Astaroth's March (A story of the Calling)

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The Hidden Lord
A young woman, crushed legs and broken arms, crawling away from chaos incarnate groaned, and reached. She reached towards the figure of a red garbed man. Pleading with her eyes, whining with her lips. Crying with her body. Death was apon her.

But he stopped with hand extended, handsome and young, strong. He knelt before this woman of hopeless flight allowing those slim perfect fingers to cusp her cheek. His voice soft soothing, calming... but a humm, unspoken words, her pain was gone.

Her legs now whole, her arms now worked, she cried, not in death or freight but relief, happiness, and joy...

Garbed in the darkest of red he offered her a gift a locket for her neck...the symbol of The Hidden Lord. A Broken Horn. And with a bowing head it was placed 'pon her troubled form.

Finally he spoke, a voice filled with un-encompassed love and compassion, as if he were the savior this land desired with a silvern tongue.

"Go...You will be saved..."

He moved, with ease of walk he strode into hell, Ayenee Capital City.

Sword in hand, golden blade, doused in blood. Tanar'ri fell in his wake. Rogue citizens, so lost in emotion and turmoil they tried to mimick the demon horde were cured with a wave of his hand.

Gargain at his side he preached, he screamed, he yelled, and they listened to his commanding tone.

"You will be saved! Listen to me! You will be saved!"

The wounded tended, given a second chance, medallions, rings and gifts, they were all given the broke horn.

In this time of need mortals reaching for survival believed, they believed in salvation and followed this preacher, not into battle but into fantasies and desires. Their most perverse dreams, they followed him west, away from the sky scraping tower and the flight of the dragons, towards that shadow that falls apon Ayenee, Dark Avalon.

But the lord who watches watched...A silhouette atop of the capital building, a black figure, a white figure, an angel or devil. He was what the eyes imagined him he was Gargauth but he was not there.

Perhaps this red garbed priest was one of many. And what else lie beyond the veiled wall of Dark Avalon? Those faithful would soon find out.
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The Tenth Lord
Strongly, purely, unabated by the horrors witnessed and atrocities committed, the song remained. That beacon of hope, those words of inspiration at a time when none are offered. An anthem of light, a sanguine hymn, a song of life, the primal song infused with the words of creation reverberated off the walls of the buildings surrounding monument square.

No weapon he carried, for the song was his sword. No armor he wore, for the song was his shield. Black boots, blue pants and shirts, a crimson mantle across his shoulders and a black hat wide brimmed hat with a purple ostrich feather for his crown. A lute in his hand and a song on his lips. It could have been any street corner or theater, except for the smoke and fire that consumed the city. Could have been any bard or musician in any of the multitudes of lands of Ayenee, except for the radiant golden emanation. Determinately he stood stoic and still against the oncoming sea of horror freshly spawned from the Abyss.

With the arrival of Gilden Tongue and the flight of dragons to carry the refuges of the city to safety, Astaroth's song changed. No longer was the light inspirational melody filling the air, but a deeper, more destructive ballad left his lips. A ballad of agony to those who would threaten the meek. A dirge of sorrow directed at those demons that believe the land without heroes and ripe for the taking. The golden aura emanating from Astaroth and enveloping Darren begins to revolve, gaining speed with every passing moment, colors begins to dance and crackle throughout the swirling sphere of golden light.

Smaller and faster the golden emanation spins, archs of lightening, bursts of flame, swirling ice, churning acid, all form and dissipate within the confines of the aura. The ballad of agony reborn flows from Astaroth's mouth and lute effortlessly, yet the strain is evident on the man's normally placid features. Veins bulging, face flushed red, golden orbs pulsing in rhythm with the ballad. The aura shrinking with each rotation, a shimmering ball of golden light. The song is deafening now, overloading the senses.

Astaroth's vision waivers from the strain on his body, finger tips bleeding from the strings of the lute, legs trembling as the song draws on his soul. The aura, now a small rapidly whirling sphere of elemental forces, the focus of the song. The sphere bobs in the air before Astaroth and Darren, between them and Scorn and his demonic horde.
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The Venerable Jai

Rumored to be alive...
Wages of Salvations

Quietly, the foppishly attired vampire watched all these minor miracles and amazing feats happening all around him. Deep inside of him, the beastly darkness scoffed and was repulsed by this display of absolute weakness. The strong were meant to pray upon the weak...they exist only to further the glory of those with the will to take for themselves. And yet, also deep within, the remnants of the soul of Shas stirred. Had he not, scant moments ago and for hours before, been fighting his way through Capital City, slaughtering the strong to protect the weak? Had he not been one the very saviors the darkest part of him despised?

He and his other half had come to terms: he fought to save the people and dispatch the Tanar'ri because it was the right thing to do. The other part of him fought to win the hearts and minds of the people so that they would be of some use to him, further down the road. And when they ceased to be useful...Shas wore a look of grim determination. He turned his back on Lord Darktide and his entourage, the bard, and the flame-wreathed psionicist. The people that made it to vehicles were protected by dragons from the Tanar'ri scourge, but many that made their way were not so fortunate. Just beyond the scope of the monument, demons attacked.

Shas resolved himself and rushed headlong into the fray. He was a perfect machine of death, weaving in and out of the throngs of demons that sought to worry these pitifuls souls, seeking the only salvation afforded them, not by whatever nameless deities they praised, but by a bard and a flight of dragons. His enchanted shikomizue's blade dug wicked furrows into the dretches and mans, and worried their demonic betters, as well. With a cry of blood-rage, he fought like a war-machine, dressed as he was in the dandy, toney threads of old Victoria. Heads were seperated from bodies, along with other limbs, spilling blackened and pus-yellow blood all around.

His words cut through the air of the night, a sense of urgency in them, and fueled by the darkling power inherit in his blood. "Go!" A simple command to the simpletons that could, before, only watch in absolute terror. This unnatural thing; this unblinking, unbreathing, undead monster. The kind of which whom they were warned about as they went along in their pathetic lives, bovine masses waiting for the slaughter offered by predators and caretakers, alike, was no longer standing amongst them to hunt...he was standing for them. Tanar'ri met swift death before his blade until, finally, a single lucky kyton managed to entangle him in his chains.

Shas could only think, before he went down beneath an uncounted throng of demons, "But...fiends abhor Tanar'ri..."

Doomsday Device

I Am Legend
He stepped back, away from Novelly - focusing on the two Tanar'ri in the distance. Within the darkened confines of his hood, thin ebony lips distorted into a cocky smirk. "Stay behind me, dearest." Was his simple response to the approaching monstrousities. He stood his ground, arms folded over his chest as he watched on. From the distance, a thick haze began to unfold from the forest - drifing towards Novelly and "Vaticus" at a steady, even pace. He turned towards the mist, before glancing back towards the beasts. "Silly Darktide; sending children to do a man's work?" He began his approach towards the daemons; unfalteringly. At that instance, another figure began to emerge from the mist. A figure that Darren would recall from his visions. A figure who clenched a skull, that would seem all too framiliar to the traiterous Darglore. Both bore a startling resemblance to Vaticus, down to their movement and facial expressions. The skull was tossed forward, onto the ground, as this "second Vaticus" took stand by his duplicate's side. They both watched, unblinking, and unconcerned. Breaking their silence, both spoke in unison, their voices identical, "Dare to challenge the power of the Hidden Lord, lowly daemon?" At that moment, it became apparent, somehow during his rebirth, Vaticus came to believe that he was Gargauth himself. More than just a dilussion, Novelly would sense this. In a harsh whisper, he dealt a single command, "NOW! And at that instance, something leapt forth from the surrounding countryside; easily bounding into the capital - though akward and clumsy, the beast wasted no time laying seige to the various structures that surrounded it. The beast resembled something out of a nightmare, and indeed it was. In mid-air, the creature lashed out with a clawed talon; cleaving into the head of the Kellindil monument, and sending the large bronze object pinballing into the capital; a path of destruction in its wake. Before the severed head of the statue could even land, a series of robed figures emerged from the aforementioned mist; all baring the mark of Gargauth embroided into their robes. As the figures drew their robes back; they too were revealed to be mirror-images of Vaticus. Clones? Or mere mysicism? They made their way towards their Master's side; encircling Novelly and Vaticus.
Reaching out towards Novelly, the "original" Vaticus placed his hand onto her shoulder, "We are legend; for we are many." With that said, a bestial roar sounded from the interior of the city; followed by the screams of fleeing townfolk. In the distance, the echos of war-drums pounded like thunder. The unmistakable march of a battle formation.

[Sorry for the short, half-assed post. Just giving Trisha something to work with. Will post again tonight.]

Novelly Skyefyre

Queen of Oblivion
Pinpricks tickled the back of her neck, reaching down and assaulting the entire length of her spinal column. Hungry eyes watched her, she knew, and pools of sapphire shifted to return the gaze. He never gave up, did he? Limbs tucked 'neath the curve of her breasts, watching idly as this monster commanded his creatures to parade through the streets of the city. The thought of him churned an empty stomach, but the sight of him was almost too much to take in. Must he always appear an ruin such a glorious and beautiful day? And then her attention shifted toward the puppets growing closer and closer to where she stood. Full, pouted lips couldn't help but pull into an amused grin. "Still sending underlings to do your work. How--" She had been interrupted by Vaticus' words, not so much the fact that he was protecting her... but the words he chose caught her offguard. Silenced her, was more like it.

Novelly's cheek ticked when another image of Vaticus appeared and stood side-by-side to the one she spoke with first.. but, wait.. The Hidden Lord? Did he return to Gargauth's side.. Her head tilted while she attempted to place the pieces back together. No, he was.. he was referring to himself. From left to right she watched the robed figures encircle her- paranoia licked at the curves of her flesh, muscles tightened. But the insignia they bore was not of Scorn's.. so that put an ease to her old bones.

Her eyes turned toward the hand, followed the arm, and stared toward the chest of the one that placed his hand upon her. Her eyes would raise, fully observing and studying the features of his countenance. As quickly as her head rose, it would fall with respect. Limbs unraveled, and her right hand swept infront of her form whilst the other extended behind her. She tipped in a bow, and finally.. dipping her head. "Yes, my lord."

Doomsday Device

I Am Legend
He lowered his clawed hand from her shoulder, carressing her bicep in an affectionate gesture, before releaing hold. In unison, the robed "clones" encircled Vaticus and Novelly; each of them taking to a single-knee, heads lowered before their GOD. Vaticus' piercing stare shifted, from one clone to the next - admiring them, it seemed. "You have served me well." And with that said, Vaticus reached into his own robe; producing a simple dagger. Stepping beyond the circle of his clones, he began to encircle them from behind. In unison, each of the clones drew their heads back; exposing their necks. Vaticus hung his head for a moment, offering a moment of silence. Without another second wasted, he grasped a handfull of hair from one of the clones, and wasted no time tearing the blade across their throats. Instead of blood, a vapor emerged from the wounds. He moved about the circle, each men ready to die as the one before him. With each throat slit, the vapor resembling a twisting nether, seemingly drawn to the presence of the executioner. Casting his arms outwards, he gazed towards the heavens, "Hear me, hear me now. I alone am the Hidden Lord." The vapors began to encircle him, winding up his legs, and to his torso - like an ethereal serpent. Eventually, the substance began to stream into his mouth, and nostrils. At that instance, his eyes were wracked with multiple shades of gray; swirling steadily. Consuming the vapor, the corpses of his clones began to dematerialize; reduced to ash. Kneeling down, he scooped a hand-full of the substance, and proceeded to use it to trace strange symbols over his visage. Gripping Novelly, he stepped back, and away from the sacrified clones. Meanwhile, his beast continued to lay seige upon the city; attacking anything in its path; ally and enemy alike.

Novelly Skyefyre

Queen of Oblivion
Lashes fluttered to a close, and her attention drifted toward the caressing hand. Relief would be an understatement to whatever emotion brewed inside; what she felt was a complete euphoric rush. It was a sad moment when his fingertips escaped the reach of her flesh.

Her eyes drank in the scene; all the robed figures kneeling before him as she remained bowing. She'd only rise when he began his trek around the circle, sacrificing them to his own wants and desires. Novelly watched intently; ever aspect of this ritual carved to memory. Each one of them were ready to die for him, each one unafraid of the fate that would unravel after their death. Such men and women were to be commended, or at least, remembered for such a thing. Very few take pride in what they believe in.

It was a rather interesting spectacle that unfolded after their throats had been slit- the vapor that leaked from their wounds and collected around Vaticus' form. She watched intently; for what purpose could this serve? And then, they ceased to exist- their bodies crumbled and all that was left was one man standing before them all.

She couldn't help but be pulled back when he took hold of her form. Her head twisted so that she could look upon his countenance; every detail was scrutinized. Squinting, she'd lean in only slightly as though trying to piece together all the pieces. After she was satisfied, her head would tilt toward the side, and a sigh slithered betwixted pouted lips. "I knew you weren't dead."

Doomsday Device

I Am Legend
Oddly, with the deaths of the aforementioned clones - he seemed a bit more youthful; a framiliar shimmer returning to his hazey, smoke-colored eyes. A framiliar shade of ebony washing over his thin lips. "I am forever." He whispered in response to her, gazing off into the distance as the severed-head from Kellindil's monument was again launched through the air, crashing into a nearby wind-mill. Admist the sea of destruction, he felt at peace. Unconcerned with Scorn's minions; the beasts seemed to keep their distance from himself and Novelly, gripped with fear, mayhaps? The Prince of Destruction watched on, his "queen" by his side. He seemed wracked with a state of tranquility, admist the turmoil beset upon the city. In the distance, a rumbling was heard; even mightier than the roars of the rumbling beasts laying seige upon the capitol. Gazing off into the distance, a structure began to rise from the earth. Dark, and ancient - tattered by weather, age, and decades spent submerged beneath cursed ground. His home, the Tower of Golgotha. Despite it's distance, the structure was quite obviously rather large, and menacing. Resembling a stalagmite from some abyssal cavern.

"Ahh, home... sweet... home.


New Member
Behold a pretty fucking visage of alabaster tone and soot colored pupils, and then rejoice to witness jagged scars, dark blemishes, and purpled bruises mar it's formerly flawless surface! Such was the way of mortals: find beauty and fuck it ruthlessly Ahhh...that maid there has the lower lips of a saint? Plow her! Plow her good! Split those thighs and make a furrow of her nether regions! Cast your gaze upon statues carved expertly from the most glorious of marble. Is your gaze casted? Good. Now watch as I smash this shit to pieces!

Explosions of magery rocked the battlefield, adding concussions of bass to an audible back drop heavy with the screams of the dying and the victorious cries of the living. The battlefield was ugly. Soldiers of both sides lay moist and devoid of life like the love stains on a young boy's bed sheets. Another ivory tower had fallen in the distance, crumbling to the ground in a puff of masonry.

Vaelfar sat atop a brown destrier, visor lifted so that the gore which splattered his helm wouldn't come to touch his lips-- some of that blood belonged to mercenaries and slaves who'd stick their penises in any common whoreling. Such fluid was not worthy to grace an agent of the Broken Horn's flesh.

The youngest Darglore had been masquerading like this for years, assuming the identity of some young count or noble, and then placing himself into wars civil and uncivil. As long as fat old men thirsted for wealth and hungered for the sweet teenage loins of their neighboring nations, wars were aplenty this side of Ayenee.

So Vaelfar dabbled in butchery and waited for the sounding of a horn.
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Novelly Skyefyre

Queen of Oblivion
"Heh." The sound escaped effortlessly from closed lips, while her head fell in a downcasted state. "I know." Again her attention shifted toward the dirt beneath their feet, to the side of his countenance. The corners of her lips pulled upward: humored, and content. "It's just that.. No one else would believe me." Scorn tomented her, and the rest simply told her waves upon waves of lies. She, however, -knew-.

The creatures Scorn sent after her captured the piercing blue of her stare once again. What was it about her that always cursed her with Scorn's unwavering attention? It was irritating to say the least.

The ground rumbled and shook, tormented by some underlying foe. The birth of a menacing tower cast a darkened shadow across Ayenee; a tower she had only heard stories of, and never saw herself.

"Welcome home, my lord. You've been sorely missed."

Blaise Feriah

Mother's Hands
Peace. Was there ever such a thing in Ayenee? Or rather, had Haven's mother really contributed to such a cause? Why was it that the child waits for that woman to come to bring peace to the warring beasts? Certainly the Feriah Elder was not a tyrant like those that ravage the capital city now, but even she had dark skeletons lurking in her closet. Perhaps this was simply unknown to the sheltered girl.

To Haven's left, near the trunk of the leaf-less tree, a cheshire grin manifests in mid-air. A perfect, pearly expression. A moment later, a pair of luminescent violet irises fades into existance and is quickly followed by the remainder of a slender, feminine form. Garbed in supple black leather, Blaise Feriah takes a moment to regard the chaotic scene before them. Slender brows furrow as she lowers herself into a crouch - planting her uncovered hands between her bare feet. Raven tresses, marred with threads of scarlet throughout, dip and flicker, waving like a long silken banner in the unrelenting wind.

Her senses were sharp, moreso than that of any mortal creature, and she was quick to drink in the unfolding play. Naturally, her eyes narrowed in on Scorn first. Still a prick. A frown marks her lips as she takes note of the dismembered bodies laying at his feet before her attention drifts again. This time, it was Darren her gaze sought. She did not recognize the man standing next to him, but it seemed as though the light of the Luminex kept the old warrior aloft. When did he become so frail looking? Perhaps he'd been like that for a long time, yet she'd somehow not noticed. Or perhaps it was because he was in the midst of such a horrendous affair that it stood out so plainly for any to see. Another familiar presence begs her acknowledgement... and that was of her oldest friend - Novelly Skyefyre. Though her dearest friend, the years had not been kind to the two women and thus they had grown apart. There was still relief in Blaise's vibrant eyes that Novelly appeared to be doing well. Delicate nostrils flare as her gaze flickers to the man at her side. Thick lashes flutter in a quick series of surprised blinks. ...Vaticus? Last she'd heard, he had died. Perhaps it shouldn't've been so surprising to see him again. Afterall, no one ever stayed dead long in this place. There was another great presence in this game, however... one she could sense, yet could not yet see. The Hidden Lord was somewhere...

Her appraisal of their surroundings took mere moments and after completing it, she looks to Haven. A harshness had unwittingly taken hold of the Elder's features as she noted the night's players. Make no mistake, she was known as an Elder, but she did not have the appearance of one. She was as youthful and as lovely as she'd ever been. Yet, upon looking at her daughter, her expression softens. There even seems to be a hint of sorrow in those glittering eyes.

Haven... What are you doing here? This is not the place for you. I've been looking for you everywhere.

Such is spoken in a near whisper marked with worry. She may have been responsible for some dirty deeds in the past, but there was something that could always be said of Blaise. Her children were her treasures and thus they were rarely seen - kept hidden, tucked in safety, from the harsh cruelties of the outside world.

It was very rare for this Feriah to be seen in an attire of leather, for she much preferred the fineries of garments that befit her ancient station of "Lady", yet time was an issue in finding this young winged child. She was dressed for stealth and swift movement. Word had reached her that this city was burning and the last she'd known, Haven was studying this area. So here she was.

Come... We must leave quickly.

There was a small note of urgency in her tone. Perhaps she wanted to depart before drawing attention to herself...


While Haven’s eyes may have been similarly keen as her mothers, the child’s lacked the experience of ages in her mind to place names and faces to complete what was turning into quite the developing story. It was an age old tale without an end that perhaps they would find in these coming nights. She watched with caution, allowing glances here and there to ensure there was nothing sneaking up on. Not entirely without a mind for what could happen.

At once she noticed the grin of a Cheshire cat, and the rest filled out in a manner she’d seen before. The young beauty, the elder Feriah perched nearby. Haven allowed the brief moment that Blaise had needed to survey the scene below before offering what was initially a happy smile, only to soften into a much more heartrending one.

After the question her eyes looked down again to the chaos, and she replied softly as ever, with a voice full of innocence. Indeed, she was daughter to a great mother, who kept her young ones safe and protected from the harm that might seek them.

“I’m watching the realm crumble under the weight of corruption and evil. I’m watching townspeople lose their faith in what is right and good, and only few stands against it.” Haven took a deep breath polluted with ash on the breeze, and released it sadly. “It’s horrible.”

Haven adjusted on her perch, wings unfolding and eyes locking onto her mothers. She could see the worry and hear the urgency.

“Lead the way, mother,” she whispered, ready to follow her to safety.

Kadyne Phaeder

New Member
There was no grandiose entry ceremonious arrival to beckon forth the attention of those who littered the lands of Ayenee. He had not come here to save or vanquish nor did he come here to be a spectator. Some would call it chance while others would call it fate and yet to categorize such a menial thing would be a waste of time. He was but a blip on the radar of many but the unnerving way in which his presence resonated evinced far more than was manifested. Silver hair, a mainstay within these parts, cascaded down and dappled his cheeks while he traversed ruined streets and remnants of a battle that has yet to end. Superfluous flaunting of energy and a conglomerate of alignments were met with mild interest as this being straddled the line of what was right to some and wrong to others. Darkness and light, good and evil, strength and meekness all dwelt within this being who did nothing more than casually walk into this war zone. Hazel effulgence radiated out as he reconnoitered the area out of pure boredom only to witness the plethora of beasts who decided to swarm through this weakened land. Would he even warrant attention from those who submerged themselves in this conflict?

Sunkissed flesh made stark contrast with the silver hair that acted more like a curtain to his uncaring visage than anything else. It would be an obvious tell of his indifference for the situation at hand. Blades strapped on his back, and very light armor decorating his body would have made it seem like he had equipped himself to participate but it was nothing of the sort. Finding some extremely high vantage point, he just sat there and watched what he could of the events, his vision transcending planes and objects, but since when was that of any concern to the myriad of powerhouses here? This newcomer seemed void of all bias, free of all opinions and most definitely neutral. The grotesque and horrendous meant little in his thought process and altruism held no priority within his mind. The Capital City was in this position of vulnerability because it was meant to be manipulated and tweaked by all. This was nothing he has not heard of before but to say that this grand-scale event did not spark just the slightest intrigue would be a lie.

So who was this man who decided to place his piece within this huge game of egos? Nothing but a nomadic soul, a wandering traveller that has stumbled into shaky territory. His power signature was unique, embedded within a gap that not many would ever achieve...a perfect union of contrasting energies united into a single shell (very much to the dismay of their host). He tacitly insinuated massive power but did not care to flaunt it as he was not here for any of the groups or individuals that were scattered across the city and beyond. He...simply existed here and nothing more. The occasional cursory glance would bring him to see exactly where he was, watching Shas defend and attack. He simply watched, the events unfolding not swaying his resolve or his thoughts at all. Gargauth, Scorn, Shas, Novelly....the whole lot of them were none of his concern.

The Venerable Jai

Rumored to be alive...
Being compressed from all sides, viscuous fluids leaking too and fro, (ruining his lovely clothes, he inadvertantly considered) with claws and fangs attempting to tear at him. But each of those creatures was in such furious blood-lust, they had actually rendered their own efforts useless. This is probably the only thing that kept Ried Shas 'pon this mortal coil, at the moment. He had ran enough, for one day...but he really saw no other choice. His mission was accomplished: the (irony of ironies) "tide" of demons had turned away from their human prey to fight him. Those humans were probably safely in the graces of the bard-conjured flight of dragons, by now.

He assumed a vaporous form, flittering inbetween the minute crevices 'twixt the compacted demonic horde. He fluttered with the wind and rose atop a small, thee-storied structure just above the grand were the horde overtook him. Safely materialized, he spied the scarred battleground (for this was, indeed, a battleground) of the Kellindil monument. His eyes spied yet another familiar face...a beautiful, noble face. "...Vaticus? I thought he was dead." He watched, with mounting interest, as he summoned these vicious marionettes, all of whom wore cloaks before defrocking to reveal they also wore his visage. And then, he executed them.

Each of the marionettes willingly stood their fates and, almost too literally "gave up the ghost." Some noxious vapor rose from their mortal wounds and coalesced before...well, Shas had seen enough. Vaticus was back and he bore the sigil of the Hidden Lord...the broken horn that symbolized a shattered covenant. A great rumble sounded out, bringing to mind memories of the Sundering of Ayenee, a couple years past. By this point, he was ready to give up on this place for good and all, open a dimensional door way, and be done with his home for time immemorial. He turned to see what happens. A familiar spire rose...the Tower of Golgotha.

Capital City was truly and rightly doomed. The battlelines seemed gravely drawn. He took a moment to account for the gathering. Scorn Darktide and his retinue. Vaticus Darglore, bringing fiends and seemingly with Novelly Skyfyre. Darren Darglore, the Darglore brother he was unfamiliar with, stood beside some as-yet-unknown bard who seemingly had the authority to beckon flights of dragons at his whim. He sensed the eldest Feriah, Blaise, who always seemed to accompany two or three of this rogue's gallery of damnation at every gathering, and a younger Feriah he had only heard about and never met. To match the bard, there were two others who's works were unknown to him.

Shas looked down at himself and his spoiled clothes. As yet, he was lucky they had not torn or ruined...but they were dirty. He swiped a hand, a simple cantrip clearing the debris and making him presentable. Shas leapt from the roof, assuming the form of a bat in mid-lead, and fluttered upon the winds. Chiropteran wings leading him toward a tree he would describe as very Halloween chic. He fluttered the wings in a slowing motion before reforming into his more socially acceptable humanoid form and landing before the Feriah pair. Dropping into a crouch, steadied by a single hand, he spoke softly, "I'm genuinely surprised it's taken you this long to involve yourself."

He wore the demeanor as one passer-by would when asking a stranger on the street for the time, not meaning to impose, of course.

A shadow passed over the city-scape, everything seeming to ficker and distort. In a split second, all was well again, as if it had never happened.

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New Member
Nestor Cromwell humbly crossed the threshold of the ‘Skewered Manhood’ and was instantly beleaguered by the reek of opium and ‘fotch’, a local term of slang pertaining to a female’s unwashed money-maker. The tavern’s name made complete sense after one’s gaze drifted towards the bar, behind which stood a sculpture of a nude man whose marble scrotum was now the resting place of someone’s dagger. Month old rushes cracked underfoot. Each step brought Nestor passed a leering face; patrons sent ill glimpses towards the neatly dressed man. A brown coat jacket and pressed slacks of a darker color made Mr. Cromwell the proverbial sore thumb on a hand where the other four fingers were well acquainted with holding the handle of a shank.

“Oh dreary me.”

It wasn’t until he spotted the man he had come looking for that he breathed a heavenly sigh of relief. So the rumors were true. Beneath this slanted roof which bore few shingles, and amidst a jamboree of rapists, thieves, and belligerent murderers, there dwelled a diamond in the rough. Perhaps ‘diamond’ wasn’t exactly right. A piece of obsidian in a pile of shit? Nestor was always crap with metaphors.

He arrived before the seated man and cleared his throat. This miniscule act, usually performed to dispel phlegm and seamen, was now utilized as a subtle means to draw attention.


Years had certainly changed the man who sat before Nestor. True he was still massive with shoulders seemingly chiseled from granite upon which the fabric of a dirty cloak rested in scrunched folds. The difference was the beard that lined his pronounced jaw, the way his hair hung in greasy strands veiling his eyes, eyes which now regarded Nestor with certain curiosity. Those eyes had lost their typical glint, that glossy shine which had reflected countless foes, women, victories, and failures within their dull blue depths.

“My name is Mr. Crom…”

“Be seated Mr. Crom.”

“Cromwell. Mr. Nestor Cromwell.” He uttered while he sat with haste. The thick smog of the tavern had stolen much of his tone and it was only after he cleared his throat, this time to actually vanquish phlegm, did he speak again.

“You are a hard man to find. I’d almost given up hope, thought you for dead. You do know that is the general consensus? That you perished with the fall of Ayenee, buried beneath the weight of so many crushed spirits.”

The long haired man huffed once before thrusting a spoon beneath the filmy top layer of stew steaming slightly in a pewter bowl set before him. The hand which held the simple utensil was calloused and large and was connected to a post-like forearm of sinewy muscle. Nestor found himself staring strangely at the veins upon that forearm until his idle mind was set into motion by the man’s reply.

“Heroes die. They’re the ones found amongst the bodies of the innocent, immortalized in some last ditch attempt to save others before themselves. Now villains, they be the ones getting out while the gettings good. I’m not dead. I’m not a hero. And this stew is horrible.”

“I can imagine.” Nestor eyed the spoon as it was dipped beneath the bowl’s murky surface once more. “What I can’t imagine is why you haven’t returned with the others. You know…there has been a gathering of sorts. Ayenee rebuilds itself. The mortars fresh but it’s drying nicely.”

“Ayenee rebuilt eh’?” The large man swallowed another spoonful, grimaced for the last time, and then pushed the bowl off to the side.

“Oh yes indeed.” replied Cromwell. “You’d be surprised at how many of its old inhabitants have…”

“You can have the rest of that stew if you wish.” Now it was Cromwell’s turn to grimace.

“No…that…no. Ahem. Right. My employer has asked me to extend an invitation to you. To return to this Ayenee rebuilt. He feels your presence would be a most sensational surprise.”

“Do you really talk like that?”

“Why yes, yes I do.”

“Ever lock arms with another man and skip through patches of colorful flowers?”



“Enough!” Cromwell adjusted his bowtie and let out a sigh. “I have a document in my possession, magical in nature, and once signed it would grant you access to this newly rebuilt realm of wonders and dangers.”

“Wonders and dangers…” The man let the words roll off his tongue where they were swept away by an opium-tainted draft originating from a slightly parted shutter. “I’m not too sure of all this, Cromwell. I mean, did you know my eyes never glowed? Yes, that’s right, never. I couldn’t control space or time. I’ve got a hell of a cocky stride but I sure as shit never ran in a blur…”

“Excuse me, but what does that have to do with anything? I am well aware of your reputation; your legacy is told using all sorts of frightening adjectives. Bloody. Savage. Cunning. Need I mention that your brother has already taken up residence there?”

This last statement finally found the effect Cromwell had been searching for. The thickly muscled man leaned forward slightly, a certain glint sparking to life in the sheen of his gaze.

“Mr. Cromwell, I do believe I shall sign your papers. “

“Splendid!” Nestor had already reached into his jacket and had produced a rolled scroll and a damp quill. Both items were laid upon the table.

“I tell you now. If, by some means, this turns out to be treachery disguised as a skinny nut hugger clad in a bowtie and equally silly hat, I will find you. I will pummel you.“

Rough fingers took up the pen and etched across the paper a name which was worth its weight in bones, the countless bones of shredded corpses left in wake during years when heroes and villains clashed upon fields tended by a man named Kellindil.

It took but a moment, and by the time the ink had dried on the paper the large man had faded from sight, to reappear in a realm where all manners of people, Gods, demons, and dragons sought to rekindle flames from the past.

“Splendid indeed…” muttered Mr. Cromwell as he clutched the paper in his sweaty little hands. Beady eyes looked down upon the name scrolled there, each letter wavering and reflected in his shiny black pupils.
Lucifer Noctarus


New Member
The dust upon the ground stirred as the air began to warm over its surface, as purplish eldritch energies began to tear their way through the astral to this prime. The breeze grew into a small whirlwind as the black and purple tendrils completed their sundering of reality, folding space upon itself, and allowing the Hunter a quiet, and sufficient manner of entry back into this realm. There was no need for any fanfare, for now, as usual, he would observe.

Fully stepping through the portal, he brushed a bit of the floating debris from his velvet overcoat, and produced an intricately inlaid cigarette case. With a quick flick of the wrist, he produced a savory smoke and placed it between his crimson lips. A brief inhalation, and the spark of flame upon its tip, and the succulent smoke filled his nostrils. Placing the case back within the breast of his overcoat, the Hunter took one final gaze down his personage to make sure that there was no particulates staining his immaculate visage, especially on his perfectly shined boots. Finding none, smoke in hand, with a quick brush of his taloned hand through his black and red streaked mane, he moved towards the carnage.

The power here had traces of the past, perhaps not quite the same potency as their former glories, but nascent, nonetheless. Now to determine the lay of the land, and see what all was at work. This situation showed promise.

The Venerable Jai

Rumored to be alive...
Fear, itself.


Scarcely had the words left Shas, directed toward the elder Feriah, when an altogether familiar sense entreated his attention. The vampire had experienced those sensations repeatedly, quite recently, as more and more shadows (and skeletons) of the past found their way to the greatest city of Ayenee. But this was a particular arrival of note, accompanied by the frantic whispers of the charm he had commissioned long ago. An early warning system, if you will. Shas was truly thrice-damned. Unlike other vampires, he had died not once, but twice, and returned to this mortal coil with some semblence of a continued existance.

His first death had been at the hands of his lover, who returned from the grave on the day they were to be married to give him a precious gift. Since then, he had not aged a day in corpus, but experience had built a wiser, better Shas. He fancied himself clever in the way that he did, indeed, learn from his mistakes when facing a problem in a purely logical sense. When overcome by the emotional aspect of being a predatory undead human, with the echoes of emotions clouding one's judgements, things often became blurred. Poor decisions were made and acted upon, thus losses accrued and this grand game they call life (or something like it) continued, ever onward.

The second time he met death was on less friendly terms. It was, again, a lover who brought it to him...but he could hardly blame her for it. His was a singular passion, an echo of love (as his kind experienced no new "positive" emotions). One would compare it to an obsession. And this obsession led him to make some extremely poor decisions, one of which was a duel with arguably the most powerful Tanar'ri he (or, indeed, anyone else) had seen, at that point in time. Shas knew his true name...he had learned to speak Abyssal so he could call him by it. The Drow called this creature "Silinrul wun lil Olath." In the tongue of their Elvish cousins, it was "Far aul Nevae." Any dragon daring to speak his name (in their own, power-laden language) would spit out the words "S‘jach Kothar."

To the few in Tenaria and Ayenee with any recollection he was known only as the Dark Hunter. And Shas yet knew him by another name...Death.

After his transformation, the gift of his bride-to-be, only one being in the whole of Tenaria and Ayenee had brought true and final death to Shas. Many had tried, a few of which were dangerously close to success. But let no rumors nor lies be told, let none other lay claim, that being was (and still is) the Dark Hunter. It was this reason that a much different sensation overcame Shas...terror. The only true fear Shas had was resurrected in this place? At this time? He harbored no illusions about what would happen if he were to stand against that Tanar'ri, as he had arrogantly tried in his youth.

And this time, he had no love true enough to return him from the Palace of Eternal Darkness, or whatever grandiose name that wretched creature who tended his endless torture had called it. According to the one who called him back, he had been gone less then a week. To the recollection of Shas, he had spent nearly 5000 years in that miserable place. The rumor that undead are denied Hell? It's true. He had been to the Nine Hell of Baator, he had looked into the Infinite Lairs of the Abyss. Neither of these places matched. The closest he had seen to this specialized Hell was the Plane of Shadows. Perhaps, deep within...

Shadows. Like the shadow that had passed over him, moments before. Like the space outside of time where he a several others had shared...well, not much of anything, really. But he had a feeling things would've progressed much differently if didn't matter. He had other concerns to focus on, now.

It didn't matter. Point of interest: Shas never wanted to see that place, again, all of Ayenee, and everyone in it, be damned! He bowed his head to the Feriah pair, "Excuse me." He leapt again, assuming the vaporous form and drifting along. He corporealized and faced Scorn Darktide, at a safe distance...well, moderately. The safest distance with Scorn Darktide involved was on another plane of existence, but Shas felt comfortable that if anything untoward should happen, he could arrange a suitable distraction and escape. The last time he had faced Scorn, (less then a week ago, to any recollection here) he had been...well, not on equal footing, but much more powerful, in any case.

"Lord Darktide," Shas gave a polite bow to the fifteen feet tall spawn of the Abyss, "May your talons be ever scarlet with the blood of your detractors." Shas put forth a genial face, "I see you accepted the invitation I offered...and you were kind enough to redecorate the place. Charming! Casual chaos and destruction always makes for such an interesting...ambience. Shas looked about him at the destruction wrought upon the Kellindil Monument, and sighed inwardly, before returning to his friendly front.

"But enough of my obsequiousness...I was under the impression that the rabble of demons currently escorting Capital City in it's descent into whatever lair of the Abyss they crawled out of were at your beck and call. However, judging by the relatively small retinue that gathers about you, I'm beginning to believe that the rest of the Tanar'ri that infest the city are not under your control. So I pose you these two questions, Lord Darktide: Who has sent them? And to what purpose?"
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"Hey, King, remember him?"

"How could I forget? He's the one that sent me into that coma, back the last time the boss was in town. We've been heading towards him since he showed up here."

"Really? I thought Prince was the only one who could do that."

"Let's just say he's a hard one to forget. C'mon, let's get over there."

Mark Bishop and Alexander Prince battled their way through the swiftly-becoming-ruined streets of Ayenee Capital City, What used to be impeccably clean business suits were torn nearly to ribbons, smudged with dirt and blood, a little of it their own. In short, they looked like hell.

Appropriate, since they were fighting their way through a smaller version of it. Fiends and crazed natives alike stood in their way, protecting the path to the Kellendil monument, falling before the modern armament the pair carried. Their boss took care of them, pistols with enchanted bullets were a standard sidearm for the organization. Mark carried a rifle, though not the oversized one Ried Shas might remember him using all those years ago, while Alexander was a Psychokinetics specialist, throwing fiends aside with but a thought. Even with this, they weren't even close to the untouchable ones who gathered near the Kellindil monument.

"These are the most dangerous people who ever walked the face of Ayenee. You ready for this?" Mark was asking Alexander as they completed the final few steps to the monument, where nothing less than the godlike ones dared venture near. It gave them a well-needed breather before the inevitable chaos erupted again.

Alex spit off to the side, more blood than saliva was filling up his mouth thanks to a nasty hit to the head he'd gotten just minutes earlier, it did little to stop his enthusasim. "You kidding man? I live for this shit!"

Mark Nodded, and took the lead, walking into the crowd. "Scorn Darktide, Ried Shas, exalted visitors from both near and far," Mark didn't know the names of even half those assembled here, "Saar'Tcheras apologizes for being unable to be here in person, but he couldn't stand to let this little gathering take place without his voice being heard."
Fifteen feet of bone dripping ichor, black, red, and green. Pit's of beady black adorned his face in twelve different slits of eyes whilst what remained of his flesh was ridden with sores and disease. Puss infested holes scoured about those meaty bones, as what lie beneath was revealed.

A bottomless pit of torment and sorrow, faceless masks of crying dead littered his bones and gullet, thousands, millions of the dearly departed who will never know peace. His face almost dog like in appearance snarled, salivically viscous teeth grinding on the leg of a once beautiful woman before swallowing it nearly whole.

Like a boom, thundrous in it's own form of cacophony his eyes left both, Novelly and Vaticus, turning back to Astaroth and Darren, gauging his opponents, little more than a fly to be swatted in comparison, his breath almost methane like thickened into clouds of vaporous ooze, sticking to concrete and man alike, and then it moved.

Twisting, pulling, digging. The local police, the ayenee militia and every peasant or hero that dare approached him. His viscous, thickening breath touched them with death. Flesh tearing from bone, arms snapping like twigs, head's twisting in a one eighty as eyes exploded in their skull.

Scorn's vicinity was like a shell of doom, and then he regarded this so called frenemy, Ried Shas.

"I don't control hordes, I set them free...Fiends on an alien plane..."

Scorn's knife like didgits grabbed the flying head of the Kellindil Monument from the very air itself before reducing it to dust apon his viscousy form.

"Why prevent them from doing what they want, the sheer horror theese infidels feel is more than enough tax for allowing my horde their freedom, their death..a small tax for my thrills"

Despise and Deceit neared Novelly, so close. Yet as they were about to make their move, ignoring every one of Vaticus' antics they stopped. As did Scorn, he turned away from Ried, away from the militia and the tormented screams of their dwindling numbers from just the touch of his breath and looked at Astaroth, every one of his twelve eyes widening, those gnashing teeth rearing with the skinless lips twist upwards.

And now he moved, legs the size of a small tree carring him over ten foot a stride towards Astaroth and the bubble that was conforming, oh Scorn could read magic. He could sense the powers and touch their source, he knew what was coming, the blood on the bards fingers, the sweat on his brow the illusions that dabbled the air. Scorn became...annoyed.

He would run over, and through anyone, or anything that stood his path, knife like fingers swiping up, an execution like upper cut to anyone unfortunate enough to be caught by those bones.

In his wake foot prints filled with his own bodily fluids were all that remained of the crushed dying trampled 'neath his mighty foot.

Oh Scorn had power, he could match magic to magic, but he much prefered the melee, weaponless combat, it was so much more terrifying. Flaying with his fingers. It was messier, funner and scared the shit out of anyone watching...especially his was what he fed off of.

To him there was only Darren, and Astaroth.

Blaise Feriah, he knew she was there. An old infatuation that he never loved but grew fond of having around. Novelly Skyfyre. The same as Blaise in most regards. Vaticus Darglore. Another frenemy. There were times when they helped each other and lots more where they destroyed continents fighting. He could sense Gargauth, the coward hidden, and Ried Shas, a pawn that may be of some use...But right now there was Astaroth and Darren Darglore, the only two beings that really stood up to him. If he crushed them this city would topple to their knees before The DarkTide

And so it was with weaponless hands and feet that Scorn approached Astaroth and Darren. God help them.

Blaise Feriah

Mother's Hands
Her expression softened as she listened to Haven's explaination. True enough, the city was in a sorry state. A slender hand rises to rest gently upon her daughter's right shoulder and a small squeeze of comfort is given before she averts her eyes to the surrounding chaos.

It is horrible. But this is not the first time the realm has faced such a trying ordeal - nor will it be the last. In the end, however, good always triumphs.

Or at least the tyrants become bored and lose interest in slaughtering the masses for a time. Haven didn't need to hear this particular detail right now. A quick series of blinks finds herself looking at Ried as he regards her, before he suddenly excuses himself. Her hand slides from the girl's shoulder to rest with the other between her feet against worn bark. Odd. She'd been standing here for a few moments, yet the Darktide had not spared her so much as a glance. Very odd. Tilting her head slightly to the side, her eyes find the fiend and take note that his attention seems ensnared by the man of song and by Darren. There was no doubt in her mind that he knew she was here, but there was not a time in the past that he'd allowed her presence to go ignored. What was it the two men were doing to vex him so?

Change of plans, Haven... Take to the sky and keep yourself from Harm's Way. If any of these creatures so much as look at you, flee. If you cannot, call to me and I will come.

This was a bad idea. She knew it, yet her feline nature often goaded her into acts of compulsion. There was curiousity - who was Astaroth? How did Darren know him? Would this be the day that the old man falls? A quick glance is cast about to make sure no creature, man or demon, were sneaking up on the tree in which she stood, before returning her attention to the trio in question.
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