After High King Rambert Ramveral ordered Commodore Malegras to invade New Republic space, his own citizens protested against it. Within Rambo City, the capital city of Rambo Nation protestors marched together in hopes to change the king's mind. In other places, among them at Ramar Shadda, Ramirith and Sainte-Église riots broke out as angered citizens attacked local law enforcers. The King's response was a brutal one, sending his knights of Fornaeria and personal guard to quell the riots by force. He issued orders to Rambo Command to use troopers against the citizens and place them under arrest. Noble officers, amongst them Marscalcus Sinhai Kakharis and rear-admiral James Rambo openly refused to carry out his ordes and were imprisoned as well, leaving vice-admiral Ramtorrian Ramricus in command, a known sympathizer and loyal supporter of the crown. Rambert personally silenced both the Senate and his High Council under threat of treason when they would stop supporting him, ensuring that Rambert's might and royal degree was final.
Chancellor of the Royal Crown Fleur Inviere fled the Rambo Capital in hopes of joining forces with the Rambo Loyalist now that the King was turning his forces against the Rambo population. Meanwhile, other officers who openly questioned recent action were placed under arrest by the knight of Ramveral as well, Rambo ships were send into drydock while its crew were send on shore leave without imminent return to duty.
Fleur entered the bridge of the Eendragt, the Dutch commandeered Acclamator-Class as remained in the Purpara-Nebula with the remainder of the Loyalist fleet. She had hear rumors the Loyalist had send a scout party to Isle Blue but she wondered why the fleet hadn't moved in yet. Turning to face her were a hologram of New Republic President Apollo and the Lord Ramannis Le Rambo in person himself.
Ramannis: "You bring bad news with you your excellency".
The Serindia Lord wings moved nervously, and she noticed the royalty looked tired and exhausted, not to mention Apollo. Though he always looked neat and carefully ordined in his carefully chosen suites the Libertus looked tired as well.
Apollo: "We need to put an end to this war, and the only way to do that, is to bring High King Rambert to justice. It is clear, given the events on the Rambo Capital against his own citizens, that he has become deranged, and tempermentally unfit for the throne."
Rammanis and Fleur nodded.
Fleur: "And that is the challenge Mr. President, M'Lord. I have a proposal, we can take one of those Hammerhead-classes and send an infiltration team on the capital. Rambert will not change at all."
Ramannis frowned and crossed his arms in front of him, unsure what Fleur was proposing.
Apollo: "You mean to assassinate him?"
Fleur nodded, while Ramannis looked shocked by the proposal.
Ramannis: "A dangerous proposal your excellency, it would bring Rambo Nation into chaos which would not make things easier for us!"
Apollo: "It would be best to arrest him, and have him stand trial and be judged by his own subjects."
Ramannis nodded, Fleur looked pleased as well.
Fleur: "Well, I believe we can leave the details to Apollo then".
Apollo nodded gravely.
Apollo: "I believe this should be led by the Rambo. If House Le Rambo are to be restored as the royal house, they must have the people's consent. Therefore, we cannot imply that the New Republic are their puppet masters. In any case, Admiral Cretacea's armada, as well as the crew of the Auethnen Raptor, are within the Quadrants, and will be in a position to help."
Ramannis and Fleur expressed their hopes they would succeed. Ramannis promised to intensify the attack at Isle Blue in hopes of creating an access to the Quadrants. They would continue to discuss the details for minutes more, though their goal was at this point clear; for the sake of the future of the entire Cyrandia Cluster, the reign of High king Rambert had to come to an end. After the conversation ended, President Apollo rose from his desk in his office in the Presidential Pyramid, and contacted Admiral Cretacea. To Apollo, Rambert represented the last major hurdle to overcome before the forces of the New Republic, and the disparite remnants of the Mou'Cyran Accords, could finally concentrate on shoring up defences in the Republic, and finally bring the fight to the Empire. The Admiral shared his son's thoughts on the matter, claiming that once a more amenable monarch was sat upon the throne, the Rambo would join the fight against the Empire, fighting alongside their Republic allies as they had since the days of the Trucinex War.
Chapter II: The Plan of Action
The course of action was set: a group of highly skilled individuals would be sent to the Rambo Capital in order to infiltrate Tirithsilliana and capture Rambert, so that he could be brought to justice. As the forces of Rambo Loyalists and the armada of Admiral Cretecea prepared themselves, devising the best means to attack what was likely the most well-protected world in the known Quadrants, the crew of the Auethnen Raptor had spent their time with their own preparations. Since rescuing Laoi Cretacea from Pauvenris, and parting ways with Qurik Skel, Aoirtae Valaeris, Vanikaimar and Kara Inviá had remained in the Quadrants, where they studied up on the events of the past several months.
Several days earlier, Aoirtae received a communication from Grandmaster Ryen, who warned his former pupil that the Ethelnór Aldárae, aided by classified information gathered by the infiltrated Caranye Valaeris, feared that Rambert was acting under the influence of a member of the dreaded Phaedric Order, who had successfully undermined the old alliance between the Rambo and the Republic, and thus threatened the Cyrandia Cluster with a reality in which the Empire would be granted dominion not only over Cyrannus, but the entirety of Cyrandia. Kara, who discussed the High King with her brother, agreed with Ryen's assessment, for her brother noted that while Rambert was never as friendly to the Republic as Ramashe or Rambarth, he had forged a political partnership with President Nexarón Valkistair, and the two spoke at length about eventually overthrowing the Empire. That the High King would abandon such a hope, in favour of siding with the doomed True Republic, was a sure sign that not all was as it seemed.
To their surprise, as the Republic fleet massed around Lianna station, an unidentified starship emerged from the wormhole to Cyrannus. With a chrome-plated hull, more than one Republic vessel prepared to fire, before Aoirtae informed the Admiral that the ship belonged to her sister—Caranye Valaeris, who had freelanced for the Republic military since the Battle of Cadian, without formally joining it. Upon docking with the Raptor, Caranye stepped out of the airlock and embraced her sister.
Caranye: "It's good to see you again, little sister. You've been busy I hear."
Aoirtae frowned and placed a hand on her hip.
Aoirtae: "And I haven't heard anything from you in months! You could have been dead, for all I knew!"
Caranye: "Ye of little faith. Remember, I am a spy. I'm doing my job if you haven't heard anything. But rest assured, I've been a busy girl."
Vanikaimar: "I hope you are prepared for a true battle. We are delving into the capital of Rambo Nation to bring an end to Rambert. Weakness will only result in a premature death."
The holographic projection of the Eternal Enigma, Caranye's AI companion, suddenly appeared.
Eternal Enigma: "I see the walking, talking museum piece is as cheery as ever."
Caranye: "Manners, Enigma. I assure you, Nagith, I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
The Nagith clenched his fist.
Vanikaimar: "Listen to me, machine. When we left Pauvenris, I thought to have seen a Basileus in the surface, watching as we left. It was Ruuvitharn. He is behind all this."
Kara: "That freak? I thought he died when the Battlestation was destroyed."
Aoirtae: "Last time we saw him, he teleported off the station. I suppose it's possible that he's behind everything."
Caranye crossed her arms.
Caranye: "He survived, no doubt about it. I still have contacts in Imperial Intelligence, and they're keeping tabs on him. But I doubt even they have the full picture. He's a Phaedric Lord, after all."
Vanikaimar: "Curse him and all of his filthy kind. The Basileus are our galaxy's greatest mistake."
Munalur, the captain of the Raptor, appeared from the cockpit, with a worried expression etched on his face.
Munalur: "I've received word from Admiral Creatacea. We're to travel down the Ramsoria Run to the Capital. While in transit, the crew of the Constitution will provide us with access codes. We should leave immediately, so lets get underway."
Vanikaimar: "We should see who the Rambo rebels have chosen to accompany us in this mission. I hope they are competent."
In the next room, with a view outside looking at a Hammerhead-class and CS-10 class corvettes, sat a Loyalist strike squad. The squad introduced themselves as Idris Vanguinar, commander Altus Mirea captain Komamuka Sajin and Yvenne Thalyssaera. The groups shook hands and sat down to discuss strategy.
Vanikaimar: "I hope you understand the gravity of this mission. There must be no doubt ot weakness. Rambert must fall."
The group nodded, though looked grim as they were all aware of the dangerous aspects of the mission. They would engage the Rambo at were they were strongest, at their own capital.
Several hours later, Rambo captain Ramickon Ramglover of the USS Constitution, an original Constitution-Class and an undercover Loyalist provided the crew of the Raptor with clearance codes to land on the surface on the Rambo Capital after intercepting and inspecting them on the Ramsoria Run.
Ramickon approached Kara, flanked by her own niece Alessandra Zoe Cretacea and a cadet known as Volerx Ateeshe. Ramickon shook hands with Kara and informed her she was cleared to continue her journey to the capital even though with all the weapons onboard.
Ramickon nodded and wished the crew all the luck in the world with words of hope.
Ramickon: "For Rambo Nation, daughter of Apollo, I pray the Atlantica are with you!"
Kara: "Thank you captain. With any luck, Rambert will finally answer for his treachery."
Vanikaimar: "No gods or luck will help us. Only our skill will see us through. It is time to bring an end to this charade."
Chapter III: The High King's Master
Several light years from the Rambo Capital, the Raptor dropped out of hyperspace at a rendezvous point, where it was agreed that the Aldárae team would join with that of the Loyalists for a joint strike at the Royal Palace. As soon as Komamuka Sajin and Idris Vanguinar boarded, the Raptor once more shot out into hyperspace, toward their destined target. At twilight, the spiraling white towers of Tirithsilliana looked stunning, the sky turned orange and life below on the streets turned quiet as people started to visit the restaurants and bars to find something to eat.
It was not so for the infiltration party, which landed in a secluded spot close to the Palace walls. But getting in the palace turned to be more problematic than anticipated, even with the intel given by Lord Ramannis Le Rambo. Scaling the heavily patrolled walls for over two hours, they were only half way to the target, and were almost spotted once again. Eventually, however, the party made it to the courtyard, with the spiral tower looming over them. Putting her climbing gear into her backpack, and pulling out the hilt of her blade, Kara muttered.
Kara: "This is taking too long, we'll be spotted before we even reach Rambert's personal chambers."
Vanikaimar: "I am not so sure about that. I have noticed something; the deeper we go, the less guards appear to exist. Ruuvitharn may have purposely left Rambert unguarded so that his royal guard would not discover him."
Caranye: "Don't underestimate him. He controls when he is seen, and when he's unseen. He's creepy like that."
Dropping from the wall overlooking the courtyard, the group rushed to hide behind one of the statues of former Serindia monarchs, concealing themselves just as two Ramveral Knights entered the courtyard approaching the main door into the tower. Both were arguing about who would get to honor to close the palace doors for the evening. Caranye narrowed her eyes.
Caranye: "Stay down, I'll handle this."
Eternal Enigma: "Aim for the cortex. Very efficient."
Caranye unholstered her sniper rifle from her back and took aim from between the legs of the statue. As she set her sights on the guards, Aoirtae placed her hand on the rifle, and whispered to her sister.
Aoirtae: "You're going to kill them?!"
Caranye frowned, and turned her head with her brow raised.
Caranye: "What would you suggest? Let them call for help? Ask them nicely to let us in?"
Aoirtae: "There's always an alternative to killing."
Popping her head from around the statue, Aoirtae concentrated on the guards, and with a wave of her hand, knocked them unconscious. The two guards fell to the ground in a heap, and Aoirtae turned to her sister with a smug smile.
Caranye: "Yes, yes, very impressive."
Vanikaimar: "You are naive. Sometimes death is the preferable choice."
Aoirtae's triumph was rudely interrupted by an incoming transmission from Resistance fleet and inquired about their situation, which would be picked by Vanikaimar.
Vanikaimar: "We are about to enter the spire."
Removing the guards from sight, the group proceeded into the spiral tower, utilising data provided by the Loyalists pointing the way to the High King's personal chamber. However, Kara, who had spent much of her teenage years in the Palace under Ramashe, was well aware of the nooks and crannies, as well as the fastest route to the central chamber. As their Nagith member had speculated, past this point, they would find more guards, only silent hallways. The more they proceeded, the more the air around them appeared to grow strangely heavy, until they could all hear what felt like an itch behind their ears. The eerie silence was broken by what seemed to be gibbering whispers.
Kara: "This place has changed..."
Eventually, Vanikaimar raised an arm in order to halt them as his eyes widened.
Vanikaimar: "What is the meaning of this!?"
Kara: "What bit you, big guy?"
Vanikaimar: "Look beneath your feet."
As they gazed down, they realized their shadows were no longer their own. Rather than fitting their forms, they were now shadows in the shape of Basileus.
Komamuka: "What kind of dark magic is this?"
The large wolf like creature growled as he drew his large katana. He missed Yvenne by his side, as she was still up in orbit in the Hammerhead-class corvette. Instead he looked at the Sinleri elf, Idris Vanguinar.
Idris: "Dark magic, wolf, dark and twisted it feels. I-i can feel it draining my magical power as well."
Aoirtae: "This... This isn't work of a Phaedra."
Komamuka: "Nor Atlantica, ortella".
Around them, a mist appeared to form, unusual for a location such as this. The whispering in their ears at this point had turned into hissing as a voice spoke to them. To Kara, in particular, it was a familiar voice.
???: "Well, well. What have we here? Visitors in my royal palace?"
Kara: "I know that voice..."
Idris drew her knives as Komamuka joined Aoirtae in front of the party.
Komamuka: "Show yourself! Hiding in the shadows is for cowards!"
'???: "Is it now?"
Suddenly Komamuka roared in pain as his own blood sprayed after a shadow tendril hit him dead on, sending the might warrior to his knees. Aoirtae rushed to his aid, kneeling down and igniting her blade in a defensive posture.
???: "Stand down, dog. You speak to the High King of Rambo Nation!"
Vanikaimar: "What is this? This is not Rambert nor Ruuvitharn."
???: "So you don't know who I am? Then allow me to educate you: I am Imperator Mar-Júun!"
A psychic blast struck their minds. Before their eyes, they witnessed visions so clear, they felt real.
They witnessed President Apollo's first contact with the High King during the Civil War, where he sought to convince him to deal with Adelheidis and her her followers... and could watch as Mar-Júun's massive claws were grippling each of the Serindia's shoulders, a large grin in his face as he listened to their transmission.
Apollo: "I'm not asking you to help us, High King. I'm merely asking you to allow us to enter the Quadrants and end this traitor's rebellion against the New Republic."
Mar-Júun: "Look at him. Bringing his war to your galaxies. Your people does not need involvement in his incompetence."
Rambert: "My dear Apollo, I would never allow that nor would the Rambo Senate publicly consent with such a request..."
Apollo: "It's not a request. I'm sending my fleets after Adelheidis, with or without your approval. This call is merely a courtesy, in light of the alliance between the Republic and the Rambo."
Mar-Júun: "He rejects your authority, he disregards your words... He is the enemy. All of the Republic are. They are insects, just like the Imperials."
They witnessed Rambert's meeting with Adelheidis, shortly after the Lianna incident, and watched as the traitorous Praesator delighted in the High King's support to her side of the conflict... all while Mar-Júun's vile shadow circled her, judging her every move with an air of disgust.
Mar-Júun: "Filthy mammal whore. You think you're playing my pawn in your favour? Once your use to me has ended, you and your entire people will join my ever-growing army as slaves. All of your damnable Republic will be buried under the foundations of my new empire."
They witnessed Rambert's encounter with Maxios Telvenum, Paragavatus of the Draconid Imperium, and could see the frown on the demonic Basileus' expression as the Andromedan alien spoke to the High King.
Maxios: "I will not be comfortable unless you swear that by the word of whatever you swear by: be it your gods, your position as High King or your ancestors. Whatever it may be, that no foreign dignitary, ambassador or emissary will be allowed to suffer a similar fate, without fair trial, in your borders. That any foreign dignitary is protected from persecution by your state. And that you will respect any reprecussions should you fail to do so!"
Mar-Júun: "Nothing more than a glorified, corpulent animal. I will relish the day the Black Inquisition brings you to heel."
Rambert: "Are you threatening me and my people your majesty?"
Mar-Júun: "Yes, how dare this outsider raise his voice to you? His ambassadors are but meal to the Malcaeum! Let them all rot! But humour him, for the mere sake of getting him out of my sight."
They witnessed President Apollo's desperate plea for the return of his son, Laoi - Kara's own brother -, and could see the shadow of Mar-Júun's malevolence perched over the High King's shoulder.
Apollo: "I am not in the mood for sarcasm. Release my son, Rambert, release him now, or the consequences will be yours to suffer."
Mar-Júun: "He brings his war to your galaxies and has the audacity to make demands! Put him in his place!"
Rambert: "I think not Mr. President. Show me you are worthy of my renewed faith and trust and I promise you will see him back, eventually. For now, trust me that he is treated fairly and decent."
Mar-Júun: "Yes, I'm sure he's going to love the salt mines."
And lastly, they witnessed High King Rambert on his throne, alone. He was contemplative, his hands together as he appeared slightly distressed. It was him before his fall from grace, days following the Rambo Capital's placing under the Empire's protection by Valindor Palenix. He spoke to himself, his eyes dropping somewhat;
Rambert: "These Imperials... making me a hostage on my own capital! All I've done is for the good of Rambo Nation, but these outsiders continue to provoke me at every turn. First those damned Plazithians at the Gorge, now this... To think someone like Ramashe endured this stress for as long as she did. This legacy she has built... I would rather she never wake up from her coma, but I don't believe spitting on her accomplishments is the answer. I must continue from where she left off and make my own mark in history."
Before he could continue his monologue, however, the shadows across the royal chamber engulfed the light as a familiar voice was heard by Aoirtae and her companions, while Rambert held on his throne in apprehension as a Basileus materialized in front of him.
Mar-Júun: "This is the mighty High King of Rambo Nation? I expected far better."
Rambert: "W-What is this?! An Imperial? I had no meetings scheduled with your kind, Basileus. And who do you think you are entering my chamber without permi-"
Mar-Júun: "Silence, you annoying bird... I feel it within you. Your doubts. Your fears. Your... anger."
Mar-Júun lunged at Rambert; holding him against the throne with overwhelming force, the High King was unable to yell for aid as a tendril coming out of the Basileus' side wrapped itself around his beak to trap it shut.
Mar-Júun: "You doubt your own skill in leading this nation on your own... You fear the repercussions of your actions, believing you won't be seen as well as Empress Ramashe was... You hate the outsiders and their treatment of you. Yes, you are a weak fool, but I should thank you for that, as it attracted me directly to you... You may yet have a place in my glorious imperium, as will your entire race. I will make a true king out of you."
His body turning into a black fog, Mar-Júun begun entering Rambert's body through his mouth, nose and ears, causing the High King to cough and thrash helplessly. As he was possessed by the nightmarish Basileus, he held on his own chest, regaining his composure as he blinked; his irises turned a dark purple colour.
Rambert: "... This feeling... This power! I will do as you desire, my new Imperator!"
The team was dropped to their knees as the revelation was struck: Rambert had fallen to the dark powers of the Corruptus all along. Idris cursed in an ancient language, the torments she endured under his rule were not done to her by the Serindia, but due to the influences of the Corruptus. Her hate of Rambert was not justified, yelling in frustration she launched forward, though there was no one there for her to strike. The group formed a defensive circle around Komamuka, as the shadows swirled around them.
Kara: "You?! You're behind this? What could an assassin possibly have to gain!?"
Mar-Júun: "Assassin? Oh, you are dearly mistaken... I am no assassin. I am a ruler. With Rambert in my sway, soon all of Rambo Nation will serve my glorious imperium to come."
Vanikaimar: "This will not stand. We will extract you out of Rambert as violently as we are able."
Mar-Júun: "I have heard tales of the legendary Nagith. If you are meant to be one, then I am severely disappointed!"
Once they fully regained their senses, the group realized they now stood before the doors to the High King's personal chamber.
Mar-Júun: "Come then. Rambert is eager to meet you all."
Chapter IV: Nightmare King Ramveral
As the team entered the private grounds of the High King, they were met to the sight of Rambert sitting upon his throne, looking down at them with a frown; his eyes had turned into a shining red colour while his feathers dulled into a dark blue. By his side stood Mar-Júun himself, his arms crossed as he grinned at them.
Mar-Júun: "Welcome, to my throne room."
Aoirtae: "Sick freak, you won't get away with this!"
Rambert: "How dare you insult the Imperator in such a manner?! You insolent brat!"
Mar-Júun: "Indeed, Rambert. These mortals want to dispose of you! They would ruin all you have accomplished!"
Rambert: "I have come too far to be stopped by these children! The only future worth fighting for, is the one under the Nightmare! The glorious imperium will vanquish the Empire and the Republic, and my people will finally have their well deserved peace!"
Caranye whipped out one of her pistols and aimed at Mar-Júun, releasing a bolt of energy which the Basileus effortlessly deflected. Idris followed up with throwing one of the knifes but the entity easily deflected it as well.
Caranye: "You're both bloody insane if you think you can win!"
Rambert: "We don't think, we know! The Quadrants will be freed from you vile outsiders' influence at long last."
Mar-Júun: "You being here means the time for subtlety has come to an end... It's time to take the citizens of this world away to serve me."
Rambert: "They would dare revolt against me! After all I've done for them! Ungrateful fools, all of them!"
Aoirtae: "You plunged your people into a needless war, all on the word of a demon who'll murder you whenever he gets what he wants!"
Rambert furiously pointed a finger at Aoirtae as, before their eyes, he begun to rapidly grow in size, becoming more and more monstrous each second.
Rambert: "No! This is all you aliens' fault! All of you do nothing but exploit my people! With Mar-Júun's guidance, I will destroy all of you! You, the Empire, the Plazithians, the Hutter, the Regellis, the Jenassians, the Icolians, the Draconis, I will destroy all of you!"
Idris gasped as she helped Komamuka to his knees.
Idris: "The king has gone mad".
Mar-Júun: "You have doomed this world. I hope you're proud. ... Dispose of them, Rambert."
The High King, transformed into a colossal monstrosity, opened his wings and let out a terrible roar as Mar-Júun disappeared in the shadows of the room. With a mighty leap, Rambert crashed through the ceiling of his throne room, revealing the skies of the Rambo Capital; the black fog of the Corruptus was rapidly covering it, snuffing out the light of the sun as balls of demonic flame begun raining down like meteors.
Vanikaimar: "We need to follow him!"
Aoirtae: "I'll contact the fleet, we need to get people to safety!"
Tirithsilliana was in chaos. Portals to the unknown opened across the city as Malcaeum fiends appeared, subdued both innocent civilians and Rambert's royal guard and dragged them back through where they came, kicking and screaming. Rambert himself flew over the city, letting out a monstrous roar as nightmarish meteors continued to fall down upon all of the Rambo Capital.
Rambert: "If you will not serve me willingly in life, then you will do so in death!"
Aoirtae gazed out at the calamity with horror, the sound of blood-curdling screams filling the once peaceful night air. Taking a flare out from her satchel, she ignited it, and within a few moments, they heard the familiar, and comforting sound of the Auethnen Raptor's engines, as the ship emerged from the clouds of smoke and ash, with the boarding ramp lowered. Munalur stood holding there waiting, his hand outstretched.
Munalur: "You'll have to jump! I can't get any closer with all the debris!"
Aoirtae nodded and turned to the others.
Aoirtae: "Does anyone need a push?"
Vanikaimar: "I do not, but the others might."
With a powerful leap, the Nagith landed into the boarding ramp, while Aoirtae telekinetically lifted Caranye onto the ship, before joining the others in leaping to the relative safety of the Raptor. A Hammerhead-class corvette broke through the clouds, visibly damaged. It seemed the New Republic fleet had arrived! Yet the sight turned into horror as behind it a Miranda-class came crashing down as it was drawn by the Corruptus tentacles of shadow, which had also ensnared a Republic Venator-class Star Destroyer, which broke in half and fell crashing into the sea, throwing up fire and ash and water. It was not alone, however, as dozens of Republic and Loyalist ships dropped into the skies above the capital, firing turbolasers and phasers at the growing horde of demons. The monstrous Rambert turned his head to face the arriving fleet and roared out in furious rage in response.
Rambert: "I will bring an end of your defiance! Never will I have to worry about your infernal Republic again!"
The Raptor sped off from the crumbling palace in the direction of Rambert, though the crew remained on the boarding ramp, contemplating their options.
Vanikaimar: "He will deflect fire from the ships. We have to bring him down ourselves."
Eternal Enigma: "Sounds simple. I volunteer you for the honours."
Vanikaimar: "Do not give me any reasons to toss you out of this ship. In case you are unaware, we are dealing with an apocalypse here."
The Nagith brought a hand to his chin.
Vanikaimar: "These creatures possess a weak spot on their torsos. If one of us could strike Rambert's chest, he would likely crash into the earth."
Aoirtae ignited her blade and looked down.
Aoirtae: "We should do it together, he's too strong for any one of us."
Idris: "Don't wait for me!"
Aoirtae looked confused as Idris launched herself from the platform straight onto Rambert's back. Smiling at her bravery, Aoirtae soon followed, followed by a roaring Komamuka Sajin. The Wolf soon sprinted up to one of the wings and plunged his katana into it, forcing Rambert into a spin. Jumping to a nearby building he waved a gesture of good luck as he crashed hard into the side of the building.
The demon's skin seared like magma, merely touching it burning their very souls. As he spun in air, he roared in rage as he finally realized they were clinging into his feathers, and the Demon King retaliated by shaking himself in an attempt to throw them off.
Rambert: "Your efforts are insignificant! I will sunder this world and devour all of your souls!"
Idris narrowed her eyes and grabbed Aoirtae's hand and threw her higher up Rambert's side, where the Aldárae knight began slashing at the king-turned demon. Idris unbuckled one of her knives and plunged it into Ramber'ts skin, soon followed by her other knife as she began climbing.
Rambert: "You are less than dust! A mere whore without a purpose! You are fit only to be brushed out of my back!"
The monstrous Rambert proceeded to purposely collide into the Royal Palace Spire, hoping the debris would crush his assailants to death, leaving its scar on the Royal Palace. Aoirtae formed a shield of light around her and Idris, and telekinetically grabbed a chunk of falling debris and slammed it into Rambert's head. As Idris tried to hold on to her knives, she called for Aoirtae.
Idris: "Aoirtae! I cannot hold on for long!"
Aoirtae: "Just try! We don't have much of an alternative!"
Rambert: "You have only doomed yourselves. You ride into the jaws of the infinite void!"
Suddenly Komamuka jumped into sight again, startling the demonic Serindia King as a magical energy chains held the King in place.
Komamuka: "Hurry lads!"
Idris sprinted and launched herself straight to Rambert's chest, calling upon a magical enchancement her knives glowed with fel energy as she plunged them into his heart.
Idris: "Controlling a Whore isn't a bed of roses eh? And roses sting!"
A blood-curled roar came out of Rambert as his Corruptus Heart was pierced, and the mighty demon begun to plung into the city below as they clung into him for their dear lives. As Rambert impacted with the ground, much of his essence exploded violently, creating a massive crater around him.
Aoirtae and Idris were thrown aside, rolling through the earth as Rambert, still towering over them, slowly rose back to his feet; he had decreased in size dramatically, though he was still large enough for a Libertus like Kara to only reach his waist. The Auethnen Raptor approached the crash site, allowing Vanikaimar, Caranye and Kara to leap into the ground to finally provide them with their aid. Komamuka approached the group as well, but he was visibly tired and exhausted.
Rambert: "You have done nothing! I will not be stopped now!"
Idris and Aoirtae were shaken, Idris had broken her arm during the fall. When she tried to get to her feet, Aoirtae held out a hand.
Aoirtae: "Stay down, you're injured. We'll take things from here."
Vanikaimar: "An impressive display. The demon's wings are broken. Though he still lives."
Rambert: "'Your tenacity is admirable... but pointless! You will learn to bow before the High King of all the Quadrant Galaxies!'"
Raising a hand, nightmarish energy coarsed into Rambert's hand as a large sword materialized into view, which he clenched his fingers into as he begun approaching the group. Caranye was the first to act, ducking behind some debris and tossing anti-matter grenades at the approaching demon, while Aoirtae and Kara kept their distance, distracting Rambert by pummelling him with flaming rocks and debris. Vanikaimar took cover behind a block of debris as he opened fire from his assault rifle at Rambert's eyes to help distract the monster, who retaliated by attempting to swing his sword at Kara without success; each swing left a trail of horrid darkness behind it, as the sound of destruction and screams could be heard all around them.
Kara: "You'll pay for all the innocents you've killed today, Rambert!"
Rambert: "My cause is righteous! I am saving the Quadrants from your vile influence!"
With each moment, the Nightmare King grew more and more enraged as they continued to evade his blows. Coordinating their shots, Vanikaimar and Caranye both fired straight into his eyes, hitting them and forcing Rambert to stumble back as he was temporarily blinded. Taking the opportunity, both Kara and Aoirtae rushed at him and slashed his legs, severing his tendons and causing him to roar out in pain as he was forced into one knee.
With an inhale, Rambert then let out a breath of dark essence at the duo, barely missing Kara as Aoirtae managed to duck under it, though she would feel a few strands of her hair burning momentarily before tapping them out with her hand. Using her power over the Light, Kara distracted Rambert as did Vanikaimar and Caranye with their gunfire, allowing the Ortella to rush at the King's direction and plunge her energy blade through his Corruptus Heart, hitting him in the wound left by Idris' previous attack.
Rather than any roars or growls, a gasp left Rambert as he lost his grasp on his sword, which dissipated into dust. The fallen High King fell to the ground, only managing to keep himself up with his hands as Aoirtae kept her blade thrust into him.
Rambert: "All I have done... I did... for Rambo Nation! ... Elen sila... lumenn omentilmo...!"
The High King would slowly stop moving altogether as, before the team's eyes, his massive form begun to burn away into cinders, until there was nothing left behind. The King was dead.
As Rambert fell, the demons still prowling the Rambo Capital immediately begun retreating as the skies above them slowlly cleared, revealing the night stars above their heads. Vanikaimar put his weapon over his shoulder as he looked up, sighing in relief.
Vanikaimar: "It appears we have succeeded."
Panting from the battle, Aoirtae nodded gravely.
Aoirtae: "Y-yeah, but Mar-Júun... is still out there."
Vanikaimar: "We will find him another time. And when we do, we will make him pay."
Chapter V: The Fall of a Nation
In orbit over the planet, word had yet to reach the ears of the commanders that the city below had fallen to demons, though more than one officer on either side of the conflict noted that the communication disruption from the capital was odd. Nevertheless, the bulk of the joint Republic and Loyalist armada continued to fight against the forces loyal to their High King, unaware of his transformation into a demon, or his death at the hands of Aoirtae. On the bridge of the Republica, Cretacea concentrated his fire on the closest Rambo dreadnought, as more and more of his forces descended beneath the atmosphere to help secure the Royal Palace, and if everything went to plan, Rambert himself.
Onboard the Loyalist One Lord Ramannis looked grim. They were fighting his own people and every loss felt like a dagger to his heart. Ramannis leaned back, he realized something was off. The Capital was only defended by Rambo vessels, where were the Imperials? In communication with Cretacea, Ramannis expressed his puzzlement that the Empire would simply let the Rambo Capital to fall into the hands of the Loyalists—a noted ally of the Republic. Before they could think on this point further, reports began to emerge from the planet's surface about what had happened in Tirithsilliana. Down on the ruined surface, Kara opened a channel to both the Rambo, the Republic and the Loyalists.
Kara: "All ships, cease your fire! We're not enemies, we've all been deceived! Rambert was not acting in his own mind, he was manipulated by Mar-Júun and led both of our people to war! He unleashed the Corruptus on the city, though fortunately, we were able to defeat him."
Cretacea, and the officers of the Republic fleet, were shocked by the news, and immediately offered peace with the opposing Rambo fleet.The Rambo however were in shock by the news of the death of their King, most officers ceased fire as well and requested instructions from Rambo Command. One thing was clear, the Capital defense fleet was in shambles, many ships were damaged, including orbital defenses and the capital space dock. At that precise moment, a massive Imperial armada dropped out of lightspeed over the Rambo Capital, led by the massive Executor-class Star DreadnoughtExecutor, flagship of Grand Admiral Valindor Palenix. Before the Republic could react, thousands of turbolaser bolts erupted into space, catching and destroying dozens of vessels almost immediately. In a communication to the Rambo, Palenix ordered all vessels to return to drydock immediately, or face the full and unforgiving wrath of the Empire for their failure to protect their King.
Simultaneously, more and more Imperial starships dropped out of hyperspace to reinforce Palenix's fleet, including Grand Admiral Tector Decimius's fleet led by the Star Destroyer Chimaera, where the crafty Grand Admiral was joined by Lord Moranonúngur of the Phaedric Order. Rising from his command chair as the gravity of the situation hit him, Admiral Cretacea bellowed. Closing the ranks were the arriving Raptor Squadron.
Admiral Cretacea: "We can't fend off that fleet! All ships, make an immediate jump to hyperspace before they can raise an interdiction field!"
Ramannis: "Blast it! All Loyalist withdraw to rendesvouz point Loyalist-Bravo, WITHDRAW!"
Once the Auethnen Raptor docked with the Republica, the massive flagship shot off into hyperspace, followed by the Republic and Loyalist armada. As the Imperial armada wiped the battlefield in orbit clean, various Sentinel-class shuttles arrived at the ruins of the Royal Palace. As Imperial troops were removing rubble, Hand of the Monarch Ramseph Ramcard was trapped beneath them and injured he was releaved to see the arriving Imperials.
Mandator Camron Dar and Grand Admiral Tector Decimius faced the injured Serindia who rose unsteadily to his feet.
Ramseph: "My Imperial collegues, I am so releaved you arrived. Terrible events took place on the capital my friends."
Decimius brushed some dust off his shoulder.
Decimius: "So it would seem."
Camron simply smiled and backhanded the Serindia who fell back to his knees. Rubbing the side of his face he looked confused.
Decimius: "In the past, the Empire was content to allow the Rambo to rule themselves. Clearly, that was a mistake. Our alliance, born from the Concordat, was advantageous for a time. That time, Lord Hand, has ended. Our needs have changed, and the advantage has faded, and therefore, your independence is at an end."
01 October 21 AQF, or 21 Dekemurios, 17 NE, well over 450 years Rambo Nation, a once proud, powerful, promising and influential Gigaquadrant Power ceased to exist. Due to manipulations from both within and without, they shunned former alliances and treaties, the last of the original Great Eight was no more as its government was replaced by Imperial authorities. Its proud fleet mothballed and its resources used for the glory of the Empire and his Majesty, Emperor Tyrómairon!
Rambo banners were replaced by Imperial Banners and its population was pressed into Imperial citizenship, yet there werestill those who resented the Empire or those that managed to flee to the nearby NCR territories. With a single strike the balance of power shifted into favor of the Empire with the dominant power in the Quadrants crushed, the Hutters were politically outmanouvered by the Empire and without the Rambo they kept their promises of treaties.
In the following weeks, many Rambo influential persons were either send to prison, spirited away or vanished. Others were set to work within the Imperial Government under close supervision of Imperial Intelligence.
Elsewhere, internal strife caused a rift between the Cyrandia Resistance as Lord Ramannis Le Rambo felt the New Republic sacrificed his own people and Nation to buy time. A rude claim but what can one expect from one that now carries the burden and only future of Rambo. When news reached Capricaerón that Rambo Nation had fallen to the Empire, President Apollo expressed his utter shock, and addressed the Senate, informing them that despite the fall of the Rambo, the Republic would continue the fight against the Empire. Nevertheless, with the Rambo territories under complete control of the Empire, including the fortification belt known as the Gorge, in Imperial hands the NCR territories in the Quadrants face collapse and invasion.
The Quadrants will forever remember the day 1 october 21 AQF, though a promising day and great victory for the Imperial march and a day closer to the utter domination of the Galactic Empire, it was a day when the shimmer of hope faded and darkness managed to thrive with the fall of Rambo Nation.
Yet, Rambert was not the only pawn under Mar-Júun's control. The terrible tide of the Nightmare was far from defeated; in fact, it had not even arrived yet. The glorious imperium was yet to come.