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Fierach

(ARTIFACT) A Master of Space and Self

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@King

The elaborately war-garbed man held up a scrap of paper to the light. There was a curious object depicted upon it, a small oval stone the color of the purest ocean. A Cornerstone of Genesar, whose existence, and that of its fellow Cornerstones, was said to be nothing but a fairy tale, a myth, a legend made up to entertain children, drive men mad, and bring fools to ruin.

He was one such mad man who delved into the mythic, the arcane, and the eldritch freely. He knew the reality of the matter, that such legends always sparked from truth, and here in his hand was the proof that there was something at the very beginning of that legend. The Order of Force Majeure looked to procure any and all artifacts it could to keep them out of the hands of those who might do harm with them, and the powers of the Genesar Cornerstones were certainly dangerous enough, if the tales could be believed.

We go where we are needed. We do what must be done

And with that thought, the Master Knight of the Order of Force Majeure, the Daemonslayer James Eredas, set out to gain mastery over the world.

Edited by Fierach

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@Garion @Maverick

Spoiler

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Upon the Order of Force Majeure Belisarius-class frigate Imperator Bellum, Master Knight James Eredas awaited his guests, the individuals who would lend their aid to his quest to seek a Genesar Cornerstone. 

Ever since the warship and its crew went through the Kadian Harrowing, the vessel had become the defacto flagship of the Force Majeure fleet. The veterancy of the crew, in combination with the esoteric and advanced technologies it had picked up and been integrated with, made it one of the most fearsome aerial warships in Valucre.

James lay seated now in the war room, a reinforced area behind the bridge. Any moment now, his guests would be escorted into the room with one or two Greatswords at their heels, but while he waited he first reviewed ancient texts and scriptures, maps and myths. It was said that the Cornerstone of Space lay beyond the boundaries, beyond the reach of normal men, or even gods. It lay in realms inaccessible, but here he was going to attempt the impossible, for how could men die better than facing fearful odds? The one clue that James had was to traverse the planes of existence that were connected to Valucre.

The Material Plane.

The Astral Plane.

The Ethereal Plane.

The Elemental Plane.

The Abyss.

There were others, and even sub-realms of the aforementioned planes existed. Had he not traveled through the Harrowing before with the Imperator Bellum, this trip now might not even be possible. Time was different in the other realms, the laws of physics didn't always obey the normal, or they had a new normal in many cases. He would have to travel to many of them, and seek more clues to track down the Cornerstone.

Edited by Fierach

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Parrish - The Lion's Mane

Tch... what a detestable woman. 

Circe leaned against a support beam in a corner of the abandoned inn, sulking as she eyed Lilith from behind.
She thought to herself, frustrated by her sound defeat at the hands of the powerful necromancer.

Just wait, you wretched witch. One day you'll have your back turned, your guard let down. When that day comes, I'll strike you down.

After ransacking Circe's lair, Lilith had practically bound and dragged her to this dilapidated inn. Here they had remained for hours, perhaps days, she hadn't bothered keeping track. Every passing moment in the company of the necromancer felt like an eternity, so what use was there in counting? It was obvious that the woman was waiting for something, biding her time somehow. Despite her personal distaste for Lilith, Circe had no choice but to respect her intellect - she was not the type to act rashly, but neither did she seem the type to idle. Decisively she had come, to the old church where Circe had laid nest, and decisively she had left, upon realizing that she had faulty intelligence. 

Circe thought back to the oath Lilith had made her swear. In exchange for being useful to her, Circe would keep her life. If she performed her duties to the upmost degree, perhaps further rewards could be obtained. Circe struggled against her pride, but had ultimately made the right decision. Life was all that mattered in that moment; the dead care not for riches, power or freedom. Circe reaffirmed her vow in her heart.

I'll follow you for now, witch. I'll be your faithful dog and I'll play that role perfectly. Your power will reinforce my own. Make no mistake, though, once I obtain my freedom from you, I will make you suffer for every single moment you've used me. I'll pay this grudge back ten-fold, no, one hundred-fold!

Though Circe was unaware, a hint of black light flashed in her otherwise red eyes as this thought was completed. She continued to sulk in silence, as her eyes bore into Lilith's back.

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The mission this time was on a vastly different scale than those previous. Her Soul Stone had been about internal challenges; Ankou's Mind Stone had been about the strength of will and mind. But this was the Space Stone. It had nothing to do with them as individuals and everything to do with their place in the universe. In the everything. But, to that extent, Lilith had no way herself of jumping through planes of existence. 

Despite knowing the where of it, she was unable to come up with the how on her on. The obtainment of Genesaris' Space Stone was a feat unto itself, but this would also be a test for Circe. A sort of breaking point, much as she had done with Samael. What was once weak, full of doubt and self pity would soon become a being of monstrous will and indomitable strength. Casting a look over her shoulder, there was a sliver of contempt that wiggled its way through Lilith's eyes. Normally the Paragons were spared from such ominous looks. Circe was different. Her becoming a Paragon had been more... forceful than Lilith tended to allow. She'd almost always allowed it to be a choice. The turning of Circe had been less of a choice and more of a predetermined ultimatum. Lilith had needed to know the location of Asteria's Crown and Circe had the information, though not wanting to share it. At first. 

The answer to the plane walking came in the form of another Paragon, one of the first and perhaps the strongest, Ankou Lethe. Months ago cult members had aquired a powerful Genesari artifact known as the Armband of Mori; an item that acted as the key to planeswalking. The ancient necromancer had a few minutes left before he was commanded to arrive. That, however, did not stop Lilith from feeling impatient. 

Waiting. She hated waiting. Almost as much as she hated being questioned. 

Patience Lilith, an elder female voice spoke to her. The voices of her past lives screaming more and more, louder and louder as of late. As if Lilith's growing power was becoming a threat to even their hold on her. He will obey. They all must obey or they must suffer. You know it. They know it. The world will know it.

Lilith scowled, shaking her head as the locks of light brown hair around her spun to slap gently across her forehead. "Fuck off," she muttered quietly, forcing the voice back into silence with nothing but her will. It was a momentary peace, only seconds before another of the thousands in her head spoke her thoughts. 

You cannot get rid of us, Little Lili, they whispered. Cackling. We are here forever

Then her eyes flickered to the door of the Lion's Mane inn. Ankou was said to arrive right about...

 

@danzilla3 @vielle

Edited by Ataraxy

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It had not escaped Ankou's notice that Lilith had been acting differently lately.

The change was almost imperceptible, and he was certain that only he and maybe a few others in her inner circle had noticed, but it was there. She seemed to disappear into her own thoughts for long stretches of time, and more than once he had caught her muttering to herself. To most this wouldn't seem like a cause for concern, but most did not know what he knew. Lilith Reiter was a Lunar Daughter, the latest reincarnation of a long line. This meant that the presence of all previous Lunar Daughters was always in her mind, influencing her actions, and even her personality. Sometimes it was hard to tell where Lilith ended and the Daughters began.

The thought that she might be struggling against them, effectively alone, made him feel a kind of pain that he had only known since he'd joined the Cult. A fear for the wellbeing of one besides himself. He had come to look fondly upon the others in the upper echelon of the Cult, Lilith especially. He had never fathered a child, but from what he understood of that particular bond, he thought that he probably felt a similar way towards her. But all he could do was support her however he could, and he would not fail to do so.

Profil - Kroniki Fallathanu TGF - Prawdziwy mmoRPG w przeglądarce

He walked into the establishment feeling somewhat awkward in his new garb. At Mercury's insistence, he had changed up his wardrobe from his usual robes and cloaks for something else. He walked over to Lilith and nodded.

"Ready at you command."

 

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While James awaited the arrival of his guests in the war room of the Imperator Bellum, he placed a call to the airship Invictus Nova.

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Verizon MultiDimensional was such a reliable network. It was a good thing the Master Knight set up an account with them early on and got grandfathered in for future expansions. With the Order of Force Majeure's ever growing reach and influence across a multitude of worlds, they got additional benefits and kickbacks from being loyal customers as well, with discounts. Plus, they technically counted as non-profit too, with their home base in Sigil City. It took no small amount of finagling for their Craftsmen to achieve that status, but it was well earned all the same. 

"This is Master Knight James Eredas. Get me Mr. Matsumoto right now" he asked of the operator who picked up, who promised to patch him through to the Knight immediately.

"Tenkai, this is James. What is the situation at Nu Martyr? I received a report before I had left, but the details were sparse. I might expect you can provide me with more insight into matter?" After an explanation and update by the swordsman monk, James would give him his opinion of what he now referred to as the War in the Sky. He turned in his commander's chair and pulled up a map of Renovatio, a nearby Custodes plugging in the information as they received it, zooming in on the threatened area.

"I like your plan, and those ideas proposed by Kadian Emperor" he said after the other man informed him of what they would do. Lilith seemed very much a direct sort of commander, liable to fall into traps, if only because she likely didn't feel threatened by them in the least. "However, I believe more emphasis should be placed on Hungary. It is destroyed yes, but it has also become a staging grounds for the enemy. Send the Invictus Nova, wipe the enemy off it, destroy their entire southern front, and you can reinforce at will, or harry both the Cult's approach from the west, and their approach from Apolypse." 

After a few more moments of discussion, James would add a few final words before ending the call and wishing Tenkai fortune in battle. "This Lilith sounds to be a most formidable opponent. Do not underestimate her. Remember, you are the Knight over there. Whatever you do, you must be decisive. I fully empower you to make all and any decisions you deem necessary in the course of action.  May your enemies keep you sharp Tenkai."

He closed the connection. There was nothing left to do but to trust that his friend and fellow Knight was able to handle the situation. It was well that many of the finest Custodes Militants were with him, he would need their strength and experience on both the battlefield and in the tactical room. Were that James were there to help drive the Dark Commander and her forces into the sea, but he was in search of an artifact of legendary power. It was because beings like the Dark Commander, Dredge, and Fuererkonig existed that he sought the Genesar Cornerstone after all, to make sure that such trinkets would never fall into their hands and become grotesque threats to the realm.

If only he knew that the Dark Commander's vision was vast, and that she already had designs for the stone he sought.

Edited by Fierach

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THE DEAD MISTRESS603168e0d4c82652a725fb8bdec07617.jpg


It was a queer thing that the woman formerly known as the Mistress was once more forced to resurface out of retirement. There wasn't really a point in resuming her position as the head of the cartel given that all other members have doing so well on their own. She was satisfied with her new way of life now, a bit mundane and uneventful but there's no more threat of death or getting captured by the military. It's almost as if she's a brand new person.

However, after seeing that poor little paragon knocking on her door, the Mistress was duly tricked into returning to the field once again. Donning her old costume and reforming her face back to the way it was before her recent death at Shawnee, the Mistress left the safety and sanctity of her new life to return to the past she had left behind.

This brings everything to the present where she and the little girl known as the Pretty Paragon are on their way to rendesvour with the necromancer who the Mistress once regarded as her best friend. They may have lived different lives now and in different worlds but the Mistress was not one to shy away if her her friend asks for her help.

Sashaying into the humble establishment, the Mistress easily spotted Lilith who was conversing with Ankou. Having nothing left to do, the Mistress sauntered over to the pair and spoke.

"Hello necromancers. I came."



 

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Circe had a massive headache.

As the light was birthed on the world, a companion of Lilith's had walked into the Lion's Mane, disrupting her thoughts. It had started there. A sharp pain and ringing sound invaded her brain as a flash of information started to flood her memories. Circe had thought that it was just her intuition warning her of the strength this newcomer wielded, but the pain still remained even now. Another companion of the witch had arrived a short while later, and soon the three were conversing at the table. Circe's intuition had sounded off again to warn her of the potential strength of this newcomer, but it was nothing like the pain she felt when the male had entered. 

Even now she was still trying to process and accommodate these new memories and process the information flooding her mind. No easy task under the best of circumstances, but her head was also pounding. She felt as though her very soul was ripping in two. Flashing light overtook her vision.

[She blinked to adjust her vision. She felt as if she were in murky water, her movements slow and dull. It was as though if she blinked she would be unable to open her eyes again. A dull blue stone floated just beyond her grasp. As she fought to maintain her focus, a throbbing pain surrounded her as a combatant would flank their opponent. It increased with each passing second, until she could maintain her vision no longer. With great difficulty she fought against the drooping of her eyes, but the inevitable close was upon her. Her vision went dark and she saw no more.]

Circe blinked repeatedly as the light came back into focus. The headache had lessened every so slightly, but lingered behind her like the pale shadow of death wrapping its clutches around an aged and ailing mortal. She couldn't make sense of the new memories in her head. As a clairvoyant, Circe was familiar with the sensation of watching time pass as an observer rather than a participant. While that feeling was similar to this experience, the contradictory feeling of simultaneous agency and lack thereof greatly confused her.

She looked over at the witch and her companions, to see if they had experienced anything of the sort. It appeared as though they hadn't. As she glanced over Lilith, the latter turned and met Circe's gaze. Circe understood it to be a beckon and moved to heed the command. She attempted to push the pain aside, but it would not cooperate with her any more now than it had been during the hours past. 

It seems the witch is preparing to give instructions. I suppose I must faithfully hear her out. May this unbearable pain finally cease once I have...


So did the Eternal One and her companions come together. Unknown to Circe, her feelings of antagonism towards Lilith had already begun to shed away. While a part of this was certainly due to the machinations of the necromancer, there was another force at play that would force these four into conflict with another.

Lo' were the pieces positioned, did the curtain fall, and did the drums of war begin to beat faintly.

Edited by Archeos

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@Fierach

Reinhardt had to admit that the Force had quite the arsenal. The Order had ships, weapons, and of course other fancy gizmos that he was sure Aunoma would have loved to take apart the ship, he would be sure to describe it in great detail at the next officer’s meeting. So far what had greeted him was two armoured soldiers of the Order, and of course the soft humming that thrummed throughout all airships. So far he hadn’t got to see much of the ship, having been escorted by the two Greatswords he had to wonder if he would be allowed to see the engine room, though that perhaps rested on the mood of james. Though the Order had already signed agreements with Aelindra he was certain that they had their share of secrets. 

He had to admit, that he was quite excited to be on this endeavor.

 As ordered he came with all the best gear the Mage Corps had to offer. Unlike the armoured Greatswords the Mage Corps wore basic combat uniforms often seen in the newer and advanced units of Genesaris. What set them apart was the Flight Gear designed by both Aunoma and Alfonso the pieces of metal that he wore was reminiscent to some of the lighter forms of armour, save for the fact it was fitted with an Exalta Engine that quite frankly made him more nervous than hanging his arse out of an airship during a firefight.

Not that he minded it, he just hoped Aunoma would at least treat him to a date.

“Hello sir, Major Reinhardt of the Mage Corps First Battalion reporting in.”

If there was a hint of military discipline in his voice it didn’t show, after all he wasn’t like those Kadians always scowling. Not that he could blame them, but it wouldn’t hurt to crack a smile once in a while. Finding himself a seat he pulled out a cigar, not that he was going to smoke it, he just preferred to have one for celebration, and to keep the jitters away. He was sure at least James might understand a soldier’s mind.  

“You want one sir?” He said pulling out another expensive cigar of course made with Aelindrian tobacco, nothing beat the freest city on the continent’s tobacco.   
 

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@Fierach @Garion

"Wow you custodians sure look like big bad warriors and all. My uncle didn't tell me you would be so menacing!" The girl said to the Greatswords, dressed in black and purple armor and bearing the insignia of the Blackwatch. Ellyna bobbed her hair softly with each step, a tune playing on her head while she walked the sturdy, techy hallways of the Imperator Bellum.

"Custodes, miss, not custodians. And thank you, that seems almost like a compliment." One of the Greatswords answered in a slightly grumpy tone. The other one bumped him with his elbow before speaking.

"She's from the Blackwatch, Adler, keep the sarcasm to a minimum."

Ellyna, however, didn't mind much, a simple smile and a perky step continuing as she approached the situation room where she would meet with Master James Eredas.

"Master and Commander of Force Majeure. Power Rank: Special. Priority Level: High." She uttered rather robotically for a second before returning to her cheerful demeanor, garnering a confused gaze from her escorts. Eventually reaching the room, Ellyna bowed to the Greatswords and smiled.

"Thank you for the company! Here..."

Ellyna materialized a couple of what looked like small chocolate bars and handed them to the now fairly puzzled Custodes before taking her leave and skipping towards the figures already present, one her sensors immediately recognized as Master Eredas. The other man stood firm and polite as Ellyna approached the reunited duo. Bowing politely as Novalie had taught her, she decided this time was as good a time as any to practice what her sister called 'Etiquette'.

"Gentlemen. Ellyna Garniel, Blackwatch representative. It is an... Honor? Honor, to join your party for this mission. Enchanté." She said with a very soft spoken tone before flashing her usual cheerful smile and jumping back excitedly.

Ellyna pulled out a couple more chocolate bars for the others and offered them with a smile.

"You want one? It's homemade." She said.

Edited by Maverick

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James thought that the two offering him food and smokes was a little bit unusual. After all, he was the host, and they the guests. Maybe it was just their culture. It was regrettable that he couldn't really offer them anything in turn. The Imperator Bellum lacked such sort of amenities, although there was a nice bottle of liquor in his commander's cabin that he guessed would do nicely at the end. For now, he declined both offerings, but allowed the Custodes to take the proffered candies with a wave and a nod.

"Mr. Reinhardt. Miss Garniel. I'm glad you both could make it. I wish there was more time for pleasantries, but we’ll be setting off. I received word from one of my Knight Tenkai Matsumoto that one of the great threats is beginning to move. This is the perfect opportunity to steal one of the mythical Cornerstones from under Lilith’s nose.” He brought up a map of Valucre on the screen, and waited a moment as it was then projected into the center of the room as a hologram. He would explain how he came across the first hints about the whereabouts of the Genesar Cornerstone of Space to begin with, a scrap of paper, in an old, dusty, half-destroyed book found in an old, dusty, half-destroyed library, emblazoned with a a faded phrase. The amount of ancient lore might have been lost in that long-abandoned building was a sad thought for the Daemonslayer who espoused being an excellent scholar as well as being an unrivaled warrior. He pulled up the words for his guests to see, and sent the signal for the ship's Captain and Navigator to key in the coordinates, and open a rift to their first destination.

“Across the sea of space the stars are other suns, the path to paradise begins in hell”

Thus read the words.

Thusly was the Imperator Bellum’s Rift Drive keyed. One of the few vessels in the world capable of travel between the planes thanks to the incredible engineering it undertook for the the Kadian Harrowing, all along the sides of the advanced airship, compartments slid back to reveal large, glowing shield-generators. Humming in unison as they came online, they erected a thin barrier of energy around the ship, a variable band of force that could absorb radiation, projectiles, and guarded the ship from the stresses of planar travel. The warded prow of the ship itself tore open a portal, and without further ado, the entire vessel gunned its thrusters and slipped through...

1200px-Plane_of_Fire-Concept.jpg

... into a sea of fire.

This was their first destination, the Ethereal Plane of Inferno. Less perceptive beings might have mistook them for having entered the Plane of Fire, but there was a dark bleakness to the charred and molten landscape that suddenly filled the ship's view.

It was said that the souls of the evil dead were sent here. Others took a more positive few, that instead the souls that were here, if there were any, were instead awaiting reincarnation, or perhaps the spark of life itself was spawned here. As a towering geyser of lava, as tall as the highest buildings of the capitals of Valucre suddenly sprouted near, and almost struck the frigate. it seemed that they would have to pay particular attention to not becoming permanent residents of the Ethereal Plane.

"Now to seek the next hint for this blasted stone" James remarked casually. 

 

Edited by Fierach

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Turning toward Ankou, Circe, and Middy with a somewhat passive expression, Lilith nodded toward Ankou. “Activate the portal now,” she said, responding to the elder necromancer. “The intel being reported back by the Paragon within the Order of Force Majeure just signaled me that they’re on the move. Apparently they’re tracking clues that lead to the Space Stones location.” She shrugged. “It’s odd that the clues supposedly left behind have lasted the many past centuries since it’s last known owner, but either way we’re on the move. “We need to head toward the Ethereal Plane of Inferno.” She paused than gave an ironically cold laugh. “A planet on fire, I supposed.”

Once Ankou had opened up the portal, the four of them would then walk into it. A short burst of white light signaling their switch of planular existence before nothing but the fierce red of fire and the cool brown of rock were all they saw. Except for each other. Obviously.

Lilith herself wasn’t particularly susceptible to heat or the lack thereof for that matter, but that didn’t mean she didn’t feel it at all. And, in this specific case, there was a lot to feel physically. So before Ankou closed the portal into the inferno, Lilith removed her overcoat and tossed it back over to the tavern they’d left behind. If she remembered about it later, she’d go back for it. If it wasn’t there, well, she’d find it eventually.

She still didn’t have a lock on the stone’s energy signature, however. So it was likely that the stone was not actually in this specific plane. Lilith glanced down at the paper message she’d received from her mole inside of the Order. ““Across the sea of space the stars are other suns, the path to paradise begins in hell.”

Whatever that meant.

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Ankou nodded, and reached out to the armband of red jade, making known his will and opening a portal to the plane of Inferno. The necromancer didn't know where the space stone was hidden, but Inferno would be a solid pick. To the best of his knowledge nothing lived there; and if you opened a portal to the wrong place, you ran the risk of being incinerated. He didn't doubt the information that Lilith was being given by her mole. But he did hope that they didn't have to tour all of the multiverses worst locales just to find this stone.

The heat was predictably scorching; enough to render the cold aura of death around him meaningless. Still, he wasn't as sensitive to extremes in temperature as others on the team might be; so he could tough it out. For now he would follow Lilith, and hope that they could leave this place soon.

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The Dead Mistress 


Oddly enough, the late Mistress is in a rather precarious position. Ever since she has acquired the legendary blade Baeoi, her flesh has long since turned into one of hardest, most durable and incredidbly resistant material in Genesaris. Which means the intense heat has little effect on her flesh. At least on surface level. What the blade's effect did not cover was the Mistress' pain receptors. Her body can withstand it with no problems but her mind will have to suffer.

Like a lot.

Thankfully the late Mistress has an inhuman tolerance for pain. Some might even say that she's a masochist but that's something best explained in a different story. Right now, she's mostly sweating like a sinner on church ever since she went through that portal and her dainty figure sashayed in this foreign inferno. 

There's not much she can do but grumble silently while doggedly trailing after Lilith's bony behind.

Soon. She kept telling herself. The fun stuff will start soon enough.

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To be honest, James couldn't tell what they were looking for. The Plane of Inferno pretty much looked all the same to him, just nothing but endless lava, fire, and blackened rocks. If there were a proverbial needle in this hellish haystack, it would’ve melted long ago, and that analogue was rendered pointless. They followed nothing but James’s instinct, a faint hint in the back of his mind to set course in a certain direction and keep travelling. Now and then the ship's navigator course corrected to avoid mile-high geysers of lava, and other fiery phenomena. They were well above the rolling tides of flame, but that fact offered little respite as temperatures outside the vessel remained in the dangerous red of their sensors for habitable life.

2019-APR-Hell-Volcano-Core-by-BlueRogueV

Eventually their auspex picked up something in the distance. A towering, thin citadel came into view on the screens of the ship, impossibly tall and defying any sort of structural or physical sense. James pulled the original scrap of paper out, sensing some sort of faint emanation coming from it, and discovered that one of the inscribed characters was glowing. He recognized it as the character that roughly translated to “sun”. Was it fate after all that led the Daemonslayer here? It was hard to tell, James oft didn’t ascribe to the notion of fate, but there was little discounting that he was singularly well-positioned to undergo this trial of the Space Stone, being a being of flame and fury himself.

"Captain, pull us alongside and scan for an entrance." James commanded, his order met by a nod and quick action. the Imperator Bellum banked on its way to the tower. Ship crews prepared environmental suits for anybody who wished to accompany the Daemonslayer, who eschewed any himself, merely opting for a rebreather. There wasn't much oxygen out there, but he could withstand the heat.

Edited by Fierach

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