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Phoebe

Calm before the Storm

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The assembled group in the meeting room was massive. Officers of various ranks in the different departments of the Bastion's military forces filled up the sides of the room, diligently taking down notes. In the centre of the room, a long table sat more than twenty individuals, all key players and core members of the administrative team. For months, they had progressed without a worry of this new world's problems. But as each day passed and new knowledge came flooding in, it became apparent that the group could no longer play the role of a bystander. Men by nature were self serving and greedy, and if left unchecked, would destroy both themselves and the world. James and his Order while fully competent in defending the world's interest, could not solely be relied upon to correct the moral atrocities which were being committed.


"Over the last few months, much has happened over the span of several continents. We have accrued wealth, solidified the state of our military, made partnerships with key suppliers for the resources we need and formed contacts with the powerful. At last, this is our chance to give back to the world which has offered us so much.

I assume that some of you may already be acquainted with the Renovatio Godslaying. But for the sake of those who are unfamiliar, I will now provide an exposition. Nearly a year ago, Grand Kommandant Primera of the Nehalen empire cast a veil over Renovatio which separated the Gods of the land from the Celestial Body. The Gods were once feared and revered, but under the influence of the Grand Kommandant's call for the 'Age of Man', many have turned against them and treated the Gods as a disease.

Over the past year, every Renovatio God that we know of has been put down in one way or another."

Addison proceeded to flash a slide showing images of the various Gods in their primal forms.

"Some, such as Baal, were banished from this land. Others faced a far worse fate. Many were enslaved, exploited for their power, had their consciousnesses destroyed and their essences absorbed to benefit the slayer. It baffles me truly how people can bring themselves to destroy what they cannot seek to create; to take what they cannot return."

With a brief flick of her finger, the projector flashed to the next slide, which showed images of a bull headed man, followed by what appeared to be a raging hurricane shaped in the form of a large, muscular humanoid creature.

"But not all of them have been slain. At least, not yet. We are unsure of which God this is, but only that it is still alive and causing significant destruction to Renovatio's lands. As a threat to the people of Nehalen, it must be put down. However, I believe in liberation as an alternative to murder."

She cleared her throat, signalling for the attention of all in the room.

"The exposition is complete. Now I will begin my elaboration of the task at hand. We are to hunt down this God and neutralize it as a threat. From the actions of previous Godslayers, we have learnt that the creatures, though weakened, are far from weak. They possess the destructive power to wipe entire cities, which is why we cannot be complacent. Thorough planning must go into the development of our strategy so as to ensure no loss of life. I shall have no man laying down his life over an accident or miscalculation which can easily be avoided."

She looked briefly to Hinoka and gestured towards him. ( @The North Wind )

"This is Doctor Hinoka, a researcher, scholar and adventurer who is well versed in life force manipulation, spellcasting and rituals. He claims to have a method which can be used to extract the life force and consciousness of a Celestial being and transfer it into a clay body, independent of the celestial plane. Doctor Hinoka, may I invite you to provide an explanation of your method and how we may make use of it on a live specimen that could potentially be highly dangerous?"

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Hinoka stood before the crowd confidently. Behind him his spirit strings would move a diagram written upon a chalkboard. A deconstructed picture of the "anatomy" of a soul surrounded by intricate alchemy circles and runes. Nodding to Addison he would begin.

Thank you Miss Addison. Hello, I am Doctor Hinoka. Today I will be demonstrating the power of Spirit Stitching, and the potential uses it may have. 

slowly a door from behind would open, revealing 2 men. Each man wheeling a stretcher. One stretcher holding a cage with a rather old and tired looking cat, the other holding a large mass of clay.

This is Mr Jangles. Mr Jangles is a very close friend of mine, and unfortunately his time on this earth is very nearly at an end. The lifespan of a cat is often shorter than 15 years. Mr Jangles here is about 22.

From his coat pocket Hinoka would produce a small bottle holding a clear tincture before pouring it upon the clay.

Then with a calm hand Hinoka would  reach into the cage and pet the cats fur before 5 ethereal threads would extract a glowing blue orb fro. The cats form going visibly limp in Hinoka's arms. Gently Hinoka would set the cat down as the lifeless body was wheeled away. The glowing orb floating in the air tethered by spectral strings. A swift tug would embed the spirit into the clay. Which would begin to writhe and bubble before finally the form of a clay feline would emerge.  Nuzzling Hinoka as if none of the previous work had been made. 

While this is no permanent alternative to death, or immortality gimmick I have bought my friend at least a few more years. Now given the chance and necessary material I feel that this power on a larger scale can bind your god to a mortal body preventing further harm to the people of this land. If there are any questions regarding the presentation please feel free to ask.

Hinoka would sit and begin to pet the cat once again holding the cat in his lap as the 2 stretchers were wheeled away.

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After a brief silence during which no questions were posed, Addison rose to speak once again.

"As demonstrated, Doctor Hinoka has a reliable method of transferring one's consciousness and life force from one host body to another. In preparation for our venture, he will be tasked to create a clay model of a human male of adequate height and flattering musculature as well as appearance. This clay model will be stored within a protective case which shall be guarded at all times. Furthermore, he shall be provided whatever materials he requires to perform the ritual. Thank you, Doctor Hinoka."

She offered the man a brief nod before turning to her military advisors.

"According to intelligence provided by scouts, the God in question takes the form of a giant, maelstrom-like humanoid. It is extremely dangerous and will require a lot of firepower to put down."

She flashed an image on the slideshow.

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"The God has destroyed entire villages and burned down forests in its wake. It possesses both pyrokinetic and electric manipulation in terms of abilities, and has extreme potent mastery of both. I believe strongly that these are the two elements which the God has control over. On that note, we have vast resources at our disposal and the luxury of time. I'd like to hear thoughts as to how we may seek to incapacitate the God so that the Doctor will be able to perform his ritual safely."

She looked specifically at Marshal Hawk.

"I had a plan that involved making use of mortar teams to pelt the God from a distance and simply wear it down over time. Do you have any opinions on this matter?"

@Hawk

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Field Marshal Hawk sat with his arms crossed deep in thought while he stroked his chin with his mechanical left hand. He continued to wear his worn Atlesian uniform, for he could not bring himself to set it aside. Not until Esstevan and the rest of the Atlesians had been found. Perhaps it had become an obsession after all.
 

“I don’t believe we should get involved. My men signed up to protect the bastion and her assets. Not liberate gods on foreign soil. We can’t afford to risk lives on this affair. Besides, what about finding Esteevan? We have yet to make any major progress. There are still men out there that need to be brought home.” Hawk spoke up as he leaned back in his chair. Though of course he wanted to help, the proposal of this mission was highly questionable to the Marshal. 
 

He thought for a moment before proposing another idea. “If mortar support is all you need, they we can provide mortars. But I can’t risk sending an operating crew.” 
 

@Phoebe

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Addison gave the Marshal a long and hard stare. She seemed to look through him, as if he was merely a vapor in the air, her eyes filled with both disappointment and resolve.

"Very well," she spoke quietly. "If neither you nor your men will aid in the endeavor, then I'll make do with what I have."

She turned next to her military advisor, Jericho.

"Have the mortars from Babel arrived? Have they been test fired and cleared of faults?"

@Shanty

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The hawkish man turned to his superior, silently appraising their munitions. 

"The mortars arrived on schedule, and have proved serviceable. It is the gunpowder I fear for. I am told the kegs we have stocked were seized from the dratted mitts of smugglers and corsairs, and are quite volatile." 

 

Edited by Shanty

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Howard simply sat and stared at the slideshow and the god they were up against. To him this was just ridiculous. Cannon balls against a god. To this thing the cannon shot would be like a child throwing metal beads at you. Knowing this he decided to speak up in the middle of the conversation, with annoyance in his voice at this foolish plan.

"You intent on using mortars on that? The mortars fire a metal sphere up in the air at 100 miles an hour. Not even a theorised shell shot would be able to get up to any speed that could hurt that."

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"Damn it," she cursed abruptly before leaning over to the boy standing behind her.

"Lance, will you be a dear and check on the kegs for me please? Have the storemaster check on the quality of the gunpowder. If its too volatile, then we'll temporarily leave it in the base to be refined and cleaned out. I believe we still have enough gunpowder from previous ventures to launch at least five days of continuous mortar volleys."

She turned to Howard.

"Aigh, Admiral. Not the physical force of the falling shell, but the explosive force upon contact."

She reversed the slide such that it showed the image of the towering God once again.

"Though the shell may feel more like the prick of a needle, the subsequent could be likened to a full on punch. No matter how durable, if we continue to pelt the God for hours and days if necessary, it will eventually weaken to a point where we can restrain it and allow the Doctor to cast his spell without fear of being attacked."

@Jack Howard @DaiPie

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When the Master Knight first spoke, Lance instantly turned his attention towards her and listened to the instructions, repeating them in his head so he won't forget them. "Uhh.. Yes, Lady Addison. I'll.. umm.. check the kegs out.. yeah.. I'll be back." He said, stuttering a bit and giving her a nod. Lance slowly made his way to the door, almost tripping himself. He placed his hand on the door knob, turned it and opening the door. "I'll let you know.. heh.." He closed the door behind him, then they all heard him getting hurt from outside. "I'm good!" He shouted, then he ran. @Phoebe

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"Kyoku," she proclaimed loudly to the man seated at the further end of the table. "I was also hoping that we'd have your assistance in subduing the God."

She gestured toward him and began to explain.

"Most interestingly, it appears that the only competent magic user in our ranks is yourself. As such, I felt that the fact that we're facing off against entities of divine nature will render your aid most useful. Prior to the journey, I want you to get as much rest as you possibly can, and eat heartily. The battle will be taxing, and you will be at its forefront."

@Kyoku

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Howard suddenly spoke up with rage, clearly worried for whatever was being planned and thinking a few years ahead of this. All these ideas were ridiculous. A man with a brain wouldn't go for such stupid ideas. Pounding a giant for days on end would cause incredible debt to be paid, more than the damages of the giant itself. Every gun from their ships, armies and all would be needed to make even a punch on this giant. 

"This is idiotic Addison. Using explosive shells would be like somebody sticking a burned out cigarette on your hand. Fair enough that hurts but that thing looks like it's made of fire anyway! You need something to penetrate it, like a spear however even that would need to be the size of a wolf class. This is moronic, just try to make peace with it and then you have the power of a god with you!"

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Kyoku would avert his eyes over towards Addison in correspondence to her statement "As expected from me! I am a master of the magic arts after all! I'll happily oblige to your request! He exclaimed in an energy filled manner, a smug smirk appearing on his face.

"On that note.. Rest?.. What's that?" He said in a jokish manner as he returned to a neutral position.  


@Phoebe

Edited by Kyoku

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1 minute ago, Jack Howard said:

"This is idiotic Addison. Using explosive shells would be like somebody sticking a burned out cigarette on your hand. Fair enough that hurts but that thing looks like it's made of fire anyway! You need something to penetrate it, like a spear however even that would need to be the size of a wolf class. This is moronic, just try to make peace with it and then you have the power of a god with you!"

 

"We can't make peace, Admiral," the Master Knight responded. "It's been driven insane by forces beyond our reach or control. The whole purpose of wearing it down is so that Doctor Hinoka can move in safely and extract its consciousness and spirit out of the celestial body, which from what I understand has been cursed with madness."

She gestured vaguely to Kyoku.

"This is our spear. And if it's divine in nature and invulnerable to our shells, it wouldn't be too difficult to pull a retreat and reorganize our offensive plan. I just think this is a good option as a starting point."

@Jack Howard

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Shaking his head, Howard stood up and started to walk to the exit. He yelled back one final remark before leaving.

"Well, it's up to you, but I'm not being in the next news paper saying that a few heroes got crushed by a giant as soon as they put their guns down on the soil. I'm going back to the Victory. I have more important things to plan then this.."

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The Escape

When Lexa woke up earlier that day, she repeated the process of looking at the picture she kept on her of her and Addison that reminded her that the two of them were close. It was her curse that she didn't remember the people. She remembered that she killed people, how she killed them, why she killed them, and how much she got paid to do it; but never the people themselves, or the ones she worked with to meet that end. She questioned her relationship with Addison, but if she was her Big Sister, then this mission would be performed gratis.

She knew that there was a meeting of sorts today, some sort of big mission. There wasn't much that could stop Lexa. Mostly because as far as Addison knew, her magic was limited to discharging electricity, but also partially because Lexa had years of experience in getting the hell out of dodge.

Lexa looked at the door to her room with a defiant expression. Her eyes changed color, turning grey as she began registering the world in a completely different method from visible light reflecting off of stuff. This time, she was registering heat signatures through the door. ''Three guards. Two patrolling, one stationed. Execution not advised.' she thought while assessing her situation.

She looked to a nearby window that was barred, since Lexa had once escaped through it, though, she didn't remember doing that. She looked up and held her hand towards the ceiling. A quick bolt of electricity had heated the material as it impacted. 'Concrete.'

A quick scan of the room had revealed a lamp and few other things that required electricity. Lexa laid her head back down and closed her eyes. Black sparks arched down her body just before a black-ish-blue mist came from her. Looking around in her electron state, Lexa targeted an outlet and merged into it. Escape complete. Her physical body was left behind, feigning still being asleep.
 
Eavesdropping

It hadn't taken long to find the meeting. All Lexa had to do was jump from room to room and search for the one with more electrical signals than a single room should reasonably have. Once that was found, she came out through the power outlet where the projector was connected and took up a quiet place in the farthest back corner.

The moment the meeting began, Lexa was examining all information provided. Many words were registered. Renovatio Godslaying, Primera, Separated the gods from the celestial body, Age of Man, disease, slaughter, Baal, enslavement, exploitation, power- and every other word that was of importance.

A man was introduced as a doctor, and Lexa's instinct to kill him had begun surfacing. 'Hinoka... doctor. Potential hostile. Eliminationpostponed.' she thought while forcing herself to remain in the shadows. While humans couldn't see her, the cat, once rejuvenated, had shot Lexa a quick glance just before Hinoka began petting it. It didn't see her, but it knew she was there, and likely sensed her intent to tear the electrons out of its master at any given moment.

The slide continued, and Lexa had continued analyzing more data. The information of Hinoka's capabilities was registered quickly, since Lexa had a very high aptitude for magic use, just a limited practical application. That limitation being related to her element.

Lexa registered the known data on this overpowered magical entity. ''Target designation, unspecified. Capabilities, high level electrical discharge via hyper-energized particle exchange and high force output. Physical composition appears to be condensed cumulo-nimbus clouds. Motive for actions, unknown.'

Analyzing the entity from just the image, Lexa had begun compiling data from previous missions. Ranged mortar fire would be used to weaken the being. Their mortars were inefficient. Only 100mph? They were using old-school mortars, based on the use of a firing pin inside a hollow tube.

A design popped into Lexa's head for something more advanced. A mortar with a solid-fuel, delayed ignition, ten-second rocket to increase its speed mid-flight. The tip would have a titanium shell, sharpened to increase penetration. Angled fins would create a drilling motion to add to that. It was still inefficient compared to ballistic arms fire, but Lexa didn't know the technological limitations of those among Addison's cohorts. She couldn't falsify documents that were too advanced, otherwise they might not be able to construct it.

Noting the discourse between the Admiral and Addison, Lexa placed him on the list of potentially useful mediums.

 

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