Iwaku: Dark Reign

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Certified Subdomain
Original poster
Posting Speed
  1. Speed of Light
Writing Levels
  1. Douche
Preferred Character Gender
  1. No Preferences


Moon's high tonight. With my head on the pavement it looks like a tear, blazing between the claws of the roofline. But it's no beast - that's sure as hell - for a beast should have a beating heart. And there's no such thing in Iwaku.

I guess my metaphors aren't what they used to be.

It's a white moon, fading to red in the rift storm night, then grey and black where the Mad King's city chokes the ground. I watch the feathers fall like a snowstorm between the highrises - tens, maybe dozens of them, like the day when Icarus burned. And there's ringing in my ears like a final note of music, the echo after the choir gets slaughtered. Maybe that's what death feels like - an orchestra collapsing to monotone horror.

Am I dead? Can a dead man ask that question? If not, then what question can he ask?

Shit. Thinking too much. I watch each feather follow the next and get followed in turn, not one of them reacting to the wind but simply falling in an orderly spiral. Reminds me of the seven heavens of the silent hill - the stairway I fell down when I first found Iwaku.

I guess I've fallen again. It's the only thing I ever did well.

Then a feather lands across my eye and rolls down my cheek. I blink and the sound comes back. I hear dead leaves rustling against the alley walls: below it the rumble of cars, above it the whistle of obstructed air. But more than that, I hear tears striking limestone, prayers whispered in the doorways of the bakeries, the gargle of air through ISAF gasmasks. Footfalls, wheels, old skin falling from beggars and collecting into dust that will one day drown this city.

It's too much. I've fallen between the gears. The Cycle is tearing me.

I curl up all at once, and I realise something's wrong. Seriously wrong. I can't help it - I give a gasp, piteous and quiet, as I lay there on the pavement in my own torture house. The pain's in my chest and it burns. I feel like my guts have been ripped out, and as I find the strength to lift my head I see I'm not too wrong.

There's a hole in my chest... deep... large... as big as the torso itself. My blood's painting the alley in its own special colour and I can feel my wings beating helplessly against the floor. I'm a sick little bird. I feel the skin around my jaw about to break as I scream. Then it passes and I'm gasping for breath. Drowning in pain.

No... definitely not dead. Death wouldn't hurt this much.

There was a time when the world responded to me - when it made things easier if I needed it to. Like a lover who wouldn't let the world mistreat me. But she's gone now. I've got nothing but my strength and my wimpering to get me through, and though it takes a few agonising minutes I get there, and I lift my weight onto my forearms...

...and look down.

The wound's six inches by ten, as deep as the ribcage, the sides straight and smooth, as if a chunk of my thorax has been surgically removed. I lean to one side and reach my hand in, the fingers vanishing into the bloody chasm. Then it touches something - something that doesn't hurt, and I have no choice but to lean further forward and look inside.

The cover of the book is bound in leather, the surface wrinkles hard beneath my fingertips. I scrape my nails across it and find the groove where the cover meets the spine. It's a hard spine - a book that hasn't been opened. And its heavy... pinning me to the floor where my heart should be.

So this is it. I should've figured. It never ends - not for fools like me. My beautiful and particular curse. Only mine. Because everyone else gets out. They walk away, like Gabriel, or they laugh it off. But I'm their memory - of people gone and wars enacted, filled to the brim, overflowing. And these things are inflicted because I have the power to be touched by them, to be changed, to act and react... because I cry the loudest and strike with fiercest. Because I care... because I'm stupid enough to care.

And she knows it. This bitch of a Cycle knows it and I hear her laughing as I reach again into the wound, as I work my fingers around the lip of the cover. More blood - more aches and spasms - but I keep going as the rain starts falling. My fingers hook beneath the cover and feel the sharp edge of the parchment beneath. The lip's about an inch into the chest tissue. It's going to take a will, a strength, a scream. Blood drips from my hands, from the alley walls. Pain - pure, godless, selfless pain.

Then with a final effort, I curse the night sky and rip open the book...


My name is Asmodeus, and this is Iwaku City, in the last days of the lost realm.

Here the Saviour's Page will be written.

Kitti inhaled deeply from the cloud of smoke that seemed to have settled around her head, tasting the burn of the haze and sucking it still deeper into her lungs with sadistic pleasure reserved for this air, the harsh bite delivering delight to a mind still numbly refusing to weep. Sounds echoed around her, ringing in her ears but not breaking the silence of her own thoughts, though the cacophony was clearly struggling to break something, to ruin whatever loveliness might have been left in the deterioration. The individual sounds were indistinguishable in the midst of all the others that sought attention around it, leaving only confusion should anyone try to pick out one particular voice from the howls.

The scene around Kitti was rife with despair and hopelessness, there were children whose sobs only added to the rising hysteria that hammered against her sleeping consciousness most effectively, but women were also crying out their anguish while men wept into hands that had once held the seeds of their dreams. Kitti turned over onto her side as she simultaneously curled her knees to her stomach, her back now facing the mass of sorrow.

One of Kitti's cheeks was pressed against the uneven stones beneath her, relishing briefly its coolness against skin that felt as though it were burning. Tears had dried in streaks along her face, dribbling down her cheeks until they hung precariously from her chin. These tears fell in irregular droplets, salty rain, mixing with the pooling blood on the floor. The cherry red splash was the only color throughout the building, the rest seemed drab and gray, the fire having drained the color from everything and leaving only shades of gray in its wake. A layer of ash coated the ground and clung to Kitti's dress, though the fire was long gone, and this same ash mixed with the blood before allowing it to flow down the slant and form a puddle a few inches from the wound.

Kitti lifted her fingers to touch at the jagged cut just below her throat, a failed attempt at ending a life if ever there'd been one. A nervous looking woman had been by already to examine the wound, clucking in a manner that made it clear she hadn't expected the girl to live much longer, but she'd been uninformed in her information which was unsurprising considering that Kitti had been unwilling to say a word to anyone thus far for days. Slowly, having determined that the wound was nearly healed, she pulled herself to her feet and slithered into the dark of the city.

No one from this makeshift hospital would miss her presence, she had no obligation to tell anyone that she was leaving. The realization, miles away, that another man was curiously still alive, might have changed the entire scene except that she was unaware. Everything had been stolen, it seemed, down to the very last straw. With resignation, Kitti discovered that she hadn't had a contingency plan and now she was utterly lost as well as defeated.
News spreads fast in this city. I'm only a few blocks from Kitti and already they're chasing me. Word's got out that an angel fell from heaven and now an ISAF kill team's on my tail.

They've got orders to check my registration. Bottom line, if I'm not Herald, Ally or Mentor Class they'll feed me to the dogs. Hell, they'll feed me to the dogs anyway. Me and the ISAF have never seen eye to barrel.

Leaping from the rooftop, I end up dangling from the claw of a gargoyle on the opposite building. I barely have time to pull myself up before the bullets strike and half the damn balustrade gets torn apart. ISAF apes - they got all the ammo in the world to throw at me. An RPG demolishes the chimney stack before I can get up again. I'm thrown across the roof. More ringing in my ears. This turned out to be a real musical of a night.

Three thuds on the roof behind me. They always comes in threes - like comedians. Rolling up, I spin and block the knife arm of the first soldier, twisting around him as the second fires his sidearm. I hook number two with my leg, locking his neck in the crook of my knee. But number three's got his rifle out, and he's about to get happy. So my wings spread and I roll upwards, catapulting the first two to the floor as I kick away the third man's rifle. The bullets roar skyward and I drop back to earth with the shell casings.

I land between them, a dual punch to number three's chest that sends him crashing through the nearest skylight. But this gives the knife man time to put a headlock on me from behind.

Too flashy, old man.

His breath wheezes in his gasmask, where those dead eyes and necrotic skin are nesting. Can't let him bite me, can't let him scratch me. He reaks of the poison - Prolific X - the devil's elixir distilled from Barbarian Noobs and cultivated in the labs of Razilin and Chopsticks. The poison I helped create, just like everything else in this land. He's just another ego-slave now, zombified by the will of his master.

He chokes me as his buddy rises, the sidearm reclaimed. The gunshot shakes the world and I feel the bullet tear through my chest - into the wound, through the pages of the book, out through the spine. Number two falls from me with his sternum shattered.

And I'm still standing. Not an inch of pain. I guess there's an upside to having a book in your chest.

No time to dwell on it. Number one's gonna kill me unless I kill him first. No use thinking of the kid he once was or the family photo in his wallet. No one's worth saving in this place - no one's clean, no one's innocent. Kill or be killed.

My head snaps sidewards, dodging the next bullet, then I kick number two's knife upwards. It gleams in the air between us, reflecting moonlight at his mask, where I see the twin pools of darkness staring back at me. Catching the knife I spin along his gun arm and end up behind him, burying the dagger between his shoulderblades. I keep my back to him as he drops, first to his knees, then face forward on the rooftop.

Three down. But the rest are coming. Another grenade shatters the gargoyle by the balustrade. Silhouettes are rising on the other rooftops as the zombies climb into position. These boys will never stop. They never did in life, and Prolific X has only made them more obstinate.

I grab the gun and the knife, laying down fire as I sprint between the chimney stacks. It doesn't take long for them to return fire and then the night's a storm of muzzle flares and dust. I get to the edge and I'm about to leap when a sniper round clips my wing.

And so I'm falling again, spiralling down into the darkness between two of the high-rises, set to crash into the trash cans and ladderwells below.

Like I said... falling's the only thing I do well.

The sounds of a nearby commotion cause a chain of reactions in Kitti. Without so much as time for a thought, Kitti flattened herself against the wall, eyes scanning the near darkness for signs of motion. The still sticky blood on her palms smeared across the surface of the wall but she was unconcerned, blood was not an uncommon sight and a little mess here or there wasn't going to raise the attention of anyone. The second step, once it was established that the commotion was not, at least currently, hostile to her, was to gauge the direction of the noises. Her heart beat a tattoo across her chest and she took deep breaths to try to slow the distracting thumping that rang all too clear in her ears instead of the sounds she desired. Finally, a well ingrained reaction, Kitti darted along the building away from the approaching fiasco.

Until now, Kitti had survived on these reflexes and they had only failed her in small ways. The measure of small was subjective, since one of these little collateral damages had taken a toll on her wings whose ravaged remains hung limply across her back, unable to work until they'd fully healed. Still, Kitti had considered everything overall a success since she was still among the living. Without warning, the sounds changed direction and the distance and direction became hard for Kitti to determine. Desperately, she edged along the side of a building and behind some reeking bins for protection.

In an instant, unaware of what had hit her, Kitti was suddenly forced to the ground by an impact. Kitti lashed out with feral fear, the searing pain in her throat intensifying when her body was pressed down to the stones below. The torso that she'd cushioned the fall of seemed was, by all accounts, being pursued. Kitti was livid with the figure, whose details she could not make out from her position on the ground where she was busy attempting to claw him. Her own safety had just been jeopardized and she could scarcely have been more furious as she struggled to gain the focus needed to plan a course of action.
Two out of ten on the landing. I've brought down one of the ladderwells and crushed a couple of dumpsters. Worse still, I've got an alleycat underneath me, and she's packing claws.

I roll off her as soon as I can, taking a few scratches for my troubles. The knife's in my hand and I'm not about to let up now. These alleys crawl with crackheads and cannibals and they won't think twice about exploiting a wounded angel. But this girl's no junkie. As I swing the knife she blocks with both hands and uses my wrist for leverage to swing up. And for the second time in five minutes I've got a wildcat on my back. Her teeth sink into my shoulder before I can throw her off, then she hits back-first against the alley wall.

She lands on her feet and I draw the gun before she can lunge again. The gunshot's loud between these walls and the bullet skims her flesh, tearing open the cheek and scorching the ear. She drops with a cry that's all too familiar. It's a scream from my back-catalogue of nightmares and regrets. As the girl drops I note the wings and the hair and the curvature of her bledding cheeks.


Only now I realise the rasp in my voice, like I've been gargling hot gravel. Still... we both look like hell. There's blood on her - not from this fight - and there's stitches on her throat and ash on her clothes. What the hell happened to her?

Not my problem. She was Rory's girl and she damn near tore my Tower apart that one time in the War. I've got every reason to squeeze the trigger and put an end to her. Maybe she's with the kill team, or maybe she's just lost - I don't give a damn. She'll be no loss to Iwaku - she was a crutch at best to those weaker than her, of which there were few and fleeting. She followed in obedience and fought for nothing.

Now she'll die for nothing.

My shoulder bleeding, I shift the pistol an inch to the left, so the next bullet will strike between her eyes.

"One last reaction, mon cher?"


"All right, boys! Let's get this over with so that we can get back home to our beloved ones!" In another back alley, not too far away, a transaction was taking place. This back alley stood out by it's entrance; a big grey metal-door kept the inside separated from any possible danger. At least it made you feel safe. Standing from the entrance looking in, the back of the building was shaped like a horse-shoe, which made it an ideal place to off-load the supplies. On each corner of the building there were camera's keeping a constant watch on the local cannibal tribe that had settled down in the surrounding areas some years ago.

It wasn't the cannibals that were the biggest threat for the owner in this scenario; looters, punks, thugs, rival businesses and other criminals with an interest in what worth this place held were the primary forces creating this paranoia for the outside world. Then again, the place did sort of work as a safehouse in that it offered security as long as you payed up for it's services. And in that sense, it attracted humans, and therefore, a hot-spot for humans who liked to take a bite of their own kind.

Back to current events. The back alley was in it's primetime now as the truck off-loaded the boose onto trollies and barrels filled with ale were rolled inside the bars storage facility. All men grumpy as could be, at least by the look of their faces. Few words were shared as the action was taking place, mostly confirming grunts from the throat and through the nose as a way to say; "Yes, this is the exact amount I ordered, thank you very much!".

The truck itself looked more like a tank fused with a jeep. The back door was all-grey except for a crack with an assault-rifle sticking out of it. On the roof, a tiny bunker-like top concluded the defenses. The morality being; Raid, burn and pillage......and don't get raided 'urself!.

"So..." I left the rest of the sentence hanging in the air, immediate response from the delivery-crew.

"Yeah, gimme two sec." The leader of the affiliates replied, turned around and walked to the back of the truck. "Klegge!" He shouted, almost instantly recieving two black suit-cases in return.

"This one is perfect for close-combat! You'll definitly find it to good use!" He said, looking at me, still smileless.

"I'd rather use my axe..."

"Wouldn't we all...wouldn't we all..." He said, leaving words for thought.

"Fuck the ISAF!" I said, smiling. They all smiled with me.

"Fuck the ISAF!" From all was followed by honest laughter and faces mixed with emotions, cheerfulness and an ounce of fear.

The moment was dissurpted by commotion surprisingly nearby, gun-shots, noises of movement. What was really about to get the party moving their arses was the familiar voice speaking of one name.


Faces froze and the reality of the moment stung the men as quickly as the name had been uttered.


"I'll take this one and send me four more as quickly as possible!" Torsty said, picking up the suit-case.


Doors went shut, the sound of footsteps disappeared and the truck was off. In less then a minute the alley was cleared of any activity and everything was back to normal.

Not long after the cannibals had established their stronghold, they had decided it would be good for business and for the people to expand the Cbox with a motel on the second floor. People felt safer coming if they knew they could sober up after a long night and leave the next day. Plus, the sniper outposts also gave the customers a sense of comfort.

I'm standing in the back-room, looking into the bar-lounge. On the wall to the left there are hanging newspaper-clips from the Admin War. 'We try to make the best of the situation, try to give people a reason to live, a symbolic hope that it is possible to rise above and rebuild. And now these creatures are back to make it worse? I hope I'm wrong.'

View attachment 2095

I can't say with certainty that I know what I'm blabbering to myself really makes sense anymore. Have I lost contact with the real world? I haven't been outside the fences for months...Maybe the commitment of a complete sober lifestyle is playing tricks on me?

Ever since it became a reality that the Cbox would be the vikings main bace of financial operations, a radical norm was passed through. What it basicly stated; if you wanted to be involved with the bar or the brewery-scene, you had to keep a sober way of life. This made logical sense in business-terms, but broke with the community's traditions. Another side to the story was that it turned the people twisted. With no alcohol they were driven slowly into a state of insanity, whatever that meant in Iwaku City.
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starting at first with a drop or two, it began to rain. heavy droplets of water crashing down on anything without a roof above it, a fierce wind making umbrellas or most other forms of rain protection impractical. the rain carried with it a vicious cold that cut to the bone but then, such bleak weather was hardly unheard of in the city.

The Humvee skidded to a halt across the road from the Cbox, behind it a mack truck and two humvees that formed the rest of the security patrol came to a halt, the soldiers, clad in ISAF fatigues and bearing M4 carbines moved into position around the bed of the truck

Inside the Truck, the officer in charge of the detail, a captain, was overseeing the removal of the prisoner's shackles, though the massive metal armor the prisoner wore could have broken the chains with ease, it was the chains wrapped around his mind that kept him under control, the body restraints were merely to prevent an accident during deployment.

"the target was last spotted in this area, along with several HVTs, your orders are seek and destroy, do you understand?" the captain barked, the prisoner's eyes glassy and painting a picture of a brain with little more than motor control
"Orders Understood. Eliminate target and any HVTs in path of target" the prisoner's voice was devoid of emotion, of inflection, devoid of anything that showed any sort of character or intellect behind them.

The captain nodded, but it was at that moment that the wind kicked up even harder, blowing the tarp that had covered the trucks bed up and into the sky.

Across the Street, inside the sniper nest the Viking Guard saw what lay under the tarp and a chill ran down his spine as he saw the massive form of a space marine in terminator armor, and the sniper dove for his handheld radio, fingers fumbling as he drew it from his pocket and tried to activate the talk button.
"ISAF just dropped their pet hunting dog across the road!" he called out, and saw the terminator's arm snap up, pointing a stubby, twin barreled weapon in his direction, but after a moment, he saw the ISAF officer shake his head and the Terminator lowered the Storm Bolter before moving off the flatbed and stomping off down an alleyway.

Musical Score: Caught Somewhere in time - Iron Maiden

WMD trudged, his eyes blank and his face expressionless, the only movement coming from his augmentic eye as it scanned the alleyway, eventually fixating on two figures, both of which had wings sprouting from their backs and one of which was armed with a gun.
"HVT Kitti and Target Sighted permission to engage" he spoke clearly, his weapon pointed but his finger only tightening on the trigger after confirmation had been given, but by that time, the two had fled
"target and HVT Kitti fleeing. giving chase" the lumbering zombified space marine grunted, before trudging forwards.
Kitti did not hesitate, though her mind froze up in terror for a fleeting moment as she realized that she was being targeted on all sides. Even Asmodeus, the last remnant of hope she'd had for purpose, was turning on her. Kitti's life flashed before her eyes and it all felt like shame when she watched the replay. Her mind spun, alternatives to this threatened to overwhelm her instincts with despair. Still, her biggest regret was not being stronger, strong enough to fight on her own two feet.

Rapidly, Kitti set her spontaneous plan into action and hoped desperately that she had accounted for all the current variables. A leap, unexpected and frenzied, allowed her the surprise to knock the gun from Asmo's hand and claw his face in the process. She would have done more than hiss at him as she used him as a stepping stone but her mind was too busy because at that moment, she targeted the general area of the threat and sent a temporarily disarming blast of mental energies that would cause them to reel back in pain for a split second, the split second she needed for her escape.

Adrenaline pulsed through Kitti's veins as she shot through the air and while Asmo was not as easily disarmed as she had hoped, she still managed to push off from him into the air and got a slash in at his face with her nails while she was at it. Aside from the hitch that his gun was still clamped firmly in his hand, Kitti thought that the realization of her plan had gone well. That is, until a second shot rang out from whatever had been pursuing Asmo, figures that until now had remained unseen and therefore unaccounted for in her mind.

The bullet was cause for a belief in sheer luck because the aim was thrown off by her panicked motions, only grazing her calf. Still, the pain was enormous for the instant it slid across flesh and it caused her to stagger. "Damn you all..." she spat to the ground when she came into contact with it once again.​
From nobody to nobody in a matter of time, this world had made fools of them all. Greatest fool among the lot, the unshaven, unkempt, groggy fellow just waking up to his night life. What was left besides that? Under cover of darkness was a phrase meant for the eight hours when the world faced away from whatever sun they used to orbit. Now it has become the life blood of the city. Looking out through a main street window the blue and orange lights of the city still somewhat lively adorned the sky in an unsatisfactory glow.

Now leaving desolation be, the man retired to a windowless room, one that seemed rather secure. The amount of locks on the door almost begged the ISAF to take him down, but it was necessary. The title of Herald was one not to give away to just anyone, even if there were many like him. No, that was not his way of thinking, there were none like him. Turning on a monitor aligned forty five degrees on a simple wooden desk he observed the views. Several windows not all up. He spoke to himself as he grabbed a piece of paper and a pen. Numbers going all the way up to one hundred thirty five were on the sheet, some of them crossed out, others labeled, some had a small asterix next to them. "Seventy two and thirty five both down. That ISAF took out two in one day." The scratch of the pen against the notebook paper unnerved him. His mind contemplated the only means of relaxation. He scratched the humber over again, and again, and again until he was scribbling a bold line across the paper; eventually it tore through to the next page. Shortly after the notebook was thrown aside on the desk his head was burried in his hands.

This is ridiculous! We've all been reduced to absolutely nothing. The only hopes we have are being exterminated like rabid dogs. Even Piroko tasted the unjust hand of them undead freaks. His emotions were expressed on his face as he mumbled to his palms. As he was about to rant some more to his hands, a small tone went off and he looked up. One of the windows had captured some activity. Looking closely he could see several units of different allegiance staring each other down. The drooling of the ISAF, the fear of the angels, and the determination of the soldiers all perfect examples of the old heart when they first arrived in the abyss. Once the events started to heat up he looked over to his notebook, a number with an asterix corresponded to the number on the monitor. "Who am I to deny a girl her role in society?" He flipped up a safety latch on a switch board on the wall hidden behind the door. "ISAF, I think I owe you one. Take this as a present from Pirogeth." The click fo the switch lit up the number twenty five. From several buildings in the area transponders picked up the signal. Several large explosions kicked up dust, rubble, and took out several walls and ISAF members. Going back to his journal he scratched out one of the three remaining asterixes on the page.
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Gunfire crackles through the streets.

The ISAF have found themselves a new plaything.

Probably just some unfortunate citizen who stepped out of a line no-one even really understands anymore, but cling to as if it were their last, desperate hope. Now the ISAF, the Prolific-X Virus coursing through their veins making them as unrelenting as they are unforgiving, will hunt them down across the city, their life suddenly cut short by a muzzle flash and a few casings falling to the floor.

There's poetry to it, really. The poetry of the end of all things.

I sigh, and fit the diamond into the hilt, the two pieces coming together with an audible click. Underneath my boot struggles tonight's other unfortunate victim, desperately trying to push my boot off her torso so that she may make good her escape. An Ally, I think. Or possibly a Trickster. I stopped checking their ID-cards long ago, for you can spot which ones are ripe for the picking; the desperate look in their eyes, the clothing falling apart to reveal the emaciated bodies underneath.

It matters little, really. For she will die tonight.

This perpetual night that I cannot remember beginning, and that will never end.

The cold night air flows freely across the rooftops of the slums as I reach down to grab the woman by the neck, lifting her off her feet and staring her in the eyes. I consider it good manners to look my victims in the eyes as I kill them; a small courtesy, I suppose, but a courtesy none-the-less.
"Hold still, my dear," I say quietly, readying the knife in my other hand, "This is already over for you."
"Who are you?" the girl chokes, "Why are you doing this?!" I stare at her a moment, hesitating. Who am I? The question brings back flashes of images in my mind, memories long forgotten like a half-remembered dream.

My name? Shit.

I can't remember.


"...Who I am," I say, after a long pause, "Matters very little. And why am I doing this? The same reason anyone does anything in this city." Clenching the diamond knife tightly, I drive it into her heart. "Simply to survive, my dear. Simply to survive."

Her heart stops instantly, and brain function dies shortly after. I watch as her eyes lose their shine, becoming lifeless and empty. The diamond begins to shimmer, and starts glowing a pale blue colour. Withdrawing the blade and letting the body slump to the floor, I remove the diamond from the hilt and open my jacket, placing the glowing object in the space where a man's heart should lie.

Soul stones. The only things that can keep me going these days.

My body absorbs the stone, and my skin begins to shift, growing less dead and grey than it was before. Yet still not enough; one cannot exist on a diet of Allies and Tricksters very easily, I fear. I need something more... wholesome. Filling.

But no such individuals really remain in this city. We are shades of something that died long ago, going through the motions of a life that has already ended. So I get by on what I can, really. Existing on the dregs of a civilisation made entirely of dregs. How long this can continue, I don't know; I guess I'll just keep surviving.

Just like everyone else, then.

Now, I'm going to go see what sport the ISAF have found for themselves this fine evening. Maybe I'll find myself another snack to keep me going, who knows?

Fine dining at the end of all things.
Seems there's a guardian angel watching over me. Wonder if we're related.

Kitti took a chunk from my face and left me for the Terminator, but then things got interesting. Half the block just got blown to hell, and it's put a ton of rubble between me and the machine. More ringing in my ears - feel like I'm being trampled by reindeer. Luckily the trashcans shielded me from the blast. I pull myself up, trying to find my footing. There's rain now - water, rockdust, burning debris. Sometimes I think shit like this follows me around.

There's groaning nearby. Kitti hasn't gotten too far - she's crashed back down with her leg bleeding. I guess she isn't with the ISAF after all. But that Terminator back there is, and he's not gonna let a little thing like a wall falling on him get in his way.

"Rise and shine, Princess." I grab Kitti's arm and shoulder, getting her to her feet as she coughs on smoke. No point leaving her to the dogs - she might be useful. There's yells all around us: ISAF shouting orders on the rooftops while street-dwellers panic. With all this commotion we may just get out of this alive.

Turning sharp left, we take a smaller alley, using each other like a crutch as pain and panic skews our balance. But the party's far from over. There's crashes to my left, the building shaking and stone rupturing.

Son of a bitch is coming through the walls.

I push Kitti ahead of me, "Get to the Cbox - run!" Then I turn just in time as the wall explodes and the Terminator slams into me, a wave of dust and rubble billowing around us. I'm scooped off my feet and mashed against the opposite wall.

God, I hate fighting Space Marines.

No time to count the broken bones. My hands thrust forward, going for the weakspot - the exposed head. I grab the sides of his skull and try to twist, but his storm bolter cracks me on the temple. I fall down in the machine's shadow and barely have time to roll between his legs before he cranks up the power fist. The energy field strips bricks and paving slabs away as it tries to follow me.

Getting up, I jump for the overhead laddewell, using it to swing my feet against the Terminator. No such luck. Might as well be felling a tree with a feather. The big boy spins and cuts high, slicing off part of the ladder and dropping me again. I land flat and drive my foot against its knee-joint. I've got some of the old strength back, but not enough. He lifts the other leg and stomps the ground an inch from my head, cracking the concrete. Then his old friend the storm bolter is back in action. I shove against it with both arms as it fires, the fist-size rounds tearing apart the building above us. Some folks are gonna be sleeping with a draught tonight.

I draw my knife, reverse-striking at the internals around his head. I cut something, but it only makes him madder. The power fist splits the flesh off my arm and I'm propelled away, landing in the rubble the other side of the alley.

Bricks. God's ammunition. I fling one at him, cracking his head and making him reel. Shit... that head... that face. Could it be...?

"Warmaster!" I yell, but it's like he can't hear me. He's bringing the storm bolter to bear. One last chance. I scoop another brick and toss it over his head. It looks like a sloppy shot, but it's going just where I need it.

The ladder from the second floor - it was weakened by the last salvo, the catch hanging by a thread. The brick hits it and the ladder deploys, plummeting towards street level. It hits his shoulder, drilling him into the ground, the power fist helping to dig a hole that buries his arm.

That'll keep him stuck for a few seconds at least. I get up and sprint away from my old friend and sometime ally. I guess there's no room for reunions in this town. The rain is soaking the pages of the book lodged in my chest. "Keep moving!" I shout ahead to Kitti.

Gotta make the Cbox. It could be the only neutral ground in this whole damn city.

There are some rules and norms that needs to be made clear before we move on. The Cbox allows no customers to bear arms or any other kind of object you can call a weapon inside their territory. It will be in the custody of the house while you're a guest and handed back to you whenever you feel like leaving.

There has never been any complications with this rule, no one's stash has gone missing. It's up to each individual to make it hard for themselves if they find this rule as an issue. There has never been used open fire against any customer of the Cbox. Apart from the occasional bar-fight, you will seldom find any trouble getting a long with the people you meet here.

The basement is used for gambling, darts and playing pool. Gambling activities are usually set up with the house beforehand, who makes sure to aquire an anonymous card-dealer and keeps a smaller bar open for the contenders. The main floor is for drinking and drinking only while the second floor is the motel. Any drugs you may carry will be confiscated along with your weapons. And just so you know, the Cbox is not a whorehouse. The male and female staff-members are equals.

I ask myself, almost every day, how could we end up like this? From being known to take much pride in warfare and dying in battle to prevent any such actions at any cost. After the mountains became a toxic dump, we were forced to leave and consentrate fully on what business we had in town. Off with the horned helmets and begone with the traditions that made us who we are......or were. Now all you'll see are runes carved into some of the warriors armor. Even if the forces that rule wants to keep us down, we'll never forget where we came from and what made us great. Still, the current state of our small community can seem shattered to an outsider, in these times when we fight silently for a civilized world.

If I had known this was how it would be under the rule of the Mad King when I joined the Bread Cult, a long time ago, I'd never sided with him during the war. Still, I'd neither find the other factions likeable. We should have stayed on our own terms, kept to ourselves and defended what we found dear if so be needed.
We've decided to cut any ties to the Mad King and his cultists a long time ago.

I feel like we're waiting, waiting for something big to happen. Someone special to appear and lift us up. Who do I mean by "us"? We who hold on to hope for a better future. If that someone is tied to Kitti or Asmodeus, oh well. As long as it's capable of rounding up enough to give the ISAF a fight, I'm up for it! Take away their guns and other playthings, and they're nothing but simple thugs!
Zypher made sure her pistols were neatly placed into their holsters as she turned to look at the front door of the convent. Sure she had been here for years on end making sure that the soulmates were well regulated, safe from those that wished them harm but not gaining the freedom that they deserved. When the king had come to impose the fate tracks on the people she had to do drastic measures, cutting off her hair, flattening her chest, dressing in men's clothing. She knew what she was, a soulmate, just like the women and occasional men that she worked with. Instead, being mistaken as a man as she had wished, she was registered as a guardian, tasked with keeping the convent safe.

Leaving her apartment was almost always a chore...she had to remember to avoid the ISAF and not make any contact with anyone outside the convent, luckily it was only a couple of blocks away. Her walk today was relatively normal, just a couple of citizens being questioned by some of the Guardian Force cops. She ducked her head as to not make eye contact and rushed past them, trying not to draw too much attention to herself.


It only took a minute before she found herself outside of the Convent's building. It loomed above her almost seeming separate from the city but still surrounded by high buildings. With a shudder she stepped through the gate and nodded to one of the other guards on her command. She stepped through the front door and was greeted by two of the soulmates that she had come to be close friends with.

"Good day Mister Zypher." Karina said bowing gently to her and Zypher returned it.

"Good day Miss Karina, is it time for you to take a bath is it not? Your potential husband should be coming sometime later today if I recall correctly. He's an upstanding Guardian is he not?" Zypher smiled and gestured the woman towards the baths.

I'll need a trip to the Cbox after this... Zypher thought as she stepped past the other girls and walked towards the center off the Convent. Hopefully another ISAF checkup wouldn't be happening anytime soon...
And suddenly, the skyline explodes.

Like a half-remembered fireworks display.

Beautiful. I really do need to go see what all the commotion is now.

Removing the diamond from my chest, now returned to it's lightless state, I replace it in the hilt as I stride towards the side of the roof, launching myself from one rooftop to the other in the direction of the explosions. I can smell the stench of the slums; rot, decay, sorrow and misery. Potent, I've got to admit. If this city was powered on sadness, it would light up like the sun.

Ah, the sun. Another long-lost luxury in the city that has forgotten what happiness is.

The rooftops are empty as I make my way across them. Makes my life easier, I suppose. Once upon a time I could easily have flown across them to my destination, but this world is no longer as connected as it once was. Death pervades it, but Undeath has no claim to these souls; they float out of sight of the living, forever lost and forever damned. I have no outside forces to draw upon for my magic, both to sustain my spells and my body.

I am forced to take a more... direct approach, taking the life force of others to sustain my own.

It's not an ideal way of living, but my options are fairly limited at the moment.

Dropping onto the final roof before my destination, I begin to smell the residue of the explosions; dislodged brickwork and gunpowder that stings the nostrils. There's still turmoil down below, going by the sound of gunfire. I'm about to move over to look down below when I hear the sound of a fire being cocked behind me.
"CITIZEN, IDENTIFY YOURSELF," a hollow, dead voice intones behind me, and I turn to see a lone ISAF soldier levelling his weapon at me. I sigh, and begin to reach into my greatcoat. "CITIZEN, IDENTIFY YOURSELF," the soldier intones again, "PRESENT YOUR ID CARD OR BE SUBJECT TO SUMMARY EXECUTION." My hand tightens around the weapon hidden in my coat, the weight reassuring.

"...ID card? I do believe I had one of those, once upon a happier time," I mutter, and before the undead creature can react, I draw the handgun and fire twice, the shell casings dropping to the rooftop just before the soldier follows. "But no longer, I think."

Pulling out the clip and placing two new rounds within, I return the gun to it's holster and lean over the side of the building in time to see two figures fleeing into the darkness, pursued by a huge, armoured form. The ISAF's pet has been rolled out, has it?

Suddenly I find these two fugitives of ISAF 'justice' rather intriguing. And it looks like they're off for a drink, too.

I think I'll join them. The one at the back looks... familiar. His figure brings back memories of a Castle, and a long-forgotten war.

Maybe he knows just who the hell I am.
Musical Score: Evil (Chorus of Resistance) - Project 86

As the Warmaster struggled to his feet, the deep gash in the concrete that his powerfist had left filled with filthy water, but as the Terminator finally stood, stooping to retrieve his storm bolter, he snapped back, his head whipping in the direction of two gunshots, seeing a shrouded figure move deftly from the rooftop, an acrid tang filling the air, and the Warmaster's chained mind struggled to recall the sensation

"sorcery detected. possible location of HVT Grumpy detected. subject pursuing HVT Kitti and Target. Engaging" he droned, bringing the storm bolter to bear, slowly and ungainly, as if he was running purely on muscle memory, but the hail of bolts he unleashed were but a step behind Grumpy's movements, explosive shells gouging the terrain around the necromancer.

Even as he stomped forwards the first two targets entered the Cbox Building the Terminator lowered his storm bolter, coming to a halt a few steps from the building, the occupants aiming a variety of weapons at the space marine
"Target and High Value Targets of opporunity have entered the Cbox. permission to engage" he voxed, eyes fixed on the doorway.
The camera had turn to just a fuzzy strobe of black and white lines, unfortunate it could not survive the explosion. But there were others littered about the city, ones that still worked. These cameras were mostly in the cbox monitoring the traffic between pedestrians, the movements of the ISAF, the street hogs looking for a way through. It was almost hypnotic watching the white and red lights on all the cameras, the occasional green one popping up. "Almost like normality." Pirogeth muttered quietly to himself. There was a short silence only interrupted by his phone. It rang a few times on the desk outside the protected room. He hung over the device for a bit asking inwardly whether or not he should pick it up. His better judgment got the best of him and decided to see who it was, for if it was someone important, he would not want to keep "them" waiting. "This is Pirogeth. Yes I know, twenty minutes. No traffic will not be that bad. Of course. No, I'd rather not be on his bad side. If you insist." He hung up the phone and took a deep breath. "Time to go to work I guess."

-Passage of 10 minutes...

Before Pirogeth stood the grandest building in the electrically lit city of Iwaku. Large almost roman style columns with their own designs given by the Mad King held the front of the structure up. It spewed businessmen and politicians alike in and out constantly. Papers, every once in awhile, caught a drift of wind and floated off in the distance. This was the cornucopia of sanity in this insane world. A sort of cerebral cortex of urban functionality was represented by a blend of bricks and old, sickly looking men with comb overs. This was work. Stepping up the old cement steps was a terror for most now-a-days as it usually meant the end of the line. Prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner were the normal jobs in here. In addition to that there are the departments of Distribution of Law, the filing of each individual on record, and of course the Main Hall appropriately nicknamed New Asylum. He was ten minutes ahead of schedule but that didn't stop the others from starting without him. Pirogeth could hear the others already bickering between each other before he even reached the large red wood double doors.

"...and another thing! What can be done about the recent explosion in seperatist groups? I thought you had that under control!? Or is General to big of a spot for you to fill eh?"
"Don't be pickin' a fight with me boy. How about that cbox of yours? I hear there are some pretty mischeivious groups forming there as well, and what have you done to stop that?"
"I can't believe you'd pin such things on my hands. It is all your fault for driving them to such slums. You know our police in that section is on low pay."
"Then hire some militia! Get the god damn ISAF to do something about it!"
Pirogeth quietly took his seat behind the tag he was assigned; Council Advisor: Pirogeth.
"Gentlemen perhaps we could settle this at a different time, the Advisor is now here so we are now all accounted for." The Higher Councilman said. They never knew his true name as he was practically the only one with direct communication with Paorou, but there were still a few non-hostile ways to gain an audience with him.
"Thank you Higher Councilman." Pirogeth started as he stacked some papers together. "Let's get this meeting underway with less shouting than last time."
Kitti had been prepared to surrender, though not without a fight and not so much surrender and suicide attack the entire group. The pain in her leg was not unbearable and would not hinder her movement but she was desperately trapped without an ally in sight. There was gunfire, shouting, and the click of cold metal guns that rang in her ears; were these the last sounds she would ever hear? So much for her nearly forgotten hopes of settling down peacefully.

Kitti was preparing herself, inhaling deeply and trying to focus, when an unexpected source of assistance came to her aid. Asmodeus pulled her from her hopeless stance and pushed her down the alley, his last words to her being almost kind, though his motives were selfish she had no doubt. He was offering to buy her time so that she could make it to the CBox, the final neutral ground. She would have liked to question him on the matter of why he was helping her and indeed she had a plethora of questions besides but it would be more cruel than informative to make his sacrifice in vain. Kitti only nodded to him before she darted down the alley.

The CBox couldn't be far away, she'd been headed vaguely in that direction before Asmodeus had landed on her and now she simply had to get her bearings. There was no time, really, to figure out where she was going and she relied on her instinct and memory that this was in fact the correct path to take. Pursuit sounded from behind her when she departed but the sounds of crashing and gunfire not only drowned it out, they seemed to have halted the progress of whatever had been attempting to follow her.

Kitti's lungs screamed for air when she kept to her unyielding pace yet the reward was when she burst into the CBox, breathless with tears cleaning streaks on her face. "Sanctuary" she gasped, the heavy breathing showing the toll her frail body had taken. Blood was still caked and dried around her throat, making the stitches applied by the makeshift hospital hardly visible, especially smeared with the same ashes that dirtied her dress. The wound there had nearly closed up completely by this time, yet with her bloodied wings ragged in addition to all else, she seemed a rogue pulled from the depths of hell. "I... I should be safe here?" it was a pleading question to no one in particular, more to herself than any other person. She'd hardly had time to process the events of the past week with everything that had happened.
A stranger, a vagabond he was know. In his own way, he was very well known in this diseased, rotten town. When the girl entered, he leaned back into his corner. His dirty long hair falling in front of his face and mingling with his unkempt and equally dirty beard. Both had been growing for years and did the job of keeping away curious eyes just fine. Still, there were those that knew his true face, could recall it from times past and his quick glance in the girls direction had reminded him of someone, an angel who had been quite well known during the admin war.

Myrnodyn curled his trembling hands around the whiskey glass he'd been pining over prior to the interruptions from outside. He would have left, but going out there right now would be suicide for the likes of him, even after the vikings would give him his trusted TF-pistols back. No, his best chance was to stay inside and keep in cover. His room on the second floor was paid for, and as long as there was a semblence of neutrality left in this establishment, he would keep living here, running his fledgling little shapeshifter resistance group from the safe confines of the C-box.

The new arrivals complicated matters, however. The authorities didn't know he was here, and he would like to keep it that way lest he was forced to find refuge in different, less comfortable places. Unless he was mistaken, the newcomer was named Kitti, and she could recognize him by face. She looked terrible, but that didn't mean she wasn't here to look for him. Paorou's men had used underhanded tactics to try and capture him before. Even if she were not with paorou, she was obviously connected to the ruckus outside and might well lead his men straight inside.

Cursing under his breath he slipped some coin on the table, to pay for his drink, and stood to turn into the general direction of the stairs. His vision swam, as it usually did after a night of drinking, but his first few steps managed to get him well underway. With a bit of luck, he could be in his room if the ISAF burst in here. That was when HE entered. Once Iwaku's shining hope, he now looked no more than the fallen angel he was. "Well, we are all down on our luck in Paorou's Iwaku." Myrnodyn thought with a sneer. "Let the bastard rot for all the 'help' he's given us."

His next step wasn't as carefully placed as the others, however and required another three steps in the angels direction to compensate, which sadly had him tumbling over a loose chair. He cursed his drinking habit and groaned as he looked up to the harried looking angels. With a voice slurred by his current condition he spoke to the heavily wounded man above him.

"Damn you for being the bastard you are, and damn you again for the trouble you bring... Asmodeus."
Gal enters the C-Box, and aaalllllll the noobs have to turn and gawk. Then they get a look at the stitches in her neck and turn back. I'm probably the only one til looking at her, I ain't seen Kitti around in a good bit. Looks like things weren't going to well for her If my guess about the scar's right.

The two that came in just after her however pique my intrest. The first a man I've come to respect, the soul stealin' bastard himself Grumpy. The second, someone I ain't seen in a Looooooonng time, not since before tht nuttter Paorou took everything over. The Fallen Angel himself, doubt he'd recognize my new look, but then again, I don't think anyone but that crazy 'ol bat Vakarian would. This world will bring out the darkest in a person, that's for damn sure.
somethings going down; thats pretty damn in convenient.​

A young woman slips unnoticed into the Cbox. She finds an empty table just on the periphery of the forming crowd. She sits, orders a drink, and immediately regrets her decision to hide out here.

lot of Major Characters stumbling in; explains why ISAFs more per insistent than usual.

The woman keeps her suitcase close, one hand ready to snatch it back up. Her hair is messy and damp, her high heels are battered and splattered with mud and gravel. She smells faintly of gunpowder. She makes no effort to disguise the fact that she is ready to fight her way out if need be-no one else is, why bother?

Her gray eyes slide to the right to catch a glimpse of the one person whom she thought she might be able to plea for some sort of protection-or at least indifference. But Myrnodyn is busy speaking to him.

She staunches her anger and stares into her drink, the weight of her suitcase resting comfortably against her calf.

just gotta go little further; even the Cbox isnt always friendly to the likes of me.

For the likes of her, Iwaku wasn't a friendly place, and the Cbox was touch and go. She wouldn't be safe until she made it past the Cbox and into the slums. That was going to be difficult, with the cause of all the commotion in the one place she had to lie low.

She downs her drink, curses under her breath, and tries to think of a plan before the whole place blows up.
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