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Chapter 2: Kamikaze (LoD)

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Perhaps it had been a long day. For some reason, the Djinn seemed largely oblivious to the ice mongrel which had crept below their feet. Natasha felt when the cold hard claws found purchase around her calf, dragging her into the snow. Bending over, she grabbed the mongrel’s claws. There was once a time when she had feared pain, but the daughter of Kru’Gorah had long become acquainted with it. He had beaten her, whipped her, drawn blood multiple times, barely keeping her alive just to torture her more. Until one day, she snapped. She no longer feared the pain. She lusted for it. 

Digging her palms into metal-like talons, she ripped the ice mongrel out from the ground by its claw. Swinging it like a piece of furniture, she slammed it into the second mongrel that had lunged at her. All the while she cackled, her mad laughter filling the raging battlefield with an unnerving presence.

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"So, Operation Backdoor was..."
"For the love of - volcano. Make a volcano."

"Oh yeah... that one - mom?"

"Wha - oh... sh-"

The thunderous crash of a rock smashing down right where Matsuri Hyphy had just been standing echoed over the battlefield. Matsuri, barely escaping with her head, being pulled out of the way by her son, the rock coming so close that the rough edges had ripped some skin off of her cheek as she had turned her head to avoid the rock better. Era, one hand pulling his mother out of harm's way, the other channeling earthen energy into the rock so as to divert its descent ever so slightly so that Matsuri wasn't crushed. He doubted the rock manipulation had done anything, but no matter now. There were yetis. And they needed to die.

For a second, Era fantasized about having a pet yeti before Matsuri took to the air on a wave of blue fire, pelting the yetis from above with searing bolts of flame to draw their attention. Snapped back to reality by the heat, Era knelt down and began to concentrate, attempting to move the land itself. Stone and dirt, coalescing around him to build something. His sister weaving around their slow blows, cutting them with twin swords of black steel and gold. His father hanging back, using his crossbow to aim for the eyes and mouth of each yeti.

Operation Backdoor, true to its name, had to do with a back door. In this case, it referred to a weak point in a castle. As far as the Hyphys had seen, not many enemies were capable of long range attacks; the Yetis hurled ice and rocks, but most opponents were of the melee type. So, the group opted for a different plan of attack: an earthen siege weapon constructed and held together by magic, using heat pressure to launch balls of flaming rock, lava, and other things at the enemy army and at the castle so as to wreak havoc among enemy lines.

Era had to do it fast, though. His family could hold off the yetis for only so long, and even the girl with the gift of foresight could not dodge forever. Already, Aria and Matsuri were slightly wounded from the yetis, and the seemingly useless Ara had been mostly ignored while he had fired off a dwindling supply of crossbow bolts.

It was only a matter of time.

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Behemoth chains were draped all over the battlefield. They led from the feet of the Mongrels. They were draped over the shoulders of the Terror and the gates at which it stood. Draped over the castle Kasyrga behind it.

As the frightless Legionnaires battled forward through beasts of frozen legend, the entire Shawnee shelf of frozen land on which they stood quaked with their warring. Deep gashes and burning scars raked across the ground before perpetrators of great power and strategy, but the Ice Mongrels and the yetis stormed like soldiers who knew they were fated to die into the fray. They came with such ravenous, painless force and volume that, however easy they were to defeat, their sheer numbers would begin to tire the Legion of Doom. In the act of chopping down one Ice Mongrel, another would bite you in the arm. In the act of defending against a yeti, another would wrestle you to the ground from behind. The battlefield was bathed with the blood of Ice Mongrels and yetis, but even so things were somehow beginning to look hopeless. That is, until the presence of fire was made known.

Schrei, the unassuming little vampire, heaved up from beneath a Mongrel and lit up the entire tundra with blue, red and white dragon fire. Mongrels skidded to a halt in a wide arc around the spewing flames, their savage brows contorting with unknowing fear. The yetis were less fearful, having made primitive use of fire before, but the masses of Mongrels were noticeably abated by Schrei’s introduction of fire to the battlefield. Either picking up on the audiomancer’s cues or arriving at the conclusion themselves, many others made use of fire and draconian magic to dispatch of the Mongrels and yetis. The Mongrels were driven back in increasing numbers as it became known that that which they did not understand, they likely feared.

The yetis proved persistently dangerous, however. Groups of them, intelligent eyes beholding Schrei’s fire— Matsuri’s fire— Kru’Gorah’s fire— saw what they must do. In packs of four and five, the yetis moved toward Schrei and Matsuri. A larger group entailing maybe a dozen yetis, framed by hordes of Mongrels, stormed Kru’Gorah.

Matsuri and fam would find it increasingly difficult to defend Era as he constructed the projectile weapon they sorely needed. Ara’s arrows, when they found purchase in the eyes and mouths of the yetis, were especially effective, but with his supply running low things were starting to look dire. That was when Era would hear the crying sound of an infant. If he looked to the ground some three feet beside him, he would see a humanoid infant creature covered in white fir. It was a baby yeti, defenseless and clearly too young to fend for itself.

Meanwhile, Athoxhyx dealt thunderous blows upon his furred and scaled opponents. His main quarry, the largest Ice Mongrel on the battlefield, tossed and turn in a frothing rage at what it thought was its prey, but was proving difficult even to defend against. As Athoxhyx landed his flip over the Mongrel, his decision to throw his lightning bolt at a group of yetis instead of keeping on the Mongrel would prove dangerous. There was a chain wrapped around the Mongrel’s leg that had somehow become entangled with Athoxhyx’s ankle. The Mongrel, with perhaps a modicum of intelligence, took off running even as Athoxhyx summoned his bolts. The Nymerian would have his feet yanked out from under him just as he threw the first bolt. The bolt would take a chunk of hide off the Mongrel’s flank, but that only spurned it to run faster. Athoxhyx’s second bolt would miss just high of the beast. It blasted other Mongrels out of its way as a brutal screech emitted from its tusked mouth. It aimed to run Athoxhyx through a stream of fire coming from one of the pyromancers in the group, so he would have to act fast not to get fried.

As Natasha whirled her Mongrel around, smashing others aside with its flailing presence, the Mongrel began spitting freezing blood and literally falling apart in her hands the more she beat it against other foes. It was indeed time to harvest the cold ichor Kru’Gorah had promised her. Clear in her view would be the brilliance, the horror of battle. On the other side of the valley stood the chained gateways, the Terror and Kasyrga. The Vanguard, containing Dredge and all his top warriors, beckoned her to the front of the Legion of Doom to see the kneeling Terror. Before the kneeling Terror was a column of ice with what looked like an elaborate necklace on it. The necklace beckoned to her, but in a lustful way that suggested if she didn't reach it first, it wouldn't be hers.

Only the Terror wasn’t kneeling. As the Legion drew closer, they would see that the mountainous figure was chained to the castle. It strained against the bonds, trying to get free from the castle. It looked down on the battle with brown, strangely human, fearful eyes. And then the dragon came.

The Ice Dragon’s roar came from over the barren horizon. There was no light to signal where land ended and sky began, way out there, but everyone would know where the land began as soon as the lizardous giant mounted the skyline. Its graceful, horrific wings beat jaggedly against the ripping frozen wind. Its bird-like cry echoed across the sky as it serpentined through the air. Its tail bore a gigantic bludgeon horned with bone spikes, overlays of obsidian blue scales stairwayed up to massive spines protruding from its every vertebra. A great lion’s mane of beautiful silver hair swayed through the sky surreally behind it as it came up behind the straining Terror. The turbine of the Ice Dragon’s beating wings washed over the battlefield with gale force winds as it came to perch on the Terror’s shoulder. Together they looked down on the war as Dredge’s Vanguard neared the Terror’s feet.

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Three minutes.

That was her best estimate of how long her newfound power would last, based on prior experience and the amount of blood she'd consumed. Enough time to change the shape of the battlefield, if she moved quickly and decisively, but any longer and she'd be forced to dip into her remaining supply. Which, judging by the massive lizard now glaring down at the Legion from the Terror's shoulder, she'd have need of later on. The question wasn't whether she could help the Legion win the current conflict, but whether she'd have enough resources left in the aftermath to help them survive what came next.

Her gambit had been effective, at least, but it had also drawn the attention of a new enemy: tall apes, white-furred and cunning, closing in on her through the chaos. Quick enough to match her in speed, and distinctly superior in strength and toughness— at least, under ordinary circumstances.

For temporary though her gifts were, the dragon's blood had granted Schrei more than just its fire.

Strength. She crouched, legs bending, and pounced at the approaching pack, springing straight towards their leader. Or rather, she rocketed, transforming in one moment from a still figure to a black blur that streaked across the battlefield like a bullet. Grown dragons could be lumbering and ponderous at times, but that was because so much of their strength was used to simply move their massive bodies around. For Schrei, small and light, even a stolen portion of that power was enough to propel her forwards at terrifying speeds.

Durability. The black blur slammed into the chest of the leading yeti, caving in its ribcage and knocking it backwards into its fellows. An impact that should have done just as much damage to her as it did to her target, had she not possessed the toughness to match her power. Instead, it was the ape who broke, flesh and bone twisting and shattering from a collision with something harder and stiffer than even its formidable frame.

Heat resistance. As the first yeti tumbled backwards and the pack was thrown into chaos, fire coursed once more from Schrei's lips, blackening flesh and turning snow and ice into clouds of scalding steam. Burning, blinding, preemptively ruining any attempt at recovery or retaliation. Fortunately for the breather, the same effect that kept her throat from being melted by her own flames also meant she could keep moving amidst the extreme heat, taking advantage of her disproportionate strength and speed to disable those least affected by her initial burst.

Her advantage would last for mere minutes, and that meant she had no time to fight cleanly or skillfully, or to let this become a fight at all. Even with the scales of power tipped in her favor, she operated as an assassin: moving quickly, striking unexpectedly, and aiming to wipe out her targets before they even realized what was happening.

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Darkness enveloped him as if he were in a dream. An endless inky void of nothingness, and yet. It was not frightening. It was not the vast cruel black of space where cold reigned with supreme authority and was destined to claim all in the inevitable heat death of the universe. This darkness felt warm, almost inviting. It was the darkness that all things begin and all things end. Where once he was standing on a frozen glacier hundreds of billions of dimensional rifts and realities away from home, he now stood in this darkness. 

 

”You could go home. Give this up and return to where you came.” A voice seemed to come from everywhere and everything. 

 

He didn’t flinch, the cruel overlord Dredge stood there in silent contemplation. Seconds passed and soon a screen of white appeared only for images of war and battle to appear on the screen. There they were, Legion. Fighting and dying against ice monsters. The group of misfits and the dregs of society itself all united under a single banner and doing battle. Instruments he swayed and seduced to commit violence and acts of evil in his name. Simple tools for him to find a way back, and all of sudden in the most random of fates he had a chance to. 

 

”Go home, Dredge. It would be easy.” The voice said in its neutral tone. 

 

Another moment of silence past. 

 

”That’s the problem.” Dredge said as he flicked the screen of white to the side. 

 

”It would be easy, and all those sycophants, psychopaths, and defilers of good will be without a leader. Hell, they’d probably kill each other.” Dredge said with a soft chuckle afterwards. 

 

”Is this truly what you want?” The voice asked one last time. 

 

”If I ever make it back, it’ll be with an army at my back.” And then there was a snap followed by a blinding flash of white. 

 

 

Snow hit the overlords face and while in his dream state the battle had progressed. His vanguard had formed a defensive perimeter around him and were picked off one by one until an ice mongrel the size of a bull elephant broke through the line and charged directly at the leader of Legion. 

 

Fire engulfed his fist as he reared it back and with an augmented haymaker, he delivered the massive blow directly to the beasts forehead to bring him down to earth. Yet the overlord was not done. Levitating a heavy chain towards him from one of his vanguards belts laden with human and elven skulls, he quickly mounted the beasts back and telekinetically bound the chain to the beasts neck. 

 

Rising up from the depths was no longer an idle man lost in foolish thoughts of love or returning home. Rising up was a man possessed by the one thing he enjoyed more than anything. Battle. The ice mongrel let out a roar and riding his back with a burning bastard sword in one hand and a length of demonic chains in the other. Dredge let out another battle cry as he ordered his beast forward to crush its lesser brethren while engulfing the others in flames that reduced them to puddles. The overlord was here to stay.

 

@amenities @bfc @Djinn&Juice @Trigger2Red @Sleepy Seal @Bureku

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Athoxhyx had barely touched the ground when the mongrel barreled forward, yanking his feet out from under him, and slamming him to the ground. The impact stunned him badly enough that by the time he recovered, he was being dragged along the ice behind the massive beast. Looking to his right foot he immediately identified the problem; a length of chain connected to the beast that had become tangled around the appendage. As he moved to remove the binding, he found himself being dragged toward the fire stream of a nearby pyromancer. The mongrel was smarter than it looked, and it seemed intent on roasting him alive.

In response, the Nymerian summoned another bolt of lightening, and unleashed it upon the ground just feet in front of where the pyromancer stood. The blast opened up the ice down into the water, and as he was dragged along, he fell through the hole, and into the water. Still, the mongrel did not stop, and the taught chain acted like a saw on the ice, and Athoxhyx was still being dragged. But now that he was in the water, the advantage was once again his.

He burst forward, accelerating to incredible speed by sheer physical prowess, and managed to overtake the mongrel from beneath the ice, getting ahead of it. Now he used his magic to propell himself even faster toward the seabed. When the chain went taught again, the mongrel would be slammed into, possibly through the ice. 

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As she took in the sight of infinite bloodshed, the daughter of Kru’Gorah grinned to herself. Her father must’ve been truly enjoying himself. The battle seemed to have slowed down where she was, largely due to the fact that she had torn up every enemy and ally alike. There were no exceptions to the one true master. There was no permanent joy or infinite relish. Only agony was endless.

 

As she scanned the battlefield for her next victim, her eyes locked onto a single object in the distance. Wrapped around the base of a column of ice was a piece of ornament of some sort. She knew not what it was or why it had caught her attention, but she found herself unable to peel her gaze away. The tips of her blood smeared lips straightened out and for the first time in weeks, she held back her instinctual desires. There was something hypnotic about the piece of jewelry wrapped around the column. It called to her, and only her.

 

She no longer smiled. She cracked her head to the side with such violence that one might’ve thought she had broken her neck had she not cracked it back into place moments later. The prize in the distance gleamed with an uncanny attraction. She was like a bee drawn to light. Digging her heels into the ground, she burst forward like a comet. Only this time, she took no care to shred those she passed to pieces. There was no time to waste. In her hurry, allies and foes alike would see only a red streak weaving between their lines like a guided missile. 

 

She had almost made it to the column when a yeti unintentionally intercepted her as it stumbled away from a legion soldier. She crashed face first into it, sending both of them tumbling into the snow. When they came to a standstill, she pounced on it forcefully. How dare this insignificant creature.

 

“You will make a tasty tribute to the blood god!” she cackled, digging her nails into the yeti’s muscular arms to prevent it from wrestling her off. It would find that she possessed an enormous amount of strength for a girl her size. With a hearty laugh, she sank her teeth into the creature’s face. Eyes, nose and everything. Blood spewed everywhere, painting the snow with a bright crimson.

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