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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:24 am

Hey, I'm transferring The God King over here as well. Again, enjoy!
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:24 am

I have walked among men and angels for thirty years...time...how cruel and simultaneously rewarding time has been to me. How I miss her, my lovely Lily...my Lillandra...how I wish I could alter the fabric of time, and make it so you could be here with me. Not a day has passed that I do not think of you. But because of the ignorance of those fearful and weak-minded fools...you have been snatched away from me.

WHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHY?

Why couldn't they accept our love? Why couldn't they see the goodness in you, like I could?

STUPID. WORTHLESS. WRETCHES.

I will avenge you, my dear. I will make every last one of those lousy swine suffer the painful death that they put you to. And when I kill them, they will know the pain and suffering they have caused both you and me!

THIS I SWEAR!


-An entry from the journal of the Master
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:25 am

Bill grabbed a dusty tome from the Twilight Archives shelf. He blew away the dust and cobwebs that had formed from the tome's many years without being handled, then reshelfed it back in the appropriate spot. Bill smiled as he remembered all that had transpired in the two months since the Ring of Poison's destruction. After making a quick recovery, Steel Fire had offered Bill and Selena the opportunity to become Twilight Knights. They had eagerly accepted the offer. Selena had chosen to remain as Rayzer's assistant, while Bill was bestowed with the title of Sunset Sage. It was Bill's duty to attend to the many books and tomes kept within the Twilight Archives. Of course, Bill didn't mind his new job. In fact, it reminded him of when he was younger, endlessly shifting and reorganizing books in the monastary where he grew up.

Not everything was peaceful however. Soon after the Ring of Poison's destruction, the Twilight Knights had recieved word that King Alteon of Swordhaven had been critically injured, and the Doom Knight Sepulchure had been had been destroyed by a powerful entity. This entity, a man named Drakath, had declared war on the forces of good and evil, saying that the time of good and evil was over, and the age of chaos had begun. Since then, the Twilight Knights had been attempting to battle the chaos that was flooding the land, meeting with little or no success. This new enemy was one unlike the Twilight Knights had ever faced.

Bill could hear the throne doors swing open, and could hear the sounds of armored footsteps. "Emperor Steel," Bill heard one man say. "We have confirmed reports that Chaos soldiers have taken the Chiral Valley." There was silence for several moments. "That makes absolutely no sense." Bill heard Steel's irritated voice. "The Chiral Valley is mostly a settlement of farmers. There's absolutely nothing of value there." Bill walked out of the archive room and walked to the throne room. "Our scouts have reported that the Chiral Valley has been taken, and that the Chaos soldiers are using the town of Mobius as a hold-out. We don't know why they want the Chiral Valley, Emperor Steel, but nevertheless they have acquired it."

Steel rubbed his temples. "Thank you for the update." Steel said, keeping his gaze low. "Please return to your posts." The several knights bowed and walked out of the throne room without another word. Steel suddenly looked up, seeing Bill standing there. "I assume you heard what that man said?" Steel asked. Bill nodded. "The Chiral Valley, huh?" Bill asked. "Yep." Was all Steel replied. The throne room was silent for several moments. "Emperor..." Bill began. "We don't know the nature of our opponent yet. I would suggest investigating the Chiral Valley for anything of value. I highly doubt that Drakath took the valley just because he could." Steel nodded his agreement. He was about to say something when the throne doors suddenly burst open, and three people rushed in.

"We need a medic!" one of them shouted. The man was tall and broad shouldered, dressed in black leather armor and wearing a black cloak and cowl. Bill recognized him as Azkikr, the Twilight's greatest assassin. Behind him was Bill's dear friend Selena, who was supporting a critically injured Arata. Steel's and Bill's eyes widened at the sight of Arata. His normally light blue clothing had been stained red from his blood. There were well over a dozen cuts and slashes on his body. A crossbow quarrel was lodged in Arata's left shoulder, and another one was stuck in his hip. Arata groaned in pain. "You're gonna be all right, Arata." Selena said in a comforting tone. "I know it's hard, but try not to move your left arm too much. You'll end up making your wounds worse." "What happened?" Steel asked, standing straight up. "Red armored knights." Selena quickly explained. "I have to get Arata to a healer. Have Azk explain the rest." Selena and Arata hobbled down the hall, looking for the infirmery.

"What happened?" Steel asked again. Azk was shaking his head. "I'm not exactly sure." he said. "We were patrolling the area around Greenguard, like you commanded us, when suddenly...THEY came out of nowhere!" Steel cocked an eyebrow. "Who is they?" Steel asked. Azk shrugged. "They were knights...they wore red armor." the assassin explained. "I remember they had a black skull insignia emblazoned on their armor, and they wore helmets shaped like skulls." Bill tapped his finger against his chin. Why did that sound so familiar? "These knights..." Steel began. "Were they chaos?" Azk shook his head. "No. These knights descended upon us in total silence. Chaos is never so stealthy." "That's just perfect. Another enemy to fight." Bill heard Steel mutter. "Are you or Selena hurt?" Bill asked. Azk shook his head. "We weren't hurt too badly. They didn't seem interested in us. All of them targeted Arata for some reason."

The throne room was silent for a few moments. Steel motioned Azk to the door. "Go check on Arata for me." Steel said. Azk nodded, bowed, then slipped out of the throne room. Bill looked at Steel. The Emperor was sitting back in his throne room, his head in his hands. "No doubt you want to check on Arata as well?" Steel asked Bill. Bill nodded. "Go on then, go see your friend." Bill bowed then sped off towards the infirmery. Steel sat back in his throne and blew out a sigh. He didn't know why, but he had a feeling that this attack was just a precursor of things to come.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:25 am

Nami sat by the small stream just a mile away from her village, admiring the koi and other fish that inhabited it. She was a pretty girl, with tan skin, long blonde hair, and sparkling green eyes. She loved the tranquility of this small grove. "I just don't understand why they don't approve." Nami said to herself. "I thought they would be happy! All I want to do is forge my own life, and not be restricted to being the wife of a farmer." "Naaaamiii!" came a familiar cry. Nami turned around to see her sister running towards her. Nami smiled at the sight of her sibling. "Hey, Akira." she greeted warmly. Akira stopped and leaned forward, panting heavily. "Mother and Father..." she panted, out of breath. "Want to...see you..." Nami stood up, chuckling at her younger sister. "Did you run all the way out here?" she asked.

Akira nodded, too exhausted to say anything else. Akira was just as pretty as her older sister. She was sixteen years old, about four years younger than Nami. "C'mon, lets get back to the village." Nami said, taking hold of her sister's hand and leading her back. "What were you thinking about, sis?" Akira asked after she had recovered her energy. Nami looked at her sister with a grin. "How did you know I was out here?" Akira snorted. "You're ALWAYS out here whenever you're thinking about something. My friend's and I call that place 'Nami's Grove', you know. Nami laughed at that. The two walked home, talking and playing all the way back. An hour had passed before they had reached their house.

"There you two are!" Nami and Akira's mother, Misaki, said. "Hello, mother." Nami said, grinning. Misaki didn't share her mirth. "Where have you been?" she asked. Nami and Akira traded looks of surprise. Their mother was hardly so harsh. "We were just out playing, mother." Akira tried to explain. "We were walking home and-" "I thought you two might have been attacked!" Their mother said, cutting Akira off. "Attacked?" Nami echoed. "Yes, attacked!" Misaki said. "I've been hearing rumors of strange creatures attacking settlements on the mainland." The mention of the mainland made Nami sigh. How desparately she wanted to go there someday. "Not only that, but the yokai of these island have begun stirring recently. I doubt its a coincidence!" "Mother, please," Nami said, walking up to her mother and embracing her in a hug. "If we had been attacked, I could have defended us." Nami looked to the katana and dagger strapped to her hips.

Misaki scowled at the weapons. "Why do you want to be a guard, Nami?" Nami rolled her eyes. "Mother, please, do we really have to talk about this now?" Her mother didn't relent. "What's so bad about living the life of a farmer? I've lived as a farmer all my life and I've found it very rewarding." "Because a farmer's life isn't the life I want, mother!" Nami countered rather sharply. "I want to explore! I want to go on an adventure! I want to do something that has meaning!" Misaki looked as though she had been slapped. "So are you saying my life has been meaningless?" Misaki asked. Nami put her face in her hands. "Mother, that's not what I meant." Akira, realizing that this had the potential to become a shouting match, quietly slipped out of the room.

"It is what you meant, just say it!" Misaki said rather angrily. "I guess my entire life has been a waste! I've done nothing of importance or value in your eyes!" Nami was silent. "That wasn't what I meant." Nami said quietly. "A farmer's life is rewarding, I just..." Nami paused for a moment. "I just don't think it's the right lifestyle for me." "And what is the right lifestyle, Nami?" Misaki asked, tears forming in her eyes. "Becoming a city guard? Getting killed by some stray monster? I..." Her mother suddenly stopped and walked out of the room, tears falling down her face. "Mother, this is my choice!" Nami said, following her mother. "Could you just listen-" "You listen!" her mother shouted. Nami was stunned. Her mother had never yelled at her like that. "I will not bury my beloved daughter! I won't lose you." Nami fell silent again. This time, when her mother walked off, Nami didn't pursue.

"Your mother's worry is justified." a voice from behind her said. Nami spun around, facing her father, Hiro. "She's afraid that you'll get killed. After hearing some of those rumors coming from the mainland, I don't blame her." Hiro was a handsome man, though he was blind in one eye. "But father," Nami protested. "You were a part of the Akiba Royal Guard for years! I thought you would see things from my point of view!" Hiro chuckled. "Yes. Yes, I was. However, I agree with your mother. Becoming a guard is far too dangerous." Nami felt like screaming. "B-but you taught me to use these!" she said, pointing to the katana and dagger on her hips. "These belonged to you!" Hiro came close to his daughter and wrapped his arm around her. "I taught you to use those in self-defense." Hiro said. "I didn't know you would think about becoming a guard."

Nami could feel her frustration clearly. "I agree with your mother, Nami." Hiro continued. "Being a guard is dangerous work. I'm lucky I only lost sight in one eye..." Nami blew out a frustrated sigh. "Akira said you needed me for something?" Nami mumbled. Hiro's face brightened. "Ah yes! Hang on one moment." Hiro walked out of the room. Nami felt like she could punch a hole in the wall. Why couldn't they accept her choices? Why couldn't they see that she just wasn't interested in a farmer's life? Hiro returned almost immediately, holding a basket filled with fresh fruit. "I believe you know Takeshi, yes?" Nami laughed. Takeshi was a member of the Akiba city guard who had made his feelings for Nami painfully clear. Every time Nami and Takeshi would get into a conversation, he always seemed to find a way to proclaim his love for her. Nami, of course, did not feel the same way. She always turned him down, but that never did stop Takeshi.

"Yes, I'm familiar with him." She chuckled. Hiro handed her the basket of fruit. "His father is ill. Please give these to him and give him our regards." Nami nodded and walked out the door. "I'll be back within the hour!" she called to her father. Her father, Hiro, smiled at her, knowing full well that if there was some way for her to become a guard, Nami was going to take it.

*****

Nami walked through the streets of Akiba, humming to herself. She loved the vibrance of the city, the feeling that the city was alive and full of people.

She didn't notice the hooded figure approach her.

The hooded man threw his hand against Nami's mouth and pulled her off into a small allyway. Nami screamed and protested but her words and shouts were muffled. The hooded man set her against the wall and stared at her for many minutes. Nami stared back. The man wore a forest green cloak. He had a bow slung over his shoulder and a quiver of arrows on his back. Strapped to his thighes were a longsword and dagger. "I can't believe this." The hooded man said. "You're real." Nami broke the man's grasp on her and smashed her forehead into his face. The man recoiled, blood flowing from his nose. Nami grabbed the basket she had dropped and began calling out "Guards! Guards, help!" The hooded man came out of the ally, waving his hands at her.

"Stop, stop!" he cried, trying to calm her down. "I didn't mean to frighten you! I had a dream about you!" Nami was about to call the man a pervert, when she got a better look at his face. His skin was a lighter shade than hers, his eyes were a deep brown, and he had short sandy brown hair. "You're a mainlander..." she said, excitement evident in her voice. The man nodded. "Yes, I hail from the mainland. I'm glad I found you, Nami." Nami's face scrunched up in confusion. "How do you know my name?" she asked. "It was part of my dream." The man explained. "I was standing in a black room. Out of nowhere, a man in a white robe and cowl appeared. He told me to travel to Yokai Island and find you. He said you would need to be saved, but from what, I do not know."

Nami laughed. "That's ridiculous." she said. "What could possibly-" before she could finish her sentence, a large squad of guards rushed past her and the hooded man. "Get to the outlying villages!" the guard captain shouted. "That's where he's attacking!" The blood drained from Nami's face. "Mother, Father, Akira!" Nami whispered. Without a second thought, Nami rushed off with the guard. "Wait!..." the hooded man called out. Realizing he wasn't going to call her back, the hooded man gave chase as well.

*****

Nami ran ahead of the guards and into her village. Her jaw dropped at the site of what had transpired. Buildings were on fire, livestock had been slaughtered, the screams and cries of the villagers could be heard clearly. "We need to leave--now!" the hooded man said as soon as he caught up with Nami. "Not without my family!" she retorted, rushing deeper into the village. The hooded man groaned then rushed after her.

As Nami approached her house, she could hear voices. People were talking up ahead. Nami ducked behind a bush and looked out. Her mother, Misaki, was lying face-down in a pool of her own blood. Her father, Hiro, had had his throat slashed open. Nami could see Akira, cowering before a much larger armored figure. The armored figure wore armor similar to a samurai, except his armor was glowing purple, and tendrils were growing off of it. "Where is she?!" the armored man roared. "Where is the girl?" Akira sobbed and shook her head, not knowing. Nami's eyes widened. "Me?" she asked herself silently. The armored figure laughed. "Such a pity. You were so beautiful." Faster than lightning, the armored man whipped out his katana and decapitated Akira. Blood spouted from her twitching body.

Nami felt waves of nausea, rage, and sorrow roll over her. "Chaos Shogun Kitsune!" she heard a creature cry. "The humans are coming!" The armored man, Kitsune, growled in frustration. "Find the girl. Drakath is very interested in her for some reason." The creature nodded, then sped off. Kitsune looked all around him, then finally walked off into the brush. Nami leaned forward and vomited. She felt a hand on her back. "We need to leave. NOW." It was the hooded man. Nami looked at him, tears in her green eyes. "Who are you?" she asked. The man hoisted her up on to her feet. "Most people call me Frozen Fighter. I wish you had more time to grieve, but we need to go."
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:26 am

Arata's vision swirled and blurred. He forced himself to stay conscious. He could see shapes, but he couldn't make them out. He could hear voices, but they sounded distant. "Arata?" he heard a voice ask. The voice sounded friendly enough. He forced himself to concentrate, to shrug off his sluggishness. When his vision cleared, he saw Selena's concerned face staring at him. Her face brightened considerably when she noticed him open his eyes. "You're awake! I thought you might have died!" She said. Arata glanced all around him. He appeared to be in the infirmery of the Twilight Keep. He tried to sit up, but wound up doubling over in pain.

Selena was there in an instant, gently laying Arata back into his bed. "You've got to be careful." Selena said. "Otherwise, you'll end up agitating your wounds." Arata looked down at his torso. Almost all of his entire chest was wrapped in bandages. He could hardly move his left arm. "What happened?" Arata asked. "I only remember small bits and pieces." Selena's face grew somber. "We were ambushed while patrolling Greenguard." She said. "By knights in crimson." Arata sat up, grunting from the pain, but forcing himself up nonetheless. "Knights in crimson?" he echoed. "They didn't happen to have black skulls emblazoned on their armor, did they?" Selena sat in thought for a few moments. "I think they did." she said. "Why? Are you familiar with the group?"

Arata quickly glanced all around him. He looked on the table opposite of him. There, his clothes were folded neatly and his armor was placed. But there was no sign of the Katana of Torrents, Hokkyoku.

"My sword." Arata muttered to himself. "Do you have my sword, Selena?" he asked. Selena shook her head, a confused look on her face. "What about Azk?" Arata asked, a pleading look in his eye. "Please tell me Azk has my sword!" "I don't think he does." Came Selena's reply. Arata swung his feet over the side of the bed and proceeded to get out. He could feel sharp pain all over his body, but he willed himself to continue. Selena grabbed Arata by the shoulders (causing him to flinch in pain) and pushed him back in the bed.

"What do you think you're doing?" Selena asked, bewildered. "You've probably reopened half-a-dozen wounds from doing that!" "Where is Hokkyoku?" Arata asked, ignoring Selena's concern. Selena rolled her eyes. "You probably dropped it out in Greenguard. Look, when we find the time, we'll go out and get it, ok?" Arata laid back in his bed and nodded. He wasn't so sure he had simply "dropped" his blade. Those crimson knights...he had seen them before. Back when he had met Bill in the dell. Arata was certain that the knights that had ambushed him were from the very same group as the knights before. And if that was true, then the crimson knights had succeeded in taking Hokkyoku from him. But why did they even want the blade in the first place? There were too many questions.

"Azk and Bill have been wanting to see you." Selena said, smiling. "If you feel like having some company?" Arata returned her smile and nodded, still pondering this sudden mystery.

*****

The master sat in the center of his chamber, meditating. He could hear the gargoyle bust that guarded his room sink into the wall, an indicator that someone was on their way inside. The master concentrated, sensing the life force of that individual. "Good day, Xanhast." The master greeted in his deep, monotonous voice. He paused for a moment, concentrating this time, not on Xanhast's life force, but emotions. "You bear good news." the master said before Xanhast had the chance to speak. "How do you do that, M'lord?" Xanhast asked. The master laughed, standing up and turning to face Xanhast. The vampire always thought it was odd that his master always wore the same white robe and cowl. No one who served this man knew what he truly looked like.

"It's a secret, my friend." the master said. Xanhast wasn't sure if his master had just answered his last question, or just read his thoughts. Xanhast kneeled before his master. "M'lord Anselm, I present you with the Katana of Torrents, Hokkyoku." Xanhast extended his arms, respectfully handing the katana to his master. "You have done well, Xanhast." Anselm said, gingerly taking the katana from the vampire's outstretched hands. Anselm unsheathed the blade slightly, marvelling at it's craftsmanship. "It's as beautiful as it is deadly." Anselm remarked offhandedly. He ran a finger along the blade edge, feeling the sharpness of the sword. "Magnificent."

Anselm suddenly sheathed the blade and placed it respectfully on his desk. "One down, five more to go." Anselm said, sitting back in his ring of braziers. Xanhast nodded, then stood up. "Y'know they say Arcterra himself forged that weapon." Xanhast heard his master remark as he was leaving. The vampire turned around, a confused look on his face. "M'lord, I don't mean to be rude," Xanhast began. "But who is Arcterra?" Anselm chuckled. "Of course. You've never been to the frozen southlands." Anselm waved his hand at Xanhast. "Nevermind, my friend. Just thinking out loud." Xanhast bowed, then quietly slipped through the gateway.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:27 am

At last, a victory! A step closer to my goal. My general, Xanhast, has retrieved the blue-haired duelist's katana, Hokkyoku. What a fascinating blade. The sword is unnaturally cool to the touch, almost as if touching a block of ice. The blade itself appears to be made of diamond. It is as beautiful as it is deadly.

With one of the elemental keys secured, it is time to search for the other five.

News from the Yokai Isle. It would seem the Ranger has succeeded in saving the girl from a similar fate as her family. They both have strong destinies about them, but I am far more interested in the girl, the one called Nami. She has seen and felt true pain, true loss.

We are kindred spirits.

I cannot stop thinking of you, my lovely Lily. How I long to hold you in my arms just once more. How I wish to spend just a single day with you.

I HAVE STARED INTO THE ABYSS. THERE ARE WONDERS THERE.

Nami...she is passionate and full of emotion. Full of fear and anger and hatred.

Perhaps she is ready to gaze into the abyss?


-An entry from Anselm's Journal
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:27 am

Nami sat by the small stream just a mile away from her village, and stared at the koi and other fish that inhabited it. She wasn't in thought, though. She wasn't admiring the fish as she had once done. She was simply staring at the fish to prevent herself from bursting into tears. Her family was gone, stolen from her by the armored man called Kitsune. Misaki had been eviscerated. Hiro had his throat sliced open. And Akira, beautiful Akira...

Nami tried to fight back the tears that had formed in her eyes, though her efforts were futile.

Frozen Fighter sat by the small fire he had made for the two of them. The moon was high in the sky and the stars shone brightly. Frozen looked over at the girl he had saved. Her head was hung downward, her shoulders bobbed slightly with her sobs. Frozen sighed, stood up, and walked over to Nami. He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her. "Everything will be all right." he said, somewhat sheepishly. Frozen had never been too skilled in trying to comfort people. Nevertheless, Nami seemed to take comfort in that. She wiped her eyes, and stood up, a weak smile on her face. "Come sit by the fire." Frozen said. "It's much warmer than sitting by that cold stream." Nami nodded and silently walked to the small fire.

The two sat down next to the fire. For many minutes, neither spoke. "So, uh, have you lived on Yokai Island all your life?" Frozen asked, wanting to break the silence. Nami nodded, still sullen. "It's a beautiful place." Frozen remarked, looking around. "But I bet you want to see the mainland someday, huh?" Nami nodded, still silent. Frozen blew out a sigh. If she wasn't going to respond, then why bother talking to her at all? "I'm sorry." The Ranger heard her say. "I guess I'm just still stuck on my family." Frozen Fighter nodded. "That's an interesting bow you have." Nami said. "Yep. The Yumi." Frozen said, unslinging his bow and looking at it. "It belonged to my ancestor, a renowned Vampire and Werewolf slayer."

Nami forced a smile and nodded, her mind still stuck on her parents and sister. Frozen saw through her facade, however. "Well, it's getting late." Frozen said, standing up and walking over to his bedroll. "I think I'm gonna turn in." The ranger laid down on his bedroll and closed his eyes. Nami sighed. "Yeah." she muttered. "Yeah, I think I'm gonna do the same." Nami laid down on the hard ground next to the fire until she drifted off to sleep.

*****

Nami stood in a small stone room. Arranged in a circle in the center of the room were six braziers. Each one of the six flames was a different color. There was an orange flame, a silver flame, a blue flame, a brown flame, a yellow flame, and a purple flame. "Beautiful, aren't they?" a voice behind her asked. Nami jumped and spun around, just noticing the hooded figure that was resting against the stone wall. "I've spent hours simply staring at them." Nami's face revealed her fear. "Where am I? Where's Frozen?" The hooded man laughed. He wore a brilliant white robe and hood. "Do not fear, dear Nami. My name is Anselm. I..." The man, Anselm, paused for a moment, considering his next words. "I am your unseen savior." Nami's face scrunched up in confusion. "You didn't save me. The ranger, Frozen Fighter, did."

Anselm shook his head. "Had I not shown him your face and told him to save you, you would be dead, along with the rest of your family." The mention of her family caused rage to boil within her. She drew her katana and rushed towards the hooded man. She felt her katana bite into the man's chest, and drove it further. Anselm groaned and grunted, though he did not fall back or falter in the least. Anselm reached up and grabbed the hilt of Nami's katana, and yanked the embedded blade from his chest. Strangely, the blade had no blood on it at all. Anselm dropped the blade at his feet. "I think your anger is misdirected, child." he said in a calm voice. "I did not rob you of your loved one..."

Anselm went suddenly silent. To Nami, he seemed lost in his own thoughts. "I did not rob you of your loved ones." Anselm reiterated. "We are similar, Nami. We have both experienced loss. Pain. Sorrow. I brought you here because I can feel your anger. Your hatred. And I wanted to give you the chance to unleash that fury on the man who stole your family from you." Nami looked at Anselm curiously. "Why me?" she asked, tears forming in her green eyes. "Why am I so special?" Anselm walked close to her, and placed a hand on her shoulder. Nami shuddered at the touch. His hand was unnaturally cold. "Drakath sensed your destiny, as did I." Anselm said.

"Unlike Drakath, however, I wish to use your power for the good of all. Not for chaos." Anselm paused for a moment. "Join me, Nami. We shall save the world from the chaos that plagues it!" Nami shook her head. "I-I don't know." she muttered. Anselm leaned close to her, and whispered in her ear. "Do you remember the man who killed your mother, father, and sister? I can give you the strength to fight him, to kill him. I can give you your vengeance." Nami was silent. Anselm chuckled. "Take a day and think about it." he said. "I assure you, though, you would be joining a noble cause. We will save the world."

*****

Nami's eyes shot open. She sat up, unsure if she had just been dreaming or if that had really just happened. The sun was just beginning its climb over the horizon, and Frozen was still sleeping peacefully. The hooded man's words rolled through Nami's head. She laid back in her bed, considering Anselm's offer.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:28 am

Anselm sat at his desk, Hokkyoku unsheathed. He tenderly held the blade in his hands, focusing on the blade's history. Several images flashed before Anselm's eyes. A storm was raging. Lightning rained around a temple made entirely of ice. Suddenly, a massive tidal wave. Blackness. The images immediately disappeared from Anselm's vision. He set the sword down on the table, chuckling to himself. The katana's master had been swept away by a massive storm, winding up somewhere on the continent of Lore. Anselm was shaken from his musings when he heard the sound of the gargoyle bust shifting into the wall. He sensed two life forces. One was very familiar. The other was completely unknown to him. "Good evening, Xanhast." Anselm greeted in his typical, cryptic fashion. Xanhast kneeled, motioning for the other man to do the same.

Anselm stood up and faced the two. Xanhast wore his onyx black armor. A crimson skull was emblazoned on his chest. The other man seemed very nervous. He wore a wrap that covered his nose and mouth, and loose fitting clothing. The man had several throwing knives strapped to his chest, and had two small daggers strapped to his hips. "M'lord Anselm," Xanhast began. "This is the thief you hired several weeks ago-" "Two months, to be exact." Anselm interjected, folding his arms across his chest. The thief trembled visibly. Xanhast glanced over at the cowering thief and chuckled. Xanhast gave a small nod with his head, then stood up and walked out of the room, leaving Anselm and the thief alone.

"You're late." Anselm said as soon as Xanhast had left the room. "Sir, please, try to see it from my point of view." the thief said, a pleading look in his eyes. "You said you would have the crystal in one month." Anselm growled. "You are fully one month overdue. And I am not a patient man." The thief kept his gaze low. "Where is the crystal?" Anselm asked. The thief reached into his small pack and quietly pulled out an object wrapped in thick cloth. The man reverently unwrapped the object, revealing a perfectly transparent stone. The stone appeared to be the size of an adult's fist, and had a strange light emanating from it. "Here you are, sir." the thief said. "The stone of memories."

Anselm leaned forward, examining the stone. "Why the delay?" Anselm asked the thief, though his gaze never left the stone. The thief stood up and handed the stone to the white robed figure. "It took me longer to get the stone than previously thought," the thief explained. "Because I didn't quite have the most up-to-date information on the stone. I was told that the stone was in the possession of a Sayle noblemen. I searched his entire house and found nothing. I spent the next two months following vague rumors and leads." Anselm snorted. "Who had the stone?" he asked. "An old man who lived just outside of Sayle." the thief answered. "I doubt he knew of the stone's true potential."

Anselm stared at the stone for many minutes, drawn to it. He had been searching for this stone ever since he had heard rumors of it. "I've looked for this stone for twenty years." Anselm remarked offhandedly. The thief remained silent. He didn't really care about his employer's personal feelings or reasons. All the thief desired was his pay. Anselm placed the stone on his desk and began shifting through the drawers. "Will this do as payment?" Anselm asked, holding up an amulet. The thief's eyes widened. Attached to the amulet was the largest diamond the thief had ever seen! "S-sir, are you sure...?" the thief asked, his mouth still agape. Anselm tossed the amulet to the thief as if it were a mere penny. "You may have it." Anselm said. "I have no need for such a trinket." "Hardly a trinket." the thief muttered. Nonetheless, the thief placed the amulet in his small sack, thanked his employer, then quietly left.

Anselm sat at his desk, the stone of memories in his hand. "Show me her." Anselm commanded the stone. "Show me my love." The stone glowed brightly until all of Anselm's vision was filled with pure, white light. He could feel himself travelling backwards in time, thirty-one years prior...

*****

Anselm no longer sat in his dank, cavernous chamber. Instead, he was out in Greenguard forest. The sun shone brightly, and a few light, fluffy clouds drifted lazily in the sky. Anselm stood up and looked around. "I remember this." the white robed man thought to himself. "This was the happiest day of my life." Anselm walked for several minutes, observing the native animals. Deer hopped through the brush, rabbits darted inbetween trees, birds chirped and sang sweet melodies. Anselm laughed aloud. None of the animals seemed to register his presence among them. After all, this was but a memory. Anselm walked for many minutes until he stumbled upon a small house in the forest. Anselm sighed. "Home." he said. He walked closer to the house, hearing voices from within. "You are..." a voice said, pausing. "So beautiful..." Anselm chuckled. "I remember this." the master said, stepping inside of the house.

Anselm walked through the small home, his home, looking all around him. He heard the voices more clearly now. "Not everyone would agree with you on that one." a second voice chuckled. Anselm's heart nearly stopped. It was HER voice. Lillandra's voice. It was as harmonic and angelic as Anselm remembered it. He followed the voices until he reached the bedroom. His bedroom. There were two figures lying on the bed, holding each other close and kissing. One was a man. He had an athletic build, and wore a red robe. He had bright red hair, and the oddest yellow eyes. Anselm stared at the man for a moment. He was staring at himself, thirty-one years ago!

Anselm's eyes drifted over to the other figure lying in the bed. "Lillandra." he breathed. She was incredibly beautiful. Anselm walked closer to her. "Well then, those people have not witnessed true beauty!" the past-Anselm said, chuckling. Lillandra giggled at the compliment, leaning forward and placing another kiss on her lover. Anselm stared at her. She was slender and shapely. She had long, silvery hair, though not from age. Her skin was a light shade of ebony. And her eyes...Anselm stared into her eyes. They were a magnificent shade of purple. "You know what I mean." Lillandra whispered. "They wouldn't agree with you...because I'm Drow." Anselm felt hot anger flow through him as he recalled what they had done to his love. "I don't care what others think." the past-Anselm whispered back. "I love you, with my heart and soul."

Lillandra smiled and placed another kiss on the past-Anselm's lips. "I have something to tell you, Anselm." she said, her smile beaming. The past-Anselm smiled back. "What?" he asked. Lillandra leaned forward and whispered into her lover's ear. "I'm pregnant."


*****

There was a sudden flash of light, and Anselm was sitting back in his dank chamber. He set the stone down on the desk, his emotions a whirlwind. Lillandra's words echoed in Anselm's mind: "I'm Pregnant".That had been the happiest moment in Anselm's life, learning that he was going to be a father. "Soon, my love." Anselm whispered to the empty air. "Soon, I shall make you so proud."
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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:31 am

Azk walked through Swordhaven's main plaza. He took note of a beautiful three-tier fountain placed in the center of the city. He also took note that, should the need arise, he could use that fountain to jump onto some low rooftops to escape from pursuers. He unconsciously checked the weapons on him. His daggers were sheathed safely in his boots. His swords were strapped to his hips. His handheld crossbow was attached to his belt. His assassination blades were hidden in his gauntlets, unbeknownst to the public. Azk glanced to his sides, watching the people walk by.

The assassin felt at home in the city, in his element. He was out in the open, but could disappear in a flash if he needed to. Azk chuckled to himself. Walking through Swordhaven's streets reminded him of his time in the Night Angels, an assassination group comprised of five of Lore's deadliest killers. "The rooftops are my pathways, and the people are my shadow." Azk mumbled to himself, grinning. He reluctantly shook away the memories, forcing himself to remember why he was here. He had come in search of information, and there was no greater source of information than Swordhaven's pubs and taverns.

After Arata told Bill and Azk that his beloved sword, Hokkyoku, was stolen by the red armored knights, the assassin had decided to investigate the matter further. "Something isn't right," Azk had told Selena and Bill. "Arata is the only one who can use Hokkyoku's full potential, so the knights didn't steal it to use as a weapon." "What about money?" Selena had asked. "Couldn't they have stolen the weapon to sell it?" Azk had shaken his head at that. "That seems illogical." Azk explained to her. "Those knights appeared to be well-equipped to fight us, with top-notch armor and weapons. They're obviously a well-funded group." The three Twilight Knights had gone through several scenarios, each one seeming, as Azk often put it, "illogical".

One rule that Azk had learned as an assassin, though, was that taverns often yielded some of the best information. He was about to set off for Swordhaven when Selena and Bill intercepted him, asking him if they could come along. He would have said no, had Selena not given him such useful new toys to play with. Azk grabbed one of the small, black orbs that were in a pouch attached to his belt. Selena had called these things shadowbombs. They functioned almost exactly like a smokebomb, but instead of smoke being released, pure darkness would be unleashed. Not even the strongest light spell could penetrate the darkness within those orbs (Selena had tested the bombs on Xavier, just to make sure. Xavier hadn't been amused).

After they had reached the city, the group had decided to split up. Bill would take the west side, Selena would take the port, and Azk would take the northern districts. "And so, here I am." Azk said, putting the shadowbomb back in its pouch. He continued walking until he finally reached his destination. Azk looked up. The sign above the tavern read: The Foaming Mug. "Heh. Creative name." Azk chuckled. He pushed the door open and strode inside. As soon as the assassin had taken a step in the tavern, he could feel all the taverngoers eyes fall upon him. Azk looked back at them. It appeared most of the men were sizing him up, though there were a few who were still casually drinking their beers. Most of the women in the tavern were staring at Azk as well, although Azk took note that most of those women appeared to be prostitutes.

Azk walked through the tavern, ignoring the advances of the women and the murmurings of the men. He took a seat at the bar and ordered some Firewine from the bartender. "Well, hellooo, handsome." a woman giggled as she walked up to Azk. The assassin glanced at her. She didn't appear to be a prostitute. She just appeared to be very drunk. "I...I jus..just...um..." The woman slurred, trying to formulate a sentence. Azk held back from laughing. "I think maybe you've had too much to drink." Azk said to her. The woman laughed. "No! No, I only had...like...a couple drinks!" Azk glanced around. This woman was drawing unwanted attention. Azk reached into the folds of his cloak and produced several gold coins. "Here," Azk said. "Buy yourself and your friends a few rounds on me."

"Aha, a gentleman!" she slurred, taking the coins. "Thank you v'ry much, sir." The woman stumbled off to the table she had been sitting at. Azk glanced at the crowd. No one appeared to take any notice of him anymore. The assassin looked around the bar. Some men were telling tales of past glories, others were offering money to the "less savory" women in exchange for a good time. Nothing really seemed to catch the assassin's attention...until he noticed one particular table. Two men were huddled close together, talking in low tones. One man appeared to have a scar over his right eye. The other appeared normal enough. Azk furrowed his brow. What were these men whispering about?

Azk casually moved closer to the table, sitting at an empty table just across from the two men. The assassin strained his ears, trying to listen to the hushed conversation. "...the elemen...eys. It's lo...ted in the Va...ir." the man with the scar said. Azk strained his ears even more, only catching bits of what the man was saying. "The Vasalkar's lair?" the other man asked. The man with the scar put his finger to his lips. "Shhh! Keep it down, will you?" the scarred man asked sharply. "Anselm will have our heads on a silver platter if someone gets to the treasure before us!" Azk leaned toward the two men, intrigued. The Vasalkar's lair was the lair of a mighty red dragon. It was no secret that dragons loved gold and jewels more than anything in the world. So why were these two whispering about it?

"Why are we whispering, Aranath?" the regular man asked. "We're surrounded by drunks, who won't have a clue what happened this morning!" The scarred man, Aranath, growled in frustration. "Blending in with these drunks is the perfect way to eavesdrop on us, you twit! Have you not heard of the Night Angels? They often used such tactics to locate their targets!" Azk chuckled. It was true, after all. The two men leaned closer and began their conversation anew in hushed tones once more. Azk stood up and walked over to the table and sat down. The two men eyed Azk dangerously. "We're having a private conversation here." Aranath said. "Leave, before I force you to leave." Azk chuckled. "Relax, my friends." he said, appearing very casual. "I couldn't help but overhear that you were searching for treasure." Aranath reached for the dagger that was sheathed on his belt. He stopped as soon as he felt something poking him in the stomach.

"Stop right there." Azk said, pressing his dagger against Aranath's stomach. The other man reached for a weapon of some sort, but stopped as soon as he heard a CLICK! from underneath the table. The man glanced down, and saw that this newcomer had a handheld crossbow aimed his way. "Now that I have your attention," Azk continued. "I want to make you an offer." Aranath balked at the idea. "An offer?" he asked, confusion written on his face. "Yes, that's right. An offer." Azk said with a smile. "You see, I am an adventurer by trade, and a damn good thief. From what I overheared, you two are planning to steal from the Vasalkar dragon?" the assassin asked. The two men looked at each other. "See what I told you?" Aranath gloated to his partner. Aranath turned back towards Azk. "You heard correct." the man snorted. "But what's it to you, anyway?" Azk chuckled. He was playing his role to perfection.

"Everyone knows dragons love gold. And the Vasalkar dragon has one of the largest treasure hoards in all of Lore." Azk explained. "I've always wanted to steal from the Vasalkar hoard, but I've never had the resources to do it." The two men looked at each other again. Aranath nodded. "I s'pose having a thief along with couldn't hurt." Aranath said, more to himself than to Azk. Azk grinned. He was in! "How are we splitting the treasure?" Azk asked. Aranath paused for a moment. "We're...not really going after the treasure pile." he explained. "We're actually only after one artifact: The Magnama Axe." Azk's eyes widened in surprise. He was thankful he was wearing his cowl. "That's a very powerful artifact." Azk remarked. "Don't get any ideas, thief." Aranath warned. "Our master desires the artifact, and there will be hell to pay if he does not get it. You may feel free to take any other treasure, though."

Azk was silent, digesting all that he had heard. "Say, could you get us a couple of drinks?" Aranath asked suddenly. Azk grinned. "Sure." The assassin stood up and walked over to the bar. Aranath reached into his pack and pulled out a small crystal ball. The other man's eyes widened. "What are you-" "Silence." Aranath commanded. The crystal ball glowed softly...

*****

Anselm sat at his desk, busily scribbling into his journal. The crystal ball that sat on his desk suddenly flared to life. "My lord Anselm,"a voice echoed from the object. "It is Aranath."Anselm chuckled. "Aranath..." Anselm said. "Why are you contacting me?" "We've been located by the assassin, Azkikr. Before you ask, I recognize him from the ambush. When we stole the katana from that kid."Anselm growled. "There's always something." he muttered. "What did he want?" "He said he wanted to help with our plot to steal the Magnama Axe from the Vasalkar lair." Aranath said. "You told him about the Magnama Axe?!" Anselm roared. "Incompetent fool!" The crystal ball went silent for a moment. "Leave where you are. NOW." Anselm commanded.

"But sir, what about the assassin?"Aranath asked. Anselm chuckled. "Don't worry. I'll be sending someone to deal with him. As for you, Aranath...we'll discuss your idiocy later." The crystal ball went silent. Anselm could hear the gargoyle bust shift into the wall. "M'lord, you wanted to see me?" Xanhast asked. Anselm chuckled. "Yes. You see, I had a feeling Aranath would fail me in some way. Now we must clean up his mess." Xanhast nodded. "I'll leave right aw-" "No." Anselm said, cutting off his general. "Not you, Xanhast." Xanhast seemed confused. "Then who, m'lord?" Anselm chuckled. "Where are Fyra and Cyra right now?" he asked.

*****

Azk approached the bar. He couldn't believe that that man, Aranath had opened up to him so easily! "Three beers, please." Azk said to the bartender. The bartender filled up the glasses, then grinned at Azk. "So, you like to have more than one at a time?" the bartender asked slyly. Azk seemed confused. The bartender pointed to the table Azk had been sitting at. Aranath and the other man were gone. Instead, two women sat in their places. The women were identical in almost every aspect. They were both slender and shapely. They both had long blonde hair and fair skin. The difference between the two, however, was that one woman wore a crimson dress and had blazing red irises, while the other wore an aquamarine dress and had icy blue irises.

The assassin walked back to the table and sat down. "So were you two women the whole time," Azk asked. "Or did you just kill the guys that were sitting here?" The two laughed in perfect sync with one another. "Don't worry..." the red-eyed woman said. "Aranath will be dealt with soon enough." the blue-eyed woman finished. "Ah." Azk said, setting the beers on the table. "You're with those knights." The two laughed again. To Azk, not only were their laughs perfectly in sync with one another, but their voices were identical as well! "Where are our manners, sister?" the red-eyed woman asked. "My name is Fyra." The red-eyed woman said. "My name is Cyra." The blue-eyed woman said. Azk laughed. "Twins? Even better."

"I think you know why we're here." Fyra said to the assassin. "I don't." Azk said, silently checking his weapons. "Are we gonna rent a room?" Fyra and Cyra shared a look of disgust, catching what the assassin was implying. "Don't make us gag, worm." Cyra said. "We're here to kill you." Azk brought his hands up and flicked his wrists, causing his hidden blades to extend. Fyra and Cyra chuckled. They raised their hands and revealed their weapons. Fyra's hand magically caught fire, while Cyra's hand magically froze over. "A pyromancer and a cryomancer, huh?" Azk asked, not quite feeling so cocky anymore. The sisters grinned at the assassin. Cyra placed her hand on the table, causing it to freeze over.

Realizing that fighting in here would be incredibly dangerous to the patrons, Azk decided that this seemed like a good time to leave. The assassin kicked hard, causing his chair to skid backward until it fell over. The lithe assassin shifted his momentum into a backward roll, coming back up on his feet. Fyra and Cyra stood up, eyeing their newest target. Flames licked Fyra's hands and arms, while an icy mist began falling from Cyra's. The patrons screamed at the sight of the sorceresses and rushed for the exit. Azk grinned. "Time to blend with my shadow." he said to himself as he melded with the crowd. "Where is he?" Fyra yelled. Cyra scanned the fleeing mass of people until she saw a black figure sweep out the exit. "There!" the cryomancer cried.

Azk rushed out into the open, knowing that the sisters likely weren't far behind. He ran to the fountain and jumped up each tier. When he reached the top, he leapt atop a small building and continued running. Azk took a quick look behind him. Fyra and Cyra were already right behind him! "You've got to be joking." Azk mumbled to himself. Suddenly, the assassin smiled. Now seemed like a good time to use his newest toy. He reached into the pouch on his belt and produced a small, black orb. Azk whipped around and threw the orb at his pursuers. "Heads up!" He called out. The shadowbomb landed at the sister's feet, exploding and releasing an inpenetrable cloud of darkness. Azk hopped down the side of the rooftop and dove into a nearby allyway. He removed his weapons, cloak and armor, then waited.

By the time the darkness had faded away, the assassin had disappeared. "Damn!" the sisters cursed in unison. They hopped down the side of the building and walked into a small allyway. In the allyway, was a homeless man with long, shaggy hair and a large scar across his face. The man looked at the sisters with a glimmer of hope. "Spare some coin for an old war veteran?" he asked. The sisters growled at the man, then left, looking for the assassin. As soon as they had left, Azk laughed at his ploy. He put his armor, cloak, and weapons back on, then silently slipped into a nearby crowd, invisible once more.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:31 am

The six elemental keys. The keys to my salvation. The keys to her salvation. The keys to their salvation. But can they see that? No. No, instead, they call me insane. I'm not insane. Quite the opposite in fact. Quite the opposite indeed.

The six keys to our salvation...one weapon for one element. There is Hokkyoku, the elemental key of water. Magnama, the elemental key of fire. Tectonic, the elemental key of earth. Aero, the elemental key of air. Yumi, the elemental key of light. And finally...the elemental key of darkness, Nebulous.

Hokkyoku rests in my hands. Magnama sleeps with the dragon. Yumi travels with the hunter. The rest are beyond my vision.

Are they right, I wonder? Am I insane? Have I lost my mind? There are moments when I ponder this, truly questioning my motives and my sanity...

But then, I remember. I remember my beloved. I remember my child. And when I remember that, I realize that I am quite sane. More sane than I have ever been.

For thirty years and thirty more,
I'll walk the lands that are scarred by war.
They think my heart is black as coal,
But I have no heart, and have no soul.


--An entry from Anselm's Journal
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:32 am

Xanhast walked through the castle halls, admiring the remains of the paintings that had once, no-doubt, adorned the walls proudly. The Knights of the Onyx Skull were based in the remains of a once-grand castle that had been abandoned due to some calamity. Xanhast chuckled. It was the perfect disguise, after all. Rumor said the castle was haunted, that malicious entities stalked the hallways of the forsaken keep. It was all nonsense, of course, but no one was foolish enough to venture close enough to try and plunder the castle's treasure. Those who were foolish enough were quickly disposed of. Xanhast grinned. The deaths of several adventurers only heightened the people's fear of the demons that prowled the forgotten castle.

Several knights walked by Xanhast on their way to the destroyed courtyard. They were talking about how they would change the face of the world under their master's leadership. Xanhast eyed them with a mixture of curiousity and contempt. "Is that what he tells them?" Xanhast asked. "That they are going to change the world?" A soft tickickickick could be heard from the sheath strapped on Xanhast's belt. "He feeds them lies and they simply swallow them whole." the irritated vampire continued. Again, Xanhast's blade began to tick. Tickickick. Xanhast eyed his sword, smiling. "Rebel?" he asked the blade. "No, Manananggal. Now is not the time to rebel. Soon, though. Soon, we'll give these knights a real purpose in this world. We won't waste our time hunting for useless treasures."

Suddenly, Xanhast felt a tug at his will. Xanhast chuckled. "Come, Manananggal." he said, walking down the hallway. "Our 'master' is calling us." Xanhast walked to one of the castle's numerous storage closets. He closed the door behind him and shifted several crates and barrels around until he could see a trapdoor. The trapdoor lead to the caverns underneath the castle. Xanhast opened the door and quietly slipped into the dark caves.

*****

Anselm sat at his desk, Hokkyoku unsheathed once more. The white robed man gingerly picked up the blade, concentrating on the weapon's history. A series of images and sounds assaulted Anselm, though he didn't appeared bothered at the least. He saw the temple of ice. The giant tidal wave. The blackness of the southern ocean. For several moments, all Anselm could see was blackness. Obviously, it had taken some time for the katana's master to reach Lore. Suddenly, the darkness gave way to a sunny beach. He could see the katana's master being carried off, the katana as well. Suddenly, the images jumped forward. Now, Anselm saw the inside of a small house. He could see the Katana's master, sitting on a bed, drenched in water. There were others as well. There was an old man and a young girl. The girl had dark brown hair that was tied into a ponytail, and possessed shining emerald eyes. She couldn't have been much older than the blue-haired duelist.

Anselm froze the image, staring at the old man and the young woman. If Anselm had lips, he would have grinned. "Cor." he muttered to himself. "It's been thirty years. How odd that fate has brought us together once more." Anselm's eyes shifted over to the girl. "And who are you?" Anselm asked himself. "It's strange..." he whispered. "You almost look like-" "M'lord?" a voice from behind suddenly asked. Anselm jumped and dropped the katana back on the desk. The image immediately fled his vision. "Anselm spun around in his seat, glaring at Xanhast. Xanhast chuckled to himself.

"Did I surprise you, master Anselm?" the vampire asked, amused. Anselm, however, was not. "Wipe that grin from your face, vampire." Anselm spat. "There's work to be done." Xanhast's grin remained. "Indeed." the vampire agreed, still smiling. "How may I serve you, my master?" Anselm stood up. "We must launch an assault on the Vasalkar's lair immediately." Xanhast seemed slightly taken aback by this. "M'lord, the men are not prepared to handle the dangers of the dragon's lair!" Xanhast argued. "It'll be a bloodbath!" Anselm did not seemed concerned. In fact, he laughed at the prospect. "All for a good cause." Anselm replied. Xanhast trembled with anger and shock.

"You can't be serious!" Xanhast snarled. Anselm glared at his general. "Watch your tone, vampire." he said threateningly. "No!" Xanhast roared. "Not any longer! You are not fit to lead the Knights of the Onyx Skull any longer!" Anselm laughed at his enraged general. "I'm not fit to command my own group? Very well, Xanhast, who would you suggest?" "Enough of your games, Anselm!" Xanhast snarled, drawing Manananggal. "Today, the Knights of the Onyx Skull will have a new, stronger leader! We will continue our march to global domination unhindered!" Anselm didn't seemed concerned. In fact, he was laughing wildly. "You think I started this group to try and conquer the world?" Anselm asked incredulously. "I started this group to CHANGE the world!"

"Enough!" Xanhast roared. "I was once Safiria's greatest general. I am a royal vampire! I am well over two-hundred years old, while you are a mere sixty! And I will not be a lowly lacky any longer!" Xanhast readied his blade. "Prepare to die, my 'master'!" Anselm cackled wildly. "I do not fear death." he said. Xanhast rushed forward, thrusting Manananggal towards Anselm's hooded face. Manananggal drove through Anselm's face, embedding itself deep in Anselm's skull. Anselm staggered backward, twitching and convulsing, his hands moving wildly. Xanhast smirked at his handiwork. "And so, the Knights of the Onyx Skull will enter a new era!" Xanhast laughed. "An era run by my strong, capable hands!"

Xanhast stopped laughing as he noticed that Anselm had not fallen over yet. He was standing upright, looking in the vampire's direction. Xanhast's confusion turned to horror as Anselm reached up and grabbed Manananggal's hilt. The white robed man gave the sword a hard tug, pulling it free. "I'm disappointed in you, Xanhast." Anselm said, his tone sending chills through Xanhast's body. Anselm dropped the blade at his feet and slowly began stalking towards his general. "Very, very disappointed." Xanhast's face revealed his horror and confusion clearly. "It's-it's not possible..." Xanhast whispered. "Did you really think I could be killed so easily?!" Anselm snarled. Xanhast backed up against the stone wall, frightened by the thing before him.

Anselm rushed forward, grabbing the vampire's throat and almost crushing his windpipe. "I am matter and anti-matter." Anselm whispered to his suffocating general. "I can see your past and I can see your future. I have walked through a fire and come out on the other side unscathed. I have stood at the bottom of a lake and witnessed the terrible creatures that live there. I do not need food or drink. I do not require breath or sleep. No mortal or immortal weapon can possibly hope to harm me! I consume time itself! I am a god among mortals, filthy vampire!" Anselm accentuated his point by squeezing Xanhast's neck even tighter. "And it's time you learn that lesson!"

Anselm let go of Xanhast's neck, brought back his right fist and punched the vampire in the stomach. Xanhast doubled over in pain, for Anselm's single punch had torn a hole in his fine onyx armor. Xanhast fell to the floor, groaning. "Understand?" Anselm asked. Xanhast looked at his master with pleading eyes. "What are you?" the vampire asked, terrified. Anselm cackled and grabbed his hood, thowing it behind his head. Xanhast gasped as he beheld the true face of his master. Or lack of one. Anselm's head was nothing more than a skull! The skeleton's eyes burned with a yellow glow. "A lich..." Xanhast whispered. "You're a lich." "No ordinary lich, my worthless general." Anselm spat. Xanhast seemed confused. "W-what do you mean?" the vampire asked. Anselm snorted. "Ready the men for the Vasalkar invasion. You will be heading this operation." Xanhast nodded, then stood up. "Xanhast..." Anselm called as the vampire was leaving. "Don't question my authority again. Because next time I won't be so merciful."

Xanhast took the threat for what it was and staggered out of his master's chambers. Anselm replaced his hood back over his face and sat back down at his desk. He picked up Hokkyoku and began reading the weapon's history once more. He found the image of the girl with emerald eyes and froze it. Anselm stared at the image for what seemed like hours. "You...I can sense your history." he mumbled. "You...are very pure. More pure than anyone I have ever met, other than my beloved." Suddenly, Anselm's eyes lit up. He set Hokkyoku on the desk and chuckled to himself. "Perhaps it is time I pay my old friend Cor a visit?" Anselm chuckled.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:32 am

Nami leaned out of the porthole and vomited into the sea. After she and Frozen Fighter had escaped the remains of her village, Frozen Fighter had been able to arrange passage to the mainland by boat. Although Nami was still stricken with grief, she had still felt a small amount of excitement at the thought of finally going to the mainland known as Lore. However, it wasn't until after she boarded the ship that she learned she got seasick quite easily. Frozen looked at his newest companion. "It's all right," he said to her. "Everyone gets a little sick their first time on a boat." Nami leaned back inside the boat, clutching her stomach with one hand. "Do you feel a little better now?" the ranger asked. Nami nodded slightly. Frozen continued to scan her. "Are you sure?" he asked. Nami nodded again, this time more forcefully. "Yeah." she replied. "Yeah, I'm fine."

The two sat in silence for many minutes, neither one quite sure what to say to the other. "So..." Nami began. "You're a ranger." Frozen smiled. He was glad that Nami was actually making an effort to get to know him a little better. "The best ranger in Lore, in my opinion of course." Frozen said with a grin. Nami gave a weak smile. "What made you want to be a ranger?" she asked. Frozen leaned back against the wall of their cabin and thought for a few seconds. "I guess it was my father." he said. "I hardly remember him. But I do remember going hunting with him. It's pretty much the only real memory I have of him." Nami blinked in surprise. "You...don't know who your family is?" she asked. Frozen shook his head. "Nah." he replied. "My mother died before I could remember her, and my father passed away from illness when I was just a child. As far as I know, I don't have any siblings."

Nami scooted closer to the ranger, intrigued now. "But...but if you didn't have a family," she began. "Who raised you?" Frozen grinned at the girl. He was glad she was finally becoming more talkative. "I raised myself." the ranger replied. "Alone?" Nami balked. Frozen nodded. "Yup." "In the woods?" "Uh-huh." Nami's face revealed her amazement. "How?" she asked. "Aren't there beasts and monsters and who knows what else living in Lore's forests?" Frozen looked at Nami. Her eyes seemed to sparkle, revealing her excitement. "Yep." Frozen replied, grinning. "Living in the forest isn't quite as easy at it may sound. One rule that I learned as a kid was that the world was tough. You just had to be tougher." Frozen pulled back his hood, revealing his face. He was fairly handsome, with short brown hair and brown eyes, although many scars adorned his face as well.

The ranger pointed to a scar above his left eye. "See this?" he asked Nami. "I was travelling through the forest at night when I was fourteen. Wolf jumped out of nowhere and pinned me to the ground." Frozen chuckled. "Nearly tore my head open." Nami's eyes widened in shock and intrigue. "Yeah, he almost got me," the ranger continued. "But I was lucky I had my dagger on me. When the wolf clamped it's jaws on my head, I pulled my blade out and drove it through the beast's skull." Nami's jaw dropped. "It grabbed your head?!" she asked. Frozen smiled at her. His stories were taking her mind off of her recent loss. "Oh yes." Frozen replied. "Wolves are dangerous, especially at night when you can't see them, but they can see you."

They talked for hours, Frozen telling tales of his past and Nami listening intently or sometimes interjecting with questions or commentary. Frozen Fighter had traveled all over the world. He had seen creatures that others had only heard of in stories. "A gorgon?" Nami asked in surprise. "Like...a real gorgon? Those things that can turn you to stone if you look directly in their eyes? THAT gorgon?" Frozen laughed. "Yeah. Something was sneaking into a small farming community and killing livestock. When I discovered that a gorgon was behind the killings, I spent the next few days learning the layout of the village." Nami seemed confused. "Why?" she asked. Frozen grinned. "So that I could fight the gorgon without having to rely on my eyes."

Nami sat back, her amazement obvious. "Wow..." she said. "So, what about you?" Frozen asked. "Any adventures or tales of note?" he asked, grinning. Nami laughed. "No." she said. "I lived my entire life on the outskirts of Akiba. My family lived..." Nami's sentence trailed off as she envisioned her family. Dead. They were all dead. Nami could feel moisture beginning to rim her eyes. She shook away the painful memories and forced herself to continue. "My family lived as farmers their entire life...well, all except for my father. He only became a farmer after he was partially blinded protecting the emperor from a would-be assassin." Frozen studied Nami for a few moments. "If this is bothering you, we can talk about something else." he said. Nami gave a small smile. "I appreciate your concern," she said. "But I'll be fine."

After Nami's father retired from the Akiba Royal Guard, she explained, he had decided to farm. Nami was fourteen when Hiro had quit active duty. Still, Hiro never forgot what he had learned, and he spent six years teaching Nami all that he knew (even though Nami's mother, Misaki, disapproved). "These belonged to my father." She said, unstrapping her katana and dagger. "May I see them?" Frozen asked. Nami nodded, her mind slipping back to her family once more. Frozen gently picked up the katana and unsheathed it, and began running a finger along the blade. "What does this mean?" he asked, pointing to a symbol on the sword's hilt. Nami smiled. "It means 'Angel'. It's the name of the sword." Thr ranger sheathed the katana and picked up the dagger. The dagger's blade appeared to be made out of onyx. "And this?" Frozen asked, pointing to the symbol on the dagger's hilt. Nami laughed. "It means 'Demon'." she explained, still chuckling. "My father called it Demon because he cut himself several times while trying to wield it."

Frozen chuckled and handed Nami's gear back to her. The two sat in silence, though this time, it was not awkward or unwelcome. Frozen and Nami had learned quite a bit about each other. "Well," Frozen began, yawning. "We'll be in Swordhaven by tomorrow. We should get some sleep." Nami nodded her agreement, walking over to the bed. She looked over at the ranger and giggled. He had fallen asleep in his seat! Nami laid back in her bed and closed her eyes, slowly drifting off into the world of dreams.

*****

As soon as Nami's eyes opened, she recognized where she was. It was the room where she had met the white robed man, Anselm. "Have you considered my offer since we last met?" Anselm asked. Nami turned around. Anselm was sitting in the center of the room, in a state of meditation. "I...haven't really thought about it, no." Nami admitted. Anselm chuckled. "Perfectly understandable." Anselm said, more to himself than Nami. "You've had a lot on your mind, no doubt." Nami walked closer to the seated figure. "Please, sit down with me, girl." Anselm said, motioning to Nami to sit. "It's been far too long since I've had a normal conversation with someone." Nami rested on her knees, though she shifted slightly as soon as she touched the cold, stone floor.

Anselm studied Nami for several moments. Nami shifted uncomfortably under Anselm's scrutiny. "You have an air of destiny about you, girl." Anselm remarked. "It surrounds you like a shroud. It's no doubt that Drakath saw your potential and desired it for his own." Nami cocked her eyebrow at the man. "Destiny." she echoed. Anselm nodded. "I've seen you, girl. I've seen what you will become. Truly, it is awe-inspiring." Nami furrowed her brow. "What I will become?" she repeated. "How can you possibly know that?" Anselm chuckled. "I know many things that mere men cannot even begin to fathom." Nami stared at the enigmatic man. "What will I become?" she asked. Anselm reached out and touched Nami's hand. He sat in silence for several moments. "You...will become a powerful warrior." he said. "Your friends will love and care for you, and your enemies will hate and fear you." Nami chuckled. Somehow this all seemed just a little too cliche.

"You don't believe me." Anselm stated more than asked. "Look," Nami said. "I'd like to help you. I want to save the world from chaos! I want to protect people! I want...I want-" "Your vengeance." Anselm completed, chuckling. "What's stopping you?" Nami glanced around her. "How do I know this isn't all just a dream?" she asked. Anselm laughed. "First things first: Are you accepting my offer?" he asked. Nami nodded. "Yes." she said. "Do you wish to save the world from the scourge that is Drakath?" Anselm continued. "Of course!" Nami exclaimed. "Finally...do you want to kill the man who robbed you of your family?" Nami sat in thought for a few moments. "I want his head on a platter." she said, though she seemed surprised by the anger in her voice. Anselm laughed. "Good." he said. "Open your eyes and wake up now."


*****

Nami's eyes shot open. Immediately, she knew something was wrong. She could not feel the rythmic rocking of the ship or the smell of salty sea air. She glanced around and gasped. She was in the room from her dreams. "Welcome home, Nami." Anselm said, sitting in the center of the room. "Welcome home."
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:33 am

Nami kept glancing around, not quite believing what had just happened to her. "Relax, girl." Anselm said, walking over to the shocked warrior. He placed a cold hand on her shoulder. "The shock is momentary." Nami looked up to the robed figure, his features hidden behind his cowl. "What happened to Frozen?" Nami asked. Anselm chuckled. "Your concern for the ranger is..." he paused for a moment, tapping a finger on his chin. "'Heart-warming'...but unnecessary. Frozen Fighter is perfectly unharmed. In fact, he is still sound asleep on the ship you were on." Nami looked toward the floor. "So...this is all for real, huh?" she asked. Anselm nodded. "Don't worry, my girl. You will help save the world." Nami nodded, then stood up. She looked around, suddenly becoming confused. "Um, sir? There is no door." Anselm laughed. "See that gargoyle bust on the wall?" he asked, pointing to the far wall. "Speak the word Lillandra, and the door will become apparant." Nami nodded and was about to walk through the gate, when she stopped and turned towards her new 'master'.

"Sir..." Nami began. "What exactly do you want me to do now?" "Learn about your new home." Anselm replied. "Inform the soldiers that you are their new general." Nami seemed surprised. "New...general?" she echoed. Anselm nodded. "What about you?" she asked. Anselm chuckled. "I have to meet with someone very important. I won't be long." Nami nodded, accepting the story. As soon as she left, Anselm focused on where he wanted to go, and with a POP!, he was gone.

*****

"Are you sure you don't want to join me, Leyla?" Cor asked, throwing on his travelling cloak. "As old as I am, I could use all the help I could get." Leyla laughed. "Grandpa, you're not THAT old. And besides, you're just running to Sayle to get some fresh fruit." Cor grinned at his granddaughter. "Kids these days, afraid of a little manual labor." Cor teased. "Why, when I was your age-" "Good-BYE, grandpa." Leyla cut in, rolling her emerald eyes. Cor laughed and stepped out the door. "I won't be long." he called, shutting the door behind him. Leyla chuckled, turning around and walking over to a small plant sitting in the windowsill. The plant was withered and dried out. Leyla sighed and reached out, touching the plant gingerly. As soon as her hand made contact with the dead plant, the plant twitched and stood upright, turning green and blooming immediately. Leyla smiled at the revived flower, then sat down at the small table and sighed.

She had just sat down when she heard a knock from the door. "Of course." Leyla said to herself, smiling. She stood up and walked over to the door and pulled it open. Standing on the other side of the door was a man...at least, Leyla believed it was a man. He was dressed in fine white robes, and his face was hidden by his cowl. "Good evening, miss." the man said in a deep, monotonous voice. "My name is Anselm. I'm looking for a man named Cor and I was told that he lived somewhere around here." Leyla studied the man, Anselm, intently. There was something amiss about him, but she couldn't place it. "Cor is my grandfather." Leyla said, still eyeing Anselm curiously. "He actually just left to go to Sayle. If you're quick enough, I'm certain you could catch him." Anselm chuckled. "Actually, do you mind if I wait here for him?" Anselm asked. Leyla shrugged. "I guess there's no harm in that." she said, opening the door a little wider.

Anselm gave a slight bow and stepped inside, eyeing the house. "So, Cor lives here now." Anselm remarked. Leyla shut the door and turned towards her new guest. "He's lived here for years." Leyla said, pulling out a seat for herself and for Anselm at the table. "Please, take a seat, get comfortable." Anselm chuckled to himself. "Thank you." he said, his voice making Leyla shudder slightly. "How kind of you." Leyla walked over to her own seat and sat down. "So..." Leyla began. "How do you know my grandfather?" Anselm stared at the young girl for a few moments before answering her question. "I knew him when he was captain of Swordhaven's guard, thirty years ago." he replied. Leyla seemed surprised. "He was captain of the guard?" Leyla asked. "What? He never told you?" Anselm asked. Leyla shook his head. "No." Anselm leaned back in his chair. "Odd...Cor usually wasn't one to keep secrets, although I suppose everyone's entitled to them."

The two sat in silence for a few moments. "Forgive me," Anselm said suddenly. "But I don't believe I caught your name." Leyla smiled. "Oh, it's Leyla." "Leyla..." Anselm repeated. "What a beautiful name for a beautiful girl." Leyla blushed at the compliment. "Oh, I'm sorry." Leyla said suddenly. "Are you hungry at all? I could make you something real quick." Anselm laughed. "No, I'm fine." he said. Leyla nodded and repositioned herself in her seat. "Indulge an old man," Anselm said. "Tell me about yourself." Leyla brushed a strand of hair out of her face and blew out a sigh. "Oh, well-" "Better yet: Let me read your fortune. I'm quite good at it." Anselm interjected, extending his hand towards the girl. Leyla smiled at the hooded man, then placed her hand in Anselm's.

As soon as her hand connected with his, a series of images flashed before Anselm's vision. "You went on the adventure of a lifetime, an adventure filled with excitement and loss..." Anselm stated. Another series of images. "Ah..." Anselm chuckled. "You found love..." Leyla blinked in surprise and flushed with embarassment. More images. "Someone died...a boy, though not the one you fell in love with..." Leyla's shock was evident. "How are you doing that?" she asked. Anselm could barely hear her, so focused on her history he was. "The boy confessed his feelings for you, not in words, but in simple actions." The white robed man continued. "He loved you deeply, but to protect you..." Anselm paused, seeing the many images in his vision. "...he told you to leave." Leyla pulled her hand away, moisture rimming in her eyes.

"How do you know all that?" she asked. "I simply relayed what I saw." Anselm replied. Leyla continued to scrutinize the man. She knew that he was not a simple old man. This man, Anselm, had some measure of power. Before Leyla could say anything else, the door swung open, revealing Cor holding a basket of what appeared to be fruit. "Leyla! You'll never guess what I found at the marketplace! I..." his sentence trailed off as he just noticed the white robed man sitting at his table. "Grandpa, this is Anselm." Leyla said. "He says you guys are old friends." Cor dropped the basket he was holding, its contents spilling across the floor. "How...how are you..." Cor sputtered. Anselm stood up. "Hello, Cor. It's been a very, very long time." Cor steeled his gaze. "Not long enough, in my book." Cor growled. Leyla looked from Cor to Anselm, not understanding what was going on.

"I've heard the rumors, Anselm." Cor spat. "Is it true what they said about you? That you're some type of zombie or monster now?" Anselm laughed, placing a hand over his heart (or where his heart should have been). "That hurt, my friend." Anselm said mockingly. Cor rushed into his room and grabbed his old sword. "Why are you here?" Cor demanded. "What do you have against me? I did nothing to you!" "WRONG!" Anselm shouted. "You know what you did to me, Cor! You know what you did to my beautiful Lillandra! And you know what you did to my newborn son!" Leyla looked to her grandpa, confusion on her face. "Grandpa, what's he talking about?" Cor motioned for Leyla to come to him. "Stick behind me, Leyla." Cor told her. "This man...he's more dangerous than he appears." Anselm extended his hand and pointed at Leyla. "Hold." he said, his words taking on the weight of a magical enchantment. Leyla immediately froze, every muscle in her body locking into place. "W-what?" Leyla asked, panic in her voice. "Come here." Anselm commanded.

Leyla felt herself turn around and walk next to Anselm, though not of her own free will. "No!" Cor shouted. "I won't let you take Leyla!" Cor rushed forward, sword drawn. He swung at Anselm, only catching empty air as the white robed man ducked below the strike. Cor brought his sword back and thrust his blade at the crouched man. Anselm was faster than Cor, though, and ended up dodging the attack with inhuman swiftness. Cor brought his sword up high, thinking to cut Anselm clean in half. Anselm again proved the quicker, catching Cor's upraised arm. Cor punched across Anselm's face with his free hand, but Anselm did not recoil or let go. He did not feel pain. "What do you want from me?!" Cor yelled. Anselm laughed and pulled back his hood, revealing his skeletal features. Cor scowled at the lich. Leyla gasped (It was all she could do).

"I want you to feel as I did, when you murdered my child." The lich spat. "If you lay a hand on Leyla I swear to the great goddess I'll-" "You'll do what?! Kill me?" Anselm cackled. "Rest easy, Cor. I don't plan on murdering your beautiful Leyla. She's too valuable." Anselm squeezed Cor's arm until he heard a sickening CRACK! Cor yelled out and fell to the ground, clutching his broken arm. "Grandpa!" Leyla cried out. She tried to move, forced all her willpower into moving her legs. But alas, she could not break Anselm's spell. The lich walked over to the petrified girl, placing a skeletal hand on her shoulder. "I have plans for this world, Cor." Anselm said. "I spare you only in honor of our past friendship. Enjoy this world while it lasts. A new, better world is just on the horizon." And with a loud POP!, Anselm and Leyla were gone. "Leyla!" Cor cried out. "Leyla!" He knew it was useless, though. Cor's beloved granddaughter was long gone.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:34 am

Arata stood near the magnificent window, admiring the twilit scenery. He was glad he could finally move without incurring too much pain. "So, you're finally up, huh?" Xavier asked. Arata turned around. Xavier was leaning on the side of the door, arms folded and face hidden by cowl. "So it would seem." Arata replied. "Why are you here?" he asked. "Well," Xavier began. "With your 'nurse' out, and with Steel, Rayzer and Slayer gone, Rayzer ordered me to watch over you." Arata looked confused. "But it would seem you're fine." Xavier continued. "Therefore, my work is done." The wiry mage was just about to walk out of the room when Arata called out "Wait a second!" Xavier looked back at the duelist. "Yes?" the mage asked. "Where have Steel, Rayzer and Slayer gone?" Arata asked.

Xavier sighed. "Sometimes I wish people would just write notes to one another." he mumbled. "They took a large battalion of soldiers and marched off to the Chiral Valley. To take back Mobius." Arata nodded. "What about Azk?" the duelist asked. Xavier blew out another sigh. "He's not back yet." Xavier curtly replied. Arata scratched his head. Not back yet? "Where'd he go?" Arata asked. "To find your sword." Xavier said. "Now if you don't mind, Arata, I'm kinda busy with a few experiments of my own." And with that, the wiry man marched out of the room. Arata walked back to his bed and sat down. Azk had left to find Hokkyoku? Then no doubt Selena had gone with him. Arata grinned as he recalled the way the assassin and the Shadowmancer had acted around each other after Selena and Bill had become Twilight Knights.

Perhaps it was because he was thinking of Selena and Azk, but Arata's mind suddenly drifted off. He hadn't been able to stop thinking about Leyla for the past few days. He could still remember her bright, emerald green eyes and how they seemed to shine whenever she smiled or laughed. He could remember her long, silky dark brown hair, how she had always tied it into a ponytail. Arata smiled, though his smile vanished as soon as he remembered the reality of his situation. Fearing that she might be killed, Arata had sent Leyla from the Twilight, telling her to return to her grandfather. He remembered how upset she had been, how angered and sad she was. Arata sighed and laid back in his bed. "Leyla..." he whispered to the empty room. "We'll meet again. Someday."

*****

Selena walked along Swordhaven's port district. The smell of the stale, salty sea was increasingly prevalent here. Still, Selena didn't mind. In fact, after spending four years in total isolation, she was ecstatic to be among people once again. Selena walked along, smiling to herself and humming. "I wonder what's got her so happy..." Selena heard a man mumble as she passed by. "I'm just happy to be among people again!" Selena shouted to the man, grinning. The man looked at the odd woman, scratched his head in confusion and walked off. Selena laughed to herself, then forced herself to remember why she was here in the first place. "Right," she whispered. "The mission." She was walking by a small allyway when suddenly a pair of hands shot out of the shadows, one hand clamping against Selena's mouth and the other grabbing Selena's stomach.

"Remain quiet and follow me." Azk whispered to the Shadowmancer. Selena breathed a sigh of relief as Azk released her. "Azk...it's just you." she said, grinning. "Shh!" Azk said, bringing a finger up to his lips. "We're being hunted." Selena cocked an eyebrow. Before she could ask, Azk pointed to two identical women who were walking down the street. "Wow..." Selena whispered. "They're almost perfectly identical." "Their names are Fyra and Cyra." Azk said. "Fyra is a pyromancer, and Cyra is a cryomancer." Selena stared at the sisters for a few seconds. "Why are they hunting us?" Selena asked. "We don't know anything..." Selena's eyes widened. She turned towards Azk, a sly smile on her face. "Or do we?" Azk chuckled. "I've learned a bit about the guys who stole Hokkyoku, yes. And those two aren't very happy about it."

"What did you-" Selena asked. "No time." Azk interrupted. "Let's find Bill and get out of here. I'll explain everything then." Selena nodded her agreement, and the two silently picked their way deeper into the allyway. "So, did my shadowbombs prove useful?" Selena asked. Azk grinned. "Actually, yes, they did." Selena smiled, happy that she could help the assassin. The two walked on for a couple more seconds before Azk stopped. "Okay..." Azk said, glancing around the allyway. "Let's head up to the roofs." Azk turned towards Selena. "You can climb the side of a building, right?" Selena blinked, looked up towards the roofs, then looked back at Azk. The assassin laughed. "All right then." he said, kneeling. "Climb on my back and hold on." Selena was about to argue when she realized that Azk wouldn't have asked her to do this if he couldn't do it.

Selena climbed on Azk's back and wrapped her arms around the assassin's neck. "Hold on." Azk whispered again. The assassin moved towards the wall and began carefully picking handholds as he climbed up the wall. The going was slow, but steady. Only a few minutes had passed before Azk and Selena reached the rooftops. Selena let go of Azk's neck and walked beside the assassin. "Let's see..." Azk said, more to himself then to Selena. "Bill is in the west district, so the quickest..." Selena didn't hear him. She was staring out into the city, mesmerized by Swordhaven's beauty. Standing on the rooftops made her feel like a bird. "Selena?" Azk asked. Selena snapped out of her stupor. "Huh?" was all she could reply. Azk grinned. "It's beautiful, isn't it? The first time is always the most breathtaking."

Selena was about to reply when Azk suddenly rushed by her and lept off the rooftop, landing on another roof several feet away. "Azk!" Selena cried out in surprise. Azk laughed. "Roof-jumping is the best part!" he called. "Jump! Don't worry, if you fall, I'll catch you!" Selena nodded, not quite believing him. Nevertheless, she backed up, steadied her breath, then sprinted as fast as she could, leaping off the roof. Selena laughed as she flew through the air. Now she really felt like a bird! Her laughter subsided when she realized that she was too short in her jump, just barely missing the edge of the roof. Suddenly, Selena felt something grasp her hand, stopping her fall. She looked up and smiled. Azk was leaning over the edge of the roof, his hand grasping hers firmly.

"I told you I'd catch you!" Azk laughed, pulling her up to the roof. The two sat for a few minutes, chuckling at the exhileration of roof-jumping. "See?" Azk said, grinning. "Isn't roof jumping the best?" Selena nodded, grinning. "Um, Azk?" "Yeah?" "I'm safely on the roof with you. You can let go of my hand now." Azk glanced down at his hand, which was still grasping Selena's. Azk quickly released her, thankful he was wearing his hood. Selena giggled and blushed a bit. "Come on," Azk said, standing up. "Let's get Bill." Selena nodded, still blushing. The two traversed the rooftops, quickly making their way towards the western district of Swordhaven.

*****

Bill wandered through the western district. The poor district. Most of the people here were homeless, sick, and dying. Bill saw a mother sitting with her two children. The mother and children were thin, bony, and gaunt. "Mom, get up!" One of the children pleaded. "Wake up, mom, wake up!" the other sobbed. At that moment, Bill understood. The mother wasn't sitting with her children. The mother was dead, and her children were simply trying to coax her 'awake'. Bill walked over to the children. The two kids jumped in surprise, not hearing Bill's approach. "Are...are you gonna help mom?" one of the kids asked. Bill gave a weak smile at the child, not quite sure how to tell them that their mother was no longer living...or was she?

Bill reached out and felt the mother's neck. At first, he felt nothing. Then..."She has a pulse." Bill breathed. "It's weak, but it's there!" Bill unsheathed Mandurugo. The weapon flared angrily, sensing what it's master was about to do. "Just do this for me, you stupid sword." Bill whispered to the blade. He placed the sword in the dying mother's hand, then poked himself with Mandurugo. The weapon glowed as it began to drink from Bill's blood, absorbing Bill's life force and transferring it to the dying mother. Bill grunted in pain. He felt weak, but forced Mandurugo to continue drinking his life force. Suddenly the mother sat upright, gasping for air. She dropped Mandurugo, breaking the connection. Bill fell over, feeling drained. He smiled as he heard the children cry out "Mom! Mom!". Bill sat up and grabbed his vampire blade.

"What happened?" Bill heard the mother ask. "That man saved you!" one of the kids exclaimed. Before the mother could ask what happened, Bill pulled out a large pouch of coins and tossed them to her. "I hope that helps." Bill said as he wandered off. He smiled as he heard the mother praise the gods. He was about to find more homeless to help when he heard a familiar voice. "We saw what you did back there. We're impressed." Bill looked up and smiled. Sitting on the roof of a small shanty was Azk and Selena. "Hey Azk. Hey Selena." Bill greeted, holding his wound. "Did you find anything about-" "No time." Selena and Azk said in unison. "We need to leave. I'll explain everything once we're out of the city." Azk said. Bill nodded, then started to make his way back to the main gate.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:35 am

Leyla sat on the side of the grand bed that was in her chamber. For some reason that she couldn't fathom, Anselm had given her the nicest room in his fortress. Leyla suspected that before the castle fell into disuse, this room used to belong to the castle's masters. Leyla sighed, stood up, and walked over to the window in her room. "My my," a voice said through the doorway. "What a beautiful specimen you are." Leyla jumped and spun around. Standing in the doorway was a man with gleaming red eyes and onyx armor. One side of his face was horribly scarred. Leyla thought she could hear a soft ticking sound, though she ignored it. "Tell me, girl," the man continued. "What's your name?" Leyla steeled her gaze and remained silent. The only act of defiance she could do. The man laughed, then slowly began walking towards her. "It matters not. Soon enough, you will be seeing things from my perspective. And then you'll tell me everything about you."

Leyla backed up against the wall, suddenly feeling very afraid. The man grinned, revealing his fangs. "Vampire?" Leyla asked. The vampire ignored her. He drew closer, eyes widening in anticipation. "Yes..." the vampire remarked. "You will make an excellent addition to my harem of vampiric slaves." "Xanhast!" another voice roared. The vampire, Xanhast, immediately spun towards the door. "M-master Anselm!" Xanhast barely choked out. "I ordered her not to be harmed!" Anselm roared. "And you deliberately disobey me!" With incredible speed, Anselm dashed across the room, punching Xanhast across the face, sending the vampire sprawling to the floor. Xanhast spat out some blood, then turned to his master. "I can explain, Anselm-" "Silence!" Anselm snarled. The white robed man brought up his foot and pressed it against Xanhast's throat. "You vampires are scum! Slaves! Worse than slaves, actually, seeing as how slaves actually have a purpose!" Xanhast could feel the building pressure in his neck. His vision blurred and swirled. He couldn't breathe. "Stop!" Leyla cried, rushing over to Anselm. "Stop it!"

Anselm eyed the girl curiously. He gingerly removed his foot from Xanhast's throat. "Well, well, well," Anselm chuckled. "The girl is merciful, even to her enemies." Anselm shifted his gaze to the Vampire lying on the floor. "I'll not warn you again, vampire filth. If you so much as touch Miss Leyla, I'll tear your still-beating heart right out of your chest. I will not have her perfection marred because of you." Xanhast stood up, taking sharp intakes of air, then walked out of the room. As soon as he left, Anselm turned to Leyla. "Are you all right, Miss Leyla?" he asked. "Xanhast didn't harm you, did he?" Leyla shook her head. "He didn't bite you, did he?" Anselm pressed. Again, Leyla shook her head. "Good." Anselm said. "Is there anything you need?" Leyla was about to shake her head, when a thought crossed her mind. "I need you to tell me something." Leyla said. Anselm chuckled, but didn't object. "Why do you need me?" she asked. "Why, Miss Leyla," Anselm said in a sly voice. "You're part of the deal."

Leyla cocked her head. "Deal?" she echoed. "What deal?" Anselm didn't reply. Leyla was sure if Anselm had lips, he would be grinning right now. "Fine. Then let me ask you another question: Why are you doing this?" Now it was Anselm's turn to cock his head. "Why am I doing what?" he replied. Leyla glanced around. "This!" she said. "Why did you kidnap me and attack my grandfather?" "Ah..." Anselm said. He was silent for a few moments. "Rather then simply telling you, why don't I show you?" Anselm reached into the folds of his robe and produced a transparant stone. Leyla's eyes lit up. "That's my grandfather's!" Leyla growled. "It was your grandfather's," Anselm replied. "But I doubt he knew of the stone's true power. Take my hand girl," Anselm extended his hand towards Leyla. "And I will show you exactly why I'm doing this." Leyla hesitantly grabbed Anselm's skeletal hand. The stone began to glow with a bright, white light...

*****

After the light faded away, Leyla and Anselm were standing in a small bedroom. Lillandra sat on the bed, holding her belly (which was swollen due to pregnancy). Leyla shrieked and fell backward. "A Dark Elf!" she cried. Anselm grabbed Leyla by the wrist. "Relax, girl. It's nothing more than a memory." Another person walked into the room at that moment. He had red hair and unusual yellow eyes. "Who's that?" Leyla asked after she regained her composure. Anselm chuckled. "That's me." Leyla blinked in surprise. "Is something wrong, Lillandra?" the past-Anselm asked, sitting on the bed with Lillandra. The Dark Elf gave a weak smile as she looked at her lover. "I'm...worried, Anselm." she admitted. "About our child." The past-Anselm's face suddenly became one of concern. "Oh, no, its nothing like that!" Lillandra said, reading her beloved clearly. "The baby is healthy." "Then what's troubling you, my dear?" Lillandra bit her lip, not quite sure how to put it. "I'm worried that our baby won't be accepted by others. That people will reject him for being-" "Different." The past-Anselm finished.

Lillandra nodded. "You don't need to worry about that." The past-Anselm said, wrapping an arm around Lillandra. "Our child will live out here, with us, away from the people of the city!" Lillandra was shaking her head. "This may be the life we've chosen, Anselm, but this is not the life I want for our child! Living in total isolation? That's hardly a life at all!" The past-Anselm looked like he was about to say something, when he nodded his agreement. "Yeah. I know. It's not the life I want for little Anselm Jr." Lillandra looked at her lover and cocked an eyebrow. "Anselm Jr.?" she echoed, a grin spreading on her face. The past-Anselm laughed. "What if it's a girl?" Lillandra asked. "Well, then we'll call her Lily Jr." the past-Anselm replied, still chuckling. Lillandra shook her head. "I like the name William." "William?" the past-Anselm asked. Lillandra nodded. The two sat in silence for a few seconds. "Well it sounds much better than Anselm Jr.!" The past-Anselm laughed.

"You two seemed like you really loved each other." Leyla remarked. Anselm chuckled. "Yes...we loved each other so deeply." "Where is she now?" Leyla asked. "Dead." came Anselm's curt reply. "Oh...I'm-" "It's not your fault, so you don't need to apologize." Anselm interjected, anger clear in his voice. Leyla was silent for a few moments. "How did she die?" There was a sudden flash of light, and suddenly Leyla and Anselm were standing in Swordhaven's marketplace. The past-Anselm was gathering meat. He paid for his purchase and began walking out of town. "I don't understand." Leyla said. "How did this kill Lillandra?" Anselm sighed. "Rumors had been floating around that I had been turned into some kind of werewolf or vampire or some creature because of how rarely I came into town anymore. I was returning home from the market when-" Anselm stopped. Two guards followed behind the past-Anselm as quietly as they could. "They happened." Anselm finished.

"Who are 'they'?" Leyla asked. "A couple of guards who thought it would be 'smart' to see if there were truth in those stupid rumors." Anselm growled. "When they saw Lillandra..." There was another flash of light. Now, Anselm and Leyla were standing in Swordhaven's dungeons. "We were arrested and thrown in prison." Anselm finished. Leyla's jaw dropped. "On what charges? You did nothing wrong!" Anselm laughed. "I was hiding a Drow. They didn't need any charges." Suddenly, Lillandra gasped and groaned. "Lillandra went into labor a few minutes after we were put in our cell." Anselm explained. "She eventually gave birth to our son." Another flash of light. Though this time, Leyla and Anselm were still in the prison cell. Lillandra was cradling her newborn son, and the past-Anselm had fallen asleep next to her.

"You're so handsome." Lillandra whispered to her child. "I..." Lillandra paused. "This may be the last time we ever see each other, child." Almost as if understanding, the baby cried out. "Shh..." Lillandra cooed. "All will be all right." Still, the child continued to cry. Lillandra smiled at the baby and began to hum softly. Her humming then turned into words. "This is a lullaby that my father would tell me when I was young." Lillandra explained to the infant.

"Day to night, dark to light,
Fall the sands of time.
Let the years like the gears
Of a clock unwind
In your mind walk´╗┐ through time
Back to better days.
Memories, like´╗┐ a dream,
Wash your tears away.
Like a star in the sky darkness can't reach you.
Light the night, joy is light 'til the new dawn.
Cast away your old face, full of gloom and spite,
Stand up strong, do no wrong, and live life new again..."

The baby calmed and went silent. "That was beautiful." The past-Anselm remarked. Lillandra jumped slightly. "I thought you were asleep." The past-Anselm forced a laugh. "We should all get some sleep." he said quietly. Lillandra nodded her agreement and leaned against the past-Anselm, closing her eyes and holding the baby close. Another flash of light. This time, it was the same prison cell, except there were three changes. It was morning; and Lillandra and baby William were missing. "Where are they?" Leyla asked. Anselm turned and began walking towards the prison exit. "I'll show you." he growled.

Once they had reached the plaza, Leyla's jaw dropped. A massive crowd was gathered to witness Lillandra's execution. A noose was tied tightly around her neck. "They killed her?" Leyla asked. Anselm didn't respond. He was lost in the memory. "Take me away." Leyla said. "I-I don't want to see it." Anselm nodded. "Thank you." he mumbled.


*****

There was another flash, and suddenly Anselm and Leyla were standing back in the present day. "Does that answer your question, Miss Leyla?" Anselm asked, turning and walking out of her room.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:36 am

Miss Leyla...she's perfect in almost every way. As far as morality is concerned, she's an angel.

She meets the standards of my deal perfectly.

Xanhast has just informed me that the men are ready to face the great red dragon, Vasalkar. He seemed...annoyed, to say the least. He can't possibly see what I have seen. He believes that this will be nothing but needless slaughter. Hardly needless. These men will be dying for something greater then they could possibly imagine.

Still, my plans are proceeding slowly. Much more slowly than I would like. Yumi, Nebulous, Tectonic, and Aero are all beyond my grasp for the moment. Not to mention that my scouts still have not located the Millennial Gateway...that gate is EVERYTHING. Without it, all my plans are for naught.

Many say the gate is a myth, as well as where the gate leads. I know this to be false. The gate exists. I know it.

I will hold you in my arms once more, my beautiful Lillandra. If it means trading the lives of a few men and one young girl...

SO BE IT.

--An entry from Anselm's Journal
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:37 am

Anselm sat in his chamber, as he usually did. He could hear the gargoyle bust shift into the wall, and could feel the presence of the one who activated it. "Xanhast." Anselm muttered. "M'lord-" Xanhast began, but was abruptly cut off. "The men are ready for the assault on the dragon's den?" Anselm asked impatiently. Xanhast snorted. "As ready as they'll ever be." Xanhast muttered. "M'lord, I still think that this will be nothing but-" "Meaningless slaughter." Anselm finished for the vampire. Anselm stood up and faced his general. "It will be hardly meaningless, Xanhast." Anselm said, chuckling to himself. Xanhast's red eyes flared angrily. "You would sacrifice one thousand men just to get your precious axe?!" Xanhast had to try hard to keep his tone as civil as he could. "If it meant retrieving the axe, I would sacrifice one hundred-thousand men!" Anselm roared. "This axe is one of the six elemental keys! If Aranath had not so foolishly disclosed the Magnama's location to the assassin, then we wouldn't have had to rush this! We would have had ample time to prepare!" Anselm calmed for a moment. "But as it is," he continued. "We must get the axe before the assassin does."

"M'lord, what happened to Aranath?" Xanhast asked, scratching his chin. "I have not heard from him since you commanded him to flee the Foaming Mug." Anselm laughed wickedly. "Are you thirsty, my vampire general?" The lich asked slyly. "M'lord?" Xanhast asked. Anselm walked over to his desk and reached underneath it. He stood back up, holding a jar filled with a bright, crimson colored liquid. There were a number of shapes floating around in the container as well. Xanhast walked closer to the desk, trying to get a better look at his master's jar. There, floating inside the jar, were a pair of eyes, a heart, lungs, kidneys, a liver, and intestines. Xanhast slowly looked back at Anselm. "M'lord," Xanhast began slowly. "Is this Aranath that I'm looking at?" Anselm laughed. "It's what's left of him!" Anselm laughed for many minutes. "You're probably confused." He said after he calmed down. Xanhast cocked an eyebrow. "Very." The vampire replied.

"After I commanded Aranath and his partner to escape, Aranath used a dweomer he had picked up to teleport himself back here." Anselm explained. "Dweomer?" Xanhast asked. "An ancient word that means a magical trinket." Anselm explained. "After he and his partner returned here, I picked the appropriate punishment for the both of them for being so careless with our secrets." Anselm chuckled at the memory. "I started with his eyes..." The lich remarked offhandedly. "Then I ripped out his tongue. Then I tore out his juggular. Then I pulled out his heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach, intestines and finally, his liver. But not necessarily in that order." Xanhast eyed his master strangely. "And Aranath's partner?" Xanhast asked, almost not wanting to hear the answer. "I fed him to my pets." Anselm laughed. "The golems, m'lord? You fed him to the golems?" "Well, I didn't want his death to be too painful." Anselm answered. Xanhast stared at his master.

"Yes...I think I shall use Aranath in my next golem. What do you think, Xanhast?" The lich asked, excitement evident in his voice. "You wanted me to ready the men for the invasion, and it has been done, m'lord." Xanhast said, ignoring Anselm's last question. "When do you want us to leave?" "Immediately." Anselm answered, sitting back in his circle of braziers. "Take General Nami with you. I hear that she's been doing quite well in the training grounds, and she could use the real world experience."

*****

The Twilight Gate roared to life in the face of the setting sun. "Once we're through the gate, I'll explain everything." Azk said. Bill and Selena seemed content with that. After they had escaped from Swordhaven, Azk had led the group deep into the forest, refusing to divulge anything until he was certain they were safe. Bill stepped through the gate, bracing himself. Travelling through the planes of existance was an interesting and simultaneously sickening experience. It wasn't uncommon for someone to step on the other side of the Twilight Gate and begin vomiting. Bill stepped out on the other side, not feeling too sick. Selena and Azk felt fine as they stepped out of the gate after Bill. "Okay," Selena said. "We're back in the Twilight. Can you tell us what you learned now, Azk?" Azk smiled. "Not quite yet." he replied. "I'd like to share this with the other Twilight Knights."

The three walked through the Twilight Realm, admiring the sights as always. There was something about the Twilight that filled it's inhabitants with a sense of curiousity and wonder. Once they reached the Twilight Castle, Azk called for the others. Although, since Steel, Rayzer, and Slayer were busy with the Mobius affair, and since Razackie was busy training new recruits as always, the only Twilight Knight who showed up was Xavier. "You're finally back." Xavier grunted. He looked at Selena. "Your patient's recovered." Selena glared at Xavier. The two had never really cared for each other, and recently their dealings with each other had been growing more and more volatile. "I'm not his nurse. I had to help Azk and Bill. You couldn't be bothered to take care of Arata for a single day?" Selena asked, folding her arms across her chest and scowling. "He did not need my attention." The wiry man replied. "Like I told you, he's recovered." "Even so, you couldn't check on him to see if there was anything he might have needed?" Selena asked. Xavier chuckled. "You're more of a nurse than you might believe, shadowmancer."

Selena wanted to punch the wiry mage in the face. She likely would have done so had not Bill placed a calm hand on her shoulder and Azk stepped inbetween them. "Enough." Azk commanded. "We don't have time for this. We have a lead on the whereabouts of Hokkyoku." Xavier snorted. "Why should we even care about the katana?" Xavier asked. "The weapon does not make the man." "Hokkyoku is valuable to me." a familiar voice said from the hallway. There stood Arata, dressed in his fine blue leathor armor and ready for battle. He had a slight limp in his step as he walked to greet the others, though he hid it well. "It reminds me of Arcterra." Bill patted Arata on the back. "Good to see you moving again." he said. Azk smiled. "Glad to see you lived through that." the assassin said. Arata smiled at his companions. "You said you knew where my sword was?" Arata asked, just slightly impatient. "He didn't, actually." Xavier said. "Azk said he had found a lead. Don't get your hopes up yet."

Selena cast another glare Xavier's way. "Apparently, Arata," Azk said loudly, trying to diffuse any forthcoming arguments. "You weapon was not the only one targeted. This group that stole Hokkyoku is also looking for a weapon called the Magnama Axe." Xavier's eyes widened. "The Magnama axe? Really?" he asked. "That's a powerful weapon. It's so powerful that apparently one swing from this axe could set Swordhaven on fire. No one knows where it is though." Azk chuckled. "Actually, someone does know: That someone is me." "Where is the axe, Azkikr?" Bill asked. "The guy that I spoke to, Aranath, said that the axe was inside the Vasalkar's lair." Azk replied. Everyone went silent and traded glances with one another. "Great!" Xavier cried sarcastically. "Now we can find this lead to Arata's weapon and suffer a horrible burning death at the same time!" Azk blew out a sigh. "Xavier-" "Are you mad?" Xavier continued. "It's suicide! We have to face a dragon to get to this axe! To make things worse, it's a red dragon! The most vicious of all dragonkind!"

The group was silent for several moments. Although they didn't want to admit it (Selena especially), Xavier did have a valid point. Red dragons were the fiercest of all dragonkind, and the mighty Vasalkar was even more so! It was rumored that the Vasalkar dragon had lived to see the rise and fall of seven centuries. "I mean, what exactly were you planning, Azk?" Xavier asked. "Did you intend to fight this dragon? It would be impossible to kill!" Bill closed his eyes, deep in thought. "Maybe...we don't need to kill it." Bill said. All eyes fell on Bill. "What do you suggest, Bill?" Xavier asked with his usual sarcasm. "That we make friends with it?" Bill chuckled. "Not quite. All we need to do is distract it." The group traded glances with each other. "Look," Bill explained. "When I was young, my father told me stories about heroes who stood down dragons without having to kill them. Rather, they used their cunning to play on the dragon's ego."

Azk grinned. "So, flattery is the key to the heart, eh?" he asked. Bill returned Azk's grin and nodded. "Only one of us will need to distract the dragon." Bill explained. "The rest can focus their efforts on getting the axe. And since it was my plan, I'll volunteer to distract the beast." "Your funeral..." Xavier mumbled. Selena cast a death stare towards Xavier. Azk placed a calm hand on Selena's shoulder and leaned close. "Ignore him." Azk whispered. Selena took a deep breath to calm herself. "Are you sure you want to volunteer, Bill?" Selena asked. Bill nodded. "Absolutely."

*****

Countless figures, all dressed in matching crimson armor, marched into the dragon's den. "Wow." Selena remarked. "That's a lot of knights." The five Twilight Knights watched the procession from afar. "There must be a thousand of them, at least..." "Nothing old Vasalkar can't handle." Xavier grumbled. Bill walked up to Azk. "So when exactly are we heading in?" Bill asked. "We'll wait an hour." Azk replied. "That's enough time for the dragon to roast them all." Azk turned towards Xavier. "Any advice on dragons could be helpful, Xavier." Xavier stood up and faced the group. "All right," Xavier began. "Dealing with dragons. Rule number one: Don't touch the dragon's treasure. Dragons have a keen sense of smell and love their treasure hoards more than their own children. Rule number two: If the dragon takes a deep inhale, move. I cannot stress that enough." The hour passed by rather uneventfully, with Xavier giving everyone tips on how to deal with dragons.

"Action time." Azk said. "All right, its time to make our way to the dragon's den. Into the belly of the beast!" Xavier moaned. "Please don't say that..." the mage said, putting a hand on his face. The five knights walked up the winding pathway leading to the dragon's den. They stopped at the foreboding entrance, feeling the heat radiate from within. There was no sound of human activity, however. The five knights shuddered slightly. They had all heard stories of Vasalkar, the mighty red dragon. All who had tried to steal from him had never been heard from again. Still, the knights steeled their gazes and pressed on into the hot cave.

The first thing that Bill noticed as they walked deeper into the cavern was the stench. The entire cave smelled like burning flesh. "Ugh!" Selena pinched her nostrils shut. "That smell is horrid!" Xavier chuckled. "Trust me, girl." he said. "This is just the beginning." The five adventurers continued picking their way through the dragon's lair, the heat intensifying as they drew nearer to the chamber of the dragon. "Damn, it's hot." Arata said, wiping the sweat off his brow. Arata was used to the frozen plains of his homeland. Being in the hot air of the dragon's lair seemed to take an extra toll on him. "I hope we're almost there." he continued. Suddenly, Selena tripped against something. Azk was beside her in a flash, helping her back on her feet. "Are you all right?" the assassin asked. Selena was about to nod when she caught sight of what she tripped against and shrieked. She had tripped over the body a crimson knight, whose armor had been fused into one piece.

Bill knelt down and examined the body. "Looks like he caught the full blast of the dragon's breath. I'm surprised he isn't ash." he surmised. "In any case, we need to keep moving." As they got further into the dragon's lair, the bodies of the crimson knights became more frequent. Apparently, it had been a bloodbath. "By the gods..." Selena choked. "It's tragic, isn't it?" Arata said. "No, not them! That!" Selena grabbed Arata's head and angled it where she was looking. Arata's jaw dropped, as did everyone elses. Sitting in front of them was the largest pile of gold they had ever seen! It wasn't only gold; jewlery, trinkets, valuable minerals, weapons and other valuables were visible in the treasure. "Wow." Bill breathed. "How many others have beheld this sight, I wonder?" Xavier glanced behind them and chuckled. "Apparently, at least a thousand." The group was shaken from it's stupor by the sound of rythmic breathing. Snoring. Something very large was snoring.

The Twilight Knights carefully picked their way around the mounds of treasure. Laying in the center of the treasure was the largest dragon any of them had ever laid eyes on! Bill gulped. He was going to distract that? It could eat him in a single bite! "Remember why we're here. We need to find the Magnama Axe." Bill said. "If the dragon wakes up, I'll try to distract him." "Be careful, Bill." Selena whispered. Arata, Azk, Selena and Xavier quietly picked their way around the treasure, searching for the legendary axe. Bill steadied his breathing and walked closer to the dragon. "I can smell you, humans..." the dragon's deep, rumbling voice echoed through the chamber. Everyone froze, too nervous to take another step. The dragon's emerald eyes shot open. It rose it's serpent-like head into the air, eyeing the human in front of it.

Bill's eyes widened and he fell to his knees. Vasalkar was well over thirty feet tall, with glittering red scales and massive red, leathery wings. It's teeth looked as long and sharp as short swords, and it's claws were well overgrown and sharp. Pieces of bones from past meals were still stuck on them. "An intruder!" Vasalkar roared, shaking the entire cavern. "A thief! Here to steal my treasure!" Bill fell over from the force of Vasalkar's voice. How insignificant Bill felt next to this grand, majestic creature! "Remember why we're here..." Bill repeated to himself. Bill stood up, and threw his hands into the air. "So it was true!" Bill cried. "The preacher told me, but I didn't believe him! I was wrong to doubt him! My faith in the gods is restored!" Vasalkar cocked his head, confused. "What are you speaking of, human?" the dragon growled, its low voice sounding like rocks grating together.

Bill fell to his knees. "Surely the gods must exist if they were able to create a creature as divine as mighty Vasalkar!" Bill put a thoughtful finger to his chin. "Nay!" Bill cried out. "Mighty Vasalkar is so divine that he must BE a god!" The dragon lowered its head towards Bill. "Explain yourself!" Vasalkar demanded. "Why are you here? Have you come to steal my gold? Many have tried and all have failed!" Bill feigned awe. "A true testament to your might, O great dragon!" "Explain yourself!" The dragon roared. Bill lowered his head. He was amazed that the dragon had not eaten him yet. "I had lost my faith in the gods. A preacher told me that my faith would be restored if I glanced upon you, great Vasalkar! I am sorry I doubted him!"

Hidden behind one gold pile, Azk, Arata, Selena and Xavier listened intently. "I'm amazed." Azk said. "This plan is actually working!" "We can't stop looking yet." Arata said. "Let's find the axe and get out of here!"

The dragon leaned back. "Yes, I suppose my presence is divine..." "Oh, very much so, mighty dragon!" Bill said, standing up. "Your magnificent scales glitter like the facets of a million rubies! Your eyes shine like giant emeralds! Your teeth and claws are as sharp--no, sharper!--than swords!" Vasalkar seemed to enjoy the compliments very much. "But..." Bill said suddenly. Vasalkar leaned closer to Bill. "But?!" he echoed. Bill grinned. "But I have heard that your fire breath is not the greatest of all!" Vasalkar's eyes widened in shock and anger. "What?!" The dragon roared, shaking the chamber once more. "It's true!" Bill yelled, though it sounded pitiful compared to Vasalkar's roar. "I have heard that the green dragon of Greenguard has the mightiest breath in Lore!" Vasalkar laughed. "Oh really?" the dragon asked. "Stand back, human! I will show you true fire breath!"

The dragon aimed at the far wall of the cavern and inhaled. When it exhaled, a massive gout of flame shot from Vasalkar's mouth, showering the room with a bright orange and yellow light, and making the already hot chamber even hotter. Bill and the others had to squint against the bright light of the flame. Vasalkar stopped his fire breath and admired his handiwork. The stone where the fire had been hit had been superheated beyond belief. Bill grinned. He had successfully stroked the dragon's ego. Vasalkar turned towards Bill, his face revealing his pride. Bill feel back on his knees. "Truly, you have the greatest fire breath of all the dragon's of Lore, mighty Vasalkar! Your breath makes the green dragon's breath look like a pitiful spark!"

The other four were chuckling at the exchanges between Bill and Vasalkar. Suddenly, Arata tripped over a large ruby, landing on a small pile of gold and sending gold coins scattering, clinking against the other treasures. The dragon swiveled it's head in the direction of the noise. "Theives!" Vasalkar roared. It turned back toward Bill, it's emerald eyes flaring angrily. "You dare try to decieve me?!" Vasalkar shouted. "Me?" Bill asked, trying to salvage the dragon's trust. "I would never-" "Silence, you puny ant!" Vasalkar growled. "Prepare to share the fate of the men in red armor!" The dragon began inhaling. "Damn!" Bill cursed. "Did you find it?" he shouted, knowing that his ruse was up. The dragon exhaled, sending a large jet of flame Bill's way.

Bill dodged by rolling to the side, but just barely. He could feel the incredible heat of the flames behind him. Bill rushed toward the treasure pile, meeting up with the others. "Did you find it?" he asked again. "Not yet!" came Azk's reply. "We're looking as fast as we can!" "Theives!" the dragon roared again. "I can smell you!" "Look faster!" Bill replied, frantically digging into the gold mound. Arata got back up on his feet, examining the large ruby he tripped over. He bent down and examined it. "It's not a ruby..." Arata said. "It's a..." Arata eyes went wide. He had tripped over the head of a battleaxe! "I found it!" Arata cried. Vasalkar spun around, swinging it's massive tail towards the sound of Arata's voice. The mace-like tail smashed into the gold pile, sending treasures of all kinds flying. Arata put his arms over his head to protect himself from the shower of trinkets and gold.

"I need some help!" Arata cried out. Bill and Azk rushed over, helping Arata dig out the axe. Selena turned towards the dragon, which was quickly advancing on the three digging Twilight Knights. "Xavier!" Selena called. "Help me!" Xavier rushed beside Selena, chuckling. "So now we need each other, huh?" the mage laughed. Selena rolled her eyes. "Just help me stop the dragon!" she pleaded. Xavier nodded, then stretched out his hand. "Cover your eyes." he warned. "Mas Illu!" A bright flash of light shot from Xavier's hand, blinding the dragon. The beast roared in agony, swinging it's head side to side. "We got it!" Bill yelled to the others. Azk pulled out a throwing knife and threw it at the dragon. The knife bounced harmlessly off of the dragon's scales. Bill and Arata pulled the Magnama Axe free. The weapon glowed, almost approvingly of the heat.

"Let's go! Let's go!" Selena cried. The five knights rushed out of the dragon's den with Magnama in tow. They could hear the dragon roar and wail behind them. "Dragons..." Bill muttered as they raced through the caverns toward the exit.

*****

"Why did we remain behind, Xanhast?" Nami asked. Xanhast chuckled. "Our knights may have failed us," he explained. "But I have a feeling the Twilight Knights will succeed where we did not." Nami looked towards the ground. She didn't feel right, sending all those knights to fight the dragon without them. "The Twilight Knights will do our work for us." Xanhast said. "When they return, we shall take the axe as our own. I have a feeling they will be returning any minute now..."
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:38 am

Frozen Fighter sat at the bar of the Foaming Mug, truly stumped at his partner's behaviour. Why had Nami suddenly abandoned him? Sure, They hadn't known each other for a long time, but Frozen couldn't believe that the young warrior would do something like that. Frozen had awoken to find that the bedsheets had not been disturbed. This meant that she had slept on the floor? "No," Frozen mumbled to himself. "That's not logical." And it wasn't. But the bedsheets hadn't been disturbed at all! Even stranger, when Frozen questioned the ship's crew about whether they saw Nami leave the ship, none of the crew reported seeing a girl of Nami's description leave Frozen's cabin. Frozen thought for a few more minutes, pondering this mystery.

The ranger sighed. It just didn't fit. The bed hadn't been disturbed. Frozen hadn't heard anyone enter or leave the cabin. The crew hadn't seen Nami at all. "How can someone just vanish without leaving a single clue behind?" Frozen asked himself aloud, ignoring the looks of a few taverngoers. "It just doesn't make sense!" "We couldn't help but overhear your predicament." Two identical voices said at the same time (for a moment, Frozen thought he was hearing only one voice). Frozen Fighter turned in his seat. Standing before him were two almost perfectly identical sisters. One was dressed in red and had fiery red eyes, while the other was dressed in blue and had icy blue eyes. "We're looking for someone too." the sister in blue said. The red-eyed sister turned to face her sibling. "Don't be rude, Cyra!" she scolded. "We haven't properly introduced ourselves." The blue-eyed girl, Cyra, smiled and nodded. "My name is Cyra." she said. "And I'm Fyra." said the red-eyed woman.

Frozen extended his hand. "Call me Frozen Fighter. Most people do." he said. Fyra shook Frozen's hand. Her skin was smooth and warm. Cyra shook Frozen's hand next. Cyra's skin was also smooth, but surprisingly cool. "As my sister mentioned earlier, we couldn't help but overhear your predicament." Fyra said, sitting next to Frozen. "You see," Cyra explained, sitting on Frozen's opposite side. "We're looking for someone too." "He's a friend of ours. He doesn't know the city well and I fear something might have happened to him." Fyra said, brushing some of her blonde hair out of her face. "I see..." Frozen said, though he felt as though there was something off about these two. "I'd like to help, but what makes you think I can find him?" Fyra and Cyra looked at each other.

"You are the ranger, Frozen Fighter, are you not?" The sisters asked in unison. "From what we've heard, your ability to track is beyond comparison." Frozen chuckled. He knew something was amiss now. Frozen's name was practically unheard of, although it was true that his tracking skill surpassed most others. But how could these sisters have known about it? "Please, help us." Cyra begged, leaning closer to the ranger. "We'll do anything for you." Fyra added. Fyra leaned close to Frozen's ear. "Anything." she whispered seductively.

Frozen gulped. He could easily guess what Fyra was hinting at. The sisters were beautiful, but...there was something wrong about them. "All right, I'll help you...on the condition that you two will help me find my partner afterwards." The sisters nodded, eager to begin their hunt for the assassin again. "So, this friend of yours," Frozen asked. "What does he look like?"
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:39 am

Frozen Fighter sat at the bar of the Foaming Mug, truly stumped at his partner's behaviour. Why had Nami suddenly abandoned him? Sure, They hadn't known each other for a long time, but Frozen couldn't believe that the young warrior would do something like that. Frozen had awoken to find that the bedsheets had not been disturbed. This meant that she had slept on the floor? "No," Frozen mumbled to himself. "That's not logical." And it wasn't. But the bedsheets hadn't been disturbed at all! Even stranger, when Frozen questioned the ship's crew about whether they saw Nami leave the ship, none of the crew reported seeing a girl of Nami's description leave Frozen's cabin. Frozen thought for a few more minutes, pondering this mystery.

The ranger sighed. It just didn't fit. The bed hadn't been disturbed. Frozen hadn't heard anyone enter or leave the cabin. The crew hadn't seen Nami at all. "How can someone just vanish without leaving a single clue behind?" Frozen asked himself aloud, ignoring the looks of a few taverngoers. "It just doesn't make sense!" "We couldn't help but overhear your predicament." Two identical voices said at the same time (for a moment, Frozen thought he was hearing only one voice). Frozen Fighter turned in his seat. Standing before him were two almost perfectly identical sisters. One was dressed in red and had fiery red eyes, while the other was dressed in blue and had icy blue eyes. "We're looking for someone too." the sister in blue said. The red-eyed sister turned to face her sibling. "Don't be rude, Cyra!" she scolded. "We haven't properly introduced ourselves." The blue-eyed girl, Cyra, smiled and nodded. "My name is Cyra." she said. "And I'm Fyra." said the red-eyed woman.

Frozen extended his hand. "Call me Frozen Fighter. Most people do." he said. Fyra shook Frozen's hand. Her skin was smooth and warm. Cyra shook Frozen's hand next. Cyra's skin was also smooth, but surprisingly cool. "As my sister mentioned earlier, we couldn't help but overhear your predicament." Fyra said, sitting next to Frozen. "You see," Cyra explained, sitting on Frozen's opposite side. "We're looking for someone too." "He's a friend of ours. He doesn't know the city well and I fear something might have happened to him." Fyra said, brushing some of her blonde hair out of her face. "I see..." Frozen said, though he felt as though there was something off about these two. "I'd like to help, but what makes you think I can find him?" Fyra and Cyra looked at each other.

"You are the ranger, Frozen Fighter, are you not?" The sisters asked in unison. "From what we've heard, your ability to track is beyond comparison." Frozen chuckled. He knew something was amiss now. Frozen's name was practically unheard of, although it was true that his tracking skill surpassed most others. But how could these sisters have known about it? "Please, help us." Cyra begged, leaning closer to the ranger. "We'll do anything for you." Fyra added. Fyra leaned close to Frozen's ear. "Anything." she whispered seductively.

Frozen gulped. He could easily guess what Fyra was hinting at. The sisters were beautiful, but...there was something wrong about them. "All right, I'll help you...on the condition that you two will help me find my partner afterwards." The sisters nodded, eager to begin their hunt for the assassin again. "So, this friend of yours," Frozen asked. "What does he look like?"
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:39 am

Leyla sat in her chambers, the moonlight shining through her window. She couldn't sleep, no matter how hard she tried. Her mind was still stuck on Anselm's memories. She thought it odd that a man could love something as vicious and cruel as a Dark Elf...but then again, Lillandra hadn't appeared vicious or cruel. Quite the contrary. Lillandra had seemed sweet, kind, happy, and full of vigor. "Poor man..." Leyla whispered to herself. She pitied Anselm. Grief-stricken and alone in the world. "Poor man?" she asked herself again. She reminded herself that Anselm, in his sorrow-induced rage, had transcended to lich'dom. That Anselm had snapped her grandfather's arm in half like a twig. "No." Leyla whispered to herself, walking over to the window and staring out into the night. "Anselm is not a man to be pitied...he is a man to be feared." Leyla looked into the sky. The moon was full and bright, filling her room with a soft, silvery light.

Leyla sighed. She wanted to go home, not back to her grandfather, but back to the Twilight Realm, the realm where she had lived before Arata had asked her to leave. "Why don't you, Leyla?" she asked herself. "Why can't you run back to the Twilight?" Leyla was silent for a moment, searching her feelings. She sighed. "Because I'm afraid." Leyla finally answered herself. "I'm afraid...that Arata will turn me away again..." Leyla put her face in her hands and growled in frustration. "Which is totally stupid!" Leyla walked back over to her bed and sat down, feeling annoyed. "Wait a minute..." Leyla said, an idea forming. "Maybe this is a blessing in disguise! If I'm here, I can study my enemy, learn what their intentions are, then report back to the Twilight Knights!" She stood up, creeped over to the door, opened it slightly and peeked through. The torches on the walls flickered lazily. Other than that, the hallway was empty, with no sign of any guard activity.

Leyla pushed the door open fully, taking another quick look around before darting into a nearby shadow. She quietly creeped down the hall, mindful not to make too much noise. "Damn these late watch shifts." a voice mumbled around the hall. Leyla held her breath, and peeked around the corner. A guard was leaning against the wall, a torch in one hand. "Nothing happens. Nothing EVER happens here!" the guard continued. "Not even during the day! The only nice thing about the night shift is that we don't have to wear our armor! What exactly does the master fear is going to happen, anyway?" The guard sighed. "I shouldn't complain, I guess. Might end up like Aranath and his buddy. Torn to shreds by the golems underneath the castle." The guard sighed again, then took up his patrol through the hallway, walking away from Leyla.

Leyla smirked. The guard hadn't revealed too much, but had nonetheless revealed something important: there were tunnels underneath the castle. No doubt there was something of importance in there. Leyla continued through the castle, carefully using the shadows as cover. The hallways seemed almost endless, though there were few guards in the halls (Which Leyla was grateful for). Several minutes passed before Leyla reached the castle's foyer...or at least, what was left of it. There was a large, gaping hole in the ceiling, allowing silvery moonlight to pour in. The stairs that led to the second floor looked old and worn. They certainly weren't safe to travel on. Two guards stood in the corner of the room, lost in idle chatter. They probably wouldn't have noticed Leyla, but nevertheless, she ducked into a small patch of shadow, praying that the guards wouldn't notice her.

"...what happened to Aranath? I hear Master Anselm tore his organs right out of his body!" One guard chuckled. The other groaned. "Do we really have to talk about that?" he asked. The first guard laughed. "What? Afraid you might end up like poor ol' Aranath?" "Yeah, as a matter-of-fact, I am!" The second guard replied. Leyla's face revealed her disgust. She knew now that Anselm was definetly not someone to be pitied. "Relax," the first guard continued. "As long as we don't talk about the keys in front of civilians, Anselm will be leaving our organs right inside our bodies." "Keys?" Leyla asked herself...a little louder than she had intended. "What was that?" the second guard asked, raising his torch in the air and facing Leyla's direction. Leyla clamped her hand over her mouth and held her breath. "What was what?" the first guard asked. "I didn't hear anything." The second guard continued to peer into the darkness. "I could've sworn I just heard something..." The first guard snorted, then began walking off. "Well, you have fun looking for imaginary sounds. I should report to Master Anselm."

The second guard lowered his torch and scratched his head. Leyla sighed in relief. She began to follow the first guard as quietly as she could, careful to avoid stepping into the ring of moonlight or the flickering torchlight. The first guard stopped at what appeared to be a storage room. He walked inside and shifted some of the boxes and crates, revealing a hidden trapdoor. The guard opened the door and quickly climbed down. Leyla took a quick glance around to make sure she hadn't been noticed, then followed the guard into the dark tunnels.

*****

The guard walked through the dark, dank tunnels, not really paying attention to his surroundings. If he had, he probably would have noticed Leyla sneaking up behind him with a large rock in her hand. The guard went down quickly and silently. Leyla grinned. She wondered if this is how it would feel to be an assassin like Azk, slipping from shadow to shadow, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. She continued through the tunnels, using her hands to feel the walls and guide her. She wandered for many minutes, occasionally stumbling over a small rock or stopping to listen for anything unusual. She stopped immediatly when she heard an otherworldy voice. "Yours is a face I've never seen." Leyla froze. She felt with her hands, brushing along a perfectly smooth stone wall. Her hands continued to caress the walls, until she brushed against what felt like a gargoyle bust.

"Hello?" Leyla whispered. "Please remove your hands from my face." the bust spoke. Leyla fell backward, shocked. "You...you just-" "Spoke. Yes." the bust continued. "I am the guardian of the Master's chamber. Only those who know what my Master desires may pass." Leyla stood back up. "What he desires?" Leyla echoed. She thought for a moment. "Keys?" The gargoyle's eyes flared yellow. Leyla fell over, suddenly wracked with extreme pain. "Revenge?" Leyla asked through gritted teeth. The gargoyle's eyes flared brighter, sending another wave of pain through the young woman's body. Leyla stifled her screams. She forced herself to focus, despite the pain. What did Anselm desire? "Lillandra?" Leyla gasped. The gargoyle's eyes suddenly returned to their ordinary stone gray color. The bust shifted into the wall, causing the stone to ripple like the surface of water. Leyla stood back up, feeling strangely fine now that the bust had been deactivated. She stepped through the wall, which was one of the oddest sensations Leyla had ever felt.

Leyla stepped out into Anselm's chamber. The room was practically bare, with only a desk and six multicolored braziers arranged in a circle. Surprisingly, Anselm was nowhere to be seen. Leyla walked towards the desk. If there was a clue on what Anselm is up to, it would be here. The first item that caught Leyla's eye was a magnificent katana. Leyla had seen that katana before...in Arata's hands. "No." she breathed, hardly able to comprehend what this could mean. "No." she whispered again, tears rimming in her eyes. She tenderly picked up the sword, remembering how this weapon had saved her several times from death. And now...now Arata was gone. Dead.

Leyla set the sword down, tears streaming from her eyes now. She wanted to break down and cry. She forced the tears from her eyes (or she tried as best she could), remembering her mission. She looked past Hokkyoku, to a worn journal that sat on the edge of the desk. The journal looked like it was at least forty years old. She flipped it open to the beginning. The first several entries seemed normal. However, the entries started becoming more extreme, more hateful, and more insane with each turn of the page. Unfortunately, the journal made little sense. There was a reference to six elemental keys, a deal, and something called the Millennial Gateway. It didn't make any sense. Leyla dropped the journal when she heard the gargoyle bust sink into the wall. Leyla turned, thinking that she would be looking at Anselm. She was wrong.

A black mass suddenly pounced on top of Leyla, it's strength far surpassing her own. The creature leaned down to bite Leyla, when Anselm's familiar voice rang out. "That's far enough, Grawll." he said. The creature, Grawll, looked at Anselm, then obediently let go of Leyla. Leyla, however, was too frightened to move. "How do you like Grawll?" Anselm asked. "I was testing his ability to track. Werewolves have such an amazing ability to find their prey. And when I saw that you had left your chambers, I had Grawll track you." Anselm bent over and roughly lifted Leyla off the floor. "What are you gonna do?" Leyla asked, looking at Hokkyoku. "Kill me? Like you killed Arata?!" Anselm laughed. "You're far too valuable to even harm, Miss Leyla." Anselm leaned close. "But if you start snooping around again, Miss Leyla, I'll have you begging for a death that will never come, do you understand?" Leyla shuddered at the cold sincerity in Anselm's voice. She nodded.

"Good." Anselm said. "Well, it's getting late. You'd best be off to bed." Leyla nodded again and walked off. As she was leaving, Leyla could hear Grawll snarl at her.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:40 am

Arata stared at the Magnama Axe, admiring its craftsmanship. The Twilight Knights had decided to stop and take a short break, not because anyone was tired or worn-out, but because truthfully, the group had gotten lost in the twisting tunnels of the dragon's lair. "We could backtrack." Bill suggested. "Make our way back to the dragon's den and then-" Xavier snorted loudly. "Sorry, Billy, but I have no desire to try and sneak past an enraged dragon. And I'm certain no one else here does either! We need to keep moving forward." Bill eyed the wiry mage. "That's exactly my point, though, Xavier." Bill said. "What if this tunnel is nothing more than a dead end? Or worse, what if the tunnel doesn't end?" Xavier went silent. Bill had a point. "Fine." Xavier sighed. "Still, I don't like the idea of trying to sneak past ol' Vasalkar. If he catches us, there'll be no talking to him." The others nodded their agreement, all except for Arata, who was too focused on the Magnama Axe.

The axe blade appeared to be made of ruby and the axe itself felt warm to the touch. "Arata? Are you listening?" Arata lifted his head, just now coming into the conversation. "Huh?" Arata said sheepishly. "We're trying to figure out a plan to get out of here." Selena explained. "Have any ideas?" Arata shook his head. "If only we had some fire..." Azk said, more to himself than to the others. "Then we could see if there were any air currents down here." At the mention of fire, the Magnama Axe began to glow and emanate with heat. Arata lifted the weapon into his hands, studying the legendary weapon. Hokkyoku had a limited control over water. Could Magnama have a limited control over fire? Arata grasped the weapon tightly and began to picture a burning flame. "C'mon, all we need is just a little spark..." Arata whispered. Suddenly, the head of the axe erupted with blue flames, showering the tunnel in an eerie blue light. "Woah!" The five Twilight Knights cried in unison. The blue flames danced and flickered, suggesting the presence of..."Air!" Arata shouted. "There's air! That means there's a way out further down the tunnel!"

The Twilight Knights walked down the tunnel, with Arata leading. Bill thought it was odd that there were few creatures living in these tunnels, but then again, who would want to share their home with an angry red dragon? The group continued down the tunnel, until Arata spoke. "Uh-oh. Um, we may have a slight problem..." The group looked beyond Arata, seeing what Arata was referring to. A dead end. "Great." Xavier mumbled. "We're all gonna die." Selena slapped Xavier across the back of his head. "Don't talk like that!" she scolded. "There has to be air down here, otherwise the flames wouldn't be flickering like they are. I'll bet the exit isn't obvious..." Bill glanced around the small tunnel. Selena was right, there had to be air, but from where? Bill glanced up and grinned. Directly above them were tree roots. "Hey guys," Bill said, pointing upward. "Look up."

The group followed Bill's gaze. One by one, they all smiled. "The exit's above us, huh?" Xavier said with a grin. "Let's test out the power of that weapon, Arata." Arata returned the grin, grasped his axe firmly, and swung upward with all his might...

*****

Xanhast and Nami jumped at the sound of a massive explosion. They spun around, witnessing a massive geyser of blue flame shooting up from the ground. The flames were so high in the air that they almost covered the moon, and the entire area was showered in blue light. "Perhaps a magma vent?" Nami suggested. Xanhast cackled and began picking his way down the trail. "No." Xanhast replied. "It's not a magma vent." Nami rushed beside Xanhast and began picking her way down alongside the vampire. "How can you tell?" the warrior asked. Xanhast cackled in sheer delight. "Since when are magma vents blue?"

*****

The force of the explosion had thrown the five knights to the ground, singing their clothes and eyebrows and covering them in a thick black soot. Bill shakily stood up, helping Arata and Selena back up to their feet as well. Azk and Xavier stood up on their own. All of them gazed at the axe with a sheer feeling of awe. "Uh...is everyone all right?" Bill asked after the shock had worn off. The four other knights slowly nodded. Arata bent over and scooped up Magnama, having gained a newfound respect for the weapon. The explosion had opened a large hole in the tunnel, allowing the moonlight to shine through. "Let's get out of here." Azk said, brushing the soot off of his already black clothing. The knights climbed out of the hole one by one, never noticing the two figures steadily approaching.

"I knew it." Xanhast whispered, ducking behind a large tree. "They were successful, just as I predicted." Nami followed the vampire. "What's our plan?" Nami asked. "I think we should steal the axe before they have a chance to notice." Xanhast grinned and nodded his agreement.

"Ok," Azk said, brushing the last bit of soot off himself. "Back to the-" "Shh." Bill said suddenly, drawing Mandurugo out of its sheath. The vampire blade was glowing bright purple. "I don't think we're alone." "By the gods, it you." a deep, menacing voice suddenly said. The Twilight Knights turned towards the voice. There stood a man with burning red eyes and onyx armor as black as oil. Next to him stood a young women dressed in a black kimono and wielding a katana and dagger. "Who are you two supposed to be?" Xavier asked in his usual cocky manner. "Bandits?" Bill's eyes widened in clear shock and horror. The red-eyed man laughed. "You're surprised, William?" he asked. "Xanhast..." Bill whispered. He laughed nervously. "What a surprise to see you again...alive..." The four Twilight Knights looked at Bill in surprise. "You know him?" They asked.

"Setting me on fire was a clever ploy, William." the vampire continued, grinning. "Vampires can't heal from burns. You scarred my face pretty well, and to make matters worse, you stole my sword!" Arata's eyes widened. "THIS is the vampire you defeated for Mandurugo?!" he asked. "Xanhast, we don't have to fight." Bill said cautiously. "If this is a matter of getting your sword back-" "It's not!" Xanhast snarled. "The sword wouldn't accept me as its wielder anyhow now. This is about that pretty little axe you have there." "Damn, I knew it!" Azk growled. "He's with those knights!" Quick as lightning, Azk drew his two longswords. "Don't surrender the axe!" Xanhast whipped out a green longsword that looked similar to Mandurugo. "This is Manananggal." Xanhast said, admiring the blade. "Mandurugo's sister blade." Bill drew Mandurugo, and Arata readied Magnama.

"Hmm...five against two isn't really fair, is it?" Nami asked, readying her katana. Xanhast shook his head. "No, it isn't. I have a proposition for you, Twilight Knights. A fair fight, two against two. If you win, we'll leave you in peace, and if you lose...we'll take the axe off of your hands." "Why would we accept that deal?" Xavier asked. Xanhast laughed. "You don't have a choice." Suddenly, a barrier formed around Xanhast, Nami, Arata, and Bill. "Two versus two." Xanhast repeated. He grasped a necklace that hung around his neck. "A gift from my master, Anselm." Xanhast chuckled. "Just for such an occasion as this."

Arata and Bill looked to the other Twilight Knights, separated by the barrier. "You'll have to fight them if you want to leave." Selena said, though it was obvious she wanted to help. "Good luck, you two." Azk said. "Don't get killed." Xavier added. Bill and Arata looked back at their opponents.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:40 am

"Which one do you want?" Arata asked. Before Bill could answer, Xanhast had already raised Manananggal into the air. The weapon ticked wildly, the blade seeming to shimmer. Right before Bill and Arata's eyes, Manananggal had transformed into a bladed whip! Xanhast cracked Manananggal towards Bill, the vampiric weapon slapping Bill across the shoulder and cutting through his fine chainmail. Bill fell back, blood forming from the gash on his shoulder. "Manananggal means 'self-segmenter'." Xanhast explained with obvious pride. "It can alter itself into any type of weapon on command! It can even duplicate itself!" Bill jumped back on his feet, drawing Mandurugo and just narrowly dodging another crack of Manananggal. No sooner had Bill jumped back on his feet however, Xanhast struck again. The vampire cracked the bladed whip, causing it to wrap around Bill's right forearm. Bill grimaced as he felt the blade bite through the chainmail and into his flesh. "You can't win, William!" the vampire cried. "I have mastered using Manananggal in all of its forms! I can change my style at the slightest whim!"

"Damn." Bill muttered. He could tell Xanhast spoke the truth. Suddenly, Bill grinned. He wrapped his already entangled arm around Manananggal again, causing the whip to bite deeper into his flesh. Bill grimaced, but continued wrapping his arm around the whip, drawing himself closer to Xanhast. "Brave, but foolish." Xanhast chuckled. "You'll do more damage to yourself than you ever will to me!"

*****

Nami stood with her katana and dagger tandem ready. She glanced over her opponent, a blue-haired boy who could have been just a few years younger than herself. Arata grasped the Magnama Axe tightly in his hands. He wasn't too skilled with using axes (Nami could tell by his posture), but Arata figured that having a weapon as powerful as Magnama could help even the odds. Nami rushed forward, her dagger leading. Arata raised Magnama above his head and swund downward, almost cleaving Nami in two. Almost. Nami rolled to the side, landing on her feet and slashing across Arata's side with her dagger. Arata grunted and retaliated by swinging Magnama out wide. Nami easily dodged the lazy swing. She sped around Arata, slashing across his back with her finely crafted katana. Arata howled in pain, dropping the enchanted axe and grasping his back. The warrior girl had reopened an old scar on Arata's back that he got when he first came to Lore.

Realizing how vulnerable Magnama was right now, Nami dove for the enchanted axe. Arata scooped the weapon back up, trying hard to ignore the intense pain in his back. "Surrender the axe," Nami said, bringing her weapons up. "And we can stop this senseless fighting!" Arata shook his head. "I don't know why you took my katana, but I won't let you take this axe!" To accentuate his point, Arata rushed forward, slamming the flat side of the axe head across Nami's chest, shoving her backward and forcing the air from her lungs. He angled his next swing upwards and swung with all his might, but even winded, Nami still proved the quicker, jumping out of harm's way. Arata breathed hard. "This axe...so heavy..." he mumbled to himself. Swinging the axe around was tiring the duelist, who was used to the light swings of a katana.

Nami rushed Arata once more. Arata brought the axe up in a defensive pose, thinking to block any incoming strike. Nami hooked her dagger around the axe's handle and ripped it from Arata's grasp. She then quickly followed up by kicking Arata in the chest three times. Arata fell over, causing him to land on his freshly opened scar. Arata yelled in pain, but forced himself up, reminding himself that the axe must be protected at all costs. "Not...bad..." Arata said to the warrior. "Ow..." Nami grinned. "You look like you're in pain." She remarked, noticing Arata's quick breaths and blood stains on his normally blue clothing. "Ready to surrender?" Arata steeled his gaze. "As long as I still breathe, I'll never surrender!" The duelist reached down and drew the katana that was strapped to his hip, and although it was finely made, it paled in comparison to Hokkyoku's glory. "Round two starts now!" Arata growled.

*****

Bill and Xanhast were inches apart. Manananggal was wrapped fully around Bill's right arm, causing blood to steadily drip down on the ground. "A clever strategy, though one that has left you at a disadvantage." Xanhast remarked. Bill grinned despite the obvious pain he was suffering from. "You're at a disadvantage too. No weapon to use." Bill grunted. The vampire laughed. "I don't need a weapon to kill you, my boy," Xanhast growled. "I'm a vampire!" Xanhast let go of Manananggal's hilt and punched Bill across the face with inhuman strength. Bill staggered backward, stunned and off-balance. Xanhast grasped Manananggal's hilt once more. "Your strategy put you in more disadvantages then just one." Xanhast said. Bill wiped the blood from his mouth. "How so?" Xanhast smiled, then yanked on Manananggal's hilt with all his might, tearing the weapon from Bill's arm...

And tearing Bill's flesh with it.

Bill screamed in pain. His arm was a bloody mess now. Xanhast was laughing wildly. Manananggal ticked as well, returning to its original longsword form. "What exactly was your strategy anyway?" Xanhast asked, amused. "You got very close to me, but then what? Were you going to stab me? With your sword arm tangled in the bladed whip?" Bill continued to grunt in pain. The vampire drew closer, bringing Manananggal to bear. "And now, your sword arm is practically gone." Bill eyed the vampire with obvious hatred. He knew he was going to die from blood loss. Unless...

Bill unsheathed Mandurugo with his left hand and lunged for the vampire. Xanhast, with his vampire senses, easily danced around the attack and retaliated, slicing a line of blood across Bill's chest. The vampire continued to dodge and weave away from Bill's strikes, too fast for a mere mortal to hit. Bill's vision was beginning to blur. He had almost died once, but had been revived through Arata and Finrod. Though Bill knew if he went down here, there was no way he would be getting back up. Xanhast cackled in glee. "Sweet vengeance be mine!" the vampire general shouted, racing towards Bill to deliver the killstrike. Bill spun to face his opponent, pointing Mandurugo the vampire's direction. Xanhast was moving so fast, he didn't notice he impaled himself on Mandurugo.

Xanhast looked down. His onyx armor had protected him to a degree, but he could feel Mandurugo biting into his flesh. The weapon flared as it began to drink its former master's life force, transferring that energy to the wounded Bill, restoring the flesh on Bill's arm and sealing several other smaller wounds. Xanhast growled with rage and punched Bill in the gut with all his might, blasting the wind from Bill's lungs. "What does Mandurugo see in you?!" Xanhast snarled, stomping on Bill and breaking several ribs. "Huh?!"

*****

Arata worked his blade tirelessly, fending off Nami's brutal assault. Arata cursed his luck. He should have used the katana to begin with! The axe had drained Arata of his energy with each swing! And now...now Arata was too fatigued to do anything other than block Nami's furious attacks. Nami worked her blades expertly, breaking through Arata's defenses and slicing Arata across the cheek with her dagger. She swung out with her katana, slashing Arata across the midsection. She followed up with another kick, landing it perfectly on Arata's chest. Arata fell to the ground, fatigued and beaten. He breathed heavily, and sweat beaded his forehead. "Please, surrender." Nami said. Arata took note of the pleading tone in her voice. "We want to end the chaos once and for all!...I don't want to kill you, but if you insist on continuing this fight, then I have no choice." Arata didn't hear her. He had already fallen into the depths of unconsciousness.

Nami bowed respectfully to her defeated opponent and scooped up the ruby battleaxe. "We're done here." She said to her partner. Xanhast smiled at her, then leaned closer to Bill, who was just as worn out as Arata. "I guess this time, you get spared." Xanhast whispered. "But next time, William, you won't be so lucky." The vampire turned towards his partner. "Let's go." In a flash of light, Xanhast and Nami were gone, and the barrier fell. But, like Arata, Bill didn't notice. He had already fallen into the blackness of unconsciousness.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:41 am

Bill's eyes slowly fluttered open. He could make out the shapes of Selena and Azk standing over him. "He's awake!" Azk called over his shoulder to Xavier. To Bill, Azk's voice sounded distant. "How do you feel, Bill?" Selena asked. Bill waved his hand at her. "Nevermind that." Bill said groggily. "Where's the axe?" Selena lowered her gaze. Bill nodded, understanding. "We weren't prepared to handle Xanhast or his partner." he muttered, more to himself than Selena. "Where is Arata? Is he all right?" Selena looked behind herself. "He's alive," she said. "But still unconscious." "Arata's awake!" Xavier called out. Selena turned back towards Bill, a grim smile on her face. "Help me up." Bill said, extending his hand toward the shadowmancer. Selena grasped Bill's hand and hauled him to his feet. Bill groaned as he was pulled to his feet. Xanhast had broken several ribs.

Arata was on his feet as well, though he appeared the worse of the two. Blood was stained on his side and on his back, and his movements appeared haggared. "Is there a stream nearby?" Bill heard Arata ask. Azk nodded and began leading Arata away. Arata motioned for Bill to come with them. Bill obeyed, walking as fast as his injuries would allow. The three returned to the scene of their battle several minutes later, completely healed thanks to Arata's unique water powers. "Well," Xavier began as soon as they had returned. "We lost the axe. What's our next move?" The group was silent for a few moments. What WAS their next move? They had no idea where Xanhast had vanished to, and they had no idea as to why Xanhast wanted Hokkyoku or Magnama to begin with. Azk smirked. "It looks like we're in need of some information." the assassin remarked. "And I know just the place to get it." Azk paused for a moment. "The Black Alley."

*****

The five Twilight Knights had hiked all the way from the Vasalkar's Lair in Skullholme to the brilliant city of Swordhaven in just a few days, though in that time, Azk had refused to speak of the Black Alley in the open. The group marched through Swordhaven's main gates, following the assassin through the mass of people and through the twisting districts. "Here it is." Azk said, coming to a halt in front of an old allyway. The ally didn't appear to be anything special, although there was a red handprint right next to the entrance of the alley. "This is the Black Alley?" Xavier asked. "Not much to look at..." Azk chuckled. "Don't be decieved by appearences. This entrance is actually an optical illusion." Azk stepped inside the small alleyway and suddenly turned right, disappearing into what Bill had thought was solid wall! The assassin poked his head out from the entrace. "You guys coming?"

Bill stepped into the alleyway and turned to the right. He grinned. The real entrance to the Black Alley was incredibly narrow. Only people who knew where the Black Alley was would be able to find the entrance. Bill and the others squeezed through the narrow gap and stepped out beside the assassin. "Welcome to the Black Alley." Azk said once everyone was through. "The rat's nest of Swordhaven, where thieves and rogues come to hide from the law, purchase equipment, or gain valuable information." The four other knights jaw's dropped in awe. The "alley" appeared to actually be a forgotten district of Swordhaven! Several buildings and shops lined the street of the Black Alley, all bearing the mark of a red handprint on their doors. "Azk..." Selena asked. "What does the red handprint mean?" Azk laughed. "The red handprint indicates a site of...less-than-legal activities."

Bill and the others glanced around. Several shady characters could be seen mulling around in the street. "Relax," the assassin said, reading their expressions. "No one is stupid enough to try and mug you in the Black Alley." Azk glanced up. "We're here!" They had stopped at a shop called The Keel Haul. "A friend of mine runs this shop." Azk explained. "She keeps her ears in the streets. If anyone knows anything about the people we're up against, it's her." Azk pushed the door open and stepped inside. No sooner had the door shut behind the five Twilight Knights, they could hear the sound of a crossbow being loaded. "I have a crossbow aimed at your heads." a female voice called out. "If you're with the Watch, I would suggest leaving." Azk chuckled. "No need for games, Bianca, I'm an old friend." Azk threw back his hood, revealing his shaggy brown hair and scar. "Well, I'll be damned! It's Azkikr!" the voice, Bianca, cried out. They could hear her rush down the stairs.

"It's been a while, hasn't it?" Bianca asked as she stepped down from the final stair. Bill could tell just by looking at her that Bianca had not been born in the northern reaches of Lore. Her skin was dark, her eyes were a deep brown, and her hair was long and raven black. She stood about the same height as Bill and had a jeweled eyepatch covering her right eye. "Too long." Azk replied with a grin. Bianca smiled at him, then glanced over at the other four with obvious disdain. "I see you brought the riff-raff with you." she remarked. "Manners, Bianca, manners." Azk said, replacing his hood over his face. "These are my friends." Azk turned towards the others. "Guys, this is Bianca. She was my fence while I was in the Thieves Guild." "So what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, Azk?" Bianca asked, ignoring the others. Bill looked over at Selena, who was clenching her fists tightly.

"We need some information about rare weapons." Azk replied. "Do you know anything about the Magnama axe?" Bianca feigned a frown. "Aww, is that the only thing you came here for?" she asked. "You don't want to catch up?" "No, he doesn't." Selena growled, her jealousy becoming obvious. Xavier couldn't help but chuckle. The shadowmancer cast a death glare at Xavier, who promptly stopped laughing, although he continued to wear his smirk. Bianca laughed. "I didn't realize you had a girlfriend, Azk." Bianca gave Selena a once-over. "She's cute, but...I think you could do better." How badly Selena wanted to punch this woman across the face! She was stopped as she felt Arata's calm hand on her shoulder.

"Information, Bianca." Azk reminded her, trying to diffuse any situation. Bianca sighed. "All right. I'll tell you what I know, but it isn't much." Bianca walked behind her shop counter. "All I know about the Magnama axe is that it disappeared centuries ago during a dragon's raid. It supposedly can control fire." "We know that already." Selena interjected. Bianca chuckled. "What do you know about Hokkyoku?" Azk pressed. Bianca put a finger to her chin in thought. "It's an incredibly sharp katana with the ability to control water." She said. "It's located in Arcterra...or at least, it was." Bianca looked at the group of people before her. "Why are you hunting for the keys of the apocalypse?" she asked. The Twilight Knights looked at each other in surprise. "The keys to the...apocalypse?" Azk asked. Bianca nodded. "Its a story I was told as a child. It tells of six powerful weapons--Hokkyoku, Magnama, Tectonic, Aero, Yumi, and Nebulous--that, when brought together, will bring about the end of the world." "Sounds like a scary bedtime story." Xavier remarked, laughing.

"Yes, it is." Bianca replied, grinning. "Why are you hunting for them, Azk? Not trying to end the world, are you?" The assassin shook his head. "Trying to save the world." he muttered. "Have you heard word on any of the other weapons?" Bianca was silent for a moment, lost in thought. "Surprisingly, yes." she said. "Though it would be folly to go after it." "Please, Bianca, tell us anything that would be of use." Azk asked, his voice revealing his anxiousness. Bianca blew out a sigh. "It's foolish to go after it." she said. "But if you really have your heart set on it..." She paused, not sure if she should tell the truth or lie to save Azk. "I hear the weapon has been taken by Pagans." The blood drained from Azk's face. "You're kidding." Bianca shook her head. "I wish." Now, it was Azk who blew out a sigh. "Where can I find them?" he asked.

Bianca's shock was evident on her face. "Azk, stealing from the Pagans isn't smart, and by no means is it easy!" "Where are they?" Azk repeated. Bianca eyed Azk with obvious concern and obvious disapproval. "The Pagans have a sanctuary here in the city." she said. "Look for a well devoid of water. Then simply follow the stench of vegetation and rot." Azk smiled, gave a slight bow, and turned to walk out. "Azk!" Bianca called out. Azk turned. "If you do plan on stealing from the Pagans, you'll have to go alone. Five people will make too much noise in the Pagan sanctuary." Azk nodded angain, then lead the four other knights out of the shop.
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:37 am

Cmon, write the next one already! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The God King   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:45 am

lol, i share that thought! moar moar moar
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The God King
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