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Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Asmodeus, Aug 15, 2009.
Yeah lol Luckily my parents were already awake and on their way to a casino, otherwise they'd kill me for waking my dad up so early.
Um... Hello? May I come in?
Whoops, I already did. Hah. Anyways.
Hello fellow SU fans!
Musical Score: From Heads Unworthy : Rise Against
As Alex scrambled frantically away from the flames, Terrie leaped after his target, although mid leap his entire body was slammed out of the air by a black/green blur.
from the ruins of the legacy, a bloodied figure, shredded, tattered and blacked security uniform dangling from his bruised and battered frame emerged from the burning rubble.
Senior Sergeant Uriel Verasius held a jagged peice of metal in one hand, all of his weapons had been broken beyond repair in the crash, his other hand clenched into a fist and unclenched to the fast pounding rhythm of his heart, eldritch flames burning brightly and aggressively, wreathing the ragged survivor's hand and forearm in blackish green flames, the core of which blazed like celestial light, illuminating the rents and cuts that covered the sergeant's body, especially his face.
"It takes more than malice and hate to stop us, and we didn't survive countless trials and torments for nothing" the necromancer-sergeant screamed, his voice cracked and hoarse yet seemingly louder and more determined than ever.
another blast of necromantic energy consumed several of the gibbering creatures that had swarmed around the crash site to devour the dead and dying, their flesh liquefying and spilling out into the earth, dark streams heading towards Uriel and Alex, as the liquid touched their flesh it seeped into their bodies, giving both a measure of strength with which to survive this final confrontation.
other streams of the energy drained from the malicious monsters by Uriel slithered into the wreckage, seeking out other of the Legacy's inhabitants.
On the Torment side of the wreckage, another necromancer crawled from the wreckage, though where Uriel's injuries had seemed to give him the look of a noble warrior, the scars and wounds on Balthazar Verasius, Uriel's Older Brother made him look even more monsterous, and where Uriel looked liek he had been through hell, Balthazar burst from the twisted broken and burning pile that had once been Iwakuian ships with little more than scrapes and bruises.
the vicious Interrogator and Lieutenant to Raife made his way across the crash site, looking for someone or something to slaughter, his mind and heart devoured by bloodlust.
Jack coughed, a few specks of crimson splattering on the floor as he did so. He was slumped against a wall in navigation, his top soaked with blood around a rip. He couldn't quite remember what happened, but the evidence pointed to the fact that he had lost the fight and had got a sword to the gut.
He groaned quietly, not having enough energy left to produce much noise. He knew this feeling, it was the feeling of dying, the slow release of life he had faced before. There wasn't anything he could do and he knew it, so he leaned back, his eyes tearing up as he closed them.
He could feel himself slipping away but that wasn't what hurt, what hurt was that he had failed. He was supposed to stop that man, but he was too strong, and now he was going to take Void away and nothing would end. He had failed.
Jack choked a little, embracing the black that his closed eyes gave him, until a searing white light penetrated it, forcing him to open his eyes to stare upon the now painfully bright world.
There, in front of him, wreathed in the blinding white was Aimi. She looked absolutely perfect, she glowed, and as she spoke her words did not sound entirely real, they seemed distant, no, closer, closer than any words should be.
"Jack... get up, yeh haven't done what yeh need to do. I'm.. I'm gonna go see mah little boy. this is... my last gift to yeh, thankyou"
Jack had barely comprehended what the angel had said before his body gasped at the air, a white glow seemingly radiating from within him. He panted a little bit, looking back up to the dark navigation room, flickering lights doing a poor job of providing visibility.
His hand made it's way down to where his wound had been, the shirt was still wet with blood and there was a hole in it, but the wound wasn't there, almost as though it never had been. Pushing himself to a standing position he breathed a deep breath and got his bearings.
"No Aimi.. thankyou.."
Outside, in the ruined Iwaku city
Asmodeus stepped over the rubble, smiling as he gently caressed Void's head, as a child might caress a beloved toy. His smile had a hint of madness, but otherwise was serene, almost blissful.
He stepped carefully over the rubble that covered the ground, every step calculated carefully, so as not to disturb his 'child'. There was a brief sucking noise and a small crackle of flames, this was all the warning the ancient angel got however, as the ball of flame crashed between his shoulder blades, sending him toppling forwards, and Void falling into a heap in the rubble.
As Asmodeus got up, his serene smile cracked into a far more hideous expression. Where he had once hidden his madness it was now fully apparent as he stared as the boy, palm outstretched and smoking standing behind him. There was little emotion his his features other than a pure crazed anger, no, loathing.
[Jack lost the fight with Asmo, and lays there dying, until Aimi arrives and heals his wound, then departing to the angelic realm. Jack then catches up to Asmo and throws a fireball at the arrogant bastards back! ^^]
Slowly... very slowly, I become aware that I'm still alive.
My breathing is heavy and laboured, but I don't sense any serious lasting damage. My slowly crack one eye-lid open, and then the other. Using my arms I push myself up into a slump, the effort leaving me shaking.
I sit in the hanger bay of the Legacy, surrounded by the equipment of the ISAF. No sign of the mercenaries themselves, though, I note with apprehension. I'm still attempting to figure out how I'm still alive. The last thing I can remember is the tentacles erupting from the ship, bearing down upon me... and then I'm lying on my front in the hanger bay, and somehow my bullet wound has vanished.
What happened? Why am I not dead? And where the fuck did my bullet wound get to? Not that I'm complaining about it vanishing, far from it, but gunshot injuries don't just up and vanish all of a sudden. Also, if the ship hasn't been torn apart by some fucking Cthulhu-esque monster tentacles, where is it sitting now?
These questions aren't going to be answered here, and apart from anything else, I need to find out if any of the rest of the crew have survived. I slowly get to my feet, my head spinning, but I manage to remain upright. My head slumps to the floor in my effort to remain consious, and my eyes fall upon a handgun lying amongst the debri of the hanger. One of the thousands possessed by the ISAF, no doubt.
A few months ago, I wouldn't have even given the weapon a second glance. A few months ago, my loyalty to the hypocratic oath would have prevented me from ever taking up arms against anyone or thing. A few months ago, the thought of killing another living being would have been repulsive to me.
But a lot changes in a few months.
I lean down, and take hold of the grip of the pistol, lifting the weapon up to examine it. It's stainless steel, and cold to the touch. My limited knowledge of firearms comes mostly from movies, and I remember that there's a button on the side of the weapon that should release the clip. It slides out from the bottom of the weapon, and I look down at it; I count eleven bullets in the clip, plus the one already in the weapon.
Sliding the clip back into the weapon, I begin to climb through the debri towards the partially open hanger doors, becoming of the wind howling through it.
Time to find out exactly where the fuck I am, and what's happened.
Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content)
Grant is surpised to find that he's still alive and lying on the floor of the hanger of the Legacy. He tries to figure out what has happened to him whilst getting to his feet. His eyes fall upon a handgun left by the ISAF, and after deliberating he takes the weapon with him and moves towards the open hanger doors.
Grant is surpised to find that he's still alive and lying on the floor of the hanger of the Legacy. He tries to figure out what has happened to him whilst getting to his feet. His eyes fall upon a handgun left by the ISAF, and after deliberating he takes the weapon with him and moves towards the open hanger doors.
Lamord ducked down as another shower of sparks and masonry fell on his head. He was sat against a ruined wall of the old Mall, pinned down by Ithryx's shoulder cannon. The Predator was out there somewhere, in the wreckage-strewn crater, his cloaking shield keeping him concealed. And what was worse, the outline of the crater was breaking, the dark shapes of the Apocritakans closing in to pick their victims from the ruins.
Lamord lunged, driving his hand into the dust and ashes, grabbing something and pulling it back a moment before another blast scorched his robes. He slumped back against the wall, lifting the ISAF radio to his mouth.
"Ryker, I know you're there..." he said between gasping breaths, "I know you can't be dead yet. If you can hear me... run! Get as many as you can to the gate. Just run..."
He dropped the radio, gritting his teeth as another wave of pain assailed his body. Then he reached between his shoulderblades, drawing the blade of Casepheny.
"To the end, my love."
"To the end."
He twisted, gripping the edge of the wall and vaulting over it into open ground. The blade of Casepheny struck out, knocking Ithryx's shuriken off course, inches from Lamord's face. The angel sprinted forward, bounding from wreckage to wreckage, each piece blown apart by the cannon a second after he leapt.
Lamord hit the ground running, and in the corner of his eye he tracked the arc of the shuriken as it circled the crater and returned towards its master. He was closing in... using the Predator's weapons against him.
A blur of movement broke the outline of the Torment's thruster-assembly.
"Casepheny!" yelled Lamord, tossing the sword into the air a moment before a net slammed into him and knocked him off his feet. The angel fell, the razor sharp wires closing around his body and cutting into flesh. For a moment it was agony, and then Casepheny returned, the blade tumbling back on its own volition and cutting through the net. An opening was made, and Lamord twisted out of the constraints a second before Ithryx's spear punched into the ground where his chest had been.
Lamord rolled to his feet, catching Casepheny again and clashing her against Ithryx's wristblade. The Predator's cloak shimmered and dropped, the alien's roar deafening.
EDGE OF THE CRASH SITE...
"WHY DO YOU PERSIST?!!" screamed Atrian Des, the back of his robes and the stumps of his wings smouldering as he turned. "WHY, WHEN ALL THE WORLD HAS REJECTED YOU LIKE THE RUNT YOU ARE?!"
The mad angel sprinted forward, forgetting he had left Void and the Amulet lying in the rubble behind him. Jack's keyblade came to his hand, the boy parrying the viscious barrage of strikes from Atrian's twin swords. The boy was driven back, his feet catching on masonry, his eyes dazzled by the sparks of the clashing blades.
"WHY KEEP GOING, WHEN YOU ARE UNKNOWN AND UNLOVED?" yelled Atrian, even as he struck. Jack was sent reeling, loosing another fireball as he stumbled. But Atian's defending blade swept outwards, parrying the flames and dissipating them into smoke.
"The oblivious child demands my audience?" ranted Atrian, a little quieter and more insidious as he stalked towards the boy. "How should the stage be painted when the mutes refrain to hold their tongues?"
It felt like a prophecy... a poem from long ago... but Jack had no time to ponder it. He brought up his keyblade again as Atrian's swords came forward in a scissor-strike. The blades skimmed past Jack's ears, then Atrian turned his wrists, slashing downwards as he opened the scissors. Jack cried out as his thighs were sliced open, but the sound was cut short when Atrian's foot struck his sternum, smashing the air from his lungs and flinging him across the plaza.
The boy collided with one of the few structures still standing in the crater... an oddly shaped pillar of stone. Jack slumped against it, his face sliding over the indents of names, millennia old. His hand flailed out, trying to get a grip on the pillar and pull himself back up. His fingers slipped into the indents of two words, larger than the others. He tried to grip, his fingertips tracking the shape of the letters.
Something twisted inside his brain, like a shift of pressure, a pulse that choked old pathways and opened new ones. Jack twisted and put his back against the pillar, resting his head against it. His eyes flickered, odd sensations flooding in.
He had felt these things before... months ago...
When Moridemus had entered him... when the fragment of the Monolith had lodged inside his body.... it seemed so long ago now.
The realisation came upon Jack as violently as any blow or sword-strike. He felt the pillar behind him, sensed it imperfections, the cut and grain of the stone. He read the names in his mind, the overwhelming records of lives lost. He felt the weak spots, the flaws in the masonry.
It was a Monolith. He was lying against a Monolith... an object of high confluence. And with one precise strike, this whole thing would come cra...
The thought ended as a world of pain swallowed him up. Jack snapped back to his senses, screaming as the Blade of Bowie skewered his shoulder, pinning him to the War Memorial. His muscles and bones were broken by the force, and blood gushed out from the wound. His scream grew louder, then was cut short as Atrian slammed the hilt of the Blade of Reikei into his face.
"YOU ARE NOTHING, PORG!" Atrian struck again, breaking Jack's nose. "YOU BITCHED AND YOU WHINED IN THE PLACE OF ANGELS, AND THEY GAVE YOU ONLY CONTEMPT! YOU HAVE NEVER BELONGED! YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN WORTH ANYTHING!"
He struck again, bloodying Jack's face. "SNIVELLING!" He struck again. "INSIGNIFICANT!" He struck again. "POWERLESS!" He struck again. "WHELP!" And with this final cry, he slammed Jack's head against the monolith.
Jack's eyes closed to mere slits, his consciousness draining out.
Keeping one hand on the Blade of Bowie as it impaled Jack, Atrian straightened up and readied the Blade of Reikei in the other. He took aim at Jack's neck. And again the angel muttered quietly, oblivious to the hand in the rubble behind him that twitched and turned, taking hold of the chain of Rieme's Amulet.
"I was greater than all of you. So watch me now, Iwaku, as I outlive this Cycle of fools and errant children! AND LET THE GODS BEHOLD! I. AM. ASMODEUS!!!!!"
He swung the blade.
[SUMMARY: Lamord tells Ryker to get people moving to the gate, before charging into a dual with Ithryx. Meanwhile, Atrian kicks the crap out of Jack and pins him to the old War Memorial in the Mall. Jack has a vague revelation - that the War Memorial was made in the same way as the Monoliths of Moridemus, and that his previous possession by that angel has given him a sense of the Memorial's structural weaknesses. But before he can act on this, Atrian beats him to an inch of his life and prepares to decapitate him.]
Out of breath, Alex thanked Ureil. The black liquid dulled the pain in his side and brought him back from the brink of uselessness. Now it was ti-
Alex threw Uriel out of the way just as white flames burst from the ground where he had been standing. It had not taken Terrie long to recover. Geysers of blue-white flame were popping up everywhere melting metal and evaporating glass. The white haired maniac’s face was wreathed with fire and contorted in a silent scream. It seemed impossible to get a foothold before another and another jet of flame reached up to kill anyone they touched. It was all Alex and the Sergeant could do not to be cooked. The demon was destroying everything that moved regardless of allegiance. There were charred Apocritakan corpses littering the ground, but fires were still appearing everywhere adding new danger to the gauntlet. Terrie would rather see the world burn with his own fire.
No matter how Alex tried to attack he was met with flames. Terrie was just too powerful to be lifted with telekinesis. He was too hot to be rapidly cooled and starting him on fire could only help the lunatic. Any missiles thrown were evaporated before they hit their mark. Uriel could catch hold of Terrie, but as soon as he tried the pyromancer would redouble his attack forcing him to defend. The area was a blight of melted metal. Demons of shaped fire dominated the sky. The Apocritakans had abandoned the area in fear. Fire serpents shot from wildfire to wildfire. Everything smelled of sulfur, yet Terrie’s silent laughter cut through it all. The landscape was being turned into the madman’s own private hell.
It just couldn’t continue this way. Together the allies attacked. Black strands flew from the necromancer’s hand halting Terries attack. Before the arsonist could break free, Alex brought a tornado of shrapnel around him. The mute’s screams blazed across his face as he was cut by the razor sharp metal. He tried projecting fireballs back at the former shipmates, but Alex deflected them. Other attacks were thwarted by the man’s failing senses or Uriel’s black magic, but then all the fires went out. The area went dark and Terrie was dead. The only light came from the burning sky and the radiance of sanctuary.
Alex and Uriel take down Terrie.
Musical Score: We Burn - Sabaton
As Terrie's body faded into the soil the air became deathly calm and silent, even the sound of the crackling fires that licked and crept through the wreckage were inaudible.
it was as though he had lost the ability to hear, though Uriel could hear himself breathing, he could smell the sweat and blood that stained the rags that had once been his security uniform, he could even feel the filth that encrusted most of his body from crawling from the wreckage.
but he could not hear, smell or feel the flames that still burned amongst the wreckage, that the most intense of them had burned out when Terrie had finally died, but Uriel was most peturbed, that was until his mind found something more valuable amongst the wreckage.
Uriel screamed a denail as he ran to a pile of rubble that had been hidden behind terrie's flaing screen, though thankfully it had been untouched by the flames and the predatory monsters that still surrounded them, too cautious to attack, to ravenous to retreat.
Uriel sunk to his knees as he pulled a limp figure from underneath a sheet of metal plating.
He pressed his ear to the figure's chest, and found some measure of calm in the fact that she was still alive, though unconcious.
"Did you think you could run forever, brother" the voice that Uriel instantly recognised sent a slight shiver down his spine, though it caused his body to tense up mroe than anything else.
"Alex, Get Sura to the ISAF, to sanctuary, just get her out of here, now" the sergeant's voice was authoritive, and his meaning was clear.
"Heroiclly sacrificing yourself, how nauseatingly noble of you" Balthazar's voice drew closer, and Uriel rose, turning as he did so to see his brother, a sinister sword clutched in one hand, emerge from the shadows
"or is it, more to your usual form, that you think by saving them you can somehow aquit yourself of guilt, that you can make up for what you are and what you've done, is it that your still so saddened by what my lords gave you, that you still try in vain to fight what you are?" Balthazar's voice contained both mock admiration and actual loathing.
"What they GAVE me?" Uriel's reply was a snort of indignation, but the tme for talking was over, decades of resentment, loathing and anger welled up inside both Uriel and Balthazar, and the two flung themselves at each other, Bathazar's actual sword meeting Uriel's makeshift one with a ringing metallic scream.
Musical Score: The Only - Static X
Uriel and Bathazar wrenched their weapons apart and flung them together again and again, neither having the patience for practiced strokes or ideas of swordplay, the sound of metal clashign again and again leaving the ears of all around ringing.
at least, Uriel's makeshift sheet of metal gave in, though Balthazar's sword refused do be dislodged for it, Uriel seized the initative, flinging both weapons away, leaving the two to fight with just their fists.
at this point the fight became even more brutal, Balthazar bringing his knee into uriel's side with a feral snarl, following this up with a series of hooks and backfist strikes to the face before delivering an uppercut, sending Uriel sprawling to the floor in a daze
"you never understood" Balthazar grinned, dark fires lighting in his eyes
"to wield true power and not be corrupted by it, one msut be strong, mercy, compassion, ideals of truth, justice, humanity, all are just the whims of the weak, the pitiful cluster at the heart of all the chaff, that is your mistake Uriel, you joined the weak" as Balthazar spoke, dark flames surrounded his body, first his torso, then they crawled out, growing more and more pwoerful as with each word spoken, as though Balthazar's monologue was a necromantic spell, until they now had reached his hands, one of which extended slowly towards Uriel, who at this point had recovered jsut enough to try to stand.
Balthazar planted his foot into Uriel's stomach, driving the air from his lungs and pinning him to the ground
"I had such high hopes for you Uriel, but you turned out to be just another weakling to be crushed in my rise to power, the final, pitiful obstruction in my path to glory" Uriel's body was wreathed in pain and flames, his fingers and toes seeming to age rapidly, the process moving swiftly, so that as Uriel's figers were strippted of flesh, the skin around his wrist had begun to decay.
Uriel screamed in agony, though his now skeletal right arm gripped Balthazar's shin, causing the skin on Balthazar's leg to wither, The spell stopepd at once, and Uriel screamed a dark curse at his brother, draining life from him to heal the horrific wounds, though rather than just heal him, the words uriel screamed as he gripped Balthazar's now fleshless shin caused his wounds to transfer from himself to Balthazar, the end result leaving Balthazar a wizend, limbless torso, screaming insults and curses.
Uriel dragged his now healed body to balthazar's sword, though he had to pause, his breath coming in short sharp bursts, his entire body felt like it was burning, his limbs as though they were still wreathed in flame.
after a few minutes, Uriel was able to kneel, leaning against the sword for balance.
The Necromancer-Sergeant amde his way over to his brother, who still lay writhing and cursing him.
"It didnt have to be this way" Uriel whispered, though that only made Balthazar howl with vindictive laughter
"Stop your fucking snivveling weakling, what do you want me to do, plead for forgiveness?" Balthazar's face contorted into a sneer of contempt
"fuck your pathetic mercy! fuck your forgiveness! FUCK YOU!" Balthazar screamed hysterically, spit and blood flying from his lips as he screamed, Uriel raised the sword above his head, and as he fell forwards, he brought the blade sweeping down across Balthazar's neck, the severed head fixed with a glare of contempt, though the mouth twitched and moved for several seconds, as though still trying to hurl insults before finally relaxing into a grotesque open position.
Musical Score: Fade to Black - Metallica
Uriel released the sword and crawled away from his brother's corpse, dragging himself towards a peice of wreckage, propping himself into a sitting position, where he would have to rest until he regained the strength to walk.
Uriel finds Sura, unconcious in the wreckage, and pulls her free, but it is at that moment that Balthazar attacks, Uriel ordering Alex to take Sura anywhere so long as he gets her away from the fighting.
after an agonising struggle, in which Balthazar almost kills him, Uriel kills his brother.
Uriel is now trying to regain the strength to stand and walk.
"Ryker, I know you're there... I know you can't be dead yet. If you can hear me... run! Get as many as you can to the gate. Just run..."
"Fuck runnin' lads..." Ryker sneered as the last of his remaining Rangers strapped on their suicide vests. The Rangers had whatever weapons they could salvage, bullpups, Kalashnikovs, M-60s, RPGs, and a few alien weapons. Desolator had a sawn off anti-aircraft gun with a ghetto rigged bayonet fit to the end of the barrel, courtesy of Markhor. "We ne'er run from ae challenge, do we lads?"
"HELL NO!!!" the mercenaries shouted in reply.
"ARE YEW MEAN?!"
"ARE YEW LOCKED!?"
"ARE YEW READY?!"
"IT'S TIME TA DIE!!!"
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Blitzkrieg, Deathstars, Termination Bliss)
The mercenaries vaulted over their cover, gunning down anything and everything that turned against them. The mercs forced their way into the thickest throng of their first enemy after they left Rift Town.
The Apocritakans. The bugs turned toward the soldiers, charging at them. The soldiers lay into the aliens with everything they had. Bugs dropped and piled up, the soldiers advancing up the pile. A soccer ball wearing a helmet flew into the air.
"WILSON!!! NO!!!!!" Venom screamed at the bomb laden ball as it was caught by one of the bugs. Fifteen feet of bugs were immolated by six pounds of Semtex wrapped in scrap metal and bullets, the concussion knocking a few down.
"NAE MERCY!!!" Ryker snarled as he let his bullpup hang by its sling, bringing up a makeshift machete to bear. The blade was rectangular in shape, the hilt wrapped in cloth and medical tape. He cleaved a bug's arms off and brought it back around, bisecting it's head. Some Rangers followed suit, bringing their own machetes and axes to bear while others provided gunfire support. Desolator and Leadfoot forced themselves into the thickest lines, ripping hardened carapaces apart with mechanical force, saw blades, and laser cutters. Still, they kept coming.
"Fuck you... FUCK YOU!!!" one of the Minigunners snarled as he threw his weapon away and slammed into a bug, forcing it back. The explosion of his suicide vest took out another mass of bugs, the mercenaries pushing forward into the throngs.
"Where are yew, bitch queen..." Ryker mused as he ripped his machete from the face of a bug, kicking it over and finishing it off with a burst from his bullpup. He took the legs out from under another bug, taking an arm off to keep it from lashing out again. He brought his boot up, a knive popping out from the heel. The steel blade perforated the bug's dome easy enough, finishing it off.
"Raid ain't got shit on us... We're Orkin Men from Hell..." he mused as they cleaved their way further through the bugs.
-Disregarding Lamord's orders, Ryker and the ISAF fight their way through the bugs to kill the queen.
On the Yautja homeworld, there was a saying each warrior spoke in a whispered creed. These words, alien to all others but the proud race who honored them, explained a measure of their unyielding tenacity, their controlled ferocity. Ithryx had first heard them spoken by his father, the patriarch of his clan who looked upon him with eyes any other might think were cruel and predatory. But to Ithryx, they had been filled with pride and the dreadful sense of warning meant to preserve the will to fight and live within the young creature.
"Dtai'k-dte sa-de nav'g-kon dtain'aun bpide"
"The fight begun will not end until the end."
He spoke these words now to the creature he had vowed to slay...perhaps it was to regain his honor, maybe still he was trying to prove to a long dead father that his betrayal of the Yautja race did not make him weak...did not make him a failure. This creature,
This target had proven to be the consistantly glowing beacon drawing the Predator away from the fell power of the Torment and to center himself, train his own body for the coming trials. Truly he could fight now without a hint of regret.
Lamord's mystic blade bit into the tempered steel of Ithryx's wrist weapon with the hungered intensity of plasma. Thrusting himself back and away, Ithryx rolled across the ground with the unnatural grace of an Olympic gymnast, ending on his feet in a strafing run at Lamord's side.
The angel proved every bit the ideal prey Ithryx had hoped he would be, shifting his weight sideways to compensate for the rush and spinning just out of range, neatly avoiding the Predator's massive outstretched arms.
Down and over, Ithryx continued with his movement, pivoting on the rocky soil and firing a barrage of blasts to pepper the ruinous landscape with craters of cooling plasma, forcing the angel into near impossible feats of dexterity in order to avoid it.
Ithryx had well noted Lamord's threshold of endurance, and felt he could accurately predict how far the angel could push his body before adrenaline would be the only element fueling his limbs.
Above all, Ithryx could not afford to let the angel rest.
Pushing forward, Ithryx launched into another assault on the angel, his limbs a litany of furious movement, synchronized muscle pumping with practiced force forcing blow after blow to be blocked by the angel and his strange blade.
It was the end time for them all, the Rift Storms closing in from all sides as though the hungry maw of some unimaginable behemoth yawning wide to swallow them all in its bottomless gullet...and somehow he was here...doing as his race was, in the end, evolved to do.
Was he really no different then them? Those he had betrayed, those he had left to die...was he so much his father's son that not even a cause he found he could sympathize with would move him?
Perhaps his kind was born to be antagonists...the archetypal villain of some local legend. Hunters from beyond the stars who slaughtered without mercy, faces of featureless steel...bodies like mechanized clockwork. If fate was so powerful as to mire even an entire race, then what had he been fighting but his own nature?
A villain was a villain...prey labeling him a monster through fear and ignorance of his culture...his kind.
But what if it was true? Was he subtly manipulated by the powers unseen to force his hand against this angel? What had brought him to the Legacy anyways?
The questions had no answers readily explained and only opened a larger avenue for queries of fate and the force of the unseen confluence reaching from the dying stars.
Leaping backward, Ithryx halted his attack...ascending the ruined remnants of a tower to stare down at Lamord with no more emotion then a bird might view a worm.
Until he removed his helmet.
The face of the Predator could never be called beautiful. Even in his own race, the savage brutality of each feature bespoke nothing of kindness, of comfort...They were designed to inspire fear in each creature they hunted...the boogeyman of unspeakable visage meant to scar the survivors and haunt the edges of their dreams for years after.
But it was not predatory malice which stared at Lamord, but the understanding of a comrade...if not a friend. He may not be able to change what he was, but he could level the playing field. Guns, camouflage, weaponry of amazing proportion...what were these but the blades Yautja hid behind. Perhaps they to, feared death at the hands of what they hunted.
Either way, they had lost faith in their race...but that did not mean Ithryx had lost faith in himself. Lamord would earn his Sanctuary, even if Ithryx had to be his last hurtle.
Throwing aside his plasma cannon, and disengaging the active camouflage, Ithryx drew the ceremonial naginata on his back and held it out above the angel as if a king sending his troops out on a long crusade.
"We will fight as equals, holding nothing back..." Ithryx spoke with a meaningful nod, his voice garbled through the mandibles clicking around his mouth.
"The fight begun...will not end until the end..." the Predator warned, "You cannot let yourself die until your fight is completed, so strive to overcome me...this final enemy."
There was no more to be said.
He leaped, bringing his blade down with the unrelenting force of a warrior cleansed of doubt. Come death or life...he had no regrets any longer.
M-di H'dlak....No fear
No fear indeed.
Summary: Ithryx battles Lamord and reflects on his purpose in this battle. Casting away his armor he resolves to fight Lamord without technology...to fight as equals...and encourages Lamord to overcome him and follow the principles of the Predators...that the fight begun will not end until the end...Ithryx has no more regrets.
I genuinely don't understand how anyone could ship Dewey x Pearl to begin with. Like, how. Even before Last One Out of Beach City she was obviously a huge lesbian. Also it's fuckin' mayor Dewey.
On the gantry of Nerf Castle, bathed in the light of the Great Pathway, the Angel Semyaza watched all things with sickening glee.
The ISAF had made it to the bridges - the great bridges of the city that crossed the rivers of blood around Nerf Castle. And like the sparks of their futile lives, the blasts of their suicide bombs drove back the darkness for but a second - a second before the black shapes of the Apocritakans closed in once more. Beneath Semyaza's feet, in the deeper chambers of the castle, he could feel the Queen directing her children with ravenous intent.
A little further to the south, Semyaza could sense yet more peril. He felt Jack's screams as he was skewered to the War Memorial in the centre of the ruined mall. And a short distance away, he smelt the blood that dripped from Doctor Grant's mouth as Teagen returned him to primal torture. And then, back at the crash site, he heard Uriel's ragged breaths as he slumped against a piece of wreckage, bleeding beside his brother.
Semyaza could feel the death... the mounting despair. It was close... the complete annihilation of hope. Behind Nerf Castle the ground was falling away, the oceans draining to leave the naked core of the planet. And around the small patch of city where the survivors struggled, curtains of fire were rising as skyscrapers, meteors and derelict spaceships tumbled from the sky.
The detritus of all life, swirling together in the universal cataclysm. The final impacts before the dominion of the Rift Storms... a world of fire - the Hell that he and his master longed for.
He could feel his master too... stronger than all the pain and misery, like the throbbing heart behind the deluge of blood.
* * * * * * * * *
In the centre of the ruined Torment, Raife reclined upon his throne, eyes half-closed as he bent the remaining parts of the ship to his will. Great tendrils and ribbons of light snaked out from the Torment, wrapping over the fragments of the Legacy, absorbing the two ships into a single grounded abomination.
He was becoming one with all things. The Dark Gods... the hundred-fold shards of Paorou-Sama's blasphemy... they were acting through him now. One side of Raife's face was a latticework of sneering scars, his black navigator coat falling to shades of crimson. And his grey-brown hair was knitting with Paorou-Sama's black.
"Just a little more," he whispered, his voice distorted with a hundred others, "Just a few more drops of suffering."
Here, between the Two Ships and Nerf Castle, the final Rift Storm would be born as the survivors fell. And with that the last percentage of the known universe would be consumed... giving way to a world beyond imagining.
* * * * * * * * *
In the crashsite outside, the apocalypse was eclipsed by a chorus of feral yells. Rolling up from under the naginata blade, Lamord slammed his foot into Ithyrx's thigh, using it to vault up in a twisting roundhouse. The kick threw the Predator forward on his own momentum, the angel's blade slicing down the back of his shoulder and ripping open a wound. Ithryx swung, the dual-handed spear clashing against the one-handed sword. Lamord retreated, his body turned to the side, his blade spinning in arcs to defend his narrower profile.
They battled over the smoking remains, and Lamord's feet moved as dextrously as his sword, kicking up chunks of rock and metal that shattered against the Predator's frame. But with each passing second their environment became the greater enemy. Balls of flame punched into the ground around them like burning hailstones. And great chasms were opening up in the ground, plunging the old ruins of the mall into darkness. Vaulting across a gap, Ithryx brought his blade high as the angel went airborne, the viscious exchange of blows showering sparks.
The angel hovered over the chasm, darting beyond the range of the naginata. Then suddenly his sword left his hand, thrusting towards the Predator on its own accord. Ithryx parried, then roared as the wind was knocked from him. Lamord had shot forward on a different axis to Casepheny, landing in a crouch with his fist in Ithryx's solarplexus. The full force of his angelic strength made the Predator reel, and then he twisted and launched himself upwards again, uppercutting Ithryx in a crashing arc that brought him to the ground.
Lamord caught Caspheny, spinning downwards again with the blade like a drill. It slammed into the ground as Ithryx rolled away, leaving his naginata. He came to his feet, lashing out with wrist blades and slicing Lamord's bicep. But the angel did not falter, flinging his blade again. Casepheny flew unerringly towards Ithryx, forcing him to knock it aside with a massive sweep of his arm. But again that left him open, and Lamord lunged in, laying into the Predator with a flurry of rocking blows. The angel's fists struck with the force of the greatest Yautja, fracturing bones in his face and ribcage. And as before, Lamord scaled his opponet, running up his body and hammering his arms into his Ithryx's collarbones. The Predator hit the ground once more, and Lamord sailed over him to land on outstretched wings and reclaim Casepheny.
With another roar, the Predator scrambled to his feet, but did not straighten. In a stooping posture he charged across the space between them, tackling the angel and carrying him backwards. He ran with Lamord through the ruined pillars of the mall, smashing the angel through column after column of stone. Five pillars were crushed before his momentum ran out and he ended by flinging the angel through the remains of a shop window.
Panting for breath, his mouth dripping amber blood and tooth fragments, Ithryx stepped over the shattered glass, standing at the verge of the window, his wristblades open. He looked down at Lamord, lying like a tattered bird who had smashed through a windscreen. Blood and feathers lay amongst the glass, and Lamord groaned as he lay helpless on his back.
But still, the angel lifted his head, eyes flicking momentarily to something behind Ithryx, before focussing again on the Predator.
"I have something..." Lamord whispered between bloody breaths, "That you never will..."
Ithryx's senses flared and he spun, parrying the attack from the first of Lamord's allies. He barely had time to lock blades with Aimi before the Neko-Jin flew away again, making room for her companion. With a roar as deafening and primal as his own, Gorn slammed into Ithryx, crashing with him through the shop wall. The Orc's skin had turned to deepest red, his blood on fire with the rage of his kind. And his muscles had swollen, his body expanding to equal that of the Predator's. The two giants rolled and wrestled through the chambers of the mall, drenching each other in blood and rage.
* * * * * * * * *
"Aimi..." said Lamord as the Neko-Jin returned and lent him a hand, pulling him up from the ruined window.
"I can't geh back," whispered Aimi sadly, her eyes the coldest blue as they lowered to the floor, "Th' Neko-Jin realms, they're lost to meh..."
"All things are coming to an end," said Lamord, pulling her head to his chest, embracing her, "Even the heavens."
Aimi pulled away, eyes reddening, "I jus' wanna see meh boy. Nothin' else matters."
"He's waiting for you, in Sanctuary. You know he is..." Lamord broke off as Aimi slung his arm across her shoulder, beginning to half-carry him towards Nerf Castle.
"Then we best be gettin' on," said Aimi resolutely, her body enfused with a mother's determination.
"He's made his choice," interrupted Aimi again, pulling Lamord harder. They stumbled back down the slope of the crater, Lamord leaning against the smaller angel for support.
"Joi and Wright're dead," muttered Aimi as they ran, "No sign o' John or Jack, or Daryl an' his friends."
"HEY!" yelled a voice off to their right, "OVER HERE!!"
Finding his strength again, Lamord pulled away from Aimi and hurried towards the sound of the voice. Stumbling over more wreckage, he slid down next to Alex, who had Sura and Uriel propped against a sheet of hull plating. Sura was unconscious, but Uriel was very much alert, his face twisted in anger.
"I told you to get her out of here!" he hissed at Alex.
"I never did do what I was told," replied Alex, ignoring the Necromancer and looking up at Aimi and Lamord. "There's no way through the Apocritakans. The ISAF are fighting them, but... we just can't make it."
Aimi peered over the edge of the hull plating, to the northern bridges where the Apocritakans were swarming around the last of the ISAF. She gripped the hilt of her blade, eyes turning deepest red. "I can handle theh bugs."
Lamord's hand clamped her shoulder, pushing her back down again. "It's suicide. We need more than swords and grenades. We need something else..."
Slowly, the angel's head turned, looking back the way he and Aimi had come, back to the shops where Gorn and Ithryx duelled.
"Aimi," he said, with the quiet force of resolution, "Help Uriel. Alex, keep Sura close. Get to the ISAF's position and tell them to take cover."
Alex and Aimi exchanged looks, then frowned at Lamord. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to make a hole in the Apocritakan lines. Just get to Ryker. Go! NOW!"
And with that, Lamord pushed himself back to his feet and began running back to fight by Gorn's side.
[SUMMARY: Ithryx almost overwhelms Lamord, but is then tackled aside by Gorn. As the Orc and the Predator fight, Lamord joins up with Aimi, Uriel, Alex and Sura. He tells them to go on ahead and warn the ISAF that something big is about to happen. After giving this cryptic order, Lamord then turns and heads back to help out Gorn.]
The battle was becoming desperate, the enviroment reflecting the scene, as if some force was attempting to not only kill them, but to quell their hope as well.
The air reeked of death, the combination of blood, gunpowder, fire and feces made the survivots fight their gag reflexes with each breath, the sky darkened around them, blacvk clouds gathering, slowly blocking out the sun, their movement more like fog than clouds.
the scene on the ground too worsened as the dark tide of Apocritakans, their insectoid screams peircing and only the wrathful roar of gunfire and Explosions matched them for intensity and ferocity.
But as Uriel was Helped to his feet, Lamords Words Invigourated his every muscle, the Angels sheild of Confidence giving the Sergeant not only hope, but a grim determination to defy the forces that sought to bring ruin to all.
Along with the Other Survivors, Uriel would ensure that his foes failed.
they would Survive, they would reach sanctuary, anything else was unnaceptable and unthinkable.
"Aimi, I need your help until my muscles regain their strength, but we must get moving, everyone, stay together, look after one another, but above all else survive, that is our purpose, Sanctuary our destiny and our goal, have you survived all this suffering to falter here? will you let darkness take your heart or have you the determination to follow Lamords shining example!" Uriel's vocie was raspy and drey, but within every syllable lay his determination
"Onwards! anf fear not the darkness!" he yelled, his free hand pointing at the ISAF position as he struggled to move forwards.
Uriel sees the devestation and the horror of the situation, but his faith in Lamord's wisdom gives him hope, and a desire to thwart the enemies plan to exterminate them, he thus urges the Survivors to do as Lamord says and make for the ISAF position
Uriel was right. They have come so far - It wasn't about to be for naught. Her eyes blazed with red, the back of her hand sliding against her sweat coated forehead. She was going to give this moment everything she had. This wasn't about observing species anymore or mothering her son - who she knew was waiting for her in paradise. This was about helping these people she had learned to love. And helping herself...
Aimi patted herself down and gripped the handle of her sword. The gold hilt glistened brightly, all the rare gems gleaming. She made a smile of satisfaction that turned into one of malice as she looked ahead. It was almost time!
She matched her steps with Uriel, wrapping an arm around him and using her other hand to hold his wrist so his arm would stay balanced across her torso. She spread her wings apart, their backsides now hidden behind thick, black, beautiful feathers as she and this brave man moved onward.
The angelic feline was thinking about Lamord - How much he had done for them. What he said about Oliver when he comforted her just moments ago. The sacrifices he made. ...Everything.
"Almos' there. Yeh ready?" She asked Uriel, seeming excited.
(( Aimi is helping Uriel get to their destination with excitement and determination. ))
This world is my home. I would hear much of this fabled land of Iwaku in my long life from my mentor.
It would make sense for the trickster to put a sanctuary in the middle of hell, itself. Force us to learn the hard meanings of life, while walking through the Valley of Death. Suffering makes us feel, without it what would a man be? Little more than mere golems.
I step down from my cabin room for the last time in my life. Broken talismans and jars align the ruins of the room, like relics to be found in buried remains of ancient cities like the Imperial Cities of China.
I am the disciple of CoffeeCakeSadist. It is time for me to prove my worth to all that remains of societies. While he was aloof, I can take action.
One important lesson he taught me, was often times when things look their bleakest, often times unorthodox ideas are needed. Sounds more like something he picked up from the Sage from the World of Blue....
Jin slowly leaves the wreck of the space ship she has called home for the past centuries of her life. Her Gogyo powers automatically kick in. Too much supernatural is happening in one place. Thousands of stories and knowledge have crashed land right here, a land of dreams twisted into a nightmare bastradization of it's former self.
Then from the crater came a new source of radiant light. As in the past, Sozrosse’s beautiful blue light appeared in a sea of reds and blacks. Until this point of time, she had no care for the very importance of this natural color. In many diverse cultures blue is significant in religious beliefs, brings peace, or is believed to keep the bad spirits away. The latter part was more her style.
Jin viewed the world ahead of her. A final battle between dreamers was now occurring. It was fitting for a tale to end all things.
The Apocritakans were now swarming in. Demonic and nightmarish in shape, they were no longer simply insect-like creatures but they were very nature of primitive fear itself. Standing roughly the size of a man, their fangs were sharpened like that of a saber toothed tiger twisted and then molded by a schizophrenic mad man.
Some of their more evolved comrades appeared much like men. Their faces covered the mask of death, itself. More hellish beasts like the demon Nine Days.
“Surrender, we know your every desires…” They hissed in unison, “you have come far. Why prolong the inevitable?” The demons once again hissed. Their half truths were said in all the tongues that were ever spoken on Iwaku. It was then that Jin appeared from the Heavens, like a spirit of old sent to protect the true believers. Her bright blue, basking both friend and foe. The band of demons continued their long and depressing tale of every battle in the history of humankind, as if giving a dark elegy to the dying universe around them. Everything was collapsing into a twisted sea of emptiest.
“The Battle of Gettysburg,… Normandy… Iwaku Castle… The Semile Conflict… The Battle of Jarama…”
Each line was then followed by how many were killed in action. They continued on and on about the ultimate in human suffering, war itself.
However, Sozrosse remained emotionless for she had something in her hands that had been long forgotten; Isodath, the very sword of the Fallen Prince, Rory.
There is the smell of smoke. I hear a crackling behind me of flame. They say that fire is the devil’s only friend. Well I can prove that Satan has no friend.
Around her formed the Flames of Heaven. Even if existence itself faded away, as long as the holder of that sword believed something was true and logically possible it would form. Jin’s eyes remained closed and focused on the task before her. She had to buy them time.
“…They mentioned the Battle of Jarama… I wonder…I am not used to being impulsive.. You know what? Screw it. I will do what I see is right.
It was then that she began to sing these lines aloud:
There's a valley in Spain called Jarama
It's a place that we all know so well
It was there that we fought against the demons…
We saw a peaceful valley turn to hell
From this valley they say we are going
But don't hasten to bid us a due
Even though we lost the battle at Jarama
We'll set this valley free before we're through
All this world is like this valley called Jarama
So green and so bright and so fair
No demons can dwell in our valley
Nor breathe in our new freedoms air
Her voice was gentle and fair. A sharp contrast to the funeral song that the demons were continuing on with. A wise general once said that no army could fight without the power of music. Each line became more and more of a surreal duet, as if they were trying to out do each other. With each word sung, the flames behind Jin grew larger and more defined.
Sozrosse then opened her eyes. The fancy sword was now a pure flame of orange and reds, blending in with her long flowing red hair. Without saying another sword she swung her sword, the flames being thrown like a rock from a catapult. Flame, after flame continued to fly towards the demons. Each hit direct and focused.
[Summary: Sozrosse finally enters the scene and uses Isodath to send the Apocritakans back to the hell they were created from.]
The sound of metal on metal. That's the only noise that filled this particular hallway of the dreaded Torment. Daryl Ragnor had slipped by the rest of the fighting several minutes prior. It was only natural. Daryl had been captive on the Torment, so he knew his way around even if it was just somewhat. There was a screech as another stray monstrosity of the Torment lept from the walls at him. The Death Knight's sword cleaved the creature in two with one swing. However despite all the fighting, all the chaos going behind him, Daryl was unusually calm.
The Knights of Iwaku battled the remnants of the insect swarm outside. His father was probably with them refusing to lose out to young men who were more than likely centuries older than he was to begin with. Angela and Jameson had fallen behind and failed to notice their friend slip away. As Daryl continued down the final corridor leading to the Torment's bridge, the creatures along the halls stood aside. They all knew what was transpiring. What this marked. The Captain of the Torment had incured the wrath of Daryl Ragnor the moment he was abducted from the very planet the ship rested on now. But as Daryl stopped only three meters from the door, he felt something didn't feel right. He could not feel all the anger, all the hate, and the desire for revenge.
Perhaps it was the sense of closure he had by finally reaching this point? Perhaps it was never revenge at all that drove him? What if it was justice? What if he didn't care anymore? What if all of this was nothing more than something to quench his thirst for battle? All these months of running and the Legacy's crew had finally taken to the offensive and it might not have been such a stretch to say that they were winning. The motivation Daryl had for killing Raife didn't matter at the moment. All that mattered was that Raife had to die.
The door slid open as Daryl made his final steps through the door that silently closed behind him. Daryl looked around the bridge, something that could only be seen to one looking at him only by the blue lights where his eyes would be in the pitch black helm of his armor. Finally he set his gaze forward and stared into the eyes of Raife. The Death Knight remained silent. They both knew why he was here. That's why the bridge was devoid of anyone but them. The blue lights narrowed in Daryl's helm as they simply stared at one another for several minutes. It was Daryl's voice that broke the silence with a steady, calm tone.
"...I have to admit...for a minute there I thought you'd be surprised to see me."
[Summary: Daryl reflects on the things going on around him and within him as he makes his final approach to the Torment's bridge alone. Finally ready to face Raife he steps through to the bridge. Neither Daryl nor Raife seem surprised that it has come down to the two of them.]
It was a moment of desperation...it was a moment of trial...and in that moment so important, so crucial...Void was helpless.
Carried by Atrian Des, his estranged creator, Void could feel the scream of the Legacy as it lost his power. He burned with the rupturing of pipes and interfaces as Rift energy began to lose its cohesive sense of control, tearing out of the Legacy in any way it could. His body died behind him and all he could do was gasp for breath on this cold wasteland of a past long gone. Jack lay crumpled against the monolith, his bleeding form only a further reminder of how important these next few moments were.
Beyond his grasp lay the amulet of teleporation used to secure his escape so many years ago...but why? What could it possibly do for him?
Above him, metal screamed against metal as the world fell apart. Rift Storms reached their spindly arms of fire and chaos forward, the unmakers, the destroyers...rapture incarnate.
It was only then, staring up at the grotesque energies swirling in a delusional confusion that it became aware to Void the path he must choose. His very mind rebelled against the idea, clinging desperately to that sham of a body he now lay within...to a twisted humanity he could never be. But in order to save Jack...as he had once saved him, Void found he was capable of this sacrifice...even at the expense of his control.
His rapidly warping right arm reached and closed over the amulet, the volatile Rift energy warping the area around him and striving to be free, to consume, to destroy.
So he let it free.
With a flash of discharged energy, the gems set in Void's body simply vanished, appearing in Jack's lap like a glittering sea of energy, protection against the surge that followed.
Void sprang up, shedding his mockery of human body and expanding toward the sky. His body was a roiling mass of energy and at once he was 'aware' of everything. He could feel everyone, see everyone, and know exactly what they were thinking...what hopes and dreams tugged at their hearts. He was everywhere and nowhere...a god of death and despair...everything he had reviled was in turn forced upon him.
So be it.
Atrian Des...that angel who sought to control the world unraveling around him...who had struck Jack...who now stood in Void's way.
He would become the first victim.
With a roar of energy, Void soared skyward...angling himself over Atrian as to feel the wrath of his ascent into the silence of space...to see with eyes unclouded what his science had wrought...and what he'd tried to contain.
Void was free
End...so this was death...
Ithryx fell heavily upon the cracked ground of old Iwaku, his sharp eyesight dimmer now as his life seeped away from him through a rift in his chest. Gorn lay dead or dying not far from him, the Yautja's naginata in his chest...a last act of desperation by a defeated monster and once more, the end had come for him.
With darkness closing on his vision, Ithryx managed to drag himself a ways from the fight itself, his blood leaving a blazing trail of lime green for anyone to follow. Although threats now were meaningless...he couldn't hurt anyone any longer.
Of course it was to end with his defeat...the universe had chosen his soul to be pitted against their idea of justice and no matter how dark shadows were...even the hint of light could banish such phantoms entirely.
Coughing now, his blood staining his chest and almost everything else, Ithryx let his mind begin to drift...memories playing out to his glazed eyes like the flicker of transmission...on and off through the uncountable distance of space. Had he the ability to, he would have smiled.
To die...here...at the hands of so noble an enemy...what honor he had lost would surely be regained here...he could die knowing he had renewed his pact in the Yautja clan, honored his gods, and honored his father.
Even so...there was something left to do.
He felt the angel's presence even before he saw him. For a moment, that old instinct to fight and win ebbed into Ithryx's subconscious...but the creature knew he was sorely beaten and thus had no more claims to the life of the angel.
His hands moved with a memory of their own, engaging the self destruct device on his wrist before loosening it and handing it to Lamord.
"Five...minutes..." He groaned through a choking wave of bile and blood..."Do as...you...must do...Yeyinde."
Yeyinde...brave one...it was the highest honor Ithryx could have bestowed on this strange creature once prey, then friend, then prey once more...finally hope...his name was hope.
But Yeyinde would have to do.
Already Ithryx was falling to an abyss of shadows and tranquility...claimed by the overwhelming certainty of death...the release of pain...the surrender of spirit.
This battle would be championed by the heroes fate had chosen...his part was played...he could only hope his minor contribution would prove useful to the captain...
And then he was gone...
RUINS OF IWAKU MALL...
The sword of Atrian Des shattered apart, stripped to its constituent atoms as Void passed overhead. The trail of Rift energy whipped between Jack and Atrian, lashing at the angel's arm and ripping skin and muscle from the bone. In the blossoming light of Void's true form, Atrian stumbled away from the pillar, clutching the bleeding mess of his limb.
Overhead, Void pulsed and bloomed like a birthing star, red and golden light shooting down to strike his creator. Wracked by unimaginable agonies, Atrian... Asmodeus stumbled in the shadow of the war memorial, raging eyes no longer on Jack but lifting to gaze at his wayward child.
"VOID! COME BACK TO ME!!! NOOOOO!!!"
OUTSKIRTS OF THE RUINED MALL...
Resplendent in white, glowing like the painted angels of old, Lamord dropped slowly to his knees. On his left, the noble body of Gorn, his chest rising and falling shallowly around the embedded spear. And on his right, the body of Ithryx, mottled with green blood and holding out the bleeping object which had been around his wrist.
Two warriors... two champions who had lived for the glory of the kill, the honour of the battle. Lamord lowered his head, his resolve draining again as he listened to the slowing breaths of these two titans.
The angel opened his eyes again, turning to see that Gorn was watching him. The Orc's face was bruised and bloodied, his eyes the narrowest slits. "You have to go..."
The beeping of the self-destruct countdown grew louder. Lamord turned his head the other way and took the wrist-device from Ithryx, the eyes of angel and predator meeting in silent acknolwedgment.
"We have found our death..." whispered the Orc Chieftain, his final words achieving the stoic wisdom he had always sought in life. "Now seek yours..."
The Orc's head rolled back, just as Ithryx's grip loosened from the device. Lamord felt them sink as one, lives once so strong and violent now stuttering like candles. He took the wrist-device in both hands and the rising tone almost drowned his goodbye.
"Thank you, my dearest warriors..."
The walls and ceilings of the mall began to fall in around them, burying the battlefield.
THE BRIDGE TO NERF CASTLE
As far as anyone could tell, the ISAF were gone, the soldiers of the Last Army vanishing beneath their suicidal inferno. Amidst the fire and charred corpses there was only Uriel and Alex, carrying Sura and guarded on each side by the holy magics of Aimi and Sozrosse. The tides of darkness were closing on either side, both ends of the bridges swarming with Apocritakans whilst the waters below swirled with demons. Skyscrapers and mountains were plunging into the lake to east and west.
And up ahead, the looming structure of Nerf Castle seemed as strong and as distant as ever, wreathed in the light of the Pathway to Sanctuary.
"It's too far..." muttered Alex, as he collapsed behind Sozrosse, Uriel and Sura sprawled beside him. "It's just too far..."
Sozrosse made no answer, whirling her fiery sword in intricate arcs, felling wave after wave of slavering demons.
It was instead Aimi who spoke up, shouting above the din of Apocalypse as she ripped her blade free from one of the slain monsters.
The five survivors lifted their eyes to the burning skies, and there they saw the final beacon of hope.
Lamord flew through the darkness like a silver blade, twisting and soaring between the rain of debris. His wings glittered like diamonds as they propelled him through a shower of meteors, and in the next moment he landed on a plunging skyscraper, running up the length of its structure and leaping off again. In a great arc he sailed over them, piercing the swirling shapes of flying demons.
And somewhere, in the chaos, Aimi's ears picked up the faintest sounds of high-pitched bleeping.
"Ge' down!" she yelled, throwing herself on Alex. Beside her, Uriel reacted with the same supernatural instinct, pulling Sozrosse's legs out from under her. The five survivors toppled down behind the charred carapaces of the fallen Apocritakans.
And in the next instant, everything became white, as if the world had been doused in paint. Hearing, sight, sensation... everything was erased in a heartbeat.
Then the shockwave hit. The bridge convulsed violently, the bodies of the Apocritakans blasted away from it as if it were a bone suddenly shedding flesh. In the blink of an eye, a thousand demons were flung out of sight, and then the whiteness turned to red. Uriel kept everyone's heads down as vapourising fire licked over their makeshift crater, incinerating a thousand more of their enemy. The smell of burning flesh flooded their nostrils and the outlines of the world were erased by fire.
Somehow, Alex found the strength to stand once more as the wave past, rising to peer over the pile of smouldering corpses. His breath was taken away as he saw the mushroom cloud rising at the end of the Bridge, the entire lake of Iwaku City boiling away into the collapsing atmosphere.
And he saw the south side of Nerf Castle toppling like a landslide, the gargantuan castle cleaved in two and subsiding into the inferno.
The demons and the castle had been swept aside by the blast, and between the shaft of the mushroom cloud and the pillar of evaporating water, the survivors saw the very thing that they had dreamed off for all these months.
It was behind Nerf Castle, at the base of the great pillar that rose to the heavens. The Gateway was on the edge of the chasm that has once been the waterfall at the north end of Iwaku City. And there was a figure standing at the Gate, waiting for them.
A crew member of The Promise.
They were perhaps half a mile away. Between them and the Gateway was only the burning bridge... and the single furious shadow that shambled from the ruins of Nerf Castle.
With a malevolent screech as deafening as the atomic blast, the Apocritakan Queen Halictadel blocked their way to heaven and roared for the blood of her children.
And overhead, Lamord flew ever upwards, riding on the shockwave with the mushroom cloud blossoming beneath him. The g-forces rocked his body, the heat beneath him intense, but in the corner of his eye he saw the bridge below. Ithryx's weapon had cleared the way and now the last survivors of the Legacy were advancing to meet the angel at the gates.
A smile came to Lamord's dirt-smeared and bloodied face as the mushroom cloud swallowed him up.
With a sudden bone-crunching sound, agony exploded through every inch of Lamord's body. He screamed as his left wing was torn from the stump, falling away in a spray of blood and feathers. A great weight slammed into Lamord from the side, knocking him from the air.
He saw just a flash... the briefest glimpse of Semyaza's murderous eyes... and then he was falling.
Lamord plunged through the mushroom cloud, into the fireball, down towards the edge of the chasm where the waterfall had been.
The laughter was like a chorus, a hundred voices echoing from the fleshy walls of the ruined bridge. Raife's head rolled back on his command chair, and for the first time Daryl saw what he had become. One of the captain's eyes was knitted over with scar tissue, the flesh red-raw in a band around his head, like a crimson visor. And his navigator coat was writhing with ribbons of red and gold. The once short brown hair was now snaking into wavy lengths of black, and Raife's mouth twisted around his cigar to form the cruellest smirk.
"You know..." spoke his hundred-fold voice, "I can't remember the last time I was surprised by anything..."
With a sickening sound, Raife elevated from his chair, his body ignoring all rules of gravity and leverage. He was more like a reed snapping back into place than anything human. A crimson cape flowed out behind him, almost joining with the shadows of the wall and dragging them with him.
His voice thundered.... the voice of the Dark Gods... the voice of Paorou-Sama in all his abomination.
"No wait... I tell a lie... I am surprised. Surprised that you think, Daryl, that you can succeed where gods and angels and all the heroes of the multiverse have failed. In every dimension and history they have sought to undo me, and yet here I stand... the Finality of Paorou-Sama, the Omega of his Will, the Discontent Incarnate."
From the swirling chaos of his cape, Raife drew out a golden blade, a broadsword shimmering with sigils of every language. And between the words, caught in the brilliant sheen of metal, were scenes of heartache and strife from a million worlds. To gaze too long at the sword would be to welcome insanity. Daryl kept his eyes locked on Raife's.
"But you are forgiven for your presumption, Daryl. After all, you are only here because of me... because of the plans that I have laid, your every step deemed by my will. Just as planned..." the madman whispered, "Just as planned..."
He came within a few feet of Daryl, both men lifting their swords in the infernal light. And in the few moments of silence that preceded conflict, Raife leant forward and smiled.
"Just answer me one thing. How does it feel? How does it feel to be the bringer of your people's extinction?"
Daryl made no answer, his fingers tightening around the hilt of his blade. But in his eyes there was the slightest flicker... the slightest doubt.
Raife saw it.
"Yes, Daryl, the truth is spoken. Lamord, Aimi, Sozrosse, Alex, Grant, Jack... their escapes mean nothing. Even if they make it to the Gates of Heaven, all shall be in vain. Because you see, by coming here... you have doomed them all."
And then it began. As if the golden sword was fixed in place, Raife used it to swing forward, slamming both feet into Daryl's chest. The knight stumbled back, parrying as Raife twisted around his side. The golden blade sliced open his calves and Daryl dropped, his yell cut short as Raife's leg came up and constricted around his neck.
The knight rolled, feeling the fiend untangle from him. And then he came up, gritting his teeth against the pain as he forced himself to stand. His blade slashed round, clanging against Raife's. But the captain moved in the opposite direction to the momentum, throwing the elbow of his parrying arm into Daryl's face. The knight felt his teeth come loose.
He parried another flurry of strikes, then reeled as Raife leapt into the air. And as before, Raife defied all laws of momentum and physics, halting his leap in mid-air and twisting into a vertical drop. He landed directly behind Daryl, slicing open his back. The knight felt himself toppling again, then Raife's knee curled up over his chest and hammered downwards, slamming him into the floor.
[SUMMARY: Void injures Atrian Des, causing him to stagger away from Jack. Meanwhile, Lamord takes Ithryx's self-destruct device and uses it to blow away the Apocritakan Swarm blocking the way to Sanctuary, moments before his own wing is sliced off by Semyaza. The survivors now only have the ruins of Nerf Castle and the enraged Apocritakan Queen in their way. Meanwhile, back on the Torment, Raife tells Daryl that his coming there has doomed everyone to extinction. But before he can elaborate on this cryptic omen, the duel begins and Daryl takes a pummelling.]
RUINS OF IWAKU MALL...
Jack pushed himself to his feet, bruised and swollen eyes fixed on Atrian Des. The angel was stumbling, clutching his flayed arm, screaming up at the blossoming light of Void's true form.
Void was the key... Jack knew that now. Rieme's amulet. Sebastian's love for her. Jack's need to protect his friends. The corruption from Moridemus. His will to stay alive and become the hero...
Everything had come down to this moment.
"For my friends..." whispered Jack. "I'll be with you, always."
His elbow thrust back, slamming into the War Memorial behind him, feeling the weakpoints joined up in a cascade of destruction. And then he sprinted forwards, even as the Memorial fell. Leaping on Atrian's back, the boy wrapped his arms around the Lost One's throat, holding on as Atrian reeled. The shadow came upon them, and both were granted the peace they never had in life.
The War Memorial toppled, a tower of stone and names crashing down upon Jack and Asmodeus. And overhead, as the dominion of his master came to a violent end, Void expanded like a storm cloud, filling the apocalyptic skies.
A jet of crimson fire propelled from the centre of Rift Storm, punching through pillars and ruins. It struck with flawless precision a half-mile away, shattering the hollow legs of the demon Teagen. The Necromancer squealed, falling down even as he had raised his staff to bludgeon Doctor Grant.
The torturer roared as his forms thrashed in agony, wings and arms flailing. Grant dragged his battered body through the dust, a bleeding hand reaching again for his pistol, but Teagen was still coming. The Necromancer was crawling across the rubble towards him and screeching in fury. Sweat poured down Grant's brow and stung his eyes.
"YOU... WILL... SUFFER!!!"
Heart pounding in his riobcage, Grant's hand clawed through shattered rock and bone, finally landing on the smoother feel of metal. He gripped the gun and swung it around as Teagen loomed over him. One of the demon's hands pierced his shin as the other lifted the tear out his throat. But Grant did not feel it.
There was no way to miss... no time to hesitate... no man but him to repay this demon for all the myriad souls he tormented.
The primal yell came from the deepest part of Doctor Grant, erasing all civility and humanity, replacing everything with purest murder as he squeezed the trigger once, twice, three times, four times. The bullets tore through Teagen's skull and shattered the hollow bones, blowing out brain and muscle. With a final screech the bird-fiend collapsed and fractured apart over Grant's body, burying him in stone and blood.
When next the Doctor's eyes opened, laden with ash and gore, he found himself staring at a crimson sky. The beautiful, pulsing light of Void was like an attending angel, beaming down on him with healing radiance.
"Doctor Grant... run now... run home." spoke the Rift Storm's voice.
Grant needed no second warning. Summoning the last of his strength, he pushed the crumpled corpse of Teagen away and staggered to his feet, turning into a shambling run towards the bridges.
And behind him, the orb of Rift Light turned and drifted like a wandering star, back towards the ruins of the two ships.
SUMMARY: Jack uses Void's distraction to strike a weakpoint in the Monolith War Memorial. He then seizes Asmodeus/Atrian and dies with him beneath the falling pillar. Now freed, Void expands and helps Doctor Grant to destroy Teagen.