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Thread: [M] The Throne of Gods: Memories of Divinity - IC

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    Default [M] The Throne of Gods: Memories of Divinity - IC

    This is Rated M for violence, blood, gore, language, nudity, sexual content, and contradiction of religious beliefs that might be considered blasphemy outside of creative context



    The Throne of Gods: Memories of Divinity

    Epilogue from the First Chapter: Moving Forward



    "And so, we must move forward and pave a new destiny for all. This is only just the end of the beginning and we have much more work to do. There is no time to become complacent because everyone must answer the call to arms... War is coming, but we will be ready."

    Luthious gripped the rail tightly, his knuckles turning white from the pressure. His facial expression grew even more stern but his gaze remained fixed on the majestic city.

    "Be ready, Morgana, for we have an intruder."

    Morgana's eyes widened with surprise and she flinched at the sound of someone clapping loudly right behind her. The Goddess of Truth quickly turned around, summoning her sun-spear in a flash of light. Despite Morgana's brave warrior spirit, she was caught off guard by the identity of the intruder and fear crept into her core.

    "Malphas." she breathed out and faced the Duchess of Pain as she approached both Morgana and Luthious, still clapping obnoxiously.

    "Well done, well done, brother," Malphas whistled loudly and giggled briefly before halting her movement. She stopped clapping and stood only a couple of short feet away from the two members of the Order faction. "That was such a beautiful speech. I wish I was around more often to hear your amazing monologues," the Duchess mocked.

    "How dare you?!" Morgana spat venomously as anger filled her eyes like an exploding fire. "How dare you trespass his most holy sanctum with your filth?" She raised her spear and pointed it directly at Malphas's face, the piercing end of the spear only a few inches away from the Monarch's red eye.

    "Oh, I dare," Malphas's smile widened with glee, apparently enjoying herself after seeing Morgana's reaction to her sudden appearance. "It wasn't that hard to get past all those holy knights either. It's like child's play with my illusions," she cackled as her crimson gaze gleamed with delight.

    "Malphas," Luthious's voice raised sternly and he still hadn't turned around to face his devious sister. "What do you want?" his voice demanded.

    "What, can't I get a hug from my dear ole' brother?" The Duchess spread her arms in a mocking manner. "I decided to drop by and discuss a couple of family matters with you. I heard that Baldy croaked, which is a terrible shame. I'm gonna miss his gloomy demeanor and sense of humor. By the way, Selrina is also a-okay! I watched her little pets battle one of those ugly gray creatures and she managed to kill that thingy, complete the ritual, and survive! Utterly amazing!"

    Morgana's grip on her spear tightened, especially since the Duchess acted like this was all a game to her. She was half-tempted to charge and thrust her spear into that Monarch's black heart but the voice of her lord stopped her.

    "Morgana, please leave us," Luthious ordered aloud before finally turning around and facing his younger sister directly. For the first time in a long time, Morgana noticed that Luthious's brilliant blue eyes were cold as ice.

    "M-my lord?" she questioned him, wondering why Luthious wanted to be left alone with the witch. Even though the Noble was known to be the strongest Monarch, she still worried for his safety with the likes of Malphas around.

    "Please leave us," Luthious repeated once more but his voice remained patient with her.

    Morgana hung her head lightly and she nodded. "Yes, my lord," she quickly bowed before leaving his presence, passing by the Duchess and giving her a quick glare as she left the balcony.

    Both Monarchs faced each other silently at first and the tension between them grew exponentially.

    "Malphas, what do you want?" Luthious repeated his question one final time, his voice completely stoic yet stern. His tolerance for his immature and devious sister was completely different compared to his faithful companions.

    Malphas only smiled at first, taking her time to answer before finally speaking up.

    "Isn't it obvious, Luthious? I want the same thing that you want, brother. I want to claim the Throne of Gods."


    Prologue: Demise of Divinity



    One Year Later...

    Malphas, the Duchess of Pain, stood at the center of the blazing ring, surrounded by a swirling vortex of fire and brimstone. The scorching heat licked at her leather-clad form, and the pungent scent of sulfur filled the air. Flames crackled and danced, casting flickering shadows across her face as she held a wickedly curved black obsidian blade in her right hand. Her crimson-red gaze fixated on the kneeling figure before her, Luthious.

    Luthious, once a radiant noble, now knelt on the scorched ground, his once glorious white angelic wings reduced to charred remnants. Deep gashes marred his once pristine upper torso, and blood trickled from his lips as he gasped for breath, his strength waning. The brilliance that usually radiated from Luthious had dimmed, and his bright-blue eyes, filled with pain and desperation, met the piercing gaze of his younger sister.

    "Malphas, please," Luthious pleaded, his voice strained, "You must understand. Killing me won't bring you any closer to the Throne."

    A bitter scoff escaped Malphas's scarlet lips as she knelt down, her free hand gently caressing Luthious's bloodied cheek, a twisted mockery of sibling affection. "Oh, dear brother," she sneered, her touch betraying both familiarity and malice. "You are right, of course. But what satisfaction it will bring me to have you out of the way."

    With swift and merciless precision, the obsidian blade surged forward, piercing through Luthious's chest. His golden Aether splattered across Malphas's face, staining her features with the essence of his power. Luthious's eyes widened in shock and pain as Malphas twisted the blade, cruelly ravaging his heart. Silence hung heavy in the air for a fleeting moment before Luthious's form erupted with blinding light. Three beams of radiant energy burst forth from his eyes and open mouth, a thunderous scream tearing through the fabric of existence. And just as abruptly, the scream vanished, replaced by a vacuum of emptiness. Luthious, the Monarch of Light, imploded, reduced to nothing but the dust of a fading light.

    Malphas straightened her posture, a triumphant smirk gracing her lips. Her red eyes gleamed with the infernal fires that engulfed her surroundings. But then, there was a crack. The illusory realm fractured into countless shards, revealing the truth hidden beneath the facade.

    No longer standing in the fiery arena, the Duchess of Pain now sat upon her imposing infernal throne in the heart of Tartarus, the capital city of Hades. The room surrounding her was bathed in a sinister crimson glow, emanating from the molten lava that coursed through the veins of the dark realm. The throne itself was a macabre masterpiece, constructed from the bones of fallen deities and adorned with the tortured souls of the damned.

    She brought a goblet to her blood-stained lips, the vessel filled with the fresh, golden essence of a slain deity—the Aether. Taking a slow, deliberate sip, she relished the taste, savoring the power coursing through her veins.

    Her eyes narrowed as she stared into the void, using her own illusion powers to indulge in a sick visual fantasy. She imagined a grand battle with Luthious, her brother's demise at her hands. Yet, it was all but a figment of her imagination, a tantalizing vision that would forever elude her. Luthious remained the strongest being in the multiverse, watching over his faction in the benevolent realm of Elysium.

    "Now, if only Baldy were still among the living, we could've worked together to take down dear older brother," Malphas mused, her voice laced with a mixture of longing and contempt. She placed the goblet on the armrest of her throne, her slender fingers dancing with the remnants of Aether. A playful sigh escaped her lips, followed by a devious smile that curled at the corners.

    "Let us hope those rumors about your playthings are true, Baldy. We wouldn't want them to go to waste." Chuckling to herself, "Or, perhaps your Child of the Apocalypse can be useful, too," she rose from her throne. "Little Damian, I do wonder where art thou?" She cast a commanding gaze down upon the gladiatorial arena several hundred feet below, her mind already spinning with schemes and plans.

    "Thoughts for another time, let's resume the entertainment," she stated darkly as the screams of a captured deity echoed across the arena as a feral Cerberi tore through his body, spilling his golden blood onto the charred ground. It was music to the Monarch's ears as she formed the most sinister smile over the demise of divinity.
    Last edited by RedKayne; 06-19-2023 at 06:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    Chapter 3: Memories of Divinity



    The realm of Hades, shrouded in the eternal fires of damnation, presents a haunting and treacherous landscape. Lava flows freely, consuming vast stretches of the realm in a torrent of molten fury. Flames dance and leap across the desolate plains, casting an eerie glow on the twisted terrain. Within this infernal expanse, pockets of relative safety can be found in the form of towns and villages nestled in the few areas unaffected by the relentless heat.

    However, even in these havens, the looming presence of dark creatures sends shivers down the spines of those who dwell there. Malevolent dragons, their scales glistening with the dark magic that courses through their veins, soar through the skies, seeking out the fiery cradles of active volcanoes as their lairs. These fearsome creatures instill terror in the hearts of the inhabitants, as their destructive capabilities are matched only by their insatiable hunger for chaos and destruction.

    The Consumed, denizens of Hades, are a unique and sinister species that inhabit the realm. They possess a grey-skinned appearance, which sets them apart from other beings in the multiverse. Born with an innate sense of pain and hunger, the Consumed exist in a perpetual state of suffering. Their only respite from this agony comes from consuming other creatures, temporarily alleviating their torment.

    Fire Elementals add to the infernal ambiance of Hades. These elemental creatures embody the essence of fire itself, their existence fueled by the scorching flames that engulf the realm. With their bodies comprised of swirling flames and molten embers, Fire Elementals possess immense destructive power. They can manifest in various forms, from towering infernal beings to agile and elusive entities. Fueled by their insatiable desire for destruction, Fire Elementals wreak havoc throughout Hades, their presence an ever-present threat to the inhabitants.

    At the heart of Hades lies the capital city, Tartarus, a stark reflection of the realm's torment and cruelty. Nestled deep within a colossal pit, the city stands as a testament to the endurance of its inhabitants amidst the unyielding fires that surround them. Walls rise high, encircling the pit and serving as a formidable barrier, preventing the ceaseless flow of lava from consuming the city's heart.

    Within the depths of Tartarus, an ominous atmosphere pervades the underground city. Shadows dance along the walls, whispering tales of anguish and despair. The air is thick with the scent of smoldering embers, while the distant roars of the imprisoned souls echo through the winding tunnels. It is in this foreboding place that Malphas, Duchess of Pain, holds sway, her presence looming like a dark cloud over the denizens of Hades.

    Descending to the depths of the pit, one discovers a chilling spectacle—an arena, its foundations etched into the very bedrock of Hades. In this macabre theater of suffering, Malphas indulges in her sadistic tendencies, forcing prisoners into deadly battles of strength and skill. Gladiators, stripped of their former glory and left to wither under the weight of their past deeds, clash in brutal combat. The cheers of the twisted onlookers mingle with the agonized screams of the combatants, creating a symphony of suffering that reverberates throughout Tartarus.

    In this nightmarish realm of flames and despair, survival is a constant struggle, and the will to overcome the pain and torment becomes the true measure of one's strength. Hades stands as a testament to the darkest recesses of the divine realm, a place where Malphas revels in the cruel dance of power and suffering, and where the indomitable spirit of the condemned dares to defy the infernal flames that seek to consume them.

    Deep within the bowels of Tartarus, where the fires of damnation cast their wicked glow, lies a chamber of despair. A tall and regal silhouette, a noble deity bounded by the infernal shackles, awaited his fate in the middle of the arena's dungeon.

    The cell itself is a grotesque embodiment of torment and confinement. The walls, jagged and scorched, seem to pulsate with malevolence. Sinister shadows dance along the rough-hewn stone, casting twisted silhouettes that writhe in macabre patterns. The air is heavy with the acrid scent of brimstone, a constant reminder of the infernal realm that surrounds him.

    In the dimly lit cell, chains of searing iron wrap tightly around Celestial, their links etched with runes of binding. Each metallic coil glows with unholy energy, seeping into his godly essence, attempting to suppress his once indomitable power. The chains anchor him to the charred floor, rendering him immobile, a captive of his own divine might.

    As moments stretch into eternity, a distant rumble echoes through the oppressive stillness, a sound that signifies the approach of the minions of the Judge. Shadows grow longer, twisting and contorting as they crawl along the walls, heralding the arrival of the Consumed.

    The heavy iron door to the cell creaks open, revealing a group of grotesque minions, adorned in darkened armor and bearing the mark of Minos. Their eyes burn with a cruel glimmer and hunger as they step into the cell, their presence suffusing the chamber with a tangible malevolence. Their bodies are contorted and malformed as if they have been warped by the very darkness that permeates Tartarus. Their flesh is pale and sickly, stretched taut over sinewy muscles that ripple with unnatural strength. Bony protrusions jut out from their limbs, resembling twisted spikes or jagged thorns, adding to their menacing appearance.

    Their faces are distorted and grotesque, with sunken eye sockets housing eyes that burn with a cruel intensity that glints with a malevolent intelligence. Their noses, if they can be called such, are reduced to mere slits or misshapen bumps on their otherwise featureless faces. Jagged fangs, sharp and uneven, protrude from their twisted mouths, dripping with black-oily saliva as they hungered for god-flesh. However, these tamed Consumed do not dare devour the gladiators of this arena, for they fear the Judge's wrath. No, they can enjoy their cold corpses instead after the battle.

    The minions' limbs are elongated and malformed, ending in gnarled hands with sharp, claw-like fingers that twitch with eerie anticipation. They move with an unsettling grace, their steps silent and calculated, as if they are extensions of the shadows themselves. The darkened metal plates that encase their bodies seem to absorb the surrounding light, giving them an ominous presence that is both unsettling and captivating.

    As they approach the captured deity in his infernal cell, the minions move with a unity that borders on the supernatural. Their synchronized movements speak of an unbreakable bond of subservience to their master as if they exist solely to carry out his bidding without question.

    Cross-armed by the chains and shackles, Aegis, the God of Kings and Rulership, glared in defiance at the Consumed. "Foul demons, release me at once," he commanded and his words reverberated in the infernal cell. The minions paused momentarily, wary of the God's Divine Authority, but his powers have been greatly diminished by the rune shackles and so they only cackled in response before retrieving the ends of the chains to drag the deity to the arena.

    The journey through the labyrinthine depths of Tartarus is fraught with peril and malevolent presence. The minions of Minos, their consumed forms moving with eerie grace, navigate the treacherous terrain with a haunting familiarity. They guide Aegis through winding passages adorned with ancient symbols and macabre murals depicting scenes of torment and suffering.

    As they traverse the corridors, the air grows heavy with the stench of brimstone and the lingering aura of despair. The distant echoes of tortured souls reverberate through the stone walls, their anguished cries serving as a constant reminder of the fate that awaits those unfortunate enough to be trapped in this realm of eternal torment.

    As the minions of Minos guide Aegis through the final stretch, the imposing gates of the arena loom before them. The gates, forged from dark iron and adorned with intricate carvings depicting scenes of conquest and suffering, stand as a forbidding threshold between captivity and the theater of fate.

    Aegis, his once regal form now bound in heavy chains, steps forward with measured determination. His movements are marked by an air of defiance, a silent proclamation that his spirit remains unyielding despite his physical restraints. His shackles, forged with ancient magic to suppress his godly powers, emit a faint ethereal glow, a testament to the immense energy contained within him.

    The arena itself sprawls before him, a vast expanse surrounded by towering obsidian walls that rise high into the darkened skies. The air is thick with anticipation, electric energy that crackles in the atmosphere. The ground beneath his feet is a mixture of charred earth and jagged rocks, remnants of countless battles fought and won or lost within this unforgiving battleground.

    Spectators fill the stands, their eyes gleaming with a savage hunger for a good show. They comprised a motley assembly of deities, demons, and otherworldly beings, their forms as diverse as their wicked intentions. A palpable air of anticipation thickened the atmosphere, crackling with sinister energy.

    Whispers of dark desires and sadistic pleasure coursed through the crowd, their voices muffled and barely contained. Like hungry vultures awaiting their feast, they perched on the edges of their seats, their restless anticipation growing with each passing moment. Their twisted souls reveled in the impending clash between gods, eager to witness the culmination of their most depraved cravings.

    The Consumed guide Aegis to the center, where a raised platform awaits. This platform, encircled by an ethereal barrier, stands as a focal point, a stage upon which the final act of this grim performance will unfold. As Aegis steps onto the platform, the chains that bind him rattle and clank, their metallic symphony a haunting reminder of his captivity. His eyes survey the arena, his gaze steady and unyielding. Despite the weight of his restraints, his presence commands attention, his noble bearing undiminished even in the face of adversity.

    The crowd's anticipation crescendos and a hushed silence falls over the arena. All eyes turn to Minos, the arbiter of judgment, who now stands at the edge of the platform, his grotesque visage a mask of sinister authority. Aegis meets his unseen gaze, the unspoken challenge between them fueling the tension that hangs in the air.

    Spoiler: Minos: God of Judgment 


    "And so, our first gladiator arrives," Minos menacingly announced from his maw - his voice unnaturally shifting between low and guttural to high and piercing. His faceless head cast a gaze towards the other bounded deities being guided to their doomed fates in the arena.
    Last edited by RedKayne; 06-19-2023 at 07:39 PM.

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    In the dank cells of Hades' foulest dungeon, the goddess of autumn lay in wait. Curled on her side, face pressed against the cool and unyielding stone, Sidhe's body was a tapestry of bruises and muddy scabs. Purple, brown, yellow, all the colors of contusion bloomed across her torso and arms. Her normally-sleek black hair hung lank with grease, sweat, and veins of dried blood. Her face was a special kind of ruined, silver eyes ringed in puffy black, lips split and cheeks scratched with wounds that refused to heal. She had not come quietly, and this was her punishment.

    In the first days, she had tried every manner of escape within her power. Quiet rage, threats of violence, promises of retaliation. The searing chains around her limbs and neck bound her too tightly to shapeshift, some property of the Hadesian metal that forcibly reverted her to her humanoid form. She could not call on the aid of nature if there was none to be found. The only things that would grow here were the bloodflies gorging themselves on her scabs. The Crescent Moon Sickle failed to heed its master's call. Even her gift of visions was blocked. She had nearly been successful when she had grabbed one of the Consumed and overwhelmed its senses with the euphoric sensation of godsflesh, but she had been thoroughly punished for that, and now her jailers always remained well out of reach. If she could just grab the strands of death and destiny, she would strangle them all. But alas, it was beyond her reach.

    She was roused from her half-doze by the heavy creak of the door. A pack of the Consumed strode into her cell, carrying long poles with hooks. Their eyeless gaze watched her with fathomless hunger and a part of her recoiled. If she were free, she would scatter them like leaves! Rip them apart and bury their bodies in the cold and quiet earth where they would nourish spring's bloom. She hardly realized that they had slipped their hooks into her chains until they began to move, dragging her out of her cell.

    She was marched up endless flights of stairs, her only means of measuring distance being the subtle lightening of the gloom of the pit and the layers of anguished screams. They howled for salvation, for release, for death, for their mothers, for all manner of things she could not give them. She would see Malphas' pale corpse interred in the coldest sucking bog of Averas for this. Compared to the hellish pit she had been placed in, the embrace of the earth seemed too good for the Duchess of Pain.

    Her chains rattled as they pulled her to a stop before a massive thorny obsidian wall. A cruel-looking portcullis raised and the pack shoved her bodily through the dank tunnel, pressuring her onto the jagged volcanic earth of the arena. She blinked as her vision adjusted to the sudden change of light, catching hazy glimpses of carrion-crow crowds watching in vicious anticipation. Finally, her eyes settled on the only person actually within the arena: a broad-shouldered mountain of a man, brown hair, with a strong jaw and an indomitable spirit that Sidhe immediately clocked as a god of Order. His regal disposition, his battered crimson armor... Sidhe recognized him from somewhere, but the exact identity of this god eluded her.

    The announcer-creature, doubtless some god of bloodshed or carnage or massacre, all the Pain gods were essentially the same, slithered and snarled some foul-tongued threat she missed. If this was where she was fated to die, she would do it with grace. She would not participate in Malphas' insane games, nor the needless slaughter of other gods. She reached her pedestal with her head held high. There would be death, she could feel it in her bones. Whose remained to be seen.
    <a href=https://images.app.goo.gl/MJKETshMQ8yXopEM8 target=_blank>https://images.app.goo.gl/MJKETshMQ8yXopEM8</a>

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    What was the worst thing about being in Hades? Could it be the foul stench that permeated literally everything? The stench of rot, decay, death, the iron of blood. Was it the near constant darkness that seemed to flood every corridor? Was it the sounds of agonized screaming, of torture, the sounds of bone crunching beneath heavy feet or in foul jaws? Being forced to choose just one thing to hate above all else seemed like luxury. But when pressed, Marette the Goddess of time could tell you without the slightest bit of hesitation - it was the silence. Not silence in a literal sense, for that was obviously not up on offer for the denizens of the damned realm, but a sort of personal silence. Shackled and rendered unable to help oneself, her powers unable to be accessed. It was the silence that came with this unfortunate turn of circumstance. No longer could she hear or see the mortal plane she would have guided and watched over. No longer could she aide the call of the divine that may need her. No longer could she access every memory she had of every detail of her thousands of years. It was isolation, and that was terrifying.

    The once pristine and beautiful Marette, a timeless creature now sat knelt on her knees in the center of her cell. Her stark white locks stained an unholy colour, her skin covered in a mixture of her own sweat, blood that poured and congealed from her wounds along her neck, wrists, and feet, all places she was bound and struggled against. The putrid filth of this world drying on once porcelain skin entirely unblemished. All manner of disgusting creatures fed from her godly blood, flies and mites all drunk now with her divinity, the closest they would ever get in their pathetic short lives. The black robes of mourning that she wore were tattered and torn, the fabric that once so clung so closely to her flesh to accentuate her beauty were mere rags.

    The cries of the Consumed as they came to fetch her reminded Marette of petulant children, which they were in a sense, all longing to please their dearest mother, their Goddess, their Duchess. She could feel their unseeing gaze wander over every bit of her body, but still she would not look up, she would not willingly cast her eyes upon such beasts. Marette though, could not hate them, for they too were children of a God and simply doing what they were born, raised, trained to do without so much of as a thought. But she could loathe them, and loathe them she did with every fiber of her being.

    There was a stinging sensation, a feeling of flame rising from the small of her back where a weapon had just now pierced her flesh, the heat flowing through her veins, searing her from the inside out. Marette opened her eyes and now looked up and forward. "My hour of fate is upon me." She spoke softly, gently before gritting her teeth, clenching her jaws to suppress a scream as the blade pushed further into her, slowly moving upward, a command without word to stand up. Everything was lost. Was this what it was to be so rendered to lame?

    Unlike her kith, Marette was not led up stairs, but rather into a darkened corridor that seemed to go on without end, forever forward in darkness and the unknown. The screams of prisoners in cells that lined the path were enough to strike a profound sadness in the Goddess. She longed to help those she could, which was remarkable as Marette generally had little sympathy, often preferring to simply allow events to unfold as they were meant to. Had imprisonment made her soft? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was simply now experiencing something she had only imagined or heard of. Despite the endless prodding, she would move forward at the pace she chose, she would meet what was to come on as much of her own terms as possible. The wretched bitch who lorded over this domain would not get the satisfaction of compliance or complacency from Marette. Oh no, that would be far too easy, far too good for her. The thought of ending her, of wiping her from the pages of history brought the smallest hint of a smirk to the Goddess. Time waits for no one, death comes for everyone mortal or divine. It would not be satisfied without the most wicked, or the most holy.

    Her bare feet made a gentle splash as she walked, the ground soiled in what she could only assume was blood, excrement, mud, all sorts of pieces of life torn asunder. It wasn't until a massive iron gate opened with a long creak, that some degree of light poured in and the Goddess was pushed out, like she was birthed into a new world, a world she longed to flee from. Before her in the distance was a God she knew, the God of Judgment. A beast so vile, so wretched, she would not even conjure the thought of his name for that was to give him too much power, too much control over her. The voice, if one could call it that, which came forth from the gnashing maw was enough to send a literal shake through her bones and muscle. It tore through her like an uneasy wave just about to break on the shoreline.

    The roar of the crowd as Marette was led onto the field of the arena was unmistakable. Never in her long life had so many cheered for her death at one time, much less in unison. Marette looked out over the festering audience and smiled brightly, almost gleefully in an act of defiance followed by a brief pause to curtsy, before being prodded to move forward. She was no longer afraid, even if she were to die, she would do so on her own terms once more. She strode out with grace and elegance, despite the chains that bound her, her feet at least free now to move her along. There were two more figures she could make out as she drew closer.

    One was a man with tattered armor, crimson as the tides of blood that had swept over this place once upon a time. Strong, resilient and exuding a kind of confidence she might otherwise condemn some for. He was perfectly poised and composed, a God of Order no doubt. But which one was he? It was only when he came into view a bit clearer that she understood. Aegis. She had never met the Eternal. But she had seen him through the eyes of the great many Kings and Rulers that had come and gone over the millennia she stood at the helm. No two viewed him the same, but somewhere in the mix of lived experience there was truth. But his exploits were lost to her too gone they were with most of her memories of the tales of the mortals.

    The second was a woman, a woman she would recognize anywhere regardless of form. The Goddess of Autumn and the Harvest, the reaper from Averas. Someone she deeply admired, for the most part. Everyone had their differences after all. Even she, so ancient a being had been captured but how? The powers that had taken them seemed to act without bound. Sidhe must have fought hard against it. The markings were clear, the abuse was still clearer. She was always a fighter in spirit if not necessarily in action, she was involved and active, she played a central role. It seemed that no one was immune and in their new order, the world they found themselves in without the steady hand of true Kingship had indeed been reshaped in a sinister image.

    How many would die today? That was a question. The other, who would tell their stories? Who would remember them as they were? Who would chronicle their history in the last of days? Marette, however, was not resigned to her own death, far from it. Putting these individuals together seemed like an oversight, a mistake. Or so she hoped it was a mistake they could use to their advantage. The future was as yet unwritten, they would be the quills who would ink the path for themselves in their own blood if necessary.
    Last edited by Hannelorian; 06-20-2023 at 02:50 PM.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

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    The air of the city was thick with burning ash. The ruins of apartment blocks jutted into the sky like broken teeth, ghost-fires guttering in their shattered windows. Above them storm clouds were gathering, great snarling thunderheads with swords of lightning aflash in their depths.

    The family huddled in the ruin of a shopfront, ragged scarfs pulled up over their blistered lips. Their eyes were red-raw, too ash-burned to weep. The youngest of them sobbed quietly as a low, rattling growl drifted through the streets outside. Broken glass crunched as he tried to wriggle back further into the shadows beneath the counter. His mother held him still, one hand cupped over his mouth to stifle his whimpering. The Consumed had no eyes to see, but their other senses were sharp enough.

    They loped towards the smashed shopfront window one after the other, three of them. They were humanoid but the proportions were all wrong - limbs too long, spines too hunched, with hooked talons for fingers. Their heads were smooth domes of bone that bisected above the truncated stub of a nose and a grinning maw. The Consumed - Malphas’ demonic legion, now unleashed and glorying in their freedom to ravage and feast across a new plane of existence.

    The demons jerked their chins upward, scenting the burning air. One padded into the shop, lipless mouth skinned back in anticipation, saliva stringing between needle teeth.

    “Get away from them, demon.”

    The Consumed turned, snarling and barking at the challenge.

    A woman dressed in ragged grey was pacing through the rubble to intercept them. Her skin was a dull grey-green, as if the ash blowing in the wind had settled and stained her flesh. She raised her arms, and for a brief moment they ran with golden light, flowing along a tracery of whorls and runes.

    Two of the Consumed abandoned the shopfront and began circling to flank the woman, hunched low and poised to leap. God-flesh was sweeter than that of humans.

    The woman closed her hand, opened it. A dim blue orb flared in her palm, a spark of ice against the raging firestorm. The third Consumed, bolder than its kin, stalked forward to block her approach, loping on its splayed finger-claws.

    The woman stared it down. Her face was a malange of features, difficult to pin down to any one ethnic heritage, and framed by dark hair that hung ragged and greasy in the caking ash-storm. The orb of light flickered, its blue glow dancing in the pupils of soft eyes turned hard.

    “I said, get away from them.”

    The demon’s teeth flexed in a hideous un-smile. The Consumed had no voices of their own, though they did, occasionally, speak. Sometimes they served as mouthpieces for the Duchess of Pain. Sometimes they used the voices of those they had eaten.

    “You have no idea what’s going on, do you?” This one spoke with the voice of a child.

    “No.” The woman drew one hand outward, the orb of light elongating, becoming a blade. “But I don’t need to.”

    The Consumed circling to her right snarled and leapt. The sword flashed once, an arc of blue sweeping through the air as the woman sidestepped. The demon’s clawed feet skidded as they met concrete once again. Its knees hit the ground next, followed by its head, half of its skull sliding away from a neat diagonal cut.

    The second Consumed howled in wordless, ravenous fury. It too charged, and there was a flash like a lightning strike as it too fell in pieces. The third crabbed backwards and leapt, the shop counter giving way under its weight. The boy and his mother scrabbled clear of the splintered wood, the child wailing in fear. The Consumed snatched out with a too-long arm and seized him by the throat, pulling him close. Ropes of saliva fell from its jaws and hissed against the ruined floor. It opened its mouth to bite.

    The glowing blade erupted from the front of the demon’s eyeless skull, shimmering and sputtering for a moment before jerking back. The demon collapsed, twitching. The boy dropped to the floor, clawing frantically at the red welts on his neck. His mother scooped him up in a vice grip, eyes wide as they darted from the demon corpse to the woman standing behind it. The father ran to the mother’s side, the other child held tight in his arms.

    Together, they looked up at the grey woman.

    “Who are you?” the mother asked, her voice a choked whisper.

    “Visana.” the woman replied softly. The blade shrank, becoming an orb again, and then a spark, before finally flickering out. “Shh, it’s okay. You’re safe now.”

    The family couldn’t meet her eyes, and they flinched back as the woman extended her hands, but eventually they let her touch them. The woman put her fingertips on the humans one by one, whispering in the language of starlight and stone crypts. The runes on her grey skin pulsed, and the father snatched his hand back as a matching rune flared briefly on his own arm, spiralling up to the elbow.

    “What did you…?” he began.

    “Shh.” the woman said again. “You’re under my protection. You need to move. Follow the street, take a left down the hill. There’s a military hospital still standing.”

    The rune-light faded. At the end of the street, something howled.

    “Go!” she urged them.

    The family looked at each other. “Thank you.” the mother whispered, and then they went.

    Visana followed them out into the street, then turned in the opposite direction. The building directly in front of her had collapsed into the road, forming a glacis of brickwork and broken rebar. At the top of the rubble mound, twisted shapes appeared, backlit by the burning sky.

    The demons prowled in, crunching down the rubble slope and skittering along ruined walls. They did not see the humans - they scented god-flesh, and they hungered.

    The woman brought her hands together, the blue light running through her fingers once more. Behind her four humans were running. Ahead of her were ten Consumed, twenty, forty.

    Visana’s fingers trembled. She flexed them. No chance, the goddess knew as the light of the glowing blade flickered and danced across her face. No chance at all, but also no choice.

    Sweeping the blade up to guard, she began to climb.

    * * * * * *

    The air of Tartarus was thick with burning ash. Visana’s tongue was clotted with it, wetted only by the blood filling her mouth. The smell of scorched metal burned her nose, and her ears were ringing with the shrieking cackle of hungry demons.

    There were iron manacles on her wrists, dragging her down with more than mere weight. The fell runes etched on them hurt to look at, and didn’t seem to want to be read - sliding out of focus whenever she tried to look at them.

    The stonework around her sweated and steamed, running with channels of molten light. At the end of the tunnel a spiked gate stood open, gaping like a fanged mouth. From beyond it came the roar of a crowd hungry for blood. A spear pricked the small of her back, goading her forward.

    Visana raised her bound hands to shield her eyes as she was pushed outside, into a light that was migraine-bright and murder-red. Cliffs of stone rose in a ring around her, hemming her in. Demons crammed the rows of the amphitheater, thundering down a black storm of howls and cheers. At the eye of the storm stood a lesser god of the damned realms, ragged wings spread from the overlook of a carved obsidian dais. He had too many limbs, and there was something horribly insect-like about the mouthparts that worked in the centre of his chest - splitting where jaws should not split, quivering, never still.

    Minos, Visana realised, feeling needles of ice crawl across her skin. The sin reaper. Malphas’ soul-judge.

    All at once, the crashing roars of the crowd ceased. Heads turned as one towards the Judge on his dais. The chittering chest-mouth flexed and a voice boomed forth; a fell voice that somehow echoed and chorused all by itself.

    The voice pulsed jolts of pain through Visana’s skull. She flinched aside, and noticed for the first time the other figures in the arena with her. She saw the two women first: one was slender and had the sharp-boned Averasian look, and was clad in tattered feathers. The other was a fellow Elysian for sure; short and white-haired, and dressed in the shreds of a once-elegant buff coat. Surely not the Timekeeper…?

    The goddess that might have once been Marette curtsied, offering the crowd a hideous smile. Both women were defiant - beneath veils of filthy hair, their eyes glowed from torn faces, beaten every way except down.

    But there was a third figure on the platform.

    The sight of him, a noble giant in tarnished armour, almost stopped Visana’s heart. Her vision tunnelled, her world shrinking down to that one battered face.

    Aegis.

    Had he fallen to Earth like so many others, and been taken as she had? Or was the demon horde already ravening across her home plane of Elysium? The answer scarcely mattered.

    If our greatest general is captured… Visana closed her fists to stop her fingers from shaking. Blood roared in her ears, louder than the baying crowd.

    They were truly doomed.
    Last edited by Azazeal849; 09-18-2023 at 08:31 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Ridstus.

    A god whose domain had come tumbling down around him. At one moment he was at the top of the world, hand in every corporation known to man; always linked-in. The next, reduced to nothing more than a technophile who has an eye for progress.

    Hades was the last place he thought he'd be but as fate would have it, they absolutely despised him. So much so, that he found himself in chains that he cannot break surrounded by a thick atmosphere wreaking of hate and misery. It was like they served him up a shit sandwich for which he was forced to eat. And that wasn't all, fate had an entire buffet out for not just him but every other god that got caught up in this mess.

    At least, he was sipping martinis on a beach in Montene--

    In a half-conscious state, Ridstus felt another jolt as his body fully came online. He was still in Hades. In fact, he was being forcibly marched along down an infernal corridor to what sounded like screams and roars of a crowd. To Ridstus' surprise he was before what looked like hundreds, if not thousands, of Consumed, seeing their gnarled and twisted expressions sharing close-ties with glee. "Eww..."

    Ridstus' expression turned from surprise to horror upon seeing the platform above the arena. One figure, one that he is familiar with. A being Riddy dreaded coming face-to-face to.

    'Minos. An abomination with a mug not even a mother could love.'

    And when Minos spoke, there was a disruption wave within his body. He quivered as his joints and actuators recalibrated and readjusted.

    However, his eyes fall to Aegis. His expression shifts once more to that of anger at the sight of seeing him bounded and paraded like a wounded, caged, lion. Ridstus never really appreciated the goody-two-shoes but he admired his unwavering resolve. His near-limitess potential, too, he admired. So, to see him in such a state put a dent in his own resolve.

    "So," Riddy said looking to the other gods present at their stands, "I guess it's too late to say that the roaches of Pain are even uglier in person." Amplifying his voice so as to be heard, giving a fleeting smirk.
    Last edited by Dire Hoef; 07-05-2023 at 12:00 AM.

  7. #7
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    It was the familiar sound of the last breath leaving some poor soul’s lungs that roused him. Grunts of pain and screams for mercy echoed through his skull. The strange concoction of rotting flesh and filth coated the inside of his nostrils. A soft sigh of frustration tore itself from deep within his ribs before passing cracked lips to mingle with the hot, disgusting air. Almost by habit, his left hand raised to his jaw. Caressing the pain of a deeply cancerous molar with his palm. His tongue sought out the pain to try and bring relief through pressure. There was no warmth against his palm, nor did he source any of the pain that had once filled his mouth. His eyes snapped open.

    Copper.

    Copper flecks fluttered before his eyelashes, like glitter gifted from the morning sun’s rays. A deep, content chuckle echoed against the walls of this cage. Slowly, he heaved himself to sitting cross-legged on the charred floor. He had lost count of how many hours…no days he had been here. His body had collapsed to the floor when they tossed him in, barely able to attach the collar and chains to flesh that was disintegrating under their harsh touch.

    Atrophos had slept for much of his time here. Resting. Recovering. Healing. Out of every divine being that they held here, he was the only one to look better with every passing day. Wounds that ran along his arms and what was exposed of his legs had disappeared into gnarled scars. His right shoulder had slotted back into place, the missing fingernails had regrown, and his cheeks weren’t as hollow.

    He was feeding.

    Not able to use his power…but able to feed off the decay that infested every corner of Tartarus. The decay of creatures as they turned to mulch, the heavenly decay of divine beings, and the most potent decay in Tartarus…the decay of hope. The dwindling and fading of any salvation within this realm was repairing his worn and decrepit body. Placing his hands flat on the blackened floor, he struggled to his feet. Stretching to his full height, he paused to drink in the sensation of being able to stand without assistance.

    New light entered the cell as the heavy iron door creaked open. The God of Decay lifted a chained wrist to tug the worn grey cloak from the top of his head as a small group of abominations entered. Fingers buried in the corners of his eyes as he removed the sleep that had wormed in. The creatures moved in an almost graceful dance, undoing the chains that were attached to the walls and waiting for further instructions from the largest. Atrophos clicked his jaw into place as he lazily scanned the group who held him in their grip, like an unruly puppy.

    Dark eyes settled on what he perceived to be a young creature. The body…flesh was intact. No decay on any of these creatures. But that one. There was a minuscule moment of doubt…fear….a momentary lapse in confidence. Every divine being that was imprisoned here had either begged for their freedom, spewed red-hot threats, fought back or sat silent in defiance. But this god…he slept. Slept, murmured occasionally and…hummed. The shell of a decomposing monster that had once lay crumpled on the floor was now a tall, battle scarred god.

    The scars that once littered his cheeks had healed now, yet the small smile that spread on his lips gave those scars a pleasant tingle. The moment of doubt was quickly squashed as one of the chains on his wrists was violently yanked forward, causing the god to stumble.

    “M..My staff. I need my staff.” His words came out hoarse, for he had not spoken to another soul since arriving in Tartarus.

    The only answer was a harsh cackle. Soft leather-clad feet padded their way through a length of corridors. A long grey robe dusted some of the charcoal remains that littered the stone floor. The first three corridors, he managed to shuffle along with their growing speed. But his knees had not strengthened enough to deal with the short journey just yet. Collapsing harshly onto one knee, he let out a shaky breath. The creatures did not stop. They continued to drag him along. The chains around his neck and wrists held taut as they picked up their pace.

    Atrophos finally managed to let his fingers wrap around one of the chains and used their leverage to get back on his feet. His kneecap was now a bloody mess, mixed with the dust and dirt that lay beneath his feet. Fingerprints of oxide were gifted to the chains as Atrophos forced himself to stand. Walk. Wherever they were taking him, he could not fall so easily like he had before.

    The runes that littered the collar and chains glowed for a brief moment. Atrophos could feel his brow furrowing as he tried to concentrate. For he had never met a single piece of iron that he could not rust. The glowing runes were just another failure, another reminder that this was not his realm, that he was not in control here. This was Malphas’ realm, and whatever she had planned for him had a shiver running up his spine.

    Bloodthirsty screams coated his skin as Atrophos was dragged into the coliseum. The scents of the arena overwhelmed him first. The divine scents of gods and goddesses. An order god…no, three order deities. The god stood tall; even in Tartartus a regal aura surrounded him. One of the order goddesses kept her chin raised, a level of grace and elegance that was integral to Order deities radiated from her. He recognised her, if only from passing stories. The goddess of time, here. A soft hum of concern left his body as the chains were dropped either side of his feet.

    In comparison to the regal god, Atrophos’ shoulders curled to make himself appear smaller and less of a threat. He was still blind to what was happening here. A voice echoed from above, an unnerving voice that could only belong to one fabled individual. Minos. Another hum of concern sounded as he dragged his attention to the last Order deity. Visana. He was always just a step behind her. More than once, she had cursed him for destroying her work. A strong, regal appearing god; the goddess of time; and the goddess of protection.

    It felt like the start of a strange joke. Raising his head towards the crowds, he found his attention dragged towards another of his kin. A balance goddess. Sidhe. One of the Season Sisters. This was not boding well. If this were to be a fight to the death for amusement, Atrophos would be first to go. Five collections of infernal chains with associated runes. In their current position, he doubted that they could reach Minos to free themselves.

    The gentle thumping pain in his knee caused him to sway to one side, placing his body weight on his other foot. The movement kicked up a minuscule amount of copper specks that floated skywards. Atrophos chuckled quietly - no matter how powerful the magic within those runes…the mere presence of his putrid flesh and the natural decay that he caused …it was not enough to truly protect the iron the runes sat within. Everything ends. If this were his time, so be it. But for once, he would not fade without a show.


  8. #8
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    The arena erupted with a cacophony of bloodthirsty cheers as the chained deities were dragged to the center platform, their presence a mere spectacle for the sadistic crowd. From the brimstone stands, an impish shrill voice cried out, "Finish them!" A goliath of a demon echoed the sentiment, bellowing, "Tear their hearts out!"

    High above the arena floor, the platform beneath Minos, the God of Judgment, levitated, his tentacle-arachnid legs gripping the edge. His voice, a discordant blend of guttural and piercing tones, echoed through the air. "Ladies and gentlemen, demons and devils," he sneered, relishing in his power. "Welcome to yet another glorious arena battle, where our honored guests shall face a champion of our Duchess. Allow me, Lord Minos, to introduce you to our gladiators!"

    His sightless gaze fixed upon the chained deities, a wicked smile twisting at his torso-maw. "First, we have Aegis, God of Kings and Rulership! Let us bow down to this broken lord," he mocked, his condescending laughter mingling with the jeers of the crowd. "Behold this pitiful display, a crownless monarch begging for our amusement." Aegis met Minos' silhouette with unwavering defiance, his once regal armor now tarnished with ash and soot.

    Minos shifted his attention to the next deity, a goddess battered and bruised. "Welcome, Sidhe, the Goddess of Autumn and Harvest! Once a bringer of abundance and nourishment, now withering in her own barren fields," he taunted. "She manipulates the tethers of death, but now, her own reaping nears!"

    "Marette, the Goddess of Time," Minos continued, pointing a bony finger at the disheveled figure. "Omnipresent and omniscient, yet foolish enough to be ensnared in our grasp. Time, once her domain, now turns against her, reducing her to a relic of forgotten moments." The crowd reveled in his cruel words, delighting in the public humiliation.

    He turned his attention, "Visana, the Goddess of Protection!" his legion-like voice dripped with venom. "Pathetic and weak, she once stood as a bulwark against threats. But look at her now, her shield shattered, her defenses crumbling like sandcastles. How laughable, a goddess incapable of safeguarding her own pride!"

    "Observe Ridstus, the impotent god of Industry!" Minos toyed with the next chained deity. "Once a catalyst of progress and innovation, now abandoned workshops and silenced factories stand as monuments of rust. How ironic that the god of industry has become a symbol of his own stagnation!"

    "And let us not forget Atrophos, the decaying god!" Minos brought attention to the withered figure. "Ironically named the God of Decay, his touch has brought ruin and destruction. Bound and feeble, he can now relish in his own impending demise."

    "Finally, Silvanus, the Celestial of Magic! Once they wove spells that defied reality, their incantations echoed through the realms. But now their magic is but a whisper, their powers mere smoke and mirrors. How delightful to witness a deity reduced to a mere parlor trick."

    Drawing himself to full height, Minos raised his arms and turned his gaze upward. The sky darkened as a colossal shadow cast its presence over the arena. "And now, I, Lord Minos, shall judge your fates," his voice reverberated with cruel satisfaction. "As enemies of the Duchess, I condemn you to a brutal execution at the hands of our Lady's Champion." The sound of thunderous wings filled the air. "Behold, Scorchfang, our beloved Hellwyrm of Hades!"

    The ground trembled as the colossal creature crash-landed onto the brimstone floor, towering over the walls of the arena. Its scales, as dark as the night sky, shimmered with an infernal glow, flickering like flames. Each scale was a shield, impenetrable and formidable. Spines adorned its muscular form, reflecting the surrounding fires and hinting at the devastating power it possessed.

    Spoiler: Scorchfang, the Hellwyrm of Hades 


    With eyes burning like molten lava, Scorchfang opened its jaws, revealing rows of razor-sharp teeth. Its fiery breath crackled with elemental power, a destructive force waiting to be unleashed. Wings, crafted from the very essence of fire, fluttered with intensity, casting a shadow that enveloped the arena, fueling the crowd's anticipation and fear.

    Minos clapped his slimy hands together, and an ethereal wall, bearing crimson sigils, materialized, separating him and the spectators from the impending battle. "Ladies and gentlemen, devils and demons, let the death sentence commence!" he declared, his voice slicing through the air as the crowd made a deafening roar in agreement.

    Immediately the chains around Aegies fell to the ground, the regal god brushing his shoulders casually. He outstretched his right arm and radiant light coalesced around his open palm which swiftly formulated into his legendary Scepter of Sovereignty, a lance he has carried with him on countless wars. He looked back at the rest of the deities, “It seems that the runes that bind us are no longer in effect, perhaps in an attempt to prolong this entertainment," he said the last word with distaste. "Arm yourselves, everyone,” he stated, his brown eyes filled with unwavering resolve as he turned and faced Scorchfang, prepping himself into a battle stance and pointing the lance toward their common enemy. “I don’t have the intention of letting any of us die today,” he stated with a king's promise of determination.

  9. #9
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    The lush green grass waved back and forth beneath his pointed toes. The sweet smell of nature surrounded him. The Maiden of Nature, his beloved friend, smiled as she tended to the garden. Beauty filled Avesta from one end to the next, and his beloved home was one he never wished to part with. His hand reached down and plucked a beautiful flower. Rays of light illuminated various spots in the garden and the wind danced around, playfully tugging at Silvannus' hair and robes. Silvannus looked at the flower in his hand and watched it slowly decay. Beauty was replaced with death. His eyes widened as his eyes opened in Hades. The foul odious stench of death, smoke and darkness filled his nostrils.

    He was in chains, and these chains had sigils inscribed upon them. How dare they use what he was created to control against him? His eyes fell on the minions of this realm, the ugliest creatures only the Duchess of Pain could love, if love was even possible in the space in her chest where a heart would be. How he missed his Maiden and her gentle hand. How he missed their long conversations and how he missed her encouragement. The slimy creatures grabbed him and began to handle him in a way he did not appreciate.

    "Remove your hands from me this instant," Silvannus said, annoyance laced in his tone. "I shall cleave your nonexistent souls for this."

    The consumed seemed to enjoy his threats. He could have sworn one of them managed to smirk. This place would crumble by his hand. One day it would all end. Silvannus would tug away from the Consumed as they marched him toward what looked to be a makeshift arena. Did she expect him to fight? Not that he couldn't, as he was trained well despite the path of illumination he chose after his sweet Maiden went into a comatose state. As he entered the arena, he noticed the other deities, each with a different odor. Silvannus sighed and rolled his eyes.

    "This is blasphemous," he said, almost in a sneer as they were all brought to the center of the arena. Minos began speaking, going over each of their names and what they governed, and laced each detail with distaste and blatant disrespect. How dare he speak of him in such a manner? If this were different, if the tables were turned he would reduce Minos to nothing but a speck between his celestial fingers.

    His mind was working, trying to find a flaw in the situation that they all were in. Minos, the Lord of Judgement stood above them as if mocking who they were, as if smearing in their face the very facts of their existence.

    "You are not worthy to speak my name you petulant mistake of a creation," Silvannus yelled, but it was no use. The crowd around them enjoyed the fight, the struggle, and when Minos decided to bring the champion of the Duchess of Pain, Silvannus' eyes fell upon the great fiery beast. Wide-eyed, he knew this was troubling. The shackles that bound him did more than just accessorize his tattered look. They ensured that he could not do what it is he was created to do, but as quickly as he glanced at the shackles did they suddenly fall off.

    Aegis began to speak, summoning his weapon. The God of Kings and Rulership. Such an amazing title for a deity who he respected. When the chains dropped to the ground, Silvannus could breathe. He inhaled and despite the stench, he felt the arcane energy within Hades, the vein reaching beyond this realm to the next.

    "Glorious," he said, his hand crackling with ethereal mana. Moving his hands in a circle, beautiful spell circles appeared and took the form of two ethereal fans.
    Spoiler: Ethreal Fans of Avesta 

    The fans revolved around him before floating near his shoulder. "It has been a great while since I have decimated a foe, but I must admit it is exciting."
    Last edited by RisingPhoenix; 07-04-2023 at 05:57 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Ridstus was made to feel like a thing. A toy even! And He was only 95% of a thing!

    Ridstus' hair digitally changed from its signature blue to a crimson with fiery highlights; his expression bleeding with the utmost hatred.

    'Now it's personal stink breath.'

    However the anty was only going to increase from here as the stage was set. The skies darkened, their fates judged, and a fire-breathing hell dragon quaked the arena. They really wanted them dead. Though, it was no surprise to Riddy. How else were they going to satiate their crazed hellbeast? It's not like anyone in this infernal place were going to even attempt to even think about going near it. Honestly, he can't even blame them.

    But, the odds, seemingly, were not in their favor.

    "And they're not even playing fair? Hilarious!"

    He rolled his own shoulders, feeling the chains come free as the battle reared its draconic head.

    "Big mistake fuckwad.." He finally outstretched his arms and exhausted an abundance of steam. He smirked.

    Then, in one sift motion, he conjured up two titanium-firing revolvers made out of obsidian and gold. His body hissed and whined as all of its bionic faculties engage at once. The exhaust of power extended outward as a tight sphere of heat and magic. Here, Ridstus' full combat capabilities came online. He stepped up towards Aegis, standing just off to his right. He was already tired of this, but ass-kicking called.

    "Don't worry big guy. We'll take care of fido over here, and be back in time for brunch. It's on me if we're late. " He gave Aegis a wink before he turned his attention to the creature.

    He aimed his right gun straight at the centermost point on the creature's head; calculating the trajectory near-instantaneously via his HUD in his right eye. "Let's see what fido can do." He primed his revolver, ready to fire at the slightest twitch.

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