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Valucre
dvsn

till death do us part.

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There seemed to be no end to the extent to which the branches of the writhing abomination could extend as meter after meter poured from the base that connected them all. The evasive maneuvers displayed by one of the morsels, though impressive, served only to excite his immediate attackers and attract the attention of several others who lacked worthy enough prey. Their assault continued in this fashion while increasing in speed and accuracy with each passing second. It had been some time since this much effort had to be poured into a singular task, so several muscles, both cemented in form and newly produced, required a bit of movement to get the juices flowing. This warm up, akin to certain unorthodox yogi practices, served to achieve just that. The initial vessel which spawned these hellish extremities also burst into sporadic convulsions, appearing to be exaggerated symptoms of seizures before devolving into the domain of possession and exorcism. These fits continued for several seconds until the body too fell to the affliction of chimerical transformation, literally bursting with an overflow of writhing flesh that utterly consumed anything recognizable, leaving only a rapidly expanding translucent bulb in it's place with contorted depictions of lamenting apparitions squirming among the tourbillion of primordial ooze encapsulated within. 

"SKRYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!"

It was then that massive resonance expounded throughout the area, beneath the veil of perception and meaning which left archaic man fumbling about existence blind, triggering within the descending amalgamation an explosion of reactive signals and chemical reactions. It was difficult even for his complex receptors finely attuned to the slightest changes in external stimuli to process exactly what was transpiring in the vicinity, but the lack of an autonomous response prompted something greater: Evolution.

Spoiler

"Ides. It has been such a long time since you've come to visit. I anticipated your coming and arranged for everything ahead of time."

Ides at first found himself buried with only his head and upper right torso exposed several feet from the edge of a cliff. From his position, very little could be seen beyond the obstruction of dirt before him. Little except a lost treasure the creature had misplaced countless moons ago. Impaled into the edge of the cliff was amethyst claymore, encrusted with a layer of blood and dust but otherwise unblemished. 

"You see child, I have been watching you. Protecting you. Guiding you along your path up to this point. You owe me a great deal- unfortunately you will never be able to repay that debt."

Ides would have continued to ignore the voice that continued to haunt the debts of his mind if only there hadn't been a discernible location from which it were birthed. Violently struggling against his enclosure, he burst forward, expelling debris every which way, before landing at the very edge of the cliff, resting his left hand against the wide cross-guard with his thumb pressed lightly against the smooth grip. Although the feeling of fulfillment stirred within, little attention was given to the weapon in lieu of what had captured the boy's sight. This singular upheaval upon which he stood was surrounded on all sides by a massive chasm whose bottom, although visible, seemed an eternity away. Directly at the base of this sole platform sat a massive gaping maw betraying behind the rotted and cracked dunes which served as it's lips a near infinite number of savage razors, each massive in proportion to the mouth in which they lay. 

"Enasni" The boy sighed, stuck somewhere between mild irritation and curiosity. Usually when withdrawn inside his psyche, this entity manifested itself simply as a voice suspended in an endless darkness. Never before has there been anything but darkness. Despite the grandiose renovations, Ides only fought back the urge to dive down and bring an overdue silence to what he views as a mosquito that has only plagued him. 

"Don't give me that look. Our time is short enough as it is. I'll be brief. Today is the beginning of the end for you. The end of your innocence. The end of your ignorance. The end... of your infancy. The sum total of all you have consumed and absorbed is about to be sorted and repurposed. You are going to be put into the driver's seat. I, having outlived my purpose, have one final reason for being- that is, to help you ascend into the realm of Jötunheimr." 

It was probably the way in which Enasni elongated it's speech that pissed Ides off the most. Precious seconds of silence wasted on the contrivance of substance and definition. As the mouth continued to bellow it's last monologue, shaking the perceivable world with it's deep combination of countless voices, Ides' gaze rises sharply to meet the eyes of another, prey from the past stripped of the will to exist, cast headlong with great velocity into the mouth that waited below. The image of the animated cadaver vanished well before reaching it's fate below, but it's woeful screams echoed on in this desolate wasteland, drowned out only by the continued instruction. 

"You stand now in Helheim, The Realm of the Devoured- or rather, the vision of it. You see, that is the reason for your infancy stage. To accumulate enough material to perfect the synergy of the Nine Realms. Don't worry, all of this will become intuitive knowledge for you soon."

Allowing his stare to rise once more, Ides' gleams a writhing ocean of bodies as far as his attention span will allow. Humanoids. Beasts. Inconceivable things. All thrashed about wildly in a terrible frenzy. They stood here for eons it seemed, listening to a mouth on their 'ceiling' explain all the ways in which they were to be tormented and suffer when consumed by it. And every so often, one is snatched by unseen forces into the skies above to be devoured. That was the status quo until now, the 'appointed time', when they all were to be devoured by the destruction of this world and the birth of a new. That is the fate of the Devoured. That is their prophecy. Today, is their Judgment Day. 

"When it starts, take 'The Key' and your 'Humanity' and cast both inside. That will finalize the sacrifice. My final gift to you, since I've been so eager to clean up after your petulant self, will be waiting for you on the other side. If you have any of that sentimental garbage to work out with yourself beforehand, now's the time..."

The moment the massive chasm ceased it's articulation a raging torrent of bodies rushed passed Ides and the cliff, snatch with such speed that the continuous stream seemed more one static column racing passed him. Was it instant for them? Did they feel pain here? Did the series of violent cracks that resonated throughout his immediate area, signalling the carnage of skeletal structures crushing against one another, mean anything to him? What of the unfortunate bodies that hit the cliff on their way down, splattering intestines and organic matter at his feet? Ides cared not for any of it. The Devoured's suffering, Enasni's jargon, the nine realms. It all seemed to go over his head and was received with little, if any, enthusiasm. But something struck him, here, at the very base and core of his being, among a myriad of hallucinations. A voice, one so familiar, so recognizable-... So full of the intent to crush every foolish cretin who dared trespass in her presence. 

"Ides!"

Beneath the deafening roar of the vacuum whose suction defied physics, and the countless wails of despair of all those who he had consumed, Ides heard a command and call to arms as the slightest whisper... But it was enough. There was no thought, no consideration, no doubt in mind to hold him back. It was from the mouth the voice came and so it was into it that Ides cast himself. In seconds, his own had disappeared amidst the countless others with a simple glance given back to that cliff. There a boy stood, maybe nine years old, with a messy blond mop covering most of his face. Ides thought the boy was waving goodbye...

 

 

“Ides!” After darkness receded and their new enclosure had revealed itself as a graveyard of sorts, the monstrous amalgamation would have achieved a considerable size before coming to an abrupt halt, it's contents sloshing about in powerful swirls. As the muck beneath ascended, taking shape as a massive hand meant to grasp and crush, the malevolent waters would wound about the fleshy cocoon but find great resistance against it's clutches. The force did have an effect though as the space between fingers bulged, threatening to burst and vomit forth it's vile contents. 

An eruption ensues just as the blasphemous creature relinquishes one final roar, it's viscera surprisingly empty despite the visuals one would have witnessed when standing outside of it. The force of it's detonation would have been more than enough to level the structures that moments ago existed beneath it, along with a few dozen meters around them. Having been airborne restricted much of the force of the blast around the immediate area. Strips of flesh and the now inanimate arms were strewn about, falling haphazardly all about the area to add to the ghastly decoration. 

It would take only those with the keenest perception to be able to immediately perceive the new and improved typhoon careening across the battlefield like a rocket. If one of the aforementioned exists here, they would watch as from the prior eruption of form and flesh burst a juggernaut of a figure. Were it standing, a titanic 5 meter stature would tower over those foolish enough to stand around it. The thing was clad from head to toe in a refined ivory armor, presumably form fitting to wound about the mountain of musculature contained within. Six arms lined it's torso though no weapon were held in any of the brutal gauntlets. Instead, six vectors trailed behind it, protruding from sockets on the armored monstrosity's back obscured by a mane of golden silk, each holding identical amethyst claymores in hand. If this titan could be seen as it was launched across the battlefield, onlookers would watch as an armory of destruction cleared meters to approach Rin's 4 o'clock, it's landing creating great impact but slowing it down none. Through the shower of debris it came, piercing through the veil of smoke like a mad demon, it's heavy footfalls like the endless volley of cannons. For something so large and bulky, it's speed was nothing to sleep on. Like a freight train it charged, a single violet glimmer visible beneath the otherwise all consuming darkness that the abomination's helm provided. Talk about a growth spurt. Was this even still sweet little Ides? Time would tell. At present, it proved to not outright express itself as an enemy to Hanyusha, only to those who threatened it. 

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Trembling, tired hands worked to rid the well-dressed woman of some of her layers. They were heavy, in the way, and by the looks of things—and the state of her protective cover she would need to be able to move. Silks were shed as the state of chaos worsened, trembling finger tips fumbling with decorative knots so she could free herself from her own vanity. One layer, two, three and finally four, pitched into the dust and debris of the storefront that had stood just minutes ago. She felt lighter, her confidence rising however things would not remain this way. An ear-piercing screech, and the woman flinches as her eyes finally pull back to the scene unfolding.

What in the fuck?

The air here was heavy, and its stench make her stomach clench with repulsion. Her nose wrinkled, but it was impossible to keep the smell away. What was worse, the dusty cobblestones she found herself on just minutes ago were replaced with wet and muck made of who knows what. The building she had used for shelter was gone, only to be replaced by a rib cage of a creature bigger than she had ever seen bones grimy, slick with rotting tissue.

Well, at least she didn’t have to worry about forgetting the evening.

The smell, and her feelings about their new setting aside, there was work to be done and just as Rin had, Ouza sprang into action as well. Dipping out from behind her rib cage shelter, hands together to form the necessary seals for a technique she wasn’t entirely sure it would actually work. Would it be annoying at the very least? Most likely. Six seals and the energy invested, and the black water that the man sought to use against them began to churn and move at his right. The churning water begins to rise and spin before forming the head of a giant snake1. Watery fangs bared, the column of water shot out at the man—its aim to swallow him whole in his own filth and to carry him his feet out from under him. With the technique out of the way, she started on the move. Staying still likely meant death her, and she wasn’t interested in dying. Not here, not in that strange world they had just come from, not at all. Perhaps this would be a chance to prove that she deserved immortality, after all, what’s the point of living forever if you aren’t strong enough to do anything with it?

Spoiler

1 -- Snake's Mouth.

 

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Moving, always moving. Kiyoko was gliding from rooftop to rooftop, nearing closer to her prey, and her friends. The darkness swirled around her and she was one with it, as she slipped closer largely unnoticed. Her tiny reconnaissance spiders fed her information about the enemy - there were 4 weaker ones, and one - the leader - who was particularly strong...and ancient. The spiders had begun to tell her what they knew of the demon in the middle of the street, when abruptly, half of them disappeared. Kiyoko felt the heat from the blast as the buildings to her left completely disintegrated in the wake of the black fire Rin and Kaede had unleashed. Immediately, she sensed the air change; a deathly shriek pierced the air, and she couldn’t help but notice it sounded a little angry.

Farther away from the action, Kiyoko had more time to process the events of what was happening, even though it was mere seconds. Kiyoko had been unmatched in her analytical ability, and it was a honed skill that allowed her to predict with an uncanny accuracy of what would happen next. Her hands were already moving, each set forming different hand seals 1,2. Perhaps the other members of Hanyusha wondered where she had gone, and what she had been doing all of this time while she was away. Chakra flowed through her body, allocated to each set of seals separately - forming multiple jutsus at once. She would show them, and this demon, exactly what she had learned on her journeys: unparalleled chakra control.

As the black wall of the preternatural void swept toward her, Kiyoko’s skin would take on a golden hue as her natural sweat would begin to harden like a second skin; a skin that would also serve as a weapon.3 As the void enveloped her, she found herself in a whole new world - one that smelled like the inside of a vulture’s stomach. If death had a tangible form, it had manifested as this world.

Instead of sinking into the muck and muddied water below her, Kiyoko’s feet were firmly planted on the fuzzy back of OdoriGumo - her jumping spider, who appeared at her summons just as the new world materialized around her. Smaller than her other troops, but still 3 times bigger than Kiyoko, OdoriGumo could jump 50 times its own body length, making it the ultimate escape artist. Her top pair of hands were still moving; still forming seals - this time preparing a jutsu for the demon in front of her.4 Her bottom hands were holding a golden lump; a couple of more seconds, and the weapon would be fully formed.The demon was speaking, but Kiyoko did not care to listen; she was methodically planning its death.

As expected, Kiyoko had entered this new world behind the demon, which was at least 60 feet in front of her. Kiyoko immediately took in her companions, who were even farther from her, in front of the white monstrosity. She was pleasantly surprised to see Ides; not in a form she had ever seen him in, and equally as grotesque in his own right. Kiyoko did not dwell on these pleasant feelings though; while her companions responded to the demon with rage and fury, Kiyoko was calm. It was no longer just fun now; the real game had begun, and she would enjoy it thoroughly as she won. Each move was calculated, and the sequence of moves would fall together like pieces of the puzzle. The demon was about to experience Hanyusha in rare form - they never got to let loose together...not like this.

Delicate red lips parted into a smile, revealing tiny venomous fangs that glinted in the moonlight. The ground immediately behind the demon would erupt as 5 tall pillars of stone sprang up behind it, like the bars of a half - formed cage. With the black vortexes of water around them actively seeking their death, it seemed that the demon had not found it pertinent to move from his position. The rock pillars, while thick, could probably be snapped by a well aimed attack - the demon seemed godlike, afterall, and Kiyoko doubted he could break them without much effort.

The secret to the pillars was not their strength, though. The true meaning of the pillars, standing almost 20 feet tall, became clear as Kiyoko leveled her now fully-formed crossbow at the demon’s back. In conjunction with her teammates' attacks, an arrow was shot, and was on track to pierce through the demon’s chest. If it even scratched him, the demon would suffer dire consequences.

Death will come tonight - but it will not be for the members of Hanyusha.

 

Spoiler

1. OdoriGumo summons

2. Golden Spider Armor

3. Golden Spider Armor - Weapon formation

4. Earth Pillars

 

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