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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." 


"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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