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Develop Your Story / Re: Rise of the End
« on: May 03, 2015, 11:40:56 PM »
Be wary of angels and demons kind of stories, those are easy to riddle with cliches and stereotypes. Speaking of which, you need to strengthen the dialogue and main antagonist of the story. So often we usually get the "evil for the sake of being evil" villain and you should try to branch as far away from that as possible. He doesn't have to be super complex, but he should have a unique personality, and his dialogue and attitude should reflect that personality. Your villain can make or break the story.


With the words of Luxaura ringing truer and truer every passing day, Roy and Nadena devote themselves to the Order of the Phoenix Demons. The group strengthens itself, in preparation to counter-act the looming 6th Cataclysm

The Cycle of Hatred


The troops and commanders stationed at the Kogan border awaited the morning message, and their eagerness was rewarded. The messengers arrived, bringing official order of invasion with them, authorized by The Queen herself. The wall of man and iron set out, 1 million strong, invading Syvian+Kogan footholds in the country. Most of the fighting was done out in the open fields of the lush Kogan terrain. Towns were also bombarded, and no mercy was shown to Kogan civilians. In the course of the 1st day of invasion, nearly 300,000 people died. A reinforcing army of 2 million was ordered to move in before the end of the day in Vevoskovia. Upon being dismissed from the 4th floor meeting room, Axel closed the door, with Leigh still inside. As he was walking away, he thought he could hear Leigh crying behind the door. He remembered the portrait of Ishta and the others hanging on the wall in the 1st floor hallway.
    The following morning, Roy and Nadena were awoken from their sleep early by Yahto. Yahto's long blonde hair was always messy and frizzy in the morning, making him look quite ridiculous. A perfect match for his personality.
    Roy: Glad I'm not the only one who's given up on haircuts.
    Yahto: Yeah and at least I'm not a soulless redhead. Anyway, Luxaura wants you both. Go ahead and meet him in the throne room.
    Roy and Yahto walked out to the throne room, the morning sun shining brightly through the large, circular skylight carved out of the mountain's hollow wall.
    Luxaura: Good morning, you two.
    Nadena: Morning...
    Luxaura: Hmmm....still sleepy, Nadena?
    Nadena: Crap, am I that obvious?
    Luxaura: Haha! No worries.
    Roy: You said you were going to bestow upon us, some sort of power? How exactly are we going to do that.
    Luxaura: Yeah, I did. Unlike immortality, you cannot be given this kind of power with just a mere sacrifice. It has to be learned, your minds and bodies dedicated to it. Agzabah herself called this the Marluxian Arts.
    Roy remembered the meeting with Ishta, in which the Marluxian Arts was militarized. He chose to stay silent on the matter for now, as there was still no proof it could really be put to use for warfare.
    Luxaura: I'm going to teach you both how to use that power. But first, take this
    Nadena: A book? Will we be studying this
    Luxaura: Yep! It's got nearly everything you will need to know. Spend the day reading this and taking notes. Tomorrow, I'll join you in meditation.
    Nadena: Alright, we can handle that! Right Roy?
    Roy: Right!
    Roy and Nadena began reading the manuals written by Luxaura himself. The two were eager to be able to develop these divine powers. For the next week, they meditated and began putting their skills to the test. Roy and Nadena met with Luxaura and Fate right outside of the mountain hideout.
    Luxaura: Alright, enough time has passed. We should start getting your powers in order. Today, we will be working with Natural Arts. Pulling energy from the Earth itself, since it's the easiest to do. Under normal circumstances, using Natural Arts would strain one's lungs, and breathing exercises would be paramount to being able to use it in combat. But, you're both immortal now, the Seal of Nibiru ensures that any Marluxian Art you use will not effect any of your organs. And for now, we'll just focus on this one thing.
    Luxaura sat down, clasped his hands, and encased himself in a dome of rock and soil, to the amazement of Roy and Nadena. The dome was reverted back into the Earth, and Luxaura then raised a wall of rock behind him, about 20 feet tall.
    Luxaura: See that? Simple use of the Earth element, properly called the Natural Arts. Today you will first be attempting to replicate this wall. Then, we'll move on to domes, as that has more to do with be able to mold objects into complex shapes. Fate here will also be guiding you.
    Nadena: ALRIGHT! Let's do this Roy!
    For the rest of the day, Roy and Nadena sat outside, attempting to master the Natural Arts. By sunset, Roy was able to erect a 50 foot wall of rock, and Nadena nearly 32 feet. They both exceeded Luxaura's expectations greatly, especially Roy.
    Fate: They've both already done it. And the red haired one was able to make something that big.
    Luxaura: Looks like they've studied and meditated hard. Let's up their training for the next few days.
    Fate: As you wish, Luxaura.
    Roy and Nadena went to bed that night, extremely proud and ecstatic of their accomplishments of the day
    Nadena: Did you see that wall I built?!?! I was like, Ooooooommmmmmmm! And it was like KAPPOOOSSSSHHHH!
    Roy: Okay, Nadena, that's enough. Let's go to bed now alright?
    Nadena: No, you're going to listen to my masturbatory gloating until you cry tears of joy!
    Roy: Language, Nadena!
    Nadena: Ah come on, it's relevant!
    Roy: Ugh. Either way, I am proud of you. Let's see what tomorrow has in store for us!
    Nadena: Alright, Roy. Nighty night cutie!
    Roy: Cutie? Haha! Goodnight Nadena.
    Nadena: .......Roy.
    Roy: Yep?
    Nadena: You smell like rotten ass.
    Roy sighed and got up to wash himself outside. This was actually an opportunity for him to master the water-based powers of Neptune. When the Neptune symbol finally appeared on his hands, he had to work on giving it form. The task proved difficult, until Inadora stumbled upon him outside
    Inadora: What are you doing out so late?
    Roy: Nadena said I smelled like rotten ass, so I'm trying to wash myself.
    Inadora: Well, you're already doing it wrong.
    Roy: Damn it. How do I do this then?
    Inadora: You're shaping the flow of water too late after it leaves your palm. You have to shape it as it comes out. Loosening and tightening the grip of your palm should do that. If you want an open flow of water, leave your palm wide open. If you want a tight, whip-like flow of water, tighten your palm.
    Roy: Like this?
    Roy immediately grasped Inadora's advice, and was able to make a flow of water that placated his needs.
    Inadora: Wow! You're a pretty fast learner!
    Roy: Ha, well, that's always been a trait for me.
    Inadora: I'm really glad to have you and Nadena here. You've both been wonderful so far. But being a Phoenix Demon, and wearing that cloak, it can all be a dark job sometimes.
    Roy: I know. But I've made up my mind about this. My people and nation were already wiped out. Then, I had to fight in a war myself. Then I lost one of my closest friends. Then Luxaura came to me, and I learned the 5th cataclysm is already on its way. The 6th will be the one that exterminates humanity altogether.
    Inadora: I'm so sorry. Which nation did you come from?
    Roy: Omni, comprised of the Omni Clans of the desert. I'm from the Diadara clan actually
    Inadora: Oh my god....
    Roy: What?
    Luxaura stepped outside to greet the two
    Luxaura: The Omni clans, huh? Man, if I had known that, I would've told you sooner.
    Roy: Told me what?
    Luxaura: The Order of the Phoenix Demons and the Omni Clans share a bit of history. The 3rd Rosidana, that beautiful woman Phaedra....
    Roy: Wait, you knew Phaedra?
    Luxaura: She was a Phoenix Demon at one point. She disappeared with us for roughly 5 years.
    Roy remembered when 2nd Rosidana Omoi was ravaged with illness, his daughter, Phaedra was to take the title of 3rd Rosidana. But after her Omoi died, and before she stepped up to the title, she disappeared for 5 years, leaving the Omni Clans without a Rosidana to lead them. The representatives of each clan clamored over who would lead the nation in her stead.
    Roy: She was with you? How she still with you?!
    Luxaura: No. She left the Phoenix Demons. She wanted to go back to her country, and lead her nation righteously. She wanted so badly to build a nation that didn't destroy itself with civil war. One that could interact with other nations in ways besides warfare. She really believed she could build a peaceful Utopia. And you know what? She actually did. But later down the line, Syvia invaded.
    Roy: How did Syvia manage to break through Omni defenses and get to the capital so fast?
    Luxaura: During Phaedra's service as 3rd Rosidana, one of the predicaments she had to solve was the spreading illnesses from contaminated water in their new settlements. It's the same water Nexi Diadara used to end the Diadara Civil War that nearly broke the Omni Nation apart. She didn't actually have a cure for it. So, she abused the secrets of the Marluxian Arts to help her people.
    Roy: What?! What did she do?
    Luxaura showed Roy the Seal of Nibiru on his chest
    Luxaura: She granted ever member of the OSG and the families of sick civilians with this seal. She also used the Art of Neptune to provide the Omni nations with fresh water. People hailed her as a goddess in the flesh. Then, the Loazi States were forcibly merged, and Syvia was founded. Syvia sought expansion, and the Omni nations were a perfect target. The Diadara clan was the Omni nations main military asset, and they provided excellent defense for the country. I don't know how, but the Syvian army that invaded was mass-teleported outside of the capital.
    Roy began to feel an old wound rip open, as the truth of the demise of his people became clear to him.
    Luxaura: That's when the capital went on full lockdown. The OSG kept people locked in the capital. Clan Representatives who thought about surrendering, and sharing the secrets of the Seal of Nibiru were killed, ordered by Phaedra herself. All documents of related to the Marluxian Arts were destroyed. But time was running out. Even if the documents were destroyed, the proof of its existence would be found with the seals on the bodies of everyone who wore it. Only a few people were allowed to escape that capital, in hopes of carrying out their clan's future elsewhere. I'm guessing you were one of those people. Shortly after, the capital was assaulted, and Phaedra and the rest of the Clan Representatives were captured. Many of the people were slaughtered, but some were being ready to be put into slave labor, many of the young women were sold into sex trafficking. Upon learning this, The Order of the Phoenix Demons decided to take action.
    Roy: Good god, what did you guys do?
    Luxaura: I eliminated them.
    Luxaura was encased in the silver energy of Astaroth, which unsheathed a sword made of lead, with the symbol of Saturn embedded on the blade.
    Luxaura: I told you before that Astaroth was one of the Heralds of the End, one of the demons responsible for one of the 6th Cataclysms. He was responsible for the 1st. It was this sword that did it. This sword is said to have the power to kill all forms of life on this entire planet. It was used to wipe out the Golden Empire thousands of years ago. It was sealed in the Underworld after that. When Fate joined the Order of the Phoenix Demons, his interdimensional abilities allowed us to travel to the Underworld. That's how I ended up capturing Astaroth, and embedding its soul with mine. I wielded its soul for many years before the Syvian invasion of Omni. So, when the time came, and Phaedra was reportedly captured, and presumably killed, I couldn't allow the secrets of the Marluxian Arts to fall into Syvian hands. Not with that kind of blood-soaked ambition I couldn't. I used Astaroth, and the Sword of Saturn, to kill all of the enslaved Omni clan survivors, and all of the occupying Syvian troops.
    Roy: You wiped out my people....
    Inadora: Roy, the Omni clans were already massacred by Syvia. He killed off everyone in the nation after it had been occupied by Syvian troops! He didn't want your people to live in slavery! And imagine if Syvia had gotten their hands on immortality! They would've been able to repeat tragedies like that!
    Luxaura: If you hate me, I completely understand.
    Roy's face was flushed with tears. His initial reaction was anger towards Luxaura. But he understood why he made that decision. The Marluxian Arts wasn't even something he wanted Vevoskovia to have. He couldn't imagine the amount of destruction that could be caused with Syvia having it, at the height of their expansionism.
    Roy: It hurts so much. But I understand. You didn't know I hailed from the Diadara clan, so I hold no ill-feelings for you not telling me first. Knowing the clans, they wouldn't have wanted to be sold into slavery either. They were much too brave for that. Thank you for telling me the truth, Luxaura.
    Luxaura: I suspect someone worked with the Syvians. But I wonder who it could've been, to be able to mass-teleport an entire army like that. Maybe it was someone from withing. But we'll never know now.
    Astaroth was reverted back, and his energy disappeared.
    Roy: Can you use that sword again?
    Luxaura: It took years to be able to activate it. I've only been able to use it just that once. It takes a massive amount of energy to use, and Saturn itself needs to be visible in the sky from Earth in order to achieve its maximum effects. So no, I probably won't be able to use this for a while. You should get to bed Roy. It's late. You too Inadora.
    During this night, Syvia reinforced their armies with a garrison of 1.5 million soldiers. The battle for the 4 main cities of Koga waged fiercely. All 4 cities were illuminated with massive fires. From the distance, it almost looked like the sun was rising from the direction of the cities. In the past week, the total death toll of the war skyrocketed to 2 million, proving already to be the most destructive conflict in history. Agzabah sat on top of a hill, monitoring the destruction.
    Agzabah: How heartbreaking when you think it never had to be this way. The advent of ever-advancing weaponry really deludes people into thinking they can take the world for themselves.
    Agzabah stood up, clasped her hands, and the Great Destroyer emerged from her body. It's roar was so loud and powerful, the buildings of the burning cities were shaken. Jumping on top of the massive demon, Agzabah sought to end this bloody conflict before it got much, much worse.
    Agzabah: Go now. Destroy them.
    The Great Destroyer dug its arms into the ground, and the earth began to shake. A massive crack in the earth was opened, and the burning cities fell in. The amount of destruction was unlike anything seen before. With much of the remaining armies out side of the city, the Great Destroyer raised its arms into the sky, and the moon was blocked by thick black clouds. The sky was then illuminated with brilliant light, as tornadoes of crimson flames descended from the clouds, engulfing the people and environment they came in contact with. The clouds dispersed, and moonlight broke through the darkness. There was nothing but ruin left.
    The Great Destroyer let out a great roar, and Agzabah began to cry. She brought the Great Destroyer back to the massive lake, and once again raised the statue out of its depths. When its eyes glowed red, the Great Destroyer was reluctantly sucked up. The statue closed its mouth shut, its eyes returned to normal, and a massive seal of complex symbols appeared on the chest of the Statue. It sunk back into the lake, never to be seen or opened again. The deed was finally done.
    Leigh came home late that night, and went to bed with her sleeping son. Roy lied awake as Nadena slept, knowing she would most likely also know the truth behind the Omni Nation genocide tomorrow. The moonlight was like a spotlight on the immense destruction that engulfed Koga. In an instant, everyone involved in the conflict was killed off, and that cursed statue hidden away into the cold depths of Koga's great lake. The next day, Roy and Nadena would come to see, just how dangerous the cycle of hatred can really be.

A Set of Scales


Inadora rushed through the halls of the hideout to wake everyone up, and assemble them in the throne room. Now members of the Order of the Phoenix Demons, Roy and Nadena were given their own thrones.
    Still yawning, Luxaura inquired Inadora about her disturbance of everyone's sleep.
    Luxaura: You don't usually wake everyone up this early, what's the occasion.
    Inadora: Something horrible has happened! Vevoskovian troops invaded Koga. There were supposedly over 3 million Vevoskovian soldiers launching a massive offensive against Syvian and Kogan fortifications in Kogan cities. I went to Koga to observe the battle, and the cities were all gone!
    Yahto: What? How is that even possible?
    Luxaura: Are you sure about this, Ina?
    Inadora: I'm absolutely positive! All that was left was a massive crevice in the Earth. It's almost like the cities were all swallowed up or something.
    Yahto: How many people?
    Fate: Koga's 4 cities were very large. The civilian, non-enlisted population alone was just over 2 million people. Throw in almost 3 million Vevoskovian soldiers, and however many Koga and Syvia had defending....
    Luxaura: That's at least 5 million people dead within a week. Everyone, we're going to Koga. Inadora, can you take us all there?
    Inadora: I don't know. The moon isn't in the sky anymore, and the Sun also hasn't risen. I can't teleport us there yet.
    Yahto: Ah man, that means I can grab a few more hours of shut-eye before we head out.
    Inadora: Am I the only one who works around here?
    Luxaura: Yahto has a point, Inadora. We should still get some rest. Let's assemble here when the sun rises.
    Fate: There won't be any need to do that.
    Luxaura: Hmm?
    Fate: Mercury. You can use the planet Mercury for fast travels. It isn't the same as Lunar teleportation or Solar transmission, but it will increase the speed of our movements. Inadora would only need to lead the way.
    Yahto: Damn it, can't we just wait for the sun to rise?
    Luxaura: We should just handle this while we can. Everyone get ready. Inadora, lead the way.
    Inadora: Right!
    Luxaura: Since you guys are still learning, I'll carry you with Astaroth again.
    Nadena: Fine with me! Astaroth is so warm!
    Roy: That's fine with me too.
    The Order of the Phoenix Demons traveled to Koga, to witness the destruction Inadora described.
    Yahto: Holy *censored*! You weren't kidding! The whole thing is all gone!
    Fate: Such power. Who could've done this?
    Luxaura: Who else do you think. Only Agzabah can pull off something like this.
    Roy: Damn it! She was supposed to stop all of this from happening, not go ahead with it!
    Nadena: We should get out of here. The energy of this place is strangely terrifying
    Luxaura: Agreed. The sun is up now, let's head back to the hideout. Take my hands, Roy and Nadena.
    The group reappeared in the throne room, shocked by what they had just seen
    Luxaura: Everyone is currently dismissed. If this is what I think it is, it's time for us to put our plans to fruition.
    Inadora: Alright. I'll keep checking on the Queen and the Senate, see what's going on.
    Roy sat on carved out hole in the hideout, his leg draped over the edge. As he gazed at the morning sun, Luxaura approached to comfort him.
    Luxaura: The current Queen is Ishta's wife and widow right?
    Roy: I thought she would try everything she could to stop this from happening. But I guess there isn't much she could've done. There is no room for peace when a nation kills your king.
    Luxaura: Perhaps it is through her duties to her country as Queen, she can exact her malice on her husband's killers as his wife and widow. And perhaps it is the country itself exacting its revenge through its laws. Either way, this cycle will continue. It will consume much more people later down the line.
    Roy: How do you know that?
    Luxaura: Because what we just witnessed today was the 5th Cataclysm. Once again, Agzabah fails to realize this. She is the one causing these things to happen.
    Luxaura departed to leave Roy to his thoughts. Meanwhile, word of what happened reaches back to the capital, and Leigh sits down with Axel and Toh in Castle Asane.
    Axel: I don't know how this could've possibly occurred. The destruction at the scene was unimaginable.
    Toh: No weapon in existence can do something like that. With no further evidence, this just looks like an extremely unfortunate natural catastrophe. But we're still left with a huge problem.
    Leigh: And that problem is that Vevoskovia's miltary force has been cut nearly in half. Koga is without a government or military, and most of the civilians died in that disaster. The place is probably a ghost country by now.
    Axel: Senator Han is considering annexing the country, or what's left.
    Leigh: Han is out of his mind. If we annex a country with our military cut down so massively, we won't be able to hold the rest of the country! This whole thing has become a failure for all parties involved!
    Axel: I'll convince Han to rethink his position. Does that wrap everything up for the day, Leigh?
    Leigh: Yes, that's it. You're dismissed.
    Axel: Cool! Hey Toh, let's go out for a drink.
    Toh: What? But I don't drink!
    Axel: Grow a spine would you? It won't take long, let's go.
    Axel practically dragged Toh out of Castle Asane and pushed him in the carriage that transported them to the nearest bar. The two sat down, admiring the cheerful folk and beautiful Vevoskovian women.
    Toh: I can always appreciate the alluring attractiveness of the average Vevoskovian woman, Axel. But I'm curious as to why you've brought me here so late. Are you plotting something?
    Axel: Sure, you can say that. I brought you here because, one, you're a hopeless little loser with no life, and two, we need to talk about the Deshavi. Something urgent has come up.
    Toh: You brought us in a public place to talk about a secret organization?
    Axel: Well hey genius, nobody is going to know it's a secret organization until you mention it's a secret organization!
    Toh: Oh....right. Sorry. So what is it?
    Axel: With Ishta dying so suddenly, he never had the chance to tell her about the Deshavi Black Ops. The Menlayev family has been the main source of funding for the whole thing.
    Toh: So then we should just tell-
    Axel: We can't. This is where things have gotten a little complicated. Roy and Nadena disappeared. They haven't been found for a long time now.
    Toh: Crap, really? Didn't they fund that too?
    Axel: Yeah. I overheard Han and some other Senators talking about digging into their accounts. They'll most likely see the flow of large payments coming from Roy and Nadena. Their living conditions don't match the amount of money the pump into the Deshavi. They'll probably know something was up.
    Toh: Still, that doesn't mean the Senate can actually trace that back to Ishta, right?
    Axel: Depends. Han is a determined man. You should withdraw your money from your bank Toh. Han's opposition to Ishta and Leigh doesn't allow me to peg him as someone we can trust. The very fact that he dug into the financial accounts of two people who no longer have any obligations to the government means he's prepared to dip into the depths of illegality for the sake of smearing the Menlayev name.
    Toh: Makes sense for him to do that. He was one of the Senators who felt Leigh taking up the throne was making room for a dynasty type leadership. They clearly wanted something more electoral. I'll be pulling out my funds tomorrow.
    Axel: Good. I'll take a visit at the Deshavi HQ before I end my day. You can pay for all of this.
    Toh: Wait, what?!?! Hey! You asshole!
    Axel was being carried home via carriage, and prepared to wind down for the day when he received a knock on his door. Looking through the peephole, he saw two police officers, specifically asking for him.
    Axel: Can I help you both?
    Officer: Sir, we need to speak to you. Please let us in.
    Axel: If you don't have a warrant, I don't have to let you in my house. Now begone.
    Axel walked away from the door. The Officers took out a role of explosive tape, using some on the door hinges. The tape exploded, and the shock knocked Axel to the floor as he ran towards his weapon cabinet. As smoke filled the house, Axel covered his nose and mouth with the decorative cloth hanging over his couch. He knew if he couldn't see them, they couldn't see him. He prepared a knife and bolt gun. As the officers charged in the living room, he was able shoot one of them in the chest, and charged the other with his blade. Axel knocked the officer against a wall, and the officer stabbed him in the leg as he was being choked by Axel. Axel recovered his blade, stabbed the foot of the officer, and took a kick to his face. The officer got on top of Axel, pushing the blade towards his chest and Axel pushed against him. With his foot, he pressed the stab wound on the officer, causing him to weaken his grip. Axel used the opportunity to take the blade, and stabbed the officer 12 times. The other officer lay bleeding to death on the floor, he was finished off with a knife to his throat. Axel gathered his valuables and prepared to leave his home. Avoiding carriages, he ran over to Leigh's home in the middle of the night, covered in cuts, dirt, and bruises.
    Leigh: Oh my god, Axel! What happened to you!?
    Axel: I was attacked.
    Leigh: What? By who?!?!
    Axel: The damn police, that's who!
    Leigh: Why would the police attack you?!
    Axel: You tell me! Because I am tremendously *censored*ing lost right now! Ever since Ishta passed, I have been nothing but lost!
    Axel took a moment to calm down, and told Leigh exactly what happened.
    Axel: Two officers appeared at my door and tried to get in. I told them they can go rail themselves if they don't have a warrant. They breached my door and then tried to kill me. I think Han is behind this.
    Leigh: Axel, slow down! Why would Han do this?
    Axel: If I tell you, I put you in danger. And Ishta would never forgive me for that. All you need to do is warn Toh. We need someplace to go.
    Leigh: You can both hide here. They definitely won't bother looking here.
    Axel: Thank you Leigh! When Toh arrives at Castle Asane in the morning, please tell him to come here immediately!
    Leigh: Of course, there's a guest room down the hall, 3 doors down.
    Leigh's curiosity lingered with her until she fell asleep. Luxaura wrapped up another day of training with Roy and Nadena. They had mastered the powers of Mercury, Venus, and Saturn in one long day of intense training and studying.
    Luxaura: Never in my life have I seen anyone learn the Marluxian Arts so quickly. Keep practicing what you've learned. We'll go over it again tomorrow to make sure you've retained everything. Then, we'll move on to Mars, Solar, and Lunar powers! Not just the Earth's moon either, but the moons of Saturn and Uranus as well.
    Roy: Oh don't get so cocky, I'm still doing a lot better than you are.
    Nadena: Can't you let me have anything?
    Luxaura: You two should hit they hay. We have a long day tomorrow. And Roy is right Nadena. Don't let your success get to your head. Today marked the day of the 5th Cataclysm. The next one will be the end for us all. I don't know how much time we all have. But I at least know it won't be for a while. In the meantime, I need you two to become powerful. Powerful enough to one day host one of the Heralds of the End for yourselves.
    Roy: Do any of the other members have what you have?
    Luxaura: Well, Inadora has the eyes of Izutu, and I have Astaroth. Everyone else is powerful, but they don't wield any of the Heralds of the End yet. One day though, you will be capable of doing such a thing, Roy. You are by far my fastest learner! Now go get some rest, I'll see you tomorrow.
    Nadena: I wish you'd fellate me like you do Roy.
    Luxaura: Haha! You're a fantastic student too, Nadena. Really!
    Nadena: Ha! I'm awesome too Roy! Nighty night Luxy!
    Luxaura: ......Luxy?
    Another day ended for the Phoenix Demons, while Han learned the capture of Axel failed, and Toh was nowhere to be found. The words of Luxaura's prophecies and teachings he wrote in the Book of Wisdom would prove itself true in a new generation of civilizations and peoples. Now there was no more time left. The 6th Cataclysm will come next, and humanity as a whole will be destroyed, and the Earth made anew.
    Could mankind weigh their future and their hatred on a set of scales? Or, for the second time, will humanity lead itself to destruction?

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE QUEEN! I never realized how long this actually was until I started writing it >.< Whew! But I'm still not done  8) Ishta's role is pretty much done, though his death would serve as motivation for other characters and events. The Desahvi Black Ops, Order of the Phoenix Demons, and Agzabah all become much more central to the plot at this point. Things like The Order of the Phoenix Demons and the 6 Cataclysms are all really worth their own posts, and I'll probably work on that once I finish this up.

Anyway, please enjoy the next two chapters! The Rain Was Heavy, and The 5th Cataclysm!

The Rain Was Heavy

    The sun was nowhere to be found in the morning. Fall was approaching, and the leaves changed color. The winds picked up, and the weather grew colder. Leigh was woken by her doorbell, and she saw Axel, with an SOE agent beyond the door through the peephole. In her heart, she almost knew what she was about to endure, but she wanted to believe they were on unrelated business. She hesitated at first, and then opened her door to speak to the two men.
    Leigh: Axel, what are you doing here so early?
    Axel: Leigh....
    Leigh: Axel, why are you here?
    Axel was overcome with tears, and could not finish his statement. His accompanying SOE agent held his shoulder, and helped him carry the painful burden of delivering the news
    Agent: Your Highness, it is with my deepest sympathies that I inform you that your husband, and our king Ishta Menlayev, was tragically killed in Syvia 5 days ago.
    Axel: I'm sorry Leigh. I'm so horribly sorry
    Leigh began to laugh. She held her head in her hands and laughed. She slouched down against the door, and her laughing turned into crying, and her crying into sobbing. Still, Leigh knew she had to be strong, as Ishta's death means the country has no leader. She stood up and fought her tears, and invited the men inside.
    Sitting down in the dining room table, Axel delivered the details of Ishta's death, and the consequences of the tragedy.
    Axel: Requests for Syvia to ship his body back to Vevoskovia were sent out this morning. This man was one of the spies that was stationed in the Syvian capital, he saw how everything unfolded. It's going to hurt you deep in your heart to hear it, but you absolutely need to. We all need to properly grasp the gravity of our situation right now.
    Agent: Again, I apologize for your loss, Your Highness. I was stationed in the capital, and me and 4 others took refuge in a hotel overlooking the street that Ishta and Dandus III were traveling on. We saw them speaking on the roof prior to that, and it seems Dandus was taking Ishta to the Northern District, where Syvia's Assembly is. While on that street, Ishta began looking around, not frantically, but you could tell he was very worried. That's when we noticed an opened window, and someone had shot something from that window, probably a bolt launcher, evidenced by the cloud of expended gas as he shot. We saw Ishta grab his neck, his agents pulled him off the horse and began to panic. Then, Syvia KGR attacked him and his bodyguards. They moved up to the building where the Assembly gathered. We tried desperately to reach the assassin. But by the time we got there, he was gone, and the room was cleaned up. We then fled the country and made our way back to Syvia upon hearing soldiers talk through speaking trumpets. The city was going into lockdown, and the streets were being cleared. We had to leave immediately, or else we would be trapped in the heart of Syvia, with the military all around us. I got back late last night and issued an emergency Senate meeting. The first ever to be called. I informed them of everything I just told you.
    Leigh's heart broke with every word that illustrated the pain and shock Ishta went through in his death. She tried hard to fight her tears. It was perhaps even more heartbreaking for Axel and the agent, that she was actually succeeding in holding them in for the most part.
    Agent: Your Highness, as a soldier, I know very well what it is to hold pain in your heart. I've lost good friends before. But I've never lost a spouse. I don't know how my words can console you, but I can only hope you find comfort in the fact the he lived, he breathed, and he loved, for you. All the way until the end.
    Axel: The Senate will be discussing immediately who the new ruler should be, and how he should be selected. Given the fact we're in a state of emergency, I don't think they'll go for an election process. The army was mobilized over night, and the borders have been doubly secured. SOE scouts are looking out for an advancing army.
    Leigh: Do Roy and Nadena know yet?
    Axel: No, I was going to stop at their place after.
    Leigh: No. I will go. They need to hear it from me. Axel, I need you to rush to Tenzo Palace, and vouch for me as the new leader.
    Agent: Is that really possible? Can we seriously just choose you like that?
    Leigh: Before I met Ishta, I held a position of leadership in the Bodesh Special Division in the Nations of White. When Syvia invaded, I rounded up the remaining BSD forces, and surviving civilians that were ready to fight. We smuggled weapons in and out of the city under the nose of the Syvians, and we survived the harsh winter while being completely surrounded and outnumbered. We are in a time of war, and I have already had my fair share of military experience and leadership. I will go to the palace after I tell Roy and Nadena, but you must get there first and vouch for me Axel!
    Axel: I understand. I'll do that for you.
    Leigh: Go. We shouldn't waste any more time grieving.
    Axel and the agent made their way back into their carriage and rushed towards Tenzo Palace. Leigh's delayed tears broke through her thick skin and determination as soon as the door was closed and locked. She cried so hard, she couldn't even spare the strength to stand. But still, even in the midst of tragedy, she got dressed, kissed her sleeping son goodbye, and went off to tell Roy and Nadena. She thought long and hard during the ride of which words she can possibly say to spare them the pain. But truthfully, there is never an easy way to swallow such a bitter pill. She arrived at their home, and knocked on their door. She was greeted by Roy, who had woken early to clean the dishes.
    Roy: Hot damn, Leigh, you never come here this early. What's up? You look awful.
    Leigh: Where is Nadena?
    Roy: Uhhm, I think she's still sleeping
    Leigh: Wake her. Now. There is something I need to tell you both
    Roy: Uhm sure. Please, come in, it's cold outside.
    Roy woke Nadena, and brought her out to the living room to meet with Leigh
    Nadena: Oh man, it's so early. Hey Leigh, how's it going?
    Leigh: I need you both to listen to me very carefully
    Roy and Nadena's tired eyes focused on Leigh, with the intent to listen to the apparently urgent news.
    Leigh: Ishta was assassinated in Syvia. He's dead.
    Roy:....What? You're just joking, right?
    Nadena gasped upon hearing those words leave Leigh's lips
    Leigh: Unfortunately, I'm not, Roy
    Leigh began to cry, fighting back her sadness just enough so that can continue talking
    Leigh: I got the news this morning, Axel and one of our spies showed up at my door. Poor Axel couldn't stop crying!
    Nadena hid her face in her hands as she cried, which was further hidden by her long, ocean-blue hair. Roy's heart began to pound faster and harder as each second passed.
    Leigh: The Supreme Senate has to choose a leader. Axel is doing his part, heartbroken as we all are, to vouch for me.
    Roy: You just lost your husband! You shouldn't have to carry the weight of leading the country and raising Otana by yourself!
    Leigh: You're just like him, thinking of others even when you're hurting inside. He spoke so much about you and Nadena. You guys were really close. I'm so sorry Roy!
    Roy had felt this agonizing feeling before, when he first fled Omni during the Syvian invasion. The same burning tears that streamed down his face then, returned to greet him now. Even still, Nadena got up, and held both Roy and Leigh close to her. She, with her mighty heart, did her best to stifle her tears, in order to let Roy grieve. And to let Leigh, who was clearly trying to be strong amongst all of the duties she will have to undertake, let everything out.
    Leigh: Thank you Nadena. It means everything to me. I have to go now, the hearing has already started. I love you both so fiercely, just as I loved Ishta, and just as he loved you. Please, please remember that. Otana is too young to understand that his father won't be around to carry him or play with him or wash his hair for him anymore. Some day, I know he'll understand.
    Leigh kissed Nadena's cheeks and her lips, which was a common cultural thing to do, typically between blood-related Vevoskovian women, but also for close friends. Leigh then kissed Roy's forehead, and hugged the two goodbye.
    Nadena sat on the sofa and Roy stood against the kitchen counter, both of them just sitting still, silent for a few minutes. Nadena went over to Roy as he cried, and the two embraced each other.
    Axel had vouched for Leigh to rule Vevoskovia as Queen. He was met with mostly positive reception, as the Senate knew of Leigh's experiences. Kruja, Han, and Uzo were the 3 Senators in particular that did not fancy the idea of Leigh taking the throne.
    Uzo: And what will become of the throne when Leigh takes it? We should place someone different in power. Vevoskovia should not allow the power to rule to be owned by one family.
    Kruja: I agree. Such actions will encourage a dynasty.
    Axel: If the Menlayevs rule with good intent, and good results, I see no issue with a dynasty, Uzo, Kruja. We are in a state of elevated crisis. We have no time to gather candidates and conduct elections. The only objection you have to Leigh's rule is the arbitrary assumption that a dynasty would be inherently bad. I am vouching for Leigh because she is the best suited person to guide this country during war.
    Han: It is ultimately up to the Senate to make that call!
    Axel: Then let us not forget, Han. It was an SOE general and former Senator that nearly killed me, Ishta, and our friends. It was people within those groups that let in Syvian spies, and funded the KGR. Neither the Senate nor any washed up SOE commander is trustworthy for the job. Leigh, being Ishta's wife, and mother of their son, is the most trustworthy and capable person to hold the throne, the crown, and the responsibilities therein!
    Senator: The time for vouching is over. Senators, it is time. Think hard in this very moment, who you want to be sitting on the Vevoskovian Throne. Think hard of who you to be wearing the crown, for the decision is to be made now. Everyone please, cast the name of the one you think is the best suited for the role.
    9 Senators called out Leigh as the suitable ruler.
    Only 3 recommended someone else.
    Han: Damn you all.....are you really going to hand down the powers of this country to a single family? A single bloodline?
    Senator: SILENCE HAN! The order has been set! Bring Leigh here now!
    Speak of a woman, and she shall appear. Leigh barged through the doors, eager to here the results of the hearing. She stood before the Senate in Tenzo's Palace. She stood as the Senators sat on elevated thrones, looking down on her, as the marble carvings of Lady Liberty, Lady Justice, and Lady Equality shone and sparkled in the sunlight.
    Senator: The vote has been completed. By process of the Supreme Senate, you have now been crowned the Queen of Vevoskovia, second ruler after Ishta Menlayev. Congratulations
    Leigh: Thank you, all of you.
    Senator: If you have any immediate orders, now would be the time to give them. Though we are waiting on reports by the SOE before we decide to invade Syvia. We still have not seen any forces approach us.
    Leigh: Then proceed to keep our forces along the border. But reach out to Koga, they're right between us. We may be able to use the circumstances to have them officially ally with us
    Senator: Indeed. We can do that for you. Anything else?
    Leigh: Not at the moment. Let us be extremely cautious.
    Senator: Alright then. Leigh, you are excused from the hearing if you have no further business here. And we all give your our sincere condolences for your loss.
    Leigh: .....Thank you.....
    Leigh and Axel went back to Castle Asane as news of Ishta's death reached the general public, and a day of mourning was called. Ishta had single handedly turned the Eastern States into the mightiest country to ever exist, surpassing even the Omni nations. He had united many countries into one, and continued down the path of a government built upon the Horizontal Duality of Power philosophy, becoming one of the first countries to have a more representative form of government. Power in the military and the economy was all done because of Ishta's strong leadership, and now it was up to Leigh to also be that kind of leader
    Otana wasn't told of what happened to his father, not until he would grow older first. For now, he was much too young to know. Leigh continued to cautiously watch over Syvia and Koga for the next few days until SOE reports came in confirming that Syvian troops were actually being based in Koga. Leigh, Axel, and Toh went over the details in the Asane meeting room.
    Toh: It doesn't look like it was an invasion, they said. Koga must be complying with Syvian demands to occupy the country with the least amount of fighting as possible
    Axel: It doesn't matter what they do. Side with Syvia, Vevoskovia considers them the enemy. Side with Vevoskovia, Syvia considers them the enemy. What should we do, Leigh?
    Leigh: If Koga has chosen to harbor enemy forces, then Koga will be considered as the enemy. Toh: Deliver an order of invasion for Koga. I want a force of 1 million soldiers deployed, to clear and assimilate Koga.
    Toh: Understood. I guess that's what's happening then. Ishta was trying to prevent this from happening.
    Axel: Thank Syvia for pissing that all away.
    Toh: I'll go deliver the decision to the Senate before the day wraps up. You guys take it easy, we're all going to need it.
    Leigh: Excellent work today Axel.
    Axel: Same to you. Listen, have you been doing okay? I know being Queen means you can't spend as much time with Otana.
    Leigh: I'd be lying if I said it doesn't hurt to not be able to spend time with my son after his father's death. But what else can you do? I have responsibilities.
    Axel: True that. If you ever need anyone to talk to, you know you've got me, Toh's an idiot but he's always willing to listen, and of course Red and Blue.
    Leigh: Red and Blue? Hah, Roy and Nadena! Yeah. I know, Axel. Thank you.
    Leigh went home late that night. She now usually only gets to see her son when he's still sleeping in the mornings, and again when he's sleeping at night. According to the maids and caregivers, Otana became less playful as each day passed. He felt the pain of death, without understanding death itself. As if the heavens themselves were crying over an already mournful and weeping nation, it rained that night. And the rain was heavy.

The 5th Cataclysm


The next few days moved so fast. Leigh, Axel, and Toh had brought in SOE reports, and began going over the next course of action to be taken immediately.
    Toh: The SOE has reported that Syvian forces are not advancing on Vevoskovia head-on. Rather, Koga is complying with demands from Syvia to house their military there.
    Axel: Which means that Koga is harboring enemy forces. They're probably scared of being rushed by either nation.
    Leigh: If that is what they've chosen to do, then we will consider them enemies. Issue an invasion order.
    Toh: Alright. I'll go deliver that to the Senate before the day wraps up.
    Toh got up and left to fulfill his last duty of the day.
    Axel: Hey, you've been okay? I know you haven't been able to see Otana yet, and Syvia still hasn't returned Ishta's body.
    Leigh: I'll be fine, Axel. Thank you
    Axel: Well, if you ever need anyone, you got me, Toh, and of course, Red and Blue
    Leigh: Red and Blue? Haha! Roy and Nadena! Yeah. I know, Axel. Go home, and rest well.
    The day wrapped up, and Castle Asane was locked up as well.
    The fun was just beginning for the Deshavi Black Ops however. They built rooms, halls, floors, and even a prison within the caves. With the lack of light during the night, they learned how to use Crimson Art, represented by the planetary symbol for Mars. They learned how to apply every basic power of the celestial bodies to practical use. Now, it was time for them to learn how to apply those powers for combat. Commander Anzu met before 110 kneeling soldiers.
    Anzu: I give you my most sincere congratulations! You have all done well. But today forth will begin the true test. You have learned all of the basic powers, but now you will be applying them to combat. This will require a greater exertion of energy, and you all know what that means. Keeping your bodies healthy and fit will be paramount to the success of this training, lest you die of heart failure, stroke, or any other kind of bodily shutdown brought upon by the use of the Marluxian Arts. From now on, you will devote your bodies to this power. You will be split up into pairs as I teach you how to use the Marluxian Arts in combat. Prepare yourselves!
    As Ishta's seeds of insurance began to bare fruit, Luxaura awoke the following morning. He put on his cloak, and prepared to leave the mountain hideout
    Inadora: Are you leaving already? Where are you off to?
    Luxaura: The Order of the Phoenix Demons will need more manpower. I know just who to recruit for the job. The 5th Cataclysm is on its way Inadora.
    Inadora: I know. Good luck with the recruit, Lux.
    Luxaura: Of course. Make sure Yahto doesn't mess with anyone. He.....he has way too much sugar in the morning
    Inadora: That's like asking me to tame a wild horse.
    Luxaura smiled, gave Inadora a thumbs up, and then made his way to his destination. He appeared right at Roy and Nadena's door, determined for them to hear him out. The house had been silent ever since Leigh delivered the news, but Roy was beginning to be able to eat again. Nadena, working hard to relieve him of his stress and sadness, was at least able to take solace in his restored appetite. The two sat and ate silently in their home, before being startled by a knock on their door. Roy got up to answer, and saw Luxaura when he opened it.
    Roy: Who are you?
    Luxaura: You and I have never met before, but my name is Luxaura, the prophet in fact. I have come to cordially invite you to join the Order of the Phoenix Demons
    Roy stared at Luxaura for a good 10 seconds before ultimately slamming the door in his face, thinking he was being pranked. He walked back to the kitchen table, but heard Luxaura's voice as if he was in the house. Looking back, Roy saw Luxaura quite literally going THROUGH the door, and walking right into his home.
    Luxaura: I wasn't a good socializer either, but even I knew better than to slam the door in someone's face. Not cool at all, man.
    Roy freaked out and fell back as Nadena ran to the living room to see what was causing all of the commotion. She too, laid eyes upon Luxaura
    Luxaura: Oh, you must be the girl! You're much prettier in person.
    Nadena ran to the kitchen to try and arm herself. Luxaura clasped his hands together and reached out to her with one arm, revealing the Earth symbol on his hand. Nadena was pulled back by gravity, and bound together with Roy.
    Luxaura: Now then, If I can just have your undivided attention for the next couple of minutes...
    Roy and Nadena continually screamed for help, so loudly Luxaura couldn't even hear his own thoughts. To shut them up, he clasped his hands again, and released a swirling gush of fire that encircled Roy and Nadena like a snake. Their shock and horror turned into wonder, and Luxaura was able to speak once more
    Luxaura: When you've lived for thousands of years, you learn to do things like that. As I was saying, my name is Luxaura. I am the prophet of Agzabah, the first and only. I'm responsible for a little organized religion called Agzatona, maybe you've heard of it. And I want to invite you, Roy, to the Order of the Phoenix Demons.
    Nadena: Are you insane?!?! You break into our home and try to convince you're the prophet?!?!?
    Luxaura: May I point out that I walked right through your door, and in fact, did not "break" anything? I mean, isn't that proof enough?
    The blank and confused looks of Roy and Nadena spoke volumes to Luxaura.
    Luxaura: Fine. Come outside. I'll prove it to you.
    After unbounding them, the 3 went outside, instructed to gather in a circle by Luxaura. Using what little power from the moon was available, Luxaura managed to make himself, Roy, and Nadena levitate and stay suspended in mid air.
    Luxaura: The prophet was said to be able to do this. To levitate, and stay in the air, as if the very air itself was his throne. Now you have to believe me!
    Roy and Nadena floated in shock, being unable to believe the prophet had actually come to them in the flesh
    Nadena: Do you have any idea how big of a deal it is that you're alive? How did you even manage to live this long? How are able to do all of this?
    Luxaura: Most of that is a long story. I'm alive because I achieved immortality. I'm not invulnerable, but things like aging and sickness simply don't occur to me.
    Roy: Why? Why has someone like you come to us specifically?
    Luxaura: As I said, I've come to invite you to join the Order of the Phoenix Demons.
    Nadena: What the hell is that? Oo! I shouldn't curse around a prophet! Please don't send me to Hell!
    Luxaura: Haha! Relax, it's alright. It's also kind of a long story. The Order of the Phoenix Demons is a small group of elite individuals, immortal like me. We have vowed to devote ourselves to the greater future of humanity, by stopping the 6th Cataclysm.
    Roy: 6th Cataclysm?
    Luxaura: Yeah, you've heard of it haven't you? In the Book of Wisdom, I wrote and foretold of two possible paths humanity would go down. One path would be a peaceful one, where humans never again repeat the atrocities of the Golden Empire. A path where mankind works together to maintain a peaceful Earth, it was the path I so willingly put my life on the line for. Agzatona was to be the guideline for that path.
    Roy: And the other?
    Luxaura: The other path would see a repeat of the many evils of the Golden Empire, maybe even worse. Regardless, this path would only lead to suffering, humans unable to work together, to see eye to eye. A path where war is the constant, and children grow up with one or no parents, and die before growing old enough to even know the taste of alcohol. Along this path however, I saw 6 major cataclysms occur. The 6th cataclysm itself is the one that will ultimately destroy humanity, complete extinction of the human race. 4 of those cataclysms have already happened, and the 5th is due soon.
    Shock filled the hearts of Roy and Nadena. If what he said was true, a major catastrophe will rock the Earth. And after that, the next one will mean the annihilation of the human race. The apocalypse.
    Nadena: My god.... please tell me this is all just a dream! You're telling us the world is going to end soon?!
    Luxaura: There's no exact telling just how far down the line the 6th cataclysm will be after the 5th. They've usually been spaced out well. But the 5th is definitely on its way. After that, humanity will have no more chances.
    Luxaura turned around to reveal the lotus flower symbol on the back of his cloak
    Luxaura: See this? This is the symbol of the Phoenix Demons, meant to represent humanity growing prosperously out of the blood and carnage of the past, like a lotus flower blossoming and rising above dirtied water. It's placement on our backs symbolize our willingness to carry that burden.
    Roy: Why doesn't Agzabah step in, and stop this 6th cataclysm from happening?
    Luxaura: Yet another long story, Roy. But Agzabah is the one causing these cataclysms. The truth is, Roy, Agzabah has no true control over her powers. She's really not even a goddess
    Roy: What? How could you say that! You're her prophet, why would you-
    Luxaura: Because it's true, Roy. Agzabah stole her powers, used them to create her own little world where she can play God. Despite not having the power to reverse any of the damage she's done. It is often in her feeble attempts to stop the cataclysms does she ultimately end up being the cause of them.
    Nadena:.....I don't know what to say....
    Luxaura: If you do not believe me, why don't you come with me? I can make you immortal today. I can show you the 4th dimension, a dimension that was never mentioned in the Book of Wisdom. It's the place where every soul of every human that lived before this generation of mankind went when they died tragically at the hands of Agzabah. I can show you the whole truth, if you simply come with me.
    Roy: I....
    Luxaura: I was just like you Roy. Naive, scared by the immense responsibilities that suddenly made their way into my life. But if you love your country, your friends, and the whole world, then please, come with me. You can meet the other members too. They're a riot, i promise! Except for Fate, he's a bit on the weird side.
    Roy thought hard about this sudden situation. As he levitated in mid-air, he had already come to grips with the reality that he was facing the prophet himself. In that case, there is no reason that such a revered and loved figure, crucial to the founding of Agzatona, would ever be an imposter. He was truly there, in the flesh. Roy did indeed love his country, and he wanted to always protect his friends. He never wanted for anyone to share the same fate as Ishta. If the world was truly ending soon, and there was a chance to stop it.....
    Roy: Alright. I'll go with you. But you are to show me everything you have promised.
    Luxaura: Perfect. I'll explain more about the Phoenix Demons on our way back.
    Nadena: Wait!
    Luxaura: What is it?
    Nadena: Take me too!
    Roy: Nadena...
    Nadena: Roy doesn't go anywhere without me, and I don't go anywhere without him! I'll do anything to join you, but please take us both!
    Luxaura: Hmmm...
    Luxaura studied the pleading girl. Within her, he found a strong spirit, unwavering loyalty, and a truly blessed heart.
    Luxaura: Alright. You can come with us. I'll show you both everything. If you do decide to join us, we will make you immortal as well. You'll live forever.
    Those words, were both scary and uplifting for Roy and Nadena.
    Luxaura: I can't carry you on my own, so I hope you don't mind if Astaroth holds you!
    Nadena: What?
    Suddenly, a silver aura surrounded Luxaura. That aura shaped itself into the upper body of a 4 armed swordsman, who's hands were empty, and his swords sheathed on his back along with his shield. The aura was so massive, so warm, and awe-inspiring.
    Luxaura: This is Astaroth. This was one of the 5 demons that were unleashed by Agzabah, and used to commit the 1st Cataclysm. He won't harm you, he's just going to carry you as we venture North.
    Held by the hands of Astaroth, Roy and Nadena were taken with Luxaura as he leaped great distances across the land.
    Luxaura: I sure hope neither of you get motion sickness!
    Roy: Maybe a little! How long ago did you create the Order of the Phoenix Demons?
    Luxaura: About a thousand years ago. I've honestly begun to lose track myself.
    Roy: How exactly do you plan on making us immortal?
    Luxaura: .......You will need to wait and see for yourself.
    It only took a few minutes for them to travel north into the large mountain range. Luxaura took Roy and Nadena into the mountain hideout, and announced his return to the other members.
    Luxaura: Ah, they're not in the throne room. But they should be able to feel Astaroth's energy and know I'm here.
    Surely enough, all of the members of the Phoenix Demons assembled to greet Luxaura, and the new recruits.
    Luxaura: I want to introduce to you the other members. The girl with the dark grey hair and green and black eyes. That's Inadora. She was the first member, besides me of course.
    Inadora: Wonderful to meet you both!
    Nadena: You too....
    Luxaura: Next to her is Boderik. He doesn't talk much. He used to be a pagan monk after the fall of the Golden Empire. When the nations split up, he was exiled out of his own land. I caught him trying to kill himself, and decided to help him use his strength to do what he loves best. Bringing peace to other souls. After that is Yahto. He's the jokester and sarcastic bitch of the group.
    Yahto: Oh ha ha. Of course you could say that with a *censored* eating grin on your face too. Punk. Anyway, nice to meet you both.
    Luxaura: And then, there's Fate, who I told you about earlier. As you can probably guess by looking at him, he's not human. He used to be, but he died and was sent to rest in the Underworld.
    Yahto: Correction! There IS no rest in the Underworld! Only suffering and agony!
    Luxaura: Ha, yeah, what Yahto said. He's yet to tell me the whole story, but he was washed in the Sea of Blood in the underworld for a while. That's how he obtained his powers. He was smart enough, and still human enough to have the desire to go back to Earth, in the 2nd dimension. He has a unique skill for interdimensional travel, and that has made him an extremely valuable asset to us. We've based ourselves deep in the Underworld for years before we resurfaced on the Earth.
    Fate: Good to see some fresh faces. I can only hope you'll make the cut. We have no use for weaklings.
    Luxaura: Go easy on them Fate, they just got here.
    Nadena: So... you're all trying to stop the end of the world?
    Inadora: Pretty much.
    Luxaura: I must warn you. The task requires an extreme amount of determination. Every person in this room has killed many people, mostly soldiers of invading nations, to avoid catastrophic wars like the one about to engulf Vevoskovia and Syvia.
    Roy: What?!? Why?
    Luxaura: It may comfort you to know that every soul that departs ever since I first gained immortality has been going to the 4th dimension I told you about, the true afterlife.
    Roy: True afterlife? What about the Underworld, and the 3rd dimension?
    Luxaura: The 4th dimension predates both of those places.
    Roy: What? So that means, Agzabah didn't create it. There's a dimension that existed before the creation of those places?
    Luxaura: Yep, that's what the 4th dimension is. It differs from the 1st and 3rd dimension with the fact that every soul that dies, good or bad ends up there. Their experiences in the 4th dimension would be different, but it is the ultimate resting place of every soul. The creation of the 1st and 3rd dimension blocked souls from traveling there for many, many years. But, instead of explaining all of this to you, why don't you take a visit to the 4th dimension
    Roy could no longer believe what he was hearing. He was filled with shock and fear, and a slight sense of curiosity.
    Roy: You want me to die?!?!
    Luxaura: Haha! No! You will not be dying.
    Roy: Then how am I supposed to go there?
    Inadora clasped her hands and touched the floor. A cubicle emerged from the floor, and an elderly man walked out of it's interior.
    Inadora: This man will be the sacrifice necessary for you to travel to, and out of the 4th dimension safely.
    Elder: Young one.
    The old man's interjection stifled Roy's anger.
    Elder: You should know, Luxaura came to me not too long ago, and proved himself to be the prophet of Agzabah. I was asked if I was willing to sacrifice my life for the immortality of his new servants. I agreed. He has told me everything about the 4th dimension, the heaven beyond! I look at you, and see in your face that you have been overwhelmed with sadness. Perhaps, you have lost someone you cared deeply for. I have gone through that as well. After hearing about this 4th dimension from each of them, I have been able to put my demons to rest. My friends and family await me there, in that peaceful place. It would be my honor, and a favor to me, if I could give my life for you. You would be helping me!
    Roy: But, I.....are you really sure?
    Elder: Please, accept this chance. Let him prove to you everything he is saying is real. Let me finally rest with my loved ones.
    Roy turned to Luxaura, aware that he was probably stepping into something that was much more than he could handle. But still, the sadness inflicted upon him by the loss of Ishta drove him to take any means he could to protect his friends. He did not want anyone to die in an apocalypse. If this road of pain and the 6 Cataclysms was indeed caused by humanity's own failure to simply love one another, he did not feel anymore of his loved ones should have to suffer because of it. The mistakes of empires gone would not have any effect on the loved ones of the present.
    Nadena: Roy, are you sure?
    Roy: I want to see what you're talking about. Your powers have proven to me you're no ordinary group of people. If the 4th dimension is real as well, I want you to show it to me. Old man, I gladly accept your sacrifice. I'm sorry for the losses you had to endure.
    Elder: Thank you. You truly are kind.
    Luxaura: As you wish, Roy. Inadora. Prepare the seal.
    Inadora sunk the cubicle back through the floor,  and the circular throne room was emptied. Clasping her hands again, she summoned the seals of Saturn's 10 moons, and the Sun and Earth's Moon. The sequence of seals on her hands gave birth to a large circle, filled with astrological symbols and spanning the entire floor of the room. Roy and Nadena watched in amazement as the seal glowed with intense white light.
    Inadora: Whew. That part is done. Roy. Do you see that symbol over there? The one that looks like a crescent moon? Lay down on that symbol, directly on it. Old man, lay down on that symbol there, the circle with the dot in the middle. It is the Solar symbol.
    They both did as instructed, looking at each other as they laid down across the room from each other.
    Inadora: Alright, here's what's going to happen. The old man's soul will be sacrificed, and attached to your soul, Roy. As he dies and goes to the 4th dimension, you will go there with him, using his soul as a vehicle. You will awake in the 4th dimension. There's no telling what you'll see there, but whatever you do, follow the path, however it is presented to you. Using the energy from Saturn's moons, the sun, and Earth's moon, I can protect your soul from being stuck in the 4th dimension. You will see a large stone when you get there. Simply touch it, and the energy from Saturn's moons will be activated. Symbols will appear on your hand, and it may even feel weird, but do not let go of that stone! That part is utterly important! Once that is done, a new symbol will appear on your hand, it might burn a little. Once the old man's soul has passed on, the Solar symbol on this sigil will illuminate. That's when your Lunar symbol will illuminate, and I will pull you back from the 4th dimension, back here in this spot, in your own body. Old man, it is important you guide him up there.
    Elder: I understand, i won't let him get lost.
    Inadora: Alright. If everyone is set, then please, prepare yourselves.
    The seal lit up, and Roy could feel as if he was dying. It was done, painless and instantly, and everything went black. He awoke, surrounded in a white space. The sound of wind was all there was.
    Roy: Is this....the 4th dimension?
    He looked up, seeing the elder man that was sacrificed for his sake.
    Elder: Get up, young one. This is my last mortal duty before I can move on. Come, there's a path this way
    A running stream revealed itself, and the water was crisp and beautiful. As the two men walked in this stream, along with the flow of the water, grass became apparent. Then trees, and unspeakably tall mountains. Then, they saw what Inadora was speaking of. A large stone, adorned with flowers and strange symbols and letterings.
    Elder: This place is so beautiful. I can already hear the voices of those I lost on Earth. Hurry Roy! You must touch the stone! Remember what Inadora said, Do NOT let go until you feel a burn on your hand!
    Roy laid his hand upon the stone, and the 10 symbols for Saturn's 10 moons formed on his hand one by one, and carved themselves in a circle on the giant stone. He couldn't believe his eyes, as he too noticed the immense beauty of the 4th dimension. He finally felt the burn on his hand, and let go of the stone. The symbol of Nibiru appeared on his hand, as steam arose from the heat of its mark.
    Elder: It's done. Well done, young one. Come, I shall guide you back.
    The two men walked back along the stream, back where the path began. Along the way, the elder gave Roy some parting words of wisdom
    Elder: I am glad to have done this for you. If you're going to serve Luxaura, I want you to remember something. Do not be bound by petty ties such as your allegiance to your country. Countries, clans, bloodlines, they can all be tainted.
    Roy: That's honestly what I've lived by for years. If that's not the right thing, then what should I live by?
    Elder: Live by the survival and flourishment of the human race. The best for all, not just a portion. The road to finding a way to fulfill that task may be difficult, but you must work to find a way. Choose the path of redemption and survival for us all, Roy. Good luck to you.
    Roy: Thank you, for your sacrifice.
    Elder: This is your stop. You're going to be sent back. I am going to stay here and move on. Finally be at peace, and rest in peace with those I love. You take good care of yourself Roy. Goodbye.
    Roy watched as the man walked by up the stream, and he suddenly felt like he was being pulled from this beautiful place. Everything went black once more. When he awoke, the Lunar and Solar symbols were both illuminated. After a few seconds, the light died out, and the old man was dead.
    Inadora: You should take a look at your chest, Roy.
    Roy looked and saw a strange seal over his heart.
    Roy: What is this?
    Inadora: The Sigil of Nibiru. Proof of your immortality. We all have that same symbol. I'd show you mine, but you'd be getting a good look at my breasts
    Roy: Oh come on, I'm not a pervert!
    Luxaura showed Roy his symbol, as did Yahto and Fate.
    Luxaura: Do you understand what this means? You're immortal now. Just like us. Congratulations.
    The group clapped for Roy and Nadena stood in disbelief. They really were telling the truth
    Roy looked over at the Elder, who had passed on peacefully.
    Yahto: We'll bury him. He was a very good man.
    Luxaura: Nadena, what about you? Do you also wish to become immortal?
    Nadena: I....I don't know!
    Roy: I think you should Nadena. The 4th dimension is real! It's beyond beautiful!
    Luxaura: I have another willing sacrifice lined up for you, if you're willing. You would do him a great pleasure by allowing him to move on.
    Nadena reluctantly accepted the offer, fearing a world in which Roy would live forever, and death would separate him from her. The same process was followed, and Nadena awoke with the same symbol on her chest. The two were now branded for the rest of their immortal lives
    Fate: You two are now immortal, just like us.
    Luxaura: I take it this means you will officially join us?
    Having proof of their power, and the divine knowledge of Luxaura himself, Roy and Nadena bowed before him, and affirmed they would gladly serve under him.
    Luxaura: As I warned before, this is no easy responsibility. You may even have to kill someday. People will not always be able to see reason, and I cannot afford to reveal myself, since I am working against Agzabah. Death will likely be the only way to solve the problem of stubborn people with too much power. They will all go to the 4th dimension when and if they die. They will know the same beauty I have showed you, and be free from the pains of the world, and the unjust judgement of Agzabah and Zorc. Are you absolutely sure of this?
    Nadena: We have already lost so many people because of the repeated inability to see reason. Our home and people were completely wiped out because of it.
    Roy: If we can stop that from happening, and stop the Cataclysms, we will proudly serve under you.
    Luxaura: So that's how it is. I accept your allegiance. Congratulations, Roy and Nadena. You are officially Phoenix Demons!
    Roy and Nadena smiled as a round of applause was given to them.
    Roy: Wait, why are we called Phoenix Demons?
    Yahto: I can explain that, bucko! See, we're not actually demons unless you cant Mr. Ineedatan over there. The phoenix part is because the process of immortality is like being born again, like a phoenix from the ashes! The Demon just sounds cool! Haha! Congrats!
    Nadena: Oh! I see now! There's a lot of symbolism in this group!
    Yahto: You bet your sweet ass there is!
    Luxaura: I have much to teach you both. The next part of becoming a Phoenix Demon includes learning the powers we've showed you. The Marluxian Arts. Because you have been given immortal bodies, immune to the natural sufferings of a mortal body, learning the Marluxian Arts should be relatively easy for you.
    Nadena: What, we're going to have powers too!?!
    Luxaura: Haha, yeah! Come! I'll prepare thrones and rooms for you both, we'll walk and talk at the same time.
    Roy and Nadena were filled with delight, a sense of finally finding a deeper purpose in life. For once, they felt they could actually help prevent tragedies like the Omni Genocide, and Ishta's untimely death, which lead to a declaration of war. They were determined to act out of their love for life, and their desire for future generations to never have to know the pain of the violence that currently ruled their world.
    While they were inducted into the Order of the Phoenix Demons, the official invasion of Koga was just 2 days away. Vevoskovian forces waited right outside the borders of Koga, simply waiting the order to charge. Agzabah also waited, watching closely as the events unfolded. Would she really have to use it? Could she be able to stop the 5th Cataclysm from occurring. The monster sealed inside her roared fiercely. A storm of blood was once again going to wash over the lands. The 5th Cataclysm was fast approaching.

And so we have approached the breaking point! If you read my post about Building the Marluxian Arts, this is where that concept becomes more and more prevalent in the story. The world is about experience and unexplainable loss of a large amount of life for the 5th time. Yes, this has already happened 4 previous times, and it has a lot to do with the other Heralds of the End, some of whom are still in the underworld, others are "missing", or stolen by the Phoenix Demons.

The Great Destroyer


Early in the morning, Ishta met with Syvian border forces, and made his way to the capital. Being guided to the Syvian capital palace, Ishta and his men were disarmed, and Ishta himself was guided to the roof of the palace, where the Syvian king awaited him. Sitting down at a set table with desserts and tea, the Syvian ruler smiled and invited Ishta to sit. And thus, the talks began.
    Dandus: Did you see the crowds? They aren't very happy of your arrival.
    Ishta: If you came to Vevoskovia, things would be the same way.
    Dandus: Hmm. Would you like some blueberry tea?
    Ishta: Sure, I'd be delighted.
    Dandus: Iodel! Please, bring the sugar for our guest.
    Ishta: So then. I know you have been spying on me. That recent stunt with Keroch and Enzo revealed a lot about you. Enzo just plain didn't like me. Honestly, I never liked the guy either. And as a father, I don't know how much I can blame Keroch for wanting to be sure his daughter stays alive and healthy.
    Dandus: Despite that, their transgressions were too severe. And so you killed them both. Orphaned Keroch's little girl.
    Ishta: With all due respect Dandus, you knew exactly what you were doing. You used their desires and weaknesses to make them into turncoats. How long have the Syvian KGR been watching me?
    Dandus: You're a smart man, Ishta. Not long. We had already struck the deal with Keroch a few years prior. I personally asked him to return the favor, and get someone of power and influence in on it too. This was all really a plan to fund the KGR, and deliver some intelligence of how things work in Syvia. Your courts would've faired better keeping Keroch alive instead of just killing him so fast.
    Ishta: The Supreme Senate knows you were completely involved in all of it, and they know about the KGR as well. One wrong move and war will break out.
    Dandus: Indeed.
    Ishta: So what happens with Koga?
    Dandus: Koga has business with us. We hope to assimilate them into the country.
    Ishta: You can't do that Dandus. We have important ties with Koga as well. Any aggression towards Koga will be seen as a direct attack on Vevoskovian interests.
    Dandus: Syvia shall do as Syvia pleases. In the end, I must decide what is best for my people, and for me. Do as you please, but know that Koga is in our sights. No threat of war can possibly stop that.
    Ishta: See these bandages? This is what your men did to me, and you damn near killed my friends. You would do well to remember just how far over the line you have already crossed, Dandus.
    Dandus: The bomb was not our doing.
    Ishta: What?
    Dandus: The KGR was tasked only with spying. With collecting intel, and delivering Keroch's payments out of Vevoskovia and into Syvia. Part of the money he gave went to KGR funding. The other went to his daughters care. We never planted any weapons or bombs anywhere. Stealing that phosphorus was purely for economic purposes.
    Ishta: Didn't you just say I was a smart man? That was hundreds of pounds of white phosphorus. I know most of it has got to be sitting in a stockpile. God bless Keroch and Enzo for financing enemy nations.
    Dandus: God bless.
    Ishta: So I'm guessing it was Enzo who planted it.
    Dandus: Which means there are more traitors within your government. Enzo didn't walk in there and do it himself. He had someone do it for him.
    Ishta: *censored*......
    Ishta and Dandus sat back and drank their tea, as a cool wind filled the air and clouds filled the sky.
    Dandus: Make no mistake, Ishta. Syvia will continue to expand.
    Ishta: I don't care what you do in the west. But you leave Koga and the east alone.
    Dandus: Of course, that I can promise you. I cannot make any promises with you on Koga. And I will pull my spies out of the country.
    Ishta: That's a start.
    Dandus: Come. We're supposed to meet The Assembly in the northern district. Discussing things with them ought to prove useful. They hold economic stake in all of this.
    Ishta: Sure, let's go.
    A large group of Syvian soldiers and personal KGR bodyguards formed a barrier around the line of traveling horses. Ishta's SOE agents gathered around his horse, in between the Syvian garrison. As they left the palace and moved through the city, crowds of people booed and cheered, others simply stared.
    Ishta: Is it always this chaotic in the city, Dandus?
    Dandus: Chaos is the staple of any capital, Ishta.
    Agent: Sir, I don't like this. Too many people, lot's of tall buildings.
    Ishta silently absorbed the concern of his agent, and looked to his surroundings.
    Dandus: It's time, Ishta.
    The sun shone through the clouds, and the gray city was illuminated with beautiful light. Noticing the only open window on one of the higher floors of the building, Ishta saw someone sitting and aiming out of the window. Before he could say anything, a silver bolt was shot from the window and pierced Ishta's throat. Noticing the visible gas coming from the window, indicating a gas powered bolt gun has been fired, SOE agents took Ishta off of the horse, and try to get him away from the crowds. The KGR bodyguards turned their swords against the SOE agents, and despite valiant fighting, it wall hopeless. They were killed. The KGR loaded tied their bodies onto horses while the military kept civilians at bay. The group traveled all the way across town into the Northern District, to meet with Assembly members of the Syvian government. The KGR assassin closed the window, cleaned up the room, and exited the building. However, he was greeted by 2 KGR agents, who congratulated him in the hallway. He was later subdued, and taken to the North District along with Ishta and the bodies of his guards.
    The crowd tried to advance on the guards as they guarded the Northern Palace, but were quickly dispersed by chlorine gas bombs, and a counter-acting riot police. The bodies were taken inside the building and presented to the Assembly.
    Dandus: His agents are dead. But it doesn't seem like he is yet.
    One of the members came down the steps of the auditorium to see for himself, on behalf of the others.
    Gura: Ah, it was done with a silver bolt, and purposely shot in his throat. That is the only thing keeping him from bleeding out right now.
    Ishta gasped for as much air as he could, but he could not talk.
    Gura: Do you have any idea how much you nearly destroyed for us? Barring Syvian operations in Koga, halting our advance on the Nations of White. Many of our former and potential partners left us and allied with you. So much money and influence comes from this assembly, and you were going to just piss it all away. Syvia has the military might to deal with any retaliation your country could throw at us. We already have our forces ready to be mobilized. I wanted to wish you a happy trip to hell in person, Ishta. Send my regards to my son, whom you killed in the Nations of White. Goodbye
    Gura pulled the bolt from Ishta's neck, and he began to bleed out. He struggled, and tried to scream, but his throat was completely destroyed. All you could hear were the gurgling sounds of someone trying to breath, as if they're drowning in their own blood. His struggling ceased after a minute or two, and he closed his tearful eyes. Ishta Asane Menlayev, first king of Vevoskovia, was now dead.
    Dandus: Your assassin should be here any-
    The doors to the auditorium opened, and the assassin was brought in, with block cloth wrapped around his eyes. He was distressed, worried if he had done something wrong. He was set on his knees before Dandus and Gura, and the cloth was removed.
    Gura: I want to personally thank you for your services. You have done your duties well. That is exactly why you must also die. Both victim and killer must disappear.
    Assassin: No no NO! Please, I did as you asked! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS
    He was grabbed by his arms as one of Dandus's KGR agents stuffed his mouth with cloth. A careful and highly trained swordsman ordered his captors to remove his shirt. His executioner then stabbed his sword right through his heart, killing him instantly.
    Gura: Get these bodies out of here. Bury them wherever you must. Have your generals meet to advance on Koga. After that, we'll most likely have to launch an offensive on Vevoskovia. This will all cause chaos and fragmentation in the Vevoskovian government. It will be the perfect time to act.
    Dandus: As you please. I'll prep everyone immediately.
    Dandus departed and the bodies and blood were wiped clean. The bodies shared one grave in a nearby forest. What Dandus did not know was that SOE spies were still planted in Syvia. They saw Ishta shot through his neck, and guided to the Northern District. They immediately made their reports, and rushed to escape the country. Their lives were in even greater danger now that war will officially start. Syvia entered a state of lockdown, which required everyone to remain in their homes as the Syvian military mobilized and marched out of the country. The Nations of White proved to be too heavily defended, so the target this time, was Koga. Escaping through the Nations of White, the SOE made a 3 day journey back to Vevoskovia, to deliver the shocking news.
    Back home, Leigh sat with Otana in the living room, helping him set up his toy blocks. She felt a sharp pain in her heart for a few seconds, prompting Otana to set down the toys ask his mother what was wrong.
    Leigh: It's nothing, my love. I think mommy is just getting old faster than she should be.
    Maid: Your highness, are you okay?
    Leigh: Yes, thank you. I'm just gonna go get some water
    Maid: Oh no please, I'll get it for you
    Leigh: Thank you
    As if their hearts were connected, Leigh could feel something was wrong with Ishta. Her worry grew as the day passed, and she did not rest that night.
    Out in the moonlit rain, the Phoenix Demons gathered in their new hideout, created by Fate. Using Earth Art, Fate created a round room with a skylight, surrounded by marble thrones. The five members all sat and began to speak
    Luxaura: Has anyone else felt a shift in the planet's energy? It feels as though something horrible had just happened earlier today.
    Inadora: Actually, yeah. I felt it too.
    Yahto: I've never really bought the whole "You can feel when bad things happen" myth, but I also got a weird feeling today. I'm mostly worried about Ishta and his trip to Vevoskovia.
    Inadora: That's what I was thinking too. I should really head over there Lux. I have a feeling Syvia might be the source of this uneasy feeling
    Fate: Indeed, it feels as though a storm of chaos is approaching the lands. Do you think something happened to Ishta?
    Inadora: That's what I'm fearing.
    Luxaura: There's no need to go anywhere. If something has indeed happened to Ishta, the news of it will appear here in Vevoskovia as fast as lightning. Ina, you should spy on the Supreme Senate. Go there now, in fact. A full moon is up, it's the perfect time to utilize the lunar powers at their fullest.
    Inadora: Alrighty then, I'll be right back.
    Inadora disappeared in an instant, teleporting atop the Tenzo Palace. The moon reflects light from the sun, and shines it down upon the earth. Inadora specializes in using lunar powers, one of which allows her to become completely invisible. This power makes her the ultimate spy. But her eyes are also extremely valuable. Inadora replaced her birth eyes with the eyes of one of the Heralds of The End, the great demon Izutu. Izutu's eyes were said to be able to steal the light of the sun, the light in one's eyes, and the light of one's soul. She was the 3rd monster that mysteriously found its way out of the Underworld and viciously attacked the human race, before being sealed by Agzabah. Inadora was put to the test by Luxaura many years ago, after Fate had joined the Phoenix Demons. She was to defeat Izutu, and rip out its eyes, using them for herself. After years of training, Inadora was finally able to achieve this. Her eyes allowed her to see and detect almost anything in her sight, and can even detect human lifeforms. Her powers make her the most suitable for espionage and silent infiltration.
    Upon this night, the Supreme Senate was gathered, which Inadora knew was odd, since most of the Senators usually go home this late. 4 SOE agents knelt before the Senators, and their words brought shock into the room, and to Inadora.
    Agent: They later made their way to the Northern District, the Syivan military protected them from the crowd. I recall seeing Ishta look around, as if he was worried about something. And then, he suddenly reached for his neck, as if he was hurt. We moved to the roof of our building, to get a better sight of what was happening. We saw what looked to be a cloud of expelled gas from one of the windows of the taller housing complexes. We moved immediately to that location, to try and apprehend the assassin. But by the time we got into the building, he was gone and the room was clean. With no more high platforms to watch from, we couldn't advance on the Northern District. It was crawling with Syvian military. Their bodies were taken in that direction. We don't know if Ishta himself is dead or not, but he most likely is, just like the others. After that, we fled the country. It was difficult to escape because civilians were ordered to stay in their homes. We had to kill patrolling KGR agents and disguise ourselves in order to escape the city and out of the country. We were almost fired upon by forces stationed at the Nations of White. We complied with them and explained our situation.  They helped us get to the capital.
    Senator: Dear god... Ishta most certainly isn't alive. We can be sure they killed him. They've already tried, in this very building.
    Agent: We should notify his next of kin.
    Senator: Dispatch the death notifiers first thing in the morning to his family. Bring in everyone here in the morning as well, everyone! We must notify them. Then, we should deliver the news to the public. As it stands, Vevoskovia is without a leader. We, as the Supreme Senate must decide what to do in that regard. But one thing is certain. Syvia has declared war on us. They cannot be shown any mercy. Execute an Arm and Mobilize order immediately.
    Agent: It will be done, Senator.
    Inadora: Oh my god... war is going to start. I must warn the others!
    Inadora teleported back to the hideout, using the power of the full moon.
    Luxaura: Back already? What did you find out, Ina?
    Inadora: Ishta Menlayev has been assassinated on his trip in Syvia. Syvia has mobilized its military, and Vevoskovia is doing the same right now. The country is going into the highest state of emergency. War is going to break out!
    Yahto: *censored* me! Seriously? Lux, we can't allow this to happen!
    Luxaura: I know. A war with countries this powerful would be cataclysmic. Millions of lives are at risk.
    Fate: Would it be possible to us it again? You mentioned you captured Astaroth, the demon that wields the Black Sword.
    Luxaura: I can, but I won't be able to use the Black Sword for a while now. I've already used it once to clean up the mess at Omni. You can blame Phaedra's failure as Rosidana for that.
    Fate: Then I worry, if we will really have the power to kill off that many people.
    Yahto: Yeah I would liken it to sticking our hand in a bear's mouth. The armies would be too large. I don't think we have the power to do much about this.
    Luxaura: Still, it has to stop somehow. Ina, keep listening in on the Senate, get to them early in the morning.
    Inadora: Right.
    Luxaura stood up, untying his long black hair, which flowed down to his lower back.
    Luxaura: We'll need to make some regime changes. I'll lay down the plan tomorrow. For not, I implore everyone to get some rest.
    It was on this night, deep in the secluded forest of Vevoskovia, that the skills of the newly trained Deshavi Black Ops were put to the test. Ishta's insurance in case of war was finally beginning to pay off.
    Anzu: You have all done well this past week. You have progressed faster than any of could have ever imagined. So tonight, we stand before this great waterfall. Individually, one of you will make an opening to the caves beyond, and await your comrades on the other side. YOU! You're up first.
    One of the Deshavi stood before the waterfall, stepping onto the lake that the massive fall formed below.
    Anzu: I see, you've also learned how to walk on water. That's very advanced stuff. Now, make an opening through the waterfall.
    The Deshavi clasped his hands together, as the planetary symbol of Neptune appeared. Extending his hands out, he split apart the water, and walked safely into the caves. His fellow soldiers applauded, and one by one, they all did the same. Anzu stepped through as well to congratulate his men.
    Anzu: Absolutely well done! You've actually done it! Well done everyone! The next part, is perhaps the easiest. These caves will need to be terraformed to allow for hallways, rooms, bunks, and multiple levels. The only part that will be complex is mapping out the design of the place. But for now, building rooms should be easy. You won't have to reach very far, because you are on this very earth. Drawing energy from it, and manipulating things that are already here is easy in theory. Now, let's get to work!
    Everything the Deshavi did was meant to hone their abilities in the Marluxian Arts. Just as splitting the waterfall allowed them to learn and hone the powers of Neptune, building their home inside of the cave would allow them to master the powers of the Earth itself.
    But nobody had any clue about the kind of news they would be given when the sun rose. As a king was dead, a mysterious and powerful group of immortals hid within the country, and the Deshavi finally bared fruition, Agzabah became aware of the situation brewing among mortals. Her brother and ruler of the Underworld Zorc, helped her travel to Earth.
    Zorc: We already have Astaroth missing, and the eyes of Izutu nowhere to be found. Are you sure you really want to do this?
    Agzabah: Yes, I just need to check something first. Return to the Underworld.
    Zorc: As you wish...
    Agzabah stood before a massive lake in the Koga region, a lake that was illuminated the moonlight. Agzabah clasped her hands together, and the symbol for Pluto appeared on her hands. Then, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury. A glowing seal, a circle comprised of these planetary symbols and words from a language not seen by humans appeared beneath her. The lake, so deep and so blue, split apart, and a giant statue of Agzabah emerged from it's depths. Built thousands of years ago, this statue stood upon the lake, depicting Agzabah peacefully meditating, as if in a dream sleep. Its facial expression then changed, as if it was expressing rage. It's eyes grew bright red, and its mouth opened. Out of it's mouth, and under the moon, long, bloodied, and skinned arms emerged first from the statue. Splashing the water and creating craters in the earth. Then, the head of this sealed monster emerged. It had long hair, a strangely human yet monsterish look to it. It's head had 3 faces, each with two large eyes. On its multi colored eyes were symbols for far off heavenly bodies, the center face's symbols in its eyes belonging to the planet Nibiru. This monster let out a great roar that shook the trees and scared off the birds. As the rest of it's body emerged from the statue, it stood with all of its wrath, yelling into the sky. Agzabah teleported on top of its head. She clasped her hands once more, and the symbol for Nibiru appeared on her hands. She touched the monster's head with her hands, to control it. It now followed her every command.
    Agzabah: It has truly been a long time. I spared humanity of having to know your wrath before. But I must command your power this time. Henceforth, you shall be known, remembered, and feared, as The Great Destroyer. I'm going to seal you inside of me for now. When the time comes, I shall release you. And it shall be the 5th time the world has suffered an enormous loss of life. The 5th End, begins now!
    The Great Destroyer was absorbed by Agzabah, and the statue hidden back into the deep lake. For the next week, Agzabah would wait on Earth, overseeing the events that would take place. If things really got too bad, an unspeakable amount of suffering were to befall humanity.

We are finally beginning to approach the breaking point of this story, which ultimately will lead to the future predicaments that affect Vevoskovia, it's rulers, and many many more people. A new group is introduced here, very briefly. But this group also has its own history and backstory. Maybe I'll write more about that after I wrap this up

Order of the Phoenix Demons


Being discharged from their political duties, Roy and Nadena return to their secluded home. 3 days after their discharge, Ishta appears before the Supreme Senate to discuss the negotiations and possible threat of war. For hours, the different scenarios were reviewed, but the ultimate goal was laid out. War must not start. Both Syvia and Vevoskovia have grown large and powerful. Any war started now would be much more cataclysmic than the battles in Nations of White. While the day begins to wrap up at Tenzo Palace, Axel has already set up an HQ at the recommended spot for the new and secret military force. A retired SOE commander was chosen to give the rest of his years to this force, and as instructed, rejected SOE troops were the first recruits of the force. They met outside of the caves, facing the massive waterfall that blocked the entrance. The troops knelt before Axel, in respect to his authority
    Axel: I want to lay upon you the weight of the burden you are all about to carry. The absolute first rule of this force, is absolute secrecy. Every word you say, every breath you take, every action you commit must all be done in secrecy. Nothing you do can be allowed to be traced back to Vevoskovia in any way what-so-ever. Anyone who tarnishes this rule and jeopardizes the secrecy of the force and the security of Vevoskovia is to be given the harshest punishment. From this day forth, you shall abandon your past lives. You will devote the rest of your lives to your country, it's people, and your king. You will carry the dirty work of this land, and maintain peace for all from the darkness. You have been given specialized armor, uniforms, coat of arms, and you will be given specialized weaponry as well.
    Axel held up the book he received from Agzabah, and all of the kneeling recruits looked up in wonder.
    Axel: Your commander, now named Anzu, has already read and practiced the material written within this book. It will take a while for you all to develop and hone the skills needed for you to be combat effective. Maybe a year or more if you really go at it. But when the time comes, we may depend on you. Anzu, you can take it from here.
    Anzu: Beyond this waterfall is a network of large caves. These caves will be used as our base of operations. I know you're all wondering however, how we're supposed to get behind such a massive waterfall. That will be your test. This book details the various links of energy between the heavenly bodies beyond our earth, and each hosts their own power. Thank our god Agzabah for delivering this to us in time of such crisis. For this specific test, we will be harnessing energy from Neptune, hosts of water related energy. You will spend the first few weeks meditating, reading, and meditating again. You will learn how to embrace and channel energy from the planets within you. When you do, we will be able to manipulate the waterfall, and create a safe opening for us to pass through. From there, we shall harness the energy from the Earth itself, and we will make a comfortable home and base out of the rocks of the cave. Because there is currently only one copy of the book, I will be teaching you all as we go along. I've already gotten down a few techniques written here.
    Axel: Once you have completed your training, you will be able to do things that you all only pictured gods being able to do. You will be Vevoskovia's finest warriors. Anzu, I leave the rest to you.
    The men set up camp, and Axel got back on his horse and rode back towards society. The darkest seeds of Vevoskovia were being planted.
    Recruit: With all do respect, commander. What exactly are we called? Did he tell you?
    The sky began to grow dark as the sun went down. A supermoon was expected that night.
    Anzu: We are to be called the Deshavi Black Ops. Deshavi was the Omni deity of cataclysmic rebirth.
    Recruit: Rebirth?
    Anzu: Yes. Deshavi destroyed the world 4 times, according to the Omni. She is responsible for death and rebirth of humanity, like a cycle. We will most likely have to take up that responsibility. Let us begin going over all the necessary details of the book.
    Recruit: Right away sir!
    Axel returned to meet Ishta back at Castle Asane, and lock up the place for the night. When he got there however, Ishta was already locking the outside gate.
    Axel: Seems you beat me home.
    Ishta: Yep. Is it done?
    Axel: They've been sent to the location and they've been given everything they need. It's done.
    Ishta: Good, that will serve as good insurance in the case I fail. Hey, heads up!
    Ishta tossed Axel the keys to Castle Asane
    Ishta: I'm leaving tomorrow at noon, for Syvia.
    Axel: I understand. Is Leigh coming with you?
    Ishta: No, can't risk her being harmed, you know? I need her here, helping you and Toh with whatever you guys need.
    Axel: Understood. We'll take care of her and Otana while you're gone. Good journeys to you, Ishta.
    Ishta: Likewise, partner.
    The two parted for their homes, another day in Vevoskovia spent. Going home, Ishta embraced his family, taking in their presence and silly antics at the dinner table before joining Leigh in bed. The sense of worry filled the room and the eyes of Leigh. But no words were spoken. The night ended with the supermoon shining through their silk blinds, and the two fast asleep in each others arms.
    Early in the morning, Roy and Nadena were woken up by a knock on their door. When he approached and opened it, Roy was met by a team of SOE agents and Vevoskovian military.
    Roy: Hello?
    Agent: Hello Roy Diadara. The king is here to see you. We were getting ready to depart to Syvia, but he wanted to stop here first.
    Roy: Oh, I see. Take me to him
    Ishta emerged from his carriage, wearing his crown proudly.
    Ishta: Hey.
    Roy: Hey.
    Ishta: I'm off to Syvia, to try and settle things.
    Roy: Good.
    Ishta: Listen, I'm sorry for letting you off so suddenly. But as your friend, and as a friend of Nadena, I couldn't allow you both to get caught in any political crossfire from the recent decisions.
    Roy: I understand, man. You did the right thing. Thank you for your concern.
    Ishta: Where's Nadena now?
    Ishta and Roy both looked back at the house as Nadena stood in the doorway, and walked towards them both.
    Nadena: So, you're leaving now?
    Ishta: Yeah, that's what's happening. You both have to promise me you'll keep Leigh and Otana company, alright? Especially Otana, he gets grumpy why his father isn't around.
    Nadena: Of course
    Ishta: You're free to grope her and take her to bed if you please too Nadena
    Roy: Don't encourage her! She's only like that when she's drunk anyway!
    Nadena: Nuh-uh! I love her without a drop of wine hitting my lips!
    The group laughed a strong and long laugh.
    Ishta: You both take care. I've gotta clean up this mess.
    Roy: Goodbye, Ishta.
    Nadnea: See ya! Bring back something nice! I hear Syvia has great lace panties!
    Roy: Damn it Nadena! What would you even need those for?
    Nadena: To seduce Leigh, duh.
    Ishta waved and rode off, beginning his journey to Syvia. The Deshavi Black Ops began their 1st day of training, deep in the forest close to the waterfall
    Anzu: The first step to being able to absorb any kind of energy at all, is to meditate. Ease your mind and body. Realize and allow the energy around you, and even the energy that lives far off in other worlds to enter you. You will all do this and be accompanied be an empty bowl. If you learn to master absorbing energy, externalizing it is the easy part. You must feel which energy you want to externalize, and clasp your hands together like so.
    The planetary symbol of Neptune appeared on both of Anzu's hands as he clasped them, and extended them back out again to release a roaring gush of water wind
    Anzu: Meditation is something I had already done in my days in the Agzatona temples. I was able to get the basic powers of Neptune down already. You must be able to do the same. If you cannot get water in your bowls, you cannot open a path through the waterfall. And if that happens, the Deshavi has no use for you. Get to work. You all have just 1 week to be able to do this!
    It was during this time of relative peace and anxiousness, that a different group began making their way into Vevoskovia. There stood, five figures in black cloaks and hoods. Their cloaks adorned with a lotus flower symbol on the back. These beautifully flowing cloaks danced in the morning wind, as the five stood and watched over the land that was now considered Vevoskovia. One of them began to speak. This one, was Yahto
    Yahto: How times have changed, ain't that right? One civilization falls and another rises just like that. These things pop in and out more than illegitimate children.
    Another removed his hood, this one was their leader, Luxaura. It was THE Luxaura, the prophet that is responsible for delivering the message of Agzatona, the first and only prophet of Agzabah, said to have existed thousands of years ago.
    Luxaura: Never has the earth seen such a vast empire. This one is very, very different.
    Yahto: Is it recognizable? Did you foresee this country in a prophecy back then?
    Luxaura: Not specifically. I do remember seeing two great nations, and two great kings. After that, I saw the earth wrapped in flames.
    Yahto: Geez, Luxy, you sure know how to turn a wedding into a wake.
    The 3rd removed her hood, and this one was Luxaura's first subordinate. Her name was Inadora
    Inadora: I have been watching the lord of this nation for a few days. It seems he's left the country, off on a diplomatic trip.
    Luxaura: Is that so? I'm guessing it's with the other nation, Syvia right?
    Inadora: Want me to keep spying on them? I don't know how much we'll learn with the king gone. The Senate and Ishta's lackeys will probably just be doing small time chores while he's out
    Yahto: See, Luxaura? At least Ina here is cute and isn't DAHK and BROODING all the damn time.
    Luxaura: Yahto, have I ever told you you talk too much?
    Yahto: Love you too babe.
    Luxaura: Ugh. Ina, let's lay off with the spying. It will soon be time to finally take some action
    The 4th removed his hood, revealing inhumanly pale skin. This being was not a human, rather, an escaped soul from the Underworld, mysteriously presenting himself before Luxaura many years ago, asking to join the group. With his help, the five were able to travel to the Underworld numerous times, and learned some of the darkest secrets of the Marluxian Arts. His red eyes shone like fire. His name was given to him by himself; Fate.
    Fate: As always, I will set up the hideout. I'll go for a mountainous region again. They've proven to be the most protected. I'll renew the transportation seals when I'm finished.
    Luxaura: Good, get right to it. Boderik. You should go with Fate. Make sure the place is nice and comfy. We may be basing ourselves in this region for a long time
    The 5th removed his good, revealing a shaved head, with only the back of it having hair, tied back in a ponytail. Boderik was a monk from the remains of the Golden Empire thousands of years ago. Losing faith in his gods and attempting suicide, he was saved and recruited by Luxaura to join him after Inadora.
    Luxaura: I think, very soon, we may be welcoming a new recruit. What a storm that will cause.
    Boderik: Good luck with the recruit. I'll go with Fate. Maybe then we can stop all of this moving around and I can finally get back to meditating.
    Yahto: Yeah you guys have fun with that. Maybe you can decide which one of you gets which bunk while you're at it.
    Luxaura: What's your problem today Yahto?
    Inadora: This is Yahto we're talking about, he ALWAYS has a problem. It's way too early for this kind of thing
    Yahto: I'm sorry Ina, I just..... it's just that....this has never happened to me before''re so beautiful
    Luxaura: Looks like you're the one having a wake Yahto! Anyway, let's get moving! Now!
    The group disappeared in the blink of an eye, just as Agzabah did before Axel's eyes. All powerful, trained caliber of people. This group was called the Order of the Phoenix Demons. But what on earth was going on? First the creator of the world appears in the flesh. And then an order of people who have lived for hundreds, if not thousands of years. But they all looked like young adults, no older than someone approaching their mid 20's. Were these people immortal? Would do they hope to accomplish?
    While the Order of the Phoenix Demons dispersed to continue their work, Ishta made a stop in the Nations of White, resting as the day came to an end. In just one more day of travel, he would reach Syvia, and meet the king. If he was successful, war could be prevented between the two nations. So much hung on the balance of this upcoming meeting, he simply could not let it slip away from him.

Not done yet,  but got some more written!

A Blackened Sun


The black carriage, the bells, and now finally, silence. General Enzo and Keroch stand before the King in the 4th floor meeting room. As they sat, the eyes of their lord focused on them like a vulture to a rotting carcass. And although there was a fireplace in this room warming the inhabitants, that stare made the room feel as cold as the Nations of White.
    Keroch: My lord, your injuries! There's no way you were discharged from the hospital with them
    Ishta: Neither me nor my friends were discharged and we don't need to be. As king, I can bend man and iron as I please. But I didn't summon you all the way here so we can give sympathy pats. Who do you think did it?
    Enzo: Our primary suspects are Koga and Syvia, with Syvia most likely using Koga as a proxy. That is what we believe.
    Ishta: A large shipment of weapons go missing, and the palace is burnt to a crisp. Now we can be absolutely certain this was no accident.
    Keroch: Indeed my lord...
    Enzo: The Tenzo Palace should've opened by now. We should head over immediately for the hearing, my lord
    Ishta: Not yet. Enzo. Would you kill for your country?
    Enzo: I would carry out any duty for the nation, you know that. With that, I promise you this situation with Koga and Syvia will be solved.
    Ishta: Good....
    Ishta arose from his chair, slowly walking to the table behind Enzo, and reached for a wooden box, opening it, in a position where nobody could see the content of the box
    Enzo: Will that be all, my lord?
    Ishta: Just one more thing, Enzo.
    Ishta, as if defying the pain of his injuries, slammed Enzo's face down on the round table, and viciously stuck a knife in the back of his head. Blood covered Ishta's hands and casts, and made a large puddle on the table. The room filled with screams, and Roy reached to cover Nadena's eyes from seeing such a ghastly sight
    Ishta: That piece of *censored* right there stole hundreds of pounds of Vevoskovian white phosphorus, and sold it off to Koga. Acting without authority, he told Kogan officials to sell it to Syvia, and cut him half of the money earned. But he didn't do it for the money, did he Keroch? No, no. He engineered this whole thing to undermine my rule. If weapons were compromised and shared between 2 nations, Hammer and Sun would take the fall. Hammer and Sun belongs to the Menlayev family, and whatever they get sacked for, I also get sacked for. He wanted to strip me and my family of our money, of our power, and ultimately of the throne.
    Ishta: Roy and Nadena caught you lying, Keroch. You told them SOE agents were in Koga despite the Supreme Senate not even authorizing such a thing. I went in the palace last night to search the deployment records for the SOE. There was nothing. Every SOE agent fills out a deployment record within the Tenzo Palace. Their debrief is also given there. Axel also helped me check the ranks of the agents. The list was last updated only 4 hours before we headed to the palace. It's odd the list of men enlisted in the SOE would be updated despite nobody being deployed anywhere, isn't it?
    Keroch: Damn you....
    Ishta: You forged the reports you showed Roy and Nadena. You forged the rank count of the SOE. But then there was the bombing of the palace. Why would you forge the documents so late on a religious day, only to blow up the palace? Roy. Care to help me grasp this?
    Roy: It's not concrete, but it suggests there was another party involved in this, besides General, or, former General Enzo and Keroch. It seems one of those parties had malicious intent, but couldn't wait to exact their revenge. Your plans conflicted.
    Ishta: On that list, there were 4 names that weren't there, as compared to the other lists. That's the standard squad size for SOE escorts guarding H&S supply convoys. I venture to guess, that those were the 4 agents that are responsible for helping smuggle the cargo out of the country. The disappearance of SOE agents during a day of wondering where in the hell our cargo was would've incited the Supreme Senate to check those documents. Upon noticing the 4 missing names, and the forged reports, all suspicion would land on Koga and H&S. Make an enemy out of Koga and undermine my rule. You would've had full military authority to blame Koga for the very thing you engineered. All for the sake of expansion, because Koga is a very rich country with even richer land.
    Roy: That leaves the money Koga paid, and the percentage of Syvian money that was offhanded to you both.
    Ishta: Axel and I also checked the personal accounts of both Enzo and Keroch. Enzo surprisingly had nothing. Keroch also had nothing. At this very moment, Axel is at the Senate hearing, expressing the suspicion I have just expressed. They trust Axel, he's been an important ally for years. Right about now, the Vevoskovian police and military should be searching your home, Keroch. Vevoskovian banks would never accept Syvian currency, so we can be sure you'll have it in your personal domain.
    Nadena: Why would you do all of this, for currency that is worthless in Vevoskvovia?
    Ishta: That's what Axel and the Senate are figuring out right now. But, if they do as much as find Syvian or Kogan currency in your possession, they will be able to connect you to all of this. You will have a warrant issued in your name, you will be arrested, charged with treason, and publicly executed.
    Keroch:.............The second party you was Syvian KGR, financed indirectly by us, because we sold Koga weaponry that they in turn sold to Syvia. Syvia has its own special forces now too. They have been spying on you. Me and Enzo helped them. Enzo did it for political reasons. I did it for the money. My daughter has been fighting illness, for which treatment is only available in Syvia. I sent her out there after I did them that favor.
    Keroch began to break down, consumed by his guilt. Consumed by the fact he betrayed his country for his daughter.
    Roy: Whatever your reasons are, you still sold weaponry, made illegal secret operations, and you allowed spies to gather enough intel to put government officials at the Tenzo Palace in mortal danger. Whether your daughter is sick or not will mean nothing to the Senate.
    Nadena: If this was really a Syvian attack.....
    Ishta: It will mean war. One they tried to fight through secretive and unconventional means. But because you *censored*ed up, everything is out there now.
    While the gravity of Keroch's choices came crashing down on him, Axel, Senate members, and Vevoskovian police/military ransacked Keroch's home, catching pouches of Syvian currency in his possession. This finding proves to them that Alex's testimony of Keroch's betrayal is true. A warrant and search teams are issued immediately
    Ishta: They should be descending on this castle right now. It's over, Keroch. But I have to ask, that bomb wasn't meant for me. So who was it for
    Keroch: The senate itself, as well as the other personnel that regularly go to the palace.
    Nadena: If things had gone smoothly and the Senate was hurt in this, and Ishta was to be blamed....
    Roy: He would've most likely been ejected from power. And Vevoskovia would descend upon Koga. So you AND the Syvian KGR thought this up? Did you think Koga would gladly let Vevoskovia invade them over false charges? You practically almost handed Syvia a free ally!
    A knock came upon the door, Vevoskovian police had arrived, with their warrant.
    Ishta: It seems your time is up. Get him up.
    Ishta opened the door, allowing the officers in.
    Chief: Keroch of BlackWood, you, under direct order of the Supreme Senate, are under arrest for treason, abuse of power, weapons trafficking, and document forgery. My god, is that Enzo?
    Officers began to restrain and take Keroch into custody
    Ishta: I'm sorry, it had to be done.
    Chief: Damn it, Ishta! You're supposed to let justice be the herald of punishment!
    Ishta: Haha, sorry man!
    Chief: Well, given the severity of their crimes, I doubt the Senate will have any sympathy for them. We'll get Keroch out of here. And we'll have a clean up crew and team of coroners get rid of the body and mop this place up
    Ishta: Thanks, Chief. Let's go Roy, Nadena!
    Nadena: Right!
    Chief: Hey, the Senate may want to hear your testimony too! You guys were the ones that saw the forged records before the bombing!
    Ishta: I'll report to them ASAP. Thanks for the help.
    Ishta, Roy and Nadena walked through the halls and downstairs into the library to meet with Leigh and Otana. Ishta gave only a look that let her know the deed was done. And the group all hugged each other.
    Leigh thanked God. She thanked her for her friends, for her husband, for her beautiful son, for the kingdom, and for justice. Though the moment was peaceful, and would forever remain sacred to the group, the apex of calamity had not yet been met. War loomed like red clouds that would soon rain blood. It loomed like a red moon and black sun. The wrath of man had yet to be known just yet.

Peace, Darkness, and Surrender


Following the trial and execution of Keroch by hanging, Ishta advised the Senate to hold off on declaring war. Ishta did not want to millions of people die because of two traitors and underhanded tactics. He waited at Castle Asane with Leigh and his son for Roy, Nadena, and Axel. The 3 exited the Tenzo Palace and made their way towards Castle Asane. At first, the carriage was filled with silence
    Axel: Crazy week huh?
    Nadena: Yeah... I really hope there won't be another war.
    Axel: It's gonna be hard to stop. Evidence is mounting against Syvia, and Koga is being pressured to cease all trade operations with them. Ishta may have bought us time, but not much.
    The 3 arrived at Castle Asane, and met at the usual spot. They were all on board with Ishta's hopes to hault the spread of war
    Ishta: Lovely to see you all again!
    Nadena: AWWWW! Is Otana wearing a bumblebee outfit!?
    Ishta: Haha, yeah, they had dress-up day at school and Leigh helped him pick out a costume
    Leigh: Oh don't say it like I failed as a mom! I think he looks super cute!
    Ishta: Why didn't you have him dress as a little king? He could've been a tiny me!
    Leigh: Because I'm his mom and I decide what he gets to wear. Don't like it, get a divorce.
    Roy: Ouch!
    The group laughed, and continued to sit down and discuss current events.
    Ishta: Toh is off getting some groceries for the Castle, it's a shame we don't have any food in here.
    Roy: Oh finally, something important to talk about!
    Axel: Yes do you plan on maintaining peace, Ishta?
    Ishta: I've already sent a letter to Syvia's current king. I expect something back by tomorrow. I'm hoping to open up face to face negotiations with him. War simply cannot be allowed to start. I've also put in the word to ease up on the Kogan embargo until negotiations are agreed upon and finalized.
    Nadena: Damn. Well, today was a successful day.
    Axel: Damn straight.
    Ishta: In that case, the sun is starting to go down. Hey, Roy, Nadena. Why don't you guys come over?
    Nadena: I'd love to!
    Roy: Sure, we handled everything we needed to do today. I could use a break from all of this chaos.
    Axel: You guys rest up, I'll look out for any word of negotiations, Ishta.
    Ishta: Thanks, Axel. It's wonderful having you all around
    Castle Asane was locked up, and Ishta, Roy, and Nadena retired to Ishta's manor. The long day was over and the group needed to rest their bodies and minds.
    Ishta: We're home!
    Leigh: Welcome back! How was your day, guys?
    Nadena: Paperwork and meetings as usual. And of course, a world war possibly looming over our heads.
    Leigh: Yeah, I know.
    Ishta: Don't worry about any of that. I'll make sure that doesn't happen.
    Ishta grabbed Otana and lifted him up in the air and Roy and Nadena went with Leigh in the kitchen for dinner. Otana's laughter filled the entrance of the manor
    Ishta: That's right, Daddy is gonna save the world!
    Leigh: I made garlic and lemon roasted chicken! Please, help yourselves
    Nadena: You're the best Leigh! I swear, if I were lesbo or maybe just a little drunk I'd marry you in a heartbeat
    Roy: Yeah, like I'd ever allow you to touch another bottle of wine
    Nadena: Oh come on! Don't be one of those "No-Fun-Allowed" daisy cutters.
    Ishta: No he's right, you definitely can't be trusted with wine. God forbid you wake up naked on top of the Asto Rodi Colossus or something
    Nadena: What? Are you taking his side?!?!
    Leigh: Hahaha! Don't worry Nadena, I'd give you some wine!
    Nadena: With that kind of hospitality, I better get a lot more than just wine!
    Roy: Glad to know you have a crush on Leigh, Nadena.
    Nadena: Oh what, it's natural! Girls sometimes have crushes on girls and guys sometimes have crushes on guys!
    Ishta: That's true. I once adored Ganto Diadara
    Roy: Wow, the wrestler from Omni
    Ishta: Yep. *censored*ing handsome that guy was. Though it was less of a crush and more about wanting to be just like him
    Nadena: Exactly. I am not gonna *censored*ing lie, I would stuff my face in Leigh's chest. Wouldn't guys do the same for their own crushes?
    Ishta: Oh yeah, definitely. I've actually already been down the road. I was one of Ganto's whores back in the day. We used to do drugs and other things to each other
    Ishta started making lewd and suggestive hand gestures.
    Nadena: Hahaha! Oh my god, Ishta!
    Roy: I'm not gonna lie, I've been down that road too. In fact, I did two at the same time
    Roy, also chimed in with lewd and suggestive hand gestures
    Leigh: Oh for *censored*'s sake! The child is watching! Crap! I'm sorry Otana!
    Roy: Not so much better yourself, are you, Leigh?
    The night carried on, with dinner, drinks, laughing, conversation, and Roy helping Otana draw and color his pictures. Nadena decided to not get drunk that night. Her and Roy rode off via carriage together, back to their home. Upon arriving, the two freshened up and readied themselves for bed.
    Roy: Hey, Nadena
    Nadena: Yep?
    Roy: What is it about Leigh know...
    Nadena: Looks mainly. She's got a great rack doesn't she?
    Roy: Is that really you talking?
    Nadena: Oh. I get it. Even when I'm not drunk, I'm drunk.
    Roy: Yeah, like most alcoholics....
    Roy: Nothing at all!
're jealous aren't you.
    Roy: What? No! I mean, you can do whatever you want and it's not like-
    Nadena: To be frank with you, I didn't haul ass across a baron desert and travel into a foreign country, risking being killed on sight, just because I'm your friend. I had plenty of friends back at Omni. I would've loved to stay and die with them. Do you know why I didn't? Why I left my home, my family, and my friends to die, to escape with you?
    Roy: Yeah, I do actually.
    Nadena: Then why haven't you said anything yet?
    Roy: I don't know. Fear. Not fear of a yes or a no. Just a fear of it all being too much for you. At what point will you just get up and leave? You've already sacrificed everything just for me.
    Nadena: I would give everything and more. I would keep going and giving until there is nothing left in me. But I would never leave you. It would be like everything I love dying all over again. So, if you won't say it, then I will. I love you. I truly, truly do, Roy. You don't have to say it back. You can even hate me if you like. But I will continue to love you. I will continue to guide you. I will continue to comfort you when it's just too much.
    Roy: You have a fantastic heart for an alcoholic
    Nadena: KEEP SAYING THAT AND I'LL....I'LL....
    Roy: You'll what?
    Nadena: I'll.....whatever, let's just to bed
    The Menlayevs were also gearing up for an early bedtime, eager for what would happen tomorrow. Axel returned to his home after a late night, and began to fall asleep. He felt as if his bed was moving, as if it was levitating. He didn't open eyes, thinking he was dreaming or just exhausted. As the feeling persisted however, he opened his eyes and saw that every piece of furniture in his house was levitating. Startled by the phenomenon, he leaped out of his bed and stared fearfully at all of his levitating possessions. A gust of wind suddenly blew in his house, and everything fell down. He had the feeling someone was behind him. Turning his head, he saw a woman, dressed in white robes and adorned with golden jewelry. Fear caused him to slip and fall on the floor, as this woman appeared from nowhere and somehow got in his home
    Agzabah: You already know me. My name is Agzabah. You commonly refer to me as "God".
    Axel drew his sword and pierced the Agzabah's neck. He was immediately alarmed  when he pulled his sword out and saw no blood, not on the wound, not on the sword
    Agzabah: Do you see now? I am God. Your God. And I have come to give you something
    Axel could only sit in disbelief, staring at his bloodless sword. Azabah knelt down and handed him a book.
    Agzabah: You are one of Ishta's closest men. Give this to him.
    Axel I...I don't understand...
    Agzabah: This book contains the world's deadliest secrets. This book contains knowledge of the Earth, the stars, the sun, and the planet around you. This book is a weapon, one that can save your country and put an instant end to war. Will you take it?
    Axel could not stop shivering and shaking, but he took the book regardless.
    Agzabah: Use this. And you can bring a swift to war if it arises. I will do what I can from my end in case something breaks out. Goodbye, Axel
    The woman, claiming to be God, claiming to be Agzabah herself, disappeared right before Axel's very eyes. And he was left only with a book he had been handed. He opened it, and started reading. The book told of how every living thing, every planet, and every star has its own energy, and how humans can use that energy. It detailed all the different powers and ways for this energy to be used. Axel did not rest that night, and instead paced around his home, feverishly waiting for the sun to rise like a dog waits for his master. As soon as the morning came, Axel rushed to retrieve the expected Syvian letters, and rushed to Castle Asane to meet the others. Axel barged through the meeting room door, with the book and letters in hand.
    Ishta: Good morning Axel. Why are you so out of breath?
    Roy: Axel, are you all right?
    Ishta: Axel, calm down, what the hell is this?
    Nadena: You want us to believe that God came to you?
    Ishta: Give me the book.
    Axel: HERE! Agzabah told me to give this to you, that the information in it could be used as a weapon to swiftly end the war if it were to arise!
    Ishta: Marluxian arts? These are the same powers used by Agzabah herself, as described in the Book of Wisdom.
    As Ishta flipped through the pages, the symbol for Mars appeared on the book. Alarmed, Ishta dropped the book on the table as a gust of fire emerged from its pages. And then wind, then water, then lightning. Everyone ducked to the floor, covering their heads from all of it, scared that they have indeed invoked the wrath of God. The noise stopped, and everyone realized it was safe to stand up again.
    Ishta: Is everyone alright?
    Nadena: I think so....
    Axel: I told you! It's real Ishta! We can militarize this Ishta, that's what Agzabah wanted us to do, God HERSELF has given us her blessing to take up her divine arms!
    Roy: We should take this to the Supreme Senate
    Ishta: No. We will do this in secret.
    Ishta's words surprised everyone in the room, never had anyone kept anything from the Senate, except with the recent case of Keroch and Enzo
    Ishta: Any doubt that I had, that maybe Axel just waltzed into my castle under the influence, is completely erased. I don't want this power, and I don't want anyone to be able to use it. But I fear, in the future, Vevoskovia might need this to keep itself safe, to keep itself powerful. What I don't want, most of all, is to leave an opportunity for such power to be abused, like what we just witnessed with Keroch and Enzo. Me and the Supreme Senate agree now, because many of them are former kings who know what needs to be done to keep this nation powerful. But as generations pass, that too may change, and the King and the Senate may not see eye to eye. In that case, the power to command a force that wields something like this......I would be much more comfortable if that power was up to the King
    Roy: You want to illegally create a specialized military force? With THIS? How are we even supposed to do this?
    Ishta: An illegal force. A Black Operations unit. Likewise, they'll also be given a black budget, and a secret headquarters. I know a few secluded spots where we can make this happen. I have more than enough money to my name to fund most of the operations. Roy and Nadena also share that luxury.
    Axel: What about personnel? How do we recruit for a force that isn't supposed to exist?
    Ishta: Could use prisoners. Rejected try outs for the SOE. Lower class citizens, immigrants
    Roy: Dear *censored*ing god.
    Nadena: That's extremely.....
    Ishta: Dirty. I know. There is no clean way of doing this
    Roy: I don't like this. I don't like going behind the Senate's back
    Ishta: It's just as insurance.
    Roy: Do not make the same mistake those two treacherous bastards made. Do not abuse your power.
    Nadena: I agree, what if someone finds out about this?
    Ishta: The Senate won't bother looking at something that goes out of my own pocket. And I am nothing like Keroch and Enzo. I'm trying to make peace here, Roy! I can't rely on utopian fantasies of clean methods
    Roy: Your asking me to put me and Nadena's livelihood on the line.
    Ishta: Please. Back me up on this.
    Roy: I.....
    Nadena: I'll pitch in.
    Roy: *censored* it. I'll pitch in too I guess.
    Ishta: Thank you, Roy.
    Alex: I don't have much, but I'll give whatever I can. Where did you think would be a good place to set up HQ?
    Ishta: There's a place far out in Vevoskovian territory, far from the cities and dense population zones. It's a waterfall, there's a cave complex within it. It's very spacious. I used to travel there quite a bit before the Eastern States became Vevoskovia. We'll use it.
    Roy: Damn it.
    Ishta: What about the letters, Axel?
    Axel: Right, right. Here. Syvia has accepted peace negotiations. We should head out there immediately.
    Ishta: That's a huge step. The first face-to-face negotiation! Let's start making the travel arrangements. Since we're going on diplomatic business, go ahead and let the Senate know . Anything else, Axel?
    Axel: No, that's it.
    Ishta: Alright then. Let the Senate know I'll be traveling when they're done with their hearing. Otherwise, we're done here.
    Axel: Alright, I'll get going. Keep the book.
    Ishta: Of course, nobody but us will see this.
    Axel got up and left the room to do his duties.
    Ishta: You know, in case things go south, there's going to be a lot of blood. And a lot of bodies. You guys have already nearly been killed because of me.
    Nadena: We're your friends. Comes with the territory
    Ishta: That's why I can't let this continue. This is the last thing I will ever ask of you. Roy, Nadena. You are relieved of your duties as my advisers and assistants.
    Nadena: Did we do something wrong? I...I don't even know what to say
    Istha: You did nothing wrong. You have both been fantastic. That's why I can't allow you two to get sucked up in all of this. It could ruin your lives, and I don't want that to happen to you.
    Roy: I understand. You're trying to protect us.
    Ishta: Yeah. You guys of course can still spend the nights with me and the family. You can still visit Castle Asane.
    Nadena: Thank you, Ishta.
    Roy: If you ever need anything, you just let us know.
    Ishta: I know that. Always have. Thank you both. For surviving. For being here and alive. Thanks, Roy, for that initial moment of happiness, sadness, and excitement I got when I first saw you again in the hospital. And thank you Nadena, for the warm, tearful hug when I first saw you again. You guys have been wonderful to me, to my wife, and to my son. Not even a genocide could wipe out our friendship, huh?
    Nadena: Yeah, haha! I guess not
    Ishta: You both go home. Live your lives without fear of having it taken away. I can handle all of this.
    Roy extended his hand to Ishta, and the two shook hands respectfully. Ishta had no intention of letting his friends be caught up in the potential misery of the situation arising. It was his goal from that moment to make the negotiations successful, and prevent a possible world war. But as king, he had his own duties. He went ahead and gave Axel and Toh the necessary funds and resources to make specialized weaponry, gear, armor, and an HQ. Using a private police force, Ishta was able to recruit and transport worthy candidates to the HQ. A retired SOE commander was offered the position of being the commander for what would become the Deshavi Black Ops. It would take years to truly complete. The commander himself would need to master the concepts written in the Marluxian Arts documents. Then, he would pass that knowledge unto his subordinates. As the Deshavi was slowly being created, Roy and Nadena took a ride home. The sunset was beautiful, and nobody was sure if it signified a rising hope, or descending darkness. Perhaps, not knowing where the road will take you is the beauty of it. In the Agzatona religion, the concept of death is likened to a few things.
    Death is like the peace, silence, and rest that engulfs the Earth when the sun begins to set and darkness falls over the lands
    The act of sleeping, and the solace of falling asleep after being awake for so long
    And the blowing out of the final candle in a temple. After it is blown, there is only darkness, only peace, only surrender.
    That same feeling of beauty and peace seemed to wash over Roy and Nadena, even though they weren't sure where life was going to take the country in just the next few days. Perhaps, if they were to die, there and then, they would be proud of what they were able to do.

The key to powerful romance is pacing! Fantastic story, and very dark! I can never write things like these, but this is definitely an idea I would hang on to if I were you. You just have to wade through the pacing and all the cutesy "Cute Couples Doing Cute Things" stuff so that the sad parts hit hard.

Last one I've written. The overall story is still not finished. I still have quite a bit of ground to cover, such as the boiling point of the situation with Koga and Syvia, Founding of the DESHAVI Black Ops, Ishta's assassination and a whole bunch of stuff  :(  :push:

His Vengeance, Born of Wine and Fire

    The wedding party was as magnificent as the heavens that God slaved herself to make. The chaos that approached, like thundering horses in the Valley of Death, was more agonizing than the Underworld itself. But with flames closing around them, Roy, Nadena, Ishta, Leigh, and the whole of Vevoskovia laughed and cheered. Five, whole, peaceful years enveloped the nation. The Senate and the King remained aligned with each others goals, the nation kept growing larger and larger. Ishta and Leigh had even birthed a son, Otana Menlayev, named after the friend Ishta himself killed, to prevent any information of Vevoskovia from being leaked to Syvia. Leigh remained off duty to take care of their 3 year old son, but the others gathered at Castle Asane one afternoon, to discuss the current state of affairs.
    Roy: Despite diplomatic attempts over the years, Koga's stance on neutrality remains the same. The Senate is done being patient, and they're ready to dispatch SOE operatives. They want to be sure they're not allianced or bought out by Syvia.
    Ishta: *censored* it then. Let them be *censored*ing neutral. How's our new king doing?
    Roy: Dandus III? Inciting Syvian nationalism. It's like the Syvian people want expansion. As if they've learned nothing from the Golden Empire. SOE has been keeping less of an eye on him lately.
    Axel: It really isn't good. Knowing Syvia, I fear they may try something.
    Ishta: I don't like it either. Send a letter t-
    A knock came on the door of the room, and Nadena stepped through the door.
    Ishta: Nadena. What's up?
    Nadena: It's bad! I just got back from the Senate! You know that stuff that goes into the rocket warheads?
    Istha: Stuff.....oh, you mean the white phosphorus. What about it? What happened?
    Nadena: A large shipment of that stuff has gone missing! Keroch asked for all of the checkpoints leading out of the country to give us the list of carriages, shipments, and their corresponding serial numbers, but they couldn't find the shipment of white phosphorus anywhere!
    Axel: What?
    Ishta: Checkpoints? He already suspects it left the country illegally?
    Axel: We should contact Hammer and Sun. They're the government-run company that oversees the collection of phosphate minerals, and their conversion into phosphorus in North Western Vevoskovia. There were carrying hundreds of pounds of that stuff. That kind of material doesn't just go missing.
    Ishta: Roy, Nadena. Go and find Keroch. Find out what happened and who's responsible for this. Now.
    Roy: Right, I'll get going.
    Roy and Nadena rushed to the Senate to have a word in private with Keroch. Keroch was close with the SOE general, and would be the go-to person for new information about the shipment.
    Keroch: I was expecting Ishta to send someone. Let's go. Get in the carriage.
    Roy and Nadena entered with Keroch, who was going to take them  to the SOE Headquarters.
    Roy: What the hell happened to that shipment, Keroch?
    Keroch: H&S. I suspect someone from Hammer and Sun may be behind it. Its serial number and carriage description could not be matched by any of the checkpoint records, so we assume it has probably left the country through an illegal route. Given where the bulk of H&S's operations are, I also heavily suspect that Koga could be behind this somehow.
    Roy: What? That's insane! Koga is a neutral nation, neither allianced with Vevoskovia nor Syvia.
    Nadena: He's right! That doesn't make sense!
    Keroch: Koga isn't as neutral as we thought. It's a good thing you came. I was on my way to meet the SOE general and his intelligence staff. They will fill us in with the details. But I've been told that the SOE discovered Kogan officials making low-profile deals with Syvia. They were probably threatened with Syvian aggression.
    Keroch looked out of his window, and noticed the thunderclouds settling in.
    Keroch: The heavens seem uneasy today.
    Roy didn't like the sound of any of it. He also began suspecting Keroch. Keroch seemed to know so much more than anybody else, even the other Senators. The implications of what he was saying could be harmful in many ways to the central government of Vevoskovia.
    Arriving at the SOE HQ, Roy, Nadena, and Keroch met with General Enzo and his intelligence staff in the briefing room of the building.
    Enzo: Keroch! Good to see you!
    The two shook hands and greeted each other like friends, and Keroch introduced Roy and Nadena. Roy took careful note of their behavior. Although it is common to do so when introducing one government official to another, Roy took note of the fact Keroch emphasized Roy and Nadena's position as advisers to the King.
    Enzo: Everyone, please sit! These are the reports from our operatives stationed in Koga. 2 days ago, they spotted men wearing Syvian cloaks, presenting scrolls and baskets to Kogan officials at their Lotus Temple. 2 hours later the men exited the temple and were on their way. Upon sneaking in to the temple, they found the baskets contained hundreds of gold coins, clearly Syvian currency. They couldn't get to the message, but a meeting took place the very morning after that. Then, as you all know, today, we noticed that a very important material shipment did not arrive at its destination. Villagers from towns that go along that route of the shipment's destination said that they did not see any carriages today at all. That route is the only route to the Tenzo from H&S's operating position. The Kogans had turned down both Syvian and Vevoskovian offers. But only now did they begin to cave in. Not even through an alliance however, just bribery. It leads me to believe that the Syvians had to settle on a mere economic relationship with Koga.
    Roy: Keroch. You said you suspected H&S.
    Enzo: We could say that perhaps H&S had been infiltrated, and the shipment was hijacked from within the company. Until we get sight of the shipment, we won't be able to confirm anything. But I suspect that it will end up in Koga, and the Syvians will pick up the goods. That's about all we have so far.
    Keroch: Thank you for your time, Enzo. Let's move swiftly to get that shipment back.
    Roy and Nadena exited the building with Keroch, who went home in his own carriage, wishing the two a safe trip home. While waiting for their carriage, Roy and Nadena spoke about the issue at hand.
    Roy: Keroch and Enzo. They're behind this.
    Nadena: What made you get to that conclusion? I mean, I felt uneasy in there too. Like someone wasn't being honest. Their stories were different, weren't they?
    Roy: So you caught it too. Good girl. You noticed because Enzo slipped up. What's today, Nadena?
    Nadena: Saturday?
    Roy: Exactly. The Senate doesn't usually hold meetings on this day in accordance with Agzatona religious laws. But today, there was one anyway, because they immediately needed to make the decision to send SOE agents to Koga. Enzo however implied that SOE agents were already in Koga, and they were there long enough for them to be able to draft and send out a 3 page report. He lied. But he wouldn't have known that the Senate made that decision today, because although the meeting was held, the decision wasn't to be executed until the first thing in the morning. Because it's a religious day, that meeting was technically unofficial, and therefore-
    Nadena: Off record! Nobody else knew about it! Do you think Keroch was told to lie to us?
    Roy: Hard to say. But either way, they are both full of *censored*. I didn't want to bring anything up in their midst. If this is Keroch and Enzo we're dealing with, we'd only make ourselves targets. Besides, we wouldn't have been able to do anything anyway. We have no authority to arrest any government official without a warrant. I'm guessing they were attempting to make our minds up about something important. That mess of lies however, mixed them up.
    Roy looked up at the sky, noticing the position of the moon.
    Roy: It's late. At this hour, Ishta should've left Castle Asane and went home. We should hurry to his place
    Nadena: Right! We have to warn him that the threat is from within the government!
    Roy and Nadena were ridden to Ishta's home, eager to tell Ishta about the news. They approached his front door and rang the bell
    Leigh: Roy! Nadena!
    Nadena: Leigh! My god, we've missed you so much!
    Leigh: Yeah, I'm so sorry! Motherhood isn't my forte, and well, things have been pretty busy. Please, come in, it's cold out here!
    Roy and Nadena stepped in the manor, taking off their shoes and jackets and sitting on the sofas with Leigh and her 3 year old son
    Nadena: My god he's so adorable!
    Leigh: I know! Otana, look! Say, "Hi Nadena"
    Otana waved and let out a proud "Hello!"
    Nadena: Bold just like his father! Most toddlers are shy when they meet strangers.
    Leigh: Oh yeah, not this little one here!
    Otana: You have really nice hair!
    Nadena: Who? me?
    Otana nodded, and pointed to Roy
    Roy: Oh, me? Hah, yeah. My mother was a natural red head, and I got her hair. I've never had it this long before, but I really like it at this length. Thanks, Otana!
    Otana smiled, and took his toys into his room.
    Leigh: So, what brings you guys here?
    Roy: Well, is Ishta here?
    Leigh: He was briefly, but he had to head out again. We don't really get to spend a whole lot of time together. Odd for him to be out on a Saturday, but he said he was going to travel with Axel to the Tenzo Palace. Why? Is everything okay
    Roy: No...
    Leigh: Well? What is it? You guys are both dear friends to this family, you can confide anything in us.
    Roy: Today, a large shipment of white phosphorus went missing. It supposedly dispatched from a Hammer and Sun loading facility, but never reached its destination today. None of the villagers from the town along that route noticed any shipments moving through, and none of the checkpoints on the border found any carriages or shipments with a matching description or a serial number.
    Leigh: A missing shipment of phosphorus? Vevoskovia usually receives those hundreds of pounds at a time. That kind of stuff doesn't just disappear.
    Roy: Exactly. We suspect it left the country illegally. We also got to talk with Keroch and General Enzo of the SOE about it. Their stories were different. And they insisted that SOE operatives were spying on Koga, despite the Senate only making the decision to send spies to Koga today, but not ordering that decision because it was a religious day.
    Leigh: So the threat is from within. If someone from the government is embezzling weapons and materials out of Vevoskovia and into the hands another country...
    Nadena: They need to be stopped. Immediately. They will most likely face accusations of treason, and consequently, the death sentence.
    Leigh: Then don't wait for me to tell him. You should should make your way to the Tenzo Palace too. Tell him everything.
    Roy: Alright.
    Leigh: And guys. Please be careful. I've seen this happen before. When the threat comes from within, the people who catch on disappear while there are still only a few of them. You must protect yourselves.
    Roy: Don't worry, I'll-
    Nadena: I'LL PROTECT ROY! I won't let anyone hurt him!
    Roy: Nadena!
    Nadena: What? I will!
    Leigh: Still cheerful, I see. You both are wonderful. But hurry, I don't know how long he'll be there.
    Roy and Nadena set their path to Tenzo Palace, rushing to meet Ishta and Axel there. It was uncommon for any government officials to be there that late on a religious day, but they were allowed to go in any time they saw fit if they ever needed something. Running through the halls, Roy and Nadena finally caught up with Ishta and Axel leaving the archive room.
    Ishta: Hey, what are you guys doing here? It's really late
    Roy: There's something we have to tell you! Uh, what were you doing in the archive room?
    Ishta: I was looking over SOE reports about the shipment. The Senate doesn't seem to know anything.
    Roy: You sent us to talk with the SOE and Keroch directly, but you checked the archives yourself for anything the Senate might know? So you think the threat is among us?
    Ishta: You too, huh?
    Roy: Yeah. in fact, I need to tell you something
    As they walked through the halls and towards the direction of the exit, Roy and Nadena briefed Ishta on the events that occurred earlier. The suspicion was now set on Keroch and the SOE. They didn't know everything, but they were going to get to the bottom of it, and fast. As they walked however, the wooden floor creaked, which was unusual. Then, an explosion occurred and blew back the group. Ishta suffered horrible burns to arm and broken bones, but Roy was able to help him up, and everyone made their way to the exit before hallway was engulfed in flames. As they stepped outside, they looked back at the burning palace, and Vesvokovian police swarmed the building to put out the flames. The group was taken to the nearest hospital to recover from their wounds.
    The next morning, Leigh rushed to the hospital to see everyone. She brought Otana with her, and rushed passed the nurses frantically to see her husband
    Leigh: Ishta! Oh my god...
    Ishta: Hey there...I'm okay, we're all okay.
    Leigh: We were so worried, the palace had burn marks all over it!
    Ishta: Keep your voice down.
    Leigh knew immediately why she was told to keep her voice down. She knew the dangers her family and her friends were in.
    Leigh: This happened right after you were told about the shipments and about Keroch and Enzo, didn't it?
    Ishta simply nodded, and Leigh told her son to sit down somewhere as she fought back tears.
    Leigh: I told them to tell you immediately, and I warned them they would be in trouble
    Ishta: It's not your fault. They're the ones that pulled me out of there. I owe my life to them. Otherwise, Otana would grow up the bastard child of Ishta Menlayev. Not a good legacy to have.
    Leigh: The Senate are still meeting despite what happened. I think they may be starting to pick up on all of this too
    Ishta: If Keroch and Enzo were behind this. That explosion probably wasn't meant for us.
    Leigh: Good lord, Ishta! An assassination?
    Ishta: Me and the others are getting out of here. We're going to Castle Asane. And before you tell me to stay, you need to know something. A lot of things are going to happen in the next 6 hours. Listen carefully.
    After being told by Ishta what will unfold soon, Leigh helped Ishta out of bed, and went into the other rooms to help the others as well. Ishta was the most badly hurt, though everyone else did suffer burns and cuts. Nadena in particular had burns along her shoulder and neck.
    Leigh instructed Roy and Nadena to gather Toh, and bring him to Castle Asane with him. Axel was to go to the palace. As everyone arrived at Castle Asane, Axel ran into Keroch and Enzo outside of the palace
    Axel: Damn shame, isn't it gentlemen? I wonder what kind of monsters would do this
    Enzo: Agreed, we'll find out who did this in due time.
    Keroch: You here by yourself Axel? Where's Ishta and the others? Are you all okay?
    Axel: Yes, we're all okay. But I think there will definitely be some changes
    Enzo: Yeah, the Senate is a very conscious body.
    Axel: Any luck on that stolen shipment, gentlemen?
    Keroch: I think that is the least of our concerns right now. We're dealing with an attack on our soil. We should look into our most obvious suspects. Koga and Syvia.
    Axel stared sternly at them both, as he waited for the guard to finish inspection of the building and open it up again for the waiting personnel outside. A black carriage adorned with flowers arrived across from the two gentlemen on the other end of the street, and the horseman spoke out to the group
    Horseman: Hey! You there! Keroch and General Enzo!
    The two looked back at the horseman, wondering what he could possibly want at a time like this.
    Enzo: Begone, serviceman. You are not required here. We are in a state of urgency
    Horseman: And this is an equally urgent call. Lady Menlayev has summoned you to Castle Asane! I am under order by Lady Menlayev and the King himself to transport you there hastily!
    Axel was told to keep an eye on Enzo and Keroch while they waited outside of the building by Leigh. He was to stall them in case the building opened before the carriage got there. He understood he needed to make sure they get transported to Castle Asane, but he still thought it was odd. Usually, only the King, his family, and his advisers assemble as Castle Asane. And he had never seen a black carriage in Vevoskovia, let alone one strangely adorned with flowers. As Keroch and Enzo walked towards the carriage, the bells of the nearby Agzatonian Temple rung out.
    Enzo: Noon already?
    At the sounding of the bell, Axel understood everything. The black carriages were commonly used in the Nations of White to transport the dead to their final resting place, and it was usually adorned with flowers. The bells ringing out as they prepared to get in, were like funeral bells, letting the city know that someone has died, and will be properly put to rest. With this realization, Axel knew what was going to happen to Enzo and Keroch. Perhaps the most eery of it all, was that Axel began to laugh at the cleverness of it all, and the hidden message Leigh was sending to him, and to Enzo and Keroch.
    Keroch: Is something funny, Axel?
    Axel needed a moment to calm himself and recompose
    Axel: No, no. I'm very sorry. Please, be on your way. Do not keep the Royal Lady waiting.
    As the carriage departed, Ishta, Roy, Toh, Nadena, Leigh, and Otana sat in the 4th floor meeting room of Castle Asane. Ishta drank wine to ease his pain, and Leigh took the glass from him as he finished.
    Leigh: Everything is prepared. Will you need anything else?
    Ishta: No. that is all. Thank you very much Leigh. Now we simply wait for their arrival. Take Otana to the 2nd floor library. There are plenty of great books you can show him in there.
    Leigh: I understand. Good luck to you all. Come on, let's go Otana.
    Leigh exited the room and shut the door. Walking through the sunlight halls of Castle Asane, with a growing sense of vengeance in her heart. Tenzo Palace was finally opened to the Senators and all personnel, and Axel walked in, preparing to fulfill his next task. As Nadena, Roy, Toh, and Ishta sat in the room, Ishta reached for his crown, which he had set on the table, and placed it on his head. It seemed that a certain side awakened within Ishta, a side he had not felt since he nearly died at Devil's Rock. His might, and his vengeance, born out of wine and fire. The black carriage arrived, and the Horseman wished Enzo and Keroch a farewell. They walked through the entrance and up into the usual meeting place.
    Ishta: Enzo. Keroch. Please, join us.
    The two sat, silent, waiting, and suspicious. Ishta knew that they only way to make them crack, was to bring them closer.


The Glory of the Sun, and All Beneath It


    After fleeing from Devil's Rock, Ishta and his 3 remaining men collapsed in the snow. They each succumbed to their exhaustion and laid their eyes to rest. Once he regained consciousness, Ishta felt warmth. It was a kind of warmth you feel when you share your bed with another person on a summer night. For a few seconds, he did not open his eyes. But the curiosity of finding out if he was in heaven or the underworld was too much to bear. Ishta opened his eyes and found himself in a cabin, with Leigh sitting across from him. A fire was started, and Ishta realized why it had felt so warm.
    Leigh: You're awake! Thank god!
    Ishta: I don't understand. How?
    Leigh: The division you left back at Bodesh. You were supposed to leave the Nations of White within 1-2 days after securing Devil's Rock. But, 2 weeks went by and nobody heard from you. We tried getting to you earlier but the temperature dropped way too low to ensure safe travel. Your division searched Devil's Rock, and only found bodies and craters from rockets. Me and my forces searched the surrounding villages and started making our way to Devil's rock. We found you, lying in the snow, half dead.
    Ishta: There were 3 other men with me
    Leigh: They....they didn't survive. I'm sorry, Ishta
    Ishta was the sole survivor of the attack on Devil's Rock. He knew this event would always live with him. But for now, his woeful mission had ended. He could rest.
    Leigh: I'm gonna go let your guys know you're okay. Maybe you should try and see if you're good to move around
    Ishta: Right, I'll do that. Thank you Leigh.
    Leigh put her hand on the doorframe and paused, before turning around to return the cordial thank you. Ishta removed his bandages from his head, and his hair had fallen below his shoulders. How long had he been out? Did his hair grow in Devil's Rock without him realizing it? Ishta put his face in his hands, and just once more, began to cry. He removed his blanket and tried to walk around. Walking was fine, his limbs weren't numb, but his left arm and ribs felt awful. Leigh came back in the room, accompanied by Captain Ilo, who led the forces of the division that took Kitchi
    Ilo: It's very good to see you alive, Ishta. How are you feeling
    Ishta: Like *censored*. But I can walk, so I guess it's not all bad. Wait, how do you know Leigh?
    Ilo: Me and my forces met up with Leigh at Budoh. Your division, my division, and Leigh's forces worked together to try and retrieve you before anything bad happened. But I guess it didn't work out so well. We found bodies of Otana and Han there. The others weren't even recognizable. We also saw the bodies you propped up. Knowing you all, you put up one hell of a fight.
    Ishta: I wasn't going to let them take us. Not a chance.
    Ilo: Good. The Nations of White Offensive was a massive success, Ishta. We took all of our intended targets, and the Syvians withdrew from the nations. Now, You and I will be returning back to Vevoskovia. But, first, there are some things you need to know
    Ilo handed Ishta a letter, written by one of the Lords that remained in Vevoskovia.
    Ishta read the words with a steady heart.
    "Dear Ishta Asane Menlayev. I want to congratulate you on your success in the battlefield. Great victories have been won because of your military effort. Now that the Syvian advance has subsided, you must return to Vevoskovia. Along with our Eastern States, our allies have seen our power and wish to join the nation! We've gotten 8 different applications from Kings of other countries, wishing to join the merger and become one with Vevoskovia. However, they will not agree to anything until a proper government is established. You had an idea of what to do after the war subsided, so your council will be paramount to securing the alliances we need to grow. Please return to Vevoskovia with haste. Signed, Keroch of BlackWood."
    Ishta: My god, thats...that's fantastic!
    Ilo: There's something else, Ishta. Your father unfortunately passed away. It seems his condition finally got the better of him. They're holding him in a morgue in the capital. They didn't want to bury him until you returned. I'm sorry to have to tell you so suddenly.
    Ishta knew his father would die soon. The Rosidana, which ruled over Omni, and were also members of the Asane clan, shared similar fates. Illness was no stranger to the Asane clan, nor its descendents. It was almost scary, just how little Ishta felt in that moment. In fact, it was almost like a breath of freedom. Ishta suddenly knew what he had to do, he cleared his thoughts of any sadness or frustration. He intended for great change, and that is what he would accomplish.
    Leigh: So, I guess you should be on your way then, Ishta.
    Ishta: Yeah... Thank you for everything, Leigh.
    Ilo: Girl, you should also know a few things.
    Leigh looked at Ilo in surprise
    Ilo: Our mission was to stop the advance of Syvian forces through the Nations of White, not to save its people. Syvians had already slaughtered much of your population, and your government is in ruins. Vevoskovia cannot leave such a vulnerable entry point to be defended and governed by a rag tag team of rebels.
    Leigh: What? Are you going to annex the Nations of White? You can't do that!
    Ilo: Your people will be allowed to live normally, but Vevoskovia will govern what used to be the Nations of White.
    Ishta: A proper government structure has not been formally set up yet, Leigh. But I can assure you, Vevoskovia will not be a dictatorship. You will not lose any rights you already have. I implore you to travel with me, so your voice can be heard in the Hall of Lords
    Leigh: I...
    Ishta: Please, Leigh
    Ilo: If you do not comply, Vevoskovia will most likely exterminate you as well. Having your voice be accounted for in the Hall of Lords would be the best you can get out of this situation.
    Leigh reluctantly agreed to travel to Vevoskovia with Ishta, to attend the Hall of Lords. In a few day's time, Ishta and Leigh returned together, first stopping to bury Ishta's father.
    How beautiful the sun was, in the clear blue sky. And how wonderfully green the grass was. And how wonderfully bright Leigh's hair and eyes were, still reminding him of the simple and beautiful things.
    After saying farewell, the two continued en route to the Hall of Lords, where the Kings and the Lords assembled to set up a permanent fashion of government. The room was illuminated by the sun shining fiercely through the huge skylight. All of the Lords and Kings took their seats, and Leigh sat in what used to be Otana's seat, which was right next to Ishta's.
    Keroch of BlackWood rose to speak
    Keroch: I want to thank all of the Kings for traveling out her to make this meeting, and for taking interest in the new country of Vevoskovia. I would like to confirm to you all, that that the Vevoskovian military was successful in purging the Nations of White of Syvian invaders. However, because of the lack of a stable government surviving the attack, Vevoskovia will also assume control of the region. This, however, means that Syvia will find it much more difficult to try and attack us, and consequently, all of you. In fact, among us, is a very brave man, who saw some of the harshest fighting in the invasion. He sits right there, Ishta Asane Menlayev
    The eyes of the Kings turned to him, his arm, chest, and head still wrapped with bandages. Ishta still had not cut his hair since he awoke. He instead chose to keep the new fashion, and considered it a reminder of his own personal growth.
    Keroch: This man fought off waves of Syvian troops in the harsh climate of Devil's Rock, survived for 2 weeks with limited resources, and along with his allies, chose death instead of saying a word about Vevoskovia. He has upheld its secrecy and its safety above his own life. This man has the scars to prove to you all that you can trust him. Please, rise and speak, Ishta.
    Ishta: Thank you, Keroch. We're all here to establish a permanent form of government now that the war has subsided. I would like to continue with my original thoughts, before I left for the Nations of White. That is, a government based on the Horizontal Duality of Power. For years, nations were ruled solely by monarchs, with no other party having a say in the matter. The clans of the Omni Nation broke this tradition by establishing a ruler, but also a council that represented each clan belonging to the nation. No laws could be made, approved, disapproved, without the the majority consent of the council. No army could be dispatched, no tax money could be spent, and no alliance could be forged without the council having the last say. This acted as a counterbalance to the Absolute Singularity of Power that gave birth to atrocities such as the Golden Empire, which ultimately collapsed and left us with the fragmented states that are being swallowed up by Syvia today. I proposed for a King to act as a diplomatic and representative figure of the nation, with his own set of protected, executive powers, as well as a Supreme Senate, which also acts with its own set of executive powers. The Senate will act more as a legislative body, a war council, and the guardians of the basic human rights and freedoms that the Eastern States have stood for for so long. These rights include but are not limited to the Right of Worship, the Right of Opportunity, the Right of Presumed Innocence, and the Right of Speech.
    One king, Axel of Grovendahl, rose to speak.
    Axel: What of the nations that join this already-made alliance of the Eastern States? How will we be treated?
    Ishta: You will all be seen as another part of the whole, a piece of Vevoskovia. You will be granted the same exact rights as everyone else. And from the day you join, your country will become part of Vevoskovia. Your borders will become our borders. You will be allowed to travel anywhere with Vevoskovia as well.
    Axel: And what of money and resources?
    Ishta: Your money and resources will solely belong to the Vevoskovian government, of which you will be part of if you join. The budget will be decided upon. But we previously agreed that we would only spend the bulk of our money on the military while the war still raged. Though the war isn't technically over, the battles have subsided. We can focus on building homes, roads, expanding cities, creating jobs, and getting the market into the people's control.
    Chatter began in the room, and yet another King rose to speak. Toh of Eka
    Toh: And I assume our militaries will also be merged?
    Ishta: Indeed. They will be united and organized under one banner, and one coat of arms.
    Toh: And what place exactly will we all have in this government of yours?
    Ishta: Zeiten, Han, and Otana are dead. That leaves 3 open spots. I'm considering turning the Hall of Lords into the Supreme Senate. 3 of you would be able to take part in that. The other 5, you can really be anything you want. There are plenty of jobs to be filled right now. We'll definitely need generals, and I know most of you have good experience with that. The call is ultimately up to you, as the country's needs are revealed to us.
    Keroch: Turn the Hall of Lords into the Supreme Senate? You want to make us the legislative body of Vevoskovia? And who would be the king?
    Ishta: I think that's a question to ask the Lords and Kings here.
    Chatter once again filled the room.
    Ilo: It has been decided amongst both Lords and Kings. The one who is most capable to lead the country, is you, Ishta Menlayev.
    Keroch: It was usually Otana that did this. Ah what the hell. All in favor, of turning the Hall of Lords into the Supreme Senate, the legislative body of Vevoskovia and the responsibilities implied therein, please say Aye
    A unanimous Aye roared in the room, and with that, the first half of the Vevoskovian body was officially forged.
    Keroch: All in favor of entrusting the title of King to Ishta Menlayev, and the responsibilities that implied therein, please say Aye
    Six Ayes ruled the hall, and in accordance to Majority Vote rules, Ishta was crowned the King of Vevoskovia.
    Despite 2 of the nations not agreeing with Ishta being named King, they still sought protection from Syvian expansionists. They forged their nations with Vevoskovia, and agreed to use their powers to work for change within the government, should Ishta prove himself a weak leader.
    Leigh looked at Ishta, with a blushing and happy face, illuminated by the sunlight in the room.
    Keroch: And what of you, Leigh? Are you alright with these terms? This means that the Nations of White will merge with Vevoskovia as well.
    Leigh: As long as the remainder of my people do not live under oppression, and are granted the right you all just agreed on, I am very much pleased with this. And I know they will be too!
    Ishta: It's all settled then. I happily accept the responsibilities bestowed upon me. What remains of the Eastern State Lords will vote, as the Supreme Senate who will fill these missing seats as other Senators. Let's all get to work! We'll get right to building a palace in the capital to host our political affairs. I will be overseeing the construction of a castle a bit further East in the Spring Plains. I'll use my own personal wealth to fund it
    Alex: Why not reside in the Capital?
    Ishta: I don't like crowds honestly, and I've never been much of a city person.
    Keroch: Well, since it's coming out of your own pocket, it does not need to be run through the Senate. Build your own castle if you wish, Ishta. We shall all assemble tomorrow. We'll work out more details of the government. But as for now, we have our King, and we have most of the Supreme Senate.
    The room filled with cheers and applause, and Leigh hugged Ishta so tight, he could almost feel his ribs begin to break again. Leigh had long lived under a corrupt Theocracy in the Nations of White. For once, her people would be free and prosperous. Ishta kept his word to her, and his reign as the First King of Vevoskovia commenced. The glory of the sun continued to shine brightly over all of those beneath it.

Be Silent, Inner Darkness


    In the heart of the capital city of Tenzo, proudly named after Ishta's father, Ishta was given praise by the people and government of the new nation. The story of his war effort, and the many lives it saved from death and slavery made him extremely popular amongst people who had lived in fear of the ever growing, ever consuming nation of Syvia. Through him, it was as if the Asane clan lived on, in the form of an even more powerful nation. Parades, abundance of food and drinks, and people spending their money without much care is what the day comprised of. Ishta was given an absolutely beautiful crown, a sword, and a ring with the Asane clan symbol on it.
    The Supreme Senate decided who would fill the seats, and the remaining Kings found jobs within the government to suit their own wants and needs. Axel and Toh however, decided to ask Ishta to allow them to be his personal advisers. Ishta was well within his rights to establish his personal cabinet of advisors, and set out to find other people who could also fill his cabinet, when he was stopped by a horseman and given an urgent letter.
    Horseman: My lord, this comes from a patient in the Hodane Hospital. He says that he knows you, and his name is "Roy Diadara".
    Ishta: ROY?! My god! He's still alive! I thought he was wiped out in the invasion of Omni! You said Hodane Hospital right?
    Horseman: Uh, yes my lord! You can go there now if you please!
    Ishta was given a small police escort to the hospital, rushing to see his old friend. He remembered Roy and Nadena, two of his best friends since childhood. Since he left a year before the invasion of Omni, he never knew that Roy escaped. He thought back to those silly school days, the two of them confronting Nadena, who used to sit by herself at school. And he fondly remembered all 3 of them meeting and befriending Phaedra, the Rosidana at the time.
    Ishta leaped out of his carriage, and rushed through the hospital, ignoring the honored nurses, delighted to see their King
    Ishta spoke out to one of the nurses ahead
    Ishta: You're assigned to room A-7 right? I'm here to see Roy. Where is he?
    Nurse: Oh right! Of course! Right this way!
    Ishta, his guards, and the nurse all walked towards Roy's room.
    Nurse: He awoke just about a week ago. His injuries have healed quite nicely since then!
    Ishta: Hodane is a military hospital. Was he seriously in the Vevoskovian army?
    Nurse: That's what he says. He told us stories of how his division helped capture Kitchi. The fighting was extremely harsh there, but her survived through it all. Oh look! There he is!
    Ishta walked towards Roy's room and opened the door. Roy and Ishta, the two met each others eyes instantly. The two thought of how much taller, and how much different they both looked. Roy always had short, bright red hair. But now, it's grown even longer than Ishta's. His eyes however looked the same. Bright, green, and exuberant.
    Ishta: Roy!
    Roy: Ishta!
    Ishta: For so many long years, I thought you were dead Roy!  Is Nadena alive too?
    Roy: Yes actually! We escaped together, and were living together for some time in the Eastern States.
    Ishta: Ah I see! So you finally asked her out?
    Roy: Well, uh, no. Not really
    Roy: I know, I know! "Ask her out Roy, you *censored*ing red hair, soulless sissy!" Believe me, don't think I've forgotten how mean you could be when you were younger!
    Ishta: I was just looking out for a friend, that's all!
    Roy: Hah, yeah. Syvian forces somehow plunged right through to the capital. Phaedra sent in the army to hold them off as much as they could, and the OSG stayed in the city to protect the people. Me, Nadena, and a few others were able to escape because of Phaedra. She excused the rich, wealthy, and powerful to venture into other nations and survive. As you know, my family hailed from the Diadara clan, and had close ties to Nexi Diadara. Nadena was from the Miyazane clan, experts in architecture. They made a living selling their secrets to other countries and working on buildings for other nations too. Our families were amongst the rich and powerful, so we were able to leave. The desert was harsh, but we made our way into the Eastern States. When we told the Border Patrol what happened, they welcomed us with open arms. Plus, they couldn't turn down the money either.
    Ishta: A friend of mine said he sent scouts to Omni, and saw that both the invaders and the Omni forces and civilians were all dead. How could that happen?
    Roy: I'm still wondering how in the world they even got into Omni's capital honestly. I'm really not sure how that could've happened. I was able to leave before all of the fatal chaos emerged.
    Ishta: I see. But at least you and Nadena are okay. So, why are you guys living together if you aren't dating?
    Roy: Well, you know Nadena. Too caring for her own good. She didn't want me to be alone after that. She knew I would need somebody to be there. Sometimes the night can break a man, you know?
    Ishta: Yeah, I hear you.
    Roy: My mandatory service for the military ended, I'm no longer part of the Vevoskovian armed forces.
    Ishta: Great, because I want you to be my advisor!
    Roy: Yeah I......WHAT?!?!
    Ishta: Why do you think I brought my guards here? We're busting you out Roy!
    Roy: Wait, you can't just "bust" someone out of a hospital! I need to be discharged first!
    Ishta: Excuse me, Roy. What's this on my head?
    Roy: A goofy tiara with a pretty bow tied on it. It's honestly making me wonder if you prance around in your mother's underwear on the weekends.
    Ishta: Good job Roy, a crown! It means I can do whatever the hell I want. Almost. Either way, we're getting you out of here. GUARDS!
    Roy was carried out of the hospital on "The King's Orders". Needless to say, Roy wasn't very amused by the idea. Regardless, Ishta dropped Roy at his home, and decided to join him that evening to meet Nadena. The three friends would once again, after so many years, would be reunited.
    Roy: I'm home, Nadena. I have company!
    Nadena: Company? Oh wow! Did you make some new friends or something? And I had no idea the hospital let you out!
    Roy: Well uh....
    Nadena stepped into the room to see her old friend
    Nadena: Oh my god......
    Ishta: Hey Naden-
    Before he could even finish, Ishta found himself being wrapped by Nadena's arms, and the sound of gentle tears being shed.
    Ishta: It's really amazing to see you Nadena. I was shocked to hear you guys were alive. I thought you were dead.
    Nadena simply shook her head, as if saying "no", unable to speak.
    Roy: Ishta wants me to be his adviser now that my compulsory service is done. That means I would have a job in the government, directly assisting the King in any and all matters.
    Nadena: That's what all that celebration was today? The king? And it's you, Ishta?
    Ishta: Yep! I was chosen to lead the country. I would be please if you and Roy would both be by my side
    Nadena: Of course! I mean, I don't really know anything about politics though
    Ishta: Sure, but you have a good sense of judgement. You know right or wrong, and you give Roy a lot of strength and confidence. Having you around benefits Roy, and in turn, benefits me!
    Nadena: You're right! So, I mean, when do we start?
    Ishta: We're having another Senate hearing tomorrow. You guys should get some good rest for tonight. I'll pick you up in the morning and take you to the temporary meeting site. Dress sharp!
    Nadena: Of course! I'll make sure Roy looks extra handsome!
    Roy: That isn't even necessary Nadena!
    Ishta: Haha! You guys are still the same. Goodnight you two, I'll be leaving now.
    Nadena: Of course! It was so, so good to see you Ishta!
    Ishta: Likewise, Nadena. Goodnight!
    Ishta parted with Roy and Nadena that night, preparing for the meeting to take place tomorrow. When the sun rose, and Ishta went to pick them up, he found Nadena really, REALLY hasn't changed.
    Ishta: My god.... Roy, are you okay?
    Roy:..........Kill me. End my eternal suffering.
    Nadena: It's not that bad you drama queens!
    Ishta: That suit is way too tight Nadena! and what did you do to his hair?
    Nadena put on a sad puppy face in hopes of getting Ishta to let her get away with her sins of fashion
    Nadena: Roy didn't wanna cut his hair but I totally told him to cut his hair but he was like "nuh uh" and I was like "yuh huh" so we just agreed on letting me tie it up a bit. I think it looks cute!
    Roy: Is there a mountain I can fling myself off of near here?
    Ishta: UGGHH! Roy, it's too late to change the suit, but I'm not letting her tie up your hair like you're a Budohan prostitute!
    Roy's hair was let down, and flew around wildly in the gust of wind. With valor, determination, and shrunken suits, the three went off to the Supreme Senate hearing.
    Upon reaching the courtyard, Roy and Nadena noticed a beautiful woman with long, blonde hair approaching Ishta.
    Leigh: My love! You made it!
    Leigh kissed Ishta and held his face in her hands
    Leigh: The Senators are gathering right about now, we should hurry! Did you bring them with you?
    Ishta: Ah yes, this is Roy and Nadena, they're my old friends from Omni
    Leigh: My god! We heard all of the Omni clans died! It's a pleasure to meet you both, my name is Leigh!
    Roy: Likewise! Uhm...are you and Ishta dating?
    Ishta: Haha, well, yeah. We just started going out.
    Leigh: We should really hurry you guys, we really don't want to be late to these things!
    Nadena: Right! Let's go!
    The group made their way into the building, with Roy and Nadena taking up extra seats next to Leigh and Roy
    Keroch of BlackWood officially commenced the meeting upon the arrival of the King
    Keroch: Everyone please be seated! This is the first official meeting of the Supreme Senate. I want to congratulate Ishta on being crowned the King of Vevoskovia, and all of you for being chosen to participate in the Senate itself. Now, if we may. There are some interesting topics we should discuss. First and foremost, we are receiving even more requests to join the nation. It seems the strength and prosperity of Vevoskovia is garnering international support, Ishta. At this point, Vevoskovia is growing at a faster rate than Syvia. We also have received a message from Syvia, announcing a cease-fire between our forces. This doesn't really equate to a full fledged peace treaty, but we're hoping Vevoskovia and Syvia will be able to see eye to eye
    Ishta: Good. As the Nations of White regions belong to Vevoskovia now, let's keep the defenses strong in the region, since the war is not really over.
    Keroch: Very well then my lord. We have more than enough money to keep supplying the defensive. Also, my lord, there have been requests to amend the compulsory service laws in the country. Immigrants are told they must serve 1 year of compulsory military service to Vevoskovia. These complaints arose when the invasion of the Nations of White first started.
    Ishta: I strongly believe in growing this nation, human by human. But just accepting mass immigration from neighboring countries that are not yet allied with us is a utopian fantasy. Eventually, we won't be able to support that kind of policy. In order to be sure that everyone here votes, everyone pays their taxes, and hospitals are taking care of actual citizens, allowing mass, illegal immigration is simply not possible. The reason why we're so strong and wealthy is because of the allied nations and the hard working citizens of the country that give a portion of their hard earned pay. If you cannot afford to receive legal documentation, then proceed with military service. But ultimately, this senate is the legislative body. The vote is up to you
    Keroch: Indeed it is. All in favor of Keeping the immigration and compulsory service laws as they are, please say Aye
    A unanimous Aye swept the room, and the decision was made.
    Keroch: Another thing, my lord. Our Eastern States Drafts have served as our constitution for many years. However, with a new country and new government in place, I believe it would be in our best interest to revise, review, and rename it.
    Ishta: I agree. Please. Bring in the drafts, and bring them to me
    Two guards walked down the slanted floor into the court where the meeting was held, carrying old papers, sealed by a glass case. In their hands was 80 years of history. 80 years of fighting against the Absolute Singularity of Power philosophy that swept so many nations.
    Ishta: I almost feel unholy touching these. The Drafts state this. The People of the newly found Eastern States, hereby declare, with testament of God herself, that we are a free people. We hereby declare we shall not be slaves to dictatorship. We hereby declare we will be represented if we are being taxed. We hereby declare that representatives from all states will have power in the course of the nation. We hereby declare that all people, all creeds, all backgrounds, and all classes are equal under the staute of Human Law. Human Law states that nobody is to be discriminated because of their religion, because of their race, because of their creed, or class. Human Law is the divine truth, that all humans are born equal, and all humans die equal. We hereby declare that these states shall be ruled by worthy and responsible men. That our soldiers will be worthy and responsible men. And that our shopkeeps, our librarians, our teachers, shall be worthy and responsible men. We hereby declare that our states shall expand through peace, not aggression. And god willing, we hereby declare that these states and the people therein, shall live on always.
    Keroch: There's more to the drafts, but that pretty much sums up the contents of it.
    Ishta: Indeed. For a long time, our Eastern States have, however, remained a patriarchal society. Women did not have the right to work, vote, or maintain positions of power and influence. This was yet another tradition that the Omni broke. Our 3rd and final Rosidana was a woman, and she was a fierce leader. Women should have the right to be in power, to vote, and to work outside of the home.
    Keroch: Such a thing is rather unusual
    Ilo: Indeed. But I think Ishta has a point. Women who can be worked can be taxed. Women who are educated can find themselves being voted for. There is a lot of possibility that isn't being considered.
    Keroch: Alright. This would be a big step for the Eastern States. All in favor of giving women the right to vote and work, please say AYe
    And another unanimous Aye sounded. Ishta knew he had the Senator's support on most of the issues.
    Ishta: I myself would like to make a few announcements. Not all of the Omni clan member are dead. Please welcome my new cabinet members. Roy Diadara, and Nadane Miyazane. Please, stand up!
    Roy and Nadane stood up to a mighty round of applause, an audience that was glad to hear that even just a few people survived the tragedy of the Omni invasion.
    Ilo: Absolutely phenomenal! How did you two survive?
    Roy: Phaedra, the 3rd Rosidana, allowed only the rich and powerful descendents of families to escape when the rest of the civilians were being forced into the heart of the capital
    Keroch: That sounds so cruel!
    Nadena: It does, but Phaedra was trying to ensure that her people would definitely find sanctuary in other countries. Leaders will not turn down people with money and connections. That was the whole purpose of letting the rich go.
    Keroch: What a horrible choice to have to make. We're very sorry you two had to go through that. Be assured that Vevoskovia will protect the King's advisers as if they are the King's children.
    Nadena: Glad to hear that, Keroch.
    Keroch: Is there anything else you'd like to go over, Ishta?
    Ishta: Nope, that's it for me.
    Keroch: Anyone else? It seems like everyone is satisfied.
    Ilo: In that case, are we all dismissed?
    Keroch: Indeed. Everyone is dismissed. Have a good day and go home safely! Oh and Ishta, the palace ought to be completed in a few months. It'll take at least a year for all of the luxury items. How's your castle coming along?
    Ishta: Well, I actually haven't started yet. I have the money and the construction company is ready to build at my command, but I have no design. I didn't really like the designs they presented me with
    Keroch: Well, you have a Miyazane in your midst. You should ask her. I'll be leaving now gentlemen. Take care!
    Nadena: WAIT? ME?!?
    Roy: Hahaha, well they do have a point, Nadena. You're also pretty good at architectural design, just like your parents. You should help out.
    Ishta: Leigh, what's your vote?
    Leigh: I think she should help
    Ishta: Roy?
    Roy: Anything to make her stop with the hair and suits.
    Nadena: I vote no! NO NO NO!
    Roy: Why are you resisting so much? You're really good at designs Nadena!
    Ishta: Besides, Nadena. Majority rules! I'll make sure to pay you handsomely too!
    Nadena held her head down as the others laughed in the now emptied court room. For once, it seemed the winds of chaos had subsided. With his old friends by his side, the darkness within Ishta's heart, was swiftly silenced.

The Cause of Such Celestial Smiles

    A year had passed. The palace was finished, and it stood high in the capital, shining brightly as the sunlight touched it's golden, reflective surface. Vevoskovia grew ever more prosperous and large. The war with Syvia had not been solved with a treaty, but the war was considered to be over since no attacks against Vevoskovia ever occurred. Nadena reluctantly helped design what would be known as Castle Asane, the personal political operating hub of Ishta and his cabinet. Life had only seemed gotten better for everyone. After returning from a long Senate session, Ishta invites Roy, Leigh, and Nadena back to his home for dinner. The carriage ride was still busy with talks of the session
    Roy: What a bold move. The Senate is really going to craft a special branch dedicated to special operations and espionage.
    Ishta: Yeah, we still lack a formal treaty with Syvia, and the Senate is getting nervous as they keep growing in other areas. They want to be absolutely sure we won't expect any surprises.
    Leigh: Don't worry about it love, I can handle anything related to the SOE.
    Nadena: The Omni had something similar, the OSG also handled handled spying on other nations
    Ishta: In which case, I can only hope the Senate upholds the same values. Be sure to pressure them on that Leigh. And you too Roy.
    The Group retired to Ishta's large and spacious manor, and Ishta hurried to get a good dinner ready. Eventually, everyone started cooking together, and the manor echoed with laughter and conversation. Ishta and Roy had fun taking advantage of Nadena's hatred of seafood.
    Ishta: Hey, Nadena, hold this
    Ishta brandished the severed tentacle of a Giant Octopus like a deadly weapon slimy agony and suffering.
    Ishta: Don't make me chase you with this!
    Ishta: Alright alright. Here, take the tentacle Roy.
    Nadena: Thank god! Thank you R-WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?
    Roy: Haha! Come on, face your fears! It's not like it can hurt you!
    Nadena: Please stop!
    Leigh: Nadena, are you crying?
    Nadena: No, I'm just allergic to meanies!
    Ishta: But we love you Nadena! I'm sorry about the tentacle. Roy, go ahead and start cutting that up. Here, Nadena, let me just-
    Ishta lunged at Nadena and covered her face with the slime that was left on his hands. A loud yell echoed through the manor, so loud, the neighbors would've thought the trumpets of he apocalypse had just rung. The food was set down, and an upset Nadena crossed her arms at the table, trying not to make eye contact with Roy or Ishta.
    Ishta: Come on, Nadena, can't you forgive me?
    Nadena: I don't forgive meanies that smear their slime all over your face!
    Leigh: Some girls would consider that highly erotic and enticing, Nadena
    Nadena: I think it's gross and you're all assholes!
    Ishta: Ah, Nadena I think your plate is ready
    Roy: She'll shut up once she sees the food
    Nadena: Oh please, you think food will stop me? I'm going to sit here and make this dinner as awkward as possible, and I won't stop, not even if there's a tsunami! Not even if there's an earthquake, or a hailstorm, or a sale on cosmetics in the Pearl Market!
    Ishta: Here's your food, Nadena. Enjoy.
    Nadena opened one eye to peek at the food, and proved Roy's previous theory correct.
    Ishtar: Eat up! No seriously, eat up. I have like 30 pounds of Giant Octopus in there.
    The night carried on with jokes, teasing Ishta and Leigh to cut the crap and get married, and recounting of childhood days in Omni. This night of close friends was consummated by wine and desserts, and Roy and Nadena prepared to go home. Although, they learned they should never let Nadena anywhere near anything with alcohol in it.
    Roy: You feel so much heavier when you're like this, Nadena
    Nadena: Like what? You *censored*ing bitch, you were about to say DRUNK weren't you! Be a *censored*ing man and say it, "NADENA IS DRUNK"
    Ishta: Carriage ought to be here in just a few minutes. We'll have to wait it out. Can't believe she's an alcoholic though
    Nadena: Yeah and I can't believe YOU have 30 pounds of TENTACLES in your ice room! You must be a really lonely guy, huh
    Ishta: Ah! There's the carriage!
    Nadena: Hey Leigh. I swear, I *censored*ing swear, you have the widest hips I've ever seen! Ishta should try harder! You should confiscate his tentacle collection!
    Roy: Why DID you buy 30 pounds of tentacles, Ishta?
    Ishta: I'm young and I have way too much money. What did you expect?
    Roy carried Nadena into the carriage, thanking Ishta for the meal. As Nadena waded off into an alcohol induced coma, the carriage made it's way back. Ishta and Leigh went back inside and cleaned up the mess.
    Leigh: You have wonderful friends, Ishta. They're both exceptionally warm spirits
    Ishta: That's because they've overcome so much. They're both so cheery, people forget that they narrowly avoided genocide and had to make carry the burden of carrying on their clan's legacy.
    Leigh: And you did too. The Asane clan would be proud.
    Ishta: My father never cared much for the clans. That's why he made Asane my middle name, instead of my last. He really pissed off the Rosidana with that move. He was always about money and opportunity. Ironic the poor bastard died of terminal illness. But either way, I'm certainly proud of my lineage. And I'm proud of what we've done together.
    Leigh: I love you.
    Ishta: What? Wow, that came from nowhere haha
    Leigh: No, it didn't. It came from the moment you and I first met back on the outskirts of Bodesh. It came from seeing you risk your life and men to take back a piece of my country. It came from me missing the strength and confidence I felt when you and I fought alongside each other, like we could handle anything the world threw at us. It came from the journey to Vevoskovia with you, watching as you made security and peace a reality for my people. It came from you protecting the only thing I thought I had from complete destruction. And I don't say it enough, but I need you to always know that I thank you so much for that every day that I wake up, and my people wake up.
    Ishta: I never knew you felt that strongly. It was all my pleasure, Leigh.
    For Ishta, the night was consummated, with a night full of emotions under the summer moon. Of holding on tight to something that is slowly wasting away every second, and making sure that each second counted.
    After yet another busy day in the Senate, and watching over the finishing interior touches of the Capital Palace, Ishta, Roy, Leigh, and Nadena return to Castle Asane. Upon entering, Ishta is confronted by former kings Axel and Toh.
    Axel: Good morning everyone! We have some news brought back by the SOE, and you're painter is here Ishta.
    Nadena: Painter?
    Ishta: Good, we'll go over it immediately. And yes, Nadena. For a portrait. You guys will all be in it.
    Nadena: YES! YES YES YES!!! I'm going to be immortalized! All the little Vevoskovian girls of the next generation will look up to me!
    Roy: Actually, Castle Asane is not open to the public. The only people who will see the portrait will most likely be future Kings and advisors.
    Leigh: Nonetheless, it's still an honor to have your face somewhere this important!
    The group entered the spacious interior of Castle Asane, adorned with many windows and Vevoskovian banners hanging from the walls. The reflective tile floors were complimented by a red rug that extended through the center of every hall, and the wooden furniture shined beautifully when hit by the sunlight. Their first stop was the King's Quarters on the 4th floor, to discuss the findings of the SOE.
    Axel: The Special Operations and Espionage unit discovered a massive amount of soldiers gathering at the Syvian Chateau. A team of soldiers quickly carried out a long object wrapped in white cloth. Based on they sketches of what they saw, they seemed to be carrying out a corpse.
    Nadena: How many soldiers were there?
    Axel: at least 3 dozen. A bit much for a chateau security detail. They believe the king of Syvia may have passed away some how.
    Leigh: Why did it take a specialized team of agents trained in espionage to confirm such a major thing?
    Axel: This news doesn't even seem to have surfaced in the heart of Syvia itself
    Ishta: How could that even be?
    Nadena: I KNOW!
    Ishta: You do?
    Nadena: Absolutely! I learned this when I traveled with Phaedra! Sometimes, nations will often do everything they can to stop news of their ruler's death from spreading. This is most likely done to avoid giving any opposing parties the opportunity to take advantage of the brief disorganization and demoralization of the central government. It also stops any public dissent and celebrations before they even start. They most likely did this because the knew they had a threat from within and wanted to maintain central and public order!
    Leigh: That's....amazing
    Axel: Well I'll be. That's a good guess Nadena. We haven't seen anything of a new king since these reports. We can assume leadership is still being fought for on the inside.
    Leigh: Any word from the Senate about Shoga?
    Nadena: Shoga?
    Ishta: Shoga is the last remaining country between Syvia and Vevoskovia. It is an extremely wealthy and resourceful country. Problem is they are not allied with either of us.
    Toh: The Senate has been focusing almost entirely on the case with Syvia. We should probably send out diplomats before we send spies in their country. The SOE is not the answer for everything.
    Axel: I will. travel to Shoga. Given that they're right between us and Syvia, it might end up being a dangerous trip. I'd be more comfortable if someone went in the King's stead.
    Ishta: If that is what you wish, Axel. Thank you for handling this. Anyway, we should head off for our portraits.
    Roy: Right. Let's go.
    Ishta and the others descended from the 4th floor and gathered with the artist in the garden. The group organized their pose as the artist gathered his utensils
    Ishta: Oh wait, I forgot to tell you guys something really important
    Nadena: What is it?
    Ishta: Me and Leigh are getting married!
    The Pose was broken apart by laughter, congratulations, best wishes, and plans for future celebrations. For every moment like this, the simple things like the sun, wind, and clouds in the sky seemed so sacred to remember. The moment was immortalized with every brush stroke, ever color, and every dab of paint. It was hung on the wall upon completion, for all to gaze and wonder: What was the cause of such celestial smiles?

Hello everyone! So, I've made a couple of post regarding this story, and it's different aspects in characters. But this is the first time I've actually written anything about it! This is not the main story or the main characters, but this is all relevant and very important backstory to the country of Vevoskovia, its founding, its evolution, and the reign of its first king, Ishta Menlayev. The main character is actually a descendent of Ishta, as Ishta's family continues to control the Vevoskovian throne after his death, setting up a 200 year long dynasty! This story helps bring history to the countries involved, and the origination of some of the problems the main character and his family has to face.

It's kind of long, so take your time, and please, leave your thoughts! Please let me know if something doesn't make sense or if the story is weak in places! Thank you!

The Unification of the Eastern States/ Vevoskovian Infancy

    Over 200 years ago, the Omni Nation of the Desert fell to Syvian forces, or so it is perceived. When traders and curious officials from the other nations arrived at Omni, everybody, including their invaders, were dead. This phenomenon has yet to be explained. Nonetheless, the Omni dispatched only the most wealthy and powerful of their people to escape the capital, through a harsh route through the desert. These people included Roy Diadara, the last member of the Diadara Clan. He was following in his friend's footsteps, who had left the Omni Nation just a year prior to the invasion. He was headed to the Eastern States.
    Ishta was the name of this friend. Ishta Asane Menlayev, had fled with his family to the Eastern states to chase a life of opportunity, and greater political power. His father, becoming ill in a time of great crisis, could no longer keep hold of his power, and entrusted Ishta to continue the family's political influence in the Eastern States. Ishta sat before everyone in the Hall of Lords, discussing the rapid expansion of Syvia. The circular room filled with the light of torches, and  with the State Lords of the eastern States.
    Ishta: Everyone please be seated
    *noise as all 12 members of the Hall sit down, followed by complete silence*
    Ishta: We gather here this night, to discuss a very real and potentially dangerous problem. What used to be the Loazi states of the West, have merged into an autocratic dictatorship, expanding, and bleeding its influence and control on everything near it. Without doubt, Syvia will likely engulf the Eastern States as well.
    *Otana Kahn, leader of one of the Eastern States stands and interjects*
    Otana: The scope of their military might is unheard of. As you all know, the country of Budoh tried to invade the Omni Nation once, and ultimately failed their operations. Syvia however was able to rush right through to the Omni capital, and effectively kill most, if not, all of the Omni population. When my scouts arrived there however, both the Omni and the invading forces were killed. The Rosidana nowhere to be found. Likely, if the Eastern States do not unify beyond complying with the accordance of the Doctrine of Lords, and regularly attending the Hall of Lords, then we may very well be facing death. Our women and children will likely be captured, and live their lives as slaves to the growing empire of Syvia.
    *fearful chatter rises in the room*
    Ishta: Which is why, I want to propose this to you all.
    *Ishta stands up, and the chatter ceases. All eyes are drawn to him, curious what this young and powerful man has to say*
    Ishta: The Eastern States should merge, as one unified nation. Military, economic, and industrial powers will all come under one banner, within one set of borders. When Syvian forces rush towards us, they will be unaware that the Eastern States have unified as one superpower.
    *Another State Lord, Han of the Lotus, stands and expresses his shock*
    Han: MERGE?! You want all of our states to merge? With all due respect, the Eastern States have enjoyed a shared economy with separate rule. Forming a unified and singular country with all 13 of our states is just-
    Ishta: At this point, it doesn't matter what you used to enjoy. In all honesty, I'm scared. We are all scared, aren't we? Never have we seen a nation expand so fast, destroying everything in its wake. It's like my father once said to you all: "The strike of God is the strike of a million souls".
    Otana: Before we get to voting, we need to lay down the structure of government. How will we proceed as a unified nation, Ishta?
    Ishta: Right. As for now, I think we should use the Hall of Lords as an oligarchial structure of power and decision making. Each leader of each state will lend the powers of their militaries to their respected commanders, and each commander will be organized in different regiments, serving the newly founded and unified country.
    Otana: So your focus is a leadership that can quickly mobilize and command the military?
    Ishta: Exactly. We need to launch our offensive as a head start, as the bulk of Syvian forces are still in the South. If we combine our militaries, it would leave us with 8 million soldiers to our disposal. Perfect for a large scale offensive.
    Han: To add to that, I think we should spend most of our unified budget on the military itself, as well as weapons and equipment.
    *Zeiten, another one of the State Lords rises from his seat to interject*
    Zeiten: And which city will serve as our capital, Ishta? We'll need a unified city, as well as a chain of command
    Ishta: Hiyana and Ucara are two of our most prosperous cities, and they were built fairly close to each other. We'll merge them into once city and begin work on building more settlements and a Palace there once the war is over.
    Otana: You seem so sure that what you're thinking of doing will actually work. And what if you win this war? What happens to the government then? It won't stay a military centric country forever.
    Ishta: Of course. I propose that when the war subsides and this country can rest, we establish a government based on the Horizontal Duality of Power philosophy. One set of executive powers will be given to a monarch, a King if you will. The other set of executive power will be given to a Supreme Senate.
    Zeiten: And just what powers do you think belong to each party respectively?
    Ishta: I can't give all the answers. It is an idea that will have to be amended in the future. But as for now, the King should have the right to travel, for personal or diplomatic reasons. The right to propose a law to the Supreme Senate. The right to establish his own cabinet of advisers. The right to rely on the country's military for personal security within, and outside the borders on his travels. The right to finalize and sign a law into action. The Supreme Senate on the other hand, should act as more of a legislative body. The Senate should have the right to approve or disapprove a law based on its accordance to the constitution. It should have the right to be the final word on military deployments and conventional operations. It should have the right to officially form alliances or declarations of war. And it should have the right to protected voting, without interference from the King.
    Han: One ruler? But it's  offset by the fact that the executive powers of that ruler are counterbalanced by the Senate.
    Otana: It's quite the idea. It'll need work, but it's a hell of a start. Our constitution, as you said, should probably be based off our written laws of human rights and freedoms. But we'll work on that later. For now, we will take the vote for just the military organization of our states, as well as the merge into one country. All in agreement with unifying the 13 Eastern States to counteract the rapid Syvian expansion, please say Aye.
    *All Lords rise, place their hands over their hearts, and unanimously say Aye"
    Otana: Well well, not too bad for Tenzo's son.
    Han: It's settled then. From this day forth, we will be united as one country, with one military. And what of our name, Ishta? Have you thought of a name?
    Ishta: Vevoskovia, named after my late Grandmother who perished in the Syvian invasion of Omni. Hah, sorry if that sunk the mood in the room
    Otana: Not at all! We will get to work immediately. STATE LORDS! You no longer have a duty to your own ends. You have a duty to this newly found country, to its people, and to its well being. Assemble your armies and have them meet on the Western Border within one week! One week from now, we shall convene again, and draw up plans for the invasion.
    Even 200 years down the line, Ishta's rise to power remains controversial. The people he would later become his opponents say that he used the fear of the State Lords to drag them into a period of blood, conquest, and an unfair access to power. Did he truly do that? Or was Ishta a man dedicated to his nation, unwilling to let what happened to Omni happen to the Eastern States?

Vevoskovian/Syvian War: Out of God's Mouth, Into Gods Arms

    The Hall of Lords decided its course of action. Vevoskovia was born, and her armies ready to defend her from harm. In the most massive mobilization of military ever seen, 2 armies of 3 million soldiers were assembled on the Western front, and the remaining 2 million strengthened the borders of the country, and the designated capital. After the scheduled Hall of Lords meeting, Ishta set out to prepare to lead a group of 40,000 soldiers into the harsh and cold climate of the fragmented and powerless Nations of White, to halt Syvian advance through the nations and ultimately into Vevoskovia. He joined with the other generals, also leading thousand of their own men. Ishta's army was joined by Zeiten, Han, and Otana, and the massive wall of man and Iron set out towards the Nations of White.
    The first division of 3 million split to the northern-most nations. Ishta's division split into the Southern-most nations
    The Battle of God's Mouth, was to take place. As the division of 3 million split to attack their targets, Ishta, Zeiten, Han, and Otana all lead their troop into the large white valley known as God's Mouth, carving a direct path into the nation's largest city and bulk of resources.
    *Ishta, in the middle of the army's column, looks back at Otana*
    Ishta: Hey, does it seem a little chilly to you?
    Otana: *censored* you, Ishta!
    *Ishta and the surrounding soldiers laugh at Otana's reaction*
    Han: Otana doesn't like to be in the cold. His share of the Eastern States was much warmer. We never get snow back at home.
    Ishta: Yeah and I grew up in what was essentially an oasis, surrounded by a harsh and unforgiving desert. If there's anyone who's uncomfortable here, it's me
    Otana: Great. Go in a desert, you get sand in your ass. Go in God's Mouth of all *censored*ing places, you get snow in your ass. There's no winning here is there, Ishta?
    Ishta: Not yet, Otana. Not yet.
    After a half hour of marching, a horn is sounded, notifying the soldiers of an enemy threat. A swarm of hawks descend upon the army, who responds by raising their their shields skywards, while the soldiers on the edge of the column place their shields outwards of the column, forming a completely shielded mass of red
    The hawks swarmed the men, but could not get through the shields. Hoping to tire them out, Ishta and his men waited for an hour in that position. Slowly but surely, the hawks either died in the cold, or retreated back to wherever they were deployed from. Once the air was clear, a hail of boulders descended upon the men, likely launched from catapults. Though several boulders landed on the group, the horn to order the men to disperse was sounded within a few seconds
    Otana: Those rocks are coming from the North West!
    Ishta: Then we'll need to advance! Push up on that hill! Stay dispersed until you reach the hill, but once you're there, tighten your formation in case you are ambushed by archers! GO!
    Otana: RIGHT!
    Otana ran up, and tapped the Horn Carrier on his shoulder as he took cover
    Otana: We're moving up! We're being hit from that North West, that hill over there! Move up on that hill and stay dispersed. Once you get their, tighten your formation! Sound the horn!
    The horn was sounded to tell the troops to advance. Out of natural sense, the soldiers stayed dispersed when going through the reign of boulders in such wide open space. When the forces surrounded the hill, they were met with a barrage of iron arrows
    Ishta: Keep going! Keep your shields up!
    Ishta saw a group of enemy soldiers with large jars atop the roof. As he pushed, the hill became soaked in what smelled like oil. Looking up again to see men with torches, Ishta had to think fast
    Flames traveled down the side of the hill, engulfing a few of the men in the front. Regardless, the army kept pushing up, and eventually got atop the hill. The group found themselves facing a large army of Syvian soldiers, ready for a sudden attack
    Once again the horn to advance was sounded, and the two armies clashed as blood soaked the snow. Lost in the flurry of swords, shields, and spears, the fight went on for at least another hour, followed by a Syvian retreat into the fortified town along the mountain
    Ishta, Han, Otana, and Zeiten all led their forces to assault the town
    Zeiten: Set up the dragon rockets, we need to set those buildings ablaze!
    6 troops set up 6 dragon rocket launchers. Rockets were preloaded with white phosphorus, and loaded onto a set of rails stood up with a tripod. Arrows continued to rain on the advancing force as the rockets were placed on the rails and readied to fire. The measurements were called out by the spotter, and the fuse for the rockets were lit. One by one, the rockets launched and hit their intended targets, setting a fierce blaze to the buildings occupied by Syvian soldiers
    Ishta: Yes! Good call Zeiten!
    The horn to advanced was sounded, and by nightfall, after hours of harsh fighting, the Vevoskovian army wiped out the Syvian army, resting at the town after the battle. Ishta and a number of troops rested within a Nations of White temple, dedicated to the Goddess Agzabah. Stained glass and statues of her adorned the large and spacious building. Ishta, Han, Zeiten, and Otana rest in the main hall of the building
    Han: The medical corps said they had only 81 people wounded. Another 79 are presumed dead.
    Zeiten: Given the size of that army, and the intensity of the fight, I'd say we did far better than anyone would've expected. Still a shame though, isn't it?
    Ishta: It would only be a shame if they died in vain. We made great progress today, and we should continue to make great progress tomorrow.
    Otana gazed at all of the statues of Agzabah around the halls. So large they were, and yet peaceful. Depicting Agzabah extending her arms out to those walking in the hall, to all of humanity to confide in her.
    Otana: The occupants of this town. How unfortunate of them. Most of them were probably slaughtered, and more of them placed into slavery. I truly hope, none of you embrace her warmth too early
    Silence overcame the group, followed by reassurances, stories of home, tales of misadventures, sacred nights with wives, and gleeful memories of children. Ishta was taking in the moments, allowing himself to bond with his fellow Lords. Ishta told the story of how he entered a relationship with a 27 year old woman, when he was only 15 years old, noting that she was a descendent of the Diadara clan.
    Ishta: Yeah, she was real tough. She had been a member of the OSG back then, but asked the Rosidana to give her leave after the Diadara civil war came to an end. Nexi Diadara committed a horrible act, but did so to discourage any further acts of violence by the seperatists, and Brahmin Diadara. Because of it, her family was killed. She moved out of the Diadara district and into the Asane district, where I lived with my father. We met at an ice cream stand actually, it was really childish and stupid. She looked really beautiful, and I guess she noticed little old me, just standing there blushing.
    Otana: And then you *censored*ed her?
    Ishta: No, Otana. Then, nothing happened. We said hi, and she recommended which flavor of ice cream I should get. Then, we parted ways. But I saw her at that stand several times later and we started hanging out.
    Otana: Oh I get it. And THEN you *censored*ed her
    Ishta: NO OTANA! Then, well......actually Otana, you're right! I ended up going to her place for a bit. We both had ice cream, we talked, talking turned into kissing, and well....
    Otana: You *censored*ED her.
    Ishta: Yeah, thanks for that, Otana
    The group laughed and slowly went to bed. Awaiting the next day and the surprises to come. Each of them praying in their sleepy minds, that they can all go home victorious. Out of God's Mouth, and into God's Arms, would so many souls go.

The Capture of Bodesh: God Willing

Having risen before sunrise, Ishta and his army ventured out towards their next objective. Town after town they captured, wiping out more and more Syvian forces in the area. Upon nearing their goal, a large city being occupied by Syvian forces, the group was stopped by a large group of Nation of White resistance fighters. Both sides initially raised their weapons, but neither side rushed each other. Ishta yelled to get his men to lower their weapons, noting that they weren't wearing the Syvian standard armor, nor the Syvian coat of arms. The leader of the resistance ordered his forces to lower their weapons.

Ishta: Good morning, you're not Syvian, are you?
*The Leader moved her scarf from her mouth, and extended her hand to Ishta*

Leigh: Do we look like Syvians? My name is Leigh. I don't recognize your coat of arms. Where are you from?

Ishta: The name is Ishta, a pleasure. We're from the Eastern States. We just recently unified into a single nation, so the coat of arms is new. We were on our way to the city of Bodesh. We've been clearing out Syvian forces from here

Leigh: You too huh? Bodesh is under complete lockdown. We've been planning how to capture the city, but we just don't have the manpower. Most of the military force of the Nations of White were wiped out. Only civilians remain for the most part, but that's quickly changing as they're being executed.

Ishta paused for a moment, to gather his thought and be certain of his next choice

Ishta: We have more than enough men to help take back the city. We can move through the front and divert their attention. Your forces can move in from the East and take them by surprise

Leigh: Alright, we should get moving.

The combined forces of the Vevoskovian army and the resistance forces emerged on the city. Under the command of Ishta, the attack was commenced, and the front of the city was besieged. Dragon missiles rained down on the front fortifications, forcing the Syvian forces to either burn to death, or fall back from their position. Keeping the pressure on them, Ishta advanced on the troops and continued to burn their strategic fortifications as he went along. Ultimately, they surrounded the center of the city, home to most of the government buildings and offices

Leigh's forces were able do advance through the east with relative ease, and flanked the Syvians

Leigh: Storm through the side and clear out those buildings!

Otana: Hey, Ishta, Leigh is moving up!

Ishta: Good! Let's back her up, we'll rush the other side of the building, you and Han keep them busy with your archers! Zeiten, you're with me, let's go!

The horn for Ishta's advance was sounded, and the buildings were stormed. After a long battle, the chaos subsided, and the city was taken back.

Ishta: We finally did it. God's Mouth and Bodesh have been cleaned out. Thank you for your help, Leigh

Leigh: I can say the same to you. We would've never been able to do this without you. Truly, Ishta, I thank you

Otana: By now, the other division should've cleared out the Onzo Plains and cleared out Kitchi as well

*Han runs into the building, towards Ishta, Otana, Leigh, and Zeiten*


*Han hands Ishta the letter, and everyone gathers to read it*

Ishta: They've already done it. The bulk of our forces are to remain in the cities we took. The lords and a sizable amount of forces are to encircle Devil's Rock. What the hell is Devil's Rock?

Han: A mountain, the enemy must have fortifications or a supply center there. We should get moving immediately, Ishta. It won't take us long to get there if we move while it's still warm

Leigh: You're leaving already?

Otana: Most of our forces will be staying here with you to keep control of the city. But the lords will be leaving with a few men

Ishta: A Lord's work is never done, it seems. It was a pleasure meeting and fighting alongside you, Leigh

Leigh: Yeah, of course, Ishta. Thank you. I really mean that

The two shook hands, smiled, and parted each other farewell. Her long, bright, blonde hair reminded him of how bright the sun was back in Omni. And hey eyes were as blue as the rivers in the Eastern States, now Vevoskovia. Ishta hadn't noticed these things about her at first. He thought, perhaps, we don't always see the immense beauty in the simplest things until we are forced to leave them. The eternal feeling of loss when hearing of the destruction of his people and country came back, coated in the bittersweet reminder that we never truly know what we have until it is taken from us. God willing, he would return home, make amends with his father, and continue down the path his life was headed.

Devil's Rock: He Who Outdrew You

    Ishta's forces moved West to meet with the Lords of the second division. The battles had been long, but within 4 weeks, both divisions accomplished their goals. The Syvian expansion into the Nations of White had been halted. All that remained was Devil's Rock, the last fortification of the Syvian army. The divisions met up, and set their sights on ascended the mountain
    Ishta: Hey, Otana
    Otana: Ishta, if you ask if it's chilly again, I swear I will have you hanged, drawn, and quartered!
    Ishta: No, it's not that. You told me your dad owned a restaurant back in Vevoskovia, right?
    Otana: Yeah, best bread pudding in the country, why? Do you want me to hook you up?
    Ishta: Yeah, actually, I could really go for some bread pudding right now. Let's get some together when we get back alright?
    Otana: Sure, I'll oblige you. But it's not free. My dad still has to keep the lights on
    Ishta snickered and turned his head forward
    Ishta: Of course, Otana. I'll pay for it.
    Han: Alright, here's the plan. We're going to advance on the Mountain. We only have a few Dragon rockets right now, so we'll only use them if we absolutely have to. The fortifications consist of supply barracks, communication centers, and a weapons stash. They have towers and trenches facing towards the open end of the mountain. We won't be using horns to signal the assault, we want to take them by surprise. We're commencing the assault in one hour.
    Ishta: Alright. Let's get ready for this. This will be the last fight before we go home.
    The group smiled to each other. They had come this far, through God's Mouth, through the various towns and villages, and ultimately capturing Bodesh. All that was left was Devil's Rock. This fortified mountain, this petty rock was all that remained. The only thing in the way. As planned, the attack commenced. As they approached Devil's Rock however, they found the fortifications completely empty. None of the weapons or supplies were moved, so it didn't seem like they had simply switched locations
    Ishta: What the hell is this? This place is clear.
    Otana: Yeah, but not empty. Why would they leave their supplies here? None of us cleared out this area
    Zeiten: Even if it was Nation of White soldiers, you would think they would've taken their supplies.
    A hail of rockets reigned down upon their position. Many people took cover in the trenches, but most were killed in the confusion. The rockets went on and on for what seemed like forever. Shellshocked by the force of the explosions, Ishta struggles to get up. The Lords were okay, though Otana's face was half bloodied. Only 12 of the soldiers from either of the divisions seemed okay. Most were caught in the explosions and couldn't get to the trenches in time.
    Ishta: Otana! Get up buddy, you're alright, you're alright
    Ishta sat Otana up, and wiped off his face with his scarf
    Ishta: I'm going to go get the others! Stay here!
    The other Lords managed to get up by themselves, and quickly picked up their swords and shields
    Han: Ishta! You're alright, thank god!
    Ishta: Otana is wounded, but he'll be fine.
    Ishta peeked out of the trench with his scope, and saw a large enemy force slowly advancing on their position.
    Ishta: This was a trap. They were hoping to surround us here and make our exit out of the Nations of White as difficult as possible. Because the coat of arms is new, they won't be able to know that Vevoskovia is the united country of the Eastern States. They're closing in on us, so we're going to need to defend the mountain
    Han: We have the higher ground, it would be perfect for Dragon rockets. We took the ammunition with us in the trenches. One of my soldiers covered it with as much snow as possible so that the phosphorus wouldn't ignite from heat of the explosions.
    Ishta: Good. The blast area is still hot, so keep it away from there. Set up on the vantage point, they're coming from the North, they'll come out of the tree line there. Zeiten! Grab whatever you can find in those building, plantable shields, rockets, anything!
    Zeiten: On it!
    Ishta: At this rate, they'll be here in 15, maybe 17 minutes. The smoke from the blast ought to cover us for now.
    The group waited, and every minute felt like eternity. With almost all of their reinforcements dead, and no back up near them, Ishta and the others had to survive. But it is here on this rock that Ishta would prove himself, to man and God alike. He would prove what kind of man he is. As the sun beat down on the group, the Syvian forces emerged from the treeline. The wait was finally over.
    Ishta: FIRE IT! NOW!
    8 rockets were fired at the Syvians, 2 hit the forces directly while the others burned the surrounding trees
    Archers began firing towards the hill, mostly missing. Zeitan returned with plantable shields, and placed them to protect everyone from the arrows. The few archers in the group returned fire while Zeiten grabbed more rockets. Helping Han set them up, Zeiten fired another barrage of rockets at the Syvians. Unable to advance without heavy losses, the Syvians pulled back. The group could rest. For now.
    Ishta: Otana! How are you?
    Otana: *censored* you, Ishta.
    Han: He's okay!
    Zeiten: Yeah, but we need to treat his wounds and keep him from getting cold. If this was an ambush, we'll need to prepare in case they come back
    Han: Can't we just leave?
    Ishta: Not a good idea. We'll run out of supplies before we make our way back to Bodesh or Kitchi. And even if we could leave, we're most likely surrounded. We should wait here a bit. If we don't spot any Syvians for the rest of the day, maybe we'll consider it safe to move tomorrow. We'll have to rest at the neighboring villages as stops.
    Han: Alright. If that's what we have to do. Better than walking right into Syvian swords.
    The group had 4 more encounters with Syvian troops that day, and decided to stay fortified on Devil's Rock. The bodies of the dead were buried in the snow, and nobody in the group could sleep that night
    Otana: See anything?
    Ishta: Just the moon. Can't see *censored* else
    Otana: You should get some sleep, Ishta. The others will keep watch
    Ishta stayed silent, and heeded Otana's advice. Despite his troubled mind still fixated on the enormous amount of life he experienced today, he still needed to sleep. Otherwise, he may soon be buried in the snow.
    Ishta was awakened however, to the sound of yelling
    Han: WE'RE OUT OF *censored*ING ROCKETS!
    Han: Ishta! Get up! Another force is on its way!
    Ishta sprang up and rushed off of the hill with the others, onto flatter land. Archers began to fire at oncoming Syvian soldiers
    Han: Brace yourselves, they're rushing us!
    Syvian troops rushed the trenches, trying to weed out the remaining Vevoskovian troops. 5 soldiers perished at the hands of the Syvians, and the remaining were able to hold their own, out desperation and fear of dying.
    The chaos once again subsided, and the group could briefly recollect itself
    Ishta: Grab those bodies.
    Otana: What for?
    Ishta: When they freeze, we're going to perch them up along the treeline. We can't last with sheer numbers and will alone. We overestimated the amount of troops that surrounded us. There would be no other reason to attack in burst amount of reinforcements if they weren't low on men as well. We need to wage a war of minds. Allowing them to see their dead as they approach us will help to achieve that. Take their heads to, and stick them on the handles of their swords. Place those further along the treeline
    Ishta: Otana, even though we're on flatter land, we're still on an upwards inclination. Take this.
    *Ishta hands Otana a handful of snow*
    Otana: You've got to be *censored*ing kidding me
    Ishta: Put this in your mouth. Their lack of decisiveness in their attacks shows that they don't know exactly how many of us there are. This will reduce the amount of steam your breath creates, so they won't able to spot you from the treeline. You should all do it.
    Han: Ishta, we have rocket warheads, but none of the other components for rockets. It seems they're loaded with white phosphorous as well
    Ishta: Good, I'll set a trap along that line. Get those bodies perched as soon as rigor mortis and the cold sets in.
    Ishta had begun resorting to extremely unconventional methods, in an effort to scare the enemy, knowing they could not survive another attack like this. The still and frozen bodies of the dead Syvian soldiers were perched up as warning signs, that anyone who passes by them, will join them. The group would withstand more attacks, with Syvians often retreating upon seeing the warning signs put up by Ishta. The cold was getting worse, and the food was running low already. Ishta honestly thought that if they Syvians did not kill them, the cold and lack of food will. One particular morning, instead of another set of Syvian troops, the group awoke to a voice, one amplified by a speaking trumpet.
    Voice: We know you're up there! We know you're cold, and you're hungry! We're going to give you an ultimatum!
    Ishta: They must be weary of the fighting too...
    Voice: What we were sent to do, was to ambush you right her on Devil's Rock. We needed only a few of you alive. The Syvian Armed Guard wants to know who is responsible for the taking of Bodesh and Kitchi. If you surrender and give us some information, I can give you warmth, shelter, and food. You will not be harmed nor incarcerated, and we will stop attacking your position! Syvia would like nothing more, than for a peaceful alliance with a country with such great military power!
    Ishta realized the intention behind the wave of short attacks. Devil's Rock was an intentional spot, the elevation served as a means to get the Vevoskovians in an area with thinner air and colder temperature. The short attacks constantly robbing them of rest, and tiring out the soldiers. They were doing this because they wanted to condition just a few of the soldiers to give up. Ishta may have kept his will, but he was cold and starving. He couldn't deny the others were also cold and starving.
    Voice: You have 24 hours to make your decision. No Syvian forces will converge on your position until then. If you want to comply, just head North up the trail, it will lead you to our outpost. If you do not comply within 24 hours, we will exterminate you. Have a wonderful day, gentlemen.
    Silence overcame the group. The Lords were hungry and the few remaining soldiers were hungry. If it wasn't hunger that would kill them, the unforgiving snow of the Nations of White definitely would.
    Otana: Sell out your country and live, or die in the cold.
    Ishta: Pretty much. You all have to tell me right now. Are you considering going? I honestly won't blame you. You have families that you want to return to. But by doing this, you may return to a warzone.
    Han: Do you have a plan?
    Ishta: Yeah, a few actually. I don't know if any of them will work. I want you all to understand the very likely possibility that we may die on this rock. Living would mean selling out Vevoskovia. But we could also make a run for it.
    Zeiten, fatigued by the cold, spoke in a shiver
    Zeiten: A run off the hill? They've only been attacking from one direction, so we can assume we're not surrounded after all.
    Ishta: Either way, I won't lie. They bested me. They were able to fool us into thinking they were a larger force than they really were. By the time we realized that, we had already run out of food, and the cold began to get worse.
    Otana: I don't know what to do, Ishta.
    Ishta: You're young, like me. It's only natural to fear being killed. But I know for a fact that they wouldn't want a peaceful alliance.
    Han: How can you be so sure? Why would the better option be to engage in a costly war with another country of great military might? It just doesn't make sense. Our speedy taking of God's Mouth, Bodesh, and Kitchi have let them know that we are an army to be reckoned with!
    Ishta: What makes you think you could possibly trust the Syvians?
    Han: I don't trust them, but I also don't trust you. You're going to let your personal feelings of revenge could your sense of judgement. Just because the Omni perished at the hands of Syvia, does not mean that we have to either. If we die here at the hands of the Syvians you know that full scale war will continue. Vevoskovia, and the allies of what used to be the Eastern States will most likely join the offensive, Ishta!
    Ishta: My judgement is clear, and I am not conflicted by any personal motivations. Syvia is not to be trusted!
    Otana: Guys please! Stop it! We'll break ourselves if the infighting continues!
    Han: Ishta. If I don't return home because of your sense of petty revenge and bloodlust for the nation that destroyed your people, you won't return home either. Keep those words in your heart.
    Another day went by, the group still unsure what to do in their situation. Ishta did not sleep that night. He arose out of his trench, to go wake up Zeiten and the others.
    Ishta: Hey, Zeiten, you should get up. We'll need to decide what to do.
    Zeiten did not respond. When Ishta placed his hand on his shoulder, Zeiten felt as hard as a rock. Looking closer at his face and skin, Ishta came to the realization that Zeiten did not survive the night.
    Ishta: Zeiten! Zeiten!
    In that moment, Ishta began to blame himself. And just as fast, he also began to rationalize. Was it better that Zeiten died this way, instead of being killed or captured by Syvian forces? How will Zeiten's death effect the others? Was this truly his fault? Should he have taken a gamble on a possible alliance with Syvia?
    Otana walked towards the sound of Ishta's voice, and soon, Han joined them as well.
    Otana: Oh my god.... He's completely frozen
    Ishta: I'm sorry, Otana. You've known him for years.
    Otana could do nothing be sit down and cry for his dead friend and fellow Lord. The effects of the battle had finally broken the spirits of this ever-diminishing group
    Han: 8 years I've known the man. He was always wise and kind. We should bury him.
    Ishta: Yeah...
    Ishta, Han and Otana began digging a grave for Zeiten. They used a nearby rock as the grave marker, and inscribed Zeiten's name and an epitaph.
    Han: To our dear friend, and fellow Lord of Vevoskovia, we say farewell. Thank you for your years of service, for your strong mind and attitude, for your bravery in the most dangerous situations. We pray and hope you will find comfort in the arms of our eternal goddess and guardian, Agzabah. And that you will be welcomed by her, and her prophet Luxaura. We can only imagine how much pain you were in this whole time, but you truly stuck it out for us. We thank you. Amen.
    With just a few hours left, Ishta could almost hear death itself, looming, watching, laughing at the suffering and futile resistance of the inevitable. No one was going to survive this.
    Otana: I'm going.
    Ishta: What? What are you talking about?
    Otana: We can't stay here Ishta!
    Ishta: We cannot trust the Syvians!
    Otana: Our friend, our fellow Lord is dead! None of us will last much longer!
    Ishta: You'd sell out your own country? Give in to enemy demands? If that's the case it should've been you that died in your sleep, not Zeiten!
    Otana: Don't you *censored*ing dare. My friend did not die for you, you selfish monster!
    Otana emerged from his trench and started walking towards the path, as instructed by the voice almost a day ago.
    Ishta: OTANA! STOP!
    Han: OTANA!
    Ishta grabbed a bow and arrow from one of the soldiers standing by
    Han: Oh my god! Ishta, don't! Please just let him come back!
    Ishta: STOP IT OTANA!
    Despite the voices behind him, Otana kept walking. Otana was a man of life. He would do anything to live, to prosper, and to survive. But Ishta was different. He was born in Omni, a nation that upheld the Nation Above Clan principle. The Diadara Civil War taught him about the sacrifices that need to be made in order to maintain peace. It was this principle, this experience, that gave him the will to survive all of this time, even if he knew he would only die. And it ultimately gave him the will to shoot his arrow, piercing Otana in his neck
    Hana: OTANA!
    Ishta stood in silence, again questioning if he had just done the right thing. He thought of the woman he spoke of back in Omni, and wondered how she must have felt. How did it feel to be told to uphold the Nation Above Clan principle, and to turn your sword against your own clan members? Was sacrificing the life of a friend for the security of Vevoskovia the right thing to do? Was an alliance truly possible?
    Ishta walked over to a grieving Han, and tried to comfort him.
    Ishta: It's no use. He'll bleed out soon. Even if you did stop the bleeding, he wouldn't be able to survive the cold, having lost so much blood. We need to-
    Han tackled Ishta into the snow, and drew his short blade. Ishta grabbed his short blade and pierced Han's chest, causing Han to fall over, gasping for air.
    As Han laid dying, Ishta himself, despite his strong will, began to weep. Han outdrew Ishta, but hesitated in his attack. Ishta's heart broke over this fact. Han should've killed him. But even in this desperate situate, love made him hesitate. The agony of killing someone who outdrew you was something Ishta had never experienced before. And for perhaps a slight moment, Ishta could hear Death laughing once more. Suddenly, rockets once again began to hit the position. With only 3 troops remaining, Ishta told them to descend the hill.
    The 4 men, with no other option, descended Devil's Rock and ran into the open cold. Ishta knew there was a village in this direction. But he wasn't sure which side occupied that village. Regardless, the sound of the rockets faded as Ishta and his remaining men ran as fast as they could, avoiding death, and capture. For hours and hours they ran before they finally succumbed to the cold. Unable to move, and exhausted from fleeing, Ishta collapsed face first into the snow, and waited to die. He closed his eyes, expecting only to awaken in the Underworld.


Develop Your Story / Re: Songs of the Four Suns...
« on: April 21, 2015, 05:05:52 AM »
Well that answers my questions! How much history/lore have you developed in the story?

Develop Your Story / Re: Songs of the Four Suns...
« on: April 20, 2015, 03:10:45 AM »
I really like this!

I also like the points that were brought up by the other commenter. Of course you could just say "it's magic!" when it comes to the universe. It may take some work, but if I were you, I would try to work out how a system with 4 suns would work, and how ring systems would work too. Can you get to close the sun? Can the mass loss of life, and consequently, "soul" play a part in keeping the worlds a safe distance away from the sun, but also a good distance close to it.

With this unique formation of planets and suns, could cosmic disasters have a massive and tragic influence on the worlds' position and closeness to the suns? There's a lot of potential for a good mix of "it's science!" and "it's magic!"

And the writing kept me pretty hooked. The darkness and tragedy of it all is captured pretty well. It would be a good opportunity to work on the psychological descent into psychopathy, which I see you were getting towards.

Awesome in my opinion, just work on the finer details. The key of any story is creating a rich world!

Develop Your Story / Lords of the Obelisk
« on: April 20, 2015, 02:53:36 AM »
Firstly, I have a question mark because I really don't know what to name this group. I'm gonna provide as brief a backstory as I can, but I would appreciate some feedback, name suggestions, and some kinks I should work out! :) (This kinda happens later in the the story's history. You may hear some names or things that aren't explained because it would be a pain to write the backstory to a backstory. But if you're confused, just let me know)

>As Agzabah gave new life to the now dead and baron Earth, Zorc was given the task of creating the Underworld
>Zorc, using his newfound power, travelled to an empty dimension, a perfect place to create such a place.
>He made the sky eternally dark, and a moon eternally purple. The ground was harsh and unkind, and the mountains seemed to reach towards the only source of haunting light in the sky
>He parts of the empty land with oceans of blood, and beyond the mountains, he created his palace and his throne
>There, Zorc would sit for all eternity, waiting for humans to die, so their souls can be taken to this place, a place of punishment and agony for the wicked
>Thousands of years passed by, and the souls of humans filled up Zorc's dark abode. As souls were washed in the seas of blood, their slow and painful transformation into demons began
>When one of these souls grew large, and nearly swallowed all of the blood in the underworld, Zorc kept his dimension safe. But he needed guardians to watch over the souls of the deceased.
>He spoke so softly, and yet his voice thundered for all souls in the underworld to hear
>Anyone who can traverse the seas of blood, the cannibal demons, and the other horrors of the Underworld, and made it to Zorc's palace, would be exempt from any further torment
>Many souls rushed towards his palace, often not even knowing where to go. A few souls did indeed find their way, and the ultimatum between Zorc and his ethereal possessions was kept
>16 souls find their way. They were given 16 crystal swords, and 16 cloaks. Each were granted a piece of Zorc's power
>From the day they crawled out of torment, they were commanded to watch and guard the souls of the underworld
>This group joined together, calling themselves the Lords of the Obelisk (oh god, does that name even fit?)
>Allowed full independence as a group as long as they upheld the responsibility they were given, the Lords set out across the Underworld, keeping souls from getting too strong and too destructive
>Internal conflict came when Adende Lucix and his group of 4 began absorbing the powers of souls for themselves
>The other 12, loyal to Zorc and the stability of the Underworld, gathered behind Lord Utani to fight against the traitors
>A long battle ensued, and Utani absorbed Adende's stolen power after defeating him, and banishing back into the blood soaked agony of the Underworld.
>The Lords chose Utani as their leader, trusting in his judgement and loyalty to Zorc
>For thousands of years, the Lords of the Obelisk remained vigilant in the Underworld, and more members eventually found their way over time.
>The next, and last fateful member, was the newly deceased Von Krum Soleais
>Soleais, having been betrayed and killed by his apprentice and student Luxaura, sought refuge within the Lords of the Obelisk, so he may finally gain some of the power he spent his life researching
>He joined the Lords and grasped some of the Marluxian Arts, handed down to him directly by Zorc himself
>Utani took in Soleais as his student, showing him how use the Marluxian Arts in the underworld, seeing that there are no planets in this dimension.
>Learning how to use to the powers of the haunting purple moon above, Soleais quickly became the most powerful Lord in the group.
>Soleais however, had no loyalty to Zorc, and intended to escape the Underworld, and go back to Earth
>Soleais and Utani duel intensely on the highest mountain of the Underworld. Though just barely, Soleais defeated his master, and the Second Schism of Lords began
>Still, there was a faction of the Lords loyal to Zorc and the duty of keeping the souls of the underworld in check. But half of the Lords instead wanted to leave the Underworld, return to Earth, and follow Soleais's teachings (you're gonna need to ask me about this if you want to know what his teachings were"
>Soleais, experienced in his thousands of years of training with Utani, took his faction and traveled back into the 2nd dimension (Plane of the living)
>Zorc is warned of this schism, and prepares to search the 2nd dimension for the traitors and eliminate them
>The remaining half of the Lords have also noticed that some of the largest and most powerful souls sealed in the Underworld by Agzabah have disappeared during the infighting.
>Unable to explain the disappearance of two of the powerful demons to ever exist, the Lords were given permission by Zorc to search the Earth, suspecting Soleais to be behind it
>Soleais returns to Earth, and sets forward the grand scheme entrusted to him during his visit to the 4th dimension
>Soleais ventures out to find Luxaura, kill him and all other members of the Order of the Phoenix Demons, and collect all of the Heralds of the End
>The chase to recover two of the most powerful souls in existence begins

Holy moly that was long, and there was quite a bit left out. As I said, i would have to tell backstory for the backstory lol, this has a lot of history and lore to it.

So, considering this was a summerized history of the Lords of the Obelisk, is there anything I can improve on? I feel like the motivations for the Schisms might be a little hamfisted.

And please, name suggestions for Lords of the Obelisk are welcome. I really don't know what else to call them.

Anime Talk / What Kind of Music Do You Love Hearing In Anime?
« on: April 16, 2015, 04:46:51 PM »
I am personally a huge fan of chanting in anime. Not bombastic chanting, but large choirs with not many other instruments included.

Naruto did this pretty well, with Hidan's Theme and Hurricane Suite

What do you like hearing in anime soundtracks?

Develop Your Story / Re: 403 Forbidden
« on: April 14, 2015, 04:41:28 AM »
Hmmm....a lot like Sword Art Online. Except, this doesn't seem like bad at all. I think the most important thing for these kinds of stories is injecting your own creativity into them. Whether it be giving these virtual lands a rich history, or really fleshed out and unique characters, to make sure it doesn't blend in with similar stories.

I think there are a lot of good routes you can take with this if you really sit down and develop it some more. Definitely keep expanding on this as much of you can!

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