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  1. #4291
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    The crystalline veinwork below them reached deeper into the ground. Ochazuke felt it where his senses brushed against the physical structure that fed into the source, but Held's Shingan, eyes keenly trained for the needs of etching summoner's runes , had a finer read on the details.

    It was a strange impression. The metaphysical energies rendered with a rush of intensity, almost as if his eyes had adjusted for night thrust before being turned toward the open the sun, yet somehow in totality the vision was somehow without harshness, warm and inviting a lingering gaze.

    A subtle thing like quicksilver pushing through the ground, connected to the vital presence inherent in the Leylines and the life-energy of those who tread near carrying the pulse of ki where Damask set foot upon rock and turf nearby like captured light. Tangled beneath the obelisk tree were hidden veins of these resonant crystals, the roots beneath the withered thing were intertwined with these luminous deposits. Once it had drawn its sustenance and light from these, reaching its heights in the darkness, but now thought it yet lived, it lingered to no avail.

    Surrounding the tree were the remains of thirteen stone effigies, and where they were not otherwise crumbling under moss the pearl-white stone were exposed from where they had been gouged. The tallest at the centre had been cut diagonally downward from the shoulder, and no head - much less any face - remained. Something had befallen this place. The roots ran deep and clutched their foundations; smothered by the past malady, it would never bloom again, ancient branches were suspended in the airs of another age.

    The vital source illuminate fed deeper into the strata, and reached into the structure fathoms below Charlie Base. They were not merely some resonant substance, but the mortar that held together a great city buried further underground.
    Held was silent, his attention enchanted by the raw energy and power coursing through the grove, so immense and yet so gentle. It was obvious enough why this place was so special among the Vermilion Kingdom, the lifeblood of the earth streaming vigorously in this nexus like a still beating heart.

    It took a moment for him to break the hypnotic gaze he found himself under, focusing on the task.

    Slowly, a cool disease swept over the Nevadian as he further surveyed the ruins, clearly rent asunder by.....



    "Hrrmh," Ochazuke pondered, the meditational field of sense-awareness picking up the shape of the chamber Held might have been able to see more directly, following the path of the nodules of energy. Pillar-columns twisted apart, bisected walls and shattered stairways that led nowhere. "Whatever had befallen this place had quite literally buried it."

    Then at the edge of the Shingan's field of view, something stirred. First it was as if the image of the sequestered briefly out of focus from the distance and effort of peering through its substance. Then, as if blurred at the edges, it read like a silhouette. Something was stirring down there. Its true nature unreadable, but its countenance was gargantuan.

    Suddenly, the heavy steel thud of a latch rang through the ancient stony hollow of the King's Grove, followed by footfalls. Somebody approached.

    "Raider officers." Ochazuke mulled, "Jack, focus, keep us concealed."

    There was more than one voice, and their conversation at this distance was indecipherable, where it echoed but was quite animated, with passionate disagreement.

    The Golem's stream of consciousness lurched in a brief inner monologue that reached them where they stood within; fleeting, abstract, like the meaning without words.

    Comrades, Echoed Damask's thoughts, an intonation that was as much an affirmation as it was a query to the group. Rendezvous?
    "There's something down there..."

    That?

    ".....I can't quite discern 'what' it is." Held replied, his concentration fully engaged as he strained the limits of his Shingan, "But there's certainly an 'it'."

    I don't have a clue what the hell that is? Is it because of the dampening field and the range? Or...Is it something else?

    He exhaled, frowning "Either way, it's very big.." He said, turning to his comrades from within Damask, taking care to lower his voice, lest he draw unnecessary attention, "And it's existence does not fill me with greater confidence on this mission."

  2. #4292

    Default Rising from Ruins

    Quote Originally Posted by Miburo View Post
    Held was silent, his attention enchanted by the raw energy and power coursing through the grove, so immense and yet so gentle. It was obvious enough why this place was so special among the Vermilion Kingdom, the lifeblood of the earth streaming vigorously in this nexus like a still beating heart.

    It took a moment for him to break the hypnotic gaze he found himself under, focusing on the task.

    Slowly, a cool disease swept over the Nevadian as he further surveyed the ruins, clearly rent asunder by.....


    "There's something down there..."

    That?

    ".....I can't quite discern 'what' it is." Held replied, his concentration fully engaged as he strained the limits of his Shingan, "But there's certainly an 'it'."

    I don't have a clue what the hell that is? Is it because of the dampening field and the range? Or...Is it something else?

    He exhaled, frowning "Either way, it's very big.." He said, turning to his comrades from within Damask, taking care to lower his voice, lest he draw unnecessary attention, "And it's existence does not fill me with greater confidence on this mission."
    Ochazuke silently closed his eyes for a long moment, and let out a terse sigh.

    "Whatever it is, it's in the same chamber as the very thing I'm seeking," he said, "With the lack of commotion in the area, we can surmise this means the Raiders have the defensive advantage."

    If it hadn't been apparent before, now it was made decisively so. And it remained to be seen if the Door of the Ten hadn't already been opened. She's still missing the teachings of one of the Hidden Hand, and that may be where our leverage lies.

    "Of course they would," Jack said. "If we gotta go through 'em, then we should make our move now. We're this close, and all Damask has to do is take us down there."

    Ochazuke considered this, arms folded as he continued to use his senses to probe for any more information, but for the strange, shrouded atmosphere. A bead of sweat rolled down his temple.

    "I'd prefer not to destroy the last faction on Earth that opposes That Man," he said, though with an air of resignation. "Furthermore, so long as we stay within the Golem, we may pass unimpeded. Now that we know where to go, it's a matter of finding an opening to seize it. For this, we'll need information."

    Damask took his strides further across what had been an ancient terrace. Moss-eaten stones, arranged in semi-circular steps around the grove, may have at one time been fit to receive an audience. The errant grass blades peeking through the cracks of ancient tile. The way its caught the the light was seen only in one other place they knew of, ever cresting vigilant atop the rest of the world.

    "Moreover, this is all that remains of Arthur's Kingdom, Jack. We should be mindful where we tread."

    "You know, you talk a big game about heritage. I happen to be carrying a piece of history with me right now, and I know for a fact that when they called on Arthur to fight for all of Creation, he didn't hesitate to use it."

    The Martial Artist and the Gambler exchanged a lengthy, silent stare. With Jack's momentary lapse in concentration, they all felt Damask stop in his tracks.

    In the wash of proxy-sensation that fell through the Golem, the group collectively heard the Raiders who had entered the chamber.

    They could make out just enough to hear that they were three voices; two women and a man.

    "What do you mean you're dissolving the Unit?"

    "Do you doubt me, Corporal? Have I ever led you astray before?"

    "No, but your inaction hasn't inspired confidence. Naturally, it hadn't exactly led us to a victory, either."

    "Patience. Everything has its place, and in due time we'll move out."

    "It seems the Sergeant's instilled respect for the chain of command in at least one of you."

    "She's the only one putting any real moves on the board."

    Dissent in the ranks, discordant voices directed to one that seemed harrowing familiar to Ochazuke, Jack and Held.

    "There she is." Jack's withdrawal-singed frown deepened when he heard his distant relation: Colonel Willa Rautt.

    "It's risky, but if there'd be anywhere to find information, well..." Ochazuke mused.

    Conveniently enough, because of the distance and the terrain of the chamber surrounding the King's Grove, none of the three seem to have noticed Damask quite yet...

  3. #4293
    Retired Overlord
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    Default Mountain of Madness

    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    With a timely application of The Bear's Strength Zaofan had indeed been able to entrench his fingers into the masonwork. Albeit, having fallen flat and face-down on the thing, his arms splayed wide like a flattened spider.

    Having fought for hours at this point against all manners of infernal denizens and twisted wizards, fatigue had set in so readily that his concentration had lapsed for a moment.

    I'll give Zxu'ro this, practice never fails.

    Holding on for dear life, the muscles in his back swelled and he felt the seams of his shirt give way.

    The mural was made of something that had quite dense. Magically polished it served impeccably as a medium for the crafting spell, But where Zaofan dug his hands against it, clinging like some bug behind the great shield Morgan conjurred against the Queen's onslaught, he had more pressing concerns to mind.

    I'm not about to let Morgan do this on her own!

    Channeling the Dragon's Fire through his hands, the ancient castle wall began to grow deceptively hot as he put concentrated heat into it.

    Come on... Pressed between his chest and the wall was his katchin staff, still glowing blue. This was a hare-brained maneuver, but he'd already seen its properties shift once. Come on-!!

    If it became liquid with the use of magic, then Zaofan reasoned that using ki might be able to do something to that effect. As he poured on the sweltering heat, he continued to pull inward in an attempt to soften and bend the slab.
    The intense heat from Zaofans hands had the desired effect, at least according to the natural laws of nature......the stone melted.

    A bubble form as the heat liquefied the stone, before bursting from the other end in an explosion of superheated magma.

    Through the hole, the scene Zaofan came to witness however.....made absolutely no sense to any law. Both mages were locked in combat, but may as well have been standing giving each other weird stares. The "real" combat was taking place between each others seemingly endless arsonal of conjured weapons, creatures and objects. Sword clashed, cannonballs smashed into shields, animated creatures crashed against each other in rapid succession, even humanoids formed of the very basic magic clashed in furious combat just a few feet in any direction.

    Morgan seemed to be on the defensive, or rather seemed to only be reacting to whatever Persephone threw at her. With the burst of hot liquid stone however, the mage gestured a strong wind to blow the hot material into a spray of liquid flame.

    The effect as it blasted over Persephone from the side was immediate......or rather the lack of effect was. If anything, the hot rock lost its heat and dropped from her the moment it contacted with her skin.

    With an amused smirk, Persephone took aim with her finger at the hole Zaofan was staring through and a jet of super heated flame spewed forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yun Lao View Post
    The hole in reality he wielded was not a solidified mass, it was a squishy, jiggling thing not unlike a water balloon, small bits of unreality sloshing off before dissipating. Grabbing hold of it, the pitch blackness seeping out between his fingers like tar, "Charco" hurled it at Persephone. Lazily it spun, twisted, and wiggled in flight, an absurdity compared to the cyclone of miasma it was headed for.

    As if giving up on his previous attacked, "Charco" charged up two more spheres of energy in a manner that was awfully familiar for Ochazuke and the others. Whether or not he understood what muscle memory was guiding him through, he did not hesitate through the motions as he fired as Tyranno Blast behind the hole in reality. Striking the hole, the sloshy thing was launched forth at an insane pace, punching a hole through the Scale Scourge's miasma, the cyclone distorting as if someone had pitched it and was tugging it aside, which was not too far off from the truth. Reminiscent of a tape measure dispenser being fully unreeled before letting go, the cyclone, the Tyranno Blast, the ambient, lingering magic in the air; all of it was quickly sucked up by the hole in reality.

    The calm in the storm, the moment the holy reached Persephone, it was a gentle, quiet little thing as it softly "booped" against her; and it became one with her. For the briefest of moments, Persephone sported a hole in her stomach, but she did not need worry long as, with another loud crackling, the cracks in reality began to mend, starting from the furthest outward before reaching the center, the hole vanishing from her being. Unfortunately, with the mending of reality, the energy collected by the errant reality break had to go somewhere and as the hole had last resided at Persephone's stomach, it is within her body that it would all be released.
    --------
    Locked Technique Revealed: "Star Wound" ~ Chicxulub Impactor

    Persephones immediate reaction to the incoming attack was one of overwhelming bemusement. Weither or not she was simply underestimating the true destructive potential of her foe was difficult to determine, but she made no attempt to black the small singularity even as it consumed her projectile wave on energy.....save a playful attempt to bat it aside with the hammer that passed harmlessly through it.

    Then, the shattered reality snapped back into place and its energy was unleashed. Persephone body glowed, a light that flared brighter and brighter as the energy surged. Soon her body was no longer visible amiss the eye burning flare.

    But the satisfying sound of an explosion never came.

    Instead, the air was awash with laughter.

    A white hot fist buried itself in 'Charco' chest, the white light gave way to Persephones body...incandescent with power. Like metal that had been held in fire too long, her features distinguishable but glowed with contained energy. A audioble crack, and a sharp searing pain flooded from the impact point and drove 'charco' back with frightening force.....and the queen pursued. Striking again and again and again, each blow striking with empowered energy and leaving almost time time to raise a defense. Midway in the assault her form blinded behind and drove her shoulder into the fighters back, then once again to his front where she caught him by the neck with one hand and buried her fist into his stomach with the other.

    "Do you know the melting point for refined Magicite.....not to imply your an idiot....you just seem awfully ignorant for a self styled superior being." Letting him dangle, the queen of amdapor squeezes his neck with barely short of the force required to crack his neck. "And its capacity to capture and hold energy is.....well....far beyond your understanding. Don't worry....you'll not need to be bother with it for much longer."

    Another smash to his stomach. "I think I our time is almost at an end.....a fitting audience has arrived and we can't keep the story at its climax forever."

    Two long tendrils emerge from her back, spilling out over her shoulders and each forming into long sharp needles that hover just in front of his head.

    ".......tsk.......Goodbye Rex, there's always the next host right?"

    Like vipers, they moved to strike.

    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    Standing there, stranded before the darkness looming, the disembodied voice that called out only washed over him. If it offered counsel, he seemed deaf to it. The breadth of his awareness had found chthonic things, astral masters probing these prisons of the flesh. Frail limitation!

    The cursed knowledge his perceptions wrought brought him to a harrowing awareness. Lancing at his consciousness, the indescribable essence of the thing which lurked withing the Queen stoked lingering phantom sensations embedded in the pit of Ochazuke's deep memory. Incomprehensible truth had triggered the suppressed fear within him, and in this astral space it lashed against him with a greater force, painfully dragging his cognition to the rhythm of familiar, merciless tides.

    Crashing, like rolling waves in the darkness. Black, cold, and pitiless. A thing fixed in perpetuity, unchanging. Balanced before the maw of an eternal thing, he was all too aware of that which fell to the mercy of forces unseen.

    The harrowing truth, as the sea will strike the shore. Our lot is only to linger for a time, no more.

    The waking death. Let this pass

    Each time Rex and Persephone's energies clashed against one another, the wild energies broke through the darkness over Amdapor like thunderclaps: Fleeting illumination, followed by a swift retreat into the violent shadows. As the piecemeal Lookout platform continued to ascend to the thinning air, his physical body, facing the howling air, addressed that disembodied voice aloud with two words.

    "...be...silent..."

    His fingers curled inwards. Gradually, between each parting blow, the glimmers of light lingered a moment longer, slowly pooling to a faint glow in the air...

    OOC: [3]
    "Even now you'd resist me......no, that's fine. That's what I respect about you, Ochazuke."

    Ruinous power closed in around him, tightening their grip. His dopplerganger seemed closer and closer by the moment.

    ".....but will can only bend or break in time....you will see in time that mine is the only way our people can live in peace. There is nothing you can accomplish as a mortal....nothing at all......"

    Above him, the fight appeared to be reaching its climax......time was running out.

    "Don't struggle anymore, submit. Entrust your future to me.....live free and peaceful in the new Avalon. This is what you want......right?"

  4. #4294
    i blow u kis Yun Lao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    Persephones immediate reaction to the incoming attack was one of overwhelming bemusement. Weither or not she was simply underestimating the true destructive potential of her foe was difficult to determine, but she made no attempt to black the small singularity even as it consumed her projectile wave on energy.....save a playful attempt to bat it aside with the hammer that passed harmlessly through it.

    Then, the shattered reality snapped back into place and its energy was unleashed. Persephone body glowed, a light that flared brighter and brighter as the energy surged. Soon her body was no longer visible amiss the eye burning flare.

    But the satisfying sound of an explosion never came.

    Instead, the air was awash with laughter.

    A white hot fist buried itself in 'Charco' chest, the white light gave way to Persephones body...incandescent with power. Like metal that had been held in fire too long, her features distinguishable but glowed with contained energy. A audioble crack, and a sharp searing pain flooded from the impact point and drove 'charco' back with frightening force.....and the queen pursued. Striking again and again and again, each blow striking with empowered energy and leaving almost time time to raise a defense. Midway in the assault her form blinded behind and drove her shoulder into the fighters back, then once again to his front where she caught him by the neck with one hand and buried her fist into his stomach with the other.

    "Do you know the melting point for refined Magicite.....not to imply your an idiot....you just seem awfully ignorant for a self styled superior being." Letting him dangle, the queen of amdapor squeezes his neck with barely short of the force required to crack his neck. "And its capacity to capture and hold energy is.....well....far beyond your understanding. Don't worry....you'll not need to be bother with it for much longer."

    Another smash to his stomach. "I think I our time is almost at an end.....a fitting audience has arrived and we can't keep the story at its climax forever."

    Two long tendrils emerge from her back, spilling out over her shoulders and each forming into long sharp needles that hover just in front of his head.

    ".......tsk.......Goodbye Rex, there's always the next host right?"

    Like vipers, they moved to strike.
    This was what Persephone no doubt wished; the look of surprise and growing horror across "Charco's" face as she had absorbed what was supposed to have been the final climax of their battle. Caught off guard, each one of her blows struck true, battering the human-saurian hybrid until she seized him by the throat. The sight alone must have been pure ecstasy, no doubt reaching a crescendo as those twin needles lunged forth.

    A gleam of ethereal light shone in the distance, becoming a shimmering blur that passed between them. Lain's Fang came to a stop a handful of yards to the side, haunted by the light catching on the particles that were once the needles, its blade redirecting its point towards the undead queen. All the while, "Charco" mouth opened, biting down on one of the remaining shards of the needle once meant to end him. His fangs, meant for flesh, were not built to chew on such material, his molars cracking from the effort and the coppery taste of blood overrode all other flavors as the inside of his mouth was cut into, but he ate it all the same. For one as old as Persephone, who had witnessed Rex in his prime, might have recalled how the tyrannosaurus battled. Whether from age or arrogance, she had seemingly forgotten why it was that he had survived so many conflicts, even against a God of Destruction. She would soon understand as it was imprinted even on this babe of a soul. It was the knowledge that Only the STRONGEST Survives.

    The needle might not have held much energy within it, but it was enough for him to get a taste of it. After all, as she had so arrogantly explained, magicite could hold a great capacity of energy. Even just a bit of shard was enough to know how to coax out more, as Persephone could begin to feel her energy seeping out from the palm of her hand currently grasping his neck, becoming the Tithe To The STRONGEST.

    Lain's Fang, seizing the opportunity to be an inconvenience, launched toward the Queen.
    Last edited by Yun Lao; 05-30-2020 at 08:26 PM.

  5. #4295

    Default The Mountains of Madness [1/2]

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    The intense heat from Zaofans hands had the desired effect, at least according to the natural laws of nature......the stone melted.

    A bubble form as the heat liquefied the stone, before bursting from the other end in an explosion of superheated magma.

    Through the hole, the scene Zaofan came to witness however.....made absolutely no sense to any law. Both mages were locked in combat, but may as well have been standing giving each other weird stares. The "real" combat was taking place between each others seemingly endless arsonal of conjured weapons, creatures and objects. Sword clashed, cannonballs smashed into shields, animated creatures crashed against each other in rapid succession, even humanoids formed of the very basic magic clashed in furious combat just a few feet in any direction.

    Morgan seemed to be on the defensive, or rather seemed to only be reacting to whatever Persephone threw at her. With the burst of hot liquid stone however, the mage gestured a strong wind to blow the hot material into a spray of liquid flame.

    The effect as it blasted over Persephone from the side was immediate......or rather the lack of effect was. If anything, the hot rock lost its heat and dropped from her the moment it contacted with her skin.

    With an amused smirk, Persephone took aim with her finger at the hole Zaofan was staring through and a jet of super heated flame spewed forward.
    Transfixed for the moment by the battlefield that had struck up in an instant, caught in the periphery between the two armies representative of their casters, and Zaofan was briefly unsure of what he could do. It was as if he blinked for a moment before melting a hole through that mural slab through the portrait of Vortigern, and those scores of living weapons sprung up out of nowhere. Morgan the living memory of Avalon's Dream stood fast against her Queen's Will, giving her all to defend the realm she once served.

    As soon as he laid eyes on it, he'd caught Morgan's attention, and she struck out at Persephone's clone.

    Then when the fire rushed over him, he knew he'd caught the Queen's in turn.

    What do I do?

    As terrifying as her power was, beyond reckoning and across the ages, when everything fell away and nothing made sense, Zaofan for all his faults, still had his training. Whenever the odds were against him, whenever he had his back to the wall unable to think, the qualities cultivated by those honed skills asserted themselves in strange ways. In the defense of the Earth, he'd prided himself as one of Heirs of Zxu'ro. Even without thinking about it, he could rely on the essential qualities that had been trained into his very bones. Even as the spell washed over him, he stood fast on this simple truth.

    Fire cannot burn a Dragon.

    And searching for the inspiration to fight, now Persephone lit the burner of his chef's sensibilities.

    Pot-Au-Feu!

    Using the Bear's Strength, he crimped the edges of the mural slab into something far too big and unwieldy to be called a griddle; Massive, thick, heavy, and far too rough. Indeed, it was more like a hulking teppan! Kicking it over, within its glazed depths he captured the First Ingredient, the Queen's own Magical Fire!

    As a heat sink its capacity should be enough to make up the difference, he thought to himself, calculating the breadth of power he'd bring to bear to take this flame under his control. The difference between a grill and a flambe is all in the medium, after all.

    But in the hands of a master chef, that is a craft that should not be underestimated. It's not about what's in the pantry or on the counter, but how you put it all together. Scampering up the edge of the red-hot grilling stone suspended in the air, a faint blue aura surrounded Zaofan, a student of the Dragon School standing above the image of a deposed Wyrm and the people scattering before him.

    "You call yourself the Guardian of the World? Look at what you're doing! You're destroying everything said you'd protect!"

    I've got to help Morgan, but even a portion of Persephone's power is too much.

    But without hesitation, still Zaofan made his decision. Raising his other hand up, he slammed his katchin staff into the sizzling, melting rock, and imbued his ki with at least something that could strike the mage on her own level.

    The Second Ingredient. An expanding energy staff, now shrouded in a medium of magic. Wheeling back in the air, he point it straight at her now.

    "Valiantium Staff! Extend!"

    It drove itself straight into the duplicate, she who stood fast as an immovable object; and as the staff lengthened, the melting rock imbued itself into the extending staff at a fixed point as it swelled to the size of a column, carrying the Chef off across the sky...

  6. #4296

    Default The Mountains of Madness [2/2]

    "Even now you'd resist me......no, that's fine. That's what I respect about you, Ochazuke."

    Ruinous power closed in around him, tightening their grip. His dopplerganger seemed closer and closer by the moment.

    ".....but will can only bend or break in time....you will see in time that mine is the only way our people can live in peace. There is nothing you can accomplish as a mortal....nothing at all......"

    Above him, the fight appeared to be reaching its climax......time was running out.

    "Don't struggle anymore, submit. Entrust your future to me.....live free and peaceful in the new Avalon. This is what you want......right?"
    His spirit stilled in the ether, Ochazuke's astral countenance made no move or gesture, only standing firmly, unmoving before his shadow-self.

    "Set as you are in complacent eternity...you understand nothing."

    His physical body, faced blankly outward from the rising Lookout's edge. Ochazuke's slowly stirred, and the tips of his fingers touched together.

    "I won't...resist...this charade..."



    "Because...I'm concentrating."



    With a thunderous white flash, the Kikoho fell downward into Amdapor and smote the Great Old One who had inspired the madness within the Dead City. In defiance of a stagnant eternity and the immortality wrought from indentured servitude, Ochazuke struck upon them with a fragment of his very mortality.

    The piecemeal Lookout Persephone had torn from the old capital's foundations left a gaping wound of exposed, raw orichalum tethered to the Ancient it served. He'd seen the building linkage to the Queen, only it was at this distance that he could perceive the greater picture.

    It's no tomb. It's a passage between worlds.

    Her spirit came across the ages through it; So did the Entity within her that stood before him. But in manifesting fully before him, Ochazuke could perceive just how one siphoned power from another. Having used his the technique of Genki to augment its reconstruction, he hadn't realized the depths of her slavish hold over the hearts and minds of the departed Avalonians until she absorbed their flesh into herself.

    All it took was a different vantage point to see it clearly. And so to correct this, he shattered the tomb entirely to sever her connection with her Voidling gods.

    A strange phenomenon happened then, a perceptable shift in the atmosphere. He'd be loathe to admit it, but perhaps he'd found a source of inspiration from a place that would be impossible to ignore.

    Combating the Queen directly, he'd seen the way Rex had been using Fukushuu to draw substance from the air. Even in his current condition as a savage entity, an ego in flux between Charco and Saurian, the perpetual grey drew fodder in equal measure to match the Queen's magic. There from his fanged maw was stoked that primal fear. Instinctual rage against the pain of existence, and the lingering hatred in the air for suffering inherent to an all-too-short life lingering from the devoted Mages of Amdapor.

    Firing the life energy inherent to Kikojustu directly into the Genki he had gathered within the Orichalum to rebuild it, breaking it apart had loosed the matter Persephone had used to resurrect herself, and in an instant the departed souls of a nation of mages was released.

    The bodies of those departed magi were long gone, lost to the sacrifice of their blind devotion. Yet their collective will remained, manifest as whisps of residual Genki that flew upward carrying their hopes, their dreams, and the latent memory of their shared humanity.


    Floating upward, the slumbering ghosts of Avalon gathered in a spiraling pillar along the path Ochazuke's Kikoho had cut out, and now towards the raised hand that bore the weight of Arthur's Ring.

    "To me."

    Quote Originally Posted by Yun Lao View Post
    This was what Persephone no doubt wished; the look of surprise and growing horror across "Charco's" face as she had absorbed what was supposed to have been the final climax of their battle. Caught off guard, each one of her blows struck true, battering the human-saurian hybrid until she seized him by the throat. The sight alone must have been pure ecstasy, no doubt reaching a crescendo as those twin needles lunged forth.

    A gleam of ethereal light shone in the distance, becoming a shimmering blur that passed between them. Lain's Fang came to a stop a handful of yards to the side, haunted by the light catching on the particles that were once the needles, its blade redirecting its point towards the undead queen. All the while, "Charco" mouth opened, biting down on one of the remaining shards of the needle once meant to end him. His fangs, meant for flesh, were not built to chew on such material, his molars cracking from the effort and the coppery taste of blood overrode all other flavors as the inside of his mouth was cut into, but he ate it all the same. For one as old as Persephone, who had witnessed Rex in his prime, might have recalled how the tyrannosaurus battled. Whether from age or arrogance, she had seemingly forgotten why it was that he had survived so many conflicts, even against a God of Destruction. She would soon understand as it was imprinted even on this babe of a soul. It was the knowledge that Only the STRONGEST Survives.

    The needle might not have held much energy within it, but it was enough for him to get a taste of it. After all, as she had so arrogantly explained, magicite could hold a great capacity of energy. Even just a bit of shard was enough to know how to coax out more, as Persephone could begin to feel her energy seeping out from the palm of her hand currently grasping his neck, becoming the Tithe To The STRONGEST.

    Lain's Fang, seizing the opportunity to be an inconvenience, launched toward the Queen.
    Slowly the darkness shrouding Persephone's lookout parted. As the column of Genki spiraled around Ochazuke, it swallowed the shadows and part the way for the rising dawn over the Speaker's Mountain. It flew up around him, pooling toward a glimmering spot in the sky that was rapidly descending towards Persephone on high.

    Zaofan, by the force of the Valiantium Staff at full extension, was now rocketing straight towards the real Persephone where she was locked in combat. Behind him he carried his weapon now, Bojack's katchin core blue-hot in his hands as the hidden hands of thousands of Avalonians reached past the veil, given voice by his martial brother, they guided his rebellious strike now.

    Pot-au-Feu!

    Ishiki Toei!

    Reaching back over his head, Zaofan pivoted mid air, and brought up a pillar so massive one could easily mistake it as one meant to hold up the sky. The Alchemy of the Kitchen led with a Martial Spirit, and led by the substance of ancient magic into a collective weapon that now drove itself down, a gargantuan, yards-wide Genki Staff brought to bear upon Persephone's head in a volatile pincer attack.

  7. #4297
    Astonishing Member KingofPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    Ochazuke silently closed his eyes for a long moment, and let out a terse sigh.

    "Whatever it is, it's in the same chamber as the very thing I'm seeking," he said, "With the lack of commotion in the area, we can surmise this means the Raiders have the defensive advantage."

    If it hadn't been apparent before, now it was made decisively so. And it remained to be seen if the Door of the Ten hadn't already been opened. She's still missing the teachings of one of the Hidden Hand, and that may be where our leverage lies.

    "Of course they would," Jack said. "If we gotta go through 'em, then we should make our move now. We're this close, and all Damask has to do is take us down there."

    Ochazuke considered this, arms folded as he continued to use his senses to probe for any more information, but for the strange, shrouded atmosphere. A bead of sweat rolled down his temple.

    "I'd prefer not to destroy the last faction on Earth that opposes That Man," he said, though with an air of resignation. "Furthermore, so long as we stay within the Golem, we may pass unimpeded. Now that we know where to go, it's a matter of finding an opening to seize it. For this, we'll need information."

    Damask took his strides further across what had been an ancient terrace. Moss-eaten stones, arranged in semi-circular steps around the grove, may have at one time been fit to receive an audience. The errant grass blades peeking through the cracks of ancient tile. The way its caught the the light was seen only in one other place they knew of, ever cresting vigilant atop the rest of the world.

    "Moreover, this is all that remains of Arthur's Kingdom, Jack. We should be mindful where we tread."

    "You know, you talk a big game about heritage. I happen to be carrying a piece of history with me right now, and I know for a fact that when they called on Arthur to fight for all of Creation, he didn't hesitate to use it."

    The Martial Artist and the Gambler exchanged a lengthy, silent stare. With Jack's momentary lapse in concentration, they all felt Damask stop in his tracks.

    In the wash of proxy-sensation that fell through the Golem, the group collectively heard the Raiders who had entered the chamber.

    They could make out just enough to hear that they were three voices; two women and a man.

    "What do you mean you're dissolving the Unit?"

    "Do you doubt me, Corporal? Have I ever led you astray before?"

    "No, but your inaction hasn't inspired confidence. Naturally, it hadn't exactly led us to a victory, either."

    "Patience. Everything has its place, and in due time we'll move out."

    "It seems the Sergeant's instilled respect for the chain of command in at least one of you."

    "She's the only one putting any real moves on the board."

    Dissent in the ranks, discordant voices directed to one that seemed harrowing familiar to Ochazuke, Jack and Held.

    "There she is." Jack's withdrawal-singed frown deepened when he heard his distant relation: Colonel Willa Rautt.

    "It's risky, but if there'd be anywhere to find information, well..." Ochazuke mused.

    Conveniently enough, because of the distance and the terrain of the chamber surrounding the King's Grove, none of the three seem to have noticed Damask quite yet...
    "Fortuitous, I suppose," the Arcosian mused. "If the goal is not to destroy the Red Raiders, this division in their ranks could perhaps be used to our advantage, no?"

    There wasn't much they could do at the moment but listen further to determine we exactly the lines were drawn and why. That was simple. The hard part was finding a way to manipulate all parties within this schism into seeing the bigger picture. All in all a very interesting exercise, in practice.

    But if it was truly the ideal method of solving this mission, that remained to be seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofPie View Post
    "Fortuitous, I suppose," the Arcosian mused. "If the goal is not to destroy the Red Raiders, this division in their ranks could perhaps be used to our advantage, no?"

    There wasn't much they could do at the moment but listen further to determine we exactly the lines were drawn and why. That was simple. The hard part was finding a way to manipulate all parties within this schism into seeing the bigger picture. All in all a very interesting exercise, in practice.

    But if it was truly the ideal method of solving this mission, that remained to be seen.
    "Let's stay the course." Held whispered in a conspiratorial tone from within the compartment, "No, better yet...I think Damask should approach her. Considering what he is, she'll most likely give him some sort of order. If nothing else, it'll help us figure out her priorities."

    I hope Jack's hold on Damask is as strong as it was implied to be....Well, worst case scenario, something is slightly off and the four of us take her out before she can warn anyone and stuff her in here with us...Or something.

  9. #4299
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    Default The Mountain of Madness: An End to Madness

    His spirit stilled in the ether, Ochazuke's astral countenance made no move or gesture, only standing firmly, unmoving before his shadow-self.

    "Set as you are in complacent eternity...you understand nothing."

    His physical body, faced blankly outward from the rising Lookout's edge. Ochazuke's slowly stirred, and the tips of his fingers touched together.
    His shadowy doppelganger mouthed a silent rage and lunged, as did the rabble of otherworldly shadows.....and they were struck back by an ethereal force that seemed to surrounded the warrior. Though Ochazuke heard no words, the power he felt surrounding him was familiar....a void that had touched him before. Perhaps a little late to the event, but there was no doubt the abyssal assault was blunted by the intervention of a creature of void.

    There was no time for thanks, not that they were needed, nor for acknowledgements.....there was only the moment, stretching into eternity through the window formed between his hands.

    "I won't...resist...this charade..."

    This was what Persephone no doubt wished; the look of surprise and growing horror across "Charco's" face as she had absorbed what was supposed to have been the final climax of their battle. Caught off guard, each one of her blows struck true, battering the human-saurian hybrid until she seized him by the throat. The sight alone must have been pure ecstasy, no doubt reaching a crescendo as those twin needles lunged forth.

    A gleam of ethereal light shone in the distance, becoming a shimmering blur that passed between them. Lain's Fang came to a stop a handful of yards to the side, haunted by the light catching on the particles that were once the needles, its blade redirecting its point towards the undead queen. All the while, "Charco" mouth opened, biting down on one of the remaining shards of the needle once meant to end him. His fangs, meant for flesh, were not built to chew on such material, his molars cracking from the effort and the coppery taste of blood overrode all other flavors as the inside of his mouth was cut into, but he ate it all the same. For one as old as Persephone, who had witnessed Rex in his prime, might have recalled how the tyrannosaurus battled. Whether from age or arrogance, she had seemingly forgotten why it was that he had survived so many conflicts, even against a God of Destruction. She would soon understand as it was imprinted even on this babe of a soul. It was the knowledge that Only the STRONGEST Survives.

    The needle might not have held much energy within it, but it was enough for him to get a taste of it. After all, as she had so arrogantly explained, magicite could hold a great capacity of energy. Even just a bit of shard was enough to know how to coax out more, as Persephone could begin to feel her energy seeping out from the palm of her hand currently grasping his neck, becoming the Tithe To The STRONGEST.
    "Pft....irritating butter knife....." Persephone spat in annoyance, but nevertheless held firm, turning her attention seemingly back to Charco. "Your just being stubborn now....I gave you the opportunity for a quick, dramatic end.....and instead you waste my valuable time."

    The humor evaporated from the Queens face for a moment. "Fine...If you can't even die with some dignity or flare, I suppose you'll just have to die screaming."


    There was a glint of something in her eye, something deep and dark, something born from the blackest pits of the endless abyss. Even as the energy began to flow from her palm into Charco her smile only grew....and then he felt it. A Cold, Burning in his mouth. Grinded between his bloody teeth, the shard pulsed with energy....too much energy. It burned, seethed, filling his jaws with painful agonizing power.

    A jagged spike of crystal burst forth from Charcos left cheek, Then another from his lower right jaw.

    "You sup on power like a thirsty dog.....but you overestimate the fountain, as usual for a wyrm mongrel." The Queens body radiated an intense darkness, overwhelming even the glow that had taken her from Charcos previous attack. Her hand grew tight., and through Charco felt strength flowing into him from the tithe....hers seemed to grow faster still. Something wormed and coiled its way against the back of Charcos throat, and then forced itself down......Burning imaginable pain, the ripping and tearing, the feeding.

    Lain's Fang, seizing the opportunity to be an inconvenience, launched toward the Queen.
    Without so much as batting an eye, the Queens free hand shot forward with a flare of black fire and and closed around the blade as it came within an inch of scratching her face. She let it struggled against her hand, the blade pushing, pulling, sawing against its captors hand....and yet, the hand held firm. The sound, the grinding of black crystaline flesh against ethereal blade created a unearthly sound...one not meant to be heard.

    Pulling back her arm, Persephone throws Charco forward....a conjured slab meeting his back with a sickening crack, and with the tearing of flesh as a dozen flailing tendrils exploded from back and sides...wrapping around his arms and legs, effectively tying him in place.

    "...Useless....Useless......" Persephone held Lain Fang in front of her, her smile growing even as the blade struggled in her grip. "I'll admit.....for a one trick weapon you were quick a vex to me. But like all things, your limit is but a ant hill before the Mountain. Come on....cut me......put a little effort in." Persephone, in perhaps an act of pure mockery, Grabbed lain by its hilt and pulled....scratching down her hand with Shrek of sound and the sizzle of dark energy. Sure enough, the blade did cut....but it was nothing more then a seared black cut along her palm, skin deep at best...though no blood flowed.

    However, Black fire now coated lains fang all the way to the tip...energy transferred from Persephones hand as she slid the blade across it. She held firm to the hilt where even more dark energy flowed into it, igniting into a warping black energy that seemed to distort and warp the blade itself.

    "I've learned more then Magic in my long Dreams.....Power to rend even a thought in Void. First however....lets watch the pitiful end of your sad, sad master."

    The pain and pressure within Charco intensified, as did the feed of power into him. Yet his bonds held him still.....and soon he could feel the thing inside him burrowing deeper and deeper, fueling him with greater and greater power.

    "The appetite clouds the judgement....like a thirst maddened man, you'll drink deep of the bottemless sea. I wonder what will kill you first, the Void Fire....or the explosion when your thimble of a body finally can't hold anymore.....lets find out..."

  10. #4300
    i blow u kis Yun Lao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    "I've learned more then Magic in my long Dreams.....Power to rend even a thought in Void. First however....lets watch the pitiful end of your sad, sad master."
    It was not by Persephone's power, nor weakness in the blade that caused Lain's Fang's blade to crack. Trembling, the blade sought to escape her grip if only to pierce her throat as its last act of vengeance, but it could not in time before it shattered like fragile glass. Unknown to all but the Nevadian swordsmith who had fashioned the blade, the weapon possessed a failsafe so that no one could ever exploit its power. By acknowledging its power, its ability to cut magic, Persephone had activated it. Reduced now to only sparkling phantasmal dust, Lain's Fang was carried off by the wind to an unknown destination.

    As for the blade's former master, Persephone would initially find success as the tainted energies of her power were devastating, burning and gouging his innards like a fool trying to eat barbed wire; however, her strategy was not without its flaws. She had not been the first to attempt to use the tyrannosaurus' gluttony against him, and as the God of Destruction Yucatan, before discovered, his hunger would adapt. Soon his regeneration began to outpace the damage and perhaps, if given enough time, he might have fully evolved to the voidic power just as he had hakai. That theory would not find a conclusion as he began to push back, expelling the excess power from his body through his aura, the air shrieking as the ki began to solidify.

    Crystalline spires protruded from his mortal frame, pushing out the dark tendrils from his limbs that once held him in place and expanded outward, ensnaring the foreign energy in the very same glimmering state of petrification. Blood gently wept from his freed limbs before ceasing, yet that could be not said for the bloody mess that was his mouth, still ruined by the jagged shards of the Queen's power. That would quickly change as his jaws, toughened by recouped power, shattered them like hard candy, and with a heated growl, the shards would be collected into a growing mass of energy. The energy trapped by his Fossilization followed in suit, breaking apart only to be drawn into the massive vortex of power that churned around him. Slowly raising his hand above his head, the mass ascended into the sky above them where it could continue nurturing its growth, and soon they would once against hear the whispers of the dead as the vortex drew off the residual fukushuu of the wastelands.

    Whether "Charco" was going off the fractured memories of Rex or was simply guided by the energy's former master was unknown but had Persephone lived long enough to see Rex's triumph over Yucatan, she might have recognized the warped version of the genki dama. Then again, its original version had been purely comprised of hakai, designed to be the hammer of Zenos wrath as it smote worlds unfit for survival. The mockery of its current form was destruction without judgement, death without meaning, vengeance without a grievance; the purest form of destrudo. Like a habringer of doom, the Yucatan Crash hung above them, waiting to drop.

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