Chapter 17

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Posted by: Xorlak on Sunday April 6th, 2008

- Beach, Mandaila Island -

Ahh... this was the life.

Vincent leaned back in the folding chair, his multi-colored flowered shirt flapping in the cool ocean breeze. The sunlight glistened off his shades, and the cries of gulls filled his ears.

No mad sovereign. No undead armies. No crazy death machines or death rays. Just the sun, sea, peace, and quiet. He'd have to come back here more often. In fact, with his salary, he should just buy the whole island... yeah, that's what he'd do. Then an early retirement.

"Would you like another grape, sir?"

Vincent opened one eye, which peered over his shades to acknowledge the servant.

"No, Alfred... fetch me some strawberries... and some of that white cream stuff."

"Very good sir." Alfred bowed stiffly and turned on his heel, trotting through the sand dune back up to the shack on the hill. Despite the intense sun and heat, he still wore a black long-sleeved tuxedo.

Vincent doubted he could overheat anyway. Alfred was the alchemist's personal zombie butler. One of the necromancers resurrected the servant and bound him to Vincent. Not a bad deal, despite the slight smell of decay. In fact one would be hard pressed to take the man for a zombie, the only other evidence being his paled complexion and dark circles under his eyes.

The alchemist captain idly turned his gaze down to the golden shotgun and m-grid orb lying upon the blanket next to him. Ugh... he'd have to return to work soon... Luckily, no one had his "number" but the sovereign himself. Otherwise he would be getting a string of summons from the orb from incompetent mechanics and lesser alchemists with questions about his latest design, or frivolous reports of failings or successes.

He leaned back in his chair and began to doze off one last time...

Posted by: Mikado on Sunday April 6th, 2008

~ ~ Phoenicia Forest ~ ~

Somewhere in the huge forest a small salamander hissed. The thick grown trees began to shake a little. Birds flew away, and small animals began to move away, except for the salamander.
The place was becoming hotter and the salamander didn't mind it all. It hissed once more. Its last hiss it was.

As if appearing from the sky, a small spear pierced the ground, but the salamander didn't and couldn't see it, for a huge explosion followed instantly. An loud bang!
The birds that didn't fly away did now, and even of someone had little experience with exploding sounds, he could tell that this wasn't a ordinary explosion (actually none explosions are ordinary) but created by a bomb-or something like that.

The fire rose quickly and disappeared with the same speed. It was so hot that everything that it touched was burned to crisps instantaneously and there was nothing left to burn. Only the spear was standing ... surrounded by a twenty meter radius of black coal. In there somewhere there were remains of our salamander.

Not too far but not too close from this place in the forest, there were a bunch of people standing. The echo of explosion had reached them, and in the sky they could see crowds of birds flying from the direction of the sound.

Posted by: D. Ein on Sunday April 6th, 2008

"My pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses man's understanding of life and death. Much of it is self-chosen; my pain is the bitter potion through which knowledge comes. Normal Necromancers, even Necrolytes do not have an idea of how straining it is to live for 9,482 others: is it a curse or a blessing to have this knowledge available to me?

I consider myself an optimist. I believe that paying the price of pain for my abilities is more than acceptable. I wonder if it is this pain that drives me to conquer Gaian? Perhaps it's just greed, I don't know, and truly, I don't care. I won't live with what I have. I need more.


It gives me life. It gives me fire. It gives me more...

Gaian is everything! I want everything! I want it!

...but it isn't coming to me fast enough. No... Not fast enough. In fact, I will speed up the process. Myself. Yes. I will go out into the battle scene myself. The fresh air and sun will be good for my non-existent health, save for the mental variety of such. The walls of the Citadel know how to make me depressed, they do. I've no choice?

Yeah, sounds about right. I'm going out there myself. Not like anything can happen to me, anyway."


- The Citadel; Lower floors -

-"But General... shouldn't that title mean that you stay back and command the Sovereign's armies? What if something were to happen to you?"

-"Wing, I fail to see why I must continue to explain this to you. A captain has been killed - and I will not sit back and send progressively stronger henchmen at the Gaian Republic until I run out. I'm going to go there myself, because it is the most sure way to find the criminal that did this."

-"Still! Flora Goethe and Sun together can perform just as well as you, as you've told me yourself!"

-"Look - go eat someone, or catch butterflies with Nex, I don't know. I don't need to explain myself to you. I'm leaving."

Posted by: Dark Spartan on Sunday April 6th, 2008

One thousand seven hundred and sixty four.

That was the number of bricks in the walls of Alex's cell at the headquarters of KAF's Regiment 6. He had checked the number many times -- he had spent two years counting and recounting the stone rectangles which constrained him to this chamber.

It had been a very long and difficult time for Alex. He had resisted the cruel, twisted methods the Kandarinians had used to force vital intelligence out of him, from simple interrogation to agonizing torture. He felt the tight amulet around his neck. He had been fitted with this to suppress his Twili powers, his latent pyrokinetic abilities, and the Shroud. In fact, he had not heard its soothingly sibilant voice for a very long time.

He could vaguely remember what happened those many months ago. His attempted attack on the Kandarinian capital had ended in failure -- Carmine and his goons beat him to the capital and warned them of his arrival. He was swiftly overwhelmed and captured. In the passing time, the KAF had undergone a massive reform, dividing itself into ten, well defined regiments. Regiment 6, where he was imprisoned, was in charge of assassinations, detention, and interrogation and torture.

Alex knew better than to try to escape. The Regiment's Lieutenant (second in command), was none other than Hannibal Roth, the notorious assassin who had cooperated with Carmine to capture Alex. He was not to be reckoned with, and Alex had the scars to prove it.

His thoughts turned to Midna, the young Twili princess who had joined him on his adventure so long ago. From what Alex had been able to piece together from the guards talking, she was taken to a separate regiment's headquarters. At one point, a guard said something about that regiment specializing in magic, with Damien Roth as its leader.

Alex winced at the thought of her all alone, without a protector. Since their meeting, it was believed that defeating the Sovereignty and restoring balance to Gaian would lift the curse that locked her in her imp form, but they were captured before headway could be made to that point. Alex felt terrible for her, and longed to see her again.

Alex looked up to the skylight he had been fortunate enough to have. It was the only view he had of the outside world for the last two years. From the view he could tell it was nighttime, the full moon directly overhead, its pale blue light filtering down into a ghostly circle on the stone floor.

He remembered when his Twili side awakened. It was on a moonlit night just like this. His life completely changed that day, and, given his circumstances, he wondered if it was for better or for worse.

Many times Alex had considered his options for escaping. Upon incarceration his P.C.S. combat suit and his energy rifle were immediately confiscated from him, and he had little hope that over the last two years they were still in one piece, if not gutted and used for some twisted KAF project. The amulet which suppressed his powers was fastened very tightly around his neck, making it nearly impossible for him to remove it without hurting himself. He tried using a brick to grind it down, but the amulet, made of a durable metal, would not comply. He knew the Lieutenant and Captain carried keys to unlock it, but how to procure one was a challenge in itself, considering he was monitored 24 hours a day.

He wondered if Midna had managed to escape somehow. Even if she had, she still may have no way of knowing where Alex was being kept. What if she had given in to the torture and interrogation? What if she was forced to fight in Regiment 8's magical ranks?

No. He knew she was stronger than that. He knew that she would try as hard as he would to find each other. It was time to take action. A thought occurred to him.

Their torture was some of the most agonizing I've ever endured. If I can handle that, I'm sure I can withstand a little missing chest hair...

He gripped the amulet's gem-encrusted center, and pulled as hard as he could. Sharp pain shot through his chest and neck, almost as if the amulet had fused to his skin. Surging with adrenaline and gritting his teeth, he put everything he had into removing the infernal trinket. Finally, he was rewarded with a feeling of pain that felt like every hair being ripped from his body, only ten times worse. With an sharp scream he ripped the amulet from his neck, and threw it to the ground. Weakened from the struggle, he leaned back against the wall and felt the area where the amulet had been. The skin was worn smooth, and was red and irritated. He thought he saw bleeding from several areas.

As he inspected his wound, he felt it all come back to him.

The balanced insight of his Twili power. The powerful consuming nature of his pyrokinesis. The controlled devouring power of the Shroud. It all flooded back to him in a powerful deluge that brought him to his knees. He had never felt a more incredible feeling in his life.

The Shroud's hissing, throaty voice permeated his consciousness.
Yes... at long last, I am reborn... It is time to feed, to enact redemption on those who wronged us.

The Twilight Warrior's presence brightened his spirit.

The abomination of the dark is correct. It is time to reunite with those we love. We must fight for the greater good!

The guard, aware of the commotion from the cell, peered through the barred window, and dropped his speargun in terrifying realization of what was about to happen.

Before he could shout for additional help, a black, razor-laden tentacle shot through the metal door and impaled the hapless grunt, killing him instantly.

The tentacle withdrew, and Alex created a fireball in his hands. Firing the sphere of flame, he blew the door clean off of its hinges.

For the first time in years, Alex stepped from his cell, fueled by a combination of revenge, concern for those he loved, and the knowledge of what he had to do.

He had to destroy everyone who stood in his way. He had to find Midna. It was time they got back on track.

Posted by: Xorlak on Monday April 7th, 2008

- Beach, Mandaila Island -

Alfred woke Vincent from his dozing with a plate of rich strawberries and cream. Grumbling, the alchemist waved the butler off. Alfred bowed and returned to the only building on the island retreat, to stand in the window and wait for his master's hand signal to tell him to return, no doubt.

Vincent pondered when he would have to leave to get back in time. He knew of plans for the conflict in the Dark Continent, which was probably underway right now. He doubted they would need his talents there. He rarely saw field combat anymore anyway, his focuses mainly on designing the crazy war contraptions behind the scenes. A tad boring, but the pay was quite worth it.

He remembered his younger days. Days he dreamed of power he held all himself. But wasn't this the same? Implementing the mighty fist of the Sovereign? He was satisfied for now. But how long that would last, was anyone's guess.

He thought back to his current project. Once the Halberd Airship design was complete, the Federation would crumble to its knees. They'd barely need the hammer anymore under such a crushing fleet of airships... He'd wait until the design was fleshed out a bit more before presenting it. No doubt, the Sovereign would be pleased...

Just then he felt a whoosh of air between his legs and jumped reflexively, rolling backwards into the sand and clutching his weapon. A knife vibrated from where it imbedded itself in the chair. Vincent scowled, looking around, but seeing nothing but sand and surf in all directions. Where?! Looking straight up, he saw a black speck in the clear blue sky. It paused, as if waiting for him to see it, then zipped away.

He returned his gaze to the knife, spying a simple parchment impaled on the blade. He removed the weapon, finding it to be a note.

Your master calls. You will return.

- D

- Phoencia, Undisclosed location -

Francis peeled the fake jewel from his forehead, glad to be in safe walls at last. The thing itched like crazy, and he was glad to be rid of it.

"Sir Hans," he said bowing lightly, "we've located the contact."

The tall thing figure in the chair turned, a yellow glint shining from the trim of his exposed armor beneath the cloak thrown over it. "Oh? Where is he?"

"He is... with the female runemaster, sir."

"What?!" Hans bellowed as his stood, the chair falling over. "What's he doin' there? He's gonna get us found out!"

"Calm, Hans," came the figure on the opposite side of the table. He was cowled, and his figure indiscernible, though he seemed a great deal shorter than Hans. "These... tailed ones are a formidable force. No doubt this is part of our lord's plan."

"But he needs to get us the you-know-what right now. And if he's carrying it with him, then..."

The cloaked figure brought up a hand. "You know these creatures can fly through air faster than fish through sea? They can kill a dozen men before they're even seen. He knows what he's doing. Do not break protocol."

Hans sat back down, growling. "James, I'm in charge of the operation here in Phoencia, remember?"

"Yes yes. I'm only here for the package. But remember, I want this as much as you..."

Hans nodded, stroking his chin for a moment. "Fine. But we should at least give 'im a chance to come meet us... Francis!"

Francis stood at attention. "Yes sir!"

"Slip this guy the password and see if you can get him in 'ere. And get some better glue for you forehead-jewel thing!"

"Y-yes sir!"

Posted by: Dude Man on Monday April 7th, 2008

- Klawvorn -

Knock. Knock.

"Go away!" Duilin shouted, rolling over in his bed.

"Get up Duilin! You have a mission to go to soon."

"Uhh...just call it off, we'll do it tomorrow."


Duilin rolled out of his bed, and got up, he was in white cover-all with red poka dots, he oped the door, seeing nobody.

"Down here." Said a voice from below.

"Oh yeah." Duilin looked down, and saw his imp friend, Rink. "Come on in." He turned around and went over to his dresser, which was filled his several sets of the same clothing.

"So, how was the full day at Ariosis?" Duilin asked.

"It was okay. I might tell you some about it later." Rink replied.

"Alright, so you'll never guess who I bumped into here."


"How'd you know?" Duilin asked, turning around looking at him oddly.

"He's been wandering the hallways since five o' clock. He actually almost attacked me, but I ran away and the guards detained him, and tried to get him back into bed, but he wouldn't."

"I knew he would be trouble." Duilin shook his head.

Posted by: Drannic_Lord01 on Tuesday April 8th, 2008

- Ohtoku City, Ariosis -

A soft wind fluttered around the calm city as the continent of Ariosis prospered and continued to bring its rich suplies to the Gaian armies that stood against the Dark Sovereign, Kronos. The brightly-lit city was jam-packed with supplies and weapons, ready to send them off to the ports, where they were to be shipped off to Tjed, the Arctic, and Helternia. It seemed as though the continent was blessed by divinity.

And there he stood, observing all that flowed around him. The flow of peace before war. As they say, the peace before the war was always better than the peace after. Although battle seemed at hand, the largely populated Ariosis seemed untouched. Infact, it seemed that the war was benifitial to the people as industry and agriculture grew rapidly as the growing demand for weapons and food for the soldiers increased.

"So, this is as they say, the calm before the storm?" Bjendell Mjord, now a human because of what had happened before to him, seemed in the least way human. His skin color was a blue-ish tint and his eyes glowed with an erie glint of green. His angelic form may have left him, as well as his demonic half, but he still retained the powers of each, and was still able to draw upon them in times of need. However, there seemed to be no need for them, so they grew weaker and weaker as they were unused.

"Consular Bjendell Mjord?" a man asked, as he approached Ben. He carried a scroll in his left hand and placed his other hand on an elegant, silver blade, sheathed and tied to his belt. He also noticed that the man had a pack-sack attached to his back.

"What of it?" Ben asked, "What do they need me for?"

"I have a scroll for you, sir. It's all in the scroll, if you'd be so kind as to read."

"Yeah, yeah. Quit blaberin' and hand it over already!" Ben snached the scroll out of the messenger's hands and unrolled it.

To the consular of the general public, there is need of your assistance. You will find that a messenger has brought with him a bag filled with unknown items. The port town of Arakisnav has recently been attacked, yet the enemy of the attack has been unidentified. It is highly likely that the attackers are Kandarinian, although we cannot be certain. The battle has been quelled, and the hostiles were eliminated. However, we have found two strange weapons on one of the enemies. We would like you to experiment with them as you are an alchemist. Find out what they are and how they work.

- Governor Nav of Port Arakisnav -

Ben re-rolled the scroll and handed it back to the messenger. He then placed his hand out infront of him. "Let me see the bag, kido."

"Hey! I ain't no kid!"

"Shut up and let me see it."

"Y-yes sir." The messenger then grabbed the pack off his back and handed it to Ben. He took the sack and opened it. Inside were two objects that looked like pieces of weapons. One looked like the hilt of a sword and was awkwardly constructed with a hole where a blade might go. The other looked like a gun with an unattached cartrige, seemingly empty.

"Alright, kid. Scram. Go back to Governor Nav and tell him I'm on it."

"Grr... yes sir." With that, the young messenger ran off into the distance, running down the road that lead to Arakisnav. Ben took the items and headed off to his house, opened the door, and closed it, locking it up with a key. He took the items out of the bag and noticed two more that he hadn't before. There were two white stones that seemed to fit in a socket on each of the weapons. He placed all of the items on a desk and set out to piece the items together.

"These are definately weird. Maybe those guys who attacked were from another dimension. Either that, or the Kandarinians have mad a disturbing discovery." Ben took the cartrige out of the gun, placed the white stone inside of it, and placed the cartrige back into the gun. The chamber of the gun began to glow white.

"Apparently, that stone is a rune. Looks like somebody weaponized it into a projectile weapon. I'll have another look at that hilt." Ben grabbed the sword hilt and placed the white rune into the open hole at the top. The hilt shook slightly, and a blade of white energy burst out of the hilt. It was shaped like a broadsword.

"This is bad... whoever made these must know a lot about alchemic formations of runestones..." Ben took the weapons and left his house, on his way to Arakisnav, taking the two runes out before leaving and placing them in his pocket.

--- --- ---

- An Unknown Island Off the West Coast of Ariosis -

"Lord Kerseline, the attack failed!"


"I'm sorry, lord. Their techniques surpassed even our own, and we were whiped out!"

"Well maybe next time you should send some better soldiers than traniees!!! IDIOT!!!"

"I'm sorry, lord! We will not fail again, I assure you!"

"You had better not, or I'll have your ass on a silver platter! Now, get out of my sight, Hyuga."

"Yes, lord Kerseline... I will send the order of the dark crescent to attack them once more. Yet this time, they'll send better soldiers. I will lead them myself!"

"You had better hope the alchemists over there didn't find out how to make runic weaponry out of the weapons lost on your men."

"I hope the didn't, lord. If they did, it would sure enough spell out our demise..."

"Did I or didn't I tell you once already to get going!?"

"I'm sorry, lord. I shall go at once."

"Then go already!"

"Yes, Lord Kerseline!"

Posted by: Dark Spartan on Tuesday April 8th, 2008

"Hey. Stop fiddling with that."

"Excuse me?"

"Your collar. Stop screwing with it, you might hurt yourself."

The prison guard scolded Midna as she struggled with her magic-suppressing amulet. It was the tightest shackle of them all, preventing her from even levitating. She sat up against one of the corners in her cell, pondering how to escape. For two years she lived in this stone room, inspecting every aspect of it she could use to her advantage.

But to no avail, the regiment's headquarters were built by some of the best architects in the world. Finding a flaw in the structure would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, only to realize that after turning the entire stack upside down, there was no needle. It was pointless.

Midna gazed through the bars into the main training area of the regiment, which sat adjacent to the detention cells. For months she had watched new recruits become molded into some of the best magic-wielding soldiers in Kandarin's armed forces. This came as no surprise to her, seeing as the regiment was headed by Damien Roth, a masterful user of air magic.

Being imprisoned in this regiment had changed both of their egos considerably. Damien refused to cease insisting that he was superior to her in every way, shape or form, something which she learned to ignore after the first twenty times.

Her thoughts turned to Alex, and how they had not been together since their capture two years ago. She had never heard any word of where he was imprisoned, but she did hear from the guards that wherever he went, few survived the brutal punishments which they received. Regardless, she knew that Alex's will was nearly impossible to break, and the only thing that may have changed in him would be his facial hair (they did not allow personal hygiene during detention).

One downside of being held near the training grounds is that inevitable accidents would break out, especially when training rookies. More than once have nearby cellmates been burned (or even vaporized) by a fire blast, or frozen by an errant ice blast. Midna believed it to be some sadistic (but apparently effective) means of capital punishment, using the trainees' inexperience (of all things) as their executioner.

"Hit the deck!" one of the training instructors shouted as an air blast got loose and buffeted the cells with gale-force winds. Midna welcomed the blast, as the cell had become rather stuffy.

A large set of double doors opened on the other side of the training chamber. Passing through the threshold was none other than Damien Roth himself, wearing the black trenchcoat and thoridium staff of a Kandarinian Captain. Twice daily he would make rounds through the training chamber, carefully monitoring his future soldiers.

The instructor paused his exercise. "Captain is now present!" he barked to his recruits. As if it were a knee-jerk reflex, all of the recruits suddenly stood up straight, at rapt attention.

Damien approached the instructor. "Hello, Sergeant."

"Sir," the instructor saluted. "I am sure you will be pleased to see--"

"I shall make that judgment myself," Damien mused, stepping into the group of training recruits. Every soldier knew that Damien could cite them for anything, and be immediately removed from the chamber, so nothing else could be done than to stand as motionless as a statue while Damien scrutinized them. He wove through the rows of men, carefully examining each one. Much to his surprise, this was the first time he found nothing amiss.

"You do an impressive job, Sergeant," Damien said begrudgingly. "Maintain it, and do not disappoint me."

"Yes-SIR!" the Sergeant shouted. "Men, resume your exercises!"

Leaving the training men behind, he passed by the cells, examining all kinds of prisoners, from those who have lost their will to live, to those who clawed at the bars, screaming of their innocence. Then he passed Midna.

"Oh, it's YOU again," Midna sighed.

"This is a regular thing, dear," Damien said. "After two years I assumed you would have gotten used to it."

Damien adjusted his posture, making himself more comfortable. He had a feeling they would be talking for some time.

"Do you ever plan to do anything with me?" Midna finally broke the silence. "For the last two years you've locked me in this cell to waste away. You didn't bring me to this regiment for no reason."

"Look around," Damien explained. "This mighty installation is set on the stormy Redvik coastline. Alex is more than half a continent away. There is no hope of you two ever seeing each other again. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll be of use to me."

"Wishful thinking," Midna shot back. "I have faith that Alex will--"

"You keep telling yourself that." Damien hissed. "Faith is meaningless in the face of unadulterated power. Faith cannot kill. Faith cannot burn villages to the ground. Faith cannot change the face of the world!"

"You'd be surprised," Midna said.

"Alex can certainly try to fight his way out, but he will be quickly crushed. His is in the midst of some of the military's foremost assassins and killers. Captain Vasburg is ruthless, and she will not stand for fugitives. She will mobilize every last speargunner and stalker at her disposal to return his head to her. It is impossible."

Midna remained silent.

Damien, satisfied he had won, continued with his rounds.

Midna sighed. The deluded Captain knew nothing of Alex's potential. He would be here in no time.

Her attention turned back to the instructor, who was in the middle of using some rather colorful language to berate a recruit who had not checked his equipment. Frustrated, the instructor threw a punch at the recruit, who flinched. This resulted in a stray fire bolt headed straight for Midna's cell.

Seeing imminent death before her, she scrambled out of the way as the white-hot flame exploded across the metal bars. When the smoke cleared, the bars glowed a dull red.

Suddenly, Midna was struck with a burst of intuitive insight. Thermal shock! If I can get those dim bulbs to shoot an ice blast over here, the bars will shatter! But how do I do that?

She turned her gaze to an ice mage in training, who was laughing at the fire mage's expense.

She shouted to him. "Hey, you in the white robes! What are you, a druid?! I know hippies who can pick more of a fight than you!"

The instructor occupied with the fire mage, the ice mage turned toward Midna's cell. "What did you just say, you little bitch?!"

"You heard me!" Midna grinned. "Go back to cleaning herbs for a living you pacifist!"

Outraged, the ice mage's hands brought forth a massive blizzard, frosting the entire inside of Midna's cell. Although sufficiently chilled, she was pleased to see fractures forming in the bars, as well as the magic-blocking amulet around her neck. The trinket shattered.

"You just made a big mistake," Midna smiled devilishly. Bringing forth her massive hair-hand, she punched through the bars and promptly hurled the mage across the room with her telekinesis. Satisfied, she created a portal and made good her escape.

"DELLEGAR!" the instructor bellowed. "Leave the prisoners alone, do not let them rile you--" He looked in horror at the empty cell. "Do you realize what you have just done! This is treason!"

"Sergeant, I can explain--"

"GUARDS! Take this traitor away! Also, someone who is not afraid of dying needs to tell Captain Roth that the imp girl has escaped!"

Posted by: Xorlak on Wednesday April 9th, 2008

- Beach, Mandaila Island -

Vincent crumpled the parchment in his hand, gritting his teeth. Who dares?! He was a high ranking captain! Who dares call him to some "master"? Let alone deliver the message as crudely as through a thrown knife!

He stood, forcing himself to calm down. Obviously the perpetrator wanted to rile him, so he would not allow whoever it was that small success. Unfortunately there were a huge number of people he worked for in the past, the majority deranged enough to try a stunt like this. He'd had his foot in the Dark Empire, Crimson Empire, Grey Empire... It even seemed like one of the things Kronos' stalkers would try, but that didn't make any sense. His M-Grid orb was right there. If he had a current "master" it'd be Kronos.

He returned his gaze to the sky, scanning for that black speck in the air. That was obviously the source of the knife. He'd find him, and deliver appropriate punishment...

"Alfred! We are leaving."

"Right away, sir." Came the muffled yell from back in the vacation hut.

Vincent strode towards the water's edge, brightly colored tropical shirt flapping in the sea breeze. He pressed his hands against the fabric and it glowed, shifting and elongating. Soon it was replaced by his familiar black trench coat, long pants and boots upon his feet.

Still wearing the clip-on shades, he folded his shotgun and replaced it in his coat, removing a small black box in the same motion. He pressed the big red button with a click and the ground began to shake...

Waves lapped at his heels as the ocean stirred. A vortex formed as a black object rose from beneath the surface. In a moment, his personal airship hovered above the sea. An advanced prototype, it was unlike any flying structure ever seen. It retained its black airship sheen with glowing yellow cracks, especially on the underside, but that's where the similarities to standard ships ended. This one was very small, without a deck. It was vaguely stingray shaped with a blue window at the front much like a helmet's visor.

Vincent leapt on top in a single bound and disappeared into a circular hatch. As the ship began to rumble, the zombie butler Alfred followed with an unexpectedly deft leap, carrying two suitcases. With that the thing tilted to the left and rose straight up, then rocketed skyward, a ripple surging across the water.

Posted by: Drannic_Lord01 on Thursday April 10th, 2008

- Arcane Grotto, Forests of Nurngar -

And it is here that a young priestess stood amongst the tree spirits and faries that fluttered about the majestic grotto of magic, of the arcane. She bowed her head and knelt down, both hands connected in prayer, hoping that the wood might hear her out.

"Please speak to me, spirits of the forest. What is this strange catastrophy that is pleaguing our people in the east? Are you so against the civilizations that you crumble them? You show anger towards us, yet there is nothing we have done to deserve it! Unless... unless there was something... anything we have done, I gravely appologize for! Please, spirits of the forest, please hear me..." The grotto's pond rippled in response to the young priestess' plea. However, she encountered something that was quite unexpected on her part.

"You wont get far talking to them like that," a strange voice said from deep within the forest. It seemed to come from every direction, all at once, comming in from all sides. "They don't quite care that much for any hume. Well, nor do I, but that is another matter entirely. Still, I am here, and still more and more humes come and ask us for guidence."

"Who's there?" the human woman demanded, "Who are you!?"

"Heh... and almost always, it's the same response. Some call me the woods, others the wind. However, I am neither, nor will I ever want to be. I am a spirit of the forest. A farie, if you will."

"Then show yourself, great spirit of the forest!" As she commanded, so did appear a small, male farie, flapping his wings as he floated above the pond. He seemed to have appeared as if out of nowhere. He appeared right in front of the woman's face.


"WAH!!!" The woman stumbled backwards in shock as the farie backed away from her slightly.

"Scared you, did I?"

"Enough games! Why have there been attacks on the eastern cities of this continent?" The priestess gave the farie a stern look, with a sharp eye as if she were about to spot his next trick. Although the farie was done with his fun.

"To the west of here, there has been a rift through dimensions. Through the rift, every once and a while, there come through weapons, futuristically manufactured and seemingly diliberately thrown in through the portal. A group of humes - such as yourself - barried this portal in a cavern and took refuge there, as if to build up an army. However, they mistake the weapons for runecraft, as do most alchemists."

"What are these weapons then? How powerful are they? Please, tell me!"

"I'm getting to that. Just be patient!"

"Fine." The woman then put her hands on her hips as if to gesture that she'd been anoyed. "Continue then, spirit of this grotto."

"That's more like it. Anywho, These weapons are manufactured by putting a battery stone into a weapon. The metals from the weapon then absorb the power of the battery stone and glow to signal that they have been activated. A battery stone has limitless amunition. However, if it is overused, it can be rendered inert for a short period, atleast until it recharges itself."

"These weapons seem dangerous... This can't be good. I'll have to let Consular Mjord know right away -"

"Did you just say Mjord?"

"Well, yes. Consular Mjord watches over -"

"Is he Bjendell Mjord, by any chance?"

"Why yes, actually. Consular Bjendell Mjord. Why?"

"Heh... could I possibly come with you? It will be better if I explained this to him myself." The farie hovered by the woman's shoulder as he asked his question. He waited eagerly for her response.

"Hmm... Well, I suppose it wouldn't be too bad. Okay, you can tag along, atleast until I reach the Consular. Then I must part ways and be off."

"Thank you, kind hume! By the way, I didn't catch your name. What does your mother and father call you by, hume?"

"My real name is Myrriam Tonkins, but most people call me Marry, or Tonks."

"Very well, Tonks. It is a pleasure to meet such a fine hume maiden!"

"Are you that bored that you have to practice your stupid farie sweet talk all day in the woods here or what?"

"Well, there doesn't seem to be anything better to do..." The farie grinned malevolently as he floated with the woman, walking down a path that lead through the forest.

"Oh please," she began, "if you're even gonna try anything, then you may as well scram right now!"

"You know, it's awfully lonely in the woods here..."

"Be quiet, you little snot."

"Bah! Don't be so rude, I was only complimenting you. Understand that I've done you a favor already, so you owe me to get us to Sir Mjord!"

"Yeah yeah, whatever. Listen right now, farieboy. If I so much as catch you looking at my butt, or so much feel you graze it, I'm throwing you in a jar and shaking it like there's no tomorrow."

"Please understand that I wouldn't consider doing something like that! How could you be so evil as to even mention a jar infront of a farie! Please, understand me when I give you a compliment, and try not to take it as an insult!"

"I understand alright. You're a sucker for a pretty face!"

"Say what!?"


--- --- ---

- Ohtoku City, Southern District -

"Damn this giant city! It'll take me at least three days to get to the eastern coast. Atleast I'm not stuck in Nurngar... that would be maybe... five or six days. Then again, there are stables there, it can't be too bad on horseback... Why am I talking to myself out loud? What's wrong with me!?"

"Sir Mjord!"

"WAH!!! By Gaia, you startled me. Yeah, what is it?"

"We're getting reports that maiden Myrriam Tonkins is west of here, passing out of Nurngar. You said that you were looking for her, correct?"

"Damnit... yeah, I was. What about it?"

"She did have a horse. Might as well wait here for the mean time until she arrives."

"Ugh... blasted sister. Right, I'll just head to the Inn... Right then."

"Uh, sir?"


"The Inn is this way sir, not that way."

"Damnit! Just take me there!"

"Yes, sir."

Posted by: Xorlak on Friday April 11th, 2008

- Glimmer Spire, Spire City, Phoenicia -

Two robed, cowled figures quietly walked the halls, whispering in hushed voices.

"We've been ordered to give the contact the password," Francis said, pushing the jewel more firmly upon his forehead.

Charles nodded. "I have already slipped meeting information into his pack when we crossed paths yesterday... can you make the rendezvous?"

Francis nodded nervously. "I can."

"Good. We will both meet him."

Francis breathed a sigh of relief, likely because Charles was going with him. "Sir Hans will be pleased."

Posted by: Dude Man on Saturday April 12th, 2008

- Field in Central Terian -

A lizardman was clutching a wound on his chest, trying to stop it from bleeding, his sword was broken and down on the ground next to him. The lizardman was fairly large and well armoured, he looked like he would have been a captain in the Dark Empire.

His foe was too strong for him to defeat. He was too fast, too powerful, he never seen anyone like this before. He started to accept the fact this was the end for him, like the rest of the lizardmen he was travelling with.

The lizardmen from Lizaberg were being allowed by the Kandarin to live, as long as they remained in Lizaberg. However a herd of them decided to wander off. Nex, being bored volunteered to take care of them.

The robed demon walked slowly around the lizardman, who was gasping for air.

"Just kill me now..." The lizardman wheezed in anger.

"I like my meat, raw and alive." Nex replied. "And I like to let my meat bleed a little bit before I eat it."

The lizardman tried to get up, but Nex shot him with a lightning bolt and knocked him down. The shock wasn't enough to kill him though.

Several Kandarinain soldiers watched. Among the group of soldiers, there were some demons in KAF uniforms. A steam demon was even seen marching through out the field hunting for survivors.

After a few minutes, Nex then grabbed the much larger creature by the troat, and then partially lifted up the facial cover on his helmet, a deformed looking lower jaw was slightly visible and a large scared up tongue wrapped around the lizardman's neck. The lizardman's head was ripped off and then swallowed hole by the demon. He then crouched down and began manically eating away at the lizardman, chunks of flesh were flying over the place, and bloody was starting to splatter over his mask and robes.

Some of the human soldiers had to turn away, from the horrible sight. But the demons and the sadistically normal KAF troopers still watched.

Posted by: Xorlak on Saturday April 12th, 2008

- High above the southern ocean -

Vincent scowled as he leaned back in the passenger's seat. Nothing but sky all around. He glowered out the large front windows of his stingray ship. The tiny airship hummed along, driven by the zombie butler in the seat to his left.

"Perhaps we should return to the capital, sir?" Alfred droned. His half-lidded eyes remained emotionless, as always.

Vincent leaned back. Perhaps he was right. He'd have to check the chart to determine where exactly the Kandarinian capital was to be located today. It was a floating fortress in the sky, much like the Crimson Capital once was, so its location was never fixed. Though they did anchor it down on occasion.

Just then he saw it. "There!" He pointed and Alfred backed the ship hard, speeding towards the black speck in the sky. That was it. Or him. Whatever it was. He'd find out who threw the knife between his legs. See how funny it was now.

The black figure in the sky made no effort to move. It just floated there. From this distance Vincent could tell it was relatively man-shaped. Oh great. Another one of those guys. The crazy flying magic-types...

"Pull in close and keep it steady." Vincent said as he unfastened his belt and made his way towards the back.

"Mmmyes sir."

The circular hatch at the top of the ship opened, and Vincent rose from the innards into open air. They were high-- very high. The sea was just a blue pane far bellow, and the wind was intense. Clouds streamed below. Vincent's black trench coat flapped violently in the wind, his shotgun in one hand as he calmly assessed who was floating just a few dozen feet in front of his vessel...

The floating man was covered in black armor with pointy accents. His shoulder pads were most prominent, jutting out like spikes. He was averagely built, with flowing black hair that flapped in the wind. His arms folded before him and he maintained a proud smirk.

Vincent recognized the armor design as one that was popular in the Dark and Crimson Empires, especially before Retan made his return. In fact, he could even see a familiar insignia upon the side of armor's chest. Vincent smiled slightly. "So what color empire are you planning to revive?" he shouted over the billowing gusts of wind.

The man's smirk widened. "So you came. Good dog."

Vincent's smile disappeared, replaced by clenched teeth. "Make no mistake. I've come to punish you for that trick you pulled back there... Do you have any idea who I am?"

"I know a great deal about you, General Vincent."

Vincent chuffed. "An obsolete title, my friend. I am Captain of the Kandarinian Soveriengty, Regiment 4. You do know what it means to cross a Captain, don't you?"

The man laughed. "You've been given more power it seems, and it has gone to your head. You never were trustworthy enough to command beyond your specific talents..."

Vincent pointed the golden shotgun at the floating man and clicked the barrel. "You've already sealed your death. Might as well tell me why you're here."

"You swore fidelity to Lord Draven. I've come to collect upon that."

Vincent raised a brow, looking over his sunglasses. That was indeed the red four-winged insignia upon his chest. "Draven is dead, along with the Crimson Empire. I've moved on."

The man laughed again. "'Dead' is such... an interesting term nowadays..."

Posted by: Drannic_Lord01 on Sunday April 13th, 2008

//Not much for today.

- Ohtoku City, North District -

"Whew, we made it!"

"That sure is a speedy steed you got there... what is it?"

"It's just a horse..."

"Sure... well, whatever. Where's Mjord?"



"He said he'd meet me here."

"Argh! Blast it, I'm done waiting!"

"Just be a bit more patient, will you?"

"Hmph... Fine."

"I just hope he's okay."

Posted by: Xorlak on Monday April 14th, 2008

- Glimmer Spire, Spire City, Phoenicia -

Kelmarr stretched in bed. He had to admit, it was good having a proper bed to sleep in for a change. But this whole crazy rune-based island city didn't sit well with him. Maybe it was the crazy runemaster cat-woman mage. Yeah, it was the crazy runemaster cat-woman mage...

He sat up, running a claw through his disheveled headfur. Hmm, if he was lucky, Lerfina didn't get back from her outing the previous night when she went to capture the (also crazy) nightmare demon yet. That Suichi guy, the human who like to drone on and on about nothing, should be easier to dupe. He'd just sneak away. Get to blasted Ariosis and sell the blasted sword there like he originally planned.

Flicking his monochromatic tail a few times, he stepped to the other side of his room and began to re-don his haggard old leather armor. (Humans slept with their armor on, he heard. NOT Skunkulars. Bunch of crazies, the lot of 'em.) As he did so, a slip of paper fell out of his pants' pocket and glided to the floor. What was that? Some kinda dry cleaning receipt? He didn't remember...

He picked it up and read:

3rd level. Fountain. 11 AM.

Posted by: Xorlak on Wednesday April 16th, 2008

- High above the southern ocean -

Vincent sneered. "Normally I would ask what madness possesses you, but frankly, I just don't care."

With that, he flipped his shotgun up and fired at the floating black armored man. A burst of flame exploded in the air, but the flying figure dodged, blazing forward. Explosions rippled in his wake, but at each one he shifted one way or another until he was directly in Vincent's face.

With a chop, he smacked the alchemist's shotgun away with his left hand, sending the weapon hurdling into the abyss off the side of the ship. With the other he clenched Vincent's neck and lifted him clean off his feet. "Not so tough without your toy, eh?" He grinned triumphantly.

Vincent dangled there calmly, swaying in the wind. The only sign of distress was his crooked sunglasses. "Actually..." He loosely raised his right hand and the fingers took on a metallic sheen. They extended in length twenty times, becoming long blades that pierced the black clad man's chest like butter...

"... I just kept it around for old time's sake."

Posted by: Xorlak on Friday April 18th, 2008

- High above the southern ocean -

The black armored man chuckled.

Chuckled? With blades piercing his chest?

"You'll find you can't kill me with... conventional means..." With that, he reared his free hand back and proceeded to deliver a blow to Vincent's face. The alchemist blocked, and breaking free of the madman's hold, flew backwards as he tumbled over the metallic top of the ship.

As Vincent skidded to a halt, he pressed his now liquid metal hands into the roof of the vessel. Dozens of long blades burst forth from where his adversary stood, climbing skyward at jagged angles. The armored man simply flew into the air in avoidance, retaliating with a spherical blast of midnight black energy that flew from his palm with the force of a cannon.

Hands still stuck in the metal plating of the airship, Vincent pulled up an entire metal panel and held it up as a shield, turning his head away as the orb struck. The explosion pushed him back a few feet, and he nearly teetered over the slick edge.

He stood, hands still inside the metal plate he held before his chest. "Who are you?"

"Julian. Of the Shinryuu."

"Draven's personal elites..."

Julian folded his arms as he floated in the air. "The Crimson Empire is on the verge of conquering the world. Just no one knows it, as we have been operating... quietly... We offer you your former position of glory. Do you accept?"

Posted by: Ted Der on Saturday April 19th, 2008

- Up in the Clouds -

Day 1

Here I sit in my dark, private corner, recording my thoughts and experiences down so that one day someone might read them and gain knowledge from them. My name is Elisha Drennen and I think you should know that my life has been tragedy after tragedy. My life is barely worth living and I would have killed my self a long time ago if it were not for the one vital piece of information that I know that could help millions of people fight the coming darkness. Keeping this log is the only way I can think of keeping sane.

About 13 years ago, when I was only 4, my two twin brothers Kraaz and Akran ruined my life.

It all started with a fairy tale - a legend passed on among our people. The legend told of a magical stone called the Majeuri Spinel. It's power was too great for any mortal man to possess, but my brothers thought otherwise. They took the tale as the truth and set out to find it. I do not know much of their travels, but I do know that whatever they faced out there changed them.

One stormy night they wandered back to our village, with weak, crazed looks. They told me nothing about what happened. For weeks they kept to themselves, never talking to anyone else. I thought they had found the Majeuri Spinel, but I wasn't sure so I cornered Akran one day to get the truth out of him. Finally he confessed and only said this: "Elisha, Our brother is dying. He found the stone, but it burned his soul."

A week later as it turned out, Kraaz became violently ill. Many healers in the village tried everything they could, but to no effect. It seemed as somehow Kraaz was burnt on the inside. Seeing his brother in this way Akran fled. Perhaps he thought that this was partly his fault, I do not know. I haven't seen Akran since then and I constantly pray that he is alive and well. As for Kraaz, every day he would have convulsions and cough up blood. Black blood. It would have been better for the village if he had died.

We all thought he died. We had a funeral and burial for him as well. But that night the village burned. Flames engulfed everything. There were people screaming and houses burning. Everyone died that night. Everyone except me and Kraaz. He rose from the ashes like some hideous beast and grabbed me by the waist. He was not the brother I knew anymore.

He took me here - wherever here is. It is always dark here. Everyday I am beaten and tortured, not to mention nightly visits to Kraaz's chambers where the hooded creature would have his way with me. If believed that I will be here for the rest of my life, I would cut my wrists and be rid of this nightmare, but something keeps me going.

What I know is this: the Spinel is raw lightning and fire from the sky. I know that Kraaz no longer has the Spinel, but he wants it back - badly. If he touches it even one more time, the power of it will destroy him. My brother is no longer human. Some humans could survive touching lightning, but only for a short time before they turn into Malanos. Kraaz is King of the Malanos, and they will die if they touch the sky.

This one little piece of information I have overheard makes all of this suffering worth it if someone can use it to kill Kraaz once and for all. Please Akran. If you have found the Majeuri Spinel, don't keep it. Let Kraaz have it back.

Please Akran. Save me.

Posted by: D. Ein on Sunday April 20th, 2008

//@ Xorlak's posts: great. I leave, and Vincent looks on the verge of deserting me already. You certainly know how to get me back into the RP, Xorlak.\\

- Shuba, a large Kandarinian city - Underground labs of the 3rd Regiment -

The clicking of two people's heels resonated through the dull stone hallway, stretching down a seemingly infinite length. The only source of light was a torch carried by one of them - a Kandarinian soldier - shedding a dim circle of light in a mere 2 or 3 meter radius. There was nothing to see in front, save for occasional side passages - the corridor's walls disappeared into a yawning abyss once there was no light to illuminate them.

-"So, ah... General... may I be allowed a question?"

-"You leave me little choice, soldier. Ask."

-"Uhh... well... I assume you had me come with you because of your... err..."


-"Yes... However, you do not seem to be needing me, as evidenced by your... crafty avoidance of walls... for a blind person..."

The general continued walking, without answering. The soldier was about to open his mouth, but changed his mind at the last second. God forbid something sets her off... He still needed all of his limbs, preferably attached.

Some time later, the general stopped.

-"Soldier, we are at an intersection," she said, stunning her accompanying aide - who had just noticed another break-off of the corridor leading left. "There should be a sign somewhere in that branch-off hallway. Read it to me."

The soldier complied, rising his torch up closer to a small panel on the wall. The sign, in Kandarinian, identified the passage as "Containment."

-"It says 'Containment'," the General whispered - strangely, before the soldier said anything. "That is where Shen was seen last. It is also where his subjects for study are kept, but I believe the cleanup teams already discarded any remaining dangerous creatures. Also, I'd advise you to move two feet backwards."

-"Wh- Whoa!"

Two long metal blades struck out from the wall, nearly cleaving the Kandarinian's head off. Having hit empty air, they slid back into the two slots on the wall.

-"The cleanup teams were slacking, it seems... While I am occasionally able to warn you of impeding danger, it would be best if you simply looked where you were going," she said, pointing to a raised platform below the soldier's feet.


This time, it wasn't long at all before the pair reached a large room - the first one to come by since they entered the labs. The architecture was strictly standard Kandarinian - tough, powerful geometric shapes lacking any sort of support. The most noticeable detail about the room were enormous glass tubes, most of them shattered, extending from the floor upward. Much of the floor was covered in some strange blue liquid - which Gwen proceeded to touch.

-"It's the stone ichor... It's what Shen used to keep the Destroyers dormant. The report I received stated that all Destroyers were accounted for and neutralized with surplus ichor. But... oh, no."

Something alerted Gwen, as she immediately drew two of her swords.

-"Soldier, run."

- Inn, somewhere -

Eye - check.
Real eye - check.
Arbalest - check.

Rope - check.
Spears - eight; check.

Everything seemed to be in order. Ein washed the grime off his face from yesterday, having just woken up. Some dirt found its way onto his snowy hair, and maliciously kept a good, wash-resistant grip on it. Well, that's what the hood is for, right?

He went down to the tables below, hopefully for a drink or two. Finding no one (other than the barman) there, he decided to wait on Akran and Marshall before doing anything.

Posted by: Dude Man on Sunday April 20th, 2008

- Inn, Rivertown -

Marshall's rolled out of bed. "What's goin' on...Aw man. I think I might have drank too much last night. Not good."

Marshall barely ever drank, so this was very strange to him.

"Well, I better see how the others are doing. Probably Duilin's gonna be wondering where I am."

He slowly exited his room and headed down stairs to the tables. A blinding light from the window shone in his eyes, he shielded them with his hands and stepped forward until his eyes adjusted to the light. He saw Ein. And waved at him as he stepped towards him.

"Did you sleep well?" He asked. "We should get some breakfast before he leave. I will be needing to go to fort Klawvorn. You wish to join me there?"

--- ---

- Briefing Room, Fort Klawvorn -

Duilin was sitting at the chair at the end of the table.

"Alright, so who do we have checked in?" Duilin asked Rink, who was entering the room.

"Vaughn, Zimmerman, Lagart and Valos are here. They should be arriving soon." Rink replied. "I don't know where Marshall is though." He hopped up into the booster seat at the table.

"I bet that Aspye kept him back in Rivertown. We can wait for him, before we leave, but if he doesn't show he's got toilet cleaning duty."

Rink chuckled. But then there was a bit of a silence.

"Yeah, so are you worried about confronting Nex again?"

"A little. I'm surprised that the Talonscar would want him back, but apparently before he had a lot of power suppressed. Not to mention he had loyalty issues." Duilin replied. "But Nex knows me quite well, and he's probably going to be the toughest opponent I've fought since Retan. But if we can beat him, then that means the Sovereign shouldn't be that much harder."

"I've heard a lot of rumours about his strength." Rink stated. "Some say he's actually very weak. Some others say he has just a lot of hidden strength. I also heard a rumour he killed one of the High Generals of the Dark Empire, Gorus."

"Gorus? Hmm, actually I'm not too sure about him being killed. But it would explain the fact I haven't seen him at all." He looked at Rink for a moment.

"What?" The imp asked, seeming puzzled.

"Oh, just you on that booster seat. It kind of reminds me of when you were human sized."

"Oh yes, that moment where I was taller than you. That was great actually. What about it?"

"We lost that chemical, the same day. Didn't we?"

"Yeah, yeah that's right. Wow, can't believe that hadn't crossed my mind after all this time. Wow. Well, it was probably destroyed, there was a lot of damage going on in that place, before and after the fight. Too bad, I kind of enjoyed that form."

The two chuckled a bit over it, looking back on the 'good times' of what was actually a very dramatic day.

--- ---

- Regiment 4 Building -

Over the past few years the fact that not only was Vandrin older than his captain, but he had also been with the Sovereignty longer than him. It drove him crazy with envy. But by now he's almost stopped caring. Vandrin had studied a lot over the past years, and actually had a much better idea of what he was doing. Soon one day, he knew he'd take over as captain. He had a feeling he'd be able to outlive him.

He stepped through his lab until he arrived in front on small vault built into the wall. He unlocked the vault and opened it up. Inside was a small vial of blood red liquid. For years he had been studying this, but hasn't been able to make a 100% effective replica of it. But today, he felt he might have had it.

He tested the chemical on various animals and people. They turned into various demonic creatures based on their original appearance and he there dark personalities, he's noticed. There was a murder who hunted people at night, who he tested it on, and upon using the chemical on him, he transformed into a werewolf like demon for a short period of time.

He has always been reluctant to try it on himself, despite the fact the test subjects were fine after recovering from the transformation, other than increased stress and fatigue.

But with this chemical he had plans. Dark, nasty, evil plans.

Posted by: Xorlak on Sunday April 20th, 2008

- High above the southern ocean -

The metal plate melted over to Vincent's left arm and it became a sort of kite-shaped medieval shield, the rays of the sun brightly reflecting off its slivery surface. His right hand reformed to normal, returning to its fleshy color. "Do I accept? You'll have to make a harder case than a random member of a washed up organization randomly appearing out of nowhere. Is Draven even alive?"

"This is your only chance. If you refuse, I will kill you."

"Is Draven alive?"

"I ask the questions, science man. You will join or die. Do you accept?"

Vincent chuffed.

"So be it." A black flame engulfed Julian and he sped down towards Vincent. The alchemist reformed his right hand into a long sword that shot forward like liquid. Julian dodged and slammed his fist into Vincent's shield, nearly knocking him off the edge.

"You are no fighter, science man." Julian sneered as Vincent faltered.

Vincent slammed the sword-arm onto the roof of the airship, a loud clang echoing above the winds. "Alfred! Now!"

Just then the stingray-ship banked upward in with a 90 degree turn. Both men were jettisoned from the craft, tossed headlong into the wide open skies.

Falling from an altitude of thousands of feet, Vincent's arms took on a metallic glint again. The sword and shield melting, they became like long sheet-metal wings and he glided away

Julian flailed in the air for a moment before his black aura returned and he resumed floating under his own power. Seeing Vincent gliding away, he gave chase, flying much faster than the man ahead who moved using only the wind.

Then a shadow above blocked out the sun. He looked up just as the main cannon from Vincent's ship opened fire. A tremendous explosion rocked the skies and, after the fireball faded, nothing remained as the smoke dispersed.

Vincent looked back and nodded approvingly.

Posted by: D. Ein on Sunday April 20th, 2008

Dark liege Ahriman,

As per the instructions, I write this first report. Indeed, it was not very difficult to get into the inner Kandarinian workings, especially with my Tenient's own guidance. Eris of the sixth Regiment caused a slight bit of trouble, but nothing seriously crippling to your unholiness' plans. I have nested myself in the second Regiment, under the captain Sun. Despite being of a semi-divine race, he is not a very bright individual, and is not suspecting a thing.

I had located the sleeper agent you instructed me to seek out, who is now masquerading as my personal attendant. Despite being a completely new recruit, my skills were deemed to be that of the Kandarinian elite troop - the Stalker. This is, no doubt, due to the Brotherhood's training. Although I intend to keep my Convocan abilities hidden to avoid any suspicion, I must reiterate: the Kandarinian captains are not to be trifled with. When installation H3 was breached by a Kandarinian Stalker, our Convocans had trouble with even that. Although your unholiness has no doubt seen and beaten much superior powers, with all humility, I must say that even one as yourself would find himself at odds with a Captain. Therefore, I cannot guarantee that my Convocan power will stay sealed during my entire time here (especially if I will somehow be discovered).

The first task, too, was perfectly successful. The sinner called Shen has been disposed of. Aside from fellow Convocans, the Magistrate was also investigating most curious creatures: the Destroyers. These beasts? demons? are of the fire element, consisting mostly of some sort of volcanic metal, and utilizing molten lava as their flesh. The despicable Shen kept them docile through submergence in a fluid called "stone ichor". From what I gathered, it is an extremely heat-conductive compound, cooling the Destroyers' fiery cores. In the hours following the assassination, the 8th Regiment was sent to clean up Shen's laboratories in order to commence an investigation. I intercepted their report, which cited one of the Destroyers as missing. Having made some corrections to it, General Gwen (who is to lead the investigation) is led to believe that all creatures are found and accounted for. With any luck, the Destroyer will cause enough damage to her so Kandarin will assume them to be completely non-tamable. Either way, she is in for a surprise when she goes sniffing through those labs... If nothing else, the incident will at least serve to indicate how strong she is, as well as falsely implicate the 8th Regiment. Divide and conquer?

The murder of Shen itself was a fairly ordinary procedure. I concocted a poison of Bittersweet and Qor's Shoelace, adding it to his daily medicine. The dog dropped minutes after ingesting the poison, suspecting nothing. It was too quick of a death for that ingrate. No one will defile the Brotherhood of the Black Dragon! No one!

The next report will arrive as scheduled, your unholiness. I will proceed according to plan.

- Shuba, underground labs of the 3rd Regiment -

The soldier obediently dashed out of the subterranean room, while Gwen took on a defencive stance. It was a Destroyer... but how? The 8th Regiment's report clearly said that all subjects were removed from these labs!

There it is - agonizing pain running from the upper right shoulder down to the left hip. Gwen felt three sharp claws dig into her back, rending and burning skin and flesh on the way down... The force of the hit alone knocked her forward, face-first into the stone floor. Paralysed with white pain, she heard the creature approach her - although large and heavy, its feet barely made noise, save for a clicking sound. A terrible clawed hand grasped her off the floor, breaking several ribs in the process - and another one wrapped around her head. It tightened, twisting suddenly to the side and snapping her neck.

Or, at least, this would happen - in exactly ten seconds.


Immediately before counting off one in her head, Gwen whirled about, crossing her swords in front of her and forcefully smashing them into the area directly in front of her. Indeed, the blades met the Destroyer's claws, coming in a leap from behind. The parry took the creature by surprise, and it stumbled, falling over on its back. It made an effort to stand - but Gwen already knew what would happen if that creature got back up. She made a lunge for its chest, and felt a drop-chop from a metal hand breaking her back right in half.

No... That won't do. She tried striking the head, instead - but the blade merely scraped the metallic surface covering the Destroyer's core. The clawed hand impaled her from behind this time, and, once again, death.

That's okay, though, since the predicted outcome of the following ten seconds was coming as quick as she was making decisions - meaning that she had as much time as she needed to find a weakness. After about eight attempts, she finally found it: the neck.

This time, moving for real, she leaped right on top of the Destroyer's chest. Before it had time to react, she struck its softer, lava-filled throat. With enormous satisfaction, the blade slid right through the molten stone, striking directly at the destroyer's core in its head. The creature wailed, its body thrashing in pre-death convulsions. Why, that would potentially knock Gwen off and leave a mark on her clothes! Can't have that. Luckily, she already saw this coming - and leaped off the Destroyer immediately after piercing its throat. Leaving the lava-spilling Destroyer behind, she continued walking forward to Shen's desk.

-"Soldier, you can return now."

-"Yes, General. That was...?"

-"A Destroyer, yes. I will enquire about this incident later. Damien best have a good explanation."

- Inn, Rivertown -

-"Why not. Without good leadership, I don't feel like resurrecting the Aspyes, really. Don't know what's gotten into Haraldur, and don't know what hole he's rotting in right now. Seems like forever that I haven't seen or heard of him... Eh, whatever. I'll be outside, packing my things. You should ask that Akran fellow - the more, the merrier, right? Looks to me like a good guy, he does. Especially having helped us with the Kandies. Right now, we'll need all the help we can get."

Posted by: Xorlak on Monday April 21st, 2008

- Glimmer Spire, Spire City, Phoenicia -

Kelmarr found the fountain on the third floor easily enough. It was a gaudy thing-- some human-angelic figure posed dramatically with a pot through which a small waterfall flowed into a pool. The gem in the figure's forehead appeared to be real ruby. As he pondered how much the thing might be worth, as well as what in blazes he was doing here, a shrouded figure brushed against his left side.

"The red dragon flies at twilight," the human whispered as he passed.

What... the..?

The man just kept walking. Kelmarr flicked his tail a few times as he scratched behind his ear. Wait a minute... that was code talk. Could it be? Of course! A thieves' guild... It would make sense for a gaudy island like this to have vast networks of organized crime. And they were very discreet, as that cloaked figure speaking random nonsense certainly wasn't suspicious in any way.

Why would they approach him though? He slammed his fist into his palm. Of course! He was pretending to be a rare arms dealer and toting around a rare sword... They probably wanted to do business with him. Smirking, he followed the shady man after he ducked into a side hallway. Perhaps he could sell this blasted thing after all...

Posted by: Xorlak on Saturday April 26th, 2008

- Kandarinain Occupied Retangrad, Western Dark Continent -

"Hey... you feel that?" The Kandarinian guard rested the edge of his spear gun upon the ground. "You had ta' have felt that one!"

"Wot? I ain't feel nothin', bloke. Ye be sippin' on the rum too much, 'fraid."

"Well, that too... but still, the ground just moved. I'm sure of it!"

The shorter guard rubbed his chin as a light breeze blew, chilling the space between the two gloomy buildings. "Nay. Ye be full of it, bloke. Why we been stationed 'ere in Retangrad, this musty half-crumblin' port city for years, and we ain't felt nothin' like an earthquake fer the whole time. Now stop tippin' the cups an' git back ta starin' straight ahead without blinking, you."

"No... 'twas no earthquake, 'fraid... 'Twas more like... I dunno... the ground beneath my feet just... moved."

"You on 'lixir, boy? Ground dun' move unless 'ere's some giant worm or somethin' underneath. An' we all know giant worms aren't real. Geez... Drunk boy on 'lixir dreamin' up giant worm stories..."

The mud puddle behind the guards began to bubble...

"I'm just sayin'..."

"Sayin'? You be tippin' the cups, bloke."

A deluge of mud suddenly burst from the puddle, reavealing a giant hand that wrapped around the second guard's legs. Both screamed, and the free guard shot his rifle fruitlessly into the arm of whatever creature lurked beneath. His efforts were rewarded by a second giant mud-hand that scooped him up, and both were dragged underground.

Shouts of alarm resonated throughout the town as figures began emerging from the muddy earth...

Posted by: Xorlak on Monday April 28th, 2008

- Shuba, Factory of Dark Science (Regiment 4 HQ) -

The doors slid open, revealing the forms of Vincent and Alfred. A blue robed man bowed before them. "Welcome back, Captain."

Vincent largely ignored him, instead offering a brief nod to the younger and less skilled alchemist as he strode down the hallway. "Adept Mikail. Report."

The adept fallowed in-step at Vincent's side, opposite of the zombie butler as his cerulean robes bunched about his feet. "All operations are on schedule, sir."

"Where is Vandrin? Has he attempted any of his tomfoolery?"

"No sir. He has kept mainly to his potions. Though most off the operations you set up were made with little input required from the higher-ups anyway."

"Good. Inform him he is relieved of his temporary duties now that I have returned, and is free to pursue whatever chemical-nonsense he has been studying."

"As you wish."

The trio turned a hall, their boots clanging upon the steel floor as mists rose from perforations in the metal. To one side lay a drop-off to a much larger room within which giant mechanical contraptions were being hammered together, molten metal spewing about from pipes along the edges of the chamber.

"We have, sir, received one interesting tidbit of information..." The cerulean-robed adept ventured, hunching over as he slid his hands into his sleeves and struggling to make himself heard over the clanging of tools.

"Oh?" Vincent replied with disinterest, removing his clip-on shades. It was dark in the fire-lit corridors, after all.

"It seems Regiment 3 is having... trouble with one of their... experiments. This is unofficial, mind you. You know how tight-lipped Three is..."

"And we should care, why?"

"The general herself was seen entering their underground labs. Additionally we have relieved a notice to increase the security alertness level from green to amber."

Vincent rubbed a finger under the stubble upon his chin. "Interesting..."

Posted by: D. Ein on Monday April 28th, 2008

- Regiment 6 HQ (a tall tower somewhere between the tower of Heaven's Bane and Sigmund) -

Life was not treating Eris well.

A prime-grade Stalker is expected to hunt people down and then kill them in the most gruesome way possible. What a prime-grade Stalker is not supposed to do is sit in an office all day filling out papers. Exactly why she had to finish the Stalker academy before being promoted to the captain of 6th Regiment was beyond her.

As if that weren't enough, there's been an influx of newcomers to the Sovereignty recently. A part of the 6th Regiment's duties is finding and eliminating spies, and with this many people, the whole Regiment has been on its feet with interviews. A lot of the newcomers were from the new ships arriving from... somewhere. What's the deal with that, anyway?

Eris' chain of thought was interrupted by the violent smashing of the door behind her.


-"Yes, soldier... what is it..."

-"Something strange is happening at Sovereigngrad! It seems as if it's under attack, but there are no clear reports available!"

Opportunity! But... gwah. Eris still had to sort a pile of immigration papers, sign a pile of execution warrants, and burn a pile of fan mail.

-"Send Hannibal. Give him troops if he needs any."

-"Yes, Captain!"

The soldier saluted Eris and hurried out of the room, while Eris continued procrastinating on her paperwork, choosing to count the clouds in the sky from her window instead.

//Xorlak, could you give me some more description of the scene in your next post? You may as well take control of Hannibal (arrival, walking, etc), since he's an NPC.\\

- Regiment 8's HQ, Damien's private study -

Life was not treating Damien well.

He has to make up some far-fetched story for the escape of Subject 3-4-9, Midna, without sounding idiotic and\or less than believable. The choices were there, naturally - he could take the easy road and blame the escape on the incompetence of one of his subordinates, but that wouldn't look well on him. Then again, considering that he has to explain himself to the General, she'll probably know the second he lied... a strange one, she is. A sudden burst of power? No... too far-fetched...

The rustling of a portal glyph behind Damien alerted him that someone just entered.


-"What is it, Acolyte?"

-"There is an urgent message from General Gwenivere!"

-"...Give it to me, and get out."

"Yes, Captain."

What could she possibly want? Damien took the sealed envelope, forcing a gulp down his throat. His heart sank as he read the heading - Regarding the 3rd Regiment. His men were there to clean the place, so something must've happened. He braced himself, and gave the letter a quick skim.

The note was concise and to the point: A Destroyer escaped and attacked the General. And who is taking the heat?


Posted by: Dude Man on Tuesday April 29th, 2008

- Shuba, Factory of Dark Science (Regiment 4 HQ) -

As Vandrin was mixing chemicals at his work table, a messenger stepped into his room.

"Lieutenant Vandrin." The messenger greeted.

"Hello, what's the news?" Vandrin asked without looking up from his work table.

"Captain Elridge has returned so you may return to your regular duties."

"Um, yeah." Vandrin replied. "Thank you. You're excused."

The messenger left.

Vandrin picked up the vial of blood red liquid and then the one he was making, he compared the colours by holding them next to each other. They looked the same, but now he needs to make sure they work the same.

Posted by: Mikado on Tuesday April 29th, 2008

~ ~ Near Duillin I guess ~ ~

"Sir, we have unpacked all of the equipment."
"Very good, you're dismissed until further notice soldier."

Repins saw how all of his soldiers were working hard preparing for the battle. Next to him stood a Alibaba styled merchant sitting in a huge cart.

"I guess it is time for my ... payment?" - he meant the reward. He did give Repins allot of help getting his hands on merchant clothing, cars and everything else to look like one - the "equipment".

"As far as I remember you just owed me, didn't you? You haven't forgotten have my dead Baggotiniou?" Yes, this man was a old acquaintance of Repins.. and there was no way he would ever be able to demand anything from Repins when you would know of... their past.

"You bring that up!? How dare you... I just shouldn't aid you! Very well, then I shall leave and hope we'll never meet again!"
The man had a frowned face and looked very angry, but Repins didn't mind. He wasn't that useful anyway. Now all preparations were complete, he only waited for Duillin...

Posted by: Xorlak on Wednesday April 30th, 2008

- Sovereigngrad, Western Dark Continent -

Tall buildings still ravaged from wars long passed framed the horizon, drearily looming over the dank street corner. It was a bustling market at one point as evidenced by the deep ruts left by wagons in the dirt road, but none of that remained. The transformation to lower class slum had engulfed nearly the entirety of the city. A light drizzle hung in the air, making walking without soiling one's boots an impossibility.

Hannibal idly picked his nails with a dagger. "So you don't know what happened, then?"

The dirty guard nodded. "One moment they... they were there... and the next..."

Hannibal looked up as he leaned against the wall, a flash of anger in his eyes. In an instant he backhanded the guard in the chin, sending him spiraling into the mud. "They're gone? You wretch! I came all this way for nothing? I don't have time to play games with rejects!" He punctuated his statement with a swift kick to the ribs. The lieutenant's clean-clothed entourage of six higher ranking men chuckled at the local soldier's misfortune as he gasped in the mud.

He turned and shouted at the group of Kandarinian soldiers standing in the alleyway. "Who knows what happened? Who?!"

They all eyed the ground.

"You flag command that you're under attack? That you lost two dozen men, but you have absolutely no idea how? Idiots!" He marched up to another soldier and slapped him in the face.

At that moment a blood curdling cry followed by a squelching snap from the outskirts of the group broke Hannibal's tirade. All turned just in time to see a carcass dragged into the darkness of the opposing alleyway by a large silhouette...

Posted by: Ted Der on Saturday May 3rd, 2008

- Inn, Rivertown -

Akran rolled over in bed and yawned. Where was he?

"Hey there baby," said a pleasant voice from beside him. Akran jumped out of bed in surprise and looked down upon the two beautiful women lying there. His brain stalled as the feeling of dizziness came over him from standing up too quickly. He stared at them as his brain slowly shifted into first gear.

Akran scratched his chin for a second and quietly said, "Sweet."

Slowly, he made his way down stairs. Funny. It felt as if he had slept for days. Where was Ein? He wanted to speak with him.

Downstairs in the bar, Akran ran into Marshall.

"Hey Marshall. I just wanted to say--"

Suddenly Martin ran through the door interrupting him. "Hey Akran!" he said greeting his captain. "Ready to set sail?"

"Uh, just a minute Martin. Let me get my head straight." Akran sighed and sat down on a chair. He rubbed his eyes and flicked away a bit of sleep. After a moment, he looked straight at Martin and said, "I am going with Ein and Marshall. You have been a great friend and first mate, so I am giving the ship to you. You are now Captain of the Shadowshot."

Martin seemed unusually calm. "Alright, Captain," he said saluting, "I will continue in your place." He then seemed a little nervous. "You're not by any chance, uh... well you know..."

"Gay? Really Martin. I just woke up with two--"

"Yeah, I figured." Martin interrupted again. "That's fine. Don't worry about it. I'm not worried about it... oh Akran!" he cried and flung his arms around his friend and started to wail.

"Martin," Akran sighed, "Don't worry, we'll always be friends."

"Yeah, I guess," Martin sobbed letting Akran go, "I guess." And with that, Martin wiped his tears away on his sleeve, saluted again, and proudly marched out of the Inn.

Akran shifted in his seat before realizing he'd be more comfortable standing. "Ahem," he coughed, "So, Marshall... where were we?"

Posted by: Xorlak on Saturday May 3rd, 2008

- Deathbringer Warship, off the coast of Rivertown -

"Did you get him?"

"Apologies, my lord. He refused."

"Blast. So you killed him, huh?"

"No sir... He... escaped..."


"He-he escaped, my lord..."

"It was a rhetorical 'what', moron. Blast it! How in blazes did you mange to screw that up, you miserable little ingrate!!"

"I... uh... he was using some... unfamiliar technology..."

"Remind me to beat you with a blunt object when you return, Julian."


Draven crushed the communications orb in his fist, a plume of smoke emanating from the remains of the ruined jewel. "Blast it!! I can't take it anymore!" He held his firsts to the sides of his head, his cape billowing about as the ship's crew avoided him. "Hiding and sneaking for years, building the perfect army of elemental warriors, unkillable by conventional means, and now, now!, the last pieces of the puzzle refuse to fall in place!"

He turned swiftly, pointing across the cabin towards the ship's captain.  "Luitenant!"

"Actually, I'm captain, sir..."

"Shut UP!!"

The man froze at attention.

"We attack NOW!" Draven clenched his fist. "Screw waiting for airships! Screw the Crimson Capital! Follow my lead and clean up what's left. We'll overrun whatever little worthless hamlet is on the horizon there first. Next to rivers, or whatever."

"Clean up?"

"Knock it all down. Whatever I miss, at least. This RP sucks without me blowing up everything left and right, anyway."

"Yes, sir!"

A brilliant plume of crimson flame erupted from the maniacal fire mage, knocking everyone in the room on their rear. With a mad cackle, Draven dove through the window and blasted skyward off the sea-fairing warship towards the Helternian coastline. Behind him, the small fleet of warships trudged through the waters as they lumbered after their master.

Draven spread his arms wide, an orb of intense vermillion manifesting within each palm, his face contorting into a manical grin.

"Watch out little cretins, Draven's back!"

Posted by: Dude Man on Sunday May 4th, 2008

- Inn, Rivertown -

"So, Akran, you are going to join us now?" Marshall asked. "Well, it would be nice to have another crew member. We are going back to Fort Klawvorn."

"Ooo...Somethings coming." Said a deep voiced old man from the corner of the pub. He was eating a beef stew, and eyeing the trio.

"Excuse me sir, are you talking to us?" Marshall asked the old man.

"Something is coming I don't know what, but it's dangerous."

"How do you know?"

"An old man knows, friend." He then finished his stew and left a tip on the table and left.

- Fort Klawvorn -

Duilin and Valos with the entourage of Lagart, Vaughn, Hance, Zimmerman and three other random soliders arrived in the main square in Fort Klawvorn, where Repins was waiting.

"Repins." Duilin greeted. "We're about to head out. Glad you could make it, one of my captains bailed on me so it's good we have a replacement. Now we're going to be heading towards Rivertown as soon as possible. So if you have anything left to do here do it now."

Posted by: Mikado on Sunday May 4th, 2008

~ ~ Fort Klawvorn ~ ~

"No sir, I have nothing to do sir!"
Repins had a straight face and immediately dropped his relaxed attitude.
"All of the equipment necessary for the mission are in that cart. I have taken a few soldiers for the transportation's sake of my own if you allow sir!"

Posted by: Xorlak on Sunday May 4th, 2008

- Rivertown, sea port -

"I do say, Luciferairion, that this is in fact a jolly good time we are having right now!"

"Quitely so, Beazlebubudel. Sitting in front of a body of water holding poles with worms attached to them for hours on end is so very fun and also entertaining!"


"Why, look at that friendly bird up there!"

"I do not believe that is a bird, my demonic, horned, college-educated friend, but a flying man. On fire."

"And look at the flaming spheres he holds! How very warm and inviting they are!"

"Indeed! Why that one is rocketing through the air directly towards us right now!"



Draven began with a quick decimation of the outer port, a miserable affair of nothing but fishing vessels. Great plumes of red burst into the air as screams rang around the outskirts of the small town.

Smirking, Draven fearlessly landed on the wooden planks of a still standing pier. Flanked on each side by raging infernos, he confidently strode up the pathway towards the town. Now to see if he could finish before his army even arrived... Uprising his arm once more, another orb of flame appeared within his hand.

Posted by: Xorlak on Wednesday May 7th, 2008

- Rivertown -

Draven launched the orb straight into the depths of the marketplace but his eyes widened in surprise as a black robed figure dashed from behind an alleyway and sent the burning sphere hurdling back. An explosion rocked the sea behind him, sending a spray of water into the air.

A figure stood in the madman's path, black robe flowing in the breeze. The chest flapped loose, revealing brilliant silver metal beneath. A shining sword stood at the ready in his hands, angled downward to deflect another blast. Ven was all business, the experienced warrior showing no emotion is his cold, determined eyes. "I thought you were dead."

Draven chuffed. "I thought you didn't matter at all."

Ven's brows furrowed a bit, but he kept his composure. Without warning, Draven pointed two fingers at the silver knight, firing an intense crimson laser beam. Ven took a quick step to the side and angled his sword horizontally, deflecting the beam with his mirror-like sword straight into the cobblestone street, the deflected energy turning the rocks into a bubling puddle.

(Chapter ends in 3 days.)

Posted by: Dude Man on Thursday May 8th, 2008

- Rivertown -

A loud explosion was heared throughout the town. Marshall stepped outside the inn to see what was going on.

"It looks like the town is being attacked." Marshall said, stating the obvious. He said to the other back inside. "Who feels like defending the city?" He asked.

"I have a feeling we won't be able to get a decent fight in, for about a month or something." He added.

Posted by: Ted Der on Friday May 9th, 2008

- Inn, Rivertown -

"Woh, what a strange old man," said Akran as the man got up and left.


"Argh, my head!" Akran stumbled out of the Inn, blinking in the sunlight. "What's going on? Who's attacking us? Do you think that old guy had anything to do with this?"

"Akran!" came a cry from the direction of the dock, "They're everywhere! Help!"

Posted by: Dude Man on Friday May 9th, 2008

- Rivertown -

Marshall arrived where the Crimson Emperor and the Silver Knight were. He drew his Magi Pistols, he recognized the man in black and called towards him.

"I wouldn't attack here, Draven. This is a dangerous place to be attacking. You might enrage the wrong people. Not just me." Marshall warned.

Posted by: Xorlak on Saturday May 10th, 2008

- Rivertown -

"Tch!" Draven smirked. "You seem exactly the type I'm looking for," he said as his grin grew wide. "In fact, I have a few... tests to run, if your hamlet doesn't mind volunteering..."

Ven nodded at the newcomer, positioning his sword at the ready. But his eyes grew wide as Draven punctuated his last sentence, for beyond the smoking harbor loomed the dark masts of a multitude of warships.


To be continued...