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Poppy Bill

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Location : Colbert, Washington

PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:15 am

The moon was high in the sky by the time Arata and Bill had reached the Twilight Gate. Arata groaned. "Looks like we'll have to wait till tomorrow evening." he said. Arata and Bill decided to make camp in front of the gateway. Once they had a fire going, Arata and Bill began trading stories and tales of their past. "So how did you get your sword?" Arata asked Bill. Bill smirked as he remembered the day he won Mandurugo. "I won it off a vampire general." Bill said. "Xanhast, I think his name was." Bill slid the sword out of his sheath and examined it. The blade was bright red, and glowed softly with a purple light. The pommel was in the shape of a bat, and it had a large emerald embedded into it. "Its a fine blade," Bill remarked. "But one with a dark history." Arata stared at the blade. He could sense the power Mandurugo had, though he had no idea what it could do.

"May I see it?" Arata asked suddenly. Bill's expression showed his surprise. "Why?" Bill asked. Arata shrugged. "No real reason, I'm just curious to see what the blade can do." Bill shook his head. "I don't think you should handle this sword." he said. Arata nodded, then suddenly shot forward, snatching Mandurugo out of Bill's grasp. "No, wait, don't-" Bill tried to warn Arata. Arata looked at the blade, drawn to it. The blade's purple light flared suddenly. Arata yelped out in pain, dropping Mandurugo and clutching at his hand. Arata looked confused. "It...it bit me!" he said in shock. Arata's blood was stained on Mandurugo's handle. Mandurugo flared again, seeping up Arata's spilt blood. Bill chuckled. "I told you not to handle Mandurugo." Arata looked at his hand, two puncture marks showing clearly where the sword had "bit" him. Arata sat down and bandaged his still bleeding hand.

Bill chuckled at the confused look Arata was giving him. "Mandurugo chooses its wielder." Bill explained. "After I defeated Xanhast, the sword chose me to wield it. It feeds off of blood, making it quite literally, a vampire blade." Arata and Bill sat in silence for a few moments. Wanting to break the silence, Bill looked at the strange arch. "What's that?" Arata looked up. "That is the Twilight Gate." Arata said. "It is the only way in or out of the Twilight Realm." Bill continued to look at the gate. "Why can't we go through it right now?" Bill asked. It was Arata's turn to chuckle. "The Twilight Gate is appropriately named. It opens only during the hour of twilight." Bill continued to stare at the gate. "I have seen Emperor Steel force the gate open once." Arata said, more to himself than to Bill. "Though it drained him greatly..." Bill wasn't listening to him. The gate seemed supernatural, almost out of place here. "...I think Finrod can open the gate too." Bill heard Arata say.

Bill snapped out of his stupor. "What's a Finrod?" he asked. "Not 'a' Finrod." Arata corrected. "Finrod. The Twilight Beast. He is the essence of the Twilight Realm, and Emperor Steel's shadow." Bill cocked an eyebrow. "I don't fully understand it myself." Arata admitted. "Finrod has amazing power. Some believe that he could become ruler of the Twilight if he really wanted to." "Why doesn't he, then?" Arata shrugged. "Perhaps he doesn't want to be the ruler. Maybe he feels loyal to Steel. Maybe he fears Steel has more power than he does. Who can say?" Bill and Arata were silent for a few moments more before deciding to go to bed. They doused the fire, laid on the ground, and fell asleep. The next morning, Arata and Bill hunted some wild animals for breakfast and lunch. When the sun began to dip into the sky, Arata grabbed Bill's arm and began to lead him back to the gate. "Its almost time!" Arata explained. When they reached the gate, the portal to the Twilight Realm was already opened. Bill and Arata looked at each other. "After you." Arata said. Bill steadied his breathing, then stepped into the gateway.
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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:16 am

The first sensation that Bill felt when he stepped through the Twilight Gate was a tingling feeling, similar to teleporting. He could feel himself traversing the planes of existance. Suddenly, a bright light flashed and Bill was standing on the outside of the Twilight Gate. Bill looked around at his surroundings. He appeared to be in a small forest, similar to Greenguard, yet somehow very different. The gate flashed again and suddenly, Arata was standing next to Bill. "Welcome to the Twilight Realm!" Arata said, sweeping his arms out. Bill continued to look at the strange landscape. Bill felt strangely at peace within the Twilight Realm, though he knew not why. He felt like nothing bad or terrible could happen here. This was a place of order, Bill knew. "You should be very proud of yourself, my friend." Arata said, smiling at Bill. "No outsider has ever set foot in the Twilight Realm. The stories you'll be able to tell..." The word "outsider" made Bill cringe. Arata's smile turned into a look of confusion.

"Won't your Emperor and his knights see me as a threat?" Bill asked. Arata closed his eyes in thought. After a few moments, Arata shook his head. "Nah," he said. "You're under my protection. And besides, once I tell Steel that you saved my life, I'd bet he'd make you an honorary Twilight Knight." Bill grinned, but his face became serious once more. "Are you sure your Emperor can locate my friend?" Bill asked. Arata laughed. "Emperor Steel's scouts and spies are reputedly the best in all of Lore! And if they don't know where your friend is, then we can go and see Rayzer. She has a knack for scrying." Bill placed a hand on Arata's shoulder. "Thank you." Bill said. Arata waved away Bill's thanks. "Its no problem. If it had been the other way around, I'm sure you would've helped me." Bill nodded, grateful for Arata's assistance. "Come!" Arata bade Bill. "We must be off to the Twilight Keep!"

*****

Rayzer sat in the Twilight archives, studying the Ring that Azk and Xavier had retrieved. "Well, this is Talona's artifact, no doubt." she said to herself. The Ring had many runes and symbols etched into its surface, but the most prominant symbol was a teardrop-over-a-trident, the symbol of Talona. The Ring glowed brightly as Rayzer handled the evil thing. Wear me... Rayzer heard the Ring whisper in her mind. Wear me, and I shall make you queen over these lands... Rayzer shook away the dark suggestion, then went back to examining the artifact. Wear me... Rayzer felt the presence of the Ring just hovering above her thoughts. Wear me, and I will give you a power that gods would envy... Rayzer placed the Ring on the desk and rubbed her temples. Wear me... the Ring whispered again. And I shall make you immortal...

Rayzer stood up and left the archive room, needing a moment of relief. She walked into the throne room, grasping the side of her head. "Rayzer?" she heard Steel ask. "Is everything alright?" Rayzer looked up at Steel. She knew he was concerned about her. He had given her the task of researching the evil Ring of Poison to find any method of destroying the Ring. She gave a weak smile. "I'm fine." She said. "Just a headache, is all." Steel's expression didn't change. "I'm fine!" Rayzer said again. To prove her point, Rayzer dropped her hand to her side. "See?" she said. "I'm fine." Steel's face still did not change. "Rayzer, if you need a break, I can-" Steel began, but was abruptly cut off by Rayzer. "I SAID I'M FINE!" she yelled. Steel regarded his friend curiously. She had spent all last night studying the artifact. Steel had thought that spending extended periods of time with the Ring could negatively affect Rayzer's health. It appeared he was right. "May I be excused, your highness?" she asked, venom in her voice. Steel nodded. Rayzer gave small bow, then stormed out of the throne room.

*****

Bill stared at the sky. He felt as though he could simply watch the black and red clouds roll through the orange and pink sky all day. He was shaken from his peaceful state when he suddenly tripped, falling flat on his face. Arata laughed, coming over to Bill and extending a hand to help him up. "Keep your eyes on your feet and your head out of the clouds." Arata chuckled. Bill grasped Arata's hand and stood back up. Bill grinned. "Thanks for the advice." he said. They continued on their path for many minutes, until Arata pointed towards the horizon. "There it is!" Arata cried out. Bill followed Arata's finger. On the horizon was a magnificent castle. Bill eyes widened in surprise. The castle was very large, and Bill guessed that it sported more rooms and chambers than even King Alteon's castle in Swordhaven. "It's amazing..." Bill breathed. Arata walked up beside Bill. "Yup." Arata said. "The Twilight Keep. The home of the Twilight Knights."

Bill and Arata continued on their path. As the castle drew closer, Bill felt a familiar feeling sweep over him. He didn't know what it was, but it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

*****

Rayzer stormed into the archive room, fuming. "Who does he think he is?" she asked herself. "I told him I was fine, but will he listen?" He won't. Rayzer jumped at the sudden voice in her mind. He doesn't respect your prowess, Rayzer. the Ring cooed. He can't see the strength that you possess...but I do. "You are evil!" Rayzer growled at the artifact. The Ring laughed in her thoughts. Must it be so black and white with you humans? I serve neither Good nor Evil...much like you Twilight Knights. Rayzer scowled at the artifact. You are very powerful, sorceress, but you could be so much more! With my help, you could rule these lands with an iron fist. Rayzer shook her head, trying to stop the insideous suggestions.

Don't fight me, Rayzer. the Ring whispered. Join me. With our combined power, there's no telling what we could create...or destroy. "Rayzer?" a voice called from the hallway. Rayzer looked up. Steel was poking his head through the doorway. "Is everything all right? I thought I heard you talking to someone. Rayzer sprang out of her seat, ran toward Steel and embraced him in a hug. Steel was surprised by Rayzer's sudden attitude change. "I'm not strong enough." she whispered. Steel embraced her. "You are strong, Rayzer. You just need a break from the artifact." Steel and Rayzer walked down the hallway together. The Ring, still sitting on the desk, laughed to itself. Its power was growing. It had nearly broken the Twilight mage's will. Soon, this land would bow to it and to Talona.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:16 am

Steel sat on his throne, not quite sure what to do next. After Rayzer had admitted that her will was being broken down, Steel ordered her to get some rest. He had considered asking Xavier to search the archives and study the Ring for any weaknesses, but he decided against that course. The Ring had nearly broken Rayzer's mind! Steel didn't want to know what would happen if Xavier fell under the Ring's influence. He was shaken from his thoughts when the captain of the guard strode into the room, with two people following close behind. Steel smiled as he regarded one of the men. "Arata!" he said. Arata bowed, then motioned the other man to do the same. "My lord," the captain announced. "I present Nightbreak Captain Arata and..." the captain scanned the other man for a moment. "His friend." Steel nodded. "Thank you, captain." The captain bowed, then walked out the door.

"We feared that you were dead, Arata." Steel said. "We haven't heard from you in several days!" Arata nodded, knowing that the Twilight Knights would think that. "A woman approached me in Swordhaven." Arata explained. "She was hysteric. I could barely tell what she was saying. When I calmed her down, she told me her child was in the forest, cornered by a group of Zardmen. I agreed to help her, and followed her into the forest." Arata paused for a few moments as he thought back. "I got separated from her." Arata continued. "And I became lost. It wouldn't have been such a big deal, but then I was ambushed by men in crimson red armor. It was then that I realized that the woman had been hired to lead me out into the woods." Steel sat back and nodded. "I'm glad you're all right." Steel said. "And...who is this?" Steel asked, noticing Bill for the first time. Bill was about to introduce himself when Arata threw his arm over Bill's shoulder. "This man saved my life." Arata said. "He killed a crossbowman who had snuck up on me from behind." Arata chuckled as he remembered Bill's kill. "He's got one hell of a throwing arm." Steel grinned, seeing that the only thing that Bill had on his body to throw was the sword strapped to his hip.

"Sir, you have my thanks." Steel said, dipping into a slight bow towards Bill. "Thanks to you, one of my knights has returned safely to the Twilight. If there is anything I can do to repay you, it will be done." Bill's eyes lit up. "Actually, there is one thing Arata told me you could help with..." Bill said. "You see-" At that moment, the throne room doors swung open. "You wanted to see me, Steel?" a voice asked. A voice that sounded awfully familiar to Bill. Steel looked beyond Bill and Arata. "Ah, Azk! I'm glad you came." Steel greeted. Bill turned to regard the voice. The blood drained from his face. It was the assassin from the tavern. Azk smirked. "I'd never pass up a..." his voice trailed off as he noticed Bill. The warrior and the assassin stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. "Look, Azk," Steel began, not noticing what was happening. "I need someone to guard the Ring of Poison." Bill's heart rate picked up. The Ring was here! Here in this very keep! "I would normally entrust this kind of job to a mage, but..." Steel stopped. He saw Azk and Arata's friend staring at each other. "What's wrong, Bill?" Arata asked.

Steel's eyes widened in shock. "Did you say that his name was...Bill?!" Steel asked, his voice taking on a dangerous edge. Azk whipped out his twin swords. Bill drew Mandurugo. "Why are you here?!" Bill and Azk asked each other. Arata looked confused. "Do you realize what you've done, Arata?" Steel yelled. Arata spun to face Steel, not understanding what was going on. "It's obvious, Steel." Azk said, assuming a combat stance. "Bill tricked Arata into leading him into the Twilight Realm! He wants the Ring!" "That's a lie!" Bill shouted. "Arata said Steel would be able to find my friend!" Bill paused for a moment. "What have you done with Selena?!" he roared. Azk didn't answer. He continued to scan Bill. "What's going on?" Arata asked frantically. Steel stood up, drawing his magnificent sword, Shadikal. "That man is a servant of Talona!" Steel growled. "His presence is a threat to Lore and the Twilight Realm!" Arata felt as though he had been slapped. "Is that true?" he asked Bill.

"Of course not!" Bill replied, readying Mandurugo. "I carried the Ring for twelve years, seeking to destroy it! The Ring of Poison murdered my father!" Azk snorted. "Don't listen to him, Arata! He's a liar and a murderer!" Arata shook his head, not knowing who to believe. "Pick a side, Arata!" Steel called out. "Will you betray the Twilight and Lore, or will you stand with us and destroy this threat?" Arata glanced to Steel and Azk. They were like family to him. They had found him, and given him a purpose. Arata then glanced to Bill. Arata felt like Bill was speaking the truth, but...he couldn't know for sure. But how could he betray the man who had saved his life, without asking for anything in return? Arata glanced back to Steel and Azk, then to Bill once more. He knew he had to make a choice.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:17 am

Arata had no idea what to do. He looked from Bill to Azk and Steel, motionless. Azk sheathed his swords and subtly drew one of his fine throwing knives. "Have you made your decision, Arata?" Steel asked, his voice revealing his anxiousness. Bill looked to Arata. Azk grinned, seeing his opportunity. He threw his throwing knife with amazing speed and accuracy. Arata heard the knife whistle as it flew through the air. He drew his sword, the Torrential Katana, and swung his blade in an upward slash, just inches from Bill's face. Bill thought that Arata had attacked him...until he heard the sound of metal clanging. Bill looked up, and saw Azk's throwing knife deflected harmlessly up into the air. The room was silent for several moments. Arata had picked his side.

"Arata..." Azk was hardly able to whisper. "You...you...traitor!" Steel trembled with anger. "So be it." Steel growled. "You've made your choice. From this day forward, Arata will be known as a traitor and an enemy!" Arata backed up, readying his enchanted blade. "Arata..." Bill whispered. "I appreciate what you've done, but-" Arata waved away Bill's thought. "The Twilight Knights are...were...my family." Arata said quickly. "But you saved my life. You are not the evil that they claim you to be." Bill gave a weak smile. Arata had stuck with him till the end. But he had given up everything for loyalty's sake. Steel brought Shadikal to bear, then slowly began his approach. Azk drew his twin swords and assumed a combat position. "Who do you want?" Arata asked. Bill knew immediatly who he wanted to fight. "The assassin." Bill replied, his voice taking on an icy edge. The last memory Bill had of Selena was playing in his mind. She was bloodied, had a knife in her hand and a dagger to her throat.

"I guess the Emperor is up to me, then..." Arata said. Bill and Arata circled their foes. The captain of the guard burst into the room. "M'lord! I heard shouting! Is..." the guard captain's jaw dropped. Steel, Azk, Arata, and Arata's friend were about to face off against each other! Steel spun to regard the captain. "Seal the doors to the throne room!" Steel ordered. The captain stood there, dumbfounded. "Now!" Steel shouted. "I want to deal with the traitor personally!" The captain did as commanded, closing and then locking the throne doors. The multicolored braziers seemed to flare up, almost sensing the tension in the room.

*****

Just a few rooms away in the archives, the Ring of Poison could also sense the tension in the air. It fed upon that energy, drawing strength from it. It laughed as it realized that Bill had made it to the Twilight Realm, and was now about to battle the Twilight's ruler. It's amusement soon turned into curiosity. It would be a...chaotic turn of events if Bill was able to defeat Steel. Yes, the Ring decided, it would be a chaotic, but not unwelcome, turn of events.

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:17 am

Bill glared at Azk, remembering his lost friend. Mandurugo flared up, sensing that blood was about to be spilled. Azk, wanting to end this quickly, grabbed his hand crossbow and fired a bolt at Bill. Bill instinctively fell to the floor. He could hear the bolt whistle through the air above him. He jumped back onto his feet, only to see that Azk was advancing, swords drawn. Bill readied Mandurugo. An odd sensation of familiarity washed over Bill at that moment. Hadn't he seen this strategy before? Before he had time to think further on the subject, Azk was upon him. The assassin swung his left sword out and then stabbed ahaead with his right. Bill parried Azk's left swing and swatted away the assassin's stab. Azk hopped back, trying to read his opponent. Bill hardly gave him the chance. Bill rushed forward, sending Mandurugo into an upward slice. Azk crossed his swords together to try and block the incoming attack. To Azk's dismay, Bill's attack broke right through his defense, throwing Azk's arms wide and causing him to stumble. Bill seized his opportunity and stabbed ahead, jabbing Azk in the gut with Mandurugo. Azk felt a sharp pain and immediatly jumped backwards. Mandurugo flared up as it tasted the assassin's blood. Bill readied Mandurugo for another attack. Azk smirked. Bill's last attack told the assassin much. Bill was attacking out of rage. Azk decided to play defensively. After all, when Bill tired out, he would have no energy left to dodge or block any of the assassin's attacks.

*****

Arata assumed a defensive pose. He had never fought Steel before, and was sure that the Twilight Emperor had several tricks up his sleeve. "Must it come to blows, Arata?" Steel asked. Arata didn't answer. "Its not too late to redeem yourself of this traitorous deed. Help us take down the warrior, and defend the Ring from falling into enemy hands." Arata still didn't answer. Steel sighed. "So be it." Steel said solemnly. "You were a good friend and soldier, Arata, but in the end, I guess you couldn't resist the lure of power." In a flash, Steel drew Shadikal and lept at Arata. The Twilight Ruler swung his sword downward, thinking to end this quickly. Arata threw his weapon up in defense. He felt his arms go numb under the force of Steel's attack. The Duelist spun away, trying to put distance between himself and Steel. Steel gave chase, swinging Shadikal whenever he got close to the evading Arata.

*****

Azk ducked and weaved away from Bill's wild strikes. "What's the matter?" the assassin taunted. "Can't hit a moving target?" Bill growled and pressed his assault. He thrust Mandurugo forward, thinking to plunge his sword deep into Azk's chest. Azk grinned. He crossed his swords together and caught Bill's blade, forcing it down to the ground. Azk quickly followed up by lifting his foot between his arms and smashing it into Bill's face. Azk heard a satisfying crunching sound as he broke Bill's nose. Bill stumbled backwards, hurt, but not nearly ready to give up. Bill chuckled. Azk regarded him curiously. Bill rushed ahead, poking Mandurugo into Azk's arm. Azk simply looked at the blade. "That's your counter?" he asked, on the verge of laughter. "That's..." Azk trailed off, feeling very weak all of the sudden. Mandurugo flared hungrily as it drank the assassin's blood. Bill felt the energy flow through Mandurugo into him. He could feel his nose reshaping itself back into place. Confusion was clearly written on the assassin's face. "I don't normally use Mandurugo's healing power." Bill explained. "It's a very dark ability...but I make exceptions for scum like you."

*****

Arata swung his sword, trying to work past Steel's excellent defense. Steel wasn't about to give Arata the chance. Steel had witnessed the Torrential Katana's ability to cut through most metals as if they were paper. Steel hopped back, just narrowly dodging another vicious swing. "You think you can oppose me in my own domain?" Steel laughed. "I command the Twilight and all within it!" Steel threw out his hand, and concentrated on Arata. Arata looked around him. The air around him seemed to become charged with energy. Not understanding what was going on, Arata tried to rush at Steel. Steel released the energy he was holding. Suddenly, the air around Arata exploded with energy. Arata felt himself being thrown backward from the force of the explosion. He slammed into the far wall, his vison swimming. He forced himself to stay concious, and tried to stand back up. Steel was there in an instant, grabbing Arata by the throat and lifting him into the air. Arata struggled against Steel's vice-like grip, but to no avail. "If only you had been stronger and resisted Talona's influence..." Steel sighed. Arata gasped and spluttered. "You're...blind, Steel..." Arata gasped. "Bill...is no en-enemy...he wants to..." Arata struggled for air. "Help..." Steel looked at Arata incredulously. "He wants to help?!" Steel roared. "Is that why he drew his sword on Azk and myself?!" Arata knew he couldn't reason with the enraged Emperor. So, he did the only thing he could do. He swung his foot up and kicked Steel square in the face. Steel fell backward, stunned and off guard. Arata fell to the floor, gasping for air. He scooped up his katana and stood up, dizzy.

*****

Azk fell onto his knees, his energy sapped from him by Mandurugo. "Finish it quick, then." Azk whispered. "I'd do the same for you." Bill readied Mandurugo for a killstrike. Azk grinned suddenly. He whipped out his dagger, slashing Bill across the chest. Bill yelped as he felt the dagger bite into him. Azk was standing back up, laughing. "You actually thought I'd go down quietly!" Azk exclaimed. His visage turned into one of anger. "You underestimated me, just as I underestimated you. I won't make that mistake again." Bill took a step backwards. Mandurugo pulsed, sensing more blood was to be spilled. Indeed, the fight was far from over.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:17 am

Selena sat by the large window in Rayzer's room and stared at the perpetual twilight. After Azk and Xavier had taken her to the Twilight Realm, Selena was forced to be interrogated by the Twilight Emperor, Steel Fire. Once she had learned who these people were, she was rather awestruck. Selena closed her eyes and thought back. "How much do you know about this artifact?" Steel had asked her. The sorceress shrugged. She had very little knowledge about the accursed Ring of Poison, other than it was a malicious entity and it had the ability to control its wearer. "What of your...friend, Bill?" Steel had pressed. Again, Selena wasn't quite sure what to say. She believed that Bill was a good person, and had truely wanted to destroy the Ring. But she kept silent, believing that the Twilight Knights would not take her word alone.

Selena opened her eyes and sighed. Xavier had wanted Selena thrown in the dungeons, or even executed. But Azk immediately interjected, convincing Steel that she could be a small help around the keep as a servant girl. "And so, here I am." Selena said to herself. She had been assigned to assist Rayzer, Steel's top mage and close friend, in any task Rayzer needed her for. In truth, Selena was thankful that Azk had convinced Steel to spare her from the dungeons. She chuckled to herself. She believed that the assassin was sweet on her.

Selena turned to regard her sleeping mistress. She had heard that Rayzer had been negatively affected by the Ring of Poison, that the artifact had almost overcome her strong will. That fact worried Selena more than a little. She had suspected that the evil artifact had desired a greater goal than simply possessing Sepulchure. Perhaps the Ring had desired Rayzer? Selena shook her head at the thought. No, she decided, Rayzer was indeed powerful, but the Ring was after something special. Steel perhaps? Selena sighed and shook her head. She couldn't figure it out. It didn't seem to make sense.

Selena jumped at the sound of knocking at Rayzer's door. She calmed herself down, stood up, and answered the door. "I was expecting Rayzer." Xavier said. Selena glared at the mage. She knew he didn't like her, and frankly, she didn't like him! "My mistress is currently resting." Selena replied, her gaze never leaving Xavier. "I'll tell her you stopped by after she has awoken." Selena moved to close the door, but Xavier caught it and pushed it back open again. "It's urgent." the small man said, his voice revealing his irritation. Selena rolled her eyes. "I don't care." she replied, closing the door. Again, Xavier pushed it back open. "I need to speak with her." Xavier growled. "I don't give a damn." Selena retorted. Xavier trembled with anger. "Very well." he said through gritted teeth. "I'd just thought I should let you know, Arata has betrayed the Twilight Knights." Selena's face softened at that. Before she could ask, Xavier answered. "He has been corrupted by the Ring of Poison." he said. "He also brought a friend along. As far as I know, Steel and Azk have sealed off the throne room to deal with the two." Xavier spun around and walked off, not bothering to offer a goodbye.

Selena quietly closed Rayzer's door. Arata had betrayed the Twilight Knights? She had never met Arata, of course, but some of the other knights had told her stories about him. Selena walked back to her chair and sat down. And what had Xavier meant by "he brought a friend along"? He couldn't have meant Bill, could he? Selena sighed again. Bill was dead. She saw Xavier kill him. She looked back at the twilight, allowing herself to fall into the endless orange, pink, black, and red sky.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:18 am

Selena observed the twilit sky, her thoughts a whirlwind. Could Bill be alive? If so, should she help him with his battle? Steel and the others had told her that Bill had desired a way to unleash the full potential of the Ring of Poison. She didn't really believe that, but still, there was doubt in her mind. And even if she decided to help Bill, Selena knew she would have to harm the assassin, Azk. The sorceress shook her head. "What do I care?" she asked herself. "He stabbed me through the hand with a knife!" Selena's face suddenly softened. "Then again..." she thought aloud. "He was the one who saved me. He could have easily left me for dead..." Selena sighed. "If only I had my tome..." she said. "Then I could-" she stopped suddenly. "What good would have come from my tome?" Selena asked herself. "Its better that it was destroyed." Still, if Selena wanted to help Bill, she believed that she would need a few new tricks. Her face suddenly brightened. "Isn't my mistress a powerful sorceress?"

*****

Bill and Azk breathed heavily. Sweat beaded their foreheads. They had made virtually no progress in their fight. For every cut that Azk inflicted, Bill returned. For every rush that Bill initiated, Azk dodged. Azk had dropped his long swords in favor of his daggers, thinking speed would win out over power. He was only somewhat right. Bill was proving to be a tougher foe than Azk had guessed. Bill brought Mandurugo over his head and sent his blade into a lazy chop. Azk angled his daggers in such a way that Bill's lazy attack was easily deflected. "You...can't win..." Azk panted. "For the sake of Lore...I won't lose to you." Bill looked at his enemy curiously. "Are you getting tired?" Bill asked, trying hard to hide his own exhaustion. Azk looked furious. "Never!" he snarled. He rushed forward, thrusting his daggers forward. Bill jumped back a step, the daggers an inch from his gut. Azk continued his assault, swinging his blades in an X-shape. Bill brought Mandurugo up, catching the blades on his own sword. The two combatants were inches from each other's face.

*****

Steel Fire stumbled backward, trying to fend off Arata's attacks. Arata pressed his assault, trying to disarm his former emperor. However, Steel was no novice to battle, and after quickly planting his feet on the ground, Steel assumed a defensive pose. Arata's blade connected solidly with Steel's. Steel, taking advantage of the situation, reversed Shadikal's direction, taking the Torrential Katana right out of Arata's hands. The Twilight Emperor raised his blade, putting the tip to his former soldier's throat. "Why?" Steel asked Arata. "Why did you betray us?" Arata raised his hands, keeping them where Steel could see them. "You were going to kill an innocent." Arata explained, a slight tremor in his voice. "That, I could not abide." The look on Steel's face showed his pain and anxiety. "You truely are convinced of the warrior's innocence?" he asked. Arata nodded, not moving away from Steel's blade. Steel and Arata remained silent for several minutes longer. "You know what I must do now?" Steel asked, his voice wavering. Arata nodded, then closed his eyes, awaiting the Emperor's killing blow.

*****

Selena searched through Rayzer's desk, looking for something, anything, that could aid her. Most of Rayzer's desk contained notes about her past experiences. "C'mon, c'mon..." Selena whispered to herself. She searched for several minutes more, with no success. She was just about to give up, when out of the corner of her eye, she saw what appeared to be a spellbook. Selena quickly snatched up the book and flipped through it. "Yup." Selena said. "Definetly a spellbook." The book was full of arcane rituals and chants. She was just about to close the desk, when an odd piece of paper caught her eye. It looked to be a page torn out of an old journal. She tenderly grabbed the paper and began reading.

My life's breath is all but spent. I write this in the hope that my apprentice will one day find this. I have come into possession of a powerful artifact, a red and gold ring, teeming with evil energies. No, not evil...chaotic. Teeming with chaotic energies. The artifact speaks to me, asking me to go to the Twilight Realm. After much study and deliberation, you must succeed where I failed, my apprentice. Take the artifact to the Twilight Realm, a realm of myth. There and only there, can the Ring's corporeal form be consumed. Only then-

The rest of the entry was missing, torn off. Selena couldn't believe what she had found. Rayzer must have grabbed this when Steel had ordered her to research the Ring of Poison, and must have forgotten about it. Selena's heart rate picked up. "I've got to find the Twilight Knights!" she exclaimed, rushing out of Rayzer's room.

*****

Bill and Azk's blades were locked together, neither side gaining or losing ground. "You...can't win..." Bill growled. "I won't lose...to you..." Azk growled back. Suddenly, Bill forced his blade through Azk's defense, causing the assassin to drop his daggers. Azk snarled, readying his fists. Bill rushed forward, swinging Mandurugo at the assassin. Instead of countering, Azk simply spun around and dashed towards the wall. Bill laughed and gave chase. "Where shall you run, assassin?!" Bill cried. Azk cackled as they closed in towards the wall. "Who says I'm running away?" Azk called back. Bill tried to stop, but it was too late. He had already fallen into Azk's trap. Azk jumped up, planting one foot on the wall. He kicked off, turning his body to face Bill. The assassin flicked his wrist, causing a small (but very sharp) blade to extend from his gauntlet. Bill, noticing the maneuver, tried to turn his body away, but he knew he would not be able to dodge this.

*****

Steel angled his blade for the killstrike. Arata kept his eyes closed, not wanting to see the end. Steel brought Shadikal to bear, his hands trembling. It must be done. Steel thought to himself. Nonetheless, Steel could not shake the feeling of guilt that was washing over him. "I can't..." Steel muttered. He dropped Shadikal to the floor, the sword banging hard against the stone. Arata opened one eye. "Am I dead yet?" the duelist asked. "I can't kill you." the Emperor admitted. Arata seemed confused. "You are...were...a Twilight Knight." Steel explained. "One of my brothers...one of my family. I can't kill you in cold blood." Arata breathed a sigh of relief. "That's one thing we agree on." Arata remarked. Now it was Steel's turn to be confused. "But..." Steel began. "I thought-" Arata waved away Steel's explaination. "I only wanted to stop you from killing an innocent man." Arata said. "I still wish to be a Twilight Knight. And I wish to help you destroy this Ring of Poison, seeing as it appears to be very important." Steel laughed, silently thanking the great goddess, and retrieved Arata's blade for him. "Welcome back, Nightbreak Captain."

*****

Bill felt Azk land on top of him. Bill fell to the ground, unable to counter in any way. "Goodbye, Agent of Talona." Azk said coldly. Bill's face suddenly changed into a look of confusion. "I don't serve Talo-" Bill didn't have time to finish his sentence. Azk shoved Bill's face into the floor, then drove his hidden blade deep into Bill's exposed neck. Bill tried to intake air, but for some reason, the air could not satisfy his lungs. He felt blood pooling up in his throat. He could feel his blood beginning to pool around his head. His vision blurred as his lifeblood continued to flow. Steel and Arata turned to call off Azk and Bill. They were too late. Arata's expression revealed his horror clearly.

At that moment, Selena burst into the throne room. "Stop fighting!" She shouted. "I have...good..." Her sentence trailed off as she regarded Azk. The assassin stood up, crimson blood stained on his shadowy black clothes. "The deed is done." Azk said to Steel. The assassin turned and scooped up his dropped weapons, sheathing them back in their appropriate spots. Selena's eyes widened in horror. She rushed over to Bill's body. "No." she whispered, tears beginning to form in her eyes. She fell to her knees, still staring at the now-bloodied body. Bill's eyes flickered for a moment. Selena smiled a hopeful smile. "Bill!" She cried. "We'll get you patched up! You're going to be fine!" Bill regarded Selena, a smile spreading on his face. "I found you..." Bill whispered, barely audible. "You're...alive..." Bill's eyes closed then, a smile on his face. "No." Selena said, tears flowing clearly now. "No, no, no, no, no. " Steel and Arata watched, motionless. Steel turned towards Arata. "Summon Finrod." Steel said. Arata looked at Steel in disbelief. "Look," Steel began. "I know he was your friend, and I know you must need to grieve, but please trust me, we have other business to attend to first."

Arata slowly nodded, understanding. "According to the girl, it would've been his wish to see the Ring destroyed." Steel said. Arata nodded again, still speechless. As Arata walked off, Steel turned to regard the multicolored braziers that adorned his throne room. He couldn't tell for sure, but to Steel, it seemed as though the braziers had suddenly become just a bit darker.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:19 am

Bill stood in a dark room. He knew this place, he had visited it in his dreams. But this time, something was different. Something was wrong. The seasoned warrior paced the dark room, unsure of why he was here. "You've come home." a voice echoed from the darkness. Bill spun around, reaching for Mandurugo. To his surprise, Mandurugo was not strapped to his thigh. Bill took a moment to examine himself. He was naked, his armor, clothing, and sword all missing. Bill peered into the darkness, intrigued by this strange turn of events.

"Who are you?" Bill asked, his voice echoing off the walls of the chamber. For several minutes, there was only silence. "You do not remember me?" the ethereal voice asked, a touch of sorrow in its voice. "But then, you were too young to remember anyhow." Bill cocked his head and strained his ears. That voice, melodic and ethereal, seemed curiously familiar to Bill. "Who are you?" Bill asked again, taking on a more urgent tone. Again, there was silence. "In life, we had names..." the voice spoke suddenly. "But in death..." the mysterious voice sighed. "The dead have no names."

Bill could hardly believe what he had just heard. "'In death'?" Bill echoed. "I'm...dead?" Bill took a step backward from the voice. "I can't be dead." Bill mumbled to himself. "I don't remember dying!" The ethereal voice laughed from the shadows. "Most people don't remember when they die..." the voice said. "They block it out, pretend that it was nothing more than a nightmare. Tell me, good sir, what is your last memory?" Bill grabbed his head. He felt sick. "What is your last memory?" the voice asked once more. Bill thought back, reviewing his memories. They seemed hazy and distant. "I'm...looking at my friend." Bill said. "I was looking for her, and I found her."

Again, it was deathly silent. "You remember?" the voice asked, sounding very confused. Bill nodded, suddenly feeling very afraid. "You aren't supposed to remember...unless..." the voice paused. "Unless you aren't dead...yet." Bill breathed a sigh of relief. His relief would be short-lived, however. "What is your name?" the voice asked suddenly. Bill laughed at the absurd question. "My name?" he chuckled. "My name is..." Suddenly, Bill paused. What was his name? He searched his mind, straining his memories. But no matter how hard he tried, the spirit could not remember his name. "I don't know." The spirit said, the shock clearly evident in his voice.

"You are not dead, Half-Drow," the voice said suddenly. "But you are dying. Everything will be all right in the end. Soon, you and I will be re-united. Everything will be fine when the end comes." The spirit, however, was not comforted. He knew he had to survive, he had been on an important mission to destroy a great evil. But he could not remember what he had wanted to destroy. The spirit sat down on the black, shadowy floor, unable to remember who he was or why he needed to survive in the first place.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:19 am

Selena continued to weep at the sight of Bill's body, lying in a small pool of blood. She spun around to face the man who had killed him. "How could you?!" she screamed, tears rolling down her cheeks. Azk nonchalantly wiped the blood off his blade, not even looking up at her. "How could I what?" Azk asked in response, his voice monotone. "How could I defend my home? How could I defend my friends? Would it be better if I had allowed him to slaughter everyone within the fortresses' walls?" Selena gritted her teeth in anger. "How could you kill him?!" she snarled. Azk finally lifted his head to regard Selena. Again, a strange sensation of guilt washed over him. He didn't feel guilty about killing Bill. In fact, he was rather pleased that Bill had been such a tenacious target. It was then, he realized, that the guilt he felt was for Selena. But why?

"Enough!" Steel commanded, his voice echoing off the stone walls and floors. Selena turned towards the Emperor. "B-But-" She sputtered. Steel cut her off. "Azk did as he was commanded. He will not be held responsible for killing your friend. We do not even know whether he was being controlled by the Ring of Poison." Selena couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You mean to tell me..." Selena began, anger and sorrow evident in her voice. "That...that assassin...is just going to walk away without so much as getting a slap on the wrist?!" Steel was silent, unsure of how to continue. Instead of answering her question, he addressed Azk. "Please go check on the Ring." Steel asked Azk. "That was why I called upon you in the first place." Azk nodded, then silently slipped out of the throne room.

*****

Arata's feet hurt and his lungs ached. Still, he sprinted through the castle's hallways, searching for Finrod. Arata dashed past three guards on duty, and actually jumped over a knight who was crouching on the floor. He didn't stop until he burst into Steel Fire's private quarters. "Finrod!" Arata cried out, breathless. "Finrod, where are you?" A dog-like creature lifted its head from its resting place. Most people might have mistaken this beast for a wolf if its fur didn't shift endlessly from gold to black. Arata paused for a moment to catch his breath. "I've..." He panted. "I've been looking...for you. Well, not really me...more like Steel..." The wolf stood up and trotted over to the beleagered duelist. "Yes." The wolf spoke, its voice sounding harmonic yet ethereal. "This I am aware of. I am the Emperor's shadow, after all." Before Arata could blink, the wolf had transformed into a hooded man. Oddly enough, Finrod's cloak seemed to shift colors just as his fur had done.

"Wait a minute..." Arata said, a puzzled look clear on his face. "If you knew I was searching for you, then why the hell did I have to run all the way up here? Why didn't you come to me?" Finrod chuckled. "That's not how it works." The beast said in its eerie voice. Before Arata could react, Finrod grabbed his arm, and suddenly, the two vanished.

*****

Azk wandered into the Twilight Knight's archives room. He glanced around him, making sure he was indeed alone. Feeling a little paranoid? a voice echoed in the assassin's mind. Azk chuckled. "Growing up in the slums of Waterdeep, you always develop a sense of paranoia." The voice chuckled in Azk's mind. "I know what you are." Azk said to the empty room. "I know what you're capable of." Then you will prove to be a most interesting challenge. The Ring chided. Azk continued to glance around, feeling as if he was not alone. When he was certain he was alone, the lithe assassin moved over to the Ring. He was just about to pick up the artifact when he heard a noise. The noise was barely audible, only an assassin of Azk's caliber could have heard it.

A floorboard behind Azk creaked slightly.

Azk grabbed a fistful of throwing knives and spun around, loosing them into a young Twilight Knight. The knives thudded into the young man's chest, but stubbornly, the knight continued on his course. The man drew his sword and lifted it high above his head. "The Ring belongs to me!" the man screamed. Azk smirked at the young man's folly. With lightning speed, Azk quickly drew his two daggers and exploded into motion, slashing, stabbing, and hacking away at the knight's exposed chest. Blood was spattered all on Azk's black leather armor. It was stained on his twin daggers. The corrupted knight tried to take another step forward, but instead, fell backward, completely eviscerated. The Ring cackled with delight. Yes! The Ring cried out. Kill him! Chop him to pieces! Azk turned towards the Ring. "What did you do?" Azk growled. The Ring continued to cackle. I did nothing! I merely helped the young knight to express his truest desires! Azk stared at the Ring. "You brought out the darkness in his heart..." Azk reasoned, catching on. "You forced him to seek out his deepest desires."

He wanted to use my power! The Ring said, still delighted. He wanted to kill you! "You're growing stronger." Azk realized. "But how?" Azk didn't have time to ponder. He grabbed the Ring, his mental defenses holding against the Ring's powered up assault, and dashed off to find Steel.

*****

The spirit sat on the black shadowy floor. "Why do you struggle against my embrace?" The ethereal voice echoed. "Do you not love me?" The spirit grabbed his head. "I need to live!" the spirit growled. "I must-" "Why?!" the mysterious voice shrieked, causing the spirit to jump. "Why can't we be together?" the voice continued. It sounded like the voice was crying almost. "Why can't you be with me, like before?!" The spirit was suddenly confused. He couldn't remember his name, nor could he remember why he needed to live, but for an inexplicable reason, he felt as though he knew who this voice was. The spirit stood up, and peered into that darkest darkness. He couldn't believe the next word that was about to come out of his mouth.

"Mother?"

*****

Selena continued to stare at Bill's body. She sighed, a tear falling down her cheek. She thought that she could see him breathing, but she shook the notion away, believing that she was simply imagining things. Steel observed the mourning woman. She had only known Bill for a few days, and yet, she was weeping for him as if she had just lost a brother. "Why did you come into the throne room?" Steel asked, wanting to break the silence. Selena looked up, her eyes red from crying. "Oh..." she said, her voice quiet. She reached into her pocket and produced a crumpled piece of paper. "This." She walked over to Steel and handed the paper to him. Steel gingerly uncrumpled it, and began to read. His eyes widened as he read the paper. "You found this?" Steel asked. Selena nodded. "I found it in Rayzer's desk." Steel grinned. "We can finally destroy the Ring!" Steel exclaimed. "We could destroy it all along!"

Steel and Selena heard a small popping sound directly behind them. They turned and jumped at the sudden sight of Finrod and Arata. Arata broke free from Finrod's grasp. "Warn me next time you do that!" Arata said to Finrod. In response, Finrod merely chuckled. "Come along, boy." Finrod said, motioning Arata towards Bill's body. "I can't do this alone." Arata exchanged confused glances with Selena. "Do what alone?" he asked, but Finrod chuckled once more. "You'll see, boy. You'll see." Arata walked over to Bill's body and grabbed Bill's feet. Finrod cocked his head in confusion. "What are you doing?" The Twilight Beast asked. Arata looked at him, then to Selena and Steel. "Aren't we moving the body?" he asked. Finrod motioned Arata to stand next to him. Arata shrugged, dropping the warrior's feet to the floor.

"Do you have water?" Finrod asked. Arata pulled out a small jar of ice water that he carried with him. "That will do." Finrod said. The Twilight beast glanced at the body. "Heal him." he commanded. Arata balked at that notion. "I can't do that!" the duelist cried. Finrod chuckled. "I will assist you, do not fear." He assured Arata. Arata took a deep breath, then willed the water to wrap around his hand. He placed the water on Bill's wound, and concentrated. Finrod suddenly grabbed Arata's arm. Arata struggled against the movement, until he felt a burst of energy flow through his arm. Finrod was amplifying his healing ability! "By Arcterra, it's actually working..." Arata could hardly breathe.

*****

"You recognize me!" The voice cried out in glee. "My son!" The spirit wasn't quite sure what to say, or what to do, for that matter. While he was truly happy to hear his mother's voice again, there was something nagging in the back of his mind. A black, shadowy hand extended from the darkness. "Come to me...my child. Let us be one. Together. Forever..." The spirit took a step back. "No." He said. The room was silent. "No?" His mother's voice echoed. The spirit shook his head. "No." He repeated. "I need to survive. For the good of everyone. I'm sorry." The voice laughed. "For the good of who?" His mother asked slyly. Bill scratched his head. "For me." Bill said suddenly, his memories flowing back to him. "For Selena and Arata and everyone else! I must destroy the Ring of Poison!" Again, the room went silent. "You won't leave me again!" The voice shrieked suddenly. "I won't lose you again!" Bill hopped back from the angered spirit's reach.

"You aren't losing me." Bill said. "I'll be back again...someday..." "NO!" The voice shrieked again. "Stay with me!" Bill suddenly felt a warm light surround him. He closed his eyes, and let the light fall over him.

*****

Bill coughed several times. His vision swam, and he felt a sharp pain in his neck. "By Arcterra, it actually worked!" Bill heard a familiar voice shout. "Wha..." Bill asked. "Easy there." an ethereal voice said. "Welcome back to the realm of the living." Bill felt himself. He was wearing his familiar chainmail. He stood up shakily and observed his surroundings. He was in the Twilight throne room. Bill bent over and scooped up his trusty sword, Mandurugo. He barely had time to sheath it before he was suddenly embraced in a hug. "Bill!" Selena cried out, hugging Bill tight. Bill scratched his head. "Did something happen?" Bill asked. "You bet something happened." A commanding voice called out. Bill looked over Selena. There stood Steel Fire. Bill's eyes widened in shock. "Relax," Steel said. "We're all friends here. Sorry about that little mishap..." Selena regarded Steel curiously. "Little mishap?!" She balked.

Steel didn't have time to explain, for at that moment, Azk burst into the room. "Steel, we've got a serious problem!" Azk cried out. Bill regarded the assassin. Azk smirked as he looked at Bill. "Well, well..." He said. "You really are a tenacious one." "What's the problem?" Steel asked. Azk held out the Ring of Poison, which pulsed with a bright red light. "It's attracting the citizens of the Twilight." Azk explained. "It's forcing them to reveal the darkness in their hearts! I've had to incapacitate three knights, and kill two others! The Ring's power is growing and I have no idea why or how!"

Steel nodded, digesting this latest information. "Fear not, Azk." Steel said. "We have a-" Suddenly, Xavier burst into the throne room, chased by three other knights. Xavier spun around and cried out "Bombarda!" A burst of energy shot from Xavier's hand, striking the knights and exploding on impact. Xavier regarded the others with a look of confusion. "What the hell is going on?" Xavier shouted. "I was just ambushed by six knights. Six of OUR knights!" There was a sudden flash of light in the throne room. When the light disappeared, Rayzer was standing in the midst of the group. "Anyone want to explain why I was almost raped by several members of our guard?" she asked. FOOLS! The Ring shouted in all their minds. They are expressing their deepest desires! They cannot control themselves any longer! This is what Talona desires! This is true chaos!

"How is this possible?" Bill asked. "You can't be this powerful..." Wrong! The Ring shouted with obvious glee. It is the atmosphere! The very air of the Twilight Realm! The Twilight Realm is the place of ultimate order...but also of ultimate chaos! Twilight! A constant struggle between light and darkness, neither side gaining or losing in this plane of existance! It is the constant threat of invasion from Alteon or Sepulchure! Chaos is in the air, and I feed off that chaos! Bill's eyes lit up with realization. "That's why you wanted to come here..." Bill whispered.

The throne room door suddenly thudded, as if a large force was striking the door. Azk drew his swords, Bill drew Mandurugo, Xavier and Rayzer leveled their staffs, and Steel and Arata brought their swords to bear. "What do we do?" Selena asked. "We destroy the Ring." Steel said. "Using the power of Twilight." Steel nodded towards Finrod. Finrod stepped forward, and grabbed the Ring. YES! The Ring cried in triumph. Finrod's hand suddenly moved on its own, lifting the Ring and placing it on the Twilight Beast's finger. "What is this black magic?" Finrod asked in surprise. Suddenly, Finrod entered a series of convulsions. He tried to force the Ring from his mind, but to no avail. The Ring had grown too powerful. Finrod closed his eyes.

The Agent of Chaos opened them.

"I did it." The Agent whispered. "I DID IT!" The Agent cackled. How awful, how triumphant that cackle sounded to Bill. "We need to get out of here." Steel whispered, trying to remain calm. "On my mark, teleport us into the town. Can you do that, Rayzer?" Rayzer nodded, her face pale. Steel held his breath. "One...two...three!" Rayzer snapped her fingers, and suddenly, the group vanished. The Agent cackled. "Where will you run, you insignificant insects? I am the Twilight now!"
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:20 am

At first, Bill could only see a brilliant light enveloping him. He felt odd, like his physical being was being pulled and stretched. The sensation abruptly ended, with Bill and Selena falling hard on their stomachs. The other Twilight Knights, who were used to such quick teleportations, landed gracefully on their feet. Bill sprang up and quickly surveyed his surroundings. They were in the Twilight village. Farmers were tending to their crops and children were laughing. Bill chuckled nervously. These people were so at peace right now, but were blissfully unaware of an incredibly dangerous situation just a few miles away. Steel strode into the middle of the village, ignoring the cries of "Our leader!" and "All hail the Emperor!".

"People of the Twilight, please listen to me!" Steel called out, his voice booming and seeming to drown out the crowd that had gathered. "A terrible power has emerged that is threatening to destroy all in it's path, including the Twilight!" he explained. Steel paused for a moment, making sure he had the crowd's full attention. "It is for this reason that I am issuing an emergency evacuation of the Twilight Realm." Immediately, the village went into an uproar. "Is the Twilight safe?" one farmer called out. "What about our belongings?" another cried. "What is the nature of this threat?" a third shouted.

Steel put his arms up. "People, listen!" he commanded. "You are all to proceed to the Twilight Gate, where-" "The gate won't open until tomorrow evening!" Steel heard a woman cry out. Steel chuckled. "I was getting to that. You will proceed to the Twilight Gate, where I shall use my power to force open the gateway." This time, it was not the farmers and citizens who objected, but the remaining Twilight Knights.

"Steel, you have to be joking!" Rayzer said, walking next to her ruler. "You are the ruler of the Twilight, to be sure, but forcing the Twilight Gate open will drain you of all your strength!" "I agree." Azkikr piped in. "Without all the Twilight Knights standing against this...Agent... we will put ourselves in a tactically disadvantageous situation. Finrod is far too powerful for any of us to stand against, let alone defeat." "Azk and Rayzer are right, Steel." Arata said. "Besides, Finrod is your shadow! His power matches yours! If you're too weak to fight against him..."

Steel Fire turned towards his knights, shaking his head. "Do not speak like that!" he scolded. "The Twilight Knights are a group! Our victories and achievements were not won on the back of a single person! And I would sooner die then watch a creature as foul as that slaughter the innocent families of the Twilight Realm!" Steel's suddenly softened. "I have faith in you, my family, my brothers and sisters-in-arms. This realm's survival, and the survival of all Lore, rests upon you now." Bill looked at the Twilight Emperor with a newfound respect. "What will happen to you?" Bill asked. The Twilight Knights regarded Bill with surprise. Steel chuckled. "I will open the Twilight Gate for the villagers, and then make haste back here to help you fight." Steel explained.

Bill turned to Selena. He laughed a little as he remembered when he first met her, several days ago. Was it really only several days ago? Bill wondered. To him, it seemed so much longer. Selena cocked her eyebrow, curious at Bill's gaze. "What?" she asked. Bill looked at her for a little longer before answering her question. "You've done so much for me, Selena." he began. "You protected me in Darkovia. You traveled with me after I had almost killed you! You inspired me, and drove me." Selena stared at Bill, not quite understanding where he was going with this. "Selena, you don't have to stay." Bill said. "You've done more than anyone could have asked of you. I don't want you getting hurt. Go with the villagers and get to safety." Selena burst out laughing. Now, it was Bill's turn to cock an eyebrow.

"I believe I've already told you, William," Selena said, still chuckling. "I'm sticking with you until the end. That blasted ring and I still have a score to settle. Sorry, but you're not getting rid of me that easily!" Bill laughed, grateful that Selena had decided to stay. "Oh, brother." Xavier muttered. Azk chuckled at Xavier's constant cynicism. "The village is ready to go, Emperor!" one farmer told Steel hastily. Steel nodded. "Very well." He turned towards his knights. He looked at each of them, including Selena and Bill. Steel grinned. "Give 'em hell." he said. He turned and ran to the front of the crowd, leading them to the Twilight Gate.

Soon, the village was completely silent. The sounds of idle chatter and children playing were nowhere to be heard. Rayzer turned towards the remaining Twilight Knights. Her face revealed her disappointment, and none of them blamed her. How could such a small group hope to overcome such a powerful entity? There was only Azk, Xavier, Arata, Bill, Selena, and herself. "There are no others?" Rayzer asked, her voice choking a little. Azk shook his head. "Any Twilight soldier that is still within the castle is likely either dead or corrupted by that ring." he explained, his voice monotone. "And Raz and the others were sent on an expedition to investigate a disturbance in the small town of Sayle." Arata seemed to pipe up when Sayle was mentioned.

Rayzer looked at her small group, steeling her gaze. "We will fight as a team, and take down this malicious entity. Xavier and, uh...Selena, was it?" she asked. Selena nodded. Rayzer smirked. "Xavier and Selena will be with me. Since we are magic users, we'll put up some magical wards to defend us from Finrod's attack. Azk, take Arata and William and set up traps. When this agent of chaos decides to attack, we'll be ready for him!" The group split off, ready to perform their assigned duties. Azk was already working on a trap that, when activated, would throw a knife. "Bill, come over here and pull this rope tight." Azk called. Bill came over and grabbed the end of the rope, and pulled it taut. "Thanks." Azk said, continuing on his trap. "I don't understand." Bill said. "It's fairly simple." Azk began. "Bad guy breaks rope, rope throws knife, knife causes pain, pain causes agony, agony causes death. See? Simple." Bill chuckled, but didn't relent. "I meant I don't understand why you can tolerate my presence right now. I thought you hated me."

Azk stopped working. He looked directly at Bill, giving Bill a good look at the assassin's face. "I never hated you. It was only my job, or rather, my duty, to eliminate you. And frankly, I didn't WANT to hurt you or your pretty friend," Azk looked over towards Selena for a moment before returning to the conversation. "In the first place. I only wanted the ring. You decided to play rough, though, so I had to play rough too. I never hated you. Just a job." Azk went back to working on his trap. "You seem like a nice enough guy." he remarked offhandedly. Bill still wore a look of confusion. "But-" he tried to ask, but Azk beat him to it. "I wouldn't be a very good assassin or Twilight Knight if I held a grudge against you in a time like this. An assassin needs to be adaptable, in any situation." Bill smiled, then returned to setting up traps with Azk.

*****

The Agent paced the throne room, feeling the power coursing through its newfound body. "So, when faced with true power, the Twilight Knights turn tail and flee like dogs." the Agent thought to itself. The Agent could sense the large mass of people heading over to the Twilight Gate. "Oh, Steel Fire..." The Agent mused. "I could stop you. I could destroy the gate before you even got there. Revel in the screams of the panicking citizens..." The Agent cackled. "But that wouldn't be very entertaining, at least, not for very long. I want to test my power against you and your pathetic band of misfits." The Agent could sense the presence of the six warriors in the abandoned village. "Yes..." the Agent whispered to itself. "Set up your traps and defenses. Ready your greatest weapons and mightiest spells! At the end of this day, we shall see who is the stronger!"
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:20 am

The Agent sat on the fine Twilight throne. "I could get used to this..." the Agent mumbled to itself, grinning. It could still sense the presence of the six Twilight Knights in the abandoned village, busily preparing their defense for the Agent's inevitable attack. The Agent would lull the warriors into a false sense of security, biding its time, then swoop down upon them, like an eagle hunting a field mouse. The Agent smiled as it imagined the horrible ways it was going to kill each knight. The Agent decided that it would snap the assassin's neck. It would rip the arms off of the white mage, and smash the Shadowmancer's head in. It would eviscerate the Twilit sorceress, and gouge the duelist's eyes out. And Bill, the man who had held him captive for twelve years?...

The Agent chuckled. "Your punishment will be to watch them die." it laughed. "I will kill them all in front of you; slowly. And when they die, you will be tormented with the knowledge that you, and only you, caused their demise." The Agent cackled into the empty throne room, enjoying it's dark thoughts of murder. What's stopping you? a voice from nowhere asked. The Agent, startled, lept to it's feet. "Where are you?" the evil being shouted. What is preventing you from destroying the small band of 'misfits' as you put them? The Agent of Talona spun all around, searching for the source of the voice. But alas, it was alone.

Does the Agent of the goddess of chaos fear these knights? the voice asked mockingly. The Agent couldn't contain its anger any longer. "I fear no mortal man nor woman!" The Agent screamed. Then what's stopping you from killing them? the voice prodded. The Agent laughed manically. "Nothing is stopping me! I could destroy them all with a single thought!" The Agent felt the Twilight and Chaotic energies build within it. It pictured where it wanted to go, and closed its eyes. There was a popping sound, and the Agent was gone. Deep in the recesses of the Agent's mind, Finrod chuckled to himself. He had forced the Agent's hand early, eliminating the Agent's chances for catching the knights unaware. He only hoped that the remaining Twilight Knights were prepared to handle him.

*****

Rayzer had just finished setting an explosive ward when Arata approached her. "Rayzer, we've set up as many traps as we could." Arata said. "Nothing's gonna take a single step inside the village without taking a volly of knives or arrows or getting caught in an explosion." Rayzer nodded, though her features were still grim. Arata examined her for a moment. "Is everything alright, Rayzer?" he asked. Rayzer shook her head. She looked up to the sky. It seemed to her that the clouds were gathering rather ominously. Rayzer sighed, and stood up. She scanned Arata, her eyes finally resting on his enchanted blade, Hokkyoku. "I hope you've been practicing with that thing. When the time comes, we're really gonna need it."

Rayzer walked off, looking for the other Twilight Knights. Arata instictively grabbed Hokkyoku and unsheathed it, running his fingers across the blade. He sighed, hoping his skills were up to par.

Rayzer gathered the rest of the Twilight Knights, being careful to avoid the many numerous traps that Arata, Bill, and Azk had set up. Once she had the group gathered, she spoke. "I'm not going to lie to you." she stated, scanning over each person. "This may be the greatest battle we have ever faced. We are fighting Finrod, the Twilight Beast, the very essence of the Twilight itself. If any of us survive this, it will be a miracle." Xavier snorted. "Way to inspire your allies, Rayzer." the wiry man said, his voice full of sarcasm. Rayzer glared at him. "Finrod is an interplanaric creature, Xavier. Do you understand what that means? It means he is nearly invulnerable in his own plane of existance, and even if we destroyed him outside of the Twilight Realm, he would only reappear here!" Xavier glared at Rayzer, but said nothing. She was right, after all.

Bill was confused. He had never heard of interplanaric creatures before. Seeing his confusion, Selena leaned over and explained what this meant for them. "Interplanaric creatures can only be destroyed in their home plane," she explained. "But they're nearly invincible in their home plane." "Why not destroy him outside of the Twilight, then?" Bill asked. Selena shook her head. "That would only banish him back here. He wouldn't be destroyed." At that moment, Bill understood. The Ring had desired Finrod over everyone else because, unlike Steel or Rayzer or Azk, Finrod was truly invulnerable. Bill couldn't shake the overwhelming feeling of despair that overtook him. Selena placed a hand on Bill's shoulder and smiled. "Everything will be fine." she said.

Bill was about to respond to her when a loud POP! was heard from behind. Everyone froze. The group slowly turned around...

Coming face-to-face with the Agent of Chaos.

The group was frozen in terror and awe. The only one with enough sense to do anything was Azk, who sprang from his seat and drew one of his trusted daggers. The assassin rushed at the Agent, swinging his blade to try and slice the Agent's throat. The Agent laughed at the pitiful attack, grabbing Azkikr's arm and throwing the assassin behind him. Azk flew through the air, shocked that he had been countered so easily. He tucked into a ball and rolled as he hit the ground, coming back onto his feet. Azk growled as he drew his longswords. The Agent casually turned towards its foe. "Come now," the Agent mocked. "Is this really the Twilight's greatest assassin? I've swatted insects with more fight in them!" "I'll make you eat those words!" Azk snarled. Azk ran towards his target, longswords out wide.

The Agent stood there, motionless.

As Azk drew near, he swung with his right sword, spinning his body 360 degrees and then following up by slashing with his left sword. Azk felt his sword bite into the Agent's flesh, and grinned. "Gotch'a." Azk said. Before Azk's attack routine was finished, however, the Agent suddenly disappeared. Azk stopped his routine and looked around. The Agent hadn't teleported. So where was he? "Azk!" Rayzer cried out suddenly. "Your shadow!" Azk looked down. His shadow appeared to be moving on its own! Suddenly, the shadow sprang up from the ground, laughing wildly. "You cannot hope to defeat me!" the shadowy Azk laughed. Azk took a step back, shocked. The Agent had become his shadow? How?

Azk didn't have time to ponder, because at that moment, the Agent drew a shadowy throwing knife from its chest, and hurled the weapon at the assassin. Azk felt the blade bite deep into his thigh. He gasped and fell down on one knee, still trying to understand how he was fighting his own shadow. The Agent walked towards the fallen assassin, an evil smile on its face. "Finrod's body is proving to be much more fun than I had thought." the Agent said, looking at his features. "I can become your shadow, your dark duplicate. There is no one in the world who can fight me!" The Agent took a menacing step towards Azk, then suddenly fell over, apparently wracked in pain.

Azk looked up to see Selena, hands outstretched and concentrating hard. "How-?" Azk asked. "I'm a Shadowmancer." Selena grunted, sweat beginning to bead on her forehead. "I can control shadows and darkness." The Agent howled in pain. It began to reshape itself back to its original form, to Finrod's body. Once the Agent was no longer a shadow, it stood up, chuckling. "You think you can beat me?" The Agent snarled. It turned towards the remaining knights and lifted his hand. Rayzer's eyes widened. "Run!" she screamed. The Twilight Knights obeyed without question, fleeing into the abandoned village. Xavier ran to Azk and hauled him back on his feet. "Come on, Azk, we gotta move!" Xavier shouted. Azk grunted in reply. Selena grabbed Rayzer's hand. "Follow me!" Selena cried. Arata grabbed Bill's arm and pulled him into the village. "Looks like we're splitting up." Arata said. All of the knights could hear the crackling of energy, and the explosion that the Agent caused merely by raising his hand.

The Agent cackled into the air. Black clouds had gathered in the Twilight's normally pristine sky, and thunder could be heard.

Azk and Xavier stumbled into the southern part of the village. "Stop." Azk said, his breath seeming labored. Xavier shook his head. "We need to get to a-" "For the love of Lore, Xavier, stop!" Azk commanded. This time, Xavier did stop. He looked at his companion strangely. Azk's breath came in labored gasps. A black liquid was oozing out of his knife wound. Azk gripped the handle of the weapon and yanked hard, pulling the weapon free. The black liquid poured out of Azk's wound now. "What the hell?" Xavier asked, examining the wound closer. Azk grabbed his thigh and gritted his teeth. "It burns, Xavier, it burns." Was all Azk was able to say. Xavier grabbed the shadow knife, which was already beginning to dissapate. "Chaos energy, perhaps?" Xavier thought aloud. Azk shook his head, sweat beginning to drip. "I don't know." the assassin replied hastily. "All I know is, you won't survive hauling me around." Xavier laughed at his friend. "I'm many things, assassin," Xavier chuckled. "But a deserter isn't one of them. I'm not leaving you." Azk growled, both in pain and in anger. "You have to!" Xavier shook his head.

Azk growled in frustration. "Fine!" Azk looked around him. Suddenly, a grin spread on his face. "Y'know, Xavier, this place is heavily trapped. I set up most of the traps here myself." Xavier grinned. "You've got a plan?"

*****

The Agent walked down the southern path through the village, following the black drops of liquid ooze. The Agent looked up, grinning. "Come out, humans..." the Agent cooed. "If you surrender now, I may give you the honor of being my personal guards...how does that sound?" Silence. The Agent chuckled. He hadn't expected a response. "Sounds lucrative." a voice called out. The Agent looked up. Standing in a small plaza, was the hooded assassin. The black liquid continued to drip from his knife wound. The Agent chuckled as it drew closer. "Lucrative?" The Agent asked. "You would turn on your own?" Azk chuckled. "I'm an assassin." He said. "We always turn on one another." The Agent laughed and walked closer. "Come on," Azk mumbled to himself. "Closer, closer..." The Agent stopped as it felt something snap against its ankles. It looked down, only to see a broken tripwire. Suddenly, the Agent felt a sharp pain as a knife flew into its chest, then another, then another!

Azk grinned. Xavier came out of a nearby building, also sharing Azk's mirth. The Agent was furious. "You...you..." was all it could say in its anger. Azk turned to Xavier and nodded. Xavier raised his hand and cried out "Bombardos!" A ball of energy shot from Xavier's upraised hand and exploded into the Agent, creating a huge wall of smoke and fire. Azk drew a fistful of knives and loosed them into the smokescreen. Xavier began casting various offensive spells in the same direction. Barrage after barrage it continued, with no sign of the Agent. Several minutes passed, and Azk and Xavier were panting. The smoke dissapated, with no sign of the Agent.

Azk and Xavier laughed, not quite believing that they had just taken down the Agent of Talona! Their laughter abruptly subsided when they heard a voice from behind ask "What's so funny?"

Before they had time to react, the Agent grabbed their shoulders and unleashed electrical energy into the assassin's and the mage's bodies. The two slumped to the ground, unconscious. "Nice try," the Agent chuckled, pulling one of Azk's throwing knives out of its chest. "But you'll have to do much better than that." The Agent stared at the two defeated Twilight Knights. "I should kill you," It thought aloud. "But not now. After I have captured Bill, then I will kill each and every one of you." The Agent closed it's eyes, and with a POP!, was gone.

*****

Selena and Rayzer ran through the northern part of the village, panting and gasping. "Wait a minute," Rayzer said, taking a look around. "We warded this area, right?" Selena shook her head. "The wards may slow him down, sure," Selena concided. "But didn't you hear all those explosions just a little while ago? I doubt they'll stop him." Rayzer was about to nod her agreement when she heard one of their magical wards go off. The two women felt the ground shake as an explosive ward detonated. Selena called upon her innate magical power, turning her hands into shadow dragon claws. Rayzer brought up her staff. The two put their backs together and began nervously glancing around.

Suddenly, another explosion. This time, the two heard yelling coming from the direction of the explosion. They rushed over, to find the Agent lying facedown on the ground. Rayzer walked up to the prone body and tapped it with her foot. Suddenly, the Agent sprang up onto its feet, slapping Rayzer across the face with the back of it's hand. Rayzer stumbled, unable to regain her balance. THe Agent would have descended upon her if Selena had not intervened. Selena rushed forward, slashing the Agent across the chest with her claws. The false Finrod howled and stumbled backwards, grasping its newest wound. It looked at Selena with an odd mixture of rage and respect. "Shadow dragons..." the Agent mused. "Creatures not of the Material Plane. One of the few things that can hurt me."

The Agent's body shimmered, and suddenly split into two! "But can you figure out which is the real me?" the Agents taunted in unison. One Agent walked over to Rayzer, and the other stayed in front of Selena. Selena rushed forward, slashing wildly with her claws. The Agent ducked and weaved away from Selena's wild swings.

Rayzer fared no better. She had regained her composure, only to see ANOTHER Agent stalking towards her! Rayzer steeled her gaze and swung out with her staff with all her might. Her staff connected solidly with the advancing entity's face, causing the monster to recoil. "Which one's the real one?" Rayzer called out, just narrowly dodging a clumsy swing from her opponent.

Selena hopped backwards, just barely dodging a ferocious strike from her foe. She scanned her opponent for any clue of which might be the real Agent. She looked over at Rayzer's foe. And that's when she noticed: Rayzer's opponent was wearing a ring, while her own was not! "Rayzer!" Selena called out, trying to break away from the duplicate. "You're fighting the real Agent!" Rayzer looked at Selena. Big mistake. The real Agent curled its hand into a fist and slammed a heavy puch across Rayzer's face. Rayzer spun around once, then fell down, unconscious. The Agent's came back together, forming one Agent again.

"You can't win, Shadowmancer!" The Agent cackled. "I'm more powerful than any mortal being!" Without another word, the Agent slammed its forehead into Selena's. Selena tried to force herself to remain conscious, but to no avail. Her vision was soon overtaken by darkness.

*****

Arata and Bill had run into the western part of the village. They were nervous, their hearts were pounding. They had heard the explosions and the sounds of battle in the southern and northern parts of the village. It was only a matter of time until they were next. Arata placed his hand on Hokkyoku's hilt, ready for any surprises. Bill unsheathed Mandurugo and readied it. Mandurugo was pulsing, sensing blood nearby. Bill looked at Arata. "In case we die, Arata," Bill said. "I want to let you know that I consider you a true friend and ally." Arata smiled and nodded. "You too, Bill. Thanks for saving my life from those red knights."

The two heard a popping sound from behind. They turned around, looking directly at the Agent of Talona. The Agent chuckled. "I don't believe we've formally met, Bill." It said mockingly. Bill wasn't amused. "I've never wanted to meet you, you murdering jackal." Bill replied coldly. "Tsk, tsk." The Agent shook its finger at Bill. "Manners, William, manners." The two eyed each other for the longest time. "I should commend you, human." The Agent said, chuckling. "Twleve years. You've managed to hold out against my willpower for twelve years. Thats far longer than any other host I've had before you." Bill said nothing. All he could do was imagine the broken body of his father.

"Twelve years..." Bill echoed, bringing Mandurugo to bear. "I've waited twelve years to do this, you piece of scum." The Agent cackled with glee. A shadowy longsword suddenly appeared in it's hands. "Come then," the Agent goaded. "And face me! I will show you an entirely new world of pain!" Bill didn't need any prompting. He raised Mandurugo and rushed at the foul creature. Bill swung Mandurugo violently downward. The Agent lifted its own blade, catching Mandurugo in half-swing. The Agent twirled its sword, causing Mandurugo to fly out of Bill's hands. Bill hopped backward, narrowly dodging the Agent's follow-up attack. The Agent thrust it's sword forward, it's victory assured.

Or so it thought.

The Agent's blade was suddenly deflected in a flash of bright blue. Bewildered, the Agent looked at its newest target: the blue-haired duelist. "Grab your sword!" Arata told Bill. "I'll hold him off!" The Agent snarled in frustration, bringing its sword high above its head, preparing for a killstrike. Arata proved quicker, slicing three thin lines on the Agent's chest. The Agent ignored the attack, swinging anyway. Arata spun around the Agent's powerful strike, slicing across the Agent's arm.

Bill scrambled to get Mandurugo. He grabbed the blade, which pulsed in anticipation. He spun around and charged at the Agent, confident that he couldn't handle two enemies at once.

When Bill rushed next to Arata, the Agent snarled. "Two against one..." the Agent muttered. "That's not fair! Let's even the odds a bit, hmm?" The Agent's body shimmered, and suddenly split into two! Bill and Arata exchanged quick glances of disbelief. The two Agents came on, one spinning its sword, the other thrusting forward. Arata hopped out of the second Agent's thrusting attack and Bill block the first Agent's spinning attack. "Play defensively!" Arata told Bill. Bill nodded his agreement. The Agents rushed forward, immediately taking the offensive. It went on for many minutes, Arata and Bill blocking, parrying, and dodging while the Agents slashed, stabbed, and struck out.

"Enough of this!" The Agents cried, reforming into one again. "This ends now!" The Agent lifted its hand and concentrated. The air around Bill and Arata crackled with dark energy. Arata was about to yell "run!" when the air around the two exploded. Bill was thrown into the side of a building, and Arata was launched several feet into the air. Bill and Arata struggled to their feet. The Agent seemed amused. "Stop this madness." the Agent said. "You can't harm me! Not even the mighty Hokkyoku can damage the Twilight Beast!" Arata seemed shocked that the Agent recognized his blade. "You two are alone in the valley of shadow, and death stalks ever closer! Where is your goddess now, you ugly maggots? Where is your beloved leader?!"

"Right here." came a reply from behind. The Agent turned around, coming face-to-face with Steel Fire. "The Emperor..." The Agent chuckled. Steel was adorned in his familiar (yet magnificent) gold and black battle armor. In his right hand, was Shadikal, which glowed softly with a red aura. "Steel, don't!" Arata cried out. Bill looked at the Twilight Emperor. He looked pained, most likely from forcing the Twilight Gate open. The Agent, seeing Steel's hesitation, rushed forward, swinging its blade out visciously. Steel snapped Shadikal upwards so fast that the movement was barely registered. Shadikal blocked the Agent's shadow sword, causing Steel and the Agent to lock blades.

"Finrod is my shadow..." Steel said, trying to shove the Agent's blade away. "We are equal in power. You cannot hope to defeat me!" The Agent cracked a smile. "You don't understand, Emperor. I'm in full control of Finrod's power. I'm invincible! Immortal, even! You cannot-" Steel suddenly broke off the sword lock and slashed the Agent across the chest. The Agent screamed and fell backward, its newest wound sizzeling. "You are chaos." Steel said. "Order will destroy you." The Agent glanced at Shadikal. "Twilight energy..." it muttered. The Agent stood back up, then rushed at Steel, slamming him against a building. The Agent grabbed Steel's face, and unleashed electrical energy into his body.

Steel did the only thing he could: he stabbed ahead with Shadikal, feeling the blade bite into the Agent's flesh. Instead of shying away from the attack, the Agent doubled its efforts into electrocuting the Emperor. Steel yelled out, the pain overcoming him. The Agent cackled. It stopped electrocuting the Emperor and grabbed him by the throat, lifting him into the air. Steel dropped his trusted blade, trying to pry away the Agent's grasp but to no avail. The Agent spun around, throwing Steel across the small plaza. Steel landed hard, rolling until he slammed into a wall. Arata was there in a flash, trying to help his Emperor back up. "Shadikal..." Steel murmered to Arata. Arata looked at him curiously. "Use Shadikal..." Arata spun around. Shadikal was directly in front of him! He reached out and grabbed the blade, feeling the power it possessed.

Bill looked at the scene: Steel was down, Arata looked distracted by the sword, and the Agent...

The Agent was healing!

Bill could see the Agent's skin being knitted back into place through some magical means. "Arata! Strike now!" Bill commanded. Arata looked up, saw the predicament, and rushed at the Agent. The Agent hopped backward, dodging Arata's swing. Bill felt Mandurugo pulse. It sensed blood. It wanted blood. Suddenly, Bill got an idea! Bill rushed at the distracted Agent of Chaos, and stabbed the Agent with the vampiric sword.

The Agent did not seem to notice or care.

Mandurugo drank Finrod's blood. The vampire sword began to tremble violently as it absorbed the Twilight Beast's blood. Suddenly, Mandurugo's blade was no longer crimson; it was half-black and half-white. It no longer glowed purple; instead it began to pulse gold, red, and black. Bill had to laugh. His plan worked! Mandurugo had absorbed some of Finrod's Twilight power! Bill slashed out with his powered up weapon, causing a large gash along the Agent's back.

The Agent howled and spun around, eyeing Bill menacingly. Arata thrust Shadikal forward, stabbing into the Agent's thigh. The Agent shrieked and swung out with its sword, in an attempt to slice Arata's eyes out. Arata fell to his stomach, dodging the attack at the cost of his stance. The Agent lifted its black blade menacingly. Bill looked at the Agent. It had to stop it, but how? Bill scanned his foe, searching for a weakness. His eyes lit up, and Bill slashed out with the sword:

Slicing Finrod's ring finger off.

Finrod dropped the shadow blade, then grabbed his hand. "My finger..." Finrod said, looking at his now-three-fingered hand. Arata stood shakily up. "Is it...over?" he asked, nervously glancing at Finrod. NOOOO! the Ring screamed. I was so close! The Ring continued to wail. "Does that answer your question?" Bill asked. You think you've won here?! the Ring screamed. My destruction will only spur on the TRUE agent of chaos! He awaits now, ready to strike! Bill, Finrod, and Arata traded curious glances. The Ring cackled manically. If you defeat me, it laughed. You still won't beat me! Chaos- TRUE chaos-has yet to descend! Finrod motioned for Arata to pick up Shadikal, and motioned Bill to ready Mandurugo. The Ring cackled wildly. "Strike, now!" Finrod commanded. Bill and Arata obeyed, striking the Ring with their Twilight blades.

The ground suddenly shook and thunder roared. The Ring instantly went silent. The Ring began to shake. The red and gold began to turn into a awful black. Suddenly, a small crack appeared on the side of the Ring. It grew larger and larger until CRACK!...

The Ring fell apart into several pieces. Black and purple smoke rose from the destroyed fragments. Bill couldn't believe it. The Ring, his tormentor for the past twelve years, was finally gone! Bill punched into the air and laughed.

After twelve years, Bill was finally free.

Finrod motioned Arata to follow him. "Come," Finrod bade. "Let us go attend to our wounded. Give Bill some time to celebrate." Finrod reached down and with just one arm, scooped up the unconscious emperor. Arata followed close behind, not quite believing what they had just done. Arata looked up towards the sky. It was pristine once more. He smiled, believing that things were definetly looking up for everyone.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:21 am

Epilogue

The armored figure walked near silently through the caverns of his master's fortress. He had no idea why his master preferred the dank, moist caves underneath the castle. Perhaps he felt a kinship with them? Maybe the caves reminded him of something? The armored figure shook those ideas away. The most likely reason why the master had his quarters down here was because he liked his privacy. The armored man heard a soft Tickickickick sound come from his longsword. The man unsheathed it and admired his fine weapon. The blade was emerald green. It glowed with a soft purple light. The pommel was shaped like a bat, and set within the pommel was a large red ruby.

The sword began ticking again, this time a bit faster. The armored man chuckled. "Patience, Manananggal." the man whispered to his sword. "We're almost there." The man sheathed his blade and continued walking through the caverns until he reached a perfectly smooth wall with a gargoyle bust set on it. As the armored man drew closer, the gargoyle's eyes suddenly moved, resting upon the approaching man. "Lillandra." the armored man spoke. The gargoyle bust nodded, then sunk into the wall. As soon as the gargoyle head sunk in, the wall began to ripple like water. The armored figure stepped into the wall, which was no longer solid but more like a liquid.

The man stepped out on the other side of the wall into his master's chambers. The man observed his master's chambers with a sense of curiousity. The room was practically bare, with only six braziers arranged in a circle in the center of the room, and a desk filled with scribbled notes and books. Sitting in the center of the room, was his master. The man wore brilliant white robes and a white cowl that covered his face. "I've been expecting you, Xanhast, though I expected you sooner." the master said, not bothering to turn around. The armored man, Xanhast, looked at the six braziers. Each flame was a different color: There was orange, blue, silver, brown, yellow and purple.

"I'm sorry for the delay, m'lord," Xanhast apologized, bowing. "There were some...unexpected delays..." The master snorted. "Feeding off the cattle?" he asked. Xanhast chuckled, licking a fleck of blood off his lips. "Tell me, dear Xanhast..." the master began. "Have you recovered Hokkyoku yet?" Xanhast shuffled a bit. "No, m'lord. We almost had the katana's master, but he recieved unexpected aid." The master sighed. "I suppose if I want something done I'll have to do it myself." The master chuckled. "We will get Hokkyoku, Xanhast, never fear." The room was silent for a few moments. "What of the Ring of Poison? Where is it? Do you have it?" This time, Xanhast was silent.

The braziers suddenly dimmed. The master stood up, still facing away from Xanhast. "Your silence tells me much, vampire. What has happened to the Ring?" Xanhast shuffled nervously from one foot to the other. "I tracked the Ring to the Twilight Realm. I snuck into that plane of existance unbeknownst to the Twilight Knights...m'lord...the Ring has been destroyed." There was only silence for several long minutes. "Xanhast..." the master began. "I gave you one task to perform. What was that task?" Xanhast began to sweat. "I was to retrieve the Ring of Poison, no matter the cost." The master nodded. "And instead, what did you do?" Xanhast was silent for what seemed like forever. "I...failed, m'lord?" "YOU FAILED!" the master screamed. The braziers suddenly roared to life, reflecting their creator's anger.

The master, quick as lightning, rushed over to Xanhast and lifted the man up by his neck. Xanhast coughed and spluttered, trying to force away his master's grip. "Filthy vampire!" the master snarled. "I should have sent Fyra and Cyra to handle this task. They would have been more competent!" The master tightened his grip around Xanhast's throat. "I-it was...impossible to steal..." Xanhast coughed out. "The r-r-ing was...constantly...under guard!" The master looked at Xanhast curiously. He suddenly released Xanhast. The vampire gasped and spluttered, intaking large gulps of air. "I am not unmerciful, Xanhast, and you have served me well in the past." the master explained, sitting back in the center of the room. "However, now that the ring is destroyed, we must act quickly. Chaos will flood these lands."

Xanhast stood back up, looking at his master curiously. "M'lord, I thought you didn't want to use the ring..." the master laughed. "I didn't want to use the ring's power. I simply wanted to prevent its destruction. We must act quickly and retrieve the elemental keys before HE has a chance to use them." Xanhast cocked his head. "Who m'lord?" the vampire asked. The master chuckled. "All in good time, Xanhast. All in good time."

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:21 am

All right, I've transferred my story from the Twilight Knights over to here. Enjoy!
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:39 am

Poison is a finished story amirite? Maybe we should lock it and have it for viewing purposes only?
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:44 am

Arata, Lock NOW! PLease
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:57 am

Yes, Poison is finished. Whoever is moderating this section may lock it.
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