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      Vote for Valucre [August]   05/16/2017

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Deus Ex Aizen

[ Himmelsfestung ] Kingslayer - Part I - The Grand Illusion

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    The air is thinner here. Some of the soldiers aren’t handling it well. Her Ladyship was wise to send us in small groups to adjust. It thins out those who wouldn’t be able to handle it. The sun is high, the air is warm but the breeze seems never-ending. It dies down but rarely does it cease. This was meant to be a diplomatic mission, a means of foraging bonds. At least, that is what we wanted our host to believe. Her Ladyship is a bold one. She is much different than before. She understands risks and finds the conviction to take them. I’ve never seen anything like it, the way she rallies the troops. Her god smiles upon her, this much I am sure. I could not do what she does. No. I don’t think that I would. I’ve enjoyed my job as an Enforcer, but this mission is a dangerous one. We all gamble our fates for our Ladyship, and we must play our parts well if we want a success. This land is beautiful, and I have no doubt she will prosper here. The technology here is unlike anything I have ever seen.

   When I think of my home at the Nexus, I never imagine how far the spire goes. Into infinity, so they say—or so my father would point out on our travels to the Market Ward. I consider myself an educated man, and my time as an Enforcer have educated me more than my wildest dreams could have hoped. The Beast King of Himmelsfestung is just one more adventure to notch on my belt. I have seen the wonders of my Ladyship, and have faith that we will pull through. Nothing about this mission will be simple, and I expect a great deal of sacrifice and loss. I have seen her power at work. Her Ladyship has a way with hearts, she stirs and rallies the soul. She seeps into others and awakens them in a way that shakes me to my core. There is no emotion she cannot unearth from the most wretched of souls. How beloved our Ladyship is by her people and peers! Our Liberator prevails. I may die on this day or another. I will chronicle as much as I can. I will recant every detail, so that this may be remembered. I have no doubt this epic journey will become historic.

My sun sets to rise again.

Johari Ponsky, Kingslayer ; the Histories of Renovatio

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I know this isn’t what you want, and I’m sorry. I know this must frustrate and anger you to no end, but I need you to remain where you are for now. I cannot look protected; I must appear vulnerable. I knew what I was getting into when this plan came to fruition. I just hope you will trust me. I will be okay. I’ve learn to appreciate you being around. I’ve learned to appreciate what you’ve taught me thus far. I know babysitting a royal pain in the ass isn’t how you wanted to spend your days, but you’ve spent them wisely, I promise.

The trip here is quieter without you clicking your tongue in disappointment or disdain over my clumsiness. It’s a sound I’ve gotten accustomed to, and one I am reluctant to admit I miss. This is a complicated mission, and it requires sacrifice of dignity on my end. I’m prepared for it, because I need this position right now, and I need these people to understand what they have endured is not okay and that I can end it. I hate to play the political angle, but I need these civilians on my side, and I know I can do this. You can berate me later. You can berate me in person, even. You’ll know when it’s time.

Don’t be late.


-          Raveena



@The Hound

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It was much easier to breathe today. The thinner air was something Raveena had anticipated, but still required acclamation to. It was why she did not want to send mass troops in one fell swoop. Not everyone made it, and others were even forced to turn back to Terrenus because they could not handle Renovatio’s unique disposition in the sky. Those that stayed remained grim, or hopeful. The nausea that threatened her would take time to settle. It was not that she feared flying, but that she did not fare well with modern transportation. The stress and fear of being trapped in a 20k ton weapon she had no control over was a terrifying, and her anxiety the entire trip there was palpable.

The Bedlam Ridge touched down, a rocky landing for the transport shuttle. Sleek and less curved, it featured a heavily armored hull, though little else in the way of protection. It was designed for speed and efficiency--a quick getaway if necessary. A ramp detached and unfolded, settling down on the terrain with a dull thud. The crew and its envoy slowly roused, unbuckling and detaching themselves from their seats.

It had been a four day journey between delays, refueling and general travel time, none of which was particularly riveting. Raven sorely wished that Rowan had been there to at least knock her out. Sleep was not her forte. Her legs were cramped from tension, her stomach upset from anxiety. Captain Johari and his Lieutenant Vera escorted her off, and not without some effort. She was wobbling, and she imagined a particularly queer shade of green, “I don’t know why I couldn’t just port us all here.” Raveena groaned, leaning against the willowy woman. Vera laughed delightedly, amused at her discomfort. She found in endearing their fearless leader was finally uncomfortable about something, “It’s far beyond your range and capabilities, ma’am—you know that. This was the safest and fastest way! I’ll have a perimeter set up. Just because they are expecting us doesn’t mean we cannot be on our guard. For all we know this could be a trap.”

“It’s always a trap,” Answered her partner, his baritone voice gave Raveena something to fixate on. Johari was in good spirits. Hailing from the nexus of the multiverse, he was no stranger to boarding ships to and from the City of Doors. Unceremoniously he reached around and smacked a gaudy looking button to Raven’s chest. It clicked and whirled, expanding, stretching and connecting itself, stretching across the petite ruler’s body until she was encased in a light armor that protected her solar plexus up to her chest, along her forearms, and along her inner and outer thighs down to her boots, “You know that by now!” Raven nodded thoughtfully at the man, “Sure as water boils when heated enough.”

Vera caught that miserable look again and sighed, “Your Ladyship, it will be fine. We will come out of this victorious. You can’t not expect something to go terribly wrong somewhere. Keep your wits about you, we’ve got your back.” Raven sighed and looked between the two. They were her earliest recruits and had become two of her cherished friends. They knew her better than most, even in the wake of her lost memories. They did not judge her, and found the fun in getting reacquainted. “I’m just sorry your eye candy isn’t around.”  Vera’s eyes scanned their small gathering and sighed, visibly disappointed. “The Spider Man?”

 Johari made a sound like a strangled animal. He thought Rowan to be an unnatural sort, more so than the late Drew had ever been. “You women and your strange tastes. He awaits further orders, no?” Now he looked to Raven, who nodded, “I will maintain correspondence if I can. When my letters stop, he will know what to do. Efrideet is a masterful woman, she will do him justice.” She scanned the gathering crowd for her newly acquired bodyguard and smiled. She knew Rowan’s animal instinct to protect her was a far cry from what Efrideet was capable of. The formidable woman knew her job and would carry it out faithfully. She was Matreyan like Raveena was, and that made her an asset to their convoy. Raven wanted the citizens to see how she treated her own people, wanted them to see and hear for themselves what the Matreyan refugees had experienced—good and bad.

One way or another, she would liberate these people. She just needed the right hook. The right proof that would allow her not to hold back on her plans. These people would be terrified to anger their King. They wouldn’t speak. And the King in turn, she was certain would sweep his wrong-doings under fanciful rugs of delusion. She anticipated he would try to turn it around and make her out to be an enemy. She had a plan for that, too. Raven had thought long and hard before she had decided to come for this kingdom. Raven exhaled sharply before pitching her voice above the dull roar of her twenty volunteers,

“Gather around! Johari, let’s get this meeting set up before we set off to meet the King.” Without another word the Captain and three other Enforcers went to fetch a table and topographic maps. It was all put together quickly and seamlessly and Raven stepped up to the map and studied it. “We’re here.” She pointed to the southern-most point of the territory, “This is Bastion Himmelsfestung of Raz-Nogore, the Butcher. We have a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to cover it in. I need my eyes in that city. Find the proof that we need to make this work.” Her eyes tore away from the map and looked up to ensure her soldiers were paying attention. She saw several looks of concentration and more nodding. “I will seek my audience with the King, and draw out the discussion if possible. Remember, we are guests here. Decorum dictates we must adhere to their customs and ways as show of good faith. I expect each one of you to remain true to that until I give my word otherwise.” There was a murmuring of agreement amongst the Enforcers and Matreyan delegates. “My delegates go with me. My eyes meet us when we are finished. We need proof of this treachery before we can act as we are meant to. This is vital, otherwise we are no better than the King of this land. Our job first and foremost is to win the trust of these people. Until our reinforcements arrive, we must be on our guard. Be mindful, but open. Respectful and polite as per decorum. When I am in position, our facade ends. You must let them take me. This is the most vital part of this plan. We are dealing with a Tyrant. So long as we can maintain his false sense of security, we will prevail. Are there any questions so far?” She had expected a great deal about the security, the layout, the opposing military forces they'd encounter. Silence had fallen at the notion that they should simply let their Countess be jailed.

Glancing up from the map, Raven could feel the heaviness settling as the group processed her words.





@Al Sa-her



Edited by Deus Ex Aizen

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“This is stupid.”

Efrideet sighed as she leaned against an upturned boulder, far from the head of the troupe where her Lady delegated orders, but close enough to know what was happening. Of course, she was one of many that hadn’t agreed with the plan. Raveena was much too important, too precious, to be willingly turned over into servitude. The Countess was asking her soldiers, her guards, to go against the very nature of their beings—the selfishness of it didn’t sit well with her.

“I understand why,” she continued sharply, before Rowan could respond with one of his witty quips or barbs. “It still feels unnecessary. There are other ways to win a people’s loyalty. If the king is as tyrannical and unsavory as reports suggest, well, it will be especially easy. She doesn’t have to throw herself into the lion’s den to do it.”

Raveena had been her ward for a little over three months, and already, she’d lost track of how many times they’d butted heads. Efrideet understood the need for politics, the need for diplomacy and the like, and when the rare occasion required a softer touch, she was, contrary to the suggestion of her intimidating physique, quite able to apply it. But she was a soldier at heart, forged in the Light. There was a time for silver tongues, and then there was a time for the roar of gunfire and the clash of steel. This, she felt, was the latter.

Efrideet’s armored right hand lowered to her hip, brushing over the sterling piece that hung there—Hawkmoon—as she often did when irritated, or anxious.

“She’s too pretty,” she said gruffly, glancing toward the head of the convoy. More were crowding the area, leaving the Guardian where she stood. “That isn’t the kind of face you raise a hand to.” Efrideet’s honey colored eyes darkened with grim reflection. “I swear on my oath, I’ll blow his dick off if he hurts her…” The Guardian's words trailed off as she considered the statement, then added: “Too bad, that is.”

Edited by King

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Arashi seemed to be sitting on a boulder nearby from Raven, chewing what seems to be a piece of iron in her mouth. "Hold your horse. I can easily go find out that shit." The draconian crossed her arms.

"What's the point in having my power if I'm not gonna use it? Urrrgh, Raven, just let me go find out this stuff by myself. I don't need help."

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Orion had finished his meal in the mess hall with all the other soldiers that fought for the beast king, watching as a servant girl would remove his bowl and cup he stood up. Just bowing slightly to show his appreciation for the work she was doing, he noticed the scaring around her cheek and lip. It was evident that she had been punished two days prior, and she got hit hard.

Disregarding the healing wound on the girl’s face, he would walk towards the weapons racks that they were required to retire their weapons during meals. Pulling the heavy massive lance from its place of rest, he would attach it to his back side in a way he would be able to retrieve it in a quick manner. Turning slightly to look over the other soldiers, men and women alike dressed in their uniform of choice for the service of the king, each consuming whatever awful garbage the kitchens passed off on them.

Another man of note would walk up to Orion leaning close to his ear with few words passed amongst each other and a nod, the man departed to take up residence in the line. Leaving the mess hall came to a relief of all the back-ground noise that polluted any thoughts the man had, the only one that sung loudly was the ill feelings towards his post in the throne room closest to the king himself.

Orion despised the king, loathed the beast for what he had done to the people he now ruled over for some time. Reluctant to play a big role in the resistance that was building against the king, he felt something better would guarantee the end of this beasts’ rule, or so he hoped.

Entering through the main hall of the throne room, Orion would meet the gaze of the other guards that stood just outside the doors. Waiting for one to open the door to the right, Orion would step through taking enough steps before the king before bowing. Crossing his right arm over his chest to his left shoulder, he would bend low in one fluid motion. “Your highness..” Addressing the King who sat before him with his small council nearby, Orion would walk to take up post behind and to the left of the throne.

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Grant carried the last of the boxes into the main room of the small building nestled in a corner of the market district. The boxes, filled with the kind of paper used to print newspaper, were stacked next to the few printing presses crammed into the small space. He had spent the better part of thirty minutes rounding up the various files and notes and materials the small publication had and getting them ready to burn. Now all that was left was to do one final sweep of the place to make sure he hadn't missed anything.

Not that he doubted what the writers of the anti-king newspaper had told him when he had questioned them. Some people thought that getting information out of a person required power tools and electrical wires. Those people were idiots and sadists. When he had asked the Senior Editor where the sensitive materials that had been leaked to them by a mole within the Kings court, he had simply explained the situation to him. That he was only here to put the paper out of commission. That he had no grudge against these people, and that he would allow them to live if they cooperated. Faced with the gravity of his situation, the man had capitulated.

Grant now walked to stand in front of the paper's staff, three men and two women. He had bound their hands and feet together with zip ties and made them sit against the wall as he went about gathering up the materials. He looked down at the Senior Editor, a wiry old man with thinning grey hair. The man stared back with as much defiance as he could muster, and Grant silently admired his courage.

"Is that everything?" he asked the old man.

The old man nodded, "That's it. Now will you keep your promise?"

For a moment Grant just stared at the bound men and women before him. To them it might have seemed as if he was deciding whether they would live or die, but the truth was far stranger than that. Right now, the mercenary was seeing into a past he had never lived. The scene was much like the one currently happening, a row of men kneeling before him, but these men had been beaten, gagged and blindfolded. Then, he saw himself pulled out a handgun and place it against the forehead of the first of the men...


The memory was gone as suddenly as it had come, and now he once again stood before the captive reporters, sweating and shaking, his breathing labored. His captives were looking at him like he was crazy, and he didn't blame them. Instead of answering the old man, Grant knelt down and cut the zip ties binding the reporters with his knife. 

"Get out of here," he ordered the frightened journalists, "And I suggest you find another line of work."

The staff filed out, and Grant pulled a thermite grenade from his belt and placed it on top of the printing press. He pulled the pin and stepped back, staying just long enough to see the grenade erupt in a shower of sparks before he left the building.




An hour later the mercenary sat in the back of a crowded tavern, sipping from a bottle of whiskey as he waited for his contact to arrive. Though he hated the work he did, and the Beast King in general, it was these meeting that he truly dreaded. When he caught sight of the man, dressed in a well tailored suit and hair slicked back, he almost prayed that the man wouldn't notice him. Those hopes were dashed when the man spotted him and grinned that fake little smile of his, walking over to take a seat across from Grant.

"I take it things went well?" the contact asked, his tone pleasant.

Grant nodded as he took another sip, "You can tell the king that he doesn't have to worry about those photos."

The Contacts smile widened, "Excellent. I knew our investment in you would pay off."

An entire year of doing the monarchies dirty work at their behest, and Grant still had no idea who exactly the people his contact represented were, or what their plans were. They seemed invested in supporting the rule of the Beast King, but that was all he had managed to figure out. That, and that they had considerable resources. Enough to find him, pay for Marry's treatments, and shield her from the wrath of his considerable list of enemies. All in all, not much to go on.

Grant looked down at his drink to avoid the mans gaze, "Glad to hear it. Now if you don't mind, I'd like to be alone."

"Not just yet," the Contact said. He pulled out a file and passed it across the table, "Your new assignment."

Knowing the man would not leave until he had complied, Grant wordlessly took the file and opened it. Inside was a photograph of a young woman.

"Who is she?"

"That, is Countess Raveena, here to meet with the king on a diplomatic mission. We have reason to believe that she intends to lead a revolt against Raz-Nogore."

He didn't bother asking how he had come across this information, knowing he wouldn't get an answer, "And you want me to do what? Kill her?"

The Contact laughed, "Heavens no. For now we simply want you to observe and report on her actions."

Grant slid the file back to the other man, "Fine. Where do I find her?"

The Contact produced a slip of paper from his breast pocket, "Our information says she is due to arrive here. Good luck."

The man walked out of the bar and Grant looked at the address written on the paper. He drained his glass, and then got up to make his way there.

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His ears heard, and yet he did not listen. Since their arrival here, it would seem that this young man in particular seemed to take notice of the heavy weight he carried upon his shoulders. He had a slip of reality, as well as his humanity if even for the briefest of moments. Upon reaching nearly the peak of their altitude necessary, it would seem Jinsoku had found one of the most perfect triggers for his PTSD. The thinner air was something that reminded him of the darkest past his short life had yet to offer. Save for the lack of murky and putrid characteristics, the air was thin like this during those dark, dark days when he was stranded on the continent of Genesaris. Something the commoners of these lands kept referring to as Whispernight. The thin air was the beginning, and what was to follow was the rest of the memories that came with it. The smells of death and rot, the shrieks of banshees and demons turning into the blood curdling screams of dying mortals. Those screams....they were bound to him. Bound to his very soul. He could hear each and every one of them, and he could especially recall how he failed each an every one of those innocent bystanders prior to hearing them scream before their life flame was doused. This caused reflection, and heavy doubt within the young broken warrior with shaken purpose. 

Master James was one of if not the best Slayer to ever live such a life, and no doubt he was one of the best teachers Jinsoku could ever align himself with along with those like Mister Jocasta, or even Commander Raven herself (despite some big changes in her life). He had made Jinsoku one of the most formidable human the Material Realm had to offer. Coupled with his accidental union with the Raiju his body played host to, he was very much so a survivor. Surviving was great and all, but it wasn't what he got into this for. It wasn't why he did what he did. What good was surviving if he couldn't use his skills to save those that couldn't do what he or his teachers could? His charcoal eyes stare blankly to the ground slightly before him, the hum of Raven's voice vibrating within his ears, yet his mind failed to make sense of a single word. Fortunately enough, his orders were simple and acceptable prior to even reaching this place so high in the sky. While he seemed troubled with something that was vaguely familiar to his time spent defending a raiding empire, as well as his lingering thoughts on Whispernight, the Raiju within seemed please, it growled with delight and sent chills down his spine as it frenzied from being among the stratosphere after a long, long leave from it. Inadvertently, the excited spirit was enough to rein his thoughts in once more, and to calm his mind, body, and spirit. His eyes would still carry his grief and worry for a brief moment longer, though it would seem his focus was regained as Raven left herself open for questions. At this point, one woman made mention that this was a fruitless endeavor. If he were to be vocally honest, he'd have to agree. Is there a purpose to liberating people that didn't seem to be aware that they needed said liberation? It was ultimately unimportant to him however. The Commander wanted this, and for him that was good enough reason to be here. However the young woman to speak next seemed to be in the wrong place, or at least in it for the wrong reasons.

"You are a fool..."

He started in on the young woman.

"Power is not even necessary in this task as given. You might very well be capable of achieving the Commander's goals on your own, but at what cost, and with what time limit? Your job is to be the help. All involved here need to work together as a unit in order to accomplish the overall goal with the least amount of issues from beginning to end. And by issues I mean conflict."

You couldn't save dead people. By allowing someone that was young, strong, and stupid to venture off alone to do the bulk of the work themselves was a mistake, one that he knew Raven wouldn't make. Still, he felt the need to interject. He could feel that the young woman was indeed strong, yet he doubted she had the finesse to pull off the task at hand, especially on her own, without and before there was raised concern for her actions. Jinsoku was beginning to doubt that he would be able to stomach watching the inexperienced try to do the Commander's bidding along side some enforcers, though he was content knowing that regardless of how well or poor they performed, he would be by the Commander's side to protect her. He swore that he would not fail her as he had the hundreds, possibly thousands before her. With his trusty, modified spear, featuring a golden half with a harpoon like end, and a shorter chrome half with a tapered point; His modified armor courtesy of the Commander and in likelihood to her own (currently not equipped - stored),with every ounce of his being, he swore it!

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~ Early that Morning ~

Gentle footfalls of two women walking through a desolate looking, but clearly occupied village bordering the outskirts of the northeastern most part of Himmelsfestung left prints in the soft and fertile soil, marking their path through the misty morning air.

The fog was thick and as usual the people of this little town carried an air of fogginess about themselves as well as they made their way through their morning preparations. 

The two women wore clothes that at one point in their lives might have appeared bright and vibrant with flamboyant frill that would have spoke a story of wealth, comfort, and fashion savvy. But now they had deteriorated to just before the point one could call them rags. Obviously gently cared for, tears and holes were neatly sown closed to prolong the life and dignity of these articles. The colors faded and muted, despite losing their vibrancy you can tell these two poor girls held great care for that which belonged to them. 

It was the same for many of the people who quietly walked the streets. Faces unshaved, but clean. Women with both messy and styled hair were equally as split in numbers. Clothes, different from person to person, could found to be clean and dirty, with general tire similar in style to one another. 

Everyone had their subtle differences in appearance. But for their differences also there were similarities that were more pronounced and piercingly obvious. Those clean and dirty faces all crestfallen. The morning air quiet, the cloudy streets as soundless the night before. Other than the occasional exchange of coin for breakfast at the small and poorly stocked stands and the superficial "Thank you" and "Good days", nobody spoke for their depression...

... Or rather their fear.

For strangers who came here, it might just seem these people liked to keep to themselves or were just rude to those they were unfamiliar with. But stay long enough and the shadows that darkened the faces of everyone here became more pronounced and apparent. 

It was like this every morning, every afternoon, every evening, and each night. Everyone lived in fear and poverty. Fear of what? Well...


From down the street oppose of the two women, two other individuals came strutting down the street. Imposing figures, each easily over seven feet tall with solid builds several hundreds of pounds heavy. These men were not fully man, but rather beastly beings with humanoid characteristics. They had two legs, and one with two arms, the other born with four. Both covered in a thick blue fur from head to toe. They wore plate armor, though not full plate like a knight. The plates covered their chests, their inner and outer thighs and shoulders. Menacing gauntlets gripped blades, each the size and thickness of a full grown man and fully unsheathed as they had none. But most noticeable were there the two massive upwardly curved horns on their heads, like that of a bulls.

Everyone's already low heads dug even deeper into their chests as they couldn't help but lower their gaze any further as the two passed through as they didn't dare attract attention to themselves. 

One man, who was walking their direction from his house to the fields where this faming village grew and harvested a plethora of produce. A simple farmer on his way to work. He briefly looked up at them to make sure he wouldn't walk right into them, lowered his head and closed his eyes as he crossed the street and held his breath. 

The two beasts seemingly didn't notice him and so he quickened his pace. He could hear their happy chatter as they joked with one another the closer he came to them. His heart calmed as he felt he would make it through safely this morning once again, and a smile flitted across his face.

As he though this and let out a sigh of relief he felt a pain in his face as he walked face first into something hard and solid. Embraced he held his red nose as he opened his eyes to see what he hit, and what he saw left him petrified. Frozen in place, his face went pale as he looked up and saw the two beasts in front of his, glaring at him from above with dark and solemn faces. 

The two monsters had stopped chatting and quickly moved in his path to block him! 

"Mister Bridges. Off to work? You're late...", said the one on the left whom the terror struck man hadn't run into. His voice deep and raspy, it held an animalistic tinge one would come to expect from such a ghastly demon. 

"I-I-I'm s-s-ssssorry my l-lords! M-My wife ssshe-", the man named Bridges stammered as he desperately searched for a reply, only to be interrupted by the one he had run. 

"We don't care for excuses Mr. Bridges!", the beast on the right shouted, feigning politeness. "You're family's quota has not just been under quota, but woefully so! The King has so graciously given your people the honorable task of providing sustenance for the capitol in exchange for not only your continued freedom, but a wage as well! And how do you repay his kindness?! You leave late for your shifts! How do you expect to meet your orders if you aren't diligently plowing and tending as you should?!"

The man was trembling under the booming voice that shook the street. Everyone nearby was frozen as they listened, their faces going pale. Everyone but the two girls who carefully watched from a distance, fear not in their hearts, but pity. Not that they would do anything about it... They just continued to watch as the demon on the right one handedly lifted Mr. bridges up in the air by his shirt. 

"Listen, I'm warning you for the last time. We've given you too much time as it is. You have one more month to produce what is required of you, or we will be forced to take 'disciplinary reconditioning'!"

He said the last line with a sinister sneer and a dark gleam in his eyes, an evil smile across his face as a stream of drool escaped the corner of his lips. 

The already pal Mr. Bridges almost passed out from the fear and stopped breathing as his heart jumped into his throat. The beast threw him to the ground and laughed as they watched him crawl away, barely able to move from the encounter he just had. After all, what would an average man like him be able to do to these two ungodly demons?! 


After several minutes the man finally had disappeared down the street and the beasts continued down their path, past the two women, without giving them so much as a single glance and entered a building in the center of the village. The only building the villagers were not allowed to enter of their own volition. 

A brick and adobe building with an open roof, a tightly knit covering made of straw propped over the opening at an angle in case of rain. Smoke can be seen rolling out of the roof from an open fire, carefully maintained, that never goes out from within. 

The two demons entered, the great terrors of the village of Streit, the Ascended Azure Bull Gorilla's by the names of Kreish and Karsh. High ranking demonic beasts who gained sentience as they grew, killed, and interacted with other higher lifeforms. Unlike normal demons, not only are their senses and intelligence far above a humans, but their strength is enough to contest the combined might of a hundred men. Proud warriors, they are generals belonging to the King of Himmelsfestung, stationed to this village to manage production and to 'keep order'. 

The building they entered was decently sized. One story tall with a large basement full of cells where they keep prisoners who break the law and where they keep human awaiting these two brothers' 'reconditioning' regiment. 

People go in almost daily. None ever come out. Since the Beast King took control, hundreds, if not thousands, of humans have entered. But none have ever seen the light of day. It is quite clearly known to all there is not nearly enough room in the eight cells in that basement room to hold that many people...  

No. Nobody ever leaves that prison. The only thing to come out of that building are the demons who patrol the village under these brothers' orders, and the smoke from that eternally burning fire none have ever seen....

.... And the scent of burning flesh, with the nightly screams of that days 'reconditioning' subject or death-row prisoner. 


~ Present Time ~  

Within the back room of a small house just outside of the villages potato fields...

The two girls who had witnessed the incident that morning involving a local and the powers at be could be found now undressing in private. 

The first one, a slim girl with long wavy golden blonde hair was the first to undress, revealing her not so modest figure. Full of feminine charm, she was the ideal image of 'youthfulness' and carried a very girly aura about her in the way she carried herself and spoke.

"That poor dear earlier...", she stated with a playful smile. "He sure seemed scared witless didn't he? Ha, I wonder if he wet himself? Not that i'd blame him! I suppose I would if I were in his position!"

The second girl, who was just a hair shorter than the first, also started to undress. Appearing slightly younger, her body seemed yet to fully develop, but was still very lovely with a special charm all her own. She swept her short and straight dirty blonde hair out of her eyes as she looked at her sister with a sharp gaze. When she spoke, her voice was slightly deeper than her more feminine sister, and she spoke with a hardness that one might accidentally mistake for a mans voice if they didn't get a good look at her.

"This isn't a game Patchouli! Follow the plan and maybe you'll live." She gave a light smirk as she spoke in a sultry, suggestive tone. "You wouldn't want to become a toy for those 'things' would you?"

Patchouli looked over her shoulder and grinned apprehensively. "I-It's just a joke, yeesh! No need to be so gloomy Toulin! Except for these two brothers, the rest of these peons can't even comprehend magic, let alone sense it! Of course we'll be fine if we stick to the plan!"

Patchouli's response seemed to satisfy Toulin as she nodded in affirmation. She turned around and continued to undress, completely removing her shirt, and now revealing a painful sight on her back. An intricate pattern had been burned into her backside.  

Patchouli's brows furrowed as she saw her sisters back, he mind flashing to the seal on her own back. 

"Does.... It still hurt?", she asked her little sister, her eyes lowered a little. Her scars itched and at night, it still burned, even after having finished healing. 

Toulin stopped where she was, pausing in silence for a minute before turning to her sister with a kind expression on her face. She walked over and lifted Patchouli's eyes to meet her own. "No, it doesn't hurt. You know how I feel about Master. Even if it were the burn of a thousand suns, I would do what I had to for him!"

"But still! Didn't he go to far?! He knew we wouldn't-"

Patchouli couldn't take it as it seemed and burst out, only to be gently hushed by her sister. Toulin grinned as though she were contemplating something difficult, pain behind her smile. "I'm sorry he put us through that, but it was the only way he could keep track of who was living and dead from so far away, right? He knows we would never betray him. This was so he knew we were all right.... Right?"

Patchouli averted her gaze as she reservedly agreed. "I suppose.... But to do that to sister, I don't think I can forgive him regardless!"

Toulin let out a sigh and patted her sisters head before she finished undressing. "Remember where we came from sister. We were the lucky ones. This, this is nothing. You should stop comparing Master to mother... He's nothing like her."

The air got heavy after that, and so in silence they finished fully undressing.

Together they walked to the end of the room, shrouded in darkness. Lighting a candle, the two girls stood in front of two dead bodies in armor, propped up against the walls in a sitting position. The bodies were fresh, blood still leaking from thin slits that ran across their throats. Two lower demons cobbled from a couple pigs, they weren't true ascendants like the Azure Bull Gorillas. Rather it seemed like dark magic at play, warping lowly animals into something with less intelligence than man, but far higher ability than a wild creature. 

Truth of the matter was, most of the Beast King's army consisted of creatures like these. For every sentient beast demon with power greater than a human, there were nine others akin to livestock used as sentries and cannon fodder, creating a ratio of only every one in ten being able to speak or use logic. 

While this might make this army seem weak to those of experience, these animalistic warriors still possessed strength far above a normal humans. When you make up for tactics with numbers, and when those numbers posses strength above a normal forces, it really is no wonder Himmelsfestung fell to these nightmarish creatures. 

Under the guidance of the ascendant creatures like the Beast King or Kreish and Karsh, even the fall of the heroes of the past would be easy to predict.

However, in this rural farming village, where the locals were untrained and with broken wills, they needed not any great amount of force to keep these people in line. This was to Toulin and Patchouli's great luck! Patrolling forces were typically in small numbers, usually being in pairs. It would be easy for two mages trained in assassination arts to dispatch a couple of pigs without causing a scene.

The armor they wore was made of a strange material that was as durable and thick as leather, but as flexible as elastic. So while the bodies of these pigs were far fatter than that of the girls, when they removed the breastplates off their dead carcasses, the material snapped back to a size even smaller than their own, leaving them both greatly shocked!

Patchouli's face greatly contorted as she held the one she was to wear close to her face, revealing great dissatisfaction. "Ugh! These things smell terrible! I know they're demon pigs, but do they not know what soap is?!", she said with a green face. 

"It's fine. It'll make the disguise more convincing if our scent is covered up.", Toulin replied coldly with no sympathy. She had already completely stripped her prey clean and was fully dressed in the poorly maintained, filthy clothing the former was previously wearing. As Patchouli saw this, she could only sigh in reservation as she slowly changed herself. 


After they both finished changing, they stood before the naked bodies of the dead pigs once more. 

Toulin was the first to speak. "It's time. Once we use the Blood Affiliation Art, we won't be able to change back for some time. After today, we will have to leave the rest to brother until we can undo the facet curse."

Patchouli clicked her tongue in disdain, absolutely against the idea in it's entirety. "To think, we will have to spend several days looking like these things. Disgusting!"

Toulin shook her head. "Like this we it will be easy to thoroughly destroy whats been built here." She furrowed her brow in thought. "The people here... They will be the start! The others shall soon do the same in the other villages..."

Toulin revealed a dark and evil smile, a shadow spreading across her face. "Soon the north will be ours! When the King sends his armies, he will be shocked to see a united rebellion led by true blooded demons! That beast turned a blind eye to us, too far focused on those mortal cultivators of the martial arts! Lets remind them of terror of the darkness from which their ancestors first crawled out of!"

A dark gleam appeared in Patchouli's eyes as she listened, her lips curling upwards in a sister grin. 

The two each raised both of their hands towards the pig carcasses, a black aura emanating from their bodies as the released a frightening magic in this darkened room. A thin red line stretched from their index fingers and shot wildly towards the throats of the carcasses before them. As it connected, it took a moment before anything happened. But soon the wounds on their necks opened up more as great orbs of red were pulled out by the thread connected to them by their left hands. The thread swelled with these orbs the size of a small ball. Carefully the girls maneuvered themselves so the orbs were pulled gently our by their throats.

When the orbs successfully were removed from their bodies, the two smiled as though they had obtained precious treasure. Slowly the threads retracted back towards their hands, and once the orbs came in contact with their extended fingers, an intense look of pain crossed the two's faces. 

They appeared to struggle as the attempted to absorb the Blood Essence of the demons before them. Slowly however, the orbs became smaller and smaller as their power drained into Toulin and Patchouli without any problems. 

"Not finished yet!", Toulin proclaimed as the two still remained connected by their right hands. The two were in a great deal amount of pain now, but pressed on, dripping with sweat. As they concentrated, red orbs of their own swelled from the index fingers on their right hands and slowly crawled down the threads to the throats of their victims. While the journey to the bodies was a difficult one, unlike when they themselves absorbed the pigs' Blood Essence, the Blood Essence of the girls easily slipped into the empty bodies before them, as if they were sponges soaking up water. 

Immediately afterwards the two broke their connections and clapped their hands together. "Quickly! Condense the Qi and seal the demonic arts within it, or else you won't ever be able to change back!", Toulin struggled to say to her sister, who only grunted in response. 

After several minutes of intense meditation, their bodies began to swell and change shape. Their bellies extended outwards. Their arms and legs changing from the beautiful smooth and perfect porcelain tone they previously were, to thick pink leathery flesh. Their jaws contorting and husks protruding from their mouths, it became quickly evident that the transformation magic had been successful! After a few minor changes, their appearance fully became identical to that of the demons before they had been killed. Looking at them, it would be thoroughly impossible to tell the difference between the real thing and what the girls had now become!

The two looked at each other in silence, their breaths heavy from exhaustion. Afterwards they went over to the lifeless bodies slouched against the walls and placed their hands on their heads. A blue light emanated from them, activating the Blood Essence they had hidden within their dead bodies. 

With much greater ease than their transformation, the dead bodies of these pigs warped and changed until they too on the appearance of the young girls true self. 

After the transformation, the girls took a step back and looked at their handiwork. The apparent naked bodies of their own self were lying against the back walls, bruised and cut at the throat. Anyone who would walk upon this situation would immediately jump to conclusions, ideas of rape and murder taking place. 

As such situations were not unheard of, it was a completely plausible theory. And even an autopsy conducted by magicians wouldn't reveal anything, as the Blood Essence within their bodies was their own and not that of a pigs! 

The girls turned towards the door. Patchouli looked to her sister. Toulin simply said "Lets go.", and the two were on their way...

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Part Two ~

Court of the King, The Main Hall




Three beings stood side by side in intense discussion at the end of a grand foyer built of granite and decorated with polished glass and stone tile. The tapestry these artistic aesthetics created were visions of ancient battles, the history of great walls being built, and the rise of many heroes and kings of man. 

Ironic now, that stood not the feet of man, but the hoof and claw of beasts and demons in these once hallowed halls. Well, mostly...

Among the three, two were male wolf demons, and one was a male human who appeared to be in his thirties. And while the wolf demons kept a similar visage to that of a werewolf in their transformed state, these two were pure bred wolf demons who had but the form they currently possessed. While their physical strength wasn't anything greater than their part human counterparts -the beings commonly referred to as werewolves, they held great disdain for these 'sub beasts' who were not one or the either. 

Proud of their heritage, these 'ascendant' creatures are noble beasts who, unlike the bull gorilla brothers, didn't need to earn their sentience, being born with such fortune instead! While their power and mysticism wasn't anywhere on par with the Beast King, they shared a lineage similar to his own. How could they not be proud?

"The representative from the Carmine Empire should be arriving soon!", snarled the wolf who stood near the center of the group of three. "What a human is thinking in coming here, is beyond my reasoning!"

He wore no clothing, being completely covered in fur. But he did wear plate armor covering vital areas on his body in patches, tied together and carefully connected in a loose, but cohesive piece of armor by chains. That with halberd he carried around gave him an overbearing and powerful feel to him.

The wolf, who was a direct attendant to the king, couldn't help but to snarl his lips at the thought of having to maintain a respectful demeanor around not only an outsider, but a human one at that. 

The human, who stood to the left of the group, wore a set of priestly robes giving him an air of importance and high ranking. His skin was a dark tan and he had thin black hair that fell just past his ears that he kept neatly trimmed out of his slanted, narrow eyes. Not anything particularly outstanding to look at, but not unhandsome in the slightest, he was what one would refer to as 'perfectly average'. 

He simply smiled. "We have received numerous human slaves in recent years for various reasons, and even a few wanderers brave enough to venture to this kingdom.  However this should be the first human representing a ruling power to formally announce their presence. Furthermore, it isn't even anything official! It's as if this woman decided to schedule a vacation!"

These demons interacted with this man as if he were one of their own, showing him no disrespect in the slightest. 

The third, the other wolf who stood off to the right and was similarly dressed as his counterpart except for being without a weapon, held his head in his right hand as though he were contemplating a difficult problem. "The king wants to meet with her. Seems as though he doesn't fully trust her motives. An official without business? Suspicious as hell!"

The human nodded in agreement, his brows knitted together in deep thought. "Of course it is! However, we can't do anything about it as long as she acts according to the law. Inform the town guard to keep a careful eye on her and her entourage. I doubt she will do anything rash, but in order to keep His Majesty from creating any headaches, we need to gently keep control of the situation!"

The two wolfs nodded once and the three separated and went their own ways. The human who left out the front to head to his living space in the servants quarters muttered to himself under his breath as he complained in his heart.

"(To come now, what misfortune! I received the last shipment of slaves a week ago, so we will be another several months out still until the next. These people surely aren't here for sight seeing... If only they had come earlier, perhaps they could have done something... *Sigh* I don't know what they're planning, but I can only pray for their safety. They know not just how cruel His Majesty can be...)"

It seemed this man, the human given the important task of procuring slave laborers for the king. While he was at odds with many of the other humans who worked for the king as slaves due to his favored positioning, he himself seemingly had reservations about his own position...

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All at once there was an outcry, and Raven pressed her lips firmly, let her eyes flutter close, and waited until each opinion was voiced before she spoke again. When she did, it was with clear authority, and care. She would not dismiss the concerns of her soldiers, nor her people. They were all valid claims, and she appreciated them being spoken, “Make no mistake. I am no longer the living weapon I once was. I am mortal just the same as most of you.” She smiled at this notion, taking great care with her next words, “My safety is of high importance. If I am captured, and I have no doubt the Beast King will find rhyme and reason to, I will be safest in their jails. I am your future queen, and future empress still. My life is priority. That being said, I am also one of our greatest weapons. Immortal I may not be, I am still not human, either. I will fight fire with fire, if it comes to that. I am prepared to. It will take weeks for our military forces to muster and make their way here. Several days by sea and by air. I can endure till then. I must.”

Raven leaned onto a table and glanced from each invidual, “I am a woman who is unafraid to get their hands dirty. Politics, yes—this is not something foreign to me. But I am a soldier, raised and trained. You are all that we have until those military forces arrive. We are here to incite a revolution, and turn a tyrant’s subjects against him. There will be blood, make no mistake. People will die for the cost of freedom. I am unafraid to shed blood for the higher cause of setting these people free from their pestilence. We will prevail.” Steel had wound its way into her voice, and it was unlike the General to creep into her tone; firm, commanding and uplifting. It was not that she needed to explain to her subjects. No, she wished them to recognize that she would put in her fair share of blood and sweat to ensure this kingdom became a second home for them.

“Jin, Arashi. Our scouts have found several underground entrances. Lieutenant Vera shares your abilities, Jin—I’d like for her to join you three. Stay together, work together and report back as soon as you are able to. Vera,” She looked to the willowy woman, who snapped to attention at being addressed, “Yes ma’am!” Raven nodded, “Keep your crystal open, and communicate often.” Vera nodded, excitement lit in her eyes, “Yes ma’am!” She gave a heart clap on Johari’s shoulder, who looked crest-fallen that he could not join her so. “Johari, you and Efrideet will join me in the city. I want as many detailed records of the citizens as you can take down.” The elder man’s face lit up with excitement at the notion of being immersed in the culture itself. This time it was Vera who looked outraged to have the less exciting detail between the two. It was not often they split up, but they always made a competition to see who of which could have the more exciting work detail.

“I want communications set up, a perimeter established. The night is going to be cold and we need to ensure we’re ready for anything. I want my cartographers to get a jump start on mapping.” All at once there was a flurry of movement as everyone split off and went to work, “Scouts, make sure you give your cartographers your notes—you too Vera, Johari. Remember, we do not make a move into the city until we are invited as guests. For all we know, they may show us no hospitality whatsoever. I will take my entourage from here.” Light skeletal armor leapt to life as Enforcers pressed their buttons—the same as Raveena’s. It was the last parting gift from Thomas Bravot before his death, and something Raven hoped to get much use out.

A young woman, lithe and frail-looking gently tapped Jin on the shoulder, “Excuse me, sir. When you’re ready, I will be taking you to your entry point.” She stood on the tips of her toes and waved to Arashi, “You too, miss. Aah, thank you Vera.” She smiled, her pale blue eyes lit up as Vera gestured for Arashi. “How’d you get roped into this mission, Zaa’na?” The Scout who thanked Dafina shrugged her shoulders. It was clear she shared the same ethnic traits of Raveena—from her name to the almond shape of her blue eyes. Her cheeks were freckled, her chestnut hair cut short for the mission, “I volunteered! I am quick on my feet and good at noticing things. We’ve discovered four entry ways already, within walking distance of the other—some several hundred feet. It’s geometric in design, it looks like. It’s not a typical dungeon scenario I believe, but it’s deliberate.” She talked and walked, gesturing the three to follow. Away from the encampment near the primary gates of the city, they followed the length of the wall. Sure enough, there was a large, carved stairway into the ground, and a carved entryway some seven feet high along the wall. It was plain but as Zaa’na had pointed out, it looked very deliberate.

“This is as far as I go. We’ll be tapped into the same frequency for your crystal, Vera. Good luck!” Turning on her heel, Zaa’na jogged away to return to the encampment.


Raveena, Efrideet, Johari, and six other Enforcers made their way beyond the great gates of Himmelsfestung. It was clear that at one point art was a valued treasure. She could see the great care and detail put into the anatomy of statues that looked as though they may come to life at any moment. They would have been beautiful—and perhaps whole once. Many were cracked, worn and weathered by the elements. Dirtied, molded or chunks that were missing.

She could see pale grey eyes that peered out at the every now and again—fleeting, skittish but curious. They were darker than Raveena, but lighter than Johari—who seemed to get the most of horrified looks. Though her company was equally curious, Raveena kept her gaze forward. She could track them from her peripheral—and she could see in only a few instances that some were not entirely human, either. Johari was deep in conversation about what he was seeing, and Raveena was tuned into his talk. A child, a human child from the chest down, with the head of a dog had run out, curious and delighted by the strangers. Another like it ran out, quietly scolding the child and ushering them to return back inside—but as Johari had noted, it was a language he understood as much as he understood the man he was speaking to, bewildered.

So they can speak the common tongue—but is there another language? It would be worth investigating, and she filed that away. The structures were cleaning up, she realized. Broad columns, chiseled to near perfection, ornate and sometimes with the glint of copper—or was it gold? The city was transforming before their eyes as they traveled deeper into the kingdom, exploring the wealth of kings and queens long gone. It was clear the current king was neglectful of his people. To what end? Raveena wanted to know more than anything. She knew what poverty looked like; the kingdom proper was in a deplorable state. Dilapidated homes and buildings—even the wall had patches that looked rough. If half the care and attention that went into the architecture closer to the keep went into the rest of the kingdom, it would have been far prettier. The outside was a beautiful, natural masterpiece. The inner kingdom horrified her with its beauty—if only because the Countess could not imagine why such attention could not be held where it counted.

“I hope to hold someone accountable for this,” She murmured to Efrideet, her gaze restless and wandering now. “Money was spent here, but you saw the state as we walked in. Nothing grand there. Those people had the hungry look of curiosity in their eye—and the look of hunger to them. This is unacceptable.” Squaring her shoulders, Raven put herself to the task of ignoring the rest of the architecture that sprawled out. Lavish, lush and bountiful, crowds were growing, the rich scent of markets running, of nobles perusing. Soon they would be engulfed by the city’s activity, the sad state of its outer, neglected territories left behind.




@Al Sa-her



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Dearest Preta,

I am safe and well. The city has beautiful potential but remains neglected. The nervousness is palpable, and that is simply among my own entourage. I don’t blame them. I very well may have sent them to their deaths. The citizens are skittish and nervous. I can feel the fear, the need for secrecy and protection. They’re afraid of something. I see them every now and again. They have the body of a man, but the head of a beast.

They remind me of you in a way. They are spectacular looking in a way. I’m certain they don’t have your roguish charm but the predator I sense in them is remarkable. No wonder these people are afraid. As I expected, there is a certain level of poverty that is inexcusable. I have had my scouts on the far terrain of the city limits for nearly a week and they report an abundance of material and wealth. Either the King is unaware—which I doubt. Or he is deliberately withholding from his people, and to others. Paranoia, perhaps? I won’t know until our audience with him is granted.

I will confess. I feel ill at ease at the same time. My people have orders not to resist if I am captured. I fear a swift death for them if they retaliate. I think about it often, I’m afraid. I think about mistakes. I am nothing perfect, but I try to do right by my people. I am their responsibility. It would be safer for me to remain a captive than be made an example of for their retaliation, only for them to lose their leaves. I have seen such ruthlessness. Your confidence gives me the strength to believe I can do this, Rowan. You may never forgive me for doing this, and I realize that. You can be mad at me for the rest of your days if you must. But I need this land, or none of us will make it. Renovatio is full of what I need to make my company breathe life. I trust you to lead the Enforcers to Renovatio when it is time—and the time is nearly upon us.

I know I am probably just a silly girl, with a head full of silly ideas. But I must show these people they are worth something. That I am worth following and fighting for, that they have the will and strength to fight alongside and for me. I need to be something worthwhile to them, and they will never open to me if they do not know what I can endure. They must see who and what I am, and what I am capable of. I wish to inspire a revolution and change their lives for the better. No one can live in the conditions they do, Rowan. It’s not plausible. Their living conditions are downright deplorable, and it only spurs me to get this city under my care immediately.

Your presence is sorely missed. You’ve taught me many things since coming into my life and I am grateful for it. Efrideet takes very good care of me in your absence and ensures that not a single hair on my head is out of place, so fear not. We will succeed. We have to.

 Be well until then.


-          Raveena

@The Hound

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The natives look to be of olive complexion, with some of them tanner, and the rare few fairer—some of their faces seem wind-burnt, which I imagine is a natural occurrence being this high on a floating mass. Perhaps that is how they get their complexion when the redness heals itself? It’s a remarkable thing, and they look at me strangely—as if they had never seen a dark-skinned man such as myself. I have not yet to see This is something I had never encountered before, as in Sigil, people come from all walks of life; humans and aliens of all shapes and sizes, the City of Doors do not shut for anyone.

Still, it is as though I am looking into the Hive again. The streets are dirty, the civilian living looks deplorable along the outer rim. The closer we get to the Keep the wealthier people seem to become. The Beast People have clearly integrated with the humans over time, creating their own cross-bred species. Remarkable, they speak the common tongue as we do! In my time in Terrenus, and in Genesaris, I can hear the difference in their voices, the accents they speak with. They speak quickly, concisely. Though I’ve caught wind of another dialect I don’t readily recognize, I am eager to find a way to learn. As the scholar of the group, I am determined to take down all the details I can, and perhaps it will be to our benefit to break the language barrier between people.

 Always seemingly on their toes, always as if they are rabbits ready to run from prey. There is a clear hierarchy established here. Those closest to the wall are poorest, which is in terrible taste in my opinion. If it were me, I’d keep the military barracks closest to the wall to fend against invaders. My Ladyship says though wise in theory, spreading the masses too thinly could cause more harm than good. Perhaps she is right and perhaps not. It will be something we discuss once we know for sure the castle is secure and within our solid possession. I can only hope until then my notes become of some use in bonding with the natives. We shall see.

My sun sets to rise again.

Johari Ponsky, Kingslayer; the Histories of Renovatio

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In all the worlds she’d seen, all the systems she’d explored, Efrideet had never seen anything like the population of Himmelsfestung. It was as if some mad or drunk creator had, in their stupor, mismatched the bodies of animal and man. Beast king, the Titan mused as she shadowed her Lady. I wonder if he’s like all these poor—

Efrideet’s eyes narrowed, and in a movement so fast it was as preemptive as it was reactionary, she grabbed a delicate wrist in her dense, gauntleted right hand. With her left, she freed Hawkmoon—the curious hand’s target—from its place her hip and aimed it at the face of the perpetrator.

A child, the guardian realized as her finger teased the weapon’s trigger.

She had the furred legs and hooves of a heifer, the torso and arms of a young girl, draped in rags, and the head of a cow with small, diminutive horns. Efrideet breathed a slow, steadying breath, and released the child’s wrist. “You shouldn’t touch things that don’t belong to you,” she lectured coldly. “You could get hurt.”

The child’s ears flapped nervously. “I’m sorry.”

She’s a kid, Efrideet scolded herself. They touch shit. It’s what they do.

Quickening her step to stay just a foot behind her Lady, Efrideet noticed the little minotaur still following her, her eyes fixated on the piece at her hip. Is she just going to come with us the entire time? If things get ugly where we’re going, she could get hurt. Better to get rid of her now. “Hey,” the Guardian called out. “You want to touch it, right?”

The minotaur’s eyes went wide and she nodded vigorously.

With a quick display of handwork, Efrideet popped the single round from the chamber and slid the magazine free. Handing the child the firearm, she couldn’t help but chuckle when the girl’s arms sank with the unexpected weight of it. “There you go,” she said with a nod. “You keep up, understand? If you get too far from me, it’ll explode and take your arms off,” she lied.

The minotaur meeped, then hastened her step to keep a close distance between them.

I hope to hold someone accountable for this. Money was spent here, but you saw the state as we walked in. Nothing grand there. Those people had the hungry look of curiosity in their eye—and the look of hunger to them. This is unacceptable.”

Efrideet’s lips creased into a frown. “You know the old sayings, Raveena. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. There’s plenty more,” she intoned, glancing over her shoulder to check the minotaur with her piece. She was there, right on the Guardian’s heels, fumbling with the daunting hand canon, admiring its exquisite design and details. “It’s rare that men and women in power are born this way. It happens over time – like poison. And the cure is always as simple as speaking up before it’s too late.”

The dark skinned woman closed her eyes and sighed, running an iron hand through her tousled chocolate hair. “We’ll make it right. You’ll make it right, Lady.”

Edited by King

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Arashi sighed, getting up off the boulder and walking off following the enforcer. The draconic being sighed as she went in one of the entrances by herself. She was going to do this by herself and hoped nobody would stop her. "Don't stop me. I'm doing this myself."

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