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He failed. In one climactic instant Strazio fell. There was no grand monologue or even a desperate death rattle. Nemesis struck him down and without giving him a moment of reprieve, activated the banishment circle. Strazio thrashed against the inevitable, clawing at the white circle branded into his flesh. His struggled lasted mere moments. In an instant his vision shattered, breaking apart into thousands of twisting fractals. End over end he was thrown screaming into the space between worlds. As he plummeted through the void the only coherent thought he could grasp was that Gamzee would miss him. Then, abrupt and sudden like a gunshot, Strazio landed. His body shunted into place, ripped viciously into existence. Brimstone and sulfuric scents washed away the moldering fugue of the moors.

Strazio cried out as his muscles spasmed violently. He writhed about, his fingers clawing trenches into the ruddy dirt that surrounded him. Slowly his body adjusted. As his agony faded he was left sweating and covered in dusty red clay. His mind collected itself and stitched together the gravity of his situation. This was the Underverse. He rolled onto his back and stared up at the rust-soaked sky.


He squeezed his eyes shut tight. For the first time in his life he prayed to see the dreary deathscape of the moors. But, alas, it was nowhere to be found. He sat up and surveyed his surroundings. Miles upon miles of jagged red earth stretched out before him, broken only by sharp spires of glass scratching at the flesh-colored sky. Sour-smelling smoke drifted up from cracks in the earth. Strazio inhaled deep, filling his lungs with the arid heat. His heartbeat slowed and he controlled his breathing. Rage subsided and clarity flourished. Emerald sparkled to life in his eyes.

"Alright," Strazio said, "Tearen made it out, I can too."

His clarity cracked and the God-mind vanished. Nemesis appeared in his mind's eye, cackling like a lunatic. Strazio clenched his fists. The bastard was probably laughing now. Laughing at him. He'd probably go back to Dracula and boast about how he took down the Defender of Darkshire so easily. Strazio ground his teeth against one another. Sparks fizzled across his body. He screamed and threw his hands to the sky. Twin bolts of magick tore through the air like lightning, vanishing with a chaotic peal of thunder.

"I'm going to fucking kill you!" Strazio screamed, "I'll turn this verse into glass if I have to, Nemesis!"

His threats did not fall upon deaf ears. As he rattled off curse after curse a sudden impact from behind interrupted him. He lurched forward, propelled by the force of impact. Whatever struck him splashed against his back, swallowing his torso like a missile made of tar. It smelled like burning hair and has the consistency of thick porridge. Strazio slammed against the ground, covered in slime and disoriented. Before he could right himself the sludge crackled and hardened into a solid the color of bone. With his face pinned against the earth he was only vaguely aware of the lumbering creatures forming around him. Their bare feet plodded against the clay. They spoke in a language filled with quick and sharp tones.

Strazio craned his neck up and said, “Please, tell me you’re serious, because I need to hurt something real bad.”

Without waiting for an answer his flesh began to tear away, breaking apart into small fiery motes. A grin cracked across his face as his head began to peel away. A solid blow crashed against his skull, sending his consciousness into the depths. The fireflies fizzled and the Defender of Darkshire slipped into a concussion-fueled sleep.
[Image: StrazSig.png]

[Image: DarkshireBadge.png][Image: DarkshireDefenseBadge.png][Image: SecondarySaga.png][Image: HerosGraveyardBadge.png]

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