“Aaah, my old friend Apollo. It has been a while. We meet again so far away from home... alongside two other of my master's enemies. A most fortunate meeting, for me!”
- - Mar-Júun
Peace and prosperity reign amongst the members of the Mou'Cyran Accords, prompting discussions between members of the intergalactic community that may not have been possible in years past. Travelling to the capital of the Republic of Cirith Beleg in the Andromeda Galaxy, Proconsul Apollo awaits a meeting with Lord Councillor Tyraz Breek of the Brood of War and his wife, Iovera IX of The Divinarium to discuss joint-military operations. However, sinister eyes prepare to strike against the three leaders, with Apollo himself being the prey of an old enemy...
On board his personal starship, Apollo touched down on the surface of the homeworld of the Republic of Cirith Beleg to attend an important meeting of the some of the Andromedan signitaries of the Mou'Cyran Accords. Apollo usually found such meetings rather tedious, but today he was excited to meet both Tyraz Breek and Iovera IX of the Brood of War and The Divinarium respectively, who he had not seen since the two rulers married one another. Entering the Senate Building of the Cirith Belegian Republic, Apollo was greeted by Praesator Theodyctor who directed the Cyrannian Proconsul to a lavish meeting room at the centre of the impressive building. Sitting down at a large table, Apollo and Theodyctor awaited the arrival of the Andromedan rulers.
It would not be a long wait, for soon enough the Lord Councillor of the Brood of War's administrative branch, the renowned and somewhat despised Tyraz Breek, made his presence known; stepping into the room from the opposite side, accompanied by several guides and staff that had been present to make his acquaintance upon the world, the man adorned in an almost-organic, blackened armour, wearing his iconic blade upon his back, made haste to take a seat at the table, passing an acknowledging nod in Apollo and Theodyctory's direction while maintaining a neutral expression upon his face. He had come without guards of his own as was to be expected, for he desired a comfortable experience - such could not be attained with the presence of militants and soldiers, in the warlord's eyes.
The brooding ruler of the Zazane was soon followed by his somewhat more positive-looking wife, the Clericarch of the Holy Empire of the Divinarium: Iovera Menoraim. As usual with Radeon dignitaries, she bypassed the usual ceremony that would normally accompany planetfall, instead appearing directly in the Senate building though a Divinarium quantum portal along a host of robed clerics, bureaucrats and scribe-drones that loyally followed her. Smiling as she saw Tyraz appear to her, she closed the distance between herself and the Lord Councillor, joining him as they both looked tentatively at the Proconsul of the New Cyrannian Republic
Apollo rose from the table, bowed his head and smiled expressively.
- Apollo: "Greetings, everyone. How are we all today?"
- Tyraz: "No better nor worse than the usual. For such days, one should be thankful. ... I can proudly declare without hesitation, however, that I have been eager to talk with you once more, Apollo."
- Iovera: "Devoted and striving for the cause of Masaari as always, of course!"
Iovera saluted Apollo with an artificial, porcelain smile on her face, followed by the equally artificial salutes of her followers.
- Iovera: "Dei'nar cyredrae'niim!"
- Cleric: Dei'nar cyredrae'niim!
Iovera sighed, somewhat tired of the usual ceremony and fabricated devotion that has invariably accompanied state meetings whenever the Divinarium was involved.
- Apollo: "Likewise, Lord Councillor, I'm sure that this meeting will be enjoyable for all involved. Though I'm afraid I neglected to activate my universal translator, my reverential Clericarch friend, so I'm quite unsure what you mean."
- Iovera: "It is... a declaration of faith and loyalty. ...Yes, I think that would be the best way to explain this."
- Cleric: "Ever loyal! Ever devoted! Our faith is like a shield!"
- Iovera: "Of course! - Iovera grumbled, her voice turning into a whisper - By Spode, how I wish these asinine sycophants wouldn't follow me all the time. Oh well, law is law..."
- Apollo: "How fabulous, but tell me, is it possible for the clerics to remain outside the conference hall? Perhaps the Praesator can organise a tour of the Temple of Spode in the city centre while we discuss the tedious politics."
- Theodyctor: "I would be happy to do so."
- Iovera: "Oh yes! That would be a wonderful ide- I mean, of course, yes, I will consider that. Yes."
- Cleric: "Your Holiness, our judgement is yours. Your will guides us. Lead, and we shall follow."
- Iovera: "Esteemed theosophians, I believe your wisdom would serve the cause of Masaari best in the local temple, as the Proconsul of the Republic has suggested. Leave the tedium of political discussions to me - tending to the flock of Cirith Beleg is a more important task indeed."
- Cleric: "Your words are true as always! We shall depart at once!"
The overzealous procession kowtowed in unison before Iovera, muttering a Masaari prayer in process, before leaving with the Praesator, once again in perfect concordance. The Clericarch watched as her retinue slowl walked away from the building, a smile of relief - this time completely truthful - on her now warmer face. Now somewhat more comfortable, Iovera sighed and turned to her husband and the Proconsul.
- Iovera: "Finally."
- Apollo: "Your welcome. So tell me, how is married life treating you both? How are the bundles of reptilian slash mammalian joy?"
- Iovera: "Kamavera and Naziri... yes. That's what we called them. They are growing up very fast - at least by our people's standards. Surely that is their father's influence in them."
- Tyraz: "With hope, they do not grow too swiftly. Childhood is an era appreciated so very few times, it would be best for them to experience it without the harshities of maturity gnawing at their shoulders - such as it was for most of us, I would assume."
- Iovera: "Darling, I love when you're poetic like that.
Iovera giggled in a way that was somewhat immature of her, almost childish.
- Iovera: "You're the best."
Iovera smiled and landed a small kiss on Tyraz's cheek, before regaining her more serious composure and turning her sight at Apollo again.
- Iovera: "Anyway... yes, I agree with Tyraz. Childhood is often not cherished enough."
- Apollo: "You two are quite an unusual coupling, I must say. But in an lovable sort of way. Anyway, shall we down to business?"
- Tyraz - Yes! Yes, we shall! ... Urgh, rather, I agree, there are matters of urgency that we are required to attend to. As pleasant as it is to catch up with one another, there are far more significant talks that need to be brought to attention.
- Apollo: "So, we are here to discuss the possibility of joint military-operations as well as a cultural interchange between our people. In addition, when Theodyctor returns with the clerics, I should discuss the possibility of unification with the Cyrannian Republic. But that can wait for later. First things firs-"
Before Apollo could complete his sentence, the room was rocked with explosions, causing the chandelier to collapse onto the table, narrowing missing Apollo as he fell to the ground. Panting, Theodyctor barged into the room with a panicked expression on his face. Tyraz sat himself up within his seat at the sight of the scrambling diplomat, an eyebrow brought to raise; it was not often he had been stricken with surprise, yet within such a docile climate as the office, he had evidently been taken off-guard.
- Theodyctor: "It's... the Corruptus!"
- Tyraz: "... I beg your pardon?"
A cackle was heard across the room as it was suddenly covered by a thick black smoke, tendril-like shadows growing across the walls and blotting out the light. Moments after, reddened eyes began manifesting in the shadows, moving erratically from left to right as they stalked the individuals inside the room like predators surrounding their prey. Wasting little time, Tyraz stood to attention, clasping a hand around the hilt of his blade while his seat was thrown backward to drop entirely onto the floor, a faint growl emanating from between the accursed Zazane's jaws as a scowl grew across the stretch of his scarred and aged face. Iovera's eyes flared, sparks of lightning crackling in the air around her as she felt the presence of a Dominion servant nearby. Still in shock, Apollo looked around for a means to defend himself before two defense pistols materialised in his hands.
- Apollo: "... I know that laugh."
- Voice: "Aaah, my old friend Apollo. It has been a while. We meet again so far away from home... alongside two other of my master's enemies. A most fortunate meeting, for me!"
- Tyraz: "Show yourself, vile intruder, and I may allow you to leave these premises with some remnant of life."
- Voice: "Oh, shut you, you manlet."
Behind Theodyctor, another figure manifested in the room. A tall Basileus with distinct armor and deformed-looking skin and horns adorning his head. Mar-Júun smirked as he grabbed the Praesator from behind and put one of his blades against his throat.
- Mar-Júun - "Hello again."
- Apollo: "Release him immediately, Mar-Júun! You can gain nothing from his death!"
- Tyraz - ... What treachery is this? Why is it that you appear before us now? What business is it that you have here, with Theodyctor and the rest of us?!
- Mar-Júun: "What do you think?"
Delivering a swift strike, Mar-Júun passed his blade through Theodyctor's throat. The slash was painless and clean, clearly professional, though it would not take long until the Andromedan Libertus felt blood pouring out of his scales and air escaping his lungs. Apollo retched and turned his head away from the horrorifying scene, while Tyraz stepped ahead and shoved Apollo to his side, remaining a foot ahead of him while facing the scene with narrowed eyes.
- Iovera: "One of yours delivering a painless death?
Iovera materialised an orb of elemental energy in her palm.
- Iovera: "That's... strange. Even of you. Do not think I would grant you the same honour, though."
- Mar-Júun: "Ooh, it was because I have no business with this guy. The death I'll inflict on Apollo? It'll make even Varugr sick."
- Apollo: "... Try and fail as you always have and always will!"
- Tyraz: Varugr... That name rings some semblance to me. It would not surprise me so if he had indeed come to attain rank within whatever obscure cult it is that follows those damned gods.
- Mar-Júun: "Cult. You mere idiot. I am a vanguard of Shu'wokerama! Now deliver me the Libertus and I may grant you a death as swift as the Praesator's!"
- Tyraz: You desire the Libertus? Then I shall make you take him from me.
Flexing the muscles of his tail, Tyraz launched the largest remaining piece of what had once been the table towards the Basileus, while shoving Apollo towards the direction of his wife simultaneously. With a swift reflex of the wrist, the blade upon his back was halfway from parting with the decorative red sheath that carried it. Before he could be hit, Mar-Júun's body vanished in a black mist. Simultaneously, the eyes in the shadows moved forward, revealing themselves to be Garvathae demons who immediately attacked Tyraz and Iovera with their bony blades. Regaining his composure, Apollo noticed Iovera and Tyraz under attack and rushed forward with his claws bared, knocking one of the demons to the ground with a swipe from his tail.
- Mar-Júun: "You'll not escape me again, Apollo! I'll destroy you and whoever tries to protect you! I've been mocked for the last time!"
- Tyraz: "You have not been mocked enough! Apollo, I would advise you to make your escape; the damned bastard is here for your life and it would be within our best interests to deny him of it."
- Apollo: "You'll get no arguments from me!"
- Iovera: "Quick, Proconsul, get behind us!" - Iovera raised her in a psychic stance, preparing to defend herself and Apollo against the demon - "I'll stall him!"
Fight to SafetyEdit
As Iovera and Apollo ran through the halls of the Cirith Belegian Senate Building, with Tyraz no doubt close behind, they were forced to step over the bodies of countless Cirith Belegians who had fallen to the hordes of the Corruptus. Outside the opulent walls of the Senate Building, they could hear the sounds of blood curdling screams and massive explosions, while the view of the city from the building's windows painted a bleak future for the planet, the sky of which had turned to a deep red.
- Apollo: "We must hurry, this isn't looking good."
- Iovera - "By Spode, this does not! I have not seen that much carnage since Borealis!"
Blade fully drawn, Tyraz maintained himself as the vanguard of the group, slicing down any demon that sought to make attempts at Apollo's rear with the fiery, alien blade clasped within his palms. Despite the impressive swordplay demonstrated by the otherworldly Zazane warlord, marks and scratches had appeared upon his formal robes and armour - not even Tyraz could evade the damage being dealt from the seemingly innumerable tide of outworldly fiends and beasts.
The trio could watch huge nightmarish beasts making their way through the streets near the Senate, immense Mari'verao demons crushing buildings with their fists while Val'dahr monsters covered the land in demonic, alien crystal. It appeared the Corruptus had sent a full-on invasion to the world rather than a mere assassination attempt by Mar-Júun. Civilians were cut down like animals by hordes of Malcaeum Knights while the Basileus assassin himself kept chasing after them, his cackles audible even though he was not visible.
- Apollo: "This is an innocent world, the Corruptus gain nothing from slaughtering its citizens!"
- Tyraz: "On the contrary, dear friend; I am afraid that the Corruptus gain satisfaction from such deeds. That is all the incentive such fiends require to undergo these massacres."
- Mar-Júun: "And the greatest satisfaction will be gained when I have Apollo's head!"
From the shadows around them, Mar-Júun manifested again, leaping at their direction with blades and fangs readied, like a shark jumping out of the water at their direction.
- Apollo: "Watch out!"
Apollo fired two bolts from his pistol, though they failed to cause any damage to the demonic warrior. Once more flexing his tail, Tyraz brought Apollo's feet out from underneath him, bringing him to the floor and out of the path of the leaping, diving assassin that had been aiming for his head and general upper bodily vicinities. The Zazane growled as he looked across the ruinous remains of what had once been the Cirith Belegian homeworld and he allowed his wings to extend from his back, as if to shield his rear as he turned to face Apollo and Iovera. With a snarl, Mar-Júun dug his daggers into Tyraz's wings, hitting the Zazane across the back with his talons in the process.
- Mar-Júun: "I'll deliver you to Kolossus in a box, Zazane!"
- Tyraz: "Urgh... G-Get moving!"
- Iovera - "Of course!
With a single flourish of her hand, Iovera created a wave of pressure behind Tyraz - not powerful enough to outright throw Mar-Júun way, but still able to slow him down. The Basileus growled as he stumbled backwards, allowing some distance between him and Tyraz before he began shaking his head to regain his composure.
- Apollo: "My ship is not far, we need to prevent him from following us!"
- Mar-Júun: "You will not escape me a fourth time! Your death will be a symbol of victory for all Basileus!"
- Apollo: "You are no longer Cyrannian, beast."
- Iovera: "Victory for all Basileus?""
Iovera turned to Mar-Juun, her eyes now glowing as if they were two miniature suns, a fearsome, yet placid expression on her face.
- Iovera: "Your people and your nation have rejected you long ago, creature, and the victory you seek has been denied to you the day you sought help from the oceans of Chaos!"
Iovera stared right into Mar-Juun's eyes, as if trying to draw his attention; the demon appeared irritated by her monoguing. In the meantime, however, Iovera made subtle psychic messages to Tyraz and Apollo, telling them to leave while she was speaking.
- Iovera:"Your victories, your powers, your life - all hollow! All empty! You desire death of others, but only because nothing in your life life belongs to you anymore. Want to prove otherwise! Do so! Do anything your master hasn't ordered you to do! You hear his voice now, don't you?"
- Mar-Júun: "Yes. I hear his voice. And it tells me to rip you apart, you annoying thing!"
Before Mar-Juun could finish the monologue of his own, however, Iovera attacked, firing a powerful bolt of lightning from her palms - electrocuting the demon with pure psychic energy. Although the Corruptus Vanguard was too powerful to truly die from such a paltry attack, the pain he felt was agonising - strong enough at least to make him flinch and stun him. Mar-Júun screamed out as electricity surged through his body, steam coming out of his body as he jittered in place, incapable of moving. He was vulnerable now.
- Iovera: "Years of studying rhetorics as a theosophian can help. The priests of the Divinarium are taught to incite enemies into vicious polemics so that their volatile temperaments would prove the error of their ways."
Iovera slowly relinquished the lightning bolts
- Iovera: "Get him now!"
Twisting and swivelling his body around to face the corrupted Basileus, as if he had grown ignorant of the deep wounds cut into his flesh and armour, Tyraz clasped the hilt of the Firesword in a single hand and made a swift approach to Mar-Juun, resting a clawed hand upon his shoulder as he brought both his and his opponent's torsos close together; swiftly following this embrace, Tyraz allowed the edge of the Firesword to embed itself upwards through the Basileus' chest cavity, gradually sliding the otherworldly blade up through Mar-Juun's torso until its sharp, burning tip protruded out of the space between his shoulder and neck.
- Tyraz: "Cease... and go!"
A pained howl came out of Mar-Júun as his body began dissolving on Tyraz's grasp, being reduced to a thick black sludge which evaporated away in a black fog. The assassin had been beat. Stepping backwards, Tyraz raised his arm and slid his Firesword back into the sheath that carried it, groaning as he felt the wounds upon his wings and spine slowly, agonizingly seal themselves together. Turning around once more and dusting away some remaining fog and sludge that had been caught upon his shoulder, the Zazane passed an irritated glance towards Apollo and his wife.
- Tyraz: "... Well? We do not have the entire day to ourselves; the ship is ahead and we must make haste!"
- Iovera - "And make haste we shall!"
The Sword of PeaceEdit
Just outside the now ruined Senate Building sat Apollo's personal shuttle, which was being protected against the Corruptus hordes by a duo of Miluiel protectors. Sprinting toward the shuttle from the doors of the Senate, Tyraz, Apollo and Iovera were still in the midst of fighting linguring demons and other foul beasts besieging the capital city. When they reached within ten metres of the shuttle, the Miluiel used their energies to create a large shield around the leaders as they entered the ship, which began to take off from the ground.
- Protector: "Proconsul, we have received word from the Sword of Peace, Captain Danakar has been killed in the space battle, though a Mou'Cyran Accords fleet made up of Republic, Cirith Belegian, Brood and Divinarium vessels have succeeded in securing the planet from orbit."
- Apollo: "Very well. Though I'm afraid the Praesator did not survive."
The Proconsul turned to Tyraz and Iovera, with a concerned expression on his face.
- Apollo: "You have my thanks, my friends. Without your aid, I would have surely been killed by that monster. Are either of you in need of medical attention? You've been through a lot."
- Tyraz: "Have my wife checked over, I shall be fine without aid. 'Tis only a scratch I have come to suffer; it could have been far worse."
- Iovera: "I am... alright. I think so. This... trip has been tiresome, that is for sure, but that is all. Speaking of which... where are my advisors?"
- Tyraz: "Do you really require an answer to such a question?"
- Apollo: "Their deaths are on my hands, Clericarch. If I did not recommend that they visit the Temple of Spode, they may well still be here."
- Iovera: "Would that be for better or worse, I am not particularly sure... nevertheless, I will ensure that the clerics recieve proper burial and cremation on Crepusculum's soil. Obstructive as they were, all are one in the Masaari, and all are equal in their service to Spode... even them."
- Tyraz: "I worry moreso for the ramifications that shall be brought by the demise of our dear Praesator as a result of the barbarism that has been commenced this day."
- Apollo: "Indeed, the people of this world did not deserve such a fate. It is fortunate that our fleets could prevent further destruction in this system, helped in no small part by your bravery against Mar-Júun."
- Iovera: "Alas, the universe is not kind to us. It never was."
- Mar-Júun - "Urk... Apollo!"
In a distance, away from the trio and beyond from where he could perhaps harm them, Mar-Júun could be seen once again. His chest bled heavily as a large gash was open in it, and he stumbled to walk as he glared at the Libertus.
- Mar-Júun - "H-how do you always escape me... I-I just don't get it... But there is one place you cannot hide from me... Your dreams! Your nightmares! I will forever haunt you to the last seconds of your life! And don't think the destruction of this world was the worst part, oh no... Cyrannus' nightmares are about to begin again! Me and my masters will not... be... denied..."
With this, the Basileus hissed as his body once again dissolved in sludge and evaporated away, too weakened to remain standing. Meanwhile, faintly perturbed, Tyraz glanced at the surrounding walls of the vessel for some moments before turning once more to face Apollo, a solemn frown upon his reptilian features.
- Tyraz: "If it serves a means of compensation for what has come to transpire, I would like to offer significant aid in leading ground forces during the cleanup operation alongside any Cyrannian, Divinarium, and Brood taskforces. I would also like to offer my men and a detachment of my ships to your aid should you require them for the future ahead."
- Iovera: "Our ships could cleanse the world if its former inhabitants agree with it. Though we can't bring the dead back to life, it would be some consolation for those who survived to have their dead's ashes rest in peace."
As the shuttle rose from the ground and into the sky, Apollo placed a hand on the shoulders of both Iovera and Tyraz.
- Apollo: "That is appreciated, my friends. Not even the Corruptus can destroy our resolve."
Iovera gazed at Apollo, a stern, yet somewhat concerned and depressed look at her face; it was evident that she was trying to console the peace-minded Libertus and comfort him after the attack. This time, the emotions on her face were truly her own, and there were no lies in her voice.
- Iovera: "It never will. Our united forces will stand like resolute even though the world around us may wither and die. Dei'Nar cyredrae'nii, Apollo. Remember these words."
The attack on the peaceful Republic of Cirith Beleg was a devastating invasion by all accounts, almost the entirety of the capital had been layed to waste by the invading Corruptus hordes, though the combined might of the Mou'Cyran Accords fleet in orbit managed to secure the planet while over the next several weeks, cleanup operations led by Tyraz Breek himself slowly but surely cleansed the planet, riding it of any linguring Corruptus presence. However, it soon became clear that the injuries inflicted on Cirith Beleg were terminal, resulting in the abandonment of the planet pending recolonisation and the eventual admitance of Cirith Belegian people into the New Republic, reuniting the far-flung tribe of Libertus for the first time in tens of thousands of years. Praesator Theodynak was remembered by Proconsul Apollo, Clericarch Iovera and Councilor Breek as a wise and strong leader whose death only strengthened the resolve of those who fight against the Corruptus. However, despite this victory, the forces of the Black Fog had another plan they looked forward to bringing about...
At the dark reaches of Orbispira, the Acolytes of the Mornûnendur discussed recent events which had recently hit the Empire with the recently awakened Lord Thaurlathrón. While Apollo, Tyraz and Iovera had their encounter with Mar-Júun at Andromeda, a new threat had risen at the borders of the Empire and the New Cyrannian Republic. Meketanor in specific appeared the most distressed, and due to his personality, this distress was translated into fury.
- Meketanor - "They are here again! Swarming! Multiplying! I have fought them, something none of you ever did, and I know of their powers! They must be erradicated!
- Thaurlathrón - "Enough, Marinox. I want to hear what the others have to say about these... most unpleasant turn of events."
- Venatorius: "It is an unacceptable violation of our galaxy. The demons know this. Cyrannus must remain pure of their filth."
- Thaurlathrón - "From what I learned, this is not the first time they have done this. During the previous conflict, I was informed they attacked the galaxy. Swarms of fiends devouring entire worlds. I will not stand for this."
- Moranonungur: "They were defeated before and they shall be defeated again. The Dark Lord will engulf them as a supernova would a star system."
- Thaurlathrón: "You, Phaedric Order, will be my sword and shield. You will use your full power to stop this insurrection, and so will the entire Empire. As a strategist, I understand the gravity of problems, and this is not to be taken lightly. This living planet must die."