Iwaku World - The Age of Interlude

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Asmodeus, Dec 1, 2009.

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  1. <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>The skull of a great beast had fallen in the Badlands.<p>It was the first year since the Exodus, and Iwaku was quiet. As the lines or reality moved from blur to focus, Asmodeus sat and watched the thorns grow around the skull.<p>Paorou-Sama had saved the ones he could remember... but million-fold others had perished. Their bones would form the bedrock of the new land.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>It was the second year and the people of Little Valhalla were praying for rain. The foothills were pebbled in grey, no rain nor wind to disturb the ominous rocks. Asmodeus leant against an effigy, an idol built by the viking farmers and seasoned with the weight of sweat and tears.<p>Would the rains ever come?<p>Engel and Homac were no more. This was a land without gods. A Mirror Realm lost in time and space...</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>"That's all I remember," said Daryl, sitting back with his tea. Angela busied herself in the cabin behind him, while his father was heard chopping wood for the third winter.<p>From the doorway, Asmodeus gazed at the waters of Brigadoon and folded the list of names. "Thankyou," he whispered.<p>"You look like him, you know."<P>Asmodeus nodded, then set off for the pontoon.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>When you need it again, it will find you.<P>Chaos's words echoed in the angel's mind. He knelt in the sand and placed the bundle beneath the water. His sword, Metatron, wrapped in the last rags of Lamord's robe. He cast it into the lapping tides around Temple Island.<P>He did not want to look like Lamord. He did not deserve it.<P>"I'll see ye again, Cap'n," spoke the sword. Asmodeus stifled a tear and turned away.</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>The Razilin Desert swirled, six years of dust and madness. The angel struggled on through the nuclear wastes.<p>It was only here that you could hear the voice of Goddess, siren-sweet and halfway between a mother's counsel and a damsel's screams. In the end it wasn't anything, simply a rain of mirages to confound him.<p>The sun scorched Asmodeus's flesh, and more and more his senses were betrayed. Mouth dry, skin raw, blood pounding... he dropped into the sand.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>"It's a good fit," said Aimi, one hand supporting Asmodeus's head as the other placed the mask on his face.<p>Asmodeus trembled in the Neko-Jin's arms, and through the mask he gazed at the sculptures and tapestries that lined the cavern walls. "Does she really want me to have it?"<p>"Th' Goddess pardons all crimes," answered Aimi. She set Asmodeus's head back on the pillow and stood, collecting up the bandages and water-bowls. The new year sun fell in shafts through the temple walls. "Ye've stayed here too long."<p>"Come with me... please," the angel whispered. But Aimi was already leaving.<P>"Meh place is here."<P>Asmodeus lifted a hand and touched the mask. Would even his crimes be pardoned?</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>"Who are you?!" screamed Asmodeus. A fresh blast of sand and wind brought him to his knees on the edge of the Roleplay Chasm. Darkness and phantom cries pulled at his spirit, trying to consume him.<p>And above the Chasm itself, the hovering monster stared back at Asmodeus and hissed. "The Crimson Eye will not be challenged."<P>Asmodeus held his mask against his face, keeping out the sand and dirt that whipped around him. But he could not fight the screams, the involuntary cries of horror that surged from his lungs. The Roleplay Chasm writhed, bending reality and corroding his mind. He fell forward, toppling over the edge till he hung by only his fingertips.<P>The dark creature drifted closer, whispering into the ear of the dangling angel. "The Archetypes will rise, and all who challenge will be destroyed."</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>Eight years... and still the wounds he had suffered at the Roleplay Chasm refused to heal. His skin was flecked with scars.<P>Anguished grunts were muffled by his mask as he pulled himself over the barbed wire and dropped into the mud. He had finally made it into Insanity and before him stretched the endless miles of trenches and ruins. The Soldier's Grave... that's what they called this place. Thunder roared like distant cannon, while rain and lightning imitated artillery. The whole place was a machine... a memory... an echo of war frozen forever in time.<P>Past ghostly figures, he made his way south.</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>Asmodeus clawed dirt and roots aside, panting in glee as he beheld the body of Lamord. "Still here," he whispered, "Still here."<P>"Your mind is slipping," said Paul, who stood over the grave. "You have stayed too long in Insanity."<P>"Had to be sure, yes... sure..." Asmodeus touched Lamord's face then his own, giggling as he remembered the burial, nine years ago, when he and Lamord were different.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>A year had passed on the Endless Highway. And Paul had refused to come back with him.<P> Asmodeus hauled himself over the barbed wire once more and through the swirling colours of the Mirror. In the less oppressive air of the stable realm, he became aware of the dirt still beneath his fingernails. It was crusted with the skin of vampires and ghouls who he had wrestled with on his path through Transylvania.<P>Asmodeus had been the guest of Count Katreides, a fiend who took delight in the angel's madness. The vampire family had drunk Asmodeus's blood and torn his robes and made him dance and rant for their nocturnal entertainment. And in return they had spoken to him of things arcane and esoteric, of the Crimson Eye and its hold upon Iwaku.<P>In noble houses and post-war corporations, the Cult was gaining ground.<P>His Emissaries... his old servants... it fell now to Asmodeus to stop them, to bring their scheming to an end.</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>Eleven years has passed. Asmodeus sat cross-legged in front of the willow tree at the crest of Venun Hill.<P>In eleven years it had not yet sprouted leaves. In the evening twilight it looked like a person... Asmodeus grinned, tilting his head from side to side. Yes, a person.<P>But it would not speak to him. They said the tree gave visions - prophecies of things to come. He had waited, for whispers of the Crimson Eye and the whereabouts of the last names on his list.<P>But there was nothing.<P>Far to the east, ISAF jets moved like inkblots on the horizon, and but for them the land was silent and still. He began to wonder if the last of the people had perished while he had wandered in Insanity.<P>The last days of Iwaku... the end of all stories.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>Doctor Grant passed his hipflask to Asmodeus, and when the angel did not respond he took a swig. "They're almost fully rebuilt."<P>They were sitting in the ruins of an old ISAF watchpost, looking across the valley to the borders of Dystopia. From here they could see Scrap Iron City, the finishing touches being made. Grant had just purchased a rifle, which he cleaned as he spoke. "So what can I do for you, angel?"</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>"I'm sorry, we don't know those names." The Shapeshifter handed the list back to Grant. He and Asmodeus sat with the group of Shifters, sharing food and wine around the campfire. The town was small, even after thirteen years of rebuilding, and the faces around the fire were pale, sorrowed.<P>"Is your friend okay?" asked one of the females.<P>Grant looked over at Asmodeus, who was resting his mask against a boulder and stroking the stone.<p>"No worse than any of us," the doctor answered.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>It had been a year since he and Grant had parted. The doctor had gone north in search of the last two people on the list. Asmodeus, meanwhile, had continued westward. Firebase Sparta had tagged an expedition heading into Anirune Forest, bearing the symbol of the Crimson Eye.<p>And thus the angel stumbled now through the undergrowth, struck by branches and tangled by vines. In fourteen years, the forest had grown into a sprawling chaos. He had lost the path months ago, but there was no turning back.</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>Feathers of darkness... that was all he could see in the waters of Lake Iwaku, where Woodrat's spirit lingered.<p> He had sat here for months, after the trail of his enemy ran dry.<p> But finally, after fifteen years, the vision had been granted. The creature he had seen at the Roleplay Chasm was heading for Iwaku City.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>"I'm Sozrosse," said the red-haired woman, standing with folded arms in her longcoat. "Grant says you're looking for me."<P>Asmodeus looked past the woman to the decaying archway that formed the South Gate of Iwaku City. It seemed to be struggling to hold back the trees of Anirune.<P>Asmodeus dropped a flea-bitten bag on the floor between them. "I have... artefacts... gifts for the city."<P>Sozrosse raised an eyebrow. "Mysterious benefactor, eh?"</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>[​IMG]</td><td>"Through here!" shouted Uriel as he led the charge. Asmodeus and Grant lunged after him, between the toppling pillars of the temple, before sliding down behind a barricade. <P> Uriel took potshots with his carbine, pinning down the Cultists around them. And meanwhile Grant shook Asmodeus and tried to snap him out of his trance of weeping and rocking. "You have to finish this, angel! We'll cover you! Go!" He forced Asmodeus onwards.</td></tr></table>

    <table><tr><td>"What things we become..." sighed the dark angel - the creature he had encountered at the Roleplay Chasm nine years ago.<P>Asmodeus entered the final room of the temple, looking up at the Lord of the Crimson Eye. "Thaddeus... please stop this..."<P>"We loved you Asmodeus," replied the old Emissary. "We would have followed you to the end." He dropped the head of King Rory's chief advisor, letting it roll across the marble floors as he spread his wings. "But here is your victory, my Prince. The Crimson Eye is opening. We have summoned the Archetypes, taken their forms into our own. Now the Hero shall come and bring salvation for all Iwaku."<p>Asmodeus leapt, knocking Thaddeus from the air and rolling with him behind the altar. He locked his hands around his old disciple's throat.</p>One more murder... one last sacrifice. And then, Asmodeus swore, No one else would ever die for the sake of Iwaku...</td><td>[​IMG]</td></tr></table>
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