As The Depression marches on, cynic and idealist alike watched as the realities they knew crumbled around them. As empires fell and communities were torn asunder, the Draconid Imperium stood as lone light in the darkening world.
At the centre of this lone light however, one man was determined to keep it burning, even if it meant snuffing out more life in the process. The war to save the Draconid Imperium took it's toll on all fronts. Demons, rebels, Dominion soldiers, pirates, the growing cunicism among Imperial courts led some to believe that only the Imeprium could be saved. And that every measure should be taken to assure its survival.
Not all were happy however and through the years, many colonies sought to break away from the Imperium's increasingly draconian grip on what remained of its empire.
- 1 Fall of Bastalia Prime
- 2 Challenging Divinity
- 3 Love And Wrath
- 4 Old Acquaintances
- 5 It's All In Your Head
Fall of Bastalia Prime
Bastalia Prime was once a prime agrarian world on the outer rim of the Imperium. With the coming of the Depression, the Bastalia System stayed loyal until several of its governors noticed an increasing level of corruption within the Grand Senate. Oficially breaking off in 2830 alongisde thirty other systems, they used the vast wealth they had available to amass a military to hold back the eventual tide that would come once the Senate learned of their secession.
In 2872, the Imperium brought the resources it could to assault the newly-founded Bastalian Republic. Encountering a highly-militariesed cluster the war raged for a full decade, with the Republic being slowly etched away with every passing decade until 2883. As the Imperial Talon Navy pushed into the Bastalia system, word spread a new shi phad arrived at the head of the invasion fleet - the TNSS Dominax.
Part 1 - The Price For Revolution
As the ensuing battle raged over Bassirus, one shuttle convoy approached the planet under flak fire. Daring the city's guns, a strike team descended towards one of the city's main squares. Fire from the above warships had withered the city's defensive shield until it was weak enough for the craft to pass through. As flak fire picked off the dropships, one slipped through until it was a few hundred metres from the city streets. A cannon shot tore into the hull, blowing a large hole. As the craft careered off-course, a strange object fell out of the whole. A black mass that headed for the street.
Slamming into the ground, the object created a shockwave of rock and tarmac, creating a crater some one hundred metres across and blowing apart any building caught within the blast radius. Soldiers who had gathered in the streets were thrown back, bunkers were stripped by the shockwave and any cars caught in the blast, either abandoned in the attack or disembarked from by soldiers were thrown into the air.
A few soldiers of Drallivian and Terratrix descent wearily approached the crater, peering over they saw a large Draconis crouched low in the centre of the crater. Under large wings was a dark read cloak draped over his back His armour black and spiked and by his side a sheath of twisted faces holding a rust-red handle. Looking upon his twisted obsidian armour they all gasped. Spluttering as though they had each swallowed a large mass. The terraatrix went pale and their feathers shivered, looknig upon the strange survivor as though he was a living nightmare.
For them. He was...
Peering up at the soldiers, the warriors' eyes burned a fierce yellow as he stared into their souls. With hesitation, thesoldiers panicked and fired shot and plasma at the figure. They watched helpelessly as any shots to his exposed head imprinted without any effect, or bounced off his armour, causing a dark red shimmer despite the presence of clouds.
Terratrx soldier - Keep firing keep firing!
In the blink of an eye, the figure went from crouched in the crater to standing over the Terratrix. His burning eyes stared throgh his visorless helmet and into his soul. Looking up, the helmet's UI attmepted to alter the image ot become less frightening but despite the visor's computer masking the burning eyes and altering the look of the armour to be less frightening the Terratrix felt as terrified as ever as the Draconis loomed tall enough that the Terratrix could have a partner stand on his shoulders and only meet the monster at eye-level. before he could speak, a massive clawed hand wrapped itself around the soldier's head, he could no longer feel the ground as his feet dangled in the air. His cohorts drew combat knives to face down this monster but all three were impaled from behind by large burning blades that suddenly jutted out of their stomachs. THe Terratrix tried to pry the warriors' fingers from his face but with a lw demonic growl the warrior tightened its grip.
"Warning, compressive pressures beyond reccomended limits" the helmet's AI would have blurted out. But it could barely say "war" before such a force crushed what it was holding into a jagged mess of plastic, bone, brains and ceramics with an echoing crunch. The screeching sound of shattered ceramics and broken bone rang out through the streets, drwoning out the soldier's final cries. The warrior let go to reveal the head had been crushed to half its size. The body collapsed like a sack to the floor as the warrior walked over it, not carring that his foot crushed waht remained as he took a step forward. The ones responsible for killing the soldier's cohorts, several hulking Draconis clad in gold and black armour, looked towards the city's central square. As one walked beside him, the warrior peered over to him with a nindifferent look. His mind drawn to the bloodbath ahead.
Dragon - Master Uriel. Landing zone secure.
Uriel - Good. Inform the reinforcements, judgement has come for these rebels.
Dragon - Yes my lord.
Uriel's voice boomed as he spoke. A dark baritone that sounded as though there were three of him speaking at once. He stood a full head tallker than his bodyguards as they noticed there were soldiers on their way. The group made haste and ran for the city square.
As the group looked ahead they noticed more soldiers approaching along with two Dragon battle tanks trundling down the promenade, aiming their twin barrels at the demonic group of warriors. SOldiers of all shapes and sized primed their rifles and quickly set up forcefield barricades to fire from behind. Uriel laked his muscles and lifted his foot int othe air, thrusting it downwards and slamming into the ground. As his foot imprinted into the tarmac, a fan of large cracks rushed outward from his boot, rushing underneath the barricades quickly followed by jets of fire that burst forth form the seams, incinerating everyone. The dragons leapt at the tanks, cutting into the mwith their baldes and tearing them open with their hands as if they were made of tissue paper and incinerating the occupants inside. The brief battle echoed with the horrored screams of the victism which rang out in the streets. As Uriel walked, he left burning fotosteps in the street, he merely strode past the barricades, the emitters of which melted in his very presence.
Drakon's WIngs Burn High
Uriel paced up and ran towards the city square. Republic soldiers did their best to sto phim, barrciading him and surrounding him i nthe central plasa after he clawed his way through tanks and legions of soldiers. Uriel looked about and growled. Looking up he noticed a draconis statue dominating the square. It stood on two legs, quite humannoid in shape with two impressive wings opened outward. The words "Our Lifefather protect us and guide us" caused his eyes to burn with a hellish flame. Within full view of everyone Uriel lifted out his arms and began to levitate upwards. The sight prompted everyone in the square to fire their weapons at him, delivering everything they had to destroy the invader. Uriel merely flotaed there, letting bullet, plasma and laser fire get soaked up by his phenomenal physique. Soldiers with coil and palsma fired in alternating patterns to keep the pressure on. But every shot, every beam every stain of plasma merely scratched his armour and body. Wrapping his wings around his body, Uriel plummeted down, creating another shockwave that disoriented everyone except for Uriel and his dragons. Clenching his fists against his chest, skewers of steel and rock burst fro mthe ground under the statue, the metal climbed up the inside of the statue, splitting it apart with one skewer erupting out of the statue's throat. As it climbed up, Uriel levitated once agaain, this time, no one dared fire.
Bringing his arms up, the skewers heated up and began to glow red, melting the gold and deofrming the statue. Uriel flew towards the head, black energy leaking from his arm as he obliterated the statue's head and landed on the base of the neck, opeing his wings out to a span more mighty than any Draconis before him. he looked down at the soldiers that aimed their weapons at him and growled aggressively, seeing them as the insects they looked liek to him from his height. At the top of his booming voice he announced himself. Everyoen stood in shock at the blasphemy Uriel had just committed, many stood with their jaws wide open in horror.
"Open your eyes! Drakon is gone, he has abandoned us all! If he realyl cared so much about us why would he leave us all to doe in this hell? He is gone. He cannot save you. I can! If you will not let me save you then I will have little choice but to either show you the truth or wipe you here and now as a mercy. Andromeda is dying but I can save it. You can either submit, or fall. I do not care which."
Uriel looked down at the crowd of soldiers, glaring at each one expecting a response. While some lowered their guns, one soldier walked towards the statue. The look on his face suggested he had no plans for submitting like some desperate peasant tired of war. For this, he was either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Perhaps both. The lone Drallivian stood at the base of the statue and threw his gun down. The soldier quietly trembled as two Blood Angels approached him, gripping the weapons in their sheaths as they surrounded his flank. With Uriel looikng down on him and his bodyguards blocking his retreat from his potentially-suicidal move. He gulped as Uriel gave a piercing glare towards him, as if asking for a reply without saying a word.
Soldier - You ask us to turn away from Drakon. To ignore the guidance he has given us while you storm our homes and burn everything we hold dear to the ground. Why should we submit ourselves to you for that.
Uriel - Because I can save you in a way Drakon cannot.
Soldier - Bullshit! You are just as barbaric as everyone else! You're as bad as every demon or conqueror who has tried to dismantle our Republ--
The soldier was interrupted when one of the Angels grabbed his shoulder and squeezed it tightly, cracking the ceramic plating before throwing him backwards and into an open area of the plaza. Uriel jumped down from his perch and landed at the base of the statue. He drew a wicked sword from its sheath and as he did, black energies enveloped the blade's edge. As he approached the soldier realised what kind of mess he was in and scrabbled backwards only to bump into the leg of one of the Blood Angels. he looked up to see the beast look down at him through its visorless golded helmet. He jerked his had back to look at Uriel who now loomed over him like the giant he was. A towering monster of a Draconis in black demonic armour and foul energy.
The drallivian's heart raced as Urie llifted the twisted sword over his chest. As Uriel growled, the overcast sky changed from grey to a bloodied red. The drallivian's last few moments were cut short as the twisted blade drove itself into his chest and through to the ground, blood pouring from the empty wound like a fountain. The soldier squirmed as his blood boiled he began coughing, spluttering blood into his helmet. Uriel twisted, further destroying his body. He let out a gargled scream in pain as his body underwent an agony hardly felt by mortals before eventually falling silent. The army gathered in the square watched in horror
Uriel - Subdue them all. Eliminate any who resist.
The Blood Angels nodded and dispersed among the soldiers, those who fired back were slaughtered mercilessly while Uriel took several strides on his way to the capitol building at the end of the promenade. As he marched, the sky cracked with lightning. He looked up and smiled as two AO-8 dropships flew overhead towards the nearby rooftops. Uriel smiled as he sensed what the dropships contained; something dark and sinsiter lurked within each of them and a sense of familiarity washed over him.
Uriel - A few more minutes, and we shall hunt together.
Bring The Hounds
As Uriel walked down the promenade he was caught off-guard as stray building toppled over. The impact with the ground created a shockwave around it, blocking the promenade. As the building was about to hit the ground, Uriel leaped up into the air and opening his wings he soared over the collapsing building as it hit the ground, kicking up several tonnes of dust and debris. Uriel flew over the debris and landed softly on the ground, one foot touching the floor and then the other, his enormous wingspan still open as he landed. Before him soldiers were moving. The collapsed building was merely a distration as planetary defence forces had gathered an armoured column to stop him. Uriel turnedh is gaze to each tank as they pointed their twin barrels towards him. More soldiers arrived, priming their rifles.
Uriel looked up and standing on rooftops either side of the street he saw two enormous Krann-like sihllouettes. He lifted his free arm and pointed hit forward, his sword pointing to his side and with a twitch of his fingers beckoned at the soldiers. Behind theri visors, everal soldiers smirked, others hesitent. They released a full barrage against Uriel's ody, weathering his shieelds and armour. He merely stood as the guns pounded, stripping him. However that twtich was a signal. As guns fired the two sihlouettes leaped from the buildings and each oen landed on a tank, their enormous forms crushing the vehicles flat, crumpling them like a weighted ball dropped on such an identical shape made of tin foil. The force blew parts of these tanks outwards, the velocity was staggering as each Krann ahd dropped at least thirty stories. The shockwaves blew soldiers back and knocked other tansk on their sides. Due to the flanking nature of the ambush, soldiers caught flying into the intersection of both shockwwaves felt theri bodies crushed and bloodied by the sheer force As though they had each been thrown at an invisible wall at wind-rushing speeds. Only gore and fragmented armour remianed from such impacts.
Leaping off the tanks, the monsterous Kann, both taller to the shoulder then than the planet's Drallivian soldiers. Scales black as cahrcoal and eyes burning like pairs of shining red dwarf stars. Their blackened hides were contrasted by the pale, brutal, jagged teeth that lined the interior of their mouths. Their hissing echoed in the city streets and created a bone-chilling sound no one had heard of in their entire lives. The lines broke, soldiers panicked as the two demonic Krann pounced though their lines, crushing them under their feet or devouring them in torso-removing bites. Uriel watched the carnage and merely let out a bellowing demonic laughter as it took mere seconds to turn an organised batallion into a panicked mass of mutilated soldiers. As other tansk fired on the krann, the pairdodged and ued their massive, razor-sharp claws to cut into tank armour like knives through cloth. Opening holes i nthe tanks the Krann pulled the tanks further apart, displaying strength unseen in such creatures and tearing apart their crews. The hot breatths from their maws slowly cooked those tank crews who had not been torn to pieces by the monsterous creatures.
Eventually there wre none left. The Krann tore the aks further apart, looking for survivors. uriel made his approach, taking proud strides towards the carnage, his cloak flowing in the ash-littered wind. As he approached the two Krann they diverted themselves to look at him, they both paced up to him, their feet heavy enough to leave heavy imprints in the road. As they closed in Uriel lifted his hand to the snout of one of them, the Krann tilted its head upwards as it almsot matched Uriel in height. Uriel brushed his palm on the far cheek of one while nuzzling the other as it approached. Holding his sword by his side, asoft smile creeping along his face. His eyes closed themselves as he appered to enter a feeling of bliss. The Krann he nuzzled rubbed its snout back and as he lifted his hand away from the other one he left his gauntlet dangling in front of its snout, letting the Krann lap at it playfully with a blood red tongue.
Uriel - Sorlim, Gerium, I missed you both, yes...But now we are together again. Shall we finish waht I started?
The two Krann nodded and paced around Uriel to position themselves by his side. The streets ahead were clear and vutting through the ruined building behidn him were his Blood Angels. Uriel turned around and looked sternly at the soldiers.
Angel - Our task is done, Most of them preferred death over subdual, master Uriel - A pity. I want you to take your angels and keep the soldirs ahead occupied, the Krann and I will head for the capitol. We shall meet up at the ground floor where you willhave your men secure it. Understood? Angel - yes my lord
With brisk nods, the Blood Angels bounded past Uriel, Sorlim and Gerium. They spread their wings, flew high, bounded off of remaining buildings and broken remains. All of it at a blinding pace. Uriel merely watched for a few moment before he waved his hand and paced forward gracefully, that pace becoming a jog, then a run, then a sprint, the krann following him and keeping time. No matter how fast Uriel moved, the Krann kept up.
Seat of the People
The armies the Republic had sent had done nothing to halt Uriel's advance, those that flanked him were set upon by the monsters that guarded his sides, crushing and devouring anyone who attempted to stop them.
The Bastalian government had predicted tht one day the Imperium would come for them, however what they did not expect was that Uriel himself would be on the ground and had built the capitol ot ersist orbital bombardment. As Uriel approached the capitol he was met with a field of energy surrounding the capitol like a dome. He watched as the air appeared to coalesce and flow ever so gently as though he were looking upon the surface of a lake. But there was no reflection, as he pressed his hand on the barrier, his movements created ripples on the surface. He clenched his fist and punched the barrier, sending a large ripple across it but his fist merely bounced off.
Uriel grunted. Grasping his sword tightly he lifted it and held the grip with both hands tightly. Plunging the sword against the shield he deformed it inwards, he continued pushing harder until a liquid-like ripping sound was heard, his sword now poking through. He used all his stength and cut downwards, ducking into the hole as it closed but before the seam could close at the ground Uriel slammed his hand against the floor, sending a formation of rock outwards and creating a makeshift arch that he forced upwards and ouwards, pushing to allow for a larger hole in the barrier. As he did his companions pushed their way through but something vaught Uriel's attention. Behiind him a squad of soldiers had gathered, as they shouted he merely stood up, his form rising up over them and slowly turned around twisting his blade in his hand before without warning swung it in an upwards horizontal arc.
A razor-sharp field of black energy mainfested and extended form the blade, cutting into the soldiers and bisecting them as the entire teeam - who had surorunded Uriel in a semicircle - bould abrely move. merely looking at Uriel's figure, his obsidian armour and his ruby-red eyes paralysed them with fear. But Uriel was not done, aa fraction of a secodn after the first swing he swung in the other direction, another twist and he slashed downwards a final time. Veins had ruptured and flesh had charred as the entire squad collapsed in unison. In a few effortless strikes Uriel had diced them all but as he looked to the capitol more soldiers came. With Sorlim and Gerium through, Uriel paced towards the oncoming squad as the fired, the three of the mbullrushed the republic soldiers. Uriel's won momentum hand floored two and a swing of his blade divided a third in two. As the two he floored clamoured up Uriel made for another swing, cutting them off at the legs, causing them to scream in agony as he sliced their falling torsos in half.
Armour, energy shielding, servos, synthetic muscle, it was all usesless in the presence of the demonic warblade. A brutal weapon that must have been some three-and-a-half metres long. Edged into the blackened steel were Minosian Dracid marks, an ancient and dead language. As Uriel fought a faint glow came from the marks, barely noticeable in the ebony sheathe of energy Uriel had enveloped the blade in. He moved with grace, his feet moving in step without flaw. Uriel may have been a large man but his stepping was as elegant as any dancer. But this was no mere performance, Uriel was a practical man, his footing being mo more elegant than what was needed to remain balanced and efficient. An engineer's dance perhaps, an ancient technique to him. But one last soldier remained, as the panicked Solinkidor ran Uriel twirled his sword and tossed it at the soldier with imrpessive speed. The sword sailed like an out-of-controll buzzsaw, spinning in the air. There was a crunch, the soldier fell forward...and sideways in both directions. The sword had cut him from his right shoulder, diagnonalyl down his chest, through his left hip and the left half of his upper thigh. As three more soldiers approached they were cut up by the same blade, caught in a free blender blade that cut all of them down.
As Uriel called back the blade, having it flying back into his grip, he was hit in the right pec and was pushed back. A blue beam had coem racing out of the capitol and against his armour. Urie llooked down, the glossy obsidian shine was gone, the laser had burned to the base. Uriel growled savagely at this insolence. As a tank approached Uriel ran towards it and slammed his foot against the ground. A shockwave that lifted the tank into the air. Uriel hopped up with it and punched one side of the tank to make it spin. He could see the emiiter of the laser that had offended him. As the whirr of its recharge came Urie ldelivered two powerful feet ot the tank's side and sent the vehicle flying towards the emitter. The ensuing collision causinga catastrophic explosion that imprinted an enormous scar on the capitol. Uriel realised that in anticipation of this attack the Bastalians had built anti-material turbolasers into the walls of the capitol to fend off any invading armies. Any lesser being would have been reduced to ashes by the blast. Any vehicle would have been melted under such firepower, but Uriel was no lesser being. He was no mere man. To be a mere man was to be vunerable to death, injury or sickeness. To be a mere man meant that time itself was a posion. But Uriel was no mere man. No mere man could shift the earth as he could, no mere man - not even any old supersoldier - could shrug off what he endured in this one battle alone, no mere man could turn a tank into a rock to be thrown.
Uriel was beyond mundane, beyond mortal. It was this he used to consolidante his failing empire and why he was here today. He considered the Bastalians' rebellian an affront to him. An insult...even blasphemy. The bastalian republic was outright rejecting the divinity he now posessed, a power more formidable than any mortal construct was at his very command. The Bastalian Republic had predicted a frontal assault, they had predicted an army of epic-worthy proportions, they had predicted the Imeprium would rather destroy their capitol from orbit and wipe away all trace of their rebellious government. But they did not predict the arrival of the nigh-immortal figure striding into the building. They had mistakenly believed that their rebellion was beneath his gaze, a few planets going dark to the empire who still barely held more than a million stars in its name.
They were to be an example.
One Last Stand
Uriel and his Krann companions breached the front doors. Uriel relied only on his strength to tear the blast doors open, punching a hole in the thick alloy metal to gain a grip and then pulling the metal apart to make a hole. Such doors were designed ot withstand tank blasts, a magnetic lock that was designed to ersist even starship collisions. Uriel however merely tore the metal apart with ntohing but a few strins and grunts. As he tore the metal open he forced his wa inside and quickyl drew his sword, several slashes unleashed waves of fiery energy at the defenders who had quickly set up barricades and forcefields.
The barricades mreely melted as though a searing hot knife had just cut through a slab of butter. The forcefields took the strain of the slashes but were clearly weakened by the energy impacts. More soldiers were coming and Uriel was reunited with his Blood Angels. Armed with twisted rifles and shotguns, the angels lblasted though the lines. Just as Uriel's sword had been corrupted by his channeling energies, the Blood Angels fired blasts of descension-infused buckshot that cut through armour like razors. Uriel thrusted his foot at a pair of double-doors, kicking them wide open and bending the metal and walekd down a central corridor. Sorlim meanwhile bolted up a starway to the upper lvels of the building. Her massive weight cracking the marble and her tail making indentations in the wall as she swayed her balancing tail to collide with it. By merely travelling up the stairs she had left a path of destruction.
She prowled the upper hallways, her feet carefully plodding against a velvet carpet over a polished wood floor. Her bulk meant she could only just fit inside the corridor but that did not seem to matter much. Any soldier attempting to ambush her was quickly bitten in half, blood flying and, if she felt like it, swallowed the remains of some of the soldiers, burping up any armour or fabric she did not want. As she travelled, the disturbing mix of hissing and panting escaped ehr breath. Following up behind her were a pair of BLood Angels who, again, dwarfed the Republic's soldiers. They acted as backup to the Krann who sniffed the air as she crawled though the cramped yet elegant hallways.
Solim stopped outside of a wooden door and tilted ehr head towards it, hinting to the Angels something was inside it. The angels could feel them behind the door: Six guards, three politicians. They heard a mental whisper from Uriel as he stormed towards his destination: Only one specific politician was to survive. Nodding to each other, the Angels prepared themselves. KIcking dwon the door with impressive force they fired buckshot and plasma into the room, oe shot fro meach felled three soldiers with a scream. Sorlim leaped though the door, her tongue sagging out of her mouth and between her brutal teeth. She bounded straight for a politician behind a large desk. A drallivian dressed in a silver-trimmed blue silk suit. The man panicked, pulling a fusion pistol out from under his desk he fired several pulses at the rabid Krann. The mostrous creature flinch before its torso spontaniously split in half fro mthe sternum. The monster jumped over the desk and fell on the politician, a brief scream was heard from the man as hthe creature landed on him. In the chaos he dropped his pistol and the Krann lay on the ground as soldiers shot at her. That was before they themselves were either gunned down or decapitated by the Blood Angel entourage.
One of the other politicians ran for the door but as he reached its safety he was grabbed in the back of the collar by a huge armoured gauntlet and thrown backwards. A grotesque squelching snap was heard as the poor man hit a wall, all his bones breaking and his ribcage collapsing. His remins fell from where he hit the wall, leaving a bloodied fleshy sack of shattered bone and ruptured organs. The other politician in the room, a Terratrix female, felt the jagged stign of plasma gainst her back. She scremed in pain as the wound burned with a demonic pain. As she wrtihed screaming one of the Blood Angels stormed p to her, grasped the side of her head and *crack*, in a mere instant and without remorse, the Terratrix lay on her stomach, eyes open and laying with the right side of her head on the ground but tilted slightly up. The Dragon had broken her neck in but a mere seckond, twisting her head until the vertebrae shattered.
In the ensuing chaos, Sorlim had closed up her chest cavity, sealing the poor man inside her body before making a u-turn and bounding out the door. Retaliatory fire from panicked soldiers did not stop her as she bounded though the corridor and back down the stairs.
Angel - hancellor Rovestion secure, Master Uriel
Uriel - I have other businss before I return. Evacuate the Capitol now.
Angel - Yes Master Uriel
After talking to the angel. Uriel turned to look at a massive pair of wooden doors trimemd with steel. With a smirk he sheathed his sword and looked about the foyer. In the middle of the room was a golden statue depicting the Republic's foundation; a proud-looking Terratrix surrounded by smalelr aliens, in his arms was a Terratrix woman looking up at the man affectionately. Uriel huffed and looked towards the tpo of the statue.
Inside were a dozen senators and their guards, panicking. They knew Uriel was inside, they knew he could storm in at any minute. As they talked frantically, there was the sound of wood shattering and a clang. With panicked eyes the senators saw that a large golden Terratrix head, the neck partialyl melted, had launched itself though the doors. Looking at the shattered remains of the doors they all panicked as they saw Uriel, eyes burning red and blac kenergy seeping from his skin. With every stomping footstep uriel made, the flooring melted, they could almost hear the air sizzle around him as he drew a corrupted greatsword from his back. Everyone in the room panicked, senatoral guards aimed their weapons but before they could fire, Uriel threw arcs of lightning at eaach of them ,sending each oen rigid and collapsing after a series of spasmic jolts. As they all attempted to stand up, Uriel threw open his arms and the hearts of each one of the soldiers ruptured. Gargling screams could be heard fro meach soldier as they drowned in the blood that poured from their mouths and into theri helmets.
As the chaos settled, Uriel looked at each one of the senators who backed away. As some of them tried to climb up into the audience areas, Uriel lifted his foot and stomped the ground, sending a shockwave through the ground and followed with pillars of rock bursting through the seating a few levels up. One or two unfortunate senators were caught in the rising rock and were subsequently crushed while those caught in the shockwave fell over.
Senator - P-please your eminence...show mercy.
Uriel cocked his head with disgust towards the senator.
Uriel - Mercy? You expect emrcy after your predecessors so shamelessly defected from the Imperium thinking I wouldn't notice!?
Senator - We--we only wanted what was best for the people, your eminence.
Uriel - Silence!
With a roar from Uriel the babbling senator quickly shit his mouth as he began bleeding from the back of the head. Uriel's roar had sent him flying backwards into the audience stands where hehad hit his head on a wooden seat. He pressed his hand against the back of his head and moved the hand to look at the blood that stained it. Suddenly going pale from fright.
Uriel - I will give you all one last chance to renounce this rebellion. The Imperium requires all the decent and hardworking peopel it can get. I will not stand for insolence under my regime but I am willing to overlook this incident if you can do the same.
The senators looked at each other worriedly and talked frantically, discussing the situatio as Uriel folded his arms with an impatient look upon his face, his lips curling as he waited for their responce, genionely hoping they would see sense. After waht seemed liek ten minutes of waiting the senators turned around to loko at Uriel with solemn look upon their faces. Then, three of them ran over and got onto their knees as if begging, groveling at his feet. Uriel looke down and saw the fear in their eyes. The anger on his face fading before he looekd to the other ten senators who stood defiantly. With a wave of his hand, the three grovelign senators vanished in clouds of black energy while Uriel looked towards the defiant senators, looking deeply disappointed.
Senator - We-- We feel we would rather die than return as your servants.
Uriel - You are certain?
The senators nodded. Uriel appeared calm at first, exhaling with disappointment at the senators who stood rejectedly in his presence. His saddeneld looks turned to a frown as he clenched his fists slowly. Closing his eyes, the senators could barely see red light escaping from between his eyelids. It was faint but there...and getting brighter. Black energy leaekd fro mhis body but mroe than that the air began to sizzle around his from. With an inhalation of his chest, Uriel brought his firsts to his torso. red aura grew around him and there was a faint light coming otu of his mouth. The senators backed away as he gave off an intense red glow, his s cales shimmering but then things got worse. A smirk crept across his face, listening closely they could hear a mocking demonic chuckle escaping his closed lips.
Suddenly reaising the magnitude the senators ran for somewhere to hide. But where though? Uriel's barricade trapped them, his laughter becoming more ominous and clear. As they turned around uriel's eyes jolted open, there was s ugh a bright light shining from them they appeared as red dwarf stars socketed inside his skull. He looked at the group of panicking senators as he began hovering of the ground, slowly rising as if gravity no longer cared for pinning him down like everyone else. With a demonic inflection uriel gave his answer. One that would chill any innocent man to the bone, made more ominous in that light shined from inside his mouth.
Uriel - I gave you mercy...and you rejected it!
Before they could respond, Uriel threw his arms outwards. There wasa blinding flash isndie the room ,suddenly a shoakcwave, a blast that shattered rock and vapourised steel alike. Th shocckwave burst outwards, breacing the senate's domed roof and pushing back the walls, the shockwave blasted its way though the Capitol, incinerating anythoing caught in its blast. The resulting explosion was followed by cut-short screams, the shattering of rock and the creaking of metal.
In the city, some of the Blood Angels watched as a whitish and red light forced its way out of the capitol's roof, blasting the roof away with it and illuminatign the entire district. Debris was thrown for kilemtres, two of the drgons narrowly missed flying debris hitting them and watched with glee as the light faded and the dust settled, revealing the Capitol, for all the resistances built to save it from an orbital strike, had been left with nothing but a crater and foundations. The shockwave still rang through the ears of any wh oheard it. Looking down, the Angels saw that a few soldiers jsut outside the shield had collapsed, holdign the sides of their head.
As most of the larger debris hit the ground, it was folowed by smaller debris, some pieces small enough to fall like snow alongside a precipiation of ash. Bastalia Prime's government lay broken, its capitol obliterated, its greatest city in ruins. Knowing that their work was finally complete, the Angels, alongside the two Krann, vanished in puffs of black energy, leaving little trace of where they stood.
Not even a heartbeat.
The only sound that chancellor Rovestion could hear as he rested pressed inside the krann's body was the rummaging and the shifting of flesh as the creature moved. He knew not where he was or where he was going, he felt claustraphobic and disgusted; A man of his station reduced to being carried around in such a horrific manner.
Eventually the shifting stopped. The chancellor quickly came to learn that this mean the Krann was coming to a stop. Then, the creature began to move again, the movements less extreme this time but still he could feel them for a bit before they stopped again. He tried to move his head but to no effect, the pressure exerted by the creature's insides was simply too great, and not long after he felt the walls of his fleshy prison shift and coalesce, he felt himself turning inside the beast, turning completely around before he felt something squeezing underneath his feet; something was pushing him out. He saw a light but since his eyes had adjusted to the pitch black of his prison when he emerged he was blinded, he could see nothing as the feeling of flesh was replaced by te numb feeling of cold marble. He coughed and spluttered, coated in a layer of grease and fat, spluttering more, had he nearly suffocated? He could not think, he could not stand, numb from the cramped conditions and blinded by the sudden rush of light.
As his vision returned to him he saw gold, white, orange, a ceiling, perhaps a hundred metres above, he was not sure, everything was still blurry. What he did see was a blackened silhouette pass by him towards something in front of him. The creature that had swallowed him was going somewhere, leaving him on the cold floor. As his vision corrected itself he thought he could see several figures, one of which was surrounded by gold.
His vision eventually cleared and the figures gained more recogniseable shapes. There were two Draconis standing either side of a mass of gold and another sitting within it. As his vision returned more he saw what looked like a Krann resting at the central figure's feet - likely the beast that had brought him here. As he squinted, another, smaller shape sitting on the cetnral figure's lap could be made out, but this was not the Krann that swallowed him, it was smaller, less demonic but its eyes still marked it out; two red spots in the blurry light. As he stirred the ringing in his ears faded, what was muffling became clearer before eventually two words became roughtly clear enough to understand: "Stand up" he heard. He was still numb from his prison, he could feel the slime of the grese and fat he had been coated in but the voice spoke again, sharper this time as "stand up" was said once again.
The chancellor couldn't move at all, his legs were numb but he felt something grab the fabric of his suit from the back and lift him onto his knees. Finally when his vision was clear enough, he could hear. He saw Uriel sitting on a fanned golden throne marked with black detailing. Sitting on his lap a Draconis child, black scales and large enough to be fourteen years old. But he was not right, he was more muscular than any child that age and he acted not only like he was spoiled but also younger. His size belied his age, it seemed.
Uriel - Kneel.
Rovestion - Wh-what?
Tyrus - What's this daddy? Why is there a peasant in the throne room? Has he come to beg or grovel? I don't feel like being grovelled today, can you execute him now?"
THese were the foul words that escaped from the child's mouth. They were harsh and cold, as if he showed no real care towards the chancellor as a person or individual but more as an object or piece of a game. The child's eyes were illuminated with a crimson bloody red, unnatural of any Draconis of any kind and ethnicity. The same red eyes shared by Uriel and the other Draconis standing either side of his throne. The chancellor's eyes darted about as Uriel attended the boy on his lap. He saw banners of House Ultanos draped everywhere along with orange and blue silk hanging from arches and columns. The room was finely decorated, as though to exemplify that this was the home of the divine. Flanking the chamber were more Blood Angels who stood still as statues, watching eyelessly though their helmets. Looking down, the chancellor saw that even the patterns between black and white marble were divided by gold.
Uriel - Now Tyrus. Ths one is here under my request. He's the one we came all this way to see.
Rovestion eventually stood up, his legs quivering, still weak from his ordeal. From his figure he was a Drallivian with terracotta scales. his wings had been bruised after his time in the Krann, he looked at the group before him squinting his eyes and narrowing his features.
Uriel - Do you know wahy you are here?
Rovestion - Because you think I am a threat, a cancer to your empire! You did not approve of what my people did so you drag me to your feet to berate me before I die!
Suddenly, Rovestion's outburst was met with a violent and sudden descent towards the ground, aggressively slamming the whole of his face into the marble floor he was made to lay on. Slowly lifting his head from the now-bloodied marble was a Draconis figure wearing a purple, lavish dress adorned with plates of spiked, golden armour, most notable a crest-like breast plate. The Draconis that stood over him was indeed female, with a set of extensive fangs lining her teeth, giving the interior of her jaws an almost shark-like appearance.
Jenvimira - No shouting in the royal chambers, low-life.
Rovestion coughed hoarsely as he hit the ground, as though his windpipe was filled with nothing but gunk or phlegm, which it probably was given his experience. He coughed and spluttered as he lay on the ground, barely looking up at the Draconis woman out of intimidation.
Uriel - I am a man of mercy chancellor so I give you the chance to prove yourself. A second chance if you will.
Rovstion - What of my people, what have you done...to my republic!
Jenvimina - The real question is, cretin tongue, what haven't we done to your republic?
The woman whispered this into his ear with a hint of amusement in her voice, almost hissing as she pronounced her S's in an extensive manner to suit her rather serpentine and abberational appearance.
Tyrus - Cooked them, crushed them, the works. This is boring, can we have the Krann eat him? Can we?
Rosterion - I watched...As you Uriel. You carved a bloody path through the peoples' city. You set your...things on men and women who only wanted to live in peace. They didn't want this war. Y-you carved a bloody path just because we did not bow to you like the worms you see us as? No wonder the Republic's founder opted for rebellion.
Tyrus - This isn't a war! A war is too good for worms.
Tyrus said this as he bit into some form of snack; several layers of thick, crisped meat slathered with a greasy extract while sandwiched between two layers of fine, thin cut bread. He spoke with his mouth full, getting small chunks of meat, grease and spit upon the chancellor's face as he spoke in his sharp and harsh manner of style. Uriel looked down to Tyrus and bounced him on his knee.
Tyrus - You don't know what's good for you. Daddy gives you everything and you turn his back on him like the ungrateful Krann dung you are.
Uriel - Now Tyrus what have I told you about talking and eating?
Tyrus - Sorry daddy, I'll try not to.
Tyrus swallowed a large chunk of his snack in order to reply, without even bothering to chew more than once. Whiel the boy appeared bratty, he showed a measure of politeness to whom Tyrus quickly deduced was his father.
Uriel - The boy is correct though Chancellor. Do you know how much I have sacrificed to keep the Imperium together? Do you know what I have been though, the measures I took so that the Depression hit our peopel as little as possible?
Rovestion - Kranndung Uriel. You're a tyrant and just like all the other mosnters you use that infernal power of yours to grind normal people liek me into the dirt! You don't care about our welfore all you care about is retaining life in that carcass you call the Imperium. You thought no-one would notice?
Uriel's eyes glimmered a luminous red and straightened himself, a stern scowl collapsing across his face.
Uriel - Any man or woman will tell you that is a lie. Chancellor.
Rovestion - Don't feed me such crap Uriel! They're all being oppressed. Faced with your subliminal bullshit about survival and what of Drakon? What, did worshiping you become mandatory now? Are we "heathens" to be banished to infernal pits for not blindly praying you to give us salvation!
Tyrus - Did Drakon save you from daddy? Did Drakon save your people from daddy's soldiers, daddy's Krann? Did Drakon save your people?
Jenvimira - Father has done so much more than your imaginary friend has, Krann shit. Why worship somebody who does nothing for you, yet when somebody seeks your survival you treat them so ungratefully as you do now? You have no right to speak of logic and sense.
Rovestion - Drakon still cares I know it!
Uriel suddenly spoke with a demonic inflection in his voice as he opened his wings.
Uriel - Drakon did not save the Imperium. I Did!
Calming as quickly as he had erupted, Uriel let out a sharp exhale sat in a more relaxed position after his outburst and snarled. he moved his arm behind Tyrus's back and wrapped his hand to hold Tyrus's right side.
Uriel - They say you believed that with diplomacy we could reunite Andromeda, bring things back to the times during the Commonwealth's existence. I shall be merciful and give you an oppertunity: A chance to keep your life. I am known for being a just man and I will give you a chance to figth for your life. You have an option chancellor Rovestion: Either Jenvimira, Karmus or I. Or would you rather one of us step forward?
Rovestion - You're insane. What chance do I have against you abominations!
Karmus stepped forward. He was wearing an elegant military uniform that denoted him as a high ranking admiral. However hsi outfit was slightly different from what admirals wore centuries ago. Held snugly under his arm he held a gilded lord-admiral's hat and his uniform, far from waht the chancellor was familiar with, was decorated with a large amount of gold piping. The deep blue of his naval coat could amost blend with his deep soil-coloured scales.
Karmus - Uriel the sixteenth has made a declaration, scum. Either follow it through with gratutude or you die on the spot.
Rovestion - But...how am I supposed ot fare against monsters who singlehandedly destroyed my peoples' capital! I watched as Uriel used a tank as a projectile to destroy one of the capitol's turbolaser emitters. I watched from afar as he destroyed a statue to Drakon by shifting the very earth. How am I supposed to defend myself!
Uriel - My offer is made. I suggest you take it.
Rovestion - Fine...I choose for one of you to step forward.
Fight or Die
There was pause between the trio who exhanged looks while Tyrus continued gleefully chomping on his snack while on Uriel's lap. With a few nods, Jenvimira approached Rovestion, swaying her hips in a manner that some would think was almost seductive, although everything surrounding the woman was trickery. Instead of words of comfort, she possessed a mouth of knives and blades that itched for blood. Words did not roll off her flexible, curling tongue, instead it was used to hiss towards the man, a hydra in the body of a Draconis. She was young, but she was certainly tall for her age. Then again, with such lies in her appearance, her age could have been anything. Rovestion looked up at her. He was now able to stand up once again but as he looked at her intimidatign size he gulped. A Blood Angel approached carrying a sheathed longsword and thrusted it at Rovestion. he accepted it timidly, knowing full well that if Uriel was capable of causing so much damage, what could an abberation like her do?
Karmus - Play nice with the insect Jen. We both know how fragile they can be.
Rovestion - Screw you m-mutant.
Jenvimira - Focus on me, not on him. Look at me, look at my body. Analyze it, decide where you're going to cut.
Rovestion - B-but I'm a politician.
Jenvimira - I think it is truly adorable how they try to talk their way out of conflict and berate others for engaging in it. So cowardly, so reluctant. It's so sweet; I find it sickening.
Rovestion took a step back. As he did, Blood Angels approached and surrounded them in a half-ring. With another few providing a barrier to enclose the arena. There was an opening to provide Uriel and his spawn a clear view. A special spectator's booth. Rovestion looked about nervously and gripped the handle of the sword he was given. He tried to pull it out but in his haste he forgot about the clasp over the crossguard. After two tugs and wondering waht was happening he noticed it and unclipped it with a look of embarrassment on his face. Clearly ashamed at the fool he had made of himself as he drew the alloyed sword blade out and positioned it to point at Jenvimira, holding onto the grip with both hands and shaking slightly. Thoughts rushed though his mind: How will he survive? Does he have a cahnce? Would the sword od anything? Was this a trick? Was it a dream? The sword was unremarkable. SOlidly made, a good grip, but it was basic, it lacked the plsama fields of other Imperial swords and it felt like it had been hand-forged rather than balanced and machine-pressed. Perhaps a fiting weapon for a lowlife rebel.
Jenmivira watched as Rosterion gripped the blade, observing his shaky, shivering movements, a constant, unchanging smile upon her face that displayed both beauty and mutation. Her serpentine tongue crossed over her fang-like jaws as she approached closer, beginning to whisper without even so much as moving her lips. A possible mind trick? A result of paranoia or fear? Her whipsers raced and repated "Hit me. Hurt me. Kill me. Strike me. Defile me. Injure me. Love me. Hate me. Touch me. Hit me. Hurt me. Kill me. Strike me. Defile me. Injure me. Love me. Hate me..." over and over her words repeated. Kermus muttered mockingly to Uriel about Rovestion's chances
Karmus - This duel won't last long.
Rosterion shook further, the words getting to him. He sucked in his gut and made his first swing; a downward slash aimed for her shoulder. He took a couple of steps back, still pointing the blade at Jenvimira and his face showing an expression of shock.
Rovestion - Please...Do I have to do this? I'm a peacemaker, I never wanted to spill blood!
Jenvimira - Do you not wish to join Drakon in his burning, ruined garden alongside the rest of the wasted souls that make up the crap that lines his paths?
Rovestion - Why would the Lifefather punish me with such a nightmare?
Jenvimira - Such is the fate of all who worship Drakon, cretin. He cares not for you, he cares not for any of us. You strive to become the worthless, infertile soil beneath his bloodied, filthy toes?
Rovestion - Shut up that's not true!
Uriel - Tell em Rovestion how does it feel to try and engage diplomacy with an enemy that does not want to talk? How does it feel t otry communicating with someoen who is perfectly happy to spill your blood?
Rovestion - What does that have to do with anything?
Uriel - It is why I attacked your republic. Why I borought you here, to make you learn.
Jenvimira approached closer to Rovestion, licking her teeth as if admiring something about Rosterion. It was most probably the scent of his fear becoming stronger with each passing moment, or the smell of his disbelief and regret eminating off his body as he continued to lie to himself further, pretending to be oblivious to such circumstances.
Jenvimira - Attack me! ...Or embrace me.
Rosterion - I will not strike you!
Uriel - Diplomacy only works when both parties are willing to settle with talks. I unified the Imperium because there are powers out there who desire only our annihiliation. I wanted to save everything we had built!
Jenvimira spread her arms slowly, as if offering some form of hug or comforting gesture. She had a smile on her face, looking near-genuine if it hadn't been for the give-away that was her monstrous jaws, her blade-like nails and her alliegance and relationship to the demon Paragon. Her eyes locked onto Rovestion.
Jenvimira - If you shall not strike me, embrace me...
Rovestion - Y...you don't want to harm me?
Jenvimira - If you shall not strike me, embrace me.
Rovestion lowered his guard a little. He had lot everything to these creatures
Uriel - I care for my people Chancellor. I can be merciful as well as vengeful. You will be forgiven if you agree your predevessors' rebellion was a mistake.
Rovestion - N-no. The Imperium is a husk. A shell of it's former self. It needs to be improved and from waht I can see you're not doing that! Jenvimira...do you not se waht he is doing to the Imperium?
Jenmivira - Rosterion. Embrace.
Rovestion - No...No I won't!
Rovestion had had enough. On one side, Uriel was telling him diplocmay was pointless, on the other Jenvimira appeared more itnerested in drawing him in than hearing his plight. THere was no reasining with her, he could see it in her crimson eyes, her mosterous visage indicated. Lifting the sword over his head, Rovestion swung it downward to hack at Jenvimira, the simple but soldily-forged alloy blade descending towards her shoulder. Jenmivira merely watched as the blade made its descent. it cut into her shoulder but to Rovestion's shock, the serpent did not bleed. Despite managing to miss her golden armour, there was no blood to spill from the impact, nothing leaked from the wound aside from Jenvimira's own agitation and frustration. Rovestion was met with a growl as the woman's hand wrapped around the blade itself,. Pulling it from the wound, he felt an immense force pull at the blade as he watched her crumple the metal liek tin foil i nher hand, the screeching sound of bending metal did well to slay Rovestion's hopes. A swift tug as the gtip was out of his hands as she reduced the two metre long blade to a rough knot of metal that she let drop to the floor with a clang. Rovestion watched helplessly as sh had doen it so effortlessly, there was no strain no muscle tensing, it was as though the blade had been amde of tin foil. It was now little more than a crushed metal knot that had been reduced to nothing by her vastly superior strength. The kind of strength Uriel's new line had grown infamous for. As she held the mess up to drop to the floor, Jenvimira glared towards him.
Jenvimira - I hope you enjoy being little more than a hopeless worm that is not even worthy of eating the shit of a non-existent god.
Rosterion's jaw quivered at the sight of her rising anger and for the feat of strength she had just performed. He held up his hands towards his face, clasping them together and begging for mercy. Uriel and Karmus watched with amusement, twisted smiles spreading across their faces as they watched hepitiful sight. In one swift movement,Rovestion could pray no longer; his hands found themselves between the rows of swords that were Jenmivira's powerful jaws, dripping with flesh, unsettled blood. They continued to twitch in her grip, ceased only by her increasing the pressure and exploding them entirely.
Jenmivira - You shall NOT find forgiveness here! You shall NOT find Drakon here! You shall NOT find Drakon ANYWHERE!
Rovestion fell backwards in shock and scrabbled to get away fro mher only to bump into a Blood Angel who nudged him back into the arena with his foot. He scrabbled up and kept backing away, he held the stumps of his wrists in front of his face and blubbered as he kept away from her liek the coward he turned out to be. He shook his head, eyes wide, begging that she not kill him.
Rovestion - This whole duel. I was right all along. You don't care for us, only pleasing yourself. You live to amuse yourselves from with out suffering, you are no better than the demons of the Dominion!
As Rovestion cowered away from Jenvimira Uriel stood up and threw his wings open, the action prompted Tyrus to hop from Uriel's lap as the domonic paragon growled furiously.
Uriel - You think I enjoy this new reality? Do you think I enjoy the inability to sleep? Feeling nothing but oblivion or nigtmares? Do you think I enjoy that I cannot feel my own heartbeat or that I curse everything I touch? This eternal burning hated I feel? Do you think I enjoy that without care I could easily crush within my grasp you or any mortal I cared about? You would rather brand me a demon, a tyrant or a monster, you know nothing of the burden I bear!
Rovestion - Okay I--
Uriel - NO! Your insult was the final straw. Theer are mosnters out there worse than me. The demons you so far, I did what I had to to protect you all!...And this is the thanks I get from you?
Rovestion - Y-your eminence plea--
Uriel - I wanted to save the Imperium. If it meant some had to die or others lose the freedom they cherished then I was willing to commit such sacrifices if it meant survival. There were no third choices, no nonviolent alternatives. To survive in this new Andromeda I had to become strong, we had to become strong. No weakensses, no mercy. All that matters is that we persevere!
Jenmivira approached closer at a much faster pace as Uriel bellwed at Rovestion, making haste as she walked. Without saying another word, Rostarion watched as her lips curled back and she opened the rows of daggers and knives that were held within her jaws. One moment, Rovestion had been blubbering and begging. The next, he could not, for the entirety of his muzzle had been seperated from his head, leaving little more than his eyes and the rest of his skull while his snout was crunched up and swallowed without hesitation within Jenmivira. Who gulped down the snout only to look bac kdown at Rovestion with hungry eyes ans he staggered back from disorientation. As blood poured from the scarring in his face, He collpased to his knees and rested what remained of his head againt the floor and rested his hands in front.
Uriel - Jenvimira enough.
On Uriel's command, Jenvimira stepped away from Rosterion, kicking what was left of his head as she turned around and walked back towards Uriel. The entirety of her jaws and snout were absolutely soaked with blood. The impact fractured the skull and Rovestion fell to his side as blodo leaked from his face onto the gilded black and white marble floor. Uriel moved down fro mhis throne as Tyrus scrabbled to sit back on it. Uriel walked around the body, inspecting it, sensing Rovestion still ahd an inch of his life left. uriel looked down upon his bloodied body with contempt and sighed.
Uriel - A pity. I hoped you had more of a chance.
Uriel lifted his foot and pulverised Rovestion's spine, a shockwave effect pulverising the rest of the body, preaying blood everywhere alongside chunks of flesh. Tyrus watched as the spectacle unfolded, finishing his snack as he watched the body become little more than blood and small chunks that sprayed across the floor, covering several Blood Angels and Uriel himself in its gore. Tyrus yawned, as if this was nothing shocking or unusual. Uriel walked back over to the throne and playfully brushed his hand against the top of Tyrus's head.
Tyrus - I don't care who that guy was, he bored me. What's on holo-vision?
Uriel - He was a coward who never understood the value of true strength. he was unworthy of surviving no matter waht happened. I hope you did not become too bored by facing him Jenvimira.
Jenvimira looked to Uriel and patted Tyrus on the hand with a gentle hand, smearing some blood across the top of his face as she did unintentionally.
Jenmivira - It was as you said, father. He was full of shit.
Uriel - How about I make it up to you with a sparring match on the return jounrey to Alcanti? Jenvimira - I think I would enjoy such, heh. Although, I'd forgive you faster if you were to bring me a few tens of those peasant corpses. Perhaps we could talk about sparring over 'lunch', father?
Uriel - We'll see. Full of shit or not, these victims of our efforts still had families and friends who will mourn their loss. A shame that these rebels would rather dedicate these corpses in Drakon's name instead of ours.
Jenvimira - They believe in fairytales, father. It'd be more useful to have them killed and devoured rather than leave them alive to mourn to some imaginary friend.
Karmus - I have recieved reports that soldiers on the ground have aquired some 7.4 million prisoners of war that shall await transport.
Jenvimira - I smell dinner.
Karmus - I have also revieved reports this "Republic" still ahs some 30.5 million die-hard followers. Your reccomandation?
Jenvimira - Mass decimation.
Karmus - You are such a joy to spend tiem with, Jenvimira.
Jenvimira - We're doing them a favour by getting rid of the useless wastes of space. I don't see why we can't enjoy ourselves a little.
Karmus chuckled despite the savage tones of Jenvimira's suggestion. he knew his sister far too well to be disgusted by her suggestion
Karmus - Hear that Tyrus? Your big sister Jenvimira is providing dinner.
Uriel shook his head with s a slight smile and a sigh. He turned around and began walking towards the entrance to the throne room, paying no attnetion as his armoured boot crushed the the chancelor's pelvis into dust without a care. I nhis years he had to accept the fact his children were born with aggresive and somewhat blodthirsty tendencies. These were his offspring. Septis and Alessa were certainyl capable but he worried that the threats he regularly kept at bay would see them as easy targets. Both of them, as well as his oher offspring, had refused to be descended. He paced though the corridors of this new ship - one that Tarmus had been placed in personal command of - and contemplated the Imperium's future. There was either his previous offspring, who he feared woudl be easy pray to demons and Syndicate assassins, or his latest clutches, most of which cared more about displaying their inheritance or authority than caring about the future of the Imperium.
There were a couple, he wondered, that would be mroe suited. But this day was notthe time. Another eenmy had been crushed and the Imperium could breathe a sigh of relief this rebellion was over. But it was hardly the last.
The sun was rising in the city of Arameti. A spectacular gathering of souls had come for a special occasion - word had spread that the Paragon was due for a visit to Arameti Cathedral. Such places of worship, once places of solace for clerics and the like for the FOllowing of Drakon's Path, now became sites of congregation. Architects designed grand edifices in the hope of appeasing their immortal blood-eyed patron. As was expected, Uriel arrived that morning with a full retinue of Blood Dragons by his side. The front plaza was filled with people who fell to their knees once Uriel - dressed in a silver coat over a ceremony-appropriate outfit of fien gold and soft silk - strolled though the plaza. He looked through the barrier of his retinue and looked at each subject who had bowed, their heads to the floor as though they felt unworthy of looking into his eyes.
This was what Uriel liked the least abotu his new station. He felt apart from the people he loved, now percievign them as the trillions of mortals that crawled under his feet. It pained him to see them as insects but it kept crawling though his mind "that's waht they were". Insects that crowded around him, seeking comfort, hoping and praying desperately not to be crushed under his foot. He took another look into the crowd as he neared the cathedral steps. These people needed hope, and so with a careful eye he scanned the mass of bodies. His mind twisting them without his intent. His corrupted mind twisted the humble mass into a sea of desperate and groverling bodies, withering away, weak and fragile, insignificant before his sublime majesty. His eyes then fixed on one: A child.
The child his bloody gaze had fixd upon was on his knees, a hand on his shoulder from a nearby Draconis that seemed to stand above the others in terms of height and musculature physique. The child looked up slightly to glimpse at Uriel, but quickly looked back down once he saw the Paragon's crimson eyes focus on him. He whimpered quietly, as if about to sob or as if he was scared. Uriel caught a brief glympse. He beckoned for his retinue to follow him. Rather than continue on hi way Uriel and his retinue moved though the crowd, people shuffling t ostay ouf of the formation's way. As the formation approached the child, the Angels in front opened up and formed a circle around both Uriel and the child. He looked down at the boy with pity.
Uriel - Raise your head.
The child's head slowly ascended, he whimpered pitifully as if he had disgraced himself in front of everybody and everything. He wore basic robes that looked aged and ragged. The Draconis beside him did not seperate from the child, his hand remained firmed on his shoulder as if keeping to the floor to pray to Uriel. The adult Draconis had deep gray scales, though his eyes remained shut and he continued to utter his prayer.
Uriel - Don't be shy. What is your name?
Child - I-I don't h-have a n-name, m-my Lord...
Adult - He is but a Houseless, he is not worth your time, my Lord. If I did not have my hand to restrain him, he would not be here praying for you today for he is little more than Houseless, heretical scum.
Uriel - What has he done to deserve being branded as such.
Adult - I would not know, my Lord, for I merely discovered him in such a state, roaming the streets and begging for cherished scraps.
Uriel - If he has little reason to be called houseless then let me absolve him.
Uriel leaned forward and opened out his palm to the boy. The adult Draconis looked up towards Uriel, his eyes still closed. His lips curled back, almost aggressively, while his nostrils flared. His voice became deeper yet somewhat a little more confident than it had been before.
Uriel - Come child. Take my hand.
Adult - That would not be a wise decision, my Lord.
Uriel - You had better give me a good reason why it isn't. If you are so insistent on keeping an eye o nthe boy you are free to follow.
The adult rose, as did the boy who accepted Uriel's grip. The grey-scaled Draconis observed Uriel with his eyes still shut, but he stood proud, almost as tall as Uriel himself. He possessed a somewhat bizarre air, but was nonetheless obedient to Uriel's demands. Uriel snorted at the adult and gently gripped the boy's hand. The boy could feel Uriel's palm to be warm to the touch. It was a firm and powerful ahd but in this instance it remained gentle. Uriel turned around, guiding the boy with him and the formation continued towards the cathedral's steps. The adult followed close behind the boy and Uriel, keeping to his own set pace while the Blood Angels surrounded them in formation. The boy's face remained miserable and saddened, but Uriel could identify a glimpse of happiness upon the boy's expression as they walked, some form of relief or comfort in Uriel's presence.
Uriel - ...You know, it bothers me when people are sad. Times are hard I know but we must all do waht we can to make the best of it.
Child - ...M-My family...t-they were taken f-from me in t-the slums, b-by people.
Uriel - So long as I am close. Nothing bad will happen to you. I promise.
Child - ...I-It was p-people l-like these...t-the ones around us. T-They took my f-family away a f-few years a-ago...T-they w-were shot or knifed...
The child began to initiate the flcikering of his nictiating membranes, the Draconis equivalent of shedding tears, evident and obvious upon his face. He squeaked and whimpered as they walked, yet Uriel was not blind to that subtle feeling of hope within the boy's aura. He could feel something, despite the boy being deathly afraid by the Blood Angels, something was giving him a glimmer of hope and happiness. Perhaps brought on by Uriel's protective presence. Out of pure chance, the boy had been selected to walk with his diety, a chance that trillions had dpent lifetimes without experiencing, yet he wa still sad. Uriel became worried, and attempted to comfort the boy.
Uriel - These people who surround us. my angels, so long as you are with me, they cannot hurt you and...I am...sorry to hear about your family.
The group approached the top of the cathedral steps. Uriel kneeled in front of the boy and looked directly into his eyes, brushing the boy's cheek with his finger, a reassuring smile appeared on Uriel's face.
Uriel - Thank you for keeping me company. You should go back to your guardian.
At that moment, the boy's eyes widened, his pupils observing not Uriel himself but rather behind him, looking over his shoulder at some sort of spectacle that was occuring. Little to Uriel's knowledge, a Blood Angel travelled through the air in an undirected path just over the Paragon's back, before it flew into whatever artefacts and tributes had been sent up within the cathedral, making loud, destructive noises as it landed. Colliding with the ground and impacting it, causing a crater i nthe steps. Uriel felt something amiss and stood up, turning around baring his teeth to see what the commotion was as the other Blood Angels descended on the source.
The grey-scaled Draconis adult had a fierce, intimidating smile upon his face, filled with fangs and overgrown teeth appeared adapted for not eating but rather seperating and dismembering body parts, as if they were walls that would crash upon one another to crush rather than bite. His eyes were open - they glared red, although his pupils were white but this was not the most unusual trait regarding his eyes, for his pupils were not dots but rather rings. He had ripped off the aimple robe he wore before, revealing tattoos across his chest and arms that possessed meaning within the language of Dracid - "Structure", "Deicide", "Colossus", "Titan", repeated all across his torso. Uriel snarled as he pulled his coat back, revealing he had stored his sword by his side. He gripped the handle and drew the blade.
Uriel - You dare defile holy ground with this act of violence!?
Draconis - No, I defile your holy ground with this act of violence!
Clenching his fists, he slammed against the sides of two Blood Angels' heads, launching them across the cathedral with evidently little effort on his part while he kept that grotesque smile. His forearms appeared to have become coarse and thick in these moments moments, yet when Uriel glimpsed once again the leather had disappeared from his person entirely. More Angels charged, one lunged a blade only for the Draconis to grab it, canp the blade and slam his fist through the Angel's throat, ripping out the trachea and hurling it across the plaza. He slammed his foto into another, hadbutting with enough force to crack the helmet, headbutting again before hurling the Angel across the plaza. The Draconsi looked once again to uriel as he approached.
Uriel let out a fierce roar and charged, sending a downward slash at the assailant's torso. The blade glowing with corrupted energies. the sword managed to strike, yet the after-effect stated otherwise for there was a lack of effect altogether - it merely stopped upon making contact with the opponent's shoulder, which was once again for that moment covered in thicker and more brutal scales as the sword rested upon his person. The grey Draconis looked towards Uriel and smirked, slamming his head forcefully against the Paragon mercilessly and sending him stumbling backwards.
Draconis - That...hurt.
Uriel bared his teeth as he stumbled, holding his head. Twisrling his blade he swung again, this time to cut horizontally against the assailant's waist. This time swinging with more force than before. The opponent's eyes widened for a second and he stepped back, avoiding the slash although the energies struck his flesh, causing the hardening effect to appear and disappear within moments of one another as the demonic essences made contact. His footsteps imprinted themselves in the ground below his feet, indicating his weight to some extent. As he stepped back, the Draconis stuck out his tongue with his mouth wide open; tattooed upon his tongue was an insignia of some kind.
Uriel - Would you care to explain to me what posessed you to consider ending my life?
Draconis - Heh, no reason. Or at least, know reason that you'll know of.
The Draconis launched himself forward, slamming his knee against Uriel's side as he grasped ahold of his broad shoulders while his knee was covered in the hardened scales. However, it felt like metal of some kind. All the while, the Draconis made a noise that Uriel could not decide whether was a chuckle or a feral snarl. Uriel gasped as the Draconis had made physical contact with him, forming a small bruise of damaged scales that quickly restored themselves. With little option, Uriel resorted to fiercely headbutting the Draconis, the air around his feet ebgan to simmer. The commotion meanwhile prompted several bystanders to flee in panic.
The Draconis' head became brutal and hard as the substance took the force of the headbutt, but he still grunted upon impact. Gritting teeth, the Draconis responded with a headbutt of his own, his entire head covered within the thick and rugged scales as he did so. As he did, Uriel could distinguish the center of his ring-like pupils; the insignia that had been tattood upon his tongue. He suddenly realised who this figure was aligned with, for he had burned the mark into his own eyes. Uriel snarled at the realisation, understanding who this killer-to-be was sent by.
Uriel - Syndicate scum...
Draconis - I'd appreciate it if you called me by my name; Construct!
Shifting his weight, Uriel grabbed ahold of the Draconis and leaped into the air, taking the Draconis with him. The Draconis clenched his fist as Uriel leaped and thrusted it towards Uriel's cheek. Uriel however grabbed the fist and focused his strength with the intent to crush the hand. Channeling through his arm levels of strength barely seen in mortal or even the augmented variety. Uriel was tired of Construct's game, a man who challened a god and now he planned to show the upstart the true strength such a beaing could unleash. The scales on Construct's hand and down his entire arm entire arm became envelopedin ahrdened scales, though it was deceptive in that it felt nothing like lizardskinand was more on par with some form of strong, dense, metallic material. The Draconis growled as Uriel's grip engulfed his fist; he could feel several hundred tons pressing down upon his hand from all sides with no ability to spread his hand. Not even Construct's improvements could defy this force. There was a quiet sound of snapping and cracking, Construct realised the Paragon was exerting enough force nto only to damage his hardened scales ,but potentialyl break his bones. He looked up at uriel and into his crimson eyes in surprise.
Construct - That strength...No wonder why they wanted me to kill you!
Uriel - You sealed your fate the moment you agreed to the job, scum!
Uriel thrusted his foot into COnstruct's stomach with extreme force. Sending him hurtling downwards towards the ground. A rush of air greeted Construct as he caused a sonic boom. Uriel followed shortly after and a mere second after Construct's violent impact with the ground, the impact creating a pair of exlposive shockwaves oen after the other; One upon Construct's imapct with the ground, the other from Uriel upon pounding Construct's torso. Construct cried out as Uriel slammed on top of his body, creating a pressure so strong that blood was launched from Construct's facial orifices as Uriel made contact. A majority of his body was now engulfed in the hardened scales, although his skin began to emanate steam of some sorts as if he was being exposed to intense, searing heat.
Construct - Ugh...Hahahah! I've done it!
Uriel gripped Construct's jaw and squeezed tightly before leaning closer. Eager to hear what the abomination had to say.
Uriel - Done what?
Construct - ...I have disproved...your godhood!
As Uriel looked down upon Construct's smirking face, he saw something drip upon the Draconis' forehead; black blood. It was just a small trickle, but it could be seen from a reasonable distance, at least a few feet away. At the same time, Uriel felt something wet touch his upper lip that seemed to roll down his nose. It then hit him - somehow, wither through his actions or Construct's, Uriel was bleeding.
Construct - I may not have killed you...BUT I HAVE MADE YOU BLEED! MERE TRICKLES OF YOUR LIFEBLOOD TO PROVE TO YOUR FOLLOWERS THAT YOU ARE A FRAUD PROPHET!
Uriel - There is more to divinity than what pumps inside my body, fool! Construct - Bullshit! If you truly were a being above men, then why do you and I suffer MORTAL wounding? Gods do not bleed, punk! Uriel - So I can bleed, no mortal could do what I have done! Construct - What, divide the Imperium further than what it already was? I'm sure any mortal could have avoided that mistake!
Uriel gripped Cosntruct's jaw tightly and with little effort on his part, even with Construct's size and bulk, hoisted him high into the air. A strange red glimmer coming from his eyes.
Uriel - Drakon abandoned those poeple. MY people! I could not simply sit and watch them perish from his neglect, from the suffering that scum wash over what is pure like a sewage outlet! I may bleed, I may be cut, but I cannot die!
Construct - Oh yeah? Then what of the child? The one whose entire family were slaughtered under your command, after which he was left to roam the godforsaken streets by himself? What of him? He wasn't abandoned; you isolated him! And countless others, no doubt!
Uriel - And you think you spared him by taking him in? I can see it in your eyes. The syndicate is your life. your benefactors live to take waht they want and leave the people stranded. Illegal trafficking, narcotics, assassination, gambling, it's all the same. Easy money. Easy income!
Uriel slammed Cosntruct back into the ground, lifted him up then slammed him three mroe times. In his fury, he began to glow red as is arua became visible. uriel was furious, it was now showing, and Construct was right at the centre of the carnage, staring int othe eyes of thewrathful being he denounced. God or not, did he doubt hecould defeat this man, who so furiously held him high in the air by his throat?
Uriel - But the more you people bleed this galaxy dry, the more the unfortunate like that child find themselves on the streets. No home, no hope, no salvation!
Construct - Oh no, "Paragon"! You have it all wrong! I took my place within the Syndicate because of you! 50 years ago, I was in the exact same situation! Family slaughtered, forced to believe in the zealous idiot who fancied himself a god whose goons caused my isolation at his order! If I didn't join the Syndicate, I wouldn't be here today! I wouldn't be anywhere! You ever wonder how the Syndicate gains so many soldiers? It's because the ranks are made from the men, women and children who had to escape from your rule after it already resulted in the deaths of people they loved! I guess I have to thank you on the Syndicate's behalf; you supply us!
Uriel growled audiably and threw Construct to the floor, kickingu p another dust cloud. Out of fury, uriel thusted his foot down on Construct. Slamming again and again, overcoem with rage. Uriel's would-be assailant was becoming ever-more the kind of man he despises, the kind of man Uriel wanted to wash away from Andromeda, who did no believe the good he was trying to do for a galaxy. Under his foot lay a man who used his traumas as an excuse to turn against his saviour.
Uriel - No one. Is. Innocent!
Construct - AND YOU ARE NO GOD!
Construct grabbed ahold of Uriel's foot and threw the Paragon off his body before emerging from the crater that his impact had made at the center of the cathedral, bleeding from his nose and mouth although he still retained that grin on his face.
Construct - Oh, and the child? He doesn't find hope in you sparing him! He finds hope in your eventual slow, painful death at the hands of somebody even stronger than you!
Uriel landed on his side with a thud. Looking up at Construct he growled, the tables had turned his asailant now stared down at him. As he did more Blood Angels approached, surrounding everyone.
Uriel - You lie...Uriel - If I could give the boy a chance I would!
Construct - For a god, you have many flaws. You're just as much of a punk as I am! You're good for nothing and you're selfish. You don't fight for your people; you fight for your reputation and your greed.
Construct turned to the many bypassers and worshippers who had witnessed the event unfold before their eyes, insects that resided at the base and steps of the hallowed tribue to Uriel's divinity. Pointing towards the Paragon, Construct proceeded to call out the following words;
Construct - THIS MAN IS A LIE!
As Uriel stood up, Construct's words were the last straw. Gathering black energy in his arms Uriel charged and threw a descension-empowered fist into Construct's skull. With such an unanticipated impact, Construct was launched from the height of the cathedral's steps. His smile stayed upon his face, although his jaws had been chipped and cracked during Uriel's offensive. Blood stained the steps as Construct landed on the ground, almost crushing the refugees and Blood Angels that had gathered there before they seperated to make room for Construct's fall. The Draconis' body caused yet another crater, with blood spitting without halt from a crack that had been made against his skull. After several minutes, he stumbled to his feet, glaring up at Uriel with a bloodied grin.
Construct - It is not a situation where you forgive your people, Uriel! It is a situation where your people must forgive you! And they never will!
Uriel - Construct...NEVER. EVER. Think that within your tiny mind I do not care for the well-being my people! Everything I did I did because I wanted to save us all!
Who Is Truly Saved?
Uriel marched up towards construct, aura glowing a furious red and leaving cracks in the ground where his pounding feet impacted the flagstone. Uriel was now visibly seething with rage upon his approach towards Construct, clearly angered by the monsterous Draconis's comments on him. This was no mere act of defiance, Construct was trying to ruin him here and now, burn his reputation to the ground.
Construct - I have been saved! But not by you! Hehe, I won't forgive you! The boy won't forgive you! The many people that were your followers and supporters before the Depression will not forgive you! Why? Because they're DEAD! Oh, except for your darling children who did not inherit your greed. What did you do to them? You denied them of their chance to the throne!
Uriel held his hand out and his blade flew into his hand. Muttering to himself, the blade leaked black energies as Uriel prepared to plunge it into Construct's torso.
Uriel - You say you have been saved. You're not even Draconis!
Construct - And neither are you! Nor are your Blood Angels!
With a roar, Uriel thrusted the sword into Construct's body. Construct reached out and grabbed a nearby follower, placing the feble and innocent man in front of his torso as some sort of meat shield. Due to Construct's size, his meat shield was abrely enough to cover his torso. As Uriel was about to hit he stopped, an inch from stabbing the bystander. He lowered the blade and chuckled to himself.
Uriel - Is that what their saviour has come to? Using bystanders as living shields. Pathetic.
Construct - I never claimed to be their saviour, I am not their prophet or god. But if you ARE their saviour, then you would not dare lay a finger upon this man who holds his absolute faith in you and your Imperium.
Uriel - You toy with powers far beyond you Construct. I suggest you let him go.
Construct - Would it preserve my life either way?
Uriel - I might...Then again, it depends if you would rather die on my blade or face wahtever punshiment your contrators deal out for your failure.
Construct looked to Uriel for several moments but kept the hostage close to his body, watching as Uriel presented a knowing smile across his face. But an expression came over his face in contemplation. He thought for several moments before his unique eyes narrowed towards Uriel's and locked on. Pushing the hostage forcefully away from himself, Construct's entire body became fully engulfed in the hardening sequence that spawned out from his flesh as he made a charge for Uriel, his fist clenched into the tightest possible position while steam blasted from his body.
Construct - I won't fail!
Uriel looked to the other Angels who nodded and began pushing followers back, away from the carnage that was due to unfold. As Construct sharged, Uriel laxed his muscles and twirled his blade, before tensing them once again and slamming the sword into the flagstone. Creating a small seismic wave that rolled outwards. Uriel stood firmly as it rolled underneath him, hitting the blade in such a direction that the crest hurtled straight towards Construct's feet. Blinded by fury, Construct was caught off-guard by the seismic impact of the blade, his feet blown from underneath his very body and leaving him suspended in midair on a descent towards the ground beneath him. Everything seemed to slow down, as if the Paragon's fire even singed the flow of time itself. Yanking the sword from the ground, Uriel dashed for Construct, unimpaired by the slwoing passage of time, that or his actions had sped himself up, slowing everything else down from his eyes as he dashed beside Construct, he swung his sword in an upward slash as the blade surged with corrupting energies. After that one pass, Uriel twirled the blade to cut a chunk out of Construct's tail, then hs swung the balde to scar him even more. In the space of mere seconds, Uriel had unleashed a full and complicated flurry in a blinding motion. The assault left Construct's flesh with a burning engravement across the center of his torso as well as denied of any normal-looking end to his tail. The armour in place had only denied him of death by pure luck, although it had been chipped and weakened in that one movement. Crashing against the ground upon his front, Construct panted heavily with blood pouring from his wounds. Uriel paced up and pressed his foot down on the remains of Construct's tail, pinning him down.
Uriel - Are you so certain, that you would forego your survival isntincts?
Construct - Ngh...Heheha! What will you do to me now, "God"? Tear me apart with your bare hands? Just so you know, I do not fear whatever hell awaits me! I know of suffering and pain, I know of loss! Haha, you cannot harm me any further!
Uriel - Predictable mercenaries. They grow complacent in their filthy, credit-grabbing careers. They value the paycheck more than their lives. Every. Day. The only thing that matters to them is how much currency they earn. A trinket that means nothing beyond this plane. And for people like you. Death is certain.
Uriel twisted his foot, scalding heat radiated from the sole and onto Construct's tail, charring the end.
Uriel - You are no different. Life means nothing to you! You exist. You kill. You eat, you indulge. That is all!
Construct - At least I get to eat and indulge...unlike your people!
Uriel moved his other foot and stomped on another section of Construct's tail.
Uriel - Yes. You grow fat and decadent on the death you carve out! How many lives did you personally end simply to put food on your table? To pay for your last taste of carnal pleasure! You are everything wrong with the Imperium.
Construct - That is rich coming from a man whose people are starving and dying, who is paranoid about those who live below him and has his lapdogs kill anybody who do not believe in your false promises of prosperity when it only favours you and your freakshow of a family.
Uriel - You take in a helpless and naive child. He may have suffered loss because of me and you do not give him the base courtesy of a name! And now you prepare him for the Syndicate.
Uriel sheathed his sword and grabbed Construct by the shoulders of his wings.
Uriel - Tell me Construct. Do you really care for the boy?
Construct - Hehehe...do you?
Uriel - Answer my question.
Construct - My answer is the same as yours, no matter what lie you attempt to feed me.
Uriel - Then you are the kind of life-wasting and profiteering slime that my Angels are assigned to kill. For you rot the Imperium ot it's very core.
Construct - You have already done that for me.
With that, Uriel pulled with all his strength to tear the wings off Construct's back. Tensing his powerful muscles he bared his teeth to accomplish the deed swiftly, yet painfully. Construct roared out in agony as his wings ripped from his flesh, his blood pouring across Uriel's face and torso from the two gaping holes that were left behind from the act. Construct's body reinforced itself once more, strenghening and bonding as resistant as it could. But even then it was not enough, Construct was wounded, bleeding, mutilated, no physical reinforcement could save him from that. Uriel was not finished, grabbing the throat he yanked Construct sideways, throwing him on his back, as Construct flew back, Uriel threw an arc of electricity from his hand against Construct's body. As Construct was thrown and electrocuted, Uriel turned to one of his Angels.
Uriel - The device, bring it here. Now.
Uriel then turned back to Construct as the Angel teleported away. Construct glared towards Uriel, spitting blood from his brick-like teeth. Leaving him to wonder waht "device" he referred to.
Uriel - You tell me that you do not fear death. Perhaps then, eternal life should be your jst reward for your deeds today...
Construct - What...?!
Uriel's suggestion genuinely shocked COnstruct, the prospect of a life without death was a concept plucked from paradise for a man like him, for it meant he could live on eternally, with no fear of execution or getting shot. But it baffled him why Uriel would offer such a glorious thing to a man like him, wh oopenly tried to murder him? He was only gone for a few seconds but the Dragon teleported back, holding a ring-shaped device in his hand, which he handed to Uriel. Uriel took the device and held it in both hands, a disturbing smile spreading acorss his face.
Uriel - Why execute a man who does not fear death? Perhaps the opposite? An existence where death is no escape...
Uriel pressed a panel on the device, causing four prongs to erupt out from the ring and point downard like hooks. As Uriel approached, he lowered himself and aggressively slammed the device onto Construct's chest. The claws dug into his flesh, penetrating his rock-hardskin. The hooks extended into wires, weaving thoughout his body, but also gradually paralysing him.
Uriel - A cruel fate to bestow on any mortal. But what you did...hmhmhm...what you did was no mere petty crime.
Construct - D-Damn you...Damn YOU! You are no god...y-you are but a m-madman corrupted b-by his power! Y-Y-You are n-no better t-than any S-Syndicate scum! P-People w-will continue to d-die under you...a-and it is all your fault!
Uriel reached in and clutched Construct's throat, pulling him in so their snouts almost touched. It was clear Uriel was sick and tired of this assailant's foul words. Every one posiion against him, an attempt to make hi msee that in doing what he did he had damed his people. Uriel had enough, he closed the gap, his crimson eyes burning their image into Construct's mind as hot gases escaped Uriel's mouth, the air oascillating fro mthe heat he produced.
Uriel - You have. NO IDEA. Of the sacrifices I made! Were it not for my sacrificies. My actions. This would be in Dominion space by now! Would you rather be executed by them for a mere petty crime? A parting word, "Construct". Most do not realise the luxuries they have until they lose it. The Judicial system and civi lsentencing included.
Construct - Urgh! What luxuries?! I never had any luxuries b-beneath you...nobody does aside f-from your m-mutant family a-and your dogs! M-Mark my w-words Uriel, o-one day somebody w-will end you!
Construct, with what remained of his strength, leaned towards Uriel and pounded his head against his snout, glaring deeply into his eyes and uttered a single word as he began to completely succumb to the paralysis inflicted upon him, a word only heard between himself and the dark Paragon. His weakening body produced three quivering syllables "Kih" "tha" and "nan". Uriel snorted in frustrationand stood up. Construct's body motions stopped, his face left with just a single expression of no variation. However, to Uriel's discontent, that expression was not one of pain or agony or sorrow or regret; it was a grin, a wide smirk with narrowed eyes, blood still dripping from between his grinning brick-like teeth.
Uriel - Enjoy the new life I have given you, for you deserve nothing better for your audacity.
Blinded By Faith
Uriel turned his eyes to the crowd the Angels kept back, with a wave of his hand, they moved back, two of them grabbing a firm hold of Construct's frozen body and lifting him up. Uriel opened his wings and he slowly rose three metres into the sky, floating up as though gravity no longer cared to hold him down. A sign of his power over reality, and the power he posessed beyond the horde of insects that crowded around him. He looked down at the crowd and cleared his throat as he hung in the air wings-out. he spoke out in a booming voice that resonated across the plaza and perhaps beyond.
"My dear followers. I want you each to look upon the visage who challenged me. He is not crusader or mark-maker, he is merely a lost man. Dissatisfied that my guidance alone did not save him, he resorted to corrupting himself and his existence until he became a mere monster. But simply following me is not enough. What satisfies me is that I know that you, my loyal followers, my children, my billions of wards, all of you are to act on my words not jut to carry out my will. Use my words to inspire, give hope. The lost man who challenged me may have taken a poor homeless boy in out of charity but admitted himself that not only did he not follow the most basic of courtesies or generosities in giving the child a name, but outright told me the child did not deserve one. I could tell from his face that he was posioning that child's mind against me. He. Was. Wrong."
"Words mean nothing if they are not followed by action. Together we are united as an Imperium but are we united as a community or as a society? I question the answer to this, for this lost one's mere existence tells me "no, we are not". We are all of flesh and blood. We all want to stand defiant against the Dominion. So do it. make a difference, prove that the lives you have been blessed with are worth something. I have made innumberable sacrifices for you all...And all I ask is that each of you give soemthing back."
Uriel gave a sigh and returned to rest his feet on the ground. Uriel returned to the ground and paced up to the follower Cosntruct had grabbed and thrown about. GUilty that his mere presence today had disrupted this poor man's life he personally reached out his hand dow nto the man. The insignificant being he wanted to show compassion for. The follower looked up towards the Paragon, reluctant to take a hand not out of fear but more out of his own sense of worth when compared to a man such as Uriel, a god that stood above him in every aspect and way. He tried to reach out a hand, but he shivered and shook as he did so.
Follower - M-M-My L-Lord...
Uriel - It is over. The least I can do is help you back to your feet after what transpired.
The follower gently grasped ahold of Uriel's hand, his eyes tightly closed as their flesh touched and came into contact. Uriel lifted the man to his feet with ease, almost effortly due to the power in his arm. Uriel released his grip on the man's hand and gave him a friendly smile.
Follower - ...W-What of the l-lost man? W-Who was he? W-Who...w-who sent him?
Uriel - He is lost. hat is all that should be known. He will spend eternity where no mortal can ever see him again.
Angel - My Lord, the Lost one is ready for confinement.
Uriel turned around and looked at the boy in the crowd, curling his finger in a beckoning motion towards the boy. Seeing that the dark entity that was his paragon called for him, the boy stepped forward towards Uriel reluctantly. He was fearful, Uriel had damned his guardian to a life of torment in his own mind. As the boy approached, he looked down towards the ground in a nervous manner, scratching at his rags in panic. As he reached uriel's feet the Paragon kneeled down as he approached. When the boy was in front of him he reached out and tilted the boy's chin gently upwards with a single large finger, looknigi nto the boy's eyes almsot with sympathy.
Uriel - Do not be shy. I wish to something for yo as a gift.
Child - ...W-What d-do you p-plan to do...?
Uriel - Provide you with a truly caring family.
Uriel stood up after another moment of comforting the boy in his grasp. He took a deep breath and spoke clearly into the crowd.
Uriel - My dear followers! With the Lost One punished, his child is unfortunately without home. It is my express wish that someone come forward and give him the loving home that he so deserves after a cruel youth. Do not judge him by his guardian. let him learn the beauty, wisdom and safety of my light!
Uriel scanned out onto the crowd as people felt uncertain. As he waited, a few people approached the boy. Couples and singles of all walsk of life that had come to this congregation today. Uriel allowed himself to act as some form of protection for the by from the encroching crowds. Looking over the crowd, Uriel picked out a pair wearing modest clothing and aged faces. Calling them over with his finger and a gaze into their eyes.
Male - Pease my lord...Ever since my wife last laid a stillborn clutch we have been praying for a child. My partner and I live modestly, we do not have much but we would gladly follow your request.
Uriel looked down to the boy who was standing timidly between his legs, he gave the child a reassuring look on his face.
Uriel - I sense they are good people. But the choice is yours.
The boy looked towards the couple with a glance, analyzing them over and over within the length of a long minute. He blinked several times before a smile came on his face and he ran forward, gripping ahold of the male's leg in some sort of embrace as confirmation of his choice. It was settled, seeing the boy so eagerly hugging his limb, the man smiled broadly and with some affection, as if immediately creating a bond of attachment to the boy.
Male - Hello there champ!
Uriel - The child looks certain. You have my blessing and the child is yours.
The pair bowed bowed, with the child still holding tightly onto the man's leg.
Male - We shall deeply honour your decree, My Lord.
The child looked towards Uriel with a teary smile, his dirty teeth shown as he smiled. He had obviously not been cared for effectively by his former owner, for his hygiene was rather questionable. However, his smile disappeared shortly as he looked back up towards his new 'parents'. As Uriel fetl satisfied, a questionablr query escaped the boy's lips, inquisitive towarsd his new parents.
Child - C-Can...C-Can I b-be c-called T-Tavaragatus? I-It was...I-It was "his" n-name...
The pair looked at each other as Uriel and his Angels turned around and headed away from the plaza. Uriel made a brief glance to one of his Angels right before they vanished out of sight in clouds of blackenergy, Construct included. Their new prisoner taken ot some mysterious location to live out an eternity of oblivion, stuck only with his ow nmind and his awareness for company.
Male - The Lost One? Why on Alcanti would you want to be given his name?
Child - B-Because i-it's the o-only one I r-remember b-before now...H-He fed me and s-sheltered me...even if it w-wasn't real, he w-was there...but h-he's not Tavaragatus a-anymore...he's Construct.
Male - Well...My partner and I had considered calling our last firstborn Oremus. But so long as you do not follow his path I suppose it can't do much harm.
The child smiled and hugged the male's leg again, his tail wagging in delight at his new name and family. In truth Uriel had not teleported far, as everyone filed into the cathedral there he was at the back, ready to provide the mass he agreed to. However, in a distant location away from the now child-holding family, a singl Angel watched high above the scene. Eyes narrowing behind her visorless helmet. As the boy passed inside the cathedral doors, she vanished, secretly appearing inside the cathedral itself, out of sight, but keeping close eye on the boy, the former child of Construct.
Love And Wrath
The underlevels of Minos'Drakon.
Before the Depression they were a common habitat of the bulk of the megapolis' citizenry, a place where one could be close ot the ground but far from the sky. The technology of the imperium meant even these dark places could be comfortable, even quaint. THe Depression changed that completely. Crime and vice born from destitution along with the desperation to escape persecution made these levels a haven for refugees, criminals and the like. Unlike the rest of Minos'Drakon, the Blood Dragons acted a a containment force, determined to contain the vice to the levels belwo by any means they could, even if it meant killing any who escaped the net. Salpethi was one of the worst-hit districts. ALready a home for the less well off its underlevels became a paradise for criminals and skybike ganges. Not even the Blood Angels visited the lower levels preferring ot leave the downtrodden district to rot. Instead, laying in wait to butcher any of the degenrate who attempted to leave their quarantine zone.
But not everyone in the district was bent on rebellion or causing chaos, there were entire communities who were there simply because they had nowhere else to go and no way off-planet. Uriel was looking out on the district as he materialised in with a cohort of Blood Dragons. Without work he made his way towards one of the abandoned megastructures, the crowd budging out of the way to give hi mroom out of fear. Blood Angels, however, indifferent to the destitute masses did not care who they knocked over or trampled, their only priority was giving distance to the crowds and Uriel as they made their way inside.
The megastructure's main floor was one of hundreds of ghettoes inhabited by refugees. Uriel's very entry prompted the inhabitants to stop waht they did and looked towards the intruders. As Uriel stood in the doorway the Dragons took positions against the walls as uriel lifted an arm and flicked hsi fingers backwards, calling the crowd towards him. As they did he took a step forward, an audiable thump as his radient frame moves itself, staring at the crowd with intense reddened eyes.
Uriel - Everyone gather, for your Paragon wishes to speak. I know you all live harsh lives, away from the safety I have promised time and again to provide but know this: I wish to make it up to you all. I come here because I do promise you all a chance to escape the melancholy. I ask only one thing of each of you: To embrace me, t oshow your love, to forgive me of my crimes this once.
Uriel held out his arms and lowered his head, letting out a heaving sigh.
Uriel - I am greatly sorry for the lives you all live now but if you will all give your paragon a chance...embrace me, I stand here ready to embrace your affection and forgiveness. Your lives have been harsh, your troubles many, but I came because you are lone lights in thes darkened depths. So come, embrace the love I give you all now
The crows was hesitant, watching as Uriel held out his arms and fell to his knees, taking a deep breath and waiting.
Some of the younger refugees approached first, children, toddlers, they pushed their way throug hthe crowds and lookedu p as Uriel looked down on them with a naffectionate smile. After a few tense minutes, the children wrapped their malnourished or bruised arms around Uriel's colossal thighs, some trying to wrap their arms around his waist. Even those children who were large enough to rival a Draconis child had trouble as over the years Uriel had made himself noticeable taller than what he used to be as a symbol of recognition for his power.
Reluctantly, others followed, joining the children, the whole crowd joined them, when enough had gathered around, Uriel lowered his arms to embrace the more distant citizens. As the crowd gathered, Uriel leaked a warm darkness beneath them, warming the cold floor and acting as a sort of blanket around the hungry, cold and frightened refugees. Looking down, Uriel saw smiled on the faces of the children as shadows enveloped them. Looking down his nicitating membranes flickered as he muttered in a soft and sorry tone.
Uriel - I'm sorry...
One by one, the citizens felt drowzy, their eyes fluttering before they all collapsed, starting with the ones at the back and working inwards. Those that fell to the floro or onto other refugees. THeir hearts slowed to a cold stillness, many exhaling a fina lwarm breath until finally the wave reached the children at his knees, he moved his arms and rested his hands on their backs, rubbing affectionately as some of them yawned. They didn't see that as the wave of stillness swept the crowd Uriel's scales coalesced with dancing patternso f light and his eyes shone intensely. Eventually however, even they lay still, cluthing his thighs.
Uriel took a pained inhalation and gently stood up, squeezing his eyelids closed to hold back the pain. He rose up and levitated over the crowd towards the city of shanties and rested his hand against a large pillar designed to support the structure above. Clenching one of his fists he struck the pillar with a room-shaking roar, obliterating the structure with an audible crash.
Desension energy coursed though his veins as he slammed the ground with his fist, sending a shockwave of heat outwards, blasting the shanties and levelling them, spreading his arms out and clenching his fists, an invisible force crushed the other pillars and yanked them inwards, pulling chinks of ceiling with them. He pulled his arm inwards with a pained look upon his face, leading to an agitated snarl, his scales blackening and his muscles swelling. Lifting his swelling arms above his head he let out a bellowing roar and slammed his fists down onto the floor creating an explosive impact. The room shook violently as though Uriel had triggered an earthquake. With fists in the ground and panting, eyes burning Uriel and his Angels faded out in black smoke before the ceiling came tumbling downwards, pulling the walls with it and in doing so risking the integrity of the surrounding block.
Uriel re-materialised within his private chambers, surrounded by the divine affectations of wealth and looked at his body as the blackness faded. He felt empowered but racked with guilt at what he had done. With fists clenched and eyes burning he plodded out towards the balcony, his footsteps leaving warm shallow footprints in the stonework flooring, the happy faces of the children burned into his mind.
Uriel - There's no point sustaining it all. Not when I have to perform such cruelty to protect the pure...
Uriel's footsteps echoed thoughout the grandiose hall he found himself in. It had been decades since he had last been here, for these days he preferred enthroning himself on the Absolution, the successor to the now-lost TNSS Dominax, or the spacious throne room of the spire he had ordered constructed in the heart of the Centis district.
He paced over and brushed his hand across the gilded decoration of the throne he once rested on, from this gilded seat he commanded an empire that reached out beyond the boundaries of Andromeda, a domain that far-surpassed the ruins he was now trying so desperately to keep alive. His heart was heavy with guilt and burden. All the lives he had taken, all the pain he had caused. he felt a sense of betrayal. The Blood Angels that had joined him on this visit kept their distance, preferring to give their master some time to himself.
Now this icon was vacant and collecting dust, rendered obsolete by the edifice Uriel had ordered constructed for himself. As he descended into melancholy, his mind became filled with dark memories; betrayals executions, he could hear the cries of the damned ring out in his ears, echoing with dissonance in these hollow, withered and decayed halls. He backed away, his head heavy with guilt and remorse as memories and emotions came flooding back.
it was then Uriel's gaze fixated on something else, a flash of light pierced though the skull of one of the angels, brighter than any star, that pierced his skull and caused him to scream as his body collapsed to the floor, burning with an ethereal fire. Uriel darted around, changing his focus to see the source of the commotion. Blam. Another Angel fell, screaming in pain from the purifying flames.
Without hesitation, the horrific obsidian armour that made his man feared materialised over his body and in his hand a corrupted greatsword with a blade taller than any normal Draconis. As if his own rage was literally swelling him, Uriel's muscles swelled and bulged as he crew in height, adjusting his footing as the floor began to crack under his weight. He was large already, and while there were certainly bigger adversaries, this transformation allowed him to tower over other Draconis, with most of them coming up to waist height on his new scale.
Glaring and looking around, Uriel studied for the location of his opponents, he was suddenly blinded by another flash, another shot. Rather than pierce his flesh however, the solid shot melted and dissolved before it could impact the plates on his armour.
Then they came like an angry mob, soldiers of all varieties clad in the best armour they could, armed with rifles and SMGs, two with portable launchers for grnades or rockets. One of them fired at Uriel but as it close in on his head he grabbed it by the body and squeezed the fuselage, causing the device to pop like a pressurised cracker but causing no physical damage to himself. Panicking, the raiders fired a barrage of lasers and coilgun shots against his form, merely bouncing off his armour or dissipating before they had a chance to touch him.
Twisting the greatsword in his hand, Uriel swung it in a horizontal motion and swept it above his head, sending hip-like inferno to sweep towards the group and incinerated everyone it hit, reducing them to ash.
Uriel - You continue to send your pawns after me and every time they fail. Do you not get the message?
Standing on one of the rafters high above was a humanoid figure, a long green coat obscuring its figure while a metallic facemask hid all features under a scalloped plate save for a long set of silver strands of hair bound behind his head and into a ponytail that reached below his shoulders. His left hand supported him on a vertical rafter wile his left held firm the hilt of a sword sheathed at his side.
Uriel - I know you are there upstart, you think you can hide yourself from this city's saviour? The Imperium's beacon of hope? Do you believe you can best me this time?
The figure took a casual step off the rafters and plummeted to the floor, their right arm switching to grasp the hilt as he fell. Upon landing, the figure drew the sword and held it horizontally to his right. He landed crouching, the soft clack of his boots hitting the marble floor.
??? - No...But I made a promise.
Uriel held his greatsword in a more relaxed position as the figure stood up. Looking over his opponent with a frustrated look upon his face. Uriel's opponent was no larger than almost metres tall, rendering him a minuscule figure in Uriel's grandiose presence, but that did not appear to faze him.
Uriel - The years have not been kind to you.
??? - No, I am not as blessed as you. Quite frankly, I do not care.
Shifting his posture, the figure made a sprinting dash for Uriel, leaping up as he was several metres from his target and spun in a corkscrew with the sword - quite obviously a katana of some fashion - acting as a circular sawblade. Uriel flinched and raised his sword, the katana impacting it several times before he smacked the figure away, who flew backwards but landed on his feet. Charging again, Uriel was the first to strike, sending a whip-like wave of fire at his target fro ma slash, the figure leaped and gyrated over it, dodging before continuing on his way and swung his sword to cut at the armour on Uriel's lag. The impacts did not scratch the armour's surface and Uriel responded with a strong kick which the figure responded to by bending sideways to dodge with incredible flexability. As Uriel slammed his foot down it caused a minor chokcwave the figure used to jump up and hack at Uriel's upper body.
The figure's katana once again met Uriel's blade as they both parried, the figure used his flexibility to jump up and off Uriel with sword swings that attempted to weather the armour. As he landed, he performed a backwards flip and a further sideways flip in order to dodge the greatsword descending down like a guillotine blade. The resulting impact shook the room and caused the figure to stumble, having the coat whip around himself as he regained his composure.
He used all his strength and speed to dodge and parry Uriel's swings, his determination being tested with the force of the impacts and the ensuing heat, he was caught off-guard when after staggering Uriel the Draconis retaliated with a fist slamming into the marble, the ensuing impact not unlike a set of explosives being detonated which threw the figure - who was in mid-jump - into the air. As he fell, Uriel materialised behind him and reached out. Like a cat reorienting itself during a fall, the figure managed to regain control and landed feet-first on Uriel's palm, he underestimated his opponent as before he could cut at Uriel's hand he found himself being thrown towards a wall, at such speed that upon hitting it he could feel his bones cracking and the tiling dislodging, he could feel the hard rock as he was buried slightly into the wall.
After a moment, the figure felt himself slipping out of the impact mark and towards the floor, slamming the cold marble floor with a thud and a cough. His vision distorted he looked up to see Uriel approaching with loud, heavy footsteps, that greatsword of his clutched in his hand, the vibrations in the flaw causing further disorientation and causing him to lay his head back down, his facemask dented and cracked.
He felt something push him over, exposing his chest and forcing him to look towards the furious Goliath standing over him. He then felt nothing at all, he as being lifted up by an unknown force to Uriel's eye-level where he could see those scarred features, those fierce ruby eyes, and the rows of sharp serrated teeth, the sign of an angered predator. As he ascended, he felt his hearts beat faster, and faster, he began hyperventilating as his body tried to keep up, the rate increasing further beyond his control, causing him to gasp and choke. Less than a moment before he would have passed out, Uriel roared in his face, his head turning away as what looked like the figure had a katana lodged into Uriel's back.
Distracted, Uriel flailed to reach the ambusher and throw him off his back, his stomping footsteps resonating throughout the room. He eventually managed to smack the second attacker with his tail as the man jumped off, the impact sending him across the hall. This gave time for the original figure to stand up, coughing after he had hit the floor, Uriel had been distracted and suddenly forgot to keep his victim afloat. Uriel was fixated on this copy and as it hit the wall he charged and smacked into the wall. Summoning his greatsword he performed several infernal swings, one eventually slicing off the cop's legs and sending him to the ground. Uriel then unceremoniously sent his foot plummeting onto the body, causing a whitish explosion and a spray of energy as the ambusher was destroyed underneath.
Panting with fury, his muscles swelling further slightly as a result, Uriel looked around ot see that the figure he had once had at his mercy had vanished without a trace save for half of his mask on the floor. Uriel walked up to the broken mask and picked it up in his hand, studying it intently and letting it slip to rest on his palm. He could feel something latent, a residual trace of its wearer. Uriel could feel it, and the insult of this remainder caused him to growl and wrap the mask within his fist, as he growled his grip tightened over it, straining the construction before he heard several snapping sounds, cracking, splitting as he clenched more tightly. Steam rose from his fist before finally letting go and dropping his hand before he walked out of the chamber, a million black shards cascading to the floor, the remnants of the mask ground up lik dust within his palm. A fate he planned to enact upon this mysterious attacker one day.
It's All In Your Head
Deeper within the chambers of Alcanti's divine palace, beyond the eyes of mortal and immortal alike the paragon sat central within an arcane rotunda. The room was silent, reinforced to render the roar of traffic beyond the palace's walls unhearable. Even the most clumsy of footsteps in the corridors beyond were beyond hearing to those inside. This arcane chamber was ideal to sit silently and contempalte. No longer bound by the rules of existence obeyed and suffered by the trillions still surviving in the war-torn Andromeda, Uriel was nto concerned for menial needs such a sleep or nourishment. On quiet days he came to this chamber to isolate himself from the sufferings of the dying Imperium and turn his mind inward.
Bereft of the luxury of pleasant dreams, the immortal paragon would sit in the centre and relax, his mind taking over his perception of the world. As he slipped to the deeper levels of his mind, the sound of air rapidly escaping his nostrils echoed in the chamber, it became the only constant sound as he delved into his inward thoughts.
A gust of icy wind blew though craggy mountains over snow-capped peaks and across an obsidian platform set by a plinth int othe mountain rock. It was on this platform that Uriel materialised within the icy wind, for in this realm constructed by his own mentality, he was completely free from physicality. He had emerged in a world his own thoughts had shaped from nothing, perhaps one of the closest things to sanctuary in Andromeda outside of the monasteries of the Inquisition remnants. He took a look out across the valley below, seeing a star peek its ghostly light over the mountain peaks and gradually surrendering to an overcast sky. Down below, Uriel could see the light of civilisation as smoke rose from etereal lights, tiny flickrs in the twilight that grew with the retreat of the star's light. This was what made Uriel smile, for as echoing as this realm was, it was peaceful, serene. Through all he had seen and all he had destroyed, this was one of the few places left where someone such as him could go for peace and quiet.
His silent reflection on the valley was broken by something that caught his eye - in one of the more distant settlements, smoke was rising. Too dense and too concentrated to be chimney smoke, too massive to be a simple bonfire. Suddenly worried for this development, Uriel spread his wings and leapt off the ledge, the wingso n his back suddenly became engulfed in shadow and extended outwards twofold, leaving behind them a black streak though the sky as he soared at extreme speeds towards the valley floor and the village he saw in distress as the air screamed past his ears.
It was but a few moments i nthe air before he arrived, he tilted upwards and came to an abrupt stop as he slowed himself and landed with a graceful thud and a step as his shadowy wings folded in and acompresseed themself into their original state. He walked briskly though the town, looking around to see black fire ejecting itself from house windows and consuming the once beautiful roof tiles. White stone was charred black as infernal fire consumed its beauty. The streets, once graced with beautifully-carved limestone was cracked and charred. Iron lamp posts, once deatiled with beautiful engravings, were bent and twisted, their artisan glass panels smashed and scattered across the charred and cratered pavement. Every step into the inforno Uriel's sorrow crept upon him; under his feet he saw bodies, pained, in horror, some stil lalive but perfectly at ease with the fire comsuming their flesh. Suddenly something tried to grasp the rim of Uriel's boot. He turned 180 degrees and looked down, a brief moment of irritation disappeare as he saw an alien woman use what strength remained to pull herself towards him. The robe she wore was frayed and faded, her hair ruined and her simian face filled with misery as she looked upon Uriel with large, sorrowful eyes. Uriel was initially irritated that something had unexpectedly grasped for his body and he almost tossed the poor soul aside with a flick of his heel. But seeing the woman he just couldn't, his snarl vanishedi in an instant to be replaced by one of pity.
Instead of casting her aside he reached a hand out. She reached out her own long fingers to reach up to him. He could see it in her eyes - she was disappointed that Uriel was not here when she or the village needed him. He wanted to fix things, she was here because he wanted happiness in this dark age, but before he could od anything the air rang with a voice that shook the ground and summoned terror in the survivor's heart.
??? - PATHETIC!
A gust of wind blew though the town, frightening the woman. Uriel was strong enough to weather it but still shielded his eyes fro mthe ist kicked up. In the sky was a figure, a frightening combination of Draocnis and Coarlatus, a huge swaying tail that created a gust of wind with each swing, two beating wings of shadow that were illuminated in the twilight, and a regal crest upon an elongated head. The creature slammed down into the town, leveling houses with a sweep of its wings. Uriel took a good look at the creature and saw a familiar face.
Uriel - What in the void are you doing.
Instinct - You give me this pen, these morsals and scold me when I knock over a few anthills? After all we have done together?
Uriel - You did not pull the imperium from the brink, you did not found a legacy. All you wanted was--
Instinct - You have gone soft Uriel! When I was awakened I savoured the blood we spilled! Do you not remmeber the enemies we burned and the betrayals we resolved?
Uriel - All you cared about was satisfying your bloodloust and your ego, that is all you wanted!
Instinct growled and vanished in a cloud of smoke, rematerialising next to Uriel and teasingly caressing the arm of the woman Uriel hald with his finger.
Instinct - You have grown and so have I. Did you really think you could hide what you really are? What the gift has made you become?
Uriel - I do not hide it. The Imperium needs a dynasty
Instinct shifted and now glared directly at uriel, standing in front of him
Instinct - The "Imperium" is merely the engine to which our hunger is sated! How many have we had n their knees Uriel? The mortals you surround yourself beg for salvation, they beg for a master after losing Drakon.
Instinct stepped back and gigantic statues of Uriel erupted from the ground around them, looming over as Instinct spread his arms in a feeling of dizzy euphoria.
Instinct - No longer do we crawl at the feet of gods Uriel, but now we stand as their destroyers!
Clenching his fists, Instinct caused the statues to shatter and crumble, standing stoic as the dust wave blasted over both of them. Seeing though the dust, Uriel saw that the euphoria had changed to disgust on Instinct's snout, a form that, buried under the large, impressive crest posessed by the coarlatus of northern Alcanti, mirrored his own.
Instinct - Now look at you. Sheltering mortal souls inside your own mind, treating your psyche like some filthy poorhouse for those too weak or pathetic to survive in the utopia we created.
Uriel - What have you done
Instinct - You leash a hound, but leave it in the pantry. Did you think these wretches simply gave you their will to use as you saw fit?
Uriel wa silent, he had let go of the woman who had attempted to run off. Uriel did not realise until he saw her flying backwards and suddenly stopping, levitating in front of Instinct as black smoke gathered aroun him. Uriel clenched his fists and paced up to reach the woman. Before he even got close he was pushed back by powerful winds that obscured what was going on. From his blood-red eyes he watched black smoke emerge from Instinct and surround her, a blast from withi nthe cloud threw Uriel backwards. Hecould not see where the simian woman had gone, but Instinct appeared pleased as he opened and closed his palm with a sadistic feeling of glee. Inside, Uriel seethed and snarled towards Instinct as he pushed himself up and rushed towards the apparition.
Uriel - WHAT DID YOU DO!
The winds came back, but this tiem Uriel weathered it, strugging against them as his claws dug into the pavement.
Instinct - She was unbound. I rectified that. You should thank me.
With a roar, Uriel jumped and forced his way though the wind barrier, colliding with Instinct. He began to pound the appraition furiously. But with each punch, with each broken bone, Instinct appeared happy. He started chucking, and laughing, the laughter punctuating each of Uriel's blows. A blast of energy from Instinct threw Uriel into the air and into a house that had remained standing until Uriel's body made contact with it's roof, the paragon's body bringing the rest of the buildign with him as he slammed though the roof.
Instinct - You have come too far to simply ignore me Uriel. All this time I have been the one who has made you stronger! You live, and you dominate because of me.
Bursting out of a wall, Uriel charged towards Instinct, his eyes shining as he left a trail of burning fotosteps o nthe pavement. He had had enough, and had summoned his greatsword in his hand. Instinct did the same and the first clash sent shockwaves that cleared the square and levelled the mid-rise buildings. Each clash tore the town apart as the two frantically fought in a battle for supremacy over the other. Instinct however, was cunning; This was his reality and he capitalised on this by punctuating strings of strikes with summoning the environment ot lash out, tossing lamp-posts and vehicles at Uriel ot distract him, most of which were sliced in half as the latter as they came for him. Sometimes, Instinct countered a strong swing by teleporting, leaving Uriel to cout a cloud that a fraction of a second ago was his sparring partner.
Their clashes sent forth flames and screeches that battered the reamins of the burning town, dodginf one blow, Instinct grabbed Uriel's aarm, snapped it and twisted him around. Uriel however landed on his feet and swung his arm to hit Instinct in the head, which he dodged by bendign backwards. Instinct retaliated by swinging his blade to cut off oen of Uriel's wings, which the paragon blocked with his word and followed though with shove of his shoulder and a vertical sing fro mhis blade that cut into Instinct's torso Although immortal, and lacking the need for rest, Uriel could only battle for so long, but Instinct was a natural aspect of htis realm and remained relentless.
It was hard ot tell how long the battle passed before Uriel began making more and more mistakes, Instinct appeared exited by this and let forth a flurry that to his surprise Uriel managed to block, delivering a swing that knocked Instinct off his feet only to see the apparition vanish. This time however, Uriel could nto see where the apparition went, only for a tapp o nthe shoulder to signify, Uriel turned around to see Instinct smiling, holding his palm as black energy seeped from it.
Instinct - Make good use of this.
Uriel - WHat!?
Slamming his palm into Uriel's chest, an blast of light sent Uriel backwards and blinded him i na white light, reemerging in the meditation chamber as he let out a roar and a blast of black smoke that erupted from his body and dispered in the room. With a gasp and a pant, Uriel gathered his bearings. He looked at his hands, squinting, he oculd have sworn that wisps of smoke were rising for mhis fingers before he clenched his fists with an exhalation. More clearly though, he noticed something about his scales - a glossy pattern of umber-coloured knots, perhaps very faint before now more clearly made its way up his arm from his wrists - a pattern that, with further inspection, continued on his legs and torso.