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Beaten, but not Defeated [Artifact Hunt for Sword of Sunlight]

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Much had changed since Feurerkönig had ventured into the land known as Terrenus. Battles had been fought, with many of them resulting in the defeat of the tyrannical lord of cinders. After finally being taken in by the Gaianists of the Terran Empire, Feurerkönig had suffered great indignities at the hands of the mortals. Days of torturous experiments followed, his enemies hell bent on discovering the secrets of his powers, and how to counter them effectively. By the time they were finished, Feurerkönig felt stripped of his pride, his dignity, his very essence of what it means to be a warrior. Such was the beginning of a low point in his life.

The worst of it all was that they had released him, allowing him to live in this shame inflicted upon him. Satisfied they could defeat whatever attempt the fiery king could throw at them, they unceremoniously dumped him back into Genesaris. Never before had he felt so weak, so powerless, so much lesser than everything else.

Now that he was back in his homeland, he felt so very...empty inside. It was a long trek back to the Kriegsschmeide, one that he felt a sense of defeat at every step. Even as his warriors greeted him, he didn't feel like the warlord that desired the destruction of this world. Though they did not possess the will to rebel against him, he could feel the loss of respect emanating from their spirits. Their fearless leader, reduced to a cowering mess.

"Bring me new armor." He commanded, watching as his slaves went to work forging his new armor. The Gaianists stole so much from him, even his own metal shell to examine the War Metal.

Great clouds of black smoke were streaming from the Kriegsschmeide, as if showing its dissatisfaction at its own champion. "To hell with you." He said, pulling himself to his throne, looking out at the charred landscape of his domain. A king without his crown, a warrior without his pride, a conqueror wallowing in defeat. It was pathetic, but it was all he had for the moment. In defeat he would lick his wounds, rethink his next move, and Marshall his forces for a new campaign, one that would allow him the power he needed to bring fury down upon his enemies.

"Perhaps it is time to go hunting..."

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What he desired was not the mere trophies of folly that others craved after. Feurerkonig wanted more than that, he wanted power beyond the means of mere mortals, power that could tip the scales in his favor. Idle relics would not be enough to do this, he needed something more, something that held a power beyond even his comprehension. Such treasures did exist, all he required was to find one, and his quest would be complete, but could he truly succeed in such an endeavor?

Ear splitting shrieks pierced the air, alerting everything within miles of what was coming. Feurerkonig knew roar, growl, moan and screech every one of his creations made, which was how he knew that particular cry did not come from one of his own...

In the outskirts of his territory, a horde of monsters were approaching him. Demons, undead, eldritch abominations from across the stars were all coming for him, desiring his destruction with the utmost of prejudice. Gnashing teeth, snapping claws and a wide assortment of other weapons that would create a most unpleasant end for him should they take hold of him. Whispernight had come for him now, perhaps sensing his defeats and wishing to capitalize upon it. It appeared his return to home was to be met with resistance, as well as death.

"Prepare for battle."

While the horde itself was still some miles away, his Army of Rage prepared themselves for the fight they've been craving. This would be no simple spar for them, they would finally get to fight more than just the isolated village, more than just a random outcropping of bandits, but real monsters to let out their full aggression upon. Weapons were being sharpened, cannons were being wheeled into position, and the Ash Slaves were being rounded up to provide the first wave of defense. Everyone was getting ready to fight, all except for Feurerkonig, that is.

Sitting upon his throne, Feurerkonig could feel the hunger for battle, but he could not bring himself to pick up the sword. To commit oneself to battle, to leave yourself open to defeat, it just felt too much for him. For now he would watch, and see if his own forces were enough to destroy this group of rabble, and he would watch what unfolded before him.

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Glorious combat could be witnessed upon the front lines in what was once Talix Engine. Both forces clashed, yet the demons could not possibly understand the extent of the tactical value placed on even the lowest ranks within the armies of rage. The ash slaves, while far too weak to be considered real soldiers, are greatly effective in providing a smoke screen for the rest of the forces to use. Their cries of pain were worthless, pitiful things that were quickly drowned out by the cacophony of horror around them.

Monsters were dying in scores, the fiery warriors taking advantage of their ability to fight blind in order to kill as many as possible. Whether they be undead or demon, they fell to the might of Feurerkonigs soldiers.

Their leader was glad to see their success in the field of battle, but still he could not bring himself to lift his sword along with them. For now he was not needed, so he would stay where he was and keep watch of what may come. There was not a single worthy adversary among them, none who could possibly withstand his own incredible power and fury. Should someone actually worth his time present themselves, then he would take action against them.

Deep within the chaos and the carnage, a particularly strong vampire was making his way through Feurerkonigs forces. Unnatural speed and brutality served him well in cutting down the various Kriegssoldats that attempted to end his disgusting existence. It was clear as day just who it was the blood suckers was coming for, and it made the fiery tyrant somewhat...apprehensive.

Vampires seemed to be a different breed from the rest of the undead. Something about them, how they fight, how they think, it wasn't mindless or even at the basest level of cunning. This one was bound in crimson armor, bursting through the ranks with the grace and ease of a hawk. Every fluid movement brought him closer and closer to the king of flames, making clear it would only be a matter of time before he confronted Feurerkonig himself. The very idea that he would have to fight yet another blasted vampire filled him with icy dread, causing him to grip the arms of his throne until the metal bent from the pressure. Damn the vampires, he thought, Damn them to the deepest hells that could be conceived, until their names are forever forgotten by all.

Without armor or weapons, the vampire would likely have an easy time killing him, or at least that was what he might believe. For now it might seem that Feurerkonig was reluctant, even afraid to fight, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Though he wasn't at his best, he could still obliterate the parasite without any effort at all. As soon as he came forth, he would strike him down, and show the world his true colors.

That opportunity never came, however, as a random bolt struck the vampire in the stomach, with just enough force behind it to stagger him. From there, he was cut down by a furious onslaught of attacks from one of Feurerkonigs Kriegsmeisters, thrusting four swords into his chest before tearing him apart.

For a moment, Feurerkonig continued to grip his chair, then loosened his grip, little by little. Was he truly afraid to fight another vampire? To fight at all? Shameful...disgraceful...utterly disgusting. Damn those Terrans...damn them all...

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The aftermath of the battle went as expected, with the Asche Sklaves and Schlackenmonsters picked through the remains, collecting scraps of metal as well as any skulls that could be salvaged among the dead. Shards of Black Exalta Crystals could be found amongst the carnage, though it was not likely to yield enough energy to properly fuel the Kriegschmeide. Even in the wake of victory though, Feurerkonig felt hollow, empty, devoid of the usual revelry he acquainted with the act of having annihilated those who stood against him. Everything simply felt...wrong.

“They have soiled my taste for victory. What is even the point of fighting?” Purpose seemed to be gone from his life, and now he was left adrift in a sea of depression. “There must be something, anything, that can cast away these shadows.”

In the midst of his thoughts, there came a rumble from the War Forge itself, something that was more than a random occurrence in the machinery. When he approached the massive metal beast, he discovered the greater dealings of the machine which had made him into the being that he is today.

“Oh mighty Kriegschmeide, show me what I must do, and it shall be done.” Kneeling before it, Feurerkonig surrendered himself to its will, hearing the rattling of chains, the turning of gears and other mechanisms within its depths.

In a great show of its power, the entire area in front of the Kriegschmeide was bathed in flames of hatred, devouring Feurerkonig in its path. While within this torrent of fire and brimstone, the fiery monarch was shown a vision, detailing that which he must seek in order to free himself from his inner demons.

Within the depths of the broken city of gears…

There lies a sword with the power of the sun itself…

Free the sword and become all that you are meant to become…

Do this, or forever live in shame and regret…

The vision was over, and Feurerkonig rose from the ashes, renewed and filled with purpose once again. “I must gather the appropriate forces.” He said, his molten heart now completely resolute in its path. A mighty sword of such purity, of such power, he had to have it, it was the only thing that could be done now. With his mission set, Feurerkonig called for the smiths to work double time in recreating his armor, for there was much that needed to be done.

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He could not simply venture into the deep depths of this broken city on his own, he needed assistance. There was a variety of soldiers he could bring with him on this mission, but he needed to choose carefully. For the battle of Tia he had brought with him a giant and a dragon, both of which were defeated by those damned titans. Using his will, he called forth three of his champions, issuing his orders to them in a booming, commanding voice. 

"My Kriegsmeisters, you will join me on this quest to retrieve the Sword of Sunlight and to destroy all who get in our way!"

"We cannot join you, master." 

"What?!"

"We must stay and protect the Kriegschmeide. It demands this of us."

A feeling of betrayal came over Feurerkonig as the Kriegsmeisters walked away from their supposed master. The Kriegschmeide had deemed him unfit to lead, and now he must venture out alone into the harsh, unforgiving land to search for this sword. Once more his mistakes serve to haunt him, his self hatred rising by the moment.

The fear was back again, gripping his chest, squeezing him, filling him with a great and thunderous rage that he felt could only be directed towards himself. All of this was because of his failure as a warrior, his weakness, so total and absolute that he wanted to experience death for the final time. He needed to end this, he needed to stop this feeling, and there was only one way for him to do that. Rising from his throne, he would act as the Kriegschmeide willed him to, and start on the journey to find this Artifact on his own. 

"Soon, I will never be beaten again, this I swear." 

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Heavy footsteps crunched through the broken refuse of the ruins of Talix Engine, crushing the remains of what was once a magnificent civilization, now nothing but a graveyard. Such a place is ideal for someone with the ambition to wipe out the evils of Whispernight by using the destruction it had wrought against itself. Metal, bones, and plenty of left behind monsters to gather the all important Black Exalta Crystal used to power the mighty Kriegschmeide, allowing it to further create the weapons to be used in this mighty war. Still though, it wasn't enough, he needed more, so much more, which was why he was here, making a journey by himself through this hellish wasteland to claim an artifact of mighty power. 

The sheer ugliness of the environment was an imposing feature of the land that was once known as Talix Engine. Broken husks of once towering buildings now lay upon the ground in smoking ruins, it's former beauty irreparably destroyed by the powers greater than itself. With all their technology, all of their power, they still could not weather the storm that had came down upon them by the hands of the dreaded Whispernight. In no short order they were annihilated, the monsters flooding the streets and tearing apart every flesh bag they could get their claws on. Feurerkonig could hear the latent ghosts of these wretches, how their lamentations filled the metaphysical with cries of anguish and sorrow. They could moan all they wished, but nothing would change the fact that they were dead, and it was only a monster such as himself that could truly avenge them.

In the months that had come since Feurerkonig had established his base of operations, he had made some progress in clearing out a portion of the monsters that called this broken place their home, a process both grueling and in most cases, vain. For every decrepit abomination cut down in his skirmishes, ten more showed up to take his place, ready to take up arms against the fiery combatants set upon wiping them out from the face of the planet. A difficult task, but one they were equipped to handle, for they lived to fight, and did not tire as inferior life forms tended to do, nor were they slowed down by the weaknesses of hunger, thirst or even sanity. They could fight for a thousand years, and still be able to fight for a thousand more before showing signs of any kind of stress or difficulty in the conflicts that arise within these harsh times. Let them try to overwhelm him with their numbers, it will only give him more to throw into the furnace for fuel, forging even more soldiers to continue on the battle anew.

On and on he wandered, with no idea where to find this supposed resting place of the Sunlight Blade. The Kriegschmeide had told him it resided in this city, but did not relinquish information on the exact whereabouts of the item itself, making its retrieval difficult to say the least. Still, he refused to go back without finding it first, lest he forever bear the shame of failure along with his own hatred of his weakness. This was his promise, his oath, his epitaph, if things happened to turn in that unfortunate situation. 

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THE MISTRESS BLACKHEAD 61122695_107168507101409_5561671055213701336_n.jpg?_nc_ht=scontent-msp1-1.cdninstagram.com


Talix-Engine. A few months ago, she had come to this place to hunt the vampire lords residing within the dead city's towers. On her neck lay the simple stopwatch which was her reward from looting the disgusting bloodsuckers of this place. Now that she has returned, it seemed that someone else laid claim to this broken little city.

She could sense it, a familiar feeling. Reminds her of someone from her past, someone she thought was dead after the events of Last Chance. Nevermind the fact that he is still alive, what was he doing here? So many questions and only one way to find out.

The white-haired woman was not one to shy away from the prospect of danger, in fact, she mostly welcomed it. This is evident in the way she enters the reclaimed city with barely any armor nor protection except for the lone blade sheathed upon that plain scabbard which hands from her swaying hips. 

"Who claimes this land now?" she spoke, her voice spreading far and wide, "I come in peace."

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"I, Feurerkonig, lay claim to this broken city. State your business or perish beneath my boots."

He was honestly surprised, having not expected there to be another friendly voice in the area. It felt familiar, but it had been so long, he couldn't possibly be sure it was them. 

Summoning his bastard sword, the fiery Titan continued his wandering, senses alert for the owner of that voice. Whoever or whatever this voice was coming from, he would get to the bottom of it. He knew himself to be a warrior, and even if he had been bested before, he wasn't going to lose this time. 

At least...that's what the small part of his mind fighting off the fear told him.

Edited by Infernal

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"How amusing," the Mistress Blackhead replied as she put her dainty hands into her coat pocket. "Aren't ya quite the scary one?"

She chuckled lightly. "I've missed you Fire King. Ever since the Legion days, You always were the who showed promise."

She could sense him searching for her and she allowed herself to be found. She remained unperturbed, walking in search of the Fire King.

"I believe you remember the Lady Blackhead of the Blackspear Cartel? I am her last remaining daughter and I came to help."

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The Cartel, the Legion, memories flooded his mind as he recollected the events. So much killing, so much destruction, and yet, it all happened for nothing. He was bested in Last Chance, then once again in Tia, all by despicable mortals and their damned tricks. 

Finally he found her, taking in her small stature, sensing within her a grand power he had not felt in some time. 

"You are indeed her daughter, but I do not understand why you would help me."

Kindness was not something he practiced, let alone understood. For the mistress to come offering him aid, his first thought was some kind of trap. She must be trying to fool him, or take his prize before he could have a chance to get it. Paranoia and fear were running through his mind incessantly, fogging his mind terribly. 

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"I came," the Mistress started, "because of this."

From under her coat she produced a blade. It was the sword of dusk and dawn. A greatsword of peerless beauty, with a blade that shimmers gray. The crossguard is of simple make, black and laced with cold. The pommel is fashioned from polished mahogany wood. At its end sits a large sphere which holds either the sunrise or sunset within it, depending on which is occurring.

"This is the legendary blade Baeoi," she explained, "Ever since I acquired such a godly artifact, I had been in search of its sisters. The legends have spoken of two more and my search has led me here."

She frowned then, her brows furrowing. "I did not expect you to appear here as well. But if you so desire the artifact, then I am more than willing to assist."

"After all," the Mistress gave a coy smile, "I'm one of the best artifact hunters out there."

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The weapon was glorious, the power of such magnitude he didn't know it could be possible in just one sword. If the others were as powerful as Baeoi, then he knew going after this artifact was a correct idea. All he needed was to find it, and he could be powerful again, even more so. 

"Then it seems we can certainly assist each other." While not his first choice in a companion, Feurerkonig would take what he could in order to obtain the legendary sword. 

"I believe there are clues as to the whereabouts of the sword. Somewhere in this wreckage is the key to finding it." 

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The Mistress nodded. "Very well. I am glad you accepted my selfish reasons."

Chuckling, the woman moved back a bit as if keeping a safe distance away from the Fire King. "I'm going to start the search. No need to be alarmed. It doesn't hurt but can be quite flashy." 

Power blossomed within her, rising higher and higher. Like a newly burst dam, the pent-up energy burst out of her. It was a brilliant wave of light which spread outward on all directions and briefly swallowing the buildings and streets in its radiance. 

All she needed was a few seconds. Her search wave would soom pick up traces of supernatural signature which are similar to Baeoi. Just a tiny sense of familiarity would be enough.

"Found it," the Mistress spoke after a while. She snapped with her dainty hands and a small magical wisp of light appeared before her.

"Let us follow the wisp. It will lead us to our destination." With that, the wisp took the lead, it's tiny sparkly body sending trails of glittering motes of light on its wake.

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They followed the wisp for some time, waiting for it to show them their prize. Feurerkonig was more than ready, he wanted this, more than anything else, he wanted this sword. In all the weapons in his arsenal, this one would be his crowning achievement.

"With this weapon, I will finally redeem myself in the eyes of the Kriegschmeide. It will accept me again as its champion with open arms." And once again he will be able to lead the Armies of Rage into glorious combat, where they will smother the life of the world once and for all.

Just as they were almost at the end of the trail, there was a shift in the air, and Feurerkonig knew exactly what the cause was. "Vampires..."

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The Mistress pursed her lips. "Well, I'm not much of a fighter, so I'll leave this to you?" 

The pains of being a support character. This is why the Mistress never liked fighting. She's more or less useless. Her artifact isn't any better either as it cannot deal any damage to the living. It sucks but reality is a harsh master. Not that it matters anyway cause the Fire King is here to fight.

Still, she must be prepared in case shit happens. This means she might need to tap into her own supernatural abilities. Power blossomed within her as she prepared for what's to come. Behind her, one can see the illusory image of her guardian angel, a valiant protector that will keep her safe during the fight.

Now she can only hope that no vampire will be interested in her.

@Infernal

Edited by Thotification

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