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Ataraxy

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

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[DEFENDER: THE MADAME LINDA LINDA]49933516_173645973610751_4806202535537153611_n.jpg?_nc_ht=scontent-lax3-2.cdninstagram.com

It was quite an interesting thing that the woman now known as the Madame happened to be lounging about in Nu Martyr when news of the so-called "Commander's declaration of war" reached her dainty ears. Any mundane man or woman would have felt fear or perhaps distress regarding such grave revelation but not the Madame. One can say she was unperturbed, unfazed even. This Commander was someone she personally knew, in the past perhaps.

I wonder what my dear friend Lilith is up to these days? She's not having another tantrum right now, is she?

A heavy sigh escaped the Madame's lips. Her everyday walks around the city streets are gradually becoming less eventful ever since Lilith's outlandish declaration. Not that she understood what her old friend wants in Nu Martyr so badly that the necromancer would wage an all-out war against the poor city.

If I were to make a guess, it would most likely some powerful artifact or relic kept within the city's treasury. My dear friend was always one for the dramatic.

The Madame knew too that the necromancer did not care one bit for the pathetic residents of this place and the loss of many lives would only feed the necromancer's power. Whatever happens in this war, Lilith would more than likely accomplish her objective and a staggering number of deaths.

Such an ominous thought. I might need a drink once I return to my sleeping quarters.

Her yellow eyes shifted towards the east then, her gaze staring blankly into space. She could sense them, some of her old acquaintance, the so-called Paragons. Beings that have sworn their allegiance to the necromancer. A mischievous smile formed on her lips as the Madame remembered something interesting.

Lilith, my dear. I'll be here waiting for you. We haven't had a cup of tea in ages.


 

 

 

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Even though their primary threat was demonic based, the argument could be made the Watchers closest second enemy was the undead. Their leader Nathan in particular held the living dead as unnatural blights; vile parodies of the truly living people of the world. 

And it had to be stopped.

As per their usual pre-battle ritual, the five of them stood in a line just outside the city, waiting for the enemy to make their entrance, honing their blades and saying prayers. Max, the most pious of them was the loudest and most eager to use his swords. 

“Sacred, eternal Heavens and those who dwell in them watch over us today.” He intoned, cracking his neck in the process. His eyes scanned the horizon, searching for any hidden danger. “Men of evil seek our lives. They are gathered for war. Their tongues are as serpents and their lips are as poison.’ 

‘Gods, source of our strength, grant not the desire of the wicked. Cover our heads on the day of battle.”

Before he could finish, the older, taller man beside him snorted. 

“You talk too much, brother. The Gods aren’t here today. It’s the five of us, you hear me?”

Max threw his friend a dirty look. “You may have turned away from the Gods, Gale, but some of us still hold faith.”

”That’s enough, you two.” Said Nathan, folding his arms behind his back. His tone was that of a father scolding his bickering children. “Our mission is to prevent both this city and the crown from falling into enemy hands.” 

“We’re all aware of why we’re here, Jameson.” Said Arthur, the group’s second in command. “But then, I think we forget our other purpose.”

”Too true, Sir Arthur.” Said Nathan, drawing his sword. “I think it’s time we remind the world of who we are and why we are here. Remember our training. Stay together and we will make it through this war.” He raised his blade high. “Watchers, with me!”

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---- Dawn Komturie, Fortress of the Order of Force Majeure; 1 week ago

 

"HYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

"EEEEIIIII--!"

"HRRAAAGGHHHH!!"

Vigorous shouts of effort and strength resounded across the fortress training courtyards as Order aspirants diligently went about their exercises. There were quite a number of them, carrying all manner of practice longswords made of wood, bamboo and blunted steel. From the sleek and subtle curves of Elven design to thick slabs resembling the make of Dwarven or Orcish origin, all the way to common human training foils and bamboo shafts. Students drilled their techiques in unison with weighted rods for endurance while others practiced the specific intricacies of the myriad styles that their masters had brought to the Order. Aspirants of all sizes and shapes sparred against one another, regardless of advantage or class, honing their strengths and learning from their weaknesses. Though there was much different about them all, they were all training in some form of longsword, and all for the same reason: to join the ranks of the newly founded branch of the Order Custodes, the Vanquishers.

Not too far away, Order Knight Tenkai Matsumoto watched the aspirants quietly from just outside the training courtyard, pleased with the progress that he saw. It was he who broached the idea of a fourth branch of Custodes with Master Knight James Eredas, one that could strike precisely at high-value targets like the Seekers but with a melee presence focusing on mastery of the sword. These would be the kind of warriors Tenkai could fight alongside as opposed to solely relying on Seekers for cover on the battlefield. Several Custodes among the other branches who possessed their own mastery of the sword took to Tenkai's idea and formed the foundation of the new branch, eager to use their skills in the Order's service and pass that knowledge on to their aspirants. Thanks to this, the Vanquishers had plenty to their number already, and soon the time would come for them to be tested in battle.

It seemed that time was to come sooner than he realized.

"Sir Tenkai."

The swordsman-monk turned his head to the side, where a pair of Seekers and one Vanquisher were standing a few feet away. Turning the rest of the way to receive them, Tenkai could see that one of the Seekers was carrying a missive. An undoubtedly urgent one, he supposed. The Seekers didn't deal in innocuous correspondence.

"Yes, go ahead."

"We've recently received this missive from a Veluriyam messenger. They were particularly urgent in insisting that this gets into the hands of a Knight."

"Very well," said Tenkai, accepting the missive from the Seeker and breaking the wax seal. It was amusing how even in a world and age filled with many impressive technologies, simple means such as parchment and wax seals still had their place. It could very well have been that the wax was enchanted in some way, though, perhaps to make sure it reached the intended recipient. None of that really mattered to Tenkai, however. 

Especially not after he read the message.

The amusement was swiftly drained from him. Having gleaned all that he needed to from he message, he rolled it up and looked back up at the Custodes. "Alert the Custodes and patch me in with Master Eredas. We don't have much time."

 

---- Nu Martyr, outside the docked Khan-class Cruiser Invictus Nova, present time

 

 

It had been about a week since Tenkai had received the message. At first he thought there would have been some protest from James at the request to bring the Invictus Nova, the Order's flagship cruiser, to Nu Martyr. After all the trouble they went through in the construction of Tenkai's personal frigate, the Susano'o, Tenkai almost thought James would begrudge a request for even more of the Order's resources. However, it seemed that James trusted Tenkai enough to believe him when he said the threat was dire enough to require them to field a force of this magnitude. At least the kind of magnitude the Order was capable of fielding, that is. Their number was far smaller than that of the vast armies they often found themselves fighting alongside and against, but any nation that had dealt with the Order on either end of the blade knew where their strength laid. It seemed that the Veluriyam Empire knew this as well, or else they would not have wasted precious time and resources reaching out to the Order for aid. 

In both cases, this is what Tenkai would have considered good fortune. That they would immediately recognize the threat that this "Lilith" and her Cult of Power posed meant a lot less wasted time. He knew he could count on James for that. Indeed, ever since the Symposium, those strange questions proposed by that lone journalist had piqued both his interest and suspicion, and he had since looked into accounts and information regarding the one the cultists referred to as "the Commander." He knew she was a necromancer, and a rather powerful one at that, which was more than enough to draw the eye of a man who was committed to making sure the dead stayed that way. This was not the same kind of necromancer as Perestroika or the Order's Craftsmen. This was was a power much darker than that, and Tenkai didn't need any previous information in order to know this. He could feel it quite clearly. 

With both the Invictus Nova and the Susano'o docked within the city, getting to the PRIME's palace wouldn't take very long. While the Custodes and other Order personnel made their preparations aboard the cruiser, Tenkai chose four Custodes captains to accompany him, one from each of the four main branches present with him in this endeavor, to accompany him as he sought an audience with Ardon Dallas. Though the Order was here acting on behalf of the Veluriyam Empire as part of the Allied Nations of Terrenus, it was Dallas and Nu Martyr military that he would be assisting. Tenkai admittedly did not know much about the PRIME other than the fact that he had come into possession of an artifact of great power, the very same item that had now literally brought death to his doorstep. If this artifact was so important as to spur Lilith into such brazen action, then one could only wonder what Ardon Dallas intended to do with it. After all, if its power was a mere fabrication, there was nothing stopping him from discarding it for the sake of sparing his city. Was he trying to protect it from the hands of one who would undoubtedly use it to obscenely evil ends? Or was there something else to all of this?

One way or another, Tenkai would find out. After all, they were here on behalf of Veluriyam, not the PRIME of Nu Martyr. He had no interest in aiding anyone's ambitions or the selfish pursuit of glory. Even then, his interest was less in the empire's stake in the region and more in preventing such an immense loss of innocent life. To that end, Tenkai wished to see how much of their aims aligned.

Once they made it to the front gate, Tenkai and his retinue stopped in front of the guards that stood watch over the entrance, wary of those who would seek out their ruler in the midst of an impending crisis.

"I am here to request and audience with PRIME Ardon Dallas regarding the defense of the city," the Knight said as the Custodes Captains stood solemnly behind him.

@Ataraxy

@Fierach

@Twitterpated

@Djinn&Juice

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Ambience

Spoiler

Sound Presence: IC

https://tabletopaudio.com/index.html?137

"Mill Town"

A busy little mill town on the banks of a river.

The Mother

“Kristen!”

 

Lauren called her boy’s name once, twice, thrice and then three more times over just for good measure, but no amount of calling could measure up to the blissfully ignorant antics of her son.

 

“Kristen, I said it’s dinner time! Your father’s going to tan your hide if you don’t march it up and park it at the table!”

 

Oh, but if Miles was the better behaved one of the two. A couple of years older than the latest eight-year-old, so it was fair to say that Miles had some more maturity, but Kristen was a whole other story. If he has mud in his shoes, I’ll beat him over the head with said shoes and feed him the mud.

 

Lauren just stood at the balcony of her humble abode with fist-hip authority and a headshake that could shake mountains. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t shaking the little feet of a little boy.

 

“KRISTEN!”

 

“COMING, MOTHER!”

 

I SWEAR. She could swear until she was blue in the face for all the good that it would do her. Six o’clock on the dot, Jared would tell the lot of them. That was dinner time. As stern and stiff as her husband could be, however, he seemed to prefer reclining in his reclining chair over keeping to his own standards of punctuality, never mind the family’s. Sally and Linda were already at the table, good girls that they were. The nine-year-old twins were something of Lauren’s graceful reminder that hope for the female race marched on, even if her hope for her own self was fading each moment that one Kristen of a sandy-haired, dirty-footed child skipped along the grass to grab his dinner, but not before he was forced to dry his lower legs. I SWEAR.

 

“That boy of yours was born in the river, I tell you what!” Esgren called over in jest from the neighbor’s house in a row of many that were settled on the riverside.

 

“I love him to death, and he just might be heading there sooner than he thinks if he keeps this up!” Lauren called back.

 

A final headshake and Lauren flicked Kristen on the ear while the two made it inside the house. Fresh fish greeted their nostrils along with some teasing words cast from the twins to Kristen. He stuck his tongue out and parked his rear in his chair in the end, his older brother hopping to, leaving Mother and Father to dally about. Jared, at any rate. For her part, Lauren was grabbing the napkins that her O so hardworking husband had failed to do.

 

“What’s for dinner?” Jared inquired as he managed to lift his middleaged weight and decide that joining his family for dinner was a good idea.

 

“Same as yesterday and the day before, my love.” Lauren shook her head with an eyeroll that betrayed her amused smile. “Clams, salmon, squid, garlic bread and mashed potatoes, just the way we like it.”

 

“I’d rather have steak!”

 

The remark had earned Kristen a bonk on the head with a wooden spoon from his mother. “Then go hunt for it! Though you’ll have to leave town and join those smelly treefolk in the jungle if you want it so bad.”

 

As forkfuls of fish entered mouths, with a suddenly giddy Kristen, Lauren suddenly discovered the odd one out.

 

“Miles, how many times have I told you to put your book away when you sit at the table?”

 

Miles just blinked up as though his mother had just asked him how far Ignatz was from Renovatio. Though he probably already knows. Put the book away, young man.”

 

“I was just reading up on strategy and tactics, Mom.”

 

“What for, son?” Inquired Jared before he tore into a chunk of bread.

 

“We have to be ready for when the enemy comes.”

 

“Miles!” Lauren heard her silverware clink upon her plate a little louder than she had intended. “I told you that we are not to speak of that! Hungary might be Renovatio, but it is not Renovatio.” She sipped her water, ignoring the confused eyebrows of everyone but Jared.

 

“What your mother means to say is that our little out of the way town is too far removed from the problems of the other islands. Now, I know that sounds unfair, kids, but it’s as much a truth as it is a blessing. Whatever darkness comes over Renovatio, gods forbid, it won’t reach us.”

 

Jared reached his hands out to the two girls sitting either side of him and smiled with more assurance than Lauren herself felt.

 

“Your father is correct, children.” She looked from one sweet face to the other. “Our little island of Hungar is smaller than a pinky tip on the map while Hungary is barely a dot. And that’s a good thing for this town and us inside it. The world is a big, scary place, that’s why we tell you to stay here, as generation after generation of Hungarians have done—”
 

KADOOM!

 

Startled gasps erupted in unison from three males sitting at the dining table, but theirs had been drowned out by the shrieks of the three females. Lauren herself had heard her knife and fork rattle off her plate a second time, this round without intention. For, looming somewhere overhead to dominate all of their voices combined, had bellowed forth a sudden and rumbling boom.

 

“Good heavens!” Lauren exclaimed, a hand on her chest. “What was that!?”

 

Her eyes sourced everyone at that table for an answer. Jared shook his head. “Th...Thunder… That was thunder.”
 

“Thunder!? But thunder means rain! When was the last time it rained!? This is Renovatio, for crying out loud!”

 

There was no rain. The ‘thunder’ hadn’t struck again in the seconds that followed. It had rained enough in Lauren’s lifetime for her to recall the noise, but rainfall was a gift that didn’t come often.

 

“That’s weird…” Jared spoke, his eyes roving around the windows to take in the fading sunlight. “Definitely no rain. Thunder also means lightning. Maybe we missed it. Sounded close th—”

 

KADOOM!


Ambience

Spoiler

Sound Presence: IC

 

 

 

Now it was everyone’s turn to gasp in unison. They didn’t have the freedom to do much else. Amid the rolling thunder, a sound like the river’s waterfall erupted all around them as the skies began to cry. Sheets of rain were pitter-pattering against the windows, surrounding the house.

 

“RAIN!” Miles jumped from his chair to run to the window.

 

“MILES GET BACK HERE!” It was no use.

 

“It’s okay, honey! It’s just rain!” Jared tried to wave her worry away.

 

Like a mother’s worry can be waved away, you oaf! “But why in all of Valucre is it raining!”

 

For mere seconds, the whole house lit up just then, the inside and outside embalmed by a green light as though the family had been caught in an emerald.

 

“Lightning!” Kristen delighted.

 

“I’m scared!” Pleaded Sally and Linda at the same time. “We’re scared!” They both agreed.

 

“Girls, girls, it’s okay! Your father and I have experienced a storm before! It’s...it’s just lightning! Just a storm.” What the hell kind of lightning is this? What the hell kind of storm?

 

“Dad! Mom! Quick! Look!”

 

Lauren and Jared exchanged a look and hopped out of their chairs to hasten toward the window where Miles was. The town of Hungary proper nestling at the other side of the house, right then they found themselves peering through the grey wet mist at the river. On the obscure horizon on the other side of the bank, a darkness could be seen, gradually covering more and more distance, covering the whole breadth, like some giant black blanket to cover the land.

 

“Jared...I. Am. Scared.” There was a frog in Lauren’s throat that she couldn’t manage to swallow.

 

“It’s okay, honey. Nothing to be scared of. This is...this is just a...just a storm…right?”

 

Wrong. Lauren thought as her whole world turned black, the sun an extinguished flame where once it had been ruling but a moment ago. “This is not just a storm...”

 

Another clap of thunder. This time, the whole house shook. Another flash of lightning. So green, so bright, so beautifully bright. Lauren was granted a second to think, gazing out the window beside husband and son, entranced by a moment’s majesty. She felt an intense heat, her heart skipped a beat, and the last thing that she heard was Sally and Linda screaming.  

 



Music

Spoiler

Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

 

 

The Cradle's Spawn

 

Be0qSHc.jpg?1A fork of lightning streaked across the sky as though a thunder god had decided to dine on the clouds so puffed with pride. They were vessels that sailed the heavens; grey-black marble stretching across the welkin in some ungodly attempt to rip it all apart. They just might. If a mushroom cloud was what followed a nuclear explosion, then the carousel in the malevolent sky was spiraling in reverse: the clouds so pregnant with malice had erupted with an air-splitting roar as one deity got too hungry and its voice echoed across the cosmos to come as thunder above one single town.

 

Amid a savage surge of rainfall that hammered upon the little airborne lands beneath, a brilliant emerald light cut across the charcoal archways further above, lighting the skies up with crooked flashes of glinting green gems. Like a cannonball, one was let loose from the groaning maw of the maelstrom, and it flew toward the town with a fury and a tail of fiery wrath trailing behind.

 

When the jagged boulder of crackling electricity and burning madness had landed, its target was what used to be a quiet town sitting by the river. In an instant, wood and stone and earth burst in a shower of debris. A series of buildings had been obliterated in seconds. Splinters as long as a man’s arm spewed outward in the midst of rock reduced to pebbles as shrapnel engulfed the vicinity. The deafening impact had vomited flaming tendrils that began to slither about the cobblestones and consume them in a bright green hue.

 

Crawling out from the electrocuted inferno were shadows and shades before a green backdrop; a black tide in a jade sea. The townsfolk could not attest as to when or where these figures had exactly emerged, but as their whole way of living had just been shattered in only moments, as they scurried and scampered to seek survival still slipping away, their dark counterparts moved with the patience of an hourglass whose sand was eternal. Their leader, a red knuckle upon the black fist, had centered himself at the forefront of the vanguard. His gait was ghastly, like a spectre in a fog of fire, one entombed by armor the color of blood.

Reaching the peripherals of the town of Hungary, the black tide began to seep into the cracks. The shadows negotiated their way down streets and alleys, settling diplomacy with bloodied blades as they bid themselves entry. They followed the one in red, the paragon of paragons, but he and all of them ultimately followed another. While black tentacles and a dread skull were devouring Keto at the behest of the Commander of Death, it was a lieutenant whom she had dispatched to rain destruction on the island of Hungar and behead the town of its namesake.

So, as Lilith had bidden, Khaedal would carry the creed. He carved a path toward the center of the town still on fire, the brooding flames dancing in defiance to the rains. Souls encountered were souls severed, victims fallen at the edge of an unforgiving katana. The town square, once a paragon of unity, was now an empty pit of despair. While his troop persisted in their wanton slaughter, Khaedal had erected himself in its center, floating above the cavity. His blade was held to the storming skies, his other hand clutching the head of he who had introduced himself as the mayor. “Lilith Reiter sends her regards”, Khaedal had told the wailing man before cold steel had bitten his neck. Victorious, their commander had laid claim to Hungar and to Hungary, but it was his commander whom he had claimed the island for in order to serve as the southern launching pad for the invasion of Nu Martyr. It was his. It was hers. It is yours.

Game of Thrones Spoiler (Video for IC aesthetic)

Spoiler

 

Edited by Die Shize

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Shane_Haydes.png?dl=1When Shane had first joined the Cult of Power, he expected to just do a thing or two for The Commander, then go back his own way. He planned to return to Last Chance and burn down that club he wanted to destroy, then go on a rampage of terror against every corrupt establishment, business leader, politician and gangster he could find. But as someone who had never used magic in his life prior to receiving Lilith's mark, the young man realized he needed more time to hone his newfound ability before he could dare to put his plans into motion. This left him to conclude that the best option for him was to remain close to The Commander and her entourage, where he would have allies to work alongside as he slowly acclimated himself to his powers.

He never thought he'd join an invasion of an entire country. Well, city he supposed, but seeing as they were launching a campaign that would take them through several smaller towns, before eventually ending on the doorsteps of one of the continent's largest settlements, it might as well have been a national invasion. Like the other Paragons in Lilith's main force, he had arrived in a cloud of black smoke, donning his ragged outfit that consisted of battered Terran military armor, looted from Last Chance, a partial traveling cloak, and a set of fire-retardant goggles. He was carrying a plasma rifle in his hands, though he also had a cutlass sheathed on his left side, and a revolver holstered on his right. Should his powers fail him, he wanted to be sure he was well-armed.

The Paragon of Fire had elected to land a bit separated from The Commander, at least initially. He had taken a little time to study the cities they'd be visiting that day, meaning he knew approximately where what would pass as the "Red Light District" was situated. This was where he touched down, amidst graffiti-soiled walls and garbage-filled alleyways. Numerous establishments, named with clever innuendos, lined the streets on either side. With the sun setting in the distance, the street walkers were just beginning to emerge for their nightly solicitations. This was the part of town for low-class, hell, even high-class men and women, to find a good time.

Well, they were about to be informed that the party was cancelled.

"And the wheat shall be gathered and stored, but as to the chaff, it shall be burned in the unquenchable fire..." he calmly quoted a line from Directivist scripture as he rose to his feet, having landing on one knee.

"Hey! You! Get da hell outta here! Do you even know whatchu doin' or where you are?" a pimp brushed his way past some of the gawking civilians on the streets and boldly approached Shane, a big, shiny, engraved revolver in his hand.

Young Haydes looked up at the big man, who was decked in gold chains and jewelry over his brightly-colored suit and broad-rimmed hat. In the background, his peers watched on edge, while his women cowered in the shadows. They were all disgusting, every single one of them. Any man or woman who would be apart themselves to such moral corruption, whether they enjoyed it or not, was nothing less that a cancer. He hated them. He hated all of them.

"Hey? You listenin' tuh me?" the pimp snapped, pointing his revolver at Shane, "This is our town you cultist punk!"

Shane's attention focused squarely on the pimp, his hatred focusing on him and him alone. Green eyes began to glow molten gold as his range began to grow tangible.

"Not. Anymore."

A jet of flames erupted from Shane's palm, as he suddenly pushed it forward in the pimp's direction. The man attempted to fire, but his bullet was caught in the blaze and turned to molten metal before it could reach its target. But the fire, concentrated into a narrow cone and and laser-beam red in its heat, blasted straight through the pimp's chest. The flames carved a gaping hole in his torso, such that those standing behind him could see Shane through the man's chest. Men gasped and women screamed, as the big man crumbled to the ground and Shane's feet, the first of what would be many casualties this day.

"And he shall smite the wicked and cast them into the fiery pit." Shane misquoted the Directivist books once more, his eyes now focusing on the cowering people that lay beyond.

Jets of flame came forth from his palm again, this time in a broad fan, much less concentrated that what he had sent at the first pimp. These flames were not enough to incinerate instantly, but they were enough to fry clothing, burn skin and set flammable materials ablaze. Other Paragons had landed nearby, and they had already gotten to work on the far side of the street, but Shane wanted to enjoy himself. The screams and wails of those he immolated were like the prayers and songs of the faithful, the sound of righteousness translated into verbal form. As he moved from building to building, burning all in his path, the sound of church music seemed to ring in his ears, as the disturbed youth recalled those many Sundays spent in the pews of his local parish. Memories of peaceful, simpler times in his life. 

Of complacent times in his life.

No longer.

 

Edited by Tyler

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It came as a shock when the Imperial messenger arrived at the site, as Thurgood, Aveline, Vivian, and Nadia were busy building their manor. The message, straight from Emperor Demetrius, was a simple one: Nu Martyr is in danger, including Port Sun. Send any assistance to defend the province.

Unlike the other noble houses, House Singlance does not have any military forces, Fuck, they don't even have a manor here yet, and only two members! How the fuck does Titus expect them to defend Nu Martyr? Not conventionally, that's for damn sure.

Thurgood and Aveline then immediately drive back to Lunaris to gear up before taking the next aerostat flight to Port Sun, bringing Vivian and Nadia with them, and inviting their prospect, Josh Rhymer, to join as well, which it would be in his best interest to do.

Their plan is simple, yet complicated: continually harass and stymie the enemy, picking off high-value targets, disrupting movements, and crippling logistical support. It's classic asymmetrical warfare focusing on winning the war rather than just a series of battles.

Right now, Thurgood and Aveline hide out at the edge of the city. Aveline is using the scope on her Barrett M82, and Thurgood is using his spotting scope to watch. That's all they're doing though: watching and learning. Striking now would be suicide: the cult's reprisal will be swift and sure. So they wait...

 

...for now...

Edited by notmuch_23

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Taronta Outskirts - East

Circe patiently stalked towards Taronta as the last rays of the dying light faded out from existence. Perhaps residents had observed the darkened skies over the neighboring Keto earlier in the evening and found them ominous, as the town guard had stationed patrols across the circumference of the town. Circe had been monitoring them for a few hours, waiting to see how they would respond to the actions of her commander. She had to prove herself useful, she had been granted extraordinary power because of Her, and she never wanted to return to her previous life.

Circe closed in on the eastern gate to the town and removed the cloak was wearing, allowing it to drop behind her as she continued. Guards stationed outside were alerted to her presence and drew their weapons. "Halt! Identify yourself, traveler!" Eyes glued to Circe's armor, they were understandably on edge at her unsettling appearance.

Circe smiled at them, the light from torches turning her lips blood red. "Your weapons serve no purpose, sirs. I come with news from the town over."

"Keto? You bring news from there? Then pray tell, what were those clouds from earlier? Why have we no word from travelling merchants? And... I said halt!" The guards inquired rapidly, clearly eager for information to set them at ease. However, they were not pacified by her earlier words and instead began to assume defensive stances upon seeing her refuse their order to stay herself.

Circe paused within ten paces of the guards, before exclaiming ecstatically, "Keto has fallen. We march on Nu Martyr and we will burn every town, village and hamlet in our wake. Rejoice! For even in death, you have the honor becoming part of Her strength."

With her words, one guard blew a horn to alert the town to her hostile presence. The others circled around her, torches high in hand with swords extended to face her.
"I don't reckon your armor is for show, but you must be delusional if you believe you can take our city alone!" shouted one of the guards, to cries of agreement from the men beside him.

Circe's enchanting smile widened and morphed into a corrupted grin before pronouncing, "Your fire blinds you to the truth, fools. Who said I was alone?"

Hissing and shrieking filled the skies on all sides of the town, as alarm bells rang out fervently. Out of the brush came pouring hundreds of spiders and spider-like abominations, swarming towards the now panic-stricken guards. 

Screams filled the air.

 


 

Taronta - Center

Circe sat comfortably atop a pile of corpses wrapped in her webbing. Her children were hard at work around her, converting the now silent town into a truly wretched palace for her to command from. The process had taken a few hours and the moon was now high in the sky, but she had finally completed her preparations. Circe stood up straight on her makeshift throne and shrieked in a hideous pitch. Out from the various windows and doors came pouring spiders in the thousands, accompanied by the various mutated offspring she was now capable of producing. Like a shining black wave they tore out through the western entrance of the town, flooding the nearby fields as they made their way south by southwest. She would remain here, consuming her prey and producing more offspring, while commanding them to scour and pillage the other nearby settlements. She would sow chaos and fear, and grow stronger ever still.

All in service of her new master.

The moon rose with the curtains of Her black invasion, and the land would know the terror of Her might.

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Defenders:

Nu Martyr: Outside the docked Khan-class Cruiser Invictus Nova

The four warriors who flanked the Order of Force Majeure Knight, Tenkai Matsumoto were an elite group, among some of the best among their peers. 

One of them wore a sleek looking suit that seemed to shimmer darkly. Looking at him directly seemed to be oddly difficult, a trick of the light perhaps, or maybe the way he moved was simply imperceptible to an ordinary onlooker. A large two-handed sword lay in his hands, a curved thing that seemed too elegant to be of human make, an elven draich. Perhaps that explained some of the being's movements, as his features were concealed behind his full helm.

The second was a woman. A hawk preened itself, perched on her shoulders, while her hands held a large, custom crafted crossbow with a cylinder slung under it, gold and black in color and ornamentation. She was dressed as though she she lived in the wild outdoors perpetually, heavy cloak and furs, leather and moccasins. She stepped lightly, yet her hands were always near her weapon, and resting atop a short-sword belted to her side, all eyes sharp.

The third was at once both the most ordinary and the most extraordinarily. It was a man, had to be just a man, but he was a bruiser of a specimen, clad from head to toe in fine plate armor, stoic, with a ebony halberd in his hand, blacker then the darkest night. His mere stance was imposing, and who knew what was on that face within the featureless helm, if his thoughts were as stoic as his form. 

The fourth figure was the one closest to Tenkai, and it was the largest as well, a good foot, almost two, taller then the halberdier. Most of it was armor, a bulky, ornate brass-colored creation that seemed possess strength and power far beyond that of ordinary wargear, and with superior protection to boot. The soldier was a Greatsword, elite of all the Custodes Militants, only he and his like could lay claim to being adept at almost every facet of warfare. On his back was slung the weapon for which the suit was named, a giant sword that would have been too big for an ordinary man to wield, but perfect in the hands of the powered suit. In his hands was an a rifle that seemed to be outsized to fit just as well in the soldier's armored hands. There was need of their raw power and ability in the coming war. Here, the man named Eshara Dominic, Greatsword of the Custodes Militant, served here as primary adviser to the Knight. On their way, they had already gone over a map of the region of Nu Martyr, and had begun to outline strategies. Now to coordinate with the locals.

Edited by Fierach

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War.

Over the course of his long life, Ankou Lethe had known war more than once. Sometimes the conflict was of his own making, and sometimes he was the one on the defensive, but overall, he found that there wasn't much difference between aggressor and defender. Whether one aimed to destroy or protect, the means to accomplish that goal was always the same; the death of as many enemies as possible. All these centuries later, nothing had changed. The Cult of Power had come to Nu Martyr to retrieve a prize for their leader, and to do so they would kill anyone in their way. 

Lilith's second in command landed in the middle of a courtyard between four buildings, his impact shattering the stone beneath him, and the shockwave throwing those near to the ground. As the dust cleared, he found himself at the center of a hundred gazes as the citizens going about their day went to gawk at the man who had fallen from the sky. Some looked confused, others angry, and yet more had an expression of fear mixed with recognition in their eyes. Those in the later either turned and ran as fast as they could, or sank to their knees as they realized the futility of resistance or escape. The lich summoned forth his Scythe, and idly activated the armband Mori on his right arm, and the Mind Stone worn on left wrist. Dark energy began roil off his body, and only now did the rest of the mob realize the danger they were in.

"Too late." 

A pulse of necromantic energy swept outward and reached up into the sky, and a moment later, at least a hundred people were dead. Once they had fallen, Ankou raised his hand, and the newly dead bodies rose with him. When the last had risen, he led them as they marched to where Lilith had landed.

@Ataraxy

 

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k2axoLr.pngConnor stood on the palace balcony with one arm folded behind his back, verdant eyes watching the dark and unnatural cloud sweep its way across the sky--blotting out the sun like the ill omen it truly was. “Hahaha! A skull? Nice touch.” He said his voice holding amusement, despite that the PRIME and his little trinket were in danger. “All of this, over a petty crown to rule the masses, hm?” He mused aloud, he found it almost comical. Though he was not afraid to use his own trinkets, something like that crown spoke a lot about the leadership abilities of the PRIME and those who have come to take it from him.

They lacked natural charisma.

“The crescent moon, eh?” He said, meeting those eyes with his own. “I suppose what will be coming next is shock and awe, no?” As if to prove his words correct, black streaks of unnatural smoke descended upon Keto. “Shame that they landed there, they could have done more damage landing in the center. Suppose their confident enough to work their way here.” He thought for a moment, before chuckling in the face of their displays or necromantic energy, taking the lives of hundreds, if not thousands. “Ah yes, there she is. The shock and awe.” He said with a clap of his metal clad hands.

He wore his full regalia the Odysséas Light Frame armor, striking a glinting silver figure, monochrome light chasing along the myriad of High Kadic text that was engraved into the metal. Two rings of great power occupied his index and middle fingers. Ring of the Alchemist, and Ring of the Saint Prince. His long black hair had been pulled back and high into a bun, his face free of the metal helm, so that he might taste the breeze against his skin. He finished off the glass of wine in his hand. Despite the death and despair already filling the city, he seemed largely unconcerned. Certainly they were the people of his ally, yet they were not his people. His interests here were political, to maintain the trust between Kadia and Renovatio.

It could be said he was, by far; more pragmatic than even his father.

“The Cult of Power, hm?” He asked aloud, tossing the glass from the balcony. “Whose power, I wonder. We should test these...Paragons. Lets see if it is their own or borrowed power.” His tone became amused, though his expression darkened shortly after. “All of this over some crown, politician for his people, feh.” He said, though it was true his was not overly concerned for the lives of Renovatians, he was disappointed in the PRIME called Ardon Dallas. He shook his head, it was best simply to focus on his job, making sure things didn’t get too out of hand. Well, at least he’d make the attempt, he wasn’t going to risk his life overmuch for something and someone replaceable.

As he was about to turn away, he felt a powerful gaze from the epicenter of destruction in Keto. He shot his own gaze, full of amusement and perhaps even pity; out into Keto. Such a gaze, though holding no animosity; whispered of the primeval fear deep within the non-human and unnatural. For Anathema stood unconcerned in the face of such things. “The bait is ready, lets see which one of you lot nibble first, yes?’ He said, chuckling as he stepped back into the palace. “Let’s go see how the worm on the hook is doing. Perhaps cast a few nets about him, hm?” He stepped with grace and purpose, smoothing his amused expression into one of seriousness. Besides, if he didn’t at least make a show, his mother might be hurt that her own son would not at least make an effort.

 

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As soon as the first shambling hordes began to arrive, the Watchers drew their swords and went right into it, hacking, slashing and slicing through them with single blows. Though it need not be said they all were veteran fighters that had survived countless trials, this time, they moved perfectly in sync with each other. Far removed from the time when they battled individually, they organized and combined their attacks, one striking, the other defending. 

As per Nathan’s plan, they grouped together into a wedge formation. He and Max took point, blasting aside or incinerating corpses with lightning and fire respectively. The Morn twins took each flank, dispatching corpses with their spears. Gale brought up the rear with his water, which had been blessed beforehand, doing additional damage to the enemy. Geisers of steaming hot water erupted from the ground and pulverized rotting flesh. 

One step at a time, the Watchers cleared each street they came across. At any time they came across a larger cluster of the dead, they combined their attacks to devastating effect. To any watching them fight, it became clear these men wielded foreign magics. 

With a flash, Nathan conjured a lightning storm; clouds and electrical energy crackled about his fist and his sword. Any foe caught in it was vaporized. When combined with Gale and Max’s water and fire Magic’s, the three created a whirlwind; a torrent of scorching heat and steam that obliterated every enemy caught in its path.

((Meant for this to be longer, but I didn’t have the time))

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Meanwhile in the floating castle of Lexdord

"so why am I going to the city of Keto? Because of a silly threat?" Chow mung as his coffee began growing cold 

"two things of course. First off you are to observe the battlefield if one shall arrive, if one does then you shall find weaknesses in the enemies army, one thing we know for sure is that necromancers are on the invader's side especially the cult leader." King Lewis had explained

sipping the rest of his drink Chow mung began to hang upside down from a chandelier clearly showing off

"so whats the second?"

"you best not be a show off out there, especially when you get the crown" with a slight smile which made Chow uneasy 

"hmmmmm Mabye I could do it and yet again mabye not, but per say I'll do that much later."

he wondered how the king knew that Keto may be attacked first and not other colonies, it only made sense if they were that cocky to infuse as much fear into the war as possible yet it doesn't seem to do anything else.

Chow then stood at an opened window, jumpped out and dissapeared from view, surely making his way to keto

("If only nukes could be used with complaints from everyone else..

we wouldn't have this problem") he thought as he made his way.

There were others joining him in the shadows, he knew soon that he was not the only spy sent on this mission. Using his phycic powers he began talking (phycicly of course)

"so your here too huh? I need not know your name, only if your going to the city as well"

the figuare unchanging in stride or emotion merly replied "to the battlegrounds of Keto"

Passing by the crowd of people towards waterwell chow kmew of a shortcut there that would bring them just 12 miles outside the city. He knew it as well just as the leading engineers located there knew it as well.

"it'll take us but an hour through there"

 

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'Reap what you Sow...' 


Chapter I: A Heavy Heart


It had been a long while since Ydris had last been home, yet now in its hour of need, he could only hold his position. Death was as big a piece to this world as birth was, but this was something he did not anticipate. Clutching the hilt of the dead star Legion he slowly unshouldered Er into his right-handed grasp. The open maw of shield paled in comparison to the flames that lived around its frame. The ring of Yedidiah throbbed upon his hand as the flat of Legion shimmered to life. The onslaught of death was something that honestly excited the Dark Zodiac Knight but in this fight, it was the loss of his kin. Connor’s comments rolled past the man as his purple hues rolled with emotion. The Primal alloy and graviton mixed armor clung to his body with ease. At his back, a wanton warrior stood tall for her own height, Freydis had was not one to overlook the impending fight. At the command of the Kommadant herself, the Bravada pair set out to help quell the fight of this misfit.

 

Her silver eyes remained locked on the skull in the sky. It lacked any means of being a terror in the day or night, again those from Avylon were bred for this kind of conflict. In both hands, she wielded two large battle axes as was the Asegir custom. With the right one to rest upon her shoulder, her primal alloy armor clung to her ample but small body. The thick black mess of her hair was set back into cornrolls which were put into a thick bun. Raising the left hand she pointed towards Keto and gazed over towards Ydris for orders. At first, nothing came from the blacked figures mouth, his eyes were focused on their necromancer now. With a deep breath he exhaled and left the ground with the aid of the graviton floating further into the air, from beneath his cloak came a single moogle. The creature floated around his figure before resting upon his shoulder.

 

“Not a very scary sight Kupo.. Perhaps they should get out more?” A chuckle was all the moogle got in response, raising his left arm he hovered over the top of the building. Cutting down with the blade nothing appeared to visibly happen, but the moogle understood the motion. Freydis hooked one axe upon her back pulling out a blue crystal, rolling it in her fingers the object itself began to shimmer and soon shine before she tossed it up into the air. With a few quick steps back she readied the axe for a swing batting the item into the sky. At first, it did not break, yet as it traveled through the air the light it cast soon exploded from its core.

 

“Surely the city is lost, but we do not mourn them. They died a death to help our footsteps in this war.”

 

As the crystal reached the apex of its journey it shattered scattering an undetermined amount of light balls onto Keto in retaliation and hopeful damage to the Necromancer and her troops. The violet hues were unblinking as he watched and waited for long distance retaliation.

 

Freydis did not wait for more orders, leaping from the balcony she skated off of the rooftops and down into the streets. The back was no place for a frontliner like herself, seeking out the fray as it drew closer was more of her speed after all. With both axes in hand, she pulled on her helmet and disappeared into the capital city.

 

On the other hand, a single youth gazed out with crimson optics and an unamused face. Halvar was here upon the interests of Kadian and Babel Corp. Where his leaders were he did not care, both could reach him at any point in time, for now, however, the young lad sat perched between Keto and a bit before the capital city. The A3g15 armor upon his body hummed with light as the helmet rested beneath the barrel of his sniper rifle. The skull in the sky only represented heathens in his eyes as did those who were not of Kadian faith.

 

‘He who does not believe should perish honestly..’ Halvar thought as he changed out round kits to the silenced rounds. Once the round clicked into place the biometrics of the gun changed silently giving him the covert advantage.

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attackers: samael, ephah, rami | city of apolypse
2evrplu.jpg

The storm approaches. Ephah watches from the belltower, a silent harbinger gazing down over the city of Apolypse and its restless sleep, shuddering clouds passing over and blotting out the vibrant brightness of the sun, rays streaming down tainted with shadowy intent.

The storm approaches. They merely await its encroaching siren call.

Beside her, the young boy observes the quiet with a steady eye, fingers absentmindedly resting on the hilt of the sword strapped to his hip, the amulet clamped around his neck like a vice faintly glowing sickly green in the lowlight. From this distance, Ephah can already feel the hunger bubbling in the air, an aura of sorrow and grief and all things devastating emanating from that weapon named Heartbane. It chills her to the core, but not quite dampening the excitement streaking through her veins, the crimson tide calling to her in wild exhilaration.

She, too, is hungry for such desolation.

“What are we doing here,” the other man with the mop of golden sand hair on his head complains, inevitably bored out of his mind at the fact that nothing is happening, not yet. Rami is not quite the picture-perfect image of an ideal Paragon—too riotous, too larger-than-life, too jovial—but underneath that bright disposition lies a stone-cold killer, where the sun cannot reach. She has long since stopped underestimating her fellows and what they are capable of. “Twiddling our thumbs together?”

“Waiting,” replies Samael, and that emotionless death in his eyes can frighten even the most steadfast of killers, Ephah being no exception. She had heard of what he had suffered at the hands of the Commander, and how Lilith had succeeded in breaking him into this—this callous, unfeeling soldier. The Lunar Soldier, in fact; they call him by that name now, and the boy seems not to care one iota either way, not when his success rate is so damned high, his kill count now amounting to the hundreds and thousands.

Today, they seek to add more to that list, and with countless lives ready for the reaping, Ephah can look beyond the fact that this boy has not even reached his double digit years, and already, he holds a powerful artifact in his grasp, thoroughly positioned at the Commander’s side. Had she been a lesser individual, she would have felt jealous.

Rami is not convinced by the succinct answer he is granted, but otherwise does not answer; he too knows his place in this hierarchy. Together, they wait, and watch, and wait.

A wail rises up from the edges of town. Rami stumbles to his feet; Ephah looks up from her study of her veins stark against her pale skin; Samael narrows his gaze. The storm has come. They move as one, swift and silent, and descend upon the town in dark trails of shadowy smoke.

Apolypse will be theirs for the picking.

 

Edited by vielle

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