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A land of Milk and Honey Draws in Many Flies

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Attention to @amenities, @Djinn&Juice, @danzilla3, @L E V I A T H A N, @Zashiii, @Noko, @The Alexandrian, and @Metty

The city of Aspyn on the Isle of Baizo was the sparkling jewel that all followers of the goddess Gaia could point to and say was the product of Gaia's love for her people and her people's love for her.  It was a land blessed by a righteous seed of Gaia's bounty that caused the local flora to flourish like nowhere else.  Sickness and famine had no grip on the city and the fear of catastrophic that hung over the heads of much Lagrimosa's people seemed like a distant rumor in the streets of Aspyn.  This was an impressive feat since many of the people who now lived in this city had come here to flee the endless string of tragedies that plagued the continent. Even with the Chaos twisted hellscape of Bi'le'ah just a days journey from the city's gates, Fear was a foreign concept in the hearts of the Aspynites.  It had been chased out by the combined might of the Terran Empire and the church of Gaia, who protected Aspyn with an organized force of 50,000 watchmen, 7,500 wallmen, 2,000 members of the Gaianist Clergy, and 15,000 Highly trained soldiers under the command of the Legendary Michael Commager, a man who was once touted as one of Lagrimosa's elite Peace Keepers.  The cities defenders are hardly lax and the 10' tall stone walls are constantly manned and enchanted in case of an unnatural attack.  It's no wonder that in less than half a decade, a city that was largely unknown to the world beyond Baizo had now become a safe haven for over 6,000,000 people.  However, for a beacon to shine so brightly and the land to overflow with strong and plentiful harvests, eventually there will be those that look to such a paradise and feel nothing but contempt for such a place, and that is exactly what has now come to pass.

Night had recently fallen over the City of Aspyn and many welcomed a chance for the humid summer air to soon become breathable.  Aspyn's summers were not quite as humid as one would experience further inland, but few other places in Lagrimosa had such a tropical climate, so even a mild variation still felt like a solid leap in discomfort.  A couple migrants from Genesaris cursed the local Loci and the daytime watchmen grew more jealous of their nighttime counterparts with every passing day, regardless, spirits were still high as the people went about eating dinner and then drifting off to sleep.  All save for the city's defenders who had spent the past two months hearing notes and rumors of an unnatural threat heading east across the northern wastelands and seemingly in the direction of the Isle of Baizo.  This threat was an unnatural being known as
The Arch-Demon Kahd'Xel Yedapher, who had been first encountered in a remote village nearby the small kingdom of Hasturia and was fought by a combined force of imperial allies and the Hasturian military.  The demon fled the battle after sustaining heavy injuries, and has since been unaccounted for save for a few accounts that solidly pin the events of the sudden "Suujali Tide" that occurred a week later on him and his demonic minions.  To make matters worse, knowledge of The Arch-Demon's movements pointed towards him marching west and potentially towards The Isle of Baizo.  Preparations had been taken but there was still much that was unknown both of the enemy force and its intentions.  

This was what Kahd'Xel new as he sifted through the dregs of human memories that littered the Xelken hivemind and saw through the senses of his tiny Eye nits that had long since placed Aspyn under the Plague Father's poisonous gaze.  Kahd'Xel held nothing but contempt for Gaia and her followers and the affront to nature that both represented to him.  He had grown his forces by feasting on the denizens of the Wasteland and now with his fortress built in Groff Basin, he sought to feast on the sickening bounty of Gaia's people and turn the traitorous goddess's might against herself.  The Arch-Demon now flew across the small stretch of sea between Groff Basin and the isle of Baizo with only a force of 4,230 Xelken Wretches, 160 Xelken horrors, 2 Xelken possessed Suujali, and Kahd'Xel himself.  Many would view this as a foolish plan as such a small force could never overtake such a well defended location as Aspyn, but Kahd'Xel knew full well what pieces would be in play in the coming battle, and had planned his intentions accordingly.  Destroying Aspyn was something that needed to be done slowly, and the first stroke was to stab it squarely in the gut.

The cloud of buzzing Xelken made landfall shortly after the sun had finished setting, they took care to avoid the Gaianist Abby on the south east end of the island and flew straight towards the city of Aspyn.  Kahd'Xel knew they were approaching the city even before it became visible, and led his 30 fungal horrors in a feat of Xelken Geomancy to assist in their approach.  The cloud of buzzing Xelken soon became embedded in a tremendous cloud of fog, that looked like an ethereal white tidal wave as it rolled across the lush island jungle.  The humid air tropical air was perfect to support such a feat, and the cloud was soon filled with lethal Xelken poisons that irritated human flesh and burned a person's lungs.  The xelken were unimpeded by the shroud around them, for they were unreliant on sight and were incapable of doubt or trepidation. 

The Aspyn city guard had been told to expect an unnatural attack on this night, bowman and clergymen had manned the city wall when scouts spoke of a swarm of giant insects headed towards the city.  Words were exchanged about standing strong and believing in Gaia and that the enemy force was but a small one.  Wards were hastily prepared, men and women tried to swallow the sudden swelling of fear and steady their aim.  they looked to the east, and saw but a billowing cloud rolling over the jungle, it was tinted blue by the light of the moon and stretched up some hundred feet into the air.  As the cloud drew nearer, a deafening buzzing could be heard within, sounding like thousands upon thousands of insects all beating their wings.  it was monolithic and inconceivable, unknown and overpowering.  It was something that would take the onlookers several moments to even comprehend, and by the time they did, the tide was already upon them.

OOC summary:

Kahd'Xel and his Xelken forces made landfall shortly after the sun had finished setting and have arrived at Aspyn within the following hour.  The Xelken swarm with soon flood into the city proper and face the defenders that would have amassed at the city's walls after hearing word of the Xelken forces approaching.  The Xelken bring with them a toxic fog that is going to quickly cover the whole city.  The fog is maintained by the 30 fungal horrors and will become increasingly toxic due to Xelken constantly spewing more toxins into the air.  So far, it is at the point where extended exposure to the fog will cause irritation to the skin and eyes.  As one would expect, this effect is diminished by having a resistance to poison, however immunity is only possessed by people who have specific immunity to Xelken plagues and poisons.  As a reminder, many of the Xelken are equipped with shields and the like made of Suujali carapace. 

The OOC thread is here

Edited by squid peanut

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YUFTHH2.pngOutside of Valucre, anywhere else in the universe, Kahd’Xel might be right about Gaia.  Here on Valucre, here in Aspyn, he was but a blight on her sole creation, a blight against her pervading will upon it. 

Three meals of augmented Aspyn foods as large as you can eat every day, one session of concerted exercise that pushes you to the sweating shakiness of your limits, as much sleep as possible. In his mid-twenties, Michael Commager took full advantage of all of these opportunities. As sound of body as he could possibly be, the Terran Major was. As sound of heart as one could be, Michael represented the pinnacle. His soundness of mind, however, was questionable as of late.

Normally Michael would rush to meet Kahd’Xel’s force in haste with a battalion of his own, but according to theThe Uriel Group's analysis the unknown Arch-Demon would be at his doorstep in virtually no time at all. With only a couple weeks’ estimated notice and a scant list of contacts to enroll in the city’s defense, Aspyn found itself in a dire fix at minimum. At the very least they were looking at sending out their own troops to defend the city. At worst, they were looking at a full-on invasion by plagued insectoid aliens. In his mind and the collective minds of the city council, they could better defend the city outside its perimeter by gathering forces inward than deploying them outward.

Using samples sent by Argus Inc., Aspyn military and clergy forces were able to create rudimentary charms that defended against the effect of the plagues emitting from Kahd’Xel and the Xelken. There was little time to devise these ethereal filters and Kahd’Xel possessed energy from a never-before-seen source, however, so effectiveness rested as-of-yet at about a 50% rate. These charms were painstakingly distributed by encoding crystals created by Michael Commager with the anti-plague and having about 75% of the soldiers carry one with them.

At dusk on the night of the unknown Arch-Demon’s arrival, there was conspicuously no call on his cadre’s crossing the canal to Biazo Isle. This cadre successfully navigated around Biazo Abbey and made its beeline toward Aspyn. In anticipation of the Arch-Demon’s blanketing plague magic, both Outpost Grey and Bishop’s Passage had been evacuated into Aspyn and their bases affixed with sensors that would detect the same magic attached to Aspyn’s collected samples from the Xelken’s prior incidents.

Indeed there were Aspyn archers and clergymen on the walls, and before the walls Michael and over four thousand Terran soldiers; but there also were a significant multitude of mechanized soldiers with suits bearing The Uriel Group’s seal, fitted with filters that helped reduce the effects of Xelken plagues. On top of that, a detachment from Hell’s Gate, including Caeceila and Camelia, had made their way via Fauxton to a suitable power center where a ritual could be performed that would help stave off the imminent threat. Michael had not called for Twizzen out of determination to do this himself, but the Abbey was ready to pincer inward via Fauxton at any needed moment. Even all of this was a deception of its own for any watching eyes of the Xelken, for furthermore, an additional underground threat awaited the enemy whenever they came. All in all, there were 10,000 soldiers and mages ready at any given time for the assault and another 10,000 minute-men who could be mustered at short notice. Another 10,000 were on call and zealously awaited deployment, they could be ready in a couple hours.

A complex network of Terran Fauxton receivers had spread throughout Biazo by this point in its tenure on the Isle, so while Bishop’s Passage and Outpost Grey were inhabited only by sensors, other more discrete locations were patrolled by highly skilled scouts outfitted to run when they saw the enemy. The window was so large for this also largely unknown threat’s attack, however, that the militant organization of Aspyn-and-friends’ encampment could only maintain its highest quality at most times in the day. This night, they had nearly been caught on their heels.

“How can you just put scouts out there to die?” asked the amiable alien First Lieutenant in the dark to the muted shuffle of the thousand gathered nearby in circles around bonfires with their weapons on the ground or leaning on a sack of supplies next to them.

Michael took a drag from the rare cigarette, looking off at the sifting heads of the trees in the night breeze. His forearms were as sore as hell from manifesting almost a thousand crystals in three weeks. So sore, he could barely clench the cigarette between his forefinger and middle finger.

“You wouldn’t do it to save 6 million people?” he said, exhaling the smoke. The Major didn’t look at Barrett, said it almost wistfully, but the guilt settled on Barrett like a ton of bricks nonetheless.

“Well…”  his indignation faded to silence, where the evening’s crickets and threshing leaves prevailed over shifting gear and low conversation.

“Besides, they’re all near military-encrypted Fauxton stations.” Michael said, looking over to Marigold who sat nearby with a conspicuously crooked reassuring expression. “Conceivably, they will be fine. We’ll all be just fine.”

It was the same cricket song that Scout 017 and Scout 018 listened in the woods about a mile southeast inland. All was well, and one can only stand on high alert *most* of the time, so it was unawares that the mist settled upon them. They dropped cards on a small mat between them without speaking, periodically scooping up the scattered half-deck to shuffle it and start over. One of them rubbed his eye, as if there were something in it.

Scout 017 suddenly looked up from his cards, his painted face and black figure jerking to the alert position even as irritation began to settle in his throat. Looking around, the forest suddenly crept with an unnatural fog.

“Listen,” he told Scout 018. The crickets had fallen silent.

Underlying their silence was a new sound, the beat of a million chitinous wings. The sound of insectoid viscera flexing through the dense trees growing louder, louder.

Then They Came.

Through the trees like the slitted bars of a jail cell, they saw the Xelken terrors coming. Weaving through trees, flying, running, unimpeded by the density of the foliage, came monstrous creatures with eyes like flies or slitted like vipers, glowing in the night toward them. And as they stood to run for the Fauxton receiver, ditching their cards, their Mayday cries lit up all of Aspyn. Like a prison primed for the escape of a maximum security convict, lights illuminated the city walls and the encampment outside.

Weapons were taken up, mages took their spots behind the front line and immediately began the first hymn of the war about to take place. Then, even as the low murmur of their song began, the fog overtook the forces outside the walls.

A line of mage knights took up the first line, clergymen behind them, and regular soldiers clutching the pearls that were their charms behind them. Up behind them ranged weapon users geared up thermal and magical targeting systems to start emptying payloads on the enemy. Mundane tracer rounds, fullmetal jacket rounds, incendiary rounds, and freezing rounds sprayed goo from the Xelken beasts that they were able to chop into. Suujali carapice took care of some of the mundane rounds, but freezing rounds were found to be a little bit more effective to the creatures’ movements and incendiary rounds would theoretically be effective on the unguarded wings of the flying creatures.

Down on the ground stood Michael beside the mage knights and TOTEMs. Michael had always begun battles a physically diminutive figure on the front lines, but diminutive figures had a funny way of standing taller after you fucking kneecaped everybody else.

‘Sir, innumerable targets inbound! They’re big!’ Michael’s Warmind AI projected the sizes and locations of the nearest beasts to her master. ‘I suggest you back farther into the ranks—’

Michael raised his hand, made a finger gun, and pointed it into the incoming fog.

“Ready!” he shouted, his voice a low roar to the men beside him.

The 1,000-man frontline composed of hulking metallic TOTEMs and high-tier mechanized soldiers who had weathered some of the toughest battles with Michael, raised their cannons and barrels and swords of numerous enchanted qualities.

“Aim!”

One thousand barrels, one thousand swords, one thousand hearts and minds became one as they gazed into the froth of the oncoming pandemonium.

“FIRE!”

Just before the fog overtook them, just before the first flailing wave of alien limbs came upon them, the entire expanse of the front line lit up with a blinding cacophony of light as more of the same rounds but at a higher and closer calibur razed into the Xelken.

Through the fog of war, through the bodies of the breaking front line that rushed forward to meet the Xelken, Michael found the cyborg Marigold.

“Hey,” he grabbed Marigold’s shoulders with both hands, his blue eyes alive with excitement and a piercing, almost offensive glee with the rousing chaos. There was something almost a touch devious about it. “Let’s fire it up.”

Spoiler

 

High-tier soldiers/TOTEMs: 1,000
Mages/Clergy: 5,000
Clergy: 5,000

Scene 1: @squid peanut, @amenities, @Metty, @Djinn&Juice

 

 

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House Glasmann Arsenal (HGA), a private military company led by Caeceila Glasmann of the Glasmann Comital Family and Camelia Sorina of the Hermetic Order of the Twilit Wedjat, prosecuted its operations in Aspyn with rarefied brutality and ruthless efficiency.  HGA mobilized to Aspyn approximately two-and-a-half weeks prior to the Xelken incursion.  Upon arrival, HGA Replica Soldiers, in accordance with a writ endorsed by the Terrenus Military, seized a power plant in an industrial district and expelled operators, mechanics, engineers, and all other personnel from the premises.  Approximately two hours later, HGA cut power to rest of the district without warning the Terrenus Military, the utility company, or local government officials.  HGA capitalized on the consequent blackout and complementary panic, wresting control of the adjacent parts of the industrial district from the denizens of Aspyn thereby delineating the boundaries of the HGA security grid.  A torrent of complaints crashed into the Mayor's Office, sweeping away secretaries and cronies alike, as HGA began salvaging items and demolishing buildings in advancement of its largely unauthorized plan to fortify the area.  Within the week, HGA silenced all protests levied against it not with outright violence but with legal teams, backroom deals, and blackmail.

Shipments of military hardware. construction materials, livestock, and occult items steadily flowed into the power plant from day three of the HGA occupation to day fourteen.  Shipping manifests were spotty at best, but records show HGA shipped at least 165 liters of humanoid blood and 120 heads of cattle to the site.  Mercifully, none of Aspyn's residents were present to observe how quickly HGA exhausted its supplies.  Knowledge of the abominations HGA nurtured within a slaughterhouse - one of three buildings HGA had not torn down - were practically nonexistent.

An elderly couple who lived in a hut near the slaughterhouse called the police at midnight on the fifth day of the HGA occupation.  An elderly woman whispered, nearly mute with fear, of strange noises that caused their dog to scratch at their front door and whimper incessantly, but when an officer knocked on the front door not fifteen minutes later, the same couple reported all was well.  To the officer's surprise, the door was in mint condition.  The elderly man explained that his wife was prone to lucid dreams and had been afflicted with the queerest nightmares since they fled from Biazo.  The officer departed, and the next day, the couple left for Ignatz with a small fortune in silver.

Regardless, HGA abstained from the pageantry of the ongoing military sortie, having committed a single artillery battery to the defense of Aspyn's walls.  Caeceila and Camelia had exceedingly little interest in holding the line against the Xelken; their primary objectives were to transform a rout into a slaughter through occultism and bleeding edge technology and counter the Xelken offensive by sabotaging its lines of communication.

To those ends, HGA forces are divided between the yard and the three remaining buildings: the powerplant, the slaughterhouse, and the platform.

  1. The power plant is a six-story, fortified building constructed from concrete with reinforced subterranean tunnels connecting it to the slaughterhouse and the platform.  Terrenus Military personnel have been admitted to the power plant.  The core has been modified with a device that consumes the bulk of the power generated by the facility to disrupt Xelken communications in a targeted area.  The core will activate on rounds that are multiples of three, emitting psychic energy that may cause the Xelken to behave erratically.  If the device is active on Round 9, HGA may attempt to intercept Xelken communications and harry the Xelken with psychic feedback, weakening the hivemind as a whole.
    1. HGA Techs (Heavy Combat Engineers) - 25 People
    2. HGA Replica Soldiers (Heavy Shock Troops) - 30 Units
    3. HGA Combat Robots (Heavy Infantry) - 45 Units
    4. Caeceila Glasmann
    5. Local Reporters - 8 People
  2. The platform is a factory that was converted into a reinforced hangar.  Within the platform are twelve HGA Silver Dynasty aircraft and ten stationary particle-beam turrets.  The platform functions as a rally point in case any of the connecting buildings are lost.  Terrenus Military personnel have been admitted to the platform.
    1. HGA Silver Eyes (Modular Multipurpose Hovering Orbs) - 120 Units
    2. HGA Pilots - 24 People
    3. HGA Support Staff - 10 People
    4. HGA Unmanned Particle Beam Turrets - 10 Units
    5. HGA Silver Dynasty Aircraft - 12 Units
  3. The slaughterhouse contains summoned and terrestrial abominations commanded by Camelia Sorina.  Some of the abominations within the slaughterhouse are hostile to creatures that are not Wyrm-tainted.  Terrenus Military personnel have been denied access to the slaughterhouse for their own safety.  One of the entities in the slaughterhouse provides units in its proximity immunity to Kahd'Xel's plagues.  Instead of falling victim to Kahd'Xel's plague, units in proximity to this entity may suffer temporary impairment to healing processes as cellular reproduction is inhibited.
    1. HGA Cultists - 30 People
    2. ??? - 1 Entity
    3. Large Abominations - 1 Entities
    4. Medium Abominations - 3 Entities
    5. Small Abominations - 4 Entities
  4. The yard is composed of two areas: the firebase and the ruin.  The firebase is a level concrete surface surrounding the power plant on which automated, spider-like artillery units and turrets are positioned.  The ruin is what remains of the HGA-occupied industrial district.  Remote-detonated explosives are buried within piles of rubble in the ruin.
    1. HGA Semi-Autonomous Artillery Units - 25 Units
    2. HGA Unmanned Particle Beam Turrets - 10 Units
    3. HGA Unmanned High Explosive Turrets - 10 Units

Monitors, televisions, and speaker systems installed throughout the power plant and the platform come alive as Caeceila Glasmann, clad in Lorica Inferna - prohibitively expensive powered armor manufactured by HGA - broadcasts her address to HGA forces, allied forces, and the general public.  Caeceila's blood red armor emphasizes function over appearance, yet its ghastly aesthetic conjures images of Tartarus and those imprisoned therein to the forefront of the mind.  When she speaks, her forces pause.  Blinking terminals, tactical data, battlefield surveillance reports, holographic maps of the area, and the like are temporarily set aside.  Caeceila commands their full attention, and for once, her aggressive, draconian bearing and violent tendencies work in her favor.  Her eyes burn with otherworldly cerulean light, and she roars, snarls, and hisses like a beast driven mad by the scent of its prey.

Tradition demands we sacrifice to our gods and our ancestors in preparation for battle.  Tradition demands that I stand before you, that I show you my face, and that I pay tribute to entities that do not give a damn about your fate.  I stand before you with my face covered as I denounce this tradition.  I am closer to the gods than any one of you, and I am afflicted by my holy blood.  Death and destruction are my constant companions.  I am a living sacrifice, born to neither die nor live, and I am ruined for this world and the next.

My dreams are not your dreams.  You dream of prosperity, recognition, wedded bliss, peace, and the like.  I will never know peace or love; such concepts have no place in something as inhuman as me.  I am wrath incarnate.  I am an aspect of the Wyrm.

Tonight, you have no need for your gods; you have my blessing.  Should you fall, I will carry you to the world after.  So surrender to me.  Feed my hate and power.  Let the world recoil in horror as it beholds the devastation we wreak.  Grind the Xelken into paste.  Mutilate them with your hands.  Rip them in half with our instruments of war.  As their entrails spill out and the light in their eyes fades, revel in the deed!  Know that every enemy you kill on this forsaken field is a sacrifice to me.

Caeceila thumps her hand against her breastplate before pointing at the camera.

You shall consecrate this land with broken bodies and anoint yourself with blood!  Our atrocities are acts of worship, and our reverence for the Triat is illimitable!  This is revenge for Treedell and the Wasteland!  House Glasmann Arsenal, commence the bombardment!

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Three Days Earlier

It had been years since he had come to this place.

A Gaian church would have been the last place anyone hunting a serial killer targeting Gaian clergy would expect said killer to be hiding. The Order of Thorns had safehouses all over the continent, many of them hidden on consecrated ground to protect members from any unnatural entities hunting them. Li had spent nights in more of these sanctuaries then he could count, but this one was special. When he had begun his crusade against the Order, he had come here to shed the last vestiges of his old life. Here, Li'El had died, and The Apostate had been born.

Years later, the small space underneath a crypt looked much the same as it had when he had last been here. The only thing that seemed different was the thick layer of dust that had settled upon the sparse furnishings. Li had no intention of tidying up the place. He had come here for one thing, and one thing only. 

Sitting against the back wall of the room was a large chest; made of sturdy hardwood, and secured with a large metal lock. Fishing through his pockets, Li retrieved the key, unlocked the chest, and opened it. His old armor and sword greeted him with the scent of stale air and feelings of nostalgia. Pushing aside old memories, he inspected the gear and found it in the same good condition he had left it in. There was no reason why the armor shouldn't fit; he was in pretty much the same shape he had been when he had left it here.

Retrieving his sword, he held it up for inspection and drew it a third of the way out of the sheathe. The face reflected in the polished metal was one that he still struggled to recognize after so many years keeping it hidden. 

Sheathing the blade once again, he gathered up the weapon and armor and made his way out to his vehicle.


Li listened to Caecelia's speech with the cynicism of one all to familiar with the failings of those who claimed to work for the greater good. His mind wandered to Marigold, his lover and fellow disciple who had gone with Michael to the front lines of the battle. The ex-paladin had wanted to accompany them, but Commager had managed to convince Li that this was the most important front of the battle. This was where the battle would be won or lost. 

Not that this knowledge had made their parting any easier.

As they had stood in front of the hotel they had been using as lodging, the two had shared a passionate kiss; each promising the other that it would not be their last. He'd thought he could see tears in the corners of the doctors eyes, but had said nothing. Li hadn't cried in years, wasn't even completely sure that he still could. But as he watched Marigold leave, he knew that he wanted to.

Now, clad in his armor and sitting out of view of Caecelia's cameras, Li did something that he hadn't done since his father died. He lowered his head, and began to speak to the god he had abandoned.

"I know I'm not one of your favorites. I don't know if you can forgive me. But if you're watching... please give me the strength to save these people. And look after the other disciples."

Prayers said, he waited for orders.

 

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Stormbreaker


Stormbreaker was mad at the fact she lost at Trendell. She felt mad that she was holding back in that fight and it ended up injuring her enough due to that. She had to get her strength back extremely fast to be capable of taking on stronger foes. At least with the time she had, she upgraded her armour to provide even more damage protection and an even better cooling and heating system than before that'd probably prevent her from burning up the way she did before.

She was asked by her superiors to help in Aspyn for the defence and to fight this demon, a request she accepted immediately. If she could get revenge on this powerful demon for killing people and ruining Stormbreaker's day then she was all for it. The only problem is that she had the thorn on the side that followed her around, aka Arashi. Arashi had pestered her countlessly, trying to get her to spill the beans on what's happening. The little dragon had even followed her there to Aspyn, and when Stormbreaker had enough of it, she slammed the hotel door on the hybrid to tell her to piss off and that she was worried for her counterparts safety. Would Arashi care? Unlikely. 

Stormbreaker suddenly got a call from her superiors in a middle of a nap and quickly got her armour on, heading off to the wall where she met with somebody she didn't really want to talk or interact with. Luckily for her, after debrief, she kept away from the Terran Major, as she didn't want to deal with him in any shape or form. This was her fight. She was fully intending to finish it on her terms after all. She failed the first time. It was only natural she finished it. 

As soon as she noticed Kahd approaching, she dashed off in that general direction, making sure she never got in the way of Terran soldiers. Stormbreaker had her heavy armor on and flew torwards Kahd's direction in the air using fire that created explosions after she made sure it was a safe distance away from anybody. While doing so, she created a spear made of solidified flames and threw it at the demon. 
 


Arashi


It was 8 PM. At least she thought it was. Arashi was never much of a person to keep track of time and always arrived late to anything unless she counted it as extremely important. Her counterpart, however, always turned up early or on time to things and often gave Arashi shit for it. Like Arashi cared. She stood there after that lectures with that look on her face like she didn't care. Truth be told, she didn't care how many lectures she got from all the bad stuff she did. She didn't give a damn.

She followed Stormbreaker to this place named Aspyn in the hopes of trying to help her out with this job, only to be thrown out of the hotel room when she asked her to help a few hours ago. All Arashi was left with was that stupid angered expression on Stormbreaker's face and Arashi angered like hell for being turned down, the reason being "I'm not responsible for dragging your dead body back to your dad and explaining you died trying to fight a battle you cannot win". Stormbreaker showing care? Nah. She was too much of a stuck up bitch to care at least that's what Arashi thought.

There was only one thing there was left to do and that was found somewhere to eat. She was hungry after all. And this was just about the right time to go eat, she couldn't fully understand why there were so many soldiers going about. Stormbreaker hadn't told her what's going on, other than " that's classified intel". As usual. She headed on, ate her main dinner at some random (fast food joint, I presume they have something like that there) and then headed to a coffee shop, where she just sat down to have coffee and eat a pastry until suddenly a Xelken crashed into her table. Arashi's eyebrow twitched in anger as she surrounded her left arm in electric flames as the said Xelken had crashed into the table, knocking off everything food-related she had on it.

One thing was certain. 

Arashi was now pissed off. The fucking Xelken destroyed her coffee break!

"What gives you a right to ruin my freaking coffee break!" She said in an angered voice at the demon bug.

Edited by Metty
colors n stuff

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                                                          The fog was unmistakable..

 

       The ensuing incursion of insectoid entities was upon them; in fact, it had been upon them for what felt like the entire evening. In truth, the day was full of "things will be fine" being uttered all over like a band of mimics. Reassurance, hope.. it was all millions of people had as mere thousands worked to halt what was to come. Hours prior, Yshmael had spent his time learning maps, paths, locations, and contingencies involving what should happen if the plague-fiends could not be stopped at the gate. Days, Weeks? He did not bother with how long he’d been here. Michael requested his presence and support, and he sought to help in whatever way he could. 

 

       Empowering himself, familiarizing himself with the walls, defenses, and the flora of Aspyn. The earth and the trees would know his name: Yshmael. By Her Will, he would know them, too. Days of uninterrupted meditation within the least built-upon portion of the great settlement erected by his companion and Oracular Superior; the Recreation area. 

 

       Within the aforementioned space, Forestation gave way to vast plains of verdant life in the form of uniform grass, all convinced to keep from growing any higher so they might not have to be cut and killed endlessly. Gaians had a Green Tongue, or at least the Priests and geomancers did.. For one born to the sands and Peaks.. Baptized in the moonlight of the High Desert, he was becoming more and more attuned in his travels through and with the vegetation of the Continent. As if a desert flower blooming for the rare rain, he opened himself to it all. Blaurg Mountain was the closest forested area to his birthplace, and its foothills and highest points alike were the subject of many small pilgrimages; along with Shawnee Glacier, before and after her waning, and the Dead Peaks. The Three were expansive, and saw many interpretations and ways of worship through the nomads of the Wastelands. They bore symblences in every facet of life, and it was up to the Beholder to see such, as Yshmael did in all that was around him. His Discipline in regard to the world around him had been honed in his travels with Michael, and continued to grow with every interaction in the natural world and every expression of himself and Her Will.

 

       This was not about faith.. More objectively, it was about the millions of people in danger. Yes, Kahd’Xel detested Gaia; No, he would not succeed. It would take the death of every defender on Biazo to overcome Gaia and her people.. Even then, The Continent bore slews of Gaian collections, primed with information of whatever may come of this. Pestilence had no place here. Corruption had no place here, as deemed by the righteous seed that deterred evil to this very minute, and would continue to do so. 

 

       Moving beyond the Mercedez-Benz Superdome sized edifice situated within the expansive Recreation Area, he took to looking everything over, ruminating in his surroundings. The enormous complex served as a sports house, formal arena, gathering space for communal events, and everything in between. Apsyn athletic clubs found their homes here, as well as various guilds who gravitate around nature or the open space available to combat within and around the complex. Cardinal Directions bore major entrances, bearing massive orbs. Anyone familiar with the Clergy would know by sight alone the stands beneath every suspended orb of water was marked and inscribed for the sake of defense. Should danger arise around the Rec Area’s gate globes or nearest the central suspended globe of water, they would serve to defend in whatever way it could -- be it a mist akin to the Holy Mist Apprentices are familiar with, or lashing whips to deter attacks. A plethora of creativity could be applied to the water, but these were the more autonomous reactions. 

 

      But Now? The Complex and surrounding facilities were barren; empty of life and the caretakers and Shifters who maintained and reconstituted the main edifice when needed. The roof was closed, now, to defend any property housed within. Last the Nomad had seen, TOTEMs had gathered, as well as Aspyn guard and military forces. Priests were all over the city, and all manners of clergy attended the defense of this rising settlement. It would not perish so soon. It could not

 

       With Spear to his shoulder and a waterskin with Holy Water at the hip, he marched through open space alongside a dozen Priests he had come to know travelling the North and West. The sides of Yshmael’s was still short from the arguably recent cut it received when leaving the Wastelands. It connected to the beard, which was groomed short but bore a full look still. Of course, this was obscured by a hood of fluctuating hues. His robes - which had come to be the Gaian Clergy variety - bore Gaian Standards all over, inlaid with Environmental Blending, Elemental Defense, Physical Protections and his very own badge; it all came with plenty of pockets, too! Keyed to his Will and Her Blessing, the garments would serve him in this endeavor like his weapons and rejuvenated armor would. An encoded crystal for communication and defense against the impending miasma, given out by Michael, was worn as a crystalline torc around his neck and clavicle region, within the hood of the cloak.  

 

       As the hours fell to minutes worth of preparation, the endowed Agent pushed on beyond the open space throughout the cities. In his journey, he had splintered his initial group for the sake of sending them off to set stakes and staves throughout the city for future defenses and accommodations Yshmael and his company. Beyond the streets, The Nomad climbed higher and higher from street to rooftop, on and on; so far as to reach the Wall and scale it nearest Twizzen’s Road. His companions followed in suit, where he established himself among the Wall-top warriors and mages. He watched as horrors of all sizes moved in, gearing up to destroy all that humanity had cultivated in this region.

 

“FIRE!”

 

       Came the voice of a familiar man, though his tone and audible range was much more vast and impressive than usual. Upon hearing this, he uncorked the waterskin and opened a pouch of marbles prime for Shaping. Stone, Glass, Metal -- All were willed into the air, three of a kind, one at a time. With a sheet of the water coming up in front of him, he waved his hand forward and began casting reshaped orbs - now small javelins covered in Holy Water - at the flying hosts. A test, mostly, to engage and inform himself on what could and would not hurt them. If they could be cut by ice or dampened by holy water, Yshmael would take it to advantageous points if he could find the time when it was best. If any of the Xelken made it to landing on the Wall, his attention would turn with that grand spear of his. A kick would be given to the bottom, sweeping it into poised position and thrusting through the center mass of the nearest creature. 

 

       The fog was not easy on one’s senses, but he was no more affected than his comrades. At least that is what he could liken it to for now, in the beginning stages. How would the Thrice-Blessed Agent fare in this hellish war?

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A few days ago...

Shishi's bike rumbled as it thundered down the path on her way to Aspyn. Once more, she opted not to wear a helmet, a habit which always resulted to her getting an earful from her older sister. But not today. She had other concerns to worry about. Something more pressing than having a bad hair day. Clearly, she's already regretting her previous decision. One can say that Shishi still hasn't gotten over her rebellious phase.

Up ahead just outside the city outskirts stood a familiar figure. Her golden eyes narrowed in recognition. He never changed. That relaxed posture. That languid look on his face. Shishi could not believe that he was still the same despite what he had gone through.

Stopping her bike right in front of the man, she took off her helmet only to realize she never worn one in the first place. Embarrassed, she decided to ignore that blunder and faced the man from her past.

“Hello, Uncle Shethid. How's prison?”


The two were witness to Glasmann’s speech. There was a lot of catching up these past few days although it was filled with tension rather than familial affection. Shishi only came to visit and now she’s wrapped up with what seemed like in another conflict. Shethid was rather adamant that she flee the city before things go out of hand but the niece didn’t want any of that cowardly shit.

“Well, what do you think?” Shishi was the first one to speak after Glasmann’s speed was over. Her gaze was set on the general direction of the Xelken forces. Beside her was a rather large trolley bag. This was of course the portable form of her motorbike which also carries all her firearms similar to the ones she brought in Dougton. “I never expected you to stand your ground, Uncle.”

“Well, I do server a different god now. I can’t just escape my new duties and responsibilities,” came the uncle’s reply.  “Anyway, from what I gathered, possibly poison and other demonic stuff. Are you sure this thing isn’t related to what your mother and your older sibling? I know that bitch of a sister of yours had been rounding out all of your mother’s archdemons.”

“I doubt it.” Shishi shook her head which was both weird and uncomfortable when she’s fully clad in that invisible armor of hers. “The presence just feels different from what we’re used to. Must be from a different mythos.”  Then she turned to her uncle. “Hey, at least you wore my sister’s gift as well.”

The uncle looked away. He was too embarrassed to make eye contact. “Well, I did owe her back then. And it does offer a lot of protection. Plus, I can wear my clothes over it.”

A mischievous chuckle left Shishi’s lips. “You’d better treasure that. We worked hard forging it with the help of them old gods back in Cierno.” She produced what seemed like a lollipop out of her coat’s pocket unwrapped the sucker and settled it between her lips. There were some clinking sounds as the unseen armor parted on her mouth’s region. “Hey, will you do me a favor after all this is over? Let’s give my older sister in Lunaris a surprise visit. I’m sure she’d be happy to see you again, Uncle.”

 

 

 

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"Huh." Marcos glanced up from the Xelken research at Dul'Dorek to regard the Wizard fungal horror that always accompanied him. "Aspyn. Never been there, but I'll tell you huwhat." He adopted a clumsy boxing stance. "I could take that Commager any day." He bounced on his heels. "All it'd take is one punch!" Marcos punched the air like a toddler who got broccoli for dinner instead of chicken nuggets. "One punch!" Swish! "Just one! Just like that stupid Moon!"

The Wizard stared with its usual blank expression, not that it had much of a face.

"But I'm not a bully. I'll let Kahd'Xel have him." Marcos chuffed, spent from the brief episode of shadow boxing. "What? Don't look at me like that. I'll have you know, I used to be a General. You should salute me." The Wizard was silent and still. "Is that so? I changed my mind, I'm going. Watch out, Commager! One punch!" Swish!

They left. Marcos affectionately retained his original units and the Mahrjan turned Xelken from his recruitment mission, and a logistical train comprised of stitch worms, stack worms, and grove pigs to assist with bioengineering a solution to the problem of artillery. His response to the idea of fighting in the weird bug monster melee was to snort and bring up the rear. Were it not for his construction project, the two weeks from Dul'Dorek to Aspyn would have been insufferable. Xelken were not enjoyable travel companions.

They arrived. Without obstacle. Marcos whooped and slapped the Wizard on its nasty back. "No Archbishop! See? Scaredy-Twizzen heard the General was coming. One punch!" Swish! "Ran away on all sixes. Stupid blue spider-chicken," he said between chuckles. The Solà Company remained behind the vanguard, and Marcos viewed Aspyn's defenses through swarms of eye nits from the deck of a vehicle that resembled a boat crossed with a motor-sled. Various Xelken and a frost giant were in formation around him, in addition to several ultrahawks that towed his special project. Brain druids drew ugly sigils in the fog with their bone staves. New shapes began to take form.

His pocket vibrated. Marcos pulled out a smartphone and selected the offending news app. Gaudy Caeceila Glasmann appeared on the screen. Marcos recoiled.

"Her again? Are you listening to this?" He turned to the Wizard. Nada. "I know, right? Outrageous. If she loves the Wyrm so much, why doesn't she marry it?" Smartphone pocketed, Marcos slapped on safety goggles and gripped the guard rail. A flesh horror dropped anchor for him.

The air was already humming, the ground already tremoring, but when the first soldiers opened fire it shook. When the artillery struck, it quaked. The sheer noise of warfare is often underestimated: windows rattled, animals howled, civilians cried out, vehicle and home security alarms went off. Even if Bia'Thera erupted, they may not have heard it. The disturbing echo of battle reached all the way to the coast with its promise of violence. The odor of incinerated dead bug creatures was a new and unnecessary addition to his smell dictionary.

Fog rolled past the wall. Eye nits followed in waves, resembling clouds of gnats. It might have sounded like a rain of tiny pebbles hitting surfaces of stone, metal, and glass if it weren't for the din of firepower overwhelming the tink-tink-tink of little bugs. Within the wall, the HGA stuck out like a sore thumb. What were those, robot spiders? Gauche. Marcos communicated the firing solution with the practiced ease of a General. 

The five ultrahawks shambled into position. Each one towed a massive honeycomb structure with protruding spheres that wriggled like larvae in a nest. Adapted from the viper shrimp used by insect horrors to fire acidic stingers at long range, Marcos had combined them with spray bulbs and shriek arrows to create a bug-based multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). And unlike spiders, shrimp were tasty not gauche, although the MLRS hardly resembled a living thing at all. Once in position, a stream of caustic gas shot out behind the MLRS batteries, boiling rows of hapless grove pigs alive. 

One MLRS battery exploded and flung its payload in random directions. Its ultrahawk died immediately. Pieces of bug rained down and acid pooled around them. Marcos picked a ruined mandible out of his hair and tossed it overboard.

The others launched successfully. More or less. It wasn't like Marcos had ever bioengineered Xelken  artillery before. Roughly 60 palpitating rockets arced over the wall. The spray bulb tips burst and released streams of acid over the HGA District, followed by shriek arrow cluster munitions to strike the district with acid explosions. As far as he knew, shriek arrows could seek-and-destroy on their own, but who knew with these bioengineered ones? Marcos swore some of them came out of the stitch worms with googly eyes.

Not all of the poor dears made it. Several rockets careened into each other in midair and twirled away harmlessly. Others were vaporized from flying too close to Commager's fireteams. Another made it all the way past the harbor, promptly stopped and plummeted into the ocean. 

And then the MLRS batteries melted into throbbing piles of goop. 

Overall, Marcos considered it a roaring success. A real win for science. One of his medical drones beeped Data Collection Successful, a sign of approval from robotkind if ever there was one. Victory was sure to hand-deliver his laurels once he published. But a scientist's work was never done, especially not after firing rockets at a rich psychopath and exposing one's position. Time to bug out.

The flesh horror on board raised anchor. An ultrahawk picked up his boat and him with it. Another picked up the frost giant. The rest of Solà Company fled via air and lived happily ever after.

No? That's Xelken Oldspeak for advance, not retreat? The Solà Company headed for the HGA instead, divided into four platoons.

Spoiler

Dramatis Personae
Xelken list for quick reference.

Solà Company
First "Platoon" (1P)
 - Follows behind 2P.
Marcos Solà (Probably A General) - 1
Boat (Or Possibly A Sled) - 1
Wizard Fungal Horror (Boss or Sidekick?) - 1
Flesh Horror (Ranger) - 1
Ultrahawk (Flying) - 1. Carries entire "platoon."

Second Platoon (2P) - Approach from N.
Hvalr (Frost Giant) - 1. Generates sting flies at 50/round.
Sting Flies (Flying Swarm) - 50. 
Brain Druids (Priests) - 2
Ultrahawk (Flying) - 1. Carries Brain Druids and Hvalr.
Snatcher Hawks (Flying) - 12. Carries and drops in flesh horrors.
Flesh Horrors (Rangers) - 12.
Insect Horrors (Flying) - 1 warrior, 1 ranger. 
Mephits (Flying) - 16. Toxic fog gremlins summoned by brain druids. Each can call 1-4 allies/round.

Third Platoon (3P) - Approaches from SE.
Brain Druid (Priests) - 2
Ultrahawk (Flying) - 1. Carries  Brain Druids.
Snatcher Hawks (Flying) - 12. Carries and drops in flesh horrors.
Flesh Horrors (Rangers) - 12
Insect Horrors (Flying) - 1 warrior, 1 ranger. 
Mephits (Flying) - 16. Toxic fog gremlins summoned by brain druids. Each can call 1-4 allies/round.

Fourth Platoon (4P) - Approaches from S.
Possessed Suujali (Slap Coils) - 1
Brain Druids (Priests) - 2
Ultrahawks (Flying) - 1. Carries Possessed Suujali and Brain Druids.
Snatcher Hawks (Flying) - 12. Carries and drops in flesh horrors.
Flesh Horrors (Rangers) - 12
Insect Horrors (Flying) - 1 warrior, 1 ranger. 
Mephits (Flying) - 16. Toxic fog gremlins summoned by brain druids. Each can call 1-4 allies/round.

Irregulars
Eye Nits - Tons. Notice them appearing inside the buildings.
Stitch Worms - 15. Can be expended for regeneration, improvements, or psychosomatics.
Grove Pigs - Dead. Oink. They're actually called grove hogs, but I'm emphatically not changing it. 
MLRS - 60 rockets release submunitions ranging from 4-10 per rocket (between 240-600). Acid explosions aren't large, but are functionally shaped charges due to the shriek arrows' shape. Designed with Terran Exoskeletons and GL-17RX as ideal targets. That said, many are duds. Undetonated rockets and inert bomblets can be found floating around later. The total effective number is left open-ended. The batteries themselves are one use and dead.
The Fog (MVP) - Area is obscured.

Notes
1. I play fast and loose with relative strengths and numbers. This is FFRP and not an RTS.
2. Light autoing of forces is encouraged for PCs to spring into action. See: Arashi's (Metty) coffee break. Specifics will tend to be left open-ended for your convenience.
 

 

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- Brave New Frontiers -


A brutish mass of metal barreled its way through the airspace near Biazo Isle, its shuddering frame battering aside the wind instead of riding it. The four thunderous lifting rotors churned the sea far underneath into a maddened froth, each ramming the vessel forward at blistering speed. Its crisp angles and glossy black paint seemed to swallow the moonlight, darkly contrasting the neon lines of blue, pink, and white vectors running along the turrets and fuselage. A bizarre cross of nautical and aviating features, the craft had an elongated, pyramidal prow and distinct keel, and yet had three pairs of staggered wing-decks that projected force in all directions. In the rear, an asymmetrical mast, lined in blast-proofed, mirrored glass, housed what was undoubtedly a command bridge.

-


Captain Stephen H. Gentzel listened intently to the muted hum of his vessel from a luxurious, high-backed command chair, reclined just enough to relieve the strain on his neck from eyeing his crew as they busied themselves with the task of operating the experimental gunship. His smartly fitted charcoal jumpsuit, complete with white piping and the silver star of command at the square collar, bore just enough resemblance to a military uniform to evoke the feeling of authority without any of the stricture. His subordinates knew who he was, after all - he had made them.

Carefully selected from the ranks of Absalom's pleasure slaves, he had elevated his girls to competence, notoriety, and... bodily harmony. In truth, Captain Gentzel was no captain at all - he was a surgeon. A sculptor of flesh, an artist that cleverly hid his incisions and sutures, and pulled forth the hidden potential of rough minerals into sparkling gemstones. Given a blank canvas and infinite paints, Gentzel had been free to do as he wished... as long as it aligned with the aims of his patron.

And so he had crafted with steel and biomesh what Lagrimosa had been so reticent to give him - a phenotype of women famed for their exotic beauty and feminine allure. They moved gracefully, their movements meticulous and careful, and each of them bore upon their bodies his signature: two inset scars at the corners of their almond, close-lidded eyes. They bore ornamental armor of translucent polymers and gleaming ferroceramics, displaying their bodies with a veneer of practicality in the oriental style. The weapons mounted on shoulders and hips were very real though - curved carbon-lattice blades with edges so fine they seemed to vanish, and compact submachine guns that spat gaussian death by the hundreds. And most importantly... they were all fanatically obedient.
 

-

"Kanchouu~~~" came a sing-song voice, breaking the man's reverie.

She was his favorite. "Yes, Eko?" He watched her bend forward to tap a few keys on the central monitor and adjusted his collar. Was it always this tight?

"Gentzel-sama, we're coming up on the Isle now. I'm seeing signs of the demon army again a mile or two inland." A strange phenomenon. As if the entire host, which had so casually steamrolled through the marshes near the arcology, had kept the same momentum across the broad channel that separated Biazo from the continent. Or had they gone under it? It seemed like only one Holder had even noticed the occurrence... or rather, its significance. The supernatural was not welcome in Absalom, or rather, found itself subservient to the will of man. And yet here had passed within cannon spitting distance a teeming mass of something that defied explanation. His nin called them demons. Oni. Captain Gentzel found himself unable to disagree.

"Excellent, then our pursuit was not in va-"

A piercing klaxon began to wail, and all of a sudden the pursuing hound fell into complete disarray. "Captain, we have an inbound missile, impact in five sec-" Loud, tearing replies from the deck-mounted countermeasures drowned out the rest, the muted crackle of their airburst charges peppering a staccato of gunfire over the bow. "Evading!" came forth in pitched hysteria from navigation, the pixie-haired pilot thrashing the sticks into a leftward diagonal. Gyroscopic stabilization didn't manage to save an unsecured mug as it bounded off a sloped monitor bank and sloshed its caffeinated payload across the polished floor. The Banzai pitched forward sickeningly... and then, nothing.

The alarm silenced itself, and for a moment, the only sound on the bridge besides the humming of atomic fire deep in the ship's belly, was the painful creaking of white-knuckled joints gripping bulkheads and armrests in mute, stiffened apprehension.

"What was that?" Stephen Horace Gentzel's face had broken its serene composure. "WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!"

"C-Captain, it's..." His visage turned upon the soothing voice, and relaxed a fraction of its fury in the face of its concerned expression, wreathed in raven black hair. He loved her hair so much. "It looks like a stray shot. Conventional rocket. Radar is... picking up more entities..." Eko's confidence faltered at this point, as she glanced over the gunner's shoulder at the display now swimming with blips. The gunner herself didn't seem as preturbed, though. Ai was the only one among them that had done things like this before her debt-slavery, and despite the circumstances, employed her level-headed expertise to her new reality with the same competence.

"Gentzel-sama, the shot looks like it came from Aspyn. There's... there's a full blown war going on down there. I'm transferring the thermals to your console." The captain closed his jaw abruptly, and reseating himself, tugged the askance pivot arm closer. His heart skipped a beat. By the spire, she was right. In slightly distorted contrast, white-hot things surged on ground and air at the periphery of sight, enveloping the lowlands around the city. Man and demon, locked in mortal combat, as streaks of fire lit across the sky. The assault had already begun, and by the looks of it, antiquated defence concepts like 'walls' were not up to the task. A chirp from the navigator's station gave an altitude reminder of a thousand feet. "One and a half minutes to weapons range."

There was an opportunity here, needing only for this intrepid captain to seize it. "Pull us up to over ten thousand feet Sayako, I am not risking another close call like that. Akari, I need..." Her hand was already on his shoulder, gently massaging out the tension. Eko might have been his favorite, but Akari was the one who knew him the best. She flipped up her pleated skirt and seated herself in his lap, calmly taking the console away to work on it while she leaned into his chest. "Intel, yes. It will be a couple of minutes though while I figure out who is who..." Gentzel sighed deeply, and threw his head back against the headrest, stroking the girl's bare thigh as he considered his options. The instructions had been simultaneously clear and yet horrendously vague - and he'd nearly cocked up the first one, which was to bring the gunship back unscathed. As it soared into a commanding view of the battlefield, visual camera feeds bolstered the earlier thermals, and the true scale of what was going on started to become apparent. Their ascent cleared a sizeable column of air on the periphery of the battle as the gunship careened out of its dive, beating away for the moment a big swathe of psychoactively laced fungal fog, both back over its creators... and deeper into the city in a turbulent gust.

The Banzai had a choice to make. Help the defenders? Turn about and leave? Or merely stand by and observe... its silhouette an implacable, jagged shard of gleaming neon and black gloss against the fogged-up night sky.

 

Edited by Sigil Warden
Fixed the time of day.

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As the soldiers atop the wall fired into the pale unkown as the fog rapidly approached the city wall.  It was impossible to tell what the soldiers were hitting with the only indication of their success being the diminished noise of the Xelken buzzing their wings.  It seemed like a good number of the apparent Xelken threat was being destroyed by this preliminary assault.  This was until Stormbreaker flew before the wall and fired an immense plume of dragon fire towards where she believed the Archdemon was hidden in the fog.  This blast managed to dissipate a large chunk of the fog in front of the soldiers that revealed to them what they had been shooting at so far. 

misshapen Xelken wretches that resembled clumped up balls of insect parts and flew by flapping a chaotic assortment of loud buzzing wings.   Each one of these creatures sounded like entire swarms of giant insects by the flapping of their wings alone and had been created by Kahd'Xel as a distraction to draw in enemy fire and minimalize Xelken casualties in approaching the city walls.  Then like a silent and gentle ocean, the fog filled back the gap that had been burned away, and then rolled over the wall and its defenders as the Xelken's toxic veil began to flow into the city behind.

It was then that Kahd'Xel instructed his minions to strike.  heavily armed and armored Xelken landed straight onto the ranks of soldiers stationed on the wall as thousands more wretches and horrors flew or were carried into the city proper.  Tiny Xelken flooded the airspace, swarming around victims and stinging them repeatedly with sharp and venomous stingers.  Stormbreaker, who was the furthest forward out of the city's defenders was relentlessly assaulted by flying insect horrors once more, who were determined to cut her off from her allies behind her and prevent her from continuously loosing her blasts of dragon fire.  

Kahd'Xel checked over the statuses of his force's initial charge.  His division elite horrors that had been armored with Suujali scales and armed with weapons that oozed with concentrated venom had successfully landed along the City walls.  These Xelken were greatly outnumbered by the large number of defenders that had been stationed on the wall, but the low visibility and tighter formations due to limited space meant that the elite horrors could just land separately throughout the enemy ranks and simply begin attacking to created a sense of panic and confusion for the defenders who would be deprived of all freedom of movement and spatial awareness to combat their foes or support their allies effectively.  This would be made even worse by the constant stream of flying wretches who would take potshots or attack the defenders on the wall as well as flood into the streets with the rest of the main force.  The main force itself was focused mostly on the inside of the city.  The plan was to use the blanket of fog and the combative forces to target densely populated residential areas to begin converting the city's population into abominations while also kidnapping civilians in the confusion to then be turned into horrors back in Groff Basin.  The second Possessed Suujali and numerous packs of horrors would spear head the inner city conflict while the flying wretches provided support and the ground based wretches composed primarily of stitch worms and puppeteer bugs went about creating the abominations and providing quick medical treatment for most of the Xelken attackers.  All of this was set up for every Xelken to operate mostly autonomously as Kahd'Xel intended to have the Xelken not use psionic long distance communications at all if possible.

The Arch-Demon was aware, via his Eye Nit scouts, that the city's defenders had been converting a power station into a device that could somehow harm the Xelken hivemind through presumably psionic means.  It stood to reason that such a device would require the Xelken to actively use their psionic network to cause any harm as otherwise there would exist the danger of the Gaianists harming their own soldiers along with the Xelken.  For this reason also, Kahd'Xel had made sure to send the Sorcerer Marcos with a sizable portion of their forces, to go and obtain more information about the PowerStation while ideally being able to render the device inoperable.

Now, with the initial charge having commenced and the Xelken filtering into their roles in this assault, Kahd'Xel sent out a message along the Xelken hivemind to all of his minions to cease Psionic communication until further notice.  He then sent one final communication to Marcos, to remind him of his task.

"Sorcerer, you can still communicate with my children by speaking in the primeval tongue.  Do not waste your forces by  only focusing on disabling the device, there are surely weaknesses to its operation and learning those are as valuable a victory as achieving complete decimation of the enemy.  You are to only utilize your connection to my hivemind in divulging this machine's secrets or when either your forces or your enemies lie broken on the ground.  Treasure the silence as you slaughter the traitorous filth."

With his forces fielded and his orders given, Kahd'Xel then took to the frontlines himself.  Peering through the fog with his eyes of light, he spotted what looked to be the commanding force that lead the soldiers on the wall.  The Arch-demon landed right beyond the wall and before Michael Commager and whoever else stood beside him.  Through the dense and toxic fog, Kahd'Xel appeared only in silhouette, save for his eyes which shown brightly all the same.  He loomed over the followers of Gaia even as they stood atop the wall, with  the stench of death filling the air and sickening some even past their charms when paired with the poison light.  Then the Arch-Demon spoke with his dark and festering voice.

"misguided servants of the traitor Gaia.  Long have you wallowed in your goddess' vile filth, Tonight I free you from your chains, tonight you all help kindle the flames of Justice."

With which Kahd'Xel then blew from his mouth a dense cloud of deadly poisons and the horrifying curse onto Wall's defenders.

Spoiler

OOC:
here is a TLDR of what has just happened.

The Xelken swarm managed to sustain only light casualties during their charge by drawing fire to custom Xelken wretches that were made to sound as if each one was a swarm of much larger Xelken, as well as being much louder than normal Xelken sound to mask the sounds of the actual Xelken forces that were far more spread out.  

The toxic fog grows a bit more toxic and is now covering the wall and much of the eastern side of the city including the powerplant

Elite Xelken horrors were then dropped/landed onto the wall with each one spread out and equiped with Suujali shell/hide/scale armor and Xelken weaponry which produce very potent and deadly venom.  They are also being supported by some of the airborne Xelken Wretches.

The Xelken main force takes to the Streets of Aspyn, where strike teams of horrors, tiny stinging wretches and a possessed Suujali fight off the defenders while snatcher hawks steel food stores and people and puppteer bugs and stitch worms reinforce the Xelken forces with abominations made from civilians.  As such the Xelken are primarily targeting densely populated residential areas.

Insect horrors swarm Stormbreaker within the fog

Kahd'Xel himself appears before Michael Commager and whoever would be immediately beside him and then proceeds to breath a cloud of poison and the Horrifying curse (doesn't work on Player characters) onto that section of the wall.

And the big one, Kahd'Xel has the Xelken cease Psionic communication to avoid being harmed by the ritual inside the powerstation.  It stands to reason, given the fact that Xelken anatomy would not be known in depth, that the ritual wouldn't be able to tell the difference Xelken and non Xelken and thus would need to specifically target active psionic communication for the whole jamming and feedback since affecting anyone with the ability to receive psionic messages would also cause feedback in literally everyone with a brain that isn't lead shielded.  So while the Xelken won't be suffering from the psionic feedback, this does also mean that long range Xelken communications are down until the powerplant is dealt with or the Xelken find out that the ritual only creates a pulse once every three posts.  The small divisions of Xelken will still be able to communicate through old speak and pheromones, but the Xelken force will not be able to operate as a single massive unit.

 

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TOTEM ONE models existed as an assortment of armored plates that moved freely around the operator. Each of these were equipped with filters manufactured by Argus to mitigate the worst effects of the gas. Whirring around them as they stood interspersed throughout the front lines, the plates created a veritable wind that absorbed much of the fog through their filters. However, the effects would still be felt partially. This was where the traumatizing memories of nerve gas to the face and torture simulation chambers would crash in on each of the soldiers as the same mettle that had got them through all the other wars by Michael’s side was put to the test once more. Clergymen who saw that some of the mists could not be affected on a physical level began their prayer for holy mists that would act bulwark against Xelken and Kahd’Xel curses.

When the flying Xelken overtook the barrier they would not find Aspyn shut up in its houses. Children were locked away, but as the first cretinous creature overtook the wall it was hit by a flying balloon that exploded into its own gas. This noxious fog was an unforgivably acidic agent that would immediately encrust even the tiniest of creatures in stone. Balloons and ballistics of all caliber rocketed upward from the barrels of projectile devices prepared by the first ready Aspyn citizens to get some shots off.  Next there came enchantments that froze the stone bodies of the Xelken in midair only to pelt them back at their allies. 

Kahd’Xel and his invaders would immediately find that, not only had Gaia’s children wallowed in her beautiful creation, they had made something damn good— damn strong— out of it.

Still though, even one death was too many.

Within the night fog, the froth of insectoid gore, it was almost unimaginable that Suujali would ever lay paws on Biazo Isle, yet here they were. Many Biazoans had seen Suujali, but they had never heard of Xelken. It was these human-sized bugs the Aspynians and friends were most concerned about. Their gigantism more than the curses they plagued upon the earth were the stuff of nightmares to the refugees. The assaults Terrenus had been broken apart by over the years were endless enough that the collective public had become broken by the sickness it inflicted on them. The Suujali, though, appeared to catch the military outside the walls off-guard the most at first. The very first Terran death was, in fact, a soldier being pounced on and mauled by a Suujali.

That was when the underground assault was launched, though. The Suujali was neither stabbed nor bludgeoned, launched or set on fire; it was pulled beneath the earth. Not like drowning, where it sank— much more like being drowned, where it was dragged under. Such would be the fate of every Suujali and its rider, every groundborne cockroach the clergy laid eyes on. For this land they crawled across, killed on, shit on like savages, this fucking land was Gais’s land.

Except, with focus split between all the factors of Kahd’s attack, stingers and stabs and assassinations grabbed lives out of the darkness.

‘He told me the end would be fiery; said there’d be shadows and monsters, my worst nightmares. He said that when it all happened, He would still be standing there. He would be my last enemy…’

Gaian chants and the chaos of battle filling the fog around them, Michael’s palms felt the coolness of Marigold’s shoulders, his fingers closing around them like a gift he was about to turn around and show the world, his first tragedy of the evil night occured. Marigold, his expression frozen in delight at their delicious plan about to unfold, turned into ash.

‘But this? This is nothing like that…’

Flinching forward, clutching at the ashes, trying to hold the dead Marigold together, Michael’s own face warped into sheer horror at his compatriot’s sudden dissipation. It (Marigold, that is) fluttered to the ground, through the grasp of Michael’s aching hands and forearms even as the fog washed over him, as the forces of good and evil clashed in silent rainbow explosions all around him. One of Gaia’s Disciples, dead before the battle had even started. How? Why? Even as the light gathered around Michael’s flesh, he fought away the desolation of Marigold’s dissipation.

"Fuck," Michael whispered to himself, then shouted into the air that was crisp with death. "FUCK!"

The anomalous assaults on Aspyn were so multitudinous, it was hard to tell which happened first. One had begun weeks earlier, only the fact that he had agents on the case to keep it out of the Major’s mind, but now came the rally of broken cogs and wheels that actually held the potential to spell disaster for Aspyn. It was becoming increasingly clear that much of the burden would, again, rest on his shoulders. He would not be afraid, though, he was determined for his Mother. 

“Sir, incoming!” said Tori as Marigold’s remains crumbled like sand through the unbelieving Michael’s hands. “It’s something big.”

Turning, Michael saw that he stood before ‘something big' indeed. Something so big itt made him look tiny. He gazed up at the shadowy frame of Kahd’Xel— even though much of the fog was whipped through the filters of the TOTEMS, the sources of fog, the Xelken and Kahd’Xel were still shrouded semi-densely. So it was that Michael looked up upon the fogged frame as it fouled the firth between good and evil with its fallacies. There was no pause for surprise in him, for that sort of thing was long dead within Michael in the need for action. Tori projected Kahd’s image into Michael’s eyes immediately. His fists, though they ached sorely, clenched with furious holy duty, and the white flare around him verged on eruption. While Kahd’s features seemed shrouded and still as he spoke, Michael’s were fiercely illuminated. Michael believed that those who most unjustly spoke ill about their competitors were prone to hide their forms, so it was fitting. He spat in the dirt, summoning all of the zeal his burgeoned, blessed, healthy, adrenalined body could muster, and then the heretic’s words came.

"Misguided servants of the traitor Gaia.  Long have you wallowed in your goddess' vile filth, Tonight I free you from your chains, tonight you all help kindle the flames of Justice."

“Don’t talk about...”

Kahd’s words were exactly the gasoline the kindling flames of Michael’s power needed. The roiling white flames licking at his frame suddenly became a volcanic inferno that blasted and roared off of him. The smaller of the two spread his feet, lowered his center of gravity, preparing both hands to pump forward as Kahd’s mouth open. His voice was as loud as an atom bomb.

“My mother...” 

As the gas came from Kahd’s mouth, Michael’s fists splayed their fingers wide, his arms punching forth.

“THAT WAY!!!”

From his hands, up toward Kahd’s face as he and his breath blasphemed all over the front lines, came his first attack: an exploding star of white Spirit Fire. Its sole aim was to swallow the Arch-Demon and his curses. Had it been a hoard of Suujali, a hoard of Xelken, or Kahd himself, the attack would have resolved the exact same. Michael was glad it could be right in Kahd’s face.

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From prologue to curtain call, the Xelken masterfully perform a danse macabre.  Caeceila Glasmann is the choreographer, for in their fear of Caeceila's power, the Xelken eagerly forsook their greatest advantage: the ability to coordinate their actions and relay information in real time.  A clarion call rings through the bracing evening air - batteries of field guns discharging, volleys of lethal energy erupting from arcane rifles, and explosives thundering as they shred diseased flesh - and is heard the world over.  Kahd'Xel and Marcos would charge the line, risking the security of the Xelken high command, to a magnificent symphony of lead punctuated by the staccato of fullerine missiles impacting targets at high velocity.  A unified Terrenus interposed itself between the Xelken and the defenseless and brought its might to bear.

To a tactician, if not a scientist, bombarding the HGA District with 240-600 Shriek Arrows yields mixed results.  Wards against scrying prevent the Shriek Arrows from tracking living beings sheltered within the three standing structures, and these structures weather the missile attack as though they were fortified to withstand heavy bombardment.  While several suspiciously rectangular holes are blown through the fourth floor of the power plant, holes in the preexisting superstructure of the platform reveal that HGA reinforced the platform by constructing an overbuilt concrete roof and walls underneath the preexisting set.  The slaughterhouse sustains the most damage.  A section collapses in on itself, revealing giant metal doors smeared with blood.  It appears that Caeceila and Camelia anticipated this area would be subject to extremely heavy fire as HGA's command post within Aspyn and the location of two classified projects and prepared them appropriately.  Acid eats away at the concrete, but this exchange has not yet exposed any significant weaknesses in HGA's defenses save, perhaps, in the unmanned turrets, the majority of which incur damage from the explosions and acid and are powered down.  As expected, the Spider-Bots fare much better than the stationary turrets, jumping behind cover and skittering beneath sacrificial units to avoid the shower of arrows.

Unlike the Xelken, HGA relies on radar systems, spotters, magitech targeting systems, and satellite feeds to inform its firing solutions.  Equipped with up-to-date military intelligence, the HGA artillery units and turrets that survive the acid attack mercilessly strike the advancing Xelken, and while approaching from multiple directions might keep HGA from decimating the invaders with concentrated fire, each unit is exposed to more fire from Terrenus Military anti-air weapons and fireteams, adventuring parties, and members of the Aspyn Militia.

Cryogenic munitions whistle through space, coating the enemy in scintillating sheets of ice and rime as they detonate midair.  Elemental resistances notwithstanding, aerial units plow into the earth, impaired by the weight and geometry of the foreign material collecting on their wings.  Fist-sized hailstones whiz out of the fog which conceals the Xelken aggressors, raining down on them like dozens of crystalline meteors glowing with the light of the silvery moon.  Accounting for the darkness of night, dense fog, lack of communication, and ungainly forms of some of the aerial Xelken, sight-based (visible light spectrum) evasion might prove challenging, if not impossible, and any Xelken forces that are grounded or slain in this manner will likely be unaccounted for unless other Xelken witness the event.

Four Eye Nits apparate within the slaughterhouse inside a tiny force cage proudly labelled "YUMMY EVIL BUG THINGS!!!  m^._.^m"  There were once thirty of them.  It appears Caeceila's paranoia concerning the Enrele (they are everywhere) and investments in Enrele detection equipment are finally paying off as additional Eye Nits fail to appear in the power plant, the platform, or the slaughterhouse - not that they would be of exceptional use given Kahd'Xel's gag order.

Eight humanoid HGA Combat Robots covered in heavy, black titanium alloy armor plating with oversized boron carbide shields providing portable cover strapped to their left arms and man-portable air-defense systems loaded with command guidance (command line-of-sight) missiles supported by and wired to their right arms surge forward to plug the gaps on the fourth floor and fire eight guided cryogenic missiles at the encroaching Xelken.  Interfacing directly with the missile guidance system and receiving information from the HGA targeting system, these eight units are able to steer the missiles they fire to their targets.  The contrails of these missiles trace paths from the power plant to the advancing Xelken.

Spoiler
  1. The power plant is a six-story, fortified building constructed from concrete with reinforced subterranean tunnels connecting it to the slaughterhouse and the platform.  Terrenus Military personnel have been admitted to the power plant.  The core has been modified with a device that consumes the bulk of the power generated by the facility to disrupt Xelken communications in a targeted area.  The core will activate on rounds that are multiples of three, emitting psychic energy that may cause the Xelken to behave erratically.  If the device is active on Round 9, HGA may attempt to intercept Xelken communications and harry the Xelken with psychic feedback, weakening the hivemind as a whole.
    1. HGA Techs (Heavy Combat Engineers) - 25 People
    2. HGA Replica Soldiers (Heavy Shock Troops) - 30 Units
    3. HGA Combat Robots (Heavy Infantry) - 45 Units
    4. Caeceila Glasmann
    5. Local Reporters - 8 People
  2. The platform is a factory that was converted into a reinforced hangar.  Within the platform are twelve HGA Silver Dynasty aircraft and ten stationary particle-beam turrets.  The platform functions as a rally point in case any of the connecting buildings are lost.  Terrenus Military personnel have been admitted to the platform.
    1. HGA Silver Eyes (Modular Multipurpose Hovering Orbs) - 120 Units
    2. HGA Pilots - 24 People
    3. HGA Support Staff - 10 People
    4. HGA Unmanned Particle Beam Turrets - 10 Units
    5. HGA Silver Dynasty Aircraft - 12 Units
  3. The slaughterhouse contains summoned and terrestrial abominations commanded by Camelia Sorina.  Some of the abominations within the slaughterhouse are hostile to creatures that are not Wyrm-tainted.  Terrenus Military personnel have been denied access to the slaughterhouse for their own safety.  One of the entities in the slaughterhouse provides units in its proximity immunity to Kahd'Xel's plagues.  Instead of falling victim to Kahd'Xel's plague, units in proximity to this entity may suffer temporary impairment to healing processes as cellular reproduction is inhibited.
    1. HGA Cultists - 30 People
    2. ??? - 1 Entity
    3. Large Abominations - 1 Entities
    4. Medium Abominations - 3 Entities
    5. Small Abominations Wretches - 4 Entities [Hostile; Contained]
  4. The yard is composed of two areas: the firebase and the ruin.  The firebase is a level concrete surface surrounding the power plant on which automated, spider-like artillery units and turrets are positioned.  The ruin is what remains of the HGA-occupied industrial district.  Remote-detonated explosives are buried within piles of rubble in the ruin.
    1. HGA Semi-Autonomous Artillery Units - 17 Units [1 Melting]
    2. HGA Unmanned Particle Beam Turrets - 2 Units [2 Melting]
    3. HGA Unmanned High Explosive Turrets - 0 Units [Destroyed]

A prerecorded message is transmitted to Central by HGA Support Staff.

Central, this is Caeceila Glasmann.  I am preparing to release bio-organic weapons.  Do not fire on the creatures marked by my crest.  Consult the blue force tracking system for their positions.

Edited by The Alexandrian

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Two weeks prior

From the moment the HGA had assumed control of the power plant, the Lagrimosan military had grown suspicious of what their erstwhile allies might be up to. When the power went out two hours later, those suspicions only increased. By the time the organization had begun evicting people from their homes and businesses, appropriating some buildings and demolishing others as they fortified the area; suspicion had begun to morph into outright mistrust. The move was strange on multiple levels. Why had they undertaken this action unilaterally when they most likely could have secured the support of the government; which would have resulted in a far smoother experience? It raised questions as to what exactly House Glassmann was getting up to in their newly claimed territory.

However, as a confrontation with the Xelken loomed, the Lagrimosan government could ill afford to alienate a partner as powerful as the HGA by launching an outright investigation. Instead, the information was passed on to The Disciples, and Li in particular. Quickly deducing that infiltration of the seized area would be too risky; he instead decided that it would be easier to get a glimpse of what House Glassmann was planning by seeing what they were bringing inside. Routine checks of shipments headed to the powerplant were implemented soon after. 

Most of the goods were above board; but there were two things that stood out; shipments of just over a hundred cattle, and a hundred and sixty five liters of human blood. Why would a power station need any of those things? It was at this point that strict surveillance measures were put into place; with The Disciples ready to act upon anything suspicious. Because of the tightness of his security, either the elderly would never be infected, and Li'El made speculation on the strange noises coming from the HGA camp, or they were infected and the city was made aware that enrele were in Aspyn.


Li had no doubt that the HGA munitions would tear any Xelken foolish enough to appear within their a wide variety of new assholes; but he saw no reason why they should wait for the enemy to come to them. For weeks, he had familiarized himself with the area around the HGA district; and he had identified a number of likely avenues the invaders would use once inside the city. The largest of them was the ironically named Commager road. It was a long, unbroken stretch that went through much of the city; and would lead the demons to the HGA without much difficulty. That was where he decided to make his stand.

Now he stood shoulder to shoulder with a few dozen other members of the Gaian clergy as they watched multi-limbed abominations, and freshly reanimated corpses rush toward them like a wretched tide. The men were braced behind a waist high wall of stone that had been created using geomancy. As the creatures set foot upon ground that had been blessed hours earlier, their bodies began to smoke and sizzle. Some of the weaker abominations would burst into flames and fall to the ground, but many more kept moving. Li closed his eyes, and a brilliant white light suffused his blade.

"In Gaia's name, we shall repel the unclean!"

His men cheered and whooped in agreement. Li held up his hand to signal their archers to draw their bows and prepare to fire on his command. Bringing his hand down in a decisive gesture that resembled the swinging of a hammer, the archers loosed their arrows; the projectiles arcing through the sky to rain down upon the horde. Dozens fell, but as ever, the abominations moved forward. With another gesture, a group of clergymen brandishing shields took up position directly behind the barrier. The rest of them took up position behind the shield wall.

"Brace!"

From there everything descended into the chaos of battle. Blades slashed, spears thrust, and arrows flew through the air Gaia's chosen fought against those who stood in opposition to her. 

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Stormbreaker


Stormbreaker's sudden movement was suddenly stopped by the onslaught of Insect horrors, who she noticed at the last minute when she dodged one of their attacks at the very last minute due to her danger sense. This fog was an absolute nightmare to see through and she just switched her thermal vision on at the last minute to hopefully see the enemies around her in the darkness. This was already starting to become a tough fight and she wasn't even at her limit. Luckily, with her recent suit upgrades and repairs to maximum potential, she was able to use her flames at the max heat she could withstand without extreme consequence. If she did it for too long, she'd feel the pain of it, making losing a few organs in the process. She was determined to deal with the enemies of the front of her first. 

They were determined to cut her off and limit her from blasting her explosions at max strength around the area. She was up in the air, where she could let loose anyhow. There was nobody about but her and the demons in front of her. 

I struggled with them last time with my plasma blade. I'll have to up the heat to burn through them with ease. Maybe I'll have to use my explosions.

She sighed deeply, watching the insect horrors as she thought of a way to combat them. There was nobody up in the air luckily and this was the pefect time to use her explosions at a fraction of her strength. Stormbreaker smirked from under her helmet as she envolped in light as she caused a big enough explosion to destroy the affect the Xelken around her with the force and the pure heat of the flames used, along with the natural explosive compound in her body. She hoped that it'd at least dent the Xelken or put a dent in them for now, till she got to deal with the main villain of this all. 


Arashi


Arashi was annoyed to say the least. She couldn't put her anger in words. The fungal horror had crashed into the table, looking directly at her. Arashi just looked annoyed enough that she blasted it with flames, it doing a significant amount of damage, but before she realized, she had been surrounded by varies types of insect bugs, them swarming around the local area, killing civillains and now raiding the local coffee shop she had to be dining at. They were closing in on her fast, and Arashi was struggling to deal with more than one of these things. In a last attempt of effort, she went to go release an explosion of electric-fire around her, to make a distraction, staggering back from the force of it as 

Arashi knew there was no way she could survive against the onslaught of Xelken with little power she had to beat them and she hoped this would buy her some time, as she ran down the streets, narrowly dodging their attacks and pushing past on coming civilains in the Xelken's warpath and line of fire. 

Arashi had eventually tired of running and fired blasts of fire at the Xelken to draw their attention away from the civilians. She could blast so many blasts of flames at the bugs and before long she was swarmed by them, it didn't matter how much blasts of flame and how many Xelken she killed, they would keep coming and coming. It didn't help that her internal temperature was rising inside her body at a insane rate and she was beginning to pant heavily like a dog that was dehydrated and hot. It wasn't minutes before she could barely use her flames anymore due to the intense heat and all she could do was watch the Xelken get closer and closer to kill her. She was running out of ideas. 

Edited by Metty

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Y S H M A E L ,  T H R I C E - B L E S S E D  A G E N T

 

"Misguided servants of the traitor Gaia.  Long have you wallowed in your goddess' vile filth, Tonight I free you from your chains, tonight you all help kindle the flames of Justice." Exclaimed Kahd'Xel.

 

       Gaian Faith was on attack and it could be felt in every fiber of every being subject to this attack. Existence was to be extinguished in a land of chaos and righteous perseverance if he had it his way. If Kahd'Xel were to succeed, Michael, The Abbey, All of Aspyn.. they would all be reduced to nothing. Yshmael knew it would take everything everyone had in them to overturn such biased "Justice". He knew that Michael would have to perish for any of this to persist beyond anything other than a sad attempt at squandering such a bustling hub of life.

 

       He would not. He could not. He was to be the dog with his tail between his legs, if not another doomed naysayer to the radiant life given by their Verdant Mother.

 

       As the filth expelled from Kahd'Xel crashed into the vicinity, the Terran Major was swift with his response. It was an amazing sight to behold.
 

“Don’t talk about...”

Kahd’s words were exactly the gasoline the kindling flames of Michael’s power needed. The roiling white flames licking at his frame suddenly became a volcanic inferno that blasted and roared off of him. The smaller of the two spread his feet, lowered his center of gravity, preparing both hands to pump forward as Kahd’s mouth open. His voice was as loud as an atom bomb.

“My mother...” 

As the gas came from Kahd’s mouth, Michael’s fists splayed their fingers wide, his arms punching forth.

“THAT WAY!!!”


       The radiant attack was something to bear witness to, for definite. It could not deter the rest of the world around them. In response to everything happening, Yshmael elected the responsible route and pinned the scene in the back of his mind for residual observation should something huge happen. Duty before pleasure. His resolve would be steeled as he resorted to directing his defending party. While no leader, he had been among the Cadre, and bore merit solely from such closeness with Oracle Commager. 

 

       Yshmael's body whirred to action in a blink, turning from the twenty-something behemoth destabilizing the Wall and to the flooded innards of the Interior's Edge. A grimace befell him as he shook off the blasphemous excretions of the Xelken scum, their fog, and their lord; contact between the protective torc and the emissions of grotesque gases drew about a protective filtration for the few inches around the Apprentice's head. As if Holy Mist sat around his dome, the defenses of Michael's making were applied in righteous fullness. Fresh enough air was the result, and much to his benefit. The Agent and Priests willed all manners of descent into being: slopes from the top of the Wall; platforms to leap and recover on; pillars that decorated the terrain.

 

       By Her Will, Yshmael descended like a birds of prey. Hang time between descent brought forth visions and imagery of those fine beasts of voracious reach. He, too, would reach. Reach for the strength and courage to brave these never before seen horrors. The undead did not compare to these transmogrifications, but he would not falter. Yshmael's spear came through the head of a flying horror, which was ground into pulp upon the timely landing on a lower pillar. Ripping it free, he reached down to strike the earth and make his surroundings known to him. Waterskin opened again, he began to pray as his band converged. 

 

       Priests and Soldiers and Casters rained down on the terrestrial terrors filing in. Skewers of Earth and Holy Water went into action alongside bolts of plasma, rifle fire, and blasts of all elemental imbuement shredded into the encroaching forces. Launching himself with a stony springboard, the Apprentice impaled a fungal horror and opened a window for two Priests to dismember the mess of mass. The conclusion of conflict for a moment granted him time to hear and feel the pressure and energy of explosions and electric fireblasts -- and not just missiles and terrors from the sky crashing! Arashi, as he would one day come to know her, was blasting her way out of a bad situation.. only it started to sound less successful.

 

       Pointing that way, he moved through the streets with ferocious grace, skillfully bisecting enemies and opening pits for Priests to slam shut. Laid to rest were these Unnatural intruders.  He would not halt, not as long as he could breathe and think. The Three-that-are-She put him on a path beyond his comprehension, but he moved with Faith and Vigor. Spikes of earth produced a graveyard before and around Arashi as the Agent and his Good Company worked with civilians to secure the block and begin moving against them. 

 

"You! Come with us, we're moving into the City to crush these creatures!" He barked, though his tone still bore a genuine concern to it rather than a shouting sergeant. A twirl and whip-like casting movement launched a stone skewer from the ground into a flying horror up above, needing not the light of day to find those who would do him harm. The fog and nits made the sensory readings slightly vaguer, but it would not deter him enough to miss such fine shots. A way out of the field of spikes was made as the ground was pulled back to normalcy. Viscera littered the floor they walked over. His eyes, likely for the hundredth time, snapped back to the wall "supporting" Kahd'Xel to see what was happening. Yshmael could not afford to miss what could be seen of the epic cross between light and dark! The team would mobilize regardless of his glancing, and he would follow in suit -- hopefully with new company!

 

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