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Infernal

Death and Dragons

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In the beginning, there was just a man, frail in mind but strong of body. Through providence, that man became a legend of his own right, and began building the foundations of his new world.

Within the hotly contested area of the Midlands, a secret envoy was making its way to pay a visit to an especially dangerous ruler. A small group of travelers, dressed in the clothes of humble beggars, made their way towards the imposing capital city of Jigoku, where they would meet their gracious host. Many averted their eyes from the haggled strangers, noticing the wretched black veins that some of them sported, figuring them plagued by some kind of strange malady that no one wanted a part of. It was the perfect means to slip into a city undetected, and would prove valuable should they need to enter into other places they may not have belonged in.

"Halt!" One of the guards said, barring their entrance from the steps to the palace. "Off with you, beggars. Take your filth elsewhere."

The butt of his spear knocked down one of the envoys, the thread bare cloak splayed out in a mess, a single medallion spilled onto the dirt, revealing its macabre symbol. A black star with a golden skull inside of it, marking them as people of House Estella Negra.

"You idiot!" The other guard said, shoving at his companion. "We are supposed to let them in, not attack them."

"I...I'm sorry..." the guard said, unsure of the diplomatic damage he had caused.

"No apologies are necessary." Said the lead man, lowering his hood to reveal the spiders web of black veins throughout his body. Jet black eyes stared upon the unnerved soldiers, the flat voice of the dead speaking plainly. "Take us to your leader."

@Twitterpated

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Silently, the Captain nodded to the foolish Tengu Knight to strike one of the House members. Though no words were given, the order was simple and well received. With a nod of acceptance, he took his mild punishment with a straight back and his head held high. He briefly thought of what would happen to him should the Emperor acknowledge his foolishness, though it seemed as if he simply went along with things as they were now, perhaps it wouldn't matter. Everything would be okay so long as he made no further mistakes and showed respect to their expected guests. As much as he wished to apologize once more, he swallowed his words and simply signaled them to follow hi, into and through town for town square. The place they would find the pagoda they sought, hosting the waiting Emperor within. He sat patiently on his throne for his guests, the throne seat dedicated to the Empress sat eerily empty. There was no sign of any of his wives by his side currently. No doubt they were all busy completing his bidding. Being a delicate introduction to their brand, barring the Emperor's children and raising them for that matter. 

Along the way, the traveling party would get a first hand albeit indirect tour of the Imperial City. From the bustling markets to the sparse housing districts, the visitors had caught the city in one of it's most peculiar times of day, Sunset. Omagatoki. The businesses that closed for the night would do so, in which the night life of the city began to fill the streets. Some venues converted to support the nightlife of the city, just as their original shops did during the day. Most noticeably over a wooden bridge was a large building with an illustrious golden dragon wrapped decoratively around it. The infamous Black Dragon Teahouse making its daily shift into the Black Dragon Tavern. As expected, the crowds were already gathering outside of it with heavy anticipation for the good times it was famous for hosting. Closer to their destination they could see the looming tower, the largest pagoda in the region in which the second largest was near it with a conjoined tunnel, linking Koji's own domicile to the one housing his Harem. Beyond them came the red glow of the paper lanterns decorating the cities shameless red light district. 

When they finally reached the largest pagoda, the Tengu Knight stood before two larger, more imposing figures. The likes of the Tatsuo. The man saluted the armored, mutated Orken in which they returned the salute before opening the large, heavy oak doors that allowed the travelling party into the common room of the pagoda. This was the throne room Koji occupied, in the nature of how he allowed his public to visit him. However, in respect to his foreign visitors, the area was devoid of most bodies including obvious protection. Peculiar it was, a sovereign sitting primarily unprotected. Had the Emperor really grown so reckless in the death of his Empress? Surely he was either that dangerous and capable of a man, or he was simply that naive. Perhaps a bit of both. Either way, his deep indigo gaze narrowed on the peculiar faces and bodies of the House Estella Nerga members approaching him. The Tengu Knight rushed ahead of the group until he stood just before the throne. Taking a knee, he bowed deeply to his sovereign while announcing the visitors as having arrived. Dismissing him with little regard, Koji would surely speak with the man later of his transgressions. For now his undivided attention would be given to his visitors that traveled all the way from Orisia to seek his audience.

"Hail and welcome."

He stated cold and plain, his expression one devoid of any one emotion and his tone equally neutral. The raspy bass of his voice still boomed however, preceding his tall and lean body type. While his arm was mostly concealed by the sleeve of his robe, his exposed right hand hosted a glimpse of his Draconic limb, boasting lurid scales and ebony talons.

@Grubbistch

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For a moment they were silent, regarding Koji with an eerie silence. For a moment, one may have thought them to be statues. Seconds ticked by, turning into minutes, until finally, their ritual began.

Each of the envoys removed their medallions, ripping it from their necks and presenting it facing Emperor Koji. Dark magic began to build, increasing the barometric pressure within their environment, like a storm gathering right before their very eyes. On the physical plane, only the strange smell of rot brought in by a lazy breeze gave a sign towards what was happening. What was converging on the metaphysical plane however was something far worse, and far more terrifying to the mortal eye.

In the center of the group of envoys came a haunting black light, coalescing itself into a spherical shape, like a star made out of darkness. Just as the ball was fully formed, the entire envoy was sucked into it, their bodies torn and dismembered, bones breaking and reforming to create a hideous new figure. During this process not one of them made a sound, save for the squelching noise of their physical forms being ripped asunder, repurposed for something eldritch and malicious. Soon the shape became nearly humanoid, if not more akin to an upright slug, a new avatar of the leader of the dark house being born before Koji's eyes.

"Emperor Koji...the dragon who would challenge the world...I have met many of your victims, and they tell me such interesting things about you..."

It stood, for lack of a better word, just under eight feet tall, hunched over and covered in black, fetid flesh. Bones covered the exterior, like the casing of some unholy insect which had no right to live. Mutilated arms hung off of each side of the large, barrel shaped body segmented with ribs and vertebrae, the tail being made up of the legs of his sacrifices, each one scraping pathetically against the ground as if trying to support the massive weight of this abomination. Where a head might have been, now there was a multitude of faces, each of the envoys now moving in unison, speaking the same tongue as their master, voices replaced with that of a thick male accented with the traditional dialect of the Orisian people.

"You have no idea just how long I have waited for this...how much careful preparation went into this meeting, and what can come from our alliance."

A second skin began to snake its way up the body of Jericho Estella-Negra. Cursory glance said it was a simple black cloak, but if one looked closer, they would see the startling truth of it. Skin from the slaves of Jericho's power, drenched in black blood, and now used to protect the disgusting monster from the elements.

"We could work well together, Emperor Koji, as the prophecies have foretold."

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His expressionless face remained so, unblinking for every awkward second of silence between these two new acquaintances. As they began their ritual, the shadows about the room began to move. The sound of shifting armor and bodies clear and visible as the Tengu Knights began to swarm. His narrowed, indigo eyes never wavered from the monstrosity being born before him. Though his hand did indeed raise in protest for his proposed protection. Perhaps it was a bit naive of him to be so easily trusting, yet to assume such as his reasoning would be a far cry from the truth. He simply did not feel threatened by the presence of these Gaijin nor their Dark Magics. While he was perhaps a bit flattered, he remained unimpressed by his visitors so far. He could appreciate their chaotic nature, however limited it was compared to the abyss that was Chijono Heika.

"..."

He remained silent, weighing the specific term used. Victims. This creature, however magnificent it thought it was, was either mistaken or an outright fool. The Emperor had no victims, save for those that have scorned him on the most personal level. To have victims would entail that Koji's Will was not of Divinity, that it was not to play the savior for all. He is the savior of all, he is salvation. His Will the harbinger of true freedom, of true happiness. The arbiter of Paradise. The creatures refined, sharp tongue continued to sow words, in which Koji continued to silently weigh them. As the creatures second skin moved to complete the metamorphosis, Koji's draconic hand lowered once more, in which the knights remained nearby enough to observe more closely, and the shadows ceased their unnatural movements.

"And what prophecies might you speak of?"

He questioned just as plain as his initial greeting to it. Flattery was just that, though it would ultimately get the House Estella nothing that they seemed to so desperately hope for. Their need for the Empire was obvious and shameless, though Koji couldn't help but wonder what they could ultimately contribute to his brand, his cause. They seemed like the right type of people to groom into part one of his over all ambition, though in the latter part he was certain they'd have to perhaps be among the first of the last to go. It was unfortunate that even he himself would surely need to be purged to realize his true paradise, though it was more than worth it considering his personal contributions to be left behind to repopulate this paradise. His legacy. His gift to ensure that the balance is kept when he is no longer able to maintain it himself. 

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"When I was gifted with the dark knowledge of the stars, I knew of a man, a man like yourself." The voice was raspy, but easy to understand in such gruesome unity. "You are destined for greatness, Emperor Koji, of that, I can assure you. That however is not why I have come to you, specifically, that is."

Above them formed an image, one made from the power of La'Ruta, showing the coming of armies and powerful individuals. "The world is changing, with enemies rising at every side. Even the peaceful shores of Orisia are not safe, anymore. I require quiet for my studies, and so it is my belief that a change of venue is required for myself and my cohorts." The images began to change once again, this time forming that of a peaceful place, far from the shores of Genesaris.

"Renovatio..." Jericho wheezed. "That is where I will find such tranquility. What I lack however, is the resources and the aid to move myself there."

For a second time the images changed, the magic contorting them to that of the great apocalypse in Ceyana. "My ships were destroyed when Illyria came to our world. Without them, I have no means of swiftly moving off the island. With Roen at the helm, I have no leverage to acquisition new ships, but with you..."

Implications were a powerful thing, and they were his tools in shaping the direction of the conversation. "A simple trade, don't you think? For my services, all you need to do is to help me reach this place, and to find a new home amongst the civilized people there?"

Old versus new, a generational gap the likes of which could not be explained so easily. Jericho did not believe Koji the fool, but every man, no matter how mighty, could be controlled. All one needed was the right leverage, and they could bend another to whatever they desired, without the one being effected even being aware of it.

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It foreshadowed once more of its knowledge, though it failed to deliver any inkling of of answer towards the Emperor's question. Koji opted once more to sit silently as it continued to make its case. When the topic shifted to mentions of Orisia, the Heika was certain that it spoke first of Rafael's grasp upon the Black Queen and her island nations. Though in more recent history stood Roen, now just as firmly in possession of nation and leader respectively. He wasn't quite sure as to why the region had grown unsafe for the House Estella Negra, though he honestly had no care. As it stood, the House sought refuge in exchange for what was presumably knowledge and power. While it was doubtful they offered power that would yield them any great amount of progress, it was immediately considered that perhaps their knowledge of Orisia and it's prior and former associates might be beneficial. Before he could so easily bargain with this creature however, there was more to learn in the moment. More specifically about the House itself.

"Tell me more about Estella Negra, how big is the House, what makes it unique?"

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