The Elder Invasion: EPILOGUE - The Hero and Awakening

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Jack Shade

Original poster
Magical, Fantasy, Supernatural, Sci Fi, Steam Punk, Noir, HORROR, and I'm willing to try Romance.
In an instant the world had become a Genesis and Armageddon. Eddies of reality spun in tangencies with the bending force of Insanity. All were one and nothing, caught within the explosion of the Confluence Bomb.

All was nothing.

And all became again.

The Harbinger settled over the remade chasm of Insanity. Humming a pulse of both Rift energy and engines, the sleek ship slid over the wreckage of what once was. Bodies lay strewn among the new grounds, crimson and purple rocks turned sideways as orange shoots poked from previously arid soil. Insanity was coming to life. Perhaps they might have been lost, the survivors, unconscious food for the soup bowl of dimensional sundering. But neither Drake nor Myrnodyn would leave their friends behind.

So it was that the Harbinger soared from the remains of Insanity, praise and adoration echoing through the radios as the entirety of civilized Iwaku welcomed the Hero to their lands. No words came for the souls lost in Insanity. No mournful dirges of the Shapeshifters lost. In an instant Iwaku's hope had been rekindled with the arrival of a figure many had stopped believing in. The Goddess was always with the heart of Iwaku…but the hero was its sword and shield.

Drake sat near the console, a pulled up chair near an array of lights he did not understand. He stared into them, lost in their luminescence. Myrnodyn maintained the ship itself, quiet communication between him and Void the only sounds permeating the cockpit. So it was without surprise that he was completely overwhelmed by the crashing realities.

There was light, a crimson flash of making and unmaking that washed over Drake in a wave of almost euphoric bliss. For that moment the Cycle sung within Drake's mind. There was no exultation from it, no sound of trumpets or praise…it screeched discordantly and left him different…gone as fast as it had come.

It left him his reward…his curse.

Drake laughed, an almost forceful bray and Myrnodyn glanced over. His eyes widened to behold a very different figure sitting in the pull up seat, as though quietly replaced. Drake's hair, once brown as oak bark, gleamed a furious crimson orange. Blue eyes had given way to yellow and his ears had grown shorter, tipped in black and flat against the side of his head. His left arm had returned, and he flexed it without looking, black fingers and short, neat claws pressing against the fur of his palm. From his severed tail blossomed a bouquet of fur every bit as brilliant as the sunset and capped with brilliant white.

"What…" Myrn started and Drake raised his hand gently, grinning almost bitterly.

"It seems Asmodeus was right, I would learn his beliefs if I lived through the end."

Myrn nodded almost thoughtfully, tapping a few buttons absently. "So this…"

"The Cycle, yes…some joke I'm sure, or a role I'm supposed to fulfill. Strange that Jack would spend his life in service to it…and I spend my time to disprove it, and in the end it chose me to join its motley crew."

Drake stood up, pushing the chair aside and padded to the door.

"Keep us updated on what's happening in Iwaku," He said, imprinting the password and stepping out into the hall, "I'm going to see how the rest of us have fared."

The wounded had been laid out in the main hold of the Harbinger with staggered symmetry. Survivors were just beginning to wake and find themselves unharmed…whole.

There was no Kaze among these faces, he had elected to stay amid the ruins and document his history…search for the mad angel who was almost assuredly dead. Some had stayed with him, those quick on the mend and interested in the aftermath of their triumph. Few words had been spared, but Drake had asked Kaze to contact him sometime…perhaps they could discuss the world that is…or the one that had been.

He would certainly appear strange to them now, a rat turned fox in some sort of hopscotch evolution. Iwaku had changed once more…another age he'd seen rise and fall. As he looked out over the survivors, Drake could only ponder the momentous changes they would all have to accept. What had the Cycle given them? Did they wake up rewarded…or cursed?

Summary: Kaze and those who stayed to see if they could find Asmodeus's body or something are not here...everyone else from the battle are recovered fully now in the belly of the ship. Drake muses about his changes into a Kitsune and goes to check on the survivors and the ISAF within the ship. Talk and speculate away all...gratz for surviving...or being reborn
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening (In the ship known as Harbinger)

The Grandmaster had been one of the first to recover, his robust Astartes physiology mixed some force unseen repaired his body. After a groggy moment The Grandmaster began to remove his ragged terminator armor, deep gashes covered almost every surface of it at this point. when it was finally removed he fetched a pair of trousers large enough to fit a space marine and took his armor to be repaired, he left his armor with the personnel there and finished dressing, adding a shirt , boots and weapon belt The Grandmaster made his way to the bridge, hoping to find some answers.

When he arrived he found Drake and Myrn both there already. "could one of you explain to me what just happened?"
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

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We all deal with extreme stress differently. Some keep it pent up over a long time, not letting it out until something triggers it. Others let it out right then and there, releasing their emotions in one big display.

A disproportionate number of Rangers under Field Commander Carl McCarthy were coping with the end in their own way.

The religious prayed to their respective deities, both thanking their god for guiding them through and to look after the souls of the departed.

The greenhorns, no longer green, were coming to terms with the fact that they had participated in a major battle and lived.

The veterans either sat amongst their peers and performed menial tasks or cried. The emotions boiled over and they poured their hearts out to their compatriots, men and women they had fought alongside for years. The events of the last few hours had hit many hard.

The only ones immune were the automatons, the Mechalith. The cold, heavily armored killing machines showed no emotion, berating the humans for it as they sat among their own kind.

"Why do I have this feeling it's not over?" Carl asked of Colonel Archetype as a few Chimeras and Combat Medics checked out some of the other survivors.

"Have you a plan?" s/he asked the tanker. "They look up to you, do they not? They'll be expecting you to have something planned." Carl reached up with his right hand and touched his eyepatch.

"Right... Radioman!" he called out. A Mechalith approached Carl, lugging a PRC-45.

"Breaker here, at your service." the automaton replied. Carl cocked his brow.

"Right, I want you to get on the horn and start broadcasting a signal to any and all forces on open and secure channels." Carl started. "Broadcast a signal beacon while you're at it."

"Hooah, sir." Breaker said with a salute before he took off to set up his radio array. Carl then stalked over to one of the Minigunners leaning against the Harbinger.

"Soldier, name and rank?" he asked, the soldier looking up. The man stood up and started to salute. Carl stopped him. "Right now I'm on a first name basis. Rank is secondary."

"Ah, yeah... Lieutenant Rekkson. Wikus Rekkson." the Minigunner replied.

"Wikus, I want you to get some people together and starts scouting for more survivors." Carl ordered. Wikus nodded then went to collect volunteers. Carl snapped his fingers at a Mechalith. "I need a soapbox..." The automaton dropped to his hands and knees, Carl stepping up.

"Attention, Rangers. I know we've been through a very hard fight but we cannot falter now, not in our darkest hour." he started, soldiers grouping around him. "This is not the end of days. If it was we'd all be wearing white and playing harps."

"With all due respect, bossman, I think most of us woulda sprouted tails, horns, and be wieldin' pitchforks." a Marine interjected. A few Rangers laughed.

That was good. They were getting their minds off what had happened.

"Either way we can't just sit by idly. There's still much work to be done. The triage is a mess and our medics are overworked. Check with them and give them a hand."

"We also need to do a weapons check. I want numbers. Check your mag pouches and pockets." Carl looked at the Mechalith then spoted a Captain. "Report to Captain Piledriver with final counts."

"Finally, we need to set up camp. We're probably going to be here for a while. Anything you can find that can be made into a shelter, grab it. Now beat feet, people." Carl jumped off the Mechalith, the automaton getting up and going to carry out Carl's orders. Archetype approached him, clapping hir hands.

"Bravo, Commander! Bravo! Had you possessed the accent I would have mistaken you for Ryker!" s/he said with a smile.

"Colonel, don't you have patients you need to tend to?" he asked hir.

"Oh my, aren't we being assertive. Very well. Ta ta for now." s/he said, heading back to the triage. Carl sighed then started emptying his mag pouches and counting his ammunition.


-Carl takes command of the ISAF on the Harbinger. Orders all around.
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Saneless had avoided the Harbinger. He had avoided everyone and in the chaos of the explosion he had dashed away unnoticed to a place he knew Soulless might appreciate. Somewhere where they could weather the coming storm of whatever would be happening next and disappear for a while, returning when they have fully recovered from this mass of chaos within themselves. He coughed lightly, feeling better now that he was out of the range of the damned angel's confluence pulse and that large confluence bomb that had shattered the mirror. He didn't really know what was going to happen but he was sure he would be unappreciative of it either way.

At least he wasn't dying anymore. Forcing his body to move in strange lunging motions, he climbed up a floating flight of stone steps to a home where Soulless had made his fatal decision not even a few hours ago. The angrier personality nodded to himself that this was the right place and opened the door, almost falling in and half crawling to an upstairs room where his happier half made such good friends with that Natalie girl... memories that only he had shivered through him, visibly affecting him as he finally let go of his emotions and wept quietly to himself at his own loss.

He had lost everything that was precious to him, no, the only thing that was precious to him. Now, he would have to rebuild it, find another way... he was determined to... he had to. Saneless took off the bandage he made and shuffled around, taking off the dirty and holed shirt he had been wearing, finding an unused shirt and some draperies he fashioned into something of a funny-looking cloak. Then, he looked aorund and found a discarded medical eyepatch, a thing from the past they had thrown away when they didn't need it. Well, they certainly needed it now.

Saneless put it on quietly, closing his eye and switching it. Their body finally passed out into sleep and Soulless would awaken alone, confused, and completely unaware of the world that had changed so drastically while he was 'gone'.

[Saneless gives themselves a spiffy new shirt, eyepatch, and cloak in their house.]
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Tell me why it is... that when despair comes we fold ourselves... and take that form in which we slept in our mother's womb? Is it simply so none will see up weep? Or do we seek to be a child again, born anew with neither care nor heartache?

Or is it simply the shape the body takes that comforts us... a circle, promising that all will come again in endless bloom?


And tell me, if you can, what it truly is to be human? A real human, not a symbol or a concept, nor a set of words to carve in tales and epitaphs. But a thing beyond these childish notions?

They say that real people do not survive history, but only symbols - only men and women who transcend into teachings. Archetypes in the racial memory - the only immortality. For indeed each day we hope for such - that we may mean something to another, that we may stand for something, that in our deeds and our words our friends might trace a lesson or a story to delight in.

But why?

Why does it comfort us so... to hope that we are boxed and carved in stone, placed in roles and archetypal bonds for others to reference their lives by?

Is it because we cannot stand to simply live... to exist from one second to the next in these all too frail and sensitive bodies? Is it that we feel so fragile to the scorns of grief and love, pain and desire... that we must hasten to define ourselves by what we stand for and what we mean?

A childish notion, for sure. In our youth, like angels, we cling to messages and to meanings and believe ourselves a concept to be taught. It is only, perhaps, when we come of age that we cease to mean and simply be. And in that change we make a friend of suffering - a companion who we do not resent nor seek to beguile with talk of symbols. For whatever conflict may come, we see beyond it, and seek not to answer it with prophecy or heroism.

So speak no more of angels.


The skies had gone through every colour, from Confluent white to green then purple, then black as night to yellow and bronze. Now the crimson was resettling, like blood returning from the tourniquet. To the east of where the Harbinger soared, the land was carved with circular dents, the rock and soil sculpted by calamity. Strange creatures perched on skeletal trees, dead eyes watching the land with frozen terror. And around them ashes hung in the sky, no longer falling but pirouetting in mournful dance.

And in the dust between them, he laid.

His back was bleeding, two gouges where his wings had been, blackened and infected, the bone hewn away. There was a bullet in his thigh, sucked deep by the flesh, and the cavity of the impact had ripped through skin and muscle. He shivered violently, half with cold and half with fever, hiding his head as he curled in the foetal position.

And the vultures watched him, blinking slowly as they waited for the land to finish it.

Here was the pain and the frailty. Here was the thirst and the hunger. Here was the dying and the diseased. Here was the human... angel no longer but stripped of meaning and all the wings of conception.

Here was Asmodeus, freezing in the wasteland.

[SUMMARY: The mortal part of Asmodeus has survived and is dying on the wasteland.]
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

All my life, all I ever wanted was to do good. To do good, and help my world, and those that lived in unison with me. I am blight on the world, and from good intentions come the darkest of betrayals. I have forsaken my lord, my friends, and even my enemy. I am the shining example of lies, and deceit. I truly was Cursed.


And so the Gods took me once more. I could see the shining hand as it lowered down into the broken realms of Insanity. It's cold, yet warm embrace covered me, and recalled memories of the winters of home where my brothers, and sisters huddled underneath animal furs for the coming night... Such a cruel memory.

My senses were gone, and I was for all intents, and purposes... dead once again. So used to being dead, I thought that life was truly the end, and I spent every waking moment trying to prevent that fact... that ultimately... I brought death on myself. Perhaps I am an experiment of the gods... I pray that I am not dysfunctional. Or perhaps that truly is my purpose... to remove the extremes of humanity that are deemed chaotic, and evil. I could be a savior.

Placed on a large anvil, I could see the large ethereal hand floating above me with a large hammer in hand. It was then that I heard His voice again.

"Jumi, my poor tormented child. You have walked father than any mortal must ever walk... though you bring this on yourself."

There was a sadness in the voice... but there was only anger, and hate in my eyes.

"Such an existence is beyond our abilities to cure, and soothe... but we may well give you a moment of piece in your existence. It will be more painful than anything you have ever experienced, but Jumi... you will feel peace. You will not feed on the chaos of the world... this I promise you."

His words sounded so heavenly, and at once I was hooked... but I had my doubts... and I was still angry. "Strike me, then God! Bash, and bludgeon the sin, and hate from my soul, but know that this hate is for you!"

The hammer fell. It then fell again, and continued falling on my soul, and with each spark filled blow, I felt myself grow colder, and colder until I was lost in the glorious pain of the hammer's fall.



Jumi awoke to himself walking in knee deep snow, with staff in hand, and a book clutched to his chest. Having felt a presence grow in immensity in Iwaku City, he knew that he must see this event, and choose his actions carefully. Another shadow was falling over the world.

Summary: Jumi died in the explosion of Confluence, and was taken by the gods once more, but instead of being punished for his betrayals, the gods too pity on him, and attempted to reforge his soul into another vessel to grant him a second chance at life.

Jumi is now walking towards Iwaku City with no memories of his past life, other than slight hints in dreams, and flashbacks.
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Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

As the survivors picked their way through the wreckage, gathering up their broken allies to take to the Harbinger, Tegan dreamed, though awake. In her fever, she saw a path, stretched out from her where she lay to somewhere beyond horizon.

In her delirium, she still knew how to read the celestials signs that guided her every step. Even though she no longer knew what they meant. She was no longer enlightened, just illuminated.

As her once companions boarded, Tegan managed to slip away, leaving an illusion in her place. They would not know she was gone until much later.

* * *

Unfortunately, Fate had something else in store for her before she could continue on. Many of the others were lucky enough to be cradled in the arms of unconciousness while they underwent their metamorphosis.

Tegan had been awake for it all, and it felt like an eternity.

Plenty of time to think.

And then, she knew. She knew who she was. What she had to do.



A shadow fell over the quivering form of the once-angel, and stayed there still for a long time.

Tegan felt a small pang of sympathy at the pitiful sight. After all, had she not been through the same experience over and over again? She knew what it meant to be as a god, locked inside of a prison of sensory.

Am I really doing this?

She knew she was. She knew she had no choice.

Finally, as the vultures began to circle overhead, Tegan draped her ruined cloak over the man. He was still much taller than her, the material was barely enough to cover him, much less keep him warm, but it would do.

Tegan allowed her light to bathe her, in order to warm the air around her, before she knelt on one knee and placed her hand on the man's shoulder. He whimpered and shrank away at first, before his body became used to the sensation and he settled once more.

"Asmodeus," she whispered. "Open your eyes. There is much to do."

Summary: Tegan stays behind, fooling the others into thinking she accompanied them with an illusion. After undergoing the Cycle's transformation, she finds Asmodeus a few hours later.
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

In the immediate aftermath of the blast, Archy found herself standing on a jagged mountaintop in the middle of a storm. Winds howled around her and it poured rain, soaking her to the bone. Lightning exploded on nearby peaks, and the only path down was a nearly suicidal one in front of her.

But the path down also led off towards another storm; one that was even more wild and massive, a black roiling bank of clouds on the horizon.

A storm is coming...

She opened her eyes.

Arachnion was in the Harbinger's medical bay, being tended to along with the other survivors of the fight. No sign of Soulless...he probably died in that blast along with Asmodeus. She sighed and studied the ceiling. Another couple people she failed to save...
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Musical Score: Dead to the World - Nightwish

There had been no time to board the Harbinger, locked as he was in a do or die struggle with the Cursed Lieutenant Jumi, and as blinding light and abject agony coursed through his body The Warmaster felt a presence fill his body, and as all faded to black, he heard a voice echo through time and space
"Not Yet you bastard" the young man's voice echoed inside the space marines head, but seconds later WMD's consciousness fled.

Tegan heard heavy footfalls behind her and turned, to see the Warmaster, his now naked body blackened and burned, a charred circle in the center of his chest. his breathing was ragged, but it was clear that he would live, and he looked down at the angel, feeling some desire to end Asmodeus' life, but, as he looked down he saw that something fundamental had changed within the once angel and as he did so, felt something change within himself.
Instead of attacking, the space marine knelt before the now mortal angel head bowed in respect
"The Emperor and the cycle are strange bedfellows, often working side by side with mysterious aims. it would seem I am yours to command once more" he whispered.

ooc: WMD is saved by Dues Ex Machina, passing out and assumed dead in the confluence blast. when he awakens, he notices Tegan and Asmodeus, movign over to them and, upon realising the Angel has changed, feels obliged to once again swear loyalty to Asmodeus.
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Kaze cruised the wasteland of Insanity in the Fidelis, pausing to write more notes in his notebook as he looked out at his surroundings. Insanity remained largely unchanged, though the biggest difference caused by the Confluence bomb was the removal of the mirror. Instead, there was just a borderline, where things went from thrown together in Insanity, to the relative normalcy of the rest of Iwaku. His notes mainly consisted of what happened, and the pausing was more of when he remembered certain events, or specific details, rather than seeing something new in Insanity. In fact, Insanity was the same, only now the Mirror no longer safe guarded its borders.

As Kaze cruised, he came upon the location of Asmo. However, he was surprised to see two others already there, looking down upon the fallen body of Asmo. Kaze drove up slowly, a small billowing of dust created by the engines as it rumbled by. Kaze stepped out slowly behind WMD's kneeling body, looking up at Tegan as she knelt over Asmo's covered body, his form still shivering slightly underneath the cloak placed over his body. Breaking the relative silence, Kaze spoke to them, "While we all pity how things turned out form him, the truth of the matter is that we need to get him away from here and somewhere where he can rest. If you'll help me, I'd like to move him inside the Fidelis. It will be easier to move him that way."
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Tegan's response to the Warmaster was a raised eyebrow, accompanied by something like, "it's raining men." She made a quick mental note to bring an extra cloak the next time there was an epic battle.

Her gaze travelled to Kaze; another enemy-turned-ally, and nodded. As Kaze and the Warmaster hefted the sob-wracked body of Asmodeus into the back of the Fidelis, Tegan found several blankets in the craft's the emergency kit. Tossing one to Warmaster to cover himself, the woman wasted no time in wrapping the other blanket around Asmodeus in a tight cocoon, which she reinforced with one of her wires. Now the man's arms were securely pinned to his side.

When Kaze asked her just what the hell she thought she was doing, Tegan merely responded.

"When his mind finds itself again, it will realize that it is human; broken. This should prevent him from hurting himself."

She spoke from experience.
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening


Step after step, Jumi's heavily armored boots sank deeply into the fine powder of the field. The frigid bite of the wind would have surely brought most men to their graves years earlier than their time, however Jumi continued... step after step, letting his weight sink into the snow. His right hand clasped the Sky Hammer tightly, and mimicked his left leg in order to gain firm ground for fear of ice being hidden beneath the sea of white.

In his left hand, he held alight a small flame. So fine, and small was it, that one might better classify it as a spark, but for the Mage, this fragile looking spark was what was warming his bones enough to make the trek tolerable. Magic was truly a remarkable thing... Though the elderly Mage would be damned if a little snow was to be the end of his journey. He'd waded these sea's of arctic sand many times... and he was making good time, at an impressive pace for a man in his sixties.

Cresting the last hill, Jumi was blessed with the sight of the Sun rising once more, and the lush green grass that stretched out before him. The hardest part of his march was finally at an end.... or was it? He couldn't shake the feeling that he was close to someplace that he'd been to before... as if in a past life.

Shaking the notion form his head, Jumi clenched his fist, and extinguished the magical flame, letting the Sun's rays do as nature intended. "Ah, it is another splendid morning in the world. I am thankful for yet another day to grace my bones." The old Mage said aloud to himself, as he began down the hill with renewed vigor.

Summary: Jumi has marched through the Frozen Wastes, and is roughly two hours from Tegan, Asmodeus, Kaze, and The Warmaster.
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Musical Score: I will be - Stanfour
Տ α ĸ υ r α

There were bright flashes of light. At first, everything was white, but slowly the colors changed, morphing from one to another, till everything was white again. Deep in her subconscious, Sakura slowly awoke to find herself in a blank landscape, floating in midair. She slowly brought herself to the ground, stepping onto the surface and taking a couple of steps forward. Ahead of her, walking away, with his black cloak fluttering behind him was none other than her brother, Razilin.

In a frantic attempt to keep him from leaving, Sakura stepped forward, "Oniichan! Oniichan, wait!" She didn't quite understand what was going on herself. The last thing she remembered was the intense explosion from the Confluence Bomb and Asmodeus' screams, so what she doing here? And why was Razilin here?

He turned around, smiling and she ran to him, "Oniichan, you're alive, you're not--"

He patted her on the head gently and smiled, ruffling her hair, "Sakura. You need to wake up. Iwaku is waiting for you. You must go." His words were strangely comforting, but Sakura was slowly coming to terms with what he was saying. He wanted her to wake up and return to the battle, to the explosion, to Iwaku where Asmodeus had gone insane and the others were injured. He wanted her to return, but that would mean leaving him here, wouldn't it?

Sakura looked up at him pleadingly, her eyes filling with tears, "Oniichan, you too. Come back to Iwaku. Stay with me." All this time, somewhere deep inside, Sakura had still did not believe he was gone. It was difficult for her to think of her brother and mentor gone from Iwaku. She had always clung to the hope that one day she would see him again. But here she was, crying now, because he was here, "Oniichan, please come back...Without Oniichan, I can't do anything! I'm not--"

"Sakura." She knew that tone. She looked up, sobbing. "Sakura, I've already gone. Even this, is all in your mind. It's time to let go..."

Sakura stopped, staring at him wide-eyed to try and comprehend what he was saying. She didn't want to believe it; it was too much to think that he was really gone, that all this time she had clung to a silly hope that did not exist. She sobbed into her hands, "I don't believe it! I don't want to believe it! Oniichan...Oniichan was always there for me when I needed him! No matter what he always took care of me, he always taught me how to deal with my problems, always made me understand the world in a new way..." She recalled all the times she would run to him with her problems and her worries. She used to depend on his every word and repeat the things he said in her mind. His support made her stronger, it made her feel confident, secure. She didn't want to believe that she'd never see him again. She didn't want to let go of him. Sakura fell to the floor, crying into her hands, her shoulders trembling. "Please don't go. Please don't leave me! I don't want you to disappear!"

Razilin bent forward, putting his hands on her shoulders, "With your faith in me, I was able to do anything. I want you to remember that."

Sakura looked up, lowering her hands. Her sobbing subsided as she listened to what he had to say.

"I'm not there for you anymore, but that doesn't mean that you're alone. There are people who love and care for you. They protect you from harm and listen to you."

Sakura shook her head, "It's not the same! Without Oniichan...without Oniichan, I don't want to do anything! I always thought I'd see you again. Always believed that Oniichan's spirit was alive, waiting somewhere. I don't want to let you go because I won't be strong without you..." She started crying again, "Oniichan is my hero!"

Razilin wrapped his arms around his sister and smiled, "You're still the same Sakura. My itty bitty little Sakura..." For a moment, she was silent and they both knew she was thinking that she wasn't so itty bitty anymore. "The truth is, you're not a child anymore. You and I both know that I'm not really here. This is all in your mind, Sakura. Take our memories and cherish them in your heart. If my words made you stronger, never forget them. Become stronger, Saku. Overcome this and wake up. Iwaku needs you. I know it's hard to give in and give up this hope you had, but you must. My little sister should be strong. She'll show Iwaku how much she learned from her brother. She'll help the people that have always protected her. She'll fight for Iwaku, won't she?" He pulled away and patted her head the way he always used to.

Sakura was silent. Moments passed as she stared ahead blankly, absorbing everything he'd said. Then, quietly she wiped her eyes on her sleeves and rubbed at her nose. "Oniichan...I love you!" her voice broke as she held back the tears, looking at him with a struggling smile, "Thank you..."

"I love you too, Saku." He smiled at her, patting her head one more time before turning to go. As he walked away from her, Sakura clasped her hands at her chest, feeling the pain of saying goodbye. As fresh tears burned into her eyes, she reminded herself of what he had said, reminded herself that she had to be strong.She covered her mouth with her hands as she burst into tears again, blinking them away so she could watch him disappear clearly. She looked over to see that he'd stopped walking and turned around, smirking at her.

"Here, this is for you," He unhooked the batarang from his ultilty belt and tossed it at her, "To remember me by. I'll always be with you, Sakura. So make me proud."

As she stumbled forward to catch the batarang, Razilin faded away. She held it in her hands, surprised. When she looked up to thank him, he was already gone. She sighed, bringing the batarang in her hands close to herself and closing her eyes. Oniichan, thank you. And Oniichan? Farewell... She hoped her thoughts would reach him, even though she knew this was all in her own mind. In her embrace, the batarang began to glow brightly. Confused, Sakura brought it in front of her, watching as the small bat-shaped boomerang grew into one that was as long as her arm. It was centered to a flattened yellow sphere, the Batman insignia glowing on it, while it's two arms extended to both sides, black steel with yellow lining. Sakura held it uncertainly, turning it over. It seemed to fold over and easily latched itself onto her belt. She grinned and patted it with a smile. Leave it to her brother to think of the best way of reminding her of his words. With her new boomerang, Sakura knew she would never forget him or the lessons he taught her.

Slowly, the landscape in her conscious began to fade, sifting away to darkness as she stirred awake. At first, she panicked, her eyes fluttering open to darkness. As bits of sand slipped into her eyes, she blinked it away and tried to push herself to sit up, rising through a pile of sand out of the ground. She blinked away the sand from her eyes, rubbing at them so that she could see again. Buried in a sheet of sand not far from where she'd been when the bomb had exploded, Sakura had been left behind by the Harbringer.

In the distance, Sakura could hear the humming of an engine familiar to her. Suddenly realizing that here she was alone, Sakura scrambled to her feet and looked around. She decided to follow the sound of the aircraft, assuming that she'd come across the other survivors if she did so. She hurried over to the sound of the Fidelis, coming over to it as she spotted the others. Tegan, Kaze and the Warmaster. It seemed as though they were putting someone inside the car. Sakura ran over and without even thinking, impulsively hugged Tegan. She felt so relieved to see someone alive, so glad that Tegan, who had protected her in the battle earlier, was alive. She was overjoyed.

"Thank you." Sakura whispered quietly as she embraced her. She wasn't sure why, but she felt grateful for all the things that had been done for her. Not just what Tegan had done, but in general, what Iwaku had done for all. It was as though Sakura was taking her brother's words to heart, realizing that now it was time for her to grow up a little and do her part. Iwaku and it's people had loved her and protected her. And now that Iwaku was suffering and being torn apart, Sakura wanted to give back and do what she could to protect those whom she loved. Oniichan...I know that I will never really grow up from being the childish persona that I am, but there is one thing that I can change, and that is my willingness to help and my determination to fight. I have always been protected from harm, but now I will fight for Iwaku, too. I will fight for those that I love and cherish.


[Sakura goes through the Cycle's transformation in her mind as a conversation with her and Razilin. She finally accepts that he is gone and expresses a new determination to fight. Left behind by the Harbringer because she was buried in a pile of sand, Sakura awakens and comes across Kaze, Tegan, Asmodeus, and the Warmaster. She hugs Tegan.]
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Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Drake had scarcely passed beyond the sliding doors to the cockpit when he was confronted by the looming shape of Kariskan. A dwarf in comparison, Drake craned his head up when addressed. His first thought was to smile, comforted by the lack of armor the space marine carried. Too often men like he and Warmaster were seen as machines or weapons. No skin, no eyes, no heart...only metal and cruelly edged barbs. While the trousers cast a far less intimidating appearance, they were somehow more suited to the occasion.

Asmodeus had been defeated and for the moment, destruction had been averted.

"You recover quickly," the kitsune mused holding out his hand toward the Grandmaster, "Would that we all had your stamina."

Kariskan took the hand in a grasp that might have turned rocks to dust and frowned, "You seem to have been faster."

"The Cycle at work,"
Drake commented wryly, indicating his new self " wanted to know what happened?"

"Last I remember..." Kariskan mused, rubbing the back of his head. It was strange how complete he though his wounds had been entirely healed. "I was fighting with Asmodeus in Insanity...are we retreating or triumphant?"

"Triumphant," Drake assured, pulling his throbbing hand from the Space marine's grasp, "Thanks to all your efforts and Myrnodyn's inventive prowess, we were able to drain Asmodeus of his powers and use them on the Elder Scorpion which had followed our ship from Dystopia."

"And Asmodeus?"

Drake only shook his head, "Dead or dying...maybe elsewhere entirely. We did not find his body though there were those who stayed to search." The silence between them was momentary, Drake snapping from the speculation quickly. "Rejoice...we have succeeded without the aid of the Cycle's so called hero."

GMK looked troubled, waving it off however to continue "And what of us now?"

"We fly to Iwaku City," Drake mused speculatively "They say the Hero has come and I would like to see its face...hear its words and see if I cannot understand why Asmodeus was so obsessed."

"The True Hero?"
His voice was almost dissapointed.

"Remains to be seen friend," Drake corrected, "I put no stock by Heroes or Shadows and neither should you. In my opinion you were more then enough of a hero out there...and that is all that matters."

Stepping by the towering warrior, Drake paced into the medical bay. Rows of sterile cots greeted him, most occupied with an unconscious or recovering patient. He did not see Sakura among them, and his heart dropped. So many had been lost in the blast and the kitsune could only hope they would be recovered by Kaze's searching. Archy seemed to be recovering, laying back beneath a white sheet set almost suggestively against her body.

Drake paused at the foot of her bed, a single glance at the chart Archetype had written. The monster had been most helpful in these times so far, but her deviancy was something to question and Drake would not allow his guard to fall.

"Hey there,"
He greeted with a short wave, red ears perking, "How are you feeling?"

Summary: Drake talks with the Grandmaster about how they are on their way to Iwaku City then visits Archy
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Tegan slipped into the back seat with Asmodeus, cradling his head as he convulsed with nightmare fevers. Sakura did likewise, but had to perch on top of the back seat and dangle her legs over the man. Luckily she had some practice at keeping her balance in the Fidelis, she tucked her legs in both to anchor herself and to keep Asmodeus in place.

"We should head back to that house."

The larger Warmaster took the passenger seat and nodded to Kaze that they were ready. The mage closed his eyes and placed his hands upon the wheel, wisps of blue and silver creeping from his sleeves and wrapping his fingers. There was a rush of eldritch static and the Fidelis lifted, startling the watching vultures and coyotes.

The hover car rose into the sky and...

... slammed back down again with a jolt.

"Fuck!" muttered Kaze as the wind energy dissipated. He glared over his shoulder and saw Tegan hissing with discomfort. The air she was warming around Asmodeus had rebelled against her and brought a cold burn against her skin, like frostbite. The man began thrashing, feverous sweat upon his brow as it knitted with harrowing dreams. Sakura pulled her legs tighter and Tegan got a grip on Asmodeus again, holding him as she nodded once more to the driver.

"Pray to your Emperor we get there in one piece," Kaze muttered, glancing at the Warmaster as he went back to the wheel.

The Warmaster grunted and got himself comfortable as the Fidelis lifted once more.

This time the magic held, and fate consented to let them go.

The story would continue...

Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

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"Rules of Engagement are strictly in force." Carl said to his Rangers atop his Mechalith soapbox. "We cannot fight as we normally do. Rifles are to be in single shot, no burst fire. If you've got a machine gun, do the best you can. If you have to get close there's a reason we all carry knives. If you don't have one, check with Warrant Officer Jester and get a wrench." Carl jumped down from the 'soapbox,' Rangers giving him wide berth.

"BOSSMAN, I GOT SOMETHING!!!" Breaker shouted, scaring the shit out of Carl.

"Please tell me you have an inside voice..." the tanker said, rubbing his ear. Breaker held the PRC-45 handset to Carl who quickly took it.

"Командир это является Капитаном Вазилевом, Вы копируете?" Carl's left brow twitched.

"I swear to God, those Slavs are like fucking cockroaches... Think Chernobyl gave them that survivability?" he asked of Breaker.

"Cher-what? Is that Spanish?" Carl sighed then keyed the handset.

"Captain Vasilev this is Acting Commandant Carl McCarthy, what is your status?" the tanker asked the Slav.

"Мы имеем маленький вертолетный эскадрон, включая Подъемные приспособления Звезды и боевые вертолеты." Vasilev replied.

"Vasilev I'm going to find out where we're going. Stand by so I can get you coordinates."

"Да, Командир." Carl handed the handset to Breaker then snapped his fingers at Archetype.

"Colonel, on me." Archetype looked up from one of hir patients. S/he called to one of the Chimeras, instructing the clone to finish stitching the soldier up then went to join Carl.

"You called, Commandant?"

"We got a reply back from the 446TH Airborne. They survived, somehow."

"Chernobyl maybe?"

"Possible... At any rate we have to talk to Drake, find out where we're going. Yalla..." Carl started forward, Archetype following.


-Weapons count complete. Carl's soldiers cannot conduct a sustained gun battle. Vasilev and the Cossacks survived and have transport. Carl and Archetype go to talk to Drake.
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Something had happened - she had felt something change, but stay the same all at once - and within those moments she came to peace with her newfound emotive range. Never one to dwell retrospectively on the reasons for such things, she had accepted it for what it was, and decided to put her mind to better, more productive things.

She looked around Insanity as Porg got up, and gestured to the Harbinger. "Obskeree, I'm guessing you'd rather get on the ship, right?" he said.

"Um, I guess so..."


Upon her first moments in the Harbinger, Obskeree had been silent, feeling incredibly overwhelmed by everything but slowly, she got used to the space. It was a technology alien to her. Humans in her own dimension had their own advances, certainly, but that aspect of them had never been something fairies had bothered with. Seeing it now astounded her.

It was busy. To avoid being overrun, she perched on Porg's shoulder and decided what she wanted to do with her time... like patching up her wounded puppet.

The beloved creation was charred and missing most of its stuffing - it required urgent attention. The yellow and purple patterning on the fabric was definitely ruined and some parts would need to get replaced. She picked it off the top of her bag and stared into its eyes.

"Mr Jack, I need to fix Slesh..." she told Porg suddenly. "Think we can find me a corner somewhere?"

"Huh.. uh sure of course! I'm sure we can find a quiet one.."

"Hurray~" she enthused. "Thank you!"

He moved on, quickly scouting out a quiet hallway for her.

"There you are..." he pointed out. A well-lit little corner in the hall, just near a door to a room that appeared to be highly unimportant.

He sat down and she hopped off his shoulder onto the ground.

"Yes, this is perfect. Thank you." Without a second glance at him, she unclipped the bag from her belt and began fishing out the necessary items to make the Dream Puppet as good as new. It would be a fresh start in her new home. It was going to be good.

[Obskeree and Porg are on the Harbinger. He found her a quiet corner, and she is now sewing up her puppet diligently and she is hopeful things can get better. Hijack approved by Porg (cause he's lazy busy and can't write a post himself)]
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Oh, some people where visiting her. That Grey Knight and some other guy.

She folded her arms behind her head, and went back to looking up at the ceiling.
"Tired, mostly...these past two days have been more adventure and injury filled than the last 18 years or so. So I'm taking a break before someone here turns into the Hulk."
She stayed quite for a while, before looking back up at Drake.

"We...didn't pick up everyone, did we..."
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

The ground shook.

The tea the Neake had been drinking with Gary and Norman spilled over the edge of the cup, and he rose to his feet as Gary and Norman rushed to a window to see what was happening.

A jolt of pain wracked his body, along with a strong feeling of something being torn. Looking down at himself, he saw nothing amiss, and so wondered what could be causing such a reaction.

At the spirits' exclaimations that there was something in the sky, the Neake moved backward out of the kitchen, into his temple.

At the alter lay the source of the problem.

A shard was sticking out of the old throne... a Mirror shard.

And then, all at once, he broke apart. Around him, the temple split and cracked and everything moved and changed and reassembled moments later. All was not well: the connection he had made with the Cycle was severed and he gasped in shock, a blinding light piercing his vision for a few seconds.

When it faded, he turned back to see the space where the kitchen - the cottage - had been now a grey wall of blankness.

"Unexpected..." he murmured, looking out of the windows to see not earth, but more hazy grey.

He was no longer in the exciting new world he had been sent to merely a few days beforehand; he was back in the Grey Space, his own dimension... the curse reinstating itself upon his being. And yet he still felt residual signs that his living belonging, Porg, was close.

How could he have left Iwaku but retain a tie with someone there?

He closed his eyes and felt through the temple. What was lingering there?

A portal, barely the height of his knees, in a small corner of one of the storage rooms, remained. The feather secured a passage. A small smile flickered across his misshapen face. Perhaps the adventure wasn't over for good, but rather... for now.

[A shard of the broken Mirror lands in the Neake's temple, forcing it and him out of Iwaku and back to the Grey Space he comes from. However, a portal remains connecting him to Porg's cottage - not big enough for the Neake to return through, but perhaps big enough for human-sized visitors... The Neake will go back to his old life for the time being.]
Re: Epilogue Journey: The Hero and Awakening

Acqua lied dormant, her peaceful sleeping hiding the violent changes that were occuring with her. Blinded by a flash of white, she had fallen unconscious after the explosion, only to sense a sudden shift before being spat out into darkness. The sapphire in Acqua's necklace pulsated with a strange energy that floated out of it and into the girl's chest as she slept. Minutes later, she slowly came to, her lids fluttering open and her eyes becoming wide in wonder. Where am I?

Acqua looked at her surroundings and then at her dirty and worn clothes. Oh my, well at least I was bailed out by somebody, Acqua thought. I guess it's safe now, Acqua continued thinking as she sat up, seeing Myrn, GMK, and Drake, she sighed with relief. Familiar faces, fwoo, Acqua got up, noting the others on the floor. Hmm, I wonder when they'll wake up? She continued on to Myrn, GMK, and Drake, feeling an obligation to listen to the conversation even though she did not have a question to contribute.

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