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Alexei

The Harrowing | Kadia Event

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It was a fight to the death, Alexa's ill advised strike not only missing but the khornate monstrosity taking advantage of her psyker powers to press on her mind. It was a grave slight, to attempt such frivolous attacks against a beast made of corruption and misery combined in a corporeal shell, seething with hatred and sheer burning bloodlust. It was an intense headache, like someone slowly driving a titanium spike right into her cranium with a power fist. But her eyes didn't stop burning with her own font of psychic potential, warp energy still pulsing out of her sight. 

Kneeling, reeling, every movement a struggle, every thought of retaliation snatched. But for a second there, the Inquisitor could feel a burning light inside of her, like a fire bellowing inside her like a furnace. She very slowly, but firmly, stood up and looked at the demon directly into what she thought would be it's foul eyes. A trembling hand raised, the other in a white knuckled grip around her blade, Alexa's mind flooded with the memories of her past... How the odds were against her all this time, and how she had beaten them all... And now in what could be her darkest hour, the dice were cast, and she stood tall...

A moment courage, shining brightest in the backdrop of despair.

The Inquisitor braced herself, and in an instant, a psychic scream of her own clashed against the unsurmountable chaos energy of the blackened knight, perhaps matching it for a second. And a second is all she needed. She knew she couldn't stand mind to mind against a corporeal channel of the Blood God, but she needed to keep it's focus for but a single moment.

From behind her, the Stalwart image of her protector charged forward, heavy armor not impeding her speed in the slightest. Guardian Lena Drachenberg's stride was victorious, at least in spirit, as the combined efforts of Tenkai and Alexa would hopefully give the opening she needed. She was not a Greatsword, but every Guardian in the Force Majeure knew that one swing could be as decisive as a flurry. And one swing she attempted, all her might behind that single blow of her war glaive, aimed at that chip in the back of the daemon champion's leg.

@Fierach @Tenkai Matsumoto

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The inquisitor's efforts were amusing to the bloodletter. Even at her most powerful, her most desperate, it took everything she had to match up against the presence of the Blood God's blessing, and the Herald was no sorcerous pasty like one of the God of Change's minions. She could barely even move her sword! The Herald had no such trouble, giving an exaggerated flourish off to the side just to hammer in how outmatched she was. First, the darmon would kill her would be savior, Lena, for it knew well of the weak human psyker's attempt to keep him occupied. Such tricks were expected by those who lacked the strength of Khorne. With her savior butchered, the Herald would take his time flaying the sweet despair-laden blood from Alexa's form, oh yes.

What it did not count upon, was the technique performed by Tenkai. Struck dead on in the side of the head, it turned and snarled at the interlopers, and Lena caught on that it was aware of her approach. Ducking the counterstroke, she successfully jammed her halberd into the daemon's heel, staggering it and crippling its mobility.

The monster gave a roar of pain, and then simply backhanded the Guardian in response, sending her flying. Lena would land a few meters away, coughing up blood with her breastplate crumpled.

 

Edited by Fierach

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Tenkai's distraction had worked far better than he could have anticipated.

With the daemon's attention focused on the monk, Guardian Drachenberg was given the opening needed to deliver a crippling blow. The halberd jammed into its heel would make it harder to move and turn on a dime, which is exactly what was needed in order to outmaneuver the beast. For her efforts, Lena had been repaid with a violent backhand, keeping her from pressing the advantage further.

But she wouldn't need to. Her actions were not in vain, for the time the daemon had wasted switching its attention once more to an entirely different source of ire had taken its mind off of the one who had originally snatched it in the first place. It had made a grave mistake, for the brief moment it had been distracted by the Guardian was like an eternity for Tenkai to work with, closing the distance from the rear on the side near the Herald's crippled leg. Though that backhand had surely given it the satisfaction of crumpling Lena's form, it had also given Tenkai an unloaded and outstretched limb well within his measure.

As if without warning, a flash of steel so bright and so brief that it could scar the very air shot out as Tenkai took full advantage of the opening, cutting the daemon's arm right at the elbow. Oh, did Tenkai love how much the warriors of Khorne were such slaves to their own aversion to showing weakness and cowardice that they so brazenly wore armor that would show off their "blessed" physique, corded muscles made of fibers like spun iron. Though their gauntlets and breastplates could protect them from blows and bear the mark of their god, their exposed biceps and elbows were prime targets. Against an ordinary swordsman with an ordinary sword, armor was a trivial thing to a Bloodletter, let alone a Herald of Khorne. 

But Tenkai was no ordinary swordsman, nor Muramasa an ordinary sword.

Landing that strike earlier had managed to achieve two things. It left the daemon feeling overconfident in its own gifts, knowing that the blades of its enemies could not pierce its hide. However, it also gave Tenkai a fairly good idea of the thickness and toughness of the daemon's flesh, with his hands honed by years of training and test-cutting to understand just what kind of force and angle was needed to drive his blade through it. Enemies who relied on their armor-like skin did not last long against Tenkai so long as he was able to land a few hits to get used to the resistance. That was why this time around, there was no getting stuck half-way through the muscle or stopped by bone. Tenkai's Muramasa would end up cleaving straight through the limb in a single clean stroke, severing it at the elbow and leaving it disarmed. 

And while simply disarming a Herald of Khorne was in no way a finishing blow, it would be more than enough to turn the tables on the creature and overwhelm it.

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With Lena out of the fight, and an unending buzzing sound grating inside her mind, Alexa kneeled panting for air over the exhertion of throwing that psychic scream towards the daemon of Khorne. She cursed her feebleness, how weak she was in comparison of this putrid being of pure seething hatred. For a second, she thought of defeat, how the world would not see her again, or her friends, or even the warriors she barely knew but fought to their end just to see this one miserable beast felled in one way or another. Would it be peaceful? To finally die? To finally leave the suffering of the world behind the curtain? Would she even make it to an afterlife, knowing her soul would be ripe for the taking of the warped gods of chaos?

But it would not end.

A flourish from Tenkai sliced the arm of the blackened knight as the area fell into an eerie, preternatural silence. Or maybe it was just inside her head? Her eyes started to focus around, looking for another way out, her human instincts kicking in once again. A dog cornered is one that fights until it couldn't, and now with that in mind, she couldn't help but to feel as if she hadn't seen this before. Indeed, she had, every day, every second, and just a few instants ago. Lena, Davath, Tenkai, and the other guardians that had suffered grievous injuries or simply lost the fight. But that they did... Fight.

Fight until the end.

She merely dropped to the ground and covered her face. Certainly, something a Khornate daemon would found pathetic, a mere human girl giving up to her faith. But perhaps, it would be too late, or so she hoped, that he would see the errant shard of metal shoot straight to his charred visage. And then another, and another, and another. Suddenly, every piece of metal, from tiny to the largest, began to assail his figure, some bouncing on his plate, but others repeatedly clashing against his skin, Even Lena's glaive, so idly forgotten, would fly blade first against the daemon's skin. More metal joined, twisting, piercing, turning. And a final blast of superheated shrapnel coming from the girl herself, sent flying back by the sheer recoil of the Guardian's shotgun she had managed to pull towards herself enough.

If the daemon tried to move, he would find himself riddled with so many shards on his flesh, so much wrought steel twisted against his skin and over his body, that mobility would be even more impaired than ever.

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@Tenkai Matsumoto @Maverick

The Daemon seemed to diminish in size. It was a curious quirk of the warpborn, with reality altering itself as if he had always been only slightly larger then a human, then his imposing presence prior as a Herald. It bellowed a hateful roar of surprise as it found itself with a severed arm, the stump meat of the wound impossibly smooth thanks to the power of the Muramasa sword.

He even had to shield himself against the storm of steel and blade the psyker threw his way. The indignity of it all rankled him. He was a Herald of the Eight Fold Path! He was the Blackened Knight! He denied the end, and would deny it as long as he could, even as the plating of the corrupted airship rumbled and shook under a huge explosion elsewhere, with a threat to stumble all.

The Khorne daemon lashed out, almost blind, bleeding phantasmal energy from a dozen small wounds. Greatsword Asil was bearing in to aide the others, beginning to draw his weapon up for an overhead blow when the sudden shaking caused him to misposition, an opening by the merest of misfortunes, and the keening hellblade hacked through his wrists.

The daemon automatically knew he had successfully struck someone. Rounding on the taste of fresh blood in the air and the Greatsword's anguish, the Blackened Knight angled his sword back in, piercing through the gold brass power armor until the daemon weapon was hilted.

He would try to pull it out and whirl about to confront Tenkai as the monk no doubt would be moving in for a killing blow.

The Daemon's sword did not move. He snarled, glancing back. With the last of his strength, servos straining, and lifeblood gushing from the rent in his armor, Asil clutched the Hellblade and prevented its movement.

Edited by Fierach

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Back on the Bridge

@-Lilium-

The surviving Greatsword leveled his rifle at the ascending champion, and squeezed off a burst of high calibur munitions. The surviving Guardians did the same, adding to the outpour of firepower with their shotguns. All seemed to have no effect, save for eliciting a long, bloated chuckle at the futility of it all, a laughter that echoed with the power of damnation.

James lowered his swords for a moment, gathering his strength, taking stock of the situation. Although the bloodletters were defeated, what was coming into being was a creature that far outstripped them in ability and deadliness. Warp taint ran thick through the air, the coppery tang of blood scented with something foul and unnatural, and his hatred rose. So much blood, so much slaughter, just for this. He looked out at the obelisk of Parim, so close yet so far from affecting the battle, whose fall and destruction would throw the entire city into the predations of the warp.

That was it.

"Eshara" he commanded, and the Greatsword moved up to his side, weapons held at the ready. "Yes Lord?" came the ready response. He too was winded, and catching his breath, yet ready to battle on at a moment's notice. But James had another task for him in mind. "Restrain Lady Belfreid"

Selene would likely protest if she could. She might even scream or strike at him for such a command. Eshara Dominic would do his duty well. At that moment, James could only turn to his lover and give her an apologetic, sly smile. "I'll be right back."

Turning back, the Daemonslayer charged forth.

Firearms would not harm the Khorne-blessed daemon prince that was emerging. Only raw strength and close combat would. It was in their way, it was in their blood. It was in James's as well.

He was as a comet, hurtling across the room, a brilliant ball of flame and focused fury. He struck the monster with titanic force, pushing himself beyond his limits for the moment of impact, pushing the half-formed daemon prince before him back, and back, and back until they both fell out of the giant hole in the warship's hull.

Edited by Fierach

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James' words are barely registered before Selene feels the grasp of hands on her upper arms that quickly lock in place around her torso. Pinning them to her sides. Eshara knew if he didn't act quickly enough to restrain her, he would be unable to acquiesce to the given order. There would be no stopping her.

Creases form along her brow while frustration and apprehension quickly boiling their way to the forefront of her mind. Selene cannot escape this well of darkening fear threatening to encompass her. This isn't to say she doubts her love's abilities or strength, but merely reflects the adoration in her heart and soul for the Daemon Slayer. Him being her only weakness. The one and only thing in the world that can bring her to her knees, should he become injured or even…

It's a hard swallow, dry and shaky along with the anger causing her body to tremble in Eshara’s hardened grasp. Their eyes meet-James soft apology hardening as he begins to engage-momentarily and the trepidation she feels grows exponentially because of it.

"JAMES!" A mirroring of entwined love and rage blows past her lips. Hot air exhaled so startlingly fast is suddenly held as she watches him move. Several emotions contort her features, her breathing on pause. No matter the depth of her feelings, Selene finds herself too afraid to fight Eshara off or say another word. Knowing she'd be more than enough of a distraction possibly even a death sentence to James if she tries to intervene. Fully aware that he would attempt to save her should she get in the way, rather than protecting himself as he should.


@Fierach

Edited by -Lilium-

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Chaos Champion and Chaos Slayer fell, twin pinpricks of rage, blood and flame streaking down the ashen sky. His ritual interrupted, warp power boiled away from the would-be Murderer of Parime, revealing the man underneath, the root of evil.

And James collided with him. He grappled with him. He struck him in midair and was struck in return. Blade were lost in the fever pitch of their plummet, skill cast aside by desperation and both men merely throttled the other, striking however they could, wherever they could.

Their fall was broken by a slope. The smooth surface of the obelisk of city presented itself, knocking the wind out of both combatants, still exchanging blows while sliding down its surface, unable to gain the upper hand on one another. A last ditch attempt to cling onto the impossible surface might have succeeded but for one killer was then dragged off by the other by the foot. Neither suffered to die alone, the universe demanded it, one had to die at the hands of the other.

As they entered the final several hundred meters of fall, Rakzan managed to latch his hands firmly around James's throat. Leveraging his legs up against the Chaos warlord's chest, the Master Knight pushed with all of his might until something gave, tendons and muscles and ligaments reaching their limit, Rakzan's arms becoming useless as they were ripped from their socket.

The impact came. Tremendous. Two shockwaves so close together they blended in as one. Succeeding in the last exchange, James positioned his opponent to take the brunt of landing. Rakzan's chest was instantly caved in, crushed despite his hellforged armor, becoming a goresplattered cavern marked by the Daemonslayer's presence, and flattened to a pulp.

A death rattle arose from the ashes. The warlord was attempting to deny reality. Choking on dust, choking on blood, but with no lungs intact to choke with. James felt like every bone was broken in his body, but it was nothing compared to his foe. With all of the the Chaos Knight's bones ground to paste, his form a sack of organs and crimson fluid already exploded, there was only one final thing to do.


Rakzan was already dead when James staggered to his feet, and raised his fists above him. It was the principle of the matter. Roaring in triumph, the Daemonslayer brought his gauntlets down in a hammerblow, cracking open his enemy's skull and utterly crushing it, splattering red and grey matter across the entirety of their landing crater.

 Victory.

Edited by Fierach

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“No!!!”

Tenkai watched as Asil made his bold attempt to strike down the weakened daemon, only to be impaled on its hellblade. After most of their group had been slaughtered by the Blackened Knight, Tenkai had resolved to prevent any further losses and send the beast screaming back into the Warp. But seeing another one of his comrades cut down was a painful blow, carrying with it the bitter sting of failure. It was a feeling he knew all to well, even in the days long before he joined the Order, before he even left his homeworld. There was a time when that biting edge would cut off a piece of him every time it struck, each successive failure chipping away his spirit and adding to his burden. 

No longer.

Now every loss, every sacrifice made by those who fought alongside him and put their trust in him burned in a furnace of vengeful fury. As deleterious as the effects of revenge could be on ones karma, drawing them further down the Path of Asura, it was undeniably a powerful resource in times of desperation. It was a font of strength that Tenkai no longer hesitated to draw from when time came, and now was that time.

Tenkai drew his sword back into a sha no kamae, a tail guard parallel to the ground as he focused his ki. The magitek circuitry in Muramasa’s hilt came to life in response  to this abrupt surge in power. The monk and the sword’s combined aura rose from them like vapors as arcs of energy sparked to life and grounded themselves to the floor. He deepened the stance, turning his hips to the right until the sword was behind his back, an exaggerated posture that had far too many openings and impracticalities to be a functional guard.

But it wasn’t a guard. Tenkai was simply winding up. 

Up until now, all they had managed to do was chip the daemon’s armor, riddle it with holes, small cuts and leave it hamstrung. Though this had clearly worn down the monster, such debilitations were only worrying cuts and flesh wounds to the daemonic champions of Khorne. It would not stop, carried forward by its unrelenting bloodthirst, so long as it could still move and function. The only way to put down these berserkers was with a decisive killing blow. And thanks to the relentless assault of Inquisitor Alexa and the Custodes, dealing such a blow was now possible. 

Tenkai made no move to advance. There would be no need to come within measure, for the daemon was already within measure. With the last of his strength, Asil managed to keep the daemon’s blade in place so that even if it gained the courage to betray its own nature and flee from Tenkai’s strike, he would not be able to do so. And though Tenkai would not end up hitting Asil, it was clear that the Greatsword’s fate was sealed. There was no way the daemon could use that against him now. 

I have HAD IT with you! 

Zetsu...!!!

Having mustered up the strength, Tenkai swiftly raised the blade up from his exaggerated posture, transitioning into a high guard and cutting downward decisively in a single beat.

“...Itto Ryodan!

絶・一刀両断

Zetsu Itto Ryodan

(Absolute One-Stroke Bisection)

 

The sheer force of the ki released from Tenkai’s strike displaced a massive amount of air  in the shape of a blade beam that streaked over the ground on a direct course with the daemon. It was similar to the attack Tenkai had used before, except far more condensed and far taller than the daemon. The wave blade would cut the Blackened Knight completely down the middle, armor and all, and still possess enough force to continue traveling down the corridor until it collided with part of the ship, dealing collateral damage to its cursed hull and whatever awaited in the room ahead.

Edited by Tenkai Matsumoto

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Engine Room

The Herald of Khorne managed to finally free its sword, right as the the ki wave sliced into it, brilliant light shining at the part of the wave as it sliced clean through and continued on into the rest of the ship, chopping into machinery, severing cables, pipes, and cutting into the reactor housing of the warship itself.

It reacted far quicker then the daemon, who seemed frozen in time at the instant of his defeat. As explosions erupted in the distance and got closer, the Blackened Knight was silhouetted by the blasts, sliding apart like the reflection in a mirror unaligned with reality. Wisps of warp energy bled away from the monster's torso and arms as it fell into pieces and dissipated in small, brief implosions, banished back into the warp for a thousand and one years.

Victory.

The air became... lighter. Their surroundings didn't change but the oppressive atmosphere of blood and taint seemed to have lifted somewhat. The communications channel seemed to have freed up with the death of the Blackened Knight, and all the remaining friendly forces in the engine room would hear the voice of Greatsword Eshara Dominic hail them.

"This is Greatsword Eshara. The bridge objective has been completed. Repeat. The bridge objective has been completed. Recommend immediate exfiltrate. Engine team do you copy?"

Whatever their answer might have been, it seemed like it might have been prudent to escape as soon as possible. The corrupted airship groaned and shuddered under their feet. The nexuses of power that were the two heads of the Chaos invasion had been defeated, and dispersed back into the ether, and with it, the fortunes of this massive assault. Throughout the city, sorely pressed Kadians found themselves relieved and amazed as the daemons and beastmen that attacked them turned tail to run.

The vessel they were on shuddered again, a long, sick warble that began deep in its tainted steel bones and rumbled throughout. Secondary explosions ripped out from the engine now, the unreality of its creation meeting reality and beginning to fail.

Time to go.

@Maverick

@Tenkai Matsumoto

Edited by Fierach

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@-Lilium- @Tenkai Matsumoto @Maverick

Ending

In the aftermath of retreating back to the Imperator Bellum, the Order of Force Majeure would be overjoyed to learn that Master Knight Eredas survived his trip overboard, none happier (and also angrier) then Selene Belfreid. That decision he made would cause her to require hours, if not days, of soothing on his part.

The reprieve granted to the Kadians by repelling of the Chaos hordes was brief, as the Battle for Parime was only the first step in the lifting of the Harrowing. Convening surviving military leadership of the city's forces, the Force Majeure would rally a battlegroup under their command. As a token force remained to safeguard the city the rest would gather in their airships, and embark with the Force Majeure to lift the siege of the capital city.

The battle that followed was climactic.

Spearheading a drive into the rear of the enemy forces, the Force Majeure sought to deal a hammer-blow, an overwhelming decapitation strike targeting the Chaos leadership. It was an effort that succeeded thanks to the embattled defenders realizing that their salvation had come, that the tide of the war turned, and they sallied forth from the walls to meet them in a tremendous clash of arms.

At the very end of it all, James, Tenkai, Selene, Alexa, and the young Emperor Connor Melisende faced off against a ravenous Chaos Spawn of enormous magnitude, the result of a failed gambit by the Dark Acolyte at the helm of the enemy warp-tainted forces. Their combined efforts did not just merely banish the failed warlord back to the warp, but annihilated him, burning his twisted soul out of the ether for all time.

The cost of the war was high. As militaristic and proud as Kadia was, they were nearly broken under the strain of the Chaos invasion, cut off from the greater world for a great many years within the time-dilation effect of the Harrowing. The most evident example of it was in the throne itself, as young Connor had been a child mere weeks before, and now he was a fully grown young man, a war-worn king, lord of a nation he now had to rebuild and reform if they were to ever avoid events like this occurring ever again. It was their own hubris, and pride, and an almost arrogant past that led to this outcome, but thanks to the Force Majeure, they would have the chance to grow from it.

In the weeks after the lifting of the Harrowing, a great ceremony would be held in the capital. The dead would be mourned and remembered. The present was saved, and the future would be anticipated. Repaired and refurbished airships plied the now-clear skies, and underneath it all the Kadians honoured their saviors, who merely replied that it was their duty. The honours came nonetheless.

=========

Summary:

For the sacrifices made by the Order of Force Majeure, a obelisk of the blackest granite, inscribed with the name of every Custode, Guardian and Greatsword who perished to aid a nation they have never known. The Force Majeure Airship called the Imperator Bellum also gained renown as an elite vessel, in both its abilities and its crew.

For James Eredas, the Daemonslayer was gifted a master-crafted helmet gilded with splendorous wings. It was a regal artifact known as the Halo of Parime, a commanding-looking piece of wargear with a powerful shielding technology built in called a conversion field generator. Situated in the wings of the war helm, the conversion field was designed to bleed off the high velocity and energy of incoming projectiles, turning them instead into harmless flashes of light.

For Alexa Caelestia, a promotion for her service to the nation to the rank of Lady Inquisitor First Class with all perks and privileges that went with it. However she might have felt her greatest gain was an increase in her powers, born of experience in battle, and the gifting to her of an ornamental seal designed by Force Majeure artisans, filled with psycho-circuitry capable of more efficiently channeling her powers. Afterwards as well, before Lena Drachenberg left to resume her duties with the Force Majeure, the Guardian personally handed the Inquisitor a stylish hat emblazoned with the signature "I" of her ordos as a symbol of their friendship and experience together.

For Tenkai Matsumoto, he needed neither reward, nor acclaim. Content to let James take the brunt of publicity, he preferred to keep working as he always had, reserved and humble. When the weapon of the Blackened Knight was found in the ruined carcass of the Chaos airship, it was Tenkai who took responsibility for it. As daemon weapons often dissipated with the defeat of their owner, it was strange that it remained, and so he sealed the Khornate Hellblade under sutra and stasis for study and safety.

For Selene Belfreid, it was enough to have rescued her origin nation, and bring renown to her family's name. A clandestine trip afterwards to her homelands saw her reaffirmed by her path in life, and welcomed with much pride and joy, and that was a greater prize then any of the physical rewards that were thrust upon her. There would be many more battles and adventures to come for the the young Crystalline Arrow, Heroine of the Harrowing, but she would meet them head-on with vigorous sword arm, and renewed faith in herself, and in her chosen Daemonslayer.

Fin.

Edited by Fierach

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