The Elder Invasion: CHAPTER 8 - Castle Iwaku

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At the far northern shore, where a great waterfall tumbles into the sea, Castle Iwaku stands as the symbol of the royal line. It was the first home of King Gabriel when he consolidated the borders of the kingdom and the base from which he fought Lord Razilin in the Nerf Rebellions.

Later it became neglected, as the last of the Iwaku Knights left and Asmodeus and Rory went to their separate strongholds. It became an overgrown and crumbling ruin, slumbering for many years until the end of the Admin War, when it became the seat of government for the post-war restoration.

Now it is the home of King Rory and the base of the royal airship fleet. Together with the gunboat and artillery detachments, Castle Iwaku is the garrison of a substantial royal army that can defend the kingdom in times of need.

The castle also includes a wealth of museums, law courts, pristine gardens, noble chambers, control rooms, archives and government lobbies. It is a bustling and never-sleeping citadel where ministers and tourists alike brush shoulders in the ancient halls.

[Power Hierarchy: D, S, C, R]
Re: Castle Iwaku

Yet another day had passed and the boisterous King Rory was anywhere to be, nor was his equally flamboyant assistant Catlin, know to most merely as Kitti.

A young red haired Asian sat down in a comfortable leather chair that rolled along the wooden floor of her office as she guided the chair towards the other end to retrieve her now cooling tea on the windowsill.

"Ah… This is the life, no more big explosions or other wastes of life to deal with." She mentioned to herself just before the strong smelling tea flowed down her throat.

This was Jin Ya Soo, more commonly referred as Sozrosse by some, and given an equally odd pet name, "Sozzie." She wore a blue-green tunic that seemed almost too oversized for her slim figure. Her amber eyes wandered around the room to watch for even the faintest speck of dust to land in the proper location.

In some sense, she was rather anal -retentive but this was because of the nature of her mind. First trained by a noble spirit called CoffeeCakeSadist, she learned how to use the proper role of magical and spiritual powers which greatly expanded her mind. Over the course of many centuries, she had seen much destruction and had traveled to worlds and planets beyond her own time and space. For once in her life, she had everything controlled. Shortly after becoming King, Rory appointed her as the Head of the Royal Battle Magi and whenever the ostentatious King decided to do one of his many roams around the countryside, she was more or less left to deal with everything in the Castle.

Today was a quiet day for once. On an average day at the Castle one could expect one wing to be blown up by someone pretending they were being funny or some random demon roaming around for the hell of it. Chaos was a good name for it, mostly because Insanity was already taken but on the same token, there was some sort of counter guardian bum that had the same name. In retrospect, a better means of looking at it is that attracted many odd folks that were more of misfits than dangers.

There was a knock at the door. A young Faye girl entered and carried a large tray of food in for her boss. "It's all freshly cut and made to the high standards that you hold so dear, General Soo!"


Before the cook had a chance to react, the fiery red head had begun to inhale her food. Maybe Jin was more bored than she had realized at first.
Re: Castle Iwaku



The teacup trembled in Asmodeus's hand, the slight rattle of the saucer resounding around the antechamber. The single secretary at the desk gave him a quick glance, before returning to the papers on her desk.

"Asmodeus.... listen to me."

The angel lowered his head, a pained expression beneath the mask as his memories came to the surface.

"No more wordplay. I give you one truth. All things have two sides - they are... or they are not. This is the choice all things make - to be or not to be."

He lifted his mask slightly to take another sip, trying to ignore the voice. His bloodshot eyes swept around the chamber, taking in the majestic architecture of Greek columns, Judaic and Oriental symbols in artistic union. The chamber was paved in black and white tiles. Everything spoke of Rory...

"Right now... Iwaku remains. But one day it shall pass... like all things. It cannot last forever, no more than any of us."

He put the cup back on the saucer, trying to stop his hands from trembling, and with his other hand he replaced the mask.

"One day, we'll all be far from here. We'll have new places, new lives, and this... this will be just a memory. Our only duty, Asmodeus, our only compulsion, is to make this memory a good one."

His hand slid down the mask, touching his neck, the fingers and thumb squeezing the throat. His neck was starting to hurt again, the invisible aches from where Homac's sword had cleaved his head from his torso.

The wound of a god... it would never be healed... none of his wounds would.

"And there you'll have your golden land. The memory of a time when we were younger, and when we dreamed. When knights and dragons danced, and starships filled the sky, and love and glory were perfect concepts. A time when heroes and villains duelled, and we were more than what we are. That is Iwaku."

Asmodeus doubled over slowly, trying to hide his pain from the secretary. As always, after the ache passed across his throat, it travelled down to his chest, to the right lung, where Palonis's blade had struck him. His breathing stalled, only returning when he coughed, the sickly sound muffled inside the mask.

"Asmodeus... no matter what has been or what remains, you will be remembered. All this time you wept, for fear there was no one watching. But it was you who was watching us. Asmodeus... thankyou."

The emerald shape of an airship drifted lazily past the window, temporarily eclipsing the view of the crystal lakes. When it passed, the morning panorama seemed to return brighter than ever, the waters shimmering as sailing boats bobbed upon them and bunting fluttered over the great bridges.

"Now let me end your life... and send you to your next journey."


Asmodeus jolted, suddenly aware of the secretary standing over him. The teacup plummetted to the floor and shattered, spilling hot liquid across the tiles.

"Oh God... I'm sorry... I..." Asmodeus came onto one knee, his hands reaching out to collect the fragments. But the secretary simply held out her hands.

"It's fine, Sir. I'll take care of it. Please..."

Asmodeus looked up at her, his pained expression hidden beneath the inch of metal. But even with that inhuman visage, the young woman simply smiled at the stranger and gestured to the corridor beyond her desk.

"Miss Ya Soo is ready for you now."

Asmodeus remained on his knees a little longer, looking at the shattered teacup, before rising awkwardly. With another cough he cleared the pain from his body, breathing freely again as he set off across the marble floor.

And thankfully, the voice fell silent as he entered the corridor.

The voice from long ago that was held by Coffeecakesadist, the man whose disciple he was now set to meet.

[SUMMARY: Asmodeus has arrived at the Castle and is set for a meeting with Jin Ya Soo.]
Re: Castle Iwaku

The young cook was still in the room when Asmodeus had entered. Of course, his masked face concealed his proud features, so the child couldn't tell whom he was. Even if she could, odds were she wouldn't be able to tell it was him. A generation had grown up hearing tales about him but never seen him. Thus, some claimed he was dead, others didn't. He had always been an angel of great paradoxes, almost like Satan in Milton's famous epic poem, Paradise Lost.

There was a knock on Jin's door. In an instinctive reaction she mentioned, "Come on in. Please take a seat."

The former angelic prince had entered Jin's office once again. His visits were generally sparse and varied in length, usually no more than a hour at a time. Much like every other visit, the strong smell of Chinese herbal tea flowed into his nose. Although, not horrid smelling, it was one of those sorts of drinks, only a select few would ever gulp down.

"Leave us," Jin said to the young cook, who nodded and quickly gathered the few dishes Jin had left untouched.

She then peered at the Iwaku Knight, "Let's skip the formalities. You only come when visions have revealed themselves. What has happened now?"
Re: Castle Iwaku

(Palonis has arrived from the Gosai Mountains)

"Tell me master, what did you expect to happen when you tried to teleport into the dwelling place of the most powerful man in the world?" Stumbling into the waiting room of the castle, directed by his apprentice, Palonis sat himself down in one of the seats while rubbing his nose. While the ninja hadn't changed from his traditional sneaking suit, his apprentice had changed into more comfortable traveling clothes, consisting of a long brown tunic and ill-fitting brown trousers.

The secretary, unperturbed by the presence of two uninvited gentlemen, leaned over her desk and asked, "Can I do something for you gentlemen?"

"Yes madam," spoke the apprentice. "My master desires an audience with your king, Rory, at your earliest conven-"

"Not at his earliest convenience, foolish Turd!" Palonis exclaimed, standing up to push his apprentice aside. "I want to see him now! If not sooner!"

"I'm sorry, sir," the secretary replied, "but there is already an audience in session. You'll just have to take a number and wait." She helpfully tore off the top slip on a stack of papers at the corner of her desk and handed it over. The apprentice took it and was about to hand it over when he saw the look in his master's eyes, the only facial feature that was visible, and immediately backed off.

"Now look here, you," the ninja began. "I am here on an immediate matter concerning MY property. If you don't allow me to get in that door and see your employer THIS INSTANT, I will knock it do-"

This was as far as the ninja got before he found himself surrounded by foot soldiers with swords and spears, him and his apprentice. "On behalf of the palace guard," one of them said, "we solemnly dare you to try." Feeling around for his Chi, Palonis discovered that something in the palace was inhibiting it. Not even bothering to reach for his own sword, he grumbled and snatched the paper from his apprentice's hand. The guards immediately stood back in their hidden alcoves, though they continued eying him warily as he slumped into his seat with his arms crossed. Obviously, this was going to be a long wait.

"I dare say, master, that you'd have to be a strong one to break in here," his apprentice whispered, holding one hand inside his tunic as he glanced around at all the security. "This is perhaps the most intricate security layout ever, even better than the wards you placed on the temple."

"Yes, about those wards, Turd..." Palonis growled. "You wouldn't happen to know how those swine were able to just saunter in to my home, would you? I put shields up for a reason."

The apprentice looked sheepish. "I...lowered them, master. The archeologists were cold and despairing when they realized they couldn't get in from the snow. I couldn't let them die in such a miserable manner."

"So you pitied them...STUPID!" With a flash of his hand, the ninja struck his apprentice over the head. "Do you know what the primary reason is for assassins failing their missions? Do you?" exclaimed the ninja in a raised voice. "The next time you take pity on anyone, anyone at all, then I will kill you myself! Understood?" Turning away from his shaken apprentice, the ninja mumbled, "Idiot. What a waste of life."

(Summary: Arriving at the palace, Palonis impatiently demands to see Rory immediately, not knowing that the king isn't in. The secretary rebuffs his demands, and forces him to sit and wait for Asmodeus to finish. While seated, Palonis gives his apprentice a lesson on pity.)
Re: Castle Iwaku


Asmodeus hovered in the doorway, looking to the other seats in the office but making no approach. The gentle sunlight from the lattice windows caught on his mask, making him more like a porcelain statue, a marble artifice carved from the palace walls and left to reside in timeless solitude.

"It all went wrong..." he answered, a bare whisper. "I tried to protect Jack, but the others..." His head lowered, moving from side to side as he struggled with the reflections. "It was my fault. I spent so long rehearsing what I would say and... and I didn't think about him. But how can I... I..."

He faltered, and Sozrosse took a sip of her herbal drink. "So, you've wasted another eighteen years. Did you boys have a Plan B? No, let me guess - you chased after Jack and tried to hit him with your swords."

Asmodeus's blue eyes lifted to her, silvered by the harrowing birth of tears. "The others aren't like you... the other survivors. They've been waiting so long... you have to underst..."

"I understand perfectly well," remarked the young redhead, rising from her seat to return a book to one of the high shelves of warded oak. "My old friends from the Legacy have endured untold suffering whilst battling across time and space at the furthest edges of a disintegrating universe, and now they can't even summon up the simple discipline to handle a teenager who wants to keep his little toy."

"There's no time to..."

Sozrosse turned from the shelf. "Either take off the mask or speak up, would you?"

Asmodeus stepped a little further into the room, his body hunched, eyes downcast once more. "We don't have time to mourn our actions. This is the year... the year King Rory prophecised the return of certain things. The Sheathe... the hero who was banished... the new villain... the raging unknowns... the guardians. All the things we need to protect... to prevent the Anomaly recurring."

"Well, that's the thing about Anomalies..." replied Sozrosse, brushing dust from her blue-green tunic as she picked up her tea from the table, "...they take many forms." She sipped, almost standing to attention as she gazed through the window at the crystal lakes. "We only saw one manifestation of the Fault in the Cycle. And though the Rift Storms were abominations to behold, I'm sure the Anomaly can take many more subtle and insidious forms than them."

"That's why we need to gather the artefacts," said Asmodeus, stepping closer to her, his hand almost rising to touch her. But for very different reasons, neither of them could stand to be touched anymore. So he lowered his hand again. "And the heroes. There are things in Iwaku, powerful things more connected to the Cycle than others. We must protect them... keep them from despair and corruption."

He lifted his head suddenly, moist eyes glimmering with a flicker of hope. "Perhaps if you contacted your..."

Sozrosse turned, slamming her teacup down on the saucer. The clink echoed around the room and cut Asmodeus's words short. "Don't even try it," she said, her amber eyes burning into his mask, "You know as well as I do that you can sooner turn the tides as pin down Coffeecakesadist."

"Just once..."

"He's NOT going to see you, Asmodeus. He comes and goes as he pleases."

Silence settled in the room, and Asmodeus seemed to sink lower under Sozrosse's gaze. A flight of ravens streamed past the window, breaking to swerve around the sleak forms of passing airships.

In time, Sozrosse's pale features softened and she placed down her teacup. "But I can at least get you an audience with the King. I hear he's been having visions about Jack Shade. Go wait outside and I'll see what I can do."

"Thankyou," whispered Asmodeus, before turning quickly and moving back into the corridor.

Slowly, like a funeral mourner, the masked angel retracted his steps to the waiting chamber, passing the desk where the secretary sat. A sigh escaped his lips and he lifted his head, adjusting his purple robes as he looked ahead to his meeting with the king.

... No...

Like an electric shock, the picture of the ninja sitting on the chair etched itself onto his mind, seeping through to the very core of his nerves. Then deepest pain erupted, arching from his brain and down to his ribs, running along the lines of the old wound that had pierced his lungs 18 years ago.

... Palonis...

Asmodeus leapt into motion, almost flying across the chamber as if forgetting for a moment that his wings were gone. His feet pounded the black and white marble squares, and he had barely moved a foot before shimmering columns of eldritch light appeared in front of him.

The two Battle Mages teleported between Asmodeus and Palonis, sensing the flare of violence, the threat to the royal chambers. They materialised in combat stance, lifting their staffs to deliver bolts of disabling magic.

And in the next instant the staffs faltered, the golden light that once wreathed their shafts fading to dull metal in the presence of Asmodeus's Confluence Aura. The two guards hesitated, feeling the symbols of warding and enchancement drain from their robes.

Asmodeus slammed into the first of them, knocking him aside and tackling the second one. The angel spun, drawing the short sword from the man's belt and flinging him after his companion.

The two mages stumbled to the ground, and Asmodeus finished his spin, one arm coming around Turd's throat, the tip of the shortsword pressed against his eye-socket. He dangled the servant off his feet, barely a foot from the standing Palonis.

More Mages arrived, appearing in a semi-circle behind the angel and his hostage. A virtual armoury of staffs levelled at the masked figure, new energies flowing through them to counteract his Confluence.

Only a second had passed.

"RELEASE HIM!" bellowed the sergeant of the Battle Mages.

Asmodeus tensed, the sword slipping further into Turd's eye-socket and pressing against his pupil. The secretary's scream sounded from the corner of the chamber.

"HOLD IT!" shouted the sergeant, trying to keep his men from opening fire. "EVERYONE, STAY CALM. LET HIM GO!"

The angel ignored the mages, peering over Turd's trembling shoulder at Palonis. The eyes of the old adversaries were locked on each other, carrying the weight of history... the weight of mutual slaughter.

"I can't let you kill me again," whispered Asmodeus above the whimpers of Palonis's servant. "There's too much at stake. I can't let you stop me..."

[SUMMARY: Asmodeus talks with Sozrosse, hoping she can grant him access to Coffeecakesadist. But Sozrosse reminds him that the old mentor comes and goes as he pleases. She does, however, offer him an audience with the King. Asmodeus returns to the waiting room, but when he sees Palonis he snaps and assumes he has come to kill him. Overcoming two of the guards, Asmodeus steals a weapon and takes Palonis's servant hostage.]
Re: Castle Iwaku

Another entered the Reception room, announced only by the wheezing whine of his faulty Prsthetic leg and the sound of his heavy footfalls.
though he was at least eight feet tall, he walked with a modest, almost timid stride, and wore only a simple off white robe, tied at the waist with a plain leather belt, it's buckle however, and the sheathed sword that hung off the belt were ornate, the buckle a gold double headed eagle intricately inlaid with detailed script, though one would have to look very closely at each of the eagles feathers to notice this, the scabbard that held the sword was a dark crimson, the leather appeared ancient and at either end, a silvery-gold metal shone brightly, as though well polished and looked after.

The blade's hilt looked much like that of a broadsword, though it was also made of the almost shimmering silver-gold, though it looked as though it had been polished but hours before.

The man's face was weathered and scarred, his right eye was covered by what looked like a red camera lens, inset into a steel casing, his hair, almost shorn in length and of a light Brown in color, though it greyed slightly at the temples, behind his left ear a dull steel plate spoke of removable augmentics.

With a look of slight consternation, Warmaster Death looked to Asmodeus, whos till held the apprentice hostage, WMD lowered his head sadly
"Have you not learned anything? do you not tire of reliving the memories?" voice wavering only momentarily, he raised both hands, so that it was clear he did not intend to draw his sword
"Must things always involve violence with us old freind? must we relive the past again and again, until we are all but gone?" WMD awaited the reply, knowign that it would either be one of reason, or more likely, one of violence.

WMD arrives, his original intention forgotten in the moment, though he makes it clear he does not intend to interfere physically with What Asmodeus' doing.
Re: Castle Iwaku

"You...?" Standing slowly to his feet, Palonis watched dully as Asmodeus hoisted up his apprentice and threatened him with bodily harm. Of all the things the ninja had expected to happen when he encountered the dark angel, this was not one of them. He contemplated lifting up his sword again and driving it into the angel's skull as punishment for harming a student of his, but he realized that this would only lead to grievous harm to all parties.

"So," the ninja spoke, feeling the echoes of a familiar fatal wound throb in his torso area, "it appears that you've managed to keep yourself together, cursed one."

"Master!" Turd squealed, "Make him let me go!"

"Shut up, Turd!" the ninja snapped. "The grownups are talking now, so it's in your best interests to be silent." The apprentice nodded shakily, his eyes not narrowing at all. At the corner of Palonis's vision, he saw another familiar face enter the room. Backup, or a distraction, it didn't matter. In the end, it'd be over soon regardless, one way or another. After weighing his options, the ninja took a step forward.

"Stay back, ninja!" Asmodeus insisted. "I cannot die here!"

"So you say. But let me point something out to you. I operate as a professional, which means I do not desire to kill people, I only need to. There are, therefore, only three reasons I would want to kill someone: if I'm paid to do it, if that person is harming my self-interests, or..." He let his voice drop a little, "...if that person harms someone I care for. Get where I'm going with this?"

"Master?" Turd said in a lower pitched voice. He had realized Palonis's reasoning, and didn't like it.

"You see, Asmodeus, as of the moment, I have no personal need to kill you. However, if you harm that boy, then I will be on you like an uncontrollable hurricane, and in the end, you WILL die." Suddenly, Palonis's voice sprang back to a neutral tone. "Therefore, if you drop the boy and back away, nobody will need to be disemboweled. I'm sure that whatever project you've got yourself tangled up in this time in will go a lot smoother if you don't have to contend simultaneously with a peeved assassin who knows where you live. Agreed?"

(Summary: Rather than resorting to violence, Palonis attempts to appeal to Asmodeus's logic, pointing out that the ninja will only want to kill the angel after he kills the apprentice)
Re: Castle Iwaku

I still remember what you told me...

You could have ended it all, Zeon. I gave you the chance to strike me down. Yet you refused. And in place of a blade, you cursed me.

The silence lingered for a few moments more, each one hung in the balance between relief and violent cascade. And like one of the countless murals on the castle walls, everyone in the chamber was deadly still.

You would not kill me. But you made me swear to atone for what I had done, to live until every wrong had been righted.

With a soft and disorderly thud, Turd fell to the ground.

I gave you a chance. Like I have given so many others. But they cannot kill me... they won't... they flatly refuse to end my life. Perhaps they fear I will milk it, that whatever they do to me will be forged into a drama, a great story of my end.... that however they kill me I will be immortalised... and even the most tragic death will be an honour to this angel who fell from heaven to gather stories...

With a medley of whimpers and curses, Turd crawled away across the marble floors and pressed his back to the wall, putting himself behind his master and away from the angel. But Palonis paid his servant no heed, watching silently as Asmodeus turned to the sergeant of the guard. He presented the hilt of the sword, and the sergeant cautiously took the weapon away from the masked angel.

They would have to wreck me entirely... take away every assurance that I have in misery and joy, every contradiction that makes me beautiful. Everything that could be told again in the hearts of man...

But they can't. I have slaughtered thousands, abused and violated this land, poured my contempt and ugliness upon this world, butchered and mutilated.... and they still cannot sully my name.

Beneath the mask, blue eyes fell upon each of the gathered people, resting at last on Warmaster Death with the greatest weight of unspoken history. But there was no answer given, not to him nor the ninja, even though the three of them were irrevocably linked by the deaths they had dealt each other long ago.

They will never write me out. Whatever they do to me will simply be too good a story. You knew that, didn't you Zeon? You knew that when you spared my life on the Tower.

The Battle Mages kept their staffs at the ready, radiating a haze of dreamweaving to hold at bay the rawer energies of Confluence. The air was electrified, tense, at one moment heavy, the next moment dizzying.... and then all at once the atmosphere was severed as Asmodeus broke into motion. He strode out of the circle of Battle Mages, brushing past Warmaster Death as he exited the chamber.

The Journey Shield finds them all unworthy... it finds myself unworthy. Neither hero nor villain... Paorou took that from me in the War... just as the knights of my new heroism will be taken from me in time.

That is the truth of the Cycle after all. No fitting ends, no bright beginnings. Just entrance after entrance, each one of us bearing threats and promises, a few scenes to steal the show. But nothing lasting... everything forgotten.

What's the fucking point?

The weapons of the guards tracked him as he left the chamber and strode out into the hallway, passing through the gauntlet of paintings, statues and stainlight glass. Other servants and dignitaries parted from him, some knocked aside by his stride and others fleeing as they saw the Battle Mages tracking him.

And now these knights have come to teach me of Rift Storms; so that even despair is denied. Now I cannot wallow in my self-contempt, lest it should it tear the universe asunder . Even misery is denied... every tear shed a harbinger of further suffering.

Turning corner after corner, his stride grew angrier, the curious murmurs of the palace becoming distant. He moved through the emptier chambers of the west wing, his footsteps echoing through the sparse halls where King Gabriel once trod.

Perhaps it's time for this old angel to do what no one else can... to break the very shield that defends me; to make a pointlessness... a divine flaw... a non-story.

Barging through a pair of arching double doors, the cold air of the outside struck him. Asmodeus stepped out onto the western balcony, robes mauled by the buffetting winds, mask silvered by the morning sunlight. As the sounds of wheeling birds and rumbling airships eclipsed his footsteps, Asmodeus strode to the very edge, gripping the railing and looking over at the water miles below.

An angel gathers knights then casts himself from the Castle for no reason. The music stutters, the audience frowns, the writer checks his notes and the editors scream. Footsteps shuffle in the theatre aisles and fans argue amongst themselves.

No one gets it. No one likes it. We all fall down...

Pausing only for a moment, Asmodeus planted his first foot on the top of the balustrade.

So there you have it, Zeon. I break the promise I made to you in the hours before your death. I go back on my word. I forsake your plan, your curse, your dream of what I could have been. And in that I make your part in this tale as meaningless as my own.

There was no sign of the guards now, and as Asmodeus brought up his other foot the air around him bristled with Confluence energy. No spell would break his fall... no Battle Mage would chain him... no ward would prevent this deed...

Enough talk! Even now I make a story of this pointlessness, shaping it to something profound. But it isn't.

Enough! Silence! No more words! The story stalls, the Cycle is denied its dancing fool.

His hands came away and he was left teetering on the edge of the balcony, swaying back and forth in the high winds. He was ready...

Fuck it.

[SUMMARY: Asmodeus releases Turd and storms out of the chamber. Seemingly without hesitation, he strides to the west wing and out onto the balcony, climbing the barrier and preparing to throw himself to his death.]
Re: Castle Iwaku

As the apprentice scuttled away, cowering against a pillar, Palonis let out a quick exhalation of air. Though calm on the outside, he had been feeling quite tense during the awkward silence that had passed between his statement and the angel letting his student go. Still, despite Asmodeus having released his hostage, everyone was still cautious about approaching him. Considering the powers of this individual, it only made sense. Some would say that at the peak of his power, he could raise his blade, lop off someone's head, and have it back in the neutral position before anyone could discern that it had moved at all.

Nonetheless, there wasn't much head lopping transpiring at the moment. Instead, he was simply walking at a leisurely pace towards the western doors of the castle. This made no sense to the ninja, as there was nothing out there but a giant raging waterfall. The angel couldn't possibly be thinking of...

But as he plodded on, shoving open the doors with one mighty heave, it became quite apparent to Palonis what it was that he was planning. The angel was going to throw himself off the waterfall, and without his wings to stop his fall, the impact would shatter his bones into powder. "Turd!" he suddenly exclaimed. "Turd, I need one of your knives!"

"What for, mas-"

"NO TIME! Give it to me, NOW!" With very little hesitation, the apprentice reached into the inside of his tunic and threw a long, straight knife at his master, who caught it expertly by the handle. Already, the ninja was hard at work, tying one sleeve of his jacket around the handle of the blade. Having experienced the angel's field of enforced realism, he knew that his powers of ninjitsu would be ineffective against him. So instead, he was improvising a weapon that needed no magical influence to be effective: a makeshift grappling hook.

There was no time. The angel was already stepping up onto the safety rail. After a quick swing of the weapon around his head, Palonis threw it out, and much to his surprise, the blade actually sunk into the angel's shoulder, and lodged itself between two bones. Not waiting to give this revelation much thought, he tugged with all his might, and something even more startling happened.

The angel jerked back from the sudden tug, stumbled, and fell on his back.

Palonis had never seen Asmodeus stumble before. Before, every movement had been beautiful choreography, like a ballet organized by a genius of dance. He had done something to himself, something very terrible.

Running out onto the balcony, the ninja felt the answer more quickly than he'd thought he would. It was the same thing that he had felt once before, in his final duel with Asmodeus on the peripets of Nerf Castle. The angel had once again performed his finale: a field of realism that had lowered his defenses against anyone who was anything but a true hero. And Palonis had just thrown a sharp, bladed object into his shoulder. Lovely.

"I didn't take you for the type that would give up, you know," the ninja said as he knelt down to examine the wound. "A man of your powers, with all this potential for making the world a better place, shouldn't be thrown off of a balcony. That's more of a death reserved for drunken fools and unfaithful husbands, and maybe a combination of the two." Turning, the ninja saw Turd standing uncertainly in the doorway. "As for you, ask those fools if they have any bandages, and maybe a needle and thread. We're going to have to do this one the old-fashioned way."

"Yes, master! Right away!"

With a slight stumble, the apprentice ran back in, and started talking to the sargeant. In the meantime, Palonis sat with his back against the balcony, and spoke to the angel, "You know, there's no reason for us to be enemies anymore, knife in shoulder notwithstanding. What transpired has transpired, and at this point, I don't feel up to holding a grudge. Perhaps instead, you could tell me what it was you've been up to lately. It sounds important, and if it has world-shaking consequences, well..." he let out a small chuckle, "...for now, I'm a denizen of this world, and so it probably concerns me. Who knows, I might even offer my services, free of charge."

(Summary: Knowing about Asmodeus's Consolidation Field, Palonis improvises a real-life weapon and uses it to pull Asmo off the railing. After sending Turd off to get medical supplies, he offers reconciliation and a possible partnership in Asmo's current dealings.)
Re: Castle Iwaku

Clutching the dagger in his shoulder, even as blood trickled out between his fingers, Asmodeus leant against the balustrade with his back to Palonis, refusing to look at him. His voice had fallen to the faintest shred, faded by blood-loss and deepest grief. Palonis could barely hear what the angel was saying.

"Services..." He doubled over, almost retching. "A poor name for your half-deeds. What have you ever served? Nothing but your pride... your whim. You've never truly cared, have you? How strange my kind must seem to you."

He peered over his shoulder, azure eyes glaring at the mercenary. "Tell me what it's like Palonis... to drift..." He said the word with blackest contempt. "To meander between petty causes and fill whatever time remains with your sneering and your disbelief? What use are you to anyone?"

His own words were broken by a cry as he pulled the dagger a few inches, issuing more blood across his robes. But his eyes stayed on the ninja.

"Is that why you hid away for all these years? Because your foolish Sainthood was the only instance of your life when you have ever touched anyone or anything in this world?"

He pulled the dagger free, tearing the wound wider and holding the dripping weapon before Palonis. The angel's voice became fierce and rasping.

"You're just like all the others in Iwaku. You spend your days languishing in inactivity, waiting for some cause that is great enough to stir you from your half-sleep of bitching and idleness. And when you see angels such as I ascend with greatest enterprise, you offer only scorn and scrutiny... or at best the detached and passionless whoring of your services."

He tried to rise, but dropped down against the balustrade again, blood smearing on stone.

"So why should I speak with you, Palonis? Why should I tell you of my knights and my quest, when you will never feel, never care... never love Iwaku as I have loved it. Why should your services mean anything, when you can't even hate me for what I've done... and when even now you think up your cold and cynical retorts to my emotions?"

He flung the gore-soaked dagger back at the ninja, hilt-first. "Maybe it is YOU who should throw themselves from this castle!"

[SUMMARY: Asmodeus rejects the offer of reconciliation, condemning Palonis for being a passionless mercenary who means nothing to Iwaku.]
Re: Castle Iwaku

At the first few words from the angel, Palonis had risen to his feet. Barely containing his anger, he stood and listened to the accusations of a man who had no right to them, but kept his peace.

But then the angel's last comment fell, and that was too much.

"How DARE you?!" Rearing his foot back, the ninja was filled with a strange urge to hurt this fallen angel. Break his teeth, snap his arms, anything that presented itself. However, at the last moment, he let his foot fall back next to the other, and shook his head. The only thing that Asmodeus could see was that Palonis's forehead was furrowed and his eyes were wide with restrained anger, but that told him enough about the current emotional state of this man.

"You arrogant, egotistical prick!" he exclaimed, pacing back and forth in front of the bleeding angel. "You think that this is all about you, huh? Think that yours is the only cause dedicated to the life of this world? Do you?!" Standing still, Palonis jabbed an accusatory finger down at Asmodeus. "Look at yourself, you pathetic man! Think about why you're in this wretched state! Is it a 'half-deed' to strike dead someone who tore through armies, aircraft, and armored vehicles as if they were made of plywood? What gives you the right to decide whether or not people are worthy enough to help someone they respect?"

"Master, what did you do to him?" Just by the voice, Palonis recognized that it was his apprentice, back with bandages, presumably. Turning, he saw the young man staring down at Asmodeus and looking like he was barely staying on his feet. "He's all covered in blood!" he said. "Did you do this?"

"No, I didn't," the ninja replied. "This is the work of a man who thinks he's too good to receive help when it's offered. If you ask me," he turned back to the angel, "I shouldn't have saved him. I should have just let him toss himself off a balcony and die like the prideful fool he is."

Turning away from Asmodeus, Palonis walked back into the castle, shoving aside Turd on the way in. "But...but wait!" the young apprentice said, walking slowly after the ninja. "What about him? He's wounded!"

"So heal him, if you really want to," the ninja said, not slowing his walk in the slightest. "Personally, I'd just let him bleed to death and let crows eat his holier-than-thou flesh. It's the least he deserves."

Watching his master walk off, Turd stopped his stride, and quickly turned around and ran onto the balcony, trailing bandages behind him in one hand and carrying a small bowl of water in the other. "Please don't be too late please don't be too late..." he said under his breath as he stopped in front of the angel and winced. The man had pulled the dagger roughly out of his shoulder, tearing it unnecessarily. "Don't die on me, sir," he said anxiously. "I'll have that bandaged up and fixed soon. Don't worry."

Despite this being the man who had nearly killed him just a short while ago, Turd knew that this Asmodeus was important to his master somehow, and besides, he couldn't let someone die in slow agony like this.

(Summary: Palonis gets offended by Asmodeus's rebuttal, sends some insults back in return, and storms out, leaving his apprentice to bandage up the wound that the angel had opened.)
Re: Castle Iwaku

As Turd cleaned the wound, the angel's eyes peered sleepily at him from behind the mask.

"He has you well trained."

"Master takes care of me," muttered Turd as he soaked a rag again and dabbed at the knife wound. "And he's a good man - he must have been to face you during the War."

Asmodeus inhaled, stifling a laugh. "I suppose you have a point... little servant..."

Turd began folding shorter bandages over longer ones, fashioning a makeshift dressing. "But you knew that, anyway," he said, nervous eyes glancing at the angel's mask. "That's why you took me hostage in there. Because you knew he was a good man."

The angel leaned closer, the silver mask like an unreadable abyss. "Maybe I'm just used to picking on weaklings like you."

Asmodeus snarled in pain as Turd pressed the dressing to the wound. "Well that's typical," replied Turd, tying the bandages around the angel's shoulder and pulling them tight to punctuate his words. "Just because I don't have wings or a silly costume or carry around a big sword, everyone assumes I'm some nameless sideliner!"

He tied the final knot forcefully and Asmodeus slumped back against the balcony with a painful grunt.

"That's what I hate about Iwaku," complained Turd as he gathered up the water bowl and rags. "It's too obsessed with celebrities. Believe me, I'd rather be home right now, sweeping the floors of Abdiel and cooking the master's..."

Asmodeus's hand shot out, clamping around Turd's wrist before he could move away. The servant fell silent, looking down wide-eyed at the angel.

"What... what did you say?"

"I said I'd rather be at home right n..."

"Abdiel... you said... Abdiel."

"Yes," replied Turd with a frown, "It's one of the names written near my quarters. They're all over the Gosai Ruins."

There was silence, and for the longest time Asmodeus's grip did not relent. But then, slowly, it weakened, and Asmodeus released him. The whole angel's body seemed to relax and there was relief in his voice.

"Thank you."

"That's alright. But you'll need to rest that shoulder and..."

"No... I mean thank you for telling me where to go."

Turd stared blankly as Asmodeus pulled himself up with new resolve. Grunting at the pain, the angel straightened and set off down the corridors he had come from, clutching his bandaged shoulder.

Returning to the reception chamber, he saw Sozrosse and Warmaster Death standing with a guard patrol, debriefing on the incident.

Asmodeus's voice was the strongest it had been in years as he spoke out, first to Sozrosse. "Tell the King I will have to cancel our meeting. I will meet him again in due time, when I have... found what I seek..."

Then to the Space Marine, "Another time, Warmaster."

And with that, Asmodeus turned and departed into the shadowy hallways.

Asmodeus has left Castle Iwaku

As Turd is bandaging Asmodeus's wounds, he lets slip a name that he has seen on the ruins where he and Palonis live. Asmodeus seems to recognise the name, and with that he departs quickly from the castle, a curious resolve upon him.
Re: Castle Iwaku

WMD, who had stayed on the sidelines since the initial disturbance, slammed his fist against his chest in a salute to Asmodeus' words, though he doubted the Angel saw it, consumed as he was with his own departure
"Until next time, Old freind" he muttered, though the last word was traced with both sincerity and irony.
Re: Castle Iwaku

Walking back into the main waiting room, Turd saw Palonis seated stiffly in one of the chairs, his arms folded in front of him. The place was buzzing with activity, but his master seemed unaffected by all the people running around and trying to make sense of the sudden fight that had broken out in their midst just as quickly as it had stopped. This didn't make much difference to the apprentice, as his mind was focused on one singular issue: his master did not look happy.

"So you treated him then?" the ninja said as his apprentice walked up to him. Turd didn't say a word, instead just nodding slowly. "I see. To summarize, today you have committed the following faults..." he paused to see the young man's reaction, and grinned widely when he saw that he was shaking. "First, compromising the security of our sanctuary, revealing my name to unauthorized civilians, and allowing them to set up their equipment, the purpose of which you had no clue about. They could have been priming machine guns, and you likely wouldn't have cared. As it is, now the world knows that I still exist, and they know where I live, thanks to you."

"But master, I-"

"SECOND!" the ninja proclaimed, cutting through his apprentice's protests, "You let your guard drop, allowing the enemy to use you as leverage in a hostage situation. And then, despite my recommendations to the contrary, you provided aid to said enemy, giving them the reprieve he needed to go back into action again. Also, I happened to be listening in, and I couldn't help but notice you casually dropping the name of our sanctuary to said enemy, meaning that he's likely on his way to compromise its sanctity as well."

"He's not an enemy!" Turd shouted, his hands curled into fists. Nearby guards turned to see what the noise was, and courtiers backed off slightly.

Giving a slight humph, Palonis stood to his feet, standing at least half a foot taller than his defiant acolyte. "You're really pissing me off, you know that, Anton?" All the color drained out of Turd's face, and he stood back. The ninja only used his real name when something serious was about to happen. "At this rate, you're going to become downright uncontrollable," he continued without pause. "Perhaps you prefer to follow that angel more than your own master, hmm?"

"What are you talking about? My loyalty is to you."

"No, it isn't. Not anymore, at any rate. The instant you challenged a statement I made, you showed that you obviously think yourself better than I am. My lessons haven't taught you a thing, it seems. Not about being a ninja, nor about respecting those greater than you." Palonis began a slow walk around Turd, his hand going towards his blade. "So tell me, what with your obvious failure to be useful in any way, why do I keep you around?"

"I..." Turd looked down at his hands. "I don't know."

"Obviously. You don't know anything. That is why I'm going to have to cut you loose."

The young apprentice's head snapped up. "What? Why?" Most of the people still in the waiting room were giving the two men a wide berth at this point, possibly due to Palonis's wide pacing.

"Is there wax in your ears? I said that I'm dismissing you. Find your own way in the world, maybe find a better teacher. I really don't care at this point. Just get out of my sight."

The casual way in which he said that stung more than the words themselves. It was like the ninja didn't care at all. Turd considered saying something in response, but instead just turned around, took two steps, and then spun quickly on his heels and threw a dagger straight at his old master's face. Without even taking his right hand off his blade, the ninja snatched the blade out of the air with his left. "Nice try kid," Palonis said, "but you're still dealing with one of the fastest-"

Before he could even finish, three knives sung through the air, the first one wedging itself in the handle of the one that had been thrown before, and the other two passing within a finger's width of the ninja's head. Giving a respectful salute with a dagger held between two fingers, Turd walked out the front door of the castle, hoping to be able to catch up with that Asmodeus fellow before he left the area.

Throwing the daggers to the ground, Palonis made another quiet humph. Apparently, the young guy had learned something. Not that it was much use against anyone even halfway caring. But oh well, he gave the kid points for style. Right now, he had other worries. Stepping out the front door himself, and feeling glad to be rid of magical negation, he focused his will, and vanished, hoping that he could reach the mountain before Asmodeus did.

(Summary: Palonis gets fed up with Turd's idiocy, and dismisses him as an apprentice. Turd decides to join up with Asmodeus, while Palonis decides to teleport over to Mount Iwaku before Asmodeus can get there.)

Palonis and Turd have left Castle Iwaku.
Re: Castle Iwaku

The Warmaster seemed to feel it, even before the first roar of destruction tore through the city.

Pushing battle-mages aside, WMD rushed to the nearest balcony. He gripped the railing and stared out across the great city of Iwaku, watching as pillars of fire and smoke rose into the sky.

Airships were crashing, and great infernoes were rising from the South Gate and the Iwaku Mall. Clouds of dust and rubble choked the streets as giant creatures scuttled down them. Lazer beams, 20ft wide, tore across the city, vapourizing shops and houses.

There was a great splash from the west as a stone sphere, easily 100ft across, crashed into the lake.


Some guards were standing dumbstruck behind him. WMD turned and yelled at them. "Get the king out of here!"

The castle shook under the impact of another sphere, the entire structure swaying slightly. WMD peered over the balcony to the east side, his eyes narrowing at the sight.

Something was starting to climb the walls...


All across the city, there were little sparks of amber light as the fabric of reality was torn down. Invaders of all kinds were pouring into the streets - Trolls, Noob barbarians, spam-gunners, flamers... Looting and pillaging was rife.

In under five minutes, the city had gone to chaos...

In the distance, more Stone Spiders were spilling out of Anirune Forest, either scuttling towards the walls and curling into spheres and bouncing like bowling balls into the streets.

"GO!" shouted the Warmaster, forcing the guards into action.

[SUMMARY: The City of Iwaku is under attack by giant stone spiders. The spiders have sphere-forms, lazer-weaponry, and the ability to summon vast numbers of invading outsiders.]
Re: Castle Iwaku

As it is common knowledge, when hell breaks out that is when the chaotic and insane come out of their hiding holes.

Somewhere in one of the many alley ways of the vast city, a troll was digging through the one of the trash bins looking for a meal that only such a brute could enjoy. He had become separated from his comrades for the lust of food and this region of Iwaku City had a great many good smelling feasts. Sniffing at some expired pork, the fat monster formed a dumb grin on its face.

"Hey fugly," came the voice of young woman.

The troll at first ignored her and enjoyed his fly ridden meal. The woman spoke again and then tossed a lid of a garbage can at the beast.

"What your problem?" The troll roared.

"Quite simple fugly, you are." She snapped back.

The beast turned around. Before him stood a woman with short blonde hair and wore all black. She appeared to be in her early 20s and that she looked like she could fit in with the invasion force, more than a resident of the kingdom.


"Who you call fugly, emuuuu." The troll then responded.

"I am, you basement dwelling nerd. Since you are new around, let me establish the order of things. First off, only morons eat from Luigi's garbage bin because his food sucks. Secondly, the Restaurant District is MY domain and I don't let fuglies around these parts." She retorted.

The troll then continued to eat his meal.

"I already defeated your force attacking my French Cafe. So that just leaves you, fugly."

"How you stop me, emmuuuu? You small and breakable. Me crush you!"

"Oh, will you know?" The woman said, while scratching her nose, "Let's see you try."

"You flamer. You insult me???!?!?! FFGAAAARAF"

As soon as the troll step forward, heavy shakes could be felt. Assuming that it was an ally, the monster cackled and revealed his rotten eat. The woman then gave the monster a mocking grin in response.


"Wat da….."

The troll heard heavy breathing, similar to that of a raging bull. The woman didn't seem scared, this confused the troll. He then glanced up to see a figure that stood an impressive ten feet and was extremely strong. The figure now appeared in his full form, a giant humanoid hulk wearing a crown and regal looking clothing.

This was iwaku's famous champion, King Weavel.

"Weavel, you know the drill. Remove that fugly from my district!" The woman ordered.

The next thing the troll saw was a giant fist flying right towards its face. Right jabs, then left. King Weavel had always been a being of great strength, just short of a dragons according to some.

Within a few minutes of the on slot, the troll was nothing more than a bleeding mass of flesh and broken bones.

"Well that was mildly thrilling. Good thing too, I was getting bored." Colie then cackled.
Re: Castle Iwaku

the square reeked of a foetid mix of feces, blood and other vital fluids.
what had been a beautiful marble cobblestones was now a bloody mess, organs and body parts making the ground treacherously slippery for the figures scrambling away from the bloodstained monster that stood in the centre of the square, chest heaving under bloodied rags, the bare flesh of the man was also coated in congealing blood.

they had thought the lone man, walking wearing only a tabard and sword to be easy prey, and with cries of glee, rage and hate they had sprinted from the corpses they were busy defiling to destroy him.
But The Adeptus Astartes are never unarmed, even when naked and only able to fight with their fists.

trolls, spammers and flamers alike had fallen to WMD's chainsword, who as he killed fell deeper and deeper into a frenzy until the enemy had broken and started to flee, by which point the space marine had dropped off the deep end and decended into madness, taking a lithe spammer girl by the throat and knocking her unconcious.


fifteen minutes later

The Spammer awoke slowly, the blurring haze fading into a dimly lit basement, she went to speak, but a large and powerful hand clamped down around her throat, stopping the stream of words from being anything more than an elongated gurgle
"I know, I know my darling" WMD whispered into her ear, free hand working at removing the tight leather jerkin that had been intended to protect the girl from bows and other light weaponry.
the hide jacket tore apart and the WMD grinned with a wash of age old memories
"I almost forgot how sweet the taste of fear was" the space marine ran his tongue up the spammer's temple, the sweat and fear mixing on his tongue.


One Hour Later
Sthe Space marine strode out from the cellar, leaving the spammers bloodied, broken and defiled body behind.
almost at once he found himself looking at King Weavel and Collie, and
WMD could tell thel had some inkling of what he had done, the Space Marine grinned, his eyes appraising Collie as a thunderclap of electricity burst out from the ground next to him, a second crack heralded the arrival of Sindri and WMD's armor.
"Welcome back Lord, I have waited for this day" the Sorceror spoke, taking WMD's attention away from Collie's figure with a sick chuckle as he reached for the first peice of his armor


thirty minutes later

now clad in his old powerarmor, adorned with the signage and engraved symbols of the chaos gods rather that the Barship Command, WMD emerged into the sunlight once more, and with Sindri at his side, the pair set off to rape, murder and torture their way through the enemy ranks.

OOC: WMD looses himself to the dark gods as the invasion begins, and as such looses all barship assistance bar that of sindri.

he brutalises and molests a spammer prisoner, before emerging near collie and weavel.

in his present mental condition, he considers doing the same to Collie, but the arrival of Sindri, complete with WMD's chaos armor and a bolt pistol distracts him.

once clad in his armor, WMD and Sindri head off to rape murder and torture the enemy.
Re: Castle Iwaku - CHAPTER 8

Musical Score: Chroma-matic - Static X

The cellar reeked of death and sorcery, and WMD reveled in the stench, his enhanced senses picking out and cataloguing the various elements of the smells and sights, his biologically engineered brain analysing each and identifying them.

there was the obvious, blood and other bodily fluids, the smell of fear and death, and the sickly sweet aroma of the warp, all blending together.

the space marine smiled and indicated for the others to follow him as he made for the stairs

"I have fought and bled for this land for years Khang Nurglechild, i have bled and died in its name, and i have been reborn, i have served enemies of the gods and i ahve been blessed by each of the four, this land is more than just ripe in slaves and sacrifices, this land is rich in power" the spacemarine spoke, and as they strode up the richly decorated stone stairs, Khang noticed that the railings were marble, and the bodies.

the house, once a lavish townhouse for one of the more opulent members of Rory's cabinet, now it was a shrine to the four gods of chaos, with dead and defiled bodies, obscene symbols carved, burned and beaten into their flesh slumped against walls and bent over railings.

"eighteen years ago, as a deluded protector I fought a great and powerful angel and a madman, I was killed by a weapon of great power, the Sheathe of Iwaku, it is a powerful artifact with nigh limitless powers, but it is but the sheathe, I know that the sword that is supposed to be contained in that sheathe can cut through anything. even the veil of reality" WMD said, stepping over the disembowled corpse of a Troll.

"why serve the gods when we can join them, why worship the gods when we could ascend to their level and be worshipped ourselves, yes i serve the gods Khang, but i also serve myself, how would you like to become a god?" WMD turned to face the beastman, and despite the blazing inferno in his biological eye, his augmentic remained cold and seemed to be not functioning.

OOC: WMD tells khang of his plans, having made his base in what was once the extravagant townhosue of one of rory's ministers.
his plan involves taking both the sheathe and sword of iwaku, and using them to cut through reality itself and join the four dark gods as a deity of chaos.
Re: Castle Iwaku - CHAPTER 8

Khang looked at the expectant faces of the Warmaster and Sindri.

It seemed the warpworm had been a blessing in disguise. In less than an hour he had gone from near death to a position of power beneath a great warrior. He unslung Stigmata, amused internally as Warmaster's hand strayed to the odd teethed blade at his hip. Khang did not strike, but slammed the hilt into the ground, smashing the garish tile.

"With Sorcerer Sindri and the Gods of Chaos Undivided as my witness, I hereby swear allegiance to the Warmaster Death. May our enemies fall beneath your blade, and this land be bowed beneath your iron tread."

Khang eagerly awaited Warmaster's reply.
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