back to C with a smile but before she could make a sarcastic remark the platform shook and the sound of a stampede could be heard from C's ramp. Amadeth turned and saw horde upon horde of the deformed monsters running at her and screaming unintelligible cries for blood, which seemed unfair really. She didn't create them, just resurrected them; was that so bad? With no time to ponder more thoroughly, Amadeth began unleashing a stream of bullets and rockets towards the horde. C, back to his usual, maniacal self, ran up to Amadeth as she was distracted and used his book as a kind of handle; there was no physical weapon protruding from the top of the book but when that area hit his foe it indeed had a forceful impact, knocking her to the ground long enough that the monstrous travesties of life could surround her. They formed a kind of black dome made of writhing limbs trying to attack Amadeth before a green explosion threw them all from around her and she tried to escape, using her suit to jump from the platform but being blocked by an invisible force which knocked her back down. C watched from the sidelines with amusement.
Not far away Emote stood in front of Malali, Ion and Shell; the former two were dazed and considerably weakened and the latter was still unconscious. "Shouldn't be long now." Joy stated, looking towards the sky.
Leo's leg was horribly damaged and he wasn't sure whether he wanted to vomit or whether it was just a case of his whole stomach trying to force itself out of his mouth. He limped in pain over bridges and through buildings before finding a secluded spot and falling, cursing. He was sure there was a cats always land on their feet joke in there somewhere but he was too tired to make it.
"You!" Someone shouted. Leo tried to push himself up and run again but he couldn't and before long a small squadron of masked soldiers surrounded him.
"What do we do?" One of them asked. The others shook their heads.
"Orders were to eliminate any hostile."
"He doesn't seem all that hostile to me."
"Well he isn't us and he isn't Amadeth; that makes him a hostile." Eventually, some reluctantly, they agreed and raised their weapons to execute Leo.
One of the soldiers turned and, using a burst of laser rounds, he shot the rest of them dead. He then turned to Leo and pulled of his mask, revealing dusty brown fur and whiskers. "Kovu!" Leo shouted with relief.
"I found someone who said they can get us out of here," He replied, picking up Leo and supporting him so he could walk. "What the hell happened to you?"
Standing in front of the three she protected, Emote called merrily out to C. "Remove the barrier!" C turned and shook his head. "We need it gone." She continued. "If Amadeth tries to escape, I can bring her back." C shook his head again; he didn't know her, her word wasn't good enough. It was at that point the barrier was shattered anyway and, believing it to be because of C, Joy happily thanked him. As one would predict Amadeth tried to escape and immediately Emote teleported up to her and tackled her back down to the writhing mass of black.
C, perplexed, looked around to the cause of the destruction and saw two people who hadn't been there before; they were dark in colour, literally being mostly pitch black, and they took the same form as the Nightelf currently on the floor. They stood over her.
"Massster," Firine hissed. "A pleasssure to sssee you again."
"You left us corporal," Firinar explained as Malali looked up at them both with disgust. "We took advantage of the opportunity. Do we have permission to engage?" He pointed with his head back towards Amadeth and Malali strained herself to look towards her zombified, furry, scientist counterpart. Currently Emote was amidst the black monsters, sitting atop Amadeth and laughing as she repeatedly pounded her already deformed face into mush. Malali smiled and dropped her head back to the ground before giving a simple thought which caused Firinar and Firine to disappear in a puff of black smoke, imprisoned back into the kama within Emote's city to punish their free spiritedness.
'The Firins,' Ion thought, looking from where they had stood down to Malali. Malali looked right back at him and though he had a semi-scowl she couldn't help but smile. 'How annoying.' On the other hand, and certainly most not annoying, Ion was slowly returning to his former self. He could feel his drained powers returning and his strength was still ridiculously low, so much so that he couldn't make himself stand, but there was some there. Plus, with all these strong beings present, the web was almost entirely red. A simple flick sent ripples of considerable influence and distance out into the ether and, using this, he sent as many ripples out into the ether as he could. His teleporter had been taken away from him but before long the crew of a ship to which he was allied picked up the great disturbance and Ion was located and withdrawn from the combat.
Joy was a funny emotion and, as its said that time flies when you're having fun, Joy was also an easily distracted form. This meant that, along with C and the black hordes, she was so caught up in fighting Amadeth that when Silence jumped from atop the security tower and used his spell of Gust to safely land in front of Malali, none of them noticed. She looked up to him and shook her head; why couldn't people just let her die there in peace?
Silence looked down and had no doubt in his mind. Beneath the moon he saw that this woman, aside from the fact she had a different kind of armour, looked exactly like The Firins had looked. If his knowledge on the subject was correct, which it usually was, then this would mean she was their master. The master of evil filth... kill her, kill them. Either way someone who fraternised with such beings was unworthy of their life, at least in Silence' current state of mind. The Daemon hunter raised his halberd and Malali reached out to grab the war-hammer near to her, Eclipse, and Silence brought his weapon down. Of course Malali was too weak to raise the war-hammer but when she held the weapon its power activated and, at this point in time, that meant the Gold Rabbit beneath the night's sky.
Sitting on top of Malali was a white rabbit who was currently cut half-way down the middle, stopping the halberd's blade from reaching Malali. Silence looked perplexedly before he raised his weapon again and the rabbit disappeared. Once more he attacked and this time instead of a white rabbit a rabbit made out of jade appeared. Silence' weapon forcefully bounced off of the small animal, causing him to stumble a few steps backwards. The jade rabbit looked at Silence viciously, as if warning him away, before once again disappearing. First a pair of lowly demons, not even daemons but demons, then the memories of his parents, his family, and then the fire and the flames and the reminder of his failures and now this... this little damn rabbit. Silence snapped. He took the few steps forward and then brought his halberd down to Malali's head.
Instead of a white or jade rabbit, the Gold Rabbit appeared. Like the jade rabbit it deflected away Silence' weapon and then, with it's tiny arms and paws, it swung a weapon which identically mirrored Silence' halberd in exactly the same attack as he had used against Malali, and it struck directly into his shoulder. He fell to his knees, blind-sided by the pain, as Malali released Eclipse and the Gold Rabbit disappeared. Weakly, Malali stumbled up and then literally fell onto Silence, taking him to the floor. Haphazardly atop him she tried to tighten her hand around his throat but her strength was too diminished and Silence, in spite of his injury, landed a solid punch in the Nightelf's cheek which threw her back a good five foot away. Malali writhed on the floor and spat out blood as Silence stood and walked over to her, then sat on her stomach. He raised his gauntletted fist and, as he brought it down to smash into her face, Emote appeared in a puff of blue smoke and drop-kicked him away. "De-nied!" Joy screamed, emphasizing the syllables merrily.
It seemed that Credence had managed to get Emote's people out of the city and, on top of that, Danog had successfully signalled for transport. Above the chaos, perched on the wall of the broken security tower, a giant, white bird loomed over the city. Grabbing Malali and Eclipse, Joy teleported up to the bird and used the saddle and rope upon its back to tie Malali securely into place, before doing the same with her weapon. Malali looked into Emote's eyes and as she did so and she couldn't help but smirk. She was the warrior, she was the one in charge. It was part of what made her attracted to women; in her world men were too proud to want to be saved, least of all by a woman like her, but the feminine humility and the general princess in need stereotype drew her like death to war. Now she was the helpless one being saved... she couldn't help but smirk. "We'll be back later," She stated, stroking Malali's hair and stretching up so their cheeks rubbed together. They kissed and Emote slapped the huge bird's rear, causing it to take flight.
With an angry eye Emote looked from the building down to Silence and jumped back down towards him; controlling her momentum by constantly teleporting she moved down to where he was and grabbed him by the throat before again constantly teleporting upwards so as to give the impression of flight, Silence still in her clutch. Perhaps under other circumstances the daemon hunter would have broke free but amidst the chaos and confusion he was unable. They ascended a great distance into the air before Joy released him from her clutches and he fell, sure to shatter when he hit the ground. Instead of hitting the ground, however, Silence fell into a large, circular portal which swallowed him whole and then disappeared. Emote smiled; that should teach him not to mess with her Nightelf again.
"We sent back Leo and Kovu," Credence stated when Emote descended down to him. He stood with Benny Meng, their temporary fusion now over and their job done. "Many soldiers perished along with two civilians."
"Well I'd say that's a win." Joy smiled. "Considering how much worse it could have been." As they spoke Benny ran ahead, seeing Shell lying unconscious amidst C and Amadeth's battle zone. Emote and Credence quickly followed, Emote morphing into Hatred along the way.
"Is she..." Benny began, trailing off as he tried to feel the girl's pulse. Credence nodded.
"She'll be fine, with a bit of rest." The almost angelic creature looked into the sky. "Where is the other?" He, of course, referred to Quick-Step. No-one was quite sure where he had gotten too, nor were they quite sure where the tiger cub had ended up either.
Credence and Emote locked eyes.
"I'll go." Credence stated and Hatred, mostly concerned with Amadeth at that time, nodded in agreement. After a short run Credence left the ground and winglessly flew in the direction in which Malali and the Rukh had gone.
"Leave her alone!" Quick-Step shouted. He literally ran atop the Indian ocean, having to run in circles at times so as not to run too far ahead. Every now and then he would try to jump up towards Malali and the flying bird but he couldn't reach them.
You see, Quick-Step (through conversations with Shell, Benny and few others) had heard about Malali and the adventures she and Basis had had, from the Grand Canyon to the war with The Deathknight to their drunken antics and he had even heard plans for them to test out Blitz' stadium of light. Basis would be very sad if Malali were to die and, being his younger brother, Quick didn't like the idea of Basis being very sad. So, you see, Quick had to find a way to stop the flying tiger cub from shooting Malali out of the sky.
The tiger cub in question was using jet-styled thrusters which allowed it to fly faster than the Rukh. As the bird flapped its wings and spun through the air, the cub flew around it and shot bullets and explosives in its direction. On the back of the white bird Malali's long, blue hair trailed and bobbed as the Rukh tried its best to dodge the projectiles and get to Emote's city; he wasn't an intelligent creature thus the fact he would be putting the people of the city in danger hadn't occurred and he most certainly wasn't brave enough to try and fight the tiger cub. A grenade cannister careened towards the Rukh's head and he swooped downwards, leaving it to fall passed him and into the ocean where it exploded, forcing a pillar of water upwards.
Quick-Step continued the run and jump to no real effect. Then he saw something in the distance; dolphins. They swam beneath the water then jumped directly out of it to reach a decent height for their size and speed. Were they faster, they may have even... with a look of determination, Quick-Step hopped and then dived into the water. He wasn't underneath for long before he shot from the surface and reached out, completely missing his mark by a good thirty feet, before dropping back into the water and trying again. This time his hand brushed the fur of the cub and he fell again. They were coming dangerously close to land now and though Quick was incredibly impressed with how fast the bird and cub could travel, it did mean this would be his last chance. He went as far down as he deemed necessary before bombing to the surface of the water and breaking through it, aimed directly towards the tiger cub who... who had just shot Malali and the Rukh out of the sky. Apparently the land was closer than Quick-Step had thought and, on the forward momentum he had planned to use against the cub, the young boy sailed through the air. He contemplated whether the ground he was about to smash into was Sri Lanka or Malaysia but before he could land on a decision he hit the hard sands of the beach and rolled into mud and trees.
Not far away lay Malali and her Rukh, the great bird missing a chunk of its wing. He screeched and Malali stroked him with the hand not currently trapped beneath him, wishing she could do more. From around the Rukh came the tiger cub who had shot them and it walked towards the Nightelf, then sniffed her. Its hard to imagine a tiger cub being able to show an expression such as confusion but even in her dazed state Malali swore that's what she saw. "H-... hello," She hollowly whispered. The cub's ears twitched. "Again... Ari-... mus." It glared at her as she continued her quiet speech. "You... look shorter..." Malali chuckled, if the noise made could even be called that. "I..." She paused, caught her breath. "I never got the... the chance to thank you... for helping against... The Deathknight..." The tiger cub's eyes seemed to widen as a series of memories came to its mind and it looked at Malali with an even greater confusion than before. "Thank you... Arimus." The tiger cub, who had previously been the Dwarfen scientist and commander within the IUA, nudged the Nightelf's head with its own as if to acknowledge what she had said.
It then stepped back and looked at the Rukh who it had injured, as if with regret. After a few seconds passed Arimus' head jerked towards the South-East and, seeing that Credence was on his way, the creature made its escape.
Hatred walked away from C and Amadeth, who continued their battle amongst the black monsters, and in her shoulders she carried Shell and Benny. Benny protested and claimed he could move on his own but Emote didn't listen and after foreseeing the argument as futile he gave up, letting her carry him. Before too long Credence returned, gracefully descending to the bridge on which they stood with Quick-Step in his arms. "He'll awake soon," Credence stated, passing him to Benny Meng. "Just remember not to tell Daku." And, with a gentle push of his translucent hand, Credence pushed Benny, Quick-Step and Shell out of that universe and into another. Hatred glared at Credence until he spoke again. "The animal got to the Rukh. I managed to heal it enough that it could take Malali back; the cub disappeared without intention of attacking again."
Emote seemed satisfied but Hatred was Hatred afterall, so whether she was or not meant little. Credence continued. "I've only got one more teleportation left," He stated, turning to C. It was surely futile to suggest such a thing but hopefulness laughed in the face of logic. "He could be a worthy ally; are you sure I-"
"Get rid of him." Hatred interrupted. "Now." And without another word, expression or flicker of emotion, the goddess ran away.
Credence turned towards where C was fighting. The Writer had decided instead of just killing Amadeth, she had to be humiliated and she would feel the pain of his wrath. Currently the scientist with the robotic suit was firing forceful blasts of air towards C, akin to being hit by a bean-bag shotgun only with a wider radius. She, too, had decided to forego using explosives and bullets and instead she would take his book and find a way to burn it before his eyes.
As one would expect the large blasts of air caused C to loosen what he held which meant his book and pen flew away from him. They would return, however, as if attached by an invisible elastic rope and C would catch them both before continuing to order the small army of black monsters he had rendered under his control. As another blast of energy blew the book and pen from C's hand he reached backwards, expecting to momentarily catch them, but this time instead he was pulled as if by elastic towards the book. He landed to see that Credence was standing above him, holding the book. He had yanked on it so as to pull C via the invisible connection and, with a gentle smile, he dropped the book onto C's face. When it hit, C, the book and pen disappeared.
Then it was Amadeth, Credence and the black monsters. With a forceful push of his hand Credence shot a wall of white energy which washed over the black creatures, causing them to literally evaporate into the ether. It sailed over Amadeth harmlessly but caused each of her previous monstrous servants to disappear. "What awaited them in death was a fate worse than their current torment," Credence explained, almost sorrowful. Certainly regretful. "Now at least their souls can rest." Amadeth stood, staring at Credence with confusion. She was breathing heavily, a sign that her life-support systems were running low, and sparks flew from various damaged points in her robotic suit, not to mention that her rotted flesh was pealing at an accelerated rate and healing much slower than usual. Even still, a wide grin appeared on her face.
"I've always wanted to kill a god." She stated. Credence chuckled.
"I'm flattered," He replied, moving his head as if to look around in spite of his blindfold. He gave the impression of a parent having cleaned up his child's bedroom, sweeping the place to make sure he hadn't missed any stray toys or loose rubbish. "But I am no god. Besides, I seem to have forgotten my sword." With a gentle bow of his head, Credence took off into the sky.
Emote had been clear; he was to bring the people in and make sure those who didn't need to die didn't die. Once Malali and Maitrey were secure he would send the others back and then leave himself. Under no circumstances was he to engage Amadeth. That was Emote's duty.
"You want to kill a god?!" Hatred screamed, her voice echoing through that area of the city. Amadeth looked around in excitement, unable to determine from where the voice had come. The security tower, which had only sustained injury at the very top of the building, suddenly began to collapse. It wobbled in the direction opposite Amadeth and then, with a push from Emote, it began to fall towards the neko-zombie Nightelf. The sound of heavy footsteps on rock or stone could be heard and Amadeth began to levitate upwards, hoping to fly over the building that fell towards her. Before long Hatred appeared, having run up the falling building's side, and she dove towards her foe and tackled her out of the sky. They both careened down to the large platform on which they had previously been before the security tower landed atop them. Glass windows shattered, couches and desks broke apart as they fell from the great, jagged gaps in the walls and, when the building finally hit Emote and Amadeth, it exploded upwards into a thousands pieces of rubble and debris.
Emote was the first to emerge from the rubble. Hatred, being blessed with ridiculous strength and endurance, merely had to stretch her back and arms before returning to her normal self, almost unharmed. Amadeth was more dramatic in extracting herself from the ruins; first a type of hollow, cylindrical pole shot upwards from the debris and then said pole became surrounded by green, electrical energy. The area around where Amadeth lay exploded and then she stood she stood in a clear expanse of impacted ground. The pole was in fact protruding from Amadeth's right gauntlet, the energy almost making the metal of it itself look green. Hatred couldn't help but be reminded of Kaavel, Malali's dragon-scale sword.
Amadeth then reached up to her own face with her free, left hand. Using the gauntleted fingers, she popped her skull back into place and gave it a few second to heal properly before reaching onto her back and pulling her projectile launcher free, which basically appeared as a larger version of an average grenade launcher. C was insane. He didn't have any intention of outright killing Amadeth, he wanted to fight her. Emote, however, clearly wanted her dead. If she wouldn't hold back, Amadeth would respond in kind.
"You want to kill a god?" Hatred repeated, this time much calmer. They charged at each other.
"Benny, Benny, Benny, Benny, Benny, Benny," Quick-Step repeated whilst shaking the old man. "Benny, Benny, Benny, Benny, Benny, Benny, Benny," Benny Meng shook his head, opened his eyes and then immediately shot up. In front of him lay the ruins of an old warehouse. "Benny, Benny, Benny. I'mreallysorry, Benny, Benny, but I ran into it and it all came down and knocked you out and how come you didn't see it coming? And Shell tried to stop it but couldn't and we've been unconscious on the floor," Quick-Step jumped and fell flat on the floor, to demonstrate unconsciousness on the floor. "For a few hours and I think I dreamt and it was," Benny stood as the child continued to speak, laying still on the floor.
The old man walked towards Shell who was standing at the edge of the wreckage. "Benny," She quietly began and before she could continue, he replied.
"Yes, I had the same dream." He gave her a moment to ponder before she opened her mouth and he spoke again. "Yes, that does mean it probably wasn't a dream." Again, he gave a moment before pre-emptively cutting off her speech. "No, we shouldn't tell Quick, not yet." Once more, he gave her a moment before chuckling and speaking before she had the chance too. "I know, it is rude, I'm sorry. It's a bad habit. There's still around half an hour before we should return, though." Benny walked over to Quick-Step and sat next to him, causing the child to acrobatically jump up and ask if anyone wanted a drink before apologizing for the mess. Shell hesitantly joined them and, as previously promised, they spent some time with the boy and caught him up in the goings on of Wisper and their lives.
C awoke, gasping for breath, and he immediately jumped out of his tent. He eyed The Killer and The Knowledge who both looked at him curiously. "Yes?" The Knowledge finally uttered. C said nothing, simply looking from one avatar to another. Then, with a scowl, he retreated back into his tent.
"Amadeth," He muttered, opening his book as he sat. An old enchantment caused it to glow meaning he could easily read it in the dark. "Malali, Laytra... Credence... Shell..." He sighed, continuing to mumble names as he scoured his book condensing what he could and letting the information be absorbed into his mind. These people who haunted his dreams, if indeed that's what they were... he mumbled and read, ignoring the shadowy figures outside who perplexedly stared in his direction.
Silence awoke in a explosive white light which blew away the daemons in his immediate vicinity. From the floor a lesser daemon lord screamed and then rose, gliding leg-less as a ghost. He was promptly cut down.
A dream? A flashback? His parents burning was a vivid memory... but no, there was more. Daemons... demons? They taunted him. Unlike daemons, demons were more influential; tempting and taunting. It wouldn't have been hard for a pair to get into his dreams. Was it a dream? It felt so... real. And then their master. Malali. Perhaps if he ever came across these demons again, if he ever came across this Malali again, he would find answers. The images of his parents and the feeling of fire was still strong within him, however.
Inside this haunted castle filled with daemons, Silence was sure he could work off his rage adequately enough. He made a noise half-way between a laugh and a roar before charging to meet the enemies who surrounded him.
"Hey, Kovu," Leo began dazedly. "I... I just had the craziest dream. I saw Malali again... that Nightelf I fought with Mortis... and The Beast, you remember him?"
"I remember him clearly," Kovu replied. "And he was exactly as you described."
"Yeah," Leo continued, still fairly doped. "Yeah, he wa- wait, what?"
"It wasn't a dream." Kovu finally stated. Leo's head jerked upwards.
"Of course it was," He said, confusion on his face. "... wasn't it?"
"Maybe you're right." Kovu answered with a smirk. "Maybe the guards unlocked the door," Leo looked and saw that the door was, indeed, unlocked. "Unlocked our chains," It hadn't occurred to Leo until now but Kovu was standing in front of him, fully geared up in his exo-skeleton suit and armed as normal. Leo pulled his own arms from behind his back and saw his wrists unshackled. "Left our weapons for us," Next to Leo sat his twin bladed-pistols. "And then, just to make things easier for us, beat themselves up." Kovu looked down and at his feet lay the guards who had been previously watching them, now unconscious.
"Improbable but not impossible." Leo petulantly stated, to which Kovu smirked and left the room. He grabbed his guns and followed.
With the force of a missile Hatred launched her first at Amadeth's head and, in defence, Amadeth raised the electrified rod that protruded from her gauntlet. The fist hit the rod with such force that it caused Amadeth to flip back, heavy robotic suit and all, and as soon as the zombie Elf found her feet again she aimed the rod like a rifle and from the hollow inside of the rod fired a blast of concentrated green energy. Were Hatred a normal mortal, or even an exceptionally strong mortal, such a blast would have ripped through her with ease. Instead it hit her directly on her shoulder and caused her to spin back through the air a good twenty foot before falling into a pile of debris and rolling through it. The green blast continued on like a bolt of lightning thrown by Zeus, destroying at least five buildings before dissipating into the atmosphere.
As she stood Hatred grabbed two large, broken pieces of the building she had not long ago destroyed before throwing them at Amadeth. With one swipe of her electrified rod she destroyed the two pieces of debris before aiming her projectile launcher towards Emote and firing a cannister which struck the goddess and exploded in a cloud of fire. Set aflame, Hatred ran towards Amadeth and recklessly threw her first towards her face again; once more Amadeth raised her energetic rod and made it so Hatred would hit it directly. Once more fully charged by the over-powerful kinetic energy of Hatred's attacks, the weapon Amadeth knew as Kaavel was ready once again to fire. Spinning only her upper body by using her customized spine, Amadeth unleashed the green energy in a wide circle all around her which destroyed the surrounding buildings which hadn't been previously destroyed by the first blast.
What the zombie Elf had been expecting was for this to cut Hatred in half or at least knock her back. Instead it did nothing, literally stopping dead in front of the goddess. When Amadeth looked at her, at where Hatred had stood and Emote remained, she saw not the punk-goth looking embodiment of contempt and disgust. Instead she saw a pale young girl with short blonde hair and black and blue dress. A small ripple affect appeared in front of her, where the energy blast had disappeared, and Sorrow looked at it for a moment before looking up to Amadeth, her face a canvas, not a blank canvas but one specifically designed to show everything yet portray nothing.
Amadeth sneered; she was beginning to grow tired of this game. She aimed her projectile launcher at Sorrow and fired five times, causing small, yellow spheres which flashed red to stick to the force-field which the goddess had in front of her. Amadeth then turned and ran, waiting until she was a fair distance away before setting off the sticky explosives. Amadeth continued to run, jumping over large ruins and gliding across the air above them, and she soon heard a familiar noise; the noise of an energy blast, unique to her own weapon. She turned quickly to see said blast shoot towards her and, knowing a normal jump would do nothing, Amadeth fired her projectile launcher into the ground beneath her and from it came a small ball which exploded when it hit the stone below. A sonic-boom shot her upwards, narrowly avoiding the red energy, and as she attempted to jiggle loose bones back into their sockets the ascending antagonist hit a force-field which exploded with the same force as her five sticky bombs.
From a cloud of black smoke, Amadeth fell back down towards the Earth. She eventually landed in a pile of broken building debris and lost a fair amount of rotted flesh in the process, a large chunk of her face included. When she finally looked up she saw Sorrow standing above her, staring. She said nothing, did nothing, just stared. And then, from the sky, a gargantuan beam of light struck down like lightning. It appeared akin to the light which had been fired at the black dome of The Deathknight, only more concentrated to one specific kind of energy. It headed directly towards Amadeth and Sorrow and when it reached them it seemed to just fade away into nothingness, Emote looking up at it, seemingly disinterested. She stared at it until eventually the end of the destructive ray appeared and, like the rest of it, faded into nothing directly in front of her.
Then, without word, movement or expression of any kind, the exact same beam of energy appeared in front of Sorrow and headed in directly the opposite direction, towards where it had come from.
"Dear god," Captain Roshea whispered, looking down at Ion with shock and horror.
"Don't bother," Ion replied in a hollow croak. "He won't listen." The captain shook his head and then ordered people to take Ion to the infirmary; he would have argued but he had barely the strength to do so... of course, who needed to argue when you were psychic?
"Wait," Roshea demanded when Ion was almost out of the door, carried on a stretcher by two others. "These people who did this to you, this group, erm... Amadeth," He began. Ion wasn't about to correct him on the fact it was a single person. "How dangerous are they?"
Ion nodded. "Very." He quietly uttered.
"Then we should retaliate." Roshea pushed passed the men who carried Ion and began to walk towards the bridge, speaking into a communicator about contacting the two battle-cruisers stationed in the Milky Way Galaxy and contacting Station 8 to see what could be done about preparing a dreadnought. Perhaps it was a little overboard but then again anything that heightened the chance of revenge against such an enemy was always worth considering.
"How is sir Ion?" The commander of the first battlecruiser asked.
"We've got him in the infirmary; it looks like he'll be fine." Captain Roshea replied. "How are we on locating Amadeth?"
"We only have one signal so perhaps the others escaped. There is one other unrelated person with her who may be affected by the strike, I th-"
"... yes sir."
And so they fired their most powerful cannon directly at where the web showed Amadeth to be and, after less than half a minute, the battlecruiser was torn apart by the very same blast of energy it had fired.
Back down on the surface of Earth Amadeth looked up in horror at what Emote had just done. Sorrow, however, merely continued to stare upwards as if waiting for another blast to come. Before such a thing could happen she changed; in place of Sorrow stood Love who turned from the skies down to Amadeth. She grabbed the still-shocked Amadeth by the leg and dragged her for around ten seconds before stopping and watching as another ion beam struck, this one completely decimating the platform on which they had previously stood and continuing down, causing the entirety of the city to shake. The beam continued for a short time before the last of it shot down into the darkness below and, not long afterwards, the quaking stopped. For a while nothing happened until a tentacle, an organic limb of some alien species, rose out of the ground. It was the size of a skyscraper and stretched out in the direction that the beam had come from. Amadeth stood as Love perplexedly stared.
"Rare breed of Cthuluan." She explained, watching as the gargantuan tentacle continued skywards. "It feeds on atoms; literally breaks everything that attacks it down to an atomic level and absorbs it, pretty much un-killable. They settle beneath ground and shed flesh like snakes, only without anywhere to put that flesh it grows stale and hard on their back." Love looked over the edge of the bridge that they stood on down to the darkness in which the alien monster resided. "All we had to do was carve it out and give it a lick of paint." As Amadeth spoke Emote turned her gaze towards her with an expression that only expressed one question; why? "You didn't expect me to actually build a place this big in three months out of bricks and mortar, did you?" She laughed as if Emote's confusion was out of proportion. Really, mortals once used cow manure for houses. Why was this any different?
Above them a battlecruiser in low orbit exploded like a firework on a dark night and the tentacle which had destroyed it suddenly stiffened. Emote looked up at where the ship had been, a sour expression on her face. "What?" Amadeth asked. "You expect it to not defend itself?" Then suddenly Emote was upon Amadeth. She grabbed her by the arm and forced her to the floor, taking her projectile launcher from her hands in the process. "Wait, what?" The zombie Elf yelled in confusion. Due to the two incredibly powerful energy blasts something akin to a electro-magnetic pulse affected Amadeth's suit, immobilizing it and making her powerless against the goddess. "I thought you were Love?"
Love smirked, holding the back of Amadeth's suit and dragging her to the bridge's edge. "You should know by now, when you attack someone's family," The goddess fired random projectiles from Amadeth's weapon down into the darkness as she spoke. "Someone's..." She hesitated.
"Wait a minute," Amadeth interrupted. "You've seen what that beast can do... you're willing to gamble that it won't kill you in a way you can't come back from to get revenge for a slutty little Elf?"
"Malali's a warrior." Emote replied, continuing to fire the weapon down to the alien lurking below. "If she needs saving or defending I'll do everything in my power for her. If she wants revenge, however, that is her business alone." Eventually the projectile launcher emitted only hollow clicks and Love threw it down into the darkness, into a chorus of explosions and screams which shook the city once more. "This? This is for my Maitrey; you laid your filthy hands upon my daughter. It is not Hatred nor Anger you should be afraid of now." Grabbing her by her shoulders, just managing to hold up the heavy suit, Love lifted Amadeth and looked into her rotting face. "It's me." Clutching onto the zombie Elf, the goddess dove down into the darkness, towards the monster and whatever back-lash it would unleash upon them both.
Amadeth lay floating on the surface of the Indian Ocean, just floating and nothing else. Not even thinking. Not even breathing, though that was never really a concern for her. She just dazedly contemplated her failure, and her success, and she floated. She almost laughed; there she was trying to get a pure sample of Malali's DNA, untainted by her own zombie affliction, yet if she had instead focussed on Emote it would have been more than just an adrenaline drug. Instead of producing just anger and passion, she could have mass produced any emotion she damn well pleased.
Then she laughed. Even now, even defeated and floating in the ocean, she lied to herself. Of course that was never really the point of her little experiment. Emotions were toxins within the brain, easily produced... no, she wanted something else. She wanted to see again. See herself... see the one who could...
Something caught her eye before she could continue her self-pity. In the distance a bright light headed towards her and, as it grew closer, Amadeth recognized that the light was the jet boosters of a small, silver and black tiger cub. It landed on top of her chest plate and sniffed her face before recoiling. From the robotic harness around the tiger cub came a small wire, with three thin appendages sticking out of the end, which stuck itself into Amadeth's neck and accessed her metallic skeleton. After working its magic the wire retreated back into the cub's harness and it began to fly away. Beneath it, like iron-filings following the direction of a magnet through paper, Amadeth was dragged through the water and towards safety before the military arrived, finding absolutely no trace of Amadeth, Emote or Australia whatsoever.
To Be Concluded...
[color=#666666]This message was edited by Tiger of Wu on May 05 2011.
|posts in thread|
May 7, 11 at 6:36pm ^re: The Chronicles
The Coil: The Writer (By Corruption)
Welcome. How would you introduce yourself in your own words?
C: My own words? (Laughs) I am the Writer. I am C, I am God! I created everything you know and see!
Knowledge: I'm Knowledge. You could perhaps think of me as a check on C's rather unstable behavior. I'm like his conscience. A very sarcastic conscience.
What reason or reasons lead you to become involved in duels?
C: Necessity. I kill all of you, or I die. You beings are nothing. Nothing but words on a page. I am real... Irreplaceable. I cannot simply be rewritten the way that you can. This is MY world. I will NOT be the one to perish!
Knowledge: By extension, what he said.
Do you have any favourite people/places/events from your past?
C: A place you could never imagine. A place under the light of worlds, where she and I would often meet up and lie there in the tall grasses, gazing at the distant ethereal beacons of our own creations.
What are you currently up to?
C: Killing people. Killing time.
Knowledge: Actually, I kill the people. He just watches and shouts some obscure rants.
What are your hopes/plans/expectations for the future?
C: To find Ambellina. I will find her! I'll set everything right! We'll be together, and we'll be as we were. Oh, and also, I'm going to kill you all.
Knowledge: Very ambitious.
Do you think Ambellina would approve of your actions?
Knowledge (Turning and smiling smugly at C): ...
C: Of course! She would understand. She loves me. She would do the same for me. I know she would...
Knowledge: I know that you more or less created reality as we know it, so this sounds strange, but what alternate reality are you living in?
Assuming you kill all of the other Writers and find Ambellina, what will you do then?
C: Go back to the way things were. She and I would write. We would laugh and create. Everything would finally be the same again.
Knowledge: Except for the bit about you having killed all of your friends. Unless you plan on bringing them back to life too and doing this whole ordeal twenty-four more times?
If you could propose to Ambellina, how would you do it?
C: I... (Flustered) I don't know. I could give her anything... Do anything. But... I... I'd just like to take her back. I'd recreate our first night together. The light of planets shining down like a massive, cascading curtain. I asked her something very important that night. And I'd ask her if she remembered. And then I'd ask her...
Knowledge: "I find you mildly attractive and have come to tolerate your presence. Become legally bonded to me."
Have you ever simply attempted to write your way out to the world above or must you stay in that world to resurrect Ambellina?
C: Why would I want to leave? It would mean living without Ambellina, the very reason I came to this world in the first place was to be with her! Here, I have control. Here, in this prison of words, I can keep her safe.
Knowledge: And they wonder why the caged bird sings.
Are there really not plenty more fish in the sea?
C: I don't like fish. And there are certainly no fish in me.
Knowledge: I C what you did there.
What kind of name is "C" anyway? I mean come on...
C: It has more meaning than any of the other names these so-called "duelists" carry! She called me that! It was her name for me and me alone! Don't you dare mock it!
Knowledge: His real name is Calis. Calis C-
C: You overstep the bounds of my tolerance, Knowledge!
Was C your first choice or was it the best letter left, and if so what letter did you want most?
C: It wasn't a choice. It was the name I was born with.
Knowledge: No it wasn't...
C: You know very well what I mean. And would I have preferred another letter? B, perhaps. If only to be closer to A... Ambellina.
Considering this is your world and the concept of death had never been thought of does that mean there is no afterlife as none of the Writers would have invented such a thing without the knowledge of such an occurrence?
C: An afterlife... Such a foolish notion. All stories end. Thinking that life goes on afterward is ridiculous and just wishful thinking. But death does exist. It was death that brought me here and it is death through which I shall leave this world of fiction!
Knowledge: If Ambellina is dead and you bring her back to life, does that make you a necrophiliac?
Being able to see your end coming, something all mortals are aware of but few in such a measurable fashion, have you had any thoughts on what you might make your final words on that last page, and if you have, would you share them here?
C: I... No. No. I will not fail. I will not end! I am beyond the death of words, the end of a story! I...
Knowledge: Have you even given a thought to how you'll die in the first place?
C: ... It doesn't matter. I won't.
Is the book an extension of ego or a defense mechanism against plot planning? And no side-stepping because of the fourth wall.
Knowledge: ... Hm. Come to think of it, I'm not really sure what it is myself. It is something that is merely a part of what C is, what he has always been. If there is someone who could answer your question, that person does not exist in our universe.
C: What does it matter to you, anyway? It works. That's all that matters. With it, I can do anything.
Knowledge: Except remove the ever-creeping time limit on your life. And find Ambellina. And kill the other Writers in an instant.
Corruption (stage whispering): The Book in and of itself is nothing special.
Knowledge: Did you hear something just now?
C: No. Stop acting delusional.
How does the Well go in relation to free will? Can you control the will of others or is every creation emitted freedom of choice and mind?
C: If I wanted, I could control any creation that is not the direct result of another Writer's book. I am the God of this world! When you pray, you pray to me. I can do anything!
Knowledge: See kids, this is why bullies exist. To put you down so that you don't sound like that. But really now, if you could do it, why not take control of every mind of every character who wasn't created by a Writer, and have them search for Ambellina. It'd certainly be much faster than asking me to trek around the entire world.
C: Actually, that's not a bad idea...
Knowledge: Oh dear...
The Killer is understandable but what inspired C to create a sarcastic back-talker and an animal who hardly listens to him as his main fighters?
C: I'm starting to question that myself. Useless creatures.
Knowledge: The three of us, despite whatever our creator thinks, are living beings. We change and stray from the paths set before us at the time of our creation. There are exceptions, of course, rules ingrained into our very existences that we cannot break under any circumstances. The Killer has merely remained more loyal to his initial "programming", if you will, than the Beast and myself.
If you could only keep one of your three avatars, the Killer, the Beast and the Knowledge, which would it be?
C: The Killer. He is obedient for starters. And for another, I can provide magical back up if it is truly necessary with my Book. The Knowledge is unnecessary as is the Beast. The Killer is what I need. What is required for me to find Ambellina and kill the other Writers.
Knowledge: You're so callous.
If it came down to a fight between you and Maxwell, who would win? Can your notebook beat his pouch of infinity?
C: My ultimate attack ties and cancels out his ultimate attack due to the very nature from which the two attacks are derived. Otherwise, I would of course win.
Knowledge: Though I would hardly consider breaking the universe a win... And you can't technically kill Maxwell without also killing yourself. So it'd actually be a draw. Or Maxwell could win theoretically. If you let him.
C: I would never.
Do you consider yourself to be more or less of a force for destruction than Maxwell?
C: I am much more destructive, obviously. Because I can control my powers. That stuffed fool of a doll relies on chance and luck. My powers are my own. The only limit to them is my own creativity.
Knowledge: Which is a shame, really, because the last time you created something instead of destroying, you made something truly wondrous.
C: And what would that be?
If you could fight anyone in the NDL, who would it be?
C: I don't actively seek out meaningless fights.
Knowledge: Yes you do.
C: Do not.
Knowledge: Remember Basis?
C: Shut up.
Knowledge: Personally, I would love to match wits with the one called Ion. It would be fun to fight someone with a degree of intelligence compared to... Well... Others.
You're called The Writer, but do you read much, and if so what books or authors are you fond of?
C: I read my Book. I scour its pages for any sign of my dearest Ambellina. She is all that matters. When I find her, everything will be right. Everything! I don't have the time nor the desire to read anything else.
Knowledge: What about before her death?
C: ... I read the stories of the other Writers. We used to all be friends. And then that war started. That stupid, stupid war...
Knowledge: He once read The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Believe it or not, he loves fantasy. It probably reminds him of his own predicament and-
C: KNOWLEDGE! I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO SPEAK ANY FURTHER IF YOU INSIST ON SPEAKING OF ME IN THIS WAY!
Do you have any hobbies besides writing?
Knowledge: Well, he kills people a lot and for some sick reason, he seems to enjoy it. So yes, I suppose he does have another hobby.
C: I don't enjoy death.
Knowledge: Your actions and your words. They make no sense together.
C: Death was what got me here. If Ambellina hadn't died, none of this would be happening! You think I actually like death!?
Knowledge: Yeah, you'd think you'd be more sensitive to killing people because of that.
C: They're not even people anyway! They're just words. It doesn't matter! I can rewrite words. I could bring them back if I wanted. They aren't important! Nothing is more important than-
Knowledge: Yes, yes, we know. You've only said it three or four times already.
What would your codename be?
Knowledge: Severein (grins).
Marmite: love it or hate it?
C: Humph. As if I would lower myself to eating the food of fiction. It would be like eating my own words, literally!
Knowledge: Well you certainly do that often enough...
Do you like pie? If so, what's your favourite kind of pie?
C: Another food question?
Knowledge: He likes pumpkin.
C: I do not! I merely tolerate it. For nutrition. Even I must eat.
Knowledge: (Snorts) nutrition? From pie?
If you had to make a choice between a Filipino and an ice cold lemonade what would you choose? And remember, one is racist.
What would you do if Stephanie Meyer got hold of your book and wrote the sequel to Breaking Dawn in it?
Knowledge: Murder, suicide.
C: Shut up, fool! The light and fury would burn that abomination out of existence! My world will not be tainted!
Knowledge: What if Ambellina wrote it instead?
The Zombie Apocalypse hits. What would you do?
C: Kill them. Again.
Knowledge: Ask Calis why he's trying to find brains, when he already has a perfectly fine one when he chooses to use it.
Do you have any last words you'd like to add?
Knowledge: Thank you for the fascinating questions. You have given me much to think on. Should we ever meet on the battlefield, forgive me if I murder you. I truly enjoyed answering your questions.
C: This was all an elaborate trap. I know all of your names now. My list of potential Writers is growing thinner. I have added you all to my book. I'm going to kill you all.
Knowledge: Yeah, okay, Kira...
[color=#666666]This message was edited on 2014-06-01T09:14:31-07:00.
|posts in thread|
May 8, 11 at 4:00pm ^re: The Chronicles
End of the Coaster:
A blur, dark and light a mess of both colours and shades. The world span wit sound
“- these burns how is he still -”
The pulse reverberated like giant explosions within his skull, thumping in and out, a constant high paced beat.
“- check this chunk of rock out almost looks like a -”
Smell pierced and stung, that of burning flesh inside Johno's nostrils.
“- we've lost power to the life support what's going on in -”
Screeches, beeps all blasted his eardrums. He tossed and turned, throat constricting.
“- The engine isn't responding we're going -”
Dry, everything was dry, desolate, tasteless. Everything was growing further hazier.
“- do - mean we - - gonna -”
Muffles, muffled voices, muffled vision muffled breath, no air....
“- give me the controls -”
“- ma'am please -”
“- I won't let this -”
“Father, behind you! I don't think so brother.”
“Who are you hero, A MONSTER!”
“Ah... good... morning cold, unfeeling bastard”
“your first instinct would be to attack me, you have a brain after-all”
“you're skills are weak, another target”
“I didn't believe it when people... vanished. Right off the grid”
“Yeah, oh great chosen one, HEEEEELLLLP!!!!”
“You are contaminated, STAY AWWWWAAAAAAY!!!”
“how you manage to live, here to irritate me”
“Don't worry miss, he will be fine, he is recovering at a remarkable rate, it's been only a few hours yet most the burns are almost gone. It is unfathomable.”
“Do you know what this piece of stone is, it continues to burn hot and yet it seems to remove nearby light, It almost looks like a weapon.”
“Thank you again for saving us by the way, we all would have died if it weren't for you. We were meant to be the ones rescuing you not the other way around”
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|Tiger of Wu||
May 8, 11 at 10:21pm ^re: The Chronicles
A Lifetime Ago
Gala, an old Dwarf with a blindfold covering his eyes and an excess of clothing and armour, slowly walked into the virtually empty room. He shut the door behind him gently and turned to a young Nightelf woman who sat in a wooden chair at a table, still wet with blood. The Dwarf said nothing at first, simply stared at the Nightelf, and then he placed what he held onto the table. It was a type of golden sphere which did nothing at first and then opened up, revealing a series of pictures which floated in the air, akin to holograms. The first picture was the face of a Human who wore a royal outfit along with a jewel-encrusted crown. The Nightelf scowled at him.
"Yes," Gala agreed. "Prince Sasad. After what he did to your friends you were well within your right to kill him." He pulled up a chair to the table and sat, manipulating the floating images with movements of his hands and fingers. "And what about him?" In place of Prince Sasad was one of his guards. "He stood watch as The Prince ravaged little Suviria didn't he? Did he deserve to die?" Slowly, the Nightelf nodded. "I'm inclined to agree with you. He was lucky to escape with his life the first time, wasn't he?" Again, the Nightelf nodded. "And what about him?" In place of the guard came another soldier, again a man. Aside from some facial differences, he could have been the same person.
"Who is he?" The Nightelf quietly asked. For a second Gala did nothing, just stared at her through his blindfold. Then he stood, picked up the chair on which he had sat and threw it at the wall, causing it to shatter into twenty or so different pieces.
"Who is he?!" He practically screamed. "Is that what you say about a man you have killed?!" He stomped the ground, having no other release available. "Damn it Amadeth!" The Dwarf put his hands behind his head and sighed deeply. "I spent these last ten years teaching you to protect, not to kill." He turned and walked back to the table, bringing up the image of a young-looking Human woman and two children, one a boy who appeared ten and the other merely a baby in her arms. "Do you see them? She's a widow because of you, Amadeth. That boy will have to provide for his family alone, because of you. That girl will grow up with no memory of her father whatsoever, because of you!" He watched as the Nightelf stared at the images, barely flinching. "Is any of this sinking in? How about him?" In place of the broken family came another soldier, this one with a small scar on his cheek and a smile on his face. "Do you remember killing him?" Then he disappeared and in his place came a younger, darker man. "And what about him? He only joined because he wanted to be taught discipline for his artwork, do you remember killing him Amadeth?!" With another wave of his hand the Dwarf changed the image. "Do you remember her?" A sickly middle-aged woman appeared in the air above the table. "She was a maid, also one of Prince Sasad's playthings. Did she deserve to die?"
"I did her a favour."
"Really? And what about them?" Three children replaced the sickly woman. "They were barely surviving with what they were living on and now that you killed their mother the eldest daughter will have to give up her education and become a whore so that her little brothers don't die, even though now, because of you, they'll most likely be forced to become a part of the new army anyway!" Gala slammed his fist onto the table, causing the sphere and the images it projected to shake. "And what about that? Hm? You think there'll be no political repercussions? Sasad's previous advisers have already moved in on his territory and the allied forces of Htrae are literally days from signing a declaration of war against Tyrnealylth."
"We can fight them." The Nightelf replied.
"Don't be stupid, Amadeth, that isn't the point." Gala spat. "Now every man and woman who can fight will be drafted into Krondor's new army and they'll march on every village, city and town under Tyrnealylthian protection. Many people will die; and what about the cross-continental peace agreements? What happens when they decide to march through Tserof to get at our divisions there, and the Elves decide that the Orcs had called for reinforcements to attack them and the Orcs decide the same for the Elves? Do you have any idea how catastrophic this situation can turn out? Do you not understand that your fucking actions have consequences?!" There was a long pause before finally the Nightelf spoke.
"What will happen now?" She meekly asked.
"That depends on too many factors for me to be able to guess." Gala answered, rubbing his face. "If it were up to me, though, you'd be executed here and now." He exited the room and left the girl to stare at the images in front of her which continued to change, as if a slide-show. They depicted the people she had killed in the Massacre of Krondor and the people who would be affected by what she had done. Not a single tear rolled, nor did her body tremble or lip quiver. She was like stone, cold and heartless as she watched the aftermath of her actions play before her.
It was a day before anyone contacted her again. Someone would slide food through a hatch in the door but otherwise she was left in isolation. Gala the Dwarf walked through the door and stepped onto an untouched tray of food, wiping his boot off on the wall before closing the door and seeing Amadeth laying in the corner, dried blood covering her body and leather armour. "Get up." He said. She did so. "You're lucky Sasad was such a tyrant; apparently his successors are just corrupt enough to let you go whilst ignoring their peoples' cry for blood; there'll be no war. You'll face twenty lashes for breaking your oath and then... you'll be banished. I'm appealing they change their minds and keep you here, though." The Nightelf almost smiled causing Gala to scowl. "Make no mistake, I'm only doing it because the idea of letting you loose and unchained is preposterous. You'll stay here until your punishment." He headed for the door. "Forgive me, there was another thing." He stopped, door open, and looked into the Nightelf's eyes through his blindfold. "Amadeth means Beauty Eternal. You don't deserve that name. From now on you are Malali." And he left, closing the door behind him.
Malali stood with her bare feet on the soil, her toes touching rock. Wind moved through her hair and kissed her body and she shuffled uncomfortably; it had been a long time since she wasn't covered in armour and it was a strange feeling for her to be in a dress. Yet there she was, out in the open, wearing a dress. No armour. No weapons. She felt naked but at that point in time it didn't matter, not to her. It had been a week since Emote had saved her from Amadeth, her zombified, mad scientist counterpart from another universe, and things had calmed down considerably; no duelists randomly attacking, no aftershock from Amadeth, no Ion returning for revenge. It was peaceful.
Emote returned to the city not long after Australia began to sink beneath the water and she nursed Malali back to health, which took a few days. Danog and his soldiers all got out of the country alive, thanks to Credence, and even Maitrey was beginning to adjust to life with cyborg implants and a robotic arm. It would be a while before the trauma of the event wore off but otherwise she would be fine. And so Malali stood, at the edge of this cliff, no armour and no weapons.
No magic. If she hit the ground as planned her skull would shatter and her spine would be driven through what was left of her brain; it was a high enough fall by her calculations and in spite of her strength, she was still mortal. She turned her head back towards Emote's city which resided through a multitude of trees, whispered something into the wind, then jumped.
"You ready, 'prentice?" An old, very short Orc with a huge, crystal-like hammer on his back turned to his apprentice, a very tall, muscular Orc woman, and she silently nodded in reply. "Good. We need be ready." They stood atop a large plateau near to their city and awaited as a giant bird descended to and then landed near to them, its large, flapping wings knocking the shorter of the two back but barely even bothering the larger. Grey legs extended from the bottom of the Rukh and secured themselves on the ground before the wings slowed to a stop and were pulled in to the creature's side. With a loud clank Malali, wearing the heavy armour of a Dragon Slayer, jumped from atop and then landed next to the Rukh and looked at the two Orcs through the eye holes of her white, winged helmet. The smaller Orc pushed himself up from the floor, brushed himself off and moved back to his apprentice's side.
"Apologies, Lord Negria." Malali bowed her head in respect.
"Nonsense," The Orc replied. "Happens a lot. Please, call Flugoc." Flugoc Negria, revered leader of the Orc people in both public and underground circles, was one of the four leaders chosen by the Conclave of Guilds to oversee what was quickly being called the Second Fall of the Dragons. For the past three months he, along with an Elven, Dwarfen and Human guild leader and their various forces, had been extensively researching and investigating rumours of a dragon sighting near the Erifi border. Beneath the noses of people from Tserof there were various investigations and eventually they found that such rumours were indeed true and, if the habits of the dragon-kind were anything to go by, it would soon awaken fully and go on a rampage.
From that particular point in time they had three months before such an event would occur. They knew where the dragon was and how to get to it so all that was needed was the swift execution of the beast and it would be finished... however, that wasn't as easy as it sounded since the creature was currently sleeping within a volcano which, to an average person, would equate to instant death not to mention the state of anarchy caused by The Deathknight's appearance a few years back and, perhaps most worryingly, the various clues which pointed to the reforming of Solelua, the guild dedicated to protecting the dragons.
Basically, without swift action, they would all die.
With the chaotic nature of Erif teleportation into the continent was too dangerous and the two continents in between, Tresed to the north and Tserof to the south, suffered similar problems meaning they'd have to reach the Tserofian border and proceed without such magic. Also due to the chaotic nature of Erif, Tserof and Tresed to try to fly over them was suicide for all but dragon's and creatures of their level, meaning they had to go via land. Of course, Malali knew it wouldn't end just there...
"... you bare mark of Dragon Slayer..." Flugoc went on to continue. "Flugoc thought Dragon Slayers vanish long ago." Malali nodded.
"When Master Gazille was killed I abandoned them in grief. He was like a father to me." She looked down, feigning shame. "These many, many years later I wish to redeem myself so that I might be able to face him in the next life, undo the mistake I made when I left." The tall, muscular female Orc (tall and muscular even for one of her race) stepped in front of her master and walked to the Nightelf who was dressed as a Dragon Slayer. She looked her up and down, walked around her and then the Rukh, eyeing both suspiciously yet showing absolutely no sign of fearing either. Flugoc, the Orc's old master, finally spoke.
"Shenna?" She turned to him immediately and nodded.
"Her posture isn't of one who wears heavy armour... her words for Gazille were hollow... not enough sadness. This Rukh... it's an outcast... but they only ever trained adults... and even a deserter wouldn't leave their pet behind... she isn't from back then, Lord Negria." Shenna looked into Malali's eyes coldly, a hint of anger underneath a veil of indifference. "She's not even a Dragon Slayer." The Orc walked back to Flugoc and stood next to his side as he looked at the 'Dragon Slayer' and smiled.
"Thank you, Shenna." He reached up and patted the back of the female, never taking his eyes off of Malali. "You... I sensed since you got here. Lucky you, Flugoc was with mages. Suppressed energy so that Gala wouldn't sense you." He laughed. "Why think I bring Shenna? Aside from Flugoc's sons, only Malali can ever lie to Flugoc."
"How..." The Nightelf dumbfoundedly began. "How could you-"
"Flugoc smarter than looks, Kushma." He wanted to run out and hug her, he knew it wouldn't be long until their final meeting, and he felt she felt the same... but they couldn't. "Many eyes watching. Need keep them not knowing of you; I read Gala's reports on time alteration, paradoxes. Must keep you secret."
"What about you two?" Malali gestured to both Orcs.
"You are from future. You know Flugoc ill, has little time left, or you no come here." Shenna bowed her head in sadness as her master spoke. "And Flugoc's old pupil has many more dangering secrets. We can keep you hidden, Kushma. We have necklace, suppress energy, keep hidden. Come. We prepare for meeting."
"Forgive me for saying," A male voice began in a distinct Nightelven language. "But you were never this cowardly in my memories."
Malali lay flat on the ground, no pain, nothing out of place, not dead. Or at least not that she could tell. She looked up to where she had stood; she was indeed where she had intended to land, only her head hadn't been crushed and her spine wasn't shattered. How inconvenient. "Who are you?" She asked, standing, realizing she was indeed perfectly fine; physically, at least. "Why do you have memories of me?"
"No, Malali, you ask the wrong questions." The man replied. He was indeed a Nightelf, true to the words he spoke and the accent with which he spoke them. "What you should ask is 'who am I?'"
"Like I asked, who are you?"
"Not me, you."
"I know who I am."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes!" Malali finally shouted. This guy was worse than her brother was, poking and prodding, trying to get a rise out of her. "I know who I am. I am Malali."
"Are you?" He asked. "You're Malali. You're the Shadow of War... is that it? Is there nothing else to you?"
Malali glared at him in silence.
A meeting between Humans, Dwarves, Elves and Orcs to decide which elite warriors, who hadn't already fallen victim to The Deathknight, should be a part of the Second Fall of the Dragons. After much deliberation it was agreed that Raiju and Sybelle of the guild Alastor's Nemesis, Shenna of Broken Eden, Panos and Cura of Elinia's Crescendo, Noa Tetsu of Moraine of Sitnalta and Gala and Malali of Tyrnealylth, that is to say Malali's old master and the past version of herself, would be a part of the campaign. After much argument it was also finally agreed that Terreno Fogo of Heaven's Awakening, a war-criminal who had killed the current high-king of Htrae, would also join them as a prisoner. Then Flugoc Negria introduced Aretnap Ylil, also known as Malali.
The Nightelf went through the routine she had repeatedly seen in her dreams; the Humans, Dwarves and Elves would argue against her existence and both Flugoc and Malali herself, changing her voice and hiding her identity thanks to a multitude of enchanted items, explained that she was Dragon Master Gazille's secret lover who abandoned her duty as a Dragon Slayer after he was killed, all backed up by the historical rumours shared amongst scholars of such an Elven lover. She spoke of the prophet who gave her the armour and weapon she held then, as a show of faith, removed her helmet. Revealing her horridly burnt and scarred head, given to her care of the Firvara when she retrieved Eclipse, she made sure to look at the younger version of herself in the same way she had seen in her dreams. Before long they came to accept she was who she said and, once the meeting was over, they all prepared themselves before they would head to the teleportation chambers.
"You know," The male Nightelf began. He had pulled an orange from his pocket and was in the process of peeling it as he spoke. "I once knew a man who defined himself by a title someone else pushed upon him. They called him The Deathknight." He chuckled as if that was meant to be a punchline.
"You're comparing me to him?" Malali asked. She sat on a stone protruding from the ground which made for a not entirely uncomfortable seat.
"I wasn't trying to," He replied with a laugh. "But I guess if you want to, we can do that. So where to begin? He was born because of something tragic happening to him, like you."
"Was everyone he knew and loved slaughtered in front of him?" She said with petulance. After saying it, however, she realized how entirely possible it was.
"Maybe, maybe not. I wasn't talking about that though."
"Then what were you talking about?"
The male Nightelf broke off a piece of his orange and popped it into his mouth. "Prince Sasad." Suddenly Malali turned to stare at him and stood.
"What about him?" She demanded. He chuckled.
"Even after all this time, Malali, even after everything that's happened to you... you still can't face up to it, can you?" He spoke with pity.
"The fact he raped and tortured Suviria? Yeah, I faced up to it and I killed him, so-"
"Oh come on," The male replied with annoyance, spitting out the chewed bit of orange. "That's not what I mean."
"Then what do you mean?"
"The fact that it was-" Malali grabbed the Nightelven man by the throat and pushed him into the side of the cliff, trying as hard as she could to crush his wind-pipes. He looked at her with disinterest.
"You need to stop lying about it, Malali. You can't just pretend it never happened because then it stews inside of you like a virus and that spreads until-..." He sighed. "Can you stop trying to choke me please, I'm already dead, this is just silly." With a scream, Malali let go of him and punched the wall of rock, drawing blood from her fist. "Always with the punching and the screaming," He remarked, walking over to the orange he had dropped. He picked it up and popped another piece into his mouth. "This is exactly what I'm talking about, you know. You can't just push this stuff down or-"
"Or what?" She spat, leaning against the cliff's wall on her forehead.
"Or you end up taking it out on people who don't deserve it." He thought about mentioning the Massacre of Krondor or of the destruction of Birmingham, or even that Malali had just attempted to kill herself, but from judging her expression he knew didn't need to.
It had been a few days since the first meeting and the group had so far been travelling through Tserof since teleporting to its borders. They first rendezvoused with the organized team of Tserofians who would guide them through the treacherous forest continent. The members of the group seemed to get on well enough though Malali kept to herself, something she would attribute to meditation on what she, as Aretnap Ylil, was trying to achieve, a goal which in itself wasn't far from what Malali herself was trying to achieve; redemption.
So far they had run into two groups of demons and a group from Solelua, the guild intent on helping the dragon, all of which were dispatched easily by their combined power. When the sun disappeared beneath the horizon they would set up camps; moving through Tserof at night was suicide. "I don't understand why you're here." Noa stated, lying on his back and looking up into the trees. Noa, from Moraine of Sitnalta, was one of very few Sitnaltan ambassadors with the power to remain sane out of water. He was a Mer, a type of hybrid between fish and the four great races, Human, Elf, Dwarf and Orc. The story of Sitnalta is a great tale of love, honour and betrayal which ultimately ended in an entire continent being cursed to remain as but myth beneath the waters of the sea; most of Lar was unaware it was even real. Few were exempt from the curse and allowed to exist both in and out of water, such as Noa. He appeared as an Elf but his scaled skin was a light shade of blue and various appendages were webbed, not to mention his antennae and gills.
Noa continued. "You've never took interest in things like this before, Raiju." Standing near to where he lay was an old cloaked man named Raiju, holding a white staff and looking as if death would take him at any day, and with him was a much younger looking (but in reality much older) woman wearing light armour with a bow and quiver full of arrows on her back, named Sybelle. Not far from the three of them stood Malali, looking outwards of the open camp site for any incoming threats as she listened to the conversation.
"'tis true, ambassador," Raiju's voice was cracked and broken. "Lar's fate rarely concerns me."
"And why," Sybelle began in defence. "Are you here, ambassador?" Still on the floor, Noa laughed.
"I'm here to keep the peace. Without my sea I am a useless combatant but I am still an ambassador; I still have a gift of keeping things peaceful but productive. Unlike you, Master Alastor, I understand that ones such as us are not entitled to selfishly keep such gifts to ourselves. If one has the power to be extraordinary said person has no right to not be. Now," Still smiling he turned to them both. "I have answered your question, please answer mine." Sybelle stared at him, then to Raiju.
"Fair enough." Raiju, leader of the guild Alastor's Nemesis, replied with disdain. "You understand we differ philosophically."
"You believe in the united power of people. I believe in self reliance. My power was a gift I never earned, this is known, but what I did with my power is what has made me who I am. What I built with it and how I further built upon it. Dragons have always been revered as the strongest of the creatures. I wish to be the strongest of the mortals. There is but nothing more to it." Still lying on his back Noa smirked before turning to the old, decrepit man.
"If you live alone, Raiju, you'll die alone. Your guild adores you."
"Stop your preaching, ambassador." He interrupted the relaxed Mer with disgust. "You're here to keep the peace. Don't disrupt it by provoking me." Annoyed, Raiju turned and walked away quickly followed by Sybelle who shot Noa a final look before leaving the Mer alone with Malali.
"And what of you, Dragon Slayer? You seek redemption?" This was clearly established amongst them... yet he still asked. Malali figured if he asked anyway he must have known there was more to it, there was no point in lying to him, so she simply said nothing and walked away.
Eventually Malali had calmed down and set herself back on the stone on which she had sat. The male Nightelf chewed on a piece of orange before spitting it out. "Who are you?" Malali finally asked in a hollow voice.
"That depends on who is asking."
"I am asking."
"And who are you?"
She shook her head in annoyance. "I am Malali."
"Then I am but a simple messenger." The man answered, taking in another piece of orange.
"Sent from whom?"
"Who is asking?"
"I am as-... Malali is asking." Again, she shook her head.
"Then I'm sent from an old friend who you haven't spoken to in a long time."
He spat out a chewed up piece of orange. "Certainly not living."
"Gala? Mother? Pa? Clafir?"
"No, no, no and you wish." He smirked, taking another piece of orange.
"You're starting to bore me."
"We could always talk about Prince Sasad again." He stated with a chuckle, causing Malali to give him a vicious glare.
"Tell me who you are!" She ordered.
"What good would knowing who I am do you, hm? What good would it be when you don't even know who you are."
The following days came uneventfully until they were met early in the morning by a group of attacking remnants of the guild Solelua. Most were quickly despatched but one wouldn't go down as easily, calling himself Hesheo. He fled and was followed by Malali, the Dragon Slayer, and before long the two were alone at which point Hesheo stopped running and turned to face his enemy. "That weapon," He gestured towards the war-hammer the Nightelf held, Eclipse. "Belongs to us. This dragon is the Kaa, the first, and he shall rise again." Unsheathing his claymore, Hesheo struck at Malali and was parried with ease.
"This dragon will kill us all if it isn't put down." She replied with a scowl. "And if-" Malali stopped when she saw a scimitar stab clean through Hesheo's chest from behind, almost striking her own armour. It was quickly pulled back and the man fell. Standing behind him Malali saw herself, her younger self, flicking blood from her blade.
"I appreciate the distraction." She thanked before beginning to walk away. Malali, of the future, glared at her past counter part.
"I could have handled him alone. Honourably."
Malali, the younger Malali, laughed. "This is exactly what I hated about Caltas." She muttered before turning back to the Dragon Slayer. "Ylil, this dog was trying to kill you so he could aid in the killing of millions of people. He deserved no honour." She spat on his body. "Don't let your pride dictate your actions." She walked away.
"This was always your problem, always such a narrow view. You could investigate a crime-scene and discover hidden plots like a genius but when it came to philosophy or morality you're as stupid as I used to be." The male Nightelf spat out another piece of orange.
"And how stupid did you used to be?" Malali questioned, to which the man laughed.
"Nice try. I'll be blunt; currently there are severe questions being thrown around about your fate."
"What about it?" She replied. The man put his face in his hands and shook his head.
"And they said I was the retarded one." He sighed.
"What did you just sa-"
"Nothing, forget it. Listen, you need to consider what you've done and what you're doing, okay?"
"Consider what?" Malali asked, angry perplexed-ness lying beneath tired apathy.
"Consider this!" He yelled in reply, not with anger but frustration. "This conversation we're having, the reasons you were about to commit suicide, life, the universe. How about this," He put another piece of the orange into his mouth. "Hm?"
For a few seconds Malali just stared in confusion. "You... like oranges."
He nodded with a shrug. "A slow start but yes," He spoke as he chewed. "I like oranges." He spat the chewed up piece of orange out.
She laughed. There was only one person who she knew who had ever chewed orange pieces but not swallowed them. She shook her head and held her face with her hand, then slowly looked over to the male Nightelf who held his arms out and grinned. "Brother?" She finally asked. He chuckled.
"Like I said," He placed another piece of orange into his mouth. "Bigger picture."
"You did not say bigger picture."
"It was implied."
Like every other day, Malali ended up escorting Terreno Fogo away from the group so she could relieve herself. Terreno Fogo had killed the high king of Htrae and made herself an enemy to the general Human populace. As it was the Elven representative who had suggested they use Terreno Fogo in the campaign he had sent a guard to specifically keep an eye on her but the guard was male, and when Fogo needed to relieve herself she requested Aretnap Ylil, secretly Malali, to be her escort. In the interest of following the past timeline she obliged. Thus, like every other day, Malali ended up escorting Terreno Fogo away from the group so she could relieve herself and, like every other day, Fogo tried to convince Malali to set her free.
"All I'm saying is that Htrae hasn't always been bad. If you look at it historically Katariah was the last regal of any country there to not be corrupt; since her assassination they've all been on the payroll of the Aknayk families, including Rowan and Rewan." The prisoner had been speaking of such things constantly and, in all honesty, her words made sense to Malali. Either way the Nightelf knew how this would end; the Elven guard would die whilst in battle with the dragon and Fogo, once said dragon was taken down, would take advantage of the situation and escape. In the interest of not undoing the past, she humoured her prisoner.
"Assuming you're right, which is a big assumption, how can you get close to them again?" She asked. From a squatting position Terreno perked up and smiled through her makeshift mask.
"There's a safe house outside of the city. Whilst Rewan's illusionary double sleeps in her bed in the castle the real queen will be alone with her personal guard. I collapse the building from above, she dies; we're free." Silence. "... you know all about wanting freedom, don't you Dragon Slayer?" Malali stared into the prisoner's eyes as she cleaned herself then stood, snickering.
"Watch your tongue-"
"Or you'll cut it out?"
"Or I'll rip it out."
Still snickering, Terreno Fogo held her hands up. "Fine, let's head back to the others. It's probably better you have time to dwell on what I've sa-" The heavy gauntlet of Malali's Dragon Slayer armour struck her face with a solid backhand before the Nightelf grabbed the prisoner's shackled hands and dragged her back towards the others.
"So why are you here?" Malali finally asked.
"Like I said," Her brother replied. "I'm a messenger. Due to my short life I wasn't able to prove myself as worthy of the afterlife thus I work for it now."
"Mother and pa would be so proud."
"Oh, they are." He spat out some chewed up orange. "They send their regards, by the way," He quickly scoured the ground before settling on a spot and sitting down, legs crossed. He took in another piece of orange. Malali opened her mouth to reply but no words came, so she closed it. "You remember that time when I wondered to the Tree of Life alone?" When Malali and her brother were mere children they lived in a forest split between different tribes; in the centre of the forest was a tall tree nick-named the Tree of Life because people believed that it was that single tree which, planted at the dawn of creation, sprouted the entire forest by itself. Between the usually hostile tribes the Tree of Life and the small area surrounding it was considered a safe zone. "It was a few days after you first met Suviria. I wanted to see the tree in day light so snuck away as everyone else was going to bed."
"I remember." Malali whispered, half-way between smiling and frowning.
"You followed me, made sure I got there okay." Her brother smirked. "Before I thought those rocks which you threw to guide me were from Mother Moon... no matter how crooked my path got, there was always a little rock to fly from the trees and pummel me back onto the safe route." He laughed. "When I arrived I saw the tree glimmering beneath the sun. I knew it was beautiful yet I still disliked it, for reasons I couldn't understand at the time, and as I stared, drooling with my mouth open... those Dwarf boys came along. They called me a retard, a gimp, said I had the weak genes of an imp and that mother clearly had sex with a donkey to produce me. Rather eloquent for young Dwarfs, wouldn't you say?" He smirked and Malali returned the gesture. "Then from the trees came a rock. Hit one of them right in the eye. As the other three tried to figure out what was going on you jumped on them from the tree-top, then tackled their leader to the ground and began punching him in the face. When the others got up and pulled you off him they beat you senseless; had that Orc girl not shown up they may have killed you. What was her name?" Malali shook her head, she didn't know. "And then she carried you back to the village. When you woke up you told father that you had wanted to see the tree in the day and I had followed you." He spat out the orange piece and then lay back. "I never did get a chance to thank you for that, did I? Thank you, sister."
Again, the travelling group was under attack, this time by demons of light sent by the Denvara. They were mostly formless beings of smoky white light struggling to sustain themselves in a non-demonic plane. They numbered around twenty and attacked whilst the group was unsuspecting, one of the few Tserofian guides even being killed in the initial strike. As they flew around their enemies and tried to strike at them they would whisper and scream that it was theirs and their master wanted it back. It was the key to their war and their main weapon.
"What is it that they want?" Noa, the Mer from Sitnalta, asked in confusion. As a non-combatant he stuck with Gala, the Dwarfen master of Tyrnealylth, knowing of how strong his magic was.
"My guess would be Eclipse, the war-hammer." Gala replied whilst preparing a spell of darkness. Whilst he did this his protege, the young Nightelf known as Malali, defended both him and Noa from the surrounding threat. "As a weapon of both sun and moon it holds great and powerful light; were they to get it their influence in the demonic realms would increase tenfold." Darkness shone from beneath the Dwarf's blindfold and he threw his hands outwards, firing a missile of shadow which burnt through the demons of light and exploded on those around them, though harmed non of his mortal allies.
"And what of this war?" Noa continued. "Cause for concern?" Flashes of light from nearby temporarily blinded them as Raiju and Sybelle vanquished those who singled them out with lightning magic, one firing it from his staff and the other channelling it through her arrows.
"Depends on whether the time-lines are still altered... whatever happens down there is only concern for those going down there," Still speaking and from beneath his blindfold Gala looked towards the Dragon Slayer, Malali. Even with his eyes covered it was easy to tell when he was looking at you... it felt as if you had the attention of the creator itself. "So long as we keep the weapon with us until we find the dragon, there should be no issue." The fight ended quickly, the combined power of the strong warriors defeating the demons rather easily. So far the enemies they had faced were weak, flimsy even. The remnants of Solelua were understandably lacklustre, having been almost entirely annihilated many years ago, but the demons of light should have been much stronger, especially under a war-time situation.
"Master Gala," Raiju, followed by Sybelle, walked up to Gala whilst he meditated after the group set up camp for the night. "You spoke of a war in the demonic realms. I would like more information."
"The Zaravara will be unaffected, thus your powers won't be drained, sp-" Within a millisecond, accompanied by a flash of light and a thunderous boom, Raiju's bony right hand was firmly wrapped around Gala's neck and Sybelle had nocked three arrows, all aimed at the Dwarf's face. Within the next second Malali, the younger version of the past, was standing behind Sybelle with her own arrows aimed at her and the elder Malali posing as a Dragon Slayer had grabbed Raiju in a chokehold and pulled him away.
The Zaravara was the demonic king of lightning and thunder who resided in the Fifth Circle; there were rumours that this was who Raiju got his powers from, rumours which angered him greatly. Now rolling backwards from the floor Malali the Dragon Slayer foresaw an attack from behind and swung Eclipse upwards with a great yell, easily managing to deflect an incoming bolt of lightning into the sky. When her foe vanished before her eyes, however, she did not foresee him reappearing behind her and launching another attack. Malali managed to turn quickly enough to see it come but hadn't enough time to act, instead helplessly watching as... a small white rabbit appeared from nowhere, took the attack and disappeared.
Taken aback, she quickly regained full sense and raised her weapon ready for the next attack which never came. "This is not your business, Dragon Slayer." Raiju spat.
"Anything pertaining to this mission is my business," Malali viciously replied, weapon still raised. By now Sybelle had lowered her aim and withdrew her arrows and Malali of the past did the same, both turning to watch the short scuffle. "You forget your place."
"And you, Dragon Slayer, forget yours." Gala interrupted, still sitting on the ground. "I am more than capable of defending myself, which in itself is a moot point since Master Raiju was only going to warn me about insulting him." After a brief moment of silence the four of them were surrounded by the others, Panos of Elinia's Crescendo stepping forward and demanding to know what was going on, a question which Gala quickly answered. "I had but one apple left and both Master Raiju and Lady Ylil had exhausted their own supplies, so I suggested they have a quick sparring match to see who gets it."
"We're in a forest full of fruit." Terreno Fogo dryly suggested.
"Then perhaps they simply wished for my attention? Either way, I have decided to give it to Raiju thus the matter is settled and need be discussed no longer." Standing as he spoke, Gala reached into his armour and pulled out a rather delicious looking apple which he then handed to Raiju who, though bitterly, accepted. He tossed it into the air and began to walk away before Sybelle caught it, took a bite and followed. Some speculatively, the group began to disperse. Panos, Cura and Shenna all followed Malali the Dragon Slayer away from the others; like Shenna, Panos knew of who Malali truly was beneath the Dragon Slayer armour and, like Shenna, he took it upon himself to remind Malali of what was at stake at every available opportunity. Cura was his disciple who tended to watch and make unhelpful remarks.
"What the hell was that?" Panos yelled.
"I was protecting Master Gala." Malali angrily replied.
"Really?" Panos threw his hands out to his side in exasperation as Shenna looked out to make sure no-one was listening in. "A mage who is ten-times more powerful than you and twice as powerful as Raiju needs you to protect him? Are you that arrogant or just stupid?"
"Someone approaches." Shenna called out just loud enough for the others to hear. Panos glared at Malali before turning around and smiling whilst Cura looked conspicuously into the air, kicking the dirt. Were she to add whistling to her actions she might as well have had a sign saying 'We have a secret'. By this point Shenna, the Orc, had vanished completely and from the trees emerged Raiju and Sybelle.
"So, Lady Ylil, may I ask a question?" He walked into the small opening in the trees with his cloaked head held high, a smug sneer on his face. Sybelle was still eating the apple and, upon seeing Cura, she offered the young girl a bite who merrily accepted before being dragged away by Panos. "I'll ask anyway. Are you arrogant or just stupid?"
"You seem to have made a habit of that." Malali's brother remarked.
"Trying to save everyone." He chuckled. "You know, not every mortal you come across is your retarded little brother. I am, after-all, one of a kind." He lifted his head to see Malali on the verge of laughter; an in joke between the two of them which she hadn't even thought of since... and then she started thinking about that day. Any smidgen of happiness left her with a deep sigh. "You know, no matter what you say or do, what happened wasn't your fault." Their gazes met and the brother let his head fall back to the floor. "Father and the other elders had already agreed to mobilize a small force to get you all back. They were going to march through Krondor and demand they be given their children or war. They were ready to fight... no matter what happened, Prince Sasad would have still marched on us. Besides, if you want to blame anyone blame that Orc girl."
"What did you say?" Malali stood, suddenly aflame. Her brother also got up and moved to stand in front of her.
"You heard me. She was the one who broke you loose and killed the guards, she was the one who stayed behind and died so that you could escape." As he spoke Malali looked like she was on the verge of trying to choke him again. "If you want to blame yourself for what happened, then surely logic dictates you also blame her. Since it was Suviria's screams which moved her into action, perhaps Suviria too is at fault?" Malali struck him and he went down. On the ground he laughed, shaking his head as his sister stared at him. "So then we agree; it wasn't your fault." Still staring, Malali sighed and went back to where she was sitting. "So are we going to talk about it finally?"
"Talk about what?"
"Oh, I don't know. How about the reason you were just trying to plummet to your death?" Once again he got to his feet and took another piece of orange, dropping the empty peels on the floor.
"What is there to discuss? You're the one who works for a goddess, brother. Ask her." She replied. He laughed.
"You've spent I-don't-know-how-long playing hide the sausage with a goddess yourself, which is a more than apt name considering you're both females. You should know by now that just because Mother Moon is a goddess doesn't make her omniscient. Besides, I'm not interested in asking her, I'm asking you."
"And what does she care?" Malali petulantly demanded.
"She doesn't," Her brother replied through a mouthful of orange. "Right around the time the dragon was killed you stopped caring about her, stopped visiting shrines, stopped sending prayers... you even stopped talking to mother and pa. Are you so important that when you stop caring about your Deity you expect her to still care about you?" Malali didn't answer. "So come on, answer the question. Why suicide?" For a long time there was silence before Malali finally sighed and responded.
"You saw what I did in Krondor. You should also know about what happened in... I can't even remember the name of the city. The city where I killed all those people just because of my anger... with The Deathknight gone I had nothing. Do you know why I got drunk that night with Emote? Because I was sad. I was sad that The Deathknight was defeated and I had no-one to fight. That's why I chased Amadeth at the first opportunity, why I jumped into a portal without second thought to fight a dragon. Do you know how many times I had to restrain myself from trying to kill Basis and those stupid fucking people in Emote's city? Hm? I had to run away to stop myself from harming them... and what did I do? I almost died fighting Tetrath again, for no good reason whatsoever, and then I faced Ion in a city filled with people and... I killed a child without a second thought, brother. I am a monster. I am a monster and I was taught to kill monsters."
"I'll ask anyway. Are you arrogant or just stupid?" Raiju asked.
"Perhaps I don't like bullies?" Malali, under the guise of a Dragon Slayer, replied.
"Perhaps you were just looking for a fight? Perhaps, for whatever reason, you distrust me especially or feel some form of affection towards Gala... either way," In a flash of light Sybelle vanished. The half-eaten apple she held fell to the ground as she reappeared behind Malali, a knife to her throat. In another flash Raiju's hand was touching the Nightelf's head and the world around her vanished, replaced by darkness. Surrounding Malali and the aggressors was a thunderstorm which raged with the power of warring titans and amidst the deafening booms came Raiju's voice, spoken calmly, at normal volume, yet clearly audible in the chaos. "The power I hold is far beyond your imagination, mortal, so you will be wise to keep yourself to yourself and allow the adults to play however they please, am I clear?" Around them the storm raged worse and the bolts of lightning came closer and more frequently until they were showering the trio as if fired from a minigun until Malali blinked and found herself standing back in the forest in a seering rage, her helmet on the ground next to her. She saw Raiju and Sybelle walking back towards the group.
Calmly and quietly Malali reached down and picked up her helmet before placing it on her head again. She stretched her arms backwards, cracking her back in the process, before swiftly removing Eclipse from her back and holding the weapon in a far too tight death-grip. In a fuming anger she proceeded to stomp the dirt beneath her as she walked towards the two who had just put her through that illusion, or teleportation, or whatever it was; she didn't care, they would pay for what they did to her... and from the trees dove Shenna who knocked Malali to the ground before wrestling away her weapon in a fierce struggle and then pinning her down by the shoulders. "If you have a death-wish," She articulately spoke, even with her rough Orc accent. "Then feel free to kill yourself but if that means undoing history, I'm afraid I'll have to stop you."
"He provoked me, you expect me to just sit back and do nothi-"
"Yes!" Beneath the heavily built Shenna, Malali stopped struggling. "If it means one person gets to live I expect you to let him spit in your face. If it means the world, I expect you to die before you retaliate." Breathing heavily on the ground the Nightelf scowled, the Orc still holding her down. "You forget what happened the first time you sought revenge."
"How dare you tr-"
"How dare I remind you of what you did?" Shenna looked down at Malali with disgust. "Because of what he did to your people you murdered not only Prince Sasad but every innocent guard and soldier that stood in your way. You forget who these people were? Parents, their children, lovers... you took them away because of your vendetta against one man. Will you repeat the same mistake?" Silence. Malali looked away. "Will you!?"
"So... this city. Tell me about it."
"What is there to tell? Tall buildings, many people, metallic death birds."
"And what happened?" He asked. She sighed.
"I was fighting against a man named Ion... I can't even remember why. In our fight we decimated the city, at least the main part of it, and... I can't even remember how many people died that day." Malali spoke hollowly.
"Oh, I see," The brother replied with a perky smile. "And you now have some kind of device or artefact which would allow you to ressurect all these people at the price of your own life?"
"Of course not."
"Well then you gathered their bodies and planned to venture into the afterlife in order to return their souls?"
"No but I-"
"So you... no, I've got nothing. How is you killing yourself going to undo what you've done?" He finally asked, spitting out his final bit of orange.
"It'll stop me from doing anything else like it." Malali answered. Her brother shrugged.
"Good reason, I guess." She looked at him and weakly chuckled as he continued speaking. "I thought Gala taught you better than that, though. I mean come on; you, the Firins, Kaa, the Reth arrows, the Nekark and now Eclipse... your life as a warrior is pretty much defined by taking what is inherently bad or evil and using it for the sake of good. In fact, 'I want to take that uncontrollable Nightelf girl and focus her power for the sake of justice and peace,' were the exact words which Gala used when appealing your life be spared." Malali did a double-take, not quite understanding what her brother had just said.
"He told me he wanted me executed." She finally replied.
"Of course he did, he had to apply some distance between you. Let's face it, the other people of Tyrnealylth didn't exactly like you. You remember how Caltas reacted? 'You are no longer my sister.' A lot of them had relatives in Krondor when the massacre happened. It was Gala alone who appealed for you and it was him who dedicated his life to proving that you, a young, murderous Nightelf literally and figuratively covered in blood, could become a Child of the Blade and a saviour of the people."
Then finally Malali asked the question she had never before asked but had constantly pondered. "Why?"
After a short time, her brother replied, "Because he didn't want to live in a world where you couldn't."
"Yoo-hoo, Ms. Dragon Slayer," Terreno Fogo, constant annoyance to Malali and war-criminal partially under her protection, called out. "Prisoner need make potty!" Malali roughly grabbed the prisoner's shackles before dragging her away in hopes of ending the unpleasantness as soon as possible. "You know," The prisoner began speaking whilst in a squatting position behind a tree. "We're quite similar.
"Aren't you going to ask how?"
"I'm really not in the mood." The dark voice beneath the Dragon Slayer helmet replied.
"I'll explain anyway, you see we both revolted against harsh dictators." An eyebrow twitched beneath Malali's helmet as Fogo spoke. How much did she know? "I fought for what I believed in when I burnt down the king's carriage. I didn't like killing his guards but it had to be done; the deaths that would have occurred if they survived were too great. And you... well, we both know what you did. Don't get me wrong, sometimes you have to let things go. Someone calls me a traitor to my people, I can ignore it. Someone attacks me for little or no reason, I can walk away... but where's the line?" Terreno Fogo stayed behind the tree as Malali, somehow enthralled by her words, paid little attention to her position. "I was an alchemist's assistant when my sister, a castle maid, uncovered the plot to attack Kroy Wen. With the surprise attack they would have taken over the Orc's armed bases easily which would have broken them down enough for a hostile takeover; by the time the allied forces got there it would have been too late. All of my family was killed so the royals could cover it up and, as the sole survivor, the deaths were pinned on me... what would you have done? Sometimes you have to walk away but others... other times you have to fight. I fought so that my own people and the Orc people could be free... sure, some died along the way but that's the price of war... and unless I stop Queen Rewan the plan will continue and their deaths will have been in vain."
"... after we slay the dragon," Malali began, voice heavy. "Then I'll release you to do whatever you please." It seemed fair; before long Htrae would be a desecrated wasteland because of The Deathknight anyway. "I'll tell the Elven escort that in the midst of battle you escaped."
"Don't bother." Fogo, having finished her business, stood next to Malali. She patted her shoulder. "I already talked him into releasing me before we left." Chuckling, Fogo walked away.
"You planned to throw away everything he had taught you." Malali's brother stated, looking towards her with just a hint of disappointment. "He was well on his way to becoming Grand Master of the guild yet he stayed as a teacher so he could tutor you and... and what? One relapse and it's over?"
"You suggest I should continue as I am and just kill people whenever I get bored?"
"Of course not. Stop twisting what I say, such a thing is beneath you." He took a breath. "So what was your plan? I mean, I'll assume you wanted to end up with mother and pa and Suviria and Clafir and Gala, correct?" She nodded. "Are you even sure you would have ended up there? I mean, our afterlife might not transcend this whole separate universe thing; and then what? You're openly admitting to slaughtering thousands of people, some deserving and some not, and you've spent I-don't-know-how-many years with no real contact to any god, goddess or messenger; sure you've made some weak attempt to appease your conscience but that's it. Did you believe you'd just be welcomed back without so much as an explanation or punishment?" She shrugged and shook her head. "I love you and all sister but sometimes you can be a real idiot."
"So what do I do?" Malali looked at him with a sincere sadness and, perhaps only a hint of, fear.
"You do what Gala taught you to do." Her brother stood, pulling an apple from his cloak and taking a large bite from it, speaking through his chewing. "You carry on. You bare the weight of what you did and you make damn sure you don't do it again. Do you know what happened, what truly happened?" He asked, taking another bite.
"My being a monster is what happened." She replied, much to her brother's amusement.
"The Firins are monsters. Kaa is a monster. You... you're a mortal. Gala died and Clafir died and all you had left was your vendetta against The Deathknight, then wonder of wonders you actually defeated him. Then there was nothing left. You're what we watchers call a Blood Knight." She looked to him, perplexed. "You fight because you have to; Gala was a genius but he was distracted whilst training you, he couldn't see how much of a blank slate you were. When he taught you to fight he didn't know it would mix in with all of your anger and hatred for Sasad and after Sasad died, it was too late, and it was all that remained. It isn't about honour, it isn't about revenge and it isn't about justice, those are just tools you hide behind to justify the fact that you enjoy fighting and killing."
She stood. "That's not true."
"Really?" He replied. "Then explain why you continued killing people after Prince Sasad was dead. Explain why you stayed in Birmingham with Ion full-well knowing that as soon as he started controlling people he was going to put you in a position to kill them."
"... fine, I enjoy fighting. Not killing." Malali finally stated and her brother shrugged.
"Well maybe you don't enjoy killing. As is evident, however, when you aren't fighting whatever it is builds up; wanting to try and kill Basis, sister? And Emote's people, after all they've done for you? The sooner you accept what you are, the sooner you can learn to control it."
She shook her head. "I've told you what I am... a monster."
In the rocky, dark and fiery terrain of Erif, furthest continent of the burning west, Malali, the young version of Lar's present, ferociously swung her scimitar and dagger as Sybelle, right hand of the guild Alastor's Nemesis, fought against her; she held two arrows which formed into sword-like shapes made of pure lightning energy. Every-time they were struck they would crack and spit and their speed was roughly matched by the Nightelf and her light-weight blades. Nearby Gala sat with Noa, the Mer representative from Sitnalta, and they spoke about how they were to proceed. Panos and Cura, two people who were more like Malali than she cared to admit, walked over to where the Nightelf disguised as the Dragon Slayer watched her younger self fight. "Were you always this angry?" Panos asked. Malali said nothing.
"No-one's always that angry." Cura stated for her. "It just... kind of happens. Like when you get tortured by an enemy or stub your toe or something." Malali turned her head.
"You were tortured?" She asked. The young girl grinned.
"Yup. They were looking for the source of my power." With an even wider grin the young girl pulled a necklace from her shirt which had a finger on it and she attached it to her hand, which was missing a finger. It reattached and she wiggled it before pulling a knife from her pocket, one which had previously belonged to Gala but she had stolen, and she cut the finger back off and tucked it back into her shirt, ignoring the patches of blood it left on her. "I'm a natural healer and they wanted to understand why, so they tried to cut me apart and find it. I spent years just being sliced open for their experiments."
"I'm sorry," Malali slowly replied, looking back at her younger self as she fought Sybelle. "What then happened?"
"Eventually someone set me free during a break-out and I escaped. Later I joined a guild called Era who planned to investigate the fact that the world was falling apart." Malali gave Cura a curious look as she spoke; surely something like that is something she would have heard of. "There was a powerful... thing. It's been so long I can hardly remember but it was unstable enough that I could take it off of the falling edge and it would destroy the world."
"But I looked at the people who I had journeyed with and I couldn't destroy them because of what some other people did to me, so I dropped it on the ground and jumped. I felt like I was back in captivity, being ripped apart again, then before I knew it I landed here. After some time I met Panos and... well, I spent a lot of years in resentment and blame and all it did was hurt me and nothing else."
"Why are you telling me this?" Malali asked.
"Because," Cura replied with a small smile. "You might just be ready to hear it." Still smiling, she walked away leaving Malali and Panos alone.
"People often ask me why I accepted her into the guild." Panos laughed.
"Who is she?" Malali whispered. Panos laughed again and then walked away.
"And I've told you, you're not a monster. You're a Blood Knight." Malali's brother explained, picking at pieces of fruit in his teeth with his fingernail. "You get too much energy and without a proper focus, without Gala to guide you or an enemy to hunt, that energy just goes all over the place or it gets suppressed and then it builds up and you explode. When was the last time you went on a hunt? When did you last walk alongside Enicrih? Have you forgotten about him as well as Mother Moon?"
"Of course not, I ju-"
"Don't lie to me, sister. At least do me that courtesy. Please." There was silence.
"Yes, I forgot about him. And... I didn't forget about Mother Moon I..." As Malali struggled to find her words, her brother sat down on the ground again.
"You know it's the same as when we were children, don't you?" He looked to her gravely and she responded in kind. "No matter what happened, however long it was since you last spoke to them, they'll always be waiting for you whenever you're ready to go back. Same as it was with mother and pa." He smiled. "That's an upside of being dead; there's none of that silly mortal pride and shame. So... I've stalled for long enough, I think."
"Like I said, I'm a messenger." He stood. "I didn't come here just to chat, there is business to be done... which is to say, are you ready to make your offering." Malali's face turned to shock and she stared at her brother. "Universal rifts don't come often; this might be your last chance for a long time."
"How can I... I'm not ready, I mean I-" She mumbled, standing up and making wild hand gestures.
"I guess I'll take that as a yes, then." Her brother replied with a smile. Behind him a light appeared and from it emerged an old Nightelf woman wearing a long silver dress which accentuated her light blue hair, her purple, wrinkled skin and her red eyes filled with warmth. She looked to Malali and smiled. "Are you ready to make your offering, sister?" Malali's brother asked again. Slowly, she nodded.
Before her the elderly Nightelf woman, the goddess whom she had worshipped since birth, took a step forward. She reached out a hand and stroked Malali's face before opening her arms. Slowly, hesitantly, Malali walked towards her and Mother Moon wrapped her in a warm, loving hug. At first she couldn't bare to raise her own arms but eventually she did and returned the embrace, holding the goddess tightly. Before long the tears began to roll down her cheeks and the goddess placed a hand on the back of her head, stroking her hair. Mother Moon quietly shushed as she held her and Malali, now no longer hiding, sobbed on her shoulder.
After a perilous journey and battles of varying difficulty, the group finally arrived at the volcano in which the dragon resided. Currently they stood on the lip of the volcano and looked down at the dragon who slept in the lava, causing mild quakes as it tossed and turned every ten minutes or so. Such tossing was a clear sign that the creature was on the verge of awakening. "You get in, apply the rays and I'll bring you back out. When it wakes up it'll be too weak to escape and once it vacates the volcano, we strike." Panos went over the plan a final time. Cura, the young girl who could naturally heal, was to go in and apply concentrated rays of energy from the sun and moon as she was the only person who could go in and out of the volcano without causing major disturbances which could prematurely awaken the beast. The rays were practically the only weakness the dragons held, added into the sun and moon by the gods once the dragons declared war upon them.
And so, rather haplessly, Cura grabbed the rod in which the concentrated rays lay dormant and she jumped from the volcano's lip directly towards the dragon. She landed atop its stomach and seemed to have as much affect as a fly landing on a sleeping building. The smell of burning flesh intertwined with the sulphur to give off a horrid stench before, at the bottom of the volcano, a light which outshone even the lava flashed viciously. Within seconds Cura was back on the volcano's lip with the others. She grabbed at the clothes she wore and looked at Panos. "Didn't these burn off down there?" She asked. Panos made a twinkle motion with his fingers.
"Magic," He replied, turning to Gala. "Can you still hold this field over us for when the volcano erupts?" Gala nodded, barely showing strain from the force-field he was already using to keep them from burning to death. "Then," Panos continued. "All we need is for Raiju to awaken the beast and-"
"Actually," Sybelle, Raiju's best soldier who had joined him on the mission, interrupted. "I don't think that will be necessary." The group looked down into the volcano to see that the dragon had already awoken... and from the simple solar and lunar rays meant only to weaken it, it was dying. It tried to thrash but managed only to wiggle and tried to roar but managed only to whimper. Then, with a long groan, the red dragon stopped moving.
"This isn't right." Malali, both of the past and future, stated on impulse. They were both right. No-one had the chance to agree, however, before they found that Raiju, second most powerful of the group and potentially greatest lightning mage to have ever existed, was standing on the volcano's lip with a rather large, black spear stuck through his bony chest. He looked down at the spear, knowing exactly what kind it was, and then he looked at Sybelle. If he had tried to speak he had failed, the old mage merely falling forward into the volcano. When he was halfway down the spear in his chest exploded. The explosion not only blew them all considerable distances away but it also caused the volcano to rumble deeply, ready to erupt.
In the distance shone three red lights, two of them being small and close together and the other being long and thin. The two shining eyes of The Deathknight and the glowing, red fuller of his evil sword. Within the next few seconds The Deathknight was struck simultaneously with three bolts of lightning which sent him to the ground. Quickly recovering, he was able to deflect the next few bolts and laugh as Sybelle, alive with rage, darted through the air so quickly it almost looked like she was teleporting. Her harrowing screams echoed all around as she fired bolt after bolt of lightning towards her foe and he easily threw them back to her, laughing still as he did. "I'm disappointed!" The Deathknight screamed. "I thought Raiju would b-" Within a flash of light, Sybelle disappeared from where she was and reappeared beside her enemy, holding two arrows which formed into lightning swords.
"Don't speak his name!" She roared, slashing wildly. After all she had done to train him, make him become the perfect avatar of her master, this worm killed him. He would pay... or at least, he would have had Sybelle not allowed her fury to cloud her mind. Before she could realize what was happening The Deathknight had stuck his blade through her stomach and her body shrivelled to dust, her soul now property of the sword.
"Is this it!" The Deathknight roared as the others regrouped. "Are you honestly all that is left?!" Panos and Gala quickly and quietly strategized as their enemy continued his famous showmanship. "I expected more from Lar's elite, especially you Dragon Slayer. And my dear Malali... I don't know what to say. I am hurt that you would think so little of me." He stabbed his blade into the ground and behind him a volcano erupted, simultaneously setting off the one in which Raiju had fallen as well. From the volcano behind The Deathknight emerged a gargantuan, green dragon who roared fire as it stood on the torrent of lava. Before long the lava receded and the dragon flapped its wings so as to stay in the air, letting out another roar of flames. A blind man could see just how furious the beast was and it was ready to unleash said fury. It began to fly towards Tserof and, with a dark laugh, The Deathknight levitated from where he stood up to the back of the dragon. He held onto the creature and used an ancient spell from Solelua, the guild intent on aiding dragons, and the beast changed course, heading north-east to the more densely populated Htrae.
Malali of the past ran in the direction the dragon had went before being grabbed by Shenna and pulled back. "You're going to run to Htrae and stop it alone?" She asked.
"If I have to." The young Nightelf replied in anger. She shook Shenna off her arm.
"Gala and Panos can prepare a spell of teleportation. It will take an hour bu-"
"An hour isn't enough."
"It is all we can do."
And so they waited. After an hour Panos and Gala combined their power and teleported the group of nine to Nodnol, capital of Htrae, most likely destination of The Deathknight and the dragon. When they arrived they found their thesis to be correct.
"It's a ruin..." Noa whispered as they looked out at what had happened. Building's burnt to ash, or burning, charred bodies everywhere and those few who survived screaming as they sat next to fires in which their families and friends had perished. For Noa, a representative and not a warrior, it was too much. He slowly walked to the first people he saw, two children who sat in tears, and he cried with them. Cura looked around with horror and Panos placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. Young Malali and Gala looked at each other with expressions that only portrayed one question, 'What do we do now?', and Shenna held her forehead in her hand in dissapointment. So much death because they had been so easily tricked, because they had failed.
Malali, the Dragon Slayer, held Eclipse, the war-hammer, as tight as she had ever held a weapon and then ran in the direction in which the dragon had gone.
"Little Amadeth and big Malali," Mother Moon spoke gently in a soft voice as she continued to hold Malali. "Always fulfilling a duty, living up to a prophecy or creating her own. Not every war ends with you, my dear sweet child, and not everyone is your younger sibling who you must protect."
"Hey," Malali's brother blurted out from the side-lines. "That's what I said." He seemed proud that Mother Moon had used his words but she gave a stern look which caused him to cover his mouth, signalling he would stay silent.
Finally the lunar goddess broke the embrace and held Malali's arms as she sniffled and wiped her eyes. "You can't shoulder every burden and ignore your own, my child, because then you lose sight of who you are and what you are. When that happens there's no telling what you may become or what you may do. Especially when you try to do it all alone."
"How... how do I fix it?"
Mother Moon made a sad face. "I'm sorry sweetheart, you can't. You can find a way to try and make things a little less worse than they are now but when you try to fix everything, you only end up broken." Slowly, Malali nodded. "Just remember dear, you're not alone. Emote risked all she had in order to save you, her people adore you, Basis adores you and now you know that I and your brother can be here as well. Stop shutting us all out. If you want to stop being, as you put it, a monster then you have to let people in. Emote is neither Gala nor Clafir; she won't leave you alone."
"Come on," Malali smirked. "It's not as if we're in love or anything. We're just two people who-"
"Who live together, have many common interests, spend a lot of time together, frequently have sex and have fought for each other's lives." She replied with a warm smile. "I've spoken to Emote, my child, goddess to goddess. She knows as well as anyone that your relationship was born of lust and loneliness... but surely you understand that after all that has happened it is so much more than that now. In the same way that you were born of blood and revenge but right now, in this moment, you can be and you are so much more than that." Then there was silence. Mother Moon looked around the ground and saw chewed up pieces of orange and a half-eaten apple scattered around and she gave Malali's brother a disapproving look before speaking again. "I must leave, my dear, but I want you to promise me two things before I go." Malali nodded. "Contact Enicrih. I'm told he has created a new batch of doclu and it won't be long before they are gone... and make sure to start opening up to that goddess. If you really want to control yourself you must remember that without Gala's guidance and Clafir's love, you would have truly become a monster a long time ago, and if you distance yourself from good people now you will revert to that state and further. I would hate to lose you again." Leaning forward the goddess gave her a kiss on the cheek before stepping back, at which point Malali's brother jumped up and walked over to her.
"Well, this has been fun but we have to get back; it's couples' night at Gala's tavern and we want to get good seats. Oh, Gala opened a tavern by the way."
"Wait," Malali began with puzzlement. "What do you mean 'we' and 'couples' night'?"
"Did I forget to mention?" Her brother replied with a smile, pointing from himself to Mother Moon. "You're not the only one with a thing for a goddess." He laughed. "Nah, I'm just messing with you. She hates it when I make that joke." He gave Malali a light slap on the cheek, affectionately, before he stepped backwards next to the goddess. "And hey, if you ever feel suicidal again you can come visit mother and pa." After he finished speaking light enveloped both him and Mother Moon, who gave him a slap on the back of the head. The warm lunar energy of the cold moon embraced Malali as she watched her brother and Deity disappear, the light soon shining so bright it enveloped everything.
The Deathknight stood atop the green dragon, Kaa, and laughed maniacally when a towering Orc materialized in front of him and tackled him from atop the beast. His sword fell out of reach as Shenna took him downwards and finally gave the allies an opportunity to attack the dragon head-on, without it under The Deathknight's control. On the roof of a large tower Malali, the Dragon Slayer, waited as Kaa found its target, Gala the Dwarf, and unleashed a torrent of fire. Holding Eclipse high Malali pulled the fire towards her and absorbed it into Solaris, the sun-based side of the warhammer, which began to glow brighter and more fierce. As Panos and Cura evacuated the city Malali of the past nocked a Caelzara arrow and unleashed it at the dragon, striking its underbelly and causing it to lurch in the air, into a clock-tower which stood higher than any other building. Like before the dragon roared flames towards its foe and, like before, Malali the Dragon Slayer used the Solaris side of Eclipse to absorb the fire before it could reach its target. Finally realizing what was happening, the dragon unleashed a terrifying screech before flapping its wings wildly so as to gain height. It then dove towards the Dragon Slayer.
As Kaa descended it unleashed a whirlwind of flames in the hopes of overexerting whatever was draining it and, with what appeared to be unseemly ease, Malali held out Eclipse and Solaris absorbed every lick of fire shot in its direction. When the dragon finally came close enough Malali jumped forward from the tower and, unleashing every bit of fire it had absorbed, she swung Eclipse directly into the dragon's face. Like a bird shot by a hunter the dragon became limp and fell, crashing into the tower on which Malali had stood. Mid-air, barely avoiding the dragon's tail as it fell, Malali the Dragon Slayer spun and fell down towards where Kaa had landed. She held Eclipse so that the axe like crescent of Lunaris was pointed outwards and, beneath the moon, it began to glow. Within seconds the Nightelf landed atop the dragon and buried Eclipse deep into its head.
Mere seconds later the dragon was back in the sky and the Dragon Slayer was launched across to the other side of the city like a kicked ball. As if it had barely been poked, Kaa roared and began its trail of destruction again. Not far away Gala and Malali of the past were preparing something and near to them the prisoner, Terreno Fogo, and the Sitnaltan representative, Noa Tetsu, ran to avoid streams of fire. From the sword scabbard she held Fogo produced two vials of liquid and a small package of dust which she handed to Noa before grabbing some for herself and returning the cap. Then they ran their separate ways.
Meanwhile Malali, the Dragon Slayer, finally found her footing and stood. Her arm was undoubtedly broken beneath her armour and she couldn't properly feel her right leg, having to use a wall to stand. When she looked around she saw Shenna, the Orc apprentice of Flugoc Negria, laying dead at the feet of The Deathknight. He stabbed his sword through her broken body and she turned to dust, her soul now his property, then he lifted his head and looked towards Malali. His red eyes glowed brightly beneath his black armour. He walked over to her and held out his sword, offering her the hilt. She did nothing and he laughed, turning to the flying dragon in the distance. Then he disappeared. Angrily Malali punched the wall of the building on which she lent and suddenly she felt her arm and leg heal. From behind her approached Panos, the healer, and Cura who quickly exclaimed their success in evacuating the city before their want to hurry and defeat the dragon.
When the three of them reached Gala, who was spear-heading the plan, they caught sight of him handing the younger Malali of the past a sword and a shield made of energy from the sun and moons, before she nodded and ran in the direction of the dragon. She jumped a ridiculous height thanks to magical buffs from her Dwarfen master and used the shield to plow through a torrent of fire before striking the dragon with the sword.
"How long?" Panos asked, back on the ground.
"Two minutes." Gala replied, distractedly moving his hands and marking his arms.
"Will she be able to distract it for that long?" Cura asked in regards to the younger Malali.
"She's not alone." High in the sky two simultaneous explosions echoed as Terreno Fogo and Noa Tetsu used the former's alchemy to weaken Kaa, the dragon once again seeming to stumble in the air before tumbling to the ground and recovering just as quickly. Panos, with a sigh, removed his left-hand glove to reveal a normal-looking Human hand which morphed and twisted by itself. He turned to Cura and the two of them ran forward. Thanks to Panos' power in Distortion and Integration buildings and the ruins of buildings flew at the dragon and pounded it, joining Malali and her weapons of light as well as Terreno Fogo's potions and powders.
"If you give me a few boosts," Malali, the Dragon Slayer, spoke to Gala. "I can join them." Gala shook his head.
"You've watched me die already. I cannot put you through that again." The Dwarf replied. As Malali's eyes widened beneath her helmet Gala threw a hand towards her and she fell back, unconscious. He looked down at her for a few seconds, then he turned back around and finished his preparations.
The light disappeared... Malali felt she was falling. She looked down, seeing herself going closer and closer to the ground. Yelling, "Kethaera," The Nightelf spun mid-air and then she shouted, "Zaezara," Upon landing, rolling forward. She stumbled a bit but when she stood she was unharmed. Looking down at herself, examining her body and hands, Malali contemplated what she had just attempted and then she recalled the visit from her brother and their goddess... perhaps a hazed flash in what were to be her final moments.
The Nightelf quietly laughed and lifted her foot. Stuck to her heel was a chewed up piece of orange. Other pieces and a half-eaten apple were scattered around the ground. Perhaps it was real.
She sat on the same rock upon which she had sat before and thought about the conversation for a while until she eventually stopped, stood and walked over to the cliff-wall. She climbed back up it.
Malali awoke on a bed. She looked around; there were other beds, wounded people on them. An infirmary. It was silent for all but a gentle crying which came from not too far away. Turning her head Malali saw herself, her younger self, sitting up on a bed and resting her head on the shoulder of a Human, her old lover, Clafir. She watched as Clafir stroked her hair, she too with eyes full of tears, and in her hand Malali held Gala's blindfold. It had been done. Once again, Gala had sacrificed himself in order to banish Kaa's soul to the after-world. The time-line had been appeased. Her mission was complete.
Malali, the future Malali, could easily sneak out through the window beside her bed. The gown she was in did little to hide her face and features but she was still burnt and scarred so none would recognize her. Turning her head, still lying down, she saw the Dragon Slayer armour on the floor next to her bed and the war-hammer, Eclipse, resting against the wall. The armour was too heavy and slow for her liking. She stood from the bed and opened the window, squeezing out of it and pulling Eclipse out with her.
Malali thanked the man who was driving the cart and jumped off the back of it, still wearing the gown from the infirmary and holding the war-hammer Eclipse. The man lifted his hat in a welcoming gesture before whipping the reigns of his horses and driving into Eci, the mountainous continent of ice and snow from where Gala hailed. Before long the Nightelf found an adequate tailor and healing mage and after parting with some gold she had made working with the man who had driven her to the border, Malali was once again her old self; smooth purple skin, tribal markings on her face and long, blue hair.
Tomorrow she would find Gala's family, allow them to die knowing of his heroic sacrifice. For now she had a small sum of gold left and thus found the closest inn and tavern, renting a room, buying a meal and then spending the rest on whiskey.
Danog said nothing at the gate of Emote's city. His disposition led Malali to believe Anger was Emote's dominant form at the time; Love would have been preferred, even Joy, but she tried not to sulk about it. Shooting the occasional greeting back to the people, the Nightelf went to the city's bar and asked for a bottle of whiskey and two glasses.
As suspected she found Anger in the barracks fighting with soldiers and guards. She held up the bottle without saying a word until Emote saw her and acknowledged her action, at which point Malali headed to her temple and went into the dining room. She sat in the centre of the large table and poured out a double shot of whiskey into each glass, before drinking what was in her own and refilling it. After ten minutes Emote wandered into the room, Anger still her form, and she sat opposite to Malali. "You do remember what happened last time we did this?" She asked with a sneer. Malali's hand was still shaking so she drank what was in her glass and moved to refill it before Anger snatched it from the table. "We're not having a rematch, Mal'. I don't need the hassle." Sighing, Malali took a swig directly from the bottle. Her hand was still shaking. She took another.
"I'm not here for a rematch." She finally said, putting the bottle down on the table. Anger drank what was in her cup before refilling both and passing one back. "I... we need to talk."
"About everything." They drank. "I need to talk to you about... about everything."
"Why?" She refilled their glasses. They drank. Malali pushed the glass away
"Because if I don't, I... let me just talk." And that's exactly what happened. Emote heard about Clafir in more depth than she had previously been told. She heard about what Gala had done for Malali, what Malali had attempted that very same day and finally she was told the truth, the whole truth, about what happened regarding Suviria and Prince Sasad. For hours Malali spoke and Emote listened until eventually they began to discuss what to do next. "I guess we'll need someone like Credence, now Arimus is gone." The Nightelf reasoned.
"At your service." A voice near the door said, and in came Credence with a smile. In a huff Anger finished what was in the bottle before throwing it in the man's direction, completely missing in her drunken state; once she started talking Malali stopped drinking but Emote had continued, through to another bottle, since the alternative way of her dealing with what she had heard was to break things. In a stupor, she stumbled out of the room.
"How much did you hear?" Malali asked, giving him a look of distrust. He shook his head.
"I heard nothing but my name which floated to me on the ether; I came to inquire as to why you spoke it."
"Maybe it was small talk." She sarcastically replied. He smiled and shook his head again.
"The ether told me it was more than that, my dear, and so I have come." He tentatively walked over to where Emote was sitting and sat himself down.
"Right," Malali replied, looking in the bottle Emote had emptied with disappointment. "The floating ether told you... well, since you're here, I was wandering if you could do two things for me."
Ion lay in the infirmary, his mind spinning with plots of revenge. He knew Amadeth survived the dreadnought, he could feel it, so he would recover and make her pay for what she had done to him. As such thoughts ran through his brain another thought struck him. Who is this silver-haired, translucent person and why is he standing by the side of my bed?
"I am Credence. I was sent by Malali." He said with a warm smile which seemed to be entirely lost on Ion. The psychic tried to pry into the creature's mind but for whatever reason he found himself completely unable. "I was told to give you this." He pulled from his robes around fifty pieces of paper, all handwritten. "A full account of how certain incidents involving Malali may have affected your web energy; her demons informed her of how it worked." Credence placed the papers on Ion's bedside table. "She called it a peace offering." Ion said nothing and at this Credence shrugged and then he headed for the room's exit. Before disappearing, he stopped. "You don't need to try and probe my mind, it will have no affect; if you wish to know how she's doing you can simply ask."
"How is Maitrey?"
"She is well. She is recovering and adjusting and has a lot of support with her. It wasn't your fault, what you did to her."
"I do not recall saying it was."
"... of course."
Meanwhile, in another universe, Basis jumped to his feet and greeted a new day by shutting off his alarm, which is to say by throwing a shoe at Shell who stood in the door-way shouting at him. He shut the door and ran over to his wardrobe, opening it and pondering which white shirt and pair of black trousers he would wear that day. As he did this a thought occurred to him; there was no back to his wardrobe. He reached forward, thinking maybe he could pull the back of his wardrobe back to the back of his wardrobe but instead he fell into and then through it, rolling to a stop on a cold floor. "Basis!" A young girl screamed before a few other children who heard her ran over and saw the boy. Recognizing them as children from Emote's city, he jumped to his feet.
"Whilst I would love to stay and play," He said, slowly walking backwards. He was indeed in Emote's city, in the middle of the main street filled with market stalls and crowds of people. "I kind of have to go jump on someone; excuse me." And like a bullet, he was off. Before long he had burst into Emote's temple and then into her bedroom, diving onto the bed with a joyous yell. "Mally!" With a sigh, Malali pushed him off of the bed and turned over.
"Not now." She groaned, putting her pillow over her head. Basis jumped up and starting poking her.
"Mally, Mally, Mally, Mally, Mally,"
"Hello, Basis." Love greeted as she got out of the bed, her dress materializing upon her.
"YeahwhateverMally, Mally, Mally, Mally, come on, get up!!!" He continued. "We need to go back and... wait, how will I get back?" With a smile Love opened the door to Malali's wardrobe, in which few garments of clothing and her armour, Baelria, resided. At the back of the wardrobe was a vast emptiness which looked exactly like what Basis had found in his own wardrobe. Two portals, connecting them both to each other's world. "... awesome." He whispered. Basis then grabbed Malali by the arm and pulled her off of the bed, causing her to hit the floor with a thump. She rolled over and stared up at him, the child apparently taking no notice to the fact she was only wearing underwear. "Come on, come on! We wanna know why you ran away so fast before, and Shell wants to meet you properly and..." A huge grin hit Basis' face. "Blitz said his stadium of light is finally ready for testing. Come on, you still owe me a rematch after the Grand Canyon, come oooooooon!"
"Maaal'" A dark voice whined as Malali walked out of Emote's city. Since returning to Earth from Lar Malali was kidnapped by Amadeth, rescued, spent time recovering and then spent a week or so in Basis' world. In such time she hadn't properly spoken to Firinar and Firine, who now stood at the city limit. As usual when in the city they were granted permission to take humanoid forms, which is to say the appearance of Malali, rather than their usual existence as mere weaponry. "We should ssspeak." Firine hissed happily.
"Enicrih calls to me." The Nightelf replied, holding the bow in her hand out for them to see. "Lest you wish be his prey again, follow me not." Firinar, the brother demon of the pair, took a step forward.
"Tetrath took a liberty with the contract. You are obliged to give us two hours." He stated bluntly. Malali stopped; the Firins, twin demons of darkness born of The Fifth Circle to the most powerful of the Ratnemele, relied upon contracts in order to maintain their existence in the mortal realms. Such a contract they held with Malali and part of the contract included allowing them time to indulge in their darker desires in exchange for them using more of their power than they usually would.
"I thinkkk," Firine began with needless glee. "He only did ittt to annoy you." For many moments there was silence before Malali sighed. She walked back to the city gate and handed her weaponry to a guard, instructing him to return it to Emote's palace, before she turned and beckoned for The Firins to follow. She silently extended the definition of city limits so they could follow in corporal form.
"For a long time I've debated with myself on the subject of whether I should allow you to indulge your darker sides," The Nightelf said casually, as if discussing sport or something equally common in mundane conversation. "I have finally reached a decision."
"Maaal," Firine protested like a child telling her mother why she absolutely had to have the latest iDevice. "We only tarrrget the black of hearrrt." They stopped and the master looked at her two servants and sneered as the sister of the duo purred innocently.
"Irredeemable." Firinar confirmed. "Those destined only for darkness." When he finished Malali turned and continued walking until they were engulfed within the trees of the surrounding forest.
"I've learnt something about myself and others, these past months." She said. They had reached an open clearing in the trees and stopped. "No-one is irredeemable. However, I can't alter the contract if you disagree... so we are to merely alter the rule, not remove it." The twin demons looked to each other in confusion, then slowly delight crept onto their faces. "From now on," Malali began, writing into the open air using her finger as a pen. "When you use special abilities not formerly agreed upon to be a part of your basic service, you will no longer be allowed to hunt down the so called black-hearted." Firinar's eyes were ablaze with an unholy fire, literally rising from his face and signalling his delight in spite of his otherwise stoic position. Firine was practically salivating. She giggled and hopped, as if a child being told Santa was to personally deliver a pony to her. "Instead, you will be allowed your dark indulgences with myself as your plaything." After finishing the air-writing, Malali lowered her arm and turned to them.
Nothing more needed be said. They wouldn't kill her, nor would they bestow upon her irrepairable damages; the contract is clear in that Malali can, at any time she wishes, disown the demons and condemn them to their original realm in which they wouldn't survive for longer than a few hours, not under the Firvara's law. This would also happen if Malali were to die, as the contract binding them to the mortal planes would no longer hold them there. Even with such restrictions the offer was better than their current deal. Who would want to eternally break the souls, minds and bodies of disturbed mortals when such time could be spent torturing someone worthy of torture?
"When can we begin?" Firinar asked with an uncharacteristically happy tone of voice. Malali stood and steeled herself.
"Now." She replied, and in a storm of black smoke and screaming terror they engulfed her.
After a short journey Malali had arrived at a mountain within Eci which, geographically speaking, was as close to the Chapal Waddi as there was in Lar. The Chapal Waddi was a mountain in Nigeria atop which Amadeth had sent Malali to Lar. The mountain in Eci was the perfect place for her to be extracted and pulled back to Earth, from where she had travelled. As she stood and awaited the portal to appear, a loud flapping could be heard and before long a huge, white bird landed atop the rocks near to her. The white bird was a Rukh, a large beast who the Dragon Slayers of old once used to fight dragons. Though Malali knew she couldn't use the Rukh since a single warrior atop a single bird would be no match for a dragon, she still had to tame one of them. One wouldn't believe a beastmaster with no beasts, nor would one believe a Dragon Slayer with no Rukh.
Unfortunately for Malali it was mating season. Finding and taming a strong Rukh during such a time was bordering the impossible meaning she had to settle for one of the weaker outcasts, one of those who wasn't a part of a flock and who wasn't chosen as a mating partner. If a Rukh was an outcast and ignored by the females it meant it was weak, in both body and spirit, but since it wasn't to be used against the dragon Malali didn't mind taming such a creature.
Now said creature flew to her. When Rukh's were tamed they formed a type of empathetic bond with the master who tames them. If the bond is to be severed normally the Rukh will happily return to its life... but an outcast had no flock to return to. A weak and cowardly Rukh wouldn't be accepted in a beastly culture where strength equalled dominance. Malali was literally all the bird had.
Atop the mountain the Rukh bowed its head, humbling itself to Malali and trying as hard as it could put forth how it felt. The Nightelf stepped towards the bird and stroked its beak; the Rukh raised itself slightly and the two rested their heads against each other. "Fine," Malali finally stated. "If that is your wish, you can come with me." Merrily, the Rukh hopped back and flapped its wings. It chirped loudly before diving off of the cliff's edge and letting out a shrill cry of glee, then it swooped upwards before hitting the ground. The snow covering the open field below blew upwards behind the majestic creature's flight.
It continued to fly for a short time as Malali watched before a large, spherical portal appeared at the top of the mountain. Malali gave one last look out towards her home world of Lar, towards the ice and fire and land and water, and then she gave the order. The Rukh chirped gleefully again before Malali jumped atop it and they went into and through the portal, back to Earth where they were immediately met by Amadeth's trap.
"Thank you, Tom. I am here atop the USS Gridley and can officially report that the state of emergency is over, I repeat the state of emergency is officially over. Over the passed month vessels of most every country have been scouring the water where Australia previously resided in search of both the supposedly alien creature we saw on what has been called NA Day, as well as scouring the skies for any signs that the alien battle-ship which destroyed Australia might return." In place of the female reporter came images of gargantuan tentacles shooting into the night's sky as well as shaky amateur camera footage of a gargantuan space-ship and the incredibly powerful beam of energy it fired at Australia. As more amateur footage revealed the battle cruiser turning and flying away, the reporter spoke over the images. "After a month of monitoring the situation there has been no sign of the entity known as Amadeth nor has their been sign of her associates or enemies. In breaking news, the UN has openly revealed that three days ago President Pratibha Devisign Patel of India received a recording from another alien creature. The recording has been released to the public and we have it here for you now; an address to the world from the criminal rumoured to be cause of the devastation in Khazan, Birmingham and the entirety Australia, an enigma only known as Mally."
The screen turned black for a moment and then on a low quality camera a humanoid appeared. Her skin was purple, her hair blue and her ears long. She spoke in a standard Hindi dialect, which back in her home world was a type of Elven. Beneath her appeared English subtitles, and of course those being shown to different nations had the corresponding subtitles or translator. "Greetings. My name is Malali." She said. She hesitated. "I was framed for what happened to the city of Khazan," Almost half a year prior, Amadeth had flown a space-craft into the Russian city of Khazan and found a way to point the blame towards Malali. "I did what I could to stop disaster from occuring but my efforts failed. The same can be said for Australia. The black dome which appeared almost a year ago signified armageddon. I formed a party of warriors and managed to prevent such an armageddon, even though I couldn't save the people of Australia. I..." She contemplated trying to explain her expedition into Lar's past. "I was taken prisoner by Amadeth during the event of New Australia, though you can thank certain companions of mine for the fact that the casualties were so small." She paused, realizing she didn't need to defend Emote or Credence as they were yet to be attacked. There was not mention of Ion and Birmingham; Malali couldn't lie about it and she certainly couldn't tell them the truth.
"I stumbled upon this world purely by accident. There is no way for me to return to my own world," Without unintentionally bringing around a new age of war, anyway, but such a detail could be looked over. "And there is no other world for me to go to, thus I will stay here. As you have seen there are very dangerous people, such as Amadeth, who will run through this galaxy and not care if they end up destroying this planet in the process. In return for my immigration to this world I will swear I will do what I can to stop such people." Again, a pause. "I am indifferent to the politics of your world. I am told that there are dreams of superheroes who stalk the night and dedicate themselves to saving others... I am not such a person. Such people do not exist, not really, and if they do it's not for some benevolent reason. I fight because I am a warrior and I will fight to protect this planet because it where I reside. Nothing more and nothing less. Your law is your law, your guilds are your guilds and your crime is your crime. I am not your hero, nor am I your villain. I am simply a mortal, the same as any of you."
For a few moments there were no sounds and then the voice of a small boy broke the silence. "And cut!" He exclaimed, speaking in English. "Got it in one, that's a wrap, good work Mally. How do I turn this o-" The screen returned to the reporter atop the USS Gridley. It was sailing away from where it had been stationed.
"Though the designated Australasian hot-zone has been cleared you need not worry, the UN has made decisions in regards to planet-wide protection which will be revealed shortly. Exactly how much of Mally's speech can we believe? It is uncertain. All we know is that for the next few weeks the world will be on the edge of their seats. As always, we will have a twenty four hour watch on the situation to bring the breaking news to you, first."
|posts in thread|
May 9, 11 at 11:12pm ^re: The Chronicles
Part 1 - The Shadow Duels - Part 2 - Part 3
Pre-The Real Us
The Investigation, Part 2: Casting the Net
Late summer, the start of the 21st century
Australia, other Earth
He opened his eyes and saw white. White and gold, as the angel-lights danced across the ceiling of the room he was still confined to, restrained by his own broken body and the woeful inadequacies of this planet’s primitive medicine. Slowly, Ion moved his fingers into a fist then out again, smiling slightly when there wasn’t any pain. Soon he’d be able to move, and he would quite happily forgo their pitiful attempts at physiotherapy for another visit to Station 9’s bridge. The doctor was probably missing him, anyway, given how frequently he tended to get himself hurt these days.
I must change that, if I can. I must find out what is drawing me to these red-Webbed people... and what is drawing the Shadow to me.
The Web around him shivered, and he flinched.
I must find out soon.
1st October, 2251
Ion had a screen in front of him that he was flipping through idly as Roshea walked in. The Captain smiled faintly at him but didn’t sit. Ion glanced up. This was unlikely to end well.
“Ion,” Roshea started, hovering uncertainly.
“Sit down and get it over with,” Ion suggested, unimpressed. Roshea flinched, but sat down carefully all the same. Ion returned to his flicking.
“...We’re worried about you,” Roshea admitted eventually. Ion raised an eyebrow, but didn’t look up.
“‘We’? I can hardly imagine you’re including Connor in that little equation, so who else cares so much for my wellbeing you have to come and harass me?” he asked, bored. Roshea looked away, clearly unhappy.
“Dr. Connor is concerned...” he began, trailing off as Ion laughed in disbelief before collecting himself and starting again. “And so is Dr. Kaur.”
“I’m surprised. I was under the impression she believed me to be an insufferable fool,” Ion remarked, turning around now. Roshea made a face. He was still awkward. Something was still up.
“Perhaps a little,” he admitted. “But they are still concerned. You’ve not been sleeping well. You keep getting... hurt.” Ion rolled his eyes. “You’re not stable,” he continued, Ion resting his chin on one hand as he listened.
“I never have been,” he replied. “All that’s changed is that now I attract physical injury. I haven’t died and I’m unlikely to. So, what are you here for, and why?” Roshea put his head in his hands.
“I just got a report back from Dr. Connor,” he murmured, voice muffled. Ion took the words from his head, instead. “He’s found where the Shadow is.” He looked up at Ion through his fingers. He was stressed. “It’s following you, Ion. It’s always following you. He said its Web tracks to yours, although I don’t really know what that means.”
“I see,” Ion replied carefully, his voice not betraying the panic that twisted in his stomach at the words. Its Web tracks to yours. “You needn’t concern yourself with it. He only means the numbers are the same.” Roshea shook his head slowly.
“He seemed... scared, Ion,” he murmured. “Actually scared. I’ve... I’ve never seen him scared.” Ion sighed wearily.
“I would suggest you calm down and stop worrying,” he told him calmly. “Nothing is going to kill me. The Station is not in danger. I fail to see the problem.” Roshea stuttered briefly, then let his hands fall to his knees with a sign of defeat. Ion could feel his fear, it practically seeped from his Web. He was a good Captain, but he did not have the mental fortitude to deal with people like Ion himself or Connor. Both of them were beyond his comprehension, both in power and actions.
“I... Be careful,” Roshea settled for. “Dr. Kaur said she wants to talk to you about your sleep problems. Dr. Connor... He said that he’d appreciate it if you left him be for a while.” Ion knew that it couldn’t have been phrased so politely, but nodded despite that.
He watched Roshea leave the room. Watched the door close. With a howl of anger and frustration, he tore the camera from the wall with a swipe of a hand and a burst of angel-lights, before putting his head in his hands and shivering with fear. Connor had phrased it kindly for Roshea, clearly knowing how the man was going to react to the news as it was. Its Web tracked to his. It was attached to him, mirroring him, fixed to him and he didn’t know how to tear it away.
Didn’t I tell you I was going to kill you?
Ion fought hard to keep back the tears.
Ion was pacing. He could feel himself pacing and he knew he shouldn’t be, but all the same he continued to do it. Hands linked behind his back, six steps across the room, turn, repeat. It was a distraction, nothing more.
It’s following you.
Why couldn’t he sense it? He didn’t expect to be able to see it, he’d never seen it when he’d been in that place, but he’d felt it. Creeping, insidious, hooking its little talons inside his mind and whispering, always whispering...
Why didn’t it whisper now?
The thing’s goals had changed. No, before it hadn’t had a goal. It had simply been, an echo that Ion, weak and unknowing as he had been then, hadn’t been able to escape. Now it was mobile, in a way, and at least partially sentient. And it wanted him dead.
Maybe it no longer whispered because he was already mad.
Ion stopped pacing to rest his forehead against the cold metal wall, closing his eyes. It didn’t just want him dead. It had had plenty of opportunities to be rid of him if that was really what it desired. From what he’d seen, it wanted him to suffer. To hurt. It wanted to break him again, although Ion didn’t know why. Then it would kill him.
Maybe I should let it. Maybe it would be easier, if...
With a growl of anger, he slammed his fist against the wall, which chinked mockingly against the Cross. Why was he thinking like this? Because it scared him? It did, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t beat it. He’d taken down larger foes than this, even if they’d been more corporeal and he’d had to make a few... sacrifices.
He let his hand fall slowly back to his side, turning a half circle to lean against the wall with a heavy sigh. The thing was a construct of the Web, an amalgamation of the dead. Nobody would have to die because of it. Not if he could help it.
He closed his eyes, sinking down to sit on the floor. It was too much. He wanted to talk to Connor.
New message received from Ion (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Re: (no subject)
We need to talk.
Stop using Roshea as your messenger and give me all the facts. Now.
3rd October, 2251
Laboratory 15, IPR
It was Connor who paced this time, although in his case it manifested more as wandering purposelessly around the lab, watched warily by his assistants. Ion skimmed his way through the viewscreen the tense doctor had unwillingly provided, ignoring the furtive glances he received from the assistants every so often. In the corner, the machine with the tuning fork hummed slightly with Connor’s every step.
“It’s not right,” he said eventually, running a hand back through his hair with a stressed look on his face. “It’s just not right. The Web shouldn’t be able to do this.” Ion’s fingers hovered over the screen as he thought.
“But it has,” he remarked eventually. Connor turned away from him and continued to walk, hissing a curse through his teeth.
“But it shouldn’t!” he exclaimed, spinning around to face Ion and spreading his hands to emphasise his confusion and frustration. “I... I’m willing to accept things that challenge the way we think. Hell, I was the only one that believed that psychics like us were possible after Alastor...” he trailed off, shaking his head. “But sometimes there are just rules. There’s a line. You have to be able to draw a line! There’s no way i can just rewrite the rules of the Web and make this work. I’ve tried. I can’t!” Ion drummed his fingers on the viewscreen as he listened, a little rainbow circle rippling out under the weight of each digit.
“But it does work. It’s happening,” he rephrased, making Connor swear again, the nearest assistant nervously retreating to the corner as he stalked past with a halo of almost-visible angel-lights around him. “Did I ever tell you about Malali?” Ion added absently. Connor paused, caught off-guard.
“Who?” he asked, taken aback. Ion smiled faintly.
“Perhaps you don’t believe in angels,” he murmured, “but you should start believing in magic.”
Ion talked. Connor listened, and eventually began to write.
“Ok,” he managed eventually. “...Ok. What now?”
Ion could only offer a shrug.
4th October, 2251
Ion watched the angel-lights from where he was sat on his bed. They seemed more sluggish than they usually were, only lazily drifting on the air. As he stared, for a few, brief seconds, they flickered out of view. Ion shivered.
“Which would you rather? Death, or burning out?”
Ion shook his head at the sound of her voice. It was a reasonable question, of course it was. But from her... he shuddered as he remembered the shadow speaking her voice, her beautiful voice from a monster’s mouth.
“Death. You know that,” he murmured, lying back on the bed and closing his eyes.
He thought he heard faint, malicious laughter just behind him.
New message received from Dr. Connor (email@example.com)
Re: (no subject)
High-ups want to see you 7/10/2251. Just to let you know I heard the Tower does, too, so have fun with that.
I don’t know if you care, but did you know today is the second anniversary of your big flood? They’re holding a memorial in the park at midnight.
Just in case you were planning on doing something stupid then.
7th October, 2251. 1023 hours.
The Tower, Coronas
It still felt strange to Ion to be walking through the Tower. Just walking. Not watched, not monitored, not wanted. Well, perhaps the first still applied, as the still-paired operatives had their eyes on him as he passed. They all knew him now. Knew his name. Knew who he was, what he’d done. Silently judged him and mutely feared him.
This is the man who killed the Controllers.
Not that he’d actually done the deed; no, that task had fallen to everyone around him, the people he’d manipulated and used like pawns. None of them, save perhaps Connor, had blamed him, and he found that strange. People were supposed to resent puppetry, weren’t they? Those he’d met in recent times certainly had, very violently in some cases. Yet Alastor...
He shook his head, continuing his walk with a half-frown on his face at the constant burning the operatives’ resonance caused. It hurt. He hated it. He hated the pairs... and he envied them, too. None of them had been strong enough to make the decision to be split.
“Sir Ion. Thank you for coming.”
Nod. Forced smile. He tried not to look at the room around him.
“We heard from Dr. Connor at the IPR that there’s been issues lately with your Web.”
Another nod. Inwardly he cursed Connor and his meddlesome behaviour and his constant monitoring of everything Web-based.
“We’d hoped we could help. If you’ll humour us, of course, Sir.”
“Not a problem,” Ion murmured, following the collective of Tower staff and leaders into the Tower’s South Wing. He’d killed a man in one of these corridors, two years ago. Exactly two years ago. It didn’t seem like that long ago.
They’d built something that didn’t have the sleek hallmarks of Connor’s team on it which apparently amplified residual Web energy, which was meaningless science jargon if ever Ion had heard it. They attached it to the Cross on his arm, and it made him scream in agony. They turned it off as he held a man against a wall from a distance, choking, and apologised profusely, but it had done its job, at least. The Web felt stronger and brighter around him, the angel-lights no longer dimmed and ducked out of his vision unpredictably.
He dropped the man and told them curtly that they were idiots, snatching up the plans as he left.
Laboratory 15, IPR
Ion threw a file in front of Connor, startling the man out of a half-asleep daze. He gave Ion the look of the terminally unimpressed, which just made him smile.
“Happy birthday,” he told him, voice heavy with sarcasm. Connor frowned and turned away, not saying a word. Ion rubbed his aching wrist. The Cross hummed gently, in time with the machine in the corner.
“I don’t want a birthday,” Connor muttered eventually, flicking through the plans. Ion chuckled.
“Tit for tat, doctor,” he responded. “You know, they took me on a nice walk through South today. Haven’t been there in quite some time. Two years, I think.” Connor clenched his fists.
“You are a cold, unfeeling son of a bitch, you know that?” he inquired through gritted teeth, a forced pleasantness in his tone. Ion nodded absently.
“So you often say,” he agreed, turning and walking to the door, where he paused and looked back at Connor. “Happy anniversary,” he added, skilfully ducking the heavy machine part that Connor threw at him on his way out.
10th October, 2251
“S-sir Ion? Can I have a word?”
Ion glanced up in surprise from staring at the space just above his file to see the unpaired psychic, Ensign Johnson, stood there. He seemed nervous, and his mind was entirely undefended. Ion frowned slightly in distaste, remembering when he had been the same.
“I will,” he agreed wearily, looking back at his file as the young ensign choked in surprise.
“S-sir?” he asked, confused. Ion sighed.
“Teach you,” he elaborated. “It was what you wanted to ask me about, yes? You’re concerned with what you’ve been... overhearing.” Johnson looked away, flushing a deep red in embarrassment.
“I-I-” he started, but Ion held up a hand without looking around.
“Come and see me tomorrow night, after you sign off,” he told him curtly. “I will warn you in advance that I have very little patience for the weak and stupid. Do not test me.” With a nervous swallow, the young man nodded uncertainly and practically ran away.
Ion felt the Web shiver, and frowned.
New message received from Dr. Connor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Re: (no subject)
Come and see me tomorrow if you can. I think I’ve found a way of at least monitoring what’s chasing you. Not sure how much you’ll like it, though.
You made your first mistake, my dear Ion.
You care too much if they live or die.
|posts in thread|
May 10, 11 at 4:54am ^re: The Chronicles
Adventures in Hammerspace pt5
PCM and the Impracticality of Magical Panties
"So, d00d, are you sure this is the right way to that Nezia guy?" Maxwell asked as he and Selena plodded through a murky, muddy road where it had not stopped raining, according to Selena, in "a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very long time."
"Of courthe!" Selena said indignantly, "Haven't you ever theen thothe movieth where the evil villain buildth hith cathle on an ominouth mountain where it never thtopth thunder thtorming?"
"That's a good point, d00d," Maxwell admitted, "but uh...it's just that there isn't a castle anywhere around here. There's not even an ominous mountain to build it on."
"True." the princess of Elinia seemed troubled by that, "I could've thworn there wath a mountain here..."
"Maybe the super panties destroyed the mountain, d00d!" Maxwell suggested, his mind conjuring the disturbing image of a giant pair of black panties floating in the air and blasting random monuments away with a large laser beam.
"I thtill don't believe you about thothe pantieth being magical," Selena grumbled.
"It's the truth, d00d!" Maxwell replied, staring at Selena intently as though the fire in his eyes could convince her.
"How can pantieth be magical? It maketh no thenthe! Why would anyone want to give them magical powerth in the firtht plathe?"
Maxwell frowned in thought, "Well, why not, d00d? I mean, that's like the greatest place ever to hide a secret weapon! Nobody would ever expect it!"
"Yeth, but that would altho mean having to wear thothe pantieth every day all the time! What if you thoiled yourthelf? It'th not practical."
"Yeah, but they're magical!" Maxwell insisted, "If you shat yourself, it'd probably just disappear, like getting sucked into hammerspace, d00d!"
"It maketh no thenthe no matter how you try to juthtify it," Selena said stubbornly as the two trudged onward into the middle of nowhere, "It'th jutht too ridiculouth."
It never occurred to her or Maxwell that she was arguing with a talking, stuffed, fictional animal with a rainbow afro.
Hours passed on and the duo's bickering soon degenerated into, "It's magic!" and "It'th thtupid." Rain continued to pelt the Savior of Mankind and his companion, dampening their mood and eventually, their argument subsided as each began to focus just on taking another step forward.
"How huge is this place, d00d?" Maxwell asked, finally stopping, "We've been walking forever!"
"We...we thould've been there by now," Selena said, doubling over and gasping for breath, "Thomething'th not right..."
"You okay, d00d?" the prinny asked his companion not unkindly, offering her his wing to help her up.
The princess of Elinia slumped forward, "I'm thorry, Makthwell. I need to retht."
"No worries," Maxwell said bracingly, "I'll go and see if I can find some place out of the rain." The Savior of Mankind put on a burst of speed and began sprinting as fast as his peg legs could carry him. After a moment, though, Maxwell found himself approaching the spot where he had left Selena.
"D00d!" Maxwell exclaimed, running off in a different direction only to be met with Selena again. "D00d!" The prinny plushie turned back the way he had come from before and nearly ran into the princess of Elinia. "D000000000d!"
"Makthwell? Why are you back? Did you find a plathe?" Selena asked, frowning.
"Nope," Maxwell replied, plopping down on the ground beside her, "We're screwed, d00d."
"For the latht time, I will not thow you my pantieth," Selena said irritably.
"No, no, I mean that we've been trapped. If you run off in any direction, you just end up back here."
"WHAT!?" Selena said in alarm, bounding to her feet. The amazon warrior sped off and returned mere seconds later. "How could I have been tho thtupid!?" she cried, collapsing on the ground, "I have failed my people!"
Maxwell patted her shoulder, "Don't take it so hard, d00d, neither of us could have predicted the power of the panties."
"IT'TH NOT THE DAMN PANTIETH!" Selena screamed, "THERIOUTHLY! LET THE IDEA GO! PANTIETH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR PREDICAMENT!" she sighed, "I thought you were thome thort of thuper warrior the way you took down Nethia'th crony. But you're jutht an idiot. I'm thorry I got you involved in thith."
Maxwell, however, wasn't listening. He was rummaging through the Pouch of Infinity.
"Don't worry, d00d, eventually, I'll pull something out of this pouch that'll be able to help us."
"Let me gueth," Selena said sarcastically, "That'th a magical pouch that you can pull anything out of?"
"D00d, how'd you know?" Maxwell asked, genuinely surprised.
The prinny plushie shrugged and continued to grab around until finally, he managed to wrap his wing-arm-thing around something. He gave a yank and Selena yelped when a man appeared. A very bizarre-looking individual wearing purple pajamas emblazoned with a bright yellow circle on the chest with 'PCM' written in fuchsia in the center. He wore a pink cape, also with the PCM emblem on the back. His body was very skinny. In fact, it looked as though he had almost no muscle on him at all.
And yet...as he looked at Maxwell with a set of impassive brown eyes, the Savior of Mankind felt a tremendous power radiating from the man. More powerful than even what he had sensed in the super panties, and that was saying something!
Selena gaped at the man, eyes moving back and forth from Maxwell's pouch to the strangely garbed man himself.
"You are wondering who I am. That will be explained momentarily," the man said, "First of all, I will restore you both to full strength. You will need it in the coming battle." He raised a palm, and snapped his fingers and a warmth washed over Maxwell, as though he were bathing in a spa, "There," the strange man said, "This strength will last you to Nezia. Have no fear. He is not as strong as you fear, princess," he said.
"D00d, who ARE you?" Maxwell asked. The man turned to face him.
"An apt question, my prinny friend. I am the most powerful being in the entire universe. I am-"
A hundred possible answers raced through Maxwell's mind as to who this most powerful being could be, each as likely as the other. Batman? Chuck Norris? A power ranger? Kamina? Maybe even God, perhaps?
"-Plot Convenience Man."
Maxwell's eyes widened in shock, "D00d," he whispered in reverent awe, "No way..."
Plot Convenience Man chuckled, "Yes. Way, d00d. I am the answer to all problems. The one force that is completely unbeatable. I am both the unstoppable force and the immovable object. I am the Deity Ex Machina, the legend spoken of in hushed conversations around fiction circles. I am Plot Convenience Man."
"D00d!" Maxwell exclaimed, "Can you tell me where the magical panties are?"
Plot Convenience Man snapped his fingers again and a portal sliced through the open air in front of Maxwell and Selena, "This portal will take you to Nezia's castle. This is where you must go, Maxwell. Selena, stay close to this man. Regardless of what you believe, in the end, you will be right to rely on him. Now, I must be off. There's a certain Night Elf in need of my services. Take heart knowing that I will always be around when you need me," the most powerful being in the universe said, running and preparing to leap into the sky.
"Wait, d00d!" Maxwell called, "Can you tell me how I'm supposed to save Mankind?" It was the one question the prinny plushie had been asking himself ever since his soul had been forced into his current body.
Plot Convenience Man looked over his shoulder, "A woman holds the answer to your question. But she will not give it to you. You must seek the knowledge yourself."
"Well how does that help me!?" Maxwell demanded.
Plot Convenience Man laughed, "I just gave you hint. Think about it, young Savior of Mankind. It'll come to you." And then the Deity Ex Machina was gone, leaving the crestfallen Maxwell staring at the ground.
"Makthwell?" Selena asked, looking concerned.
"Come on, d00d, let's go save your people," the prinny plushie said without looking at her. He walked through Plot Convenience Man's portal and after a moment's hesitation, Selena followed.
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