Iwaku Rebuild

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Karsikan the Berzerker, Mar 30, 2011.

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  1. Operation: Moses, Mass evacuation of civilians and personnel from the mainland of Iwaku to the wreckage of History Isle. Aided by Barship and Grey Knight Forces, The ruins have turned into a permanent refugee camp, shortly after the world began to die. One could only speculate what exactly caused it, not that it much mattered anymore. The few expeditions that were sent out came back reporting only a wasteland, noob marauders, renegade bands of former ISAF, Ego Zombie Hordes, the list went on.

    The world had all but died over the course of a few years, History Isle it seemed, was the only remaining spark of life surrounded by those who would likely snuff it out.

    This is where our story begins, in a dirty camp DFAC, serving out it's scant rations to the survivors who hungrily devour them, the tables are arranged in long rows with bench seating. At the end of one table a space marine sat alone, unarmed and unarmored.
  2. History Island. The remnant of ages past gathered into one place. Fitting, that it should be called so, in more ways than just the obvious. Yes, the island was an archive of the ages of Iwaku past. Yes. the island also held many secrets from the past as well. But now, the island served as the last haven for the survivors of Iwaku, the place where anyone could get a semblance of peace.

    And yet, there was no peace to be found. The camp bustled with movement from dawn till dusk, like an anthill, and smoldered from dusk till dawn, like the last glowing embers of a dying flame. It was in these cramped quarters that the refugees stayed, never leaving with the exception of the rare expedition to check on the progress of the doom of the rest of Iwaku.

    There was no peace to be found here, either.

    The survivors holed up within the ruins, the only place where they could brace their meager defense with a sizeable blockade. But until the rest of Iwaku either recovered from the destruction of died from the monsters that prowled it, the refugees could only lay in wait, hoping that their meager rations would last them. Food was already short and the ships, though able to grow crops inside of them for food, couldn't produce enough to meet demand. More important was medicine: if someone became sick with a deadly communicable disease, it would only be a matter of time before the entire camp caught it, particularly within such cramped quarters.

    But these survivors kept hoping. Hoping for a sign so they could return to Iwaku. They held onto it, for that was all they had.


    The wastelands near the camp

    Sand whipped through the barren terrain as the wind picked up the grains and hurled them at the few men who attempted to trudge across the wasteland. A scouting party from the group of survivors back at the ruins, they searched for information on the state of mainland Iwaku, survivors, and, most importantly, food. However, they were met with opposition the moment they had set out; one of their number had, stupidly, run ahead, volunteering to scout, when he had twisted his ankle. He'd been sent back to the camp and replaced with another, but whether it was an omen or not, it had dampened the already dark spirits of the scouts. Now, the land itself seemed against them, trying its best to dissuade them from moving forward. But they marched on anyways. They were soldiers, Space Marines to be exact, and they didn't give up. They didn't give in. They persisted where others failed and got the job done where others couldn't or wouldn't.

    But Lady Luck had deserted these men in the middle of this desert.

    The front most marine snapped his clenched fist up, indicating for the group to stop. Something felt off. He didn't know what, but something wasn't right. He scanned the terrain, looking for an indication of what he had seen. But what was off wasn't what he could see. He suddenly noticed that it was what he felt. Small tremors rippled lightly through the sand and he looked down to see the sand bulging slightly. "MOOOOVE!", he screamed, and leaped aside just as the land below him ripped apart, throwing sand everywhere. He landed with a thud and quickly flipped over onto his back. He steeled himself when he saw the beast.

    A giant mutant at least ten feet tall crashed down with a muffled thud, the sand cushioning his fall. It was hairy in the wrong places and metal was grafted onto it as if armor had been fused to it under high heat. Which was exactly what had happened. This thing used to be human once, an ISAF renegade that had been near enough to a radioactive explosion to survive the blast, but had become mutated as a result. Its skin was leathery; the soldier could hear that from the rough, scratching sounds the thing made whenever it moved, and it had grown to nine feet in height, its mass growing respectively. From the way it shook the sand out of its ears, it had been waiting for someone, something to come along so it could feast.

    "KILL IT!" the squad leader roared and all the soldiers opened fire. A few of the bullets from the marines' full size automatic rifles penetrated the skin, but most of them merely bounced off harmlessly, the skin so tough that the mutant only noticed as one would notice a squirrel throwing acorns. The mutant seemed more confused by the racket the soldiers were making, yelling as their automatic weapons blasted till finally, their first magazines had been spent.

    The mutant breathed in deep, then unleashed a thunderous roar, knocking one of the marines over at the sheer volume of air expended from the behemoth lungs.

    With that, the giant lumbered forward and swatted at the marines, sending one flying and another one rolling out of the way. One yelled for the others to back away, then charged, grenade in hand, pin laying discarded feet away. He ducked under a large fist, then a stubby leg, and dove underneath the mutant's legs. The mutant tried to swerve around, but the marine had already inserted the grenade into the monster's rear pocket, which it had conveniently forgotten it had, and booked it. The grenade went off seconds later, sending shrapnel deep into the behemoth's rear, but otherwise dealing little damage. It turned, growling and obviously very annoyed at what had just happened. It took a threatening step forward when it suddenly shuddered.

    A speeding, sharp, white-ish object hurtled into the mutant ISAF renegade's throat, piercing and lodging itself in it. Another icicle followed, ramming into the mutant's skull and shattering, cooling the air. But the first icicle had dealt severe damage and though it had missed the spine, the behemoth staggered in pain and with lack of breath. A young girl with greyish skin and jet black hair ran between the shocked soldiers, cool air following in her wake, and leapt, grabbing the icicle in the monster's throat. Her tattoes, which ran the length of her body from her wrists up her arm and down to her ankles, began to glow a light blue as she hissed at the behemoth. It jerked upright, as if in extreme pain, then froze where it was. Checking the monster's pulse to confirm its death, she jumped down, landing lithely reminiscing of a cat, then walked over to the soldiers, who were already helping their unconscious comrade up. They weren't surprised, she noticed, probably because this wasn't the first time it had happened. She walked over to a discarded cloak and knapsack that had fallen a little ways away from the marines, donned the cloak and hefted the knapsack. The marines approached her warily, not knowing if she was friend or ally, supporting their injured comrade.

    "I already know of your refugee camp. Take me there."

    The marines escorted her back to camp to meet Grandmaster Banrae.
  3. Twenty Four hours ago.

    Tyler sits alone amidst the ashes of his former home. He couldn't see it, but he could feel the wind from the barren wasteland, and the ash that the wind kicked up. As he sat, blank eyes staring into the distance, tears began to streak down his face. "Is this how it looked last time?" he asked to the man standing behind him.

    "Perhaps," Purgatory responded flatly, "Anirune was a unique case among the eons of the Path's operations." Purgatory put a hand on Tyler's shoulder. "We may be lingering here too long, we need to move to the core of Iwaku. Perhaps there we can see what could be done to stop the progression towards the Path. Perhaps Iwaku is not among the condemned yet."

    Tyler stands, putting his hand on Purgatory's shoulder this time. "We should," Tyler said, "Perhaps there are those that will help in that respect." With that Tyler and Purgatory began walking through the ash.


    Tyler and Purgatory had made the crossing to History Isle. It had not been difficult really, many of the dangers could be avoided with the proper caution. It also helped that they weren't quite on the same plane as the monster produced by the recent events.

    "The death throes of the world?" Tyler asked Purgatory.

    "Don't talk about such things." was all Purgatory replied with.

    The pair walked into the DFAC camp. They hadn't taken but a few steps before they were confronted by a Space Marine.

    "What business do you have here?" the Marine demanded from them.

    Tyler was the one to respond, "We are here to stop this place from traveling to the Path. We need to talk to whoever is leading you."

    "Your request is denied." The Marine replied.

    This time it was Purgatory who replied. "Don't be so hasty to throw away a chance for salvation so easily. We need to find out where the core of Iwaku is, and to do that, we need to organize and share information to locate it." Purgatory's black eyes shifted slightly gray before returning back. "It would be better for this place if we worked together, instead of letting paranoia set us against each other."
  4. Yes that would be a bad Idea wouldn't it? Purgatory and Tyler heard the voice, rather that was the nearest explanation, in their minds. Tell Kalthanos to let the two of you through, and the girl standing beside you. Be sure to mention that these orders are coming from his grandmaster, he'll understand.

    The three entered the DFAC, most of the tables had been pushed to one side of the room to allow two of them to be set side by side, forming a rough square. Three stood around this table; the first a literal giant, he stood at just over eight feet in height and over six hundred pounds in muscle, the second was not as tall as the first still dwarfed the three entering the room and appeared to be more machine than man. the final was a human, civilian by the way he was dressed, a representative of the refugees now living amidst the ruins of History Isle.

    "Both of you listen, I understand full well supplies are scarce and their numbers only continue to dwindle. However fighting with each other won't cause anymore to spring from the air," stated the giant. It was clear that they walked in on a dispute, "Severdus has given us as much as he possibly could and as frequently as he can do so. So take only what you absolutely need and make it last as long as possible."

    The Tech-Priest bowed, red robes shifting as he did so, the other simply turned his back and left. "Do try not to antagonize them Pratus, we are trying to protect them after all."

    "It appears we have guests Grandmaster" the red robed machine replied

    "I know" the giant turned to face his new guests "So, I understand you all came to see me, I'm curious as to why."
  5. While Celcius didn't actually hear anything, she felt a perceptible shift in the air, signs of magic in usage. Looking at the two arguing with the guards, she saw their heads perk up as if some unheard voice had called their names. Telepathy, she thought to herself. The two, seemingly enlightened by the voice, relayed a set of orders to the guard, beckoning for her to follow as well. Lead on by the mental tug that she had been following all this time, she followed the two to see one of the tallest non-mutated humans she had ever seen. Vague memories flashed dimly through her mind, a dark, robed man who stood as tall as this; an ancient ship filled with creatures of all sorts and races, some blending easily from one form to another; explosions that rocked the earth around her. She grasped at the memories, but they flowed through her mental fingers, remaining tantalizingly out of her grasp.

    Suddenly, a blinding headache raged, making her stomach twist sickeningly, but Celcius steeled herself, willing herself not to show pain. Still, hints of a grimace flashed across her face as she tried to regain her composure before the meeting turned to the newcomers.

    "It appears we have guests, Grandmaster" one of men, figuratively, stated. The giant acknowledged and turned to the guests, curious as to why they had come. By now, the raging headache had dulled to an intense throbbing, still painful but nowhere near as painful as before. She looked to the other two, but they seemed content to let her go first. Gritting her teeth against the pain, she took a step forward to address the giant.

    "I'll be quick. My name is Celcius. I've been led to you, specifically, to assist you in any way possible. While I have little knowledge of my past or even who I really am, the force guiding me tells me that I'll find the answers to my questions with you"

    With that, she stepped back to allow the two men to speak.
  6. Purgatory led Tyler into the tent. Purgatory was not completely thrilled with those that had survived, they had always been a difficult people. None the less he knew they would need their help until his and Tyler's powers were restored.

    Tyler simply stood there. He did not react to the argument or anything else. He simply waited.

    Because of this, Purgatory was the first to speak. "It would probably be more convenient for you if we had as little to say as Celcius, but that is not the case. We are here to discuss what has been done to stop the death of this world."

    Tyler interrupted Purgatory, "What he means, is that before we can say what it is we want to do, we must know what has been done. So I will inquire, what has been done in the effort of saving this realm?"

    Purgatory commented on Tyler's question, "Of course, that is after we are through with introductions. I am the Basilisk Lord of Anirune, Purgatory. My compatriot is the Phoenix Lord of Anirune, Tyler Crane." Purgatory's eyes flashed stone gray for a second, "Before you answer our question, would it not be polite of you to tell us your name Grandmaster?" Purgatory then inquired.
  7. "In all actuality, It would be less convenient," Karsikan responded. "However I suppose Introductions are in order, My Name is Grandmaster Karsikan Banrae, beside me is Archmagos Pratus Akadia of the Cult Mechanicus.

    "He paused for a moment, gathering his words he chose to address Celcius first, "Any aid is welcome, though I regret to say I have many questions and few answers at this juncture." He turned to Tyler and Purgatory next, "I do not have the exact details, but I could feel something wrong when I first arrived, A shadow, enveloping the world. I still cannot place it exactly. As for the events of history, I arrived in the middle of the short lived Elder Invasion, great stone spiders descended from the unknown and disgorged thousands. It was as if by miracle, at least to the foolish masses, that Diana arrived on the Afta space station and defeated the Elders. Factions arose; some believed she was stealing the memories of this world's inhabitants, others were zealously devoted to her, and a third group tried to mediate at first, but were destroyed." Karsikan sighs in exasperation before continuing, "the fools didn't care, they only saw their own side of their petty argument. It was then that Commander McCarthy decided to evacuate those who would come here, and I followed shortly afterwards. What scant reports we were able to collect showed that the world was consumed by conflict, war after war, It didn't matter why, or who. At first I thought the blood god had turned his gaze here, but I was thankfully wrong."
  8. "Petty arguments of petty men in a petty world," was Purgatory's response to Karsikan. "All arguments are petty, and such we are all petty men working to save our petty world."

    "Be that as it may," Tyler took over, "Conflict is not uncommon in any realm, as it is necessary for a realm to be dynamic to survive. We have a theory that it was a particular war that lead to this point. The war where last we were seen. At the apex of the Admin War, the king of madness took the sword of Iwaku and destroyed the cycle. Such as it is, without something crucial the world was doomed." Tyler finished.

    "So, we need to find a way to establish a new cycle." Purgatory continued, "We do not have the information necessary to do it, but we have some ideas. The first thing we should do, is find the core of Iwaku. Considering the state of this isle compared to mainland Iwaku, I would say here is as good a place as any. We will probably need two other things for this task, the Mad King's sword, Ouroboros, and the sheath made for the sword of Iwaku. Those two artifacts have always been of importance in the history of Iwaku."
  9. "The fuck is a sheathe?"

    "It's what you put a sword in."

    Marvin sat on his combat helmet, rolling a cigarette as he frowned. "And how the fuck's it s'posed to help?"

    Jake winced as he lowered himself onto the stretcher bed. There were hundreds of them lined along the beach, while other shelters had been built between the old ruins. Everything was haphazard and inadequate, but most of the survivors were just happy for a rest. Jake's back had been healed by white magic, but the reknitted ribs were still sore. He could only walk very slowly, and it hurt to lift anything. He had given his morphine ration to another survivor so now had only his friend's ignorance to soothe him. "The Sheathe had the power to block anything. Time, matter, energy, magic..."

    "Well, fuck me." Marvin licked the edge of his cigarette and sealed it. The Gunner seemed quite content, despite the layer of dirt and blood that covered him. He had been to hell and back in the last few days, but just sitting on this beach with his balls protected by his helmet and a nice wide open space was his idea of paradise.

    Jake shook his head. The sun had brought out the paleness of his hair and skin. "The Sheathe was taken into the Mountains to be protected by the Vikings. That was after Shifter Town got wiped off the earth. I don't even know if the convoy made it." Jake gave a little gasp as he lay back on the stretcher, bringing one arm across his eyes to shield from the sun.

    "You okay there, buddy?" Marvin asked, careful to not let on how concerned he really was. He had nearly lost his best friend back there, when the Eldar fell on top of the engineer and almost snapped his spine. Without Jake, Marvin would be the lonliest son of a bitch that ever drew breath.

    "I gotta find them, Marv."

    "Ah, hell. I bet you now, your kids are running round one of those big old spaceships up there. And your wife? Shit... remember your birthday party when she grabbed my balls for taking two burgers? A woman who grips that hard, man - she ain't gonna miss no evacuation ship."

    Jake kept his arm across his face. "Next time there's a spider in the bathtub, I'm getting the kids to pick it up."

    "Amen, brother." Marvin said as he lit up, managing one puff before a shadow fell over him. "Oh, hey Sarge."

    Sergeant Spears had removed his top to reveal a chiselled chest dripping with sweat. At the centre of his chest the tattoo of a chariot was clear, like a Tarot Card carved in his flesh. He dropped a kit bag between the two men and his half-asleep eyes fixed them both. "No ISAF units in situ. They must still be airborne. Looks like we're stuck here for a while." His voice was smooth and mantra-like, almost as if he was reciting a battle prayer. Opening the kit bag, he passed a rifle to Marvin before taking one for himself and checking the chamber. There were more supplies inside the bag. Clearly the sergeant had been on a scavenging run.

    "So what's the plan, Sarge?" Jake muttered as he lay on the stretcher.

    "You rest up, Private. Marvin and I will see what we can find out."

    "Shit, Sarge, I just got comfortable!" Marvin complained, but Spears had long grown immune to his moaning.

    "Far as I can tell, we've got Space Marines running the show. Man named Banrae's the top dog and he's putting plans in motion."

    "Karsikan Banrae?" Jake's arm came away from his face, "He was one of the guys who went with Asmodeus to investigate the Elders."

    "You a fucking history buff now?" Marvin asked his friend.

    Spears slung his rifle. "Looks like he's the only one who made it out." Slipping a pistol into his side holster, he got to his feet and donned his combat jacket. The sergeant's body was a mess of wounds, Noob blood and rockdust, but his eyes, though half-closed, were perfectly alert. He looked to the DFAC shelter on the higher ground beyond the beach, where there had been activity for most of the morning. "Marvin, let's move."

    "Fuck," the gunner muttered, tossing away his cigarette and slapping on his helmet.

    "Jake, guard the camera."

    "Got it." Jake pulled the kit bag under his stretcher and continued laying as still as possible. "And remember, Marvin: Space Marines are the tanks you can't steer."

    "Ah, go fuck yourself," his friend muttered as he hurried to follow the sergeant up the beach.
  10. Threads of tangible darkness breached the ground just shy of the edge of the beach with no effect save their sudden appearance. After twisting aimlessly for a few moments, they abruptly bent as if to grip the very ground they sprang from and flexed. The packed sand bulged and burst upward in a spray of grit, a man-shaped figure shooting upward to ground level, its figures hidden by the formless, chilling darkness that clung to him and reached out in sinister streamers. The figure stepped forward onto more solid sand as the hole from which it came began to fill in with newly-loose sand.

    With a gesture, the darkness dissipated into nothingness and revealed a man of average height with long, black hair wearing a long coat with an armored torso. The coat was the rusty-brown color of dried blood and covered with black lines that arced and jagged with seemingly no sense or reason, and seemed to match not only the man's boots (which looked disturbingly like they'd been black until he'd allowed blood to dry on them one too many times) but the man's irritated expression as well. The illusion of hostile dignity lasted until he began hacking and spitting sand out of his mouth and brushing sand off himself in between.

    Then, finally getting enough grit out of his mouth and throat to properly speak, he spit out a single syllable that somehow contained a symphony of gut-wrenching dissonance and subsonics. He was momentarily engulfed by ethereal flame that seemed to swallow the light as it burned, and when it dissipated he shook his shoulders and twitched his sleeves to resettle his coat. A few bits of glass fell out of crevices, but no grit.

    He looked around, the irritated look returning to his face, though he didn't look quite so hostile anymore, magical display notwithstanding. Looking around, he saw a pair of men hurrying in his direction - past his current position, presumably - away from what looked like a refugee camp on the beach. He turned to them and cleared his throat to be sure he had their attention - not that he probably didn't ayways, but it was always good to be sure.

    "You two! Where are we? I seem to be a bit lost."
  11. "Fuck, Sarge, it's that Chaos dude."

    Marvin slowed a little so he was deliberately behind the shoulder of his drill sergeant - not exactly hiding but clearly happy for his superior to take the lead. Spears, meanwhile, had his rifle in the half-raised position - to match his eyelids - and turned a scrutinous gaze upon the newcomer who shedded glass like an incompetent diamond thief.

    "You're at Camp Moses - the only place that isn't lost."

    His rifle relaxed as he got to the top of the dune and stood beside the stranger, giving a slight nod of introduction. "Sergeant Spears," then he peered over his shoulder. "Gunner Marvin."

    Marvin got up beside them and, again, deliberately hovered behind his Sergeant.

    "Mainland's gone critical," Spears said, looking back at the man. "I take it you jumped before the bombs fell?"
  12. Ricarten gave the Sergeant a blank look as the man spoke. "Clearly, I am considerably more lost than I thought," he said sardonically. He ran his gaze appraisingly over the two men - soldiers, obviously enough, as evidenced both by their bearing (well, the Sergeant's bearing, anyways) and by their introduction. Their weapons seemed to consist of a single crossbow stock - sans working parts - apiece, though he rather expected that there was something about them that wasn't readily apparent to him. If only because of the way the sergeant held his like a loaded crossbow.

    "Ricarten Merillsson," he said without preamble, "Nether-mage. Hmm. Well, since I'm not going to try teleporting again - the Dark Gods only know where that would leave me - I suspect I aught to make myself useful. Who's in charge around here?"
  13. The Sergeant's finger moved away from his 'crossbow' trigger. He was studying the newcomer's dialect, the eye shape, the length of the fingers and even the quality of his coat. There was nothing to suggest Noob heritage, although teleportation was the prime weapon in the arsenal of the Hijacker Noobs. What little Spears had seen in the Intel suggested that there was a common pattern to the attacks. A Hijacker would appear, scout the location, then widen his teleportation field to bring in heavier troops such as Trolls and Flamers.

    If this man was an assassin, he was both stupid and clever - a perfect cover but a foolish strategy. There was nothing to suggest that the Elders had any interest in the refugees. The ISAF ships had escaped without resistance, and Temple Island itself had been ravaged more than a week ago. The archives had been raided, the guardians killed, the Temple burned.

    But there was one valuable thing here. Karsikan. And Spears had a few qualms about leading this 'Ricartan Merillsson' right to him. But the Sergeant's gut had kept him on the right path ever since this war began, and now once more he let himself be led by it.

    He felt that this man was one of them.

    With a nod, Spears led the way across the dune, walking ahead of Ricarten. "That's where we're heading. A Space Marine named Karsikan - the only survivor of an advanced mission into Insanity territory. From what we know, ground forces are non-existent. Iwaku has three fleets remaining: The ISAF fleet, currently airborne over the eastern oceans beyond this island. The Teknikkan Fleet, based at the Gosai Mountains with the Vikings and the survivors of Shifter town. They're protecting the Sheathe of Iwaku. The third asset is the Barship, the most advanced warship in the realm, but it's yet to confirm contact."

    Marvin brought up the rear, glancing uncertainly at Ricarten as they moved. "He looks like Chaos," the Gunner muttered, before getting distracted by all the sand in his boots. "Fucking deserts!"

    They reached the DFAC tent and Spears halted before the two Space Marines who guarded the opening. Seven foot tall, armour plates gritted with sand and clutching boltguns the size of Spears's leg, the two men were definitely not ones to be sweet-talked.

    "Shit, man," Marvin whispered and slipped ever-so-slightly behind Ricarten.

    Spears, meanwhile, looked up at them with the nod of one warrior to the next. "Sergeant Spears of the ISAF. Requesting permission to join the briefing."
  14. A few flickers of light... A glitter of hope.

    Rona had finally regained consciousness. She awoke to find herself fully enclosed in what she can swear could be some kind of coffin, with streaks of light outlining what looks like a hatch. Dirt and stone had somehow breached this pod, and for all Rona could know, she might have been in here for days. Rona quickly came to the realization that placing her inside this god-forsaken pod was the very reason the Teknikans had sedated her.

    Those Imperial Scum.

    She reached forward with both her hands, and with a single nudge, the front hatch of the pod tipped over and fell into the sand. Rona then slouched out to see the world before her, only to be met with the scorching rays of the sun. Mildly irritated, she lay back, only to find that she had slammed against her old weapons. Ouch! She quickly turned her head back, to see that these were exactly the weapons she had on her when she was imprisoned. Her blade and rifle were wrapped in what she could identify as her old mantle, stained with amber and grease. Lying next to each other were her personal flask and concussion pistol, just like good friends. And alone in one corner of the small pod's interior was a sheathed knife.

    Ugh, do Teknikans always think of a 'glorious death?' Oh well, at least they're merciful. For being such a big shit stain on the universe, of course...

    Rona lurched forward, and stepped out of the pod with all the energy she could muster. She quickly grabbed her mantle and wrapped it around herself, and tore one of the safety belts of her pod to jury-rig a strap for her rifle. She then wore the newly strapped rifle on her right shoulder down to her left hip. Tearing another of the pod's safety belts, Rona did the same for her sheathed scimitar, and wore the strap on her left shoulder downwards to her right hip. She then attached her pistol, knife, and flask to her belt loops.

    Sigh, this is surely going to be a field day...

    Each muscle forced into motion, and every inch of distance covered, slowly became taxing for Rona. She began to realize that the sedative had indeed put her into a slumber for days, and it left her both hungry and thirsty. It wasn't serious yet, but she already felt its implications. Her flask was obviously empty, drained of its contents long before she was even dumped onto this hell hole. Rona turned her back once more, towards the world outside, and all she saw was a hellscape for the eyes: a monotonous wasteland of dirt, rock, and debris, all baking under the heat of Iwaku's star. She wasn't going to find supplies soon.

    Inconvenient. Almost despair-inducing, too.

    Yet Rona pressed herself. It just wasn't the way for her people to give up like this. The mere fact that she hadn't been torn apart by an Imperial onslaught was already a blessing. This should not be a problem for Rona, provided the environment doesn't turn against her as well.

    Rona walked, with all her heart, into the sunlit haze.
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  15. The Grey Knights guarding the DFAC entrance moved their halberds aside, "The briefing has just begun," inside they joined the briefing that was already in progress. "These ruins have little usable information, and even that was more mythological than anything else." Pratus Interjected into the conversation, his voice a human with a mechanical timbre. "So I would begin with what can these items truly do, as opposed to the myth,"

    Karsikan greeted the new arrivals after Pratus had finished, "Welcome to the briefing Sergeant," he nodded, enhanced eyes noting the rank insignia immediately.

    "I suppose my next question would be the mechanics of this feat. Once we have both the sword and the sheathe, what would be our next step?"


    The stormraven soared by, conducting one of it's scant few scouting runs of the area around Camp Moses. "Brother-Captain, I have spotted something."
    "What is it Brother?"
    "It would appear to be an escape pod."
    "Set down nearby."

    The stormraven descended from the clouds and set down at standard distance, fifty meters, from the abandoned pod. Brother-Captain Arkhain Talos stepped from the stormraven, Nemesis Daemonhammer resting on his shoulder. Physically he was no different from the space marine standard, except that he carried a weight with his presence, like his strength came from something more than just himself. Behind him followed five purifiers, each carrying twin nemesis falchions and the standard wrist-mounted stormbolter. They cordoned off the area immediate to the pod while Captain Talos approached the crashed pod. He reached out a single hand and ran it over the surface, his eyes rolling into the back of his head.
    "Teknikan....prisoner....high ranking" he muttered, his psychic senses reaching out and reading the pod's recent memories, "strength...warrior....female," The last one came as a surprise to him "come brothers we are done here," his eyes stopped for a fraction of a second to the tracks leading from the pod.

    They flew low, following the path of the tracks until the stormraven rocketed over a lone female in the desert and banked quickly before setting down several meters in front of her, This time only Talos exited from the stormraven's rear hatch, hammer still held one handed over his shoulder, and strode toward her, left hand raised to indicate he had no violent intent.
  16. The wasteland was seemingly endless. For Rona, each step was already feeling like the tick of a timer.

    A timer that will ultimately ring upon her death.

    Rona could feel herself crumple under the weight of the load she was carrying. Under normal circumstances, carrying only weapons would be bearable, but the deprivation Rona is putting up with is soul-crushingly intense. She could barely gather the strength to think anymore. The only kind of deprivation lacking now would be that of life. She was already panting. She sought only two things now.

    Food. Water.

    Her vision had started to form a haze of its own, as if the dust and heat hadn't already blurred perception by themselves. The dead colors of the environment were getting duller and darker - something Rona would consider to be more dead than dead. Rona began stumbling and slouching, the intense pain and resulting confusion taking its toll on her. It was then that she heard a loud roar, like that of thunder, but it was continuous. Something was moving in her direction. She could care less.

    Until it soared past her. Rona could swear that she saw a big black bird, one that looked like a raven. But ravens don't roar, not like that. It quickly assumed a position in front of Rona and perched itself. She tried to put herself together as much as her body and mind could allow, and saw a massive armored figure emerge from the giant bird. So great was the state of confusion Rona was in, that she couldn't even tell where this... man walking up to her came from. Rona looked up at the armored figure approaching her, and saw his left arm raised. From what she could discern, everything on this mystery man's person was shining - even his weapon. She could care less.

    Rona knelt in exhaustion, raised her head, and slowly closed her eyes, gasping. She could care less about anything that happens to her now.

    "Please... just...!" Rona croaked.

    Just as the Grey Knight was about to speak, Rona fell on her side to the ground, still gasping desperately.

    She was quickly giving in.
  17. Sergeant Spears approached the canteen table as sand grains tumbled from his boots and uniform. His rifle was back-slung and his jacket open to show the red tattoo of the Wheel of Fortune that covered his chest. His half-closed eyes surveyed the others at the briefing.

    Grandmaster Banrae, the eight foot Space Marine, and his Tech Priest advisor. A pale and robed woman with tattoos on her hands. And a man even paler, with grey hair and no eyes.

    The old heroes had truly passed.

    As Gunner Marvin hovered in the corner with Ricarten, the Sergeant glanced at the maps and supply rosters on the table. And then, with the certainty that he alone now spoke on the ISAF's behalf, Spears addressed the Grandmaster. "The last time anyone saw the Sword of Iwaku, it was buried in the world's core beneath the vaults of Nerf Castle. And the Sheathe... if it still survives, was being held in the Gosai Mountains."

    The Sheathe at the highest point, the Sword at the lowest. The irony was not lost on anyone inside the tent.

    "One mission would take you into Insanity. The other into the warzone on the mainland."

    His finger lingered on the map, and for a moment his brow creased, as if a thousand crossroads had come amidst his thoughts. But then he looked up at the Grandmaster once more. "My last orders were to safeguard the ISAF civilians on this island. Twelve of us are combat-ready and I remain the highest ranking NCO. If there's a chance to stop the cataclysm, we'll follow you."
  18. Flashback

    "She's planned this all along! I've been watching her, that rotten bitch!" One of the inmates proclaimed.

    His reward was a punch across the face by one of the retainers, and was routinely shackled and dragged back into his cell. More guards gathered in the hall to strike down any more troublemakers. The billowing smoke was thick and caused irritation to any unaided eye, but every Teknikan enforcer in the hall was covered head to toe in hazmat gear. The other inmates were still violently resisting; each gathering of them, down to every individual, seemed to act in accordance to their own selfish agendas.

    One of the prison ship's many wardens strode into the scene, clad entirely in a black combat suit, his face masked entirely by the lightning motif-streaked helmet he wore. Each step he made was followed by an ominous clang, and wherever he went, his subordinates would give pause. One of the inmates struggled against the prison guards until he suddenly noticed the foreboding presence of the warden. So terrible was the silent gaze of the warden's helm visor that the now awe-inspired inmate immediately fell on his back, trembling.

    "S-sir Eugene..." The inmate murmured. He squealed when the warden drew a pistol and directed its aim at his head. "Ah-ah-I'll t-tell you an'thing!" Eugene cocked his weapon, and declared with a muffled voice, "Once you decide to do something, you gotta commit. And I don't think you are making a good decision. Come on. Sell me."

    The inmate was still trembling, and stuttered too many times for Eugene to count. "S-ss-ssss-ssomeone's trying to take control of th-th-this shit-" One of the guards cut his speech short with a single application of a shock baton to the belly. The inmate tried to gather himself again, but was still in a panic. The prison guards around him were clearly still enraged. "Luh-luh-a lot of m-m-mah homes point to that red menace. I never gu-gu-got in on any of their plansss, s-ss-sir! Honest to God!"

    "Good." Eugene pulled the trigger, and his weapon administered a tranquilizer to the inmate's side.

    The smoke was thick enough for Rona and her companions to withdraw from the act they had just perpetrated. Many prison guards have their attention on the big brawl that ensued, but there were still more to come. Others may have just resumed their patrols, to track down any stragglers. Rona had to stay vigilant.

    "Major..." One of Rona's former comrades-in-arms, Elise, addressed her. "We need to get more of the prisoners to cooperate..." Rona looked upon Elise with pitiful eyes as she listened. Elise had her right arm torn from her by the Blue Immortal, and though the remains were treated by her captors, Rona could still never let go of the feeling that Elise herself felt that very moment - a valiant act of defense and defiance, reciprocated by intense pain. Rona still wonders how Elise still has the grace to remain at her side as an advisor.

    "I share your sentiments, but..." Rona suddenly caught sight of a three-man guard patrol passing through the hallway intersection in front of her. "Shh!"

    One of the guards immediately noticed Rona and called out, "Hey! Stop right there! Don't try anything!" Rona quickly retaliated with a boot to the guard's head, sending him drifting backwards and knocking him out.

    "Nope." Rona's companions followed suit, charging at the remaining two Teknikan guards. All of those who followed Rona to this point were former Alliance troopers, and they wouldn't let the poster girl down.

    The foremost of the two guards leapt forward and gripped his taser, but was met by a somersault from Elise. The last guard wasted no time in making contact with his fellows. "This is Patrol DN-94, we have stragglers in Block 21. I repeat-" The guard fended off the inmates, but to no avail. Three of them pinned him down, and a fourth beat him several times until he was out cold.

    "We have to keep moving. They'll be all over here pretty soon!"

    "No shit."
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