| Second War of Black Fog is a Historical Event
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“You will regret ever wronging me, Plazith Rim...”
- - Errr
The Plazithian Massacre is the third part of the Second War of Black Fog. It marked the longest and bloodiest period of the war, when the Dracogonarious and their allies were subject to the full might of the dreaded Marinoxidiz and their demonic gods.
The March of DeathEdit
The attacks of the Corruptus came to a halt following the defeat of the Loron'Kikra. A new year had started at this point, and it was now 2780 by human calendar standards. However, the coming of a new year was ignored by the Dracogonarious Empire's topmost scientists as they worked on their newest technology under the direction of none other but Tarygan Tersly, built especially to combat the forces of nightmare. Collaborating with Thea'Nhirara and the newly resurrected Laminoula'Fuerq, after weeks of non-stopping work, they were finally proud to announce their invention was ready for field testing.
Windey Spinkarius, ruler of the Spinker race, cradled the young Maryah in her arms, who in turn cuddled the Thoi'olerthae Mimi as they watched the tests. Jerkon and Koluap were each given weapons fitting for each, in this case an assault rifle and a shotgun respectively, as the scientists revealed their targets: multiple corrupted and barely sapient soldiers, captured from the headquarters of the Vengeful Claw months prior which had been taken to this world for study. The sight of the mutants caused Jerkon's eyes to squint briefly out of disgust, while Koluap laughed eagerly as he pumped his shotgun on his hands. Also overseeing the test were Tarygan, Thea'Nhirara and Laminoula'Fuerq himself, who watched from a distance, his shadow somewhat covering most of the testing chamber. Herquie, the mercenary, leaned against a wall and watched the scene from a distance, not wanting to stay close to the revived giant. Something about him made him feel extremely uncomfortable.
- Tarygan - First run of Pseudothoi weaponry is to begin now. Get in position, boys.
- Jerkon - Pseudothoi? Elaborate.
- Tarygan - Using the otherworldly knowledge of mister Laminoula'Fuerq and miss Nhirara, our scientists have done our best to emulate Dream Energy essence in order to combat Corruptus demons more easily. The emphasis is on emulating, because attempts to clone the actual energy have proven fruitless. The ammunition in your weapons is made out of this emulated material we have named Pseudothoi, and while it isn't as strong as the actual essence, it will deal further harm to Nightmare entities such as these test subjects.
- Koluap - That's a weird-ass name if you ask me.
- Thea'Nhirara - In my people's tongue, the energy of our patron is named Thoi Themek. Dream Energy is a name created by mortals to be used by mortals. Similarly, we refer to the powers of nightmare as Kharav Themek.
- Koluap - Fair enough, missy. Can we start the shooting part now?
- Tarygan - Indeed. The less time wasted, the better.
Tarygan signaled to her assistants which led to the containment keeping the corrupted soldiers being opened, and the zombie-esque creatures immediately charged at Jerkon and Koluap's direction. The two opened fire, and as their shots hit the enemies, the testing room could watch as bright blasts of energy erupted into their bodies, feeling like powerful explosions which tore the corrupted soldiers's apart as if they were being hit by anti-tank weaponry. Jerkon's eyes widened by the reaction caused by the attacks, while Koluap could do little else but cackle out loudly as the corrupted soldiers were reduced to flesh chunks before their eyes, their remains eventually dissolving into a black mist.
- Tarygan - Success.
- Koluap - Holy shit! I love it!
- Jerkon - That was... ludicrous. They were completely decimated.
- Tarygan - With this firepower, you will no longer have to worry about Kikra Caste, Shu'olerthae or any other lesser demon overrunning you. More powerful demons will surely demand more firepower, but that is to be expected. We will be distributing this ammunition to our allies in the coming battles.
- Thea'Nhirara - Your technological prowess is to be admired. Do you not agree, Laminoula?
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Hm. Indeed. I am proud to have contributed to this project.
- Koluap - What about you, big guy? You're yet to tell us what you are.
Koluap walked over to Laminoula'Fuerq, only standing as tall as one of the giant's toes as he looked down at the Spinker, letting out a quiet chuckle.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - I will gladly explain myself and my purpose soon, young one. But for now, I must focus on the next step of our plan. Now that you can fight on even terms with the Corruptus, we must find a way to weaken the High Three.
- Jerkon - High Three?
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Shu'suvreca, the world devourer. Shu'ytrogarva, the nightmare haunter. And finally. Shu'wokerama, the lord of the Corruptus's armies.
- Jerkon - These names... We have encountered this Shu'suvreca before. When we rescued Miss Nhirara from the clutches of the Marinoxidiz, he appeared to us. He was... impossibly large.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Indeed, young one. And now that the Dark Five have been defeated, the High Three will be your greatest obstacle. Only once they are destroyed will we be able to defeat the Corruptus menace.
The Pseudothoi technology would be shared with the allies of the Dracogonarious Empire for the next conflicts with the demons of nightmare. Perhaps they were finally going to take the fight to the Corruptus rather than be their punching bags... but that is only wishful thinking.
A Shortly-Lived RespiteEdit
The death of Hagto'Zhl had provided breathing room for many in the Milky Way, not least of all the Draconid Imperium. The lull in the fighting gave the Imperium's military a chance to ease itself and reoganise its troops. During this time Rosarion Ultanos, one of the immediate brothers of the still-absent Uriel Ultanos, was visiting the jurasdiction of praetor Taela Savenium. During one evening, the landscape viewed fro mthe governmental palace illuminated by the lights of the capital metropolis below, the two notaries talked politics and strategy as they headed for a quiet dinner in the dining hall.
Operatives of the Inquisition of Drakon were known for their hands-of approach to politics but this time things were different. Joining Taela as an entourage were two inquisitors, dispatched by the Inner circle. Alestos, the elder and more grizzled inquisitor, walked beside Taela and Rosarion as they talked a new strategy for if, or more likely when, hostilities would resume. Walking behind him, almsot mixing in with Rosarion's Blood Dragon escort, was Sarec, a young inquisitor who for the most part had kept quiet while his elder was discussing matters of counterattack.
- Alestos - This isn't the end, lady Taela. An incursion like this doesn't simply stop when you cut off one leadership.
- Taela - You speak as if these, hrmph, "demons" are alien to the concept of supply lines.
Despite all everyone had been though, Taela still scoffed at the thought that for the past two years the Imperium's military, the entire Gigaquadrant in fact, had been fighting just another alien threat. Rosarion however, did not look impressed. He signified his displeasure with a quiet tut.
- Alestos - We're not facing a rival power, your exellency. We are fighting something much more alien.
- Rosarion - The Inquisitor is right. The paragavessa was in the palace when the dead came up from below. We're not facing rivals or a plague. No matter what the media nodes say. We're facing something else.
- Taela - Honestly, you two are starting to sound like those Maasari preachers that the department head of Domestic Security keeps complaining about. Our foes bleed, scream and die just as anything else.
- Rosarion - That is true, admittedly. Most of the forces we've faced, supernatural as the Inquisition claims them, still seem to be as vunerable to enough firepower as any being, if a little more resillient.
- Taela - The nwe can assume that eventually they will run out of steam, or perhaps they eventually get settled on the extent of their war.
- Rosarion - Except so far they only seem to be destroying rather than occupying or capturing. We've already had billions converted into those..."Kikra caste", who are short-lived rabid zombies more than anything else, and they show little signs of slowing down aside from the resolutino in Dranvamus.
- Taela - And that is their undoing. They sound more like animals than a rational faction.
- Rosarion - Perhaps they are. But they seem intent on transforming thinking beings of all kinds to rabid animals.
It was at this point that the skies of the planet turned dark, the sun being nearly instantly blot out by a fog of pure darkness. Swarms rained from the sky in the form of Shu'olerthae and Malcaeum demons who fell into the city like a swarm of wasps with little regard for what was under them, and once they hit the ground, they immediately began attacking everything in sight.
Rosarion and Sarec watched with mouths agape as the city was set ablaze from the chaos of war in moments. The others looked over and Taela's eyes widened as she took in what was going on, but it was not to her liking.
- Taela - How...How in the void did they get so deep into allied territory?
- Rosarion - You should be asking that question about Alcanti!
- Alestos - There's no time for a blame game, everyone move to a more secure location!
Rosarion and Taela nodded and picked up the pace. Instead of pacing towards the dining hall, they headed in the direction of the lower levels of the palace with an almost skipping pace, desperate for shelter against the attack. The sound of enemy activity inside the palace would be noted moments after they began retreating, with the roars and growls of the Corruptus demons becoming more audible as they attacked. It would not take long for a small group of Malcaeum to give chase to the group, letting out shouts and barks at them in provocation.
- Malcaeum - No escape us!
- Rosarion - Dragons cover us!
The entourage nodded and several of them swiveled around to fire plasma bolts at the approaching Malcaeum. Half of Rosarion's entourage devoted themselves to keeping the way forward clear while the other half kept the rear in check. The message was passed around and other Blood Dragons, who were in nearby corridors, joined the action from a medium distance, trying desperately to keep the Malcaeum at bay from encroaching on the notaries. The unprotected bodies of the demons gave them little protection against the weapons of the Dragons, and they were given breathing room as the Malcaeum were cut down, bursting into purple flames as they were destroyed.
Ahead of the group, however, black fog manifested out of the ground as a massive Carnirrasc demon teleported in, letting out blood-curled growls at the group as it launched its huge machetes at them. Blood Dragons that were close enough holstered their fusion rifles and drew longsabres and daggers to cut at the Carnirrasc's flesh with cold plasma-coated steel reinforced and sharpened with numerous alloys. The weapons cut through the legs of the giant and forced it to stagger back, and the Carnirrasc growled once again as he was forced to give them room to progress. More screams of Malcaeum could be heard through the corridors as their numbers increased, and surely more of them would start giving chase soon. The wounds and damage the Carnirrasc caused to the group meant that despite all orders given, two Dragons, blinded by the infamous berserker fury dragonrage stayed behind ot try and finish the demon off while the group moved closer and closer towards the bunkers underneath the palace.
- Taela - They want me dead, they're burning an entire city to assassinate me!
- Alestos - You are but a trophy, your exellency. This world will be burned regardless of how alive you end up being.
- Taela - For a man famous for being able to dissolve barbaric cults by the dozen you're not very good at consoling people.
- Alestos - Right now I'm not in a "dissolve cults with logic" type of mood.
- Rosarion - That...thing seemed rather eager for your head though.
- Taela - These demons recognise authority it seems.
- Rosarion - Special treatment for a HVT?
- Taela - I suppose.
The group kept moving, deeper into the depths they went towards the bunker chamber. No Malcaeum came after them after the encounter with the Carnirrasc, though they could still hear their yells which sounded much louder than before. It appeared the dragonrage was something incredibly amusing for them. The only thing that came after the group after that were stray Kikra-caste individuals who could easily be shot down from a safe distance. The change in stress eased the nerves of the politicians as they reached the heavy reinforced doors of the bunker that Taela kept underneath her residence for such an occasion as this. While she activated the opening sequence, Alestos, Sarec and a few remaining Blood Dragons kept watch over the corridor they had come down, shootging Kikra-caste that strayed into the hallway. Alestos looked to Sarec, who looked a little shaken up
- Alestos - Sarec How are you feeling?
- Sarec - I'm good. Little shaken up.
- Alestos - Nothing I haven't seen you handle before.
- Sarec - Well that giant was a bit of a surprise...what was it?
- Alestos - We'll have analysts look into the archives once this engagement is over. Wasn't a Malcaeum that was for sure.
There was a clang and a screech as the heavy door of the bunker opened. Alestos darted his head back and made a signal with his hand to call everyone inside. A brief glance inside the preservation bunker and it was easy to see this was a praetor's refuge, with high ceilings, decorated pillars and walls decorated with delicate patterns around the lower half of the walls.
- Sarec - You're not a vampire are you, your exellency?
- Taela - You expect me to protect myself during bombardment in a grimy concrete pit?
- Sarec - Well no...I just didnt expect this.
- Taela - I have tastes inquisitor. If I'm going to be hiding as the planet goes to the Void I might as well do so in comfort. We should be able to weather any sort of bombardment short of this chunk of rock being ejected into space and torn apart piece by piece.
- Rosarion - Well that's...comforting.
Taela was not the only one here. Connecting chambers indicated that this place was not just a bunker, but a command centre. War rooms, barracks, armouries, Taela and the staff that had also found refuge in here appeared well-prepared for anything down here. And while the comfort of this bunker was a good sign, the group would still hear the sound of heavy steps outside, as something appeared to crawl through the corridors. Something massive. On one of the screens inside the bunker, they could see a single, immense claw tapping at the walls, like it was searching for something. Sarec's eyes turned to the screen shwoing the outside of the bunker and shivered as he panicked from the sight.
- Sarec - What about a titan-sized demon with claws the size of my head?
- Taela - Not even an Earthshaker round could root this facility.
- Rosarion - You didnt' spend more than your mandatory tour of duty in the Aetheral Body did you?
- Taela - I was a member of the diplomatic corps.
- Rosarion - That explains a lot.
In the screen, the entity moved forward, allowing Sarec to take a glance at what it was. It was a gigantic, winged Malcaeum with eyes as black as the void of space, crawling on all fours as it squeezed through the corridors. The claw was in fact the entirely of its right arm, which appeared like a whip made of exposed bone which ended in a large claw-like finger.
- Sarec - My mistake. A claw that's bigger than I am.
- Taela - What sort of bioweapon are they sending against me?
- Alestos - Looks like a demon commander to me.
The giant demon disappeared from the monitors. And moments later, the sound of tapping could be heard on the bunker's entrance. This shocked everyone as the echoing tap rang though the main chamber. Taela appeared to freeze in place as she feared for her life.
- Alestos - ...everyone move quietly out of the lobby and into to the war room.
- ??? - I can feel the smell of your fear...
- Taela - Wh-what?
- Rosarion - It's trying--- Trying to intimidate you madame.
- Taela - Well....its working.
- ??? - You try to run... run from the bloodshed... but the bloodshed always finds a way.
At this moment, the demon's gigantic claw pierced through the reinforced doors of the bunker like a spear, while one of the four eyes of the giant Malcaeum could be seen outside. Taela froze solid, prompting Rosarion and Alestos to briskly drag her form the door. Alestos then calledo ut ot Sarec
- Alestos - Sarec get the praetor into the war room. The Dragons and I will hold it off!
- Sarec - You want to face him?
- Alestos - Our priority is the praetor and the prince.
Sarec nodded and took up Alestos' place in holding Taela. The senior Inquisitor paced int oposition and drew his battle rifle while other dragons joined him. The demon began clawing his way through the door, tearing chunks of it off as it entered the bunker. The group was standing before Shu'rahkavarh, greatest of the Malcaeum, and he was easily told apart from the others by size alone. Were it not for the fact it was supernatural, there was no way something this large could squeeze through the corridors like it did.
- Shu'rahkavarh - Be butchered.. be skewered through by me...
- Alestos - Open fire!
Shu'rahkavarh's words were met with a heavy volley of plasma fire from a dozen sources that struck his body. The demon appeared to ignore the shots as he threw his spear-like claw forward, stabbing through one of the Blood Dragons and skewering through his body until he stopped halfway through the demon's arm. The attack caused the soldiers to relocate while Sarec watched, al lthe while dragging the praetor's terrified body into the war room next door. Realising the raw power in this demon's arms, the soldiers that fired at him moved ot kee ptheir distance from him while the Blood Dragon impalled on the demon's limb sqiremed and struggled in a desperate attempt to put the demon off-balance. Shu'rahkavarh reacted to the soldiers moving themselves by inhaling and then exhaling a blast of entropic energy at their direction which came out as a stream of purple fire. The sounds emitted by the demon as it attacked sounded like a hundred screams in unison. Being trapped in the enclosed space that they were, the entropic fire quickly engulfed the room. Sarec, Rosarion and Taela managed ot close the war room's doors just before the fire could spread inside. In one swift gust however, the main chamber was engulfed in supernatural flame, burning at armour and weakening the Blood Dragons' resistance to the demon's power. As the flames subdued, the squad watched as another soldier was impaled by the spear-arm, with the individual being stacked above the previously attacked Blood Dragon.
- Shu'rahkavarh - Need more... not enough.
- Alestos - Keep up the pressure!
Alestos' words were in vain as the entropic fire made its way though the armour of two Blood Dragons, cooking them alive and spurring two others, one of which was on the Skewer's limb, into that same berserker frenzy everyone witnessed earlier. Their attacks became more frantic and vigorous, and they both roared with a blind fury. The more concentrated members of the squad could watch as the demon's muscles visibly grew in size the moment the Dragons turned berserk, and Shu'rahkavarh retaliated to their attacks by sending his jaws at one of them to devour them. While the demon was visibly being hurt by their blows, it showed no reaction, as if it ignored pain altogether. This third dragon, like the others, sent another into dragonfury. Much to Alestos' dimay their efforts only only appeared to empower the demon. He ordered for a different approach, and called for the defenders to focus on his skewer-arm and his legs. Assuming at the time that even if he didn't feel pain, they could blast his limbs off.
The moment a third dragon was trapped helplessly in Shu'rahkavarh's maw, Sarec opened the door to the war room and ran in, drawing a fusion pistol and firing at one of Shu'rahkavarh's eyes. Alestos turned around ot glare furiously at Sarec for disbeying his instructions.
- Alestos - Sarec what in the void are you doing!?
- Sarec - I'm more of use by your side!
Before anything else could be said, Alestos felt the spear-limb of the demon impale through his back, lifting him up in the air as he then was dragged back to stack on top of the other impaled victims. He could feel that, despite having the limb skewer through his body, there was less of a feeling of pain and more of a feeling of extreme discomfort on his insides. Sarec stood immobile for a moment, watching helplessly as Alestos was lifted up with the appendage though his torso. Taking a deep breath, Sarec ran forward, drawing a dagger and leaping up into the air with the hopes of stabbing Shu'rahkavarh in the chest. The demon, instead of defending himself, merely moved to the side to evade Sarec as he began walking at the war room's direction, as if ignoring him. Sarec's face turned from anger to surprise as suiddenly the demon moved and he found himself soraing towards a wall.
- Shu'rahkavarh - One more...
- Sarec - Hey! Where do you think you're going?
Shu'rahkavarh made his way inside the war room, stomping on top of other surviving soldiers as his four eyes shifted through it, looking for more victims. Despite the shots he had received from Sarec, the demon appeared unharmed. Sarec became more panicked, he tried to jum po nthe demon again, this time going for the base of the spear-limb. While he managed to latch on it, the demon himself appeared to ignore him as he walked at the direction of Rosarion Ultanos, an audible growl coming out of him. Seeing the demon stomp forwad, Rosarion backed away, taking a plasma pistol fro mthe table and firing several panicked shots into Shu'rahkavarh's eyes. He shook his head, begging for the demon to go away.
- Shu'rahkavarh - Eleielord sends his regards.
Shrugging off the shots, the demon lifted his spear-limb and sent it down at Rosarion, using the victims's bodies as a bludgeon to crush the prince. Taela let out a mournful scream while Sarec weak from the flailing about, almsot fell from the spear-limb, holding desperately on to his dagger as it cut into Shu'rahkavarh's flesh. A jet of incredibly hot blood came out of the wound left by Sarec, though the demon continued to ignore him as he then began walking at Taela's direction, growling once again as he shook the still-living victims on his spear, as if wanting to hear their despair. Sarec lost his grip as the blood gushed out and fell to the floor behind the titanic Malcaeum. He saw Taela being threatened and bolted in an ateempt to save her by shielding her from the fate that was to come.
- Shu'rahkavarh - You... are not special. Merely one more... to be added to the collection... All the same. Sacrifices. Sacrifices to the Devourer. Devourer!
The demon sent his normal hand to Sarec in order to smack him out of the way, sending him flying to collide with a large monitor at the far end of the room before finally launching his spear-limb at Taela in order to add her to his stack of bodies. Sarec watched weakly as Taela's body was run though, becoming an extra body to Shu'rahkavarh's grisly collection. The demon lifted his limb in order to glance at the various victims he had impaled, reaching his snout to close to Alestos in particular before speaking.
- Shu'rahkavarh - This one... is odd. He fears not the nightmare like the others...
- Alestos - I have seen much horror, demon. You think I fear a brute like you for that?
- Shu'rahkavarh - Even at the face of oblivion?
- Alestos - I am but one agent in the cosmic battle for balance. If I die, I will be avenged. Your end will come regardless of what happens to me.
- Shu'rahkavarh - So be it.
The demon's spear-limb's temperature began rapidly rising as entropic energy was pumped into the bodies of all the victims impaled by it, and their bodies began radiating brightly. Before Sarec's eyes, the victims of the spear, including Alestos, exploded in a blast of entropic energy which launched blood and viscera through the entire room. Sarec shielded his eyes with his arms as the remains of his charges, friends and allies were scattered scross the room. He was weak fro mthe ordeal, but he reached for his fusion pistol and pointed it threateningly at Shu'rahkavarh. Panting all the while, his hand shaking with a fear he tried desperately to suppress. The demon watched Sarec for a few instants before turning his back to him and slowly making his way to the exit, his body now drenched in the blood of his victims.
- Sarec - I'm...I'm not done with you demon!
- Shu'rahkavarh - But I am done with you... You live... because your despair is too amusing for me to end it...
- Sarec - It...it will....it will be....your mistake....monster.
Shu'rahkavarh crouched down on all fours as he crawled out of the bunker, moving through the same corridors it had come from until it disappeared from sight, leaving only a trail of blood behind. When Shu'rahkavarh was gone, sarec opened his palm and dropped the pistol, looking about the room as he panted with fear and despair, just as the demon had said. But for Sarec it was not over, he wanted revenge for what this demonic warrior had done to him.
Help from the RepublicEdit
President Apollo sat behind his desk in his richly furnished office in the Presidential Palace. Huge windows behind the desk opened out onto the Orbispira skyline, with countless ships and other assorted vehicles buzzing past the glass spires of the hypercity. Beyond the space-touching towers, the planet's sun bestowed last light over the horizon of the Palace District, bathing the urban terrain in vibrant orange and red. The President appeared lost in thought, contemplating the various campaigns waging in the ongoing civil war. A notification brought him back to reality, as he quickly sat upright and pressed a holographic display unit on the resplendent surface of the desk. Contrasting with the finery of the office and the dashing attire of the President, the new arrival was clearly an unusual sight so close to the heart of the political machinery of the Republic. Apollo stood and outstretched his hand, welcoming the battle scarred Tenerensis.
- Apollo: General Sesoka, please take a seat.
Grumbling in a way that expressed his indignation for being taken away from the front lines while not in a particularly disrespectful way, the General sat down.
- Sesoka: An audience with the President himself. I am honoured, though I must admit my discomfort from being away from my crew. Those Confederate scum won't kill themselves.
Pouring some Capricaerón coffee into two cups, Apollo's eyes widened for a brief moment before politely offering a cup to the general.
- Apollo: I assure you general, I would not have called on you if the matter wasn't of dire importance.
The General's interest was certainly piqued.
- Apollo: I know you don't want to leave your men and women, but I've been informed by our Plazithian allies that Republic aid in the fight against the Corruptus would go along way. I have already dispatched two fleets to help with defence, reconstruction and containment but this particular conflict requires a more specialised touch. A warrior to represent the ideals of our Republic in the fight against evil. That sort of thing.
- Sesoka: Ah... and I am this warrior?
- Apollo: As I see it, yeah. The Republic does not count many knights of your calibre in its rank, we have always relied on our fleets to protect us. This war however, won't be won with fleets.
- Sesoka: And what of my current campaign against the Confeds?
- Apollo: Captain Roslia will take command of your fleet while you're in the Plazith Rim. First though, he'll escort you to New Draka. I have a couple of friends in the Dracogonarious Empire who will meet you at the assigned coordinates. Best of luck, General. I'm sure you'll do us proud.
Rising from the desk, Sesoka saluted the President, who promptly returned the gesture, his usually genial face somewhat more solemn than usual.
- Sesoka: "Fear not, Mister President. I will carve into these monstrocities in the name of the Republic and the democracy upon which it has prospered!"
The Avenger, flagship of Sesoka dropped out of hyperspace in New Draka's orbit, a flotilla of Dracogonarious vessels gathering to greet it. Upon receiving the exact coordinates, Sesoka boarded a shuttle alone and made his way to the planet below. The general was directed to the front of the building where the Supreme Advisors were currently residing, where he encountered Jerkon and Koluap. As he arrived, the former bowed in acknowledgement, while Koluap appeared distracted with an insect which flew around his head.
- Jerkon - Greetings. I am Commandant Jerkon and this is Admiral Koluap. I take you are the man sent by the United Republic of Cyrannus.
- Koluap - Damn flies... Eh? Oh. Hey!
- Sesoka - My saurian good looks gave me away I suppose? Yes, I am General Sesoka, emissary of the Cyrannian Republic and ally in your fight against the demons.
- Jerkon - It is a pleasure to meet you. Indeed, we require all the help we can receive, for these... entities are more powerful than we can fight by ourselves.
- Koluap - Hope you're ready for a lot of shooting and killing, guy. That's what we're dealing with here.
Sesoka gestured with his arm and a long sword emerged from a device attached from his wrist. Running a clawed hand down the blade, Sesoka smiled.
- Sesoka - I have been looking forward to doing just that. It is my honour to fight to save the very universe itself from these abominations.
- Jerkon - We will be instructing you to follow us in our next mission. For now, you are free to await as you please. We are having an oddly long moment of silence... the entities are sure to attack again very soon.
- Sesoka - Aya, the calm before the storm. My blade awaits your command.
The room was small, as was expected of such private and intimate occasions, as Tyraz found himself standing in ceremonial, regal robes that draped over his black armour while the fingers of his left hand were wrapped around by those of another - a taller figure, also draped in robes and a hood that obscured their face, stood beside him. The palms of their embracing hands had been lightly slashed, allowing their blood to come into contact, and Tyraz could familiarize himself with the details of the room he stood within; the bridge of his ship, the Ghost of the Warrior, which was occupied by a select few individuals with whom he was familiar with. Standing ahead of him and the figure who clasped his hands was another Zazane, their face also obscured by a ceremonial, decorative hood, who the Emperor could see was quite clearly a registrar.
This was a marriage ceremony.
At one side of the room was the Slayer-Commander of the Third Sovereign Domain, Hork Zando, who quietly clapped as a smile dominated his expression. Next to him was none other than Admiral Koluap, who appeared too busy drinking from an alcoholic beverage to pay attention to the ceremony, much as everyone expected. And on the other side, Tyraz could make out the features of Lichiatt Xarann, the Executive Marshal of the Affinity of Blades, and several other individuals who Tyraz remembered as former-members of his old regiment during his time as a soldier of the Sovereign Domain. And beside her stood Savas Gormarro, the Preceptor-King of the Freeblood Realm, who mused himself quietly as he stared half-heartedly at the ceremony unfolding before him, his powerful arms folded over and under one another.
Tyraz himself wore an uncertain smile, restraining himself from having his joyful tears become too evident to those in his presence, and he looked towards the registrar of the ceremony as they proclaimed the conditions of the pact of the marriage taking place.
- Tyraz - ... Aye. Swear my life, I shall, to Keldar of the lineage Teiran, Grand Minister of the Affinity of Blades, and the beholder of my affections. To her, I owe my hand, my blade, and, should such be required, my blood and my body.
- Registrar - You may remove her hood and begin applying your blood to her face.
Tyraz nodded in acknowledgement and smiled as he released his bride's hand and turned to face her rather than the registrar, sighing with relief as he looked upon the hodded Zazane standing before him. Dabbing the index finger of his right hand into the bloody slit upon his left palm, he cautiously and gently removed the hood of his bride to glance into her eyes with his own, star-struck and captivated. And it was when he let the hood fall to his bridge's shoulders did he feel his stomach twist and churn and his beating heart launch itself into his throat as he looked upon the disfigured, corrupted visage of what was once a Zazane, their skin and tendons decomposed to reveal the fractured bone beneath the flesh - and a smile, or something as close to possible as a smile, grew upon Moxix's bloodied, torn lips.
- Tyraz - W-What... What is t-this... t-treachery?!
Hork continued clapping. Koluap continued drinking. Next to Tyraz and his 'wife', the registrar removed his own hood. He was not a Zazane, but a monster.
- Registrar - As foretold, yes.
- Tyraz - N-No! No! W-What... What have you done?!
In response to the shock and fear that came to overtake Tyraz' heart and mind, the tall former-Zazane's smile only grew wider, tearing at the seams of flesh at the sides of its mouth, before it allowed its teeth to part and reveal its infested, blackened maw to release an ear-rending, unnatural shriek that caused the Emperor's ears to dampen with blood as his ear canals began to bleed. Hork continued clapping.
- Registrar - What have I done? What have you done? You may now kiss the bride.
The monster's bony, elongated arms extended and his claws clasped behind the heads of both Tyraz and Moxix, before he proceeded to slam the two of them against each other, rubbing Tyraz's cheek against his undead brother's. Tyraz roared and groaned, feeling himself growing weaker the more he attempted to resist contact with the corpse-fiend, feeling the maggots and worms that thrived beneath the latter's flesh beginning to gnaw and chew at his own, while Moxix himself merely laughed as his face contorted and reshaped itself, parts of his facial muscles growing into miniature tendrils that whipped and grasped at Tyraz. It was as if he was attempted to merge Tyraz' body, beginning with the face, into his own disfigured, infested physiology. All while Hork continued clapping.
- Tyraz - No... No! N-No! No, no! NO!
- Hork - Congratulations, my Lord! You truly deserve it!
- Koluap - ...Man, Keldar really let herself go.
The Emperor's eyes opened, sweat creeping across his form as he sat up, yelling profanities and growling while clenching the sheets of the bed. He had awoken in the confines of his own private quarters, breathing profusely and looking around fervently to discern his location. He calmed somewhat as he no longer felt the morbid sensation of soft, decomposed flesh and wet blood upon his face, and he passed a hand to clasp his crest in order to sooth his aching head. As he laid a hand back down upon the bed, however, he felt something else beneath the covers to his side - something felt like the body of another person of curved physique.
Looking to his side, Tyraz found the remnants of torn clothes - both his own and that of a woman - and he let a brief, satisfied smile creep across his expression as he attempted to remember the events of the night prior. He could feel scratch marks in his back and upon his chest, and he turned to pull the sheets from both himself and the other person who laid beneath the covers, nude and still sleeping.
- Tyraz - Mhmhm... Breakfast, my dear Keldar...
As his hand pulled back the sheets, a peculiar stench was launched into his nostrils and he was thrown back from where he had been laying as his eyes glanced upon the spectacle; it was indeed Keldar Teiran, this time, yet something was quite clearly... wrong. Her body laid upon its side, as if positioned in a somewhat enticing manner, yet she was missing entire layers of flesh from her form as she had quite clearly been flayed and skinned, revealing her tendons and organs. And across her form were signs of puncture and rough penetration wounds, with the only eye that remained in her skull having been lifeless and dead and partially rolled into the back of her head. Her waist and abdomen were devastated, while her breasts appeared forcefully torn away from her bosom.
Tyraz could see the blood that coated the room now. The walls, the bed sheets, the floor, and, most peculiarly, himself were all drenched in wet, warm blood. Almost his entire, naked body was caked in the substance, and he struggled to contain the contents of his stomach as they welled up within his throat while his heart beat swiftly - agonizingly - within his chest.
- Tyraz - W-What... What happened...? ... W-What have... W-What have I d-done?!
Squishy noises could be heard inside Keldar's flesh as Tyraz then found a black, worm-like entity bursting out of her entrails, causing more blood to be spilled across the room. Or at least, it looked like a worm at first, but its black scales, antennae, horns and single eye could not be mistaken.
- Zr'An'Kar - Now, look at what you've done.
- Tyraz - W-What?! No, no! N-No! F-Flee f-from here, fiend... Y-You've no business with me here!
- Zr'An'Kar - I didn't know Zazane were so rough on their honeymoons. But you're not the only one who can be rough here.
At this point, the blood across the room as well as the bed began boiling, the heat suddenly increasing as smoke started rising. The room suddenly caught on fire, with Tyraz beginning to feel his own flesh smeltering and scolding from the flames that engulfed his form, all the while watching as the remains of Keldar's body seemed to combust and melt into little more than smouldering goo. He could not resist screaming, the blood in his veins dashing to and fro as his heart moved faster, and his perception of time was gradually overtaken by grief and the intensifying agony that consumed him. His body was beginning to char and blacken, his veins illuminating like magma amidst the fire.
Out of Keldar's melted remains rose another entity, who slowly took of the form of a tall, vaguely Zazane-like creature with immense wings, with eyes as black as the void. Its form shifted reality around it, and it began levitating at Tyraz's direction, speaking in a deafeningly loud voice.
- ??? - Rend.
Instead of charging it as he would have done given any other circumstances, the Emperor turned and ran, dashing towards the metallic door that led into and out of the private quarters - when it did not open vertically as he expected it to, he resorted to punching at it with his bare, broken fists, attempting to throw punches at it to dent and break through it. And yet, there was no anger to drive the strength behind his fleeting retreat, but only fear and confusion as he could see the room around him beginning to move and contort into an almost spherical formation around the daemonic entity that floated effortlessly behind him. Inside the flames, images of the monster all stared at Tyraz as he tried to escape as the entity continued its 'march'. Its wings beat, causing ash and cinders to be launched across the room as it raised one clawed hand at the Emperor's direction, as if reaching for him.
- ??? - You caused all of this.
- Tyraz - I... I did nothing! I know not even... w-who you are, w-why you are here! ... K-Keldar...
- ??? - You have done all of this. I am the Destroying Angel. Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala. Here to rend you.
The monstrous entity charged at Tyraz's direction, its clawed hand prepared to clasp on the Emperor's head and crush it to paste as soon as it touched it. Tyraz turned and continued to punch and bash at the door, roaring as he threw the weight of his body into his efforts to break down the door in desperation, tears of black blood seeping from his tear glands and weeping down the sides of his cheeks while he continued his assault, left with little time between a chance at escape and falling to the daemonic, alien figure that desired his blood with so much spiteful and hostile intent.
The door eventually gave way, the metallic object breaking apart and shattering as Tyraz slammed his shoulder into it and rushed ahead of the corrupted, seemingly-fallen angel that had made an attempt upon his life. And in the moment he left through the door and escaped the premises of his own chamber, the world around him appeared to calm. He found himself at the center of a seemingly endless darkness, feeling as if he were standing on solid ground yet there was no floor to be seen at his feet, and the entrance that led to the catastrophic disaster that was his private quarters appeared to have never have existed at all. He was alone and kept in silence.
- Tyraz - ... What? ... I... I survived.
There was nothing in this place. No entity, no fire. No monster. At least for a few moments, when something got the Emperor's attention. At the 'horizon', a golden light appeared and slowly walked at his direction. Tyraz panted, exhausted from the experiences prior, and remained cautious of the illuminated object that traversed across the darkness, all the while warily walking towards it himself. He could not take his eyes off of it, breathing heavily as he occasionally stumbled towards the presence of the light. As it got closer, the mysterious light revealed itself to be a golden shade in the form of a Zazane, with no visible facial expressions and merely a pair of eyes which looked down at Tyraz. Tyraz looked towards the Zazane, lifting an arm to cover his eyes at the glowing visage, and he felt his fear and anger beginning to subside as his heart began to slow its beating calmly in the stranger's presence.
- Tyraz - W-What... are you d-doing here? W-Where am I... who are you?
No words came out of the entity as it rose one arm, revealing a blade, which it proceeded to impale through Tyraz's chest, rupturing through his heart. However, the Emperor felt no pain from the blow. If anything, he could feel comfort in the being's golden aura. Tyraz slowly looked down towards the blade that pierced into his chest, glaring at it for several moments before his vision gradually began to fade. While he could still see and feel the pleasant sensation from the blade embedded into his flesh, he gradually looked upward to look at the eyes of the golden Zazane once more, a confused and tired expression washing over his face.
- Tyraz - I... I...
His eyes blinked. The golden Zazane was gone and the darkness had vanished alongside it, instead allowing Tyraz to observe the confines of his private chamber once more. He was covered in cold sweat, and with hesitation, he sat up from his discomfort to assure himself that he no longer dreamed the nightmare he had been thrown into. He rested a hand at his side and felt nothing beneath the covers, much to his relief, and he looked down at his hands in contemplation, his head still aching from his experience. He clasped ahold of his forehead and he passed a heavy exhale, groaning as he shuddered somewhat while he prepared to exit the bed. He no longer felt tired, even though he had only slept for perhaps under four hours.
- Tyraz - ... I... I need a drink.
The Unified OttzelloEdit
It was a busy day at New Draka, with the commanders Jerkon, Koluap and their allies having left to scout the empire's outskirts in search of Corruptus activity. The demons were oddly quiet, and the Dracogonarious were becoming worried for it. At the government palace of the planet, Tarygan and Empress Windey awaited for news as they did their daily tasks. What they received, however, was not news, but a transmission from two familiar faces, two of whom they did not expect to meet again. The Kralgon Emperor and Zr'Ahgloth, both on the same screen.
- Kralgon Emperor - Oh, good, I do still have your contact details. Well, hello there. How is your war going?
- Tarygan - Greetings, Emperor of the Kralgon. The war is still ongoing. The demons have gone quiet, but this is surely just a calm before the storm.
- Kralgon Emperor - Oh, I know what you mean. I hate it when your enemy goes silent all of a sudden. It almost always means they have something planned...
- Zr'Ahgloth - man wat wimps dat dunt just charge into da enemy. ANYWAYZ WE IZ GONNA HELP YOO
- Windey - Oh, lovely! More allies!
- Tarygan - By the fact your Loron stands by your side now and you are contacting us again, I assume you have solved your own conflicts at Ottzello.
- Kralgon Emperor - This is partially correct. I stand before you not as the emperor of the New Kralgon Empire, however. Nor does Zr'Ahgloth stand before you as my slave.
- Zr'Ahgloth - i was neva yor slave yor jus dum oh ma dayz
- Windey - In that case, what are the two of you now?
The Kralgon Emperor and Zr'Ahgloth stepped to the side, to reveal several new faces to Windey and Tarygan. These included Valzo, Dakster, Feldosia, the Tralkik Commander, Yogtam and Tuolog. These faces were all alien to them, being of races that many in the Milky Way other than the DCP - Tuolog's case, even the DCP - had yet to encounter. The Emperor did something that they'd never seen him before: smiled, not in a gleeful, war-loving way, but in a peaceful way.
- Valzo - Greetings. We are the newly reformed Unified Nation of Ottzello. Pleased to make your acquaintance!
- Windey - Interesting... I don't believe I've heard of you.
- Tarygan - I do not record any of these alien races. Can you elaborate on this "unified nation"?
- Dakster - To briefly sum up events: the Ottzello Galaxy was in a long war recently, concurrent with the war you are in. It concluded once many races in our galaxy decided that another war such as this was unthinkable, and that together we could become a much stronger power with much more relevance in the Gigaquadrant. So we had to make many compromises and ideological reforms, but we are now a new nation. Although there is still much to do at home, we can spare you our fleets, especially considering three of us - the UNOL, the supreme leaders of our nation - are very eager to see the conclusion of the war.
Tarygan nodded as she heard Dakster speak, while Windey had a warm smile on her face, being reminded of the Spinker Empire's own reform.
- Tarygan - We are more than grateful for your aid. The demonic Loron have been destroyed, but their masters still stalk us from the shadows. The Corruptus' true might has not yet been faced, our supernatural specialist claims.
- Yogtam - Indeed, as does our supernatural specialist. Which reminds me...he is the third of us who is particularly eager to aid your cause.
Tuolog stepped forward, alongside the Emperor and Zr'Ahgloth, and greeted them.
- Tuolog - Many greetings from me, leader of Ioketa. We doubt you hear of us, given Ottzello has history of being very secretive. But we are experts in the supernatural and in Essence, particularly the Chronoscopic sorts. I will be happy to aid you in defeat of the Corruptus, a very, very dangerous foe.
- Tarygan - I'll be informing Jerkon and his allies of your arrival to the front lines. Again, I thank you for your empathy.
- Windey - This little man, I think him and Macin Xermilin would be great friends.
- Tuolog - It is possible. This is the case in most timelines.
- Zr'Ahgloth - yeh dese dum peepz keep talkin bout "timelines" liek dat dum mac geeza. its annoyin but yoo kinda get used ta it
- Tarygan - We'll be waiting for you. If there is nothing else to discuss, I believe we are done.
- Kralgon Emperor - Mhm. We do not ask for anything in return, as this is an enemy which we feel must be destroyed immediately. Although, Zr'Ahgloth and I would hope to see Mac again; he is the closest we have to meeting a Taldar on a more personal level.
- Tarygan - We shall see.
- Kralgon Emperor - Thank you. I hope to see you shortly, with our largest fleet backing us!
Alensia was dressed in her finery - a flowing dress of gold-threaded violet silk studded with miniature gemstones around her waist and up her torso, her figure broken up by a high collar of lace. as she was let though the doors to the throne room of the Alcanti Royal Palace. There were banners strewn between the pillars and Blood Dragons standing to attention and lining the path to the imperial throne. Standing at the foot of its steps, dressed in his regal ceremonial armour was Uriel. She could see it from the far end that he was pelased to see her. Light was shining though the skylights above, illuminating the path towards the throne with subeams shining right-to-left.
As she was halfway down the hall, the sunbeams dissapeared and the light turned red. Smashing though the skylights were artillery shells that shattered pillars and charred gold and marble, causing numerous pillars to collapse and for the banners to blacken. Alensia screamed as her view of Uriel was obscured by falling rubble that blocked her way. She ran to the mountain for debris and Dragon corpses, trying deperately to move what rubble she could to get to him, but to no avail as she was barely able to move anything. What she found was her husband with his limbs visibly broken, buried by the debris, but before anything could be said, she could hear a voice from the other side of the room.
- ??? - Don't move him! You may hurt him more.
Alensia's vision darted to view behind herself, her pupils narrowing as she studied the figure calling her. Approaching her was a shade whose form could not really be told, it was like a three-dimensional sillhouette of a humanoid reptilian. She was not able to tell what or who it was, but in Uriel's eyes, it appeared very familiar. The shade ran over to them and examined the wounded paragon before raising one hand over him.
- ??? - Fear not. I can help him.
- Alensia - He needs clinical attention.
- ??? - I can do more. A gift which will heal him back to full health in seconds. Tell me... have you ever heard of descension?
- Alensia - No. But you make it sound akin to some advanced form of nanospray.
- ??? - It's a good analogy, my lady. Now, watch your husband be reborn.
The shade approached his hand to Uriel's forehead and touched it. For a moment, it appeared warm and welcoming to them both. Until the next time Alensia blinked, and the shade was replaced by a monster.
- ??? - Reborn as what you refer to as a 'demon'.
Alensia blinked and stumbled backwards as she realised what had just happened to the silhouette that had intruded itself.
- Alensia - A demon? I...I never asked he become a demon!
- ??? - You have no say in this. Silence yourself and watch his rebirth.
- Alensia - Kranndung, monster!
Gathering composure she reached an arm out and tried to shove the shade aside using her mass in the hopes she could push him away from her beloved. Despite the best of her efforts, the monster appeared to ignore her presence, not moving from his spot as he continued to press his long, skinny fingers into Uriel's head. She watched as, starting fomr the head, Uriel's scales blackened, with red tinges on their tips that spread down the body. Following it, Uriel's horns grew and became more warped. His first exhalations came followed by vapour and a malevolent light tyried to shine out from under his eyelids. Alessa was unnerved as she heard Uriel's bones snap themselves back into place, accompanied by the disturbing sounds of flesh knitting itself together. The restoration was also able to shift the rubble on top of him as his ribcage restored itself and his muscles swelled.
- Alensia - ...Please...stop. I don't want this!
- ??? - He does though.
The monster grabbed Uriel by the head and made him stand up again, putting him in front of his wife as he then began prancing around the chamber, seemingly doing it for no specific reason. Alessa looked up to register her husband. For as long a she could remember, Uriel was only slightly taller than her. Now, when looking straight, her eyes met his collar. He appeared to be confident about himself.
- Uriel - Does something distress you?
- Alensia - Yes...why.
Alensia turned to the spectre as he skipped around.
- Alensia - How could he want this if he has not even met you before!
- ??? - Don't you have better things to worry about? Like this empire. Imperium. You were meant to head it. You can't do that.
The monster stopped in front of the paragon's throne, inspecting it for some moments before he proceeded to sit on it nonchalantly. Alessa watched as he moved about, judging him intently with cold eyes and an aggressive scowl.
- Alensia - Get out of my husband's seat. Now
- ??? - I look into your eyes and I see insecurity. You are not prepared for this task. You would rather spend your time appreciating how trouble-less your life is.
- Alensia - You know nothing!
She stepped forward to challenge the spectre but only took a few steps before she realised she could move no more, Uriel had grabbed her bicep and was holding it with a vice-like grip. She looked at her husband in disbelief at what he was doing.
- Alensia - Get off me! I know what I'm doing.
- Uriel - This is not the sort of leadership that suits you.
- Alensia - Then take back our Imperium, Uriel! He challenges your position by sitting there!
- ??? - Not my seat. Not yours. Not his. Someone else's.
- Alensia - Kranndung! There is no one else while my husband still lives.
- ??? - Who says anything about "life".
The monster raised one arm and then thrust it down, breaking through the chamber's floor and then seemingly pulling something out of the soil. Or someone, as Alensia could see him grabbing a corpse-like Draconis by the nape of his neck. She looked in shock as her mind instantly registered who the monster was pulling from the floor with only a brief look at the decayed face, forcing her to gulp as she came to recognise who it was.
- Alensia - Korr...
The monster rose from the throne and proceeded to place the corpse Draconis upon it.
- ??? - His seat.
- Alensia - No...He died in battle. Uriel?
- Uriel - He was chosen before me. His claim is stronger.
- ??? - Imprudent woman. Foolish child. You are not fit for this position. You deserve punishment for your actions.
- Alensia - I am not a child!
Alensia tried to break free but Uriel bulled her closer without effort,, squeezing her arm more tightly as he pressed her against his torso. She began to panic as it appeared everyone in the room was instantly turning against her. The monster's form extended itself and glared down at Alensia, while at the throne, the undead Korr gestured a finger through his neck, as if ordering her decapitated.
- Alensia - No-- Nono you cannot be serious! I have done nothing to warrant my execution!
Alensia struggled to break free from Uriel's grip, but with every effort he only hold her more tightly, his form becoming larger and mroe demonic the more she struggled, with larger horns and more malevolent designs upon his armour.
- Alensia - You expect my beloved to kill me? I do not care whatt you've done, I've known him too long for such a thing to even be possible!
- ??? - My, do you talk a lot. I shall prepare for the new Paragon a meal made out of eggs. Your eggs. Now die silently.
Alensia would have roared had Uriel not suddenly held her jaws shut with a single hand. Things became more uncomfortable as he felt his other arm move and wrap around her neck, tightening further and further as she struggled to breathe. But that was not the only force, as she could feel something tugging at her snout, the pain increasing as the torturous moments passed.
It was then at that final moment, she awoke. She gasped for air, her mind still believing she had been constricted, focring her to rise form her bed and shift herself to sit on its edge. She looked behind herself to see an empty bed. Her husband was still absent, but the dark room made her quickly reach for a panel on the wall, activating the overhead lights and bathing the room i na soft light, rising softly so as to not blind the room's only occupant.
As the lights brightened, she coughed out of sorrow. Frightened and with no idea of what to make of what she just saw; only that it was something that kept her awake for the rest of the night.
The Children of FuerqEdit
Days passed since Laminoula'Fuerq's resurrection, and while the Dracogonarious awaited for developments to occur, Thea'Nhirara put Herquie under a series of training sessions for the purpose of awakening his Dream Energy potential. At the outskirts of the government palace of New Draka, the Bonio mercenary had a frown on his face as he was forced to remain silent, with his eyes closed and legs crossed as he sat down on the ground, being told to meditate by his 'teacher' who stood in a similar pose in front of him, except she floated some centimeters above the ground. Watching them was Mimi, who materialized dreamy bits for herself to eat as she kept her eyes on the duo. However, it was clear that these training sessions were doing nothing but annoy Herquie, whose patience with Thea'Nhirara was running shorter and shorter every day passed.
- Herquie - For how much longer will you keep me like this?
- Thea'Nhirara - Ssh. Focus on resting your mind.
- Herquie - I'm not your damned toy, woman.
- Thea'Nhirara - With that attitude, you'll never do your part.
With these words, Herquie opened his eyes and got up, a growl coming out of him as Thea'Nhirara responded by half-opening a single eye.
- Herquie - I've had enough.
- Thea'Nhirara - Sit down, Herquie.
- Herquie - Shut your mouth, woman. I'm tired of you and I'm tired of these sessions.
- Mimi - But you need to train to awaken your inner dreams!
- Herquie - You keep your trap shut as well, you little ball of lard, before I kick you over the walls of this plaza!
Herquie's hostile comeback caused Mimi to flinch backwards, putting her wings under her face while letting out an intimidated yelp. Thea'Nhirara fully opened both of her eyes as she looked at the Bonio.
- Thea'Nhirara - Herquie, please. I'm trying to help you.
- Herquie - No. Screw you, screw your friends and screw your goals. For half a year I've been dragged along with you lot for the sole purpose of being used as a weapon against the demons. I've been subject to night terrors, giant aliens and abominations when I have literally no obligation to help you. I would actually much rather watch you all die, since you'd finally leave me alone for once.
- Mimi - Why are you being so mean all the sudden?!
- Herquie - I'm here against my will, fighting for people I don't care for who have been trying to use me, and I'm done! Done! Do you hear me?!
Tears began forming in Mimi's beady eyes as she began crying, and Thea'Nhirara looked at Herquie with an expression of shock, or perhaps disappointment. The Bonio mercenary began making his way out before she spoke once again.
- Thea'Nhirara - You're not going anywhere.
- Herquie - Eat shit, "angel". I'm done. Try and stop me and I'll kill you here and now.
- Thea'Nhirara - Herquie, please... I know I've been omitting information until now, but I was merely waiting for a good opportunity to reveal you everything there is to reveal.
- Herquie - I got your explanation right here. "Let's turn the Bonio pirate until a meat shield for us". You think I've never seen this act before?
- Thea'Nhirara - No, it's not like that. You truly are special for us. There is a much bigger explanation for you being here.
- Herquie - I don't care. Farewell.
- ??? - I don't think so, little brother.
Herquie's body froze in place as an aura of energy engulfed him, and moments afterwards, he found himself turning back to Thea'Nhirara and walking at her direction. The Bonio's eyes widened as he seemingly lost complete control of his limbs, and entering the plaza was the gigantic Laminoula'Fuerq, who looked down at all of them with an air of curiosity. The sight of the giant made Mimi attempt to stop crying, though tears still came out of her as she rubbed her face with a pair of tendrils. Herquie eventually found himself stopped next to Thea'Nhirara, facing the giant.
- Thea'Nhirara - Laminoula... Our Father had instructed me to not say anything for the time being.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Sometimes, orders are made to be disobeyed. Our Bonio friend has lost his faith on us, and we must prove to him we are not here to use him.
- Herquie - Urk... Let me go... I said I'm done with you freaks of nature!
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Herquie, of the Lhern family... born at the Molerv Space Station, Bonio Republic outskirts. Son of Galvis Lhern and Eladran Lhern. Lived a life for crime due to being raised by gangsters. Eventually became a gang boss of your own right and ruled the station's underground until it was assaulted by the Marinox. Was considered stronger, faster and bigger than other children of your age back in your childhood. Survived wounds your subordinates would not be able to survive from.
- Herquie - ... How the hell do you have that information?
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Do you not think there is a reason for the fact you were always so much better than other Bonio? Because there is, and this reason is deep down in your blood. A blood shared with me.
Herquie's eyes narrowed as Laminoula'Fuerq cast his energies in the ground in front of him, creating an image in front of the group's eyes. It displayed a hologram-like form of a tall, four armed, avian entity with radiant white feathers, an image very familiar to Thea'Nhirara and Mimi. Herquie, however, appeared to show considerable discomfort at the sight of it, and indeed, Laminoula'Fuerq's mere presence was enough to make him feel unwell.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - The Taldar Elder mentioned the Vida'Rra, did he not?
- Herquie - Uh... Yeah. Yeah he did.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Among the Vida'Rra was a chosen warrior who was empowered by all the Dream Energy of this existence, who served as this universe's hero against the forces of the Corruptus. This hero led the Vida'Rra to war against the demons of nightmare and emerged victorious. His name.. was Rhigeo Fuerq. Familiar, no?
- Herquie - ... Isn't that your...
- Laminoula'Fuerq - The fate of the Vida'Rra after the war is not something I can tell you. But one thing is certain, that this legendary hero's essence at one point developed a mind of its own. I was born of this. But that is not point. My point is that Rhigeo Fuerq and the Vida'Rra had children, which they spread across the cosmos. Entire races descend from their genetic structure...
Laminoula'Fuerq caused the image of the Vida'Rra to vanish as he approached Herquie's face, coming inches of distance from it, causing the Bonio to put his head back slightly.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Your race is one of them. Rhigeo Fuerq's blood runs through your veins. You are his most modern descendant.
- Herquie - ... So what you're saying is... I'm the great-great-something grandson of a precursor angel who once saved the universe?
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Hm. Yes, that is a simple version of it. We are also blood-related. We are effectively brothers, or perhaps distant cousins.
Herquie stared at the gigantic behemoth for several moments before a chuckle came out of his mouth, and eventually he started letting out loud laughter at Laminoula'Fuerq's face, causing Thea'Nhirara and Mimi both to react in annoyance. It was quite clear the Bonio was not convinced.
- Herquie - Holy shit! Do you think I'm stupid? That I believe in fairy tales? Me, the son of some god, for no reason? Fuck you, pal, I'm not fucking stupid!
- Laminoula'Fuerq - ... Hm. Honestly, I expected this kind of reaction. Which is why I came prepared.
Without warning, Laminoula'Fuerq threw a hand at Herquie and slammed him with his index finger, blasting Dream Energy through the Bonio. Herquie let out a scream as he found himself in both extreme pain and completely blinded by light, and he felt as if his very skin was melting as his body went through a transformation. Thea'Nhirara and Mimi both stepped back as they watched the Bonio be transformed in front of their eyes, Laminoula's energies flowing into him and changing his form into that of a Vida'Rra-like entity. As that happened, information flowed from the giant into Herquie, information about his origins, his species's past, their future... Laminoula'Fuerq's mind transcended time and space as three-dimensional beings know, and all of this information caused Herquie's eyes to widen as he continued screaming.
This lasted for moments more until the giant put his hand away, causing Herquie to immediately return to normal and fall to his knees on the ground. The Bonio breathed heavily, sweat covering his body and his eyes widened in a mix of surprise and absolute terror.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - I've given you a glimpse of the Realm of Dreams. A glimpse of your true form. Do you believe me now?
- Herquie - ... Y-you... n-never do that again...
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Hmhm! A glimpse of ascension is never good. Thea'Nhirara knows that since she had her fare of graduated students. Anyway, little brother, I believe you should get back to meditating. Those powers won't awaken themselves.
Herquie looked up to Laminoula'Fuerq, who now had a smile on his face as he let out a groan and positioned himself back to how he was when him and Thea'Nhirara were meditating together. The feminine angel nodded in acknowledgement to the giant before he turned back, walking away. All would be revealed soon, but not now.
Kagu'sai opened his eyes. The air around him was hot, foggy and heavy, but also humid from the breaths and sweat of crowds, making him dizzy and blurring both his perception and his judgement. He tried to think, but thoughts did not come to him; his mind betrayed him. Through an enormous effort of will he managed to recognise the surroundings of the place he was in. He was hundreds upon hundreds of light years away from his flagship in Milky Way, away from his fellow warriors and from his hated foes: he was standing upon the holy grounds of Ordu Ed, where a few months ago he was crowned Warchief. Confusion struck him.
Mustering all his force of will and all his strength, Kagu'sai ran, hurrying through the loaded lane sand narrow city streets to make some sense of this madness. As he made his way to the city plaza, he could not help but notice the growing crowds of Artharon commoners that filled the city in such numbers that the event they had gathered for must have rivalled Kagu's own coronation. Strangely, though, the Warchief somehow managed to elude them all, moving like a swift, almost weightless shadow - until he was almost near the plaza, when he hit the side of some veteran warrior clad in golden armour. When he turned away, Kagu's eyes widened. It was one of his fellow veterans, who fought alongside him in Andromeda and in Milky Way. What was happening?
- Kagu'sai - Azu? What is going on?
- Azu - Do you not know? A new Warchief is being coronated.
- Kagu'sai - A new one?! Who dares challenge my eminent rule? I shall settle this insult to my august reign by combat and rip the pretender's guts out!
- Azu - ...You're not the Warchief. Are you drunk, whoever you are?
- Kagu - You do not recognise me?! It seems that someone has had too much drinks... Damnation! With or without you, I will see what this false Warchief is up to.
- Azu - I have no idea who you are. I suggest you stand down and pay some respect for our new ruler.
Angered, Kagu'sai pushed his compatriot aside and redoubled his efforts, marching towards the plaza with newfound determination. To his surprise, the center of the desert city itself was almost empty, without the usual hustle that accompanied most public events in the city. Rather, the Artharons stood around the moving stone platforms, bowing in prostration, as a strange, armoured Artharon figure was sitting on a throne erecte atop the highest of them, looking down upon his subjects. That figure was nothing short of regal, and he stood with composure, pomp and elegance - though these also seemed to conceal a certain physical frailty much like a dark hood concealed his face.
- ??? - Citizen of the Coalition, the war is over. We have made peace with our enemies and made them our friends, and now we are heading towards a glorious future one which I will be the helmsman of. - the false Artharon spoke with confidence, but with a soft, unmanly tone that revealed his lack of warrior prowess and honour - the fact that made Kagu's fists itch - This will be a future where all people of the Coalition shall be equal, free and prosperous. A new golden age unseen since the time of the First Realm. This new Golden Age demands a new title and from this moment on I shall not be just Warchief... but Emperor.
- Artharon - All hail Emperor Reta'nyan!
- Reta'nyan - Alas, there are trials ahead. Still there remain traitors, agents of the fifth column that seek to undermine our august domain. Servants of the old warchiefs, whose names we shall no longer remember. Although I am an enlightened ruler, I will show no mercy to these insurgents. Bring to me the traitor and her spawn!
One of the platforms was raised from the ground until it was at the same height as the new emperor himself. On this platform the beings were held, tied by heavy metallic ropes: a robed female Radeon and a much smaller creature whose features Kagu could not recognise. A heavily-built, black-armoured Artharon stood guard, holding a massive axe in his arms. Death was soon to follow these two creatures.
Kagu'sai recognised the Radeon woman. Sheophatia!
- Reta'nyan - Tonight we enforce the law of the new Coalition. The hand of justice is heavy but fair. Let the execution begin!
- Kagu - No!
His strength suddenly returning to him, the Artharon ran through the plaza, the machines of the ancient city answering to his movements as the platforms rose up beneath his feet, until he was at last at the same height as the executioner. In a single leap, the ex-Warchief closed his distance and struck, throwing the Artharon warrior from the platform and onto the ground. The armoured titan lost balance easily, crushing the plaza with a loud thud and a low bellow of pain, but Kagu heard it not, already turning his eyes towards Reta'nyan. He snarled, seeing now the weakness of his foe and the frailty of his body. The throne that was his by right will be now reclaimed.
- Kagu - You are done, pretender. Surrender and I may yet spare you a life of shame and make your death swift!
As Kagu'sai gazed upon the new Warchief, he did not see an Artharon anymore. Instead, sitting on the throne and still wearing the same regal clothing was a monster.
- Reta'nyan - How courageous.
- Kagu'sai - What witchcraft is this?
- Reta'nyan - Witchcraft? You're the one interrupting my ceremony... Are you here for what reason? To save her? For the people below?
- Kagu - This throne. It belongs to me. My people need me. And so does... my loyal... advisor. - Kagu glanced at Sheophatia quickly before returning his attention towards the demon emperor.
- Reta'nyan - Your people? Who are you? No one. The people agree with me.
Pointing below, the Artharons which once populated the plaza were all gone. In their place were more monsters. They all hissed and growled as they looked up to Kagu'sai.
- Kagu - ...Demons... demons everywhere...
- Reta'nyan - I see no demons. I see Artharon. Artharon everywhere.
- Sheophatia - ...Please... Kagu... h-h-help...
- Reta'nyan - Traitors are not allowed to talk.
A tendril extended out of the "Emperor"'s back and slapped the Radeon across the face as he stood up, towering over Kagu'sai. A low growling came out of him as he opened his arms.
- Reta'nyan - This is the future. Your future. You don't exist. You will not be remembered.
- Kagu - ...Leave... her... alone.
- Reta'nyan - Her?... I see.
The monster began walking in circles around the imprisoned Sheophatia, looking down at her in silence before his claws crushed the metallic bounds that kept her in place, but before she was given any opportunity to run, the Emperor's huge, skeletal fingers wrapped themselves around her and lift her up to his eye level. In a blink of an eye, he had become much larger than Kagu'sai, and the Radeon was little more than a twig in his grasp.
- Reta'nyan - I thought Artharons were meant to hate these.
- Sheophatia - Dei'Nar protects. Protects. Protects.
- Reta'nyan - ...Or perhaps they don't... what says you, forgotten one?
- Kagu'sai - ...No. It cannot end like that. My legacy will endure. My memory will be glorified! I will reign! This is my world! This is my throne!
With his last strength, Kagu plunged his blade into the demon's stomach; the monster appeared to ignore it completely as it passed thorugh his flesh. His mouth, filled with rows of serrated teeth opened itself as dark tendrils emerged from it, rubbing through Sheophatia as another, much bigger tendril emerged from the monster's back and stood above Kagu'sai's head.
- Sheophatia - Get that thing away from me! Foul creature! No, no, no!
- Reta'nyan - Insolence. This is not how you treat your ruler! Traitor to the throne! Execution!
And with this, the tendril came down, bashing against the Artharon's forehead with enough strength to reduce his skull to ash in an instant. Kagu'sai could only muster a bare whimper before his life was snuffed out... and the nightmare was over.
Kagu'sai woke up in his bed aboard his flagship, screaming. Terror, madness and confusion reigned inside his head, filling him with unbearable dread - almost supernatural in its intensity. Among this dread, one idea rang the strongest: that his reign would end and that he would be forgotten. That idea terrified the proud Artharon warlord the most.
- Sheophatia - ...Kagu? You seem... terrified, and I think I know why.
It was typical for Zr'Ahgloth to fall into deep sleeps and have his usual ego-empowering dreams. Dreams of conquering the universe with Loron hordes, or dreams of Norol slaves bowing down and worshipping him, or dreams of him becoming the next Loron god...whichever took his fancy. So for Zr'Ahgloth to fall into a deep sleep, and have a nightmare which did anything but empower his ego, this was not something he was used to.
Zr'Ahgloth found himself in what was almost pitch black, lit up only by a torchlight he was carrying. Around him, he could see dusty, wooden benches, in a dark grey, barely lit graveyard. Zr'Ahgloth himself carried only a Blasta and his torchlight with him.
- Zr'Ahgloth - yo wher da hell am i wat is dis
Wandering around, Zr'Ahgloth found the room he was in to be very tight, a small space between him, the walls, and the surrounding gravestones, with names written on them. The place was not very Loron-like at all.
- Zr'Ahgloth - i dunno if dis is ment ta be scary or anyfin. like i meen im heer in dis randum place but i dunt get wat da point of it is. is it ment ta say peepz die? I MEEN DUH WE KILL DEM
Zr'Ahgloth wandered around, until he found a wooden bench at the end of the room. Not a single person mourning beside one grave stone, which read: "To Da Propa Big Boss Zr'Ahgloth, who no one cared about tbh". He could watch Loron of all ages around the graveyard paying respect to their elders or idols, but the Loron Boss's own had no one with the exception of a Loron whose body was completely covered in a hood and coat. He dug next to the grave with a shovel, probably meaning he was the gravedigger.
- Zr'Ahgloth - OI YOO. GET OFF MA GRAVE MAN STOP MESSIN IT UP. DATS MINE AN I COMMAND YA TO
- Gravedigga - had sum mor alcohol dan usual eh? yor alive so ya cant be buried heer whoeva ya is. anyway no need ta get so peeved cus no one importants buried heer
- Zr'Ahgloth - HUR I KNO WAT YOR SAYIN TA ME. YOR TRYNA DISRESPECT ME BY SAYIN DAT IM DED AN MA DETH IS NOT IMPORTANT. BAK OFF MA GRAVE MAN. AN DUNT TELL ME NO ONE IMPORTANT IS DED HEER
- Gravedigga - dats sum top tier paranoia kid i can respect dat. dunt worry, yoos gonna be heer one day... all of us will
- Zr'Ahgloth - IM NEVA GONNA DAI. IM GONNA BE IMMORTAL. DA UNO BOYZ WILL MAKE SURE OF DAT
- Gravedigga - neva?...
The gravedigga stood up, revealing himself to be far taller than Zr'Ahgloth as he removed his hood. A familiar face looked back at the Loron leader with a trio of red eyes.
- Hagto'Zhl - I HAV REESUNS TA BELEEV OTHAWISE
Raising the shovel over his head, the gravedigger bashed Zr'Ahgloth's head with it, and the next time the Loron boss could see properly, he found himself in an entirely new location.
- Zr'Ahgloth - i feel kinda dizzy...OK I FINK I GET IT. BASICALLY HAGTOZHL REFUSES TA DAI SO DA PEEPZ WANT ME TA KILL HIM BEFOR WE STOP DA DEVOURA OR SOMFIN
As he was thinking, Zr'Ahgloth found himself at the Propa Big Boss' palace at Groodrub. The Loron leader's throne was empty while the room was filled with the best warbosses of the Propa Big Loron Empire, who all chatted among themselves in a combination of excitement and surprise. Among them was also Thr'aloy, who was closer to the throne than the others.
- Thr'aloy - YO LETS GET DIS PARTY ORGANIZED OK I DUNT WANT ANY SLAKKIN
- Warboss 1 - hard ta concentrate when YOR SO HYPED MAN WES FREED FROM DAT STOOPID GEEZA ONCE AND FER ALL
- Warboss 2 - man i dunt even rememba his name anymor. wat was it? zr'ahgloth or sumfin?
- Zr'Ahgloth - OI MAN WHO DIED? PROB SOM MORON. OI IM HEER WASSUP MAN LETS START DA PARTY
However, Zr'Ahgloth was completely ignored. It was as if he could not be heard.
- Thr'aloy - yeh dats his name. zr'ahgloth. da most worffless propa big boss da loronz eva had
- Zr'Ahgloth - hurhur man thraloy yoo was always gud at crakin jokes. i liek dat. yoo still havent lost yor sense of humor. OK SO LETS BRING DA PIZZA FOR WHOEVA REELY DIED
- Warboss 1 - man can yoo beleev zr'ahlgoth SURRENDARED to da kralgie boyz?
- Warboss 2 - yeh man fank roz'tah'flok da noo boss saved us i meen WHO IN DEYR RITE MIND wuld subject demselves ta serve unda da kralgies
- Zr'Ahgloth - HUR. YOO MUST FINK YOR REELY FUNNI RITE NOW I SWER. I MEEN NO LOSA WULD SURRENDA TO DA KRALGIES ok i kinda did for a bit BUT YANNO
- Thr'aloy - YEH. DA NOO BOSS KILLED DA KRALGIES AN EVERYUN ELSE. NAO DA LORONZ RULE OTTZELLO AS IT SHULD BE. OI WHERS HIS STATUE MAN HES GONNA BE HEER ANY MOMENT NAO
- Zr'Ahgloth - YEH MAN DATS GUD WE HAVENT WON A WAR SINCE DA FIRST OTTZELLO GALACTIC WAR ITS ABOUT TIEM. wait wat da hell? anotha loron won a war DAT WASNT ME?...ok stop it nao thraloy dis practical joke ent funny anymore
Thr'aloy whistled over the door, and a few moments after, some Loron workers began carrying a large statue into the chamber, dropping it at its center. They promptly ran off, as if they had more things to carry. The statue was definitely not of Zr'Ahgloth, as the Loron shown in it did not look like him at all. He instead wore a characteristic horned helmet, a large ring across his neck and a distinct mechanical jaw near his mouth.
Under his statue was an engraving which said: "our noo boss, da best one afta da one who failed everyfin eva".
- Zr'Ahgloth - YOR A BUNCHA HYPOCRITS. FLAMIN ME FER SURRENDARIN TO DA KRALGIES DEN YOO SURRENDA TO DA ROGUE BOYZ?????
- Thr'aloy - THREE CHEERS FER PROPA BIG BOSS FR-----
As the Loron cheered over their new leader, Zr'Ahgloth could not hear his name. It was muffled from him.
- Zr'Ahgloth - WHO IS IT MAN WAT DA HELL
They continued cheering, ignoring him completely. Meanwhile, the workers brought in more and more statues, each as impressive as the last.
- Zr'Ahgloth - IM GONNA SMASH DESE STATUES. I HATE DIS NOO BOSS!!!!!
Zr'Ahgloth, in his rage, tore apart one of the statues, smashing them with his fists and kicking them apart. He turned to the next and lashed at it, smashing it all the more.
- Zr'Ahgloth - YOO CANT REPLACE ME!!!!!!!!!
Hammering away at his fists, Zr'Ahgloth crushed several. But the more he destroyed, the more he saw appear behind him. They were limitless. There was no way he could get rid of them all. The warboss kept cheering. The workers kept bringing in more statues. It was a vicious cycle. But then, Zr'Ahgloth could see something different.
Something was sitting on the Propa Big Boss' throne. It was a monster.
- ??? - You have already been replaced.
- Zr'Ahgloth - WHO IS YOO
- ??? - No. Who are you? No one. I don't remember you. They don't remember you... Who are you?
- Zr'Ahgloth - I KNO YOO LOT FINK YOR REELLLLLLY FUNNY WIV YOR PRACTICAL JOKES BUT SERIUSLY GET OVA YASELF. IM DA PROPA BIG BOSS ZRAHGLOTH. DA ONE WHO USHERED IN DA GOLDEN AGE FER DA LORONZ. AN WHO HAS NEVA BEEN REPLACED AN NEVA WILL BE REPLACED. NAO STOP WIV DIS TRIK AN ADMIT YOO KNO WHO I AM
The monster got up, towering over all Loron in the room as it slowly walked at Zr'Ahgloth's direction. His eyes pierced the Loron boss' very soul like needles, and as he walked, the chamber's appearance changed. It decayed, and the Loron warbosses were reduced to little more than skin and bones.
- ??? - There is no trick.
Zr'Ahgloth cowered in fear, as more statues appeared beside him, but he was too afraid to destroy anymore. He hid in terror behind them, and he would not admit it, but tears formed in his eyes.
- Zr'Ahgloth - DERE IS A TRIK MAN. YOR TRYNA SCARE ME OR MAKE FUN OF ME IN SOM WAY. I DUNNO WAT YOR DOIN BUT I FINK IN MOST CASES DIS CAN BE REESONABLY CONSIDERED BULLYIN. STOP IT MAN YOR NOT DAT FUNNY. GO AWAY
- ??? - The one who ushered the golden age... and the one whose golden age ended in the demise of his folk. There is no reason to remember you. You brought this land to oblivion.
At this moment, a thundering roar was heard as a pair of eyes appeared in the shadows, and a chain formed on the monster's hand. Rushing forward as a gigantic, monstrous Loron, who was only stopped from attacking Zr'Ahgloth by the chain around his neck. It was definitely Gratz'kaoz.
- Zr'Ahgloth - AAAAAAHH NOT YOO BAK FER REVENGE I STOPPED YOO GO AWAY GO AWAY GO AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAY
Zr'Ahgloth pulled in several of the statues which surrounded him and tried to hide himself under them, while slamming the floor with his fists. He then tried to dig a hole in the ground to bury himself, hiding away from everything. The tears formed in his eye were now clearly tears of pain, as he began to sob.
- Zr'Ahgloth - IM DA PROPA BIG BOSS ZRAHGLOTH. DA MOST WORSHIPED LORON ALIVE. YA HEER ME? ALIVE. NOT DED. IM BETTA DAN ANY OF YOOS CAN EVA HOPE TA BE. YOR NOT SCARIN ME. YOR JUST...MAKIN MANLY TEERS FORM IN MA EYES. IN FACT IM LAFFIN...IM LAFFIN WIV YOO!!!! YOR NOT SCARIN ME!!!!!!!!!
- ??? - Is this what the "propa big boss" is? A terrified infant who hides from his problems? You are not worthy of being the leader. You are not worth remembering. You are little more than an attack dog... You and him are not so different. You are both attack dogs for beings superior to you.
- Zr'Ahgloth - SHUT UP. YOO AN I BOFF KNO DATS NOT TROO. IM A LEEDA IN UNO NOT A UNOC MEMBA. YOR MOMS AN ATTAK DOG.
- ??? - You are a slave. And you will die a slave's death.
The monster let go of the chain, allowing Gratz'kaoz to furiously charge at Zr'Ahgloth's direction, breaking through the statues to reach him.
- Zr'Ahgloth - NO...NONONONO...NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Screaming in terror, Zr'Ahgloth finally awoke out of his bed. He had woke the other two UNOL members in their starships' cabin with his screams.
- Kralgon Emperor - Oh come on...I don't need your screaming and loud obnoxious snoring keeping me awake every single night...
- Tuolog - ...I sense something in you. You have nightmares. I trace the source of them, and I heal your mind. Do not worry.
- Zr'Ahgloth - oh good dat was only a nightmare? oh ok i fort hagtozhl an da otha boyz were pullin som practical joke on me. i fort dat didnt make much sense
Sarec was aboard a cruiser chartered by the Inquisition. The recent campaign, as well as prior incidents with the demon the Inquisition of Drakon had codified as "Skewer" had take ntheir toll on his endurance. To take his mind off it, Sarec had been practicing down on a firing range set up within one of the cruiser's cargoholds. It was an advisory by his physicians after the stresses his body had undergone.
As he was down there, the door opened and in she walked. Clad in ornately-decorated power armour, her tail swaying gracefully as she walked, the High Inquisitor herself had graced the range. For this session, Sarec had kept to using a standard-issue handgun, but his head turned when Arsac entered. She scanned the weapon rack and after some moments looking though removed a large high-power plasma beam battle rifle from the rack. She checked it over before her eye wandered to Sarec's gaze, giving him a knowing smirk as she primed the chamber of the battle rifle and made her way to one of the booths.
Each shot she fired rang like a shockwave as it hit its target. While Sarec's handgun left a bullet mark in the targets, Arsac's riffle had shattered them, melting the frame at the fringes and vapouring the epicentre. After a dozen repetitions of this, she let her rifle cool and turned her head to look at Sarec, shocking him.
- Sarec - I-I was n-not expecting you here-- Madame.
- Arsac - And why wouldn't I come down here?
- Sarec - Well...d-don't you have your own firing range on the upper levels.
- Arsac - I figured I might for once spend time sharpening my skill alongside a man who has been making considerable sacrifice lately.
Sarec's mouth was agape at this compliment.
- Sarec - R...really?
- Arsac - Of course. You survived an encounter with the Skewer after all.
- Sarec - Th-that is true.
- Arsac - Now go on. I'd like to see your skill.
While they spoke, the sounds of howling, growling and barking could be heard coming from the firing range, which was supposed to be empty. Out of nowhere, dozens upon dozens of Malcaeum fiends had materialized in it, menacing Sarec and Arsac by screaming and roaring at their direction, waving their curved greatswords around as if provoking them to attack them.
- Malcaeum - Smell. Of. Fear!
- Arsac - Shoot them!
Sarec gulped and nodded. He stood at the booth he was in, lifted the hand gun up and hesitantly discharged several rounds, aiming for the heads of a few of the Malcaeum while Arsac set her battle riffle to full automatic and fired long streams of beam-confined plasma at the Malcaeum hordes. The demons appeared to ignore the shots completely as they continued to growl and roar at them, stomping on the ground, taunting them. After her volley, Arsac lowered her rifle and growled herself. She delivered another set of shots in vain and then looked at Sarec.
- Arsac - These demons will not die.
- Sarec - I have no idea, truly.
- Arsac - Shoot another one. Go on.
- Sarec - But--
- Arsac - Do it! Open fire!
With anxiety, Sarec lifted his handgun once more and fired at one of the Malcaeum, this time aiming for the torso. The demon reacted to the shot by screaming and falling backwards, erupting in a black mist. However, taking its place was something else. Another demon, who instead of growling or screaming, merely groaned as it pointed at finger at Sarec's direction. Sarec took a step back in shock, firing a round out of panic at the Garvathae while Arsac watched in dissapointment. Shots which hit the demon ricocheted into other Malcaeum and destroyed them, replacing them with more Garvathae who all did the same action. They groaned, their mouths agape and with a finger pointed at Sarec. This only made Arsac growl louder
- Arsac - What...did you do.
- Sarec - I folowed your orders!
- Arsac - And you failed!
As she screamed, her eyes flashed red, taking Sarec off-guard. As the light cleared, Sarec, Arsac and the Garvanthe were no longer in the makeshift firing range, but were instead in the nave of a cathedral lavishly decorated in gold and marble. Poised as murals around the stained glass windows and on the capitals of the pillars that held up the nave's roof were golden statues, representations of the Lifefather. Each facet of him, imagined by the various sects of his path were here. Surrounding all of them, particularly further into the nave, were Inquisitors, dressed ceremonially in decorated armour, their heads obscured by the shade provided by their white hoods.
- Arsac - You have been slipping, ever since your encounter with--
- Sarec - With what? You don't mean--
- Arsac - Skewer. Ever since you were found things have been collapsing around you. His taint, his smell...it clings to you.
- Sarec - Nono it doesn't I swear
Arsac pointed her battle rifle at Sarec, holding the weapon with only one hand and aiming it directly at his skull.
- Arsac - So it is coincidence these monsters appear? That our efforts to kill them are in vain and for everything you do to make them only worse. This is your work Sarec, you are a disgrace, an embarrasment.
- Sarec - I only did my duty!
- Arsac - And you are no longer fit for duty!
- ??? - Indeed. Failed boy, you will not accomplish much in this plane. In any plane. In all planes.
Imagery which displayed the form of Drakon across the chamber found itself changed into images of a monster who spoke at Sarec's direction. Arsac's scales had darkened. Once a faded sky blue darkened like an ink stain washing over her, turning those faded blue scales into a sickly dark indigo.
- Sarec - No...I'm not a failure! I can prove myself!
- ??? - A failure you are. You cannot fulfill your task. Instead... you became us.
- Sarec - Lies! I am not like you
- Arsac - This was your doing, you sent these demons, you drew them to me, you schemed with gods for my downfall. Your mentor knew it...didn't he?
- ??? - And we all know such things are not allowed in the Order... We call it treason.
- Sarec - I'm not a traitor! I could do nothing as the demons killed them both.
- Arsac - The Order does not. Accept. Excuses.
The imagery of the monster all began pointing at Sarec judgingly, like the Garvathae had done before. Meanwhile Arsac marched towards him, her scales losing their lustre and her armour becoming black as obsidian, reflecting a pale purple light from the shine and highlighting the now more twisted patterns that adorned it.
- ??? - No mercy for conspirators! To join gods is to turn your back on Drakon!
- Sarec - My faith is wholly to Drakon, I swear it on my life!
- ??? - Traitor to the Order! He must be executed!
- Arsac - With pleasure!
Arsac stomped forward, her beastly features causing Sarec to fall backwards. Bit it didn't save him, for with a otion of her arm, the limb let out a jet of purple light from the elbow, revealing a long pointed appendage. Arsac made a beckoning move with hre fingers and tugged Sarec off the ground, into the air and helplessly down onto the spear-limb that replaced Arsac's right forearm. The inquisitors at the back of the nave lowered their hoods, revealing themselves to be identical to the monster that pointed its finger judgementally at Sarec.
- Sarec - I can repent! If you find me guilty of treason I swear I will repent!
- ??? - Redemption through oblivion.
A dreaded feeling arose from his wasit that made Sarec panic. It was as though his organs were both searing and shutting down, he struggled but that only made the pain worse, his eyes locked on to Arsac noticing she was enjoying watching him die. As the pain crept u phis body it grew more intense at the initial point, he looked to see himself beginning to glow as the pain passed up his neck and into his head, causing extreme pain as it spread thoughout his brain.
Death did not follow, instead he woke up within the barracks screaming at the top of his lungs, disturbing whoever was with him before collapsing back onto his stomach, eyes wide with a cold flush running donw his spine.
The Fall of the Bonio RepublicEdit
The Bonio Republic's urgent calls for aid were the most dire the Dracogonarious Empire had ever seen in their entire history as allies. The black fog of their Corruptus had reached Bonaih, the very homeworld of the Bonio race. Forced to face multiple fronts at once, the Empire and their allies decided to split into three teams in order to cover more ground, and the forces composed of Thea'Nhirara, Kagu'sai, Lupercal, Telfinne, Mu, Psi and Vaugathala took their fleets or equivalents to Bonaih as soon as possible. But by the time they arrived, the planet was already in flames. The cities of the Bonio were being reduced to rubble, with the capital city of the planet suffering the most damage.
Vaugathala - a Blacksword Elite under the hired employ of the government of the Third Sovereign Domain, whose leadership had proven itself a valuable and personal ally to the Affinity of Blades for sometime now - led his forces into the ruins of the city, supported by a combination of Sovereign Domain and Affinity soldiers. He sniffed the air thrice before raising an arm to gesture for his forces to split up and cover more ground, while two lesser Blacksword soldiers remained at Vaugathala's sides. As they arrived to the ruined capital, Psi and Mu opened fire on numbers of demons who were out in the open, using masses of debris as cover while Thea'Nhirara hovered around the group, her expression showing dismay due to the destruction caused by the Corruptus.
- Vaugathala - Establish a perimeter and take caution as the enemy may remain within the capital's walls. With fortune, they are ignorant to our presence.
- Mu - They can ignore us when they're dead!
- Thea'Nhirara - So much devastation... Our priority should be rescuing survivors and taking them out of this world.
- Vaugathala - My orders do not allow me to directly evacuate civilians - only to counter and combat present enemy forces. My employers' official military personnel can contribute to evacuation efforts, although I grow doubtful that many civilians remain alive as present.
- Kagu'sai - I can offer my blade - and the blades of my warriors - for that mission.
- Psi - Yeah, let the Andromedans do the heavy lifting. We got things to blow up here.
- Telfinne - Not me, please. ...I do not... ehm... just let me and my men go with the rest of the squad.
- Vaugathala - Affirmative. The Blackswords are not saviours; we are destroyers.
As the group pushed into the capital, numbers of Bonio citizens emerged from their damaged homes seeking refuge in their protection. Thea'Nhirara used her essence to create a shield around the group to protect them from the Corruptus' corrupting influence while the Kicath Agents shot airborne demons out of the sky with their guns.
- Kagu'sai - Fear not, citizen of Bonaih! Kagu'sai himself came to your aid, and as long as he still breathes, you will be safe, for there is no protector more honourable than the magnanimous Artharon people!
- Lupercal - ...Just follow our lead. Duck in case you hear explosions and don't leave the shields.
As Kagu'sai's red-armoured Artharon soldiers and their Radeon auxiliaries ran to the escape pods followed by panicking Bonia civilians - looking at their saviours with humble, respectful gazes, much to the Artharon warchief's delight - the rest of the onslaught moved forward. Vaugathala moved ahead and covered ground for the group with his accompanying soldiers, utilising their heavy weaponry to tear apart the landscape and demolish potential cover-spots that demons or cultists could use against them.
- Vaugathala - No sight of enemy command confirmed. I shall move ahead. Cover the flank.
Vaugathala, drawing a large, hi-tech longsword from the belt upon his abdomen, dashed ahead of the group and swung powerful, shattering swings with the weapon as he charged into the enemy line, while his personal guard assured he would not be taken from the rear and shot at any demons that attempted to flank him. The augmented Zazane had desired to scout ahead of the group in search of any commanding officers - or equivalent personnel - the demons had fielded on the ground. As he moved ahead, Vaugathala could hear a terrible, otherworldly howl over the distance as a skyscraper was hit by a violent purple explosion, which caused it to fall to the opposite direction of the group. Blasts of entropic energy could also be seen launched into the air, which caused more explosions which further destroyed the city. Vaugathala spoke into his helmet on all frequencies, including that of the team;
- Vaugathala - The enemy has deployed heavy units ahead and are fielding immense destructive capacity. Conjoint anti-mobile and anti-infantry potential a possibility; requires further tactical analysis.
- Telfinne - I feel something. And it's not funny. Maybe.
- Psi - So that scream wasn't Nu stubbing his toe.
- Mu - Shut it.
- Thea'Nhirara - ... I recognize the sound of that voice.
- Vaugathala - Elaborate.
- Thea'Nhirara - We do not face an army ahead. We face only one individual.
- Vaugathala - ... What would be considered an appropriate course of direction?
- Thea'Nhirara - ... Make use of your most powerful weapons. Treat it as if your life depended on it, for it will.
- Vaugathala - Affirmative. Preparing for encompassing visual range.
Vaugathala moved ahead once more and attempted to attain a vantage point in order to stand above the enemy ahead of them, as such would grant them a potential opportunity for flanking and ambush. He was backed by his companions, who stood at his rear to ensure he would not be jumped himself, and approached a large mound of debris that had once been considered a residential centre in order to get a visual analysis of their enemy. Telfinne's squad, Thea'Nhirara and the Kicath eventually went after the elite Blacksword, and as they proceeded ahead, they eventually found the source of the explosions seen before.
They found a burning plaza, and out of the ruined buildings of the city walked a very tall, armored entity whose blood red eyes left a trail as they walked. Their footsteps caused flames to appear on the ground they walked on, and they carried two large swords - one large and another immense - as they glared at the approaching group. A pair of withered wings were seen on the creature's back which flapped, causing dust and ash to be launched around whoever they were. The sight of the creature caused Thea'Nhirara to freeze in place, an expression of horror in her face. Vaugathala raised his heavy-rifle to his line of sight and aimed at the ethereal daemon from afar, his grasp steady and cold. Telfinne, on the other hand, twitched in what could be both fear and excitement, her blades glowing as if in response to her own emotional states.
- Telfinne - I felt this little thing in my head- oh- I mean- nothing... I stay adamant. Adamant.
- Vaugathala - Enemy command potentially sighted.
- ??? - Ssssh... Are you the ones sent to stop me? Pathetic that you would be surrounded by vermin like these, "mother".
- Thea'Nhirara - Watch your tone, demon.
- Psi - Okay, you're one ugly asshole, dude.
- ??? - I... am female, scum.
- Psi - Like I can tell!
- Vaugathala - Sex is irrelevant. Initiating combat.
Vaugathala fired his heavy-rifle, launching large ballistic projectiles from the barrel of his weapon towards the demonic commander with the force of a missile launcher. He had been aiming for her general vicinity, although more precisely towards her upper torso. The demon's eyes shined again and she let out another howl, and the group could watch her body turn into blackened purple mist, causing the missile to pass through her harmlessly. Her form materialized again ahead of where she was standing, closer to the team as she lift both blades into the air.
- ??? - I am Cairaovén! I am the Night Terror who will rend you to shreds!
With this, the demoness began delivering series of blows at Vaugathala's direction, wielding both of her blades with equal speed as if they were both feathers to her. Mu and Psi attempted to shoot her, but their shots appeared almost to disappear whenever they approached her, as if they were removed from reality altogether.
- Mu - The hell?
- Psi - I don't like demons! I shoot them and nothing happens!
- Telfinne - These are not demons! - Telfinne's eyes suddenly went numb, as if she was struck painfully by something, as she once again went in a delirious state - though she neverthless remained battle-ready - Demons demons demons not demons endless nightmare endless old as stars children of the eye yes...
- Psi - Girl, you're weird. You need a drink.
- Telfinne - ...Drink? Yes, I will drink. And I will give some of that drink to my puppy once- I mean, affirmative.
Vaugathala dropped his gun and swung his vibrosword in retaliation to the demoness' sudden outburst of speed and power, being pushed onto the defensive by her and causing him to yell across all frequencies and channels he could remotely access from his helm.
- Vaugathala - Enemy engaged in close range! Displays considerable agility combined with strength to allow for optimal destructive capacity! ... Squads 3, 5, and 7 on my position ASAP!
- Thea'Nhirara - Cairaovén... Be still and allow me to end your misery.
- Cairaovén - Speaks the miserable slave of dreams!
Thea'Nhirara's arms shapeshifted into scythe-shaped blades which were launched at the Night Terror's direction, causing her to back away from Vaugathala as her blades collided with them, launching multicoloured sparks across the plaza. The demon growled in anger as she attacked back, her two blades being wreathed in purple flames as she delivered a furious strike which broke one of Thea'Nhirara's bladed tentacles, flinging it across the landscape and causing the angel entity to wince in pain. The enhanced Zazane made an attempt to launch himself at the Night Terror's rear, swinging his large vibrosword in the direction of her back once she had found herself occupied with suppression on Thea'Nhirara's part. The group could hear the sound of gunfire and explosions heading their way as Vaugathala's reinforcements approached their position. The blade stabbed through her armor and flesh, but Cairaovén did not even flinch to it as her wings were slammed against the Blacksword elite to get him off of her. Gunfire launched at her direction disappeared before it could touch her seemingly for no reason, but that was actually the extent of her power. Such as the Night Terror's power over entropy that she could alter reality to fit her needs - in this case, unthink gunfire from her way.
- Vaugathala - ... I suggest a tactical regroup.
- Mu - And lose the planet? Can't do that.
- Telfinne - So strong, so black, so evil...
- Psi - Don't know about you pansies but I'm gonna beat the shit out of him.
- Mu - Her.
- Psi - Same thing, really.
- Vaugathala - You are free to attempt it.
Psi put his cannon on its sheath and proceeded to charge at Cairaovén's direction from the left, while Mu did the same from the right in order for them to flank the towering demon. Growling in anger, the Night Terror watched them approach before slashing her larger blade at Psi's direction as he approached, delivering a large cut to his chest armor and knocking him away into a wall while sending her elbow at Mu, hitting the Kicath's left arm and causing him to scream in pain as the sound of cracking bones were heard.
- Mu - My arm!!
- Psi - Okay. Do you have any idea how expensive this armor is?
- Vaugathala - Thus is why I suggested tactical regrouping.
- Cairaovén - This world is lost! It belongs to Errr now! Such is the will of the Black Fog!
- Vaugathala - We are under-equipped to engage in combat with the enemy. We can initiate a temporary retreat and attempt a reclamation of this holding at a later time once we are reinforced.
- Thea'Nhirara - ... May the Bonio forgive us. Retreat. Now!
- Vaugathala - All forces, intiate emergency transwarp drives and evacuate to orbital stations.
In moments, Vaugathala and the rest of the accompanying forces under his command vanished from sight in a brief, almost blinding flash of light as they evacuated from the battlefield to their cruisers and battleships in orbit of the world via teleportation systems built into their highly-advanced armour. There was little trace of them left upon the battlefield aside from minor burns where they had once been standing. Mu struggled to run as he held on his broken arm, while Psi got back up and ran alongside him to make his way back to the Artharon forces. Thea'Nhirara remained behind to give them time to escape, once again creating bladed tendrils from her body to clash against Cairaovén's swords. Telfinne and her squad activated their jet packs, flying into the sky so as to escape the incoming demons.
- Thea'Nhirara - It will not be today, but one day, I will save you from the eternal pain you have been subject to... my dear.
- Cairaovén - Run! Run like the coward you are!
Channeling all of her energy through her larger blade, Cairaovén let out an echoing roar as she sent it down at Thea'Nhirara vertically, cutting through the angel creature and splitting her body in two, each half disintegrating into a shining dust which was blown away by the wind.
With her enemies all escaped, the Night Terror roared out in fury as she resumed her path of destruction.
Hatred of the DevourerEdit
The attack on Bonaih was not the only move done by the Corruptus in their new storm. Naldos, one of the Spinker Empire's most valuable colonies, was being swarmed by the demons of nightmare. Naldos was the Spinker's greatest symbol of perseverence and victory, for it was there where they originally defeated the Ernai Empire so many hundred years ago. The loss of this planet would be a devastating defeat for the Spinker people's morale, and it would also result in the Corruptus possibly gaining control over the mysterious artifacts it held. The group composed of Macin Xermilin, Titanozor, the members of UNO and the Draconid Imperium were sent to stop the invasion by all means necessary.
With Tuolog on his back and an army of Loron behind him, Zr'Ahgloth stepped in confidently as he cracked his knuckles. The Kralgon Emperor rode forward in his Kralgon Land Destructor among other AI Weapons. All three of them were prepared to give the demons hell. Charging alongside the Loron forces and providing rearguard fire though tanks and plasma fire were the armoured soldiers of the Draconid Imperium. Joining as the representative of the multi-faction tactical team was Tonbas Credavan, a Draconid member of the Talon Marine Corps. Joining them as a de-facto commander of the psi-corps soldiers on the field was the grizzled Inquisitor Kelsos. After a loud bang, and the ground reverberating, Titanozor materialised through a transport beam, with his trusty shoulder buddy, Buuuk, perched next to his head. Behind him stood a contingent of Ultra-Troopers. Macin Xermilin stood at the front of the army, providing them protection from the corrupting energies of the Corruptus, and as they progressed deeper into enemy territory, they found themselves confronted by large numbers of violent Malcaeum who were covered by immense Marinoxidiz, who fired at the team with heavy weaponry. Floating next to the Klamb elder was Mimi, who held on her by using a pair of tentacles.
- Macin - The nightmare folk is ahead! Fight! Destroy them! Banish them back to whence they came!
- Zr'Ahgloth - YOO HERD DA GEEK. OI BOYZ LETS SHANK DEEZ GEEZAS!!!!!!
- Kelsos - Infantry focus on the Malcaeum, unload those battery assault nests on them. Armour crews and psi-corps, devastate those Marinoxidiz!
On his orders the nests released a hellish barrrage of plasma beams while tank shells and vehicle-grade plasma beams soared though the air to pound the armour of the Marinoxiiz. The Malcaeum charged furiously at the army's direction, waving their swords in a provoking manner while the Marinoxidiz gave them covering fire. Macin and Mimi united their essence to fire bright rays of energy at the demons, causing those hit by them to be destroyed in shining explosions of dream energy.
Meanwhile, Titanozor's soldiers ordered everyone without gamma-protection to look away before generating a nightcloak shield, took their aim and fired back with glasma blasters, each shot of glasma hot enough to emit gamma-rays and blind all in the vicinity. In return, some of the Marinoxidiz forces emitted electron-baryon plasma that instantly flash burned everything in the air to trap the gamma-radiation. This was intense enough to vapourise the Ultra-troopers that were too close, while others were heavily damaged.
- Titanozor - No shields can protect us in the era of glasma weaponry.
- Zr'Ahgloth - i fink its kinda funny dat im fitin on da same side as titanozor tbh
- Marinoxidiz - Your mortal shields are not enough to sustain the might of the Devourer and the Master Creator!
- Kralgon Emperor - Hah! Who needs protection, when you have infinite forces at your desposal, and all of them replaceable?
- Mimi - That's exactly what the Corruptus have!
- Tonbas - Inexhaustable, but certainly not instantly replaceable if we kill them fast enough.
- Kralgon Emperor - ...I suppose you are right, Mimi...
- Titanozor - We must fight on, we have the same weapons. This will be down to who can grind more!
- Tonbas - If the cities are evacuated we could draw and confine their forces!
- Macin - Show no distress now! We must defeat the nightmare! Behold the power of the Destined!
Macin let out a howl as her body began shining a bright gold colouration, and a large pair of white, feathered wings sprouted from her back as she then charged at the Malcaeum forces. Faster than their eyes could register, she attacked all of them, causing the demons to scream and die out in less than a second of time.
- Tonbas - Okay... what in the Void is going on with her!
- Mimi - Radiant State!
- Tonbas - Never thought I'd see an angel really. Void, can psi-corps do that?
- Kelsos - No.
- Tuolog - Macin, I provide you strength if you need more. Me and Zr'Ahgloth destroy Maronixidiz up close.
- Mimi - There are more coming... I feel the power of a great being... Any of you feel, umm... angry?
- Zr'Ahgloth - i meen i do but im always angry anywayz so meh
- Tonbas - I have adrenaline charging though my body like a summer storm if that means anything.
- Kralgon Emperor - Nothing beats my feeling of satisfaction in battle. Oh, I love it!
The Emperor dropped down dozens of Pods filled with Loron, and with Kralgon Land Walkers and Land Destructors. The unmanned vehicles fired shells of antimatter and machine coilguns that could tear apart almost anything with their rapid fire. As their numbers grew almost out of control, in an attempt to match the Marinoxidiz, the Kralgon Emperor sat back and laughed as his fire tore apart the enemy, and the land around him, recklessly shooting, not even worrying that his shots were also hitting some of his own Loron.
- Kralgon Emperor - Destruction...I LOVE DESTRUCTION!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! ALL WILL FALL BEFORE ME!!!! MY ENEMIES BURN!!!!!
- Mimi - ... This can't be good...
- Tonbas - so long as he's not accidentally thowing his fire us we're fine...I think.
Theirs was not the only front. Attacking a flank were a platoon of Spinker soldiers, within the frontlines however was a Draconis in expensive armour who barked out orders as the solders fought desperately to stay alive. Some of the Marinoxidiz forces ran over charred earth towards Titanozor's position, thinking they had broken his line. But to their surprise, the dead Ultra-Troopers who were not incinerated sprang to "life", their nanomechanical suits taking over their half destroyed remains and stabbing them with wire. Titanozor and his remaining men laughed at the shocked mêlée, and then fired their glasma weapons again. Titanonozor ordered his men to press forward for there was no going back, to this this confusion as an advantage.
- Macin - Survivors of Koluap's people!
- Mimi - That one dresses up like the ones who helped me fight Eleielord a year ago!
- Kelsos - What!?
Armed with a machinegun, the Draconis fought with a desperate determination. For those who could see the auras of others, there was something distinct about him that made him stand out from the Spinker auras. He battled with fear and desperation slightly more capably than those around him. But when he took a momentary glance at Kelsos, he momentarily panicked.
- Spinker Soldier - Why'd we stop? We gotta get out of here... Oh! Reinforcements have arrived!
- Sarec - Fight your way to them I knew we'd get support...I hoped we would....
- Kralgon Emperor - Quit your sentimental nonsense. We're here to DESTROY, not to rescue. Who cares if they die? They are replaceable.
- Macin - Watch your tongue! Or I will send you out of this world myself!
- Tuolog - Watching his tongue is...not exactly his strong point.
- Tonbas - Gotta agree with the angel thing, Soldiers fight better when they believe they're more than some number on a general's troop manifest.
- Macin - We are here to save Koluap's folk! Not to destroy them! Betray the dream and you will be destroyed like the nightmare!
- Zr'Ahgloth - meh i dunt reelly care fer deez peeps but im gonna agree wiv da angel chik cuz she looks shiny an becuz no one cares wat da empra has ta say
- Titanozor - You are either fighting with us, or you are fighting ON YOUR OWN, Kralgon Emperor.
The angelic Macin opened her mouth to continue her lecturing, but before she had the chance, she froze in place as she glanced upwards. In the distance, holding itself to a window in a skyscraper was a gigantic Malcaeum with eyes as black as the void of space who stared directly back at the army's direction. He could easily be spotted thanks to his huge wings and his spear-like limb.
Sarec looked up and a chill ran dow nhis spine.
- Sarec - ....kranndungkrandungkranndung. EVERYONE OPEN FIRE!
- Macin - The Hating One! The Hating One is here!
- Mimi - I knew something was wrong!
- Tuolog - I sense this coming...we need be prepared to fight something much bigger. Zr'Ahgloth and I at ready. Kralgon Emperor deal with forces below.
Rushing through several Marinoxidiz, the group only saw a shining light zip past several, which were cut in half as it zipped past them. Appearing in front of them, Mac, wielding his sword, approached the group confidently. Sarec turned his machinegun towards the skyscraper and released a hail of rail-fired slugs in the Malcaeum's direction.
- Mac - Kept you waiting, huh?
- Mimi - Should've been here earlier! We're in trouble!
- Mac - Sorry I'm late. I miscalculated my time-speeding-up-stuff. Trying to fight several battles at once ain't as easy as it looks...and I'd have got to this one faster if I'd done it right, but I guess I got complacent. Well, who's up for taking out that huge demon thing?
- Titanozor - Demons' are my speciality.
The demon, Shu'rahkavarh, continued his stare at the team's direction before opening his wings, allowing himself to fall at their direction. Macin immediately launched herself at its direction, flying faster than their eyes could see and clashing with the giant Malcaeum in midair, delivering flurries of unarmed blows to the demon with such intensity that it continuously flinched from them. However, with an almost tired groan, it dismissively lunged an arm at the angel which hit her across the side and sent her crashing down into the ground. Mimi quickly flew to Macin's aid as Shu'rahkavarh landed in front of the air.
- Shu'rahkavarh - So much bloodshed... it is beautiful...
- Kralgon Emperor - I agree! High-five, demon!
- Macin - Agh... i-idiot!
Sarec glanced to see Macin as she hit the ground and he seethed, he leaped up to bounce off a nearby building and onto a rooftop where he released another hail of gunfire o nthe Malcaeum.
- Sarec - Want to finish what you started with me you scab-covered hellfire filth?
- Shu'rahkavarh - By divine command of the Warrior, this planet is to become Kaizo'terron... But there is yet so much blood to spill... I can feel your hate, your distress, your anger... it empowers me.
The demon's bony spear was launched at the Kralgon Emperor's Land Destructor, and the team could watch as its rigid form turned flexible and it wrapped itself around the vehicle like a whip. Shu'rahkavarh tug his arm back and crushed the Destructor like a snake crushing their prey. Barely escaping, the Emperor fell out, bruised, with all of his bones broken and unable to move, paralyzed. Tuolog instantly time-warped him back up to his ship in orbit, but he would stay on communications.
- Kralgon Emperor - Agh...you'll...YOU'LL PAY FOR THAT, SHU'RAHKAVARH! Even up here, I can feel the hatred from this thing...Destroy it! Make it pay!
- Shu'rahkavarh - Make me stronger...
- Zr'Ahgloth - ok life lesson numba 2: dont piss off a demon moron
Even Titanozor looked on in awe at the strength and toughness of this entity. It was like one he had never met. Titanozor instinctively reached for his God-Hammer, but remembered it wasn't there anymore. The demon reared up and then released a roar at the army, and many could feel their psyches invaded by an unseen force which compelled them to turn berserk against their own allies. Kelsos turned and scowled as he shouted orders in an attempt to regain control of the forces under his command, but even he could feel the compelling force on his mind. Sarec meanwhile continued firing seething as he wanted nothing more than to see the demon die. There was also fear as he took a glance to see the battlefield become an uncontrollable mass of soldiers fighting each other. Titanozor and Buuuk looked on in horror his men began to fight each other, some crying as they killed their brothers, soon their nanomechanical suits took over, them too being taken over and fighting like a gory mass of blood and machine. Titanozor wondered why he and his other team hadn't been turned on each other, and realised Shu'rahkavarh was teasing them for its sadistic enjoyment.
Zr'Ahgloth and Tuolog both tossed Mac up into the air to fight the demon, before he jumped up himself, using Tuolog's anti-gravity Chronoscopic powers to raise up and slash it with their energised strength. With energy and with their powers being sped up in time, Mac and Zr'Ahgloth managed to rapidly bash the enormous demon, exhausting their physical strength. Shu'rahkavarh's muscles grew swollen as the blood of the army was spilled, and his own moves grew faster as he parried Mac's blade with his spear limb. Gunfire sent at the demon vanished from existence before it could reach its physical body, for he was powerful enough to unthink it out of his way should he so please.
- Kelsos - Tonbas! Cohesion failsafe, now!
- Tonbas - Confirmed!
- Tuolog - I have idea! Everyone, retreat from battle!
- Zr'Ahgloth - BLUD R U DUM WAT DA HELL WHAI WULD WE RUN
- Tuolog - No, trust me. He draws his power from the blood of those who fall around him. He is gaining more power as we throw lives away. Leave the robots, and the AI Weapons behind.
- Titanozor - The DCP cannot. Does not.. SURRENDER!
- Tuolog - Titanozor, you not listen to me. We not surrendering. If we withdraw troops, we not provide it anymore power as troops fall.
- Kelsos - Tuolog, the Cohension Failsafe will incapacitate all Imperial troops on the field, but we will still need to move them. Can we count on you?
- Kralgon Emperor - I will stop sending Loron, and withdraw others in the Pods' teleporter. I will send AI Weapons in their place.
- Shu'rahkavarh - I am the Devourer of Dreams's hatred made manifest... I am the physical representation for the despise he feels for this universe... I am Shu'rahkavarh. I am the end.
Several Loron groaned amongst themselves, and spat on the ground as they walked back to their pods. Though Marinoxidiz chased them to kill them, the Loron retreated regardless, with their ranks replaced by Kralgon Land Walkers and Land Destructors. Tonbas gave the order and every imperial soldier was suddenly overcome with overpowering muscle spasms, in a brief moment all of them fell unconscious but standing. Suddenely Shu'rahkavarh pointed his giant claw at Titanozor, inches from his face, then turned it towards Buuuk, who was clearly trying to fight whatever dark sorcery was being impregnated into his soul. He could not fight for long and suddenely fired shots at Titanozor's head, only just shielded. Titanozor used his strength to lob Buuuk like a ragdoll, before priming his shield. He would have to fight his companion, and his soldiers that had turned on him, which would give Shu'rahkavarh even more power. Titanozor realised he would have to abandon the battle, a humiliating defeat for any DCP commander and arranged for him and Buuuk to beam out and his men to be ejected into space.
Seeing everyone withdraw, Sarec panicked once more and tossed the machinegun aside. He readied a longsabre and opened his wings, soaring down hoping to latch on to the body of Shu'rahkavarh using his weapon as a hook into its demonic flesh. The giant Malcaeum's eyes turned to Sarec as its spear-limb moved in a serpentine manner up to the Draconis's face, stopping between his eyes.
- Shu'rahkavarh - A most unwise move...
- Sarec - And it is unwise to threaten a man who has nothing!
- Mac - Where do you draw your power from now, demon? Good luck getting blood and rage from robots.
- Shu'rahkavarh - Foolish Taldar... War sustains me... Conflict gives me power... The lack of bloodshed does little but upset- Ugh!
Rising from the debris on the ground was Macin Xermilin, no longer in her angel form but standing once again as she and Mimi combined her energies to fire a blast of essence at Shu'rahkavarh's back, causing the demon to wince in agony and stumble in place. His control over the army's psyche lessened as he lost his concentration. Sarec stil lheld on, drawing a knife he plunged it deep into what he hoped was a soft spot while the Malcaeum was distracted. Black, burning hot blood was spilled out of the wound, but the demon could do little to stop Sarec at this moment.
- Mac - Cocky lil' bastard, eh? You and the Emperor have more in common than I thought.
- Macin - He is distracted! Fire your machines and your shiny lights at him now! He cannot use the nightmare to stop them!
Mac and Zr'Ahgloth empowered themselves further, and struck harder against Shu'rahkavarh, siezing the opportunity. The Kralgon weapons turned their antimatter cannons towards the demon, firing, while their machine coilguns focused on the Marinoxidiz. Soaring form above, the Imperium had launched drone strike fighters that peppered Shu'rahkavarh with rail-powered shots. Sarec meanwhile kept stabbing, workign his way up the torso towards the neck. Mimi flew over to Sarec as he attacked the demon, shielding herself from the drone fire by meekly covering herself with her wings.
- Mimi - You gotta let go for the drones will hit you too!
- Sarec - I want...to make sure...he's dead!
- Mimi - You're falling to him! He wants you to be angry so he can leech on you for power! Calm down and let go!
Sarec drew the knife and looked at Mimi. Despite wearing a decorated helmet that hid his eyes, she could see she was getting though to him as he stared at her. He caught his words as he nodded, not momenents too soon as a drone made another strafing run, he drew the blade and sliced a large gash out of Shu'rahkavarh's shoulder. Sarec landed on his side and rolled a metre as he stumbled upon conact with the ground. The many shots he received as well as the dream energy used against him caused the great demon to fall to one knee, growling in pain. His body began spazzing and shivering as he glared at the retreating team, and while he had begun their fight with them with an emotionless expression, he was now glaring at them in fury.
Purple flames erupted out of Shu'rahkavarh's entire body as his muscles became swollen again, with him letting out a furious roar which sent debris and corpses flying across the landscape.
- Shu'rahkavarh - Berserk!
- Zr'Ahgloth - yanno ive encountered som pretty mental peepz but DIS GEEZA IS MENTAL MAN WAT DA HELL
Shu'rahkavarh lunged forward to chase after Sarec and the other, delivering almost mindless blows to the landscape as he did so, causing entire buildings to crumble down in ruins. He snarled, growled and roared like a violent animal. Sarec panicked and ran, stumbling as the fury that had sustained him was subsiding. He ran towards the others, panting as he did so. The demon rose his spear over his head to send it down at Sarec, but before he was given the chance, a ray of dream energy was launched at the limb from behind the demon, and the team could watch as it was severed out of Shu'rahkavarh's body by Macin, who was flying behind him. The demon fell into the ground, growling in fury and twitching all over as he dug his claws and talons into the ground, trying to get back up.
- Macin - Fire! Attack! Everything!
Returning, Titanozor roared as he went down on the demon, and smashed away at it with his super-Grimbolsaurian strength. Angrier even than usual, Titanozor took pride as he smashed his fists and fired all of his weaponry into the demon, reckless with fury. Zr'Ahgloth, never thinking he'd be copying Titanozor, did the same, with Tuolog speeding up and enhancing his every attack. Watching the other two, Mac grinned, as he too slashed away at the demon, pouring everything into it. Kelsos wasted no time in raising his hand and drawing rubble with his mind to smash into Shu'rahkavarh's body, waving his arms as if he was holding the rubble in his hands. Sarec, after standing up, drew one of his plasma pisstols and fired repeatedly at the Skewer's head. Macin and Mimi once again united their powers and launched streams of dream energy directly at Shu'rahkavarh's heart, and with the combined effort of all the attacks sent at the demon, his heart exploded in a shower of black blood.
A shockwave of entropic energy was emitted from the demon as it gasped in pain, and the army could watch as its body liquified into a thick sludge. However, before it vanished completely, it spoke again.
- Shu'rahkavarh - ... This is what empowers us... true bloodshed... may my blood be spilled today, but remember... I am the hate for this universe given form... Dead may I be today, but I will return... to cause more bloodshed... and to hate you more and more...
Shu'rahkavarh's form completely liquified before the team's eyes, and afterwards, it disintegrated, turning into ash which was blown by the wind. The demons still on the planet immediately disappeared as the black fog which covered Naldos slowly dissipated. Surviving Spinker soldiers raised their weapons and let out cheerful shouts as the battle was won. Sarec, grinning with relief, unbuckled his helmet and removed it, panting with relief as he raised it i nthe air, joinging the Spinker in their cheers. After several chants he felt disoriented as he was spun around by something and a large armoured hand tightly gripped his neck. Kelsos glared with his snout inches from Sarec, furious as he leaned over the much younger Draconis.
- Kelsos - Idiot boy! You nearly got yourself killed pulling all this!
- Sarec - B-Brother Kelsos! I-I'm sorry I really!--
- Kelsos - Stow it before I consider squeezing! It migt be a mercy.
Macin stumbled to the team's direction, her body filled with bruises from the attacks she had sustained, while Mimi orbited her while cheerfully waving her tentacles.
- Mimi - We destroyed the Alpha! Yay! Destroyed! Eat that, Shu'wokerama!
- Macin - I'm getting too old for this.
- Zr'Ahgloth - HAHA LOSA
Kelsos briskly turned his head, feignign a smile at Mimi and Macin.
- Kelsos - Yes, yes we did. No thanks to this novice!
Kelsos threw Sarec to the ground. Sarec would ahve gotten up but Kelsos pinned him telekineticallly to the ground.
- Mimi - Hey, the boy helped save these survivors! He was reckless but he did help! A bit.
- Kelsos - I suppose he did save a few lives. In all honesty however I am infuriated with how he went about saving lives.
- Tuolog - Worry not about the means, the end is what matters. Let him go. He did fine.
- Sarec - Y-yeah. I thought Inquisitors were free to decide on their approaches.
- Kelsos - They are, but that does not mean you can throw your life away with little thought. Consider today a lesson.
- Sarec - Oh I will, sir. I have learned a lot.
- Kelsos - Good boy
Kelsos flicked a wrist and tossed Sarec to his feet, the brash tossing about prompted him to vomit after a moment of disorientation. Gasping with nerves and disgust as he stared into the puddle he had made.
- Kralgon Emperor - Pfft, lives are replaceable. Anyway, it is good that we avenged Koluap's people. And me. But mostly that we avenged me.
- Mac - Does this guy ever quit with his ego?
- Tuolog - I wish.
- Macin - He should be lucky my arms hurt otherwise I would squeeze his head like one of Klambah's fruits!
- Tuolog - He'll learn in time. Hopefully. I mean, in some timelines he learns...
- Mimi - Regardless, with Shu'rahkavarh dead, the demons have vanished. Usually they don't care for losses but they must have definitely felt this one. We gotta go and warn Jerkon and Sis about our victory.
- Mac - Yeah, well done, everyone. This should hopefully deal a blow to them. Alright, I'll be back next big battle.
Mac zipped off immediately, gone from the battlefield, off to see if he could make it in time to another fight.
- Tuolog - I apologise for the...crazy people we have. Hehe.
- Macin - You, old one, are too good for these savages.
- Zr'Ahgloth - SHUT UP YA MOMS A SAVAGE
- Macin - Oh yes, she was. May the dream take good care of her now.
- Zr'Ahgloth - ...dat was supposed ta be an insult...YA DADS A SAVAGE
- Macin - Yep.
- Zr'Ahgloth - ...nevamind
- Titanozor - Me and the DCP will be happy to fight demons once more. Call on us again if you need our help. This was a satisfying victory.
The far reaches of the Milky Way, nearing the edge of the galaxy itself, was a dark presence - much like a bleeding wound that Thea'Nhirara could sense much like a growing threat. It emanated a demonic presence; and, with the growing power of the Corruptus all over the Gigaquadrant, such a place was impossible to ignore and to not destroy once and for all. Amassing their numbers; the team previously tasked to defend Bonaih armed themselves and boarded a shuttle - small enough to pass through would-be aggressors without great hindrance, towards where this place was.
As it came into sight, it was a dimly lit construct - black in colour and vaguely cube like in shape, perhaps deviating in areas where it showed a depth and where demons possibly populated it. Though, that being said, it was lifeless on the surface, and it definitely appeared lifeless wherever the openings were - though this was often typical of demonic presences. It seemed as if it was not inhabited for many years - centuries even, though Thea'Nhirara's senses never lied.
- Psi - Hm...we haven't even boarded the damn thing and I'm already twitchy.
- Mu - ... Is this what a Marinoxidiz planet looks like?
- Vaugathala - Caution is to be advised. ... Close engagement in enemy territory shall only hinder us.
- Macin - I don't like this place. It makes me nervous. We must turn back.
- Mimi - We can't just leave! We can't fail a second time!
- Thea'Nhirara - I am unsure of what lingers under us. But it is a fact that something lingers under us.
- Psi - It looks kinda...strange for a Corruptus place. I was expecting tentacles.
- Vaugathala - Unpredictability is key to overcoming the enemy. A universal tactic.
- Psi - In that case, time for a swig.
Nearing the blackened surface of the construct, they saw that there was no organic surface - the construct was purely metallic, and textured so that whatever light may have shone on its surface, was only vaguely reflected back. All spans of the ground was marked intricately in angular lines, as some sort of decorum, and it was evident that, whilst the platforms of the surface were significantly wide, there were barriers to prevent falling into the depths below them.
- Mu - The place is 100% artificial. Not a planet.
- Psi - Do the Corruptus do things like this? You know? Huge...metal boxes?
- Thea'Nhirara - They do not. If this was a true Corruptus world, it would be an Overworld. Overworlds are not artificial.
- Vaugathala - Organic or synthetic; neither is unbreakable.
- Lupercal - This is no ordinary construct either. At least it does not look like it.
Slowly moving their way across the walkway, aiming through their scopes at times in case they would see anything demonic through them, the team made their way towards the direction of a large edifice appearing only half-risen through the surface, parted from the rest of the structure with seemingly no way in through natural means. As they reached the edge of it, they could see far down into the construct - a mesmerising network of metal among other things. Thea'Nhirara created a faint shield of Dream Energy around the team as they progressed in order to protect them from any possible entropic influence, though Macin appeared unwell. The construct appeared perplexing in her still tribal mindset.
- Psi - So...how do we get into that thing? I don't wanna jump and fall five miles. And I wasn't expecting to need a jetpack today.
- Kagu'sai - There must be another way.
- Mu - Yeah, there's gotta be an entrance somewhere.
- Psi - You can see the entrance right there, silly. Must be some sort of bridge that opens up to get in.
- Mu - I meant an entrance that doesn't involve a bottomless pit.
- Psi - ...Didn't happen to pick up a translocator before we left?
- Vaugathala - We have ventured unprepared into hostile territory. ... Wonderful.
- Thea'Nhirara - I may use my power to telekinetically transport us to the entrance. But I will be left defenseless in case any enemy attacks.
Nearby, was a terminal - roughly twice the height of Psi, that had a series of consoles for some purpose. There was no written language on the console, so translation was impossible. It seemed powered down, but not destroyed in any sort. Mu approached the terminal, inspecting it while gently tapping its surface, turning his head back to the team.
- Mu - Okay, this is definitely not a Corruptus planet. Those guys use Grox-based tech and this is definitely not Grox-made.
- Lupercal - I don't know what that is exactly, but Telfinne can read these things with her telepathy. Right. Can you, Telfinne?
- Telfinne - Bʟᴀᴄᴋ ᴀᴜʀᴀ. Bʟᴀᴄᴋɴᴇss ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴏᴛs ᴏғ ʙʟᴀᴄᴋɴᴇss. I sᴇᴇ ʙʟᴀᴄᴋ-ᴍᴀɴᴇᴅ ᴘᴏɴɪᴇs ᴅᴀɴᴄɪɴɢ ᴏɴ ғɪᴇʟᴅs ᴏғ ɪʀᴏɴ. Tʜᴇ ɴᴀᴍᴇʟᴇss ᴅᴀᴜɢʜᴛᴇʀ ᴏғ Uʀᴛʜᴏɴᴀ ʙʀɪɴɢs ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇᴅ Oʀᴄ ғᴏᴏᴅ ɪɴ ɪʀᴏɴ ʙᴀsᴋᴇᴛs.
- Psi - That would be...a yes?
- Macin - What in the nightmare's name is she even saying?!
- Mimi - The Radeon girl is coo-coo in the coconuts.
- Lupercal - ...She's having a crazy phase. That's bad. She often has crazy phases, but they happen more often whenever something bad is about to occur.
- Psi - I'll take that as an indicator to get this place blown up quickly.
- Vaugathala - A strategic disadvantage to be accompanied with the psychologically challenged.
- Mu - Girl's retarded.
- Psi - Yep.
- Vaugathala - Thus weak.
- Lupercal - She is a walking alarm for our squad.
- Vaugathala - There are means to be weak beyond the body. You would do well to understand such.
- Psi - Alright, alright. I'm not getting paid to stand around talking. Actually I'm not getting paid at all. Someone get us across that place before I throw us across.
Thea'Nhirara's eyes shined in bright blue as the team was engulfed in a faint aura, and they found themselves levitating over to the other side of the bridge while the shield of dream energy around them dissipated. Thankfully, there was no attack against them, and they landed next to the building, many metres across. Once they arrived, Thea'Nhirara levitated to the other side herself, regaining her composure.
- Psi - Coulda sworn we would have been shot down there.
- Mu - This place is a bit too quiet in general. I get the feeling we'll be ambushed.
Entering the construct - a large ramp of sorts reaching to higher levels, the team scaled the fortress in hopes of finding a series of consoles, or even a power source that they could rig to destroy the entire construct and whatever evil it had contained. The place had appeared to have been abandoned not too long ago - all kinds of objects were in place - some of it weaponry and spare armour stowed against the wall, among many other kinds of things there present. They neared the very top of the construct - perhaps not where a power source would lie, but it seemed like a commander's outpost from where it was located. The door was locked - maybe as some sort of failsafe when the original inhabitants of this place had hurried out of there in an emergency.
- Macin - We know this place has nothing, can we go now?
- Mimi - No!
- Macin - Agh.
- Thea'Nhirara - It is folly to believe this place is completely abandoned. My senses do not fail me. We are not alone.
- Telfinne - There is still something out there. - Telfinne suddenly regained her lucidity - I feel something here. ...Something. ...Something...
They could hear a pair of voices on the other side - far too muffled to gain anything from it, though one was distinct from another. Thea'Nhirara faced the direction of the voices while Mu quickly aimed his pistol at it. Telfinne's body shuddered all of a sudden, while Kagu'sai and Lupercal drew their weapons.
- Mu - Yep. Not alone.
- Psi - I don't think our guns are gonna get through that.
- Mimi - What do we do then?
Instead of conferring as to how to open the door, the door unfurled its way into the spaces between the wall, revealing the commander's outpost on the other side. It was heaving with all kinds of machinery and consoles - operating the immediate area around and beneath them, and was fully lit with the crimson red light that was commonly associated with demonic technology. And in this room, were two individuals. Before the team's eyes was a very tall Mahanayan, and none other than Errr. From out of the masked Ermitant's back came the Avatar of the Devourer, who glared at the team's direction as they arrived. The sight of the demon on Errr's back caused Thea'Nhirara to freeze in place, her eyes widened in what looked like terror. Telfinne closed her eyes, while at the same time becoming more focused.
- Thea'Nhirara - Shu'rimrodir...
- Psi - You what now?
- Macin - The nightmare instigator!!
Errr turned his head to the team, staring at them with his piercing red eyes after he noticed the Avatar's reaction to their arrival.
- Errr - Well, well... Were the Dracogonarious too cowardly to come in person to discover us?
- Vaugathala - Enemy sighted.
Raising his weapon, the Blacksword Elite launched a barrage of heavy gunfire in the direction of the enigmatic, dark figures, wasting little time for formal introductions; efficiency was hardwired into his perogative. The gunfire was only dissipated before it could come into contact with Errr or the Mahanayan; the Mahanayan stepped forward as the gunfire appeared to fizzle out in bolts of red light.
- Psi - This guy...don't know who he is. Don't even know what his race is.
- Mu - Hell I don't know what any of these things are.
- Thea'Nhirara - The masked one is the Ermitant named Errr. The creator of the Marinoxidiz... and evidently, a host body for Shu'rimrodir. Disgusting.
- Mu - ... The hell kind of name is "Errr"?
- Vaugathala - Names are irrelevant given the circumstance. The most relevant aspect to their presence is the threat they pose.
The Mahanayan began to speak. As expected from a creature of his size, his voice carried a sinister weight, heavy enough to cause a hollow feeling in one's chest as he moved his mouth.
- ??? - You would find that names are very important. You will know mine, and my kind very much so in the years to come.
- Vaugathala - Affirmative; names are to be recorded upon the official death toll.
- Mu - What a cheeky bastard.
The Mahanayan smirked, though his eyes glinted red in a certain light - a kind of red that was seen only on one kind of being beforehand.
- ??? - My name is Hez'Kalka. My kind is Mahanayan.
- Vaugathala - And your fate ends here.
- Errr - Pathetic. You stand no chance against him. Or me. I expected young Jerkon and his friends to come instead of you, but your deaths will also satisfy me.
- Kagu'sai - Whether I be victorious or slain, my deeds shall immortalise me forever! You cannot scare me, tiny creature!
- Hez'Kalka - Regardless. Our negotiations are concluded for the time being.
- Errr - It was a pleasure.
- Thea'Nhirara - ... I understand it now. You parasite. You work with the demons of Inferno.
- Hez'Kalka - How much do you really understand about them? I suspect not nearly enough.
- Mu - Oh come the hell on. We're in a Congregation construct, aren't we?
- Hez'Kalka - Congregation, Zhulultu, Xhodocto. Whatever pleases you the least.
The Mahanayan, clad in blackened armour much in style of the Congregation's elite-rank armour during the War of Ages, stepped over to the console as he smiled under his cold gaze. He typed multiple commands into the console as he looked at the screen.
- Lupercal - We have brought your kind low before! And we shall do it again.
- Mu - Yeah, you guys are supposed to be dead!
- Hez'Kalka - We never die. We simply shed a skin.
- Thea'Nhirara - Shu'rimrodir must not be allowed to work with Chaos!
As he stood back up from the console, an ear-splitting rumble came from underneath, as they saw from the window panel, that the construct rapidly illuminated itself in the malevolent red light of Xhodocto quality. The construct just became operational in a matter of seconds.
- Hez'Kalka - Until we meet again.
- Errr - Or not.
- Thea'Nhirara - Do not let him escape!
- Vaugathala - Open fire.
There was little they could do, however. Hez'Kalka quickly lunged towards the window - faster than they would have estimated someone of that size to do, and easily smashed through the thick screen and and escaped to the depths underneath the construct. Errr's eyes narrowed, as if he was smiling under his mask, as he waved his hand at the team mockingly. Feeling provoked, Mu charged at the Ermitant, only for the Avatar to charge back, delivering a punch to the Kicath Agent which sent him flying backwards, crashing against the wall. The Ermitant disappeared in a black fog, while Mu groaned on the floor.
- Mu - My arm! Again!
- Psi - You're lucky our healthcare is one of the best in the Xonexi Cluster.
Vaugathala growled beneath his helm as he unleashed another barrage towards Errr from his heavy weapon following a thrown fragmentation grenade in the eldritch scientist's direction, all the while gesturing for his comrades to retreat backwards in the face of the supernatural foe. By then, however, the Ermitant scientist had already vanished completely.
- Lupercal - Bad.
- Thea'Nhirara - We must leave this place. Warn the Dracogonarious of the Corruptus' links with Chaos.
- Vaugathala - Affirmative. Should we attempt to level the site?
- Mu - Yeah, I don't think we have the firepwoer to destroy a Xhodocto construct. These things tend to be harder than Nu's skull.
- Vaugathala - Not with that attitude, we do not.
It was then that a strange, loud rattle sounded directly underneath them, as if something was passing underground. Mu got back on his feet while Macin let out a startled yell, holding on Thea'Nhirara's leg as she felt the presence.
- Mu - ... Today's just not our day, is it?
- Vaugathala - Statement revoked. We retreat.
- Mu - Like you can talk about attitude, Zazanetron.
The presence burst itself out of the surface, causing the construct's otherwise fine surface to be ripped apart as it emerged before them. It was colossal in size, far beyond that of most wildlife existing in the Gigaquadrant, and a thick array of spikes, teeth and the likes crowned it all over. Mu aimed his pistol at the monster while Thea'Nhirara manifested essence in her hands, all while Macin screamed again while pointing her finger at it.
- Macin - Thing! Thing I don't know!
- Mu - Yeah, I think we can all see it, thanks!
- Psi - What in the fuck is that thing?!
- Kagu'sai - A monster? - Kagu'sai stepped away; though as terrified as the rest of the team, he concealed his fear with a masque of his usual bravado - Let us... test our mettle then, like the knights of yore!
- Vaugathala - I fancy not our chances under the given circumstances.
- Mu - How about I break your arm, cat? Still I don't think we can call the shuttle in with whatever the hell that is on our tail.
- Vaugathala - A distraction is required. ... I opt the Kicathian soldiers. They shall be finely capable of suppressing our enemy, or at least dividing its attention, while the others attempt to reach retreat.
- Mu - Yeah, let the guy with the broken arm deal with the demon abomination. Screw you, guy.
- Vaugathala - It is in my neural reprogramming to destroy. ... Retreat is an unfavourable resort and brings me great displeasure. It is within my interface to prefer fight over flight.
- Mu - Good thing I don't care.
- Lupercal - We can't just let them die. There has to be another way.
- Thea'Nhirara - Your weapons are too feeble to harm it. My essence would distract it at most, for this construct drains me. Look for heavier weaponry.
- Psi - ...Must be some kind of heavy ordnance somewhere...this is a Congregation construct, dammit.
- Macin - Find your fat weapons before it attacks us!
As the demon tore through the construct, they saw, close by - flanking them left and right, were two heavy guns that were sunken into the surface as they were not in operation. They measured at least forty metres long themselves, as Psi let out a massive grin underneath his helmet as he saw them.
- Psi - I call the left one.
- Mu - Someone with two functional arms can take the right one.
- Vaugathala - Affirmative twicefold. Thricefold, even.
- Thea'Nhirara - Hurry! We have little time!
Thea'Nhirara levitated into the air, launching blasts of dream energy at the demon in order to distract it away from the team as they ran to the weapons. Vaugathala rushed over the surrounding debris in order to approach the gun, making haste as his focus was drawn towards the heavy arsenal and he swiftly established himself to properly handle the weapon. Psi rushed out of the window, where Hez'Kalka had made an opening moments beforehand, and, thankfully to his Agent physique, landed on the ground without any damage taken. He took to the gun, sitting in an operator's chamber as he looked at the controls.
- Psi - Demon language! I don't get it!
- Mu - Hell, just press the biggest button you find.
- Vaugathala - Perhaps there may be an instruction manual translated into intergalactic common. ... Haha.
- Mu - Does it look like we have the time?!
- Vaugathala - Negative. Take cover.
- Macin - Catfolk. Ratfolk. You provide distracting.
- Mimi - Hehehehe... cat, rat, dog...
The demon's head emerged out of the ground, revealing multiple jaws filled to the brim with teeth metres long in itself. It had no visible eyes, though it looked in the direction of the tower. Even what was its equivalent of hands were huge, serrated pincers, and it propped itself up using them. It let out a roar, sounding much like layers upon layers of catastrophic growls at once. Both Thea'Nhirara and Mimi visibly shook from the roar, their bodies briefly becoming unstable as if they were liquid.
- Kagu'sai - ...Fighting from a distance would be most honourable here, for the greatest dishonour, it is said, is to die meaninglessly. Give them hell, warriors!
Afraid of the creature but even more so from his very own fear and the possibility of showing it, the Artharon warlord retreated together with his soldiers, until they stood at a safe distance from the creature, and then took the weapons they typically considered dishonourable: their flamecaster launchers. Not in a furious charge but in an organised formation, the Artharon soldiers began hurling missiles at the creature with dazzling speed, each rocket igniting with golden flame as it tore through the air.
Lupercal and his troopers soon joined in, lending support through their plasma launchers; a wave of purple, blue and yellow struck at the eldritch creature. Psi struggled in operating the gun, somewhat confused at the sight of multiple controls - despite the level of technology there, the means to use it was surprisingly counter-intiuitive. Vaugathala, meanwhile, analysed the controls of the weapon in the most analytical manner he could - via slamming and forcing whatever illuminated or protruding parts that were in his field of vision. The demon's body contorted slighty as the bolts of plasma collided with it, though it was roused to anger, and slowly manoeuvred its gigantic arm towards the structure.
- Lupercal - Telfinne? What do you sense in him? An aura, a weakness, anything?
- Telfinne - I sense something pony-rainbow- I mean, something strange beneath its heart! It must be its weakness!
- Vaugathala - Could be a tumor.
- Lupercal - Where is that heart, even?
- Telfinne - ...It's the mouth! I think-
- 'Lupercal - ...The mouth is the heart?
- Mu - Radeon biology is weird.
- Telfinne - ...Maybe it's not the actual heart- that's just what I saw! A pink heart-shaped thing inside its mouth!
- Vaugathala - Aim for the soft components.
Vaugathala made an attempt to laugh in a monotonous, robotic manner as he aimed the heavy-cannon towards the gargantuan monster's orifice. Having finally mastered the controls, Psi rotated the gun towards the demon, as he pulled down on the trigger to fire. It was a slow start up; the weapon had not been used for a very long time - but a heavy whoosh of red light sped through the gun in a bolt of energy as it hit the demon. Vaugathala's bolt scathed the shoulder of the demon, causing demonic flesh and blood to cascade all over the place, whilst Psi's grazed the demon's tail. Thea'Nhirara continued launches blasts of her essence at the demon, and despite its presence weakening her, she used all of her power to at least help to some extent.
- Vaugathala - ... Whoops.
- Psi - Don't worry, it'll heal.
- Vaugathala - That is what concerns me.
- Macin - Do not stop firing the fat guns!
- Mu - Hey. Heavy does not mean fat in this case.
- Macin - I don't care, just kill it!
The next barrage of attacks from the two supersoldiers were faster in charge and somewhat more accurate - this time, one hit the demon square in the shoulder, and the other closer to the chest, though they found that its hide was much harder the closer it got to its torso.
- Vaugathala - The exoskeletal carapace grows more resistant to damage around the cardial and torso areas.
- Thea'Nhirara - Follow the Radeon's advice. Aim for the mouth.
- Vaugathala - You try aiming at a consistently-moving target with oudated heavy weaponry. We are trying.
- Mu - Mate, this whole place is more advanced than your species is old.
- Psi - Gonna need a medical kit for that burn.
- Vaugathala - ... Keep firing.
The demon convulsed as it crouched over. A reddened light wove its way through the demon's body, illuminating its blood vessels. The light of the construct flickered on and off as it did; accumulating a demonic energy in its body to project. Even the guns that Vaugathala and Psi were operating appeared to malfunction briefly, looking up to the leviathan as it poised itself.
- Vaugathala - Not good.
- Psi - Nope.
The demon arched its head back, before launching forward with a blinding white and red beam of energy that tore its way through the surface of the construct, severing the fortress from its foundations, as well as uprooting the gun Psi was operating. Macin screamed and used her super speed to run out of the way of the attack while Thea'Nhirara levitated further upwards to remain out of the attack's reach. Psi was thrown from the gun, tumbling into a crevasse of debris as the gun was shattered to pieces all around him.
- Macin - Attack mouth attack mouth attack mouth!
- Vaugathala - Affirmative.
Vaugathala remained in his position despite the incredible force which almost toppled him and the gun, as if he did not fear the creature's onslaught - in truth, due to his neural rewriting, it was almost biologically impossible for him to experience such a feeling. He aimed the gun at the raging beast and brought himself to wait until the opportune moment; ideally, when its attention or general forward-facing direction was turned to himself. Psi clawed his way out of the debris, using his enhanced strength to lift vast sections of the gun itself off his shell of armour.
- Lupercal - Telfinne, do your thing now!
- Telfinne - ...What do you- ah, yes! I will try!
Intending to assault the demon psychically, Telfinne closed her eyes, pointed her hand at the creature and focused as much as she could, taking all her energy for her last attack. However, instead of her mind peering into its, it instead peered into hers - and shook it to its foundations.
When Telfinne had opened her eyes, they burned like fiery coals; her madness once again overtook her.
- Telfinne - D̗̣̻̲͕̮̱͖͍͈̍͛̆͂͑̒͒͐͘͝ᴇ̛̰̣̺̦̯͍̩̻̙̗̿̍͛͂̇̆̈́̐͠ᴀ͙̤̪͉̦̬̟͎̽͆͐͗̌͆́̈́̀͜͜͝ᴛ̢̧̛͎͚̪͍̩̪͎̩͆͊̍̊̈́̐̈̎̕ʜ̤̭̬̯̟͉͇̯̱̀̔̎̃͋͛́̋͊̽͜ ̨̺̞͉̲̯͕̬͉̏̽̇͆̅̂͛͂͗̀ͅᴅ͇̝̙̻͇̲͉̹̩͇̏̉́̓̒̅̒̈́̒͘ᴇ̰̯̣̻̹̩̥̝̭͇̉͒̾̉̋̏̌͊͘͝ᴀ̨̦̗̯̭̝̦̯͚̲̊̿̎͐̏̍̋͗̕͝ᴛ̡̧̰̙̖̦͈̗̪̏̈́̐͒͑͌̈̀̓͘͜ʜ̛̜̳̲̳̱̠̳͓̖̄̅̑̂͛̍̈́̕͝ͅ ̢̘̦͈͔̞̱̼̙̞͑͂͂̃̈̿̇́́̚ᴅ̡̨̞̗͚̩͕̟͚̞̈́͑̉̌̎̅̈̍̀̍ᴇ̟̺̫̪̖̥̭͕͔̑̌̐̇̈́͒̀̈́̐͝ͅᴀ̢̙̙̲̝͈̦͈̻͇́̽͗̔̾̐̃̑̋̑ᴛ͎̘͇͚̗͖̯̯̲̮͒̈́͆͐͌̓̊͑͘͝ʜ̘̼͇̳͕̯̠̩̃̄͌̏̀́̆̽̄̚͜͜ ͍̼̩̼̤̦̗̬̥̈̒͊̄̌̃̊͜͝͝͠ᴀ̡̲̦̱͓̹͔̫͚͚̍̾̎̈́̇͆͐͑̇̍ɴ̻̳͔͇͓͕̘͈̗͒̑́͑̈̒̑͛̄͊͜ᴅ̨̛̞̝̲̯̲̪̙̣̱̎̓̅̐͑́͌͛̏ ̨̭͈̥̥̪̜̥̠̘͗̌̔̈́̌̓̏̐̿͠ᴄ̛͕͍̗̮̩̮̮̠̮́̈̒̏̆̉̔̀͜͝ᴜ̲͙̭͍̟͈̣̙͍̝̉͛͊̍̀̿͐̃͛̒ᴘ̛̺̮͚̖͚͕͚̻͈͓̅̄̆̓̅͂̉͂͠ᴄ̲̘̻̣̗̖̙̳̘͕̿̿͐̂̇̇̔̈́̀ᴀ̢̪̳͔̭͇̭̰̰̘̈́͋͗̈̃̐͗̔͗͘ᴋ̨̧̫̮̙̞̱̟̣̪͂̈̆̏͋̿̇̓̚̚ᴇ̨̨̛̤̲͚̺̮̬̼̤͒̍͗̎͂̾͑̂̚ş̬͉̖͓̟̗̼͇̻̓̊͐̒̋̂̑̕͝͝
- Mu - Like it will give a shit.
- Psi - I can't see your words!
With insane jinx and vigour, as if sprung into life by some spark of energy, Telfinne leaped at the eldritch creature and attacked viciously, her blades springing to life as she struck with blinding speed as psychic energies coursed from her body. Lupercal could not do anything but stare at his companion's devilish assault as the creature looked on at the charging Radeon, struggling to move around fast enough to attack Telfinne. The creature opened its jaws and roared in irritation, lashing its tail around in an attempt to shrug her off. Vaugathala steadied his aim, almost silent as he struggled to manage to point the heavy weapon's direction towards the fiend's mouth.
- Vaugathala - Open wide.
Vaugathala's eyes narrowed as he unleashed an energetic barrage from the gun directed towards the colossal fiend's maw, grunting as his body began to tense in an anxious manner at the sight of the otherwise opportune moment to strike and incapacitate his target. Telfinne used this opportunity gladly, carving her blades even deeper into the demon's flesh, until its burning fiery heart could be seen blazing through its charred skin. The bolt of energy passed straight into the demon's head, tearing its chest apart and straight through as the vitality of the creature ceased instantly - all of its coordination faltered as it sent itself colliding into the earth, but not before taking much of the surface of the area along with it.
- Mu - Bloody finally!
Vaugathala was launched from his position as the earth was torn asunder by the beast's collapse, heavy damage afflicted across his body from the onslaught of debris, shrapnel, and force as a result of the dying throes of the creature; he was knocked afar from the group, his heavy armour penetrated and dented while blood spluttered and spat from the dents and creases - much of both his cybernetic and organic components had been either crumpled or ripped. The same happened with Lupercal and Kagu'sai's men, their weapons and armour covered in the messy remains of the creature. Disgusted, the Radeon troopers stared at their armours, trying to clean them of impurities, while the Artharons only laughed heartily.
- Kagu'sai - Huh! Finally! After a long battle we are finally rewarded with glorious blood and gore!
- Psi - ...Okay.
- Mu - Whatever, let's get back to the shuttle before my arm gets infected with demon germs or something.
- Vaugathala - Target... eliminated... Medical assistance may... be in order...
Mimi quickly flew over to Vaugathala and, while hovering over his head, began pouring what looked like dust down on him, allowing his wounds to slowly close. Vaugathala simply laid beneath the living ball of glittery light, making little noise while allowing the process to take place.
- Lupercal - ...You may not be the only one who needs help. Look!
Lupercal pointed at the dead demon's body with a terrified look. Right near the corpse of the vile creature, Telfinne lied - writhing in pain and screaming while her body was apparently on fire - though her flesh, strangely enough, did not burn in this golden demonic flame. Lupercal stared at the scene with a mixture of confusion, fear, concern and awe.
- Mu - Dumb bitch's own fault for touching the demon where she shouldn't.
- Thea'Nhirara - ... She was exposed to high quantities of Demonic Energy. Take your friend to be healed immediately if you value her life.
- Lupercal - Damn right I will! Soldiers, get your comrade-in-arms out of here immediately!
- Mu - I just hope the shuttle gets here quickly. Wouldn't want another one of those guys popping up.
- Macin - Don't jinx us, one-arm!
- Mu - Low blow that.
- Vaugathala - ... We should... terminate the girl... before she can... compromise us.
- Thea'Nhirara - I am against the use of an insane infant in a war. But she is dear to her comrade, to some extent at least. She lives, for now.
- Vaugathala - ... This is... a tactical error... of severe... proportions. We... will suffer... consequences for... this.
- Thea'Nhirara - We shall see.
The Infinite NetworkEdit
While the other groups were busy combating the coming Corruptus tide, the team led by the mighty Laminoula'Fuerq was busy with finding a way to put a stop on the Marinoxidiz's advances. To do so, the demigod directed the team composed of Jerkon, Koluap, Herquie, Keldar, Kithworto and Sesoka to the barely explored fringes of the Milky Way Galaxy's edges, in a seemingly empty region of space. While at first met with skepticism, the group's spaceships were met to the sight of massive construct orbiting a lone red dwarf star. It was shaped like a planet but it possessed no earth, water or atmosphere, instead being completed plated in metal which almost looked like silver from space. An opening, easily large enough to fit the largest known dreadnoughts, could be seen.
- Koluap - ...What is this place?
- Jerkon - According to Laminoula'Fuerq, the answers of how to weaken the Marinoxidiz lie inside this construct.
- Herquie - Why do I have a bad feeling about this...
- Keldar - You really need to ask?
- Kithworto - Might as well say our prayers whilst we can.
- Keldar - One should have said their prayers when they became a part of their respective army. Becoming a soldier means that one has to be safe in the knowledge that, in all likelihood, one shall meet their end as a soldier.
- Kithworto - There and then is the difference between a Zazane and a Kicath.
Entering the construct, the ships found the entrance closing behind them, though the place remained completely illuminated even though no lights were visible. Their sensors also claimed the construct possessed breathable air, despite being completely exposed to the vacuum of space. As they progressed through the innards of the construct, they eventually arrived to an area which could be equivalent to a space port. Keldar analyzed the environment from behind her visor with her weapon raised, tilting her head apprehensively.
- Keldar - Keep your guard raised. ... One can never be too cautious of an ambush.
- Macin - I feel the power of dreams radiating from all directions. From the ground, the ceiling, the walls.
- Sesoka - This construct is truly an impressive feat of engineering.
- Jerkon - I concur.
- Keldar - ... Let us proceed. I hold suspicions that we are being observed from all directions.
As the forces arrived on solid ground, Koluap immediately removed his helmet, causing Jerkon's eyes to widen as the Spinker was exposed to the vacuum. However, no ill came to Koluap as he took a deep breath.
- Koluap - ... This place smells nice!
- Jerkon - Idiot! You could have died!
- Koluap - But I didn't, eh?
- Keldar - I concur; I would have hated to see a fine example of a soldier as you fall to your own miscaution. ... Please be more aware of yourself.
- Koluap - You're asking a bit too much there.
At this moment, a new arrival appeared in the 'spaceport'. A towering entity, large enough for the tallest members of the team to only reach its knees, who appeared much like an avian with black and white feathers, though it showed a distinct lack of eyes. The entity signaled to the team from a distance, and as it did, lights begun shining over the walls, following its movements.
- ??? - Follow.
- Sesoka - Well that isn't at all ominous.
- Keldar - Agreed. Maintain distance but keep within visual range. ... And keep a firm grasp on your weapons.
Sesoka placed a clawed hand on his blade, though kept it holstered.
- Sesoka - I always do.
As the team followed the entity, they found themselves led to a corridor with seemingly hundreds of thousands of monitors, each displaying a different video feed. They appeared to show different planets, ranging from inhabited ecomenopoli to lifeless rocks. At least a few of them showed what looked like Dracogonarious, Kicath and DCP-controlled worlds, evident from the creatures visible in them. Keldar lowered her assault rifle and briefly analyzed the surrounding monitors through her visor, glancing around in confusion at the sight. As Kithworto leant in to view these monitors closer, they started flickering and dimming, angering the Kicath as his brows narrowed. Sesoka narrowed his eyes as he glanced around the room.
- Sesoka - Interesting. The Republic recently discovered a similar database in Cyrannus, which appeared to be omniscient regarding galactic history. Perhaps this place is the Plazith Rim's equivalent?
- Koluap - You guys have no idea how freaked out I am right now. So this is some sort of hyper stalker planet?
- Kithworto - Hm. Some kind of galactic surveillance system. I doubt anything in this day and age could make something like this.
- Keldar - I do not like this. ... Continuous observation and data analysis at an omniscient galactic scale can prove vital were it to fall into the hands of those likely to misuse it.
The entity eventually led the team into an open room, also filled with monitors as it suddenly disappeared from sight. Less than a second later, more of its kind manifested, surrounding the team as they looked at them with an almost vacant expression. The sudden change caused Jerkon and Herquie to brace themselves, while Koluap yelled and fired a shot of his shotgun at one of the entities. The blast passed through it harmlessly. Keldar swiftly placed a hand on Koluap's shotgun and lowered it to the floor, her eyes bouncing in all directions as she found herself discomfortingly surrounded. Kithworto aimed his rifle at the phantasms, though he did not shoot, and simply stared at them through the scope.
- Keldar - W-Who... Who gave you the order to fire so recklessly?!
- Koluap - My survival instinct! They're closing in!
- Sesoka - I'm reasonably confident that they are benevolent, don't shoot!
- Keldar - How can you know for certain? ... Were these entities present in the Cyrannian database?
- Sesoka - Yes, I believe so.
- ??? - The artificial intelligences of C001X have informed us of you. Tenerensis. Not a threat to the databanks.
- Kithworto - Tenerensis?
- Sesoka - My species. I am glad to hear that, entity.
- ??? - Arrivals. Dracogonarious. Spinker. Klamb. Tenerensis. Zazane. Anomalous Kicath. Not a threat to the databanks. We have been waiting for you.
The entities all begun moving in unison, waving their arms as if displaying the monitors to the team.
- ??? - We are the Guidance of the Children of the Epoch. We are Vida'Rranlora in your mortal tongue. It is our task to archive all historical events of relevance in this star body.
- Jerkon - Did Laminoula'Fuerq warn you of our arrival?
- Vida'Rranlora - Ahvaaravorokahver has no need to warn us of anything. We already knew the moment he informed you of this place. We know all that is worth knowing about P001X.
- Keldar - Then you know of the plight the galaxy faces.
- Vida'Rranlora - The Infernal Ones. The old enemy has returned as foretold during the Final Sleep. They are a threat to the archives.
- Sesoka - Not to mention the entire Gigaquadrant.
- Keldar - How do we defeat them? ... Or rather, what is there to know in regards to destroying them entirely?
The Vida'Rranlora all turned to their rights and begun walking in circles around the team as they spoke.
- Vida'Rranlora - It is not possible to eradicate the Infernal Ones.
- Keldar - Impossible. ... If there is no means to eradicate them, then the galaxy is lost.
- Vida'Rranlora - They cannot be eradicated, but they can be neutralized for a time. As we have done nine billion, twelve million, fifty thousand, eight hundred and nine years ago.
- Sesoka - Please, tell us how this was accomplished.
With a wave of their hands, a holographic image formed near the team, showing what looked like an angelic version of the Vida'Rranlora. At the sight of it, Herquie took a step back and narrowed his eyes.
- Vida'Rranlora - The Children of the Epoch were the first to combat the Infernal Ones. Descendants of Quark-based lifeforms born on this universe's birth, they created us, and later defeated the Nightmare. Your mortal tongue refers to them as Vida'Rra. They originally defeated the Nightmare by getting in contact with the Essential God known as Sonhadromerith in order to imprison That Which Devours into the Realm of Dreams.
- Koluap - Hell, slow down. Sonha-who? That Which Devours?
- Vida'Rranlora - The Realm of Dreams is a parallel plane of existence inhabited by entities of Dream Energy, under the rule of the omnipotent entity known as Sonhadromerith. That Which Devours is his polar opposite, the entity which you refer to as Shu'rimrodir.
- Keldar - So... We must contact Sonhadromerith?
- Vida'Rranlora - No. Shu'rimrodir already resides the Realm of Dreams, being left imprisoned there after we defeated him. Sonhadromerith will not be able to help you. The current goal of the Infernal Ones is to free their master from the prison we imposed on him.
- Keldar - So then what must be we do to suppress them? They advance further with each passing day and thus far we have found few, if any, means to detract them from their war path.
- Jerkon - What happened to the Vida'Rra after the Corruptus was defeated?
- Vida'Rranlora - The Final Sleep.
At this moment, the Vida'Rranlora changed direction, instead walking to the left as they spoke.
- Vida'Rranlora - After the Infernal Ones were defeated, the Children of the Epoch chose to slumber, expecting Shu'rimrodir to return. They wished to remain at their prime condition to combat him. And so we imposed the Final Sleep on them, housing their slumbering forms for two billion years. However, their Dream Energy composition began to deteriorate, and we were forced to make a choice: awaken them early, or allow them to die.
- Herquie - Urgh...
- Vida'Rranlora - We chose the former. To save at least part of their legacy, we saved them, but no longer as Vida'Rra. The damage to their composition was already done, so we were forced to recreate them from scratch, transforming them into new species and spreading them across the cosmos.
At this point, the Vida'Rranlora all stopped in place and pointed a finger to Herquie's direction.
- Vida'Rranlora - Your species is one of our creations.
- Jerkon - ... I must note, I was always curious over the fact the Bonio seemingly possess no fossil history in their own homeworld...
- Herquie - So I'm just a lab experiment?
- Vida'Rranlora - You are the child of a civilization of age imemmorial given the opportunity to live when we could have instead chose to let you rot away entirely.
- Keldar - Without desiring to cause offense, such does not answer our prime inquiry; how do we neutralize them?
- Vida'Rranlora - The conventional method will prove ineffective. However, there is a way you can put an end to what you call "Marinoxidiz".
The Vida'Rranlora each took a step back and then created multiple holograms of what looked like planets, each possessing a glaring eye of a different colour.
- Vida'Rranlora - You cannot destroy That Which Devours. However, you can destroy his servants. Their physical links to this plane are sustained by these. The Kaizo'terron. The Corruptus Overworlds.
- Keldar - ... I hold a suspicion that assaulting these "Overworlds" from orbit shan't suffice in their permanent destruction.
- Vida'Rranlora - They are each a living being. Each is an Infernal One of immense size and power, with the ability of breeding more of their kin by the billions. They are the source of the Marinoxidiz. But a direct attack on them will prove useless. Instead, you must use a powerful enough Dream Energy detonation on their eyes, which serve as brains and hearts, to kill them.
- Keldar - We must venture within them?
- Vida'Rranlora - Affirmitive.
Keldar stumbled slightly and rested a hand on Koluap in order to support her footing, appearing somewhat dazed from the information that was being relayed to the group. She heaved a heavy, huffing breath before standing upright once more, her voice falling softer and more quiet.
- Keldar - ... How many Overworlds are there currently?
- Vida'Rranlora - Six. We know the location of five of them. Two reside this star body. Another at A001X. Another at C001X. Another at O00X1.
- Keldar - And what of the sixth?
- Vida'Rranlora - Hidden somewhere in the intergalactic void, far beyond our field of vision.
- Sesoka - By the entity's names, I can assume he means Andromeda, Cyrannus and Ottzello.
- Vida'Rranlora - Those are your mortal names for the star bodies in question. The destruction of the Kaizo'terron will bring the Infernal Ones's numbers to a halt and will destabilize the Nightmare Gods, making them mortal.
- Keldar - ... We shall have to gather hostages and interrogate whoever - whatever - we can if we are to have any hope of discovering the location of the sixth Overworld. Leaving even one untouched shall have defeat persist to loom above our heads.
- Sesoka - Is there an archive located in Endless Space which may have any information about the location of the sixth Overworld?
- Vida'Rranlora - We do not keep databanks in areas with no relevance such as the intergalactic void.
- Keldar - How inconvenient considering the intergalactic void now serves to be very relevant.
- Vida'Rranlora - We merely do as we were programmed to. It is not our function to archive the Endless Space. Your best alternative is to destroy Auzarkov, Kadeslar, Brezank, Valirigan and Kaizox and then track the remaining Infernal forces to Primogius.
- Jerkon - One moment. Kaizox? As in, the Marinox homeworld? But that is a normal planet, not a demon.
- Vida'Rranlora - You underestimate the abominations the Infernal Ones can create from nothingness.
- Jerkon - ... I will see to that Overworld's destruction personally.
- Keldar - Before we depart to see to dissolving the forces of the Devourer, I have one question which remains on my conscience.
- Vida'Rranlora - Speak.
- Keldar - ... What are our chances of survival?
- Vida'Rranlora - Fifty percent. You either survive or you do not.
- Keldar - And what are our chances of victory against the Infernal Ones?
- Vida'Rranlora - Fifty percent. You either emerge victorious, or the Gigaquadrant is lost.
- Keldar - ... I am content with those odds.
- Jerkon - There is much my people can learn from this place. Perhaps we could arrange some sort of partnersh-
- Vida'Rranlora - We do not give information away. Our task is to archive for the Vida'Rra, not for you. We have shared the information on the Infernal Ones for the sake of the databanks's protection.
- Keldar - But you have said yourself that the Vida'Rra are gone. ... There shall be no one to review the information your archives have catalogued.
- Sesoka - But in Cyrannus, you agreed to share your information with the URC. I assure you, our allies are just as trustworthy with the knowledge you guard.
The Vida'Rranlora remained silent for a second before speaking again.
- Vida'Rranlora - That is irrelevant. The C001X database has chosen to provide its mortal discoverers a fraction of useless, garbage information as per the request of an affiliated force. Our archives are not for you to snoop into.
Sesoka growled in annoyance under his breath.
- Keldar - Then we are done here if you have granted us access to all of the relevant information you wish to give us.
- Kithworto - I have a question. What do you mean by 'anomalous'?
- Vida'Rranlora - You are a Kicath as much as you are not. Now go. Every second spent here is a second spent allowing the Infernal Ones to free their master. We are unlikely to meet again.
With this, the Vida'Rranlora vanished from sight, and the lights of the database begun all signalling back to the spaceport. Keldar placed her rifle upon her back as she turned to walk back to the port, quiet and not giving a second thought to attempting to draw more information from the present AI. Jerkon muttered under his breath, dissatisfied with the AIs's secrecy while Herquie held his hands around his own stomach, almost as if he was feeling sick.
- Keldar - What is the matter, comrade Lhern?
- Herquie - ... Nothing. Just don't mind me.
- Keldar - If you are suffering from a contagion, mayhaps I suggest you undergo rest while on board the vessel. ... I wish not to see you so unhealthy in our next engagement.
- Herquie - ... Hmpf. Sure. A rest.
- Keldar - If it contributes, I could mayhaps even read you a story of your choice.
Keldar giggled lightly behind her visor as she walked at the suggestion, with Herquie replying with an annoyed growl.
- Kithworto - I do not understand the humour in that.
- Koluap - Yeah! How come I don't get a story?
- Keldar - You never asked.
- Koluap - ... Well, I have no answer to that.
- Kithworto -
Kagu'sai could not have been more ecstatic. Never before in his life has he experienced that fierce a passion, nor did any of his people in a long while ago. His successes on Ordu Ed were just the beginning. What alliances he created there, Kagu thought to himself, were truly remarkable, but they were nothing special. Many times before him, warlords gathered the clans and the houses there, and every single time their pacts crumbled the moment there were no more wars to wage. Not a single warchief died in his sleep or on the field of battle! Daggers and poison and garrote - that was the demise of great lords of Kagu'sai's people. But not of him!
Kagu'sai was sure of that. Not even the recent failures at Bonia and that damnable planet structure could quench the fire that burned within his heart. The Corruptus were the foe that the Artharon desired the most: powerful, diabolical, and the one with whom there could be no negotiations. There was blood, of course. Many of his people faced a bloody demise or worse in this war. The clans he sent to aid the Collective on other fronts suffered a defeat after defeat.
Was that the price he was willing to pay?
Indeed, thought Kagu'sai. Death has always been part of life, from childhood to elderhood, for every Artharon - none of them would dare to have it any other way. That was the price of glory - but they would have it. More precisely, he would have it. He would have his victory, and the Empire he seeked to create would be realised, with him and only him at its head. He alone was fit to rule the Domain.
Except not exactly. There was one that his pride allowed to share in his glory. And it was at her door that he was now.
No response. Kagu knocked the door. Again, no answer.
To the hell with pleasantries then! The Warchief could go wherever he wanted! It was his ship after all.
Slam. Kagu forced the door open and entered. There was no resistance. The door was not locked. Strange - it was not common for Sheo - for Sheophatia to disregard basic order in her life. Stranger yet was the smell that came from the room. White mist. Poison gas? An assassination? No. The smell was anything but toxic. Thick, striking - but calm. Not poisonous.
The slender figure of the Radeon woman peered at Kagu'sai through the clouds of smoke. Lying lazily on her bed, she gently let the hookah pipe go: a while puff escaped her mouth. Her look was half-closed, hazy and relaxed, yet Kagu could not help but notice how it retained its sharpness. She was obviously under the effect of... whatever she was smoking - but it did not take control. Kagu narrowed his eyes. That was not like her. Or was it?
- Sheophatia - ...Kagu? You need something done with our fleet? Logismi- logisco... logistics? Yes?
- Kagu'sai - ...Eh, yes. You could say that. - Kagu was honestly confused, but tried his best to maintain face - What's the situation with the Corruptus?
- Sheophatia - Winning on this... this front. Losing- everywhere else. - Sheophatia put her hookah away - ...Wondering what that thing is? That's - that's draxite. Not sure if you Artharons can smoke it though. It works with... telly... telepathy, yes. Turns it inside. Can't hear anyone else, but can hear yourself mu-u-uch better. Oh yes. Feels good. With all those Artharons aboard sometimes you- you should afford some me time.
- Kagu'sai - ...I... understand. Sometimes I do reflect in my throne room as well. Pondering on things to come.
- Sheophatia - You have no idea what I am talking about. For you to be alone, all you need to do is to leave the conve- conversation. But we always hear what is... going on. Thoughts, emotions, impulses. Anger, anger, anger. Most of the time. That's why I was not there that other day. I was aboard that... Dei'Ar ship. They're heretics, but at least... they're Radeons. Not thinking of brawls and sex every day.
- Kagu'sai - ...Ahem... - Kagu'sai narrowed his eyebrows, somewhat offended - ...I suppose I'll leave now then.
- Sheophatia - No! - Sheophatia held Kagu'sai by the arm suddenly - You don't count. You're not... like the other Artharons. You don't think of killing everything that moves, that's the start. It doesn't get all... red when you're around.
- Kagu'sai - Well. - Kagu'sai smiled - I have been aware of that. It is pleasant to have a confirmation from a member of a species as ancient and wise as yours. I am humbled.
- Sheophatia - Humbled? Huh! You don't even know what that word means, you arrogant bastard. - though there was certain venom in her voice, Kagu felt a sweetness pour through it - or so he thought at least - But it's not like I can read you right now. You may be faking it. Or not. Either way, though, your thoughts are different from the rest. You're more focused on the--- now, what is that - yes - bigger picture. You're clever. Smart. You think of big things and not small things.
- Kagu'sai - Indeed I am! But, nothing in this could not have been done without you, my lady. You were with me through all these days, helped me like no-one else could! It is because of this that I am here.
- Sheophatia - Huh. So easy to feed your ego.
Kagu once again raised his eyebrows. That feeling was alien to him. Fear? Confusion? Longing? He did not understand what was going on. Was she playing with him? Mocking him? How was he to act? Feel offended? Gratified? Take a mask of humility, or of boastfulness? The emotions on his face were a bizzare palette.
- Kagu'sai - ...Are you toying with me?
- Sheophatia - Indeed I am. - Sheophatia spoke with greater cohesion, draxite losing its grip on her - though the relaxed familiarity in the voice remained - Even when I can't read your mind, you are very transparent. I didn't lie. You are indeed a great Artharon. But you're also very understandable - and predictable. Though right now... I am not exactly sure. Are you playing along to make me like you? Yes... no... maybe. Huh. When I do not know what you really feel, there is intrigue. I like that. There's one thing I am certain in, though.
- Kagu'sai - And what would that be?
- Sheophatia - That you are infatuated and have been ever since your slaves took me to you that first time in a bikini.
Kagu'sai's eyes widened. Did she know? All along? Or was she just bluffing?
- Kagu'sai - ...And you are right. - Kagu'sai fell on one knee before her - I could never have asked for a greater consort. Your wisdom, your grace, your beauty - they are captivating. I would have traded all my wives, concubines and odalisques for you and you alone! Please. It is no longer fit for a woman like you to be a mere chamberlain. You deserve more. The crown of the Empress of the Artharon Domain would fit perfectly unto your head.
- Sheophatia - Now now, that is not the time for fancy words. That comes later. - Sheophatia smiled and inhaled a little from the hookah pipe again - Now if that was the ordinary occasion, I'd have declined. I'd have said that it'd be preposterous - perverse, even. Do you know how old I am?
Kagu'sai stayed silent.
- Sheophatia - Two hundred Qaelorian years. I am ten times older than you, and I will you outlive you for generations. Are you ready for it? Would you like to see me stay as I am now as you grow old and wither within years? Would your pride withstand it?
- Kagu'sai - By the Ancestors, I will! Generations of my descendants will look up to you as their matriarch and advisor! You will be the eternal Empress of my realm, even in my death!
- Sheophatia - And what of the courts? Will the clans accept one such as me as your consort? Would they place a Radeon above them? I've heard the whispers, Kagu. They already want you dead. Not all, but some of them. Lord Dev'let and Baron Kazi'nu. Margrave Fela'thoran and Countess Baku'fu. That would be the opportune moment for them to strike.
- Kagu'sai - I do not care. This is my empire. I will set its laws, and if by my laws we can wed, then it shall be so.
- Sheophatia - ...Hm. As I said, I would have rejected you if this was the ordinary occasion. Or perhaps seen it as a mark of your pride again. What other prize there is more valuable than one not from your land? But now I see it. You are truly devoted. Or maybe not? Maybe you're faking it all and your love is nothing more but a carnival mask? It is the uncertainty that matters.
Sheophatia stopped for a second. The Radeon and the Artharon stared intently at each other, the glowing, almost mechanical-looking eyes of the wise Chamberlain meeting the powerful feline gaze of the Warchief. For a second, there was hesitation, fear, uncertainty.
But then it all vanished, buried in a flash of fiery passion, and all was certain once and for all. As Kagu felt an intense, burning yet alien kiss strike at his lips, he could only hear her faint voice echoing in his ears.
But I am willing to find out.
What Are We Fighting For?Edit
Among the fleet that the Emperor of the Artharons and his newfound consort were leading were a couple of Dei'Ar ships - those that belonged to Lupercal and Telfinne. Their vessels' sleek and curved shapes contrasted wildly with the imperial display of power that was the armada of the Houses, and likewise those that served among these vessels were quite unlike the fearsome warriors of the twilight regions of Andromeda. It was not that they were not soldiers or that they were not prepared for battle - quite the opposite, the fire of zeal that burned in the hearts of the Dei'Ar crusaders could easily match, and even exceed, the wild fury that coursed through the Artharons! One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests, it is said.
But interest was self-evident. There was no way for an Artharon to question the savage bloodshed that was the war against the Corruptus, or the spoils that came with them. Artharons were opportunists. Their honour was personal honour, their honour was personal loyalty. They could turn away from war for other reasons - they could be dissatisfied with the loot they gathered from the worlds they reclaimed, or find the enemy they fought lacking in skill - but to question the meaning behind it was nonsense. Radeons were believers. They did not, they could not accept a goal that was not divinely prescribed. If there was doubt, if their leaders could not give purpose to their zeal and convince them in their righteousness, they would question it.
And that was exactly what happened now aboard the Temporal Serpent. The marines aboard Lupercal's flagship gathered in droves before the captain's bridge, shouting and chanting to Spode. They were rioting. Or, rather, they were asking questions - which was perhaps even more dangerous.
That was certainly beyond the young captain's abilities.
We demand answers!
Why are we still in the Milky Way?!
Why do we protect the unbelievers?!
- Lupercal - ...Have I not already explained myself? We are fighting a war against the demons of the Samut'angar, as per the orders of lady Sheophatia Theraim. Is the annihilation of the vile servants of the Xhodocto not the most sacrosanct of acts that could be imagined?
- Marine - Who is this Sheophatia you speak of? That harlot who walks in the robes of Artharon heathens and converses with them in their barbaric tongue? Is she truly one of us? Or is she just a traitor who sold herself to the pagan warlord and has manipulated all of us for his benefit?
- Lupercal - That is blasphemy you speak of, to claim that one of our people could fall so low as to conspire with these Artharon beasts!
- Marine - Yet here we are, among their fleet, fighting their war, our machines and armaments dissected for their benefit, you discussing with their filthy princes and barons every day!
- Lupercal - What we are doing here is for the entirety of the Gigaquadrant, including our own people! Have you not seen the bloodshed that the demons have wrought on Bonaih? Is that the fate you desire for our brothers and sisters?
- Marine - What brothers and sisters? Those that you left to die?!
Lupercal stared at the crowds dumbfounded. How could they know?
- Lupercal - ...What do you mean?
The crowds rippled, almost like if a wave of water shook it, and a robed female Radeon holding a communication device emerged from them, raising her hand up into the sky. A hologram emerged from her palm, depicting the seal of the Dei'Ar Theocracy, together with a shrill, piercing voice that boomed out of it.
- ??? - This is High Ordinator Tadjeleon Altheless of the Dei'Ar Theocracy, speaking for the great Clericarch. We are under attack! Station Aranexi is being invaded! Undead creatures- everywhere! All fleets, return to Aranexi, all fleets-
The contact was cut.
- Marine - You hid this message from us!
- Marine 2 - You lied to us!
A sudden flash appeared right next to Lupercal, much to the surprise of the Marines.
- Lupercal - Telfinne?
- Telfinne - They took over Pristine Flower! Now they're planning to depart the sector and leave to Gazerash! And as for us...
- Marine - Execution for high treason.
- Marine 2 - Treason! Treason! Treason!
The Dei'Ar soldiers drew their guns.
Death to the Artharon lovers!
Lupercal stepped back in terror. After all his years fighting on the streets, after being a thug, a terrorist, a revolutionary, was that how death would come to him? The collective fear and anger of the Dei'Ar almost paralysed him. It seemed to the Fleet Commander now that the angel of death was almost after him, ready to plunge his soul again into the endless circle of reincarnations, or perhaps an even worse fate. The fires of Inferno himself - he could almost see them.
...Or was that the fires of inferno? Or was it just... Telfinne?
Lupercal took a brief look at his friend. Unlike him, she did not back down in fear - quite the opposite, she was only infuriated by the boldness of the Dei'Ar. She was bristling with rage; her eyes were bright red, her voice booming, shrill, and her figure bestial, almost like that of a wild animal. Now it was the Dei'Ar who stepped away in terror. Though he could not quite understand it, Lupercal could feel it. A savage metamorphosis came upon Telfinne, almost supernatural, demonic in quality - the terror that came upon the marines could hardly be explained. So furious was she, that it seemed indeed like air itself around her burned, and Telfinne herself was about to melt in anger and combust like a volcano.
- Telfinne - Treason? Treason?! Who are you to judge the commands of your captains?! We are not going anywhere except where we tell you to go. Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ʀᴇsᴜᴍᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴘᴏsᴛs. Oʀ ʏᴏᴜ sʜᴀʟʟ sᴜғғᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏɴsᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴄᴇs.
- Marine - ...Y-yes, ma'am. We understand. We will return to our positions in due course! - the marine saluted squeamishly, covering his head as if his captain was about to take it from his neck, and left - and soon the whole crowd followed. Lupercal was left alone, together only with his fellow friend.
The fire that burned within her quenched, she now looked terrified, confused, and scared at the fleeing Radeons. Barely able to speak, she turned her hand towards them, as if trying to say without words: Stop! But it was useless. The terror she instilled unto them was too primal to do anything with.
- Telfinne - What- no- what just happened?
- Lupercal - ...Telfinne, are you alright? - Lupercal turned to her - Could that effect be because of that Congregation construct?
- Telfinne - ...I... I do not know. - Telfinne looked at Lupercal with her large, almost puppy-like eyes, that now seemed to be on the break of bursting into tears. She barely had any sort of expression on her face, but the emotions she kept within her were strong, and Lupercal could feel that. I... I just... Nearly unable to contain her feelings, Telfinne activated the teleportation beacon on her wrist and vanished, leaving Lupercal once again confounded and unable to understand anything.
What happened? What was to happen? Why were they fighting? Who were they fighting? What was the cause behind all of this? What happened with Telfinne? Lupercal did not know, nor could they know. The only ones who fully understood the events that had transpired were those that had set them into motion.
The Freezing Blizzards of AuzarkovEdit
With the information gathered from the Vida'Rranlora Database, the allied empires prepared to finally deliver their blows to the Corruptus. The elusive planet-computer disappeared after it was found, likely to protect itself and its archives from the coming Marinoxidiz tide, but the teams were able to get valuable information out of it, including how to create weapons to destroy the Corruptus Overworlds comparable to those once used by the ancient Vida'Rra. Through the technology of the allied force's empires and the Essence power of Laminoula'Fuerq, a number of powerful explosives were created, which were to be laid directly into the 'eyes' of the Overworlds in order to penetrate their outer shells and detonate inside their cores. Launching the weapons from space was not an option due to their defenses, so directly landing into the demon-planets and manually firing the bombs at their weakspots was necessary.
The armada of the Dracogonarious Empire, the Delpha Coalition of Planets and the Unified Nation of Ottzello travelled to the first Corruptus Overworld, Auzarkov, who was located at the outer edges of the Norma-Outer Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. The armada found the planet situated deep within a thick nebula of demonic energies which created lights despite the complete absense of any star in several light-years, and upon taking sight of the planet, they could see its snow-white earth and immense lakes of ice. A chilling white aura surrounded it like an atmosphere, and near its equator was its massive glaring eye, which moved across the landscape to 'face' the coming spaceships. Through their communication systems, the armada could hear an increasing hissing sound, ethereal in nature which caused lesser soldiers to feel chills going down their spines.
The planet was breathing at them.
- Kralgon Emperor - Well, looks like it's time for us to bomb this place. I will provide orbital support from above. Stay sharp.
- Macin - To the eye of the monster we must go and plant the bomb! It will kill the nightmare heart!
- Mimi - I hope you all have protection against both the cold and against noise. Setting foot on Auzarkov without any defenses will freeze you instantly, deafen you instantly, or both.
- Kralgon Emperor - Most of our forces are robotic. They'll be able to tell whether or not the Loron should be down there.
- Zr'Ahgloth - I DUNT CARE EITHA WAY IM STILL GONNA FITE
- Mimi - Also expect the heaviest resistance yet. This place is a breeding ground not just for the Marinoxidiz, but for all of the Corruptus's abominations.
Before the fleets prepared to land, zooming past most of them was a small, golden Vyronicia Interceptor, who then appeared on communications. It was, once again, Mac.
- Mac - Oh, time to win another battle that hasn't technically started yet? I'm up for it!
- Macin - Don't be cocky against the nightmare!
- Mac - Goddamn this planet is creepy...almost brings out the RAGE INSIDE ME...but I think I'll manage...alright, folks. Ready when you are. I get quite a bad feeling about this.
Taking shuttle down to the general location of Auzarkov's eye, the armies were immediately hit by the planet's hostile weather. Checking into the temperature showed the Overworld's air and wind was not too far from hitting the absolute zero. In order to protect herself, Macin wore a special suit of armor created by the Dracogonarious, though since she was not used to using any technology, she appeared very clumsy in it.
- Titanozor - The atmosphere of this world is unnatural...
- Mimi - It's no natural world. This entire thing is a Corruptus Demon.
- Macin - It is colder than Klambah's winter nights in here!
The winds blew harder as what sounded almost like a roar echoed through the entire Overworld, black tendrils erupting from the heart as well as what looked like glaciers which were launched upwards. From the earth, newly Marinoxidiz emerged, all of them already armored with weapons which they immediately fired at the army. As UNO's Pods landed, many of them were immediately destroyed by the glaciers appearing, while others launched Inalton troops only for them to immediately fall to their knees at the cold, and Loron, who often immediately halted their charge to fall to their knees and hold their ringing heads. Only the robotic UNO forces and Kralgon AI Weapons were getting through.
- Zr'Ahgloth - WAT DA HELL STOOPID BOYZ WAT AR YA...wait wat...oh ma dayz dis IS STOOPID COLD WHAI DID YOO DROP ME ON DIS COLD WORLD
- Kralgon Emperor - You're the one who insisted on landing after I TOLD YOU TO BRING EXTRA LAYERS.
- Zr'Ahgloth - MAN DAT STOOPID NOISE IS CREEPIN ME OUT OH MA DAYZ IM PUTTIN HEDPHONES ON AN LISSENIN TA RAP INSTED
- Kralgon Emperor - And lose all concentration on the battlefield. You really aren't the brains of the leaders, are you?
- Macin - You shut up and attack the nightmares!
Both Macin and Mimi focused their essence to fire at the Marinoxidiz, burning through their demonic energies while the Dracogonarious marines opened fire, aiming for both the demons and the tentacles which emerged from the earth in order to open the way to the eye. Tuolog stayed at the back, his elemental energies and nanomachines only just warming him up, while he had to mentally keep himself focused. Zr'Ahgloth stayed in the blistering cold until Tuolog and his own machines kept him warm. UNO collectively agreed to only send AI Weapons to fight this one.
- Kralgon Emperor - The AIs and I will direct from above, but I seriously wouldn't suggest sending any organic forces down there. And we should use text-based communication rather than sound-based, as well as mental signals and the like, so we don't have to use our ears.
- Tuolog - Understood. I try to use my own energy to fight, but it difficult.
- Mac - Why can't I be with you guys with all the toys that protect you from this place? This planet's seriously creepy. This thing is definitely alive, right?
- Mimi - I kinda just said that.
- Mac - Sorry, I must have missed that while speeding up time...anyways, let's go kill some Marinoxidiz.
- Titanozor - My thoughts are of an old Grimbolsaurian legend. A gigantic demon world, that was said to devour ships and colonists. This place reminds me of it. We must kill this thing as soon as we can and then leave.
- Mac - If the planet is alive, will damaging its surface damage it?
- Mimi - No. It's the whole reason we're standing on it right now. To take the special explosive to the eye, because attacking the surface will do jack to it.
- Mac - Well, I'm sure it won't just do jack, I mean, it'll also anger it, but...yeah.
- Kralgon Emperor - None-the-less, I will organise orbital bombardments, but only to any reinforcements they might have.
Despite successfully killing the Marinoxidiz as they appeared, more of them continued to be bred out of the earth, giving chase to the army and using a combination of weaponry and essence to attack them from range. Ahead of them manifested numerous giant Val'dahr demons, each of them a fortress covered in ice crystals who roared at their direction, launching blasts of nightmarish energies which took the form of rays of frost. The AI weapons fired at the crystals each time they appeared, although their numbers could barely match those of the enemy. More Pods landed, but only a few of the Pods weren't being destroyed upon landing. The Dracogonarious marines concentrated fire on the giant demons, aiming for the hearts on their chests while a few of them fell victim to the Marinoxidiz's fire. They were being attacked from all directions, and would not last forever. The Kralgon Land Weapons, with their speed and firepower from all weapons, particularly the main cannons, were able to tear through several of the demons, but many Val'dahr and Marinoxidiz would latch themselves onto the Weapons - those that weren't killed by its side coilguns - and tear it apart, overwhelmed by the numbers of the enemies. With no Loron to back them up, there was only so much the Land Weapons could do. The Land Destructors, on the other hand, were simply not fast or flexible enough to deal enough lasting damage. Titanozor's forces fired a manner of glasma and plasma weapons that would superheat the sorrunding air and boil the frozen ground into steam to kill Marinoxidiz positions.
- Mimi - Push! Aim for the hearts!
- Kralgon Emperor - Our bipedal weapons aren't lasting long against them and aren't fast enough, and our big Destructor's not useful enough. We literally have only a single model that is any good against them! Oh, boy, this is going to be a tough ride...
- Mac - Okay, we're gonna need to aim for some heart, but...what if a few of us kept them busy while only a couple sped ahead and planted the bomb? Or do you reckon they'll be able to outmanouvere us?
- Mimi - Depends on how fast you can get to the eye. The demons can be bred out of any surface of this world and AAAAAAAHHH!!
Mimi's eyes widened and she pointed one of her tendrils to the sky, causing a similar reaction to come from Macin and the Dracogonarious army. Something had arrived to Auzarkov's atmosphere and was watching the team from there. Something huge. The entire Overworld trembled as it spoke. It was Shu'suvreca, the One Who Sucks Stars Dry. His writhing tentacled form dominated the sky, creating a black aura which ate the light away, his deep red eyes glaring down at them as if they were insects for it to crush.
- Shu'suvreca - MALIGNANT -- INTRUDER -- EXTINCTION.
- Mac - Wow, what pissed you off?
- Macin - The Devourer's Monstrosity! The Fourth God!
- Mimi - It's Shu'suvreca! Oh no please, anyone but him!
- Kralgon Emperor - I will fire from here. But all Land Weapons, focus your main cannons on that thing, if they do any good! Your side weapons will take care of the Marinoxidiz. Luckily, these things are built for any form of terrain and situation, they should work wonders.
- Titanozor - Fill his view with steam and try to dazzle him with your weapons while we approach.
- Mimi - You're not gonna be able to blind him with steam, he's bigger than this Overworld!
- Shu'suvreca - END -- ARRIVAL -- NIGHTMARE -- ETERNAL.
The Land Weapons sped around the battlefield, but each of them made a hit on Shu'suvreca as they zoomed past. From orbit, several of UNO's ships fired their enormous cannons at him. Mac, Tuolog and Zr'Ahgloth all made a run for the heart. The Nightmare God reacted by letting out a thunderous roar which was strong enough to glitch the ships's systems as he launched his tentacles at them, crushing their infinitely smaller forms with no difficuty.
The DCP fleet in orbit eagerly manuevered into action, as if awaiting its moment to shine, simultaniously targetting Shu'suvreca with rapid-fire superlasers and hyperspace missiles that translocated under the demon's hide. Titanozor's command vessel then assaulted the demon with neutron effusion bombs, which kept exploding in a blinding mist of nucleonic fire. Shu'suvreca appeared to wince and cover its face, causing Titanozor to laugh and exclaim See!.
- Mac - Can someone pass us the bomb? We're gonna see if we can sneak our way in somehow. You're not gonna be able to fight the planet's goons and that thing!
Macin handed the bomb over to Mac as she watched the spectacle in the sky. Shu'suvreca attempted to fire his energies back at the DCP vessels, but desptie his godly resilience, he found himself harmed by their weapons. The fleets could detect the humongous demon slowly drifting away from Auzarkov, giving them room to continue their attack.
- Macin - Lanky man's ships are impressive!
- Mac - Thanks. I'm guessing this planet will have something to stop me from using the whole, "stop time and run fast as I can and blow the world up" trick, right?
- Mimi - It's a Corruptus Demon. They and us are beyond the concept of time.
- Mac - Uhhuh. Thought so. Okay, guys, which way to the tunnel to get into its heart?
- Mimi - No tunnel. The huge mountain ahead is the crater where the eye is at.
- Mac - No tunnel to the eye? Wow, who designs these places? Oh right. It's a living thing, it wasn't designed per se, or...eh, you get the idea. Okay, Zr'Ahgloth, grab onto me. Tuolog, add your energies. I'm gonna zip us up that mountain in less than...shall we say, two minutes?
- Tuolog - ...Fifty kilometers in two minutes? I...think I able to manage that? It not be easy.
- Kralgon Emperor - Ensure the DCP and the Dracs can get off this world quickly. Oh, and Mac, I guess. Don't worry about any of our forces. They are replacable.
- Mimi - Just go! Before Shu'suvreca regains his composure!
- Mac - I'd slow time on him, but...lemme guess, "he's a Corruptus Demon too! It won't work on him either!" Why does-
- Mimi - Not a Corruptus Demon. A Corruptus God. Move!
Mac nodded, and the three zoomed off to the mountain at a speed so fast they were like blurs to everyone else. Zr'Ahgloth screamed in terror, while Mac and Tuolog attempted to maintain focus. The world was already cold, and climbing the mountain would make temperatures drop even further. Fortunately, their speed, and the speeding up of time, caused them to heat up at least a little. Land Weapons fired at the Marinoxidiz forces. The Dracogonarious marines and DCP soldiers meanwhile distracted the demons as they could, though a considerable horde of Marinoxidiz gave chase to Mac and Tuolog, and while they were hardly as fast as them, it was obvious Auzarkov knew what they were planning to do. They had little time to waste.
- Kralgon Emperor - I'll try and bomb the world to cover you a little bit! Be careful!
- Mac - Bomb the world? You really have to give us other things to watch out for while we're doing this? Ah, fine.
Sharpened glaciers and tentacles erupted from the ground as Auzarkov attempted to stop Mac and Tuolog's progress, though it had difficulty keeping up to their speed. Eventually, the trio arrived to the top of the mountain, allowing them to see the Overworld's eye.
In a ground level, it did not look like an eye at all, but rather an immense lake of light blue lava inside of a crater which spanned the entirely of the horizon due to its sheer size. They had to fire the bomb at this 'lake' before the demons and the planet itself got to them.
- Kralgon Emperor - Just to be clear, you did give them a time bomb, right?
- Mimi - Did you not pay attention ever? We're using a Dream Energy bomb!
- Kralgon Emperor - Yeah, but...a Dream Energy bomb with a countdown, or without one?
- Mimi - Oh. Of course it has a countdown! We have five minutes to get out of the atmosphere after it's primed!
- Kralgon Emperor - Right, urm...Mac, I know it's tempting to speed time up and make it blow up faster, but...don't. Okay?
- ??? - YOU ATTEMPT --- TO PUT OUT --- ETERNAL ZERO --- DIE --- DIE --- DIE
A roaring voice sounded through the world as the entire 'continent' the army was in was hit by a terrible earthquake. The UNO, DCP and Dracogonarious ships in space watched as the Overworld begun to seemingly break, creating what looked like a gigantic mouth which begun screaming at their direction. Auzarkov was angry.
- Auzarkov - ETERNITY IN ABSOLUTE ZERO --- ETERNITY IN NIGHTMARE --- ETERNITY IN TERROR
- Titanozor - Oh shut your gob already! Had enough of your whining and sulphurous breath!
- Mimi - I cannot emphasize how much you need to HURRY UP!!!
- Mac - You think it's easy? Hey, I know I make it look easy and all, bu-
- Kralgon Emperor - Shut up, for the love of Volzara.
- Mac - Well, alright. Hey, planet guy! Eat this!
Mac tossed the Dream Energy bomb into the Eye, and breathed a sigh of relief. Several Marinoxidiz had been waiting for him at the top, and he and Zr'Ahgloth had to fight them all off before preparing to run out again. Macin and Mimi immediately begun retreating back to the shuttles, alerting the Dracogonarious and DCP forces to do the same.
- Mac - Did that work? Or should we start going back now?
- Mimi - Get out of there before you're blown up with it!
- Mac - Alright. Laters.
Mac immediately sped time up and rushed himself out. A portal to his ship then appeared in front of him; he was only giving himself a running start to make it. Zr'Ahgloth and Tuolog stayed behind to fight the hordes, and eventually flung themselves into the Eye as well, to fire more blasts at it, and monitor the bomb. As the shuttles retreated, the bomb detonated inside Auzarkov's softened layers, and the team could watch as golden, radiant rays of Dream Energy begun erupting from inside the planet and out, burning through its frozen continents, incinerating all the demons on its surface and erasing the dark energy aura which engulfed it.
They watched one of the Corruptus Overworlds wither and die, the shining eye going dark as the great demon's 'mouth' shut again, his lakes of ice being turned into steam and its soil to become akin to burnt flesh. Macin and Mimi hugged each other cheerfully as the Dracogonarious soldiers chanted victory cries.
- Titanozor - I was about to say that was quite beautiful, until it became all scabby.
- Mac - Alright, thank me later. Later as in, I presume the next fight. See you guys then, I'm off for another battle.
- Macin - One of the nightmare worlds is gone! A victory against the Marinoxidiz at last!
- Kralgon Emperor - Congratulations, everyone. A victory well won.
Zr'Ahgloth and Tuolog appeared behind him on screen. Tuolog smiled happily and clapped for everyone, while Zr'Ahgloth looked grumpy.
- Zr'Ahgloth - on da one hand i kinda liek da whole "yor jus stored in da ai it can remake yoo weneva" but on da otha hand WAT DA HELL STOP MAKIN US SUICIDE IT DOES HURT YANNO
Drifting near Auzarkov's corpse was Shu'suvreca, his form spazzing and shivering as the Overworld's life came to end. It appeared their theory of destroying the Overworlds to weaken to Gods was correct after all. The colossal demon looked at the fleet with a clear air of anger as it teleported away from sight, disappearing in a black fog. The first Overworld had fallen, a considerable victory to the allies, but five more still remained.
And the Marinoxidiz threat would not end until all of them were destroyed.
The Acid Wastelands of KadeslarEdit
News of the destruction of Auzarkov - that the Corruptus Overworlds were indeed killable - spread across the allies like wildlife. It truly was time to act. It was time to take the war to the Marinoxidiz once and for all. Thea'Nhirara's group, with an army of their own, made their way to the Ottzello Galaxy in order to take their own payload to the next Overworld, the one known by the name of Kadeslar. Hidden away at the fringes of Ottzello, far from the eyes of the United Nation of Ottzello in areas once thought to have been controlled by the Hostile Xenoform Threat, it was a wonder that the Ottzelloans themselves had never noticed its existence.
The armadas of the Dracogonarious Empire, the Third Sovereign Domain, the Coalition and the Divinarium were met to the sight of Kadeslar itself once they arrived to its location. Like Auzarkov, no stars were in sight, the demon world instead inhabiting a nebula of dark energies as its light green eye stared at them and directly at them. Its crust was a a darkened brown, with a sickly dark green atmosphere and oceans of mysterious liquids and tentacles which reached the clouds, and a deep hissing sound could be heard buzzing through the ears of every single person in the armada, from the lowlest soldiers to the main team themselves. Kadeslar did not hide the fact it had noticed their arrival.
- Psi - Well, that's uh...terrifying.
- Vaugathala - How abstruse... Morale is sure to be affected amongst our soldiers and shipmen.
- Kagu'sai - Hah! A true Artharon fears no man!.. but that thing scares me.
- Vaugathala - There is our problem, Artharon. That thing registers as anything but a man. ... My fear receptors have been nullified, yet I feel compelled to be unnerved.
- Psi - Did the Auzarkov team give us any suggestions on how to blow this thing to pieces?
- Thea'Nhirara - We will use the same explosive device created by Laminoula'Fuerq they used. We are to deploy it at Kadeslar's eye.
- Vaugathala - What can we expect upon Kadeslar's surface?
- Psi - Something to do with demons, I'm sure of it. Anyone wanna drink before we go out there and probably die a horrible death?
- Vaugathala - Alcohol is not recommended for maintaining optimal performance.
- Psi - You'd be surprised. I'm drunk right now.
- Vaugathala - That would explain why you are currently maintaining balance on one leg and attempting to eat your fingers right now.
- Psi - What's your point?
- Mu - We've been together for a few months now, you should've gotten used to it already.
- Vaugathala - ... We should venture to the surface and plant the device as soon as possible. The more time that is spent, the more assets become lost to us.
- Lupercal - ...What he said.
To take the armies to the surface, the shuttles were forced to evade Kadeslar's root-like tentacles and land at the proximity of the eye crater. The Overworld superficially looked like an infinite swamp, the air was extremely dense and the sky was blocked by an oddly white-coloured fog. It appeared they were forced to walk on shallow water to progress, but it appeared more like sludge of some description rather than actual water. The terrain was decorated with a combination of immense flora and Laidarthae demons, which thankfully - or not - appeared to ignore the allies's arrival. The armies were all outfitted in hazard armor, for the atmosphere was clearly toxic. More toxic than really possible.
The Dracogonarious squadron which accompained Thea'Nhirara were the first to deploy, keeping their weapons primed in case of any hostile demon activity. Vaugathala and his company of Blackswords secured the front of the group, with various soldiers utilizing their weapons to burn the local flora with flamethrowers mechanisms and clear a comprehensible path, dousing the environment in some form of flammable substance prior to igniting it. The Artharon soldiers soon joined in, trying to strike at the flora with their power blades so as to tear them down - but failed. The 'plants' writhed as they burned, but appeared to refuse to die. Whatever they are, they were not actual flora. Burning them caused the atmosphere to be filled by an increasing hissing sound, though no demons could be seen. Psi followed, offloading his weapon with considerably strange sobriety even though he himself was intoxicated, looking at the environment with both a casual nature and with apprehension, not quite sure what to make of it.
- Thea'Nhirara - I urge you all to take extreme caution in this place. A single hole in your protective layers of armor and you will be affected by every disease and mutation known and unknown to mortalkind.
- Vaugathala - Blackswords are augmented to be immune to disease. ... The nature of this terrain somehow overcomes such modifications.
- Thea'Nhirara - The demons of nightmare are beyond any technological immunities.
- Lupercal - That's Essence. They'll just turn you into a cyborg zombie.
- Psi - Sounds sort of...well no. Cyborg zombies aren't a good idea.
- Thea'Nhirara - Zombification would be the least of your issues here.
- Mu - Don't you guys think this place is too quiet? Where are the demons trying to stop us? Where are the hordes?
- Vaugathala - Waiting.
As they progressed, the trees appeared to repeat themselves, almost as if they were in a loop. The shallow water was only high enough to cover the knees of Macin, who was the shortest member of the group, yet what looked like a large lump-like object grew in the water, slowly stalking the team from behind. Vaugathala came to a halt, as did the soldiers under his command, and he analyzed his surroundings once more before turning himself around to face the group, his artificial eyes glancing behind his accomplices.
- Vaugathala - We are navigating a circle.
- Macin - Can't be! We did no turns!
- Vaugathala - I have scanned our environment several times over. The positioning and condition of the flora as we began our mission is identical to their positioning and condition as of current. ... These are the same landmarks.
- Telfinne - Dancing dancing dancing-
- Psi - I should really turn my scans on.
- ??? - You mortals cannot appreciate this place like we do.
At this moment, the 'lump' rose from the waters: Arrtkar Crowart's skeletal wings opened as he glared at the group, his body covered in the sludge they walked in.
- Arrtkar - Welcome to the garden of the Devourer.
- Psi - Terrible garden. Wait hold on --
Vaugathala raised his weapon without a second thought and began to fire a volley of rounds at the colossal entity, soon followed by his soldiers as they unleahsed both ballistic and energy rounds at the demon; the Blacksword Elite tilted his head as he analyzed Arrtkar, taking a cautious step back. The shots hit the Vanguard across his body, causing him to flinch many times though no superficial damage was visible, and a grin formed on Arrtkar's face as he continued to glare at them.
- Lupercal - So that is the one who tends to these weeds.
- Arrtkar - How uncouth. You come to our homes and open fire at us.
- Vaugathala - You come to our galaxies and attempt to destroy us. Our reaction is validated.
- Mu - It's the prick who broke my arm again!... The first time, that is.
- Arrtkar - You horrid beings. We all heard Auzarkov's screams of pain echo across the planes as you murdered them. Now you want to do the same to all of our Overworlds. We will not sit idle to your insolence.
- Kagu'sai - Hah! You will hear much more once we are done.
- Vaugathala - All opposition shall be terminated - from their headquarters to the lowest infantryman.
- Psi - Is that an open fire?
- Vaugathala - Affirmative. Proceed to exterminate.
- Arrtkar - Pathetic creature. I cannot die. The Corruptus is beyond your mortal limits. It is time you learn such.
- Psi - ...No thank you?
With a move of one of his hands, the leaves of the 'flora' around the team suddenly launched themselves at them, each of them cutting like a vibroblade and causing multiple soldiers to have their protective suits ruptured instantly. They could watch a couple of Dracogonarious, Artharon and Zazane soldiers briefly panic as their skins turned pale in a fraction of a second, before growths begun forming across their entire bodies: in seconds, they were little more than large blobs of flesh which promptly exploded in a shower of blood and viscera. Kagu'sai shook visibly, but kept his cool, readying his blade while snarling his fangs. Vaugathala turned his head as several of soldiers became infested, with their blood spraying onto the transparent barrier of his protective anti-kinetic distortion field before he turned back to Arrtkar - and proceeded to step back again, eyeing his surroundings closer.
- Kagu - I will cleave a thousand of your wicked skulls for every Artharon that fell this day!
- Vaugathala - ... We have been ambushed.
- Psi - Oh thank you, Captain Obvious!
- Thea'Nhirara - To the eye! Remaining here will lead you all to die a swift but terrible death!
- Vaugathala - I shall maintain the rearguard. We must proceed with haste.
- Arrtkar - You will serve as a sufficient fertilizer to this garden!
Thea'Nhirara cast her dream energy, creating a shield above the group to protect them from the literal rain of razors as they moved forward. Arrtkar gave chase, with a blade made of blackened purple flame forming on each of his four arms. As the demon screamed, more forms grew out of the water: newborn Marinoxidiz. The Zazane Blackswords positioned themselves at the back of the group, facing the Corruptus commander and the growing legion of Marinoxidiz as they spawned from the murky, shallow water, and unleashed a hail of gunfire from their arm-mounted heavy gatling guns to cover for the group's flank, with Vaugathala aiming at potentially incapacitating Arrtkar, if not at least stalling the fiend.
The Dracogonarious troopers unleashed fire with their Pseudothoi ammunation, which caused the newborn Marinoxidiz to be set on fire, causing them to become disoriented. This allowed the Artharon warriors to take advantage, unleashing a hail of boltfire as well as their power blades at the weakened demons. Arrtkar shrugged off all fire thrown at him, the demon's power over the forces of nightmare being such that any gunfire sent at him would be unthinked out of existence before it could deal any damage. Thea'Nhirara used her Essence on the 'flora', causing it to writhe more aggressively as it bent itself out of the team's way.
- Arrtkar - The day your disgusting power is erased from reality is a day I will cherish forever, 'angel'.
- Thea'Nhirara - Remember this power once composed your very being, Traitor.
- Arrtkar - That Arrtkar died a long time ago.
- Vaugathala - Direct gunfire is fruitless against the enemy commander.
- Mu - Stop wasting time firing at him then, geez.
- Vaugathala - Negative; we must suppress the target.
- Mu - Because that's been working well so far.
- Vaugathala - I do not see you implementing any other solutions.
- Lupercal - No-one is.
- Psi - You want suppression? Well I'll give it a go. Don't blame me if it doesn't work.
Turning around, Psi's weapon started whirring up, becoming lit up in a white light that seemed to draw in energy around it of sorts, and proceeded to fire it in slow but hefty bolts of energy that normally would have levelled an entire battlefield flat. The demon grunted as he was thrown back, his feet sliding across the water as his insectoid mandibles clicked repeatedly. He appeared stunned, giving the team the opportunity to proceed.
- Kagu'sai - Impressive.
- Psi - Dal'nyur above, it actually worked?
- Mu - Didn't die though. At least it's something.
- Vaugathala - ... I require attainment of such assets.
- Mu - Get your own guns, friendo.
Eventually, the team saw the sludge coming to an end as the terrain begun steering upwards - the crater holding the Overworld's eye was ahead. The earth shook and the plants swung violently as root-like tentacles erupted from the earth, attempting to slam the soldiers into paste as a demonic voice roared through their minds.
- Kadeslar - IT ALL -- ENDS -- WITH YOUR -- DESTRUCTION
- Mu - ... Is the freaking PLANET talking?!
- Vaugathala - Filtering radio channels. ... I can still hear it.
- Kadeslar - WHERE ONE FALLS -- A MILLION RISES -- ALL GALAXIES WILL BE -- CLOUDED -- ENGULFED -- CONSUMED -- DESTROYED
- Kagu'sai - A planet! Alive! Talking! To vanquish such great a beast would be a deed remembered for millenia!
- Lupercal - ...If you survive, that's it.
- Telfinne - Madness! Chaos! Like a hug for my brain!
- Arrtkar - Can you hear it, mortals? The melody of the Devourer! He sings the beginning, the middle and the end all at once! This is the fate of this universe! Consumed by our black fog!
- Vaugathala - We must plant the device.
The remaining Blackswords aimed their weapons at the colossal appendages and crushing vines that sought to incapacitate and destroy them, with some throwing Pseudothoi grenades at the large, demonic bioconstructs of the Overworld while Vaugathala covered for his companions, remaining with them as his soldiers lent their support at the rear. Arrtkar begun cackling loudly as he charged at the army, and Dracogonarious marines who were caught on his path were cut in pieces as he swung his four blades faster than any of them, sans Thea'Nhirara, could register. The angel herself kept the explosive in her grasp and continued making her way to the edge of the crater, followed by Mu who fired his pistol in an attempt to stop the tentacles. More Marinoxidiz grew out of the soil as the earth continued shaking, as if subject to an earthquake.
- Mu - Now they're going all in!
- Kagu'sai - Excellent.
- Mu - You people are incredibly dense, goddamn.
- Thea'Nhirara - I will plant the explosive. Stall Arrtkar.
- Vaugathala - Affirmative
Vaugathala began launching Pseudothoi grenades at the demon commander's feet rather than directly at him, observing them explode and detonate around him and afflicting the earth that he had to stand on in an effort to knock him off balance, if not suppress his advance towards them. The demon leaped to the sides in order to move out of the way of the weaponry as he attempted to make a rush to Thea'Nhirara. Mu clenched his fist and made a dash at the demon himself, delivering a punch to his Corruptus Heart which caused him to yell and stumble back, stopping him on his tracks.
- Mu - Heheh. I've been wanting to do that since we arri-
Before he could continue, Arrtkar punched back at the Agent's head with two of his arms, knocking him into the ground like a ragdoll, resuming his charge. Meanwhile, Kagu'sai and his soldiers were taking care of the rising Marinoxidiz, beginning their charge with their Pseudothoi guns and then facing them in melee combat - finishing them off while they were weakened. Their Radeon auxilliaries joined as well, providing fire support, their weapons modified to support Thoi ammunition. Under the combined assault of the two, the Marinoxidiz roared in pain as their flesh and cybernetic components burned and turned into ash. Vaugathala let out a brief, robotic growl under his breath as he continued to launch grenades at Arrtkar, before attempting to close the distance as Mu had done and approach him, putting them both within clearer range of the volatile Essence grenades.
The team's efforts to stall the demons were enough to Thea'Nhirara to start floating over the edge of the crater, preparing to send the explosive down at the demon eye. Arrtkar roared in anger as he trampled Vaugathala under him, charging at the angel and leaping at her with his blades readied, before finally stabbing all four of them at her lithe form. Both her and the demon were sent pummeling at the Overworld's eye, being absorbed into it and disappearing entirely.
- Dracogonarious Marine - ... The device is planted! Return to the shuttles!
- Mu - You sure about that?
- Dracogonarious Marine - Well... I sure hope it is.
- Vaugathala - ... E-Either way... the device is within r-range... of the eye of K-Kadeslar... We must detonate quickly... and evacuate...
- Mu - Far as I heard, the thing is meant to detonate by itself on a timer. This means we gotta hurry the hell up out of here.
- Lupercal - Spode help us all.
Evading the infinite swarm of tentacles and Marinoxidiz, the shuttles departed. The groups could see the same that had happened to Auzarkov now happening to Kadeslar: golden, radiant rays of Dream Energy begun erupting from inside the planet and out, burning through its swamp-like continents. The demon's Eye shivered in agony, but even as it died, it could still on's Eye shivered in agony, but even as it died, it could still speak.
- Kadeslar - YOU ACHIEVE LITTLE -- WHERE ONE FALLS -- MILLIONS RISE -- THE GOD IS COMING -- YOU CANNOT STOP IT -- YOU CANNOT FIND HIM -- YOU CANNOT
The dark aura which once surrounded the planet died out as its glowing demon Eye went blank. They watched as Kadeslar, the second Overworld, died before them. Vaugathala appeared troubled, however, as he almost appeared to glare beyond the Overworld as it met with its astonishing and explosive demise.
- Vaugathala - ... The angel has been deemed MIA. She was a high-priority member of our taskforce.
- Mu - You didn't worry last time when that other demon woman chopped her in half.
- Vaugathala - We were confident she would survive. ... We have lost a valuable asset to not only our success, but our survival. Scouts must be sent to scan the wreckage of the Overworld for her whereabouts.
Near the Dracogonarious troopers, a faint light manifested as something materialized, most specifically a small sphere, much like Mimi in shape but devoid of features. It, however, evidently emitted the same Dream Energies as Thea'Nhirara from what the more Essence-atuined members of the group could tell. Its sudden appearace caused many Dracogonarious marines to be visibly startled.
- Kagu'sai - Honoured ancestors?
- Mu - ... See? That's probably her... Except she's a ball now.
- Vaugathala - Identify, entity.
- Thea'Nhirara - ... Healing... Eye... Painful...
- Vaugathala - Clear a space and monitor the entity. ... Interrogate to ascertain potential means for accelerated healing.
- Mu - You're going to interrogate a ball. You people are really dense.
- Lupercal - You live in a universe where demonic planets are a thing and you find such things strange? Who is it among us that is dense?
- Mu - Eh. I guess you got a point.
The Furious Seas of BrezankEdit
To think the Marinoxidiz would colonize the Cyrannus Galaxy was already something few would believe in. And to think they would settle themselves at the center of populated space, surprisingly near the United Republic of Cyrannus yet remain undetected for what can be assumed to be years downright madness. However, it seemed Cyrannus was not the safe haven it was so well known to be, for that was exactly the case; Brezank, the third Overworld, loomed in plain sight, yet the Cyrannians would have never discovered its existence until it was too late.
The armadas of the Dracogonarious Empire, the Third Sovereign Domain and the Cyrannian Republic approached the nebula where the demonic world resided, and soon caught glimpse of its form. Its oceans of blue alien water-like liquid was bright and flowed through its body like waves of a sea, visible from outer space, and a malevolent dark blue aura surrounded it as it glared straight at them. Each man and woman in the armada could hear the sound of hissing behind their heads, as well as the sound of flowing water, which increased in intensity the more they approached Brezank itself. The allies were far past the opportunity of not being detected by these monstrous entities.
Keldar hummed quietly to herself to detract her attention from the noise filling the communications across the various fleets, clasping her rifle close to her armoured body as she looked upon the visage of the colossal, daemonic entity from a holo-projector; she would have found it almost beautiful with its rich, expansive seas were it not for the terrible presence the world boasted about itself. Jerkon's face displayed apprehension as he looked at the demon world, while Herquie merely focused as he held the Dream Energy explosive which was to be used to destroy the planet. Meanwhile, Koluap scratched the back of his head in annoyance, as if trying to get the voices out of his head. On the bridge of the Republic flagship Precipice, Sesoka glared at the viewscreen as the blue orb of Brezank slowly grew larger as the fleet approached its destination.
- Koluap - Whoever it is that's whispering into my ears, will you cut that out? You're making me uncomfortable.
- Keldar - I have tried filtering the comms. ... It does not work.
- Kithworto - Of course it wouldn't. Those aren't signals from a vessel we're receiving.
- Jerkon - All indicates the... planet thing... is speaking or at least emitting sounds of some description. It makes no sense and does not fit in the laws of physics as we know it. I am somewhat revolted.
- Sesoka - Ugh... demonic abomination...
- Keldar - ... Must we venture into the water to reach its eye?
- Koluap - Hopefully not. I didn't bring my swim suit.
- Keldar - Mhm, the idea of a Dracogonarious in a swim suit amuses me somewhat.
- Koluap - I'm a Spinker, you fool.
- Keldar - Same bio-materials.
- Kithworto - I have a feeling that water would tear us to pieces anyway.
As the shuttles made their way to Brezank's surface, they were forced to dodge tentacles emerging from the waters - not as in the same tentacles from the other Overworlds, but tentacles actually made of water - until they managed to land at the proximity of the Eye. The hissing sounds inside their heads grew more intense as the 'oceans' of demon bodily fluid flowed around them, and Jerkon begun directing the others to follow him as he made his way forward.
- Jerkon - I am disgusted in ways I was not aware it was possible to be disgusted. This liquid is definitely not water.
- Koluap - Good lord, it smells like shit in here.
- Kithworto - Watch our steps, then.
- Sesoka - Perhaps it would be best if we don't identify whatever this stuff is...
- Keldar - ... I have activated my armour's air filtration systems. Again, it does not work.
- Brezank - DROWN -- IN -- BLOOD
A tendril of liquid rose into the air and then slammed at the army's proximity. As it collided with the ground, newborn Marinoxidiz begun sprouting out of the soil.
- Koluap - It's going all in, folks!
- Jerkon - Open fire!
Sesoka ignited his blade in one hand while drawing his blaster rifle with the other and began firing at the Marinoxidiz. Koluap eagerly fired his shotgun at the demons while Herquie attacked them up-close with his bladed knuckles. Jerkon kept a safe distance as him and his soldiers unleashed their Pseudothoi ammunation. Keldar pushed forward through the torrent of daemons, unleashing round after round from her assault rifle while her soldiers met with the Marinoxidiz up close, attempting to cut them down with their vibroblades.
As they cut their way through the demon horde, a roar was heard across the horizon which caused the very earth to shake. A storm of black energy could be seen approaching, releasing purple bolts of thunder across the landscape as a vaguely avian shape could be seen inside of it. Keldar stretched an arm and gestured for the group to hold back and fortify their positions, her eyes glancing towards the distance as a scowl grew on her hidden face.
- Keldar - ... Heavy armaments required.
- Herquie - What is that?
- Kithworto - Whatever it is...I don't like it very much.
- Keldar - I have a feeling that we are in for a bad time.
The entity inside of the storm opened its great wingspan, revealing its vivid green colouration as its four red eyes shined intensely. With a stretch of a hand, blasts of entropic energy begun raining down at the army like artillery fire.
- Shu'wokerama - You intrude the hearts of corruption. We will consume you. We are Shu'wokerama.
- Keldar - This subject looks more potent than any other daemon we have yet come across.
- Sesoka - H-hold the line! Do not give into f-fear!
- Koluap - I'm scared and I want out of here!
- Herquie - Something about that demon is giving me a terrible feeling on my gut. We need to hurry.
- Brezank - TREMBLE IN TERROR -- THE GOD HAS ARRIVED -- DROWN IN FEAR -- YOU WILL NOT LAST
The army was forced to endure the wrath of the Overworld, who still attempted to crush them under its tendrils, and the newly arrived Shu'wokerama, master of the Corruptus. Many Dracogonarious marines quickly lost their lives from the onslaught, but Jerkon carried on, reluctantly followed by Koluap whose aim became worse than usual due to feeling intimidated by the demon god. Kithworto fired round after round at the tentacles surrounding them, somewhat overcome by confusion and madness as the presence of the demon ate into his mind. Keldar and a detachment of her soldiers covered the rear of the group as they moved towards the Eye, launching Pseudothoi grenades and missiles at Shu'wokerama and his forces while pushing for a faster arrival at the Overworld's heart. Shots made against the demonic god-being were completely absorbed into his form, and he appeared unharmed as he flew over the heads of the army, almost as if taunting them.
- Shu'wokerama - Mortal devices are not enough. You are not our equals. You are beneath us.
- Keldar - Pseudothoi equipment proves ineffective!
- Koluap - You think I'm blind or something?!
- Sesoka - It's too powerful! Does anyone have any bright ideas?!
- Shu'wokerama - We feel the stench of the Children of the Epoch with you. A descendant. Behold the destroyer of your ancestors.
- Koluap - Seems like he's got a bone to pick with you, Herquie.
- Herquie - Yeah, I don't think he cares about anyone here in particular. He wants to kill everyone.
Shu'wokerama extended an arm before throwing it to the side. The 'waters' of Brezank suddenly blasted themselves at the army with thunderous force, aiming to either crush or drown them. Both Dracogonarious and Marinoxidiz were crushed under the wave, with Shu'wokerama displaying no regard for his own lackeys as long as the allied army was destroyed. Keldar activated the anti-kinetic field built into her armour and rushed, screaming for her soldiers and her companions to run and not look behind them, all the while aiming her rounds at the blasts of water which sought to pressurize them into oblivion.
- Shu'wokerama - You face powers beyond your comprehension. We are Shu'wokerama. We are the master of the Infernal Ones. We are the vanguard of this universe's domination. Watch in awe while you are still conscious.
- Keldar - We require a faster transport!
- Koluap - I don't want to die to water! It's embarrassing! I'd rather die to something much cooler.
- Kithworto - Focus on getting out of here first!
Suddenly, a huge shadow filled the sky, impenetrable and fiery. Rearing above the horizon, a voice as cold as the void of space sounded in a tone akin to a sinister whisper, filled with malice.
- Unknown -
- Shu'wokerama - What nuisance is this? Who else intrudes the heart of corruption? Be torn asunder like these mortals.
- Koluap - What in HELL's name is going on here?!
- Jerkon - ... Forget about it. He is distracted. Approach the Eye's crater now!
Shu'wokerama changed his focus and flew away from the army, giving them room to progress. They had at this point arrived to the base of the Eye's crater, with only a final horde of newborn Marinoxidiz on their way. Whatever had arrived was powerful enough to cause Shu'wokerama to ignore them completely.
Sesoka charged forth with his blade in hand, cutting down any demon unfortunate enough to get in his way. Keldar screamed as she rammed the butt of her rifle against the head of a Marinoxidiz that had attempted to ambush her before eviscerating its skull with repeated rounds, proceeding to rush for the Eye while supplying defense at the group's rear.
- Keldar - Please grace me with the news that we are close to the Eye now!
- Herquie - That's my cue.
As the army took care of the demonic horde, Herquie ran past them and made a dash to the Eye's crater. He wasted no time to admire the landscape around him, finding it too disturbing to do so, as he threw the Dream Energy explosive with all of his strength at the Eye. The Bonio warrior immediately then begun running back to where the army had arrived.
- Herquie - Back to the shuttles. Now.
- Koluap - You sure you threw that thing right?
- Herquie - What do you expect me to do? Fly all the way to the very center and gently put it there? We don't have the time, Spinker.
- Keldar - I concur. The detonation should be enough to terminate the Eye, even if not placed at the centre.
- Sesoka - Less talk, more running!
Brezank's tentacles thrashed wildly as it made a final attempt to crush them before they returned to the shuttles and fled the planet. Shu'wokerama, who was busy confronting the mysterious entity, only managed to glare back at them before vanishing from sight completely. As they returned to space, they watched as the explosive detonated, sending a shockwave of golden energy through Brezank's crust, the demon world's Eye trembling in agony as its oceans of alien liquid evaporated, leaving only a charred carcass behind.
- Sesoka - That... that was intense.
- Koluap - I hated it! Let's do it again.
- Keldar - ... Keep a record of this "Shu'wokerama". I doubt this shall be our last encounter with the fiend.
- Herquie - Ugh. When that thing was attacking us, I felt... fear. Fear like I never really felt before.
- Keldar - You are not alone.
- Herquie - You don't get it. I felt as if, I was feeling the fear of other people. It's hard to explain... Imagine if you could feel the fear experienced by every person in your squad at the same time.
- Sesoka - At least it's over. For now at least.
- Jerkon - It is not over until all Overworlds are destroyed. But for now, we rest. I lost nearly all of my men down there.
- Koluap - ... Seriously, whichever of you is still whispering, cut it out.
On Orbispira, President Apollo sat in his office, gazing blankly at a now cold cup of coffee. It had been several hours since the last communication from the Brezank task force and as night began to set in over the endless city, the President began to worry. Suddenly, two Libertus garbed in black entered the office unannounced.
- Agent - Mr. President, the mission has been a success. Brezank... has been destroyed.
Apollo stood from his desk and turned his back.
- Apollo - Casualties?
- Agent - Extreme, I'm sorry to say. Though the core team survived. The agency recommends that the entire sector surrounding Brezank be placed off limits to all civilian and military travel.
Apollo furrowed his brow and turned to face the agents.
- Apollo - You said the planet was destroyed.
- Agent - Yes. Though our allies claim that entropic energy has permeated a great deal of space surrounding it, which can lead to corruption and mutation of anyone who enters the region.
- Apollo - Very well, I will enact a quarantine zone around the area. But I have a bad feeling about this...
The Hemorrhagic Torture of ValiriganEdit
The fleets of the Dracogonarious Empire, Third Sovereign Domain, Artharons and Radeons did not have much opportunity to take a look at Valirigan, the fourth Overworld, as it immediately attacked them the moment they arrived to its system. This Overworld was hidden at the fringes of Segmentum Exterioris at the Andromeda Galaxy, in a region with little life - a perfect hideout for the Corruptus. Its earth was a dark brown and its 'seas' were made of a luminiscient golden liquid which could be seen moving from side to side, and its large pink Eye stared at them as its tentacles attempted to strike the shuttles they had sent to land on the planet.
The Blacksword Elite Vaugathala and a detachment of Zazane soldiers were analyzing the Overworld from outside of its defensive range, at the cost of being unable to establish an effective attack range of their own. The veteran Blacksword was quiet as he observed the Overworld's actions and tactics, assessing the level of threat the ground team would be facing ahead of time.
- Vaugathala - This particular subject displays far more hostile behaviour than its predecessors.
- Thea'Nhirara - It knows we destroyed its siblings.
Kagu'sai snarled - it was not clear if it was anger or happiness, not even to him - and began preparing his weapons, lady Sheophatia standing right next to him.
- Kagu'sai - It is capable of fear then.
- Mu - What an odd thing to say.
- Kagu'sai - Simply enough, if an enemy can fear, and if we can instill that fear into that enemy, then the day is already ours.
- Psi - I really doubt a planet-sized cluster...whatever...would be afraid of us.
- Thea'Nhirara - You are mistaken. It is not afraid. It is enraged.
- Kagu'sai - The line between the two is often thin. If it does not fear, then we shall make it fear.
- Thea'Nhirara - We shall land as close to the Eye as possible. Spending time at Valirigan's surface is more dangerous than its siblings. I urge you all to keep your armor and shields at full capacity at all times.
- Vaugathala - What are the afflictions?
- Thea'Nhirara - You will be gored from inside out.
- Telfinne - Cute!- I mean- erm, that is horrible. Yes.
- Psi - Well. That's reassuring.
- Vaugathala - ... Elaborate.
As the armies landed on the surface of Variligan, managing to deploy their troops at the proximity of the Eye, they found the air extremely dense. The scent of what felt like dried blood dominated their sensors, and Marinoxidiz troopers awaited for them, energy weapons in hand as they immediately opened fire. The Dracogonarious troops used the rock formations of the proximity as cover while Mu fired his pistol, keeping a distance. Completely disregarding the concept of cover, Psi fired his weaponry manically at the demons, in hopes of tearing through their ranks as he let out a loud roar. Lupercal was more patient. Having positioned himself behind a large rock, he prepped his plasma rifle and began searching for targets, hoping to find a particularily large or intelligent demon to kill. His squad followed suit.
- Kagu'sai - What are you doing, small Radeon? Too scared of the battle ahead?
- Lupercal - This is war. The creatures are demons, but they have a chain of command. And that chain of command can be broken. - Lupercal aimed his rifle at one of the bigger Marinoxidiz - Is it not obvious?
- Kagu'sai - Hah! The one who leads the demons is the world-beast himself, and you are not going to hide from him. To arms, warriors! With these words, the Artharon army ran off to battle.
All Marinoxidiz were clearly following strategic orders and positions, and they focused fire on those who attempted to approach them. One Spinker soldiers in the open had his armor ruptured by one of the shots, and the group could see as he immedaitely begun screaming as the air of the Overworld invaded his armor. His eyes begun bleedingly rapidly as his skin peeled off, revealing his muscle and flesh until he outright exploded in a shower of blood, launching his viscera across the battlefield.
- Psi - Note to self. Do not breathe.
- Mu - I can't tell whether being a cyborg would make that more or less pleasant.
- Telfinne - Good, good, good, good.
Having raced for a vantage point over their Marinoxidiz enemies, Vaugathala and a squad of heavily-armed Blackswords, each armed with gatling weaponry and grenade launchers, took position from a nearby ledge and mercilessly rained devastating energy fire onto the demonic infantry, launching missiles and grenades at heavier enemy units, all the while tearing up the landscape at their feet. Meanwhile, Lupercal and his team continued sniping off distant targets, while Kagu'sai and Telfinne raged in the melee, using whatever weapon they could to disorient and slow the enemy. The team's firepower took down some of the giant demons, though as they fought each other, a loud, demonic and familiar roar could be heard from a distance.
In the sky, a figure emerged, flapping her wings - despite a lack of any membrane to keep herself aloft - leaving a trail of ashes behind her. Cairaovén glared at the army below, her two blades in each hand as she snarled in anger.
- Cairaovén - If it's not Thea'Nhirara's lackeys again!
- Telfinne - Cute little bird flying!
- Lupercal - Cute little bird - soldiers, get ready! Something's coming!
- Psi - Do we know you?
- Vaugathala - Enemy recognized. Maintain distance at all costs; small and moderate weapons fire proves ineffective against this particular unit.
- Thea'Nhiara - Not you.
- Cairaovén - I'm going to throw your mangled remains to the Eye for it to feast upon!
The demon warrior flew down, landing in the middle of the army with enough strength to send a shockwave which knocked all nearby soldiers away violently. She let out a blood-curled roar which seemed to encourage the Marinoxidiz to become more aggressive with their shots. Vaugathala continued to suppress the oncoming enemy units while members of his attachment squad turned to fire at the enemy commander; the Blacksword Elite attempted to move and push towards the eye, while standard Zazane infantry drew their blades and cut apart enemy Marinoxidiz that managed to get past the suppressive heavy fire from Vaugathala's gatling guns.
- Vaugathala - There is no time to be lost.
- Telfinne - Battle brothers!
Cairaovén's eyes darted to Vaugathala and his men as she rushed at their direction, delivering heavy swings of her two blades as she approached them. Shots fired at her from the Dracogonarious forces, like the first time they had encountered her, disappeared before they could touch her skin. Vaugathala's eyes glimmered with red light as Cairaovén assaulted his kill-team, swiftly moving to evade her swings despite his heavy armour and equipment before raising one of his arms and launching several high-power grenades at close range, all the while continuing to unleash a hellfire of energy artillery from the gatling gun adorning his other arm. In an effort to close the distance and deprive the demon warrior of her tactical advantage with the range offered by her greatswords, the Blacksword Elite then proceeded to try tackling her with his full, augmented body mass.
Cairaovén snarled as she stumbled back from the effect of the explosives, and as the Blacksword Elite impacted her, she drag her clawed feet into the earth as she resisted her smaller assailant. However, the demoness also found herself tackled from the back by Mu, who wrapped his arms around her neck in a choking position to keep her locked in place.
- Mu - I'm going to break your head off, pal.
- 'Cairaovén - Get your filthy hands off me, mortal! And I am no "pal", I am female!
- Mu - Yeah, good joke. Oi, Radeon and Artharon folks, get the bomb to the Eye, will you?
- Vaugathala - Male. Female. ... Termination priority is unisex.
- Lupercal - Very well. - Lupercal, Telfinne and their men grabbed the bombs and activated their jetpacks, flying into the dismal sky, while Kagu'sai ran on the ground.
Vaugathala moved one of his arms while keeping himself pressed against the demoness in order to attempt shooting through her thigh now that he had closed the distance and that she was now in a rather distressing situation, trying to keep her subjugated and incapacitate her from causing further intervention against their forces. Meanwhile, Mu delivered heavy blows to her head with his fist, and while the demon woman appeared injured, she only displayed anger as tentacle-like appendages grew out of her body, wrapping themselves around the legs of both the Kicath and the Zazane before lifting them out of the ground and tossing them away violently. Vaugathala collided with the ledge he had positioned himself from some minutes prior, and while he sustained damage to his armour from the collision, he wasted no time in detaching one of his gatling guns to free his hand; he clasped ahold of the tendril which had grabbed onto him and utilized the full extent of his weight to attempt throwing or knocking Cairaovén off her feet.
Thea'Nhira challened her powers to rain dream energy down at the Marinonixidz like artillery fire, opening a path for the Radeon soldiers. However, they would have to hurry, for new demons could be seen being born out of the earth.
- Lupercal - Go, go, go! - Lupercal and Telfinne dashed quickly through the demon-world's skies - We will end this now.
- Kagu'sai - The beast will be felled!
- Mu - No one tosses me!
Cairaovén begun walking at Vaugathala's direction, unfazed by his attempts to knock her down until Mu delivered a punch across the side of her face, causing the demoness to let out a gasp and stumble back, disoriented. The Kicath Agent appeared rather annoyed as he continued to deliver quick blows to her with his bare fists.
- Mu - Hurry up with that, will y-
Mu's blows were intercepted by Cairaovén's tentacles as she then clasped upon her shorter sword, and with a thrust, she pierced it through the Kicath's torso, the blade ignited in purple flame as it skewered through his body. Mu screamed in pain as the demoness lift the sword over her head, disaplying the Kicath for all to see. Meanwhile, more Marinoxidiz emerged from the soil in front of the Artharons's path, growling and preparing to unseath their weapons.
- Psi - I thought you Agent IIIs were stronger than that...wait. I'm not making this situation any better.
Seeing more enemies on his path, Kagu'sai did nothing but smile. Leaping high into the air - the Overworld's small - for a planet - size and its consequent low gravity allowed for it - the House warriors dropped on the heads and necks of the salamander creatures, firing at the weak spots in their bodies or wounding them with their energy blades. The demons opened fire with their Grox-inspired energy weapons, aiming to do quick work of the much smaller enemies via sheer overwheling firepower. Kagu'sai's soldiers began falling. In several cases, their shields and armour ruptured, instantly turning them into a bloody mess. Kagu clenched his teeth, this time full not of pride, but of anger. The Artharon soldiers slowly began retrating.
Before the demons could overwhelm the Artharons, however, Kagu'sai saw a hail of purple glowing orbs falling on the demons' backs, before rupturing into flaming explosions, causing the demons to roar out in pain as many of them were left damaged and disoriented. The Artharon warlord looked up to see Lupercal's Dei'Ar troopers flying from the sky like carrion birds, dropping bombs at the enemy - their bright armour greasy from demon blood.
- Kagu - Hah. You're better than I though you were, puny Radeon rat.
- Lupercal - Much appreciated, savage. The Eye is not far away. Telfinne, can you sense it?
- Telfinne - Tʜᴇ ɢʟᴀʀɪɴɢ ᴇʏᴇ ᴏғ ᴍᴀʟɪᴄᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘʟᴀɢᴜᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜᴇʀs ᴀʟʟ ɪᴛ ɢᴀᴢᴇs ᴜᴘᴏɴ, ʀɪsɪɴɢ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ɴᴏʀᴛʜ-
- 'Lupercal - To the north. You heard her, soldiers!
- Kagu - Why do you always listen to her ramblings?
- Lupercal - Because most of the time, they make sense. Somehow.
Meanwhile, the battle against Cairaoven continued. As the demoness raised Mu as her new trophy, bloodily suspended from the blade of her sword, Vaugathala moved the flank her rear and once again close the distance between them, this time holding a large, black vibroblade of his own which shimmered with energy in both hands as he moved to attack her back; he aimed to dismember the arm from which Mu was held high. Psi himself began his approach on Cairaovén, dropping his weapon on to the floor as he moved forward with the intent of using his fists.
As she was too focused on killing Mu, Cairaovén had not seen the others approach and a blood-curled scream came out of the demoness as Vaugathala's blade severed her arm, causing her to let go of her blade, and by extension, Mu. She shivered in both pain and anger as she glared at him, remaining unaware of Psi's approach. As Psi got close behind the demonness, he raised his arms up high, clenching his hands together with interlocked claws, hurling his colossal fists into Cairaovén's spinal column.
Cairaovén roared as she was thrown some distance away, falling on her stomach, and she growled in anger as she then disappeared in a black mist, teleporting away from the Overworld before she could be damaged further. Vaugathala stood upright from his battle stance while his heavy armour sparked with loose wiring and smoke escaped through its crevices and wounds, causing him to lax his shoulders and allow his armour to detach from his augmented frame. A layer of far lighter armour adorned the Zazane's synthetic flesh and carapace now that the heavy layer had been removed, exposing the extent of his impressive yet artificial musculature, before moving to assess Mu; he acted with haste, as he could feel his false skin beginning to become torn by the hostile atmosphere.
- Vaugathala - Requesting health status: respond.
- Mu - I'm d-d-dying aaaaaaahhh!!
Mu shivered in the ground as his eyes begun bleeding heavily, causing his armor to become stained in them. It was only a matter of time until he exploded like the others - though his life was saved by Thea'Nhirara as she enveloped the Kicath in an aura of dream energy, causing the wound on his torso to slowly close.
- Vaugathala - Patient must depart from the battlefield for medical conditioning and treatment.
- Mu - Wow... this feels uncomfortable.
- Thea'Nhirara - Better this than be torn apart from inside out.
- Psi - Well...better get those diagnostics back to base. They'd like to see demon energy cutting through our shields and armour like that.
- Vaugathala - I advise no further action on the recipient's part for the duration of the battle: likely to become a liability due to their current condition.
- Mu - Hey, don't you call me a liability, you thing. I nearly strangled the bitch.
- Psi - The fact you were leaking blood like a downed coast-cattle just a few moments ago, you're not gonna get very far. Unless anyone's willing to do a blood transfusion on you.
- Mu - Ngh.
- Lupercal - Team, do you read? - Vaughathala heard Lupercal's voice coming from his communication implant - We've reached the Eye!
- Vaugathala - Affirmative. Deliver the explosives and initiate an immediate retreat. ... We are sustaining casualties and severe injuries. We cannot afford further interruption.
- Lupercal - Of course. The explosives are primed and ready to strike.
Lupercal narrowed his eyes beneath the eyeplates of his helmet as he came closer to the disgusting pit, seeing hot pink liquid energy pour and boil inside, barely able to stop himself from retching. Kagu'sai too moved his eyes towards the Eye, but there was no apparent disgust in his eyes - moreover, he seemed to enjoy gazing at the pit, seeing the great power that lied inside it.
- Kagu'sai - Yes. It fears us now. Look at it!
- Lupercal - And how exactly can you tell that it does?
- Kagu'sai - One does not need to know what the beast feels inside to understand when it is beaten and broken. Get me the bomb! - Lupercal tossed Kagu'sai a shining Pseudothoi explosive - That thing will soon meet its brothers in the deserts of Deathrealm.
- Telfinne - ...Ar... Ar... Artharon is right. I can feel the thing's fear. It shakes. It dreams. Its dreams are nightmares.
Stepping back a few meters, Kagu'sai clenched the explosive and then threw it as far as he could into the Eye, relishing and enjoying himself on the way.
- Kagu'sai - Even the mightiest prey will fall before the keen-eyed hunter!
- Lupercal - You won't have a celebratory feast if you stay here, Artharon! All forces, retreat! - the Radeon soldiers grabbed the Artharons and then flew into the sky, returning to the dropships at full speed.
As the bomb was thrown, all the forces retreated back to the shuttles as fast as they could, escaping the Marinoxidiz and tentacles coming out of the soil as they made their escape. Like the Overworlds before it, Valirigan's earth burned as rays of golden, angelic energy erupted out of it, and its gold-coloured liquid evaporated as the demon planet shivered and died. More than half of the Dracogonarious army was lost in the battle, and Mu held on the wound on his torso as he watched the Overworld's destruction from the group's shuttle. Vaugathala had returned alone, his kill-team having fallen during the course of the conflict.
- Mu - Shit. We almost had that one.
- Psi - Almost?
- Mu - That demon woman thing. It was the same one who defeated us at Bonaih in case you're too drunk to remember.
- Psi - Never been too drunk. Systems flush out chemicals too quickly. I had to ask resources whether they could tune down the tolerance but they said it would be dangerous if I did any further.
- Kagu'sai - This only means we will have another chance of testing our mettle against her! We shall have a great feast tonight, friends. I invite you all to celebrate this victory, as well as-
- Sheophatia - Not yet, Kagu.
- Vaugathala - Subject Cairaovén continues to evade both subjugation and termination efforts. They shall persist to intervene in our operations and seek to cause us further obstruction. ... Failure to eliminate the target will prove detrimental to our forces in future.
Psi went over to Mu, forcefully making Mu lean forward as Psi took out a chip from his armour, examining whether it was damaged or not. As he was forced, Mu delivered a smack to Psi's head.
- Mu - Oi.
- Psi - For your own good. This chip might save our asses in the future...Agents that is. You're gonna have to get a new suit, because that's just scrap now.
- Mu - I might need a new ribcage and spine, considering how deep that sword went.
- Psi - You mean all the way through? Because that's quite deep.
- Thea'Nhirara - Only one Overworld remains, but that is not ours to hunt. Our task, for now, is another.
- Vaugathala - Elaborate.
- Thea'Nhirara - We chase Cairaovén down, and we destroy her.
- Psi - Well considering how she ran away back there, I guess we have a chance.
- Thea'Nhirara - Cairaovén was, at one point of history, my student and a user of the energy of dreams. However, she has fallen to the powers of nightmare. She is beyond saving, and unless removed from our path, she will continue to antagonize our efforts.
- Vaugathala - I am in agreement with this notion.
- Psi - Might be fun.
The Burning Inferno of KaizoxEdit
The members of the Dracogonarious military hoped to never have to return to this place.
As the armadas of the Dracogonarious Empire, the Third Sovereign Domain and the United Republic of Cyrannus approached their next destination, Jerkon and his men appeared to grow restless. They were returning to that world. The one where they defeated the Marinox five centuries ago. They were returning to Kaizox, now transformed into a factory of nightmares. The planet which once served as the homeworld of the the arch-nemesis of the Dracogonarious people now served as a breeding ground of enhanced and much more malevolent versions of the same enemy.
Kaizox was hell in space. Its land burned, storms of fire and brimstone covering its continents while an ocean of magma covered it. Its red, demonic eye stared at the fleets as they arrived, its gaze focused on the Dracogonarious ships. It remembered them. It was furious at them.
- Keldar - Terrestrial scans indicate the surface is extremely inhospitable; copious amounts of volcanic and tectonic activity, with global temperatures rising above standard melting point for most elements. ... The world seethes with rage.
- Koluap - I've been here the first time this planet was invaded, and boy, does it look fantastic now. Can we keep it that way? I like all the lava and stuff.
- Jerkon - Imbecile. Have you forgotten what this world represents?
- Sesoka - I-I've never seen anything like it...
- Kithworto - I seriously doubt he remembers what it would represent.
- Keldar - Take extreme caution when we approach the surface. The amount of activity breaching the world's surface is... unnatural.
- Jerkon - The fate of my people was once settled in this world. It appears history will repeat itself today.
- Keldar - Let us hope no Dracogonarious nor Spinker need return thrice.
The shuttles took the armies down to a familiar landscape to some. It was the ruins of the old Life Generator, a super construct once built in this world which served as the power source of the Marinox five hundred years prior, now sorched by the constant blasts of fire sent by the wind. As the Dracogonarious soldiers landed, the more veteran members of Jerkon's force recognized this path in specific - they once marched this place to reach the core of the Marinox's forces. Jerkon could not help but feel unease, which he tried to hide under his stoic behavior. Keldar bumped Jerkon's shoulder, glancing out over the path ahead of them as she was backed by her soldiers and warriors, her visored face glaring towards the burning horizon.
- Keldar - Are you quite alright?
- Jerkon - ... My father and mother died here.
- Keldar - I am able to request a shuttle to take you back to the fleet if you are lacking the strength to persist onward.
- Jerkon - Absolutely not. I must go on and put an end to this world, no matter the cost.
- Herquie - Considering this is the Marinox planet, expect heavy resistance once we get to the ruins.
- Keldar - Affirmative. I will accompany the front assault and support clearing a path to the eye. You are free to remain at the centre or rear of the charge.
- Koluap - Time to kill things in literal hell! Woooo!!
Sesoka nodded and ignited his blade. Koluap and Herquie charged ahead, followed by the rest of the army as they entered the ruins of what was once the Marinox's capital settlement, which surrounded the Life Generator. The demon eye where the bomb had to be planted was situated right in the center of the ruin, which was blocked out of the infantry's reach by large pillars of what looked like basalt. The earth rumbled as a deep roar was heard across their frequencies - Kaizox's roar - and moments after, Marinoxidiz troopers emerged, firing their weapons at them.
- Jerkon - It begins. Destroy them!
- Sesoka - For the Republic!
- Keldar - Cut a path through the enemy resistance! Leave no Marinoxidiz unscathed or breathing!
The wind blew dust, ashes and fire as the Dracogonarious army opened fire, unleashing the full might of their new Pseudothoi ammunation at the demon horde. Herquie used what he learned of his training to create essence to empower his blows, while Koluap gleefully fired his shotgun at anything that got too close. Keldar accompanied the Dracogonarious militants against their nemeses, tearing apart daemons and cultists with her assault rifle while slicing and cutting apart any soldiers which approached her proximity with her vibroblade. Sesoka used both a blaster rifle and his energy blade to cut down his foes. Quickly taking his rifle into his hand, Kithworto fired blast after blast at the heads of the Marinoxidiz soldiers advancing upon them, growling under his breath.
Jerkon kept to the back of the army, near the artillery forces as he directed them where to attack, raining fire down at the enemies who retaliated with their advanced Grox-inspired rifles. A loud cackle was heard as they advanced into the ruin, one which the Milky Way members of the army could recognize.
- Koluap - ... Oh nuts. It's that pervert again! He's here!
- Keldar - Who?
- ??? - Me!
From the ruins, spheres of entropic energy were launched at the army which exploded violently on impact, turning hit soldiers into little more than cinders. At the source was the commandant of the Marinonixiz forces, the dreaded Karnak, who continued cackling at the sight of the destruction he was causing. Taking sight of the demon, who engulfed himself in flames and ruined mechanisms, caused a cold shiver to be sent down Jerkon's spine. Keldar winced and cringed at the sight of the Commandant and turned her fire onto him, launching Pseudothoi rounds at the Marinoxidiz general before attempting to close the distance between them and occupy him in order to swerve his attention away from the Dracogonarious army.
- Keldar - Engaging enemy!
- Karnak - Keheheheheh! I have been waiting for you, murderers of our Overworlds! I am here to make you squirm and regret your actions!
- Keldar - Regret this!
Reaching for her utility belt, the Zazane commander launched several grenades at the Commandant's feet to both deal damage with the Pseudothoi energies within and knock him off balance on the already-unstable earth. Before he could be damaged, however, Karnak jumped high into the air, his large leathery wings opening as he flew over the army's heads. Taking out what looked like an advanced missile launcher, he started giggling to himself as he opened fire down at them.
- Keldar - Brace yourselves! Find cover and activate energy shielding!
- Karnak - I'm going to pass the day licking you like a lollipop, until you're nothing but bone.
- Jerkon - Keep the aim steady...
The Dracogonarious army dispersed in hopes of finding cover, though many of them were obliterated by Karnak's rain of explosives. Keldar activated her force-field tech and crouched behind a set of boulders, watching the destruction and carnage rain onto the earth below, before she drew her rifle again and allowed its shape to morph and reconfigure into a more appropriate weapon for the situation - it had reshaped itself from an assault rifle into a sniper rifle. She proceeded to take shots at the Commandant's wings to attempt grounding him. As he noticed the Zazane commander shooting at him, Karnak suddenly dove at her direction, his mouth open to reveal his many rows of teeth as he prepared to chomp down on her. His shielding helped him endure the shots fired at him, for unlike the newborn Marinoxidiz they were fighting, Karnak sported a suit of armor. Keldar ducked and rolled, slotting away her rifle to grab ahold of her vibroblade while dust and debris was picked up from their encounter.
- Keldar - I have him distracted; make an approach for the eye!
- Karnak - Keheheh! Just try! I'll send your little bomb to the nearest black hole!
- Keldar - Hmf! I am afraid we require it; what if I insert a grenade into it instead, hm?
- Karnak - Shut up, you little whore!
Karnak's hand morphed into several tentacles which extended over to Keldar and wrapped themselves around her body, slowly crushing her as the Marinoxidiz raised her for the others to see. Keldar struggled in the Commandant's grasp, her armour creaking and beginning to fracture from the pressure he exerted onto her body, her force-field having been depleted while she squirmed and writhed between Karnak's daemonic tendrils, groaning. However, before he could finish her off, Herquie came to the Zazane's rescue - with a spinning maneuver, the Bonio slashed through Karnak's tentacles, severing them with his bladed knuckles and letting Keldar fall into the ground. Karnak yelled in pain as the mercenary's Dream Energy burned through his wounds, though he immediately retaliated by sending his foot down at the Bonio, crushing him under it.
- Herquie - Agh!
- Karnak - Little insects, all of you! But you are the ugliest! I will squish you the hardest!
- Keldar - Koluap, we require assistance!
- Koluap - I'm busy shooting Marinoxidiz in the face!
- Jerkon - ... Fire.
From outside their field of view, most specifically the direction they had arrived, artillery fire appeared in the sky. Jerkon had left some soldiers hidden in the path behind them, and Karnak had not seen the shots coming until they rained down at him, destroying his wings completely and flooring the demon.
- Karnak - My precious, delicious body! You little pest! Little Drakley's pest! Don't pretend you are not terrified of me!
- Jerkon - ... I awaited the day to destroy you. And my parents taught me to keep my cool.
Karnak roared in rage as he got up and charged at Jerkon's direction on all fours, only for more artillery fire to rain down on the Marinoxidiz leader, causing him to scream in pain as its Pseudothoi-enhanced blasts were enough to disable his shields. It appeared Jerkon had thought of a plan way ahead of time, as he showed little more than a disgusted expression as he looked at Karnak. Keldar rushed to assist Herquie onto his feet, analyzing his condition before turning her head and throwing another set of Pseudothoi grenades at Karnak's feet, her expression one of concern beneath her helm although she was impressed by the display of the Commandant being assaulted by heavy artillery fire.
- Keldar - Herquie; give me your status. Are you injured?
- Herquie - Nearly half a ton of muscle just stepped on me. What do you think?
- Karnak - Aaaaaaahhh!! Aaaahahahaha!!
The firepower launched at Karnak eventually caused the giant demon to fall off his feet, his armor shattered and his body left burned by the emulated essence of the Dracogonarious' weapons. Jerkon and Koluap both approached the downed Marinoxidiz, with Jerkon reaching a hand over to Koluap's shotgun and suddenly taking it off his grasp.
- Koluap - Hey! That's my baby!
- Jerkon - I require it for a moment.
The rest of the Dracogonarious army surrounded Karnak as Jerkon stopped in front of the demon's face. Karnak groaned in pain, and at the same time laughed as it was pleasing to him to some description.
- Jerkon - ... I remember the reports of soldiers from the Battle of Kaizox informing me you stabbed Draikilia Charil in the eye before throwing her into a pit to die. Said woman... happened to be my mother.
Aiming the shotgun, Jerkon opened fire at Karnak's non-mechanic eyeball, causing it to erupt into a shower of blood as the demon screamed in pain, before he begun laughing again.
- Karnak - Aaahahah! You little shit. This is not a pain I enjoy!
- Jerkon - You sought to intimidate me by how you were rivals with my late father. I am beyond your mind tricks. I have prepared myself for this same battle for a long time, demon scum.
- Karnak - Keheh... it seems Drakley's little boy... did grow up, after all. I hate you.
Karnak raised one arm, causing the army to aim their weapons at him, though he did little else but display his wrist to them. On it were what looked like coordinates to a location in deep intergalactic space.
- Karnak - A parting gift, then... You don't know where the master is? This is where...
- Keldar - ... These are coordinates to the location of the last Corruptus Overworld. As we were told, it resides far beyond the edges of any galaxy. I shall have to make a record.
- Herquie - And you're just gonna give it to us? Bullshit. This is a trick.
- Kithworto - Indeed. Though...the elements are always against us. Should we take these coordinates, expect heavy resistance regardless of it being a trick or not.
- Karnak - Keheheh... no tricks. The master wants you... to be there. You should not leave him waiting too much...
- Jerkon - In retrospect, I will inform you. I was lying. I am, in fact, intimidated. But I expected you to open your guard if I pretended not to be.
- Karnak - ...Urgh. You Dracogonarious... are all despicable creatures!
- Jerkon - And you have no need to worry. We shall not leave Errr waiting.
- Karnak - Hah! Fool! What makes you think... I was talking about the Master-Creator? Ahah!
Jerkon's eyes narrowed as he then opened fire at Karnak's skull, prompting all the rest of the army to also open fire. Karnak was pulverized by the concentrated Pseudothoi fire, the demon screaming in agony as his body was torn apart and dissolved into a black sludge which came to dissipate in the wind. Jerkon turned to his men as he handed Koluap's shotgun back to him, the Spinker rather surprised at his unusual act of violence.
- Jerkon - Is the bomb primed?
- Soldier - As instructed, we have set it to be sent into the eye as soon as the Marinoxidiz leader was destroyed.
- Jerkon - Very well. Retreat back to the shuttles. This world will be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
- Herquie - All behind everyone's backs, eh?
- Jerkon - What I lack in physical prowess, I make up in intellect and efficiency. Alienating the enemy proved easier than expected. Now retreat, for I do not want you to be left behind.
- Kithworto - Intelligent strategy. I did not know that Dracogonarious were capable of bluffing.
- Jerkon - Admittedly, it was rather difficult. I was not lying when I said I was, in fact, very afraid.
With Karnak destroyed and the coordinates recorded, the armies retreated back to the shuttles and escaped Kaizox. They watched as radiant rays of Dream Energy burned through the crust of the Overworld, petrifying its seas of lava and burning through its already scorched land. The Dracogonarious soldiers, including Jerkon, watched as they were allowed to let go of their history linked to that world as it withered and died before their eyes.
With all the Overworlds destroyed, it was now a matter of hunting Errr down to put an end to the Corruptus. But the Gods of Nightmare would not simply stand idle to this threat...
Fall of the World DevourerEdit
The destruction of the five Corruptus Overworlds proved to be a devastating blow against the Marinoxidiz. Deprived of five sixths of their breeding grounds, their numbers were now noticeably low, as were the numbers of the various Corruptus Demons who followed them. The allies would find themselves given a brief moment of peace as the demon assaults came to a halt, giving them the opportunity of studying the coordinates given by Karnak prior to his death so that they could pinpoint the exact location of the final Overworld.
Of equal importance was the effect of the Overworlds's destruction on the Nightmare Gods. The Overworlds served as a power source for all of them, and their destruction caused them to have their links to the third dimension severely weakened. In other words, the Gods of the Corruptus were rendered mortal, negating them of the their greatest advantage against the allied empires. However, this did little to stop them, as in the weeks following the destruction of Kaizox, they came to act again.
The Delpha Coalition of Planets, perhaps the most powerful of all empires in the allies, found itself attacked by a nebula of entropic energy heralded by Shu'suvreca, the Fourth God of the Corruptus. A planet-sized breeder of demons himself, Shu'suvreca initiated an onslaught on the Delpha Coalition, covering star systems with his demonic influence while devouring others whole, leading to an outbreak of Kikra Caste to spread across the DCP's colonies, mostly made out of corrupted Grimbolsaurians. Shu'suvreca appeared to be making his way to the homeworlds of the DCP's member races, seeking to devour them and their population, and the empire's own defenses proved ineffective in stopping him. If allowed to progress any further, Shu'suvreca would soon reach the Yoburt homeworld of Barum and then move to the next.
However, the allies proved themselves resourceful in order to bring the Nightmare God down. DCP and Dracogonarious scientists worked together to create a weapon capable of putting an end to a planet-devouring nightmare, inspired by the design of the Nanohorde but on a less dangerous scale, and combining it with the Dracogonarious's new Pseudothoi technologies to emulate Dream Energy essence in order to create a horde of nanomachines specifically designed to devour demons. The Dracogonarious, the DCP, UNO and the Draconid Imperium prepared to ambush Shu'suvreca in his path by meeting up with him at the Yoburt colony of Lucara, a popular touristic destination with a large population number - something that would easily attract the demon's attention.
- Zr'Ahgloth - hold up. so yor sayin dat a planet full of beeches is wher we gotta go AN IM NOT ALLOWED TA SUNBATHE??? OH MA DAYZ DIS IS AN UNFAIR MISSION I QUIT
- Macin' - Stupid bug-eyed man!
- Kelsos - We are about to wade into a bloodbath and the location is what bothers you? Are you truly the finest Loron the Unified Nation can send?
- Zr'Ahgloth - SHUT UP MAN IM COOLA DAN YOO YOR JUS JELUS DAT YOO DUNT HAV MA BEECH BODY
- Kralgon Emperor - Do you want me to just install a computer in his brain to take over his body for the time being so he shuts up? Because my scientists are working on that, y'know.
- Mimi - There will be no need for bodies today. Infantry is useless against a planet-sized demon.
- Kralgon Emperor - Oooh, my time to shine? Nice! My fleet are primed. Let's show them what we've got. I can't wait until the slaughter when we ambush them...
- Kenders - Do not allow your fleet to get too close to the Essence-bearing entity. Their numbers will be needed to keep the Kikra at bay while the weapon is prepared.
- Mimi - You must be Doctor Kenders. I think the Dracogonarious mentioned you're the head of the weapon's development?
- Kenders - That is correct.
- Leondias - Standard Aetheral doctrine on a target such as this recommends long-range bombardment with high-velocity projectiles while cruisers and assault ships hold the enemy frontline.
- Zr'Ahgloth - PREPAR DA BIGGEST GUNZ AN BLOW STUFF UP
Moments afterwards, the fleet's radars detected the arrival of Shu'suvreca. The titan was heralded by a trail of entropic fog, his massive form dwarfing any of the spaceships the allies had brought with them. The demon barred his fanged teeth and appeared to roar, which led the fleet's communications to be invaded by the sound of its thunderous voice. Inside of his maw was darkness - and teeth. Many, many teeth.
- Kenders - Irrational.
- Mimi - Scary!
- Shu'suvreca - BEGINNING -- FEAR -- ARRIVAL.
- Zr'Ahgloth - WOW STOP SCREEMIN SO LOUD YOR GIVEN ME A HEADACHE. WHAI DO ALL DESE PLANETS KEEP SHOUTIN. I SWER PLANETS GOT SO RUDE EVA SINCE WE STARTED DIS WAR
- Tuolog - They not planets. They demons.
- Zr'Ahgloth - ...ya meen weve been FITIN DEMONS DIS WHOL TIME??? MAN I FOUGHT WE WAS COOL JUS BLOWIN UP PLANETS FER DA FUN OF IT NOW YOR TELLIN ME DAT WES ACTUALLY FITIN BAD GUYZ??????
- Macin - Prepare flying machines to fight!
- Leondias - Aknowledged! 195th Fleet reports the prorotype warheads are loaded and primed.
- Kralgon Emperor - Lock targets, fleets. Fire when I give the orders!
Shu'suvreca begun approaching the fleet, his entropic nebula slowly surrounding the system around Lucara's star and blocking the view of its exterior. The demon's fourteen blood-red eyes were locked into the colony itself, with him appearing to not have noticed the fleet's presence so far. The Dracogonarious ships quickly begun maneuvering to flank the monster as soon as it approached the planet. Meanwhile, a demonic sunset had befallen on the star-facing beaches of the world. But the tourists gathered on the beaches in open defiance, and continued their revelry. Some even took selfies.
As the demon arrived to the proximity of the planet, the Dracogonarious fleet begun opening fire at Shu'suvreca, firing a combination of their standard weapons and the new demon-devouring nanomachines at the monster's hide. Taking fire caused Shu'suvreca to stop on his tracks as he begun gazing at the fleets, each of his eyes facing a different direction. As the demon's attentino turned, the Draconid Imperium's largest ships unleashed their vollies, launching a hail of missile and magnetic rail fire across the void towards the behemoth demon shadowing the system. Carriers released thousands of strike fighter drones to support the allied fleets with high-velocity fire and guided missile. The DCP's maelstrom defenses were also active, as volley after volley of drones and other automated weapons hounded the demon. DCP ships also fired a mixture of standard and non-standard weapons.
- Kralgon Emperor - You may fire.
The Emperor made a huge grin, as his massive armada of Kralgon AI Weapons, UNO Warships and Ottzelloan Grox ships flew in from seemingly nowhere, firing every weapon they had. Their plasma, coilgun and turbolaser cannons filled the vast space between them and the huge demon. The Empreor cackled with laughter as he slammed all the buttons on the Omega Commander warship, and unleashed all the antimatter missiles his fleets had. Small starfighters followed, bigging bombing runs on it, as UNO unleashed death.
- Kralgon Emperor - THE MIGHT OF THE KRALGON IS BACK! ALL DEMONS WILL FEAR US! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
- Shu'suvreca - INSECTS -- SMALL -- IGNORANT -- OBSTACLE -- REMOVAL.
Small chunks of Shu'suvreca's hide were torn out of his body by the combined fire, though the demon appeared mostly unfazed. Status reports on the allied fleet showed the nanomachines successfully entered the entity, though they were being overwhelmed by his sheer size and power, meaning more of them had to be deployed. Shu'suvreca retaliated to the attacks by launching his humongous tentacles at the fleet, completely smashing any spaceship slow or unlucky enough to be hit by them. Leondias called for more batteris to be fired, darting his attention between the vollies and the vessels shattered by the demonic tentacles.
- Kralgon Emperor - Hah! We can spare more than a few ships. It's not like anything living operates them!
As UNO's warships were destroyed in the dozens, hundreds in fact, many more arrived to take their place. If the Emperor could not win this battle through force, he would drain his opponents of energy or space. Every ship he sent was completely unmanned - all it cost UNO was resources.
- Kelsos - Attrition is proving difficult against this kind of threat, you may be able to throw wave after wave of vessel at them but so can they.
- Leondias - We need ot get past that armour.
- Mimi - Aim for the Corruptus Heart on his forehead! That'll make the pain more apparent to him!
- Macin - We need more nanos! Fire all the nanos!
- Leondias - Understood. All ships, focus nanite warhead fire on the designated location. Strike bombers deploy payloads at the same target. Hit it with everything we have!
- Kenders - The Essence-bearing Entity appears to regenerate as fast as the nanites can damage him. Some parts may regenerate slower than others. I suggest we use nanoscale wormholes to tunnel into the heart of the Essence-bearing entity and deliver the nanites. The nebula is scrambling our targeting sensors, so we will need to get in close.
- Zr'Ahgloth - STOOPID DCP AND DEYR OBSESSION WIV SPACE HOLES
- Leondias - Would coordination with the assault groups improve your guns' accuracy?
- Mimi - It might. But don't get too close, otherwise your ships may end up falling into him... and get absorbed.
Shu'suvreca recoiled back as he then opened his maw once again, and from it came out a blackened smoke which surrounded the demon. At first, no ill effects were detected on the allied fleet until moments passed, and some of them noted parts of the crew going mad. Turned into Kikra Caste at frightening speed.
- Leondias - Reports form all ships state some transformative gas in life support!
- Kelsos - The demon seeks to corrupt and turn our forces against us. All marine regiments are advised to engage in vacuum protocols and fire on any irrationally behaving crewmen.
- Shu'suvreca - ALL -- UNITE -- NIGHTMARE -- ONE -- SHU'RIMRODIR -- SHU'RIMRODIR -- SHU'RIMRODIR--
- Zr'Ahgloth - OH MA DAYZ DERES LORON'KIKRA IN MA SHIP NOOOOOOOOOOOOO YOO LOSAS IS MENT TA BE DED
- Kelsos - Deploy Inquisitor strike teams to any affected ships. They should be able to resist the entity's influence.
The Dracogonarious fleet maneuvered to keep a distance from Shu'suvreca's corrupting smoke as they opened fire at the demon's head, aiming for the Heart. As it was bombarded, the Demon God shivered as he roared in pain, almost deafingly across the fleet's communication systems. Under Kelsos' orders, inquiistors were sent to affected ships in the hopes of clearing them of the mad and the transformed, with many transport pods being disembarked following plasma grenades and plasma vollies aimed at any Kikra that could be seen. The Draconid sternguard kept launching missile vollies on Shu'suvreca's titanic heart. The DCP meanwhile were using drone support to slowly inch their way into the nebula, amid the chaos of weapon's fire and tentacles lashing out at craft. Fortunately, vessels under the influence of the Kikra madness were not very well organised, and could be pushed by repulsor beams into the tentacles to provide cover.
As the fleet distracted the demon from reaching the planet, they begun seeing results with their own naked eyes: at Shu'suvreca's hide, paths of golden light appeared to eat his skin and flesh away. The Demon God's eyes darted back to himself as he begun rubbing his tentacles against his own body, almost as if trying to itch the nanomachines off. Their plan was slowly working.
- Shu'suvreca - WHAT -- CONFUSION -- ITCH -- REMOVE.
- Mimi - It's working! Keep it up!
Some of the tentacles began to rot and diminish in size creating a bigger window. The DCP ships were now being joined by allied forces to bulk up the ships lost. UNO sent its own ships to aid in the bombardment, showing little regard for their self-preservation as the Demon God begun growing new appendages to replace those he was losing. His face appeared to be locked in a frown as he grew furious over the strange unseen force eating him. Shu'suvreca opened his maw once again, seemingly inhaling the vacuum as energy begun charging at it, and the monster aimed himself directly at Lucara - he sought to blast it to oblivion in one single shot of entropic energy.
Kelsos noticed the telemetry of the demon's actions and his brows rose in shock.
- Kelsos - Mimi...any suggestions on how we could distract the creature before it obliterates the planet?
- Mimi - Attack the Heart with your biggest, most powerful weapons! All of you!
- Kelsos - ...Roger that. All capitals this is Executive Admiral Leondias Drevex, load up your largest payloads and fire on the designated target. Missile cruisers I want every launcher releasing a nanite wearhead, strike with every kiloton of detonatives that you have at your disposal.
- Kenders - To all ships that remain in hindquarters. Fire every weapon salvo at the Entity's solar plexus. Prepare to collide.
- DCP fleet commander - Weapons are hot. Fire.
- Zr'Ahgloth - FIRE DA BIGGAST BOMZ EVA!!!
- Kralgon Emperor - And prepare the ground troops to defend our ships!
- Kelsos - Executive to the gunnery crews of the TNSS Ragnas, I want the extermias-pattern laser on overload. Fire with every gigaajoule the singularity reactor will give us!
- Shu'suvreca - ENEMIES -- I -- SEE -- YOU -- YOU -- WILL -- DIE.
- Zr'Ahgloth - LOSA -- I -- SEE YOO -- IMMA -- SHANK -- YOR -- DAD
- Tuolog - You not shout it loud enough. Let me try. ENEMY -- OBSTACLE -- YOU -- WILL -- BE -- DESTROYED. Hehehe.
- Zr'Ahgloth - smartass
- Macin - Shut up and fire guns!
Tuolog hummed under his breath, as he meditated. All the turbolasers and coilguns from the Omega Commander were now charged with Chronoscopic energy. The other ships boosted in speed, as they were sped up in time.
- Tuolog - I not have much more energy to spare, but if anyone has a ship they want me to boost in time, I can help.
- Leondias - The Ragnas' main gun might be the fleet's largest. Can you provide?
- Kelsos - Support inquisitors will lend you their strength if you need them, Tuolog.
Tuolog nodded towards them, as he began to boost the speed of the main cannon.
- Tuolog - Tell your men operating the cannon that if everything around them seems, it only normal. Also, your help would indeed be appreciated.
The Dracogonarious opened fire with all they had at Shu'suvreca's Heart in hope to make him stop his attack. The more damaged vessels resorted to ram directly into the target, as they were beyond any saving. With the support of Tuolog and the support inqusitors, the main gun of the Ragnas - a titanic cannon with a muzzle as wide as a starship fired its superlaser beam with a mechanical roar towards the corruptus heart, unleashing a beam of energy with such magnitude as if to challenge the demon with its own beam of mass destruction. A Chronoscopically-accelerated beam of relativistic plasma targeted straight for the pulsing heart of the consumer of worlds.
Just behind, relativistic projectiles, turbolasers, beam weapons of various forms, antimatter and nanite-carring missiles plunged into the heart and the head of Shu'suvreca, as he began to exhale entropic energy onto the planet. The superlaser, and other weapons, created tremendous heat that exploded the outer layers of the demon just at the right moment. This sent the demon careening into a spin that narrowly missed Lucara several times over. Many of the tourists not taking selfies were blinded by the intense radiation of energy and essence. The DCP ships finally got within range and unleashed their wormholes, injecting nanites in to the bones and organs of Shu'suvreca.
Weakened from the inside, the combined firepower caused Shu'suvreca's Heart to explode, launching chunks of the demon's flesh through the vacuum as he screamed in pain, his beam of entropic energy being launched at the wrong direction due to the demon recoiling in agony - the fleet watched it pass over Lucara, missing the planet but it had been close enough to cause minor quakes on its crust. Shu'suvreca shivered and agonized as the nanomachines truly begun to eat his flesh away, the demon's body slowly disappearing before the fleet's eyes as he struggled to heal himself.
- Zr'Ahgloth - HAHA EET DAT IDIOT speekin of eetin can i go on da planet an sunbathe an hav food now
- Kenders - The planet will still be known for it's pizzerias.
- Shu'suvreca - HOW -- NO -- NO -- NO -- NO -- NO --
Shu'suvreca's eyes widened as he roared once again, and the nanomachines finally did their work as they engulfed and devoured the Planet Devourer's head last - before their eyes, the fleet watched a God die and be reduced to nothing as he was completely erased, his nebula of entropic energy slowly dissimating into nothingness. Out of relief, Leondias gasped and lowered his head, smiling out of a sense of accomplishment.
- Kralgon Emperor - We did good today. No telling how many lives we've saved there. Shame Mac couldn't show up, but I'm not sure how useful he would be when there was no ground combat involved.
- Macin - The demon is dead! We win!
- Leondias - The valor of the fallen deserves to be remembered. Let this be their day, as well as ours.
- Mimi - To think I'd live to see a Corruptus God die to mortal weapons...
- Kelsos - Then you may need to spend some time among Inquisitors. For non-Corruptus deicide, admittedly.
- Kenders - They are not supernatural. Time and again, these "gods" must swallow their pride.
- Kelsos - They may not be true gods, doctor, but they are close. And that must be considered when resisting them.
- Mimi - Hehe. I hope to see that attitude when the final battle comes. And I'm confident that we're getting closer every day.
- Leondias - Two years ago if I'd have scoffed at such terminology for our enemies.
- Kenders - Calling them demons serves only to ruin morale. Powerful yes. But defeatable? In principle, yes.
- Mimi - The DCP is saved today. Let's be on our way, because I'd say everyone here earned their rest.
- Zr'Ahgloth - indeed. da Dumbo Combinashon of Pizza won today. i cant beleev im considerin dat a victory.
Fall of the Night TerrorEdit
The Hellhuntress is BornEdit
Telfinne's personal chamber on Purebloom had been closed off for hours now. No-one on the ship knew what exactly transpired with their captain beyond its walls, from which red lights flashed and muffled screaming echoed - and none were brave enough to find out. No less than a dozen of crewmen vanished without a trace last two weeks, and always after they had been left alone with the captain. There had been many rumours. Some terrible, some innocuous, some certifiably insane, but all of them had one thing in common. The mysterious, strange but improbably knowledgeable waif that the crewmen once found strange but respected was gone, replaced by someone, or something, gruesome, terrible and above all, unnatural.
Telfinne hardly understood more about her predicament than everyone else. Paralysed by horror, driven even deeper into madness than what would be normal for her usual self, she sat motionless on the cold floor, meditating in the company of dim lamps and sacred relics. Her teary eyes gazed at the portrait of her father, at the silver icons of saints and prophets, at the calligraphic ornaments in the room. Her shaking hands contorted into a facsimile of prayer as she forced her charred lips to utter sounds. I am part of the greater whole. I am part of the greater harmony. I am at peace. These words sounded like mockery. How could she be at peace when she was not her? Telfinne closed her eyes shut. The pain could not be ignored, but at least she could be spared the sight of her charred, warped hands, of her twisted claws and blackened skin. An illusion of normality.
I am at peace. I am part of harmony.
Am I at peace? Am I me? What am I?
There were tales, told by veterans of the Great War, of demon-men. Mortals warped by fell energies of the Chaos Heralds, transformed in ways beyond logical minds to comprehends to become monsters that defied all laws of nature. A horrible thought suddenly made its way into Telfinne's mind. No. It couldn't be. Telfinne whimpered, her breath hastening together with her voice, prayers transforming into a torrent of barely comprehensible words. I am at peace I am at peace I am at peace harmony harmony all is one one is all we are all one Masaari Dei'Nar peace harmony we are one we are one all is one one is all-
One. There was one who could help her. Lupercal If there was hope, it was only in him. He alone could help her keep her balance in this madness. To keep her whole for a little longer. Telfinne took a deep breath. It would take all her concentration, all that remained of her already fracturing mind, but she was strong in Essence, and the mental imprint of his soul was vivid in her memory. Widening her consciousness to all minds around her, to all the fear and horror that she inspired in others, she clang to that imprint and called upon it. Help.
Then came a voice. But it was not Lupercal. By opening her mind, she called something else upon herself. Something strangely familiar. Though it had sounded like Lupercal at first, Telfinne knew his voice well. Something was not a rest with this voice, and it was certainly not the voice that brought her peace of mind. Even as she closed her eyes, she could sense the voice grating into her head not much unlike broken glass, and it was not here to bring peace of any sort. At least, not the peace that Telfinne was desperate for. That voice had begun to feel like sharp hooks pulling on Telfinne's skull, as the acid in her stomach rose to burn her throat, and her blood felt as if it were on fire.
Even if the presence in her head was speaking to her, she believed that the gravitas and weight of this voice was causing the room to tremble beneath her feet, though it was merely an illusion. Telfinne should have screamed in pain, but for some reason, she instead remained motionless, trying to make some sense of the presence. Whatever part of her mind remained sane, she formed into a question.
Who are you?
The voice did not answer. At least, not directly. Though there was some moment of silence within her own mind, it began to speak back to her.
One who answers your call.
What is happening to me? Who am I?
A herald of things to come. To set my desires into motion.
If Telfinne had still retained control of her body, she'd have shuddered at the realisation. Her worst nightmares came true. The demons had come for her. She should have resisted. She should have fought.
But instead, she kept asking.
What do you want? Can you show me the way out?
My desires are infinite and forever changing. Your way out is but through this very door.
I know your name. I-I-I've heard it before, when the voices spoke to me. A...anga... angaz...
In the midst of Telfinne's struggle, the power that this voice had possessed had thrown the young Radeon girl's body against the ground, tearing her soft flesh apart as the very vessels of her blood lit up in an incandescent light.
Theruskrayathos. Khazúr Ankhárazír. Aɴɢᴀᴢʜᴀʀ.
- Lupercal - Telfinne? Telfinne?!
Lupercal blasted the chamber's door off and flashed into it in full armour and keeping his weapons ready. The instant he entered the chamber, the Radeon captain's eyes widened underneath his Dei'Ar Guard helmet. The psychic call that Telfinne sent to him was distressful to say the least, but he could not have imagined anything like that not even in his worst nightmares. Telfinne's belongings in the chamber were scattered and melted, some of them turned completely black while the others were debased and warped in ways that no natural force could have accomplished. Crimson fires burned from the cracks in metal, and some sort of diabolical ringing resounded from the walls.
But it was nothing compared to the Telfinne he saw. Or was that Telfinne? Even Lupercal, who had known her for years, was not exactly sure of it. Or at least, he wished that it was not her. It could not have been her. She could not have been this twisted, rotting half-living corpse, whimpering in pain while looking at him pleading. Telfinne's half-naked body was almost completely ashen black, almost cadaverous - little more than parchment-like skin covering decaying bones and tissues. The blood vessels on her flesh were boiling, radiant orange like liquid lava, rupturing in some places. Spiny, bony growths splintered her scaly skin, covering her flesh like some infectious paradise. Only her face retained some semblance of her old self - her glowing orange eyes weeping burning tears.
- Lupercal - ...Telfinne- Dei'Nar be greatest, this is- this must be some sort of Essential disease, like the ones we were taught about during the War of Ages. We need a specialised medic, I think we have one on my ship, I'll call for him, just, just-
- Telfinne - H-h-help! Please! The voice... He... Ankhárazír...
- Lupercal - The voice? What voice?
Suddenly, the room shook and Lupercal and Telfinne alike shuddered in pain, answering Lupercal's question. The voice was here.
- Angazhar - In your ignorance, Talon, I shall answer you.
- Lupercal - The... Xhodocto?!
- Angazhar - She has been chosen to serve the course of time. Something that this existence has threatened to diverge from endlessly.
- Lupercal - So this is why we were there. This is the purpose... - Lupercal's mouth went agape - T-Telfinne, do not submit to him! He is the one who destroyed our homeworld! He's the one who set the Rifts on fire and made Vendespode into a barren rock!
- Telfinne - I... I... can't... too much... can't...
- Lupercal - Fight! Fight like you have always fought! No demon will take you from m- I mean, take you from us!
- Angazhar - The first command I speak of to you. Annihilate this false prophet. Cease his words of deceit, and make him drink from the cup of death.
- Lupercal - This false prophet he speaks of has led us from extinction and towards redemption! You- you cannot submit! Listen - listen to my voice! Remember me! Remember everything we have fought for! Remember the sands of Vendespode, the voice of your father! Remember how you fought your condition, how you battled your inner demons and survived against all odds. I will n- you will not yourself now! Not today! - Lupercal offered Telfinne his hand, but the moment they tried to touch, both backed off in pain - Pray, Telfinne, pray. Do you not remember what we were taught by clerics in school? Though we walk through desert barefoot and naked, our faith protects us more than any mortal veil...
- Telfinne - Please... - Telfinne turned to Lupercal for one last time, her body no longer her own - her flesh crackling with unholy energy - ...Forgive me. To submit is a relief... such a relief. I know it is wrong, but I--
Telfinne's warped body sprung into motion, moving in an unnatural matter as if her body was a puppet and something else was pulling the string. Her face contorted into an unnatural, demonic grin, while hellish flames appeared in her hands. The voice of Angazhar in the room became a wicked, low laughter, in which some semblance of Telfinne's voice still rang. Lupercal primed his weapons, but was hesitant to strike - hoping perhaps that there still remained something of the girl she knew in that abomination.
- Telfinne - I... know what to do...
Then something unexpected happened. Instead of directing demonic energy at Lupercal, as he expected, or feared at least, Telfinne turned her hands unto herself and incinerated her own body. In one massive flash of hellfire, the Radeon girl's body was reduced completely into ash that slowly dropped on the floor of the debased room.
Lupercal stared at the scene dumbfounded. He wondered quietly to himself about what was more surprising - that the girl he had known for years was gone, or that despite everything she had suffered, she did not submit willingly. All he knew for certain was that grim news were to be delivered to the ship's crew and especially to the Clericarch.
What Lupercal did not know, however, was that while a body of a demon could be destroyed, the soul lingered.
Her soul had been taken by the Xhodocto. Not to Inferno - Inferno was perhaps too much of an obvious place to find Telfinne's soul should Lupercal have sought for ways to find her in other places beyond the universe. The unconscious remnants of Telfinne's soul only vaguely understood what was around her. Wherever she believed she was, this realm she was in, it was the antithesis of all that she had come to uphold in her life.
The sensation of fire and frost surged through her soul at an unwelcome pace; the sound of earth and sky crackling from the hellish elements of the Xhodocto, providing her no rest nor peace. Whereas she began to feel once more - her body that is, with the faint sensation of her fingers returning, and the very vitriolic blood of her demonic form rushing through heir veins and arteries, she could not yet see nor open her eyes. Perhaps she was afraid to do so. Though she was right to be afraid. As her body coalesced into existence on the cold-het-burning ground, the ever watchful and omnipresent arpeture in the sky, adorned in flame and lightning, was looking down upon her.
Telfinne took her first breath in her new life, or perhaps did something that her mind registered as breathing, and made her first attempt to gaze at the demonic abyss. Her mind, both less and more insane than it was before, percieved it as the happiest of worlds - a sort of beautiful paradise described in some Masaari scrolls, filled with colour, merriment and joy. Telfinne's face became a childish smile.
Perhaps for the first time in her life, she was truly happy.
The Second Battle of BonaihEdit
Thea'Nhirara had trained Cairaovén as a Destined One, a clad of ascended individuals who serve as Sonhadromerith's eyes and fist in the mortal universe. However, the woman would eventually be corrupted by the energies of the Corruptus and deny her destiny, becoming one of the demon legion's top commanders. Despite her defeat at Valirigan, she had survived, and tracking her down led the Plazith Allies to Bonaih once again - incidentally, the planet where Cairaovén had first defeated them at.
If left to her own devices, Cairaovén would amass an army of surviving demons and assault the Dracogonarious Empire once again. There were still enough Corruptus Demons infesting the former territories of the Bonio Republic to make a bee line to Kingus and New Draka and rend them to pieces, therefore the allies's mission was clear: Cairaovén had to die. And Thea'Nhirara had to be the one to deliver the final blow. As the allies returned to Bonaih and their shuttles landed upon the planet, it was nearly unrecognizable: the planet had become a hostile inferno, ruins of the once proud Bonio capital cities scattered across the landscape. The angelic entity hovered out of the shuttle as she looked for Cairaovén's presence, followed by Agent Mu and squads of Dracogonarious marines.
Psi had emerged from the same shuttle, equipped with as advanced gear as he could acquire from the Empire. His weapon firmly grasped within both of his hands, he surveyed the dead world of Bonaih on his visor, narrowing his eyes at the corrupted landscape and quickly moving his stance over whatever suddenly moved. Vaugathala and a detachment of Blacksword warriors immediately deployed without hesitation, moving ahead of the team in order to secure an offensive perimeter against any lurking daemons and initiate a scouting effort for any indication of the potent demoness' presence.
Kagu'sai and his retinue came to the planet independently - coming from the drop pods falling from the sky, their armour polished as if they were on parade, marching in perfect formation while holding their weapons primed. The Artharon warlord walked in the front, brandishing his blade before his men, his blood red chromeplast power armour, a sacred relic of clan Sai, gleaming under the dismal demon-corrupted sun. It was almost as if the warlord enjoyed himself and the bloodshed around him. Next to the warchief walked Lupercal and what remained of his and his companion's squads. Unlike the Artharons, their looks were anything but ostentatious: their advanced armour, once stainless white, was now rusted and covered in grime and blood, their visor helmets damaged and in several cases discarded altogether. It was evident that the Radeon marines' spirits were at the brink of breaking - though they had obviously done their best to conceal it.
- Kagu'sai - At last, the tide of war is turned. By the reborn Artharon Empire, its new Emperor and with the aid of his consort, this world shall be reclaimed.
- Mu - Dibs on those swords of hers.
- Psi - I get the head then. It's going to look damn good over my mantlepiece...but first I actually a need a mantlepiece to but a demonic head over.
- Vaugathala - Artifacts in the target's possession are likely to be contaminated with Nightmare energy. Reposession of the target's equipment after their termination is ill-advised.
- Kagu - A pity. Taking the beast's skull would be a great trophy. Speaking of which - once the war is over, I believe it would be fair for us to demand trib- I mean, contribution from this Empire of yours. For liberating your worlds.
- Spinker Marine - If you wanna get shot in the eye, sure, just try.
Thea'Nhirara hovered ahead of them, her eyes narrowing as she looked at the horizon. Without warning, one of the angel's arms morphed into a blade-like shape which she quickly swung at her own front - before the army's eyes, Cairaovén appeared before her former teacher, clashing her two blades against her. The force of her arrival was such that many Dracogonarious marine swere knocked backwards.
- Cairaovén - You have made a mistake coming back here!
- Thea'Nhirara - Cairaovén. Your time has come to a close.
Vaugathala and several of the soldiers under his command turned and unleashed a hail of gunfire upon the demoness' rear as she attacked her mentor with her blades in midair, aiming to knock her out of the sky and incapacitate her while also attempting to minimize her offensive capacity. The other Blackswords kept their backs turned, pre-emptively awaiting a Corruptus ambush that would be sure to follow the demon commander. Like previously, shots fired against the Night-Terror proved useless as they were erased from existence before they could touch her, the demon and her teacher exchanging blows until Thea'Nhirara blew her away, Cairaovén landing on her feet in the middle of a ruined plaza.
- Cairaovén - So this is how it will be. A battle to the death? No more escapes?
- Thea'Nhirara - It shall be so. I must put you down.
- Cairaovén - As if you had the courage! Your nightmare has just begun!
Before the team could make their move, however, something unexpected happened. The stormy winds on Bonaih's surface suddenly stopped to a still, as if they had never existed, and some wicked, otherwordly echoing resounded from the sky in their stead. Then the air itself imploded. Reality around Cairaovén and the team shattered and split, the sky tearing and ripping to reveal disgusting gash-like crevices in the fabric of the universe itself, hellish orange lights escaping them. It was nothing like what the Corruptus was capable of creating, and from the look on Cairaovén's face, it seemed that even the demoness herself was somewhat surprised by that sight.
- Kagu'sai - What in the name of all our ancestors...
- Mu - ... Well then. This brings me back to the War of Ages.
- Lupercal - It's him.
From the largest of the tears in reality, a clawed, warped hand appeared, grabbing at the rocky ground - demonic, but at the same time distinctly feminine and Radeon. The rift soon expanded for the rest of the she-demon to claw her way out of the great beyond, and in but a few moments the monster was revealed. A horned, winged monstrous mockery of a Radeon girl, with flesh that seemed to be fashioned out of molten magma and eyes that burned with unholy fire. Ornate obsidian armour covered her body - seemingly as alive as the demoness herself - two gigantic blades clenched in her clawed hands.
Lupercal widened his eyes as he stared at the monstrosity - terrified not because of the demoness' grotesque appearance, but because of who it reminded him of. That round, childish face. These eyes. These bright red ponytails.
- Telfinne - Hᴇʟʟᴏ, ᴄᴜᴛɪᴇ ᴘɪᴇ~
- Mu - What in Ekolnyuri's name is that?!
- 'Psi - Eeeeeeesh.
- Lupercal - It's... her. But how? How could y-
The Zazane present on the battlefield turned their eyes towards the fierce, empowered Radeon demigoddess, soon followed by their heavy armaments as they attempted to launch suppressive fire at her, keeping her at where she had spawned from with ballistic, energy, and Pseudothoi weaponry. As Cairaovén watched Telfinne's arrival and realized the situation, a deep laugh came out of the demoness as she looked at the group.
- Cairaovén - You let one of yours fall, did you not? ... A familiar sight, isn't it, "mother"? Arrtkar would love to be here to see this.
- Thea'Nhirara - The girl. The demon heart corrupted her.
- Vaugathala - The target should have been terminated prior to inevitable contamination as evaluated.
- Psi - Thank you, Commander Hindsight.
- Mu - Wait, that's the weird big-headed girl? She's a demon? That means she's gotta die.
- Lupercal - Maybe, maybe- but what if there, what if we can do something with her? Telfinne? Do you remember me?
The demoness turned to Lupercal. Her face, still retaining some semblance of her original form, contorted into a grimace out of confusion. It took only a moment, however, before that confusioned turned into pure, unbridled anger.
- Telfinne - Yᴏᴜ ʟᴇғᴛ ᴍᴇ. Yᴏᴜ ᴀʙᴀɴᴅᴏɴᴇᴅ ᴍᴇ. Yᴏᴜ ʟᴇғᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜɪs ᴄᴜᴛᴇ ʜᴇʟʟɪsʜ ᴡᴏʀʟᴅ ᴏғ ᴀɢᴏɴɪsɪɴɢ ʙᴜᴛᴛᴇʀғʟɪᴇs ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴀɪɴʙᴏᴡ ғɪᴇʟᴅs ᴏғ ᴛᴏʀᴍᴇɴᴛ. Nᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ. Nᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ. NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER-
- Cairaovén - You idiots! You cannot save her! You cannot save anyone! Our kind, demonkind, is the future of this universe! You are nothing but obstacles to be removed! Now watch your failure endure as you die in flame!
- Thea'Nhirara - ... Deal with your former friend. I will deal with Cairaovén myself.
- 'Lupercal - Telfinne-
- 'Telfinne - Yᴏᴜ ᴀʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏɴᴇ. Hᴇ sᴘᴏᴋᴇ ᴏғ ʏᴏᴜ. I'ʟʟ sʜᴀʀᴇ ʜɪs ʟᴏᴠᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʏᴏᴜ-
The she-demon rose into the air and leaped at Lupercal, swinging her blades in the sky in a chaotic fashion. In but a second the Radeon commander was overwhelmed as the demoness grabbed him and once again left the ground, holding him tight to her barbed lava-like armour. Lupercal shrieked in pain; his troops aimed at the demoness, but were too afraid to hit their own commander to attack. The Blacksword Elite moved as swiftly as his augmented, synthetic muscle could go, dashing to flank the fallen soul as they raised themselves upward and performing a powerful leap with his dark vibroblade drawn in order to attempt a rear attack and save Lupercal from his demise. Vaugathala was succesful; wounded in the wing, Telfinne lost her balance and fell on Bonaih's surface, leaving a long trail of molten earth where she landed. Lupercal quickly escaped his former companion's claws before finally losing his consciousness out of pain shock and dropping on the ground.
- Telfinne - Yᴏᴜ! - Telfinne glared furiously at the rest of the team - Pʀᴇsᴇɴᴛs ғᴏʀ ᴍʏ ʙɪʀᴛʜᴅᴀʏ ᴘᴀʀᴛ I sᴇᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀs ᴛᴏʏs ᴛᴏʏs ᴅᴀɴᴄɪɴɢ ᴍᴀʀᴄʜɪɴɢ ᴅᴀɴᴄɪɴɢ ᴍᴀʀᴄʜɪɴɢ ᴄᴜᴛᴛɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄᴜᴛᴛɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄᴜᴛᴛɪɴɢ-
Telfinne ran furiously at the rest of the team, creating waves of demonic energy while swinging her blades angrily. Mu fired his pistol at the demoness from a distance while the Dracogonarious troopers followed suit, while Thea'Nhirara and Cairaovén kept each other occupied in the distance. The Blacksword soldiers found several of themselves cut apart by the swathes of daemonic essence, sliced through as cleanly as a knife through butter, while survivors of the Zazane detachment began firing their armaments upon the Radeon, unleashing a storm of ballistic and energy projectiles amidst throwing grenades, missiles, and mines. In a barrage of confusion and fury, Psi unleashed his particle beam cannon upon Telfinne, or, at least in the direction of Telfinne due to her great speed.
The combined firepower of the team slowed Telfinne somewhat, but did not stop her. With all her remaining strength, she collided the ranks of the Blacksword soldiers, throwing them in disarray, before turning to the Kicath Agents with her blades. Vaugathala was knocked off his feet while his soldiers were torn apart by the force of her impact, either severely wounded or killed, and in response, as his body was launched through the air, he swung his arm and threw his vibroblade at Telfinne's back as she diverted her attention. He proceeded to collapse into a ruined skyscraper not far from the battlefield, his body destroying its supports and causing it to collapse on top of him. Mu tried to keep a distance from Telfinne by trying to smack her across the head with the butt of his pistol, being somewhat disgusted by her appearance.
- Kagu'sai - Great. Just great! Another foe for me to fell! Step aside!
- Mu - Hell, you can have her. Disgusting little kasataí!
- Psi - And they call Kicath mad. Radeon are just twice as worse.
- Kagu'sai - To arms, demonslayers!
Screaming battlecries and unsheathing their power swords, Kagu'sai and his men charged the she-demon. Disoriented by the mass of attacks, Telfinne shrieked in pain as her magmatic flesh was ruptured, her lava-like blood spilling from the wounds. The demoness snarled. The sudden pain brought some sense to her mad reverie, and this newfound lucidity strengthened her.
- Telfinne - Yᴇs. Pᴀɪɴ. I ғᴇᴇʟ ɪᴛ. Iᴛ ɪs ᴄᴜᴛᴇ. Bʀɪɢʜᴛ. Fᴜʟʟ ᴏғ ʜᴀᴘᴘɪɴᴇss. Dᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ғᴇᴇʟ ᴛʜɪs ʜᴀᴘᴘɪɴᴇss?
- Mu - I want you to receive a fistful of punch. Die already!
- Telfinne - Tʜɪs. Is. Nᴏᴛ. CUTE!
Telfinne suddenly shouted and plunger her blade deep into Mu's stomach, staring at the mechanical insides of his body while cackling maniacally. In the meantime, she created a ring of hellfire around her, not allowing the Blackswords to come closer. The Agent retaliated by bashing his fist against her skull repeatedly, trying to get her away from him. Kagu used the opportunity and retaliated as well, breaking away the armour plates on Telfinne's stomach with a well-placed strike of his sword. The living obsidian shivered and dropped on the ground.
- Telfinne - Hᴏᴡ sɪᴄᴋ ᴏғ ʏᴏᴜ! - Telfinne squealed with a high-pitched voice while covering the cracked disfigured mass of corrupted flesh that the armour concealed - Vᴇʀʏ sɪᴄᴋ ᴏғ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴏ ʟᴏᴏᴋ ᴀᴛ ᴀ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ɢɪʀʟ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ! - Telfinne cast a bolt of demonic energy at Kagu'sai, dropping him at the ground, and stepped on him; holding the blade in her hand, she was preparing her finishing strike. - Yᴏᴜ'ᴠᴇ ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴠᴇʀʏ, ᴠᴇʀʏ ɴᴀᴜɢʜᴛʏ ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴘᴜɴɪsʜᴇᴅ.
- Lupercal - Not on my watch. - suddenly, Telfinne's blade was melted by a plasma bolt from behind; as the she-demon turned, she realised where it came from - You won't hurt anyone today. More importantly, you won't hurt yourself.
- Telfinne - I ᴅᴏ ɴᴏᴛ ʜᴜʀᴛ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ! I ᴍᴀᴋᴇ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ʜᴀᴘᴘʏ! I ᴍᴀᴋᴇ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ғᴇᴇʟ ɢᴏᴏᴅ! Tʜᴇɪʀ ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜs ᴏᴘᴇɴ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴡᴀʏ ᴛᴏ ʜᴀᴘᴘɪɴᴇss!
- Lupercal - I am sorry, Telfinne. I understand this was not meant to be that way. The Clericarch asked me to help you, to preserve your father's legacy. I've failed. But th-
- Telfinne - Eɴᴏᴜɢʜ! Nᴏᴛ ᴇɴᴏᴜɢʜ ᴄᴜᴘᴄᴀᴋᴇs! - Telfinne laughed and charged at Lupercal, demonic energy filling her blades. Before she could reach him, however, the Radeon commander aimed and made one last shot - aiming at her exposed stomach. The demoness screeched and fell to the ground, the aura of demonic energy she had created dispersing.
- Lupercal - But this does not mean I will not do what I must. You were once my companion, my comrade, my... - Lupercal came closer - ...I am doing this for you. - the Radeon commander telekinetically raised Telfinne's wounded, bruised body to the air, holding it in place for the rest of the team - Fire.
Immediately, the rest of Lupercal's squad raised their weapons and pulled the triggers. The Dracogonarious marines followed Lupercal's order as they opened fire with all they had, Mu quickly joining them as held on the wound on his stomach. From behind, Vaugathala burst forth from the toppled building, his armour partially damaged and sparking with bolts of energy as he charged the demoness from behind, watching as the allied soldiers fired upon her; as he closed the distance, he wrapped his powerful, synthetic arms around Telfinne's stomach from behind and bent backwards, lifting her body over his own and slamming her head against the ground behind him - he had accomplished a backwards body slam, empowered by the full extent of his augmented physiology and artificial muscle.
It took quite a while for the soldiers to destroy the demoness's body, the demonic energy supporting her body even as she was unconscious, but by the time the dust settled, the demoness was no more. Lupercal looked at the pile of ashes, closing his eyes, and then removed his helmet. A single tear escaped his eyes.
- Lupercal - This won't be the end. I know it.
- Kagu'sai - And who cares! Truly this was a battle to behold! I should have my skalds describe this day in full poetic detail. This will be the songs the children of the new empire will sing.
- Vaugathala - Additional target terminated. Returning to primary objective; destroy priority target.
- Kagu'sai - Indeed! Come at us, devil! Face us in combat! Who dares to fight us, who dares to fight me, fails always! - Kagu laughed - I am Kagu'sai the Invincible, the Indomitable! The realm that I and my consort have created will prosper for ten thousand years!
And speaking of the devil, Cairaovén re-emerged. Quickly appearing behind Kagu'sai, the demoness thrust her lesser sword into the Artharon's back, impaling through his torso as she lifted him into the air with it. Kagu'sai only managed a single high-pitched, almost feminine scream - which was so full of fear that one would imagine he had been preparing all his short life for it - before death finally came to him and his lifeless body dropped on the ground as Cairaovén tossed him off of her sword, to the shock of his men.
- Artharon - Our Warchief! Impossible!
- Cairaovén - Failures! You are alll failures!
- Vaugathala - Priority target is on the offensive!
- Cairaovén - As said, you cannot save anyone. You fail to protect another one of yours! This is your fate... death by my blade!
- Lupercal - He's not one of ours. ...To be honest, he was always something of a threl'aes.
- Mu - Wow.
Cairaovén roared at the team as she menacingly approached them. At this moment, Thea'Nhirara emerged in the skies once again, presumably being knocked down before the demoness had arrived. The words of her former student ringed through her mind as she looked down at the casualties of the battle, including Kagu'sai, and her eyes narrowed as she pointed down.
- Thea'Nhirara - Cairaovén.
- Cairaovén - ... So you are still not dead? Want to have another go?
- Thea'Nhirara - This is enough.
Out of the angel's back grew a large pair of feathered wings as she begun radiating an aura of golden energy. Perhaps for the first time, the army watched Thea'Nhirara feeling genuine fury - and Cairaovén's eyes widened as she felt her former teacher's power being amplified to great lengths. Putting her two hands together, Thea'Nhirara transformed them into one single blade as she flew down to Cairaovén and confronted her once more, delivering blows at such speed that forced the demoness to walk back to protect herself.
As she tried to fight back, Cairaovén felt a cold shiver go down her spine as she watched the blade of one of her swords be broken and launched out of view, distracting her enough for Thea'Nhirara to impale her through the Corruptus Heart, causing the demoness to scream in agony as Dream Energy pumped through her body. Several pairs of tentacles grew out of the angel's body which wrapped around Cairaovén's body, crushing her and she then lift the demoness up and begun hammering against the soil repeatedly, causing her to yell out in pain more and more. Mu was caught by surprise by Thea'Nhirara's onslaught, beong used to her more serene side as he backed up.
- Mu - ... Uh. I think she has it under control.
- Vaugathala - Evaluate the vitals of the Artharon. There is a 98% chance that they survived affliction.
- Mu - More like a 100% chance he's done for, pal.
- Thea'Nhirara - It pains me twice more than it pains you.
The angel stopped her bashing of the demoness as she held her in place, and a closer look revealed to the group that shining tears fell out of her eyes as she then struck Cairaovén diagonally, cutting the Night-Terror in two and causing her halves to fall into the ground. She screamed in agony as lingering Dream Energy ate her away as she desperately tried to reach for her swords, with no success.
- Cairaovén - Agh... so... you're not... such a coward then... "mother"...
With this, Cairaovén's body turned into dust, as did her equipment, which was blown away by the wind. Immediately, the black fog of the Corruptus - that is, the fog not created by the planet's current volcanic state - cleared out to reveal its skies. Thea'Nhirara slowly levitated to the ground before appearing to drop into it like a ragdoll, her face against the ground as she remained in complete silence.
- Lupercal - ...By Dei'Nar. - Lupercal did not dare say anymore and simply clasped his hands in prayer, closing his eyes to pay wordless service to Spode for this miracle.
- Vaugathala - Target eliminated.
- Dracogonarious Marine - The demon force seems to have vanished. Allied command must be informed that Bonaih has been reclaimed.
- Mu - And I suppose the Artharon folks should warn their people their boss got a sword to the back.
- Artharon - Our people? Hardly. The other clans will likely cheer for his death.
- Artharon 2 - One not of our people, though...
- Mu - Better get out of here, anyway. I'm sick of demons stabbing me in the stomach for a while.
Fall of the Fear IncarnateEdit
Depowering the Corruptus Gods appeared to do little but provoke their ire. Still at the Milky Way Galaxy, another member of the allied effort against the demonic horde found itself attacked by Shu'ytrogarva, the Third of the Nightmare Gods, as he marched through the worlds of the Kicath Empire. Despite the impressive firepower of the Kicath, neither infantry nor spaceships were able to stop the demon as he made his way through their planets, transforming their populations into slaves and leaving them devoid of any form of life. Shu'ytrogarva was clearly making his way to the Kicathian homeworld of Paclernos, and there was no telling of the damage he would cause if allowed to reach his destination.
The Dracogonarious Empire, the Third Sovereign Domain and the United Republic of Cyrannus lent their help to the Kicath as they intercepted Shu'ytrogarva at the Kicathian world of Tiraigas, a heavily populated center with billions of souls for the demon to corrupt, and as they arrived, they watched as all attempts to combat the dark entity proved fruitless - artillery fire of the Empire's Agents launched at Shu'ytrogarva barely scratched his uncanny thin form as he spread destruction across the planet's cities, super-sizing himself and throwing skyscrapers down at the infantry to crush them under it as he appeared to not take them seriously. Jerkon, Koluap and Herquie met up with the Kicath forces some distance away from the carnage, the intellectual Dracogonarious commandant unsure of what course of action to take, while Sesoka watched the URC's forces attempting to attack the demon from the air, with no success. Keldar gestured for several squads of Zazane soldiers to aid and support their Kicath allies, drawing attention away from those injured by the Corruptus God's nightmarish assault upon the city so they could be tended to and assisting in evacuating any civilians that had survived the initial attack.
- Keldar - Orbital, atmospheric, and terrestrial bombardment has been proven ineffectual!
- Herquie - So that's Shu'ytrogarva... the demon from that nightmare...
- Koluap - You know this bloke?
- Herquie - I've dreamed of him once.
The Kicathian Commander, Kithworto, had been involved in evacuating the population of Tiraigas, doing his best in trying to avoid the attacks of Shu'ytrogarva. He had grouped back with the team, though he was visibly covered in blood and his armour had suffered multiple scratches and scuffs.
- Kithworto - Get this demon off my fucking planet.
- Koluap - Hey, it's not like we've not been trying that for 2 years now.
- Jerkon - He proves unopposed by our weapons. I cannot understand it. The demon "god" attacking the Delpha Coalition was defeated with conventional warfare despite his much superior body mass.
- Keldar - A scratch upon his daemon-hide, I cannot see. Pseudothoi weaponry appears... almost obsolete when matched against this fiend.
- Sesoka - What are these infernal things even made of?!
At this moment, Shu'ytrogarva's head turned directly to the team's position, the demon's voice ringing through their minds.
- Shu'ytrogarva - ... The heroes arrive at last. You cannot resist such a great carnage, can you not?
- Keldar - You are contained upon this world, daemon! Your forces decimated before the eyes of you and your fiendish peers, your Overworlds swathed in flame!
- Shu'ytrogarva - Contained? Me? ... I can leave whenever I please. You?
The demon leaned his body, with his stretching across the landscape as his head came to be directly over the group's heads, causing Koluap to scream as he held into Jerkon, much to his annoyance. Keldar frowned as she held her gun close to her body, her visor hiding her expression while she watched the surreal entity seemingly contort both its form and the reality around it.
- Shu'ytrogarva - You are contained. You cannot leave. You will not leave this place.
- Keldar - ... We had not thought this plan of action through.
- Shu'ytrogarva - Your problem. You think. Your thinking slows us down. No more. You stay here now.
Shu'ytrogarva opened his mouth, revealing many rows of teeth and a void where his throat should be, as dark as space itself as he then lunged down, devouring the group and part of the ground they were standing on. Koluap kept yelling in a high-pitched voice until he realized, despite the occurrance, he was still alive, and so was everyone else.
The group found itself in a different landscape. They stood in what looked like a nearly pitch black terrain, decorated with ruined buildings and what looked like piles upon piles of corpses of many different races - Kicath, Dracogonarious, Spinker, Zazane, Grimbolsaurian and others - in the distance. The group themselves stood on a platform surrounded by what appeared to be a bottomless pit, connected to the "main" landscape via a narrow bridge. Keldar loaded her weapon, turning her head to glance across the hellish plane that they had now been drawn into, and speaking into the communitor built into her helmet as she attempted to establish contact with her forces; she was met only with the sound of loud, blaring and eery white noise.
- Keldar - Anyone, come in! Response required, please come in! ... Grr, what in the name of Vaxal is going on?
- Jerkon - I do not think we are at Tiraigas anymore.
- Keldar - Then where are we? Is there any indication as per our location? I have lost contact with the rest of our forces.
- Shu'ytrogarva - You are at the nightmare.
Shu'ytrogarva's voice could be heard across the landscape, and the team eventually realized the demon was there. In the very far distance, beyond the pit and the ruins, he sat upon a throne of corpses, watching them with a neutral expression in his face. Keldar aimed her weapon towards the source of the deity's voice before lowering it again, her eyes met with the sight of rivers and streams of blood and gore running through the earth of lifeless bodies. She huffed heavily, analyzing their surroundings before raising her gun and pressing upon its trigger to launch a round at the Assassin - yet her projectiles were erased from existence as they got within range of Shu'ytrogarva, mere flies before the extent of his godlike power.
- Shu'ytrogarva - You prove difficult to eliminate. My servants all failed. Therefore you will stay in this nightmare instead. Eventually you will starve and die, or you will resort to killing each other for sustenance. Or you will become devourers of corpses, little more than animals.
Kithworto said nothing. The very sight of what he saw around him had left him speechless, though he felt as if he had to respond to Shu'ytrogarva. In what strength and mind he had left in him, he unleashed a roar, full of terror at the demon god, powerless to stop him from being trapped there. Such was the intensity that Koluap was thrown off his feet, nearly knocking Jerkon off the platform though he quickly adjusted himself. The Dracogonarious's eyes narrowed as he looked around and then begun making his way into the bridge.
- Jerkon - I am not giving up so easily.
- Keldar - Get back! We have little idea as per the extent of the power of the target! We must group together and formulate a strateg--
- Jerkon - Control of mind, dream and nightmare implies this is a subconscious construct created by the entity. Control of nightmare implies the entity is at its home habitat in this location. I say the entity will also be more vulnerable here.
- Keldar - ... Then what of the world beyond this realm? What of the target's body outside of the walls of this plane?
- Jerkon - My theory is that we are inside of him. Either physically or through our... "souls", as you call them. Therefore what stands before us is the demon's soul. We destroy the soul.
- Sesoka - I see some logic behind your thinking. I heard Dracogonarious were quick to solve problems, but I had never seen it live.
- Jerkon - We cannot give up. We must confront the entity and destroy it.
- Keldar - It appears we have no other option. ... The concept that we must oppose a Corruptus deity with only our current assets intimidates me. Greatly.
- Koluap - Hah! You guys didn't think I was actually scared, did you?
- Herquie - You're shivering more than someone standing ten feet under a sea of ice.
- Koluap - Shut up, my knees are just getting old, is all.
Jerkon continued making his way through the bridge, and was joined by Koluap, Herquie and Sesoka, who all made sure to not fall out of it. The bridge was only as wide to cover one of the Tenerensis' and the Kicath's feet at a time, therefore they had to be cautious. Keldar stayed behind Sesoka and ahead of Kithworto, glancing downward towards the null void the bridge was suspended above before she continued looking ahead, regretting her decision to look down into the blackness for she felt both afraid of the great height and did not wish for the darkness to glance back into her.
The team's actions caused Shu'ytrogarva's head to tilt almost as if in curiosity, as if he had expected them to break as soon as they arrived. A howl then came out of the demon which echoed through the abyss, and from the depths of the pit, pairs of eyes begun to appear as they could now hear the growls and hisses of whatever inhabited it. Kithworto delicately stepped forward, using his lengthy Kicathian tail to compensate for much of his balance. As the pair of eyes had opened up in the abyssal blackness underneath them, he reached for his rifle, priming it in preparation for an attack.
- Keldar - ... I knew such would happen sooner or later.
- Herquie - Here they come!
Rising from the abyss, lesser versions of the demon trapping them in the nightmare manifested - Garvathae, the spawn of Shu'ytrogarva - who begun clinging into the bridge and scraping their claws at the legs of the group as they tried to knock them down. Koluap yelled once again as he quickly begun firing his shotgun at whatever was touching him while Sesoka resorted to stomping the demons's hands under his foot. Keldar squealed as she felt the wretched, clawed fingers of the daemons scratching at her legs and feet and both stomped on them and attempted shooting at them with her rifle, leading to the bridge becoming damaged and structurally pressured in the process as the force of their feet impacting upon the bridge and the ammunition being expended upon it caused it to become weaker. As the Garvathe ripped into Kithworto's armour, he growled as he shot at them, and then sending sharp bolts of essence at them to whip them off the side of the bridge. Those that came too close to Kithworto's feet found their heads crushed under his boot, and those too close to his tail were thrown off the edge.
As the group finally arrived to the end of the bridge, they watched as the Garvathae begun clinging at it in high numbers, some of them climbing on top of it and approaching the group menacingly and slowly, as if provoking them. Jerkon turned his eyes to the base of the bridge holding it against the "main land" before he turned back to his allies.
- Jerkon - Destroy this bridge. Send them pummeling down to the abyss.
- Koluap - Dang! I knew I should've brought grenades or a rocket launcher.
In his continuing fury, a larger surge of lightning passed into Kithworto's hands; larger than they had seen before. Hurling his right arm forward, a red bolt of essence struck at the bridge, severing it from its end, and its own weight causing it to topple into the infinity beneath them. Demons howled and roared as they were sent down to whence they came, and some of the group appeared surprised by Kithworto's sudden bolt of power, though Koluap appeared less surprised and more amused.
- Koluap - Wow! That's a nice shot. I gotta get me one of those.
- Keldar - ... You had not shown such proficiency with the supernatural prior to now, Kithworto.
- Kithworto - Legend has it my bloodline descends from the god of destruction. I'm beginning to believe that these demons are going to see the harsh end of my heritage.
- Shu'ytrogarva - The half-Essential shows his colours. Such noisy nuisance.
Keldar turned to Herquie, eyeing him before glancing back towards the large, imposing daemon-lord who was sat so contently and smugly upon his nightmarish, macabre throne of death and decay. Looking at the landscape before them, the group was now close to the piles of corpses, which easily towered over them. The area was also littered in ruined buildings, though they were not Kicathian in design. None of the group could recognize their architecture, though Herquie appeared to feel uneasy at the sight of them, as if they were familiar to him somehow.
- Keldar - ... Your heart rate has increased exponentially. Moreso than the rest of us.
- Herquie - No idea what kind of place this is, but it feels... nostalgic, somehow.
- Sesoka - Perhaps these are pre-spacefaring Bonio ruins?
- Shu'ytrogarva - Behold the legacy of the Imperium of the Children of the Epoch. "Vida'Rra". All of their worlds were reduced to what you see now.
Keldar turned her head, her visor analyzing the desolate environment they travelled through as she attempt to record and capture pictures of the surrounding hellscape; she felt her nerves become cold and chilled as she observed further into the ruins, making out every minute detail of the corpses that made up the ground of the city. All of them were devoid of their tongues and eyeballs. Before the team's eyes, the piles of corpses suddenly begun losing their colouration, turning into a combination of black, white and grey as Shu'ytrogarva spoke once again.
- Shu'ytrogarva - Their so called victory was short-lived. They defeated us, but at what cost? They died fearing us. There is no more Imperium now, only dead emptiness. Only phantoms.
Koluap looked at one pile of corpses and let out yet another high-pitched scream as he realized they had started moving. He begun firing his shotgun at the bodies as they begun getting up or crawling out of the pile, turned into Kikra Caste zombies. Keldar's concentration broke as she turned her head to see why Koluap had been screaming, leaving her exposed to several zombies grasping ahold of her left leg and pulling her down to the floor, leading to her dropping her rifle and having to reach for her side-blade to attempt defending herself.
- Keldar - We have hostiles! Stray far from those corpses!
- Sesoka - Make your way to the demon's throne! Cut your way through them!
Seeing the animated dead crawling across the floor, Kithworto took to his rifle and began aiming at their heads, shooting them with great speed and accuracy. Sesoka used his sword to cut through multiple Kikras, using his imposing physical strength to trample any who got into his path. Herquie harnessed his dream energy as he cut through the zombies, and as he did, the team could swear they heard a gasp coming out of Shu'ytrogarva from the distance. Koluap's fear appeared to suddenly vanish as he begun laughing gleefully, shooting at the Kikras's heads with his incendiary ammo, almost as if he was having fun. Keldar jammed her vibro-knife into the heads of any Kikras that attempted to crawl on top of her and hold her down, her armour being torn away by the zombies' claws before their skulls were stabbed and slashed at with fierce resistance on her part. She could already feel her body becoming filthy and corrupted despite no obvious injuries that broke the underlying flesh beneath her military attire.
The blood of the undead creatures was spilled over the group, drenching them in corrupted blood as they made their way through the horde until they passed through the ruins. They would come to encounter a gigantic staircase, leading up until it ended at Shu'ytrogarva's throne platform. Jerkon and Koluap fired their guns at the horde as it tried to approach them as the Dracogonarious ordered them to move on ahead. Keldar reached for her grenades as they ascended the staircase, dropping and throwing them into the throng of Kikras and causing viscera to explode forth and rain down upon the group, making the surface of the steps somewhat slippery and wet to gain footing across.
As the team arrived to the throne, the staircase behind them crumbled, trapping them at the platform while at the same time no longer allowing the Kikra Caste horde to follow them. Shu'ytrogarva's throne was not made of the same corpses as the undead, instead he sat upon carcasses of mysterious avian creatures with many limbs and powerful builds, the sight of them causing Herquie to huff in distress. These were Vida'Rra corpses he was looking at. The demon's expression remained completely neutral, though they could swear he appeared discontent at their actions.
- Shu'ytrogarva - ... Elusive mortals you are. Any other would have broken down and be rended insane by now. Yet you still fight. Why?
- Keldar - Because we fancy not being imprisoned within this hellhole while billions of people die. We have all had our share of bloody rivers and hills built from the bodies of our brethren. ... It shan't halt us in bringing an end to it.
- Koluap - I'm going to shove my gun so far up your ass, you'll be singing bullets!
- Shu'ytrogarva - Mortalkind is truly an abomination.
Shu'ytrogarva rose from his throne, and as he flicked his arms, a pair of curved, sharpened bones grew out of his wrists, which he then wrapped his fingers around as if they were knives. Koluap immediately begun firing his shotgun at the demon, though his shots proved ineffective as he charged at the team, towering over them and swinging his newly-grown blades in quick, almost graceful spinning moves. Keldar dropped her rifle and drew both of her blades - her vibroknife and her accompanying vibrosword - without hesitation, assuming a defensive posture as she attempted to try resisting and countering the demon god's assault; she almost collapsed entirely onto her front as she found the shoulder of her knife-wielding arm cut almost entirely from the underlying bone and tendon in one swift motion from Shu'ytrogarva, dicing through her armour as if it meant nothing to him. Seeing the carnage ensuing around him, Kithworto retained his distance from the demonic abomination, throwing wave after wave of his energies at Shu'ytrogarva whilst being mindful of having little ground behind him to manoeuvre.
As the essence hit the demon's body, burn marks grew over his hide, though he did not lose his composure as he continued attacking the group. However, it was clear that Jerkon's theory was correct: Shu'ytrogarva could be harmed in this place. As Herquie watched the scene, he backed up as he begun channeling his own Dream Energy, his body coming to glow a faint blue colour.
- Herquie - Keep him busy. I got a plan.
- Shu'ytrogarva - Hope. You all cling to your hopes so much. Hopes and dreams. Both wither and die.
- Keldar - M-Make it a... a plan worthwhile, B-Bonio!
Shu'ytrogarva's great tentacles begun extending in length as they were launched at the whole group, one for each as they attempted to strike or impale them. Jerkon, annoyed over the demon's immunity to his ammunation, was forced to take out his emergency combat knife to keep the tentacles from attacking him and Herquie, while Koluap resorted to try and bite the tendrils that approached him. Sesoka's sword cut through one of them, severing a piece which fell into the floor and dissolved into a thick black sludge. Mustering her strength, the Zazane commander shifted her body and used her remaining arm, clasping tightly to her vibrosword, to cut through the tendrils which had menaced Koluap and Herquie, although she soon found one coiling itself around her battered, exposed body tightly and had to resort to desperately repeatedly stabbing it as its length had wrapped around her waist and moved over her torso. Kithworto continued his assault upon Shu'ytrogarva, though now with the tentacles trying to pierce Kithworto's flesh, he had evaded each attempt to stab through him as he sliced at them by altering his hand motion, the waves of essence becoming not unlike blades extending from his claws.
- Herquie - Underestimated me, didn't you... Well, take this!
As he channeled all the power he could muster, Herquie thrust both palms forward, releasing a sphere of golden energy which was launched at Shu'ytrogarva's back. The demon screamed as the energy exploded against him, causing him to be launched forward and fall to one knee on the ground, leaving him vulnerable. The Bonio quickly charged ahead, preparing his bladed knuckles as he lunged into the demon's back and stabbed him with them, causing Shu'ytrogarva to screech as he rose to his feet and tried to get him off.
- Shu'ytrogarva - Dream energy in my form. No. You will not. Disgusting creature.
- Herquie - He lost his cool! Finish him off!
Free of the tendril that had so fondly squeezed and attempted to crush her, Keldar rammed her blade into the earth and reached for her rifle, watching as its frame reshaped into from that of a semi-automatic rapid assault weapon into that of a shotgun and raised it to aim at the struggling deity; intense, heated blasts of Pseudothoi energy were launched from the barrel at the Assassin's torso while Keldar's arm was thrown back due to the recoil, although she would not allow it to stop her from acting upon her rage and continued to fire at Shu'ytrogarva's body unrelentingly. Taking his rifle into his hands, Kithworto fired also at Shu'ytrogarva, aiming for the creature's head, most specifically his eyes in an attempt to blind him. Jerkon took his gun again as he aimed his shots at the demon's heart, as did Koluap as he screamed in rage. Sesoka charged and plunged his vibrosword through the heart of the demon, and as he was overwhelmed in firepower, Shu'ytrogarva let out a loud roar as the world around the team went completely blank.
As they regained their senses, the team suddenly found themselves back at Tiraigas, standing exactly the same place as they were before the entire event. They noticed the wounds received at the nightmare were completely reverted, which caused much confusion to Jerkon and Koluap. Sesoka nearly stumbled in place as he realized the nightmare was over, putting down his blade as he looked at the surroundings. Keldar shivered as she glanced at her arm and raised it, moving her hand and fingers to observe whether or not this was yet an illusion or if the group really had been returned to the reality they had come from. Nonetheless, beneath her visor, her expression displayed some skepticism.
- Keldar - ... We have been returned. Or so it would seem.
- Koluap - Look!
Koluap pointed at the direction of the city which was being attacked by the time they arrived. Shu'ytrogarva was there, in the same stance as he was before he had sent the team through the nightmare, except the Corruptus Heart on his chest was missing. In its place was a large bleeding wound, with the demon passing his near-skeleton fingers through it, as if not believing what was happening.
- Shu'ytrogarva - ... Truly, mortalkind is an abomination. They have ruined everything once again.
- Keldar - We should attempt a secondary assault.
- Sesoka - I don't believe it will be necessary.
- Shu'ytrogarva - My first death it shall be. Not the last either. We shall meet again.
With this, Shu'ytrogarva's body begun to turn into dust. However, the demon did not display pain - he stood upright, staring at the team as he disappeared until he was completely gone. The demonic fog and the hordes attacking Tiraigas disppeared the same way afterwards. Keldar eyed the empty, ruined landscape with caution, stepping ahead of the group and rejoining with several members of her detachment while having been left confused and wary of the situation. She kept her gun raised to her chest, breathing a little heavier than she otherwise would have been following such a significant victory.
- Keldar - The... The city has been retaken. The daemons have issued a retreat and... and their commander has been disposed of. Objective... achieved?
- Kithworto - Objective achieved.
- Sesoka - My peers will not believe it when my reports go to Republic Command. Hell, I was there and I barely believe it myself.
- Koluap - ... I'm still scared.
- Jerkon - That is what the demon wants.
- Keldar - How can we be certain that we have been victorious this day? What if we have been subject to yet another hellscape and are yet to realize it?
- Kithworto - If that was the case, then I would have realised it. Nonetheless, I say we all deserve a drink. I need to sit down.
- Keldar - Oh... I am afraid I will have to refuse. I am not a drinker and there is work yet to be done.
- Kithworto - More for me, then.
Vengeance of the Widow QueenEdit
Sheophatia did not understand the feelings she felt right now. She did not understand what they were, where they had came from, why they were there, or, most importantly, why they were so strong. Only one thing was certain: it hurt. She felt empty inside. Her body felt hollow, her limbs numb, her mind trying with all its strength to conjure a positive emotion - but failing to do so. She knew she should have been doing something meaningful rather that simply lying in her chambers sobbing. Look for medication, perhaps. Try to meditate, to talk to other Artharons. But the emptiness was too unbearable to cure. It hurt too much.
There was one more saving grace for her to cling to, though: her mind. She could still think. Radeons, though creatures of faith, believed strongly in reason. Spode created the universe logical, their clerics said: for every emotion one felt, there should have been a reasonable source. One had to understand their feelings, trace them back to their source, give that source form and make sense of it. Only then would a believer master their mind and in doing so, master their own fate.
But rationality did not help Sheophatia. Logically speaking, she should have felt nothing. While she was close to Kagu'sai, she had only known the warlord for a year or two. A long time for a short-lived Artharon, whose lives are measured in decades, but her race lived for centuries! What was a lifetime of endless passion for him was, for her, a mere flirtatious adventure. Not something her people would welcome, but it was a forgivable sin, especially for someone who has spent so much time among barbarians like Artharons. But this did not feel like a small sin. Nor was it a great sin. It was not a base feeling, one that would bring the soul away from Spode and down into the chaotic cycle of rebirths.
This was desire but it was noble desire, and the pain she felt was the pain of a martyr. She was looking for the right word for it. Her people did not have words for that, nor did the Artharons, but there was one race that had something close to it. The primitive simians of Milky Way - one of their many warring tribes, or maybe two of them, had a particularily strange word in their tongue. In its original form it meant "solitude", but in one of the dialects they spoke it has acquired another meaning: that of solitude that was both painful and pure, wistfulness, nostalgic grief.
Perhaps the apes were too brutish to understand that feeling truly, but their primitive minds could grasp its basic features. That was the feeling she felt - and it was divine. It belonged to Spode, and it brought her closer to it. Or was it "her"? Or "him"? She never thought of the creator like that - it would be perverse to give it characteristics of mortals. An Artharon influence, perhaps? They did after all revere their ancestors as gods. One way or another, the original source of all existence felt closer to her now than ever.
Was she longing for the fallen warchief's passion? Was it love?
Mistress Sheophatia! The fleet is in jeopardy! We need you!
No. Or at least, she thought so. It did not make sense for this... thing to be true love. It was not rational, that is for sure. True love does not begin with imprisonment, nor would it flourish like that - in a cage, through conquest and political maneuvring. Kagu'sai was no Prince Charming either. Though he was indeed a diamond in the rough, he was still an Artharon, and bore the stigmae of his race. He was a barbarian. Not a kin of a Radeon - not by blood, not by faith. Perhaps there was some sort of skin-deep similarity between the two, which would imply why she was attracted to him momentarily, but to believe that would go beyond that? Preposterous!
We need you!
The voice called from beyond the door. Sheophatia answered the door without even understanding the query, but still bowed respectfully before Taku'zi as he saluted her. Great was the power of Radeon etiquette that she adhered to it even when her mind was somewhere else and her soul was all but gone.
My lady, the remaining houses are rioting after the warchief's death. All of the Great Clans' rulers have gathered here to discuss the matters of rulership: the Thoran, the Nyan, the Ni and the Xam - and the heir of the Warchief is set to arrive today. Should we not take action, the entire army of the Artharon Empire will crumble like its founder.
Sheophatia did not really think of what Taku'zi said, but followed him to the chamber nonetheless - thiking of the while. Yes, on the first thought, to assume it is love was indeed irrational. But did she truly reject the notion out of rationality? Sheophatia thought again. Whatever she thought of - that was not what defined love. Rather, that was the predefined notions that surrounded it, some ceremonies and rituals that decades of experience have taught her to associate with emotions. Indeed, where was it written that love had to start in some special way, that it could not start in chains? There was no line in the First Canonic Sutras, nor in the Sacrosanct Recited Testament or any other sacred texts that stated specifically how love had to bloom. What it did tell, however, was that love was always accompanied by four messengers. The first, the one that came first and died first to give way to deeper feelings, was passion. And passion was there: there was no denying that. The second, the one that came shortly once passion burnt away, that passion called and whom it replaced, was understanding. Did Sheophatia understand Kagu'sai? Indeed she did. Did he understand her? More than any Artharon ever did, and more than most Radeons too.
Now, my lady, you must somehow bring peace to this entire board, - Taku'zi showed Sheophatia the royal hall of Kagu'sai's flagship. Much has changed since the death of the great dreamer. The red banners of house Sai were all gone, replaced by drab banners of grey, striped with the occasional black and white, the golden decorations replaced with those of silver, upon which were inscribed skulls, bones and other symbols of death. The rulers of all great clans sat upon the great table from which the Warchief once commanded, each taking their own place but all staring intently at Kagu's red seat, which was now occupied by another young Artharon. Kagu's nephew. Sheophatia looked at the boy. He had some rugged good looks of his uncle - some - but nothing else. His yellow eyes were empty, only selfish base desires inside them, his royal garb looking somewhat disheveled - perhaps taken in a hurry after a night of earthly desires - his face an ugly smile.
My friends! I find it self-evident that, of all Artharon families, it is the savvy and cultural sophistication of Clan Thoran that will allow the Empire to prosper further. Allow me to take the throne, and I promise - on my royal blood - that I will not infringe upon your rights and be merely the first among equals.
Treacherous snake! We require no tricks to rule! Our clan will reign! The iron fist of Nyan will bring order to our people!
But what, my friends, will you do without the steel of the Xam?
Leave the conflicts to yourselves. We shall be here to document it exactly as we witnessed it. We.
...The Third Messenger of Love. Responsibility. Perhaps the easiest one to understand, and it stayed all the way until love faded completely. Kagu was responsible. The empire he ran was proof of that. Loyalty, too. Would Kagu betray her for another woman? Hardly. The passion and beauty of any Artharon noblewoman paled in comparison to her in his eyes, after all, and it was not like these short-lived races had to stay loyal for so long. In but a decade he would have shriveled and become an old man anyway. That left the fourth messenger. Again, it was hard for Sheophatia to find the right word. Classical Radessic had a word for it that, unfortunately, was no longer in use in the modern Radeon language. She tried to find the right idiom. The oneness of soul. Normally Radeons understood it as a psychic link, especially in the modern day, but the oldest Sutras described it in more detail. Legend has it that in days gone by, Radeon psychic powers were not as focused as they were before, and rather than using them to form telepathic links between each other, they instead used it only for war and craftsmanship. There was something else their love was based on, rather than intimate mental contacts. That was what they meant by the oneness of soul.
But what was it? That word in the Sutras that she read - she never understood it. Sight? Mind? Thought?
What was it?
Bah! - the bastard prince spoke at last - Your discussions bore me more than the operas of the Thorans mother used to show me every month. Why do we even need this empire my uncle made? His vision was dumb and it did not work. If it did, he would be alive. You know what I am going to do! Let's redraw the map of our territories! - the Artharon laughed - You - you get Karafar, and Kannaror, and Anthanor! I keep Karathon and Tharrus. You! Let me think. Thandanar! Yes, that's it! Thandanar.
Vision. That was it. That was the fourth messenger of love. She loved Kagu'sai because he had a vision, and infected her with it. He was a dreamer, he could imagine, and create what he imagined; he could make her think like him, to dream like him - and in turn, her dreams affected his. The great vision, the hope that his people could be as great and prosperous as hers - it was shaped by both of them. He dreamt of conquest and warfare, of great glory for his people and a strong empire; she dreamt of a race of crude barbarians becoming wise and noble like her own. Together, they two had a purpose; when there was one: neither could have done it without the other, but when there were two, their efforts were much more than the sum of the parts. It was the shared dream was what she loved him for.
And there was the way to end the pain. The dreamer was dead, but even in death his dream lived on.
You crude, cowardly cub of an Artharon! You do not deserve to bear the name of Sai! And neither do you deserve the crown of the Artharon warchief! None of you do!
Oh, the concubine of my late uncle! Well! I have fucked weirder things already in my life, and I am not even yet a man. Perhaps I could borrow you too.
Silence! - Sheophatia waved her hand in a psychic gesture and forced the head and upper body of the young Artharon to contort, his mouth slamming against his crotch - Enough of your foul tongue. Lords of the Clans! - Sheophatia stood up, her mental strength recovering as she regained her beautiful, regal composure - I understand that you are loyal to your own families, to your own people, to your own clans. So did the Warchief, may his memory be famed in glorious deeds. But the lord of Clan Sai - the true one, not the child that now sits upon his throne - thought of greater things. He had a hope. He had a dream! He had a dream that one day, on Anthanor, and Karathon, and Tharrus and Pythonar and Kashanar, same flags would wave, and their people would live not as dogs fighting for bones but as a free, prosperous united people, conjoined in fellowship and brotherhood as, in times gone by, my species was united! This was his hope, this is my hope, and this should be your hope too! You! Fela'thoran! Do you not imagine the operas of your people spread all over the Great Gigaquadrant, the music of your clan's zithers heard far and wide on every world! Kagu'sai's dream was to make it so! Ara'xam! Imagine a world where the craftsmen of your clan make not swords and guns for warriors but statues and monuments for peaceful, prosperous worlds! Korra'nyan! Do you not imagine your warriors fighting alongside the other clans, battling not others of your race but great demons and enemies diabolical and hateful to all life! Kagu's dream was your dream too, because he dreamed not for himself, not for me, not for his clan, but for all of us! I ask you not to forgo all of your differences. I do not ask the impossible from you. What I ask of you is to honour the dream of the fallen and unite together - one more time - against the great foe that lies ahead. To avenge his sacrifice! To win a battle that will be held in legend forever more! And then, after that is done, disband, so that one day another would come with a vision as great as his and unity would come to the Artharon people. Are you not with me? Are you not Artharons?!
We are. Clan Nyan will fight the demons and spill their blood on every battlefield!
Clan Thoran's assassins will bleed the enemy dry. Our painters shall create a thousand masterpieces tonight with the blood of our enemies.
Clan Ni will return to Andromeda, but will lend a part of its warrior-sages to make the story of the Demon War forever remembered in the tales of the skalds.
Clan Xam... will not fight. However, we shall continue to supply your forces with weapons as expected.
And what of you?
The new ruler of clan Sai stared at Sheophatia with a dumb gaze, but was quick to nod in agreement.
Excellent, my friends. Now, come forth and feast! Tonight, we ride the storm!
The End of the CorruptusEdit
While not part of the Second War of the Black Fog, the event known as the Cataclysm would prove relevant to its participating parties as the Samut'angar attacked the universe.
What is the meaning of all this.
Lupercal sat in a lotus pose in his chambers, stripped to the waist revealing the white Masaari sigils branded on his coat - remnants of his child soldier past. The lights were out, but sixteen candles were lit around the commander's prayer rug, illuminating the chamber with a sinister orange-red glow. Lupercal held the rosary in his hand and whispered the prayer, counting every word. Despair looms above me, yet I still have faith. Faith in the one above us, faith in the one that is all. One is all. All is one. With faith, I will prevail. I am one, but I am not alone. For one is all. And all is one. He indeed was one. One, where there were once two. Telfinne was gone.
Did he feel emptier without her? Perhaps. Why did he feel like that? Well, there were many answers to that. They were close for many years, after all. They went through hell and back together, after all. She was a warrior like him, and came through the same tribulations - faced the same sorrow as he. There were many occasions on which she saved his life, and many on which he saved her. Through shedding blood, theirs became one, strange as she was... no matter what she had become in the end.
Was it love? Perhaps not. Or, rather, it could be that Telfinne treated their kinship as such. But Lupercal did not. How could he love a madwoman like her? It was folly.
Or was it?
Yes, it was. Lupercal swiftly banished the senseless thought with another prayer. May Spode send me grace and honour, clarity and vision, clear my thoughts of madness and heresy, and guard my path towards destiny, just as you guarded the path of Alkhear, may his name and deeds be forever remembered. You alone are the God of the Universe - for you are the Universe - the one who is all, the all who is one. All is one, one is all. Blessed be the Clericarch and his House, just as blessed was Seranai, may her name and deeds be forever remembered. You alone are worthy of praise, the great one, the supreme one. Spode is great.
It was not what he thought of right now. Lupercal never though that much about his feelings, never allowed himself to linger on them too much. He understood the strength of emotion, and knew full well how they could devour a man. His ideal was a man of faith, not of thinking, and definitely not a man of passion. His mind was focused on a question much vaster in scope - or at least he tried to focus on it. How could this happen? Why did this happen?'
The series of events that brought him to Milky Way, left him fighting the Corruptus, turned Telfinne to darkness, made him face the choices he had to face. What was the possibility that this was merely a set of coincidences? One in a billion? Perhaps even less? No. One of the few lessons that he retained from his days in the Will was that there were no coincidences in the universe. Someone guided him, someone made him do what he did. He knew full well, of course, as a true believer, whose hand was behind this. Dei'Nar was the will that brought him here. But what did Dei'Nar want of him? Tadjamad used to say quite often that Spode worked in mysterious ways, but this was something he could not grasp. He tried not to think. He tried to accept the things fate had given him. But to have faced all this, to lose so much, and have his questions unanswered? Lupercal could not accept that.
O Light gladsome of the holy glory...
We see you desire answers.
Lupercal turned his head. A robed purple figure stood - a Radeon, evidently female, but her face concealed by a hood. Tangible, but ethereal, and not quite either of this. Not a vision. Not a real person either.
- ??? - Do you wish to know who I am?
- Lupercal - I do not believe this question needs answering. It is obvious. You are a Messenger. The same spirits that guided Alkhear in his journey through the jungles, the same spirits that guided Seranai on her holy mission when she waged war against the tyrant kings of Enara.
- ??? - You are a perceptive one. And a man of faith. - the spirit spoke in a tone that was both sarcastic and dead serious - Yes, we are indeed the Messengers of which your Sutras spoke. And we have come for you.
- Lupercal - This is not right. It is most likely that grief has addled my mind completely and I have gone completely insane. Not that Spode is not a reality, but to think that it would, of all people, choose me?..
- ??? - Look inside yourself. You know this is true. Do not let pride cloud your mind, but do not deny what fate had in store for you out of a desire to avoid it.
- Lupercal - Let it be so. ...Perhaps it is so. Yes. That's right. Spode has sent you to me. What does it intend of me? Why me?
- ??? - Because you have passed the trials.
Lupercal raised his eyebrows, then turned completely to the spirit. Some part of his disbelieved, but for the most part, he accepted the spirit's words. They made sense. Somehow.
- ??? - You and Kagu'sai were chosen. The great enemy - the same one that the Messengers fought ages ago - seeks to return, and bring taint upon Spode's holy domain by blackening it with its blasphemy. The races of today know it as the Corruptus. You two were to be our heralds, the protectors of faith, warriors fighting the dark gods with the blessing of Spode upon their brows.
- Lupercal - Him? An unbeliever? Our herald?
- ??? - You, of all people, have to know Spode loves all of its children equally. But Kagu'sai has failed. He has let his pride and ego blind his mind, unrestrained by the Path, and in doing so has brought doom upon himself and his entire people. However, where he failed, you succeeded. You managed to let go of your self-love and set yourself free from mortal restraints.
- Lupercal - ...Telfinne. She... she was your sacrificial lamb?! You made her do this?!
- ??? - No. She chose her own destiny. But it was when you allowed yourself to strike her down that you fully realised your potential. She was the catalyst.
- Lupercal - Potential? For what?!
- ??? - Countless years ago, the first of all Messengers realised the greatness of Spode and ascended to divinity. His people were among the first to face the raging power of the Corruptus, and it was then when the light of Spode descended upon him and illuminated him truly. His soul cries out for retribution, but it requires a worthy host. Today, we know him as Prima Arcana, but, as legend has it, in times gone by his mortal name was Felaanith Crowart.
- Lupercal - ...I understand it now.
- ??? - What do you understand?
- Lupercal - You needed a man of faith. You needed one who would obey without question. You needed one who would let go of all he cares about for the greater cause. You needed a zealot.
Lupercal narrowed his eyes.
- Lupercal - And you found that zealot. You found me. Hollowed inside by war, killed all he cared for. I am the shell you needed. Is that so?
- ??? - You speak of zeal as it was a negative trait. What would the world be like if men were driven only by interests, rather than beliefs?
- Lupercal - I do not care. It is not that I have the choice in the matter, after all. Spode has chosen me. The Messengers have come from me. The only way to do it is to submit to you.
Lupercal bowed before the spirit.
- Lupercal - And I accept it.
The threat of the Corruptus Gods had been seemingly nullified with the deaths of Shu'ytrogarva and Shu'suvreca, finally allowing the Dracogonarious Empire and its allies to make an offensive. Their goal was to locate the final Corruptus Overworld, Primogius, and destroy it to finally put an end to the Marinoxidiz and the Corruptus. According to the coordinates gathered from the remains of Commandant Karnak, Primogius was located in the Endless Space, most known as the intergalactic void, and more precisely in the empty region between the Milky Way Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds. While minimal in number, the intergalactic void did possess star systems, most of them made up of lifeless worlds, though this was precisely what the allies needed in order to launch an attack on Primogius.
Roughly halfway in the distance between the Milky Way and Primogius's estimated location, the allies discovered a star system with a cold, dead planet, and the first step of their offensive was to build a forward operating base to support their attack on the Corruptus, as heavy losses were bound to be expected. Jerkon, Koluap, Herquie, Macin Xermilin, Thea'Nhirara and Mimi moved to this planet for the purpose of preparing themselves for the final battle, where they awaited the arrival of the alien members of the alliance. One of the first arrivals to the scene was a fleet of Zazane ships consisting of heavy cruisers and a myriad of battleships, each fitted with hi-powered ballistic and energy cannons designed specifically for tearing terrestrial environments apart; ancient weapons that had once fallen out of fashion among the Zazane factions have now resurfaced for one last confrontation.
The Artharon warships appeared as well, although in much smaller numbers; most of the clans having been dispersed after Kagu'sai's death; the remaining ships were painted pitch black, to signify them mourning for the fallen warchief. At the head of the Artharon armada were two great vessels. One was the mnumental house flagship of Clan Sai, its lavish decorations removed and replaced with skulls and bones - though its mighty weapons were still intact and powerful. At its head stood the wife of the master of the clan, looking at the darkness in space with intent and anger. The other ship belonged to Lupercal. The Radeon commander too stared at the starless sky, but other emotions reigned in his glowing purple eyes. Those that belonged to another being. Justice. Vengeance. Hatred.
- Sheophatia - Warriors of the Artharon clans! Cry out for your fallen warchief! Let anger fuel your rage and propel your vengeance for the enemies who stand before you. Our strength shall be the blade, and together we shall crush the demons who ended the most glorious warrior of us all! Death to the demons!
Out of the darkness of space, the fleets of the Kicath Empire emerged, locating themselves alongside those of the Zazane fleet and the Dracogonarious fleet. With the team landing on Primogius, Psi, Mu and Kithworto accompanied them, though Kithworto now had appeared changed. His being was filled with a blackened energy, and his eyes, though always red had begun to illuminate whatever it shone upon. Keldar wore a black coat over her armour and had, for once, not worn her helm and visor as he met with the group of unified militants, while Vaugathala stood at her side, backed by Zazane soldiers and warriors while various other Blackswords served as Keldar's vanguard. Lupercal appeared, leading a small squad of Artharon and Radeon soldiers, holding a blade in his hand, his eyes glowing while his face displayed little emotion whatsoever.
- Keldar - Greetings, gentlemen.
- Koluap - Hey! We're preparing to kill the demons!
- Jerkon - Laminoula'Fuerq is currently over the atmosphere scouting for any approaching Corruptus activity. From this planet, we shall make our way to Primogius' assumed location and destroy it alongside all the demons in its surface.
- Keldar - A sound plan. I find it partially difficult to believe that following the almost unimaginable number of casualties sustained for all allied sides and all the time invested into serving a counter to the daemonic horde, our time together is coming to a close. Victorious.
- Artharon - And avenged.
- Lupercal - Yes. Avenged.
- Thea'Nhirara - That is the Corruptus's greatest flaw. They go into complete disarray once their leaders are eliminated. To think they fell to the Vida'Rra this way, and now are falling for it again now is somewhat surprising.
- Vaugathala - History possesses a tendency to repeat itself.
- Kithworto - That; and demons do not expect to fail more than once.
- Koluap - Geez! What's wrong with your face?!
- Kithworto - You don't remember?
- Koluap - I don't remember you looking like something out of my nightmares!
- Kithworto - Well, it appears I have a greater potential for essence than I initially imagined. Having my head invaded by a Xhodocto also appeared to have done wonders for it.
- Lupercal - Funny.
At this moment, a powerful sound was heard over the group's heads. The clear blue skies suddenly burned into a blackened red as Lamounoula'Fuerq came down crashing like a meteor, colliding with a mountainrange visible in a distance. A storm of darkness descended from the clouds, unleashing rays of energy across the landscape and covering the horizon as two pairs of blood red eyes stared down at them. Thea'Nhirara's eyes widened as she observed it, quickly realizing what was happening.
- Thea'Nhirara - Oh no.
- ??? - You have come to us as expected. United you shall fall.
The storm was dissipated as the entity inside of it opened its immense wingspan, revealing itself to the group - a massive reptilian creature covered in green feathers, with a large hook-shaped beak filled with rows of fangs. Two pairs of red eyes stared down at them, its head decorated with a crown of horns while spike grew out of the skin of its wings. Each claw was as large as the group's largest members, but impossibly thin in diameter, as if perfect to cut through anything. A massive serpentine tail followed behind it, also decorated with rows of spikes which seemed to grow out of whatever its equivalent of a skeleton was. They were standing before That Which Ends, Shu'wokerama. The master of the Corruptus.
Keldar drew her rifle, leaping back in fear of the sudden appearance of the demon-lord and lifting it to her line of view, although she could not bring herself to pull the trigger. Vaugathala, in the meanwhile, immediately set upon Shu'wokerama, unleashing a barrage of heavy ammunition upon his ethereal form, accompanied by the suppressive fire of the rest of the Blacksword soldiers; when their gunfire proved fruitless, Vaugathala drew his black vibroblade and set upon his enemy with relentless intent. The Dracogonarious forces also opened fire, and they could see that unlike the other great demons of the Corruptus, their shots did impact with Shu'wokerama's hide. They simply did no damage to him.
- Shu'wokerama - Now you will learn to fear the nightmare, mortal scum.
A furious roar came out of the demon, one of such intensity that a shockwave of power was felt across the landscape which caused it to rumble as if an earthquake was about to begin. Shu'wokerama's wings beat as he flew directly at the group's direction, landing near the Zazane Blackswords and he stood on all four limbs, swinging his claws at them with great ferocity - before their eyes, Vaugathala had been cut into four pieces. The Blacksword Elite's body was cut so cleanly, it was as if the demon's claws were scalpels; the incisions that tore through the augmented Zazane's body were so calculated and surgical in nature that upon closer inspection, the sheer accuracy of the wounds would reveal that they were precise enough to cut through the very bonds between the atoms of Vaugathala's being. The remnants of his corpse were launched across the room, his blood and remnant organs splattering across the floor and walls while his mechanical components gradually lost any indications of life.
- Jerkon - ... Take cover!
- Keldar - Vaugathala!
Shu'wokerama did not stop on his tracks as he rushed through the army, unleashing a fury of blows not unlike a rabid beast. The solders not instantly cut into pieces by the strength and speed of his claws were trampled under his gigantic size.
- Lupercal - Warriors. Unleash hell upon them!
The Radeon marines, somewhat confused by so poetically worded order, pressed the advanced, unleashing a hail of plasma bolts and missiles at the creature while in the air, though they appeared to have no effect on Shu'wokerama as he continued his onslaught. An echoing howl came out of Thea'Nhirara as she charged head-on at the demon god, her arms morphing into blades which sent down down at the creature, only for him to retaliate by morphing his own arm into a blade of much larger size.
- Shu'wokerama - Abomination. Watch your dear universe wither and die.
- Thea'Nhirara - Your kind never wins! It never will win!
- Shu'wokerama - We shall see about that.
With an offhand swing, Shu'wokerama slashed through Thea'Nhirara, severing both of her arms and knocking him out of his way. The demon's eyes darted to the more distant troops, and he proceeded to stomp on his feet, pumping Nightmare Energy through the soil which travelled underground and erupted under the army's feet, reducing all in its radius to ashes. Laminoula'Fuerq rose from the area he had crashed in, letting out a mighty roar as he leaped into the fray and attacked the Demon God, sparks of conflicting essence tearing the battlefield apart as the two monstrous entities exchanged blows to one another.
- Psi - Alright, now I've lost track.
- Mu - That thing's tearing the whole planet apart!
- Psi - ...Then get off the planet, then. I think.
- Shu'wokerama - None shall escape this location.
- Psi - Reminds me of those recorded messages you hear in prisons. Except scarier. Okay, what's the plan?
- Jerkon - ... There is none.
Shu'wokerama's claws wrapped around Laminoula'Fuerq's neck as he lift the angel from the ground and proceeded to use him as a club, sending him down at the soldiers at his proximity and crushing them under Lamimoula's weight. The demon hurled the angel aside as he then beat his wings and took flight, inhaling and then launching a breath of purple flames across the landscape. The icy terrain of the planet melted immediately, quickly being rendered into a dry, dark purple wasteland.
- Psi - Seriously now. Get me off this damn rock.
- Keldar - Initiate atmospheric and orbital bombardments! Take caution to strike the hostile target and evade damaging the additional combatants!
- Koluap - I'm going to die in a Kingus-damned freezer.
- Lupercal - I am not afraid.
- Psi - Orbital bombardment's sure to heat it up a bit.
From the sky, the Zazane vessels unleashed a barrage onto the landscape, blasting the earth at Shu'wokerama's feet and unleashing a hail of superheated, accelerated debris into the air; Keldar watched in silence as the ground was upturned, once again watching as a fresh, boiling scar was being drawn onto the surface of yet another world. The battleships of the Artharons joined in the fray, dropping missiles and barrel bombs at the demon's mighty figure. Yet, Shu'wokerama remained unflinching, flying in place. The demon let out a terrible roar which warped the landscape and blurred the view of his location, and the shots which collided with his form deflected back to their sources at even faster speed.
- Keldar - Damnation! The contact remains unharmed! We require additional assistance; bombers, heavy infantry, routine orbital fire - anything that will allow us to dispose of the hostile!
- Herquie - Don't you get it? It's no use. That thing is strong enough to shrug off orbital bombardment.
- Shu'wokerama - There is much to enjoy in your fear.
- Psi - At least it's warm now. I don't want to die freezing my tail off.
- Keldar - ... I am not going to die here. I will see this war finished!
Shu'wokerama turned himself upside down as he entered the ground, digging through it at high speed, almost as if he was swimming through the molten rock as he dived into the armies from below. Each attack from the Nightmare God torn the landscape apart further, launching debris all around them as he unleashed a flurry of breaths of essence, claw swipes, tail strikes and everything in-between. Shu'wokerama attacked like a rabid animal, dominating its prey through sheer overwhelming force. As he emerged from the earth one more time, he let out another ear-rending roar, in the form of a command.
- Shu'wokerama - DIE.
The soldiers at his proximity had their souls rend out of their bodies and fell lifeless on the ground immediately after. Keldar hesitated, watching her soldiers drop into lifeless piles on the ground without even a chance of resistance against the shadow-deity, before raising her weapon and priming the grenade launcher beneath the barrel; she began to attempt firing at Shu'wokerama, baring her teeth in silence while she struggled to retain her steady hand, resisting the urge to sob and cry at the seeming futility of the situation. Lupercal shuddered momentarily, but then suddenly regained composure and continued standing, even as the marines around him fell lifeless or ran away panicking.
In his bout of mania, Psi unleashed a wave of gunfire upon the demonic demigod, uttering a deep roar as he had come to accept a horrendous fate. Kithworto had done the same, though now, using a volley of dark essence and hurling bolt after bolt at Shu'wokerama. Jerkon remained motionless, locked in a state of panic as he watched the demon shrug off all attacks thrown at it, his soldiers also losing the will to continue as the demon marched at their direction. Koluap, at this point, merely shrugged left and right, much to Herquie's displeasure as he attempted to control the situation. Shu'wokerama rose one finger and made a negative sign with it, his expression still locked in the same anger it had been ever since he arrived.
- Shu'wokerama - Your deaths shall serve as fuel for the next arrival of That Which Devours. Learn that your efforts so far have been in vain. That Which Terrorizes and That Which Lingers will rise from the ashes once again. This universe already belongs to us.
- Lupercal - YOU ARE MISTAKEN.
Suddenly, Lupercal's body was raised up in the sky, engulfed in purple fire. His eyes became enflamed, glowing and alien, his limbs contorting and shaking as if some other power was controlling his body, as if it was a marionette. His voice resounded across the world, so that everyone on it could hear it equally well, and one could hear someone else - a more ancient, powerful being - speaking behind him. The Demon God stopped in place, his form growing darker and larger in size, his wings expanding and covering the skies as his four eyes glared down at Lupercal. Thea'Nhirara and Laminoula'Fuerq, who stood incapacitated, appeared surprised at the sound of the voice.
- Lupercal - Do you not remember the ones who came before? Those who first vanquished you? Those who chained your false god in the world of dreams? - Lupercal's body became physically warping under the entity inside him - flesh contorting and transforming into a much larger and more intimidating shape. Tendons extended into an avian shape, losing its fur and growing longer and thinner, as two arms split - muscle, skin and bone alike - into four, growing bony and purple. A set of angelic wings extended from Lupercal's body, flapping to maintain his newly enlarged form aloft, and his rodent muzzle transformed into a long beak - Do you not remember the name - Felaanith?!
- Thea'Nhirara - It's... an Isio'Nar!
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Not merely a Nar. A brother of ours.
- Felaanith - COUNTLESS YEARS AGO, YOUR FOUL HORDES FELL UPON MY RACE AND SLEW HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS OF INNOCENTS. ALLOW ME TO GIVE YOU AN INFINITESIMALLY MINISCULE AMOUNT OF THE PAIN THEY FELT, AND LET THAT PAIN ENGULF YOU IN ITS ENTIRETY.
- Shu'wokerama - Child of the Epoch. Our mind transcends time and space. We know you. You have come... to cry over your brother. He is ours. So is your people. You hid, and slept, because you feared us. And you died, for that reason.
- Felaanith - THE ISIO'NAR NEVER DIE. IN ONE FORM, OR ANOTHER, WE LIVE, AS THE UNIVERSE DOES. TONIGHT, WE COME TO BRING FORTH RETRIBUTION.
- Koluap - Anyone wanna explain to me what the FUCK is going on?
- Jerkon - ... Something. Something is going on alright.
- Psi - That cleared it up.
- Keldar - ... All forces, cease fire!
The Isio'Nar in the body of the Radeon rose into the sky and positioned himself in some twisted version of the garbhasana pose - definitely impossible for a living being to acheive. Its body was motionless - not a single movement indicated that Felaanith-Lupercal was now alive, and not some sorcerous statue held aloft by telekinetic forces. That was so, at least, until the Isio'Nar opened his eyes.
In but a second, vivid light engulfed the entirety of the dark world - radiant in its magnificence, so bright it could be compared to a thousand of suns, but yet at the same time palpatable for the eyes of mortals somehow. The ground of the twisted world began to crack, reality itself warping under the pressure of the Isio'Nar's might - cracks of glowing purple lava-like essence leaking from the rifts, portals to the outer realms which the ascended beings inhabited. One could see, if they looked carefully enough, myriads upon myriads of spectral beings leaving these rifts - shimmering and shifting from this world to another, only visible for an infinitesimally short instant. Some resembled spiders, other serpents, others yet were humanoid, even angelic in shape, but they all shared the same purple glow and ethereality as their ruler.
Then it began.
With a horrible, yet strangely harmonic sound - comparable to the mixture of ringing gongs and angelic choirs - four chains of pure white light escaped the Isio'Nar rifts, cracking deep into Shu'wokerama's flesh, specifically its wings and its legs. Thea'Nhirara and Laminoula'Fuerq joined in their choir with their own dreamy, golden power as Shu'wokerama let out a thunderous roar, his carapace-like skin being torn out of his wings and legs as the Demon God slowly shrunk in size. All of a sudden, the chains rose into the air, holding, for a second or two, the wicked creature aloft, and then suddenly receded back into their own realm with furious speed, and slammed That Which Ends against the surface of his own world. The mighty creature could only roar for a moment or two as a gigantic earthquake that was its fall shook the world - the ground beneath him becoming first a crater, then a gorge, then an abyss.
- Macin - These... purple angels. Have they defeated the nightmare?
- Koluap - If you ask me, this whole war feels like a massive fever dream.
- Mu - Dreams. Nightmares. I dunno, you may as well be right.
Macin warily approached the newly formed chasm and looked down. It was indeed a horrible image. Purple lava burned deep inside the great abyss, churning and boiling and blistering like some unholy infection. But that was not the bright, soothing purple of the Isio'Nar. Instead, the rising liquid was magenta in colour, the same as the fires of Overworld eyes. Rising.
The lava was rising up from the abyss. Shu'wokerama was rising from the abyss.
From the depths, the Demon God rose once more. The bright light which Felaanith had created vanished as quick as it manifested as the earth turned black, eyes and gibbering mouths growing on its surface as amorphous tendrils clung to the edges of the abyss. Shu'wokerama's form rose, devoid of skin, revealing his flesh to be made of innumerous worm-like black tendrils, forever in motion. The nightmarish impossibility roared out once again, the skies turning pitch black in its wake as tentacles erupted from its beak, each decorated with hundreds of small claws. Erupting out of the monstrosity's chest was its Corruptus Heart, which was so far hidden from view.
- Shu'wokerama - Nightmare eternal.
- Felaanith - RISE AGAIN. DIE AGAIN.
As Felaanith waved his fist, the countless ethereal specters that once shimmered in the sky acquired shape and form, transforming into a brilliant purple host of divine warriors. The host immediately took to attacking - with all the power and Essence it had at its disposal, stinging and slashing, shooting and casting psychic projections. Laminoula'Fuerq roared out and beat his own chest as he contributed with his own rays of dream energy, who was followed by Thea'Nhirara, who turned her head to face her companions.
- Thea'Nhirara - He's weakened! Attack him before he recovers!
- Jerkon - ... Attack?... Oh. Attack. Yes. Fire all you have.
- Keldar - Resume fire! Repeat; resume fire! The hostile target is exposed!
- Psi - Damn. No need to tell me twice.
- Koluap - I'm not going near that thing. He looks like something a baby vomited after having a stomach ache.
- Herquie - You attack, or I attack you.
- Koluap - Dangit.
- Keldar - Atmospheric and orbital bombardment commands have been issued!
The skies above their heads was lit with intensive glimmers in all directions; the Zazane fleet in its entirety, from the minute assault craft and bombers to the largest cruisers and dedicated dreadnaughts present among its ranks, unleashed their payload in the direction of the wounded lord of nightmare, almost igniting the sky with bloody, crimson fire before the landscape was once again violently reshaped. From afar, Keldar pulled her rifle from her hip in order to observe through its sights and unloaded upon Shu'wokerama without hesitation. Jerkon merely pointed at the abomination, and the Dracogonarious Empire army - or what remained of it - unleashed all they had at the demon. As the essence and volleys of gunfire and spaceship-grade weaponry hit its form, Shu'wokerama was slowly torn apart, though he continued to shamble forward, his countless mouths gibbering in allexisting languages in the universe at once as his tendrils crushed and absorbed whoever was unlucky enough to be caught in their way.
- Marine - It is weakening!
- Felaanith - The time is now.
Finally awakening from his trance-like state, Felaanith flew like a meteor into the One Which Ends' body, wielding a spectral sword of pure elemental energy and modelled after the sacred ritual blades of the Vida'Rra - and plunging it into the raven god's body.
- Felaanith - This. This is the vengeance for all the Vida'Rra of times gone by. Every planet slaughtered, every soul devoured. This. This does not even compare to the magnitude of your cruelty, but it is enough. Enough for you to dread this day coming again for the rest of your wicked life. Nightmares will forever follow you, for the suffering you endure today will make even gods tremble in fear.
For a moment, the beast felt - perhaps not in its true form - but some meek shadow - of something that was before that unknown to him entirely - horror, the same horror he induced into those who fought against him. That sensation was however soon quelled, but replaced with something even more alien to Shu'wokerama. Pain. Agony.
The nightmarish horror's form begun to grow unstable as its four red eyes stared at Felaanith, its expression unchanged. It felt no fear. Merely anger. It was his master's hatred for the Vida'Rra given physical form, and that was all he could feel. However, his incoming defeat appeared to bother him little as he rose his form up, revealing many heads which spoke at once.
- Shu'wokerama - Our mind transcends you. We SHALL meet again, Child of the Epoch.
With this, Shu'wokerama's form lost all strength to remain whole as the demon melted, its remains evaporating and turning into ash. The moment the horrific creature was gone, the land slowly reverted back to its former, though now very damaged, state. Soon, all spirits that congealed around the world dissipated into thin air, and the purple haze that permeated the atmosphere quickly vanished - replaced by the world's usual sky. The only Isio'Nar who remained standing was Felaanith-Lupercal, which descended on the ground.
- Felaanith - I suppose there are explanations to be done.
- Psi - ...I don't think I actually want an explanation. Much rather a few nights alone to sleep. Or many. Or just for the rest of my life.
Laminoula'Fuerq, his body filled with scars left by Shu'wokerama's entropic energies, walked up to the godly Isio'Nar and delivered a friendly slap to his back, a rather non-chalant expression to his face.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - This here is one of mine!
- Felaanith - This is correct. We remember what you were. Fuerq. A hero unlike any other.
- Thea'Nhirara - I have some knowledge of the beings that dwell at Purgatory, but I never knew a Vida'Rra was among them.
- Koluap - Okay, hold the Kingus-damned phone a second. What in shit's name is an Isio'Nar to begin with?
- Felaanith - Allow me to converse comprehensibly in the speech of your race. I am a glowing purple bird angel that Spode-worshippers revere. Once flesh and blood. Now, thought and soul.
- Koluap - Oh, are you gonna be cocky at me?... And you said the S-word! In front of me! The nerve.
- Felaanith - Indeed. The worshippers of Spode see us as its messengers.
- Koluap - I hate you!
- Macin - Shut up, Koluap, your breath smells of badness.
- Jerkon - I must ask... Felaanith, was it not? Will you be joining us in the assault of Primogius?
- Felaanith - Indeed. The beasts who took my brother will forever suffer in the flames of the Purgatory.
- Thea'Nhirara - ... Now that you mention it, I worry over Arrtkar's absense in his master's destruction.
- Felaanith - The thing that calls itself Arrtkar will die inevitably soon.
- Jerkon - The invasion will have to be delayed. Reinforcements must be called. Too many losses today. But nonetheless, I believe you Isio'Nar will prove to be effective allies.
- Felaanith - May the blessing of the universe be upon you.
Without saying any more words, the mighty Isio'Nar vanished, leaving the rest of the Radeon behind as he flew into the sky.
- Koluap - Bless my ass!
- Psi - I need a drink.
- Mu - Yes. Me too.
- Keldar - We must make haste for the destruction of Primogius. We can discuss the complexities and intricacies of our encounter here in the aftermath.
- Mu - What part of "invasion got delayed" did you miss? Drink now. Worry later.
- Keldar - ... Alright. I shall make efforts to reinforce my assets here as swift as possible. I will have to refuse a drink until my priorities have been met beforehand.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Be prepared! For our next move shall be the last!
The Undying Hatred of PrimogiusEdit
With the destruction of Shu'wokerama, there was nothing else in the way of the allies. Their fleets marched on, and soon enough, they were caught into the nebula of dark energies which surrounded Primogius, the greatest of the Corruptus Overworlds and the capital of the Marinoxidiz. To aid them, Thea'Nhirara and Mimi had summoned their own army - the Thoi Armies of the Realm of Dreams, or at least what remained of it, led by Laminoula'Fuerq who flew through the vacuum of space unassisted by any spaceship - which moved to the front to serve as the allied force's first line of offense. Primogius was gigantic, at least seven times the size of the other Overworlds, its lands coloured a faint purple while its oceans were nothing but a pitch black sludge which shifted from side to side. Its eye, pitch-white in colour, glared at them as they arrived, before it turned to over its own body to note the arrival of another space vessel.
At the side of the Corruptus was their mothership - their only ship, for that matter. Emperor Marigrax sat upon the captain's bay of a gigantic dreadnought, created out of modifications done to a Grox Mothership, empowering it with technology looted during the Marinoxidiz's raids and also the entropic energy of Corruptus Demons. The mothership, referred to as the Executioner's Chariot, immediately launched its pseudometal warheads and transphasic antimatter missiles at the fleet, its firepower being equivalent of an entire Grox fleet by itself.
- Marigrax - So it has come to this. The cowardly Dracogonarious have risen from the ashes and now, we are at the defensive. A most annoying thought, but to ignore reality is folly. You will not lay a finger on the Master-Creator.
- Jerkon - Engage that ship. Destroy it at all costs.
Jerkon remembered the Executioner's Chariot well. Not only because it was the only spaceship used by the Corruptus, but also because Emperor Marigrax had used it when he destroyed Draka-2, the original homeworld of the Dracogonarious Empire. Destroying this ship was not only a goal for the army, but a personal quest for revenge for the Dracogonarious commandant who ordered the fleet to unleash its full might against the mothership.
The Executioner's Chariot was formidable in power, yet it suffered from disadvantages. Despite its monstrous firepower, it was one single vessel against an entire armada composed of eleven highly advanced empires and the armies of the Realm of Dreams, who used their powers to nullify the ship's entropic blasts. Its great size also made maneuvering difficult, allowing it to quickly be flanked by smaller ships. As barrages of weaponry were launched against its shields, they begun to fail, and soon the hull of the mothership found itself damaged.
Many vessels were quickly taken down by the Executioner's Chariot 's weapons, but it was clear that the Emperor alone would not win this battle. Nonetheless, he retained a calm expression as his eyes burned in entropic energy, his voice ringing through the minds of his subejcts inside the spaceship as it begun to crumble to the army's combined firepower.
- Marigrax - If I am to fall this day, then let the nightmare consume the dream once and for all. Nightmare Nova.
The combined weapons of the fleet eventually took their toll on the Executioner's Chariot, killing Marigrax and causing the mothership to explode violently in a sphere of entropic energy which begun to expand outwards, consuming everything in its path. If the Emperor were to die, he would take the allies with him. The Thoi Armies, realizing what was happening, quickly threw themselves into the blast to shield the armada, and they watched as the angelic creatures, including Thea'Nhirara and Mimi, were reduced to nothingness as they nullified the entropic supernova that the Marinoxidiz Emperor had attempted to create.
The armies of the Realm of Dreams had been destroyed, causing unrest on the armada. Laminoula'Fuerq watched the event with a grim expression on his face, before he spoke to the fleet telepathically.
- Laminoula'Fuerq - ... The Alavahraa have been eradicated.
- Koluap - We can kinda see that, thanks!!
- Macin - What... what are we to do without the angels's abilities to defend us from the nightmares?
- Laminoula'Fuerq - ... I can return them to existence. It is here where I must say farewell to you.
- Jerkon - Wait, what?
- Laminoula'Fuerq - Through the sacrifice of my essence, the Alavahraa will live again. But I will cease existing in the process.
- Jerkon - We went through hell to revive you, guy! You can't just die on us like that!
- Laminoula'Fuerq - You do not need me anymore, dear Spinker. You mortals are more than able to... fend off for yourselves. Now watch.
Laminoula'Fuerq embraced his own body with his gigantic, muscular arms as he begun to focusing his essence, with him coming to glow a very bright golden, growing in size and forcing the fleet to leave his vicinity. Primogius appeared to grow in irritation as the light blinded it, and before the team's eyes, Laminoula'Fuerq's body exploded in a shockwave of divine light which burned through the Overworld's atmosphere and caused it to scream as its eye agonized in pain. The souls of the Thoi'olerthae flowed through the light as they were brought back to existence, including Thea'Nhirara and Mimi who rematerialized at Jerkon's vessel, while at the spot where Laminoula'Fuerq once stood was nothing but a large, crystalline rock - his Angelic Heart. Rays of the entity's power spread across the intergalactic void, being launched at random directions until they disappeared from the armada's vicinity.
- Thea'Nhirara - ... Laminoula... gave his life for us to have a second chance...
- Koluap - Good lord, you people and your obvious comments.
- Thea'Nhirara - Jerkon, please recover his Heart.
- Jerkon - That stone? It shall be done once the battle is over.
- Thea'Nhirara - No. Recover it immediately. I have the feeling it will prove useful yet. Now, Laminoula has left Primogius dazed for us. It is time to strike at the surface.
The assault on Primogius's surface was a furious one. Marines from the Dracogonarious Empire, soldiers from the DCP, drones from UNO, divisions of the Third Sovereign Domain, legionaries from the Draconid Imperium, Agents from the Kicath Empire and many other forces fought face-to-face with armies of Marinoxidiz, Corruptus Demons and Kikra Caste undead as Jerkon's group pushed their way into Errr's laboratory, which was built inside the earth as a mean of protecting the scientist from aerial strikes. Primogius's properties, even weakened as it was, caused men to turn into Kikras at the slimmest exposure to the air, meaning the army's numbers were lowering at a very quick rate.
They proved to be a good distraction, however, as the main assault team entered Errr's hideout and made their way through it, coming to encounter hordes of Errrbot guards along the way. Some minutes into the structures led them to finally encounter the scientist in flesh.
Errr sat upon a chair surrounded by monitors, all of them left in static, as he glared at them through his mask. His clenched on his chair in visible anger, though he made his best attempt to calm his nerves - he had promised to not let it get the better of him again - and merely watched as the army approached and pointed their weapons at him. Jerkon immediately ordered them to open fire, and an array of energy weaponry was sent at the Ermitant, though all shots were blocked once his guardian, the Avatar of the Devourer, rose from his back and body-blocked the shots, which did no damage to the shadowy entity. It let out gruff grunts and growls at them, as if provoking them to come closer.
- Errr - ... Your presence here is highly illogical. I had literal gods on my side, and yet you managed to destroy them... How did you do such feats? Civilizations much greater than yours failed to do so in the past, how are you any better?
- Jerkon - We do not know, and honestly we do not care. What matters is that your days of terrorizing the Plazith Rim with your Marinox doppelgangers have come to an end.
- Errr - Hmpf. Imprudent child. You cannot harm me. The Devourer himself protects me.
Errr rose a hand to show off the Avatar of the Devourer, which stood by his side, connected to the Ermitant's body through his back.
- Errr - See this magnificent specimen? This is no mere Corruptus Demon. This is the actual Shu'rimrodir, or at least an infinitely small part of him, which has breached the barriers between dimensions, using me as a gateway. That, my poor mortals, is the true goal here. Through me, Shu'rimrodir will breach the barriers on their entirely and return to the Milky Way, where he will initiate an apocalypse in your universe.
- Koluap - ... Kill him!
- Errr - Filthy luddites can't even pay attention.
The army opened fire again, though like before, the Avatar of the Devourer body-blocked all shots sent at Errr's direction. Melee soldiers from numerous races attempted to confront the entity in close quarters, though it attacked them with immensely powerful and quick punches, killing them instantly from its sheer strength. Errr grinned under his mask until he watched the next combatant make a rush to the Avatar - it was Herquie.
- Herquie - About that time you nearly got me killed? Screw you.
The Bonio's body glew a faint golden aura as he engaged the god-like Avatar, though he made no efforts to harm it. Rather, Herquie used his agility to evade the demon's furious attacks while the army gave him fire support for the sake of distracting the enemy. He made circles around the Avatar, leaving it enraged as he, without it noticing, approached Errr at each his his dodges until he was close enough to strike.
Errr's eyes widened as a trio of clawed weapons cut through his mask, destroying it as Herquie delivered an upward slash at his face. Before the army was revealed the face of the Ermitant scientist - heavily scarred from his fall at the Battle for Planet Kaizox, with his scars mutated by Shu'rimrodir's influence. Errr's mouth was not only made up of an horizontal line but also a vertical one going up to his forehead, and the Ermitant scientist finally could not resist at he roared in anger, causing his mouth to open in three directions and reveal many rows of teeth.
- Errr - Raaaaaagghh!!
- Herquie - Die!
With another strike, done before the Avatar could react, Herquie cut through the neck of the scientist, severing his head and sending it flying across the room. The army stopped firing as the Ermitant's body fell, letting out gushes of blood from the stump of his neck while the Avatar of the Devourer immediately stopped moving. Herquie braced himself for the demon's response to his onslaught, though instead, it suddenly begun chuckling. And then laughing.
And then it spoke, for the first time. His voice roared through the minds of the army like ten thousand screams of terror and caused Primogius in its entirely to rumble.
- Shu'rimrodir - You have fallen into our trap. You shall now come to us.
Jerkon ordered his men to retreat as the Avatar's form begun letting out powerful blasts of purple lightning, and soon, it turned into a pitch-black colour as it begun expanding outwards, consuming the land around it. The army was not fast enough to outrun it and were quickly consumed by darkness, as was the rest of Primogius and, indeed, the entire fleet and all of its soldiers. Within moments, the entire region had become as dark as the void of space, with all communications with the army being lost immediately.
They were not in this universe anymore.