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  1. #21
    Ride The Lightning

    EXP: 143,779, Level: 16
    Level completed: 52%, EXP required for next Level: 8,221
    Level completed: 52%,
    EXP required for next Level: 8,221


    Storm Veritas's Avatar

    GP
    21,050

    Name
    Storm Veritas
    Age
    39
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    Stupid. So goddamned stupid.

    Storm swore at himself as he turned his body to land sprawled and flat on the thatch roof of the building, tucking his chin and widening his hands and feet to soften the impact. The straw like material would have been quite comfortable, had it been made of sturdier goods. Instead, he felt it yield immediately, as only his left arm and left calf caught the weight-supporting ballast beam beneath him. The impact stung dully but did not stop him, instead twisting the wizard as he begin a spinning fall some seventeen feet from the roof of the two story building.

    In the madness, he couldn’t process the noise or the sulfuric odor, the intense heat in the room not registering amidst so much fire. His vision dominated his senses, scouring desperately for what lay below and where he might aim his fall.

    Spread of dirt there, tuck and tumble.

    It was a smith’s shop, and he nimbly hit the ground in a fast forward roll. In truth, his shoulder struck earth first, his body rotating rapidly to diminish the impact event and save his old bones. The roll took him forward, before crashing hard into a dense mass of granite upon which an anvil had been situated. His hips and legs crashed hard into the unyielding materials, an immediate burn yelping at him from all over his body.

    No time to wait. Get out. Get out now. They’re coming.

    The weary, experienced electromancer could sense something was sprained and would slow him, and that his knees and hips and ankles would creak at him for months to come. For now, his priority was simply ensuring there were months to come, and a handful of Radasanth’s royal army had arrived at the doorway to end his reign of terror. The inhabitants of the smith shop pointed him out immediately, two women and two children pointing short, thin fingers at the intruder. Veritas was still very disoriented, unsure of his bearings, and physically drained from his colossal magic attack only moments before.

    Window.

    The soldiers saw the window before the intruder did, their eyes betraying their advantage as they correctly predicted the next move for the wounded man. There was one alternative way out, and they spotted it even faster than he could. It was a race, then, which his life depended on. Without a word, the magician was up and sprinting, or running as fast as the newfound limp in his leg would bear. There was no time to debate whether the soldiers had crossbows, and no energy to ward them off with magic. He was four strides in front of them when he came within leaping distance of the large, wide window, which was reinforced with only a simple wooden cross.

    Sadly, glass does not crumble mercifully or gently. The cracking, shrieking sound of yielding glass was accompanied by deep, sharp burns as the edges of the glass tore at his head, hands, and scruff of the neck. His mesh armor protected the remainder of his body from all but pain as he fell through the window, crashing harder still upon the cobblestone outside. He would have a few scarce seconds to gather himself as fires burned about him, people running through the streets to either loot, try to reinforce the front gates, or escape the northern gates away from the oncoming forces. Even with the madness about him, there was no hiding his recent, murderous celebrity.

    Gods damn it.

    Storm’s eyes had caught a thick steel manhole cover four feet from his battered, beaten frame. His next move had been delivered to him, and it was a terrible one.
    Last edited by Storm Veritas; 07-02-2019 at 11:55 AM.

  2. #22
    Administrator

    EXP: 105,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 9%, EXP required for next Level: 13,712
    Level completed: 9%,
    EXP required for next Level: 13,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

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    Bunnies approved
    It felt so wrong. Fallen soldiers, Brotherhood and Assembly that all slumped against shattered buildings and lay amongst the blood-soaked debris, sung to Shinsou a harrowing accompaniment as he slowly, almost reluctantly, walked towards the one he had loved. Wails of the dying on both sides followed the Telgradian’s every step, but despite the chill in every one of his tensed muscles, his arcanely-attuned senses that could have stretched for an eternity around him could still only focus one on person.

    Philomel. She was the Faun that had been the center of his life, the woman he trusted most. The woman that he loved most. She, and her familiars and all of her cherished Gilded Lily had been looking for him on the field, he was sure. Or, was that sheer arrogance? Did he believe that he would still be the focus of everything she did here, just so he could retain some relevance, some importance in her eyes, whether friend or enemy? She probably knew they would meet, but the faun probably never wanted to see him again.

    Shinsou found himself questioning his own thoughts, now, but it no longer mattered. They, the Faun and her Lily personal guard, had found him. Or, more accurately, destiny had brought them together, and now there was no more time to contemplate what was or what might be.

    The first of Philomel’s number loomed from within the clinging smoke, a silhouette in front of a crimson backdrop of fire. Her emerald eyes burned from behind a mask of ashen black soot, framed by wild red hair. Tall and powerful, she loomed malevolently over her diminutive opponent, an iron blade beckoning the Telgradian towards his doom. He needed no second invitation. The force of his Hakai’s powers dragged him forward, granting him great speed. Carving the air before him, Enpera Shinkotei’s edge shimmered with marbled jet and purple power until suddenly it was arrested by the shearing impact of metal through metal. As her sword bifurcated through its shaft, the woman’s eyes flickered in panic.

    You…

    Shinsou suddenly recognized her as one of the higher ranking Lily girls; one who he himself had once helped in days gone by, but one whose name he could now not recall. Somewhere deep within him, a pang of emotion sparked to life; a remnant of familiarity. The cold urge to extinguish her life warmed, and instead of delivering the obvious killing blow the Telgradian extended his left palm to reveal a powerful green light. The severing void, as he called it, was meant for protection but was also a powerful stunning tool in close contact. With a thunderous crack, the light both exploded and disintegrated in an instant, and the Lily warrior’s legs folded underneath her. She was unconscious, but still very much alive, and as Shinsou gazed upon her he questioned himself again. He could have killed her. He should have done, but he didn’t. Why? Because of some false hope that it would make things better in Philomel’s eyes? Or was it because he himself had felt that his resolve to wage war against her, to see through the annihilation of everyone in the Brotherhood’s way, was perhaps not as resolute as first thought?

    The spellsword turned, wary of the glares that converged on him from Philomel and her contingent up on the wall’s interior. They would not see what he had done as any sort of act of goodwill or kindness, but instead exactly the kind of thing he was getting a reputation for. They would hate him. Shinsou was used to being the object of ire for many people, but why did her hate hurt so much?

    “She will live,” The Telgradian shouted over the cacophony in the background, “…and so will the other girls. No-one else has to be involved, here, Philomel, and I know I have no right to ask this, but please afford me one last selfish request. Come down from the wall and finish this with me, here and now. No-one else needs to die for us.”

    Even his once firm tone had wavered into something slightly more submissive. The progressive grimness of the scenery had been matched only by the growing sense of hopelessness, and Shinsou’s senses were assaulted by a barrage of emotions as the Faun considered, with an expression somewhere between misery and rage, the request. As she did, a two hundred strong Lily contingent that now fortified beyond the gate considered their options with the Telgradian, before their princess stood and barked a command that lost itself in the wind. Almost immediately, they stood to attention obediently, forming a corridor through which she could descend to the street.

    Finally, Philomel’s remaining quintet parted to allow their princess through, alone, and with a mighty leap she landed perfectly on her hooves with her trademark nameless at her side. As the remaining quint gathered around them in a circle, the oppressive veils of darkness enveloped Radasanth.

    “This could have been so different, Shinsou. You’ve ruined everything; this country, your vision, and worst of all you ruined us.”

    Philomel’s voice grated on every nerve ending in his body, abrasively silky, gratingly smooth. It seeped into his mind from every pore, every opening, every weakness; it lingered like a malignant tumour, feeding on the fear that festered there. Overwhelmingly sickened by the cloying, heady stench of death that hung in the atmosphere, Shinsou’s narrowly slit eyes peered at her sadly. He had no retort this time, other than to let go of it all. It felt like death to hear it. He knew their differences were now irreconcilable, because while he believed in his vision of a better world, and Storm Veritas, and even himself, Philomel had just confirmed his worst fear; that there could be no more belief in them.

    Danzetsu.

    Supernatural blacks smouldered with barely suppressed power as everything around Shinsou whipped into a furious twister of arcane energies. Once the fog of smoke and electricity rolled away, the Telgradian’s physical form stood for all to see. It defied mortal comprehension; impossibly beautiful musculature, eternally intimidating visage complete with black eyes and waist length hair. The four remaining Lily were arrayed in formation about him, their weapons held in silent salute, and Philomel’s armour whistling forlornly in the wind. But for all that, it was the Telgradian’s sheer force of will that dominated the scene.

    “I love you. I’m sorry.”

    Without waiting for his words to die, Shinsou struck. He danced over Radasanth’s broken cobbles like a puppet on strings, synchronizing his movements perfectly with Philomel’s despite the tight quarters created by the surrounding Lily Quint. Only when he was close enough to see the very pupils of his beloved was the Telgradian able to force his body into a swing with Enpera Shinkotei. Pure adrenaline overpowered the Faun’s overwhelming presence. She instinctively ducked the first cross-sweep from the left, evaded the downwards swing from the right by leaping backwards half a step, and pre-empted the third stroke by lashing out with nameless, the slender, beautiful blade clanging Enpera harmlessly away.

    A scarred red glint now hung unnaturally large and heavy in the pitch-black sky, grey clouds scurrying away from it like frightened mice. Aghast all of the chaos and carnage below, little heed was paid to it.
    Old does not mean dead – New does not mean best – No hard feelings, I’m tired of being right about everything I’ve said – Yours does not mean mine – Kill does not mean die – We are not your kind

  3. #23
    Administrator

    EXP: 104,075, Level: 14
    Level completed: 1%, EXP required for next Level: 14,925
    Level completed: 1%,
    EXP required for next Level: 14,925


    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    17,840

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    Walls shattered and people howled. Bodies fell and mages wrought magical destruction. Longbowmen protected their walls as much as they were able, as the assault continued, despite all that the Assembly combined forces tried.

    Somewhere a wingless dragon moaned, and his head reared up out of the ground. He met the eyes of the angelic warrior called Ioder, blinking and recognising him as friend. Wounds still bled, and the steel skin of Delath still could not hold back all the weapons of the Brotherhood army. But he growled, and he took what help he could, and turned back towards the seige engines. They clattered, though already severely diminished, and continued to fling rocks into the air, continued to thunk large bolts against the walls of the city. He huffed, and his tail rose out of the earth as a whip of energy as he then glanced over to the city, and heard the screams of the people. Tilting his head at Ioder Delath roared softly, waiting for the beautiful being to form a plan.

    For the dragon was willing for anything.

    Elsewhere a beastly being who had not been seen all battle long burst into existence. He had not been here, but rather had been holding the forces at Tylermerande. Another battle, another world, another devious tactic. All by these people whom once the Gilded Lily had deigned to call friends. And now ... Now.

    Now they threatened everything they held dear. They threatened the livelihoods, the happiness and the families of those who had fought hard to earn them, and who trusted in their faun matriarch to protect that for them. Indeed, the brotherhood thought that they were doing good - extracting what they called a corrupt Assembly from their place. But what was better than democracy, even if it were just the early stages of that political ideal? Order and freedom were paramount, and the country had already been through a civil war.

    Radasanth did not need a second war. And the people knew that. They remembered. They sang about it in their songs and spoke about it in the poems and stories which the creature who now arrived a thousand times before. Because he had spent a many long years with them. Because he had mourned with them. Because he was soul-bonded to the matriarch who had changed the rights of the whore throughout this, her birth city.

    Philomel. She whose heart, already broken, had shattered like the great clashing of her swords now.

    Clashing against the steel of the man she was in love with - but who had ripped her heart asunder.

    "Why?" she cried, not for the second time as she fought her lover. "Why, why, why?"

    But what answer was there to give but that which had been given before? They fought, equals, her speed more and far faster than any other creature alive, and his strength exceeding. But beyond that they were even in sword play, her two white blades even to his single, weaving around their skills and knowledge, keeping a rhythm in the same way they knew one another's bodies. And around them a quint of Lily Warriors, who ranged in weaponry and skill, all watching with beady eyes.

    The creature stepped slowly from the ether, the portal closing beneath him as he rose from the depths. A small, red fox was he, with a long brush tail, and golden eyes. He watched his beloved Philomel scream in rage, dodge a blow and fight back with her own, feeling her heart ache and her deep sorrow through their connection.

    Veridian the earth spirit watched the two familiar people fight, both on either side, both full of anger and frustration. He knew though, that this was her fight and hers alone, and thus he kept back like the Gilded Quint around them.

    Somewhere hooves could be heard. Champion hooves as a great sudden surge of horses, the joint Assembly Cavalry, rode down the main street. They were led by a red suited captain, who blew on a great horn, riding a black stallion. Cantering, some galloping, they charged into the war, not stopping to ask as the two fighters and ex-lovers pressed their mettle against one another.

    Philomel screamed in fury, tears running down her face as fast as the horses. She threw a heavy hoof down on the ground and an earthquake ran through the earth right at the one she had loved ... Shinsou fucking vaan Osiris. She hissed, Veridian hissed with her, ready to lunge and defend when she needed.

    The Cavalry surged on, spilling into the main field through the broken gate to take what lives they could. At other breaches in the wall the Brotherhood came forth and the longbowmen retreated, signalling to the inner wall to prepare their own defences. Smaller but neater seige engines of their own. Bells rang out, calling for the city to empty, telling the people to find shelter, as above in the Steel Hall the Assembly itself still hid.

    As Sebastian held onto his dagger. As Philomel cried her sorrows. As Veridian watched his beloved suffer. As Delath waited for the destiny of the city.

    As the meteor grew closer to the world, and the real thing to fear in the world beyond war began to become clearer.
    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    --
    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.

  4. #24
    Junior Member



    GP
    0

    Name
    Ioder Bella Horvat
    Location
    Corone
    As Ioder and the few who could still fight charged towards the siege line he met eyes with the general’s mighty earth dragon and instantly could feel its struggle. Delath had done more for the capital than any soldier could on their own managing to destroy the majority of the Brotherhood’s siege. It was an absolute brutal sight, shattered trebuchets and ballista covered the earth, their crews fleeing or dead, all thanks to the work of one beast. Ioder knew the rest would be up to him and in an moment of quick thinking leaped over the earth dragon, releasing the nebula of energy from deep within him.

    “Delath!” he yelled as he landed between the mighty beast and the remaining crews still firing unto the city. Shimmering vapor seeped from the wizard’s pores quickly enveloping him in a protective aura, a regenerating barrier as strong as damascus. “Retreat to your Matriarch, protect her with your very last breath. I’ll deal with the rest here.” The wizard turned and with a flick of his wrist a pool of his nebula formed underneath the beast slowly consuming it. By now he had witnessed Shinsou ascend to the walls and knew Philomel would be waiting for him. If nothing he would at least be able to do this.

    Ioder turned his attention to the remaining stragglers still launching debris onto the city, his vision turned red and his breathing became short. He was afraid, everyone was afraid, this was war. And all war is hell and he would make sure that the Brotherhood wouldn’t forget what they did here. In a flash, the angelic soldier defied the very laws of gravity, levitating off the ground and launching himself straight towards the closest ballista. His swords Alessia and Helfa made quick work of the wooden siege cleanly bisecting it with ease. He tried not to listen to the crew’s cries as he freed them from the burden of life before moving with great speed to the next set.

    The others who had been fighting with him thus far had all disappeared, likely with the dragon, leaving Ioder alone. He preferred it this way as the responsibility of leading was a distraction and now he could focus solely on stopping the siegecraft. One by one the angel destroyed the weapons and slowly but surely the constant bombardment on the city ceased. Not once did Ioder find himself in a situation that his speed or protective magic couldn’t conquer as he swiftly made his way across the backlines wiping out all of the Brotherhood’s support.

    Elsewhere on the battlefield, the former lovers continued to dance the most deadly of dances. The earth crumbled and dark magic shook as everything else around the two vanished, the outside world was but a mere afterthought as they fought. Each represented a different ideology, a different vision for Corone. Philomel the paragon of Radasanth and Shinsou Vann Osiris were both right in their own way but neither could ever come to see that. This was reflected in their precise and evenly matched swordplay, neither holding back and refusing to give up even an inch.

    Surrounding them was a torrent of armed cavalry pouring down the cobblestone threatening to trample any Brotherhood in sight. The longbowmen on the walls continued to release wave after wave of flying death, raining what hell they could on the shits below. Between the imperial army, the city guard, and the lily they finally appeared to have gotten an upper hand against the massive Brotherhood force. Though not at all without sustaining monumental defeats and loss of life, a pain that the capital will likely never fully recover from.

    Then suddenly as if another layer madness needed to be intertwined into this whole mess above the quarreling ex-lovers, a rift opened about forty feet in the air. And from the magical gate erupted Delath, dropping down behind Philomel ready to join the fight and finally bring an end to this horrid night. Would the bloodbath truely end if Shinsou were to be defeated, was it even possible to stop him? With the star in the sky as it is, was there even a point in trying?
    Last edited by Ioder_Horvat; 07-30-2019 at 03:35 PM.

  5. #25
    Ride The Lightning

    EXP: 143,779, Level: 16
    Level completed: 52%, EXP required for next Level: 8,221
    Level completed: 52%,
    EXP required for next Level: 8,221


    Storm Veritas's Avatar

    GP
    21,050

    Name
    Storm Veritas
    Age
    39
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    “When the dust settles and we look back,
    will we be okay with what we see?"

    ”End Times Alaska” by Craig Martelle


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Isolated and chased by soldiers looking to end his life and put the ultimate trophy upon their walls, Storm Veritas was desperate. He knew the feeling of broken ribs, and the salty, coppery taste in his mouth that indicated internal bleeding. His body was dying, and the carnage in the streets didn’t care to show the villain mercy or quarter. The sewer before him looked familiar; it was the same subterranean labyrinth he had used to escape after killing one of Radasanth’s Great Lords, a lifetime ago. He could hide, recover his electrical abilities, and perhaps charge the entire underbelly of the city with one horrible, fantastic blast of magnetic energy.

    Sons of bitches won’t scatter, I wonder what happens when hell reaches up from the floor beneath them?

    It was a terribly brilliant plan that was interrupted as the wizard moved quickly yet erratically, a truly desperate and broken thing. The red star that had grown before them was no astrological abnormality, but rather a meteor, and its approach had seemed slow, steady, and patient. From its great distance thousands of miles away, the warriors paid little attention. What they all failed to realize was the exponential growth that came with a massive, moon-sized weapon rocketing above Althanas at over ten miles per second would appear. The dot became a moon, which became a planet within a minute, and only the bizarre reflective white glow from the giant rock stopped the battle.

    Gods…

    The meteor rocketed above Althanas, missing it by several miles, or cosmically a fraction of an eyelash. For a few fleeting seconds, night turned to day as men and women warriors shielded their eyes from the sun’s strong reflections. None of them were prepared for the meteorite shower to follow the of the great meteor, as thousands of fist-sized molten stones raced toward the earth like the most horrific siege fire the world has ever seen. Straight over Radasanth this long stretch of scattered carnage, as concussive blasts raced in a rough line, a wave breaking thinner on either side of fire and brimstone.

    Storm’s eyes widened from their light-scorched squint, catching the tail of fire ripping a path across the hills north of Radasanth, where many had already run. Thinking quickly, he scrambled for the sewer grate, struggling to find the top of the smelly, metal cap. He gasped for air and strength as he ignored the pain, his fingers finding nothing to grip. With what little magic he had available he pulsed the sewer cap upwards, allowing his fingers to get a firm hold on the bottom of the cap. Mouth agape, he looked at the oncoming soldiers, hearing the mix of screams, shrieks, and panic that accompanied the oncoming wave. The Brotherhood’s multi-year coup now seemed so inconsequential.

    “What are you waiting for? Get the fuck in here!”

    Storm’s long, sinewy muscles wrenched the circular cap aside, a satisfying thud as it cracked cobblestones aside it. The soldiers still held their swords, but they were lowered, and the men jogged forward in a convergence of fear, disbelief and panic. Their prize pelt would wait. As they moved forward, the tall, thin man disappeared into the darkness below. The devil before them was certainly less frightening than the one from the north. They quickly hopped down as the roar of explosions continued to pound the earth, closing fast on Radasanth.

    Storm extended his hand to the man, pulling the first soldier into the subway in a large lead pipe, illuminated by his glowing hand. “Come in, duck in the pipe. Make peace with your Gods, if you choose to pray.” They hesitated only momentarily and then did, and the three men were bunkered in as untold chaos screamed above them. The whistling of rocks coming down, the crashing sounds of blasting, and one rock even crashed into the earth north of them, causing a stalactite of rock and earth near the manhole opening just fifty feet from them. Hell’s arrival also brought a terrible heat. No sooner had the reflective light of the passing apocalypse moved away than the heat began to follow, a growing wave of foul, stagnant air that at first warmed a cool air, and escalated into overwhelming heat. The sewer was already warm, but became oppressive within seconds.

    His light still lit, Veritas examined the faces of the men beside him. A blend of horror, anger, and gratitude paralyzed them, as the instinct to run him through for his misdeeds was held back only by the uncertainty of what the world had just become. Did these men have families that were possibly killed in their escape? Brothers he had murdered atop the wall? Wordless, they simply shared a short gaze, waiting on the pounding above them to end. The elder magician heard the shower begin to pass, the heat relieving slightly. He spoke nervously, his hand moving from a simple glow of white to a rippling ball of energy, which caught their attention.

    “I know you probably want to kill me, and I don’t blame you. Let me be. Let me run and help you rebuild. If we survive this, Althanas will need Radasanth again.”

    He began to back away towards the opening they had descended, planning to show them a way out and dash to his right, east into the darkness. It was at this time that a second, impossibly loud explosion changed the world. Unbeknownst to them all, a massive volcano by Lornius had just erupted, filling the night sky with heat, ash, and liquid fire.

    When Storm dashed away, the men didn’t give chase.

  6. #26
    War Criminal

    EXP: 9,090, Level: 4
    Level completed: 2%, EXP required for next Level: 4,910
    Level completed: 2%,
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    Hayate_Amatsukami's Avatar

    GP
    897

    Name
    Hayate Amatsukami
    Age
    22
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar
    All things came to an end when the heel of god scraped the outer edge of Althanas’ atmosphere bringing with it a blinding light and scorching air. The massive celestial body’s mass was great enough to assert such a force it rendered the Shinobi to one knee as it blazed past. All Hayate could do was use his tattered shroud to cover his face and prey to the Thaynes as he readied himself for certain death. Those of the battalion guarding the keep who were quick enough too used something to protect their airways from the thick burning air were lucky. Those who didn't fell quickly as their insiders roasted with every breath.

    The earth began to quake and rumble as the very foundation of the city threatened to give under the meteors’ immense pressure. The city began to fail as the structural integrity of the Keep and many other buildings appeared to be near their breaking points. The first to fall was the northern lighthouse overlooking the merchant’s port, followed closely behind by a number of connected shops and buildings towards the center of the city near the last known location of Storm Veritas. And as the light and roaring of the meteor faded with each passing second Hayate dared to look. He slowly pulled back his cloak and opened his eyes. The light stung but he persevered through the pain though what he saw next would forever be etched in his psyche.

    While the meteor hadn’t struck Althanas, grazing by just barely in the grand scheme of things, it did bring destruction and chaos. Hayate stood in disbelief as he tried to fathom what he was seeing. A molten sky trailed behind the meteor, raining down cannonball sized hell on the country indiscriminately. He could feel the collective terror of the city as one by one the survivors noticed and yet could do nothing to stop what was about to come. There was nothing in the world that could prepare one for something like this.

    Nows the time Hayate, I don't care what was said before, you have to or you're going to die. Give me control and ill do what I can to save you, those children, and this whole forsaken city.

    The shinobi, while afraid and confused, snapped back into action assessing the situation as his hand quickly darted to the hilt of his Nodachi. His lips parted as he uttered his blades release command and in one swift motion, Hayate drew his massive blade from its hilt on his back. He wiped it in a violent crescent as the magic within swelled, shattering the blade into innumerable pieces. The fragments of his sword culminated in a crimson mire at his feet about a meter in diameter. From the ooze sinewus membraines retched, attaching themselves like leeches to Hayate skin. The red pustules congregated until they manifested into the torso of a twenty-foot tall Shogun clad in ethereal armor.

    The Corpse King dropped its skeletal jaw as it unleashed a blood curdling scream finally revealing himself to be on the battlefield. This wasn't the way he had wanted to do it but now wasn't the time for that. This sent those around him crying and running, including the Paladin, as they couldn't help but be frightened after witnessing all the chaos unfolding. Hayate, suspended within The Corpse King’s translucent chest cavity, watched as Yamato piloted their combined form up the outside of the keep. The arms of the beast making great reaches from one level to the next, its eyes dead set on a larger than average meteorite heading directly for the tallest tower of the structure.

    Violently the monster made its way to the top unimpeded by any of the troops stationed on the ascending levels. They were either overwhelmed by the literal hell raining down on them or he himself but either way, they dared not incur the titan’s wrath. As they arrived at the top of the highest tower The Corpse King raised one hand to the sky, clawing a tear between realms and drawing from it a mighty crimson blade. The titan’s gaze never left the molten debris as it readied itself for the perfect moment, for they would only have one shot at this. With precision timing they lept into the air bringing their mighty weapon downward in a crescent slash, slicing the meteorite it two sending them colliding harmlessly to the ground on either side of the keep. Successfully The Corpse King had defended the Steel Keep from the largest of its threats.
    Last edited by Hayate_Amatsukami; 08-04-2019 at 08:26 AM.
    "Just shut up for once! What the hell do you know about it?! It's not like you ever had a family in the first place! You were on your own right from the beginning, what makes you think you know anything about it?! Huh?! I'm suffering now because I had those ties, how on earth could you possibly understand, what it feels like to lose all that!" -Sasuke Uchiha

  7. #27
    Administrator

    EXP: 105,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 9%, EXP required for next Level: 13,712
    Level completed: 9%,
    EXP required for next Level: 13,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

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    ”Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” – William Shakespeare

    Shinsou, dark eyes flickering between his once-beloved Philomel and the ground beneath her hooves, flinched as a ear-splitting roar erupted from the ground beneath her ferocious stomp. Despite his familiarity with the Faun’s geomancery, the anticipation of the magic did nothing to suppress the Telgradian’s awe of it. He grimaced as the resulting airburst from the spell violently thrusted a powerful tsunami of earth in the Telgradian’s direction, creasing the concrete of the road like fabric and popping the smooth Radasanthian cobbles a hundred at a time. Even with the power of his Danzetsu at his disposal, the Telgradian still had to react and Shinsou now had only a second to think about how to avoid having his body shredded by the earthly onslaught.

    The only way was forwards, he quickly determined, into and up the wave.

    His legs pumped as Shinsou tackled the crest of earth one quick stride at a time. He ran like a madman, the ground literally cracking beneath his feet, his lungs heaving for air as he dashed across the exploding stone. The coat about his rune-covered body billowed in the wind, and one hand held down Enpera to keep it from slipping from his grip. His thin black robes clung to his taut frame, travel-worn but clean; like a swift-running ghost. One final leap allowed him to reach a point only a second before the breaking crest of the wave of earth.

    It was then he outstretched his palm and snapped open a glowing portal. He could only use his Rift Phase once, so he knew he had to make it count.

    It was now or never.

    As the wave of debris broke and cascaded across a torn-asunder Radasanth, the portal consumed the remnants of the transformed Telgradian and phased him out of the physical plane just before the earth took him. There, within the marble ether of the parallel plane, he stopped, gasping for breath as he took in the scene. Peering into the physical plane through the rift was like being underwater, but he could make out intricate details of the destruction. A nearby building close to the wall lay in ruins at the behest of Philomel’s earthquake. The overgrown alleyways that encompassed it were now so full of rubble that Shinsou could only barely pick out what had been there before, and only because he knew where to look.

    He turned back to look at Philomel through the ether, finding the time to calm his lungs. It wouldn’t be long before she realized what had happened; her beautiful eyes were scanning the aftermath of the quake dutifully, almost tenaciously, trying to determine whether Shinsou had been devoured by the earth’s wake. He knew he didn’t have much time left in the “other world” before the portal back to Althanas closed for good, which would trap him indefinitely in non-space. Urgently, Shinsou studied the surroundings for a suitable re-entry point, somewhere where he could step back through the portal and land a surprise blow with Enpera to finish the fight. He didn’t want to kill her; it had to be a decisive but non-fatal blow. He belligerently urged the marble membrane to bend to his whim and, with careful regard for his surroundings, started to create a portal back to the physical plane.

    It was then that the collective ignorance of the unusual star in the distance came to reap.

    To this day, no-one was really sure whether the fire or the bellowing sound of the furies of hell came first, but what was universally accepted by those that survived was that the gods had decided to rain down Armageddon upon Radasanth; Brotherhood or not. As suddenly as the coming of flash floods, the sky was subjugated by an unholy deluge of numerous trails of smoke and fire; accompanied by the ungodly screams of superheated rock in re-entry. Several of the deadly projectiles pounded the exterior lands of Radasanth into a drab muddle, razing earthy fields that had been waiting for rice planting, pummeled the low-lying hills such as the ones that contained Whitevale, and flattened the ever-present Brotherhood and Assembly forces skirmishing outside of the Radasanthian walls. Those not caught up in the apocalyptic scene panicked; their confused voices querying the source of this terrible catastrophe from somewhere above their heads.

    Such was the shock of the reality in front of him that Shinsou simply froze from within the ether, open mouthed and wide eyed as seemingly endless numbers of flaming debris rendered the sky asunder above him.

    This isn’t strategic magic…No-one on the planet is this powerful! What in the seven hells is going on?!

    Reverting from his Danzetsu state back to his regular form, Shinsou anxiously studied the skyline above the Radasanthian wall through his interdimensional viewscreen before locking his eyes on death itself. The largest of the smoldering projectiles barreled towards them with terrifying velocity, bellowing a furious sonic roar. For the first time in a long time, true fear gripped the Telgradian; although he was impervious to damage while in the parallel dimension, he was running out of time before his window of opportunity to leave closed. More worryingly, Philomel was right in the firing line. Shinsou’s emotions ravaged his mind; his hand already instinctively, and pointlessly, gripped the hilt of his sword as he screamed equally as pointlessly into the membrane’s ‘window’.

    “PHI! GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, NOW!”

    It was useless. Sound could not travel between the two worlds, and the Telgradian watched helplessly as two of the Gilded Quint walked meekly to be within Philomel’s wake, concentrating on keeping her safe; one stumbled tall and thin, pale with her exertions, whilst the other limped slightly on her right foot. As they stood ready by their princess’s side, the cart sized meteorite shard soared low overhead, its flaming trail indiscriminately setting the rooftops of nearby houses ablaze, before smashing into the center of the city with such force that the surrounding buildings failed and collapsed in on themselves. As powerful as the Faun and her Gilded Quint guard were, there was no way to stop the avalanche of deadly debris and, with a final collective cry, the ruins of a broken city entombed the object of Shinsou’s ire and his heart.

    ***

    As the dust settled and the portal back to the world snapped shut behind him, the Telgradian’s consciousness returned with a start, and he almost leapt upright in his haste to re-establish his mind in the devastated world around him. Two minutes of carnage had changed everything; there was no longer a Brotherhood, an Assembly, a siege or a goal. There was no longer any heed paid by anyone to revolution or revenge. As he stumbled through the twisted wreckage of masonry, Shinsou’s mind wandered only to the human debris amongst the ruins of Radasanth. Staggering around the town, scattergun, were rubber legged men and women from both sides of the battle. Many of them were traumatized by the sudden deific strike, so much so that they simply stared at each other and into the sky in anticipation of a second biblical volley. A few of them had started to return to their senses, had taken off their colors and armor and had begun attending to the wounded indiscriminately, recognizing that their differences were absolutely immaterial in the face of such a catastrophe.

    Philomel…

    As if someone had thrown a cool glass of water into his face, the Telgradian suddenly remembered the Faun trapped below the rubble, and Storm Veritas lost somewhere within the city limits. Shinsou could still feel Storm’s energy, and thankfully it was moving away from the city at a rate of knots, but nothing for the dragon. Being linked as they were, the Telgradian expected Delath to turn up at any second to aid his mother, but Shinsou knew what not being able to sense the dragon meant; likely that the strike had taken the poor creature out, and therefore meaning that their best hope of shifting the debris now lay with him. Quickly, Shinsou loosened his coat and piled his belongings alongside him, before mustering every remaining ounce of strength left in his body.

    “Hakai: Enpera Shinkotei…”

    The incantation allowed him further strength, but so drained was the Telgradian’s stamina that it didn’t even give him access to his full power. He could feel the barely functioning magic ebb away at a much faster rate than he was used to, but he had no choice.

    It would have to do.

    “Philomel? I’m coming, if you can hear me, I’m coming.” His voice begged, still nursing wounded pride. The only thing he could think about now was her well-being. With his muscles augmented with the power of his Hakai, Shinsou channelled every drop of will into clearing the large debris pile. His charred and blistered hands fell to each jagged piece of stone and heaved the wreckage up chunk by chunk. Worrying moments passed as each granite slab moved without revealing anything living, before finally a large section of wall moved to reveal a weakly grasping hand. Shinsou’s golden eyes came back into focus, and he clutched tightly at it.

    “…I’ve got you, Phi. I’ve got you. I’ll get you out, you’re going to be fine.” He finally managed to gasp, not at all convinced by his own optimism. The Brotherhood’s co-leader swung some more slabs over the side of the pile, digging further into the filthy heap of rubble. It was then that thoughts of their conflict crept in to the back of his mind. He could have lost her. He may have already lost her, and that thought made him feel only like retching. It took another long while before the rubble receded enough for a dirty, bloodied but conscious face to appear.

    Philomel’s face.

    Shinsou leaned close, his handsome features showing a mixture of regret and relief. He looked into her eyes, one hand held behind her neck to support her head, and leant his forehead onto hers.

    “I’m here, Philomel. I’m here.”

    As the survivors of the deadly disaster began to search for survivors around him, the Telgradian began to dig the Faun and her Gilded Quint out of the debris field that had once represented the homes of the very people he had come to rule. Surrounded by a new world that no-one had asked for, Shinsou Vaan Osiris pondered the irony of it all.
    Old does not mean dead – New does not mean best – No hard feelings, I’m tired of being right about everything I’ve said – Yours does not mean mine – Kill does not mean die – We are not your kind

  8. #28
    Administrator

    EXP: 104,075, Level: 14
    Level completed: 1%, EXP required for next Level: 14,925
    Level completed: 1%,
    EXP required for next Level: 14,925


    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    17,840

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs,
    Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes,
    Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers' tears.
    What is it else? A madness most discreet,
    A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
    -- William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet | Act 1, Scene 1"
    .

    Pain was a firm reality.

    Agony, suffering, terror; these were the primary emotions and physical feelings that thundered through her body. Around her the world fell apart, a hundred humanoid sized bullets made of rock, concrete and tiles rippled down upon the fighting arena they had made from the crossroads. The world was torn asunder, the buildings around them exploding, far more powerful than the earthquake she had created.

    That had not caused this much violence. That could.not have - she knew her powers too well and had directed the flow to only aim for him, ripping up just the few feet of cobbles and wall ... Instead the buildings had exploded and fallen about her like rain. Like hailstones.

    And a cry: "My lady! My lady - no!"

    Beloved! she heard in her mind, a jagged, wretched scream of a voice. And it was a scream. One that rose, clawed into the air, apexed - then died.

    Died. Something hard hit her leg, and she vehemently tried to fight the falling debris as the echo of Veridian flickered around her mind. His essence fell apart, and she felt an excruciating tug at her heart as his small and easily manipulatable body was crushed beneath a rock. She let out a scream as she felt his soul leave hers, wrenched mercilessly away. No sooner had she begun to yell, however, than dust rose and filtered into her throat. She began to choke.

    Strong. She was strong. But not enough for the falling world. She could barely register that on her leg as more building fell and fire rose. Whum, like a torrent.

    Arm, torso, hip - and finally -

    Mother! Another screech, another mind connected to hers. Going dead, going black. Ended, not dead, but unconcious as the thing assaulted her dragon, killed her soul-partner Veridian and trapped her - pinned her -

    Arm. Body. Head. The world went black as she heard the yells and cries of those who had devoted themselves to defend her resound in her ears. Heart heavy, the Matriarch and General was defeated by a splinter of a meteor that should have destroyed the world.

    * ~ *

    Or not defeated.

    Because despite the agony, despite the death, despite Delath's early burial, she still had a hero. A hero who was the villain in this tale, a man she swore she hated beyond anything, but who was the one to drag her out of that hell pit and save her from the end of life.

    Holding her close, as a lover would do. One who loved, not hated. One who was enamoured, not disgusted. One who would kiss her ...

    "I'm here ..." She felt him leave, move away as he scrambled across the wreckage over what had been their battleground. Weakly, as she struggled to sit up - Drys, everything hurt - and was sure something was broken. Her eyes looked over what had been streets, the houses and a tavern, and saw only horror.

    Radsanth, in ruins. Or partly so. Areas, where the meteor's splinters had struck, likes hers, lying in rubble, and others standing tall, covered in a mild layer of dust. A section of the wall had collapsed, an area of the downtown. A brothel, she knew well and ran, was all but ruins, and amongst them ...

    The old palace still stood. And the Hall, where the Assembly were holed up, thank the gods. Still bold, still strong. And it seemed ... Well.

    The catapults were not shooting. The horses of the Radasanth Cavalry were not pounding. The mages were not firing. Either dead, surrendered or given up, it seemed that the fighting had ended. At least for now.

    Veridian was dead, but she knew he would be back, born under that tree where they met. Delath was down, and she could see his tail lying still. Her soldiers, the Quint, she had heard people whisper, only just being uncovered by him - Shinsou. They gasped into breathable air again and - and -

    Fuck, her arm hurt. She looked hazily down, blinking consciousness back. Her shoulder was crooked, thrust back into some unnatural form. Dislocated, she surmised, and she ground her teeth as she grabbed the dead arm with her one at worked. Taking in a breath she paused before yanking on it, and more pain - agony!

    She screamed into the sky. "Fuck!"

    And it was lucky that her body was caked in dust. For it worked, magically, as she slumped back and breathed, feeling the broken ribs and the ripped muscle in her calf. She swallowed hard, letting the power take over her form, her eyes following him who she had sworn to kill. Sworn to end for all this.

    Who had saved her life.

    "Hey asshole," she huffed loudly at him, as the first of her Quint began to make her way over to her. "We need to talk."

    * ~ *

    In the Hall Sebastian gasped as he saw the monster slice the splinter in half. He leant out the window, knife in hand, watching the battle end and the world fall into an era of mourning and loss. Oh yes, they knew of the ashcloud, but now Radsanth knew of the meteor that had barely scraped by the globe, and had instead burnt up in the atmosphere, sending shrapnel of terror down onto an unexpecting, warring city.

    He chewed his lip as he saw the giant of a metallic samurai land, and change. Folding in on itself, shimmering and shifting into something resembling just a human. A being who had sent the rock aiming for the Hall in two other directions, where it had landed and caused lesser damage, but saved the Assembly and those beings that they had been protecting. The children and the refugees.

    He watched as murmurs came, then people began to point. A crowd quickly began to gather and guards who were shaken from the awful circumstances swarmed into view. They looked at the man of honour, looked at what he had done. Saw his face, his features and his clothes -

    And a name came. Was spoken, then shouted. "Hayate. Hayate Amatsukame!"

    A name he recognised. That Philomel had uttered when the battle lines were being drawn. An enemy, in connection and alliance with the Brotherhood, who was wanted.

    "Damn, a hero and a villain."

    Sebastian pushed away from the window and began to run. As he did he gestured to three guards with his knife. "You, you and you, with me," he ordered as the member of the Assembly, a leader of Corone, took to the stairs. His heart pounded. He could not let the crowd kill this man. He was a hero ... But also wanted.

    By the time he had gotten to the world outside, a world thick with dusty air and destruction, he was running, the three knights following after him. The crowd around Hayate by this time was strong and Sebastian could not tell if the man was still there - or gone.

    "Draw back!" he ordered, knowing that he had exposed himself, but also knowing that if he died it would not be a loss. There were always others, and now his wife was with child ...

    "Draw back, and let me see him!"
    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    --
    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.

  9. #29
    Ride The Lightning

    EXP: 143,779, Level: 16
    Level completed: 52%, EXP required for next Level: 8,221
    Level completed: 52%,
    EXP required for next Level: 8,221


    Storm Veritas's Avatar

    GP
    21,050

    Name
    Storm Veritas
    Age
    39
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    The ringing in his ears had grown omnipresent as the aged, fatigued wizard pushed through the tunnels. He had used his original bearings to get a feel for where “east” would be, and did his level best to chase a path that way back to his men. The banging of meteorite strikes above had faded, but the banging and crashing of chaos just above him had certainly not fully abated. What horrors echoed their way down into the gridlocked sewer system were things he cared not think of, including the burning smell of flesh and clear mix of blood and oil spilling through the grates above him, as machine and people alike had been broken in the great, terrible battle.

    Keep pushing. Get out. If they find you down here, your limbs will be posted on the corners of town.

    When Storm Veritas reached the southern gate, the wreckage above him was nothing short of an abomination. The sewer system was opened to the skies above indiscriminately, torn open and wide into the all-consuming entropy. He ducked back, scouring the site for an escape path, horrified by the ease of the thing. The ground here was no longer green; the grassy gates were some amalgamation of a red-brown and black, the stained blood and fire displacing signs of life. Scattered brick, rock, and bodies were splayed across the earth like flotsam upon the sea; Brotherhood men and Radsanth guards alike showing no immunity from the horrors. Piles of humanity were often burning, scattered and flamed from meteorite strikes, and a thick haze of smoke lay a blanket of cover some five feet above the ground.

    Gods.

    The wizard rushed to wrap a cloth from his satchel across his face, firmly pulling taut the cloth to filter his breath and disguise him, for what his long physique and grey-speckled hair didn’t disclose. There was life here, but it was composed of men running away, still leaving the battlefield in trickles, as the heaviest wave of men had long since abandoned the site. He began to move from the opened sewer pipe, climbing gently off the small rockslide that had torn it apart. Smoke pushed up through the earth from the meteorites below that had caused this particular orifice, and the thick layer of dirt and rock that fell upon those hellstones remained hot and foul.

    His ribs ached, the sounds about him still muddled in the buzz, a tinny ring from his head that would not subside. His body hurt, and he would take inventory of these injuries later. The electromancer was certainly not alone. Pushing forward, he tried to spy the ground about him, terrified to find a familiar face, knowing the odds were impossible that he had not lost someone dear. Of all the men he’d sent to death, there were two souls that dominated his mind.

    Seamus. Shinsou. Tell me you two fools made it out.

    There were broken things everywhere about him. Siegecraft, horses, men, even giants were sprawled all about him, with no rhyme or reason to tell their story. Some groaned, most did not. Most of them stared off towards their personal infinity with complete indifference to a missing arm, or lower half, or the presence of arrows through their head, neck, and chest. Their blood pooled together in one show of unity, a pond-sized puddle of blood which had saturated the earth, leaving a thick, greasy film of brown behind. Pushing out towards what used to be camp, Veritas tried to lift a fallen soldier, lending the badly burned young man from the arm.

    “No. No, please. No. I can’t. Please.” Short, desperate gasps came from the soldier in a breath forced at full strength, registering just above a whisper. A longer glance upon the man exposed his tragic reality; his legs and hips were crushed by his horse, who had made the final journey in the madness. The once-round torso had been grotesquely mutated into something concave, and he covered his injuries in fear and shame. It was fatal.

    “With the Gods, my son. I’m so sorry.” Without a word, Storm drove his dagger aside the neck of the boy, the blade firing behind the collarbone and piercing the heart. The boy’s face was a mix of confusion, sadness, and finally peace. Mentally, the wizard knew this trick too well now; he had performed the act of final kindness far too many times. He also had to keep moving.

    They aren’t looking for you, but they’ll take you all the same.

    It was four hundred yards of horror he navigated to break into what had become a fallout camp, a place of horror no less terrible than the battlefield itself. What was a massive army of rallied warriors was a small encampment of shattered pieces, of empty gazes and shaking bodies and the stench of death. No less than five men rose to meet him as he approached, hailing him and assailing his survival. The eldest, a tall man with a grey beard, tried to parse the scenario.

    “General! Blessed is your very existence. We thought you lost; when the Gods rained fire, we had to run. I’m sorry; we can regroup and strike once again while Radasanth is vulnerable.” His own words wavered with fear; he had no idea how to handle a hostile entity and wanted to show a blend of compassion and ultimate allegiance.

    The aging magician simply put a hand on his shoulder, looking him in the eye as he clutched at his own broken ribs. “No. Not today. Our fighting is done and we need to heal. Heal ourselves, each other, and the city.” Storm’s white-blue eyes were not wavering, his face painted with soot, grime, blood and sadness.

    “Very well sir, I simply…”

    “No apologies. Any word from Brackett? Vaan Osiris?”

    There was a delay, and the experienced veteran struggled to find his words, knowing not to withhold information.

    “General Vaan Osiris went further into the madness when the God’s Wrath arrived. We lost him. Commander Brackett was wounded; he is in the medical tent.” The old man gestured backwards to a simple tent, a long and wide and deep one with no specific amenities.

    Without hesitation, the adventurer stumbled on, moving towards the tent. Men leaned against each other, a few bandaged, several being treated, and many more still holding cloth to wounds, burns, and their existence. They lay about the place packed taut, but there was one gurney in the middle of the room where their leader lay.

    Storm strode forward, moving quickly but careful not to disturb the wounded. Nurses and doctors spread from the table like a flower opening as he approached, looking at him grimly and not without fear. A single gas-lamp was suspended over the top of the table, where Seamus Brackett lay in a heap.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Seamus! Hang in, you magical son of a bitch.” Storm felt his eyes well as he looked down at the eldest warrior, who wore dire grin across his face as he held a cloth about his stomach.

    “Finally get out of there, did you? I’m glad you made it, my friend.” He extended a large, filthy hand open, and the infamous villain quickly took it and sat by the side of his old advisor. There was only one thought that rang from Seamus’s warm greeting.

    Fuck.

    Seamus had never been a man of sincerity and gravity. The tandem traveled Gisela, staying light by teasing each other as men do; questioning their own courage and manhood at each turn, creating laughs to suppress the emotion of imminent death. If Commander Brackett was speaking from the heart, they were final thoughts.

    “Kicked by a fucking horse, of all things. You believe that?” Brackett tried to laugh, but pressed firmly on his wound with his remaining hand. Whatever had caused the massive wound to his abdomen was no horse; it was likely a sword, spear, arrow, or some litany of similar weapons. The old man’s color was poor, a white and yellow backdrop to red-brown and black upon his face. By the tableside, his sword was propped against the table, the sheath overflowing with residual innards. Seamus had gone down swinging.

    “Well, you knew it wouldn’t be a simple human that pulled you away from the field of war. Judging from that sword, you caught a few of your own. Hell, they even gave you priority seating to get stitched up, so hurry up already!”

    Seamus only coughed and groaned a bit at the optimism, clutching at his stomach and whispering. He turned his gaze to Veritas, speaking with careful deliberation.

    “We tried to do right, didn’t we?”

    Storm’s eyes began to well at this, and looked down for a moment to gather himself. Seamus wouldn’t see the wizard cry. Seamus was slipping, and fading quickly.

    “My friend, we tried to save the fucking world. The Gods had other plans.”

    “Thank you, Storm. One more thing - do me a solid, young man. Make it right for me.”

    Storm Veritas cried now, only smiling and kissing the hand of his friend. He sat by the bed as nurses and doctors tended to the countless wounded about him. At some point an hour or so later, Seamus let go, his grip releasing the hold of his friend as the warrior finally went home.

    His head dropped between his knees, as the wizard sobbed at the great loss. A great man, gone. A mighty army, broken. A noble vision, shattered.

    Leaving the tent with a pipe between his lips some ten minutes later, the tall man featured a dry face and red, puffy eyes. The smoke filled his lungs with considerable pain, seeming to sooth his tightly-wrapped ribs from within. He was broken, but reborn.

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