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  1. #4126
    i blow u kis Yun Lao's Avatar
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    Default Signs of Life: Phospho

    It hurts...

    Trenches of crimson spilled open with each pass of the man's hands, painting the lunar flowers at their feet red. It wasn't the pain that horrified him, not after what he had already endured in the dream of a shattered mind. No, what disturbed him was the sight of scales lining the man's flesh as those hands contorted and morph with each attack, with four digits melding into two keratin coated claws. It reminded him of H̛̪̖̬̰͚̺͎̺̖̻̞͚̺̪͘̕̕ͅͅI̶̛̛̺̦̼͔̙͓̮̫͈͈͉͚̪̻̞̮͚͠ͅM̢̨̡̲͢ ͉͙͎̪̗̭̻͍̺̗͉͈̲̫͇̩̩...



    He was uncertain of what or who stirred up such dark emotions but a majority of his broken mind told him that there was a reason for this, a reason to forget what had happened and let the past lie in its grave.

    Instincts be damned.

    Whatever it was, he was no longer facing it on his own for what he lost, he gained through the memories of Dieselle and Poepayne. Clenching his hand, his dominant arm swung upward in an uppercut, clipping Phospho's jaw enough to send the man back, "There it is..." The older man said in relief, "I had feared that you might have lost the will. I apologize..."

    Having been separated long enough, the wounds he had accumulated vanished in accordance to the vague rules the dreamscape seemed to possess, but his recovery of health would not last long as Phospho appeared behind him, ripping out a chunk of his back, "I will stop treating you like a child." Although he was used to pain at this point, he wished he hadn't lost the ability to speak from his pained hisses because he currently had no qualms with being treated like a child if this was what being an adult was all about. Had this been a part of the life he had forgotten? A madness of blood and pain that spoke to him that he had been through worse? That he had such a disregard to his body that he casually inflicted such horrors onto himself?

    There was something else, buried beneath the pain; a glimmer in the darkness. Had it hopes? A heroic will? No, to his own disappointment, even a broken husk like he knew that he had not been such a gallant figure. No, that glimmer was the dawning realization that he was enjoying this. How gleefully he got to his feet, determined to give the old man a what-for for flaying his back. How the dopamine and adrenaline flowed as his knuckles caught center mass and when his class ripped through cloth and flesh. He could see the same in Phospho's eyes that they were one and the same in this dance of mutilation.

    That was until Phospho retreated back a few steps and set a series of beams skewering through him. Unbroken from the caster to point they buried themselves into the ground, the beams kept him in place through three points of searing heat.

    You're not there yet, Phospho would say, yet would not explain his words. Instead, with the same hand that kept hold of the skewering beams, he charged another blast within his palm. Unable to move, he was forced to watch the next blast of destructive energy streak down the very beams that held him. As he braced for the inevitable, however, he found his hands were instead at his sides in a familiar manner. With just a bit of mental prodding of muscle memory did he find the energy gathering, two separate pools of power, veritable storms on their own.

    This... this was...

    As Phospho's power just moments of impact, he flung both arms forth, combining the volatile energies together to create a maelstrom of destruction. Tearing through the beams and blast Phospho had sent his way, the gout of energy bit down onto the old man, causing an eruption that filled the air with a jade glow. No longer trapped, he stumbled forth into the dust kicked up by all of this and eventually would he find Phospho lying amongt the flowers, his remains conscious although they were not reforming.

    "That was... her ability, wasn't it? The one she had mastered in secret." He laughed weakly, "It is... beautiful. Just like my beloved herself." Reaching up, Phospho weakly grabbed his hand, "I wish there was more to teach you, but there was nothing you could learn from me. Still, I... no, we will always be with you. There is nothing that can stop you, Charco..."

    That name...

    He knew this name, for it was his own. At long last...

    Looking to his hands, he couldn't help but feel entranced by the knowledge.

    "I am..."

  2. #4127
    i blow u kis Yun Lao's Avatar
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    Default The Mountains of Madness

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    "Oh...and speaking of history.....What is that smell." Persephone sniffed the air, and seemed to chuckle in amusement at some unheard joke. "Surely there must be some mistake....that voice I hear, could be none other then Rex the Destroyer......and yet when I follow it to the source...." She playfully floated her pointer finger until it landed on Rex. "...Oh dear....I remember you being a bit bigger, certainly more intimidating......Could it be, my Kingdom was ravaged by a draconian midget."

    She allowed the amused expression to a linger a moment, then sighed. ".....Hmm....now lets see.....I had an idea in my mind for how this day was going to play out. Been molding it in my mind for the last hundred millennia I spent floating the endless realms of the dreamscape. What I was going to say to you....the day I awoke and found you.......What would I say to him, the destroyer of my world. What horrible insults, what mockery, what threats.....how would I make him suffer, how would I satisfy the burning desire to hear the howls of the tormentor of my people. I asked myself this a hundred times....a thousand times....a million times...."

    ".....and now.....now that we're here together.....I'm compelled to finally say what my thoughts of led me to...." Persephone walked casually up to Rex, slowly....almost predatory in her meander. She was milking the moment for everything it was worth.

    "Rex..." Persephone smiled. "I Forgive you."

    A Pause.

    "I forgive you....because now I can see, you're no more to blame for the fall then the ones before you or the ones after you. You're just another cog in the divine meatgrinder.......born at the bottom, clawing your way up through a sea of blood and bone, keeping yourself afloat on the carrion of your prey. Your as much a victim as anyone......look at you......forced to wear a body that isn't your own, living in an age where your people are all but gone...the last relic of a time long past. No....I can't hate you.....if it hadn't been you it would have been the next wyrm, and if not them......"

    Persephone chuckled. "....no.....it had to be you.....you were destined to be the destroyer of the old Avalon......and do you know why? Because given the choice I just love a good underdog story.

    The pressure around Rex sudden increased a thousand fold, where he had been able to hold up before....even he was now forced to buckle under her.

    "....and what an underdog.....I was watching the day you defeated the god of destruction. I couldn't have been prouder....." A cold hand caresses Rexs face, while pressure holds him still. "....You kept this world safe in my absence....for that, I grant you the boon of your continued existence. But you also destroyed what was mine and took the lives of those whom swore themselves to me.....and so I decree.......that you will never achieve anything again. I will dismantle everything you build. I will dissolve every record of you. I will destroy everything you hold dear....I will crush you under my heel again and again, and I won't feel any pity....any remorse....nor will I feel hate or pleasure. Your existence will be nothing more to me then one casually fixing a crooked vase. I'll break you over and over....until you are alone, hiding in the dark, afraid of even my whispers. Of course....you can reject my boon at any time......just know that it'll only be binding if you do it with your own hand. I'm sure it won't come to that too soon.....but given how Vortigern broke.....I'm prepared for disappointment."

    With a sudden forceful push, Rex was sent flying back into the railing of the pit.
    He had been prepared for the worst, for her gloats, her show of power, anything and everything she could to rile him up in his current battered form. Rex had prepared himself but still took the bait, hook, line, and sinker. His knees buckled beneath the pressure of Persephone's power, yet his stubbornness would not let him kneel to this one.

    "Must you humans always play these games?" He spat, his disgust aided by the sensation of her cold, clammy hands touching him, "Trying to save face as if you had been the very mastermind behind my triumphs. As if you hold some meaningful part in my destiny. Even in death, you are as naive as you were back when I slaughtered you and your people."

    Pushed back, Rex found himself stumbling towards the railing, yet he fought to remain upright if only to spite them all.

    "It was by my arrogance that I would suffer the setback of death! Yet I still live, you mummified parasite! It is my own will that I will survive as I always have. I will thrive no matter what you throw at me, for I am the STRONGEST! I. AM..."

    It was as if something had struck him, as Rex fell to his knees. Looking to his hands, or rather hand, as the maimed stump of his right arm mimed the movement of the other, he seemed confused by it all.

    "I am..."

    ---------
    Signs of Life: Something Else
    ---------

    "I am Charco."

    Like the introduction of a missing cog, the knowledge of a "name" had aligned mind, body, and soul. Rex, the invading spirit had made ill preparations in the off chance he were to be invaded, yet even if he were, he would have been overwhelmed by the presence that flooded through his body. It bore the name and essence of Charco, but it was not the boy he knew. This "Charco" was something less and yet more.

    Rising to his feet, Rex, no... whomever this being was, seemed unaffected by Persephone. The ruined stump, decayed by Vortigern's void, stirred, as new bone jutted from the wound, followed by nerves, muscles, and veins. Skin would soon envelop it all, but instead of scaley flesh, it was human skin, pale and tinged lightly with green.

    "Whole" once more, this vessel of power would extend outward, the very chambers beginning to shake from his presence.

  3. #4128

    Default One Year Ago: Charlie Base and What They Found There [Kenshiko]

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    “Father narrowed down his suspicions to three possibilities; one, that the President was a long lived alien in origin. There are a few old village stories scattered about the world of the Grinning Man, and many seem remarkably like our leader. Two: that he was some kind of Ifrit or Djinn of some sort. The affinity with smoke, the knowledge, the glowing eyes, they match the legends. Three: that he was something....older. He had known about my father possessing a Dragonball and had commented once about it being a ‘clever trinket, limited but better than her peers’. Father seemed to indicate he thought that mean he either knew the Eternal Dragon somehow and wasn’t impressed, or.......”

    She looks at Kenshiko.

    “Or that he himself was one too. Older and more dangerous. It was the one time I ever saw my Father actually show fear at that idea.”

    Meanwhile, Damask speaks, which is an incredibly rare occurabce.

    “Glyphs...of ....awakening. My brothers...to rise once more.”
    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    "Say he is the Dragon. It won't be enough to drive him out, he'll be back over, and over, and over again."

    On the far side of the stretch of darkness, the light Kenshiko carried at last managed to catch the surface of something in the distance. There was a strange little alcove was hollowed out of the wall, untouched. Within it was a certain energy. She felt its pulse carry itself within her.

    "I want to know how we kill that son of a bitch."
    Many things held promise, but before the long dark that stretched before them in the midst of this fallen shrine, their potential could not yet be realized. Here in the dead, hallowed halls of the lost kings, the Master of the Tiger School found herself restless among these forgotten relics buried in the tomb of Vermilion.

    This can't be all. I refuse to believe it.

    Elemental crystal deposits. the materiel. Arthur's Golem Sentinels laid to rest would stand now that their brother knew where they were. The tomes of the past in their crumbling, fossilized ink likely held some accounting of the Grinthorn's passage.

    But to what end? The very same people who had cataloged the tale of the Dragon fallen from the stars were themselves destroyed by him.

    Kenshiko broke ranks with Willa and Damask, her hand carrying light as she pressed further desperately into the unknown with only the echo of footfalls and hollow stalactite drips behind her. At the farthest end of the cavern isolated in a pocket of darkness, she found something that she knew was real, for it was there that she discovered found her sigil.

    Etched into the rock wall in the deepest level under the mountain isle, when she saw it she felt a stirring within she hadn't experienced for nearly six years now. Nestled westward amid the crests of the Five Schools, the sign of the Tiger School presented itself most obviously to her as her eyes surveyed the wall.

    She bit her lip as she drew closer and felt the inks etched into the flesh of her back burn, as if the forceful hands of her lineage, her fallen students, and her twin sister pressed her forward.

    That won't change that I'm the last.

    Brushing her hand over the surface, at a glance it was little different from the gallery of stained carvings, but she felt it in the rush of air that suddenly swept through her, drawing the ki collected at her hand towards itself like a breath upon a flame.
    It was no mere monument, that was for certain. In some respects it was very much alive as it responded to her energy. With a sharp grunt, Kenshiko threw more ki into the wall.

    But I'm not purely a Tiger anymore.

    One after another, the sigils of the Five alit themselves. Dragon. Turtle. Snake...

    ...and Crane.

    There was a low rumble in the earth as the walls shifted, and sheets of debris crumbled to revealing its purpose. This was no dead end, it was a passage, and etched into it were the insignia of five further guardians, The Wolf, the Spider, the Bear, the Phoenix, and the Lion.

    Ochazuke.

    “To all who read this, hear my words: When the crane flies, the tiger strikes. When the turtle crouches, the snake is lost. Above all, the Dragon is summoned, and the time shall come. Find me when the five are one, find me at the place of birth. Find me, and let your belief be cast against my own.”
    That was the challenge of the Hidden Master of Masters. Was this a fanciful prophecy, or was there something more? The was was aglow, but even though she put enough energy into the wall to render herself breathless, the wall did not alter itself further, only carrying the ki silently into the depths of the world until silence reigned.

    On the surface there was hardly a hint they could decipher. Not unless there was somebody from the time this thing was built.

    "Major, what the hell is behind this door?"

  4. #4129
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hellís Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    Many things held promise, but before the long dark that stretched before them in the midst of this fallen shrine, their potential could not yet be realized. Here in the dead, hallowed halls of the lost kings, the Master of the Tiger School found herself restless among these forgotten relics buried in the tomb of Vermilion.

    This can't be all. I refuse to believe it.

    Elemental crystal deposits. the materiel. Arthur's Golem Sentinels laid to rest would stand now that their brother knew where they were. The tomes of the past in their crumbling, fossilized ink likely held some accounting of the Grinthorn's passage.

    But to what end? The very same people who had cataloged the tale of the Dragon fallen from the stars were themselves destroyed by him.

    Kenshiko broke ranks with Willa and Damask, her hand carrying light as she pressed further desperately into the unknown with only the echo of footfalls and hollow stalactite drips behind her. At the farthest end of the cavern isolated in a pocket of darkness, she found something that she knew was real, for it was there that she discovered found her sigil.

    Etched into the rock wall in the deepest level under the mountain isle, when she saw it she felt a stirring within she hadn't experienced for nearly six years now. Nestled westward amid the crests of the Five Schools, the sign of the Tiger School presented itself most obviously to her as her eyes surveyed the wall.

    She bit her lip as she drew closer and felt the inks etched into the flesh of her back burn, as if the forceful hands of her lineage, her fallen students, and her twin sister pressed her forward.

    That won't change that I'm the last.

    Brushing her hand over the surface, at a glance it was little different from the gallery of stained carvings, but she felt it in the rush of air that suddenly swept through her, drawing the ki collected at her hand towards itself like a breath upon a flame.
    It was no mere monument, that was for certain. In some respects it was very much alive as it responded to her energy. With a sharp grunt, Kenshiko threw more ki into the wall.

    But I'm not purely a Tiger anymore.

    One after another, the sigils of the Five alit themselves. Dragon. Turtle. Snake...

    ...and Crane.

    There was a low rumble in the earth as the walls shifted, and sheets of debris crumbled to revealing its purpose. This was no dead end, it was a passage, and etched into it were the insignia of five further guardians, The Wolf, the Spider, the Bear, the Phoenix, and the Lion.

    Ochazuke.



    That was the challenge of the Hidden Master of Masters. Was this a fanciful prophecy, or was there something more? The was was aglow, but even though she put enough energy into the wall to render herself breathless, the wall did not alter itself further, only carrying the ki silently into the depths of the world until silence reigned.

    On the surface there was hardly a hint they could decipher. Not unless there was somebody from the time this thing was built.

    "Major, what the hell is behind this door?"
    ďI donít know how to kill him. Yet. But heíll be weaker soon, that much I do know. Perhaps there is something here that will help.Ē


    Damask turns and looks at Kenshiko.

    ďHidden works. My creator held secrets there. Repurposed by another who came here as I slept. A man I knew was called Zxuíro.Ē
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  5. #4130
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hellís Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofPie View Post
    Sasheem's brow furrowed further, before eventually shrugging. "Alright, alright, whatever..." Sahseem eventually sighed. "How does this kinda fusion work anyway?" He inquired.

    A new chance to learn a new technique wasn't something that should be squandered, the Majin supposed. At least knowledge of what it involved could be somewhat useful.
    ďWell....itís called the Fusion Dance. And like itís name implies, itís a type of dancing kata that his mirrored by two people.Ē
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  6. #4131
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    Katchin quivered in Zaofan's hands, and leaning his weight upon it it began to chip into the floor of desolate Avalon where the Queen now held her mock court. Braced upon the adamantine staff, it was by the Sheep's Fortitude that Zaofan's rattling grip painstakingly held his position.

    "Looking...up at somebody....is one thing," Zaofan stammered, yet his eyes never quite left hers, "Don't...think anyone likes...to be looked down upon...regardless."

    The pale blue ki he put into his katchin weapon sharply shrank its aura. It was taking all of his strength of will to stand, and even more to remain cordial when all his instincts screamed at him for dread.

    Run. Run!

    "But if it makes you...feel better...how about...reaching across the aisle...for friends of Morgan La Fay?" He faltered, for the weight upon his back was great, pronounced most where it lanced into his heart and mind. "How many...thousands of years...waiting...I don't think...she wanted to...come back to this...?"

    Even with the Bear's Strength coiled within his legs he struggled to keep himself upright through the power of ki.
    "Hmm....Fear not. I know what you've done for me and mine. You have nothing to fear...in fact, I would see you rewarded....quite generously. Now quit your jittering, its unbecoming." The pressure on Zaofan subsides as the Queen returns her attention to him with much greater enthusiasm then before. "So tell me...Zaofan correct? You seem like a honest, hard working human soul.....something the new Avalon seems to be lacking as of late." There was a momentary glance in the direction of the still unconscious Agravain before Persephone let out a dismissive sigh and clasped her hands on Zaofans shoulders. A sensation akin to electricity seemed to course through him...strange, powerful.....

    "A place in the court, a title, perhaps a weapon best suited for a knight....I've forged many a weapon for men such as you. Power would be yours, of course.....to protect your fellow man and do good for our world. Maybe I could even......." Persephones gaze turned past Zaofan, and for a moment she looked confused. It only took Zaofan following her gaze to realize why.....Morgan was on her feet and eyes trained on the two. The look she was giving was just shy of a glare, yet serious enough to momentarily pull the humor from her queens voice.

    ".....Morgan, its been so long..." Persephone released Zaofan and moved to step past him, but Morgan immediately threw her hand up with a defiant gesture.

    "Stop! I.....I won't have you come any closer......not until I understand what.....whats wrong with you!"

    Persephone gave an innocent, disarming smile. "Nothing is wron...."

    "Don't lie to me....How can nothing be wrong! Just look at you! JUST LOOK AT THIS PLACE?!" Morgan gestured all around them. "The people who defended you are dead....my friends....the people who looked to your for protection. I watched one of them die today.........not even a shell of his former self......if you....if you know whats been happening....HOW CAN YOU STAND THERE AND SMILE ABOUT IT!"

    "Morgan I.."

    "AND WHAT ABOUT MY SISTER!" Morgan roared, her voice overflowing with a rage she hadn't produced over the entire journey. "She died.....She died to fuel whatever this....whatever this is.......and your not even batting an eye over it. You not eve.."

    "Is that all?" Persephone voice cut colder then the chill of the northern air. "Morgan, it hurts me when you speak like this....But you seem to be mistaken. There is nothing to grieve, your sister is fine.....she exists within me now, they all do. Part of a newer, grander Avalon. One...I've been working to build for a very long time."

    "I don't understand what your..." Morgan pauses, her emotion and realization betrayed only by the whiteness of her face. "....Master Zaofan.....come over here..."

    "MASTER?!" Her voice rang out like thunder, giving way to an inhuman chuckle as her two hands gripped into Zaofans shoulders . "......This one? Could it be my innocent familiar found someone she'd call master besides me....Well now I simply can't let you go." The feeling of energy from her fingers increased, and a strange.....surprising familiar feeling of disorientation spread through his body. Something was pulling at his ki, his very life essence....something intoxicating was drawing him in....

    A flash....and her grip released, or rather was forced off as a spell impacted between the two. Persephone didn't budge from the spot, but Zaofan was thrown clear...landing backwards in Morgans arms as her tiny frame barely managed to catch him properly.

    "....ho..." Persphone looked up, and for a moment seemed to be holding a rather legitimate look of surprise. "....what was that suppose to be...?"

    "Something is wrong with you....your not the Queen I remember.......something in that void has addled your mind and I..I can't let you do as you please." Morgan bit her lip and positioned herself around to Zaofans side, throwing up her hand and erecting a magical barrier. "....stay close to me Zaofan...."

    "....You would strike your queen over something so trivial........have the years here truly made you so....defective." Persephone spoke with clear irritation. ".......cease this at once.....I am your creator....I am.."

    "I am Charco."
    "I am....I'm sorry what?" Persephone tilted her head back.

    Like the introduction of a missing cog, the knowledge of a "name" had aligned mind, body, and soul. Rex, the invading spirit had made ill preparations in the off chance he were to be invaded, yet even if he were, he would have been overwhelmed by the presence that flooded through his body. It bore the name and essence of Charco, but it was not the boy he knew. This "Charco" was something less and yet more.

    Rising to his feet, Rex, no... whomever this being was, seemed unaffected by Persephone. The ruined stump, decayed by Vortigern's void, stirred, as new bone jutted from the wound, followed by nerves, muscles, and veins. Skin would soon envelop it all, but instead of scaley flesh, it was human skin, pale and tinged lightly with green.

    "Whole" once more, this vessel of power would extend outward, the very chambers beginning to shake from his presence.
    "....H...Ha......Ahahah.....Are you serious?" Despite the situation, Persephone could not suppress the look of utter amusement on her face. ".......I was looking forward to some sort of come back....but surely I didn't crumple his spirit so badly his host has to come out and cover for him."

    "....Fine...you know what......I still need to see what this new body can do. Lets pit the legacy of Rex the destroyer....again my new Avalon. Come...Come everyone......power like this needs a little air." Throwing her arms out, a expanding shoud of energy immediately consumes the chamber and all within in...followed by a lurch and then a harsh blast of cold wind.

    In an instant, they were floating just above the peak of the Mountain. Below them, ruins spread out in every direction.

    Again, Persephone flexes her power....and below them the ruins begin to shatter and break apart, their pieces flying upwards and smashing together just below them into a amalgamation of ruined buildings and various bits of rubbles. Pieces of the old world fly up from the farthest reaches, adding mass to this...stage.



    "Yes....YES! Look at this....the power of the old ones main manifest. A fitting stage to to put an end to our rivalry....on the ruins of this old Avalon. Let these humans bare witness to your humiliation at my hands..."

    "WHAT IN TARNATION IS GOING ON!" Cornelus Cohb shouted as he lay suspended, upside down, along with the others. Next to him, a much less awkward Shochu...both having been caught in the teleportation magic used.

  7. #4132

    Default One Year Ago: Charlie Base and What They Found There [Kenshiko]

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    “I don’t know how to kill him. Yet. But he’ll be weaker soon, that much I do know. Perhaps there is something here that will help.”


    Damask turns and looks at Kenshiko.

    “Hidden works. My creator held secrets there. Repurposed by another who came here as I slept. A man I knew was called Zxu’ro.”
    "Fat lot of good that will do while we keep losing ground to that grinning bastard," Kenshiko replied, "why did you even think you could take him..."

    Her voice trailed off as she slowly collected her thoughts. Regardless of the situation they were in now, she'd signed on to fight this losing war. But now, at the edge of her hope, she could only see a path as futile as the impenatrable wall set before her; and as soon as the Golem spoke that name, her aura flared to life.

    "The Master came here...and you knew this the whole time...SON OF A BITCH!" Kenshiko threw her fist against the wall, the strike echoing like thunder in the hollows beneath the base.

    The symbols of the Five flared brightly once more. The wall had hardly shed so much as a sheet of dust, the icons of the Wolf, Spider, Bear, Phoenix and Lion looming silently before her as she ground her knuckles into the stone.

    Whatever was inside needed to be exposed. At the realization of what had to be done, the rage that bottled up within her filled the cavern with low, joyless laughter at the nigh-impossible task.

    "...your father," she said to the Colonel, her tone seething, "Where did he find the techniques of the Lion School?"

  8. #4133
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hellís Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    "Fat lot of good that will do while we keep losing ground to that grinning bastard," Kenshiko replied, "why did you even think you could take him..."

    Her voice trailed off as she slowly collected her thoughts. Regardless of the situation they were in now, she'd signed on to fight this losing war. But now, at the edge of her hope, she could only see a path as futile as the impenatrable wall set before her; and as soon as the Golem spoke that name, her aura flared to life.

    "The Master came here...and you knew this the whole time...SON OF A BITCH!" Kenshiko threw her fist against the wall, the strike echoing like thunder in the hollows beneath the base.

    The symbols of the Five flared brightly once more. The wall had hardly shed so much as a sheet of dust, the icons of the Wolf, Spider, Bear, Phoenix and Lion looming silently before her as she ground her knuckles into the stone.

    Whatever was inside needed to be exposed. At the realization of what had to be done, the rage that bottled up within her filled the cavern with low, joyless laughter at the nigh-impossible task.

    "...your father," she said to the Colonel, her tone seething, "Where did he find the techniques of the Lion School?"
    Willa raised an eyebrow.

    “I didn’t know anything about your master being here. Damask?”

    She looks at him. The golem gives what can only be described as a shrug.

    “Memories are faint and fleeting. The more I am restored, the more concrete they become. I am thousands of years old, and much was hidden within my mind. Forgive my oversight, Colonel. Sergeant.”

    Willa turns back to Kenshiko.

    “Even Dragons can die. Everything can die. The M-Fighters showed me that. Death comes even for Gods, Demons, and more. As to the Lion school.....I suppose from here, though I ever thought if it before. He just....always knew it seemed.”
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  9. #4134

    Default Default Disciples of the Dragon VII: The Legacy of Zxu'ro [Ochazuke]

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    ¬ďThen we must join our allies Zaofan and Sasheem and either discover the legacy for ourselves, or protect it from the rest.¬Ē

    He nods and gestures for Ochazuke to follow him into the air and back to the island.
    "You don't quite understand what's going on here, Balon."

    Ochazuke stood, still shaky as the pulse of ki slowly righted itself within his frame. Though the wounds had closed, there remained a phantom pain where his master had struck him. More than that, having reached into the very soul of the planet itself, he experienced something besides a momentary ascension.

    The knowledge of a great spiritual sickness pervading this planet they called home.

    "We've been looking to uncover the past to the exception of everything else, fighting through trials on the journey towards it, but how much thought have you given to the future?"

    Two thousand years when the Five Schools had fractured, the Obushi-sennin had fallen in his last battle against an unsung calamity. On that day unwritten, the hope of humanity was snuffed out and the shape of history had been written in bloody separation, cowed into submission to the mighty.

    A universe of guile to supercede martial might. Is this what you wanted in the end, Asha'rah? A world lulled in reverence to a god, exchanging freedom for safety? From the Reign of Rex to The Fall of Avalon, this was a story that had become distressingly familiar to him, and all over the world he knew That Man had been listening.

    "The legacy of fear has led to a divided mankind. Left afraid and helpless, Alakazah took advantage of this. Pitting one faction against another was how he consolidated power. No doubt that he knows keeping the Ten Hands separate will leave humanity weak and ignorant." Back in the Geofront, Ochazuke hadn't the courage to face the President's gaze directly, but using the techniques discovered with his martial brothers, for a moment he'd managed to part the shadow he'd cast. "All by his design. But as things are, you heard it from the Phoenix and Lion themselves."

    Their legacy had been seized by a single successor. Their essence, their memory was at stake. How were they to reclaim it if they were going to destroy each other?

    "It's time to bring this to an end. To do this, we'll need help."

    As needs must, however, they had to keep the circle small. Far too many would appraise the Legacy of Zxu'ro as little more than a weapon, some source of power to graft upon themselves like a cumbersome accessory to bludgeon others with.

    "The destruction of the Tiger Temple was a desperate move to destroy the Planetary Surveillance System. Blizzar will want to know what happened to the GP network. And Held, he has experience with this sort of thing. He is, if nothing else, reliable, for a price."

    Along with Jack, Ochazuke hailed the three to the Lookout over the communicators.

  10. #4135
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    "You don't quite understand what's going on here, Balon."

    Ochazuke stood, still shaky as the pulse of ki slowly righted itself within his frame. Though the wounds had closed, there remained a phantom pain where his master had struck him. More than that, having reached into the very soul of the planet itself, he experienced something besides a momentary ascension.

    The knowledge of a great spiritual sickness pervading this planet they called home.

    "We've been looking to uncover the past to the exception of everything else, fighting through trials on the journey towards it, but how much thought have you given to the future?"

    Two thousand years when the Five Schools had fractured, the Obushi-sennin had fallen in his last battle against an unsung calamity. On that day unwritten, the hope of humanity was snuffed out and the shape of history had been written in bloody separation, cowed into submission to the mighty.

    A universe of guile to supercede martial might. Is this what you wanted in the end, Asha'rah? A world lulled in reverence to a god, exchanging freedom for safety? From the Reign of Rex to The Fall of Avalon, this was a story that had become distressingly familiar to him, and all over the world he knew That Man had been listening.

    "The legacy of fear has led to a divided mankind. Left afraid and helpless, Alakazah took advantage of this. Pitting one faction against another was how he consolidated power. No doubt that he knows keeping the Ten Hands separate will leave humanity weak and ignorant." Back in the Geofront, Ochazuke hadn't the courage to face the President's gaze directly, but using the techniques discovered with his martial brothers, for a moment he'd managed to part the shadow he'd cast. "All by his design. But as things are, you heard it from the Phoenix and Lion themselves."

    Their legacy had been seized by a single successor. Their essence, their memory was at stake. How were they to reclaim it if they were going to destroy each other?

    "It's time to bring this to an end. To do this, we'll need help."

    As needs must, however, they had to keep the circle small. Far too many would appraise the Legacy of Zxu'ro as little more than a weapon, some source of power to graft upon themselves like a cumbersome accessory to bludgeon others with.

    "The destruction of the Tiger Temple was a desperate move to destroy the Planetary Surveillance System. Blizzar will want to know what happened to the GP network. And Held, he has experience with this sort of thing. He is, if nothing else, reliable, for a price."

    Along with Jack, Ochazuke hailed the three to the Lookout over the communicators.
    Balon raised an eyebrow but nods and silently follows Ochazuke.

    Meanwhile, Jack answers the hail.

    “Yeah, I’m here already. Everything ok?”
    Black Knight of SO
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  11. #4136

    Default The Mountains of Madness [Ochazuke]

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    "Death isn't brought by chance, it is a inevitability in this realm of creation and destruction....the worthless design of petty gods, fixated on their grand empty designs. Avalon is a testament to the inevitability of life in the realm of such gods....Death by design."

    Persepone snapped her finger, and the world around the group grew pitch black. "The Death of all things is by design, not chance.......The world is a sea of corpses where the living kick and claw and scream, fight tooth and nail, climbing atop the backs of their kin and foe alike, choking and gasping on the ice cold waters and for what......the illusion of forever being just short of breaking the surface. My people were forced to huddle in the dark, scraping for warmth with the smallest sparks of fire and cowering in fear at every scream and roar in the night would be their last......This was the gift from our creators. Suffering and death by design."

    The darkness lifted, and Ochazuke found the Queen of the Void staring at him from arms reach. She had a neutral expression on her face, her eyes however...seemed to be judging him.

    "There is no more hope of my reviving this realm then I had in protecting it....when the great ones bestowed their gifts to me, I did everything I could to build a realm for my people where they could be free of such fear. When cold killed my people, I bend the elements to my will and brought endless summer. When disease killed my people and gave them the gift of healing. When enemies threatened I destroyed them. I gave my gifts willingly to those who wished....and Avalon thrived for thousands of years....."
    Shrouded in the sable shadows of the Sorceress Queen, Ochazuke fought to maintain control. Heartbeats quickened, cold blood raking through veins raised under the pressure, heavy, burning. Every breath he drew in within this crushing darkness was nigh weightless, an absence there he sensed far too near.

    This power...Reaching out with his ki, through the sense-awareness of Kyokushin Keihatsu he felt it. A raw, subliminal drowning in the open air. The Void!

    But unlike the substance - if it could indeed be called such - of Agravain's Brand of the Grey Thorn, or the scores of fallen Familiars and Acolytes, the shape of Persephone before him was distinctly unearthly.

    The eyes... Though her words spoke of salvation, the judgement of her gaze was composed of something else entirely.

    Slowly, where he fell to a knee, he found his base, and Ochazuke raised his head to meet the Magi Queen's in a silent act of resistance.

    Banjakuza.

    Cthylla had warned him of the dread things waiting in the abyss between spaces. But so it was that he and his present company were of a few who stood between them and this world. Against all sense, all frail instinct, he would discern the Queen's true nature with his examination.

    Her eyes dropped to his hand, clenched firmly against the floor. "....the ring.....your so unceremoniously grinding into the floor......belonged to Lord Uther Pendragon." Ochazuke, perceptive as he was, could detect a momentary change in her tone as she mentioned the name. ".......is this fate....that a man such as you would bring this back here after so long. Hmm.....you do have some of his temperament. Maybe not as handsome......." The Queen paused, then let out a audible sigh. "....I'd request its return, but it would only be for sentimentality sake...consider it my reward for your service."

    Rising and taking a step back, Persephone gaze passed over the room once again. ".....I'm sure....he is no longer among the living now either. I, this temple.....these ruins......and my dear daughters........they are all that remains of the Avalon of old."
    "Uther?" Surprisingly, hoarse words sprang from a throat bound by terror, through gritted, shuddering teeth. "It came from a Guardian of the Creation, the Kami, Arthur."

    For all the disagreements Ochazuke had had of the celestial bureaucracy, the disdainful airs the cosmos put upon the Earth time and again had silently wounded him. His correspondence with the ghost of the first Guardian indicated this was a malady that reached back to the dawn of time, continued to persist until the present.

    His fist only bound itself tighter, grinding into the orichalum floor, aglow with a silent power gathered within this place.

    "You thought you were transcendent? You're mistaken," he said. "You'd given yourself over to animal fear. And for what?"

    The kingdom was a snow-blasted ruin. The Royal Guard melted into one flesh, bound to the twisted corpus that stood before them all. They were the Queen's devotees, and when she presumed to speak of Ochazuke's fealty to her, suddenly the veil of fear seemed to part.

    "To spare yourself, you promised this world as fodder for the Ageless Ones." Madness, perhaps. But in the throes of silent rage, so did he find a foundation of courage that lifted him slowly to his feet. "Your churl's wisdom speaks for itself, Persephone, here in this a crypt built on the blood of slaves! You promise emancipation? It is nothing more than Death by your design!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Yun Lao View Post
    He had been prepared for the worst, for her gloats, her show of power, anything and everything she could to rile him up in his current battered form. Rex had prepared himself but still took the bait, hook, line, and sinker. His knees buckled beneath the pressure of Persephone's power, yet his stubbornness would not let him kneel to this one.

    "Must you humans always play these games?" He spat, his disgust aided by the sensation of her cold, clammy hands touching him, "Trying to save face as if you had been the very mastermind behind my triumphs. As if you hold some meaningful part in my destiny. Even in death, you are as naive as you were back when I slaughtered you and your people."

    Pushed back, Rex found himself stumbling towards the railing, yet he fought to remain upright if only to spite them all.

    "It was by my arrogance that I would suffer the setback of death! Yet I still live, you mummified parasite! It is my own will that I will survive as I always have. I will thrive no matter what you throw at me, for I am the STRONGEST! I. AM..."

    It was as if something had struck him, as Rex fell to his knees. Looking to his hands, or rather hand, as the maimed stump of his right arm mimed the movement of the other, he seemed confused by it all.

    "I am..."

    ---------
    Signs of Life: Something Else
    ---------

    "I am Charco."

    Like the introduction of a missing cog, the knowledge of a "name" had aligned mind, body, and soul. Rex, the invading spirit had made ill preparations in the off chance he were to be invaded, yet even if he were, he would have been overwhelmed by the presence that flooded through his body. It bore the name and essence of Charco, but it was not the boy he knew. This "Charco" was something less and yet more.

    Rising to his feet, Rex, no... whomever this being was, seemed unaffected by Persephone. The ruined stump, decayed by Vortigern's void, stirred, as new bone jutted from the wound, followed by nerves, muscles, and veins. Skin would soon envelop it all, but instead of scaley flesh, it was human skin, pale and tinged lightly with green.

    "Whole" once more, this vessel of power would extend outward, the very chambers beginning to shake from his presence.
    With the sundering of the Royal Tomb, the rupture of the oppressive airs brushed past Ochazuke, and his shaking frame found solid footing as he crouched into a stance at the issue of raw power. The twisted Saurian would not be the only foe lingering in that age of long dark this day, though it seemed he and Zaofan were merely to be witnesses in this battle that rages across the eons. Men witness to the realm of monsters.

    But no. Flesh pushed forth from the wounded, scaled frame, and as the aura pushed back to meet Persephone's own, for a moment the dire atmosphere parted, and he was witness to something else he thought quite impossible. The ki was chaotically chimeric, twisted as the shape of the merged being before him, but same as the one who stood against a King, now he saw him oppose a Queen.

    "Fight him, boy..." At this distance, his words would likely not reach him. Same as it was in the heart of the Doctor's Star-Forge. Unlike then, he was just close enough to cast his senses upon the situation.

    "Survive, Charco!"

  12. #4137

    Default The Mountains of Madness [Zaofan]

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    "Hmm....Fear not. I know what you've done for me and mine. You have nothing to fear...in fact, I would see you rewarded....quite generously. Now quit your jittering, its unbecoming." The pressure on Zaofan subsides as the Queen returns her attention to him with much greater enthusiasm then before. "So tell me...Zaofan correct? You seem like a honest, hard working human soul.....something the new Avalon seems to be lacking as of late." There was a momentary glance in the direction of the still unconscious Agravain before Persephone let out a dismissive sigh and clasped her hands on Zaofans shoulders. A sensation akin to electricity seemed to course through him...strange, powerful.....

    "A place in the court, a title, perhaps a weapon best suited for a knight....I've forged many a weapon for men such as you. Power would be yours, of course.....to protect your fellow man and do good for our world. Maybe I could even......." Persephones gaze turned past Zaofan, and for a moment she looked confused. It only took Zaofan following her gaze to realize why.....Morgan was on her feet and eyes trained on the two. The look she was giving was just shy of a glare, yet serious enough to momentarily pull the humor from her queens voice.

    ".....Morgan, its been so long..." Persephone released Zaofan and moved to step past him, but Morgan immediately threw her hand up with a defiant gesture.

    "Stop! I.....I won't have you come any closer......not until I understand what.....whats wrong with you!"

    Persephone gave an innocent, disarming smile. "Nothing is wron...."

    "Don't lie to me....How can nothing be wrong! Just look at you! JUST LOOK AT THIS PLACE?!" Morgan gestured all around them. "The people who defended you are dead....my friends....the people who looked to your for protection. I watched one of them die today.........not even a shell of his former self......if you....if you know whats been happening....HOW CAN YOU STAND THERE AND SMILE ABOUT IT!"

    "Morgan I.."

    "AND WHAT ABOUT MY SISTER!" Morgan roared, her voice overflowing with a rage she hadn't produced over the entire journey. "She died.....She died to fuel whatever this....whatever this is.......and your not even batting an eye over it. You not eve.."

    "Is that all?" Persephone voice cut colder then the chill of the northern air. "Morgan, it hurts me when you speak like this....But you seem to be mistaken. There is nothing to grieve, your sister is fine.....she exists within me now, they all do. Part of a newer, grander Avalon. One...I've been working to build for a very long time."

    "I don't understand what your..." Morgan pauses, her emotion and realization betrayed only by the whiteness of her face. "....Master Zaofan.....come over here..."

    "MASTER?!" Her voice rang out like thunder, giving way to an inhuman chuckle as her two hands gripped into Zaofans shoulders . "......This one? Could it be my innocent familiar found someone she'd call master besides me....Well now I simply can't let you go." The feeling of energy from her fingers increased, and a strange.....surprising familiar feeling of disorientation spread through his body. Something was pulling at his ki, his very life essence....something intoxicating was drawing him in....
    "Well, to be perfectly frank, madam, I'd be able to quit jittering if..."

    Suddenly, Zaofan felt the icy authoritarian's grip slide down on his shoulders, and where Persphone's embrace fell, a curious feeling. "...oh-ohhh--..."

    It came suddenly, sweeping upward as if drawn from the ether. A warm glow filled his senses like liquid silver, and as the Magi Queen whispered sweet nothings into his ears, the only thing tethering him to this reality was the sensation of his grip upon his pole. Slowly, his bloodied palms begin to slide away with the rest of the world.


    Called home to the thrall of a mistress of magic, submission seemed to be only natural for a mundane man such as he, and within the departed ecstasy of this dread ascension the words that called after him sounded as if they sounded out from a place miles away...

    "....Master Zaofan.....come over here..."

    "MASTER?!"


    ...Mistress...?

    A flash....and her grip released, or rather was forced off as a spell impacted between the two. Persephone didn't budge from the spot, but Zaofan was thrown clear...landing backwards in Morgans arms as her tiny frame barely managed to catch him properly.

    "....ho..." Persphone looked up, and for a moment seemed to be holding a rather legitimate look of surprise. "....what was that suppose to be...?"

    "Something is wrong with you....your not the Queen I remember.......something in that void has addled your mind and I..I can't let you do as you please." Morgan bit her lip and positioned herself around to Zaofans side, throwing up her hand and erecting a magical barrier. "....stay close to me Zaofan...."

    "....You would strike your queen over something so trivial........have the years here truly made you so....defective." Persephone spoke with clear irritation. ".......cease this at once.....I am your creator....I am.."
    The forceful impact into Morgan's small frame jolted the Martial Chef swiftly from that soft-brained reverie, and with a great shock it had been as if he had been forcefully kicked out of a dream. With a sharp yelp, Zaofan bolt upright, and the chill of the chamber wicked against his unguarded frame.

    Blinking hard, Zaofan fought to right himself, but more than that, he'd awakened from her Dream of Avalon to the cruel reality, carved in the ruined murals of Snow Wall, bleeding into the leylines within this deathly tomb.

    "Don't listen to her, Morgan," he gasped, daring to sidle beside her. Once again, he anchored his staff to the ground, and it was set aglow once more. "Maybe she is your creator, but so what?"

    "When you knew it was too good to be true, you pulled me outta that slump," he said with a wink. "You didn't get that from her."

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    "....Fine...you know what......I still need to see what this new body can do. Lets pit the legacy of Rex the destroyer....again my new Avalon. Come...Come everyone......power like this needs a little air." Throwing her arms out, a expanding shoud of energy immediately consumes the chamber and all within in...followed by a lurch and then a harsh blast of cold wind.

    In an instant, they were floating just above the peak of the Mountain. Below them, ruins spread out in every direction.

    Again, Persephone flexes her power....and below them the ruins begin to shatter and break apart, their pieces flying upwards and smashing together just below them into a amalgamation of ruined buildings and various bits of rubbles. Pieces of the old world fly up from the farthest reaches, adding mass to this...stage.

    *snip*

    "Yes....YES! Look at this....the power of the old ones main manifest. A fitting stage to to put an end to our rivalry....on the ruins of this old Avalon. Let these humans bare witness to your humiliation at my hands..."

    "WHAT IN TARNATION IS GOING ON!" Cornelus Cohb shouted as he lay suspended, upside down, along with the others. Next to him, a much less awkward Shochu...both having been caught in the teleportation magic used.
    Still standing next to Morgan, the earth beneath them shifted and the chamber began to ascend. This alteration of matter and physics alike could hardly be said to be anything less than...

    "Magic!" Zaofan hollered aloud. "This place is lifting off like the Lookout!"

    The Tomb of Persephone ripped itself from the rest of the city of Avalon, its orichalum surface catching the moonlight even under the chaotic design of its mad architect before them, and as they rose, the chill winds whistled past his ears, and the roar was deafening.

    Curiously, there was also a static pinprick at the base of his ear.

    "Zao, can you hear me?"

    "Ochazuke?" A familiar voice over the communicator. "What a crazy day this has been...er, wait, where are you?"

    "I'm examining the metaphysical structure of this platform. I'll find you."

    Lifting his staff, a brilliant blue glow filled Zaofan's Katchin weapon. Seeing Morgan put her all behind the magic barrier, it was plain to see that Persephone thought very little of them.

    Why, that was enough to seriously cheese him off. Already he was seeing red.

    "Let me make it a bit easier for you then," Zaofan seethed, and with a defiant lunge forward, he repaid Morgan's defense with one of his own.


  13. #4138
    Astonishing Member KingofPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    “Well....it’s called the Fusion Dance. And like it’s name implies, it’s a type of dancing kata that his mirrored by two people.”
    Sasheem sat unimpressed, his cheek resting on his hand as he quickly contemplated the life choices that led him to this exact moment.

    "....A dance, huh," the Majin uttered after a moment of lingering silence. "Like what, a break dance?"

  14. #4139
    Astonishing Member KingofPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    "It's time to bring this to an end. To do this, we'll need help."

    As needs must, however, they had to keep the circle small. Far too many would appraise the Legacy of Zxu'ro as little more than a weapon, some source of power to graft upon themselves like a cumbersome accessory to bludgeon others with.

    "The destruction of the Tiger Temple was a desperate move to destroy the Planetary Surveillance System. Blizzar will want to know what happened to the GP network. And Held, he has experience with this sort of thing. He is, if nothing else, reliable, for a price."

    Along with Jack, Ochazuke hailed the three to the Lookout over the communicators.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    Balon raised an eyebrow but nods and silently follows Ochazuke.

    Meanwhile, Jack answers the hail.

    “Yeah, I’m here already. Everything ok?”
    Blizzar arrived, taking a cruiser from the Galaxy Police's Earth-orbiting headquarters. Upon arriving at the Lookout, he appeared decidedly stressed. "I do so enjoy the multitude of ways my security systems have been compromised," the Arcosian commented dryly, cracking his knuckles. "Whatever it is we are preparing to do, I certainly hope it proves cathartic."

  15. #4140
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofPie View Post
    Blizzar arrived, taking a cruiser from the Galaxy Police's Earth-orbiting headquarters. Upon arriving at the Lookout, he appeared decidedly stressed. "I do so enjoy the multitude of ways my security systems have been compromised," the Arcosian commented dryly, cracking his knuckles. "Whatever it is we are preparing to do, I certainly hope it proves cathartic."
    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    "You don't quite understand what's going on here, Balon."

    Ochazuke stood, still shaky as the pulse of ki slowly righted itself within his frame. Though the wounds had closed, there remained a phantom pain where his master had struck him. More than that, having reached into the very soul of the planet itself, he experienced something besides a momentary ascension.

    The knowledge of a great spiritual sickness pervading this planet they called home.

    "We've been looking to uncover the past to the exception of everything else, fighting through trials on the journey towards it, but how much thought have you given to the future?"

    Two thousand years when the Five Schools had fractured, the Obushi-sennin had fallen in his last battle against an unsung calamity. On that day unwritten, the hope of humanity was snuffed out and the shape of history had been written in bloody separation, cowed into submission to the mighty.

    A universe of guile to supercede martial might. Is this what you wanted in the end, Asha'rah? A world lulled in reverence to a god, exchanging freedom for safety? From the Reign of Rex to The Fall of Avalon, this was a story that had become distressingly familiar to him, and all over the world he knew That Man had been listening.

    "The legacy of fear has led to a divided mankind. Left afraid and helpless, Alakazah took advantage of this. Pitting one faction against another was how he consolidated power. No doubt that he knows keeping the Ten Hands separate will leave humanity weak and ignorant." Back in the Geofront, Ochazuke hadn't the courage to face the President's gaze directly, but using the techniques discovered with his martial brothers, for a moment he'd managed to part the shadow he'd cast. "All by his design. But as things are, you heard it from the Phoenix and Lion themselves."

    Their legacy had been seized by a single successor. Their essence, their memory was at stake. How were they to reclaim it if they were going to destroy each other?

    "It's time to bring this to an end. To do this, we'll need help."

    As needs must, however, they had to keep the circle small. Far too many would appraise the Legacy of Zxu'ro as little more than a weapon, some source of power to graft upon themselves like a cumbersome accessory to bludgeon others with.

    "The destruction of the Tiger Temple was a desperate move to destroy the Planetary Surveillance System. Blizzar will want to know what happened to the GP network. And Held, he has experience with this sort of thing. He is, if nothing else, reliable, for a price."

    Along with Jack, Ochazuke hailed the three to the Lookout over the communicators.
    The Nevadian could be seen in the distance, flying in the air with a white aura of energy surrounding him.

    "Kami, I miss the Galloping..." He muttered to himself as he touched down on the floor of the lookout with little fanfare.

    Held paused for a moment, taking in the surroundings, and those assembled at the meeting Ochazuke had called forth.

    Blizzar. Jack. Ochazuke. B....Balon, was it? And Held himself. If there was a common thread tying them together, Held couldn't place it at first glance.

    "....Well, this is certainly an eclectic band you got here, Ochazuke." Held replied, greeting the man with a smile and nod of his head. "If you wanted drinking buddies, I suppose you could do worse than this lot..."

    He chuckled to himself. Ochazuke was hardly the type to make requests to begin with, let alone trivial ones, and his judgement had always been sound in the eyes of the Nevadian. Whatever it was that made him reach out, must have been quite the interesting story.

    "Then again, that look on your face gives me the impression this isn't a social call..."

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