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Ataraxy

dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same

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Ardon Dallas

Having received orders prior to the knights' arrival, the guards knew to let them in after confirming their identities through whatever means the Order of Force Majeure tended to do so. The Custodes. The smaller of the three guards at the entrance, the one slightly thinner, a head shorter, and weak in the knees now that he was faced with the very real possibility of death, could be seen visibly relax at the sight of them. The Order of Force Majeure was, after all, becoming a well known entity for justice since the defeat of the Legion of Doom at their hands and their inclusion in the Allied Nations of Terrenus despite not being an actual nation. 

Safety was the word the guard thought. And it comforted him. The other two guards noted this and smirked, though playfully rather than mockingly. Not everyone was made for war. You could train for a million years but if your mind wasn't ready, the strength of you body was irrelevant. 

It took about ten minutes to reach the PRIME's floor in the castle, and another five past to finally reach the study where Ardon Dallas was. Other leading strategists had gathered in the room, their large Renovation backs hunched over the large war table, eyes scanning the many, many files and maps scattered about. They weren't holing up, but rather still planning. Still trying to figure out how to halt the onslaught that was already happening around Nu Martyr. Keto had fallen in the blink of an eyes, leading to the fall of Hungary, Taronta, and Apolypse not long after. Ardon lifted his large calloused hands to rub the bridge of his nose. 

"I'd bet my faith in Steorra that the Commander is aiming to trap is in. Surround us," the oldest of the strategists declared, his bald head without even the slightest of white stubble in pale contrast to the plentiful gray beard that hung from his chin. 

Ardon nodded, tapping Nu Delo and then tracing a line to Parrish. "It's tough to determine the path of her Paragons, but this seems to be the path she's taking. Taking us out one by one until finally leaving us with no way out. Yascow and Primeria are probably not that far behind."

"Sir, my Lord PRIME, are you sure we can't just hand her the crown?"

Ardon shot the strategist with a look of raw fury and the man shrunk back under it. "You want to give the Commander the Crown of Asteria? Can you even fathom the damage she would be able to do with one of our land's most powerful artifacts? This crown belonged to the daughter of a Titan! Look at what she's doing already. That monster is already almost a Titan. I don't want to imagine what she'd be able to do with Asteria's crown."

Just then a knock came from the door behind them. Ardon turned around to the see the door had already opened, meaning the new comers had likely heard their earlier discussion. The  younger guard and the Order of Force Majeure Custodes he'd brought along with him stood their, as if waiting for him. Putting on a thin smile, Ardon walked over to the group and beckoned them in, not expecting any form of royal respect for the Order. At least not at the moment, not when his province was under attack. 

"Welcome Sir Knights," he said, motioning toward the war table.


Lilith Reiter

Under the red weight of her ominous gaze, the Paragons scrambled to complete the large magic circle Lilith had ordered created not twenty minutes prior. The lines were drawn with steady hands despite the pressure from her, tracing out ancient runes that warned of great power without even a link of living energy yet breathed into them. Each rune was connected to the next; some overlapped majorly while other barely touched. Once it was finished, Lilith walked to its center, careful not to step on any lines lest she disconnect the gathering magic from within. 

Before starting, she felt another's gaze directed toward her; a respond to her own from moments before. It was powerful, in a way, but not so much that Lilith felt the need to answer it with another. So she just ignored it with the faintest upward twitch of her lips.

A dog could bark all it wanted. If the victim of her warning glare truly felt the need to challenge her, he would come to the battle field instead of hiding behind the excuse of distance. Lilith had long sense promised her arrival in Mu Martyr. Nothing could stop her. Not a mortal, nor a god, nor a beast behind time. Nothing

"Vocationem audi me, Domine, de his mortuis. Audi vocem meam et voluntatem meam sequi imperium, et conteram coram me. Surgere putei ab desperatione hostium iter meum. Atque iter impedire deducere quaeritis occidere stare coram fluctus furoris," Lilith chanted, the words and sounds cascading from her lips like living beings of their own rights. Each syllable she spoke almost seemed palpable to the watching Paragons, as if they'd be able to take a knife or one of the many weapons on them and cut through it. 

Then, without warning, a tremble went through Nu Martyr. Similar to the ripple effect of throwing a pebble into a lake, the earthquake like shake blew outward with the fury of a tsunami. However, it was more of an astral basis than a material one. Buildings didn't fall and infrastructure didn't collapse. 

No, that had never been the spell's intention.

Nothing collapsed or was brought down. Things were brought up. Brought back. Summoned. And not just one or two. Not just a hundred or a thousand. No. Hundreds of thousands of undead creatures broke through the earth of Nu Martyr from every corner of the province. The more people and creatures had died in the area, the more the spell forced back to the plane of the living. 

 From the graveyard within Nu Martyr City itself to the far reaches of the Nu Martyr province, to the long buried dead in Parrish. Corpses of all sorts of horrendous creatures rose from the pits of death on Lilith's command. Distractions and nothing more, of course, mostly weak individually but of enormous strength thanks to the massive numbers. The largest area the undead raced to gather on was Nu Delo, the next city to be torn down by Lilith as her Paragons took care of what remained of Keto. 

Shooting off into the sky as a blur of black smoke, Lilith nearly slammed into an approaching attack from some far off entity. The first counter, she supposed, though not one that held much power in the wake of all that She was. A surge of necromantic energy exploded from the black smoke which enveloped her, meeting her foe's golden lights mano e mano and canceling it out with equal offensive prowess. The result was a series of large explosions that shook the ground beneath and sprayed remnant magic among what remained of Keto's citizens, the Cult's Paragons not bothering to defend other besides themselves from the remnant attack. 

Snorting at the failed, though rather powerful long range attack, Lilith then made quick work of the distance between Keto and Nu Delo, shortly followed by a few of her Risens thereafter. At least, those that remained after her previous skirmish with the Order.

Touching down once again, this time in Nu Delo, Lilith was pleased to see that the undead were already wreaking havoc. Surprising there were even a handful of enormous beasts wondering the streets. One in specific standing taller than even the tallest of Nu Delo's buildings and Lilith couldn't help but whistle at the height. The Supreme Witch she'd bargained with the Djinn to summon, a being that Lilith herself would have done had she the confidence in that area to do so without a single fraction of probability for failure, had given her the spell. Lilith had doubted it's prowess and the Supreme Witch had known. Still knew, probably from the surprise on Lilith's face.

"Well done," the Commander said, speaking both to praise the witch and to remind the women of her place. The Supreme Witch behind Lilith said nothing, but her black eyes sparkled with delight at seeing her spell in action. 

Edited by Ataraxy

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Defenders- outskirts of Keto

Thurgood thpight about trying to disturb the magical circle, but there's just too much concentrated force for that to happen. Instead of the siblings taking action now, they opt to study the paragons, see which one to target first.

Among the paragons, one in particular stands out: a punk trying to imitate Trogdor the Burninator. Neither one knows his name, but just from their short observation, they figure him as a disorganized and impatient individual, and not as powerful as the other paragons: perfect for finding out whether Lilith's paragons are vulnerable to a .50 BMG boat-tail bullet.

Thurgood packs his spotting scope, and Aveline folds the bipod on her Barrett, then both leave their observation spot as stealthily as they arrived, to stalk and eliminate their quarry.

@Tyler

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Soon the entire red light district, or what passed for a such, given it is a smaller section of a smaller town, was in flames. With little left to destroy, Shane moved on, planning to regroup with the main paragon force near the center of town. As he moved to turn onto a side-street that would lead him in that direction, he paused a moment to think. What was he doing? Was this really what he wanted to define the rest of his life? Were these people truly worthy of the brutal deaths he had given them? 

He stood there a moment in thought, not knowing he was being stalked the Singlance siblings, one of whom he'd actually briefly worked with in the past back in Pirate's Cove. Had he known, he might have hastened his pace, but he didn't, instead standing there a moment as he felt the heat of the flames at his back. 

"There is no other way now." he told himself out loud, "I've chosen my path."

There would be no redemption, no remorse, no regret. The people he had killed were not people, they were animals. Animals with enough intelligence to corrupt the minds and souls of the innocent, to ensnare them in their drugs and sex, their alcohol and gambling, their immorality and faithlessness. These are the enemies of civilization, not war, nor weapons, nor natural disasters or monsters. Civilization could endure those things, but it was moral corruption that was the true threat to society. If society was unwilling to see it, he would have to cleanse it himself, in righteous flame.

Whatever twinge of melancholy had caused him to stop was now evaporated. It was time to carry on with his purpose here. Rejoining the Commander was the first line of business, then they would move on to the next city. Parrish had a few things he wouldn't mind acquiring, if he managed to get there before the other paragons leveled it to the ground.

@notmuch_23

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--- Nu Martyr, Inside the Palace of the PRIME, Study Hall

 

Tenkai could see the way his presence and that of the Custodes affected the Renovatian soldiers and, in a way, that was a bit concerning. Though he was prepared to do all he could to protect them, this was not some small matter of a single malcontent or a rampaging monster that needed slaying. This was war, and as mighty as the Order's combatants were individually, there was only so much they would be able to do if they could not count on the Renovatians to be able to stand on their own. These men were not civilians and village folk. They were soldiers, and Tenkai counted on their strength and courage just as much as they would count on his. One could only hope that their presence here would instead uplift the fighting spirits of those who fought for Nu Martyr rather than lull them into complacency.

But first things first.

The warrior monk and his retinue entered the PRIME's study early enough for them to catch a bit of their war room discussion on the way in. It was a fairly big study, after all, and the echoes of their robust discourse carried through the room. This was good, thought Tenkai. He didn't want to waste any time. As Ardon Dallas spoke to him, Tenkai stopped and gave him a short bow. It was not a gesture of allegiance, but of respect. It was the kind that Tenkai was culturally accustomed to giving, even though that was now worlds away from him.

"Thank you, Lord Dallas," he said. "I am Tenkai Matsumoto, knight of the Order of Force Majuere." With a nod, he turned to the four captains, allowing them to make their own introductions and signs of respect. They would undoubtedly be quick and to the point, just as Tenkai was. They didn't have much time to spare.

Almost immediately, Tenkai marched over to the war table and leaned over it as if he was one of the Nu Martyr generals. Having stepped closer, his features would be made fairly clear. His manner of dress was unlike that of his fellows, as the Order was rather eclectic in its expressions of individuality. His manner of dress was a peculiar mix of humble, traditional clothing similar to that which was worn in Weland combined with modern armor and technology. From what one could tell, he was dressed from the neck down in a jet black bodysuit worn under a dark grey kimono top and black pants that were tucked into a pair of gunmetal sune-ate, samurai knee guards and shin armor that protected him from knee to instep, the plates on his feet segmented in a design that resembled its traditional counterpart using modern methods that seemed more at home in Terrenus than elsewhere. Half of his kimono was worn off of his left side, while the half on his right side was mostly obscured by a gauntlet and interlocking armor plates connected to a black half-chestplate. Over all of this was a large black shoulder guard with the main plate carved in the visage of an angry deity. A large-beaded rosary necklace was slung across his left shoulder and chest like a bandolier, one of the few pieces of religious paraphernalia that indicated his monkhood. An eyepatch made from a round disc guard from a sword covered his presumably missing right eye, which somehow managed to make the gaze of his remaining eye twice as intense to compensate. And there, fastened upon his back by some high-tech mechanism connected to his metallic utility belt was a sword, a katana by the look of it, yet bound in modern fittings much like the rest of the small bits of advanced technology in his wargear.

"If I may," Tenkai said, as if to preempt any protestation from the elder strategists present. He reached over with his gauntlet-clad right hand and pointed at the mark on the map that indicated the city of Keto. "Based on your map here, the Cult's main force has made landfall here and they're heading down the peninsula directly towards the main city here, correct?"

In essence, Tenkai had mostly repeated what the strategists had discussed, except for the fact that Tenkai traced all the way to Nu Martyr rather than simply Nu Delo. After all, it was here in this city that Lilith's prize awaited. The monk waited for any sort of response from those present before he proceeded.

"And currently, based by these three markers here, Lilith's so-named 'Paragons' have all managed to hit these three completely separate cities almost simultaneously, and are thus lost to us. Correct?"

It was clear that the enemy was using some sort of magic to engage in a rapid deployment of their troops, striking in several directions at once. So far, besides the city of Keto that had been almost instantly decimated by the arrival of Lilith's main force, the three other cities to fall were Hungary, Taronta and Apolypse. It only took a glance at the way the pieces moved on the board for Tenkai to come to a general idea of what was to come. To that end, Tenkai would share his thoughts.

"At first, these additional strikes appear to be little more than a distraction, but that seems to be merely an added bonus of their unique method of sortie. If you would look here..."

Tenkai tapped the spot on the map labeled Apolypse and traced upward towards Nu Rosinder.

"From the south, there is nothing in the way between Apolypse and Nu Rosinder. But Nu Rosinder is far larger and more heavily defended than the other cities. They could attempt to lay siege from the south, but that would only serve as a petty distraction. What concerns me more is this city here."

Tenkai pointed to the city of Draven, which lay between the major cities of Nu Rosinder and Nu Martyr.

"This is your supply line between Nu Rosinder and Nu Martyr. If that supply line falls, neither city will be able to reinforce the other, and there will be no escape. And here..."

Tenkai pointed to the small island of Hungary, just off the eastern coast of Yascrow.

"It's clear that they intend to cut off escape from Nu Martyr by sea. Not that they seem to need to traverse by sea, but attacking your island cities disrupts your maritime forces and leaves you vulnerable. From here, they will likely head to Yascrow in order to completely cut off your sea route. It is also possible they intend to link up with their southern forces and converge upon Draven to cut Nu Martyr off. And finally..."

Tenkai pointed to Taronta in the north, tracing a line to the thin strip of land between it and Nu Delo.

"From here, their northern forces could link up with their main force, or flank your armies from the coast as they meet with the main force on the peninsula. They could decide to move along the northern region and take out the outlying cities, but there's little point in them doing that unless they somehow manage to garrison troops throughout the northern region without being spread too thin. And on top of all of this is the knowledge that Lilith could have many more of these 'Paragons' ready to jump out of nowhere at the drop of a hat and throw everything into disarray."

By now, the monk had surely spoken volumes to the strategists at the table, and much of it was of matters that they themselves were aware of. Tenkai could sense their impatience. The Order wasn't summoned here to point out the obvious. They needed action.

"If I may be so bold, I do have a plan."

Tenkai pointed at Nu Rosinder. "It is imperative that the forces at Apolypse do not head to Draven. Have your defenders at Nu Rosinder attempt to corral them into your defenses, while your forces at Shrreb move in from the south to take them at the rear. If they head straight for Nu Rosinder anyway, all the better. They'll be too busy throwing themselves at your defenses to notice they're being flanked."

He next pointed to Hungary. "It is likely that the enemy will head to Yascrow next. If your forces at Landonia can cut them off before then, you just might be able to reach them before they make landfall. At the very least, you'll be able to reinforce Yascrow from their rear if they manage to get there first."

Then he pointed back to Taronta. "Your forces in Ralrome and Algany should seek to engage their northern forces immediately. It is imperative that you prevent them from linking up with the main force. If they try to head across the northern region, they will inevitably run into these two cities. Hitting Algany in order to reach Nu Martyr from the river will leave them open to attack from Ralrome, and if they try to bypass both cities to reach the mainland, you can pincer them here." He pointed in between the two cities in question.

"As for the part we'll be playing," Tenkai continued, bringing his finger back to Nu Rosinder. "Though nothing has fallen yet, I take it by the pieces on your board that Primaria is also threatened. If that falls, Nu Rosinder is as good as gone. As heavily defended as it may be, I doubt even it would hold against a pincer attack from the north and the south. Half of our forces will head to Primaria to engage Lilith's Paragons. And as for Lilith's main force..."

With an emphatic thrust of his finger, Tenkai nearly slammed his armored fingertip into the spot that indicated Parrish. "I need you to advance your forces from Parrish to meet their main force at Nu Delo. It is inevitable that they will face the brunt of the Cult's armies, but at the moment they are still at Nu Delo. It is likely that Nu Delo will be lost by the time your forces reach them, but that may work to your benefit. Fighting them at Nu Delo gives them the advantage by occupying the city, and opens you to being flanked by their northern forces. But if you meet them here at the bend of the coast as they march towards Parrish, you'll create an opening. An opening that I plan to drive our frigate through."

With Tenkai's air frigate, the Susano'o, he would be able to approach Lilith's main force from the sea by taking a direct route, such so that even their forces at Hungary would not be able to reach them before the Renovatian military mobilized on their position. From there, he could drive straight into the dark heart of their army, and it was there that the Order of Force Majuere was most capable. 

"That's complete suicide!" exclaimed one of the strategists. "You mean to throw yourself at the Commander herself?"

"I mean to engage her in combat, yes. And I would like it if you could bring two deployment vessels full of your own troops to join me. Once I get into the opening, I'm going to blow that flank wide open, and we'll need enough troops on the ground to form a front. There's also the possibility that their troops at Hungary manage to catch on to our movements and attempt to give chase. We'll need some way of delaying them until your other forces can engage."

There was much furrowing of brows and gritting of teeth among the strategists gathered around the PRIME. Tenkai's plan was an incredibly brazen one, but this was a situation in which they had very little recourse. In the midst of a chaotic battlefield where the winds of war could change at any moment, hesitation was like letting your grip fail you while hanging on for dear life in the midst of a crashing tide. It was only by being decisive in their action that they would have any hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.

"There is one thing that I must ask of you, Lord Dallas."

The PRIME seemed perplexed. Tenkai already asked so much of him already. What more could he possibly want? "Speak."

"I want to know what this 'crown' is," said Tenkai. "Is it truly a powerful and dangerous relic, or merely an icon of legendary status? Why would Lilith go to such lengths in order to take it?"

Tenkai knew that if James had been here, he would have come up with some cheeky idea to destroy the crown or replace it with a fake, whatever way he could to frustrate the Commander and rob her of her prize even if she burned all of Nu Martyr to ash. He was a bit of an iconoclast, though Tenkai was not that much different. Surely there would be others who felt the same way. "All of this for a stupid crown?" they would say. The difference here was that Tenkai would not be so presumptuous as to assume that the crown was merely a fancy McGuffin. There had to be a reason why someone in charge of a group called the "Cult of Power" would want it. It was clear that Lilith and her subordinates were only interested in increasing their own strength by whatever means possible. If the crown really did have some incredibly dangerous power to it, Tenkai wanted to know. He wanted to know what sort of consequences there would be if Lilith ultimately succeeded. 

 

@Ataraxy

@Fierach

 

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Defenders- Keto

As Shane moves to rejoin Lillith's main force, Thurgood and Aveline abandon their plan to take him out, but instead use their smartphones thorugh their scopes to capture his image. Then they plan to get pictures of the rest of the Paragons, Lilith Reiter, their current forces, any intelligence they can to pass on to the rest of the defenders, likely through PRIME. All four maintain their stealth as Shane Haydes leads them right to the center of the action, with Vivian and Nadia picking up his scent so they can track him later.

Until the forces, and more importantly the paragons split, this is really all they can do to bolster the defending forces After all, resources spent on gathering information are far from wasted.

@Tyler

@Ataraxy

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Nu Martyr Palace, Study Hall

k2axoLr.pngThe thing about dogs, is their straightforward childlike innocence and cruelty. They let you know they were near, and struck in the most obvious of manners. The young Emperor was not so naïve to do so. It was much more fun to do things in a way that he often preferred. One might liken him to a lion at times, regal and proud, striking swiftly with a plan, stalking the prey before striking at the most opportune moment. Others called him a poisonous serpent, laying in wait at the foot of those too proud to even look down at him, striking with quickness and poison fang. For now, it was best to let them assume his challenge was but the empty and fearful barking of a chained dog.

It was more advantageous to him.

His steps were even as he weaved his way through the PRIME’s palace halls, looking every bit as though he were the ruler and not Ardon Dallas. His face held a calm, almost eerie smile that seemed entirely out of place amidst the tension. Considering the events of the Harrowing, low class shambling corpses and liches held little with which to unnerve and impress him. Demons, Alhoons, and beings of raw madness and the stuff of demented dreams. He had seen these things and more, spending ten years of his youth learning to fight them, turning his hatred of them into an unshakable mental willpower that even defied the Dark Gods.

Perhaps that in itself was already madness.

He chuckled at the thought, unnerving those around him even more. That would be the greatest irony, he thought. Saved by his own madness, sparing himself of the horrid insanity of eldritch nightmare. Even amidst these thoughts, he too considered why this crown was so important. To him, regardless of its power; he saw this as an unnecessary expense of lives. The souls of the innocent lost, their bodies used as tools for the bitch that sought her petty little trinket. His face twisted, a scowl ruining his handsome face with anger. While he didn't much care for Renovatian lives, it was a principle matter to him. It irked him greatly.

He paused outside the study, the target of his destination; and smoothed his features once more into that eerily calm smile. All the while he listened as Tenkai, a man he had grown mildly familiar with during the latter events of the Harrowing. It was a good plan, and the expected question was asked. Just what was this crown, and what was its power to draw these dregs of the world here and unleashing their own twisted savagery? He certainly had a good idea of his own. A crown was a symbol of authority, designating the position of a ruler. No doubt its power was based on this concept. The power to make others kneel? To control them in totality?

No matter, it was better to destroy it. To pull it forever from the reach of Lilith. Now the look on her face would truly be a sight to behold.

“I agree with a proactive plan.” He said as he entered the room, causing a mild disruption. “We can’t fight a war of attrition against this specific kind of filth. Doing so would only be to their advantage and add more to their armies over time.” He said, taking a spot beside the Order’s Knight. Though this was a risky plan in itself, it was better than the alternative. “Though I doubt Lilith will remain amongst her main forces once you mobilize. She’ll come for him directly at that point. Though destroying her Paragons would well be worth it.” He said, his calm smile a contrast to the violent promise in his words. He nodded his head in greeting, offering only the minimal amount of courtesy to those below his station.

“So, how about we set a trap? We know her target, this means we can manipulate her to move as we wish.” His smile threatened to widen as he spread his hands open before him. “As Buddha holds the world in his palm, so too shall we hold her, no?” He said, flashing the warrior monk and look and clenching his metal clad hands into a fist. “The question is, how best to implement this with minimal risk of her taking the crown.” He added, looking at them all. “Personally I would destroy it and supplement it with a fake, so that win or lose the battle, we win the war.” He chuckled. “Though I suppose that’s not an option, hm?”

His gaze settled on Ardon Dallas, a coldness to the monochrome light within his pupils.

@Tenkai Matsumoto @Ataraxy

 

Edited by Alexei

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("the city is almost nothing? Great we arrived late.) He thought as Keto was already under siege.

This reminded him of long ago when he could have trained to be a necro mancer once but decided to become a phycic spy instead, he wonder what his reasons were.

("So long ago") 

focus went back to the mission on hand 

"(why are there so few of us?)" Communication to 2

("Your asking me? I know about less of this mission then you")

The silence came, from a distance they could just see it all happening. "(So meny lives lost for a crown, must be a special one at that)"

Both went seperate directions to get diffrent parts of the battle field.

The rouge particals of magic conclude the reason no drones were sent on this brink mission. Not enough to do much but still the drone could be lost, plus people have become less expensive then drones theses days.

They stared closely, and noticed the more powerful ones.

The one causing the most damage as it seemed was the fire elemental who seemed to be ruthlessly melting and burning buildings.

"(You think by now building would be resistant to this kind of attack, like idk fire?)"

"(they probely did and this shows just how futile that is)"

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Shane finally arrived at the location of Lilith's magic circle, only to find it had already be activated and the Commander was already gone.

"Has she moved ahead?"

"Yes, all but the rear guard are redeploying to Nu Delo." one of the few paragons remaining in the area responded.

"Right then. Thanks." Shane responded, changing his focus to the dark sky above the neighboring city.

Much as with his flame powers, Shane had a much more difficult time mastering the smoke teleportation power, due to his inexperience with magic and supernatural abilities in general. He had learned well enough to land in the right spot earlier, or maybe he just got lucky, but between that and all the people and buildings he'd immolated, he was feeling a bit drained. Just as his inexperience led to a lack of control over the magic itself, his lack of conditioning also meant he exhausted himself of power far more quickly than others, which now meant he'd probably be unable to use much fire once he arrived in Nu Delo.

Good thing he came prepared!

He pulled his plasma rifle off his shoulder and primed it for action, then concentrated on invoking the smoke form. He soon shot off into the sky in the same general direction Lilith had, landing in Ne Delo less than a minute later... but once again, not near the Commander. This time it wasn't intentional, but a result of his power sputtering thanks to his magic exhaustion, causing him to land a bit to far north. But with all the undead already drawing the attention of the defenders, he'd be able to regroup with Lilith's main force without too much resistance.

Even so, he was sure to employ cover, shooting at defenders occasionally, but mostly leaving the hordes of shambling corpses or stray groups of Paragons to deal with them. The battle was exhilarating in a way, even though he knew there was a define risk he could be shot and killed, his body to become one of Lilith's undead pawns, his soul to be condemned to hell for choosing to swear his allegiance to a false prophet like the Commander. And yet, he was learning to live with that risk, that fear. He had come a long way from the person he was on that little pirate ship in Casper.

At last, he was nearing the epicenter, from which Lilith was orchestrating the ongoing attacks. He caught up to her main entourage and waited just off to her flank, not wanting to ask her for orders given how much she hated questions. Instead, he'd allow her to direct him if she wanted, and if not, he'd wait until they moved on to Parrish. 

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Map

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Hungary

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Music

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Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

The Cradle's Spawn

Be0qSHc.jpg?1 “My scouts tell me that you are from Landonia. Is this true?”
The voice was empty and hollow, as though words were spoken from a void in space.

“I will reveal nothing to the agents of darkness! Shadows of evil! Murderers! Butchers! Cowards! Damn you and your Commander of Death!”
He was a brave if barren soul, shackled and without a single garment, his arms and legs outstretched on a wooden cross in the shape of an X. His speech was conversely filled with passion, but his words were no less empty as they echoed across the dark room to be silenced by cold walls.


“Are you from Landonia?”
The interrogator asked plainly.

The prisoner spat at the question, a wad of saliva spattering across the interrogator’s cheek. He wiped it away. It didn’t matter. What mattered was getting an answer to his question. Words, however, were not working. With calm hands, the interrogator placed one on the prisoner’s bare chest and flicked his other wrist. Steel flashed and the prisoner shrieked, a hole weeping blood where a nipple had once been.


“You didn’t need that. You don’t need your other one. You do need your tongue and so do I.” The blade was pressed against a cheek. “Do you need your eyes? Your ears? Your nose? I can make them as useless as nipples on a man’s chest.”

“NO!” The prisoner roared, his eyes burning with fury to fight off the fear and the pain. “I will tell you nothing! NOTHING! Torture me all you want! It won’t work! You’ll get no secrets from me, bastard!”

The interrogator stood gazing at the naked body chained up before him, noting how every member and extremity, patch of skin and the flesh beneath, was at the mercy of a blade that had no mercy. A razor wasn’t capable of compassion. It was only capable of cutting.


“Bastard, one mother called me before she ate her lips, but I say my father is the fire that consumes worlds to plant seeds in the ashes. Fire purifies. It destroys and it creates. It reveals secrets in the blazing light, dancing beside the naked flames. And a naked man has few secrets.” The blade trailed a thin red line from cheek to breast where a nipple had once been. “A flayed man, however, has none.”

With that, Khaedal fitted his knife between the topmost layer of skin and the tissue beneath, and peeled. The bound prisoner howled.

"NO! NOOOO! NOOOOO!!"

The outburst was a preliminary indulgence; the total consequence of having skin stripped from one's body, just enough to set the nerves on fire, but not enough to render the loss of consciousness. Khaedal didn't need to respond. Another layer of skin and the screaming man who wished to thrash and flail could only yield to his screams. His secrets spilled with them, slithering out between gasps and cries of agony.

"I'll tell...I'll tell you anything! Just make it stop! Make it all stop!"

“And I'll tell if you are lying. Are you from Landonia?”

"Yes! YES! I'm a knight! Sent here for recon! But we were too late!"

“And now you shall make us early. Give me the keys to your city."

"No! N-No... I can't! I can't! PLEASE!"

The knight was shedding his skin but not enough of his secrets, so Khaedal liberated him of a dirty finger and made its digit a wet red mast from tip to base. The screaming ensued.

"Then you will die."

Music

Spoiler

Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

ef21ad9a11a683b3fc6ef1982c59987826e9fb7a_hq.jpgSome time later, the Commander's captain stood before the town gates amid the ruins of Hungary. Dangling from the rampart was a skinless corpse among a row that would serve to remind any visitors what happened to those who resisted the Cult of Power and denied Lilith Reiter's right to rule.

"Marshal the troops." Khaedal called to his lieutenant, looking from the swaying thing of flayed opportunity to the sky still swarming with black clouds. "The Commander has called her banners. They fly over the island of Hungar. Now they shall fly over Landon from city to coast. We leave soon."

He stepped away, venturing from what was left of the settlement to the river that flanked it. He lowered himself to his knees, his katana unsheathed, naked steel laid out before him. A thunder greeted his form from above, beckoning his soul to stretch the lightning across the skies and continue feeding the flames. "I feel your hunger." He called to the clouds, aware of the starvation in his own voice. "I have made it my own. We have emptied the graves of yesterday. They must be replenished today. The onslaught must ensue."

As Khaedal spoke, he did not turn to see the shrouds that were emerging from behind. Some of them had arrived with him, slaying souls like reapers pulling weeds, but others were fresh from the streets. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, all of them the dead children of Hungary and all of them hungry to serve. They had lifted themselves from their nightmarish slumber and now they marched forth as the denizens of destiny. Destiny and power. Let us claim them. Just then, after hearing the thunderous flap of wings through ears that were specific to them, a raven landed on Khaedal's shoulder. He slipped a rolled parchment between its talons and it took off flying.

Khaedal rose from the ground and his sword came with him. It stabbed the sky and crackled with electricity as vibrant as an emerald. An army had gathered at his back but his gaze was on an island in the distance, southwest from his own. When a length of steel came down, its tip was pointed at the landmass yonder, and a pair of golden eyes beheld the jewel soon to be seized and worn around one woman's neck, to add to her collection.

"Landonia awaits."

 


 

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_______________________________________________

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Map

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Landonia

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Music

Spoiler

Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

The Primeir of Landonia

The cloud-capped city of Landonia was a fruit basket that gorged on itself all alone in the sky. Pink fungi sprawled across the twisted branches that curled their brown limbs about the luscious green landscape. The mountainous terrain was as Renovation as Renovatio overall, serving as a floating jewel of an island called Landon located in the southernmost reaches of this area of the province. Beneath a frozen volcano whose orange light was like an eye gazing at the breadth below, the city of Landonia looked like a giant palace the way its buildings and its walls were connected to one another. Structures of white rock crowned in orange were erected on the grassland amid a river that fell into the depths below the skies, blanketing the broad bounty like a warm sheet over a bed. Life was peaceful here and the fruits were plenty. Yet, the basket that held them was about to tip over.

In the spire of the city hall, towering above the rest of the settlement, fingers were fumbling to keep their hands from shaking. Sitting on his lonesome in the office that ushered organization and ensured order, Primeir Hilton von Daggaros felt a bead of sweat trickle down his cheek. His chamber was silent save for the deafening noise of his own thoughts of panic and dread amid a draft that blew in through a cracked window. His desk, a bed of books and papers and inkwells with quills to write out Landonia's future, had suddenly felt like a tree stump whose tower had since been felled. His eyes not daring to blink, they began to sting as they read the letter written in red on a pink parchment: words of blood on what looked and felt like human skin.

Spoiler

Dear Primeir Hilton von Daggaros, PRIME of Landonia,

Your knight is dead. He and all the Hungarians were slaughtered in less than a day. I have his body. You have his skin. Tell his wife.

Your false ruler and his friends will die. Their heads will mount the walls of Nu Martyr. Come see them. Your Grand Kommandant lied, and so did all of you PRIMEs. You told the world that Lilith Reiter has no claim to her crown.

The Commander of Death will have her crown. If you want your walls and your people to stand, open your gates to me and mine. Swear fealty to the Cult of Power. Or suffer the consequences. The weather is cold, but I can make warm cloaks from the skins of the Hungarians, and from the Landonians, and our armies will march on Nu Martyr warm and bloody.

I want your city. I want your troops. I want your fealty. I want your coronet. I want the crown. And I want my power. I want it all for Lilith Reiter. Give them to me and I will not trouble you or your sheep. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your heart and eat it. Then I will shear your sheep right down to the bone and bathe in their blood.

I will burn your buildings to the ground. I will paint your white walls red. I will flay every man, woman, child and suckling babe that I come across. I will mount your head and the heads of your friends upon the battlements of Landonia. Some of you, I will spare. I will gouge their eyes out, slice off their noses and chop off their hands. I will impale them upon your precious spire. They will sing out the defeat of Landonia and the victory of the Cult of Power. They will herald the Unsung Horror. For as long as it pleases me to hear them sing.

Join us or die.

You are one cult or you are the enemy of one cult.

Choose.

—Khaedal
Paragon and Captain in the Cult of Power

By the time that Hilton had managed to tear his eyes away from the foul fabric clasped by frail fingers, his dry throat had swallowed for the first time, a dead frog sliding down. He didn't know what to do. He didn't know what to say. He didn't know what to think. He knew what he held and it was more than dead skin. In his hands, the Primeir of Landonia grasped the crowning decision of the city from its inception to this fateful day. Fate itself was resting in his shaking hands. The question was whether it was his own fate, and his city's fate, the destiny of his own making, or whether the ending had already been determined.

There was a knock on the door. A loud knock. A yell came with it.

"Primeir, are you in there!? I said it's Duncan! Are you in there!?"

Hilton blinked himself away from the letter. Against every desire in every fiber of his being, his fingers would not let it go.

"Y-Yes? Sorry. Duncan? Come. Come in."

The door opened and in stepped Lord Duncan Taleus, the PRIME's deputy administrator and Chancellor of Landonia.

"What is wrong?" Hilton blinked up at his friend, suddenly aware of the concern that had stabbed the man's face. "Hilton, I've been pounding on your door for almost a minute now. I have urgent news. You need to hear this. What is that?"

Duncan nodded at the pink letter in Hilton's hands. The PRIME himself had almost forgotten about it. Almost. But I remember now. How could I even forget? "It's...a letter."

There was a moment of silence that Duncan was quick to capitalize on.

"A letter? A letter from whom?"

Hilton finally let go of the parchment, dropping it on the other end of the desk.

"A letter from Hungary. They have news of their own."

Duncan retrieved the letter and read it. Hilton couldn't watch. The floor had called his eyes, or maybe it was the grave beneath it.

"Good...good gods." Duncan had spoken what Hilton was unable to. "Hilton...this...this is madness. Who wrote this?"

Hilton shook his head, his gaze still on the polished marble of his floor. "A madman. A man. A monster." He shrugged. "Does it matter? Does your news validate my own?"

"Yes...I'm afraid it does. Hungary has fallen. Keto has fallen. Taronta and Apolypse have fallen. The Cult of Power have...fallen...on Renovatio."

There was another moment of silence. It was all that engulfed Hilton's mind where once the cogs were turning with the mills of his city. While it still stands. What must I do to keep it standing?

"The Cult of Power. The Commander of Death. If her captain's words are anything to go by...Landonia is next to fall."

Or will it stand tall? Only time will tell.

Edited by Die Shize

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Defenders- Keto

As Shane did the smoke-jump thing, Aveline took pictures while Thurgood switched over to video and managed to get the end of the takeoff.

This is bad. With this rapid redeployment ability, Lillith and her paragons can start an engagement with the defenders with hordes of zombies, then just jet the fuck outta there while the defenders are still dealing with the cannon fodder to attack somewhere else. This also makes trapping any of them absolutely impossible.

The fact they can do this at will is something PRIME and the other defenders must know about! So completely forgoing stealth, as the departure of Lillith and her main forces means it's not needed that much anyways. The focus now is to get to the truck and get their asses to Nu Martyr.

Edited by notmuch_23

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Eshara and the other Custode Captains stood tall, stood silent during the conference. They had already gone over the overarching plans with Knight Matsumoto aboard the ship, and now the swordsman monk had to convince and coordinate with that of the PRIME's forces, along with their Kadian allies. He spoke persuasively, and the advice of the Kadian Emperor was appreciated as well. Any and all tactics to defeat this enemy was worth considering in his opinion. He spoke out now and then, if only to ascertain a particular detail, numbers of enemies, their capabilities. What Eshara most wanted to know about however, were the wild cards in the area. Smaller groups of soldiers, mercenaries, guards of minor houses, partisans, whatever they might be, wherever they might be. This was their land, and they could not be overlooked as a resource and fighting force to draw upon. Towards the end of the war council however, the air of the Custodes shifted as they received a coded message from their cohorts still on the airships.

The Greatsword strode forth to catch Tenkai's attention, even as the PRIME Lord Dallas and the other notables within the room would likely similarly be informed of the development as well.

"Reports of undead sir. They are rising in the city" he paused, tilting his head as the communique continued, "Scattered reports coming in from elsewhere as well. It seems to be happening all around the nation. Your will?"

---

On the way back to the airship, the monk would be accosted by a Guardian running at speed. Taking a moment to catch his breathe, he held his hand up to forestall the Knight and passed him a communicator. "You have a priority call, Sir Matsumoto. It is Lord Eredas on the line" the Custode explained, indicating the device which was patched into the Susano'o's communication systems. 

Spoiler

 

"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?" 

.

.

.

"I like your plan, and those ideas proposed by Kadian EmperorHowever, 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." 

.

.

.

"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."

 

 

For now, the Order of Force Majeure headed to war, in two different directions. Aboard the uniquely designed frigate, the Susano'o, Knight Tenkai Matsumoto took the complement of roguish Seekers, specialist Vanquishers, and half the Guardian troops with all speed on his plan, while in the other direction to Primaria, the Custode Captain Eshara Dominic took the other half of the Guardians, and the elite shock forces of the Force Majeure, his fellow Greatswords aboard the cruiser Invictus Nova.  The Unsung Horror came for Nu Martyr, but this would not be any prey like she had encountered before. 

Edited by Fierach

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HOLINESS "HOLLY" SHEATHE - CERTIFIED VELURIYAM REPRESENTATIVE (Defender?)1387416309492.jpg


She was once a simple woman, plain-faced but not entirely ugly. Born from a lowly family of farmers, the girl had lived a rather mundane life. However, that was all in the past. The current version of her is a battle-scarred woman whose face had more burns than actual skin. Gone was the average beauty, replaced by this ragged visage. Long gone was the farmer, replaced by this hardened noblewoman. This is the sad reality that the woman known as Holly Sheathe, had to face every single day.

She knew she was late, but it wasn't her fault. She had to pull some strings within the empire and this was the best she could muster within short notice. Truth be told her presence was nothing more but a nuisance, however, she deemed it of utmost importance that someone from the higher-ups is able to represent their forces. After all, her presence was pointless but necessary.

They call me the face of the empire. Hah! What an ugly face.

Chuckling bitterly, Holly made her way towards the place where the defense counsel is. However, she still needed to make a detour. There's an assistant she needed to collect.

Noimages?q=tbn:ANd9GcTJ8JaflWmumayac-UtbkI07awi-NZ1JHOicw7YCiUX5LOD2imHw, where is the Madame?

She found that certain woman sulking about the entrance. There's no way Holly could have missed that needlessly white hair and the sullen look on the woman's face. Definitely the Madame she had known. The woman's eyes lit up upon seeing Holly but there were no words exchanged between them. There was only a slight nod and then the Madame filed behind Holly's back.

With an annoyed look on her ugly mug, Holly addressed the entry guards. 'As a representative of the Veluriyam Empire, I would like to request an audience with the Prime. My soldiers have arrived before me and I fear they would be deployed without my knowing."


 @Ataraxy

Edited by Thotification

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It took only a short time before the Watchers finished off the first wave of the attackers. From there it was a matter of waiting for reinforcements to arrive and relieve them. During this downtime, they debated over their strategy; whether to head on over to Hungary or to Landonia to disrupt the enemy attack. Arthur and Gale advocated the former while Elias and Max insisted on the latter. 

“Landonia is closer than Hungary.” Arthur said as they piled the slain corpses into a ditch. In order to ensure they could not be raised again, Nathan ordered they be stacked and burned to ashes. “Besides, we need to focus our defense on the larger concentration of enemy troops. If we can break through their lines, we may be able to scatter them and defeat them in detail.”

”But you’re forgetting that Hungary is the linking point between the northern and central regions. Take it back and we can hold back half the enemy force.” Max suggested. “I’d wager we can do far more damage to the enemy in the long term if we can retake that city and buy time for the defenders to regroup and recoup their losses.”

The debate hung in the air until Nathan spoke up, deciding it was time to break the deadlock. As was his want, he had remained silent and listened to both sides arguments until he made his decision. 

“I think we need to jump from one area to another and assault each enemy position as it appears.”

The other Watchers looked at him as if he sprouted a second head. 

“But Jameson, by holding onto one spot, our power broke this force.” Arthur protested. He gestured to the corpses they defeated. “Would it not be better if we did the same for the other cities?” 

Nathan shook his head. “The enemy is somehow violating the principle of mass. They have a way to rapidly assault more than one city and redeploy at will. Instead of concentrating our efforts on saving any one city, I think our best course should be to save as many as possible. Besides, we need to lend our expertise in aiding and coordinating the defenders’ efforts. Individually, our powers will turn the tide of a battle. By hitting soft targets across the country, we might alter the course of the war.”

Nathan’s plan did make sense from a tactical standpoint. The Watchers could not be everywhere at once. While together, they were formidable, but it was only when they could apply all of their efforts at once could they truly make a difference. The whole point of the group’s creation was to respond quickly to any demonic activity as it appeared. To scatter or to try and remain fixed in any one spot would bog down the defenders efforts. Better to eliminate each threat individually and as quickly as possible. 

Seeing as how they had little time for any more debate, they nodded in agreement. 

“If that’s all, our first target will be Landonia.” He declared, slamming his fist into his palm. “Let’s find some quick transportation and see what kind of Hell we can raise.”

—————————————————-

It only took a few minutes before they found an abandoned airship depot in the city’s main district. As much of the civilian population had been evacuated beforehand, they had no resistance in commandeering one of the airships for their use. At Nathan’s insistence, they left a note for the staff that they would return it as soon as the war was concluded, and that their benefactor would compensate for any damages done to it. With Arthur at the helm, they departed.

 

Edited by Sir Nathaniel

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With his newly risen helpers, it was a simple matter to have them and some of the other Paragons round up the survivors of the initial attack. Men and women were taken to a staging area right outside what used to be city hall, while the children were evacuated from the battlefield and taken into the Cults care. Soon there were hundreds of people standing in front of the old building, forced to kneel in submission. Now he moved to stand on the stairs leading to the hall, making sure everybody could see him. This would be the first time he had really tested his stones power, so it would be interesting to see what happened next.

Ankou lifted his left hand above his head, and the mind stone began to glow a vibrant golden yellow. The Paragons had been warned to avert their gazes, and the reanimated were immune to the stones power. When they glimpsed the stone, the prisoners eyes came to hold the same glow as the one the stone was giving off. The crying and hushed whispers that had filled the air now quieted, leaving the area completely silent.

"You will obey."

The newly enslaved prisoners didn't so much as twitch, but some kind of gentle feedback from the stone told him that it had worked. Satisfied, he looked to the Paragon next to him.

"Make them ready, then set them on their way."

Nodding profusely, the Paragon began to direct his subordinates, who produced vests filled with explosives, and moved to help the enthralled into them. 

Edited by danzilla3

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"Reports say that Keto, Apolypse, Hungary and Taronta have fallen, due to an invasion of... necromancers. From their marches, they are threatening to siege Nu Martyr as their last objec.."

The small, portable television was closed, at last, by Tolok. The news were devastating for him, not knowing precisely what to do. An army of necromancers, spreading death, decay, filth and the putrefying smell of the zombies all across Nehlaen. For what? Possibly the Crown of Asteria and the declaration of war.
"Hell, as advanced they think they might be, they are extremely stupid. They could just hide the Crown or destroy it, but not broadcasting they found a crown. Stupid people."
Finishing the remark, he put the portable television in his backpack. It was small and light enough to fit in. After that, he started packing.
He was in the outskirts of Parrish, watching the city, while trying to relax himself. At least, that's what he thought. He couldn't relax, anymore, after this whole news was broadcasted.
Thinking again about it, he felt rage. The warm, turning hotter, rage which would not stop, thinking about how many people lost their lifes due to this invasion. And so many to die. Men, women and children, screaming and agonising, raising from dead, unable to escape the shackles of being both living and dead. The image was profoundly disturbing Tolok. "PRIME and the other military will need more help. I know that. They cannot fight alone against millions of undead and other important enemies." he whispered to himself, while clenching his fist, now covered in flames and looking at the blue sky. "At least it's not dark, like this situation."

He could see cars and people running away from the city, towards Nu Martyr or other safer cities. But no city was safe, at the moment. Not that he knew of. He stood up, watching over the cars already creating an immense traffic and a cacophony of car horns causing a noise pollution, shaking his head.

"People will soon be dead if no one rises to fight. I'm going to fight." As he unsheathed his sword but, on a second thought... "...But not alone. And I need information about the enemy." and he put his sword back.
"As much as I believe in a world that can be saved, no victory comes without a sacrifice. I cannot fight alone in Parrish. I need to hide somewhere to observe the enemies, though. This place looks promising." Located in the outskirts on a green hill covered by might and green oaks, he was thiking of climbing a tree. No one would see him in the leaves, unless they had the eyes of an eagle. No one, not even himself if he had his soul depart his body and look for him, even though he knew where his body was residing. So he went to a tree and put his backpack behind a fallen tree trunk, hiding it, making sure it was not was able to be seen, and he waited. He waited at the base of the tree, watching the horison like a sentinel.

Edited by The Fire Heart

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