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A land of Milk and Honey Draws in Many Flies

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“Well, that was disturbing,” Shishi muttered as she tore her gaze away from the telescopic sight of her sniper rifle. The apprentice knight of the Order had been taking her time in shooting down the demons from a distance. The use of using mundane projectiles to deliver touch spells had always been her preference. One could say it’s from the influence of her family.

“They seem to be advancing faster than we had expected,” came her uncle Shethid’s reply. The man had been standing at Shishi’s side, eyeing the mass of enemies. “I’m done with my task below.”

At her uncle’s words, Shishi looked downwards to the street below. The two had been standing atop a random two-storey building situated some distance away from their previous position. Uncle Shethid had decided to take a more proactive approach leading them to initiate combat further up ahead their expected defensive point.

“Golems? Is this also a portion of Gaia’s blessing?” Shishi mused as she took note of the five or so earthen golems constructs Shethid created a few moments ago.

“Yes. I had a lot of spare time in that jail cell so I entertained myself with expounding past concepts and simulations. This one was derived from the Lady Blackbush’s necromancy that she used back in that failed raid at Last Chance. A similar concept but I used Gaia’s geomancy as base for the constructs. Very energy efficient. Once the golems are fully established, they can absorb energy from the very ground itself as long as they are close to it.”

Shishi’s eyes sparkled in astonishment. “Ooooh.”

“Then there’s the other stuff you wanted to try,” Shethid continued as he pointed to two more figures at the ground. “Although I’m not really a fond of that.”

“Thanks, Uncle. Should we get started?”


It did not take long for the battle to start. As the demon horde reached Shethid and Shishi, chaos ensued. The earth golems threw spears of rock and then proceeded to use their crushing fists in melee. With a blade of sacred light on her hands, Shishi lead the fight against the enemies with providing protection ad support. Unfortunately, there were too many to fight no matter how many they managed to take down and soon the group was completely overwhelmed….


“Uncle, that was a bust,” Shishi exclaimed as she watched the constructs’ defeat.  “Even if those earthen clones of ours have greatly reduced performance, the results are more than clear enough.  This means we can’t take them all on our own. I guess whittling them down from range would be the better course of action.”

“As expected,” came the Shethid’s reply as he wiped the sweat off his forehead. Adjusting his position at motorcycle seat, he turned back to look at the aftermath of the battle which occurred a few hundred meters away from them. “It should be anytime soon.”

“Yes,” Shishi nodded as her bike slowed down to a halt.

As one, the duo put on their respective sunglasses. Few seconds later, explosions happened. It seemed that the constructs have built in self-destruct tendencies if things go sour.

Once the blasts died down, Shethid turned to Shishi. “We should move now and rendezvous with my friend, Li.”

With that, Shishi’s motorcycle rumbled again and sped through the streets.

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The Xelken decoy vanguard served a similar function to ablative armor against Commager's fireteams, allowing the meat of Kahd'Xel's forces to penetrate into Aspyn's interior. Marcos updated his file on Xelken tactics and left the maneuvering to Xelken chit-chatting in their weird bug lingo and stinky evil pheromones. They flew between buildings with all the grace and quietude of wild turkeys. He was in the middle of a tangent about the lack of progressive thought in Imperial military doctrine over the last 30 years when they bumped into a brewery. Just as he was about to critique their flying, an irate patriot and proud mother of twelve rescue cats took a potshot out her window at them with her solar gun.

Marcos could hear her gloating. "Did you see that, ma? I got one!" "You sure did, pumpkin." "I told you it was a good buy!" "It sure was, pumpkin. Did you feed the kitties already?"

They listed to the side from being surprise lasered and sloppily turned the corner right into sustained firepower from the HGA. Similar developments happened to each platoon. The Xelken were handily grounded, their wings peppered with holes and limbs coated in freezing agents, and others were popped like pustules. They reorganized into tank-and-spank formations centered around the bulky ultra hawks. These ginormous bugs stomped forward with the other Xelken trailing behind. The Xelken with ranged weapons sneak-and-peeked like dirty corner campers and took potshots from behind relative safety. Combined with wards from the brain druids, the formation proved exceedingly resilient.

Marcos stayed behind with the Wizard. He pointed at the grueling advance. About three-quarters to the HGA, the ultrahawk on his side had nearly been delimbed and filleted. 

"This isn't so bad," he whispered. There was a pause while he glanced around for cat ladies in the fog. "But I have an idea to get us in tippity-top shape. Have you ever heard of Zengi?" Necromancy was to Terrenus like the blanket magic trick is to dogs. The Wizard reached behind its back and pulled a gnarled mushroom from its back. Bits of exoskeleton, skin, and slime peeled away with it. The Wizard underhand tossed it into the air and smashed it between its hands, all the while muttering in guttural protolanguage. Pus gushed from its between its thin fingers. Marcos ducked behind the boat, because soon after the whole neighborhood was sprayed in ropes of yellowish-green mucus and the stench of offal.

The same revolting fluid poured from the dead Xelken—the holes in their wings, their missing limbs, their orifices. They made the final push to close into melee with the HGA machines with the unliving vigor of a cable TV network that only airs reruns, leaving behind ghoulish snail trails and new job opportunities for street cleaners. On the other hand, the mephits were largely independent of the attrition advance. They acted either as harassers or replaceable sacrifices, opportunistically striking at any HGA forces that were focus firing Xelken. 

"Monitor Xelken unlife signs." Marcos updated the drone's tasklist. "Package data under project heading: hive zombification. Here, let me borrow some of that." He pinched leftover crushed mushroom from the Wizard's hands and took a whiff. "Serviceable. Upload pheromone markers and show me location data." Marcos pointed in the general direction of an ultra hawk with his filthy finger, and made a crushing motion with his fist to extend and twin the sorcery. Two ultra hawks spasmed while charging into the firebase, bulged in random places, and suddenly expanded to twice their size and eight times their weight. Essentially, two undead insectoid dire elephants were running amok. Despite the relative success in saving an ill-fated invasion from total failure, Marcos couldn't quite shake the feeling something (or someone) was missing.

Meanwhile, on Commager Road, Li'El and an entourage of Gaian clerics worked diligently to clear the most topical street in all of Biazo. The staccato of HGA gunfire echoed down the streets, adding the general background clamor generated by the wall and pockets of Apsyn militia members, but the closest noises were a series of eight missiles, the laughter of gremlins, the sound of buzz saws, a crash like someone dropped an elephant from an airplane, and then. . . footsteps? Sure, there were a lot of footsteps. Plenty of the bugs had feet, but these? These were some big feet. Then they stopped.

A shadow appeared in the fog. Aforementioned elephant—a Xelken called an ultra hawk that might have resembled a beetle had it not been partially exploded—hurtled through the air like a boulder launched by trebuchet. The aim wasn't great, but that's a lot of bug to have coming at you! Another shadow, but this time it was a vehicle, some kind of metallic spheroid hitched to a wagon by magicked cables, a futuristic U-haul filled with grandpa's antique furniture that spilled out midair. The last shadow was a section of concrete pipe that was meant to be laid somewhere in the HGA occupied district, now an abandoned project. This one was thrown part of the way, bounced, and rolled down the street towards them. Xelken that wandered into the street to help during this time were splattered by friendly fire.

Then there was nothing except some frantic footsteps again. The Palyopama couldn't find anymore objects to throw in the fog. They could hear the ensuing tantrum. "Dumb fog! Need more rocks!" 

Spoiler

Most likely not going to keep a running tab of numbers here since it adds very little if not nothing. Since Shethid and Sishi are heading toward Li'El, it looks like you'll be tag-teaming the frost giant. The frost giant is fighting solo except for the sting fly hive inside of its body. 

For HGA: Xelken approach from N, S, and SE. The N force is notable for the lone Enlarged undead ultra hawk, and the S force has the other which is not alone. S and SE forces suffer heavy casualties, are partly restocked by necromancy, and engage. 

Edit: As HGA retreats and has drama with Aspyn, Marcos designates the situation as not salvageable. He instructs The Wizard to use Disintegrate on him and the medical drone. The rest of the Xelken are predictably routed. All that's left is a conspicuous, ruined vehicle stranded in the middle of the road covered in Xelken guts and riddled with bullet holes.

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A Triumph Of Artifice


The best possible outcome of arriving to an active warzone was remaining undetected. Despite the narrow miss of stray ordnance, the ominous silhouette of the Banzai was nonetheless little noted. Perhaps because of its distance and inaction. But also perhaps because a far greater threat loomed much, much closer to the unfortunate city of Aspyn.

 

Kahd'Xel.

Like a dream, like a nightmare, the demon of the pit loomed from the putrefying, psychoactive mist of his own creation, clinging about his mythical form like a wreath of malodorous glory. It's scale was incomprehensible for a being of flesh, its voice a shearing pain across the ears no matter the distance. It was HE that had cradled his obscene host right across the Free City's backyard. The very sight made the will crumble into catatonic inaction... and yet, Commager and his allies met despair with defiant hope, trusting in the all-encompassing embrace of their Earth Mother. They were, naturally, quite insane.

Absalom, of course, had no use for either of them. Disbelief was a force all on its own, and when denial ran dry, lead was never in short supply. The demon lord had no place in this world, that was certain, and the decision that Gentzel made was between a threat immediate and a threat distant. Or, more likely, he just wanted to see what his vessel could do.

"Ai, get me a firing solution on that monstrous effigy. All batteries."

"Captain." Ai's voice was calm, but carried the strained reluctance of someone trying very hard not to disagree with an inadvisable course of action. "We don't have full convergence at this range. There will be some dis..." Gentzel cut her off with a sweeping slice of his hand. "I said, all batteries, Ai. Akari, make sure we're recording on all cameras. Eko..." He paused, looking over at where his first mate was sharing a consoling kiss with Saeko over the pilot's console. "...finish what you are doing, and then return to your station. We fire on my mark." Below, the battle raged on. Xelken forces had, at no small cost, breached the defenses in multiple places now, and for all his heroics, Michael Commager would soon be outflanked if he didn't stop dickmeasuring the demon lord. Unfortunately for him, help was about to arrive.

"Mark." The captain didn't make a show of screaming 'fire!'. He didn't need to.

The Banzai groaned, the fire in its belly surging to life as a sudden rush of fuel brought the magnetically confined plasma to tens of millions of degrees Celsius. It's own rotation powered the dynamo that gave vim to the black ops gunship, and the whine of the small star intensified even as the running lights dimmed to emergency red. Rank upon rank of capacitor banks flooded with charge, each one holding the combined electric use of a small town. Six pairs of triads, rail-acceleration platforms, canted their triangular barrels in swiveling batteries to focus on a single area - the square center of Kahd'Xel's back. And in the next moment, they tore the sky asunder.

A pyroclastic plume of death erupted from all six guns, as bits of rail, sheathing, projectile and sabot instantly turned to gas. In three tenths of a second their gift arrived, mid-blink. One hundred and fifty pounds of solid tungsten. Nothing could stop such a force. And yet...



The will of the demon lord was more terrific than any mortal edifice or bulwark. His very existence was an affront to reality. What hope hath the machinations of man against such a foe, whose insensate hide turns the point of swords, no matter how fast their wielder? And thus Kahd'Xel wrought destruction worthy of any Prince of Hell, and upon them were written the words, stamped in serial -


Janus, Inc. SuperHEV Incendiary APFSDS  B:000183.


The walls of Aspyn buckled under Commager's feet throughout the entire section, and collapsed. A mist of metal and stone traveling faster than understanding flensed apart man and demon alike, and turned solid matter into vapor and slag. The confounding report of their impact, followed by the sound of them being fired a second later, rippled the ground and liquified the organs inside the body. Fire broke out on things that were not flammable. Lives ended before they had finished closing their eyes in fright. It was nothing less than a total atrocity.

But even an atrocity can have purpose, because one dart had found its mark, stubbornly clawing its way through improbability. The fiend's bellow of pain mingled with the aftershocks of destruction, and its acid blood fountained into the air, corrupting and melting as it went, pouring from a ragged hole the size of a man through the upper lateral and part of the neck where the tungsten penetrator had vaporized and cavitated on impact. Captain Gentzel stared at the gaping wound in breathless, disbelieving awe, and with him, his female crew in silent horror.

His words came dryly, struggling to swallow. "Pre... Prepare a second volley."

 

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Some battles are fought between singular men; some, singular armies within a bowled arena; but the majority of the very most realistic battles are fought in the hearts and minds of the soldiers and the very citizens behind them. These majority battles are widespread, panicked, and shrouded in both visual and moral haze (And not the Odin kind!). Without ever averting his gaze, the schematics of deaths deep within Aspyn informed Michael that this was its own special type of hell.

“Don’t talk about—"

‘Sir! Foreign vessel in friendly skies. Energy signatures mounting in its hull.’

Tori’s data lanced through Michael’s emotions like a scalpel through a boil. As he brought his hands forward, Tori visualized the building hum in the Banzai’s belly leading to a conceivable point where it would discharge, and the release of Michael’s energy came in correspondent prematurity. It wasn’t some vainglorious attempt at taking all the credit for stopping the rounds— he neither knew what dimension they would come in or that he could even do such a thing— but at the sheer fraction of a possibility that the two attacks could combine for double devastation on the arch-demon.

What this did was two things: 1) Kahd’Xel, with all his smoke and mirrors, would be pinned between the searing grill of Michael’s explaudere and one of the Banzai’s seven rounds. 2) The six rounds that had nearly whizzed past the dueling good and evil at ultrasonic speeds would instead be met with the 100-yard-diameter fan of indomitable white light that expanded from the Major. (It was his coup de grâce, the largest of his energy saved for the singular blow he planned to deliver all along; and this time, it pinned the arch-demon between its original assailant and the far-off Banzai.) Two rounds would raze the forest in each cardinal direction, destroying no shortage of wildlife and charring the outsides of the wall but leaving it intact. One of the two remaining arced upward, blazing up into the stars, leaving the last to plummet with due devastation into the wall behind Michael.

Two blasts, first the initial impact of Michael vs. Kahd and second the whoosh of air following the Banzai’s artillery, sent ripples across the hazed terrain. The sound of a thousand jet engines, the exploding heart of a tsunami blew soldiers and alien bugs back several steps just by being in the same vicinity. Amazingly, in their frantic bids for survival, each side raged on unsure where the bombardment had come from. It was likely that only later data would provide such insights to most of the forces.

The Xelken were visibly slowed by the impediment of their master’s signal as Kahd fell down to two of his four knees. An insectoid roar screed from his putrid maw as he half lunged, half fell forward toward the fatigued Michael. Michael needed only step back, back, and to the right to avoid the falling alien mass that had blasphemed his mother’s name. Some day, perhaps, Michael would learn that he was but a simple beggar child from the streets of Weland. But today was not the day, from this demon’s lips was not the way.

While Kahd’Xel flailed on the ground like a massive moth that had been stomped not quite hard enough, Michael stepped away to watch the psychic alien horror writhe. Meanwhile, water elementals encroached on Kahd with freeze spells and vials of de-animation potions that would slow his movements on a metaphysical level.

‘It seems like the Xelken were a Trojan horse for something else,’ Tori said, projecting images of the city’s inner damage to Michael as he backed away from the giant flailing moth with blood spewing from the gape in its neck, with charred flesh abounding on its chest and face that cracked disgustingly with its every convulsion to ooze green goo that sizzled when it sprayed and dripped on the ground.

“Are units responding?” He said, falling to one knee as he clutched one forearm with his other hand. The exhaustion from generating ventilation crystals for Kahd’s energy and generating such an attack as he had so quickly bore down on him with ultimate punishment.

‘Of course.’ Tori’s voice was a knowing flow of forgiveness against his pain.

Intricacies that would clear up much slower than the fog of this particular battle unfolded between the ultra hawks and HGA. It appeared that unnaturals felt they could trounce the very land that was created out of, created just for the purposes of fending off their first evil ventures.

Immediately upon the release of Unnatural and undead horrors from HGA, Terran soldiers in conjunction with Gaian clergymen closed in on the locale. There was no ‘even if they’re helping us’ or ‘well this unnatural might kill everyone in its vicinity but it also prevents Kahd-rona’ clause. There was only a ‘destroy all unnatural invaders’ clause. People of Gaia’s faith already having surrounded the HGA enclosure, the approaching cadre headed by the thrown ultra hawk would find the HGA monstrosities throttled down the singular roadway down which the ultra hawk was headed, with clergymen and women standing on the rooftops. From these vantage points scattered around the blocks, they shot down on the approaching Xelken and Unnaturals, picking off with intermediate effectiveness the alien horde with its infected legions and unexpected weapons. 

From the Rec Center outward there fountained a holy mist, ethereal lattices containing holy aura that scarred the beings affected by necromantic energy and helped immunize those on the field against the plagues of the Xelken. Within an hour, the entire city would be raining with the rapidly expanding and willed-forth energy all the way to from jungle to coast, and it would be clear that Aspyn was no easy target for Unnatural invaders.

Meanwhile, any alien creatures that could supposedly be running under non-necromantic magics were continually barraged with elemental (particularly ice and fire) attacks until they hit the ground. When they did hit the ground, virtually 65% of the citizen population knew enough geomancy to encase them in a tomb of stone or at least restrain them through geomancy until they could be addressed by ranking officials.

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Posted (edited)

Enshrined in her well-appointed Tactical Operation Center (TOC), the nerve center of HGA's operations in Aspyn, Caeceila Glasmann directs the defense of the HGA-occupied zone with the same ruthless efficiency she strives for in single combat and small unit engagements.  Silhouetted against the austere radiance shed by banks of tactical displays, servers, and monitors, she scans a holographic projection of Aspyn with gelid eyes.  Intricate solid models of structures and landscapes shift and rotate, the local frame careening through firefights and crashing, like a heavy tank, through walls as Caeceila processes sitreps summarizing troop dispositions and damage to critical infrastructure throughout Aspyn, tracks the trajectories of incoming and outgoing missiles, artillery shells, and their magical and biological equivalents, exploits the holo-display's gesture-control scheme to expeditiously edit and review audio recordings and visual footage captured by ground teams and dedicated surveillance equipment, and issues orders to subordinate tactical officers, communications officers, commanders, and engineers via the ruggedized transmitter integrated into her headwear.

Through the glut of coaxial cables protruding from her spine and skull and snaking through cable trays suspended overhead, Caeceila maintains a mind-machine interface with the facility's droid controller and Virtual Intelligence, Invidia.  Senior staffers, tasked with supporting leaders at and below squad-level, are outfitted with wireless headsets and interface with Invidia through blinking consoles arrayed in semi-circles surrounding Caeceila's dais.  Mobility and communication are vital to these staffers since Caeceila requires that they collaborate in small teams to predict and rapidly implement solutions to dynamic battlefield events.  This procedure grants HGA units a tactical edge while protecting command staff from the hazards involved in "leading from the front," provided communications are reliable and manpower is abundant.

While one might assume from her typical pugnacity that the dastardly heiress would froth at the mouth and savagely, if not bestially, bark orders at her underlings when under fire, she falls into her rage and acts not as an insensate beast but as a fell strategist who ignores codified rules of war for the sake of her soldiers and the glory of Hell's Gate.  This is no great departure from her baseline, and her people take some comfort in that revelation.  She belongs here, amid chaos and corpses.  Her mouth is set in a grim line and her voice drips with distilled hatred and supreme authority in equal measure as it carries across the chamber.  Articulate.  Logical.  Succinct.

At her bidding, Heavy Machine Gun Teams and Light and Medium Defense Teams setup in positions overlooking the South and Southeast approach to the Power Plant and Heavy Defense Teams stopper gaps in the Power Plant's walls.  They blanket the South and Southeast in overlapping fields of sustained fire.  Rather than line up shots and pick the undead off one-by-one, they pepper the approach with a high volume of energy beams and bullets, firing and reloading without more than a perfunctory attempt at aiming.  Such tactics - tactics revolving around massed fire - are as old as the matchlock and, while no longer in vogue, continue to be effective against the massed charge of creatures like the undead.

The remaining Artillery Units and Turrets lay down saturation fire to the North.  As with the Heavy Machine Gun Teams and the Perimeter Defense Teams, accuracy is not a priority.  Indiscriminate shelling of the area - stripped of cover weeks prior and rigged with explosive ordinance to boot - is a half-decent tactic, but the undead swarm is relentless.  Undead creatures violently explode into clouds of goo and gore and the Artillery Units follow shortly thereafter, 15-meter balls of fire and smoke igniting the night.  Blackened metal husks lie uselessly on the asphalt as horrors, jaws working as though masticating flesh, drag themselves past.

The doors to the Platform burst open and lines of violent purple energy streaming from Backup Turrets and grounded Aircraft fill the undead with smoldering holes.  They reach the hangar only to be pelted with scores of Silver Eyes, hovering, modular robots equipped with dinky welding lasers that don't pose much of a threat to any large Xelken except in large groups.  The Xelken push forward, crushing Silver Eyes and peeling open the metal birds to feast on the crews within.  They climb over the motionless body of their fallen, some pausing to spill Stitch Worms onto the ground as particle beams shear them open.  Torpedos scream toward the entrances.  The ground shudders as gravity wells envelop corpses, undead, men, and machines.

The Mage Corps and the Eldritch Assault Team reposition to compensate for the loss of the firebase.  Dashing through underground tunnels to reinforce the Platform and blockade the main route by which the Xelken, they are utterly dumbfounded when they encounter a 2-meter thick granite wall obstructing them.  Obeying their mistress, Camelia Sorina, blasphemous creatures hew at the wall with wicked talons and disintegrating rays.

Caeceila's private communications channel crackles to life.  Cammy delivers her report.  Color drains from Caeceila's face.  She grips the holo-display in front of her to steady herself.  Betrayal!  Her people are dying because the Terrans blocked their access tunnels!  All eyes are on Caeceila as she wheels around, grabs a Terrenus Military official by his throat, lifts him off of his feet, and slams him into a wall.

She broadcast the resultant exchange with the traitors on an open channel.

This is a nonviolent corralling meant only to protect Aspyn to the maximum extent possible!

No, this is a breach of contract!  You're killing my men because your death-worshiping superior hates unnaturals more than he loves his people!  You intolerant bastards!

No -

When I commit my people to the field, I do so knowing some of them will die.  Tomorrow, I'll have to look their children, spouses, and parents in the eye and tell them their father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter is gone and there's little anyone can or should do to bring them back.  If I can substitute something - a zombie - an abomination - a robot constructed for the express purpose of waging war - for a human life without impacting my ability to accomplish my mission, I'll do it in a heartbeat.  Why?

No one mourns a pack of zombies.

My people are paying the ultimate price for your intolerance, and before you try to justify sabotaging us, let me remind you and the whole damn world of your deeds.

You let Dredge rise to power.

You let the Enrele snatch our people.

You let widespread poverty shake the foundations of Hell's Gate.

You restricted individual liberties with your damned Safeguard Act.

And you're too afraid to act openly against those who hurt the people you've sworn to defend.

I quit, and so help me god, if you don't knock down those walls, I'll gut every last representative of the Terrenus Military I can lay my hands on and overload this goddamn reactor!

Edited by The Alexandrian

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Just like Dredge, Kahd’Xel was just another blowhard without the cajones to back up his big talk. Even as he writhed on the ground like a swatted moth, the baby Xels that were sustained only by the existence of Kahd’s plague grew weak without their master. Lasers razed and bullets blew holes, seared strips from enemies, and the plague subsided. Just like Lilith Reiter, the Terrans had defeated yet another plague. HGA would be left fighting a weakened horde of the aliens, able now to parse out that there was a separate undead thread lurking through Aspyn’s streets, this one more prevalent than the dying Xel but also fleeing.

Now, HGA would only be left to contend with Aspyn.

Even as Caeceila wheeled, horribly misjudging the ability of her vetted company, a knife hand cut in the way of hers imbued with some arcane geomancy as Officer Brix took two steps backward. Caecilla Glasman would either see what was happening and refrain from sullying the man in uniform or she would lose her offending hand.

“This is a nonviolent corralling meant only to protect Aspyn to the maximum extent possible!”

Heavy fire and artillery died down outside even as Caeceila lashed out in the bare light of her own mismappings. Without anything violent done to HGA despite their utterly incapable and conflictual means of occupying Aspyn, the Terran military would instead see and follow this up as a coup attempt by an inappropriately disgruntled third party. The woman and the officer glared at one another as the Terrans gathered in on one another and began walking from the enclosure.

“You may take your leave, House Glasman,” he said on the way out, giving every appearance of having ignored everything she said. “I know where to find you. We’ll be in touch.”

As the unnatural threat fled into the woods, as the flaccid House Glasman retreated home, as Kahd’Xel withered on the ground before Michael, as the sun set, a cold calm began washing over Aspyn.

Breath hissed out from between Michael’s lips as he lifted burnt fingers to his lips clasping a cigarette. He had backed far enough away that the massive thrashing limbs of the alien heretic couldn’t reach him. As it suffocated in its own spewing blood, as its insectoid eyes rolled this way and that in its dying attempts to focus on half the reason it now died sizzling, Michael finally made his approach. The limbs could barely move, slopping this way and that from time to time, so it was no trouble making his way to the head.

Kahd’Xel’s last sight would be Michael Commager, Son of Gaia, flick a cigarette butt in his face before lifting his boot. His thick tread closed in and splat! Pop went the weasel.

“Guess that’s it, huh sir?” said Barrett as he came to stand beside Michael. “What will we do about House Glasman?” 

“I don’t know,” said Mike, finally huffing out the cloud of nicotine. “Sounds like she’s got some problems. Wish she would have given us a chance to talk. One thing’s for certain, though. I would rather they hadn’t come than helped us like that.”

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Canon Summary
Kahd’Xel, an arch-demon thousands of years old, holds a grudge against Gaia for making him a pariah in the early days of his existence. Without realizing that Gaia cannot be embodied but that she is an idea, Kahd summons a horde of aliens and demons and plagues called the Xelken. Trekking along the northern border between Empire and the Shawnee Glacier, Kahd gathered a force of 30,000+ Xelken and made a hovel called Groff Basin for them.

From Groff, Kahd launched an assault team that was meant to catch Aspyn unawares and destroy the home of many refugees from the misfortunes that years ago assailed many of the old Terran Cities- but Terrenus was ready.

With a force composed of the Terran military, the Gaian clergy, and HGA, the protagonists were able to defeat the Xelken with relative ease.

Kahd’Xel and the Xelken were not the only threats, however. Two vigilante groups with little-to-no care for civilian life over defending their own, HGA and the denizens of a mysterious ship not yet known as the Banzai, were identified during the conflict and will be followed up on.

Opportunities

  • Help rebuild Aspyn, add a new location, add attributes to the military base in Aspyn.
  • Follow up on reports of HGA assaults on Aspyn citizenry and Terran military. [can be done by anybody]
  • Follow up on the strange ship in the sky that destroyed more of the Aspyn wall than Kahd’Xel. (the Banzai) [can be done by anybody]
  • Track fleeing monstrosities back to Groff Basin and provide intel on it.

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Stormbreaker


The Xelken faded into nothing  but ash as her flames melted the bugs into nothingness. She had done her job well even if she was just a speck in the sky. All that was left was the fog, and as she turned to the fog in front of her. She quickly swiped through her heads up display activating thermals, allowing her to see through a greater field of vision. As she pondered what to do next, she suddenly heard the convo on the public channel Cae was broadcasting on. She grew angry at the situation at hand. 

She had failed. She was going to lose something that meant to so much to her again. After all that damn time, her sibling was gonna lose her troops due to that death worshipping bastard. No, not on her watch. As she sighed, only with anger in her eyes, she quickly connected to an encrypted House Glasmann channel.

"This is Storm, I heard you loud and clear. Coming to you now."

She thought back to that moment all those years ago, the one where she told Cae what type of person she was going to be. It reminded her of the moment she was playing around with action figures and so forth, showing Cae was she was wanting to be some sort of superhero. That one line she said came back to her at that moment.

Look at me Cae, I'm going to be the hero named Stormbreaker! I'm going to save everybody! A hero would give their life to save the world if need be, that's the type of hero I want to be!

Stormbreaker was lost at that moment, conflicted by that moment. Was it her duty to save others or was it Gaia's duty?

A true hero, huh...I'd forgotten what it means to be a hero. The definition of that had become lost over years or twisted. Do the people want somebody to save them from the darkness or willing to take the plunge into the darkness that's in everybody's minds?

She was going to save them. No matter the cost. As she flew towards the reactor through the dreaded poisonous smoke through the use of her induced thermal vision via her helmet, she made her way to the backdoor of the compound. She knew Cae was nearby, as she went to destroy the weak Xelken guarding it via her flames and did so, she was suddenly punched through the wall into the direct vicinity of where Cae was standing only for her to see Stormbreaker hit the wall and put a dent in it. Stormbreaker didn't seem injured, however, as she stood up, with relative ease. Luckily she had narrowly missed any personalle of her sister's and anything tech related. 

In front of her was a warrior insect horror that had punched Stormbreaker through the wall, in particular, it holding it's a spear in one hand. These horrors were no joke, they were enough to threaten Stormbreaker head-on. Not like that mattered.

Stormbreaker was mad now as she looked over at Cae in particular.
 
"Leave before it gets extra toasty in here! I'm about to burn this thing a crisp, might not be a good idea to stay here in that case. My fire is no joke." She said to her sister before turning her attention to the enemy in front of her. Stormbreaker went to activate 20% of her strength however and went to go punch it, only for her attack to not leave a dent in it's thick armor. 

"It did nothing?

She realized her strength might not help her here at that moment, as she went to go counterattack in that moment, she was suddenly stabbed in the shoulder with a spear that went straight through her thick scales and nanoplated armor. The horror pulled the spear out but now there was a bloody wound on her shoulder. She wasn't fast enough to even dodge that using her reflexes. Let alone damage it. This was a real crappy situation.

Edited by Metty
colors!

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