It was over. Sakura was surprised at herself for having pulled away at the last moment and succumbing to her feeling of sickness. She was a bit ashamed, too. Rising from the ground with one arm still clutched at her queasy stomach, the girl watched Soulless' desperation to give blood to Asmodeus. She blinked a couple of times, trying to understand what was going on, but it was only the urgency of Soulless' movements that told her something was wrong.
"Asmodeus!" she exclaimed, somehow finding her voice, although uncertain and raspy, she had quickly forgotten her own sickness in lieu of his. Sakura nearly flew to the side of the table, bending over to look at his face closely, watching his breathing. She looked over at Soulless, her eyes wide and afraid. "He needs...blood? Make the heart...beat?" She attempted to decipher what the boy was saying and then, realizing with a gasp, she pressed her ear against Asmodeus' chest to listen for his heartbeat. She closed her eyes and held her breath, but she could barely hear it, the faint sounds of his life slipping away.
She didn't even look around the room to see if the doctor was going to stop or her or if Tegan or the Warmaster had something to say. She had seen Soulless' devotion, immediately rushing to Asmodeus when he saw he was pain. She was inspired to do the same. Asmodeus' life was in danger and Sakura knew one way that she could help. She moved over to his head, bent over and performed CPR.
In her mind, she was praying, pleading and begging for him to survive. For even after all that happened, Sakura knew she had seen the good in Asmodeus. And anyone with a good heart deserved to live regardless of what they had done.
Every saint has past and every sinner, a future.
[Sakura, realizing something is wrong due to Soulless' desperation, moves over to perform CPR on Asmodeus.]
Tegan glided past Sakura, and came to a stop next to the Warmaster, who had ceased to restrain Asmodeus after his heart stopped. In the space of a breath, the heel of one hand was upon his forehead, pressing it back toward the table, the fingers of her other tilting his chin upward, his lips parted as his airway opened.
Her body was a carefully composed calm, now. Every breath was even and deep, every movement was smooth, muscles in her shoulders, hands, jaw-relaxed. It was her eyes that gave it away.
They stared down at Asmodeus with an unblinking, fathomless intensity.
She knew of what he saw.
How many times had she seen it herself? The images that bled from the mind as Death's grip tightened around it. Tegan had seen it so many times, each time different from the last, and so very, very real. More real than anything she had ever felt since before. . .
She wondered if her own mind was also bleeding in Death's hand.
Tegan was so still, the others were beginning to suspect she was in some state of shock. All except Sakura, who counted breathlessly to herself with each compression to Asmodeus' chest.
Tegan took a deep, deep breath.
Her head tilted down suddenly, mouth upon his, her eyes now closed tight. The first breath rushed down his throat, forcing it to open as it travelled down, down, down-
His chest rose as the air inflated his lungs.
Then came the second.
Sakura began compressing again.
Tegan pulled away slightly, mouth still hovering above his, ready for the next wave. Her eyes were open again, staring with that unblinking, fathomless intensity.
Jumi immediately turns to return to Asmodeus as the commotion grows louder, and forgetting Kaze's words, pushes past the child, and the woman at his side. "It would seem something wants him to die something fierce..." The Doctor said casually as he moved towards Asmodeus' head. "Turn him over onto his back, and elevate his head at a twenty degree angle." Jumi ordered the Warmaster who immediately reacted to the direction, and began assisting.
"You, girl. Keep compressing his chest in rhythm, and you." He looked to Tegan. "Place your hand on his wrist, and apply light pressure to his Ulnar artery in unison to her compressions." Jumi then oved over towards Asmodeus' left side, and placed his hands on the man's neck, and began moving his fingers into, and around the varies veins of the neck in strange patterns.
Noting that Soulless was pumping the man with blood, he sighed in relief even though he wasn't quite comfortable in the fact he wasn't sure the blood would take... regardless of the assurance Soulless had given him... an old medical habit of his.
"Start breathing you bastard! I didn't risk freezing my stones off just to have a man die on the table!" Jumi said in annoyance, and began working his fingers deeper in order to assist the blood's flow, along with help from Tegan, Sakura, and Soulless.
Summary: Jumi returns to the room after hearing a ruckus, and gets back to work with help from Tegan, Sakura, and Soulless.
It was a house miles away
with foot-thick walls
encrusted in ice
in the middle of a raging blizzard
and howling winds.
Yet, he heard the screams
... and Oh, did it annoy him.
Paorou stared at the lone house, a familiar looking thing owned by someone important. Someone with an eyepatch, an annoying kid who never died. He remembered that the owner was important somehow.
He forgot everything else.
So, that house was an enigma to him. He couldn't figure out if he was allowed to destroy it or not. He thought he had attachments to this house, but couldn't justify why.
Meanwhile, the cycle was silent in his head. He heard the gears turn with an awkward pattern of sounds and creaks. He heard the angelic chorus that lacked two or three voices. This was his mentor, his guide, his patron.
... And, it too, was befuddled.
Right at that moment of doubt, a voice spoke out in the darkness.
He nodded, and raised an arm. In an instant, he was flanked by ten fanatical men, all servants of the bread god. He motioned to the house in the distance, draped in the fury of winter. They obeyed without question, and readied their weapons. The ten armored, caped bread cultists slogged through the snow, unflinching and unafraid. Their lord and god scrutinized them as they set off on their journey, looking for signs of doubt or weakness.
As foretold, there was none.
So once again, Paorou set his eyes on the house.
And he grinned.
Outside, the howling winds and the pounding of snow began to slowly fade away. It was soon replaced with the sound of dripping water and the strange, distorted chirping of birds.
For the few minutes it took for autumn to give way to winter, it had become spring.
Amidst the melting snow, ten men brandished their weapons and began to climb the house's foundations. Their ascent followed by the blooming of strangely shaped crimson eyes.
The hours passed as only they could, in neither bliss nor ignorance. Each second was half-felt, each thought and feeling conspirator to his end. The thoughts would build like a wave and rear above his soul, but they would never quite break, for the wounds of his body would lead him to another chamber of distress.
Pain. For the first time in over two hundred years, he understood it. And this was perhaps the greatest torment of all - to know the thing that he had visited upon the thousands of his victims. For an angel, what they called pain was a thing almost spiritual... almost erotic, a degree of separation from pleasure that only enriched the life experience.
But there was nothing enriching in these moments. As Asmodeus laid in the bed, in the highest chamber of the house, pain... mortal pain... made him feel like water. He kept every muscle loose, so that nothing would pull against the wounds, and even the covers felt too heavy. But he could not move them... it was too cold. Tegan had kept the fire fed, but there was still a draught, a freezing monster in the house, trying to get at him, trying to find ways in beneath the covers.
And just as he had not appreciated the flavour of mortal pain, nor had he appreciated the things that came with it. His injuries had sapped all strength. He could not move his back, not even in the slightest, as if when the wings had been ripped out they had taken with them all the nerve fibres and blood vessels. He could not feel anything specific, just numbness above a pool of pain. And his leg, which was splayed on its side beneath the covers, felt as heavy as lead. Whenever he breathed his ribs would ache, so he took sharp, whimpering, shivering breaths, each second bringing the panic of suffocation before he sucked in a little more air.
How could anyone feel this much... how could the mind think so many thoughts and feel so many twinges and intricacies of pain? Surely it would crack... his mind would crack... and he would become as wasted as the beasts that roved the Madlands. Two hundred and twenty eight years... a single living brain enduring all those days, compensating for agonies in an unclear world.
How could he even leave this bed now?
He was barely conscious of what had happened, but he knew they had saved his life... all of them. Without Kaze he would never have made it here alive. Without the Warmaster's strength, he would never have been restrained for surgery. Without Sakura his heart would have stopped. Without Tegan his lungs would have given out. Without Soulless the infections would have killed him. And the surgeon... the white-haired surgeon... out here in the middle of madness.
It was as true now as it was before: The Cycle would not let him die. But perhaps, after all, its reasons were not ones of archetypes and meta-legends. It had kept him alive merely to torment him.
The bastard child of the Cycle, raised so high and brought so low.
Asmodeus pulled the covers higher and curled up. He did not see the ice begin to melt.
[SUMMARY: A few hours after being resuscitated, Asmodeus lies in bed feeling like crap]
Soulless quietly sat by Asmodeus, managing to crawl and hop his way up the stairs to the highest chamber. He had refused to talk to anyone else, silver eye gazing down only on the man he had given blood to, whimpering as each life-giving breath only brought him more pain and more suffering. He could not explain it, but being in this man's presence for these past hours had weakened him. He did not know how or why, perhaps it was the aftereffects of Confluence. Regardless, he shook his exhaustion off, suddenly tired after so many hours of chaos and concentration. He felt heavy and sleepy. He twitched and awoke again when the sleeping angel shifted and curled up, cuddled into the sheets so much like a small mammal, breathing just as shallow and fast.
He had been waiting here for the man to awaken. In one hand clutched a sheet of paper that he had painted on what felt like an eternity ago, but in reality the paint had just fully dried. Also with him papers, canvases, paintbrushes and paint were organized in a neat fashion to entertain the man when he awoke. The child of Insanity wanted to see the man paint again, perhaps thinking it would make his mind at ease when now it seemed so tortured and filled with the suffering of too much. For now, however, nothing could be done and so he sat and waited, smile still lacing his face more out of habit than emotion.
Then the world outside began to melt. Curious, he sat up and used his hands and legs in a bit of a few frog hops to the window the look outside. The world before his eye melted and flowers bloomed. Bright purple vines grew onto the window, half covering it as flowers bloomed and birds flew from the flowers as if born from them. Despite the cold suffering within, on the outside was heard the chorus warbles of birds in Insanity's own spring. But something else caught the attention of Soulless, figures from below climbing upwards of his small refuge. They looked like bread cultists. He looked around for a moment, wondering why. They knew his home was nothing significant, just the place of a child who had long been forgotten by time.
He carefully hopped back towards Jumi's precious patient and spoke softly, the way he had done every while for the past few hours, just keeping the possibly-not-even-there man up to date. "There... s-sun... warmth... outside." He spoke lightly, sounding like he was fighting his own tongue. "B-breeaad... c-c-cul... tissts. Ouuuuu ouuuutt... s-siid-d-de." He spoke softly, stuttering as he tried to communicate to the only man he had said a word to since he awoke in this house, confused and unable to remember how he had come to be here.
[Soulless notices the bread cultists and the spring outside but chooses instead to tell Asmo their presence and sit and wait for any signs of life besides pain and breathing.]
Tegan stooped to roll the hems of the baggy men's trousers up just above her ankle, then straightened back up to do the same with the sleeves of the white, button shirt, rolling the cuffs all the way to her elbows. She had to abandon her old clothes: they had been ripped beyond repair, not to mention the caked layers of dust, blood and sweat (not all of it had been hers). Tegan was just grateful to have found the trunk of clean clothes, and that the water in the pipes had kept from freezing, allowing them to wash up.
Her nerves were finally starting to settle, and Tegan toyed with the idea of catching an hour of sleep before it was her turn to watch Asmodeus. Clutching the iron key to her house in her hand, Tegan closed her eyes for a moment, and took a deep breath, every muscle finally relaxing. The key brought her comfort; it was a reminder that if things got too bad, she could always go back to her sanctuary. If she only knew that key was now all that was left of her home. She let the object go, let it disappear inside the collar of her shirt, tied around her neck with red string.
Yes, a little sleep would do her some good.
When did it get so warm?
Tegan looked to the window to see clear, blue sky, her brows arching in confusion. It was Insanity, after all, she really shouldn't have been surprised at the sudden change in weather. In fact, she was relieved at this sudden development.
She was out of the room within a second, rushing down the hallway as fast as she could, banging on doors to occupied rooms as she went.
"We've got company!" Her voice reverberated through the old house, the wallpaper print fleeing from sight in surprise.
The door to Asmodeus' room swung open, the woman stood in the doorway for a moment, taking stock of the room, her gaze finally resting on Soulless. Her brow furrowed with concern at his current state. He didn't seem to be able to move about very well at the moment.
In a flash, she was next to a heavy armoire, bracing it with her arms and angling her body to give her legs more leverage. With a grunt and a burst of adrenaline, she managed to push the armoire across the floor, the wood creaking in protest. Soon, the only light left in the dim room came from the fireplace. Tegan had blocked the only window with the furniture.
There was no time to do much else, the house was too big to block all of the entrances before the intruders reached them. The only thing they could do, she supposed would be to try to keep them from getting to the top floor. That could be managed, if they sealed off the level-maybe. Tegan cast a glance at Asmodeus' tormented form underneath the sheets.
He was in no condition to be moved, much less fight. Someone would have to stay with him, to protect him.
"Shit," Tegan hissed and stepped back into the hallway, waiting for the others to assemble so that they could plan their attack. They didn't have long.
Summary: Tegan finds some spare clothes before spotting the bread cult members as well. She alerts the others as she heads to Asmo's room, and sets about securing the area. She waits for the others to catch up so that they can form a strategy.
"Where am I? What is this place?"
The slim figure of a male approached Soulless' house, taking step after step through the endless snow. Why was it so cold here? And where...was here, anyway? Kitti pulled him through a portal...That was the last thing he could remember. Casting that thought aside, the blue-haired neko continued onward, the snow crunching under his feet. He sighed out loud,
"Why does it have to be snooooooooooow?...I'm not dressed for snow..."
He had been travelling through Insanity for over an hour, looking for some signs of life, someone who could help him, and this one house...This solitary show of civilization was all he had been met with. His slow footsteps turned to running, the tonfa on his arms clinking as they met each other occasionally.
As he finally got within distance of the house, he was met with the sight of several strange individuals, ten in all. Every one of them was wearing armor and a cape. Miru didn't know what was going on, but he had a bad feeling about them... But it was too early to tell. So instead of making a direct approach, Miru hid behind the home, taking care to avoid being caught in the sights of the cultists who had climbed up top.
Having prepped the medicine he'd mentioned earlier with Kaze in attendance so the young scholar could learn, Jumi returned to Asmodeus' side, and rested the numerous bowls on a table just off the side of the bed. The Doctor looked tired, and rightfully so. The great distance he'd walked in the arctic conditions added in with fighting against a man who seemed claimed for death had taken much out of him. Jumi never the less attended to the patient with persistence, and an uncommon degree of dedication.
Resting a damp cloth on Asmodeus' forehead, Jumi grabbed a bowl of green paste, and began stirring it for a few moments. Take the small wooden spoon, he dabbed a small portaion of it onto his finger, and then packed it against Asmodeus' gums, and then rested the bowl on the counter. Should the man swallow the vile tasting concoction he might get a little nauseous, but the pain would still ease. The sudden commotion from Tegan caught his attention, and he looked to her as she slid a piece of furniture across the floor to brace the door.
Sighing deeply, he reached for Sky's Hammer, and rested it against his shoulder. "Young one... take cover behind me, and stay out of sight." He said softly to Soulless, and moved towards Tegan. "What manner of Chaos sets upon us now?"
Soulless's one-eyed gaze landed upon the panicking Tegan, blocking the spring sun with a piece of furniture before running to alert everyone else. He paused a moment, frowning. Everyone wandered around him, a blurr of emotions to his tired mind. Perhaps one, somewhere inside? He shook his head and chalked it up to exhaustion and being in the man's confluence area for far too long. Then, that doctor ordered him to stay behind and be wary. Why? There was no reason to... They surely knew his home. His eye closed and he sniffed the air briefly, smelling blood, bread, chaos, and for a moment, a lingering scent of a man who had perished long ago. A lone silver eye stared up at Jumi and Tegan before his weak limbs shifted closer to the bed, closer to Asmo as if it would make the two adults calm down in a situation where, certainly, there could be nothing to panic about?
He chose to say nothing.Ethically, he should worry for the lives of those around him... but did it really matter? He could always find a way to slip out of the situation, it was his house after all. There would always be small places for him to hide away.He also had no desire to speak with them... they terrified him in a way he could not quite explain, he seeking mental nourishment where there was nothing but blood and war.If he opened his mouth to speak, who would listen to a child's words? They were adults.Even if he had something useful to communicate, his lack of ability with his lips would make the process agonizing and the others may not even understand his words.They were probably outnumbered but as far as he was concerned, they had survived thus far and could continue to live, the cycle has willed too much to let them die now.He may speak, and be correct and end trouble before it starts... or he could be wrong, and write down the end of them all as delicately as pen on paper.
The boy seemed to make a soft noise of distress at his own thoughts, as if they were not his. They were too analytical, surely they were something else. Clutching his head in a minor headache, he rested his upper body on the bed of the curled ex-angel, head resting in the folds of long abandoned sheets.
Inside, a certain restless soul growled and urged Soulless to leave and abandon the situation or at least find a safer place than by the side of a man almost dead. His words spoke analytical, answering every of the boy's wandering thoughts with five of his own urging him to be safter. Saneless wasn't sure if he could be heard, but dammit he would try.
[Soulless wonders why people are worried, gets a headache and shifts around some.Saneless causes the headache.]
As Teagan shouted her Warning the Warmaster, having found some oversized track pants in a cupboard, leaped to his feet, lead pipe gripped tightly as he jogged to the window, growling as moving furniture, blocking out the light of the sun, and the blood red eye that seemingly glared at the house, and it was then that a scent wafted from behind the barricades and into the Space Marines nostrils, the sweet smell of freshly baked bread.
"Skhorne" WMD hissed as he stepped backwards, eyes darting around the room, looking for more weak spots
"Agents of the Bread Cult, Servants of the Mad King Paorou, prepare yourselves!" he barked, standing beside the bed of Asmodeus
"Do not let them get close to Lord Asmodeus" he added, his jaw clenched and his every muscle tightened like a spring.
OOC: wmd aids in defensive preparations, noting from the eye in the sky and the smell of baked bread that they are facing bread cultists. he announces this to the others.
What in the world is going on? Sakura dropped the ladle into the sink with an exasperated sigh. She switched the stove off, covered the pot of soup with a lid and pulled herself onto the counter, standing up to get a glimpse outside. The window in the kitchen was high, along the top of the wall, making it hard for her to see unless she stood on top of the counter. She made her sure new clothes wouldn't get dirty, stepping around the small clutter of chopped vegetables. Tegan had found a trunk of clothes earlier and Sakura had eagerly slipped into a baggy t-shirt and a pair of plaid shorts that came past her knees. She took one of the socks in the trunk to tie her hair into a bun to keep it out of the way. Feeling clean and refreshed, the idea of battling Bread Cultists did not seem very appealing.
Sakura looked through the window, placing her palms against the glass. It's...spring outside? she wondered, mildly surprised at Insanity's quick change of seasons. She spotted the cultists climbing over the house and frowned. Are they really attacking? What for? Sakura bit her lip and slipped off the counter, jumping to the floor with ease. She was a Bread Cultist herself, not an entirely devoted followed of Paorou-sama, but nonetheless the Lady of Cupcakes. Are they here because of Asmodeus, maybe?
She didn't think the Bread Cult was much of a threat, but from the sounds echoing through the house, she could imagine that Tegan and the Warmaster were quite convinced to defend Asmodeus with their lives. Was Soulless with them as well? Sakura bit her lip and crossed her arms. She didn't really want to fight if she didn't have to. It seemed pretty pointless to find the Bread Cult. Moreover, why didn't they bust through the front door instead of climbing up the foundations of the house? Sakura stopped to think.
In the event that the Bread Cult really was attacking, she couldn't exactly open the front door for them. But if she managed to slip outside without giving them an obvious entry...Sakura grinned. There was only one person in this house that could help her. With a newfound excitement, she rushed along the stairways and into the room. When she walked in, she stopped at the sight of all the barricading that had been done. The way Tegan and the Warmaster stood ready was almost exactly as she had imagined. Without meaning to insult, she mock saluted both of them and giggled. Slipping to Asmodeus' bedside, Sakura moved beside the distressed Soulless.
"Hey, Soulless," she whispered into his ear cheerfully, "Paorou-sama is outside with his breadcultists. I don't think they mean to attack Asmodeus at all, but it would be nice if we could talk to them without letting them into the house. Is there a way to do that, Soulless?" She asked, making sure that the others did not hear her whispers. She didn't want to argue with either Tegan or the Warmaster because she could see how sincerely they were defending Asmodeus. She and Soulless would just have to make it so that there wasn't any fighting involved.
Sakura glanced at Asmodeus and her eyes turned away to the ground slowly. We don't need anyone else to get hurt. It's enough already.
[Sakura leaves her cooking, she doesn't think the bread cultists aren't going to attack. She asks Soulless if there's a way to get out of the house without letting anyone in.]
He woke with a start, feeling the medicinal paste against his gums. It would turn to ash any second and he would have to spit it out before it burned him. Asmodeus tried to swallow, to move some moisture into his sandpaper-dry throat, but nothing happened. He gagged on the dryness, his throat constricting even as some of the paste slipped down it.
But the feel of ash did not come, only pain... terrible pain - something different from the breaking of bones and the tearing of flesh. He curled up, his splinted hand reaching out for Jumi, who stood with Tegan at the barricaded window. And as he reached there was a violent reaction in his body - his mouth watering, his stomach growling, his airways writhing at the smell of soup and bread.
Soulless's eye widened when that magical word was spoken. Paorou. Was here. Alive. His eye darted around, looking for an avenue of how to best sneak off. However, he was interripted by an excited Sakura. She asked what he was thinking and it confirmed what he hoped. Paorou was here! Paorou was here! He felt like jumping for joy. The angel forgotten in his mind, he looked at the others focused on defending themselves. Grinning, he looked around and struggled open what loked to be a closet but inside was a flight of stairs. He leaped onto the stairs, expecting the woman to follow as he half walked, half fell down the stairs. At once point he leaped off the fall of stairs and onto what looked like a door in a wall. With his weight, he forced the door open and free-fell outside, his body caught by some pink moss on another floating platform of stones that floated along the house.
He sighed happily and looked at the cultists, waving his arms. "Heeeeeey!!" He shouted, looking around for any sign of Paorou with an eagerness that denied his previous exhaustion. The child of Insanity's eye was alight with hope and excitement. After so much time away, he would finally meet his precious Paorou once more... then this entire situation would be solved, they could live together again and he could be happy...
Tegan's eyes widened when Soulless suddenly sprang to life and made a quick exit through a secret passage. She briefly contemplated following him, because she still doubted exactly what side he was on, but it was too late now. At least they now knew of an alternate route out, in case they were overwhelmed.
"We can't let them get too far into the house, but there's no way we can secure anything from within," she spoke to them all, turning to Sakura and the Warmaster. "We'll have to stop them before they get inside. If you two can defend from the outside and the lower level, I can provide you back up from the mid-level of the house, should you need it, or should they enter."
"Jumi," Tegan turned her attention back to the doctor, "can you stay here, with him?" She motioned to the groaning Asmodeus. "He is experiencing the effects of being in a mortal body, and he does not understand them. He needs one of us to look after him." If Jumi could not, she would trade places with him. The man looked to be more than capable of fighting, but he was too valuable to risk losing.
Sakura glanced at Soulless as he scrambled down a secret passage. She looked back at Tegan as the woman tried to come up with a strategy. It's now or never... She figured, at this rate, if she didn't get out with Soulless now she'd be trapped barricading the bedridden man. Sakura rose from where she was crouched on the ground and rushed over to Asmodeus' bedside.
"You'll be okay. Just take a deep breath and stay calm... As soon as this is over, I've made you some soup. So bear with it..." she leaned forward, looking closely at his face. There was something new about the way she regarded him, Sakura realized. She took the hand he had reached out towards Jumi and gently brought it down upon the bed. "At least you're alive, ne?" she smiled cheerfully, "And we're all here to take care of you so you'll be fine." She stepped away from the bed, her fingers slowly slipping away from the bedsheets. She looked over at Tegan and the Warmaster with a quiet smile.
She reached back to make sure everything on her belt was strapped in place. Strapped through the shorts she'd found was a gem-studded belt holding her batarang and customized gun. Her daggers, their holster, and her messenger bag with supplies was downstairs.
With a smile, Sakura tilted her head to one side and placed her palms together, looking over at the others, "Ah, yeah, yeah. I've got your back!" she exclaimed, twirling around and jumping into the small passage and running down the staircases. She could hear Soulless' shouting down below and grinned. Looks like he's spotted Paorou-sama. Time to figure out whether they're friend or foe! Clasping her hand around the heart-shaped locket in her neck, she waited as it released itself into her wand and grabbing it as she neared the bottom of the stairs. One of her Sakura Cards flew out of the small card-pouch on her belt and into her outstretched hand. "Jump!" she called out, tapping the card with her wand. The colors came to life, winds rushed through the wand and onto the card, unleashing bright lights that swirled about to form little wings on adjacent sides of her feet.
She fell through the opening, using Jump to hover in the air and land on the ground slowly. She looked over at the cultists climbing over the house.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing?" she demanded.
[Sakura speaks to Asmodeus and follows Soulless through the secret passage, addressing the cultists outside.]
Sakura jumped outside, but didn't expect to see that the bread cultists had already positioned themselves in key places around the house. She saw their bronze armor and weather-beaten aprons against a distorted, colorful background of strange flowers in bloom.
When she landed to address them, only two or three even turned to face her. They looked serious and scarily focused on their goal. Yet, she yelled at them anyway. She demanded to know what was going on.
What she didn't see, was that a bread cultist, hidden behind the chimney, had been taking aim all this time.
She heard a gunshot ring in her ears, and a speeding piece of hardened, brown bread had torn off her right sleeve with a great force. It was surprising enough to cause her to fall off balance.
As she fell on the ground, she heard a great shout:
Bread for the bread god, scones for the scone throne.
Inside the house, Tegan, Kaze and the Warmaster had just taken their positions when cultists jumped in through the windows and smashed open the doors with their power pins. Wicked energy danced on their weapons, and a snarl was present on every scarred face. Immediately, they smashed aside furniture in their path with their powerful clubs, pulverizing many on impact.
In the first floor alone, Seven had emerged from these holes in the walls.
They wasted no time, engaging each opponent they could see in bloody melee. Two cultists each engaged Kaze and Tegan. The Warmaster himself was taken by an onslaught of three screaming cultists.
On the second floor, Jumi and Asmodeus were not spared from the tension - they could hear footsteps on the roof. they could hear the muffled litanies of the feast of blood, of the baker at war.
They heard it more clearly than the countless screaming from down below.
Sakura struggled to get back on her feet as she saw the sniper load the next round into his rifle. Each millisecond passed, agonizingly stretched before her eyes. She had to move quickly, or the next shot would splatter her.
[SUMMARY: Sakura doesn't get to do much as she is shot, and knocked to the ground by an unexpected sniper on the roof. she doesn't get any injuries though, just torn clothes.
But she doesn't get to react as Cultists rush into the house as she is knocked down. Two each engage kaze and tegan, and three engage warmaster in melee.
Asmo and Jumi don't get to relax as they hear footsteps on the roof.
Meanwhile, Sakura struggles to get on her feet as the sniper prepares his next shot.]
An age of dreams had passed, and in its place had come weight and coldness. This was no glorious charge nor shimmering battle. This was crude and bleak and utterly, utterly heartless. Not one of the monsters that stormed the house did so for ideals or archetypal philosophies. The came simply to kill, to crush the life from another and tread them into the mud of obscurity.
Asmodeus's cry was sharp as he hit the wooden floorboards. He had rolled himself from the bed, terror working against his better judgement. He felt his broken ribs pushed anew against his organs, and a lot of his weight had come onto his splinted fingers. His back muscles were straining as they sought to flap the phantom wings that could bear him aloft. And his leg was a dead weight. That which was not numb was rippled with pain. Tears stung hot in his eyes as he dragged himself into darkness.
Under the bed... away from the thumping sounds of the monsters on the roof... away from the distracted surgeon and the shattering windows. Into darkness, the primal mother, that which had comforted man from before the time they could reason and calculate.
He was a child again, sheltering in the smallest space that he could find. He curled up, clutching his ribs and his fingers, shivering despite the spring bloom that heralded the Cultists.
Soulless's silver eye widened as the men continued, cold and ruthless. Did they not remember him? He had believed his home was stated actively that it was his residence, it was not to be raided or harmed... but these Cultists were different. Growling softly at the man who had shot his friend, he pulled out his dagger and did not stab himself.. for the first time in a generation or so, he had to use this knife to slice the flesh of another being. His fingers were clumsy and shaking as they gave the dagger to his mouth, which gripped the hilt. Although he could not stand or even walk, he was surprisingly agile as he leaped as if a pale white cat may do onto rocks, scrambling upwards and cutting himself many times along the way without thought for it.
His blood did not rise.
The child jumped onto the side of his own home, breaking skin and nails as he hauled himself onto the rooftop where the sniper lay. His injuries simply regenerated, they always would... keeping him alive even if he no longer wanted it. Then, with another leap, his body was on top of that of the sniper, head shaking side to side wildly as his dagger pushed itself into the man's flesh and through his ribs, blood spurting out against his face and into his eyes. The world was a red sea as the two battled. The cultist tried to shove him off, taking out a sharpened breadknife and stabbing it into his flesh with a movement so smooth it was as if he had swiped air. Blood began to run down the lips and teeth of the boy before his own knife jabbed into the heart he was looking for and slicing.
Leaping off, exhaustion from being by the bedside of Asmodeus overtook him atop the rooftop, even though he knew full well that it was not a good idea to lose his grip on reality here. His dagger fell from his jaw as he felt too week to carry it and too tired to pick it back up. "Paorou... Paorou... where are you.. why...." He whispered to the skies, unanswered as always. He smiled once more to himself before glancing down at Sakura, the woman he climbed up here to protect. She was a haze of red, surrounded by red. Wiping the blood from his face to his arm, he glanced around at the other cultists on the roof. "Why?!" The shout was loud, a manner that was high pitched and piercing of a child who desperately wanted answers, an end, and whatever comforts of the world that had been ripped away. It was the cry of a child without his blanket, surrounded by towering shadows of the adult world.
[Soulless succeeds in killing one cultist, but finds himself too exhausted to continue. He shouts questions.]
Miru gasped as the chilly environment melted, shifting to spring in an instant. The robed cultists finally began to make their move, managing to push their way into the house with deadly efficiency. He heard a single sniper shot ring out, ripping off the sleeve of a young girl a short distance away, incapacitating her. As he prepared a second shot, Miru heard a commotion, and then suddenly, a bit of blood flew into the air. There might've been a doubt before, but at least now he knew who the agressors were. He wasted no time in running towards Sakura, disregarding his surroundings entirely on his way. He knelt on the knees, the warmth of the ground heating his body up again. He looked uncertainly at her,
"Are you...Are you okay?"
He crossed the two tonfa on his arms, and a light blue aura englufed them, expanding until a semi-transparent dome of magical energy protected them.
"What's going on? Who are these people, why are they attacking? Where is this-"
He stopped talking suddenly, realizing that now wasn't the time to ask questions at all.
"I'm sorry...My name's Miru, umm...What...is all this?"
[SUMMARY: Miru shows up on the battlefield, throwing up a barrier around Sakura and himself to avoid any bloodshed. He proceeds to overload her with questions, and realizes the error.]