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The North Wind

The Tower of Souls.

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Hidden deep within stone walls amid acrid air and surrounded by a heavy darkness, a lone Droid stood circled by experimental sciences and dark magic held within heavy leather bound tomes.

He sat upon a throne of skulls of the unluckiest of souls who once inhabited the tower he now found himself in. For months he tracked these fanatics into this ruined tower. They were numerous and careful but they, just as Icarus, flew too close to the sun in their studies.

Necromancy had always been frowned upon by society. And word, no matter how well kept, always spread. He slaughtered them like cattle one by one and used them for the basis for his aspirations. Altre stood surrounded by the fruits of his labor. 5 animated bodies moaned at their creator. The mechanical pieces of their bodies whirring with a fever pitch.

These were but prototypes for his machinations. But he had powerful friends in the lowest places of the world. Few people knew of the slow transition from Break into the now malevolent Altre but those that did either were very useful to him or very dead. And while he liked his solitude Altre had sent some of his new creations on a mission to gather those who would increase their numbers. Either willingly...or not.

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graverobber_by_halycon450_dbn06o2-pre.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9MTMyNSIsInBhdGgiOiJcL2ZcLzczNmQ5NDAxLWFlMmUtNGY5ZS05MWUyLWI3NWQzYWM4ODVhZFwvZGJuMDZvMi05NjhjZjY3Yy0wZjBlLTRiNjctOGYzMi1kZGE4Nzk0MGQ0NjguanBnIiwid2lkdGgiOiI8PTEwMjQifV1dLCJhdWQiOlsidXJuOnNlcnZpY2U6aW1hZ2Uub3BlcmF0aW9ucyJdfQ.kE4XBwtZS-Qmb-XxH6MHU_ZiVbLeUox4McvGyAQI8cwNormally Marik found work through the whispering of those who lurked within the shadowy corners of dangerous bars in dangerous parts of cities. To be cornered by a strange animated monstrosity powered by circuitry and Dark magic, it was certainly new to him. 

At first, he was wary of it, but when the abomination did not end him, but instead offered to escort him to his master, the grave digger figured it could be a good means of finding employment. He followed, but kept a firm grip on his shovel, ready to turn tail and fight his way out should he need to. This would not be the first time that Marik Bayne had set foot into a possibly deadly meeting before. 

Arriving at the ruins, knowing that he was walking into a dangerous situation, but the promise of payment removed his fear. Walking up the steps of the crumbling walkway, he bowed before the lich, noting the similar mechanical attributes as his servants. 

"I'm told you need corpses. Perhaps I can be of assistance?"

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Spoiler

 

A voice of a synthetic quality emanated from the black and gore stained armor. The pops and cracks of what sounded like an old record player pervaded the grave diggers ears.

"I am. And you will be"

avengers-age-of-ultron-fan-made-poster.j

Altre had sent for the forces of Dredge but received what looked like a common Grave digger. He supposed that was a logical outcome of sending a mindless ghoul to do a minions work. Regardless it brought back either someone to help add to their numbers, or someone who would join them.

"I am offering payment for artifacts and...liberated bodies. But..."

unmoving he simply addressed the man in black garb. 

"First, I would have your name before I continue  this conversation."

the grating quality of his voice echoes down the halls of the tower below. If the man was perceptive he would notice the two large abominations that had blocked the only exit down. One, in his previous life was a guard hired by this death cult. 6"5 and 500 lbs of muscle. His jaw and arms replaced by iron and gold mechanical parts.The other a lithe woman elegantly balanced on two bladed legs. Her face was bandaged, and her head moved with an unnerving twitch. 

Altre was only just beginning his ambitious attempt at an army. If the mans answer was unfavorable, there would be no loose ends. 

Edited by The North Wind

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"Marik Bayne's the name, and grave robbing is the game. There isn't a body in the ground that I can't swipe, be it troll, vampire or giant. So long as you keep paying me, I'll keep the cadavers flowing." Short, sweet and to the point was what helped these types feel comfortable around you, and then they won't feel the need to dispose of you. 

"You can either point me in the direction of the bodies you want or I can go out and get them myself. A steady supply means I can't guarantee many supernatural bodies that way. With a little mutual trust we can be a very profitable arrangement for the both of us." 

Now was the moment where he would wait and see what happened. The lich could either agree to his terms or end him there on the spot. Either choice was possible, but he was almost certain things would go his way. One doesn't survive long in this business without a bit of luck and intuition to guide them through some tough situations. 

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Altre sat unmoved from his spot. He was silent for a long while. He was scanning the man. He had medical scanners mounted within his armor. Any sort of change in pulse or heat or rythm in his body would instantly betray him a liar...

But none changed. The man was truthful. Altre respected that. A whistle from the helmet dismissed the undead at the doorway. Another whistle signaled a small man with a hunched back from the shadows. The small man hobbled his way to the area where Bayne stood his left eye bulging from its socket. And his right leg atrophied to the point where it was 2/3 the size of the left.

"hehehehheheheheh... the Master approves... come! Come with Giorno! Giorno knows the marks  he will show you them!"

Giorno hobbled to the table with a large map spread over the middle it had arcane markings and runes moving across it as if signifying locations in real time.

"Giorno looked for days to find these names! You find them quicker! Master repay your hard work with tools and treasure!" 

The small mans face beamed with delight as he pointed out the targets.

"The first one is a pyromancer! Blew itself up the other day! You find pieces, bring back! Master give you reward!"

He clapped at the thought of success.

"you bring back more bodies, we pay more gold!"

Giorno then pointed towards a glove levitating over the center of a pedestal.

"Or he give you magic gauntlet! Your choose!"

The small Giorno now hobbled back over to Altre who seemed all too entranced over one of the very large tomes. Giorno began tugging at the droids hand to no avail. Some time would pass giving Bayne a moment to consider the request as Altre did not respond.

Edited by The North Wind

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Studying the map, Marik nodded and thought to himself for a moment. A pyromancer would be a good addition, but finding every piece of him wasn't going to be easy. "All right then, I'll get you this corpse."

With shovel in hand, he headed for the door. "Might take me a few days, but I'll make sure to get it done." 

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The small man giddily clapped his hands gesturing the gravedigger to follow. With all of his might. His hunched form doing more of a gallop than a walk or limp. When the moonlight caught him in just the right light could see that Giorno was not human. Cloved hooves sat at the bottom of his two stumpy legs. They clicked and clacked on the cobble floors of the tower as he moved. Arcane glyphs on several cages would light up illuminating his face. Scars and stitches lined his left side of his face curling it into a permanent smirk dotted by a piece of his cheek ripped from his ear to the corner of his mouth. Bone and teeth shone in the pale light. Before finally they stopped in front of a very large cage

"A steed! Courtesy of the kind master!"

Indeed a black steed with a crimson manes stood patiently in a large iron cage. Its teeth sharpened to a point and its eyes shone an electric blue. Its body was larger than most horses and its body rippled with an unnatural energy.

"She can never tire! Giorno knows! You will need, as parts must be fresh for magic circuits to work!! Hurry you go now!" 

thankfully the pieces didn't seem to be too far away. An hours ride on horseback and easily enough located next to a graveyard. Probably due to the fact that pyromancy wasnt something to be exercised around the living. 

"If you have questions, Now is the time!"

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"No, no questions." He knew what his work entailed, and how he was going to get it done. All he needed to do now was make it happen.

Opening the cage, Marik made certain the horse was properly saddled and ready to go. After mounting the demonic beast, the grave robber looked back to the stitched up assistant. "Tell your master I'll have his corpse soon, and that my gold better be ready when I get back."

Using his heels to spur the beast, he rode out into the night, ready to get to business and find some pieces of a busted up pyromancer.

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Cobble and stone marked the path out of the tower as a thick fog had enveloped the massive structure. The sound of hooves on rock would guide the gravedigger. A heavy mist sat upon the earth. Sound died within 100 feet. Beasts and birds were a sound missed by ears in a setting such as this. The sound of the undead horse echoed through the ruins of the tower.

The Android had waited for the man to be gone before exiting his armor. The body of the once youthful Break had now been stripped of all its fleshy skin. The metallic skeletal structure that shone in the moonlight. Its chromium and agrinium components had enough of the fleshy covering. The last visage of Break was the face. The sharp metallic fingers slowly ripped the Bio-Synth skin from the skull piece. Pain sensors erupted as they were forcefully ripped from their connection. A sigh of pain and pleasure escaped the Android.

"Hah- at last. My true form revealed."

A last disgusted look at the discarded fleshy mask before he lit it on fire and threw it to the floor. Altre moved to his workspace clearing the way for the map. In real time Altre was able to track the horse. A large blue mark traveling across the map with a  breakneck pace. From the north  however  5 small red dots would appear. Mercenary scum had begun moving towards of Altres location heading straight for the gravedigger. Necromancy was after all a great taboo among the living. It would be no wonder if someone had also found the death cult before him. 

"Master...Giorno neglected to mention the soldiers just as you asked."

"Good. Either, he will deliver or I will have more pieces  to collect."

Waving his hand the two undead from before would appear behind him.

"follow the man, assist him if needed but keep your distance. No sense trailing these soldiers back here."

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Wind was rushing through every part of his body, he holding on for dear life as they neared the location. Finally they stopped, Marik catching his breath before dismounting. He really didn't want to have to go through all of that again. 

"Now, to find the pieces of this pyromancer..." 

It wasn't easy, but in almost half an hour, Marik had found and collected each part of the deceased fire bug's body. Tying off the burlap sack used to contain the remains, he turned to look back, only to dart quickly into the shadows of the trees. "Damn" He whispered, noticing the five mercenaries that were hanging around the area

They were Terran, which meant they were strong, stronger than he certainly was, but that never stopped him before. He was going to have to be sneaky about it, but he felt he could make it happen. 

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