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Daniel

 
  Plummet
Posted by: Strazio Rockwell - 05-01-2019, 10:42 PM - Forum: The Underverse - No Replies

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

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

"FUCK"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  Vote For Us! (May)
Posted by: Taloc - 05-01-2019, 12:20 AM - Forum: The Whateververse, Man - Replies (158)

You like having more people to play with, right? That was a rhetorical question, because having more people to write with is awesome. Do you also like OM? If the answer is 'yes', which OBVIOUSLY it is, then please vote for us on the following sites!

RPGfix (every 12 hours. If you register, your votes count as x2. Worth the couple of minutes to make an account if you're going to be voting every day)
Top RP Sites (Daily)
Top Site List Planet (Daily.)

Vote on all sites, then post here with "Vote 1". When you vote on all sites again, post "Vote 2". You are allowed to vote again 12 hours after your previous vote, and we're okay if that only affects RPGfix. However, you should be trying to vote on all sites, as the reset times vary.

Tl;dr: Vote for all the sites, put "1". Next day, do the same and put "2". If you're really hardcore, you can vote every 12 hours, but it's not necessary.

If we find out your votes aren't being counted (and yes, we take the times you voted into account) we will give you the benefit of the doubt the first time as a mistake. However, if it happens again, or if we think you're not bothering or simply haven't read this, we will remove your voting privileges and you will no longer be eligible for this monthly bonus.

At the end of the month, if you posted ...

5-10 times: You get 100 OM.
11-16 times: You get 200 OM.
17-22 times: You get 300 OM.
23-28 times: You get 400 OM.
29+ times: 500 OM, and a fistbump from me for being so damn diligent.

If you have an alternate character and wish to claim your reward on that account as opposed to your main one, please let us know in the topic before the month ends. If you don't, we'll assume you want the OM on the account you posted with.

Thanks for voting everyone!

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  Black-white, a doctor, and stardust
Posted by: Marisa Kirisame - 04-30-2019, 08:20 AM - Forum: The Endless Dunes - No Replies

Marisa was flying to the edge of the verse as the sand turned to dirt and so she landed on the ground with Nitori in tow as they began the relativily short walk to the verse gate as the two began to talk with Nitori starting. "What are you going to do in the face of this problem?" Her voice was calm and collected as she looked at the witches neutral face.

Breathing in Marisa began to speak. "Ah, well I should be honest. I'll likely do something stupid since it's how I roll. But besides fighting them isn't such a good idea considering if they seriously come after me, the city will be in danger. And if I head over the City doesn't have really anyone with actual power to protect it. Guards and whatnot are only so useful against a prime." Holding her broomstick behind herself she went quiet as the gate showed up. "If I do go to turn myself in, don't let Alice come and try to break me out." As much it hurt her pride to say that she may need another persons help she shoved it down and continued. 


"Same goes for you Nitori, considering I made my decisions and I'm a big enough person to look them in the face and take them head on." She gave her typical over the top, slightly sarcastic grin as she chuckled. "Plus... how bad can it be?"

It was then that they reached the edge of the verse right next to the gate ready to head out.

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  Discord Invite.
Posted by: Ben Tennyson - 04-29-2019, 02:57 PM - Forum: Help Desk - Replies (1)

I would like another invite to the group if possible.

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  Character Switch
Posted by: Xanatos S. - 04-29-2019, 02:19 PM - Forum: Joining - Replies (6)

CHARACTER NAME: Xanatos Stones 

CHARACTER SOURCE: Code Lyoko (OC) 

CHARACTER HISTORY:  Xanatos is an AI that was made by Jeremy Belpois originally, a clone of William. However, the AI was turned off by him when the clone of William was no longer needed. Due to this, the clone was reactivated by Xana. However the AI has been reactivated in the Omniverse by Omni. Omni brought him to the Omniverse in order to see how an artificial intelligence would react to the Omniverse. Thus,  Xanatos has awakened in the Nexus with none of his capabilities accessible to him in the slightest. 

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION:

[Image: 9348a6cce9fd07343464c2aa4c3c2af3ecaa6e8a_00.jpg]


[Image: e86ab111aa14940d69da361e0eaa6206.jpg]

STATS:
ATK: 2
DEF: 2
SPD: 2
TEC: 4

STARTING PROFICIENCIES:
Physical Strength (1000) 
Ranged Proficiency (1000) 

STARTING POWERS:  N/A 

STARTING MOVES:  N/A 

I confirm that I have read and agreed to the Rules of Conduct. Yes. 

Where did you find us?

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  So I decided to come back
Posted by: Ben Tennyson - 04-28-2019, 05:13 PM - Forum: The Whateververse, Man - Replies (5)

I came back because I missed this place and I have more or less forgiven the site for what they did to my friends.
I wonder if they came back too at some point? Either way I hope you don't mind that I came back.

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  Joining Daniel Tempest updated
Posted by: Daniel_Tempest - 04-28-2019, 12:52 AM - Forum: Joining - Replies (15)

Name: Daniel Tempest
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Race: QuadraHybrid (Human, Monster, Angel, Shadow)
Appearance
that depends on what form you catch him in. his human form leaves him looking like a pretty short (5 feet 10 inches) teenager with messy almost static charged looking blonde hair. his skin tone is of a lightly tanned Caucasian whose eyes seem to be a natural deep blue and an old slash scar on the left side of his face, close to his eye. his build is light leaving him looking smaller than he is, but the muscle he does have is very solid. Something that will become noticeable is that his eyes, left arm, and right leg are very well put together prosthetics built by himself. very little is different in his angel and shadow appearance except for color changes in his hair and skin tone it's his monster form that he uses almost as often as his human form. He appears as a slightly heavier built slightly taller canine anthro male, his fur color is light gray with gold and blue electricity patters all over his body. But at the moment in the nexus he is stuck in his monster form.

Personality: Tempest is one that fights only as a last resort. He dislikes hurting people very much. He usually is very light-hearted, funny and friendly he always would be the person you can trust, who would always be there for his friends...but he's scared, alone, and confused now...he should be dead yet he's not. 

Backstory/History/Bio: Tempest trained under the Royal Guard of Yugon his home planet. At just 11 years old he and his sister were sent to our Earth when their planet was attacked by the legion of Shadows commanded by the Warlord known only as DarkHeart. His sister and he discover a hidden safe haven building that changes to what the user needs. They Dub it "Haven" (creative I know right?) and are slowly building up a resistance to fight against DarkHeart's forces. But Tempest is slain in battle against DarkHeart and now awakens in the Nexus stripped of most his powers. He's alone, scared, and confused. His journey begins now.

Clothing :
Tempest loves to wear either brightly colored tee shirts or ones that have sarcastic and sometimes inspirational quotes, (his favorite shirt has the words "Dream as if you were immortal" printed on the front and on the back it says "but live as if you'll die today") blue jeans, and brightly colored tennis shoes (he is barefoot in his monster form) the catch is all his clothes are made from a material a bit stronger than US military grade kevlar but is super lightweight. unfortunately, the Omniverse has weakened it very much and can only stop a couple of bullets from a rifle or very few (three for most blades) slashes from a knife or sword. 

Starting Stats: (physical strength and Ranged Proficiency)
[b]physical strength(1000 OM)[/b]
[b][b]Ranged Proficiency (1000 OM)[/b][/b]
ATK:3

DEF:2

SPD:2

TEC:3


power(s): Super speed: Tempest is used to teleportation but will have to be happy with this for now using his electricity storing ability to fuel his prosthetics. He must charge himself with any form of plasma for a full minute before using this. (1000 OM) (see cost)

Moves: 

fisticuffs (Requires physical strength): This is Tempest's preferred method to combat. It has a low chance to kill his opponent and stops them from killing him win-win right? He will use a mix of jabs, hooks, and uppercuts. this move will be moderately damaging to others with low defense lower than his attack but only minor damage will be dealt with those who's defense is higher than his attack. The speed of this attack will be slightly quicker than a normal human's swings but if he is fighting a while his swings will slow until they are normal swing speeds for a human. (0 OM)

Mother's Sword (requires physical strength): a two-foot-long double-edged sword with a leather grip. It is a very light sword that can be swung around at almost blinding speed but without good reach. the strikes will cause only minimum damage for the fact that he will always leave cuts that are more to wear down his opponent not kill them (300 OM) 

Lightning Strike (requires ranged proficiency): a blast of pure deep blue electricity fired from the sky to a metal conductor (a sword) to the target. this takes Tempest five seconds of concentration or the strike will go wild shooting in an unintended direction, having the chance of hitting allies. If the target has a higher TEC than him then it will have a higher chance to miss. This will drain Tempest very quickly if he uses it too much it will start to cause moderate damage to him as well. (300 OM)

Cost: Tempest's Prosthetics seem to run out of power quicker than when he was alive last. for this reason, he needs to charge himself with any form of plasma so he can run, fight, and see. Also, his heart that is already in poor shape will start to fail if he goes more than a day without charging or uses too much plasma.  

Fighting Style:
Tempest is an expert swordsman and can use almost any blade to perfection but rarely ever uses his sword in fear of ending his foe's life. he was trained in "adaptive fighting" by his mother then he taught himself after she died. He can almost never be baited into attacking and uses his sharp mind to plan ahead in fights. he will even use some of his gadgets to help if he gets into trouble. In the Nexus, though his powers and his equipment besides his sword and electricity have been taken from him. He will have to learn the way of the Omniverse if he wants to stand a chance now. 
Confirmation of the rules:

yeah, I read them. All of them...three times.


Where did you find us?
I just surfed the net for "Good rp sites"

Spent 3,600 out of 5,000 available OM

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  Trickery and Revenge
Posted by: Tyson Renegade - 04-25-2019, 02:15 AM - Forum: Camelot - No Replies

Tyson was under the fake name known as John Reilly hiding out within a village dealt with some creeps. After saving some children, Tyson thought everything was cool but something was bothering him the person who placed the bounty on him. It had his damn name on it some guard by the name Ryan it had to be that asshole guarding that fat sonuvabitch then again the guard could be the one he talked to finding all those goodies and trinkets which the demon could use. Guard Ryan placed this bounty upon him maybe by slaughtering his family it would send a loud message the important thing is hiding and then dealing with those hunters. After dealing with idiots, Tyson thought about heading back to the village until the demon sees it more wanted posters and the worse thing was people were looking at them. It would be bad for someone to discover his identity but his worse fears were realized when a gang of bandits approached him and then the leader showed up looking at the bounty picture and then at the criminal. Nothing really goes well but the demon thought how he could destroy the bounty altogether meaning he'll have to head back to the castle once again. First, He'll need to deal with these group of bandits and the leader started approaching him but this seemed like a bandit investigation then a regular bounty hunting scheme. "Well, Look who we have here...Mr. Bounty himself what did you call yourself? John Reilly...It said on this flyer a murderer named Tyson." Everything this guy was saying was the truth and the demon couldn't lie out of this one. Tyson sighed of the idea of changing his appearance again but the bandits got their weapons really the demon wanted this nightmare to end once and for all. "John Reilly is a name to be feared because unfortunately for all of you this is the last name. You're ever going to hear once the dying begins. But, I'm going to give you all something I never had a choice...forget about me and leave me alone in peace. If you all do this right now that will be the end of it. But if you don't well I will have to use force." Tyson viciously said. 

Bandit leader just laughed in his face telling his bandits to kill the demon. Tyson didn't waste any time but killing them would be bad for his record so the demon managed to mop the floor with the punks. Started beating the bandit leader to a bloody pulp, Tyson was ready to kill the bandit leader until something stops him and it was the village leader. The old man begs Tyson to stop which the demon does allow the bandit leader and his gang to leave the village but his identity was discovered. With no choice, Tyson needed to leave the village for good it wouldn't be good if he stays here waiting for a bounty hunter to show up and get him.

The demon started getting on his horse and started to depart without saying a damn word and started riding out on horseback. Only one thing would satisfy him but the demon needed to think of a plan but nothing came to mind the bounty on him real good. Tyson made it to a secure location and then tried planning out how the fuck to get rid of the bounty. 

Dealing with the bastard prince was the only solution he'll make the sonuvabitch squeal before his guts come out. Tyson then thought something else convincing the prince to have...a fake bounty claim. It was perfect convincing the little bastard that Tyson was executed days ago dropping the entire bounty once and for all. Tyson was wondering if he could convince the prince into doing it for him having someone else taking the fall thinking that the demon was dead and killed. It wasn't a perfect plan but it will have to do, Tyson got on horseback and started heading back to the damn castle where the demon heard the rumors. The bastard was made a lord of the castle then again, Tyson didn't kill the king but the prince had an awful burden upon his shoulders maybe by exploiting it could help him out better. He got off his horse and started heading inside as the guards started getting into a defensive guard position wondering why the demon was back. 

"Where is he? Where is that sonuvabitch hiding right now? Your new Lord and I need to discuss some things and he'll listen to what I have to say" Tyson replied.

The guards started lowering his weapons still in pain over all the events but the demon wanted to talk business. It seemed this monster didn't want to cause harm to their new lord of the castle but they had their eye on this threat. "You...You just want to talk. Tyson what is this about and why are you back here?" Guard questioned. 

"Just a one on one, Nothing more and nothing less...I just want a certain deal with your new lord something your boss is going to like. Once this is done and my demands are met. You'll never see back here ever again". Tyson answered.

Guards lowered their weapons as one of them started heading into the castle asking for the new lord to head outside the demon was back. The former prince couldn't believe the demon was back, He thought everything was done with. He was a bit afraid but the new lord started heading outside with his guards as the new lord headed out appearing with his new attire. Tyson wasn't in the mood but the new lord could actually do something for him removing the bounty off him or having the guard who placed the bounty on him executed. The demon started cracking his knuckles hoping his demands are met or there will be blood everywhere.

"Hello, Bounty boy...What do you want?" Lord Pike said.

"Don't fucking act smug you sonuvabitch. I'm not in a good mood but you can do something for me. Your the new lord of this castle meaning one of the stupid guards placed the bounty on my head. Now, Considering your crimes and people you killed...You did a number on me. But, I'm willing to forgive all of it. But I want something in return. You fuckers remove the bounty off me and I'll never step foot here again." Tyson yelled.

"I can't excuse what that bastard did to us. Harming and killing all of those people using cannibalism magic on me and my people. So many innocent people killed for his own selfish greed. I'm sorry we placed the bounty on you. But that is impossible Tyson." Lord Pike said. 

"YOU REALLY WANT TO PISS ME OFF DON'T YOU? WHY NOT?" Tyson yelled.

"Guard Ryan is in service of another castle of Camelot a heinous castle. He was the former king right-hand man and never to leave for whatever reason after he exploded his guard duty was completely terminated. The guard's services were no longer required and because of his honor placed the bounty as his act of glory and righteousness. I'm sorry sir..." Lord Pike answered.

This was fucking perfect the bastard who placed the bounty upon him was somewhere else but what could he do here. Tyson thought of a plan what if those assholes in Camelot thought the demon was dead and buried. He started explaining his dark plan to the new lord wondering if the whole thing could work faking his death would be the best thing. Having someone else taking the fall, Tyson planned out everything with Lord Pike and if everything goes well. The demon will leave in peace, Lord Pike accepted Tyson's terms and wet to work with the demonic plan getting a dead body from the morgue that was the first thing. Next, The handmaidens went to work dressing the dead body to the same 1000% exact clothing that the demon was wearing until it was a perfect match. After so many tries, Tyson watched at the handmaidens got the clothing to a perfect match. Finally, Tyson had two medical doctors to work on facial reconstruction to make the dead body looked completely like him if they didn't they're dead. Without any lip, Doctors went to work and hours later...After many surgeries, Tyson was pleased with their work the face was a match almost like looking at himself. One more thing...The Undertaker getting the coffin ready and burying the fake dead body into the coffin. The guards helped out placing the coffin near the gravesite...Everyone will believe that Tyson Renegade was killed and these guards killed burying his fake body.

"Is that everything demon?" Lord Pike said.

"Not yet...You're in the home stretch. Guard Ryan...Where is that fucking sonuvabitch? I want his soul eradicated from the plane of existence." Tyson replied.

"We don't know...He left after placing the bounty on you. He probably wet back to his Lord and master. But his son is serving us for the time being" Lord Pike said.

"His son?" Tyson questioned.

This changed everything having some leverage here getting back at that sonuvabitch, Tyson thought of a wicked plan. He started explaining the plan to Lord Pike said. Tyson explained everything of what the demon wanted to be done and if everything went perfect the demon would leave keeping their horrible secret forever. Lord Pike agreed to Tyson's terms and shake on it "Everything goes well and you'll never see my face ever again." Tyson said. Lord Pike nodded convincing the guards to play a fake execution with the demon and the townspeople saw the demon was taken to be hanged. Everything was set up to look like the demon was going to be hanged but the noose was rigged. Tyson would have to play dead to make it completely look like the demon was executed. 


The guards immediately took his body in the wagon and headed off.  About 50 miles away, They headed to a secure spot, Tyson got out of the wagon as Lord Pike and few guards approached him.

"Alright, I'll keep your cannibalism secret. Also, I never step foot again you have my word. Also the other manner of business. The son of that guard...I'll be taking him as my way of thanking Guard Ryan for the bounty." Tyson said.

"We're done here?"

"Those idiots will think I'm dead and hopefully the bounty hunters will leave me alone. Lord Pike, you should make your claim to that bounty. Our deal is done pray we do not meet again. If we do...I'M FUCKING BURNING THAT CASTLE DOWN TO THE GROUND." Tyson replied.

The plan was set...

Many Hours later...

Lord Pike guards had placed fake flyers upon some trees and the statement read "As ordered of Lord Pike...the criminal known as Tyson was hanged and executed for his crimes. He was buried having a grave marker hoping to find some peace for his poor soul. No one, not even a monster such as him shall harm the people of Camelot ever again. Sentencing the vile creature to death, So it is written and so it shall be."

Tyson was hiding out under a false attire but one more thing was done the demon kidnapped Guard Ryan's son. The story was the guard's son died fighting to restrain the demon now everyone will think the guard's son is dead. This was a new turn of events, Tyson had a prisoner of war whatever happens to him well as they say shit happens.  "Well Sir, I have some bad news everyone thinks we died at the castle. After I made some deals with the Lord Pike. Well, the deal was that your expendable and you belong to me. Your father placed a bounty on me and thanks to Lord Pike...They planned a fake execution for me but here the revenge part.  Your son of the bastard...YOUR ASS IS MINE. Meaning your life belongs to me now" Tyson said.

"What are you going to do to me?" Teenager said.

"Nothing, Nothing at all. You'll be alright consider this lucky day you're going to enjoy being a demon's hostage. I'll make your father regret EVER placing that bounty to me. But if this plan works...The revenge will be mine" Tyson said.

The two started heading off...

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Rainbow Reactivation
Posted by: Eighteen - 04-23-2019, 04:02 PM - Forum: Help Desk - Replies (1)

Hello,

I would like to come back.  Can I be reactivated?

Much appreciation Basic heart.

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  The Rainbow Scarab
Posted by: Centurion - 04-22-2019, 05:13 PM - Forum: The Endless Dunes - Replies (1)

The desert was angry at Callium Graves. 


The man pushed against the heavy winds and piercing sands that whipped across the Endless Dunes. He did his best to ignore the searing pain that shot through his entire body with every step and the scraping agony that had overtaken his lungs. Squinting through the visor in his helm, Callium picked out a rock formation jutting out from the sandy hills. He stumbled down the inclined dunes to avoid the storm. He walked for a few more minutes before finally coming to the outcropping. He thanked the Maker for the safe haven and leaned his rifle against the rocks. 


Callium pulled off his helmet and dumped out a copious amount of sand, much to his chagrin. The man lowered himself to the ground and leaned back against the stone. He let his head drop back and tap the rock as he let out a long sigh. The warrior was exhausted, dirty, and beaten. Nothing out of the ordinary, of course, but frustrating nonetheless. He carefully tugged at one of the bandages on his leg and peeked at the wound. It was healing, albeit slowly, and much of the flesh lost had been replaced. He couldn’t help but smile as he fondly remembered the folks who had granted him a second lease on life and his righteous revenge.


“My thanks Hana,” He said quietly, his voice drowned out by the storm. “I wouldn’t be alive without your kindness.”


Callium found it comforting to speak to himself on long treks such as this one. After being separated from Typhone, Leiko, and Hana, he had been left with only his grief and anger as traveling companions. Not a night went by where he didn’t dream of his home’s blazing remains or of the face of his daughter as she was brutally cut down. Absentmindedly, Graves took a strange bauble from his pouch and rolled it between his fingers. He glanced down at the shiny treasure and took in its beautiful details. It was finely crafted, with thin lines and ornate trim. The mostly golden beetle was encrusted with a jeweled back. The many precious gems worked together to create a kaleidoscope of colors that radiated off of the Scarab’s back. Its decadence and light was almost magical. It managed to shine even with the sun blocked out by the sandstorm.


“Fascinating trinket…” Callium tossed it from one hand to the other. “I pray you lead me to my objective swiftly. This journey grows tiresome.”


The Scarab was his only lead on his mission of vengeance. He had found it on a bandit corpse shortly after losing contact with his previous companions. Such a treasure could only mean deep pockets, and deep pockets said there was a chance that the Captain could find who he was looking for. Eventually, he slipped the Scarab back into the pouch he had taken it from and listened to the sandstorm. The rushing winds and grating sands created a surprisingly calming symphony of sounds. Callium let his body relax and ignored how uncomfortable his armor felt. The sandstorm became a soothing melody, a lullaby, that cradled the warrior’s soul as he drifted off to sleep. His rest was not peaceful.


--


The village was burning, but Callium did not care. He wept as he cradled his little girl in his arms. Her still body felt poisonous in his embrace. Her pallid face and cold skin broke his heart. He reached out with one hand and grabbed his wife’s cold fingers, the digits still sticky with blood. She stared at him with dead eyes, sprawled out disgracefully on the floor and riddled with gaping bullet holes. What wasn't already burning had been decimated by gunfire and looted without mercy. The flames spread down the walls and into the room where Callium knelt. The heat from his burning home pierced even his thick metal armor, but it was not enough to make him want to leave them. He couldn’t leave them.


“Captain Graves! The Hall is ablaze!” 


Callium spun around in a panic, whipping out his sword and jabbing the tip up against the newcomer’s throat. His lieutenant stood behind him, caked in blood and soot and utterly terrified. Callium lowered his weapon and went limp, returning his gaze to his daughter. The lieutenant took in the brutal scene and felt his captain’s pain.


“I’m so sorry, Captain.”


Graves gave no acknowledgment. He merely pushed a displaced strand of chestnut hair out of his little girl's perfect face. The lieutenant picked up his captain’s rifle and gently offered it to him. Callium looked up from his daughter’s curled body at the gun, then at his comrade. It took a moment for Callium to finish the prayers customary to his people. Finally, he laid his daughter beside his wife and stood up. After sheathing his sword, he took the rifle from his lieutenant and nodded in thanks. His hoarse voice was strained as he tried to shout over the flames.


“Where is the Vanguard?”


The lieutenant choked as he tried to catch his breath in the smoky air. “Dead, sir, all slain! They lay in the square slaughtered.”


“And the rest of our brothers?”


“Captured or killed, sir.”


“Blast…” Callium pulled on his helm.


“Sir, we should leave while we still can-”


Graves jumped forward and grabbed the soldier roughly by his leather collar. “Coward! I know you to be a braver man than that, Lieutenant! Have you lost your fire among these burning buildings?”


The man stared blankly into his captain’s helmeted face.


“SPEAK.”


The soldier shook his head. “No, sir!”


Callium shoved the lieutenant back. “Good. Gather whoever remains, we make our stand in the square. If we are to die, let it be on our feet.”


The lieutenant’s expression hardened with determination, and he nodded before dashing out of the house. The captain gave his family one last glance before stepping outside into the hell that had befallen his people. The street was strewn with the corpses of his fellows. Very few of the invaders lay among them. Graves crouched down beside one of his fallen comrades in arms and patted the man’s pauldron. He thanked him for his sacrifice before retrieving some ammunition from the corpse’s bandolier. The warrior ran for the town square, avoiding the blazing rubble that surrounded him. Even the night sky seemed to burn. Everything was washed with a deathly red and orange as the flames crept through the roads and engulfed the walls of his village.


A small group of invaders marched down the streets spreading the destruction with their flamethrowers. Callium cursed them as loudly as he could before ramming his rifle-mounted bayonet deep into the first one’s chest. The murderer died with a quiet gurgle and Graves yanked out his rifle before the body could fall. The other two men spun around, one wielding a flamethrower while the other brandished a machine gun. Callium swiftly caught the dead man’s collapsing form and used the corpse to absorb the bullets and flame. Fire licked at Callium's heels as it curved around his dead enemy’s fire-retardant clothing. The warrior fired blindly with his rifle around the side of the body until he heard someone cry out in pain. The roaring flamethrower cut out abruptly along with the hail of gunfire. Without hesitation, Callium shoved the corpse aside and leveled his rifle with the last invader still standing. The man was panicking and smacking his gun in a desperate attempt to unjam it. Mercilessly, Callium fired a round through the man’s knee, forcing him to drop into a kneel, then fired twice more into the invader’s chest. Callium fought the urge to spit on the three bodies and kept moving for the square.


It took time to pick his way through the collapsing buildings. Too often Callium would come face to face with a fallen wall or burning cart which barred his path. Eventually, He found a clear road to the square. After dispatching two more looters with a pair of well-aimed shots, the Captain arrived in the Town Square. What he saw shook him to his core. The Town Hall was burning. Its ornate wooden architecture was warped and scorched. The watchtower on its roof was collapsing. More invaders swarmed the square, gathering the survivors. He recognized his neighbors and fellow guardsmen as they were shoved around and forced to kneel in lines before the Hall. Callium caught sight of his lieutenant as the man was shoved down beside some other guards. The younger soldier looked up and locked eyes with his captain across the square. Graves moved forward, rifle ready, but the lieutenant shook his head. His lips moved wordlessly.


Live, Captain.


With the sharp retort of a rifle, the lieutenant slumped forward in a pool of his own blood. A volley of shots slaughtered the other guards unceremoniously. Graves’ soul burned even brighter than the Hall, and he roared in frustration and agony. Even for all his anger, he could not be heard over the flames by the executioners. However, across the square, one creature turned. It was tall and lanky with legs twisted like a horse’s. It wore some sort of crown or shield on its head and gripped a strange firearm. It stared at Callium with a blank helm. 


Its attention was captured by a Town Vanguard. Graves watched as the man walked calmly to the creature and held out his hand. The beast reached out and dropped a bag of coin into the man’s grip. Callium’s heart sank. He recognized the Vanguard as he counted out some of the coins and grinned.


“Serril?”


The Vanguard clipped the moneybag to his hip and marched confidently away. When the creature looked back, Callium was gone.


--


“TRAITOR!”


Callium leaped to his feet and drew his sword. The flames cast terrifying shadows across the sand as they danced in his mind. His body shook as he steadied himself against the rock. Shaking himself free of darker thoughts, Callium scooped up his rifle. It only dawned on him as he retrieved his helm that the storm had stopped and that night had fallen. He stared at the twinkling sky and its beautiful sprinkling of stars. The darkness was almost comforting. The quiet of the night coupled with the bright moon cast a serene atmosphere over the previously torrid dunes. Callium inhaled deeply, savoring the crisp air, and rolled his shoulders with the exhale. Were the desert not rife with bandits and lawlessness, it would be a kind place to raise a family. Graves could feel his mind drift back to his memories of home, so he forced himself to focus on something else. The warrior decided to continue his long trek.


He gently prodded his wounds underneath his armor, wincing at the pain. They were healing slower and slower the more he walked, but Callium had known that would happen. He took his rifle’s leather sling and whipped it over his shoulder. The weapon hung loosely at his hip, and he used his hand to keep it from bouncing. The cold air of the desert clashed with the still hot sand. Night had only fallen within the last hour or two. Callium pulled out a roll of yellowed parchment from his belt and spread out the map it contained. He pondered the map he was holding and glanced back up at the stars. He read their secrets and determined he was heading north. 


“They rode west from the village,” He mused dejectedly. “However, I know not where I was found by the others or how far I have traveled since. I am… lost.”


Callium rolled the map up and returned it to the loop on his belt. The wounds that peppered his body were sore, and he felt like he hadn't slept in weeks. With a sigh, he forced his battered body to keep moving. At the very least he’d end up somewhere. Anywhere was better than here. Here he felt as if he was being watched.

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