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Destruction des morts

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The Kriegsdrache...destroyed...

The Kriegsreise...buried in the ground...

Damn them...damn them all...they deserve nothing...but unflinching destruction...

There was something in the air, something dark, twisted, and powerful in an incredible manner befitting a worthy opponent. More importantly, Feurerkönig noted, was this strange entity's connection with the titans, who had brought defeat once again to his name. Whoever this stranger is, he will soon taste the molten fury of the fire king, and all will know, that he is no one to be reckoned with.

Please my love...flee from this fight...do not seek out this battle...

Still Mala haunted his thoughts, invading his mind with ancient memories of the time they spent together, of all the times he had claimed her as his own, killing anyone who dared lay with her. Her love came at the cost of some coins, but for him, her heart began to open up to his affections, and she soon became his wife, until the day their child was to be born. Seeing her die made him feel so powerless, incapable of exerting control over the world, becoming a slave to its endless twists, turns and eddies. Rage surged through his veins on that night, he taking up his blade to cause havoc towards others, until finally falling from being set alight by a roaming wizard.

"You have no control over me, or what I do." Standing tall, the fiery titan summoned forth his zweihander, and readied himself for his next battle.

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This was going nowhere; these people didn't have a clue what was going on. Not even the guards had been updated on the state of things outside the churchyard, meaning that the bounty hunter needed to figure it out on her own. As she turned to leave, she spotted a man in an overcoat and fedora, very reminiscent of the popular attire in her homeland, approaching the scene.

"Hey, officers! What's going on? Is the city under attack?" Weber called-out as he approached.

However, Mara caught him by the shoulder as he went to pass her by, causing him to stop and turn to face her.

"Don't bother, they don't know shit." the bounty hunter scowled.

"I believe I'll let them speak for themselves." the agent responded bluntly, as he wrestled his shoulder free from Mara's grip.

Mara let him go, about to just depart the scene herself. But then she noticed the revolver the man carried, a model she knew well since she'd been shot by it more than once.

"Aren't you a bit far from home, Norkotian?" she asked him from behind.

Weber stopped, looking over his shoulder at Mara. The woman raised an eyebrow at him, her mouth curling into a cocky half-smile. No longer interested in what the guards had to say, especially since they still weren't paying attention to him anyway, Weber turned around and walked back over to the bounty hunter, narrowing his eyes at her.

"How would you know that?" he asked, though he realized the truth as she shifted her face upward just slightly to look at him, the features of her face becoming more visible in the streetlight, "Oh, but of course... you are as well."

"It's pretty rare to find any of my countrymen this far away from home. Gets me a wonderin'... you hiding from something back in the homeland?" Mara put a hand on her hip, coincidentally putting it within reach of her holstered auto-revolver.

"You think you can claim a bounty on me, Miss Mercer?" Weber responded, "Yes, I recognize you now. We were told to keep an eye out for you. There are some important people back in Norkotia who are interested in your services."

"I doubt anyone back in Norkotia is worth my time." Mara shook her head, "Have a good day, bub."

"Before you go, Miss Mercer, do you know the whereabouts of Kersh Engel?"

Now it was Mara's turn to stop in her tracks, her reaction understandable given that was the name of the man who had saved her life and made her who she was today. Why were these people after him? Whatever Engel had done, she owed her life to him, and she wasn't going to betray him.

"What do you want with him?" she growled.

"I'm not sure, but there are high-ranking officials seeking him. I can get you in touch with them, but I need you to help me first."

"Help you do what?"

"This city is coming apart at the seems already, but we can save at least some of the people. You help me rescue as much of the citizenry as possible, then I'll get you in touch with the people who are looking for Engel. Deal?"

Mara regarded the man suspiciously as he put out a hand to shake, but even one way or another, she needed to know who these people were. It they good intentions for Engel, then she would be happy to help them find her. If not, she wanted to know who they were so she could ensure they never lived to bother him.

"Deal." she took his hand and let him feel her bone-crushing grip, and that was with her natural hand, "Lead the way."

 

Spoiler

@Alexithymia, @Metty, @Twitterpated -- I'm basically withdrawing my characters from your location now.

 

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Arashi had been busy since she before she had left for Tia. She had been researching for Materials after all, finding out what's useful for certain things. Through some illegal searching, she was able to find out a bunch of stuff about them. As soon as the soldiers left, Arashi began to make her move down the street, going to find out where her partner was to help her with this stealing of materials. It was going to be pretty hard to steal all the stuff she wanted without alerting some detection of military appearing to stop them.

"Where is that dragon? I told him to meet me around here with a gas mask...for himself."

@Djinn&Juice

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It soon dawns on Belladonna that she seems to have adopted two new companions, albeit slightly-unwanted ones. She is not yet sure what to make of the orc—Xavier, he had introduced himself as—and quite frankly, the nanny is nowhere near the top of her list for preferred companions.

"Bel, please. While most people seem to think looting is fun but such uncivilized acts are way beyond me. I'm not some lowly thug that will make use of this sudden opportunity to scavenge what has been left by their fleeing owners. Please don't lower me to your level."

She resists the urge to roll her eyes; that would not do, and it would be too unbecoming of her. Belladonna settles for a breathy chuckle and a tighter grip on the woman’s arm. “My, where else can you get such wonderful toys for free? I am not one to let such opportunities go by without taking action.” She watches the nanny blow a stream of smoke straight at Xavier, take out a subpar cigar, and extend it towards her. She does not deign to accept the offering nor to respond to the derisive comment thrown her way.

“A Mistress Blackhead to see you, will be en route soon,” she tells Cain through the mind link. @amenities

She leads them through the darkened streets, screams and chaos just faintly discernible from beyond the buildings further ahead, near the center of the city. They will eventually have to make their way into the disorderly, violent fray to get to Cain and reunite with the rest of the skeletons soon.

But first: a mission.

There had been a specific group that had caught her eye while scanning the documents granted to them before the mission. Belladonna thinks on it for a moment, sifting through her memories to obtain the name—ah, yes: the Rooks. She recalls that they are a mercenary group, favoring humans and defending them from the vampires. Perhaps she should take a detour and convince them to fly the flag of the Dead and fight under its banner.

“Now, have you two ever heard of Girdy’s Girders or Priscilla's?” Belladonna gives them both a thoughtful look. I have it in mind to take something far more interesting than money, for now.” She begins steering them down the paths that lead to those establishments, the night wailing at its core: the city is under attack. Take what you will and give nothing back.

 


@Dolor Aeternum @Thotification

Edited by vielle
WHOOPS SORRY! XD

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"Just wanna be, wanna bewitch you in the moonlight!"

Shikai cheerfully hummed the lyrics to his favorite song as he made his way to the Watch Fort, and the Embassy below it. This part of town was where most of the action had taken place, and so there weren't too many people left around; they having had enough sense to get out of dodge. In their place were burning buildings and scattered wreckage, along with the bodies of those who couldn't get out in time. He inspected such corpses as he went to see if any of them were worth turning into Friends, but it was a bust. Most of them were simply too damaged to be useful.

"You there, stop!"

Down the street to his right, he turned to see a group of five Watchmen coming towards him, swords drawn. He grinned, and with a flick of his wrists, snapped his blades into place before charging them with a maniacal cackle. Though they had seen him coming, the men obviously hadn't expected this turn of events, and by the time they had gotten their guard up, he was upon them. He jumped and hit he center man square in the chest, thrusting his claws deep into his chest. From there he pushed off his first victim and spun as he passed between the two guards next to him, cutting their faces and necks to shreds before landing in a crouch. Rising, he looked over his shoulder at the two remaining men. 

One survivor looked to the other and shouted, "Look for a Problem Solver! I'll hold him back!"

Shikai smiled as the man ran away, letting him disappear from sight before bearing down on the last man standing. The man bellowed a defiant roar, and leveled his sword to charge at his attacker. The Zombie allowed the man to run him right through before impaling the man with his own blades. 

@amenities

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Making it back onto the streets began quite easily, but soon after there is an eruption of chaos she hasn’t witnessed in such a long time. And the Apprentice enjoys it immensely.

That is until a cart rolls screeching to a turned halt before her just as she is about to alight from the curb. Despite the mask vehemence, her unappreciation can be rendered physically with the unfurling and ripple of the shadow beneath her heels.

“Come with us,” Cain said, embarking the carriage as its undead horses took off for the Watch Fort.  “I’m going to jump off at the Watch Fort, but I leave it to you two to take down Black Tower,” he said, unshouldering his backpack and putting it down between them. Inside were antidotes to Maleficence, several Maleficence grenades, and another bomb like the one they had planted in the shafts. “Do what you have to blow that tower with this charge and take out every noble in sight. You’re going to see someone when you get in there who looks like… well, he looks just like me. Nica. Evacuate him if you can and if you can’t, well tell him I said hi.”

It is with sight and sound that recognition is immediately paid to Cain. The other on the carriage, still an unknown to her. Without hesitation she does as always, giving her superior and abrupt nod of understanding as she takes hold of and shoulders the pack evenly across her back. Accepting of the abstract order without questioning the authority behind it.

Where some might raise a brow and ask further questions regarding the object of his desire on the secondary set of requests regarding Nica. Ina does nothing. It is not unusual for a creature of her nature to have more than one identical face to be viewed. Even while hers remains ultimately hidden beyond the hook of a boney mask and Dead technology to further obscure her identity.

And with that, she is jumping swiftly onto the carriage beside Schrei. Without so much as a look back or goodbye to her original team, as is their custom. Keeping moving, keep disrupting.


The Skeleton’s maneuverability with the carriage is swift and calculated. Disallowing obstacles to slow them too much on their route. Save for the oddly screaming and running person unfortunate enough to become a victim of its speed. Initially, it begins with a stop at the Watch Fort to drop Cain off in order for him to care for his duties.

Then, after much silence outside of the brief exchange of internal schematics and information, they arrive at the quite Black Tower. It is with a wave of the hand that the Apprentice ushers forth Schrei. Having felt the darkness in the girl’s aura as well as hints of rage upon her arrival as a partner. Rather than get in the girl’s way, the Apprentice would prefer to allow her the courtesy of fulfilling her personal desires while taking to the shadows to engage as back up when necessary and eventually connect with the twin in need of evacuation-Nica.

 

@bfc @amenities

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As Xavier listened to the Nanny, a growing hatred for the woman bubbled within him, festering until its putrid stench caused his nose to scrunch up a bit after she responded with haughty words and pompous drivel. The condescending tone triggered Xavier to a level that was so volatile that Obtenebra began to jut out sporadically from his arms and legs from the intensity of the emotion. He had witnessed in Terrenus how most of his kind while attempting to make a decent living out of the civilized pockets within could rarely find anything more substantial than physical labor. Not once had he seen an orc rise to become a prominent figure within Terran society, either hindered by their own ideas of self-worth or by the worth they allowed others to press upon them. Even he had allowed himself to become limited in the employ of that drow Nines until he was liberated by Blob Boss. Staring at Belladonna, he wondered if she too felt trapped or if she truly enjoyed what she was currently doing like he was.

 

“….Please don’t lower me to your level…”

 

Xavier’s rage was palpable as the undulating Obtenebra created several spikes along his body, retracted, then forced them to appear several times as it tried to make sense of its host’s raw emotion. The fact that the nanny continued on, providing Belladonna with a cheap cigar on top of requesting to see her boss after what he considered a major character attack made the orc snap as a thunderous baritone erupted from his throat.

 

“Speak to her that way again and I will gut you…puny woman…”

 

Xavier stepped forward to confront Belladonna’s other companion, using his massive height and bulk in an attempt to become more imposing but what they would not know was his realization that it would likely matter little to the unwanted woman he now confronted. As swiftly as he approached, he pivoted to look at Belladonna as the red haired beauty decided to execute a calm response and then pose a question to them.

 

“No I haven’t heard of either place.”

 

Giving the Nanny some serious side eye now, he addressed his current desire.

 

“You can stay here while I accompany Isabel to handle this ‘lower level’ work…”

 

He fully intended to bait the woman into another display of arrogance that he was ready to react to though he simply wished the nanny would just leave them alone and move on to something else. Regardless of the response, he allowed himself to be led by Belladonna, fully invested in the prospect he saw in her words, sensing he could gather info on what an organization like the dead considered worth their time and what a beautiful woman such as this ‘Isabel’ considered worthy of hers.

@vielle @Thotification

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c76cbaf3129a8ded9a6ab317df85012e.pngOh, this night is so wonderful! Now that she's on the bad side of her only potential allies in this drug-crazed town, the nanny was filled to the brim with excitement.  Oh the orc was such a poor sod. Just a few words and he's already ready to force himself upon the nanny, gorging her with a plethora of pointy things which magically extended out of her body. Oh temper, temper! The nanny has seen orcs more impressive than the one before her. Oh such laughable bravado! But the nanny was convinced that the orc, like most men she has the misfortune to tango with, would be unable to give her satisfaction. A pity, and he was quite the magnificent specimen.

"Oho! Your quite the intense orc. Surely you wouldn't be so bold as to start assaulting a poor defenseless lady?" she snickered back at the orc, the obnoxious grin still plastered on her face. 

The nanny uncoiled herself from 'Bel to give the woman some space. These two really are that mad to loot through all this town's drug fiends. She can already hear the shrieks and despair wrapped within the flames and chaos of this night. This city was a goner and the only sane denizens were doing their best make the most out of this commotion. Whatever Bel was talking about fell on the nanny's deaf ears as of this moment, mostly because she seemed to have stopped caring. She was more concerned on the ramifications of this destruction, the loss of this city  and the rise of this mysterious organization. Is she going to be entangled with another criminal group? She's had a lot of those recently.

Blonde. Wilder. Dredge. The Legion. Lilith. The woman in that opera house. These are but few of the names she had the misfortune to meet, personas she would rather forget. Would this mysterious organization add to the list as well? It's getting longer by the minute, perhaps a adding another line wouldn't be so bad. It would be part of her resume after all.

She chuckled then as her thoughts returned to the present. She gave way to the orc so her and Bel could lead the way towards their sidequest which the nanny considered utterly pointless but was magnanimous enough to humor their worthless task with her esteemed presence. She'll just stay at the back while sipping tea. In the off chance that these two would hilariously fail then she would be there with a well-prepped witty remark. 

"Carry along you two!" she snickered, barely hiding the haughtiness in her voice, "In the off chance that either of you fail, I''ll have a good view here at the rear and a good laugh as well. Who knows, I might have to cover up for your stupidity!"

But there's no point in hiding her identity any longer. With a snap of her fingers, a black edgy long coat would materialize out of thin air to drape all over her figure. It's just isn't right that she would make more enemies if she wasn't wearing the correct uniform. With her coat, came the imposing aura that seemed to emanate from her being. 

The Mistress Blackhead has arrived.

@Dolor Aeternum @vielle @Alexithymia

Edited by Thotification

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The trip back to the Norkotian agents' hideaway was not easy, but Mara and Weber made it there successfully. Oddly, Beck had not returned, which was concerning given the rapidly deteriorating state of things in the city. Unfortunately, there was no time to go look for him, as an evacuation needed to be coordinated immediately. Weber instructed Mort to radio a second agent cell outside the city, which had several diesel trucks at their disposal. These trucks were meant for a different operation planned for the future, but they would more than suffice for this purpose instead. 

Mara assisted the agents in fighting off crazies and looters as the Norkotians evacuated their base and destroyed whatever evidence they couldn't bring with them. They then rendezvoused with the other cell and their trucks, which were used to begin ferrying civilians out of the city. The operation would continue throughout the night, as the combined force of agents organized an encampment several miles outside the city limits, then repeatedly returned to rescue more civilians. George Beck never turned up, leaving Weber to assume he had been killed, or maybe even driven mad like many of the other citizens had been. Regardless, Beck was never recovered, even though the surviving agents made multiple forays through the town to gather civilians into their trucks.

At last, conditions had deteriorated so far that the agents could no longer afford to risk further rescue attempts. A few hundred people had been saved by their efforts, a tiny amount given the sheer size of the megacity, but it was ultimately a few hundred less people counted among the dead or missing. In the days to follow, more Norkotians would arrive in the area, but no longer in an espionage capacity, but rather a humanitarian one. Over a thousand civilians were moved all the way to Norkotia in the following weeks, with the potential for thousands more to join them. 

The agent teams were eventually reassigned elsewhere, while Mara was put into contact with Prime Minister Diric Redbridge, who had a mission of his own for the bounty hunter. Meanwhile, the refugee crisis would eventually become a political matter of hot debate within Norkotia, as the number of migrants increased. The regime saw it as an opportunity, however; and Norkotia welcomed many homeless Tian humans into their lands with open arms. In the end, the disaster in Tia would work out quite nicely for Joseph Tynes's agenda...

(exit Mara and the Norkotian agents)

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These castles of sand, these kings of glass, these iron pawns and invincible bishops clashed in an ultimately levelling experience. The dusty air was cold on a warm day; a different kind of cold, one that would haunt its survivors for the rest of their lives, washed over the regularly comfortable and the mostly indefensible. Government officials were torn to pieces in their own offices; little, tiny infants eviscerated by their wet nurses and very parents. To be secure was to be enforced against the growing virus or entirely isolated from it and the infected.

People flocked to those they thought could save them. The Problem Solvers, representatives of Norkotia, those who wished to sup from the pussing wound in Terrenus’ face that Tia had become.

It was all by design. All, as the intricate structures of the brain were carefully craft by Gaia’s loving hand, constructed by a hand who dealt evil dichotomous to the earth-god’s comely unity. Heaving, lurching like the broken chest of a cardiac arrest patient, Tia expelled all it had that was worth anything in an effort to preserve itself in worlds without.

And within the folding, mounting catechism that engulfed a kingdom? The Dead spread— the virus spread— until every productive cell was infected and became its infection upon everything it touched. How predatory are vampires to humans when both hunger for the blood of the other, for the blood of one another? Is the thirst for all blood not an equalizing euphoria?

The Dead who carried the vaccine in their blood would not know these equalizing factors. In their immunity— in the immunity of the Problem Solvers who fed on the blood of Cain— they were above the rest of the city as it ingested water. The only thing that could save Tians was an escape from the water supply, and then, in a moment of hopelessness emblazoned on the city’s blouse, a horrendous protrusion bound Tia into a messed bundle of roots and chaos.

The Watch Fort crunched like snow condensed between the fingers of the playground bully. Then, in the wake of a series of inward explosion, a monstrous vine burst from the earth and twisted up the spire’s countenance. The vine grew with reckless abandon and hunger incomparable to any plant seen before. A Problem Solver standing at his post before the Watch Fort was crushed between the vines rising from the ground and the building around which they twisted; then the building itself was compromised to the plants’ power. The kingdom itself was overrun with the growing plant, which swallowed buildings and blocks whole from below as it fed on Tia’s nutrient-rich topsoil and the stores of fossil fuel reservoirs mines A, R, and O had gathered.

The Maleficence Plant had come to devour Tia.

The four-petaled plant exuded a noticeably purple mist that consumed those in its influence with the desire for blood and death of others, and then the self. Problem Solver evacuation centers  began a conspicuously timely collection of its final people to be saved, excavating half to a safe location and half to Dead departure points.

Meanwhile, Dead agents had taken to the acquisition of specific assets of Tia and the general stirring up of trouble. One such instance was Shikai, clearing out a significant squad of Watchmen. PS 4 watched the assault take place from a 2nd story balcony. This Problem Solver was no agent of Cain's, but a high caliber genuine officer of the city. Circles rotated on his HUD, bouncing around the display until they all converged on Shikai just as he stabbed the last Watchman. PS4's treaded feet crunched on the dusty Tian street as he leveled his finger for Shikai. When Shikai turned, PS4 emitted a small missile-like projectile that shot for the ground at Shikai's feet; and removing a 1-foot bar of iron from a holster at his waist, the armored PS4 gave chase.

Cain disembarked his carriage before the Watch Fort just as a giant flower helixed up, then condensed in and destroyed the whole thing. There was a man standing before it who did not belong in Tia. He was a virus who had been in search of Cain all along; and Cain in search of him.

“Feuererkonig,” his kingly voice met the kingly obtrusion. The battlements were set; a crumbling courtyard; a crumbling tower; in the center simply two men with great wares. Whose tools would dull first?

Cain’s feet carried all the momentum of the carriage from which he had departed; his feet pounding the cobblestone, arms cast behind him in a (lol) Naruto run. What summoned in his right hand was a two-ended scythe. (1) What summoned in his left, an assortment of runes circulating around his wrist. (2)

Now Black Tower was ready for the picking; Tia was consuming itself in herbological genocidal suicide; and Cain ran toward Fuererkonig with the earth of Tia gathering at his hand.

Spoiler

 

1) Summoning of weapon: Psy-fun

2) Prep 1: Geomancy

 

 

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Image result for ace combatBeyond the bombs there was only silence permeating the outskirts of Tia, one foreboding the death and terror to come. 

At first there was only a thing clattering of metal; a swirl of air and motors that was only discernible to those with extraordinary hearing. The explosions and combat, much closer and more prominent, no doubt made hearing the approaching helicopters difficult considering their distance from Tia proper. But, nonetheless, the flying machines approached with great haste, becoming louder and louder as the city neared. Behind the helicopters flew a squadron of armored planes, their engines even louder and more aggressive than their brethren. 

Then, from the silence of distance and the roar of engines, a voice spoke. Low and gruff, a presence of authority riding the coattails of his words. A Peacekeeper. "Evacuation of civilians takes priority. Hostiles are only to be engaged if they are posing an eminent threat, is that clear? There's enough to deal with before engaging whoever the fuck is down there at every turn."

A second voice. This one last deep, almost monotone in its predictive tone. "Whatever the chemical is that's spreading throughout Tia seems to be airborne. All units without innate defenses against airborne diseases are required to where gas masks. This is not a request." Static and then nothing once more. 


 Sir_Prometheus | Roll20: Online virtual tabletopThe various airborne platoons touched down within minutes of the initial explosions going off, already disembarking as the mysterious Maleficence Plant sprouted its ugly head to spray off an even uglier purple mist. Peacekeeper Julius Thorne was one of the first to step off the aerial units and, as the officer in charge, immediately started to give out orders to the others. 

A self-circulating oxygen barrier went up around the landing spot, managed and sustained by a combination of active military magic users and technologically advanced generators. It caused a light bluish hue to rise around them in a semi-circle, creating not only a defense against the air contaminants but also a safe zone for civilians to retreat into. Nearly a thousand soldiers were sent out into squadrons, each clad in high-tech protective gear and carrying dozens of portable gas masks for anyone they come across that needed one. 

Julius looked into the distance, beyond the bluish hue and frowned before looking at the rather scrawny (at least in comparison) man at his side. "I'm going to go out as well," he said, small lines of electricity sparking around his person. 

"That doesn't seem like the greatest idea," the scrawny scientist, David, responded.

It didn't matter what the scientist thought, however, as he would never dream of doing any more than suggesting his opinions to a Peacekeeper. Julius eyed the man for a but a moment and then reached to his side where he pulled out a short stick. With a click of a button it elongated into a seven foot pole. His other hand reached up to his ear, pressing the ON button of the wireless receiver. 

"I need four satellite bases erected throughout Tia within 20 minutes. Majors and Colonels are to split up among themselves and fan out. Congregate at communicated points to our South, West, and East. Current camp will be North base." That said Julius grabbed a breather from David and hooked it over his nose where to grew to encompass the bottom half of his face, producing self-recycling oxygen. 

No one confronted him at first. Only frightened civilians and passing local law enforcement. That, however, didn't last long. Soon enough Julius ran into a horde of crazed people, biting, scratching, even eating each other. None of them were doing anything to hide their desires or hunger, ripping each other apart in the middle of street lit only by the dim street lamps high above their heads. 

His first thought was Bliss. But no, those tearing at each other's throats weren't the same species. Plus it had to be injected. Whatever the current stuff was, it was probably an airborne virus. Or, perhaps, like Bliss, a drug? Julius clicked on his radio transmitters. "David, get a sample of the virus. Test it for artificial or manipulated chemicals. It might be a drug rather than a virus." Another thought hit him. Only two organizations came to mind when he thought about wide spread usage of powerful drugs. The Dead and, though only rumored to have existed, Babylon Inc. But Babylon was all but destroyed and the Dead had been inactive for years. The Peacekeeper's frown deepened as he jumped into the fray. The area directly around him erupted into a sphere of electrical arrays that when in contact with a civilians, would painlessly shock them into states of non-mobility. The vast majority of civilians couldn't stand up to a direct attack from a Peacekeeper, much less those without sense or reason, so it took little to no effort from Julius to paralyze them, consequently slipping them into anti-magic cuffs. He'd rounded up a good number of them before an armored truck appeared. Although it was usually used for criminals, it was lined with individual cages that would be useful for the specific situation.

"How many of these do we have?" he asked the driving soldier.

"Not enough, sir. Not enough." 

Julius' radio cackled, a small, whispered voice coming through the intercom. "Sir, there's a disturbance at Girdy's Girder. There are civilians still inside the store, infected civilians, but hostiles are approaching. Requesting back up."

"I'm on my way." And he was. 

@vielle @Thotification @Dolor Aeternum

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Stealth was of the essence.

Schrei's route to the Tower had been planned out well beforehand, meant to keep travel time low whilst minimizing the chances of the carriage being seen. Both the Dead as an organization and she as an individual had their ways and means of avoiding long-distance scrying and other magical scans or searches, but conventional senses were not to be underestimated. That meant making use of the city's layout, rushing behind rows of buildings that blocked the Tower's view, passing through the thick clouds of Maleficence being spread by the plants and remaining concealed within the purple mists. It meant adjusting course, where necessary, to avoid Tia's remaining defenders and the thickest presses of the maddened mobs. Inasmuch as a carriage could sneak, it sneaked, slunk, and crept its way towards the Black Tower, a killer closing in on its slumbering target.

Not all the way, though. In the dusty outskirts, where the populace was thin and the Tower loomed tall and menacing, the battered vehicle came to a sudden halt in the middle of an empty street, for no clear reason whatsoever.

Schrei hopped off, her feet touching the ground with a noise not unlike a sigh. She beckoned silently for the Apprentice to follow, then shooed the Skeleton away. With all its passengers disembarked, the ruined carriage creaked into motion one final time, dragged off to be abandoned, perhaps cut apart and burned. The horses could be salvaged, but alas, those damaged wheels were well beyond repair by now.

In the meantime, the small vampire was drawing out a small vial of red fluid, downing it in a single gulp. Then took a few steps, and kicked a manhole cover.

Not a gesture of frustration, nor one born of ennui. The metal dented beneath her boot, and with both hands she levered it free, before clambering down into the fetid hole beneath. A sewer lay down there, pitch-black thick with the putrid stink of Maleficence, the sharp smell of blood, and other distasteful things besides.

An overpowering scent, perhaps, but the quiet down there was almost calming. High-pitched pings flew from Schrei's tongue and rebounded off the slime covered walls, painting a scene in the color of echoes, identifying—there, between one faceless brick and another—a tiny crack in the wall, within which hid rusted gears and mechanisms, an archaic but still functional design.

If it worked, though, it was meant to open from inside. Thus, an improvised means of entry would be required. Schrei's right hand ducked into her coat again, pulling forth another red vial, whilst her left summoned between its fingers a minuscule sphere, clear as glass and twice as fragile. This she crushed, before swallowing the dose of blood and kicking down the wall.

It crashed inward before her, the scrawny killer somehow exerting a strength that seemed ludicrous for her frame. The little orb, however, had worked its magic: even as stone and metal crashed down in a collapsed heap before her, it made no sound at all. Not a peep, not a hint of vibration to be caught by even the sharpest of ears.

Stealth was of the essence, after all.

Trusting her assigned partner to follow behind, Schrei clambered on over the destruction she'd wrought and into the tunnel hidden beyond. Old and narrow it was, filled with dust and entirely unlit. Solidly built, though, the dry and musty air within a sharp contrast to the fetid sewer's stench. Tiny runes on the walls had helped keep the groundwater out and the passageway intact, whilst ensuring that the hidden route evaded the senses of geomancers over the years. As always, though, no amount of secrecy or security could keep out the bugs. As she marched her quiet way down the passageway's length, Schrei found herself constantly ducking beneath cobwebs, using echolocation to pinpoint spiders in the dark and snatch them from their resting places. Each one she caught, she shoved in her mouth, crunching on their hairy legs and sucking the hemolymph from their wriggling bodies.

Beneath houses and streets the tunnel led, past pipes and sewers and shafts, and other secret passageways besides. Beneath the Black Tower's thick walls and stiff defenses, beneath its exquisitely tiled floors, leading towards, if the diagrams had been correct, a carefully hidden entry. Now that they were closer Schrei could hear things from above, and began to pinpoint her targets, sharing approximate locations and known movements with the Apprentice. Vampires were harder to track than most, and from underground she couldn't hear anything from the Tower's uppermost floors, but this would do for a start.

The spread of Maleficence had been all but contained within the structure above. A few had been infected, but they were dead or captured, with security forces already scrambling to identify the poison and figure out a cure. It seemed that Karl Matton ran a tight ship, tight enough that the oncoming infiltrators would have few distractions to rely on. Already Schrei could feel the probing fingers of sixth senses and information-gathering abilities, sweeping all around the tower for any sign of incoming hostility.

(Though of her, of course, they found no trace.)

It was a floor tile, in the end. Not a cabinet or cuboard, nor a hidden lever in a bookcase. Just a floor tile, which through the right methods could be slid aside to enter the passageway from within the tower. Even easier to open from the other side, but as she reached up to do so Schrei encountered a problem.

Someone was standing on it.

Did they know? No, or they'd have trapped the passageway. An annoying coincidence, nothing more. Hostiles above, she sent to the Apprentice, the words flashing over the telepathic connection as stark white chalk on an imaginary black surface. Be ready.

Two more tiny transparent orbs, one from a pocket and the other crystallizing into her fingers from thin air. She crushed the former first, adjusting her headphones and wincing slightly as the noise contained within was released. Buzzing, high-pitched and quiet but indescribably irritating all the same, a sound the brought to mind an angry wasp or a hungry mosquito.

Above, the vampire shifted uncomfortably, glancing about for the vile insect that now pestered him so. Unable to find it, he moved to avoid it, stepping away—

—and Schrei struck.

Crushing the other orb to cloak the surrounding area in silence, forcing the entryway open and leaping out with the strength that remained from the vials she'd consumed earlier, pulling out a sharpened wooden stake and ramming it through the vampire's chest before he'd even registered what was going on.

Stolen blood stained the oh-so-innocuous floor tiles, and the two other nobles in the room screamed as their companion toppled, backing away and immediately calling for help. Or at least, they tried to. They opened their mouths, diaphragms pumping air up their throats, and nothing came out. In silence their cries died, and in silence they saw Schrei hurtling towards them, bloody stake in hand, looking mildly annoyed that her infiltration had taken a couple of seconds longer than expected.

Another message flitted out across the city, directed to Cain and Riforte.

Black Tower breached. Extermination ongoing.

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The Zombie had seen PS4 out of the corner of his eye just in time to see him fire a frigging missile from his finger; and reacted by turning and throwing the recently deceased corpse into it's path and leaping backward to perch on a streetlamp. Jumping had been a good idea, as when the projectile slammed into the ground in front of where he had been standing, the body left there was pretty thoroughly shredded. Grinning at the new arrival, he took the hilt of the sword impaling him in both hands, and removed it with a sickening noise. Standing up straight, he twirled the sword in his left hand while he rubbed the back of his head with his right.

"Ah, geez... I really wasn't supposed to make too much of a fuss coming in here," a grin spread across his face, "But honestly I prefer it this way. Stealing's no fun if you don't have to work for!"

As the sword was pointed toward PS4 during it's spin, Shikai suddenly sent it flying through the air at the Problem Solver, then charged at him himself.

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She had expected more from the Rooks, really.

Belladonna strides forward with her companions in tow on the path to Girdy's Girders, a lazy grin curling around the edges of her lips. The sense of satisfaction at a job well done is tempered a bit by bewilderment, how easy it had been to complete it. It hadn’t taken much to get the group to surrender; one mention of the Tian mayor’s name attached to her organization, one mention of releasing him from the Black Tower, and they had crumbled like a house of cards on a precarious slope.

It had been too easy. Of course, there had been a bit of aggressive posturing and casual threatening involved, but it had gone about as smoothly as if Belladonna had been Nica Sero herself. Rather boring, that, but there is no need to look a gift horse in the mouth at this point in time.

Rounding a corner to the road leading to the steel mill, Belladonna stops in her tracks, observing the chaos of the crowd pooled around the building, shifting and twisting with violence as Maleficence surges through their bodies. She takes note of the soldiers trying to contain the madness, faces protected by breathers and gas masks. It hadn’t taken long for them to—

Wait. There.

She does not personally know him, not really. But the voices in the wind, the authority in the man’s stance, the thrum of power coursing through the air like a warning sign: yes, she knows about that, at the very least.

A Peacekeeper. Well then.

“Ever gone toe to toe with one of them before?” She asks Xavier and the Mistress, eyes caught on the dark figure in the distance, angling herself to stand in the shadows, beyond the faint reach of the street lamps. She does not need to explain who one of them is; it rather goes without saying at this point.

Belladonna can be many things to different people, but foolhardy she most certainly is not. She will reap her rewards tonight, she is certain, but she will require a more subtle approach to this, with the sudden, game-changing addition of a Peacekeeper on the board. Taking a moment of silence to observe, Belladonna waits to construct a plan in her head, or whether her companions have ideas or actions of their own to take.

 


@Dolor Aeternum @Thotification @Ataraxy

Edited by vielle
forgot again!

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Xavier elected to remain silent as Belladonna spoke to the Rooks, happy to play the part of some hired muscle or silent imposing figure. As the intimidation went on, Xavier just admired the woman’s dialogue and the manipulation she employed to bend the will of the group before her. He didn’t care what she gained out of the ordeal at the time but that didn’t mean he wasn’t aware of it. An end came to the transactional meeting so Xavier pivoted and followed Belladonna for a while before hearing the sound of flying vessels and the sound of several men directing actions. Within the cover of the shadows, Xavier stood tall and then caught sight of Julius in the exact moment that Belladonna had. Trepidation settled in but it had nothing to do with himself and more to do with the red haired beauty beside him. She was the one that had committed a crime after all.

 

"Ever gone toe to toe with one of them before?

 

“No but my boss has seen one fight before. They are…difficult to handle.”

 

Obtenebra undulated from within him, the paranoia of the ancient symbiote settling in and urging its host to understand the threat before him. The tar like substance snaked through his eyes, his arms, and his feet much faster than usual as if preparing itself for action. Xavier had always been given specific instructions to avoid Terran military and law enforcement so he contemplated leaving but noticed that several gas mask wearing soldiers had already begun scouring the areas nearby. Xavier was built for stealth despite his massive strength and bulk but he did not need any trigger happy personnel taking it upon themselves to tie him to all of this chaos either.

 

So it was then that the orc decided to also wait to see what the other two females intended to do. Much like he had in Tormo, he’d just sit back and observe for now. That was what he was sent here to do by Blob Boss so that was what he must do….for the sake of his true tribe.

@vielle @Thotification @Ataraxy

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