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The King and his merry men

The party passed through the gate, to the blazing sun and burning winds of the dunes, their nostalgic sting bringing back memories of the past, not all of them pleasant. Victor had been unusually quiet, his entire knowledge of how this world functioned changing. Now he knew that it was possible to escape banishment, something he had bearly even considered before. This brought fear, after all, he had sent many a strong warrior to the depths of the Underverse, however, it also brought hope. 

Gilgamesh returning could not come at a better time, it was clear that Nippur and the Dunes needed a strong leader, and Gilgamesh had already proven more than capable in this role, everything seemed to fall into place perfectly for the assassin. All they had to do was head into their former capital, put everyone who opposed them to the sword, and then rebuild. And that would be made even easier as it seemed that Gilgameshes charisma had once again gained them even more allies. 

As they walked Victor eyed up their new travel companions first examining the so-called exorcist. Whilst he had threatened to behead the assassin who in this world hadn't at least thought about that in some way? He had not earned the assassins trust yet but assuming he could do that Victor could see a very effective soldier in the swordsman, he had stood up to Victor and even blocked the Kings attacks. Victor finished eyeing up the Exorcist drawing his attention as he removed a small book from within his cloak, followed by a pencil. He said out loud "knight" as he wrote it down followed by a pause I never learned his name hm, guess I have to improvise. Victor then wrote a dash followed by "Swordsorcist". The Exorcist gave him a suspicious look as Victor smiled at him "don't mind me, just making notes for the future, after all, someone has to plan that out" he chuckled to himself. The Stoic exorcist clearly judging him with his eyes.

As they continued walking Victor changed the object of his attention, their other new companion, the bumbling fool that had made the Nexus situation even more of a mess and had an even stranger fascination with Goldie than himself. Still, he did appear to have some mechanical part, and as he remembered from his fight with the plague marine, metal hitting flesh is not idea for an unarmoured assassin. There was also the matter of how this stranger knew his name, perhaps he wasn't as much of a fool as the party first thought. Victor then opened up his book once again and began to jot down the words One armed swordsman, followed by saying and writing "Meatshield". Causing the assassin to laugh a little more. He then added, possible court jester finally closing his book, putting it back in his pocket.

The Imperial town of Careforre could be seen in the distance, a good marker for the way back to Nippur, a perfect symbol of all that is wrong with the dunes, a last bastion of the ones who allowed the place to end up in a perpetual state of survival of the fittest, even the toughest people struggling to make a living. And with the constant fight that was survival the natives clearly never really had the time to think about law, and culture, and working together to build a prosperous society. Victor grinned, he knew that if Gilgamesh succeeded it was likely that this now barren land would become a gem that everyone in the world would envy, and Victor would have a prime spot in this new society. Drowning out the people around him Victor thought about just what his role in this revival would be, how could he help unite the people of Nippur, what is it they don't have that allowed them to fall so quickly to infighting and bandits.

At that moment an idea slowly pieced itself together in Victor's head, a way that he could further unify the populace, making him invaluable to Gilgamesh, and securing his legacy, it was a sly one, not something he would normally support, but desperate times called for desperate measures. He would have to work out the detail later, but the idea seemed solid in his head. As for the favour that Gilgamesh had promised him, Victor had a few ideas, but he would keep them to himself until it suited him, after all, they still had a city to clear out and rebuild before any of his dreams of decadence could be achieved. 

Snapping back to Reality Victor noticed his Dataverse device, realising that he had not yet reported in, he sprung forward with a massive burst of speed, causing sand to be kicked into the air as he moved stopping side by side with Gilgamesh. With a smirk, he announced "Reporting in sir!" Causing the Golden King to raise an eyebrow "Something to report?" he continued walking but turned an ear to the assassin. "Well, sir after your banishment I was killed by one of the enemies demons in the same battle, sacrificed myself to allow some of our civilians to get away safely. After that, the Ninja boy and I got involved in another DA like disturbance, that lead to us being once again killed, impaled by some sort of super prime.  After I revived it seemed like some time had passed but I did manage to send Shay and Erik to try and secure your glorious capital city, however, it appears that it is not going to well, and Sasuke appears to have disappeared, over all things have been much better my lord"  

Gilgamesh took a second to respond almost a little surprised at how poorly things had gone without him "is there any good news?" he questioned causing Victor to gulp "well I guess the good news is that things can only get better?"
[Image: LMLzBQ4.gif][Image: psgGbSy.png]                                                                                                                                [Image: 2lvxt0w.gif]

The cadre of demigods walked slowly down the dusty path that lead from the gate for a few miles until it was consumed by the cropped, copper colored grassland that rustled wistfully under the light of the high-noon sun. They shouldn't have been traveling by the heat of day in the Dunes, but this was the King's wish, so by gum were they gonna do it. Drake was in hell.

He hadn't walked on foot anywhere for more than a thousand yards in...years? He'd have taken a chariot...no...a fucking unicycle over this pedestrian shit. His hat and jacket were tied around his waist, revealing the true, haunting gauntness of his body. The scarred, atrophied stump of his right arm swung out of habit as he marched along, and he noticed Yu Kanda keep staring at it. Yeah. He knew who all these guys were. Who knew who almost everyone in the Omniverse was, and never missed a beat on current events.

That's why, when he was forced to listen to Wolfe's bumbling explanation of the Nippur situation, the smuggler cleared his throat loudly.

"If it would please the King..." Drake said, trotting a few feet to catch up to the pair, "...I could possibly provide some insight into the situation since the...incident."

Gilgamesh stared down at the scrawny, dark-skinned man with a vicious red glare before fixing his crimson eyes back on the horizon.

"Speak swiftly."

Drake walked ahead slightly and tapped the holo display on his Datavice. The smartphone beeped slightly before projecting a faint screen into the air for all to see.

"Nippur has been falling apart since Law trashed it and banished you. A few regimes have come and gone, middle men trying to fill the power vacuum. It's really only served to make the situation worse. You probably already gathered that." Drake started, flipping through a few screencaps of dusty, abandoned buildings, filthy streets, and overgrown palace gardens. Gilgamesh muttered a sharply suppressed sigh.

"More importantly..." Drake continued, "...there's a humanitarian organization-"

"A what?" Giglamesh snapped. Drake balked for a nanosecond before recalibrating his speech patterns to accommodate Mesopotamian sensibilities.

"A bunch of helpful dumbasses giving food and medicine to the people of Nippur. They call themselves the Golden Cross." Drake said in a slightly sour tone. He could sense the conflict of emotions within the Golden King. It probably felt disgraceful that his city had been reduced to a charity case, but at the same time, Drake knew that the Gilgamesh of legend had cared dearly for his subjects.

"Anything else?" the King snapped. Now Drake became legitimately nervous. Even Kanda and Victor picked up on it, which was concerning considering the smuggler's usual bravado.

"Well...it seems that, as of a week ago, a pack of Primes moved into town and are trying to clean up the place. Not Babylonians. Just...strangers..." Drake said, flipping over to the Omnitwitter feeds that had been tracking the occupation of the strange Primes. Open source intelligence was a beautiful thing, and despite Nippur's third-world status, plenty of people still had ways to share on-the-minute reports on almost any civilized corner of the Omniverse.

Gilgamesh had stopped walking.

"Uh...you okay?" Drake ventured. The King's face was expressionless.

"These photos. Scroll back through them."

Drake obliged, and then realized what Gilgamesh was silently exploding about.

"Oh fuck."

In the photo taken of the Primes that had gone into the city, it was clear that one of them was sitting on a throne. Made of gold. In a car. Made of gold. Riding his little cronies up into the town manager's building like a little Prime parade. A bird tweeted in a nearby tree, and was subsequently vaporized as a wreath of bloody fire detonated into existence around Gilgamesh's body.

"FILTHY...DEAD...MONGREEELLLSS!" the King screamed, incinerating the prairie grass in a thirty foot radius. Some sort of Prime magic kept the others safe from the conflagration, but they all had to shield their eyes against the enraged inferno. Drake suddenly felt himself gripped by the scruff of his shirt and legit screamed like a little girl.

Gilgamesh hoisted the wiry man up to his silhouetted face, with only pits of incarnidine fury staring down at the Primeling.



"Shit fam, you got it."

And so like half an hour later the four Primes were rocketing towards Nippur on an even more golden, more ornately decorated jet-throne. But hey. Drake was driving as Gilgamesh stood tall and dark upon his gilded hover-swag.

Which was really all he had wanted in the first place.

Victor and Kanda were riding too. Natch.
[Image: screen_shot_2018_02_16_at_4_33_57_pm_by_...c3dkog.png]

Gilgamesh stood at the helm of the vehicle, too impatient to sit on his hastily made throne. Although he knew full well that there may be those who would try and steal his rightful seat of power, seeing it himself made him furious. The sight left a sour taste in his mouth that only humiliation and destruction could get rid of.

“You!” Gilgamesh pointed to Drake, snapping his fingers, trying to remember his name, “Drake. Make sure there is no delay, I have blood I wish to spill.”

Without turning his head, the pilot nodded enthusiastically in affirmation, “Yes Sir!” In the short time they had spent together, the groveling, young prime hadn’t turned out to be useless. The blazing sun, torched the group directly overhead, causing the King in, unwisely chosen, Golden Armor to sweat. Cupping his hand onto his forehead, Gilgamesh could hardly make sense of shapes that entered the horizon, the heat that radiated from the ground made everything look like a mirage.

Victor wobbled over to Gilgamesh on the speeding jet, trying to keep his balance, “There it is. Nippur.” The young assassin simultaneously let out a sigh of nostalgia with the Gilded King. It has been far too long since Gilgamesh had stepped foot there. Within minutes, the vehicle had reached the city limits and slowly came to a halt. Without pause, Gilgamesh hopped off the Jet and motioned to his posse to follow him.

“Come. I can see there is already much work to do.” Gilgamesh strode off in a hurry, leaving the rest of the group to eat his dust. The sight of his precious city physically hurt the King. He was stopped in his tracks as he saw the Bazaar that he oversaw from his palace balcony. Memories of a once filled plaza, noisy with laughter and bartering. Women, their heads protected from the sun with headscarves, would barter with the merchants selling produce. Children would giggle and chase another from each end of the market, ignoring the precautions from their parents. The aromas, the sights, the distinct taste of the air. All of it ...was gone.

His mood worsened and his mouth turned to a horrid sneer sneer. The group of primes behind him finally caught up, panting from chasing their King. Victor went up to ask the King for any sense of orders or direction but was quickly scared off by the King’s foul mood. Without a word, Gilgamesh stormed off towards the palace, just hoping that those pretenders would be there. Kicking open the door to his own palace, Gil stormed the place with the other primes.

“All of you search the place. If there is anyone here, I want to be the first to know.” Gil barked. The marble palace had sustained a fair amount of damage, the pillars broken and crumbled and the red carpet was dusty and tattered. Gilgamesh hurried over to the throne room, trying to avoid the desecrated paintings of himself on the side, each of them with Gilgamesh’s face cut, or to more accurately describe it punched, out. Swinging the door to his throne room open, Gilgamesh was disappointed to find an empty room, that was decorated with rotted,  guard corpses who were most likely slain in the aftermath of his disappearance. The light in the room, however, drew his attention to something much more uplifting. His golden throne was mostly intact. Although rustic blood stained the seat and there were more than a few scratches from battle, it was what Gilgamesh needed to see.
Walking over to his throne, Gilgamesh kicked the dusty skulls that littered the floor to the side. Finally reaching his seat, he delicately backed up into his seat. The cold metal, sent a shiver down his spine as he got comfortable. He hadn’t had this much joy in such a long time and he decided to just relax in his throne until his subjects reported back to him. Caressing his fingers on the cold metal throne, the three primes eventually entered the throne room.

Gilgamesh rested his head on his fist, raising an eyebrow at the empty-handed primes. Without hesitation both Drake and Victor immediately knelt before their King. A great grin spread across the young assassin’s face, seconds before he burst out in laughter. The more silver-tongued prime, wasted no time in stroking Gilgamesh’s ego.

“I believe we both are ecstatic to have the rightful Ruler on Nippur’s throne. No one else fits the seat as well as you, my King. Unfortunately, the palace is vacated my lord. I believe they have moved into the city.” Drake sweetly spoke. Almost expectantly, Gilgamesh turned his head to the Exorcist, waiting to see what he would do. Kanda looked Gilgamesh into the eyes and the pair briefly stared at one another. The Swordsman eventually yielded and bowed before the King, yet refused to kneel. Gil smiled, he was pleasantly surprised after all. After being trapped in the Underverse for two years, the weeks of torture and battling barbarian demons, he had lowered his expectations of how people showed respect.

Giving the exorcist a swift nod Gilgamesh reached inside himself, pulling the colorful, shimmering Omnilium primes all had. The kneeling primes got to their feet, observing what the King was up to. Minutes passed and the Omnilium began to take shape. The rainbow material swirled onto the floor and ascended, creating three armed Mesopotamian Guards clad in Gold. The guards immediately knelt onto the floor,  pledging their arm over each of their chests.

“Glory to our King Gilgamesh!” Their unanimous chant resonated through the throne room, frightening Gilgamesh a little bit.

“You will go into my city and find any prime. Make them aware that I request...,” He paused to find an appropriate word, “An audience with them.” He snapped his fingers and the soldiers rose from their positions. “You will not fight these primes nor any bandits. Your lives are valuable to me.” He shooed the armed guards out of the throne room before turning to the group of primes.

“Follow me.” His voice was much more calm than what it had been on the trip to his city. Leading the primes up his desecrated palace he led them to what was one his bedroom. His bedroom was abhorrent, the decor thrown about and graffiti proclaimed ‘Death to the Loyalist’, yet he made it unaware that this had affected him. Exiting onto his balcony, Gilgamesh ‘admired’ what he could of his destroyed city.

“People of Nippur! I , your rightful King, Gilgamesh have finally returned.” He proudly proclaimed from the balcony, extending his arms. The streets were still eerily quiet, mimicking a ghost town.

“I have brought forth primes of honor and valor to defend us. We will rid you of this chaos and you shall never be threatened by outside forces again!” By this time a few windows had peeked open to see the source of this arrogance.

“I come with order and structure. I have escaped the depths of the Underverse and in turn I am more powerful than even Omni could imagine!” A few people at this time had populated the street, whispering about the appearance of their Old King.

“I am your King once again and will establish the following set of laws. These laws will bind our primes to you, the citizens of Nippur. You will always be protected.

One! Banishment is hereby forbidden. It is an inhumane punishment that is worse than death. However, that is not a means to declaw our wonderful city. In extreme cases I will allow an exception

Two! We must not turn against one another in this time of recovery. Therefor, babylonians cannot attack other babylonians.

Three! All members must be civil and uphold honor. Those who do not abide by this will be punished by me, the King!

Four! My loyal primes must decide amongst themselves for anything that does not need my supervision. However, this must be done to help the city and only the city.

Five! If anyone abuses their power in my Kingdom, they shall be rightfully stripped of power.

Six!  Admission into the Kingdom will be decided by me.

Seven!  Any law that I, Gilgamesh, deems fit, will be overseen by my lessers and implemented.

Eight!  Aggression from outside the Kingdom is treated as aggression towards the entirety. You, however, shall not incur the wrath of others without the my permission. If you do, you are held accountable of your own actions.

Nine!  You loyalty should be to serve me, however you may be able to divide your time amongst other, less important, groups.

Ten!  Any member of my Kingdom may have an audience with the King.

Eleven! Civilians are of the utmost importance to a city and must be protected. If a prime violates Nippur's citizens in any way, on their first offense they will be exiled and barred from city entrance. A second offense from the same prime elicits hunting down and capturing this prime for a public execution. For a prime that has sworn to defend the city, on a first offense will be publicly executed by Gilgamesh.

Twelve! I am your King and you shall submit to me. Any and all primes who have earned my respect shall earn your respect as well.” Gilgamesh breathed deeply after this decree, the words were more than a mouthful, yet he had to make sure the people knew he would protect them. The street was now more than populated, gazing in awe as their King had returned to save them.

“Your loyalty to the crown has earned more than I can ever give, but I shall make sure you are all well protected!” Gilgamesh ripped from inside himself a large orb of Omnilium. The glowing orb then ran from his outstretched hand, one stream swirling over a destroyed building and the other swirling in the middle of the Bazaar. Within seconds the swirling Omnilium refurbished the building and added a banner with a Red Cross onto the building. Secondary women, in nurses uniforms, suddenly appeared from the building, with more than enough trays of food. The Omnilium in the Bazaar swirled to form a small glowing pad that would be of important if Gilgamesh ever needed to return quickly.

Gilgamesh waved to the people, hearing a large commotion, yet seeing none of it. His vision had gone dark but he wanted them to feel safe. Entering his bedroom he nodded to his fellow primes before collapsing to the floor.
[Image: GilgameshDAsig_zpsecqjfngm.png][Image: NB_BadgeRight.png][Image: RhzfCY6.gif] - Credit to Ezzy

Awakening to the world, Gilgamesh groaned as he clutched his head. The vein on his forehead was pounded so intensely it felt as if it were squishing his head like a grape. Massaging his temple, Gilgamesh looked around him to gather his sense, it was clear from the decor that he was in his master bedroom. Much to his dismay, the room was still completely trashed including the bed he currently was upon. Sitting up and dangling his feet over the bed, he let out a tired sigh. There was so much work ahead of the King, and peace of mind just seemed out of sight. Rocking his weight back and forth, Gilgamesh eventually got the strength to get onto his feet. Snapping his fingers, golden dust collected around the Golden King forming his renowned golden armor.

Exiting the master bedroom, he walked and eventually began to descend the stairs. His hand brushed the rough marble railing. One of the soldiers he had summoned earlier was waiting at the bottom of the staircase, protecting the King from any threats who would enter. How adorable. Gilgamesh passed by the guard and beckoned him to follow, “Come with me.” Making a sharp turn at the end of the hall, Gilgamesh came to his throne room.

The metal hinges creaked with rust as Gilgamesh opened the door. A wave of disgust flowed over him again as he saw the state of affairs of his precious room. However, he still confidently entered the room and took his seat on the throne. The guard immediately scampered over to the King and knelt, lowering his head. Crossing his legs, Gilgamesh smiled at how he missed being treated like the King he was.

“At ease soldier.” His command resonated through the hall, forcing the guard on his feet. “I want the Palace to be cleaned and refurbished.” Gilgamesh spoke as he took a look around the room, eventually his eyes settled on one of the rotted carcasses of the guards. “Look at that? I am supposed to rule Nippur in here?!”

The guard turned his head to meet his dead compatriots and cringed, “Of course not my liege. Do you wish me to conscript the civilians to work in your name.” Gilgamesh waved the guards suggestion off as if it was no more than tissue paper.

“It is not your place to have ideas. Your job is to listen to orders,” Gilgamesh leaned in, intimidating the guard with his intense crimson eyes. “You will advertise to the citizenry that I request them to help refurbish the palace up to my standards. Make them aware that they will be generously compensated with as much food and drink their bellies can hold.”

The guard smiled at the King, “Oh how-” Gilgamesh slammed his hands down onto his throne.

“I am not finished! Let them be fully aware that children are not allowed to work, but they are allowed to come to the palace to be fed and protected. If they also need temporary lodgings, they will find it here.” Gilgamesh let an awkward pause fill the air, looking at the cuticles of his nails. “Now I am finished.”

The guard gave the King a bow and made for his leave. Gilgamesh stopped him before he could make a step, however. “Oh and also fetch my young assassin, Victor Wolfe. I wish to speak to him. Go on then.” Gilgamesh shooed the guard out of the room and settled in his throne. He figured he would be sitting in it for a long time.
[Image: GilgameshDAsig_zpsecqjfngm.png][Image: NB_BadgeRight.png][Image: RhzfCY6.gif] - Credit to Ezzy

Whilst Victor waited for the king to regain consciousness he decided to explore the palace, curious as to how well it had weathered the storm, and it was a good chance to get away from the newcomers and clear his head of the black mans drivel and the exorcist's cold stare. he confidently walked down the halls, quickly noticing that as predicted most of the decorations of past had been destroyed, stolen or left a shell of their former self. He noticed a vase on a small table, one of the few things that had not been taken by the ransackers, looking at it he was sure it would have looked very pleasing to the eye, now it was filthy, covered in a layer of grime, and cracked. "Much like this Kingdom now" Victor giggled to himself as he walked on.

He reached what he assumed was a dining room of some kind, the large and sturdy rectangular table is one of the few structures still standing, though even it showed signs of damage, the wood stained with a mix of blood, vomit and other unnamed bodily fluids. And chunks of it missing at points where it would seem that overzealous bandits tested an axe or two. 

The room itself was thick with the stench of rot, clearly, the bandits that had used this place had held a few feasts with the pantry of the castle and probably moved on once it ran out and they realised that the infrastructure to resupply it had disappeared. The bones of chickens, pigs and even people littered the floor. Victor walked over to one of the corpses, judging by the fur and leather outfit along with the metal helmet he assumed it was one of the former bandits. the Helmet had a horrid gash in it, looking back to the table Victor deduced that it was probably the same axe and that this bandit had gotten a little to carried away with the revelry. 
Murder and pillaging, death and destruction, is that all that the deranged garbage that makes up most of the dunes are capable of? No wonder nothing has been done in the past two years, this endless cycle of destruction without any creation or rebuilding, of all the factions the bandits had to build their worldview on why that of LAW? I should take some pictures of this, show the sane people what we really offer protection from. 

Victor opened up the camera app on his dataverse device, taking pictures of the scene in all its graphic detail, the rotten food, destroyed property, and especially the corpse of the bandit, noting down that anarchy can be fun until a bigger bandit decides they don't like you and put an axe in your skull. As he moved around the room he noticed another body at the head of the table. Not a bandit this time but rather what appeared to be a maid. Victor crept towards the body curious about its positioning. What he saw did not surprise him but still filled him with disgust. Although decaying from the effects of time Victor could still tell that the girl was probably a beauty in life, and it seems that this brought the wrong kind of attention, a good portion of her maid uniform was torn, and a look of horror was still etched across her face. 

Looking at her body it seemed that her neck had been snapped, and the skin around her neck still showed the bruising from what he assumed was choking, five large finger marks still partially visible. He had seen injuries like these before, mostly on the women of recently conquered territory We have to let the soldiers blow off a little steam after a hard battle, Victor could almost hear the apathetic acceptance of the Emperor. This is why these monsters can never hold onto power for any length of time. These actions just lead to people wanting vengeance, hopefully, Gilgamesh will not repeat the mistakes of my former homeland.

As the assassin thought about the hive of scum and villainy that was his former homeland a knocking at what remained of the door to the room drew his attention, it was one of the Nippurian guards, although by how fresh his armour looked he made the assumption that this was a new one his king had summoned, and knowing not to sneak up on an assassin in thought, this new batch of guard apparently was at least twice as intelligent as the last.

Turning to the golden clad lad Victor raised an eyebrow "Yes?" he questioned, pretty certain of what he was about to hear but willing to humour the newbie on his first "big" assignment. "Our King has awakened sir! He requests your presence immediately" the guard seemed tense as he announced the message causing Victors predatory instinct to kick in. He glided seamlessly across the floor to the guard, getting uncomfortably close, his red eyes locking with the guards. it reminded him of seeing rattlesnakes paralyze mice with a stare. "So our king does requests now does he? You if it isn't that urgent than I think I might take a nap and visit him later, why don't you go give him the bad news?" The guard almost visibly gulped "s,sir I don't think that would be the best idea" he said trying to show some backbone. "Well ... Dave" Victor said in a mocking tone "but sir my name is not..." Victor cut him off holding a finger to his lips "uh uh uh, its Dave now, I like the name Dave, simple, short easy to remember, and because I like your name I am going to give you some advice that might just save your life. Our King does not request the presence of his subjects, he demands it, you are a guard of the one and only Nippur, wear that armour with pride and grow a backbone, everything you say could be taken as the words of King Gilgamesh himself, and if his messengers are faltering it makes our King look like he is faltering. So confidence right Dave?" 

Dave was clearly flustered and intimidated and nodded in agreement, trying to get the teasing to stop, causing Victor to giggle and pat him on the back. "Good boy, now I want you to do me another favour, clear this hall and get rid of the table, any bodies found throughout the castle I want to be brought here, this room can serve as a morgue for now, once the bandits are clear we can try to have the remaining townsfolk identify the bodies, after that we will give them a proper burial and build a memorial to them its the least we can do really" Victor said confidently causing Dave to reply "But Lord Gilgamesh told us too clean and repair the palace". Victor let out a sigh "and that will be a lot easier to do with all the dead bodies in one place, seriously Dave do I need to do all the thinking for you?" sarcasm filled Victor's voice causing the guard to nod not wanting to draw Victors ire again as he answered "right away sir" the assassin patted the guard on the back with a chuckle before heading off towards the throne room.

Reaching the doors Victor entered approaching the Golden King with a smile, he reached the stairs that lead to the throne and dropped to one knee in a bow "You asked for my presence my King?" he said in a happy tone, overjoyed that things were slowly returning to normal.
[Image: LMLzBQ4.gif][Image: psgGbSy.png]                                                                                                                                [Image: 2lvxt0w.gif]


Drake kicked around at a few of the corpses in the grand foyer of Gilgamesh's palace. Now that he was on his own since first becoming a Prime, he was suddenly feeling very tired. Shadows within the hall stretched long on the suede carpet, and the orange light was punctuated by the glimmering cherry of the smuggler's cigarette. He breathed out a long puff of acrid smoke as he scrolled through his datavice. He'd been asking SW3 to keep tabs on the Nippur situation, but data had slowed down now that it was growing into the evening. Obviously, the populace was excited to have their King back, but the streets of the city were still a dangerous place at night.

Drake glanced down at a corpse near his feet. He found it odd that it should be so skeletal and dusty after just two years of decay, but then again, it wasn't like he was a fucking coroner. A glint on the corpse revealed some sort of municipal badge of office. It had Nippur's lion seal, in gold of course, with glimmering red glass eyes. The businessman pinned it onto his jacket as he pulled it back over his shoulders. The desert got cold at night, after all. Drake stamped out the remainder of the cig and began to trudge towards the palace gateway, placing a call on his datavice as he did so.

After more than a few rings, Monika picked up.

"What the fuck Drake, it's like, two AM in Coruscant." she murmured. Drake smiled in spite of himself. The red-head was all proper and nice when she was in the club, but in more candid situations, she had a real anger inside of her. He liked it. Still, he wouldn't ask anything of her at this hour; nothing was that urgent at the moment. Besides, it was the nature of Primes to reveal themselves in big ways. He'd find the occupiers sooner or later.

"Sorry fam. Lost track of time. Sleep tight." he said softly before ending the call with the brush of his thumb. Looked like he was officially on his own for the evening. Alright. So. Gilgamesh wanted him to clean up the streets and kill bandits. This was problematic for Drake, because he didn't even know what counted as a 'Bandit' in Nippur. Street thugs? Blood crazed psychopaths? Cutpurses? Frankly, the smuggler didn't feel like blowing off the heads of some desperate street sharks. Times were rough, which made people do shitty things to survive.

Well, he just guessed he would have to see.

Drake wandered around the city, visiting the empty bazaar and strolling down the back alleys. He listened to the baying evening prayers of the town crier and the soft clicking of shutters as he walked past. The night fires were lit here and there; not nearly as many as needed, and it wasn't until a muddy-smelling twilight fell over the city that he encountered his first trouble. Some girl screaming from down the street, a little hooting and hollering. Sounded good enough. Cybernetic legs whirred and hissed as they casually carried the dextrous smuggler down the alley at breakneck speed. Drake skidded to a halt at the mouth of the alleyway to see two, frankly, young looking boys smacking and tearing at the clothes of an equally young girl. They seemed to preoccupied with their abuse to notice the lanky Prime, so Drake pulled out his pistol and fired two lazy shots in their general direction. The booming KCRAK KCRACK sent the hoodlums scattering down the opposite ends, and a pair of fizzling orange patches began to smoulder into blackness on the side of what was once a house.

Drake advanced on the sobbing girl and stared down at her with cold, stormy eyes. He gave her a minute to regain her composure before making sure that she saw the plasma gun also pointed at her face. The terror in her gaze was legitimate, and she was frozen in place.

"Am I 'bout to get jumped, bait-girl?" Drake hissed, glaring down at the child with unblinking ferocity. She could barely manage to shake her head.

"I mean for real though?!" Drake snapped, brandishing the gun slightly further towards her. The girl frantically shook her head, sending her black hair whipping in every direction before she completely broke. It wasn't until her sobbing became utterly tortured that Drake was convinced she wasn't part of some ambush tactic. The smuggler quietly tucked away his pistol and leaned against the wall.

"Yo, where you live?" he said in a flat tone.

"Away...uh...down...not far, uh..." she whimpered, while gesturing in the general direction Drake had just been coming from. He nodded.

"I'll take you there."

The girl simply nodded and stood, shakily, to her feet. The smuggler let her pass by him, still keeping an eye on the windows and rooftops as they walked in the silence of dusk. They got about a block before Drake spoke up.

"Who was that?" he said softly. It was still sharp enough to cause the girl to jump. Drake had no pity: he couldn't think of a damn reason for a girl that was...what...twelve to be running around after dark. Something smelled off about this.

"M...my brother, and...another I do not know." she mumbled.

"Your brother-wha? Deadass?" Drake said, trying to sound genuine. Didn't work.

"Y-yes. He said he would walk me to Nana's house tonight, because she had made a dinner for us, but...the other came...they started hitting and pulling. I...do not know why." the girl said, speaking through a sorrowful grimace the entire time. The smuggler's shark-like sensibilities immediately started laying out scenarios as for motives, plans, and goals of her story. Frankly, it sounded like a gang hazing. As they arrived at the girl's house, Drake let her stumble into the arms of her mother before asking one final question, this time, to the woman.

"You know where your son at?" Drake asked, his voice dusky and firm. It took the mother a moment to find the courage to respond.

"Are you going to hurt him?" she asked in a thick mesopotamian accent. The skinny Prime shrugged.

"Maybe. Depends on the kid."

Mom was trying to hold it together here, but Drake could tell there was a lot of context that was being left out. Okay. Let's try to win her over.

"I ain't gonna kill him. Seems like he runnin' wit da wrong crowd. I work for the King. I can do somethin' bout it." he said, flicking the badge on his coat. The mother swallowed hard.

"M-maybe...he and the other boys have all started talking about a man named Vito. That's all I know. Vito. I..." the mother stuttered as the daughter tried to pull her into the warm safety of the stucco hovel, "...I must go now. Thank you. Um..."

The sentence was left hanging there as the door clicked shut and several locks slid into place. Drake paused for a moment and nodded to himself.


Yeah. Vito sounded like a bandit.

Drake walked off into the deepening shadows to go kill Vito.
[Image: screen_shot_2018_02_16_at_4_33_57_pm_by_...c3dkog.png]

The King’s message didn’t take long before Victor appeared before the throne. The young assassin greeted Gilgamesh with such earnest joy, that the King couldn’t help but give the assassin a brief smile. Motioning the prime to rise, Gilgamesh leaned forward with an intense and mischievous grin. “I have heard that you valiantly attempted to preserve my Kingdom? Not many would try and protect a Kingdom who’s King had passed.” Gil tilted his head to the side, peering into the assassin’s eyes.

Victor got off from his knee and rose, the stairs gave Gilgamesh a domineering position. “I was doing so in hope that this day would come, my liege.” Victor’s smile seemed completely genuine and however, Gil was not convinced that this was the truth.. Gilgamesh stood up with force and conviction, slowly strolling over to the young assassin. The King circled Victor, eyeing the prime up and down.

“Kneel.” The King commanded. As he commanded, Victor was now kneeling before his true King. Giving Victor a frown he spoke, “You must have wished to gather power for yourself. You are despicable to me. Trying to fill the void that I had left?!” Gilgamesh sounded genuinely offended as he accused Victor.

The assassin looked up with a confused look on his face, “I would never my liege.” Yet Gilgamesh had turned his face, ignoring the man’s pleas. Extending his arm, he brought to life a golden portal before withdrawing a solid gold sword from its sheath.

“There is nothing you can say to convince me otherwise. Your penance for this crime shall be death.” Gilgamesh flourished his sword before letting it rest on Victor’s shoulder, the cold metal pressing against a clearly visible artery. Victor’s eyes grew wide and he attempted to slowly retreat. With his other hand, Gilgamesh pushed down the assassin’s shoulder, forcing him to stay for this.

“My liege, your years in the Underverse has made you cynical. I assure you I would have never.” Gil silenced the prime by pressing his sword to the tip of Victor’s throat, prodding his adam apple.

“You accuse me of losing my sanity? You continue to insult me upon my gracious return!” Gilgamesh’s voice raised in anger and the sword poked into the assassin’s neck, letting a trail of blood run down. A brief moment of panic flashed over Victor’s eyes before he calmly accepted his fate. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Victor was ready for his unjust punishment. Gilgamesh raised his sword, bringing it back for a mighty swing.

And lightly tapped Victor on the head. Gilgamesh then sheathed it into the ground, letting it stand firmly before the prime. Another golden portal opened up, dropping a Golden Lion Pin with a ruby eye into the King’s hand. Balancing the pin on the sword very precariously, Gilgamesh made a sharp turn, returning to his throne. Looking at Victor, he could see that the prime was truly and utterly dumbfounded.

“Oh the whole execution bit? That was your punishment for attempting to murder your King.” Gilgamesh gave the young assassin a coy grin before breaking out into hearty laughter. Victor took a moment to fully understand that the King had just played a practical joke on him before he began to laugh as well.

“You, my king, are most certainly an ass.” He gasped in between laughs, wiping a tear from his eye. Smiling at the King he let out an exasperated sigh before awaiting his orders. Gilgamesh kicked his feet up over the seats arm before pointing to the material in front of Victor.

“All of that is yours, as a sign of respect. You will now be known as Lord Victor across my empire.” Victor’s smile disappeared as a surprised look came across his face. He seemed overwhelmed with this sudden promotion. Gilgamesh still managed to look as if this was just small talk.

“You will manage a new Bureau and have primes assigned to you.” Gilgamesh looked up to the ceiling before letting out a sigh, “Our public image wasn’t...the best.” Gil turned his head lazily towards the assassin, “It is now your job to make sure people and primes alike adore me as their King. As for your assignment…” Gil sat back upright pondering what to do with his new Lord. Victor’s voice however, interrupted his chain of thought.

The prime responded, a new confident take emerged in his voice, “I have a few ideas my lord if you give me a few good men and some autonomy.” Gilgamesh smiled at this excellent response.

“You have it. You will be getting primes soon. For now, do as you wish.” Gilgamesh smiled as he waved off Victor. As the assassin exited the room, a guard entered.

“See ya Dave!” Victor cheerfully yelled as he closed the door. This elicited a groan from the secondary before he reported to the King. Gilgamesh raised an eyebrow.

“Dave?” Gilgamesh’s voice playfully teased.

“My name is Enugi, as you had decided my King.” The guard gave a slight bow as he said his own name, as if it were a gift given to him by Gilgamesh.

“No. Your name is now Dave. Now Dave, what news do you have for me?” Gilgamesh teased, the guard giving a depressed sigh before speaking.

“Someone else is here to see you sire.”
[Image: GilgameshDAsig_zpsecqjfngm.png][Image: NB_BadgeRight.png][Image: RhzfCY6.gif] - Credit to Ezzy

As Marisa walked through the city she could hear the voices of the civilians talking about Gilgamesh. She tuned out the noises as she wished that there was a person who could have her back truly here. God or youkai aside there was one person who she trusted besides a couple select people.

The pint sized mage of love-sign found a quiet corner near the Bazaar. The thief held her hand out as Omnilium flowed out of her hand easily as her mind’s eye pictured the seven colored puppeteer and soon enough she opened her eyes and sure enough saw Alice Matrigold the youkai from Makai.

Marisa smiled widely as she watched the Puppeteer looked around slowly before locking her eyes on the Love sign magician. 

“This isn’t Gensokyo . . . Marisa did you do something?”

Marisa looked offended and stuck back as was the proper thing to do in such a situation. “Ah i’m so offended Alice you would blame me with such an accusation.”

The two chuckled as Marisa heard someone speak to her. “Miss, our great king GILGAMESH requests an audience with him!” She turned to see the new comer and sighed at the gold plated soldier. She looked bored at his request with her mind working overtime to see why someone would request her.

“Alright let’s see what this Gilgamesh wants.” She shrugged having done this song and dance and getting quite bored even searching for any magical items to snag had been fairly fruitless here.

The three walked back to the throne room doors. The soldier whose name apparently was Dave? Had told the two to wait while he gave the Babylonian king she was there.

“Let them in Dave.” the voice though muted could easily carry the bodies and minds of men and women through sheer charisma. She steeled herself as she saw the door open and walked in with a carefree walk.

The man wasn’t anything special to the mage, sure he was watching her actions but she smirked slightly at his request to kneel. Never before had she been demanded to kneel; not before prince Shotoku, Yuyuko, or even Okina.

So she did the next best thing bowed almost comically like this was a joke with her hat in her hand as she held it on her bosom; before setting the witches hat back on its rightful place. “Marisa kirisame, Magician of love sign how may i help you Gilgamesh?”

Marisa was grinning a bit too widely now as she waited for this so called king to respond to her question.
                                            [Image: tenor.gif?itemid=10243242]
"While shooting concentrate your mind, gently muttering the spell to the Mini-Hakkero. Aiming at someone you don't like, a magicannon of love will be unleashed!"


As the night grew colder, the air grew heavier with dew and the scent of mud. Drake wondered if it might rain, come morning. As he walked along the alleys, trying to tie together a plan of attack in his head, he made sure to snap pictures of graffiti and carvings on the walls. Most of it was written in cuneiform, or occasionally, coptic runes. He would have to brush up on his Sumerian if he was going to keep working here.

The few loiterers that Drake came across didn't seem to know who Vito was, or where he might be located. Drake was fairly certain of their honesty, because he had offered most of them very large amounts of Omnilium. It wasn't until he was stopping to take a piss in a gutter that the smuggler picked up on something that had been starin him in the face. Literally.

A few feet from the water runoff was a fountain spigot. Sewage water ran from its mouth, and on the wall around it, a large, grinning serpent face had been carved. Candles and more graffiti surrounded it, along with what appeared to be small offerings, such as dried fruit, incense, and baggies that had narcotic residue on them. Opium, from the looks of it. Drake flipped through the Dataverse, trying to weave the symbology together until one name consistently came up, over and over again.


The primordial serpent. The mother of chaos.

Drake wasn't familiar with Gilgamesh's policies on the worship of Assyrian gods of destruction, but he was at least assuming it was taboo. This did give him an approach angle into Nippur's underbelly, however. In the deepening gloom, Drake decided to head off into the city's seedier red light district to get himself a drink.

The bar he eventually found himself in was a cramped, sweaty little hole in the wall with a single flabby mother of three listlessly gyrating her hips on a sandstone table. Seven or so half-wasted townies lounged around as a veiled hostess kept their decanters filled with frothing, noxious beer. A small sconce of flickering torches provided only enough light to glint on the topless lady's rattling bangles and for Drake to find his way to a seat.

The smuggler had managed to trade a small wad of Omnilium for a pouch of golden Babylonian coin, so it was easy to keep a low profile as he paid for the beer, entertainment and food. A small, clay tagine sat next to him with a stewed mixture of greens, couscous and some kind of stringy meat that Drake assumed was chicken. It was actually pretty good. Only after his second beer and finished meal did he finally lean over to the shadowed figure next to him.

"Been seeing more Tiamat offerings lately." Drake murmured.

"Enh." his benchmate grumbled. Drake gave it a few minutes.

"Where you figure the carvings keep coming from?" the lanky man said, trying to probe for some context. Apparently his assumptions were right, as usual.

"Them freaks over at the irrigation plant. Runnin' a damn temple outta the building. King'll shut 'em down." the enigmatic nightcrawler responded. He took a long pull on his beer and eased back into his chair. It was a subtle enough way of telling Drake to fuck off, so he did. The smuggler tossed a few extra coins onto the dancer's plinthe before slinking back out into the velvety night air.

Now he was getting somewhere...
[Image: screen_shot_2018_02_16_at_4_33_57_pm_by_...c3dkog.png]

Erik adjusted his grip on Mageslayer as he trudged through the city streets, Emperor floating silently behind him. He could hear some sort of commotion in the streets, footsteps rushing towards the palace and distant conversations between people out of Erik’s sight. Was there a mass congregation of bandits forming in the palace? Erik dreaded the notion, and hoped that the mismatched band that had come to free Nippur wouldn't end up being driven from it with their tails between their legs. Suddenly, a voice pierced the air, full of regal majesty and no small amount of pride. Erik realised who it was before he even announced himself.

The psychic turned to the Emperor with a giddy smile on his face, barely able to contain his excitement. “It's Gilgamesh! He has returned!” Erik managed to say between peals of excited laughter.

 “Again with this Gilgamesh guy.” The Emperor said. “So he started a small kingdom. Is he really that big of a deal?” 

“He is the God King of New Babylon! Not even the Underverse itself could hold him for long. It only took him…” Erik paused as he calculated how long it had been since Gilgamesh’s banishment. “A few months, give or take, then account for time dilation and it comes out to… Two years, if I'm correct, to conquer hell itself.”

The Emperor seemed slightly unimpressed, but before he could say anything, a guard clad in golden Mesopotamian garb approached the pair. “You two are primes, correct? King Gilgamesh requests the presence of all primes at his palace.”

“What makes you say we’re primes?” Inquired the Emperor.

There was a moment of silence as the guard stared at the giant floating throne with a skeleton on it. “Just a wild guess.” The guard said dryly. 

Erik, on the other hand, was almost physically vibrating with joy. “King Gilgamesh requests an audience with us? By the gods, this is one of the best days of my life!” The psychic turned to the Emperor as he sheathed Mageslayer, almost dancing on the spot. “Come on! Let's go! We shouldn't keep him waiting!” 

“Are you feeling ok?” The Emperor asked as they made their way towards the palace, the guard leading the way. The ecstatic man before him was a complete 180 from the deadpan Erik he had met before. 

“I'm feeling fantastic!” Erik replied, moving as fast as he could without overtaking the guard. “This is the happiest I've been since…” Erik could remember feeling this level of joy before, but there was something blocking the memory. It was if a blanket of static fell over his thoughts when he tried to summon up the thought. “Since something…” Erik’s expression dropped for a moment, before his slightly mad grin returned as he reminded himself of Gilgamesh’s return.

When they were a few streets away from the palace, Erik couldn't contain himself any longer, and raced ahead of the guard and the Emperor. “I’ll see you after my audience!” Erik called back, before dashing through the streets which grew steadily more crowded as he approached the palace. Finally, Erik found himself in the bazaar courtyard, filled with the citizens of Nippur, and pushed through the thick, noisily chatting crowd as he made his way to the palace entrance. Erik’s face fell as, to his disappointment, he saw that the witch Marisa had beaten him to the palace and had entered the throne room with another woman, presumably to have her meeting. Frustrated, Erik waited outside, tapping his boot against the floor in a mix of nervousness and anticipation for his own audience. A sense of unease had entered his gut. One witch was enough, and if Erik had to guess he'd bet that other woman was also magical. The last thing Nippur needed was an infestation of witches.

“Erik! Long time no see.” Said a familiar voice. Erik turned to see the assassin Victor, a wicked grin on his face, as usual. The memories of his first arrival in Nippur flooded Erik and the smile reluctantly returned to The psychic’s face. “How goes it, Victor?” Erik asked.

“It's Lord Victor now.” The assassin quipped with a hint of smugness that Erik had come to miss in a strange way. Victor studied Erik’s face for a moment, before his grin dropped a mote. “Is something wrong? Let me guess, you're nervous for your audience, right?” 

Erik shook his head. “You saw the women who just entered the throne room, right?” Erik asked, before Victor nodded far too enthusiastically. “The one in the hat is a witch, and she was alone when he arrived in Nippur. I'm worried that the witches are multiplying.” 

“We can only hope.” Victor said, eliciting a raised eyebrow from Erik. “What? Witches are the fun, freaky types. I heard about this one who-” The psychic raised his hand, signalling Victor to stop.

“I can imagine what you're about to say, and I bet that just listening to it will break my vows. Just tell me more about… Your promotion. What does being Lord Victor entail?”
*The emperor of mankind yeets erik into a sun*
[Today 08:03 pm] Erik Vrell : Bruh
[Today 08:03 pm] The emperor of mankind : don't worship gods

The smug prime stood sarcastically before the King, her bow more theatric than earnest. Gilgamesh’s hands clenched around the golden throne, the lack of respect for her one true King had earned his ire. The instinct to show this petty prime the exact distance between their positions was screaming in the King’s mind. Allowing himself to grit his teeth for a few seconds, Gilgamesh managed to get himself to calm down. Maybe this would be a good chance to use the carrot instead of the stick.

Gilgamesh readjusted himself in his seat, leaning backwards, pressing his fingertips together. Managing to conceal most of the aggression in his voice, he spoke, “You have been traversing my troubled city and have come at the fortunate time of my return. I need something done. I can offer you power, respect,” The King raised his eyebrow before he held out his hand to open a golden portal. “Wealth?” Golden coins and jewels poured out of the portal raining into his hand. The shining and endless nature of the golden coins was enough to tantalize even the most selfless of people.

Marisa rolled her eyes and her already relaxed body posture slumped even more. “I already have all the power I can want.” Gilgamesh forcefully smiled at the girl’s bluff, she was completely unaware of what power the King had seen recently. His smile slowly turned into an intimidating frown, “What do you want then? I have blessed you an audience with me and my patience is wearing thin.” He tapped his fingers impatiently on his throne, awaiting her answer.

Sarcastically, the girl tapped her finger on her chin, pretending to be lost in thought. An even more obnoxious, “Hmmmmmm…” resonated throughout the throne room. Marisa was pushing the King’s buttons and knowing Gilgamesh’s incredibly short fuse, it was working wonders. Gilgamesh narrowed his eyes at her, letting her know that if she wasted any more of his time, the meeting would go south.

Quickly ending her charade she spoke up, “I wouldn’t be opposed to obtaining some land in the city.” She flashed the king an impish smile, while swaying back and forth. His old habits made a brief return in his mind. This mongrel would dare ask to take something as precious as his land?! The gall of such a low being as a Magus! Shifting in his seat, he rested his hand on his fist to contemplate her request. The more he thought about it, her leasing land with her undying loyalty and respect would not upset him. She would definitely need to display this form of dedication through her actions, however.

The long pause the King had let sit in the room had settled uncomfortably. Twiddling her thumbs, Marisa kept on making weird faces at the King, expecting her decision soon. Gilgamesh spoke up, his commanding voice resonating through the room. “I will grant you this on the condition you are loyal to me.” She followed up with a sarcastic head nod, however Gilgamesh chose to ignore this disrespectful sign.

“You must first do something for the good of the city.” Gilgamesh had interjected, “I had recently gifted my people a hospital which should alleviate many problems. Your job is to merge my glorious new hospital and the existing support, I believe it was called the Golden Cross.” Gilgamesh smiled at the apt name of the group. “You will help move any resources they have as well as any wounded over to my hospital and protect it from raiders. Do I make myself clear?”

Giving the King another sarcastic bow she spoke, “Why of course. Anything for you.” Maintaining her bow, she backpedalled out of the room. Gilgamesh was just glad she was gone, not destroying the mongrel gave him a large migraine. Dave popped his head in the room and took a deep breathe to try and speak.

Cutting him off, Gilgamesh’s let his bitterness carry on in his voice, “Just send the next mongrel in.”
[Image: GilgameshDAsig_zpsecqjfngm.png][Image: NB_BadgeRight.png][Image: RhzfCY6.gif] - Credit to Ezzy

Once again one of the assassins old comrades had sprung up from the city, this time the young psychic Erik Vrell, another veteran of the battle that had brought their city to its knees, and much more... alive than the last time they met in person. Victor had always liked Erik, not as easy to tease as Dave, but good at following orders and loyal to a fault. He had asked a great question, what did being a Lord entail? Victor had spent the last few minutes thinking over possibilities of what could be done with his new position. As the answer started to formulate the assassin draped his arm over the boy's shoulders, guiding him towards the sides of the entrance to the throne room. 

"Well, you see my most trusted of friends, I have been given the monumental task of trying to repair our diplomatic reputation, now I could do that by immediately sending out diplomats with talks of peace and friendship to every other city and large group in all the verses. However, I think that before we truly start to look outwards, we need to fix the diplomatic rifts in our own city." As they stopped walking and Victor finished his explanation of his immediate plans Erik raised an eyebrow, not wanting to enter into the depraved cesspool of perversion and gore that was his superior mind in search of the real meaning behind this "diplomatic rift" but before he could open his mouth Victor noticed the questioning eyebrow on the otherwise non-emotive youngsters face. "Well to put it bluntly, if we ran on approval ratings like those weakling democracies do then we would all be packing our bags because the tangled is nice this time of year and we want our heads attached to our bodies. We have made a start but we have a herculean task ahead of us to win back the hearts and minds... of... these people, hm, their minds?" Victor appeared to enter a trance as he pondered, ideas started to meld in his mind, New Babylons presence over the city had been weak for so long that they had lost control of the narrative, much of the so-called "news" was likely based on rumour and sensationalism. What they needed to do to start the process of winning back the people's hearts was to take back control of the narrative.

Whilst the lord mused at the different possibilities Erik took the chance to slip out from under his arm, repositioning to face Victor, whos free arm found its way to his chin, stroking his non-existent facial hair. "Vict, I mean Lord Victor you have that look on your face that tends to lead to bad things happening," Erik said as he worried what scheme Victor might end up dragging him into. "Oh nothing bad, just think we need a more efficient way to distribute news, I don't see many Babylonians reading a one thousand page thesis on why they should pledge their everything to us, and newspapers take a conscious effort to read so many of our citizens still might miss out on it, and not everyone has access to the database, and town criers on every corner would take much manpower, and leave less room for prostitutes. This is quite the conundrum we have here" Victor stated, his voice a mix of annoyance that he could not come up with an answer, and a little excited at the prospect of challenging the problem head-on. Eventually, Erik chipped in with his usual dead-pan voice "what about radio?"

The assassin stared at the boy, a blank look on his face as if Erik had just started speaking in tongues. "You know? Radios? they use waves to send sound across great distances ?" Victor continued to stare, only understanding around half of what he had just been told. Raising a finger Victor immediately pulled out his dataverse device, reading up on radios and their functionality. "Wow, that certainly is a thing, think of the potential, and all we really need is a few channels and we can control all viewpoints on every issue, this is just wonderful, I must test it!" Victor said as he started to summon everything he would need. The Omnilium flowing from his hands to create two-three meter, tall black speakers, followed by a small recording device. Speaking into the device he announced "Now introducing, Erik Vrell", his comrade looking at him surprised.

Victor tinkered with his dataverse device, putting the recording before a music file named "JoJo Pillar man theme" he assumed it would fit as Erik was thin like a pillar. As things fell into place it would seem that the assassin had timed his plan perfectly, for just as he finished setting things up, the witch from before exited the throne room, seeming a little annoyed. Dave had an almost adorably frightened face. It had seemed that things had not gone as well as they could have. This is going to be fun Victor giggled to himself as he snuck up on Erik, whose attention had been laser-focused on the witch. Before the guard could speak Victor pushed the psychic into the room and pressed play on his dataverse device.
[Image: LMLzBQ4.gif][Image: psgGbSy.png]                                                                                                                                [Image: 2lvxt0w.gif]

Serraph would awake to the raging sun beaming its vengeful light upon Serraph's frail body. His top layer of "Skin" had already began to dry and flake away and his body had become stiff from the awkward position he had spent his night upon. He'd rub his eyes lazily, the color of his eyes returned to a steel grey. He hadn't slept in so long that finally doing so left his body numb and slow to act. He'd let off a soft yawn and raise himself upright upon the former Octava's deceased body. He'd pick up the body's decapitated head and raised it level with his own.

 "I shouldn't be so reckless...", he'd mutter in complaint, his thumbs moving over to close the dead man's eyes. The night and the moon's light had gotten to him. Had it not he would have probably approached the whole ordeal in a more thoughtful manner. The result would change very slightly, but it wouldn't have resulted in a near death. Serraph's chain of questions during the night had a more darker essence to them, such so that it made him shiver when thinking about it. He'd shake his head at the the other and set it down softly upon its owner's chest before standing and holding out an outstretched hand. 

 Like the day prior, a pale umbrella with an hooked oak handle would be created in the palm of his left hand. Bringing it into this world was hardly difficult and took very little time to perform. Soon he had a perfect shield to deflect the sun's assault on Serraph's weak skin. Perfect. He'd hide beneath the veil, concealing his body from the sun. The Arrancar boy would shudder, a phantom pain stabbing at his chest. His free hand would move up to press at the would, finding the tightly wound mass of clothing scraps covering the injury beneath. He remembered scrapping the temporary bandage together but covering himself was something he couldn't recall. Serraph would frown, his free hand clenching itself into a tight fist by his side. This was most worrisome to him. A large portion of his body's anatomy was dedicated to recording his senses, experiments, and thoughts. It was rare for him not to be able to remember a certain event from his life.

 He'd turn towards the camp, the twenty or so hollows standing vigil over the encampment. To his surprise, the prisoners had been freed. Not a single Hollow was missing from his memory and all stood by comfortably among the civilians. Very few of the people engaged the creatures in conversation but there were a few occurrences, likely for arrangements to obtain necessities such as food and water. It was likely there weren't much around. The fire itself had burnt out, a small pillar of smoke rising into the cloudless sky.  The crowd was restless. They all just wanted to return to their homes and lives.

 Serraph sympathized completely.

 To that end, there was something he must do.  He turned to face the crowd his arm raised up in greeting to them all. They all saw what he did the night prior so naturally they hushed and gave him their attention.

 "Soon I will see to your home with relative safety, but before then I must win your trust.", He'd turn and walk horizontally from the crowd, his hand waving in synce with each syllable he spoke as if orchestrating something great, something fantastic. "You all have suffered a great crime. I have killed the man responsible but as custom to the particular challenge I bestowed upon him, I have taken his name and his vows onto my own. This name, this.. Serraph is as tarnished as my skin, my clothing." He'd gesture at the ink that had soaked into his bleach white skin and the various platters of blood that spotted him. "I have also inherited his followers, whose actions I am responsible for."

 Serraph would turn towards the group of some twenty hollows and motioned them forward. They'd look to each other puzzled but would hesitantly approached. Serraph would halt them and line them up one by one perpendicular to the mass of civilians. They all needed to see what was about to happen. He'd approach the first one, a hulking brute of a hollow with a huge gut. There was no doubt he'd had his own fair share of meals. Serraph would draw his tainted blade, his calm face forming a slight frown.

 "Kneel", he'd commanded, and the hulking being obeyed, the sand beneath him quaking as he fell. Serraph would rest the flat of the blade against the beast's neck, its edge pressing firmly into his neck. "Remove your mask."

 The other hollows recoiled at the command, their heads snapping in his direction. Surely they thought this command mad. Such a command could be considered a death sentence. The glutton did his best not to seem fazed by the command, but he knew the amount of fear he must be feeling. Still though, his thick, meaty hand reached over his rigid, bony mask its digit curling around its edges. He'd exhale deeply, no doubt to calm his nerves and pull.

 The civilian crowd would wince almost in unison as the Hollow let lose an unearthly cry. Its mask cracked and crumbled, green sparks of energy sparking beneath. Serraph removed his blade from the beings shoulder and took a step back. The being became enveloped in a ghastly green glow, his form shrinking down to what would consider a more human shape. The glow would dim, leaving a rather chunky man in its place, who'd fall face first into the sand.

 Serraph would summon a rather simple, khaki robe over the figure and tap him softly atop the head. He'd smile, proud to see how willing he was to discard his monstrous nature for a bit more humanity. 

 He'd move his way down the line, repeating each step until everyone had removed. Only three had managed to evolve beyond the normal Hollow. The others were not so lucky. They'd die in a cloud of smoke as their bodies rapidly decayed into a cloud of spiritual energy.  The crowd was speechless. They didn't expect something so monstrous could end up with such a human-like appearance. Serraph would turn towards the crowd  and bow low and humbly at the waist. 

"By the remaining honor of my name and the newfound humanity of my brethren, I beg your forgiveness."
"Mine eyes hath seen the glory of the presence of my Lord. He is sifting through the treasures in which his Gates of Wrath does store. He lets loose the righteous vengeance of his terrible swift swords. Gilgemesh has returned!"

Erik was slightly concerned about the massive speakers Victor had summoned, having little doubt that anything that was going to play through them would be over the top to say the least. His worries were pushed aside, however, when the witch Marisa entered the room. Erik found himself attempting the burn a hole into her with his gaze, and shook himself out of it.

“Come now, she's an ally. You can’t just assume that witches are going to spread like the plague just because she summoned one. Just… Think about what Victor would do.” Erik paused at his thought. “Actually, it's probably best to not do anything Victor wou-” Before Erik could finish his thought, the assassin had shoved him through the door into the awaiting throne room.

“Now introducing Erik Vrell!” Victor’s voice called as the guard, apparently named Dave, closed the throne room doors. Erik froze up as the doors slammed behind him and the sound of a man wailing in an unknown tongue could be heard before synth beats filled the throne room.

“Oh, Victor…” The psychic mentally sighed. He was sure he would laugh at it later, but right now he felt like he might keel over from nervousness. Erik had met with psychic elders before, by the gods, his father was one of them, but this was the first time Erik had been in the presence of true royalty, let alone the King Gilgamesh. His heart raced as he approached the throne of the King, his mouth seeming to dry up in an instant. The psychic broke out in a cold sweat as he noticed the sour look on the King’s face, no doubt a result of Marisa. Erik pondered the possibility of breaking the witch’s mind when she was on her broomstick for this, but banished the thought. There was a more important matter to attend to.

As he came before King Gilgamesh, Erik dropped quickly to his knee. 

“Is this enough?” He thought panickedly. Unsure, Erik decided to err on the side of caution and dropped further into a prostrated position. 

“Now what?” He mentally wailed. Did he praise Gilgamesh or simply greet him? Was he allowed to call him Gilgamesh? By the gods, was he allowed to speak? The King hadn't spoken yet, so Erik decided that he was expected to say something. But what was he meant to say?

“Hail King Gilgamesh!” Erik finally cried, not knowing what else to do. “How can I serve you today, my King?” The psychic’s voice was slightly muffled by the floor, but he hoped it wouldn't be enough to distort what he was saying. Anxious, Erik could hear his heart attempting to thump it's way through his chest. The sound of his uneven breaths filled his ears, drowning out the silence in the room as he nervously waited for the King’s response.
*The emperor of mankind yeets erik into a sun*
[Today 08:03 pm] Erik Vrell : Bruh
[Today 08:03 pm] The emperor of mankind : don't worship gods

The King’s sour mood immediately shifted to a more pleasant one as the new prime immediately knew of the difference in their social status. His spiteful frown turned into an amused smirk as the prime continued to stumble over his own words. Gilgamesh wondered how long this prime would continue to stay in such a demeaning position before their King. Letting the air in the room fester with tension, he let the prime bow in silence. Yet the prime did not falter, his prostrated body continued to lay like that regardless of how much time had passed.

Letting out a laugh Gilgamesh spoke lightheartedly, “Rise my subject.” The prime before him rose, with beads of sweat dripping from his face. Wiping a tear from his eye, Gilgamesh spoke with a large smile, “You must forgive me, I was in need of a jester to raise my spirits.” His giggles dying down, Gilgamesh leaned in to get a good look at the prime’s face. The King raised an eyebrow as he could vaguely recollect this newcomer’s face, however he could not remember exactly where from.

His brows narrowed as he tried his best to remember, however he could not. Tilting his head, Gilgamesh questioned him, “What is your name, boy? Where have I seen you from?” Gilgamesh hadn’t remembered from where the prime was from, but he did remember he had many enemies from his time on the surface.

As the prime spoke, his eyes lit up with pride and a smile crawled onto his face, “My name is Erik Vrell, my liege, and I battled alongside the rightful Protector’s of Nippur many years ago!”

A loyalist? Perfect. Feigning recognition, Gilgamesh spoke with warmth in his voice, “Ah yes Erik! I remember. Come before your King and you shall be amply rewarded.” The Golden King motioned for Erik to walk up the steps to his throne. A smile broke out on Erik’s face as he rushed up the stairs before the King. At Erik reached the top of the stairs, he had noticed that he stood a little taller than the seated King. Without hesitation, Erik kneeled once more, give a great smile onto the King’s face.

Gilgamesh stood and outstretched his hand, opening a glistening portal. A sword of pure golden unsheathed itself into Gilgamesh’s hands along with a Lion shaped pin. He tapped the flat end of the blade onto both of his shoulders.

“From now on you shall be known as Nobleman Erik. This sword and pin shall be your proof of status.” Holding the sword awkwardly in his hands, Gilgamesh waited for Erik to look up and understand he was supposed to receive the sword. He coughed his throat, garnering the attention of the prime. Erik’s eyes widened as he understood what he was supposed to do. Gilgamesh handed the Nobleman his signs of status before taking a seat on his throne.

“Your assignment is to assist Victor in his mission of improving my public image. He is your superior, but you ultimately serve the crown. I am certain you will exceed my expectations.”

Erik gave the King a large smile before nodding his head, “Why of course my King.”

Gilgamesh nodded respectfully before speaking, “No go, we have a lot of work to do.” The prime quickly exited the room as a guard entered.
Gilgamesh turned his attention to the armed guard, “Yes Dave, what news do you bring me.” Dave continued to walk forward.

His voice wasn’t quite the same as he remembered, “ You have another appointment, sir.” Gilgamesh raised an eyebrow, Dave getting quite close to the throne. “FOR THE GLORY OF TIAMAT!” The ‘guard’ unsheathed a sword and charged at the King. He grabbed Gilgamesh and shoved him off the throne, raising an arm to swing down upon the King. Gil grabbed his wrist, preventing him from swinging.

“My life is meaningless unless I get to spill your blood!” He screamed, as Gilgamesh struggled to keep the sword from embedding in his brain.
[Image: GilgameshDAsig_zpsecqjfngm.png][Image: NB_BadgeRight.png][Image: RhzfCY6.gif] - Credit to Ezzy

Drake slunk through the shadows of Nippur's northeastern quadrant, his eyes scanning the rooftops for piping and auxiliary pumping stations. The corroded infrastructure eventually led him to a small, squat building made of stucco and sandstone bricks. There were no lights on inside, at least that Drake could see from the streetside, and banners of lichen and wetmold highlighted the recesses of the who station. There was a sign in front of the building that was hooked onto a chain-link fence. The fence had been cut through ages ago, but the cuneiform and english writing on the placard indicated that this was, indeed, the primary irrigation plant.

Drake glanced to his left. An abandoned storage shed or something loomed in the increasingly dark Babylonian night. The man in the strip join had used the word 'temple' to describe the operation inside the plant, so the smuggler had to assume that the entrance was being watched. He glanced left and right, watching the dusty street for potential sentries before dashing into the two-story shed. Drake climbed the concrete steps to the second floor, his path illuminated by the small LED on his datavice. It was cramped, and smelled of pigeon droppings, but it had a small, greasy window that looked out on the main pumping and intake complex.

The smuggler cracked the window to let in some fresh, damp air and settled in to watch any activity within the winding forest of pipes, valves, and stucco walls...
[Image: screen_shot_2018_02_16_at_4_33_57_pm_by_...c3dkog.png]

The streets of nippur.

The strong words of King Gilgamesh were still echoing inside Kanda’s head as he exited the palace. They were carefully chosen yet they created some questions, even worse, some doubts within the exorcist.

“You will go into my city and find any prime. Make them aware that I request an audience with them. You will not fight these primes nor any bandits. Your lives are valuable to me.”

Did the king have use for random primes or bandits? Was he truly worried about the lives of his guards or just an opportunist who has use for some wild marauders who have no loyalty except towards gold. Kanda had to see with his own eyes what was going on in this ruin of a city.

High in the sky the sun was burning down it’s scorching heat, creating an almost unbearable draught. The exorcist uniform was anything but comfortable in this environment. The large black coat did not allow for his body to vent, creating a nice greenhouse effect underneath his clothes. Within seconds after stepping outside into the oven that was the sandbox of the dunes, he could already feel the first sweat drops being formed before running down his back. It was a mystery to Kanda why people would voluntarily live here.

Kanda’s initial impression of Nippur wasn’t a positive one. Poverty created by the aftermath of the war and loss of their king was painfully visible on every street corner. The rags that some of these people were wearing as clothes were painful to see. Within the first five minutes of his exploration through the ancient town he was confronted with several crimes. From the corner of his eyes he noticed a slim fellow, carefully pickpocketing a woman distracted by her kids. A bit further there were clear signs of violence, smeers of fresh blood, ripped clothes.Yet another example how demons aren’t just the monsters he was trained to hunt, but simply humans praying on the weaker specimen of their own kind.

A duo of the king’s guards were surveilling the area. Their sloppy pose and weak appearance were a thorn in Kanda’s eye. The moment the lax guards passed by what was obviously a shakedown the exorcist lost it. His boots dug into the sandy ground as he fast paced towards the duo. Kanda grabbed one of them by the shoulder and pulled him around, forcing the official to face the aggravated exorcist. “What the hell do you think you are doing, aren’t you supposed to be protecting the people of this city?” Kanda shouted. His hands were starting to itch, the amount of self control he had to muster not to punch the living shit out of them was out of this world. The surprised soldier of nippur responded equally annoyed, a mere civilian laying hands on one of the king’s guards, that's unheard off.

“Who do you think you are? Laying hands on the king’s men. You must be new.” His comrade chuckled, knowing what was about to happen. “Perhaps we should teach you some manners with a ‘Nippur hello.” The guard cracked his knuckles right before sending it flying towards the exorcist. Highly underestimating the prime’s ability the pre-emptive strike got countered by Kanda’s itching hand. A loud slap was heard right before the guard ate sand. A glare from Kanda’s eyes followed quickly towards the partner of the smacked down guard who in return raised his hands.”We were just following orders, we’re not to fight the bandits.” The cowardly response was followed by a quick pick-up and dash. Kanda shook his head as he watched the duo flee with their tails in between their legs.

“Yo, General! Still in control of that temper i see?” A familiar voice spoke up. The swordsman turned around and noticed Barry with two other black order exorcists coming up behind him. They were wearing the scout party insignia. It seemed that even with HQ overrun in the moors they were still doing their job,“Barry, what brings you to Nippur?”

The aloof reconasist shrugged, “You know how it is, gather intel, report back. The usual routine, with the current excetion of reporting back.” Barry was his usual self, the carefree joker of the order. Digging his finger deep in his ear he was taking care of an itch. Kanda’s body send a cold shiver down his spine ‘His manners haven't improved at all.’

“Anything to report about this city?”

“Well, it seems that the king returned.” Barry replied, thinking it was news. Kanda sighed in return, “ What about some actual intelligence Barry?”

“Alright, well. Hmm it's a shithole, hopefully they will clean this place up, it has potential. Too bad the King won’t be around long.”

Several red flags went up for Kanda,”What do you mean by that? Won't be around for long.”

Barry scratched the bottom of his chin before answering, “You know, not everyone is happy to see king what's-his-face back on the throne. We already overheard that someone bribed one of the guards in order to stop him. I give the king guy an hour before his reign comes to an abrupt halt.”

A vain on Kanda’s head started to visibly throb ,” And you didn't think to take action?!”

“You know what General, no, no we did not take action. You know why? Because it’s everyone for themselves out here. Bandits, rapists and fucking power hungry primes are everywhere. After the Black order fell in the moors it was every exorcist for themselves. Don’t go acting all high and mighty without knowing the full story, ‘ex-general’.” The anger filled words were harsh ones. It wasn’t like Barry to lose his temper like this, he is supposed to be the mellow member of the order. This time however he was moments away from fuming.
“Face it Kanda, without the black order we are just regular folks here with fancy parlor tricks.”

The swordsman grabbed Barry by his uniform, pressing it against his throat. Kanda’s stern eyes pierced the scout’s mental defence, invoking fear from the highest level. He knew damn well what Kanda was capable off. “Listen here you little shit. I don’t care that the order fell and was without leadership. You’re an exorcist and you have a divine duty, a duty which you cannot ignore. There shouldn’t be some person in power that tells you what to do, you should feel it deep inside of you. This new attitude you have developed disgusts  me.” The other two scouts attempted to peel Kanda away from Barry but the swordsman was too steadfast, he didn’t move an inch. “You dare to disgrace the order? I will give you a single chance to redeem yourself. Either join me and stop whoever is after the king or get rid of that uniform before you bring more shame to it.” With those words he dropped Barry on to the sandy grounds. “As for you two, on me, we got a new mission.” Kanda turned towards the palace, showing Barry his back. A small cloud of sandy dust was created as Kanda and the two scouts dashed off back towards the palace.

The Throne Room

Reaching the palace the three exorcist stormed the gates, the single guard that was stationed at the entrance decided to stand in their way. “Move!” Kanda shouted as they rushed closer. The guard stood his ground and pulled his sword. A graceful dodge followed by single mighty blow was enough to knock him to the side. There was no time for a discussion. The throne room was close, from a distance a loud shout was heard, “FOR THE GLORY OF TIAMAT!”

‘Damnit, tell me we’re not too late.’  The thought went through Kanda’s mind as he drew his sword and allowed the innocence energy take over. Kanda's body was covered in white-yellow lightning energy. His swords became one with the body consisting out of nothing but the innocence. Majestic angelic wings sprouted from his back and something resembling a halo appeared above his head. A bright light emerged from his eyes as he shot forward. Both the scouts were left in the dust. For both of them it was the first time seeing the angelic form of the general.

The doors of the throne room blasted open as the exorcist forced his way through. Every eye in the room was immediately drawn towards the radiant angelic figure, creating a perfect opportunity for the King to break free. A well placed elbow in dave’s stomach was enough to break free. “What madness is this?!” The king shouted. Gilgamesh was not blind for the new threat that appeared upon his sacred ground. He saw the angel of light dashing towards his general direction at high speed. The king took a proper stance, preparing for impact. He did not expect the deity like creature to flash passed him. The royal eyes were barely able to follow. A few feet away from Gil he saw Dave being crushed into the ground by what appeared to be an ally.

Slowly the energy dispersed, revealing Kanda to be the one disrupting Gilgamesh’s meeting. The exorcist picked up the unconscious body of Dave, throwing it at the king’s feet. “Your guards are shit....Your highness.” A certain tone was clearly heard. Kanda started moving towards his allies from the order, who were clearly wearing the same uniform as him.

Gilgamesh stood tall near his throne, quirking an eyebrow, “Halt swordsman, you’re not done here.” Kanda stopped walking and turned around, his brothers of the order stepped next to him. The king showed a confidence grin, “ I knew i liked you.”

From outside the throne George Michael's careless whisper started blasting from Victor’s speakers, filling the room with the melodious sound of the saxophone. The assassin stood at the entrance, receiving a look from all eyes gathered, including the king’s.  “What? I thought it was fitting.” He spoke with the biggest grin on his face.
[Image: giphy.gif]
You're naive. We're destroyers, not saviors. - Yu Kanda

Gilgamesh’s intense, crimson eyes glared at his newly decreed Lord. His actions were more befitting a fool than his current position. Impatiently tapping his fingers, the King gave Victor a few seconds to stop this nonsense. Victor, however, was too lost in the tasty sax riffs with the nobleman Erik seemingly hesitated to join him in his eccentric dancing. Both of their dance moves, although incredibly skilled and alluring, had earned a death stare from the two more serious primes in the room.

“Lord Victor, do you really have nothing better to do? If you wish to keep your position, you should stop acting like a Court Jester.” The King spat with venom laced within it, clearly not amused.

" Why sir, you insult me! can you not see that I am conducting important research here? Think of the applications for this technology!” Victor let out a wild smile as he continued to dance. “Admit it, it is kind of fun " his shit-eating grin could almost be heard through the speakers

Unimpressed, Gilgamesh tilted his head as if to challenge the man’s statements, “What applications could you concought for this machine?” Skeptical of any use other than pleasure or in this case, to drive him insane.

Victor cheerily replied "Why with the push of a button and the right system everyone in the dunes could hear your glorious announcements !" Gil raised his eyebrow in surprise. He had to admit, it may be an effective tool. He turned his head and waved his hand at the prime.

“Do you have to test the speakers here?” Victor nodded emphatically before continuing his jam session. The Golden King let out a groan, “Very well. Can you at least turn down the volume and close the door? The adults need to talk.” Gilgamesh gave Victor a cheeky smile.

Giving Gilgamesh a half-earnest, half-sarcastic bow he spoke, “Why of course, my liege.” Under his breath he muttered, “Until the next schmuck comes in at least.” He exited the room, shutting the door behind him, muffling the sound from outside.

The exorcist and his two compatriots were now alone with the King, his unnerving stare unsettling his two allies. Kanda, however, remained unmoved by the King’s gaze. “What is that supposed to mean?” Kanda replied, clearly intrigued by the King’s earlier comment.

Gilgamesh smiled deviously, “You have an interesting aura about you, swordsman.” Gilgamesh leaned forward in his seat pressing his fingertips together, “Kanda, was it? You look like someone who has been in command of armies before.”

The exorcist took a standoffish stance with a dead pan expression on his face. Gilgamesh took this as a begrudging yes. This exorcist was getting better by the minute. Earning his loyalty would make the King extremely happy.
“As you clearly pointed out, my guards are indeed scum.” Gilgamesh’s eyes flared with excitement, “But you can mold them to your will. If you still wish to help me eliminate evil in the city you shall begin by making the armed guards...more effective.“ Gilgamesh kicked Dave’s unconscious body, “This one can be your personal pet project.”

Kanda nodded his head, “That sounds like a plan.” Gil stood up and dragged Dave’s unconscious body down the stairs, his head clunking on every step. Tossing the body before Kanda, Gilgamesh felt a bit awkward being on equal footing after sitting on his throne for so long. The King opened a portal and retrieved a golden sword and pin.

“These are for you and to let the guards know you are the leader. If you desire, your title will now be Knight Kanda.” The King bowed his head and extended his gifts. Remembering the painful years of the Underverse, Gilgamesh had decided he should take a hit to his pride to ensure loyalty. “I am eternally grateful for your assistance.” The words sounded like it came from a different man that he didn’t know.

Kanda gave Gilgamesh a concerned look before bowing and accepting his gifts, “I will try and make this city a better place, for the people. Not you.” Kanda whispered under his breath. Motioning to one of his lessers to grab Dave’s body, Kanda made for the exit. Gilgamesh begrudgingly moved to sit back in his throne. Collapsing in the seat, exhausted, Gilgamesh enjoyed being back on the throne but he did not enjoy the numerous meetings he had to endure. Looking out one of the windows of his palace, he could see the sun had nearly set, painting the sky a beautiful fuchsia color.
[Image: GilgameshDAsig_zpsecqjfngm.png][Image: NB_BadgeRight.png][Image: RhzfCY6.gif] - Credit to Ezzy

It was approaching seven thirty, Dunes time, and the chickens were coming home to roost. By chickens, I mean dirty fuckwads with nothing better to do than rope dumb kids into beating up their sisters. Drake watched with an unamused glare as a small cadre of unwashed punks filed their way into the dark recesses of Nippur's irrigation plant. Oil lamps were ignited in the windows, and the gentle murmurs of contrived gang business began to echo across the dusty courtyard.

The smuggler bided his time, waiting until ten minutes had passed since the last straggler had skulked their way into the narrow doorway of the station. Mostly confident that any sentries would be off their guard, Drake took a crouching position inside the dusty second story of the shed and sent a command into his cybernetic legs. The iron extremities hissed and whined as power welled up within them, before releasing with a sharp clack-shoof. The built up pressure sent Drake sailing through the open window and through the cool desert air.

Had the smuggler been any more of a smooth operator, he would have skidded to a stop on the irrigation building's rooftop. As it were, he crashed straight through an opposing window and on top of a pair of gentlemen who had, moments prior, been engaged in a session of casual oral sex.

Drake reeled on the ground, dazedly brushing bits of safety glass off of his garments as the two Tiamat cultists hoisted their pants back up. They shouted a string of obscenities at the smuggler, who mostly ignored them. Now that his attempt at stealth had been blown, there was really very little reason to sneak around. With a tip of his hat, Drake exited the room and began walking down the hallway. It was poorly lit inside the irrigation facility. Candles illuminated small patches of a remarkably filthy tile floor. Chunks of drywall and spackling littered the ground alongside food wrappers, used needles, and baggies.

In due fashion, two more cultists appeared, brandishing clunky, oversized assault weapons at Drake's face. He glanced behind him to verify that the two lovers had his flank covered with similarly shitty boomsticks.

"I'm here to see Vito." Drake said, casually picking a bloody shard of glass out of his forehead.

"You ain't here to do shit!" spat back one of the Tiamat thugs.

"Well that's...just...categorically wrong. Hey Vito!" Drake shouted, peering over the accosting youths' shoulders as if his target was right behind them.

"Yo Vito we gotta talk man!"

...there was no response. By this point, the entire irrigation plant was on high alert. More and more misguided cultists filed into the narrow, second story hallway to get a look at the poor fool who was trying to jump them. Among them, Drake spotted the brother of the girl he had rescued earlier. The one-armed man pointed straight at him.

"Ey man I got your sister home safe and sound. No need to fret." Drake said in a tone that earned him at least five slaps in the face. The tween scoffed, slicking back his cropped, black hair.

"Fine. She can starve there." he squawked. His fellow cultists chuckled and hooted in confirmation of the lad's candor. Alright. Drake could play this game.

"Aw fam, sissy don't wanna play clubhouse wit you and da boyz? Harsh, bro." Drake crooned, leaning against the wall.

"That's a pity, considering you only got fugly back there to give head around here."

"Hey man shut the fuck up...and that's messed up, they're kids!" the taller of the two lovers spat, brandishing his shitty gun at Drake. The smuggler donned a very genuine looking but very fake look of surprise.

"Aw shit I'm sorry. I thought fucking the status quo was your norm. Tiamat. Goddess of Chaos and change. All that." Drake mused.

"That's not how we operate." said a new voice. Female. Dusty and deep. Drake turned to look at its source, and came face to face with an extremely tall, heavyset woman of darker complexion. Her hair was braided into long ropes, each tipped with a brass ring. Ritual scarring covered her face and bare arms. Dressed in a simple tube top and jeans, he ample bosom threatened to burst free of its krylon mooring at any moment.

"I am Vito. Gimme one good reason I shouldn't have you mowed down right now." the broad broad growled. Drake raised one eyebrow, then the other.

"Uh, well, first of all? Crossfire." he said, pointing to the gunmen behind him and tracing a path from their leveled weapons to the people in front of him.

"Second? I can help make sure you won't all be dead within the week. Maybe some. But definitely not all." Drake said flatly. He picked at a patch of dry skin on his cheek before looking back towards the hulking Vito. To punctuate the sincerity of his threat, he flicked the golden badge on his jacket. Vito scowled down at the lion's emblem.

"How'd you get in here?" she snapped.

"Y'all suck."

Vito punched Drake in the fucking face.

"Damn..." he groaned, wiping a bloodied lip on his sleeve, "I'da figured the leader of this temple would be a bit more uh...priestly? Lemme guess, that ain't how you operate either." Drake chuckled, his eyes glinting.

Vito offered him a knowing smile.

"Alright slick. We can talk, but you still a dead man." Vito said coyly. She bade her followers to disperse and guided the one-armed man into what Drake assumed were her personal quarters. Basically, these Tiamat fuckers were just a bunch of squatters with guns. What he did notice were the fifty or so crates of Golden Cross supplies stacked up in the dark corners of her office become bedroom. Large, scrawling motifs of dragons and fire were inked all over the walls in Sharpie, and Vito had a large nest of blankets and cushions in the middle of the floor. Two disciples stood guard at the doorway. Their guns were at their hips, but ready at a moment's notice.

"So what's the game here; steal convoy supplies and then cop 'em out to hungry, obedient kids? Where's the temple thing factor into that?" Drake asked, looking around. There was a small crunch under his foot, and a glance revealed that he had stepped on an empty syringe. He had to assume that everyone in the building was a heroine user. Vito uttered a dark, throaty laugh.

"Temple. Not a church. We worship Tiamat, goddess of destruction and decay, here. That's what Nippur is. Decay. Depravity. Survival of the strongest. She watches over the rejected and the scorned, and guides them here." Vito said, her tone slowly becoming more and more unbearably preachy. Drake laughed sharply.

"Uh, no fam. Empty stomachs are what guides people here. Lookin' for food you stole from 'em. Why people think you a guy, anyway?" Drake asked, thumbing the hilt of his katana. He didn't dare reach for his piece with the guards at the door, but he was extremely tempted just to kill Vito now and suffer the respawn. Frankly, he was excited for his first time.

"Gets the thick ones in the door. Tiamat will only speak through a woman, but some people will only take orders from a man." Vito said with a smirk.

"Vagina power!" Drake blurted out, pumping his fist in the air. The huge woman shot him a mixed look of disdain and denial. Drake shrugged.

"People may not know it, but we're what has kept Nippur alive since Law burned the city. We keep the streets organized, but dangerous. There's no accounting for the psychos out in the wastes, but if they thought Nippur was helpless, there would have been nothing left. We keep the thugs armed and the people angry. The buzzards leave us alone. Tiamat runs this." Vito said with a widening smile, gesturing to what Drake now recognized as a map of Nippur on the single desk in the room. It was constructed out of food cans and old scrap paper, but it was a passable representation.

"Uh hhhuh. So. You know Gilgamesh is back–"

"Fuckin everyone knows that, you think we stupid?" Vito snapped, slamming a meaty fist on the ancient table. Drake smiled internally. Well now this was certainly a raw nerve.

"He can sit on his golden throne, with his golden hair, fuckin' that golden pussy, but if he tries to come down on us, Nippur dies. This whole irrigation system is rigged to explode. How the people gonna love him when they dying of thirst? Can't drink stupid, fucking gold, can they? Fuckin...gold everything up in here." Vito said, muttering her final sentiment over the rim of what Drake had to assume was a very flat beer.

"He's committed to a theme. Look. Not sure if you noticed the part where Gilgamesh summoned an entire fucking hospital like he was ordering a BLT, but that happened. You think blowing up this irrigation plant is gonna slow him down with, what, six or seven Prime sucking him off? Bitch please." Drake said, sitting down on the cult leader's bed. This particular line of rhetoric seemed to have put Vito at a loss for words at the moment, so Drake made sure to follow through on his attack.

"Like I said, Gilgamesh might kill some of you, but if you play your cards right, there might be room for you in the new Nippur. Think of it as...an apocalypse's apocalypse. An unpocalypse." Drake said softly, quickly darting his hand into his satchel and snatching a cigarette out. The guards at the door twitched and trained their guns on Drake, but relaxed slightly when he showed them the little white death stick. The smuggler idly lit the cherry on a nearby candle and took a deep, long, luxurious pull.

He was in no hurry.
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Victor let out a sigh of relief, his dancing and choice of song may just have broken the tension enough and entertained their King for long enough to spare that poor idiot Dave his life. For as much as he was a filthy heretic, he was still Dave, they could train and beat the heresy out of him, much like one would train a dumb puppy. But they could never replace him, they could summon him again but would it really be the same Dave? Victor thought to himself as he gave a subtle thumbs up to Erik, he had ordered the Psychic to play along and despite clear reservations, he had done it about as well as the new lord could have asked for. A proper reward would be thought up at a later date but for now, Victor had more pressing matters, after all, he had to make sure that this dumb puppy learned from its mistakes before the head of the house had it put down for biting the hand that feeds. 

Victor smiled deviously and waved to the newly promoted knight, who had made quite the impression rushing in like a hero to protect the most powerful prime in the city, but he assumed it must have been the thought that counted as it seemed to please the king. Yu was still doing his best to kill Victor with a stare, something that the assassin was more than used to, the thrill of the swordsmen's glare sending shivers down his body. "You know usually I need to kill a lot more people to get glares like that" Victor whispered under his breath causing the swordsmen to break his silence "excuse me?" Victor simply waved it off "oh nothing, very impressive entrance there, and such an important mission you have been given, isn't that right Erik?" Victor turned so his face could not be seen by the swordsmen and his posse of fellow gothic clothing enthusiasts, a scary grin spreading across his face letting his new comrade that playing along would be a very good idea. 

"Yes, very impressive" Erik replied his voice tinged with nervousness, not wanting to have to do any more dances or whatever sick stuff Victor would have in mind as a punishment for disobeying him. The harsh malice on Victors face disappeared as he turned back to the exorcist and his crew, Kanda clearly wanting to just get the interaction over with and get to his actual business. "Now I won't keep you long, I just want to talk to one of my old friends there, so if your two boys could just, hold him up whilst I try to... Bring him back to us for a bit, that would be most appreciated." the two men dragging the guard looked to Yu for approval who announced "make it quick", complying the two held the traitor by his outstretched arms, allowing him to sit on the stone of the palace floor. 

Wasting no time Victors devious grin returned as he removed a water flask from inside his cloak, unscrewing the lid he moved one of his hands to the guard's nose, squeezing down on his nostrils and popping the flask into his mouth. Keeping it there the sound of the water rushing down the guard's throat could be heard echoing in the room. Eventually, the body started to panic as he ran out of the air in his lungs, his eyes shooting open as Victor removed the water bottle, his hand getting covered in the coughed up fluid as his "friend" fought to get vital oxygen back into his chest. Looking groggy the guard raised his head, his face still wet from the water torture. "What happened?" 

"Well it looks like you can't be the messiah today Dave, you have been a very naughty boy!" Victor teased, but before the still beaten up guard could get a word in he continued "I mean what were you thinking? That you would somehow pull one over on the God King himself? I don't even think I could do that, and I can turn invisible and hide my killing intent, Can you do that Dave? No, you cannot because you are Dave the guard, not Dave the Banisher." Victor put his face in his hands and let out a sigh as the guard responded "but you and the King where so teasing about the name thing, and then those cultists offered me so much money to get rid of the king" Victor laughed "Ok, so think this through, you kill the King that a lot of people are happy to have back, you then have to deal with all the primes that follow him, and assuming that you go full hercules and survive the twleve trials of torture we would put you through, where would you spend that money? Most of the places around here bearly have food, and you cannot eat gold, What they offered you was nothing for something you mongrel" The realisation seemed to sink in on Daves soft gorgeous face as Victor continued his tirade of logic bombs "And really the name thing? I am a lord crowned by your King and I gave you it as a gift and your King appreciated it, think about that, it made you unique, how many other Daves do you see around here? No one is going to remember Enugi, Dave stands out, it could have been a brand. "Dave face of the new Babylonian guard, Dave, the voice of New Babylon radio! Dave, spokesperson for all Nippurian secondaries!" Victor waved his hands to the side as he painted the image of success before looking somewhat sad, a tear welling up in his eye "But now you are just going to be Dave, first of many dead in the first battle against Deathchew". 

The assassin let out a sniff as a look of pure horror spread across the guard's face, the entire thing turning deathly white as he soullessly responded "what did you just say" Causing Victor to play up the act more tears rolling down his face "Well you see Gilgamesh in his wisdom has decided that you and any other undesirables will be sent out as the first wave in an assault against the murderous cannibal bandits of Baron Deathchew we don't expect there to be many if any survivors, You broke my heart Dave, and now there is nothing I can do" Victor sniffled some more before looking to Yu "Take him away" he said in a weak voice, causing Yu to roll his eyes and head away, clearly having better things to do. as Yu's men dragged the now struggling guard away his pleas of mercy filled the palace a real sense of dread in his voice. Once he was out of sight the assassin dropped to the floor clutching his stomach, the laughter filling the room.
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