Inferno sat alone on the throne of Avalon, the corpses of guards littering the floor and the shattered Celestial-Blade laying at his feet - the once majestic castle that had housed the proud Pendragon line for generation was now little more than a pile of ruins: Inferno just sat without saying a word, his glowing red eyes simply staring out into the darkness.. outside the castle the scene was even worse, entire villages burnt to the ground as the bodies of both pegacorn and dragon lay amidst the carnage. Finally after a few agonising moments Inferno clutched his fist tightly as his eyes flashed menacingly and he finally uttered one single word: "..Equis..".
Chapter I - Dawn
The sun began to rise over a quiet little town in some remote region of the world, it was one of those places that hadn't changed much over the years and despite the early hour a few people were already active, preparing for the day ahead: some of them stopped as an unusual stranger entered town, dressed in a trenchcoat and large hat the figure tried to blend in but he couldn't disguise his large draconic wings nor could he hide his grey skin and red eyes from the crowds.. still he kept quiet as he headed towards a nearby bar and sat outside, "..how did it come to this? I'm a King damnit, not some travelling vagrant.." the figure thought before he looked up at a maid and sighed "..I'll take whatever you have" he said, watching as she hurried off.
A girl was standing across the road. She simply stood there, staring at him, with a strange glow in her eyes.
The stranger nodded slightly as the maid put down a glass of water, he looked over to the girl and narrowed his eyes slightly, he shifted in place and took a drink - uncomfortable with his surroundings, "..it seems everywhere I turn demons stalk me, is this your goal brother? to drive me insane? what more can you do to torment me?" he thought bitterly.
The girl shows a faint smile, and starts walking towards the stranger, without taking her eyes of him. When she's standing in front of him, she keeps staring, not saying a word.
The stranger looks to the girl once more, taking another drink before he speaks out "..if that traitorous dog of a brother sent you be quick with your business, I have suffered enough indignity at the hands of the Twilight.." - his voice is bitter, the kind of bitterness that comes with generations of mistrust and betrayal: yet despite the anger in his voice their is hint of sadness too.
The girl starts shows her faint smile once again. "You think you know many things, but yet you are a fool... My name is Amnesty, princess of the Twilight, I came here on my own accord, no one has the power to send me anywhere.."
The stranger stands up quickly, pulling out a large sword that glows with immense energy: knocking the table over as he spreads large draconic wings - he snarls at the girl, his eyes instantly igniting in rage "vile traitor! you are of the Twilight - you slaughtered my people and now you come for me, you'll find that Equis will not go down so easily.."
Amnesty doesn't move. she raises her hand and the table floats back in his original position. "Fool! Drop your weapons, I have nothing to do with the slaughtering of your people. Where I reside, that tragedy has been forgotten for a long time..."
Equis growls, noticing as the maid starts to flee, he leaps forward - grabbing her and holding the sword to her throat before turning towards Amnesty again "..have you seen human blood, Amnesty? it is.. interesting.. it looks very much like pegacorn blood, yet appearances can be decieving.. my blood is that of a King.. so speak quickly: do you know of my brother? of Inferno?"
"I know many things, is that a bad thing? I don't think so..." Amnesty replies. "But I guess you want a more direct answer? Yes, I have heard of him. And to answer your other question, Yes, I've seen human blood, My army slaughtered many humans, the soldiers that trampled my world... I don't care about the human you're holding, so you might as well let her go..."
Equis tosses the maid away and snorts "you are as corrupted as all the other Twilight beasts, if you know of my brother then you know what he has done - you will of heard of his betrayal.. the question now remains: do you aid him?"
"You call me corrupted? You, who is blinded by anger and hatred? And tell me, why would I come here, to see you, if I were on your brothers side?"
Equis laughs coldly "angry? perhaps - blinded.. how can those who live in darkness be anything but blind? I care not - these words are meaningless.. strength is won through steel and magic, not through petty argument.. you seek to aid me then I suggest we prepare ourselves for travel: the sun has began to rise and mark my words by the end of this day the rightful King of Avalon shall rule again.."
"Steel and magic... I guess you're right... I'm ready when you are... Equis"
Equis puts his sword down and looks around "..we need to head for the mountains, when the sun is at it's highest point we'll need to be atop the highest mountain - my blade will do the rest.." - with that he starts to walk off, folding his wings over himself like a cape.
Amnesty follows him, hovering a few inches above the ground. "Tell me Equis, where are we going, and why... I'm willing to aid you, because my senses tell my I should... But I'd like to know what we're going to do..."
Equis continues walking and speaks without looking back, "I am going to open a gateway to Avalon, to take back the throne that was taken from me.. my brother sits upon a mountain of corpses.. my home is in ruins.. all because of the Twilight.."
"You seem to think the Twilight is the reason of your downfall... but it isn't... It is your own brother who caused it.."
Equis turns to Amnesty "..my brother may as well be the Twilight, every thing that made him a Pendragon was devoured by Kaosa and the rest of the Twilight Dragonflight - even when the accursed realm of Twilight was destroyed he rose to torment me.. I was foolish enough to ally with him against Arodnap.. I even thought it possible he had changed.. I was wrong and it cost me everything.."
Amnesty starts hovering next to him, instead of behind him. "And what do you plan to do about it Equis, the past should not be changed, and most creatures can't change the past"
Equis shrugs slightly "..I intend to kill him, what happens after that is of no concern.. as long as the Twilight-King lays dead at my feet.."
"Hmmpff.. classic example of not thinking things through... But what happens is not of my concern..." She sighs. "How long untill we're there, Equis?"
Equis notes "it shouldn't be long now.. unless.." - he stops as the ground in front of him rumbles and splinters, tearing itself apart as a large dragon emerges - it's scales ebony-black, breathing out smoke as it narrows its glowing green eyes towards the travellers. "..Equis! we would have words with you!" the dragon growled deeply.
"Equis... how about some introducing us? For some reason, I assume he's not your friend?"
Equis narrows his eyes and prepares to draw his sword as he looks up at dragon "..accursed Ebonscale - since when did the Midnight dragonflight concern itself with the world of mortals?"
Amnesty sighs. "Why can't things ever go the easy way..." She draws her swords... "I'm ready when you are Equis"
Ebonscale simply chuckles darkly, "..you think just like your father did, Equis - believing that sword alone makes right - you may fool the girl but you don't fool me: I know the evil men do.. you may slay me Equis but in the end what will be left in the universe but darkness? you have already shed the blood of thousands.. how many more shall fall to the so-called King of Avalon and his pawns?"
"Believe me, I'm not one to be fooled easily.. And I'm more dangerous than you seem to realise.." Amnesty looks at Equis. "Like I said, I'll do what you want me to do.."
Ebonscale dismisses Amnesty with a waving gesture "if that was so why would you be allowing Equis to be leading you to yourf death so willingly? you may be wise girl but you have much to learn about the loyalty of Pendragons.. Equis, care to inform your pawn of why you were exiled from your land? she may find it interesting.. I know I found it most amusing.."
Equis frowns and pulls his sword, "..it's none of her concern, nor is it yours - go back to your dragonflight.."
Ebonscale simply smirks "you and your pawn can't kill me Equis, I'm an Aspect - the best you can do is banish me and where would the fun be in that? after all Equis.. think of the children.."
Amnesty rolls her eyes... "Firstly, Ebonscale, was it? I am not a pawn, I can think for myself, and I have deliberatly chosen to assist Equis. Secondly, Equis, if you want me to help you, you'll have to tell me a bit more about your past, if you choose not to, I will take my leave now..."
Equis growls "then leave, I have no use for anyone - I'll finish this myself!" -he slashes at Ebonscale only to be knocked back with a single flick of the dragon's tail.
"Ignorance is a very dull trait Equis, arrogance is equally unappealing - you should listen to the girl.. of course she may think differently of you when she learns it was you, not your brother, who destroyed Avalon and painted it's streets with the blood of thousands.. men, women, children.. dragon and pegacorn alike.. your brother waits upon a shattered throne Equis, waiting for the moment to strike you down.. yet in your stupidity you toss aside valuable resources.." Ebonscale states coldly.
A girl dressed in red suddenly leaps out of the shadows with alarming speed and switfness, welding a large axe - "..do all Kings in Avalon have such empty skulls?" she notes - landing on the ground before she continues "..I heard something about the blood of women and children - and I would have words with you, Equis.." (..it's Red again, if you don't want me in the story say so and I'll remove this)
Equis frowns "..another seeking to add to my misery? haven't I suffered enough?" - he tosses his sword away and glares angrily at Ebonscale before turning to Red and Amnesty "..I may of slain thousands but what concern is that of yours? I have my reasons.."
Red points her axe towards Equis and says, without much sympathy "then speak your piece, King of Avalon - you would do deal to be quick with your words: I am not as patient as this one.." - she bobs her head slightly to Amnesty before speaking to Equis again "..in fact I lost patience with men like you a long time ago.."
Amnesty frowns slightly. "I'm starting to lose my patience to. I demand answers." And suddenly, stone walls start to rise around Red, Equis, Ebonscale and Amnesty. "No one leaves, until I have my answers" (Good to see you're back Red, it makes the story even more interesting)
Equis frowns and goes to speak when a new voice echoes across the room, a small portal appearing on one of the walls as another pegacorn appears, he looks almost identical to Equis but is younger and one of his wings looks like it has been torn "..you will get nothing but lies and nonsense for Equis.." - he looks around, frowning slightly more at Ebonscale "..yet she is right you know, this can't continue.. what does it earn you in the end? you seek to kill me you'll need to tell her the truth, let her decide for herself.. at the very least she may gain some respect for you if you didn't act so rashly.." - the portal closes behind the pegacorn and he simply stands with the others.
Chapter II - Morning Twilight
Red tightens her grip on her axe and tenses, crouching down slightly as if ready to leap towards someone at any point "..another fool seeks to test my patience? tell you what.." she notes to Amnesty "..why don't we just kill them both, I'd say their world would be better off without either of them.."
"Now may not be the time for such rash solutions." says the voice of Arbiter, who then materializes within the magical prison.
Inferno and Equis don't say a word, apparently for the first time in a while Equis is actually keeping silent - his frown pretty much says it all
Amnesty looks at Red. "Let's see what they have to tell us, but really, I don't feel like waiting anymore, so you better start talking..."
Red simply holds onto her axe, "..I will shed blood today, be it the blood of murderers or the blood of fools.." - she looks around "..how long are we too be subjected to this infernal sorcery?"
Amnesty looks at Red, clutching the ball of energy.. "That depends on Equis and Inferno... We'll be here, untill I've gotten my answers... And please, don't try to shed my blood, it won't help.."
Red stares at Amnesty and shakes her head, "..why would I shed the blood of the one sane person in this entire prison? even if she is a sorcerer.."
Amnesty shows a little smile. "Well... that's something I guess.. Some people attack first, only thinking about it later... Now Equis, start talking."
Equis frowns and stares at Inferno "..I should gut you where you stand" - Inferno simply sighs "..Equis, you are in the company of sorcerers, witches and dragons - not to mention a Keeper of Balance - your threats are almost as hollow as that skull of yours.." - Equis growls slightly and crosses his arms, addressing the others. "..fine, be done with it then - what do you want of me?"
Amnesty sighs... "Well, I want answers... What happened? And more importantly, why did it happen...?"
Equis snorts, "what do you think happened? war had broken out on the fringes of Avalon and I had to make leave to have talks with the Barbaric Lord - to try and appease his arrogance and end the bloodshed: in my foolishness I trusted this foundling to guard my throne.. when I returned he had slaughtered all of Avalon and burned the palace to the ground.."
Ebonscale chuckles slightly.
Amnesty turns towards Red. "Well Red, it seems we're going to kill them after all... Unless they give more specific answers.."
Arbiter, feeling the tension in the air, curls his fingers as if to summon his blade, in case violence was to break out.
Inferno shakes his head, "first of all, killing anyone in the presence of a Midnight Dragon such as Ebonscale would only make things worse, his dragonflight exist to murder and sow chaos - as for specific answers, how can you expect people who have spent centuries at war to be specific? they are as ignorant of the forces around them as you are.. you are wrong though Equis, I didn't slaughter those people.. our minds have been clouded by darkness brother.. a force that seeks to drive us apart again.. you of all people should know what that means.."
Equis frowns "..what are you talking about?"
"..when you left to deal with the Barbaric Lord I was approached by a band of exiles seeking refuge for the night: when I awoke in the morning the city had been destroyed.. that was when you returned and in your usual lust for battle fought me without allowing me to explain myself.. and here you still refuse to listen.." Inferno replies.
Ebonscale chuckles again "..you slept through a massacre? a likely story: I was there that night and I saw what happened - Equis slayed them all.."
Inferno simply looks to Ebonscale "..and pray tell how Equis could of slaughtered our people when he was already away from the city?"
Amnesty starts to get angry, and the walls start moving towards each other... "ENOUGH. Stop arguing, or I'll make sure no one will leave this prison... ever"
Inferno holds his hands out and pushes against the walls with invsible energy, halting them in their tracks - or at the very least slowly them and addresses Amnesty, his eyes glowly darkly "..you would do well to mind your place, you have grown too accustomed to being in charge: the universe does not bow to your will.. you sought answers and you recieved them.. you wish to fight then I will gladly give you one.. but what good does it earn either of us? the truth of the matter is none of us knows what is happening - the answers lie in Avalon itself and the longer we bicker the more time we give to those that would see us all destroyed.. there are forces at work you could not fathom in a thousand years of existence, princess.. and no amount of witchcraft can save you from that cold reality.. if any of us are to survive we need to work together.."
Amnesty starts to calm down. "Very well... I will give all of you the benefit of the doubt... but that doesn't mean I trust you..." And suddenly the walls retract back into the ground. "Let's go then, shall we?"
Inferno smiles to Amnesty "I learnt long ago it's not about trust or caring, I suppose you'd call it tolerance.. sadly some of us forgot that lesson.." - he looks to Equis "..but you know, she's right brother - fighting is useless.."
Equis simply watches the whole scene and frowns "..let's just get this over with".
Inferno nods then looks to the group, "..we need to go somewhere I doubt any of us will like very much and I know the moment I mention it's name you'll think me mad, foolish or stupid - yet if we're to find out what happened that night.. what really happened.. we need to make sure that the obvious culprit is not at work: however our culprit has been.. deceased.. for a while.. which means we should head to Tartarus.. the Underworld if you will.."
"..you're right, you are mad.." Equis notes.
Inferno shrugs "..what does it matter? we need to be certain she's not alive" - he looks to Red and Amnesty "..if you knew Arodnap you'd understand why I need to do this.."
Red looks to Amnesty for a moment and asides to her, "you're right not to trust them, men can rarely be trusted - however.." - she turns to address the entire group "..innocent blood has been shed and I will find those responsible so for now at least the enemy of my enemy is also my friend.."
Amnesty looks at Red. "Don't worry, I haven't lost my mind, and I do not trust them... But I guess you could say we're all sailing on the same ship, and the only way to get back to land, is by working together... So I suggests we go immediately..."
Arbiter says nothing, but turns away, deep in thought, remembering that fateful night where he battled Arodnap with Inferno and Drasocon. He then draws his greatsword, Laevateinn. "No use waiting. Show us the way, Inferno."
Ebonscale smirks "you do as you wish, mortals - as for me.. well, I'd prefer to stay alive.." - with that he vanishes.
Inferno shakes his head "..forget about him, demons are all the same - tricksters.. and where we're going I'm afraid they'll be worse to worry about than demons.." - with those encouraging words he concentrates deeply, the sky above starts to change and the sun undergoes an impossible eclipse as a gateway bursts open, fiery and forbidding..
Chapter III - Solar Eclipse
Inferno looks to the gateway and nods slightly to the group - "I suppose I should go first but someone make sure Equis doesn't stab me in the back if I do.." Equis simply frowns "don't tempt me.."
Inferno sighs and walks into the gateway, disappearing behind the wall of flames.
Amnesty nods slightly. "Equis, you'll walk in front of me, I'd like to keep an eye on you..."
Arbiter silently walks through the wall of flames.
Equis shrugs and walks into the gateway "..if I die I'll personally haunt each of you.." he mutters.
Meanwhile on the other side of the gateway lies a disturbing sight - a huge cavern dotted with large jagged mountains and stormy skies, demonic cherubs flutter around playing haunting melodies while every now and then streaks of lightning flash across the sky: Inferno stands by the edge of the gateway and waits for the others - looking out at the scene.
Arbiter catches up. "So, this is Tartarus?"
Amnesty nods. "Yes, this is Tartarus... not a place where you go voluntarily, is it?" She looks at Inferno, "Tell me Inferno, exactly how dangerous is this place for us?"
Inferno simply scans the area "to you? it is harmless enough - this is one of my world's afterlife.. for lack of better term.. you weren't born in Avalon so this realm can not claim your life-force: that's not to say it can't be unpleasant.." - he watches a few demonic cherubs cackle madly as they flutter around, pulling at each other's wings in a twisted parody of childlike play.
Equis speaks up "..it's not the Tartarus that outsiders think of - that much should be made clear - this is where the most foul traitors of Avalon go when they.. pass on.. father spoke of it to me before.."
Inferno looks over to a nearby mountain "..Arodnap should be inside that mountain, chained for eternity like the rest of the traitors - however before we can move further I'm afraid we have a problem.."
No sooner had Inferno stopped speaking than a massive entity emerged in front of the group - rising up from the depths of the cavern below: it resembled a mix between a man and a rat, it's form half-decayed yet encased in a bulky armor: between the giant's claw-like hands is a very large polearm, the creature looks to the group and speaks in a voice akin to thunder "long have I waited for you to enter my realm, Prince Inferno.. I have a set of chains with your name written on them.."
Amnesty laughs slightly. "Inferno, you might want to introduce us to eachother.... And to get back on what you said, we are a quite powerfull group of entities, so I think we should be fine.."
Arbiter draws Laevateinn, and points the blade at the creature.
Amnesty nods slightly. "Not a bad idea Arbiter." And Amnesty draws her swords as well, both of them shining with a faint green light.
Inferno doesn't laugh, he looks at the demon and freezes.
"Bubonus, Keeper Of The Keys - Judge Of The Dead.." Equis notes.
The giant extends one of its arms and points towards the group, "..it is time for you to suffer from your sins Inferno.. as for the rest of you - leave this place, you do not belong.." - then without warning the ground begins to shake and splinter as demonic beings resembling tiny burning skeletons rise out of the blackened rock, numbering in the thousands.
Amnesty's eyes start to glow green and her hair waves in a not-existing wind. "I guess we have a problem here..."
"Perhaps..." responds Arbiter.
Inferno snaps out of his moment of shock and narrows his eyes, "..go, find Arodnap - it's me Bubonus wants.." - with that he flies towards the giant.
Meanwhile the demons continue clawing their way out of the ground and start swarming around the group, Equis looks to Inferno and frowns "..why does he always try to make some grand sacrifice? does he think it can redeem himself?" - he extends his blade and looks to the others, motioning towards the nearby mountain - "..let him damn himself, Tartarus is the best place for his kind anyway - let's go"
Amnesty turns back to normal, and looks at Inferno. "Yes...... let's go..."
Arbiter takes one last look at Inferno, before follwing the rest, muttering "Inferno...always making some sacrifice...what is he trying to prove?"
Inferno hovers next to Bubonus and addresses the giant "..you want me, take me - leave my friends, they seek to check on Arodnap - to ensure she hasn't escaped - they won't trouble you.."
Bubonus looks to Inferno "..you care for them?" - he strikes Inferno hard, crashing him into a wall of the cavern "..then I shall take pleasure in gutting them" - with that he points towards the group again and the horde of demons launch towards them. screaming and clawing: tiny but vicious.
Equis stops in his tracks and his eyes widen slightly as he perks his head - his memories flashing for a vague moment to his childhood: to the castle where he grew up - a young Inferno stood holding a small musicbox, holding it towards a regal figure who simply stared down at the child - "..I made this for you.. father.." Inferno said quietly, the figure simply stared for a few moments then swiftly smacked the musicbox out of Inferno's hand, the box shattering against a nearby wall "get out" the figure said coldly, turning away.
"..what..?" Equis blinked, regaining his senses as the demons attack and he begins to slash at them with his blade: taking flight towards the mountain.
Amnesty swiftly turns around. There's a green flash and suddenly half of the demons turn into stone statues. She draws her swords and starts slashing at the demons.
Meanwhile Red has already scaled the walls, appearing near Inferno as he hits the wall: she speaks up "sorry to ruin your moment of glory Prince but you won't be fighting alone today, I seek words with this giant of yours.." - she then leaps right onto Bubonus and starts to scale the giant itself, she is small but surprisingly agile "..so, Bubonus, you seek to gut us? powerful words from a beast that strikes only at those smaller than itself.." (this was probably a bad idea but hey at least I'm back..)
Amnesty turns around and sees Red climbing Bubonus. "Equis, Arbiter, I don't care what you do, but I'm going to help them..." She flies towards Bubonic and fires an green energy orb, aiming for his eyes. "Sorry Bubonic, but I won't let you kill the only sane person among us... Although I'm starting to doubt her sanity.."
Arbiters' eyes flash emerald green as he unleashes his power. The ground begins to split and crack and bursts of hellish green flame blast forth, disintegrating many of the demons. He turns his attention to Bubonus.
Bubonus growls as he is temporarily blinded by Amnesty's attack, he grabs Red and tosses her away violently before he sinks down into the cavern again - his voice echoing "..I'll rip your soul from your rotten carcass another day Inferno, when your "friends" have abandoned you.."
Inferno shakes away the pain and launches himself towards Red with the intent of catching her (since she appears to be the only one of the group who can't fly)
As this is going on Equis shakes his head and lands on the edge of the mountain, having totally ignored the plight of the others - he looks in and drops his blade as his eyes grow wide "..you.. you're not Arodnap.." - he barely has time to finish before he is pulled into the darkness by an unseen force.
Amnesty sighs.. "That's that... but now we have another problem... I don't know why, but Equis is in trouble... I can feel it..."
Red lets out a cry as she's knocked away - then blinks as she finds herself caught, looking to Inferno for a moment with clear confusion "..you could of let me fall, instead you came to my aid.. why?"
Inferno simply looks to Red, "you and your friend may not value my life but I still value yours.." - he then looks to the mountain and flies forward, calling to his brother "Equis!".
Red thinks for a moment, "..you'd do well to put value on your own life, Inferno - you won't always have people there to pull you out of trouble..", with that she too finds herself heading towards the mountain (I assume Inferno's still holding her, otherwise she'd be falling pretty quickly) "..oh joys, the royal jester has gotten himself in trouble again: no matter I'm sure his talent for diplomacy will serve him well.." she comments, more than a little sarcasm detected in her sentence.
Amnesty speeds up so she can fly next to Inferno and Red. "Both of you are fools, your actions could've been your death. I can appreciate people with courage, just make sure you don't get too much courage..."
Inferno lands on a ledge and puts Red down, noting to Amnesty "some people have already lost everything - it's not a matter of courage, simply put: some people simply don't care if they die.." - he then walks into the cave inside the mountain, or rather gets to the entrance before stopping - his eyes suddenly growing wide, the reason is soon made clear once one looks to the cave:
A huge figure stands in the shadows, wrapped in innumerable chains that are attached to the walls of the cave - resembling a heavily mutated pegacorn, a lifeless Equis held in one of the creature's massive fists - a dark chuckling sound emits as the monster's glowing blue eyes looks towards the group: "..it has been a long time, my son.." he notes to Inferno, dropping Equis to the ground.
"...Equinox?" Arbiter questions.
The figure lets out another dark chuckle as he moves, causing the chains to creak audibly as the walls of the cave strain slightly, bits of rubble falling to the ground as the monster stretches his wings - "did someone speak my name in vain?" he responds with dry humor: eyes flashing dangerously in the darkness.
Inferno takes a deep breath and tries to ignore the creature as he walks forward, kneeling down next to his fallen brother "..Equis?"
Amnesty's eyes flash with a green light for just a moment, not seen by anyone.
Arbiter's mind flashed back once more to the time where he battled Equinox alongside Equis and Drasocon. "You...what do you want?"
Equinox laughs "..what do I want? you slay me - oh wait.. a little late for that.. hahaha.. seriously though, what manner of question is that to ask a chained soul in the depths of Tartarus? what do you think I desire? freedom.. not that I'll be having it any time soon.." - he looks to Inferno as he tends to Equis "..no use trying to wake him, foundling, he's alive but knocked out.. by all means shed a tear or two though - you always did cry a lot.." - he then casually looks over to Amnesty and Red "oh god, you brought company.."
Arbiter looks at Equinox with distaste from the memory the last time they had crossed paths. Yet he couldn't help but to be a bit confused... he could almost imagine Equinox chained within the cave, cursing the names of those who had destroyed him...yet he was speaking almost casually to him. Shaking the thoughts from his mind, Arbiter turns toward Inferno and Equis.
Equinox simply laughs at Arbiter, as if reading his thoughts "..you expected me to be angry didn't you? you forget - I'm a god now.. what use is anger to me now?" - he looks to Inferno and Equis, before swinging his arm - knocking them both aside: his chains straining once more "..besides, I have my sons here to suffer with me..".
Inferno growls, crotching - his wings instinctively shielding Equis as he glares up at the monster "..where is Arodnap?" he asks, ignoring the taunts.
Red narrows her eyes, watching the scene unfold before she walks towards Equinox, readying her axe - "..I think this "god" could do with learning some restraint.."
"Easy, Red...I hardly think he is a threat." Arbiter says.
Infeno snorts slightly as he nods, looking to Red "he's right Red, the "god" can flex his muscles all he wants but he's still a coward.. chained by the weight of his own sin.."
Equinox laughs and shakes his head, speaking to Inferno once more - "let her come! she has fire in her eyes - just like your sister.."
Inferno narrows his eyes and starts to draw his blade, "..where is she?"
Equinox simply grins, his features twisted but obscured somewhat by the darkness of the cave "..you seek Arodnap? you fools - she lays below the cavern.. Bubonus has her chained to the roots of the Life-Tree.. a fitting fate: she sought to end life so now in Tartarus she is doomed to help support it.. as for me.. I am chained to this mountain, this cave serving as my palace and the rubble acting as my court.." - his grin ends as he describes his own fate, changing to a look of anger.
Amnesty looks at Inferno. "We have to get Equis out of here, unless you don't value is life either..."
Inferno looks to Equinox, then at Equis - he puts his blade back and goes to lift Equis up "..we should leave now.." - however when his back is turned Equinox grabs him and lifts him up as he had done Equis, only this time he holds him dangerously by the neck, the chains while sufficient to hold him certainly don't seem to restrict his ability to grab at nearby targets.
"not so fast.." he notes, addressing the others with eerie calm as Inferno struggles "..I have given you answers and I expect you to repay my charity.."
Amnesty smiles. "So predictable..." And suddenly both Inferno and Equis dissapear, only leaving some green smoke where their bodies where. Inferno re-appears right behind Amnesty, but Equis doesn't re-appear... "I think we better stay out of his reach..."
Arbiter floats up into the air, eye-level with Equinox. "What could you possibly expect us to give you?"
Equinox snarls slightly "..if my chains were weaker I'd show you true magic, sorceress.." - he then frowns at Arbiter - "..you owe me my freedom, use your blades to cut me free - payment for my aid..".
Meanwhile Inferno rubs his neck slightly and looks at Amnesty for a moment, nodding to her in silent thanks - though he soon watches Equinox, giving him a look of contempt.
"I...don't think I can do that." said Arbiter.
Amnesty doesn't take her eyes of Equinox. "Well guys, what are we to do now? We can hardly free him, now can we?"
Inferno simply shrugs "..we leave the King to attend to his "palace" - his reward for his "charity".." - with that he heads out of the cave.
Equinox growls, "..and so son shall abandoned father.. pray your offspring is more merciful.."
Amnesty turns away from Equinox and follows Inferno out of the cave. "Inferno, I think I should tell you Equis will be fine, you'll see him again soon.."
Inferno nods to Amnesty, though he keeps his gaze on the ground "..I know, he's the strong one in the family - my only regret is you've only got to see the worst of Equis, he's a good ruler at heart.. just afraid of becoming something like.. that.." he motions slightly to the cave - then shakes himself visibly before looking forward "..but enough of this, we've wasted enough time in his infernal dimensional.."
Arbiter flies after Inferno.
Inferno heads towards the cavern again but pauses as a voice speaks out from the darkness "..you should of let him free you know, he is your father after all.." - Inferno turns round in time to see a young female pegacorn leap down from the wall next to Equinox's cave - she has a very unusual appearance, having pale blueish-grey skin and striking emerald green eyes: yet her wings are strangely draconic, she looks to the group for a moment. "..if you seek out Arodnap it's no use, I already spoke with her: she didn't commit the massacre.. in fact.." - she smiles, showing sharp fangs - "..I believe I'm the one you are looking for".
Amnesty turns around, eyes slightly glowing.
Inferno looks to the girl "..who are you?".
The girl's smile fades as she folds her wings around her shoulders like a cape as she replies "my name is Dusk, I am a memory of what could of been.. what should of been.. of a world that can never be.. because of your actions in the past I will never be born.. yet my spirit lives on.. I'm your daughter Inferno.. the child you always wanted.. the child who will never be.."
Inferno blinks slightly "..that's impossible.."
Dusk shakes her head "nothing is impossible, father - not to those who walk in the shadows.. not that it matters.. you see my future will never exist.. I am trapped forever in my own paradox.. like a ghost looking out at infinity.. I can't die yet I was never born.. do you know how that feels?"
Inferno doesn't answer - clearly looking uncomfortable, Dusk's words remind him of how he often felt.
Dusk continues "..you're probably wondering why I massacred Avalon.. to put it simply I had to.. it was the way it had to be.. I may be a memory now but it doesn't mean I can't try and make things right - my future will never exist but I can do my best to ensure your future is as close to mine as possible.."
Inferno frowns "..you're not making any sense - you're babbling.. you're insane.."
Amnesty frowns.. "I disagree Inferno... Yes, she is insane, but she is making some sense... However, not many would notice it..."
"There is no such thing as insanity." Arbiter mutters to himself.
Dusk shrugs slightly "..I know how this is going to end: I've been here before.. countless times - trying to make it right.." - she spreads her wings, beginning to charge herself with a familiar shadowy energy.
Inferno's eyes widen slightly as he watches Dusk, "..no.. that's not possible.."
Dusk smiles slightly, the shadowy energy sparking as it spreads over her body like living lightning - "..it's a gift I inherited from you, father.." - the ground beneath her starts to crack and splinter as the area starts to shake dangerously.
Arbiter draws his blade and points it at Dusk. An image of Arodnap appears in his mind.
Dusk charges her energy, which sparks violently - starting to build up into a whirlwind of power - the ground shattering as the energy spreads outwards "..flee".
Inferno spreads his wings and yells "RUN!" - he flies away as the energy spreads outwards, obliterating everything it touches.
Arbiter grabs Amnesty's hand and flies off, following Inferno at break-neck speed.
Inferno flies as fast he can, looking back for a split second he sees the energy rising like a nuclear explosion - for the first time their is fear in his eyes.. "..Arbiter.. we can't stop that..".
"I can try... I can tap into the Balance...try to negate the energy..." Arbiter's eyes glow an emerald green as he saturates the area with the power of Balance. (It's up to Inferno what happens)
As Arbiter does this he becomes aware of what is truly occuring, everything Dusk's energy is touching is actually being displaced in time, granting the illusion of being obliterated when in truth it is simply being torn out of normal space/time (..up to you guys how one can effect a living time-paradox)
Amnesty looks back. "Arbiter, let go off me, I might be able to stop her..."
Arbiter lets go of Amnesty and waits to see what she will do.
Amnesty looks at Arbiter and Inferno. "Go, fast... I will follow you as soon as possible... I hope..." She then starts to emit a strange green light, and flies towards Dusk.
Dusk's energy suddenly stops, leaving a gaping crater in the very centre of Tartarus itself - Dusk floats in the centre of the devastation, her form still sparking with energy as she looks towards Amnesty and grins "..relax, I have simply done what had to be done - you see I've been here before.. I know how this is going to end.." - with that she spreads her wings out and starts to form a shield of energy around herself. "..I massacred Avalon, I have cut a hole in the heart of Tartarus - now only two things remain to be done to fulfil what has to be done..".
Amnesty smiles. "Wrong, you haven't been here, you didn't count on me being here..." With those words, she spreads her arms, and the entire area starts to emit a green aura, including Amnesty and Dusk. The entire surrounding starts to fade away until there is nothing left but green clouds. "Welcome to your new home, Dusk." White, black and green chains appear out of nowhere, wrapping themselves around Dusk. "This will manage to keep you here... for now at least.." And with those words, she dissapears again. (Dusk is no longer in Tartarus, Amnesty is on her way back.. I suppose Arbiter, Inferno and Red don't know where Dusk is, unless they have extensive knowledge of my twilight, which I doubt)
Arbiter raises an eyebrow. "Impressive magic show, Princess, but I doubt that will hold her for long."
Amnesty looks at Arbiter.. "Don't underestimate the ancient Twilight magic Arbiter, she'll be there for a while, and she might even learn something about herself... Now, I think it is time to leave this wretched place..."
"I'm not underestimating the power of your Twilight... I am but warning you not to underestimate the power of one such as her..."
Inferno lowers his head and for a moment it seems as if he is weeping, only for the sound of chuckling to become audible.
"Tell me Inferno, what is it?"
Inferno smiles darkly as he raises his head, "oh nothing.. it's just you did it so perfectly.. such a shame she never existed.." - meanwhile in that distant dimension "Dusk" simply crumbles away, the illusion having finally passed - "..I'm sorry I had to play you all like that but I knew you wouldn't very well let me blast a hole in the centre of Tartarus now would you? besides I required you to aid me transfer this realm - as you saw many of this realms residents are rather hostile towards me.."
Arbiter turns away, deep in thought.
Inferno shakes his head, "..I understand if your confused or angry but you see I had to trick you - I massacred my own people, that alone would warrent a death sentence from some of you -" he looks to Red "-others would hardly of risked their lives for my own benefit - not unless I made them believe it was part of some grander threat.." - he looks to Amnesty "..as for you Arbiter, well.. I'm sorry.. but as a Keeper Of Balance you of all people would of condemned me for what I was about to do.." - he turns to face the crater that was formed by "Dusk" and notes "..I have to go now, to face Bubonus in battle - he'll be weakened from the assault.. it will be my moment to strike - you can all leave now if you wish, I may of lied about many things but not about your lives: they still have meaning.. and I will honor them.. for now.."
Arbiter thinks for a moment. He turns to Inferno. "Inferno...you may have done horrible things, but ...you were the closest thing to a friend that I have had in a long time." He pauses. "Therefore, I will stand by you until I am no longer needed...if that is alright with you."
Amnesty frowns... "My life was never really at risk... but tell me, why did you do it? Why did you massacre Avalon? Why the hole in Tartarus? And why facing Bubonus... If you can give me a good reason... I might stand by your side a little longer... Bubonus may be weakened, he will still be a powerfull opponent.."
Inferno states "..I massacred Avalon to condemn myself, to attract Bubonus' attention - the hole was to weaken his hold on this realm.. as for why I am doing it.." - he sighs - "..well that is where no amount of lies or trickery will soften what I have to say: I seek to replace him.. to rule this realm in his place.."
Red frowns, gripping her axe as she looks to the ground "..we were pawns in a madman's quest for conquest - everything was a lie.." - she looks up, angry - "..for a brief moment I trusted you, Prince.. I won't make that mistake again.." - she holds the axe as if ready to strike before she simply turns away from the group "..yet you spared my life so for now I will honor yours.. as twisted as it may be..".
Amnesty keeps frowning... "You have given me answers... yet I do not understand... Why would you want to replace Bubonus? If you have a good, not selfish reason for this... I might help you".
Inferno simply looks forward, "there are only so many times that a man can sacrifice himself before the gesture grows meaningless - only so many times one can return to one's home to be ridiculed and scorned by the very people he had saved.. there are only so many nights one can spend alone gazing at the stars and wondering why the woman he loved had to leave.. her innocence shattered by the malice of dead kings.. I tried to be the destroyer, I wasn't strong enough - I tried to be the hero, I wasn't good enough.. so now when all is said and done I am simply tired of fighting: all my life I have been considered a demon, at least here in the depths of Tartarus I would be amongst my own kind.."
He then extends his wings and produces a black sword "..besides, someone has to make sure Equinox and Arodnap don't escape - it was me who brought them to this realm so it is only fitting that I should share their sentence.."
Red stays silent for a while before she turns round again "..Inferno - before you do this I want to speak with you on the nature of sacrifice.. on the nature of love.." (..yes, this is still the same Red - don't worry folks, she has her moments) "..I had someone I love die and I felt a great emptiness inside of me, I still do - every moment of my life I feel.. empty.. that's why I fight.. because I have little else to do: when I stop the memories flood back.. consume me.. you wish to condemn yourself due to the past and that's all very well but take it from someone who knows, it's a meaningless gesture.. you will be as empty here as you were in Avalon.. you say your tired of fighting.. then prove it - drop your sword, give up this madness.. let the Devil have his kingdom.. you are many things, a liar and a fool.. but you are not a Devil.. not yet..".
Amnesty looks at Inferno.. "If you really want to take Bubonus' place, I will help you, but I think you should listen to Red.."
Arbiter watches. "It's your call Inferno...your story."
Inferno nods "..I've come too far - it has to end now.." - he takes a step forward then blinks as something very unexpected occurs, in fact he lets out a small cry of surprise - a legion of demonic cherubs swarm towards the group and in the centre of the swarm floats a figure - her chains snapped and a large chunk of Bubonus' armor held in one of her draconic hands.
Inferno's eyes widen as the figure becomes clearer, long golden hair flowing in the infernal breeze and mocking blue eyes glowing with malice as a grin spread across her face.. "..no.."
Amnesty draws her swords... "Just when you think things are going the way they should, someone always messes it up."
The figure stops, hovering in place next to the group - she resembles a child but is clearly born of something older and darker than most - she grins widely "good news, brother - you don't have to worry about Bubonus.. you see, I always did bring you the best presents.." - she tosses the smouldering piece of armor on the ground by Inferno's feet.
Chapter IV - Sunset
Inferno draws his sword, looking up at Arodnap and growling "how did you escape!? HOW!?" - he shakes slightly with anger as everything he had sacrificed rapidly starts to fall apart as he sees Bubonus' armor on the ground. Arodnap simply chuckles darkly "..when you blasted a hole into Tartarus you were so consumed with your petty little quest that you completely overlooked the dangers, I can manipulate time as well as you can brother - when your magic tore through this realm all I had to do was latch onto it and break my bonds - Bubonus tried to re-imprison me but you were right - the attack did weaken him.." she giggles, then stops and spreads her wings "..anyways, enough of this - I want to talk to you brother.. alone..".
Amnesty frowns. "Inferno, you'd be a fool to listen... But I think you have to know what she has to tell.."
Arbiter draws Laevateinn and points the blade at Arodnap. "You...I remember you..."
Amnesty looks at Arbiter. "Easy now... It wouldn't be of any use to attack her now... we have to know what she's up to this time.."
Arodnap grins at Arbiter and giggles "oh yes - I almost forgot about you.. oh well.. I know how to deal with you people.." - she then flies upwards, a set of chains fly out and wrap around Inferno's neck - dragging him up after her "..come, enjoy the ride!" - as she soars upwards the area shakes violently and splinters as the ground rises, forming a huge mountain that rises up after Arodnap: the scene then shifts outside Tartarus to the ruins of Avalon, the ground trembles for a few moments before it shatters violently as Arodnap rises out of the earth like something out of a terrible prophecy, Inferno struggling to free himself as the mountain soon follows - piercing straight through the heart of Avalon as it rises, forming a new landmark right where the royal palace once stood.
Amnesty doesn't move, not even her eyes can be seen moving. She just stands, as if she's waiting for something.
Red leaps up the mountain and starts scaling it, using her strength and agility - narrowing her eyes as she looks up "..since when do demons have the power to create *mountains*!?".
Amnesty turns her head and a giant eagle comes flying at the group. She jumps on the back of the eagle. "Well Aquila, what took you so long?" Aquila flies up to Red and swiftly grabs her. "Hope you don't mind, this will be faster."
Red frowns slightly, though it seems she is a little preoccupied in her thoughts as she continues looking up - "..we need to get to him.."
"Well then, we should be up there in no time..."
Arbiter flies through the air, rocketing after Arodnap.
Arodnap stops and lifts Inferno up, "there, better - you know I never took Bubonus' place: I don't want to rule Tartarus.. it's a lot more fun to leave the underworld as an anarchy.. Bubonus was always about order in the end, no matter how cruel - me, I was never really one of eternal punishment.. so boring.. so needless.. so.. annoying.." - she looks around "..you know we've been here so many times brother, it's almost boring now.. but this time I'm not going to destroy it - I'm free and that's all that matters in the end.. you on the other hand.. you have a lot of things on your mind and you know I just can't stand to see you like this.. that's why I'm going to make everything better.."
Amnesty looks up. "Aquile, there! they are there!"
Arbiter slashes his sword through the air- a number of shockwaves launch themselves from the blade, all hurtling toward Arodnap.
Amnesty draws her swords and uses them to send two beams of energy towards Arodnap. "Red, we'll drop you off here!" And with those words, Aquila lets go of Red.
Arodnap folds her wings around herself like a cocoon, deflecting the waves of energy - she speaks to Inferno "..your friends are in no mood to talk, it seems.. pathetic really.. you raise one mountain and they all panic - no matter, I'm going to give you what you desired.." - with that she produces a spike and stabs Inferno in the chest, spreading her wings as she tosses him downwards and grins "..now to ascend further! we dance! we dance!" - she starts rising again, doing a little twirl, below her the mountain bursts open like a volcanic eruption: spewing forth innumerable demonic cherubs, who buzz around like a swarm of gnats.
Amnesty jumps of her eagle and the eagle catches Inferno before he hits the ground. "Inferno, how bad is it?"
Inferno looks at his chest, the wound begins to glow, his pelt changing color from grey to white (yeah Inferno has pelt rather than traditional "skin" - his kind evolved from equines after all) - he blinks slightly as the change spreads slowly over his body and growls slightly as he flexes in a pain response "..urgh.. what? what's happening?".
Meanwhile Arodnap stops rising and grins widely as the sky above her starts to slowly form into a dark vortex as rays of light begin to shine down from a distant dimension, she spreads her wings and looks down at the ground, "..why rule Tartarus when you can go for the grand prize?" - she taunts.
Red takes this moment to grab onto one of Arodnap's legs (well she was falling, so it's either that of a drop) - "..don't mind me, your omnipotent one.." - she does a few acrobatics so as to flip onto Arodnap's back and tugs on her wings, dropping her axe in the process "..but someone has to shut you up!".
Arodnap giggles slightly as Red grabs her leg then lets out a little yelp as the figure suddenly tugs on her wings - she extends sharp talons and slashes Red off with a fel blow that sends her crashing down onto the mountain below (unless she can dodge): spreading her wings as she lets out a terrifying roar that echoes across the land - growing into her true form as one of the Twilight Dragons.
Red grits her teeth as Arodnap's talons slash her side, causing her to bleed - yet she manages to hold on despite the strength of the blow: some of the energy of the Huntsman's Axe still empowering her, though she is growing weaker: she grabs onto one of the dragon's wings "..is that all you have, demon?" she asks defiantly.
Arodnap growls, the vortex growing as a glimpse of a distant dimension appears - radiating with pure energy: "..you wish to see the Watchers? fine.. I have no further use for games.." she notes to Red, flapping her wings as she soars towards the portal.
Amnesty looks towards Arodnap en Red, and notes the falling axe. With a simple gesture from her hand, the axe stops falling and soars back towards Red. After that, she follows Arodnap and Red towards the portal.
Meanwhile Inferno closes his eyes as his wings start to change into a more angelic form, his pelt now completely white - the wound on his chest glowing before closing: leaving behind a small iris shaped scar: he lays motionless as the demonic cherubs start to become downright aggressive, dive-bombing everyone in sight, tugging at hair, biting and clawing.. thankfully they are easily disposed of despite their great numbers.
Aquila flies away, keeping Inferno out of the cherubs reach, heading towards the ground.
Arbiter follows through the portal.
Red grabs her axe and feels the power surging through her again as she clings onto Arodnap, preparing to cut at the dragon's wing as she tries not to think about the great height she's at - "..Watchers? what are these Watchers you speak of?".
Arodnap grins widely and grabs Red just as she's about to cut her wing and holds her - stopping as she floats amidst a bright light "..the Watchers, they dance, they dance.. the Watchers, they sing, they sing.. the Watchers they come.. they come.." - with that she drops Red as she warps and shifts, at the same time Inferno radiates brightly and seems to vanish as everything changes "..come brother, be my angel - this one final time.. let the Watchers be our salvation..".
Then it happens, a terrible flash akin to thunder rips through the dimension and Inferno floats next to the group, only he is angelic and radiant - he opens his eyes, which glow pure blue - high above him stands Arodnap, radiating the same unearthly glow.. most disturbing off all is what lays above them: a vortex of swirling clouds, spreading out from the vortex are dark tendrils and the sounds of a thousand whispering voices..
Inferno looks to the group and speaks at the same time as Arodnap, their voices merging as if one "we are the abandoned, the forgotten.. the unloved and unwanted.. we are born only to die.. death is salvation.. destruction is paradise.." - then the dimension seals off, trapping everyone inside for the final confrontation.
Chapter V - The Forsaken
Inferno floats in place, looking to the group - above him floats Arodnap, who in turn floats below a vortex - the tendrils spreading down and whispering maddennung thoughts into the two beings. (final confrontation time folks). Amnesty looks around, quickly scanning the area.
Arbiter points his sword at Arodnap and Inferno. "What is happening?"
Inferno looks to the group and extends his wings, at the same time Arodnap closes her eyes and folds her arms over herself as the tendrils spread down, whispering into their minds as they speak out in unison "we are the forksaken - the unforgiven.. let your tears be your salvation.." - with that a bolt of energy erupts from Inferno and flies towards the group, a living bolt of pure chaos and madness.
Amnesty grabs Red and Arbiter and they suddenly dissapear, appearing on the other side of Inferno and Arodnap again. "Anyone has a plan.. we'll need one"
"I'm going for Arodnap. She's the real threat." Arbiter flies off and confronts Arodnap.
Arodnap stays motionless, her eyes closed and arms folded - the tendrils from the vortex above whispering into her mind - meanwhile Inferno slowly starts to turn on the spot, firing a beam of energy that heads towards the group again.. as Arbiter approaches Inferno and Arodnap speak out in unison "we were born of the shadows, we watched as your universe grew - as ours died.. now you are but puppets dancing to our tune.. it is all your kind deserve..".
Red frowns slightly, clutching her axe tightly "..what is this world? where brother and sister are but pawns to mad gods? is this the fate of all beings? no.." she says to herself, then looks to Amnesty "..princess, I need to get to Inferno - I can talk to him.. he'll listen to me.." - she looks to her axe and narrows her eyes "..and if he doesn't I am more than ready to do what I must to end this..".
Amnesty seems to be doubtfull. "I think I can get you close... But I doubt he'll listen... He's possessed by a powerfull force... Do you really wish to try your luck?"
Arbiter points his blade at Arodnap. "It's time to silence this madness." He flies upward, and plunges down at Arodnap, preparing to deal a deadly blow...
Suddenly several tendrils fly at Arbiter and block his progress, grabbing at him like vines as Arodnap stays motionless, Inferno's beam of energy continues to carve its way towards the group - the two voices speaking in unison "you will not wake the Dreamer, too long has your kind walked upon our world - robbing us of everything we were.. why must we be cast in shadows while you walk in the light? what makes your kind so special? tell us.. why must we die so that you may live? no.. no more.. no more life.. no more reason.. no more.. no more.."
Red thinks for a moment, "..I doubt he'd listen if he were sane, why should he?" - she sighs "..yet he saved my life, princess - as foolish as it may be in my world that is something important.. I have to try.. besides if he won't listen.." - she waves her axe slightly "..I will fight.. as I have always done.. I don't back down.. I can't.." - the axe glows slightly "..the prince isn't the only one who is possessed..".
Amnesty nods. "Very Well." Amnesty grabs Red's hand and mutters a few words. There is a flash of green light and Red suddenly finds herself floating in mid-air, close to Inferno. "It's just like walking Red, just imagine you're standing on the ground!" Amnesty yells. She then draws her swords, flying towards Arbiter.
Inferno looks to Red and fires the beam of energy at her - meanwhile the tendrils continue to attack Arbiter and Amnesty, preventing an attack on Arodnap - who continues to stay motionless, as if in a deep slumber: yet her voice speaks out in unison with Inferno "..what is it that unites us? love? courage? no.. what truly unites us - young and old - is hate.. fear.. suffering.. the three truths in a sea of lies.."
Red takes a deep breath and walks forward, using her axe to deflext the beam of energy as she walks forward - staring straight ahead "..Inferno, I don't know you well.. in truth we are still strangers.. yet I need you to listen to me.. I need you to stop fighting.. please.. listen to me.."
Amnesty uses her sword to send an green beam of energy towards the tendrils holding Arbiter.
Arbiter struggles in the grasp of the tendrils; he attempts to slice them with his sword.
An eagle flies by and grabs Arbiter, pulling him out of the tendrils reach.
Arbiter nods in gratitude toward Amnesty, climbs upon the eagle's back, and charges power within his blade, which crackles with emerald bolts of energy.
The tendrils retract with a hissing sound as they are attacked - Arodnap begins to stir, as she does so the entire realm shakes a little - Inferno concentrates the beam of energy as Red approaches, forming it into a battering-ram of rage "..why do you waste your time with futile gestures? do you really think you can compete this us? - we are salvation, what can you possibly possess that we could not offer? what could you possibly give that we could not tear down? tell us.. what could your kind possibly have that we have not already achieved?" a dark voice speaks out from the portal.
Amnesty flies towards Arbiter and Aquila. "Arbiter, attacking her like this is no use, we need a plan!"
Red braces herself and walks into the beam of energy, using her axe like a shield as she heads straight towards Inferno: stopping a few feet from him, her hood falls back to reveal her long brown hair and green eyes - her face is still youthful yet shows signs of a woman who has seen more than her fair share of suffering.. "..you asked how many times a man can sacrifice himself before the gesture is meaningless.. I have the answer, Inferno.. the answer is: never.. sacrifice is what separates mankind from.. them.." - she looks up to the portal, then back to Inferno "..yes, we die.. yes, we make mistakes.. yes, we suffer.. but in the end Inferno that is what makes us so perfect.. it is our imperfection which makes us truly human.. because it gives us the chance to become something better.." - she reaches out with a hand "..some would call me a fool who has lived to long in a world of make believe but I ask you, just this once, take my hand.. your gods asked what we possess that they can not offer, well the truth is we possess the ability to make mistakes, to be stupid, reckless fools.. and it is a beautiful thing.. because that is what makes us truly alive.."
Arbiter grabs Amnesty's hand; immediately, she feels a surge of foreign power surge down her arm and into her brain.
"That extremely useful bit of magic I just used is a psychic link. You can communicate with me telepathically, and if needed, call upon a bit of my power." Arbiter looks toward Arodnap. "I could try breaking into her mind telepathically, but it would be dangerous."
Amnesty nods. "We'll have to do whatever it takes.. I'll back you up, But something tells me it won't be enough..."
Inferno looks to Red, hovering in place - above him Arodnap stirs further, the realm shaking violently as a wave of energy surrounds her then shatters like glass, raining down over the area as she opens her eyes: burning with power as she emits a deafening roar, without speaking Inferno grabs Red and uses his wings like a shield to protect her from the shower of energy - he looks to her again, his eyes changing slowly back to red "..Aither.. her name was Aither.. I remember now.. we were to be wed.. I was so happy.." - his pelt starts to slowly turn back to its usual grey coloration as he continues speaking "..now I'm just angry.. and scared.. so scared.. I was aware of everything.. but I couldn't control myself.. I tried.. I.." - as he tries to continue tendrils emerge from the portal once again and head towards him, trying to reach for him again.
Red and Inferno suddenly appear next to Amnesty and Arbiter, away from the tendrils. "Good job Red, didn't expect it to work... Now to finish her off... you guys ready?"
The tendrils retreat back into the portal then Arodnap blows a stream of black flame at the group - charging forward as the realm breaks apart, warping from its once heavenly look to a sea of chaos - a few moments later the portal becomes a vortex, emitting a rumbling sound as tendrils burst out again and fly towards Inferno with great speed "..you have failed us Arodnap.. no matter.. we shall take care of this ourselves.. if you wish to redeem youself then slay the girl in red.. teach her the futility of life.." a dark voice speaks.
Arbiter extends his psychic link with Amnesty to Red and Inferno. "We fight together." he says.
Amnesty turns towards the eagle. "Aquila, stay close to Red, do whatever is necessary to protect her." (Red, I'll give the control of the eagle to you, since you're the only one who can't fly, it's your choice to use it or not)
Red takes a moment to do something a little unexpected, she hugs Inferno "..we're all afraid: fear makes us strong.." - she then leaps onto the eagle and bares her axe - ".,we're stronger than you think, Arodnap.." - she guides Aquila towards the dragon - "..and we don't surrender to the will of insane gods..", she pulls her hood over her head again as her cloak flutters wildly in the breeze.
Inferno blinks slightly, his wings starting to revert back to their demonic form "..she's pretty impulsive isn't she?" he says, watching Red go - then shakes his head slightly as he looks towards Arodnap - who flies towards the group, the tendrils also flying towards them: though Arodnap seems to be making a direct course towards Red and Aquila while the tendrils are more focused on retrieving Inferno "..talking of which, I believe we have company.." - he readies himself for battle, forming an ebony-blade.
"Even the gods can fall." Arbiter states.
Inferno smiles slightly "..as much as I'd love for that day I don't think that is necessary - see that portal? it seems to be the link.. maybe if we focus our powers we can seal the portal.. Ancestors willing maybe it will stay sealed.." - he thinks for a moment "..I'll distract the Watchers.. try to get a good shot - we may not get a second chance.." - with that he flies away from the group, the tendrils fly after him, grabbing at air as they try to latch onto him in midflight.
Amnesty suddenly takes of, floating in mid-air. Her voice echoes through the entire area "Ancient ones, Gods of the Twilight Kingdom, grant your power to the royal house once more!". She suddenly starts to emit a strange blueish light. Strangely the blueish light reaches out towards Inferno, Arbiter and Red as well, who all feel a mysterious power going through their bodies. (Only temporarilty guys, use it well)
Inferno flies faster then closes his eyes - "to heck with reason - we may as well give this our all.. here goes people!" - the entire group begin to feel dark energy surge through them, sparking like lightning every few moments and empowering them with the power of the Twilight Realm.. a voice speaks from the portal as the tendrils retract slightly "..you are strangers.. yet you share power.. why? you could take it all.. rip one another apart.. all for the sake of power.. yet you trust one another.. why?"
Red flies at Arodnap and narrows her eyes, "..this is going to hurt you a lot more than it hurts me.." - she grips her axe, which is now surging with unimaginable power due to the assortment of mystical energies being pumped through it, crackling with energy as she guides Aquila over to Arodnap and slashes at the dragon's underbelly, aiming for a swift but potentially deadly blow.
Amnesty flies towards the vortex. "We share power because we have the desire to stay alive... and we will stay alive!"
Arodnap lets out a terrifying roar as she slashes at the eagle, aiming to dislodge Red with her razor-sharp talons - spreading her wings as she bares her fangs - her eyes blazing with fury.. "You ruined everything! You filthy human! I should gut you like a -!" she snarls before Red's axe delivers its blow, almost instantly Arodnap goes silent - her eyes widen as she clutches her underbelly as she stares at Red for a few seconds - reaching out with one of her hands, extending her claws before she shudders slightly before she goes limp and spirals down, disappearing beneath the clouds below, the storm still raging around the group.
Red holds her ground and glares back at Arodnap, then watches as the dragon plummets - she actually stays in place for a few moments as if expecting something to happen.. or perhaps it is her fear finally catching up to her, even with the power of several demigods flowing through her she is perfectly aware of how close she was to death: after a few more moments she shakes herself out of it, stroking Aquila's feathers slightly "..well my feathered friend, not bad for a "filthy human" no?" - she looks to the portal "..well, we're not dead yet.. so.. we press on!" - she guides Aquila towards the portal.
Amnesty summons two blue orbs in her hands, holding still in front of the vortex.
Arbiter flies to the portal and begins to unleash his energies upon it in an attempt to seal it.
The blue orbs in Amnesty's hands start to grow, and Amnesty shoots them at the vortex.
The tendrils retract as the portal shudders and warps, "..victory is born on the back of corpses.. peace upon the memory of war.. to live is to die.. to die is to be saved.. you have won.. nothing.." - the voice speaks out as the portal starts to close.
Amnesty smiles slightly. "So you say.." And with those words she flies away from the portal.
"I'm through with mad gods." Arbiter states as he sends one last blast of power to seal the portal, then flies away as well.
The portal seals shut and the area crumbles as if waking from a nightmare, giving way to the skies of Avalon - the great mountain Arodnap had formed sinks beneath the ground again, returning to the pits of Tartarus.. yet their is no sign of Arodnap herself: a ray of light slowly emerges from the horizon as the sun begins to rise on a new dawn..
Chapter VI - New Dawn
Inferno lands on the ground and folds his wings, looking relieved yet worried - the ground finally stops shaking as the tip of the mountain vanishes into the abyss, the ground sealing as if nothing had happened: "..so.. it's over.." he says quietly.
Amnesty sits down on the ground next to Inferno. "Yes.. It's finally over... What do you plan to do now?"
Arbiter touches down on the ground next to Amnesty and Inferno. "Such an ordeal. I never thought I would have to lay eyes on the likes of Arodnap again."
Amnesty looks up at Arbiter. "Relax. You survived. Again. I've got one important question for you Inferno."
Red lands, hopping off the eagle "at least you didn't have that dragon breathing down your neck.. literally.." - she dusts off her cloak a little.
Inferno shrugs slightly as he sits on the ground, looking at the sunrise "..I'll have to leave, speak with Equis - he'll likely not listen.. but who could blame him? I suppose after that I do what I must.. I failed.. and it was my people who paid the price for my foolishness.." - he looks to Amnesty, his eyes glowing red "..ask away princess".
"Not necessary anymore.. You answered my question already." Amnesty looks to a point right behind Inferno, where Equis appears in a green flash. "Hello Equis, I hope my servants took good care of you? I don't think they ever treated someone of your race.."
Equis nods "I am well.. but you shouldn't of brought me here.. not in the company of him.." - he looks to Inferno "..you know I'm not really surprised the Watchers picked you as a vessel, you and Arodnap share so much in common - you lie and you cheat.. all you truly care about is yourselves.. you may of won but mark my words as long as the Traitor-Prince lives your victory is meaningless.. just another bunch of puppets dancing to his tune.." - he clenches his fists, then turns to look at the horizon.
Inferno sighs and spreads his wings as he lifts himself up, "..enough - no more fighting.. they deserve more.." - he looks towards the group, then bows his head as he wanders away "..I should go now."
Amnesty nods. "As you wish Inferno. And it wasn't my choice Equis, I had to bring you back, and I've used up to much of my power to send you anywhere else than my own location."
Red follows Inferno and reaches over to him "Inferno wait, I need to talk to you.. alone.." - she moves to one side and tries to steer Inferno along with her.
Inferno blinks slightly at Red but doesn't bother resisting, he seems dejected and drained - meanwhile Equis simply looks to Amnesty and shakes his head a little "..whatever, thank you nevertheless - but if you'll forgive me being blunt there is much work to be done.." - he looks at the ruined city. "..many mistakes left to correct".
Red leads Inferno to a spot a fair distance from the others and bows her head a little, her features concealed by her hood "..are you still afraid?" she asks, somewhat suddenly.
Inferno shakes his head, "..no, not afraid - ashamed.. angry.. confused.. not afraid.." he replies - before tilting his head slightly "..why do you ask?".
Red nods a little then lifts her head, removing her hood - once again exposing her long dark hair, which she brushes to the side a little as she looks to Inferno "..well, in that case you'll need this.." - she produces a small rose, holding it out "..sometimes when I am angry or confused I carry a rose, it's childish - I know.. but.. just take it.." (if anyone has read my backstory they can guess that this is a pretty significant gesture Red's doing, of course it's entirely up to Inferno how he reacts (yeah, apologies if I'm coming on too fast - the two just seemed to click during the battle and all).)
Inferno looked to the rose and then to Red, he accepted the rose but seemed a little confused - "..you could come if you want, I have a feeling we have a lot to talk about.." - he looks back "..and there isn't much here for anyone, that is if you could bring yourself to accompany a betrayer such as me on his aimless voyage.." (your not coming on too fast Red, the two do kind of "click" in a strange way (strange isn't always bad) )
Amnesty looks at Equis and nods. Then she jumps on Aquila's back and they fly away. When they flie over, a feather drops out of Aquila's wing, which lands right next to Red. A voice in her head speaks: "A present from a feathered friend, so that one day, we will meet again." (Yes, Aquila can use telepathy)
Red smiles a little and takes the feather, nodding to Aquila "goodbye, my friend" she speaks with her mind - then puts her hood up, covering her face again.. "well, Inferno - I think I'll take your offer: after all someone needs to keep you out of trouble..".
Arbiter approaches, patiently waiting for Inferno's attention.
Inferno looks up at Amnesty and nods silently as sign of respect - before looking to Red and smiling slightly: he then seems to become aware of Arbiter's presence as he turns to face him, "..ah Arbiter.. in my haste to leave I almost forgot to say thank you, you have become a great ally: I am only sorry that I have not been able to do the same.."
"Inferno...my friend... we all have made mistakes... and we learn from them as we correct them. It may sound childish, but it's a truth. Massacring Avalon...raising Arodnap... well, I've made grave mistakes too. The best thing we can do is forgive, learn, and ignore the past. But who cares? You have been a great ally. I am honored to have fought alongside you."
Inferno smiles a little "..our imperfection is what makes us human.." - he looks to Red "..or so someone told me.." - he then looks to Equis, noting to Arbiter "..but I can't stay here, he can't forgive me.. and I don't blame him" - he reaches over and places a hand on Arbiter's shoulder "..be well my friend".
Arbiter returns the gesture. "May fate smile down upon you soon."
Inferno nods slightly before he stands back, folding his wings like a cloak as he speaks to Arbiter with his mind <<..between you and me- fate has little to do with it Arbiter.. I'm a god, remember? I make my own fate.. I failed miserably but..>> - he smiles slightly, his eyes glowing slightly - <<..there is always next time>> - he then turns around, his eyes reverting back to normal (well as normal as Inferno's eyes ever are) as he walks towards a portal and motions to Red to follow as he heads off into the shadows.
Red wallks behind Inferno, heading into the shadows - turning towards Arbiter before she leaves and looking to him "..don't worry, I'll make sure he doesn't do anything stupid - maybe all he needs is guidance.." - she then disappears after Inferno.
"Good luck." Arbiter says quietly. He turns around and fades into the shadows.