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Author Topic: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles  (Read 921 times)

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Offline OhGodHelpMe

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6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« on: March 23, 2016, 01:49:58 PM »
 I'd like to introduce my action/fantasy/drama story,
6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles!

Since this is a direct sequel to a previous chronicle of the story, you're gonna kinda be thrown in to the world and characters, but hopefully it's not too jarring.

Synopsis and First Chapters
6 Cataclysms is a world on its own, complete with its own lengthy history, bloodlines, countries, and cultures. In the story, the world was said to have been created by two gods, Agzabah and Zorc. Agzabah was the goddess of truth and life, while her brother Zorc ruled over the dead, sending them either to heaven or to the underworld. However, there is an awful secret the two are hiding, and a group called the Order of the Phoenix Demons has set out to overthrow the two gods and expose that secret to the world.

This story in particular focuses on the main character Hita, right from the very beginning of his life. Red Rose Chronicles lets us see his upbringing, the world he was raised in, as well as the many burdens he has to face. Not only from the world he lives in, but from the groups that are trying to change it, such as The Order of the Phoenix Demons  :ninja: He is unfortunately and unwillingly involved in a war between the holy prophet, Luxaura, and the gods themselves, Agzabah and Zorc. Can Hita fix the problems of the mortal world and the world of the divine? Or shall the sacrificial lamb in all of this lose his life in the process?

 As for the time period, though this is fantasy world, I'd say it's probably close to the Renaissance Era, or perhaps Medieval. Swords are the most common weapon of war, but there's a mix of some interesting technologies here.

Happy reading

The Birth of the Savior and Destroyer
Deep in the heart of Southern Vevoskovia, the great land of flesh, fruit, and iron, The Order of the Phoenix Demons assembled under the glow of the blood moon, and the bright and ominous twinkle of "The Red Star", which sat right next to the moon in the cloudless night sky. This red star was none other than the planet Nibiru, making its long-awaited return back into the solar system. Luxaura, the great prophet of Agzatona and the leader of the Phoenix Demons assembled Yahto, Roy, Fate, Nadena, and Inadora with him in the throne room, a large, circular room with thrones made of stone along the walls. In the middle of this large room, was a symbol drawn from the blood of a sacrificed peasant, who had given his life to ensure the success of Luxaura's master plan; Phoenix Rebirth. As the sigil was finished by Fate, all of them stood together, and all of them dawning their Phoenix Demon cloaks, adorned with the symbol of a Lotus Flower on their backs. Fate's red, demonic eyes and snow white skin were hidden under the cloth and hood of this robe.

Fate: It's all set. Luxaura, your soul has established a line with Amiya Menlayev. You will be able to reincarnate and form as a second fetus within her, along with her other child. You will officially be born as a Menlayev.

Luxaura twirled his long black hair, which curled gorgeously and reached down to his ribs. His gentle yet determined blue eyes were the perfect contrast for Fate's blood red eyes.

Luxaura: Perfect. Roy, Yahto, you both understand the situation, right? You will both be reincarnated and born to common Vevoskovian families. This Phoenix Rebirth seal is highly experimental, but if it all goes well, your reincarnation will also trigger the placement of the Lesser Seals of Sacrifice. My birth alongside 2nd child of Amiya and Tokahev will be the trigger for the Greater Seal. Just to be safe, I'll need Fate to extract our memories and Heralds of the End before we're reincarnated.

Inadora removed her hood, revealing hard dark grey hair, black lipstick, and green and black eyes, the eyes of Izutu, the demonic thief of light.

Inadora: Extract your memories? How will that help you? Won't you be clueless if you're reincarnated without your memories?

Luxaura: That ignorance will save our lives. It will prevent odd behaviors that will attract far too much attention. separating ourselves from the Heralds of the End will also negate the risk of stillbirth, or god forbid, Amiya herself dies while me and the sacrifice are still in the womb. If she dies, we'll have 30 minutes at the most to live. And somewhere deep in the ground, me and the sacrifice will be victims of the natural phenomena of Coffin Birth.

Yahto whistled as he scratched his head full of long, blonde hair.

Yahto: God damn, now THAT's nasty. But also kind of hot, right?

Inadora: You always have something smart to say, Yahto!

Luxaura: Either way, separating our memories and the souls of the demons within us are crucial to ensuring a successful reincarnation. Fate will perform the Venus seals necessary. That means that Nadena, Inadora, and Fate also have to make sure that when the time is right, Me, Roy, and Yahto make contact with the Venus seals and regain our memories and powers.

Nadena untied her long, sky-blue hair and focused her ocean-blue eyes on Luxaura.

Nadena: You can count on us! Roy, just be careful, okay?

Roy didn't have much of an expression, as he seemed eager to just go through with it. But he was also worried on the inside. There were a lot of things that could go wrong. He turned his head towards Nadena, his long, crimson hair swaying as it reached down to his elbows.

Roy: Don't be worried, Nadena. I doubt I'd ever be the kind to misbehave, even in a million life times.

Nadena: Ahhh! I won't be seeing you guys for 18 years! 18 years! Do you know how long that is!?!

Luxaura: Ahem! Yes, I'm sorry Nadena. But this is how we plant the seeds of humanity's rescue. No longer will they live in a world burdened by warfare, hatred, and prejudice as a powerless Goddess and her foolish brother simply stand back and watch.

Fate: I'm ready. I'll create seals of your memories and for the Heralds of the End while you're unconscious. Please, Luxaura, Roy, Yahto. Step onto the circles connected to your lines.

The three stepped into their designated circles as Fate prepared to activate the Sigil of Nibiru. Inadora held Nadena as she began crying, knowing it would be a while before she saw her lover and friends again.

Nadena: I love you Roy! Take care! And I love you too Yahto and Luxaura!

Yahto: Sheesh, she's so dramatic. We'll see you later, loser.

Nadena: I'll just take that as an 'I love you too', asshole!

The sigil began to glow. The time was near. Roy, Yahto, and Luxaura began to levitate in mid air and lost their consciousness as their souls were slowly being pulled from their bodies. Fate did as he was told, extracting the memories and Heralds of the End from them, sealing them into his Eye of Nibiru. The immense power it took to do that caused his eyes and nose to bleed. In a few minutes, it was done. The bodies of Roy, Yahto, and Luxaura vanished, the lines pulsated with one more shine of light, and then the entire sigil faded away. A pregnant Amiya Menlayev, who slept peacefully that night, began developing a second child without even knowing it. The same occurred for two other mothers, spread apart in Vevoskovia. Nadena and Inadora departed to their rooms as Fate made his leave to scatter the Seals of Venus. The first was taken to the completely uninhabitable ruins of Providence, which was still covered in dozens of feet of violent water, constantly hammered by violent hurricanes. Deep under the water lied the ruins of Providence's most astonishing buildings; The Temple of Lords. The first seal was placed within the temple. The second seal was placed back in Vevoskovia, within a cave not far from a massive, dormant volcano. The third was placed in the HQ of the Deshavi Black Ops. Fate teleported within the HQ without being noticed. It was placed on the wall carving that greeted the agents who walked into the HQ. Right on the tongue of the demonic statue.

As he finished, the air around him began to warp. It appeared his true master and superior wanted to check on him. It was none other than a healed Von Krum Solaeis

Fate: You're always so persistent, Von.

Von: Persistence is the art of the ambitious, after all.

Von took a good look at the wall carving depicting an Omni Demon.

Von: I see. So the seals are being placed. Luxaura has reincarnated?

Fate: We won't know until the woman gives birth. Von, why don't we stop them now? This is the perfect opportunity. They're weak and separated from what made them so strong and elusive. Why are you not taking advantage of this?

Von: Because the truth is, I couldn't actually defeat the Order of the Phoenix Demons in the state I'm in. The fight with Borealis nearly 3 years ago has still taken its toll on me, Phaedra, and Iris. As much as I want to, it would be like signing my own death warrant, or throwing myself into a den of lions. Instead, we're going to use this to our advantage. Luxaura yearns to kill Agzabah. If he did this, it means he's serious now. I'll let him do just that. Meanwhile, we can focus on shaking the Oblisks and killing Zorc. Instead of fighting the Phoenix Demons, we can use them. Subvert them. You have to think logistically, Fate. Not everything is about brute force.

Fate: Shall I carry on with my mission then?

Von: Keep us updated on the Phoenix Demons and just what that complex mechanism of seals and energy sinks is. I must say, it's quite fascinating. Oh, and be sure they don't learn of our existence. It would be risky of Luxaura discovered his old lover and his old master are both still alive.

Fate bowed to Von and stood up straight again.

Fate: As you wish.

Von disappeared into the night, and Fate would too. The reincarnation process was successful, and great burdens would be placed on the unfortunate children that carried the Seals of Sacrifice on them.

About 9 months later, Amiya Menlayev was rushed to Deshavi HQ after going into labor late in the night. The Marluxian Arts allowed her to sedate the pain she experienced without drugs or medication. Vevoskovia's Man of the Country, King Tokahev stood by his wife's side as she put all of her willpower and energy into giving birth to her children. In the wee hours of the morning, before the sun began to rise, Amiya gave birth to two healthy baby boys. Her dirty blonde hair stuck to her sweating face as she sat back and rested, exhausting herself after such a miraculous feat. Doctor L'amica, her medical personnel, and Commander Katya examined the two babies before handing them off to the parents.

L'amica: Katya, there's something wrong.

Katya: What is it? Are they healthy?

L'amica: They're healthy, but look at their chests.

Katya saw what L'amica was pointing out. The two babies had strange, identical seals on their chests. The symbols were unlike any of the planetary symbols that Katya had seen throughout her education in the Marluxian Arts.

Katya: What is this? L'amica, get into contact with the Archives Division. See if there's anything in our archived resources regarding these symbols.

L'amica: Understood ma'am.

Katya emerged with both baby boys in her arms, walking right past Tokahev as he tried to grab them.

Katya: No, Tokahev. The mother gets to hold them first!

Tokahev's face sunk in sadness.

Tokahev: Darn it....okay, she can hold them first. Whatever.

Katya: Here you go, Amiya. You did a wonderful job, they're both healthy. Are you feeling alright?

Amiya: I feel really exhausted! But I'm so glad to see my babies made it out alright. Toky! We have to name them!

Tokahev: Goodness, seriously?

Katya: What do you mean, 'seriously?'? Of course you have to name them, dimwit!

Tokahev: Alright well......mommy gets to name one first.

Katya: Me? Well, alright then.

Amiya held the firstborn close to her, rubbing his head as he cried and caressing his smooth skin.

Amiya: Gosh, you're as adorable as your father! Looks like you'll have the same long black hair as him. We'll name you... Mori. Mori Menlayev.

Katya took Mori out of her hands so she could focus on naming the second-born.

Amiya: Oh my! Honey, look! It looks like this one has red hair!

Tokahev: Seriously?!

Amiya laughed with joy, and a hint of sadness, remembering the long and beautiful red hair that Kalina had.

Amiya: Looks like your mom has given us one last present, even in death.

Katya: She always was a giver.

Katya remembered spending days at a time with Kalina as her death approached. The crying, the anger, and the denial she went through until her final days when she simply accepted it.

Amiya: Beautiful, wonderful baby boy!

Amiya kissed the forehead of her silent second born, holding firmly in her arms and under her breasts.

Amiya: I'll name you Hita. Hita Menlayev. I really hope nobody teases you for your red hair. I don't suspect the teens and adults will, but maybe some of the less cultured kids around you might. But it's okay if they do, dear. They'll learn that your grandmother was a fierce queen who had red hair. If anything, it's a sign of a strong Menlayev.

Katya took the second-born in her arms.

Katya: We'll let them rest now. We don't usually have births here, but I'm sure we can nurse them for a few days. We'll make sure they're nice and healthy, have a healthy blood rate, no breathing problems, good vision, all of that sort of stuff. We can do that pretty easily with the Art of Venus.

Amiya: Thank you, Katya.

Tokahev held Amiya's hand, falling in love all over again as he became lost in her emerald eyes.

Tokahev: You did really good, love. Anything I can do for you?

Amiya: Give me some good head. It's about time I'm the one who got treated.

Tokahev: Hehe...yeah...I'll see what I can do about that, hon.

Katya: Tokahev. A word, please.

Katya opened the door for Tokahev, leading him outside of the medical room and out into the cavernous halls of the HQ.

Katya: There's something wrong. Both of your children are marked with seals.

Tokahev's eyes wandered away from Katya's, surveying the cavernous halls with blank confusion and shock.

Tokahev: What?! I don't understand. How can that be? What kind of seals are they?

Katya: The symbols the seals are imbued with are foreign to me. They don't match the symbols of any of the heavenly bodies. The seal itself is also much more complex in design than anything I've seen.

Tokahev: How can we not know what seal it is?

Katya: It is a kind of Marluxian Art that I have not ever seen in use of the Deshavi Black Ops. I'm having someone check our archives for anything, but...

Tokahev sighed and slouched down against the wall.

Tokahev: They're just born and already something has gone wrong.

Katya: Their lives don't seem to be in any danger. And because nobody else in the world has any knowledge of the Marluxian Arts, we can assume they will have normal lives and be able to go to school. It's just about finding the source of the seal.

Tokahev: Should I tell Amiya?

Katya: Yes, yes you should. It's important she knows of this too. The Deshavi Black Ops will keep a keen eye on Mori and Hita. We just need to make sure they're safe.

Tokahev took a moment to think, before going back inside the room to talk to Amiya about it. When he spoke those words, he could see the anxiety and heartbreak well in her glistening eyes.

Amiya: Seals? Seals, Tokahev?! Why?!

Tokahev: I don't know. Katya will allow us to take them home, but they'll need to be surveyed by the Deshavi to make sure they're alright.

Amiya: They've just entered into the world, Tokahev! I don't want the Deshavi spying on my children.

Tokahev: If something goes wrong with them, and we're not there-

Amiya: Stop it. Just stop it. There's nothing wrong with them. If there's anyone who has to look after them in our stead, at least let it be Katya herself. That is the only compromise I'll accept.

Tokahev: Very well.

Mori and Hita would stay for the day inside the nursery while their mother got the rest she deserved for her amazing work. Tokahev headed home before his eldest son Marluxia could awake. Marluxia was just 4 years old, but already had the potential to be a great leader and thinker. Tokahev wanted to sleep, but he knew Marluxia would just be up in a couple of hours anyway. A parents labor is never finished.

As the sky was still dark, more uninvited guests entered the HQ, specifically the nursery. Von teleported Phaedra into the medical room to see the new descendants of the Asane bloodline. Phaedra wore her satin, white, floral women's shoulder cape adorned with depictions of fire lilies, cherry blossoms, and lotus flowers. It was a light and comfortable robe for the season along with her black tights and sandals. Phaedra was the gem of the Asane clan. Her long, black hair reached down to her wrists. She always wore her favorite necklace, a metal lace with a Black Stone pendant, and the Asane clan crest painted in white on the pendant. Phaedra however, did not have eyes. Ever since she had our eyes ripped from her head, she's worn a special black blindfold around her eyes, given to her by Von. It allowed her to see even without proper eyes.

Phaedra walked over to see Mori and Hita, her newborn descendants.

Phaedra: Awwww! Von, they're so beautiful!

Phaedra picked up the sleeping Hita, keeping his blanket wrapped around him so he could stay warm. She knew how to hold a baby perfectly, rocking it back and forth like any mother would, with all the care and love in the world.

Von: How surprising. Have you had children before, Phaedra?

Phaedra: No, I never had kids. But I did get to hold a lot of newborns when I was Rosidanna. I especially loved holding Asane children. And this one is just too adorable!

Von: You can be surprisingly warm sometimes.

Phaedra: Well of course. I look at them like my own children. I love them and wish them all the best in life. Especially you, little man! You're gonna grow up to be big and strong, I just know it!

Von: It seems that's the child containing one of the seals. I'm not sure which seal is the one that will do the trick. Luxaura always was a crafty bastard.

Phaedra: Don't curse around my babies!

Von was a little embarrassed as he seemed to have forgotten proper manners to have around children.

Von: Right, sorry.

Phaedra kissed Hita's forehead and sat down on a nearby chair to rest.

Phaedra: It's been a while since I've been able to just hold one like this. Do you mind?

Von: Not at all. But the Deshavi will awake in just a few hours.

Phaedra: I'll be quick.

Hita began to wake up. He wasn't crying, but was cooing and moving around a lot. If something wasn't done to soothe him soon however, it may quickly turn into crying.

Phaedra: Time to wake up, huh? Von, hold him for a second.

Phaedra gave Hita over to Von, who clearly had no idea how to hold a child.

Von: Now I'm glad I never became a father.

Phaedra began taking her robe off from her shoulders, exposing her breasts. She clasped her hands and performed the Art of Pluto on herself to stimulate her pituitary glands.

Von: What are you doing?

Phaedra: The little guy is probably hungry. Give him to me.

Von handed Hita back over to Phaedra, who seemed to be a natural at nurturing for young ones.

Phaedra: I've only ever watched mothers from the various clans breastfeed their children, so I'm hoping he'll make it easy for me.

Von: You're going to breastfeed him? Ah, I see. You induced lactation with the Art of Pluto. That was actually really clever of you.

Phaedra got in a comfortable position and breastfed Hita before he could start crying. As babies naturally do, Hita instinctively found Phaedra's breast and began feeding. For the first time in a long time, Phaedra felt really happy.

Phaedra: If I had eyes, little one, I'd probably be crying right now. I'm so glad even just one family of the Asane clan survives to this day.

Von remained silent and witnessed the loving and motherly side of Phaedra. Even with all of her suffering, she had never lost her love and humanity. When Hita was placated, he fell back asleep. Phaedra carried him back over to his crib and laid him to rest. She covered herself up and prepared to leave.

Phaedra: You may have to go through a lot of hardship. I'm sorry for that. But one day, I will avenge you. When the old world is reborn, I hope to see you there and have you by my side, little prince.

Von: I'm guessing you could tell. Who the other one is.

Phaedra: I wouldn't even do so much as hold in during a snowstorm. What he's about to do to this family, to my lovely baby is disgusting. I wish him only the worst in life. If it weren't for your orders, I'd kill him right now.

Von: Even as a child, huh?

Phaedra: No matter which form he takes, he is no child. Let's go.

Von and Phaedra disappeared as mysteriously as they came. All which had begun could not be stopped now. If Hita realized how unlucky he was to have been born, he would've hung himself from a tree when he was old enough to tie a knot.

There was much suffering ahead for Hita. Many triumphs, but also great magnitudes of agony.

The Forgotten and Eternally Benevolent Guardian
For the next 6 years, Katya would keep careful watch over Hita and Mori. It was at the tender age of 6 that Hita and Mori both performed the Marluxian Arts together outside of Asane Castle. It was this instance that forced Katya to go back on some of her promises, much to the dismay of Amiya. Hita and Mori could no longer go to school with other children. They were instructed to be homeschooled from then on. Katya sat with a furious Amiya and a worried Tokahev to discuss the matter in the living room of the private chambers of Asane Castle.

Amiya: How dare you break your word to me! You said they would live normal lives and now you want me to pull them out of school?!

Katya: The moment fire roared from both of their hands is the moment the conditions changed. I could not have possibly foretold that they would also be able to use the Marluxian Arts. Even as a mother, Amiya, you understand full well the dangers of letting them around normal children.

Amiya buried her head in her hands as Tokahev caressed her back.

Tokahev: I'll have them removed from school immediately.

Katya: I'm sorry that it's come to this. But this is for the best.

Marluxia, who was 10 years old, listened in on the conversation through the bedroom door of the castle as Hita and Mori were sleeping in their beds. He'd taken after his father and grown his rose-colored hair out past his collar bones. He always wore his grandmother's ring around his neck on a necklace, twirling it between to fingers as he eavesdropped on his parents. Hita and Mori also grew out their hair. Hita's was a beautiful crimson red and Mori's was a deep black. Marluxia climbed back in his bed and simply went to sleep. He figured his mother and father would explain everything to them in the morning.

When the morning came, Hita and Mori jumped out of bed, initiating their morning tradition of racing to get ready faster than the other. They both brushed their teeth as fast as they could, washed their face as fast as they could, got dressed as fast as they could and finally, Mori is the one who ended up coming out first, not counting Marluxia, who always got ready an hour ahead of everyone else.

Hita: I won!

Mori: No you didn't, I stepped out first!

Hita: Nuh-uh! I definitely won this, right Marluxia?

Marluxia: Hmm? Oh, I wasn't really looking, but I could've sworn I saw a head a black hair come out first.

Mori: Yes!!!

Hita: Aww.....

Mori: Maybe next time, Hita!

Hita: You always say that, but I still lose to you everyday.

Marluxia glanced over from the breakfast table at Hita, seeing he truly was saddened and feeling inferior to his two brothers. Years from now, he'd think back on this moment, wishing his ten year old self knew how to restore someone's confidence. But he said nothing.

Mori: Hey, it's not a big deal. Besides, it was only by a few seconds. It's okay!

Mori hugged Hita and pat him on the head. Hita's frown was cured as he wiped his teary eyes and gave off a precious smile under the light of the morning sun shining through the stained glass clerestory.

Hita: Okay!

Tokahev came out of his room yawning and stopped on a dime when he saw Hita and Mori dressed up for school.

Mori: Dad!

Hita: Good morning!

Tokahev: Heh, good morning you two. Listen...you won't be going to school any longer. At least not like you normally do.

Hita: Huh? Why not?

Tokahev knelt down on his knee so he could talk to them eye to eye.

Tokahev: Remember that time you guys were playing outside, and you clasped your hands together like this, and fire came out? I can't have you doing that in school. You'll get in big trouble, and there will be a lot of people trying to ask you questions and they won't leave you or me alone. So for now, you'll have to be home schooled.

Mori: Oh...I understand, Dad. It wouldn't be good if you or mommy got in trouble.

Tokahev patted Mori's head.

Tokahev: That's my boy!

Hita: But...what about all my friends? Will I see them again?

Tokahev didn't quite know what to say to Hita. The irresponsible thing to say would be yes or maybe, but he knew the truth was a stern no.

Tokahev: Probably not, Hita. I'm really sorry.

Hita began to get feisty. Not out of anger really, as his face and eyes reflected sadness. He began to cry as he questioned why he'd be pulled from school.

Hita: But I want to keep playing with my friends and eat snacks with them! I don't want to be home schooled!

Tokahev: Hita, please...

Hita: Dad!

Tokahev took Hita by his arms and shook him as he asserted himself.

Tokahev: Enough! You are not going to school anymore. You will no longer see your friends.

Hita wiped his tears as they continued to fall and lowered his head. In a defeated voice that reflected his helplessness in the matter, he conceded with his father's wishes.

Hita: Yes sir.

Hita walked back into his room with his hair covering his face and his sleeve wiping his eyes. His crying was faintly audible as he broke down behind the door.

Tokahev: Go ahead and get undressed, Mori. It will be a few days before I can rearrange your schooling. Until then, you guys will be relaxing here. Oh, and Marluxia, your ride should be waiting downstairs now.

Marluxia got up, finished his milk, and got his schoolbag.

Marluxia: See ya later, dad.

Mori was more understanding than Hita. It may have seemed like a small situation in which Hita had every right to be upset, and it was. But Mori's maturity in the matter reflected the qualities that Hita simply didn't have yet. As king of Vevoskovia, Tokahev was always thinking of his successor. So far, it seemed Marluxia led the pack since he was the oldest, smartest, and most mature. Mori was already resembling Marluxia in a lot of ways. But Hita still had a ways to go.

Katya watched from a far off tree branch as the scene unfolded. She felt horrible, but at the same time, she had to do what was right.

Later that day, Tokahev convened with a few members of the Supreme Senate at a luxurious, private diner perched on top of a hill. It was one of the wealthiest and exclusive establishments in Vevoskovia. Marble statues, fountains, white curtains, golden chandeliers, and entire side of the diner made mostly out of glass. It ran along the entire view-side of the diner like a continuous, uninterrupted rainbow of colored glass that sunk the central dining area in exquisite color. Alone, Tokahev and the two senators sat together after finishing their meals, though Tokahev was still snacking on a sweet bun.

Senator Vezburn and Senator Disa warned Tokahev of the ever-growing thorn in Vevoksovia's side; Syvia.

Vezburn: Syvia has re-militarized dramatically since the Hammurabi Insurrection, and they've been pissing all over the terms set forth by the Hammurabi-Kalina Compromise. The only reason the Supreme Senate doesn't enact a little regime change is because there's a very, very large public backing of King Yondel, especially after the death of his wife.

Disa: But on the flip side, King Salem has taken smooth control of Sankadesh. He's still cleaning up factions of the Sankadesh Legion, but he has his military and federal government together. He's on our side on this whole mess with Syvia.

Tokahev: Excellent, I'll be sure to send him my thanks. Has Yondel made any declarations regarding the current immigration agreement between Syvia and Vevoskovia?

Vezburn: It looks like he intends to keep it the way it is for now, which is good news for us. But the Supreme Senate has its suspicions. If there's sweeping nationalism in Syvia and we're accepting more economic migrants then refugees from the civil war, we might be facing quite a bit of societal chaos.

Tokahev: I don't want to budge on it unless there is a clear and present danger. It's wise during times like these to remember that the Supreme Senate is not the all-seeing eye of the world. Their speculation as to things that might happen don't mean much to me or anyone.

Vezburn: You have some nerve, Tokahev. As for now, the flames of revolution burn within Syvia's borders. But I hope those flames don't get too close to Vevoskovia.

Tokahev remained silent, drinking from his glass of wine and letting the alcohol soothe his mind. There was much to be considered about Syvia. The same shining sun that washed the diner in color beat down upon the Syvian capital, distant explosions and smoke still occupying the air as loyalists to Hammurabi and rebelling KGR forces get hammered down by the Revolutionary Militia and the Syvian Shock Army. King Yondel stood before a large crowd of cheering civilians who chanted his name into the Syvian sky. The design of the Syvian courtyard was akin to an amphitheater, which utilized natural acoustics to carry Yondel's voice, combined with a speaking horn.

Yondel kept his long black hair tied in a pony tail. It was his long beard that was his defining feature. His beard was so long, it could be tied into its own pony tail, but it laid out in its natural length. He wore modest, civilian clothing for this speech. Clothing he wore while he himself fought in the civil war, in the streets and in the jungles. He still had a blood covered bandage over his right arm from an aluminum bolt that shot him through the arm. He wore his military coat over his shoulders as he was brought on stage by his body guards.

Yondel: My glorious Syvian brothers and sisters. I ask only one thing from you. Look at what the lord has done.

The crowd erupted into a long and powerful cluster of cheerful and patriotic voices that pierced and traveled through the air like an explosion.

Yondel: Look at what the lord has done! Look at the blessing she has given us! The Syvian people have survived countless wars, persecution, exile, genocide, and the ever morphing demands of survival! And now, the Syvian people survive an attempt on the life of our identity and our pride! The strong bonding net of nationalism was replaced by the culture-destroying shackles of multiculturalism, and a so-called dream of egalitarianism! Justice applied on a social scale, Hammurabi called it! So what did he do? Surely you all remember? He emasculated the guardians of this sacred country. Tore down our military, let foreigners influence the lives of our civilians, and the role of our government institutions! Let me make it clear that I hate no man, no race just because of the blood they wear under their skin. I DO believe all humans are created equal! But nations are not equal! There are strong nations, weak nations, poor nations, rich nations, peaceful nations, vengeful nations. To deny this reality is to sink into Hammurabi's delusional world where everyone is equal everywhere! So when our long-lasting bloodline is challenged by the subversive cultures of people who seek to come into Syvia and change it from the inside rather than adopt Syvian ideals and values, why is it that the Syvian people are punished?

Yondel looked out to the many pale, dirty, and bloodied faces out in the crowd, their pain and struggle resonating with him. There he saw his comrades, his fellow countrymen, all betrayed by their own and manipulated by Vevoskovia.

Yondel: Why are we suddenly the caretakers of the infidel? Why is it Syvia's responsibility to feed their children, withstand the rage of their men, answer for the needs of their women? When culture collides with culture and destroys the very identity of the nation that is the host of such cancer, why is it the indigenous people that are the problem? You have been shamed for trying to maintain your way of life, your culture, your health care, your jobs, your economy, your military, all of the aspects and characteristics of a government that every constitution ever written in the history of the Post Imperial Era ever swore to protect! The Vevoskovians demand I stop, demand I adhere to their terms! I demand that they recognize our strength! Recognize our right to our culture, to a perfect union, to domestic peace, to the rights of land requisition, and to the right of sovereignty! That is what this crown means to me! So I ask you all, for one more time! Look! Look at what the lord has done! Earth and Heaven smile upon Syvia, and Hell freezes in fear of its people!

The Day Syvia Roared is what that speech would be memorized as. Love Yondel or hate him, his words were light thunder and lightning. Yondel was escorted off the stage and onto his throne inside the palace. Even as he sat to rest, he could still hear the roar of the Syvian people outside. He had done his job, and he had done it well. The sun fell from the sky, covering half the earth in peaceful darkness.

Under the Vevoskovian moon, Phaedra had intruded into Castle Asane, to see how little Hita had grown since they last met. As cruel as Phaedra could be, she still had deep love for her people. She knelt besides Hita as he slept. Phaedra adored Hita's chubby cheeks and long hair.

Phaedra: You are just so precious! I know that you had a rough day today. Katya isn't the only one watching over you.

Phaedra clasped her hands and gently placed them on Hita's head.

Phaedra: You're going to be good at things, and bad at other things. And that's okay, Hita. That's okay. Just remember that you're not inferior to your siblings, you just need to find what you're good at. And concerning your schooling, I'm sorry things had to turn out the way they did. I wish I could free you from the enormous burden your fated to take on. But until then, just know this, Hita. It may take a while, but one day, you'll have more friends than you can count. People will chant your name and revere you. Until then, just hang on. Though I hate that I can't do anything for my descendants, I can leave you with these words.

Phaedra kissed Hita's forehead and stood up, walking over to Marluxia as he slept.

Phaedra: Looks like you've grown up well too, haven't you? You're still young, but you'll learn how to be a good brother soon. Don't get too caught up in success and trying to impress your father. You've still got to take care of your siblings.

Phaedra looked over to Mori, the 2nd incarnation of Luxaura. Her heart filled with rage and agony, but as Von requested, she could not do anything to him.

Phaedra: You make me sick. How dare you place such a burden on my bloodline. I will ensure you hell like no other when they die. No matter the time, no matter the incarnation, you always look the same. Luxaura.

Phaedra disappeared with the Art of the Moon. She had placed her hands on Hita's head so that those words stay in Hita's mind and appear whenever he needs them.

Perhaps the most benevolent use of the Art of Venus in a very long time came from Phaedra that night, watching over Hita, hoping and wishing for him, and loving him from afar. Everything she did was for descendants like him.

Everything she did was so she could be with her people again, under the moon like she used to.

Apex of Cataclysm
Tokahev sat with his wife an queen Amiya in their royal seats at Tenzo Palace. Today, they convened with the Supreme Senate on the topic of Syvia. Unfortunately, Syvia's name has always found itself being hollowed in Tenzo Palace throughout the centuries. It began with Ishta and the First Vevoskovian-Syvian conflict, and it has showed no signs of stopping over 200 years later. The meeting room with outfitted with a stained glass skylight, filtering light into a rainbow of colors as it shined through to the center of the amphitheater and onto the statues of Lady Justice, Lady Equality, and Lady Peace. The stained glass cooled the room just a bit as the light came through. All 12 members of the Supreme Senate sat in their cascading seats. Senator Vezburn began to discussion.

Vezburn: All of Hammurabi's hard work has finally unraveled. Violence in central Syvia, according to the SOE, has died down as the loyalists have given up. Syvia's armed forces continue to purge Hammurabi's supporters, the KGR and the IT are back in action, and the Syvian Assembly has reformed. King Yondel has made it clear that he does not intend to honor the Hammurabi/Kalina Compromise. He's a damned purists and nationalist after all. The question now, however, is what to do with this situation. Most of the members of this senate have found covert action via the SOE to be the most appropriate response given the circumstances.

Tokahev: I cannot accept that.

The room filled with gasps and whispers.

Senator Blackwood stood up in his frustration.

Blackwood: Lord Tokahev! I understand you wish to seek peaceful ends with Syvia out of respect for your late mother. But this situation has already gone out of hand! If we don't act now and act hard, we will face the consequences of our own weakness later down the line! Lady Amiya, surely at least you can see that doing nothing will only guarantee an escalation!

Amiya: I am also against it. We don't know what will happen if we wait, but mobilizing our forces into a hotzone is escalation in itself, just waiting to happen. I'd rather not lose more valuable SOE assets after the Sankadesh Civil War.

Dasi: Even if no direct measures are made, I still find it within the best interest of the nation to send watchful eyes along our borders to watch over the immigrants coming into the country, as well as along the west end of the Kogan region. We should be collecting reports on the growing situation every week.

Blackwood: Surveillance. I'm okay with that option. But if things get out of hand, it would be foolish to deny that Vevoskovia has every right to act.

Tokahev: Agreed. So then, shall we send the SOE at the specified regions for surveillance? All in favor, please say Aye.

It was unanimous. Every Senate member said Aye.

Tokahev: That settles it. You're all dismissed.

The senate members flooded out of the room, leaving Tokahev and Amiya alone in the late afternoon light pouring in from the skylight above. For a while, they just sat in their seats without a word or glance at each other.

Amiya: This is beyond dire. What are you going to do? Will you involve the Deshavi Black Ops?

Tokahev: The SOE is all we need to deal with this right now. It's important the Deshavi keeps their watchful eye over our boys.

Amiya: I suppose you're right.

A somber silence filled the air once more as Tokahev wandered about the many possibilities in his mind, as well as a particular memory that he would always be fond of.

Tokahev: I remember, 9 years ago, I sat here with my mother after the Supreme Senate was dismissed following a meeting regarding Sankadesh. I sat in one of the lower seats, so I always looked up to her. I never realized just how tough these kinds of decisions were on her until I took up the throne. Thinking back, I should've realized how many personal and political burdens she had to carry. The nation, the whole world should've treated her better as she tried to prevent something like this from happening.

Amiya: She tried to prevent it? Sounds like she didn't want you to go through what she went through.

Tokahev: Exactly. Ask a descendant of the previous generation what it was like to live in their world, in you may get harsh answers. That definitely applied to Kalina. She fought in wars, lost friends in wars, and lost her first lover to the conflicts and hatred of her time. She grew up into a woman who wished peace upon the world. But it could never truly be done. As long as there is Vevoskovia and as long as there is Syvia, there will most likely always be conflict. So much so that many Vevoskovian children, including the Menlayevs, have been raised with one or sometimes even no parents. I want that cycle to stop. I want to live long enough to see my boys grow into men, into princes, and into kings.

Amiya took hold of one of Tokahev's hands, bringing it to her lips and kissing it.

Amiya: They will. I believe in you.

Tokahev smiled, and his spirit was back up again.

Tokahev: Well. Let's get the hell out of here. I'm hungry.

At home, Hita and Mori were being taught by a private instructor for their final class of the day; art. Today was rather simple. You can draw, you can paint, you can make clay pottery. It was all about creativity. Hita was working hard on his art project, shielding it away from the view of his brother Mori, who had decided to do a painting despite having little experience with it.

Hita raised his hand, but the teacher seemed to be more interested in Mori's painting. So, Hita raised his hand higher and harder until he got her attention.

Teacher: Yes?

Hita: More glue please!

The teacher reached into her tub of art supplies and pulled out bottle of glue for Hita.

Hita: Thank you kindly!

Mori: Done.

Teacher: Oh, really?

The teacher was quite stunned. For a mere 6 year old, Mori was pretty good at painting. He used quick strokes to paint a grassy field, and blots of white paint to make clouds in a blue sky.

Teacher: How absolutely splendid! Great job, Mori! Your parents will be excited when they see it!

Mori: Thank you, ma'am.

Hita, needless to say, had a sour expression as he witnessed his teacher cuddle up to Mori. But still, he waited for his mother and father to get him. They would be the ultimate judges in who made the best artwork. When Tokahev and Amiya had gotten into comfortable clothes and into their bed, Mori showed them his painting, stunning his parents who had no idea he could paint so well. Marluxia came home from school and had an art class as well. He sketched out the human skeleton, bone for bone. He was clearly the most gifted child of the bunch. Hita poke his head through the doorway to get a sneak peak of his brothers and what they were showing his mother and father. Hita enthusiastic smiled faded into a sad and disappointed frown as he gazed at the amazing work his brothers did. Hita was only able to put together a macaroni image of him and his dad smiling together under a happy macaroni sun. He put his being into getting the macaroni perfectly spaced, making sure the paper wasn't overglued, and making sure the heads were equal sizes. Still, it could never be as impressive as a natural painting or sketch of the human skeleton.

Hita walked from the doorway to his room, staring at his macaroni art as he tried not to cry, so his parents couldn't hear him. Every time he wanted to match up to his brothers, he always fell short time and time again. As he closed the door, the words Phaedra spoke to him in his sleep began to echo through his head. It was like the voice was familiar to him as it reaffirmed that no matter his shortcomings, he's still a precious boy. That alone dried his eyes and gave him the peace to go to sleep without so much as a nightmare.

A week passed. Blessed by the ignorance of youth, Hita, Mori, and Marluxia had no clue of the state that the world was in. On the border of Vevoskovia, teams of SOE agents were summoned and sent out to various locations where there was heavy Syvian activity. Just as King Yondel had broken the Hammurabi/Kalina Compromise, the Supreme Senate had played its own card and chosen to break the promise that neither nation would spy on the inhabitants of the Kogan region that the nations shared. Seraphina, now 18 years old, almost 19, was the team captain of the SOE squad that would be watching over Syvian movement in the region. She still kept her blonde hair long, hardly ever cutting it. She and her subordinated knelt before their Operations Commander outside as he finalized their orders.

OC: The mission is a GO. Seraphina, you have permission to carry out your orders. Use whatever you need to in order to get it done. A close eye must be kept on Syvia, and the Kogan region is a certain hotzone. If you see anything, send a message via war hawk, and I will forward it to the Senate and HQ.

Seraphina held her head up, looking her Operations Commander in his eyes as she affirmed that she knew exactly what to do.

Seraphina: Understood, sir.

Seraphina and her team continued on horseback through the Kogan region. They would stop on a cliff overlooking the town of Kogasi, scouting out the area with their binoculars. They waited for 3 days, days and nights, taking turns while the others slept. Finally, Seraphina's worst fears were confirmed. Her friend and mentor throughout the years, Ezekiel, crawled next to her to get a feel of the situation.

Ezekiel: What do you see?

Seraphina: Those are definitely KGR agents. Looks like they're storming houses. This place will erupt into violence soon.

Ezekiel: We can't just sit here and let that happen!

Seraphina: Wait! This team wasn't sent here for combat. We were sent to spy. If anything occurs, we are to forward the information to the OC.

Ezekiel: Damn it...all those people. If this isn't an act of war, I don't know what is. I'll get Owl's help in writing a report for this.

A loud, wind-ripping sound hollowed through the air as Ezekiel got up.

Seraphina: Incoming shell!

Seraphina, Ezekiel, and the rest of the team got up and ran as fast and far as they could, hitting the floor as the shell landed too close for comfort. Trees were destroyed and pounds of soil were kicked up into the air, landing back down and dirtying the green cloaks of the SOE agents.

Ezekiel: Everyone alright?!

Owl: I'm good! Crow?

Crow: *censored*! My *censored*ing ears are ringing!

Ezekiel: Owl, assist Crow! Are you okay, Seraphina?

Seraphina got up on her feet by herself, wiping off the dirt and clearing her face.

Seraphina: I'm alright, just a little wobbly-legged.

Ezekiel: You think they found us?

Seraphina heard other explosions down in the town as she thought of an answer.

Seraphina: No. It seems that one was a stray shell. But we should get out of here.

Owl: We just got here a few days ago and it's already such a dangerous job.

Seraphina: We have details for a report. That's all we needed.

They walked through the dense forests of the region, passing by natural waterfalls, valleys and canyons below. Hungry birds fed on the carcasses of animals that had been devoured by their biological superiors.

Owl: Will these birds be a problem? We can't send out the hawks if there are predators around.

Seraphina: No, these are scavengers. They only feed off of animals that have already been slain, to avoid being slain themselves of course. The hawk should have no trouble.

Owl: Alrighty then. Out you go, buddy.

Owl unlocked the bird cage and allowed the hawk out. He had a tiny pouch strapped to his back, for carrying messages to and fro on the battlefield.

Seraphina: Here you go. Take that to the OC.

Seraphina folded the report and placed it in the pouch. She held up the hawk in her bare hands, something which was heavily advised against in training, and gave it a boost as it flew into the sky.

Seraphina: Time is of the essence. There is no Vevoskovian military to defend the inhabitants of this region. Plus, Tokahev and Amiya are dead set on preventing a catastrophic war between Vevoskovia and Syvia. They'll probably make the country swallow tears of blood for this.

Crow: Might be smart to pull out now. This *censored* is getting intense.

Seraphina: No. We still have much to do. As dangerous as it is, we need to see to it that this mission gets done. It will be crucial for the nation to have as much intelligence on Syvia's movements as possible. It will determine how and when they act against King Yondel.

Ezekiel: We move onward then?

Seraphina: Not right now while they are still shells flying in the air. We'll wait until the battle has subsided. Though, I wouldn't call it much of a battle if only one side has means to defend themselves.

Seraphina looked back as smoke and fire began to fill morning sky. A deep worry built up in her stomach. But with a plan and decisive action, she had hope the world could get through this in one piece.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 10:02:05 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 01:52:12 PM »
Had to cut out the final few paragraphs of the previous chapter, didn't fit within the character limit  :unsure:

Off in a world apart from Earth, a forgotten king rests in his bed, with his wife at his side, tending to him and his frequent headaches. That king was Dharja Zenbu. He had lived for centuries before he died. His puffy, curly, long black hair almost covered his arms and reached down to his elbows. He did wrinkle like a 40 year old, but his body never aged past the age of 28. He rested in a wooden cabin, sitting up with the support of pillows on his back. The man's eyes were black, as if nothing was even there.

Dharja: Pitiful. Mankind might destroy themselves before I have the chance to...

His wife, Samadaya Zenbu, who hailed from the same ancient clan as Dharja, stood by his side. Her eyes were as blue as the winter moon, and she wore a long, black yukata tied with a black obi. Her long, black hair was tied back into a ponytail, but the tie was made near the end of her hair so that it still fanned out in the back. Samadaya used to be the most powerful and fearsome user of the Marluxian Arts, besting even her husband.

Samadaya: Don't worry, love. Your plans have never failed. We must keep our trust in Von and Phaedra. They swore to work towards our revival, and I believe in them fully.

Dharja: Perhaps you're right. I must be getting impatient. I can feel it... we're so close to having Agzabah and Zorc overthrown.

Samadaya: You mean our daughter and son.

Dharja: After killing us, exterminating mankind, and creating it anew, I will never call them that again. Von and Phaedra...I humbly await the day of the 6th Cataclysm.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2016, 03:07:42 PM »
What One is Ordered to do, What One Ought to do
For 4 weeks, Seraphina and her team traveled in the Koga region, surveying Syvian activity and witnessing the KGR take back the land that used to be theirs before the passing of the Hammurabi/Kalina Compromise. They saw many people forced out of their homes and exiled, others tried to fight the KGR with no success. Just as Seraphina predicted, when the Supreme Senate convened about the matter, Tokahev urged them not to pursue military retaliation.

 So, for now, Seraphina could only attack in self defense if it ever came down to it. Her team finished their reconnaissance of the last city, and were en route to exit the region via the canyons below. The canyons stayed very enclosed throughout most of the route, even developing caves along the way. About 2 days into the average journey, the canyon would be much more open, surrounded with rigid hoodoos and mushroom rocks. The sun beat down on the four as they walked through the rigid and uneven, yet aesthetically pleasing terrain.

Ezekiel: Captain.

Seraphina: What is it?

Ezekiel: Permission to take a piss, ma'am.

Seraphina: Granted as long as you piss in your canteen while we're still walking.

Owl: God damn, ice cold.

Seraphina: A speedy escape is paramount to staying alive. The Syvians are advancing through the region so fast.

Crow: Doesn't it ever hurt inside? Since you're a Syvian yourself?

Seraphina: I wasn't raised with the same sense of pride over my bloodline, nor was I surrounded by the spoils of Syvia's long and fought-for existence. I admit it stings a bit to know I'm battling against my own people, but mostly because I know that it means I'm probably the most untrustworthy person in the the SOE, simply because of my race and bloodline.

Owl: Try not to let that get to you though. That's just what happens when the previous generations were engulfed in conflict. A curse of the times, really.

Seraphina: Thanks, Owl. I won't mind it at all.

The sounds of shells ripping through the air and exploding in the distance rocked everyone's ears as they stopped and waited out of caution.

Seraphina: Let's just keep moving.

They walked a bit further until Seraphina locked eyes with a group of KGR scouts camping out further down the canyon. The group immediately scattered and grabbed their weapons while Seraphina alerted her team and took cover behind the spread out hoodoos. The standoff was on.

KGR Agent: Come out and identify yourselves! We will kill you if you fail to comply!

Owl: Damn it! What are the KGR doing out here?!

Ezekiel: They're probably scouting ahead as well. So much for detente.

Owl: Sera, they're gonna charge at us soon. We have full permission to act in self-defense!

Seraphina: Just wait! We're not attacked yet.

Owl: Are you crazy!?

Crow: What are you gonna say to them? "Oh hi, me and my SOE pals were just spying on you. We'll be on our  way now!

Seraphina: We were exiled from the Kogan region! Me and my brothers are just trying to get out of here!

The silence killed Seraphina as she waited for the KGR to shout back at her.

Owl: We're lying now?

Seraphina: If they find out we're SOE, you may as well move your family to the Janin Islands, because there won't be a Vevoskovia to return to! Deception is necessary to maintain peace!

KGR Agent: Why do you have weapons then? How long have you been traveling?

Seraphina: We were allowed our weapons for protection against animals as we crossed the forest to get to these canyons! There were mountain lions and bears along this route!

KGR: Sheathe your swords and put your hands up! We will not lower our weapons. Walk slowly past this campsite and keep your distance. And don't look back!

Seraphina nodded to her squadmates. They all hid their weapons under the cotton cloaks and proceeded with their hands up in the air. Seraphina was taking a big gamble on everyone's lives. The KGR kept their swords and bolt guns at the ready as they walked by.

Seraphina: Steady now...

The KGR paid close attention to their clothing. Although they said they were exiled citizens, their clothing were too similar to each other, like uniforms.

KGR Agent: Stop! You there, woman! Remove your cloak!

Seraphina began to sweat. They would surely find out now that everyone is wearing the same uniform.

KGR Agent: I said remove them!

Ezekiel: Seraphina!

KGR Agent: Damn you! You have 5 seconds!

The few agents with bolt rifles aimed their weapons at Seraphina, ready to shoot upon hearing "Zero". Seraphina signaled her squadmates with her feet. She drew a circle on the ground with her boot and stomped on the center twice. A foot signal meaning "run, after me."

KGR Agent: 5! 4! 3! 2!

Seraphina ran for it, ducking for cover behind a hoodoo. The others followed her lead and drew their weapons. Owl took out two smoke bombs, hoping to cover their retreat until he noticed Seraphina had been shot in the stomach with a steel bolt.

Owl: Ezekiel! She's hit and bleeding fast!

Seraphina's hands were covered in blood as she grabbed her wound and tried to apply pressure as the pulsating agony sent chills up her spine.

Ezekiel: I've got her! Owl, I'm gonna stop the bleeding! Hold them off until I can patch her up, and then we'll bolt!

Owl: Got it! I can cover us with smoke!

Crow: They're out of bolts, Owl! They're charging at us!

Owl: Then we'll meet them in the middle!

Owl and Crow fearlessly ran towards the oncoming KGR agents. Crow tried to keep the enemy at a distance with his whip chain, but ended having to use the segments of the chain to block throwing daggers and swings from their swords. Ezekiel lifted Seraphina's shirt and removed her protective vest.

Ezekiel: The average steel bolt is about 3 or 4 inches. This is in their pretty deep, but it doesn't look like any of your organs are in serious danger. I can't pull this out, you might bleed to death.

Seraphina reached in her pouch for painkillers as Ezekiel bandaged up the wound. The yells of Owl and Crow made Seraphina twist her body around, aggravating her wound as she turned to check on her comrades. Owl had someone on top of him, trying to stab him in the chest. Crow was being bludgeoned with a rock, trying to block the hits with his arms.

Seraphina: Crow!

Ezekiel ran to Owl and Crow's rescue, knocking the KGR agent off of Owl and stabbing him in the heart with his shashka. Ezekiel was about to rescue Crow before he noticed the other KGR agents reloading and aiming their bolt guns. Owl and Ezekiel ran through the bolts of steel hurling at them unscathed and back to Seraphina's position.

Owl: We need to leave, now!

Seraphina: We can't leave Crow!

Ezekiel: Damn it!

Their hesitation would cost them dearly. The KGR agents threw canisters of hydrogen sulfide near their position. It's stench filled the air, confusing the SOE agents

Owl: Smells like rotten eggs! Get back!

Owl and Ezekiel helped Seraphina up as they tried to get away, but the KGR agents also threw bundles of fire crackers at the cloud of gas rising the air, its shadow looming over Owl, Crow, and Seraphina. The amount of leaking gas, heat, and firecrackers caused a fiery explosion, knocking back the group. Seraphina's wound began to hurt as she struggled to get off of the ground. She looked to her left and saw Ezekiel completely doused in flames, screaming and jolting to try and put himself out.

The shock from the blast made her unable to do anything. Further up from Ezekiel, Owl had his arm blown off. Blood and split bone fragments were chaotically spread across the ground. Seraphina could make out the silhouettes of the KGR agents emerging from the smoke behind Owl, their cloaks blowing around in the wind. They subdued Owl, dragging him out of view. The fire engulfing Ezekiel was put out with a canister of flame retardant, and he too was dragged away. At that moment, Seraphina fell unconscious.

She would awake a few hours later, completely patched up, in Syvian captivity. She was still being held in the Koga region, as the KGR squad couldn't go back in the direction of Syvia until the current shelling operation ceased. She was handcuffed along with Owl in the corner of a dark room as torches illuminated the scene before them. Ezekiel was strapped to a chair, his skin still blistered, burnt, and bubbled from his burns.

Interrogator: So then, Ezekiel Miyakov. Let's continue. I appreciate you telling me your name. Now I want to know what your mission in the Kogan region was.

The interrogator began to lose her patience as Ezekiel kept his silence.

Interrogator: Unlike when you're dealing with the police, silence is not your right when you're being interrogated. Speak or break. It is your choice.

Still, Ezekiel remained silent.

Interrogator: Fine then.

She reached over to the table beside Ezekiel, carrying the instruments of his demise. Ezekiel began to realize why he was picked for this. His skin was still sensitive from the burns. So much as a blow of air to the face could hurt him. The interrogator grabbed a cotton ball and poured alcohol on it, dabbing it on Ezekiel's face and chest. Just a little alcohol felt like corrosive acid to his freshly burned skin. His screams broke the heart of a helpless Seraphina.

Interrogator: My, my. And that's just a little bit of alcohol! We put that on children's cuts to disinfect them, and it's already got you writhing. We can go deeper though. We can enhance your suffering until you beg God for death. But there's no God here today. Not in here, not with you. So instead, you can call me The Devil. Once again, Ezekiel. Speak. Or break.

Seraphina: Please stop! Please!

Interrogator: I'm not talking to you, whore. If he doesn't want to speak, I'll just have to keep going.

The interrogator grabbed pliers and began to pull teeth out of Ezekiel's mouth. She would toss every pulled out tooth at a terrified Seraphina. Finally, Ezekiel's spirit broke.

Ezekiel: Stop! I'll talk! I'll talk!

Seraphina: Ezekiel, don't!

Interrogator: Silence! Please, Ezekiel.

Ezekiel: We were sent here to survey Syvian military activity, namely the KGR. We were only supposed to watch, but had permission to act in self defense if we were compromised.

Interrogator: Oh, I see. So Vevoskovia wanted to know what was going on here. Well, I can fill you in on that. We're taking back the land Hammurabi so obediently gave up to Vevoskovia. Yandel is much more obdurate and aggressive in his stance on Syvia's well-being. Anyway, thank you for talking, Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was unstrapped and assisted to his cell, as were the others. The ordeal would only last a few days, but the cost to Seraphina's heart and to the relationship between Syvians and Vevoskovians would be too high.

Back home, a new recruit is lead to the entrance of Deshavi HQ by Katya. The large waterfall acting as a barrier widened the little boy's eyes.

Katya: Hard to believe someone as young as you could excel in the Marluxian Arts training. But I can't deny your prowess. So, I'd like to officially welcome you inside Deshavi HQ, if you can split the waters and go inside, that is. Can you do it, Samba?

Samba was a mere 6 year old boy who had long, red hair like Hita's, and shining red eyes. Yet, a great amount of potential lied within this boy. He gladly walked onto the water of the lake and towards the waterfall. He clasped his hands together and placed them atop the water. The waterfall split in two, allowing him safe passage into the massive cave network ahead, Deshavi HQ. He passed the final test of every Deshavi agent.

Katya: Splendid! Let's head inside, Samba. I'll let you meet everyone.

If Katya had only known who Samba really was, she would've never let him set foot in Deshavi HQ. This boy was the incarnation of Roy of the Phoenix Demons. Not even he would know it yet until his memories were restored. Katya had no idea she had let one of the most powerful users of the Marluxian Arts to ever exist into the home of her comrades and entrusted the safety of the nation to him.

Katya guided him to the female quarters to meet his squadmate, a 14 year old girl named Jaya. Katya knocked on the door to her room and waited for her to come out. She opened the door, and Samba noticed her late evening-blue hair, which Jaya allowed to lay down to her hips in a complete, frizzy mess. Her eyes were baggy and dark, indicating a lack of sleep. Her skin was a light tan and remained smooth and moisturized despite her inadequate levels of sleep.

Katya: Jaya, I'd like to introduce you to this little guy.

Samba extended his hand and bowed. He was clearly taught good manners by his parents.

Jaya: Who's this?

Katya: His name is Samba. He has passed the Marluxian Arts test and the weapons combat and logistics tests. He's exhibited adroitness in his usage of swords that a child his age shouldn't be able to hold, as well as throwing daggers, throwing stars, chain whips, gas canisters, sheet explosives, as stressful usage of the Marluxian Arts, particularly the usage of Mars, Pluto, Neptune, and Saturn.

Jaya: What?! How old is he?

Samba: I'm six, ma'am.

Jaya: Six? My word, you're very talented. So, I'm guessing we've been partnered?

Katya: That's right. He's new and he's young, so make sure nobody picks on him, okay?

Jaya: Sure, you got it.

Jaya shook Samba's hand.

Jaya: Welcome aboard, Samba. I'm Jaya, and it's a pleasure for you to be my first squad mate.

Samba: Likewise, Jaya.

Samba was escorted to his quarters, a vacant room just for him. He put on some comfortable clothes and took it upon himself to take a tour of HQ, to get acquainted with the layout of the place so he doesn't get lost. He found himself back at the central hall, in front of the Omni Demonic Statue. Samba was fascinated that such a large statue can be carved right out of the wall without the pieces of the statue falling apart. A crowd of curious Deshavi entered the central hall, but Samba didn't turn his head to pay any mind. Locke, 2nd in command and long time partner of Katya stepped forward.

Locke: So you were accepted into the Deshavi Black Ops?

Samba had no choice but to address his superior. He turned around and knelt to Locke.

Samba: Yes. I'm happy to join and provide my servitude to the nation.

Locke: Mind if we spar a bit? Katya made such a great fuss about your abilities. It's kinda got me curious.

Samba: Spar with you? But, I just got here.

Locke: Nah, don't worry about it. It's alright.

Samba loosened up and stepped forward. The crowd of Deshavi stood back to spectate the incoming fight. Samba and Locke bowed to each other, a form of respect between comrades and friends. Then, it begun.

Locke: Let's see what you can do, kid!

Locke clasped his hands and made a polearm out of the ground, which he caught in his hand and rushed towards Samba with. Samba simply stood where he was, preparing for the swing. He knew Locke would swing instead of stab first, because the polearm was blunt and rounded on the ends. When Locke swung, Samba clasped his hands, and the polearm went right through Samba, as if he wasn't even there. Samba had mastered sustained intangibility with the Art of Saturn. He could slip through objects or have objects slip through him at will. Samba grabbed the polearm with his right hand after it exited his head and dematerialized it, causing it to disintegrate into dust. Locke let go as it faded away, fearing his body would get caught in the process.

Samba was already in the air about to deliver a swift kick to Locke's face, but Locke managed to block it. Samba was so little, but still managed to deliver powerful punches and kicks with good consistency, never wasting energy on one move. Locke knew he couldn't block forever. He jumped back, using the Art of Jupiter to summon streaks of lightning to emerge from his body and race towards Samba, giving almost no time to react. He quickly managed to encircle himself in a Jupiter Barrier to block the lightning. Samba suddenly appeared behind Locke, using his open-palm to hit Locke in the back and send him flying across central hall.

In mid-air, Locke clasped his hands for one more move, forming a flaming serpent with the Art of Mars. Samba simply used his intangibility to avoid being hurt when the serpent crashed into him, spewing flames everywhere. The last remnants of the serpent began to form behind Samba and took the form of Locke. The fire surrogate grabbed Samba from behind and put him in a choke hold.

Locke: Looks like you lose, kid.

Samba suddenly became as stiff as a rock, none of his limbs or joints would budge. It turns out, he really was nothing but a rock. A surrogate made from the surrounding rock of the HQ. It began to lose its form as Samba and crumbled back into what it once was.

Locke: What?!

Samba himself emerged from the hallway, yawning on his way into central hall.

Samba: I'm sorry, I took a nap. I sent the surrogate out to observe the HQ for me.

The crowd of Deshavi clapped for Samba. He had Locke fooled the whole time. His proficiency in the Art of Pluto was unmatched.

Locke: That was absolutely amazing, kid. Good job.

Samba: Thank you, sir. Can I finish my nap now?

The crowd reacted vocally, as if they knew Samba was showing off.

Locke: Yeah yeah, whatever! Take your nap. You deserve it.

Samba walked off with a smile, please he could hold his own against his superior.

Locke: That kid needs to be careful though. I wonder what his organs are gonna look like after a few years of this.

Red Rain and Black Veils
Seraphina endured solitude, coldness, and hunger in her for 3 days straight, with minimal food and water. Day by day, Ezekiel and Owl slowly had their wills broken as the KGR tried to extract more information about Vevoskovia out of them. In exchange for more humane treatment and escape of execution, Ezekiel spilled enough information to the KGR to put Vevoskovia at risk of a serious homeland security breach. Military operations, SOE operations, plans, names, it was all revealed.

On the third night, when Ezekiel finally broke, Seraphina lied in her bed, listening to the sound of Ezekiel weeping in the cell across from hers. Her wound had been properly bandaged and cleaned. The KGR even provided her with antiseptics to reduce the risk of infection. Her stomach still hurt, but her wound wouldn't kill her. With only a small window to the outside, Seraphina lied down and thought about the cruel irony of being imprisoned by her own people. Suddenly, there was racket down the hall. The sounds of jingling keys and guards worriedly calling out to Owl blared beyond the steel door of her cell.

Guard: Get the medic, he's not breathing!

A medic arrived, urging everyone to get out of the way. He was dressed in black srubs and wore blue latex gloves.

Medic: Checking his heart beat, hang on.

Seraphina fought against the pain in her stomach to get up and put her against the door, to hear more clearly. She was at least able to figure out that Owl was in serious danger.

Medic: His heart isn't beating, he's not breathing, and his skin cold. Pupils are dilated. Corneal clouding is apparent. He's dead. His wounds were too severe, probably lost too much blood during the confrontation. He was the least coherent out of them all, after all.

Guard: Damn.And I wanted to eat dinner too.

Medic: Well, it's too humid in here to just leave him. He'll start to decompose and the cell will become a biohazard. Let's get him out of here, maybe just toss him off the gorge.

Tears streamed down Seraphina's face, but she made no audible signs of crying. She thought that perhaps if she had done anything differently, Crow and Owl would not be dead. Owl's body was disrespected. Without even the decency of cleaning and blessing the corpse, the KGR threw Owl's body right off of the gorge and down into the river below. What made Seraphina more angry was that they had the audacity to eat full, hearty meals immediately after.

Ezekiel's weeping ceased, and the prison hall was quiet. Seraphina had fallen asleep, wanting to never wake up again. But she awoke in the middle of the night suddenly. She thought perhaps her wounds and recent events were keeping her up. Just a minute after she had awakened, the prison began to shake. She could hear guards being alerted and confusion spreading. Again, the prison shook. From her window, Seraphina could see the moon casting a shadow on a large plume of smoke coming from a different section of the outpost. The KGR knew they would not be combat effective against a larger force, so guards immediately moved to secure the prisoners before escaping the outpost.

Seraphina wondered who could be attacking, but the sound of fast approaching footsteps from a running guard diverted her attention and prompted her to hide near the door, on the side where the door would hide her when it opened. The guard barged into the cell, confused by Seraphina's absence. Out of darkness, Seraphina emerged and choked the guard with her shirt after taking it off and twisting it as if she was straining water out of it.

The guard struggled to breathe and tried to get Seraphina off of his back, backing up into a wall repeatedly in hopes she would hit her head. But she held on obdurately, seeing to it that the guard dies instead of her. After a struggle lasting a few minutes, the guard gave in and passed out. Seraphina immediately took his keys, his boots, sword, protective vest, and smoke bombs.

The outpost continued to be rocked by what was now believed by Seraphina to be Dragon Rockets. Largely inaccurate rockets usually loaded with some sort of phosphorus, but still very powerful when and if they hit their target. Knowing what these rockets are packed with, she knew it wouldn't be long before the outpost is engulfed in flames. For now though, she made he way out of the cell and over to Ezekiel's cell. He was curled up and afraid, completely different from the Ezekiel Seraphina once knew. She rushed over to him, helping him up and slinging his arm around her back to support him.

Seraphina: Hey! Say something!

Ezekiel: I'm so sorry. I told them. I told them so they would stop.

Seraphina: God damn it! You're stronger than that! Why would you sell out your own country?!?!

Ezekiel: I've always been a coward. I even shielded you whenever I could when you first joined the SOE. I'm sorry.

Seraphina rushed with Ezekiel down the hall and dashed towards the door leading out of the cell block, stopped only by a rocket impacting the ceiling of the area and blowing the two back down the hall. Seraphina felt the heat of the explosion and almost thought she was on fire in the initial impact. Ezekiel's wounds were much more aggravated and he began screaming from the painful sensation on his skin. If there were still any KGR outside, he would definitely alert them to their position. Seraphina got up and helped Ezekiel up again, turning the other way and galloping towards the wall at the end of the hall that led to the outside. Seraphina used all her strength and picked up a large chunk of debris, using it to break the stone wall around the hole the window provided.

Ezekiel: I can hear them! They're coming.

Seraphina, covered in sweat, dirt, and blood, turned her frightened head around to listen. Even in an attack, the KGR prioritized people or things that could be valuable assets to Syvia. Seraphina finally made a hole big enough for them to slip out of. It was just a matter of getting Ezekiel through it.

Seraphina: Come on, get up and get out!

Ezekiel couldn't fit through. He had a much bigger build than Seraphina.

Ezekiel: I cant. It's too small for me...

The KGR were fast approaching as they spoke, readying their flame retardant bombs to put out the fire and retrieve the prisoners.

Ezekiel: Listen to me, Sera. I'm not going to make it. You have to go.

Seraphina: Preposterous! We deploy together, we leave together! That's the rule Ezekiel!

Seraphina hopelessly tried to make the hole bigger as the KGR threw their flame retardants, filling the prison hall with white smoke and chemicals.

Ezekiel: There's no time. Only one of us can make it out.

Seraphina stopped her futile attempts, taking a moment to rest and breathe and releasing the debris back onto the ground.

Ezekiel: I think, even if you are a Syvian, you will do great things for Vevoskovia. I've always believed that. Perhaps that's why I always sheltered you. Prince Salem still had a point though. I should've given you more room to grow and experience these kinds of horrors for yourself. Only when you truly understand pain can you ever hope to end it for anyone else. By that law, I was always unfit to be your guiding light.

Seraphina unsheathed her sword and pointed it at Ezekiel.

Ezekiel: Yes. You already know what's going to happen if they capture me. I've already failed the nation. You don't deserve to go down with me. I humbly accept your coup de grace.

Seraphina stifled her emotions as best as she could, though her tears proved stronger than her skills in emotional repression. With haste, she thrusts her sword through Ezekiel's heart, giving him the quickest death she possibly could under the circumstances. Seraphina removed her sword from Ezekiel's body, which formed a large pool of blood on the floor. Seraphina climbed up and over the hole in the wall as KGR troops stormed in. This side of the outpost led straight down into the river. The fall itself looked like it guaranteed death. But still, death was better than spending the rest of her life as a KGR captive. If death was Seraphina's only escape, she would gladly take it. So she jumped from the hole, down the gorge, and into the river, avoiding capture and sparing Ezekiel of a life of captivity. With two prisoners dead and one missing, the KGR were forced to abandon the outpost or be killed in battle.

A week later, still yet to be found, Tokahev attended a joint meeting with Senator Vezburn and SOE Operations Overseer Sambo in Castle Asane, concerning the incident and Seraphina. They sat in the old meeting room upstairs, one Ishta Menlayev would constantly use when he was king over 200 years ago. A simple, small room with a rounded table for discussions and windows letting in the afternoon light, shining on the desks and bookshelves. Sambo wore his tan SOE uniform and a white fur coat over his shoulders. His hair was neck length and tied back into a ponytail. He had a very long beard that covered almost all of the bottom half of his face. He wore garnet rings on his right index finger and his right middle finger.

Vezburn: So what exactly do you have for us, Sambo? The Senate is getting very impatient.

Sambo: I figured I should tell you both before taking this to the Senate. The SOE has sent the first details of its investigation, and it's quite a doozy. First, Seraphina and her team were apparently exiting the Kogan region after finishing the recon mission along the countryside. After confirming Syvian military presence in the Kogan region, they exfiltrated the area along the Kogan Canyon route. Somewhere along that route is where they ended up being taken to an outpost not far off from Izba Gorge. Operative Crow's body was found along this route. It used to belong to Kogan prefecture troops, but was abandoned and being commandeered by the KGR as a temporary hide out, probably because Syvian shelling operations at the time meant the route back home wasn't safe. About 3 days later, other SOE teams in Koga reported being ambushed by Syvian forces. Very few of them survived the skirmishes. At least 8 teams were ambushed, 11 people killed.

Tokahev: God damn it...

Sambo: Around the same time, the Kogan militia launched an attack on the outpost, killing the KGR stationed there. They brushed through the area and found the body of operative Ezekiel, having suffered severe burns and laying down in a pool of his own congealed blood. Medical teams noted a large stab wound over his heart. Poor bastard died in mere seconds. Operative Crow's decomposed corpse was found in the gorge just next to the outpost. Still waiting to hear back from our medical teams on what exactly killed him, but he had bandages around his arm, chest, and leg. He must've been injured upon capture and cared for by the KGR, which brings me to my next concern...

Tokahev: They were interrogated. That would be their only reason for wanting to keep them alive. The KGR seeks to preserve assets that prove advantageous to Syvia.

Vezburn: Where was Seraphina in all of this?! Why is she the only one missing?

Sambo: Crow killed along the escape route, Owl and Ezekiel dead in the outpost, but no sign of Seraphina what so ever. Kind of odd that only the Syvian woman survived the Syvian ambush in a Syvian hotzone and managed to escape a Syvian-occupied outpost, isn't it?

Tokahev's eyes lit up in shock.

Tokahev: What are you trying to imply here? Are you saying Seraphina was behind this?

Sambo: Why is it that she wasn't found while her comrades were dead and other SOE teams were also attacked? It just doesn't add up.

Tokahev: If you're implying she's working for Syvia, you're wrong.

Sambo: Why was Ezekiel stabbed in the heart, I wonder? Did Seraphina do it? Given that the attacks on the SOE happened before the Kogan Militia attacked the base, did Seraphina kill Ezekiel during the attack, refusing to let him escape back into the hands of the enemy so he could warn us?

Vezburn: You think Seraphina talked and intended to hand over Ezekiel and Owl to the KGR as well, but terminated Ezekiel when it was clear the battle at the outpost was one-sided. If Ezekiel had time to warn the SOE or the Militia, Syvia would have a harder time forcing SOE elements out of Koga.

Tokahev: You both suspect her purely because of her bloodline! This is insane! I know that we live in times of great mistrust for Syvia and its people, but this kind of thinking will be counterproductive to our efforts at detente!

Vezburn: The Syvians have done that themselves! Repeatedly! They deserve every ounce of our mistrust! The fourth Syvian-Vevoskovian conflict wasn't that long ago, and Yondel's insurrection has excommunicated any pro-Vevoskovian elements out of the Syvian government and country! Now is not the time to be preaching, King Tokahev.

Tokahev: This is ridiculous!

Sambo: In my mind, it is the most logical conclusion. I can't see it any other way. We invite one Syvian girl into the SOE, and suddenly there's an intel leak that screws over our operations in Koga to spy on Syvia. The circumstances surrounding all of this are just too suspicious.

Tokahev sunk his head in disappointment.

Vezburn: Submit your report to the Supreme Senate immediately. I have a feeling, by majority, the Senate will judge Seraphina as a traitor to Vevoskovia. We have 11 dead soldiers on our hands and the only person who knows about it, a Syvian, is gone. I'm very sorry, Tokahev. But I will be taking my vote to the Senate. I will urge that Sambo track and hunt down Seraphina.

Tokahev: If it passes, I shall veto it.

Vezburn: And the Senate will override your veto.

Tokahev and Vezburn traded soul-piercing glances. Ultimately, if the Senate deems Seraphina a traitor, there is nothing Tokahev could do about it.

When night came and Tokahev was going to head home to his wife and kids, he straightened up Castle Asane and every door and gate. Like a shadow in the night, Katya approached Tokahev as he locked the front door and proceeded through the courtyard on his way to his carriage, which he drove himself. Katya's appearance startled Tokahev, kickstarting his heart into high gear.

Tokahev: Hell, Katya! You've got to say something when you teleport here!

Katya laughed and smiled.

Katya: Sorry about that! I guess I still love scaring you after all these years. You look beat.

Tokahev: Yes. And for good reason. I assume you were listening in on that conversation with Senator Vezburn and the SOE's Sambo.

Katya: Not me specifically, but yes. The Deshavi will always keep an eye on the Supreme Senate and the SOE. There have been too many "incidents" throughout Vevoskovian history involving them. So Seraphina will be deemed a traitor.

Tokahev: What do you think of all of this? Do you think they're wrong, or am I just going crazy here?!

Katya: I will admit, it is suspicious. Especially given that she and her parents were Syvians that had ties with the government at some point. Despite the progress of you and your late mother, we still live in times of great distrust and violence. We still classify ourselves as living in the Era of Warring Powers, as relations between the most powerful countries in the world have only either gotten worse or stayed slightly less than neutral. Many people are still dying. Still seeking revenge. Still hating. It is the endless, cyclical maelstrom of hate and avarice that have produced the social and political behaviors that influence events like these. Vevoskovians have no love or trust for Syvians. We have dead soldiers returning home, and nobody to hold responsible but the missing Syvian woman in all of this. Innocent or not, Seraphina and the dead before her are all victims of this, of the times we live in.

Tokahev: That's why I can't sit by and let this happen. Katya, I need you to do something for me. You will be actively working against the Supreme Senate and the SOE by doing this, understand?

Katya: Everything we do and are, they're all secrets anyway. I don't mind working against our own forces if it's for the common good. What do you want me to do?

Tokahev: Track her down. Find Seraphina and rescue her. The SOE will start hunting her immediately, and the people will want her head on a pike. My mother spoke highly of her, and I know you've worked alongside her in Sankadesh. So bring her back, and let me hear her story. If I find her guilty, you may strike her down as the traitor she is. But if I sense innocence, please, give her sanctuary.

Katya: She'd then have to be completely aware of the Deshavi Black Ops if we are to give her sanctuary.

Tokahev: Then make her an asset for the Deshavi Black Ops. Have her swear the same code of secrecy. In return for safeguarding her, I give you permission to teach her the Marluxian Arts and have her conduct missions for the benefit of the Deshavi. I would still like it if she could maintain her own freedom of living however, and wasn't forced to sit in Deshavi HQ.

Katya: You're not usually supposed to teach assets the Marluxian Arts. They're supposed to remain external benefactors. I will do as you ask, but only after we confirm her story by probing her mind with the Art of Venus. It would be catastrophic if we taught a liar such a thing.

Tokahev: You have my permission to get the truth out of her however you personally feel inclined to.

Katya sighed in relief, but also in bother.

Katya: Looks like it's settled then. I'll have Locke and the Lunar Division track her down immediately. Oh, and did I tell you about our new recruit?

Tokahev: Hmm? What about him? Err, assuming it's a guy and not a girl...

Katya: It's a little 6 year old boy. He completely aced the necessary tests and he's exhibited remarkable intelligence and proficiency with his powers. He even tricked Locke with a surrogate. Held his own against him perfectly.

Tokahev: Seriously? That young?!?! What's his name?

Katya: Samba. His name is Samba. He looks a lot like Hita, in more ways than one.

Tokahev: What do you mean?

Katya: Long, beautiful red hair, his eyes are red, and he also has a seal on his chest.

Tokahev's face conveyed fearful shock.

Tokahev: What? Why does he also have a seal?!

Katya: I don't know. I wish I could answer that. His seal is different from Hita's and Luxaura's. It's simpler, easier to examine. We've identified all the symbols of the significant heavenly bodies used in the Marluxian Arts on the seal. But we can't determine what it actually means, or if it does anything.

Tokahev: How odd. What on earth is going on?

Katya: I don't know, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for any new developments. Take care, Tokahev. Hurry and get home to your wife. Women get pissed when their husbands work late into the night. An empty bed and head full of lust is good for a girl, but she'll get upset if she can't be with her husband.

Tokahev: What? She knows I work hard, I'm sure she doesn't mind!

Katya: You really are mentally retarded when it comes to women, aren't you? How are you a husband, or even a father?!

Tokahev: Oh, not this talk again!

Katya: Your mother would be sorely disappointed in you! Consider her feelings more often, will you? While the world is on your mind, you're on her mind. So try to be home early, have dinner, laugh a little, sleep with her in your arms. These things matter to a girl. They're small, but they mean so much.

Tokahev sighed. How could he balance the world and love at the same time? Especially now, with things picking up. The Era of Warring Powers was now a powder keg ready to blow and take the whole world down with it.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 10:38:51 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2016, 11:07:39 AM »
Forgive me, the Character Limit is really kicking my ass  :sadbye:

Let There Be Naught Rest For the Wicked
Katya walked Tokahev home that night, encouraging him to get some physical exercise instead of going home the lazy way. Tokahev's manor was inherited after his mother died. The manor was large of course. It came with a frontal and back court yard, 12 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and a very large kitchen. It was built out of pocket, so the Supreme Senate cut Kalina loose and made the property exempt from land ownership taxes.

Tokahev walked in, with only the downstairs lights left on for him. He took off his coat and hung it up, then proceeded into the kitchen to grab a glass of mango juice. Upon walking into the lavish kitchen with granite counters and steel utilities, he saw Hita sitting alone and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Hita: Hi, Dad.

Tokahev: Hey there, Hita. It's a little late, isn't it? You should be in bed.

Hita: Sorry...

Tokahev: But if you were hungry, I can't blame you. Go ahead and eat.

Hita: Thank you.

Tokahev: How's school going?

Hita: It's okay.

Tokahev: Okay? Well, you're getting good grades, so I'd say it's more than okay.

Hita smiled in silent appreciation for the comment.

Tokahev: You don't have any water? You'll need water if you're going to eat anything with peanut butter in it.

Hita put down his sandwich and clasped his hands. He placed his right hand over a nearby glass and used the Art of Neptune to fill it with water. Tokahev was both fascinated and scared.

Tokahev: When you're done, Hita, just make sure you clean up and head to bed.

Hita: Okay, I will. Goodnight.

Tokahev: Goodnight, son.

Tokahev went up to his bedroom quietly, refraining from waking up Amiya as he climbed into bed and laid his head to rest. While the most powerful men and women of the world were asleep, the Deshavi were getting right to work. Katya and Locke immediately gave priority for the Lunar Division to find Seraphina. Their section of HQ was a large, hallowed out cave. They used the Art of Saturn to deconstruct the solid matter of the cave wall to let in moonlight so they could use the Art of the Moon to survey whichever side of the planet it was on. Although commonly used for teleportation and invisibility, the moon could also be used as a sort of giant eye in the sky. This power was granted by the light and energy of the sun reflecting off of the moon and back down to earth. Seeing the world through the moon, one could pick up the specific energy signatures of each and every person on that particular side of the earth. This has come in handy to the Deshavi Black Ops for years, as it allowed them to spy on other nations without them ever noticing. The Lunar Division sat under the moonlight, in a complex Lunar Seal that connected the consciousness of the users right to the moon, allowing them to see from "The Moon's Eye". Energy signatures were picked out, and those signatures manifested themselves as moonlight emerging from the seal and taking shape of the person targeted. The identity would be confirmed by either Katya or Locke, and a retrieval team would move in. The Deshavi Black Ops was in a race against the SOE to save Seraphina's life.

A few days passed as the Deshavi and the SOE looked for Seraphina. Miles away from the outpost, Seraphina rested in the forest, trying not to aggravate her wounds any more than she already has. She sat against tree as birds sang their morning song in the sky.

Seraphina: I can't believe I survived...

Seraphina thought back to when she jumped off the gorge and into the river. She broke a few ribs, ripped her wounds, and nearly drowned in the river as it carried her downstream and almost off of a massive waterfall. She managed to hang on to a rock off of the riverbed before she was completely swept away by the current. Her movements since then were limited, fearing she had pushed her body to its absolute extreme and couldn't risk damaging any muscles or organs in her extraneous attempts to survive. Days later, she's here in the forest, with not a bite to eat or drink.

She got up from her resting place and continued until she emerged from the tree line and saw a road below, just a bit further down the hill. SOE agents were traveling up the road, looking like they were searching for someone. Seraphina called out to them from her position.

Seraphina: Oh my god! Hey! Hey! I'm up here! I'm Seraphina, team leader of Recon Squad 6!

The troops saw her, walking a bit closer and calling out to her.

SOE: Are you Seraphina La'Bala?

Seraphina: Yes! Yes that's me!

The men reached into their pouches. Four of them pulled out flash bombs, throwing them up in the air and shielding their eyes with their cloaks. Seraphina was utterly confused and panicked as the bombs nearly robbed her of her sight. The other 6 thew out gas canisters and incendiary bombs the burn Seraphina out, and were nearly successful. Trees, grass, and brush caught fire all around Seraphina. Sparks from falling trees and wood left black marks all over her shirt as she covered her mouth and nose to prevent smoke inhalation.

Seraphina: What the hell are you doing?!? I'm a friendly!

The SOE raced up the hill and Seraphina decided to retreat through the forest. Arrows and bolts began hurling past her, landing firmly in the barks of trees and the faces of rocks.

Seraphina: What the hell is happening?! Why are they trying to kill me?

Seraphina stopped to rest for a moment to get her thoughts in order, bending over to try and catch her breath.

Seraphina: Think, Seraphina! One of them called out your name, so they confirmed your identity. Then, they immediately used lethal force on me. Do they suspect me of something?! No way....do they think I'm a traitor?!

The sounds of the SOE running through the trees alerted Seraphina, and she continued her retreat deeper into the forest. She knew that they must've seen that she was injured, and have locked her in a battle of attrition, hoping to tire her out and either kill or capture her. She picked out two smoke bombs and tossed them across the forest to her left. The smoke was visible to the SOE, who thought she was trying to cover her escape with the smoke. As planned, most of them pursued that direction, but two of them ran closer to Seraphina's position, just in case she was trying to divert the team. Seraphina continued to retreat through a narrow valley and found a deep indentation in the wall of the valley to hide in. Knowing she couldn't run forever, she prepared herself to kill the SOE agents.

The two SOE agents ran through the narrow valley, looking for any sign of Seraphina. They got closer to Seraphina's hiding spot, splashing around water in the stream and alerting the birds to fly away. At just the right moment, Seraphina stuck her arm out and stabbed an SOE agent in his throat. The other panicked and raised his bow and arrow while Seraphina used the one she stabbed as a shield as she rushed towards him. While the one she stabbed was still choking on the blade and his own blood, arrows from the SOE archer pieced his back in futile attempts to hit Seraphina. When she got close, she kicked the SOE agent off of her blade, toppling the archer with the dying and bloodied agent. The archer tried to reach for his knife in desperation, but quickly found Seraphina on top of him, forcing a knife into his mouth, wedged between his upper front teeth.

Seraphina: Scream and I'll end your life and leave you for the vultures!

The other agent lied on the floor, bleeding to death from his throat and unable to call for help, since his windpipe was utterly destroyed.

Seraphina: Why are you trying to kill me? Why?!

Archer: We were ordered to! You're a *censored*ing traitor! We all knew we couldn't trust a Syvian!

Seraphina: What the *censored* are you talking about?! I didn't betray you!

Archer: Oh yeah? Who led that squad down that route? A Syvian. Who attacked that squad? Syvians. Who was the only one to survive the whole ordeal? A Syvian. All in Syvian territory!

Seraphina: *censored* you! You think I wanted that to happen?!?

Archer: 11 SOE members died! You leaked them information, didn't you?! You have blood on your hands you Syvian bitch!

Seraphina thrust the blade into his throat, shattering his teeth and rendering him unable to scream. He died in a matter of minutes. Seraphina sat down next to the slain agents for a second, just to take in the gravity of her situation. The KGR specifically chose Ezekiel for interrogation because his physical condition ensured he wouldn't be able to hold his silence for long. They used only light tactics, because his damaged skin and tissues didn't require much effort to cause severe pain. That meant he was most likely never going to be released from that suffering. They successfully broke him, and now Seraphina has learned that people have died over it. As the only one alive, and of Syvian decent, she is the number one suspect. A misguided mistrust, reinforced by suspicion, fear, and centuries of historical hatred between two warring people. Seraphina got up and continued walking. For now, the SOE lost her trail. But it wouldn't take long for them to find those bodies. Once that happens, it doesn't matter what she says to anyone. Vevoskovia will have her killed. To make matters worse, the sun was setting and the night was fast approaching. She had no idea if she could be killed or abducted in her sleep.

By the time that moon had risen, she was still wandering around the forest, as tired as can be. Without food, water, shelter, and proper medical treatment, she was sure to either die of starvation, cold, or infection. She collapsed on the dirt and thought about dying. Maybe it was the best outcome for her. She could no longer return to Vevoskovia, nor could she go back to Syvia. She'd never survive the journey anywhere else. In the distance, she could see the light of lanterns glowing in the trees. She assumed they must've been the SOE, finally closing in on her. She closed her eyes and waited for the moment she'd be killed. There was nothing else to live for now.

Samba and Jaya, led by Locke, were sent on the mission to retrieve Seraphina. The light she saw wasn't quite a lantern, but Samba holding a flame in his hands with the Art of Mars, lighting up the forest as they walked.

Samba: Over there! I think that's her!

Locke: Let's go!

Seraphina's vision faded and everything went dark and blurry. Samba and Jaya knelt by her, flipping her over and confirming her identity while Locke stood over them.

Jaya: That's definitely her. She's been seriously injured and needs medical attention.

Locke: Geez. Good thing we found her before the SOE. Samba, teleport us all to Castle Asane. Katya said we'll present her before Tokahev first before we take her to HQ.

Samba: Understood. In a circle, everyone.

Samba clasped his hands under the moonlight. In an instant, Jaya, Locke, Seraphina, and Samba were not only gone from the Kogan region, but teleported immediately to the Castle Asane living room and personal quarters of the king, where Tokahev was waiting. The room was dimly lit by oil lanterns and scented candles in the kitchen.

Tokahev stood up from his chair and anxiously walked over to them as they tried to keep Seraphina conscious.

Locke: We got to her in time, she's still alive. Looks like she was in a confrontation though. Samba, examine her head, I'll heal the wound on her stomach.

Samba clasped his hands and laid them on Seraphina's temple, using the Art of Venus to check if she's suffered and major damage to her skull or brain, or any signs of internal bleeding.

Samba: She's okay. Throbbing a bit, but her brain is in good condition.

Locke: Good. Jaya, Check her feet and legs.

Locke used the Art of Pluto to repair the wound of Seraphina's stomach, noticing early signs of infection.

Locke: Samba, sear that up for me.

Samba lightly applied heat to the wound, enough to kill any disease-causing agents.

Jaya: The bones in her left leg are cracked, she'll need to be taken to the medical room for that.

Locke removed her protective vest and lifted her shirt to her breasts, exposing her ribs and stomach. He placed his hands on her stomach and began searching for internal injuries to her bones and organs.

Locke: Cracked ribs. She's in a state of ketosis too. Must've been 3 or 4 days since she's eaten anything. Samba, I feel bad for doing this, but can you give her a light shock? We need her lucid right now.

Samba placed his hands over Seraphina's head again, delivering a few volts of electricity and making it travel from her brain and throughout her body. She was now fully awake, but jolted up from the shock. At first she panicked, not knowing where she was or who these people were. She stopped resisting when Tokahev sat next to her and spoke to her.

Tokahev: Calm down, Seraphina. You're safe here.

Samba helped Seraphina up and sat her down with Tokahev.

Seraphina: My lord? I don't understand, how am I here?

Tokahev: Those three saved your life. Meet Locke, the one with the beard. The girl is Jaya. The young boy is Samba.

Seraphina: I.....thank you very much. Are you with the SOE?

Tokahev: They aren't with the SOE, no. They're in the Deshavi Black Ops.

Seraphina: I've never heard of that branch.

Tokahev: Of course you haven't. It's a secret. Now, there's something I want to ask you, Seraphina. And I need your honesty. Did you or did you not betray Vevoskovia?

Seraphina's eyes were sunken with tears.

Seraphina: Of course I didn't! Crow was killed trying to defend the rest of the squad, and I was captured alongside Owl and Ezekiel. Ezekiel suffered burns to much of his body, so they focused on him for interrogations, because his damaged skin was severely sensitive to external stimuli. So of course he broke. Even rubbing alcohol on him put him in agony. Owl died in his cell from his wounds and was tossed away somewhere. Then, the outpost was attacked! I managed to get out of my cell and free Ezekiel during the chaos. But....in the end, we only had one way out. Just a narrow hole in the wall of the outpost leading off of the gorge. Ezekiel couldn't fit through, so he....he urged for me to escape. But he wanted a coup de grace, so they wouldn't keep him in captivity and keep torturing him for more information. I stabbed him in the heart! He at least deserved a quick death instead of being tortured. I would never betray my own country! I wear Syvian blood but I breathe Vevoskovian air! I would never kill my comrades for Syvia or anyone else!

Tokahev: I thought so. I didn't think the suspicions matched up with your character. My mother trusted you, and I trusted you too. And I still do. I believe you, Seraphina.

Seraphina laughed and cried at the same time as Samba placed his hand on her shoulder to comfort her.

Tokahev: Now, here's what's going to happen. The Deshavi Black Ops, as I mentioned, is a secret branch of the Vevoskovian military. Not even the Supreme Senate knows about it. Want to know why I keep a force like that such a secret? Look at your wounds.

Seraphina looked at her stomach, and the wound she had was completely gone.

Seraphina: What?! But, I had a bolt shot in my stomach here...

Tokahev: They healed you as soon as they brought you here. There's a beautiful thing called the Marluxian Arts. They serve as weapons and tools.

Seraphina: What exactly is that, if I may ask?

Locke: You know the planets, moon, sun, and other moons for other planets?

Seraphina: Yeah of course, but what does that...

Locke: Think of it like this. Every heavenly body holds its own energy. In a solar system like ours, that energy is linked and shared between every heavenly body, keeping the planets in order and together. I can't explain the origins of this power, but the Marluxian Arts is a method of absorbing and utilizing the energies associated with the heavenly bodies. Each one has its own set of powers. Pluto, for instance, gives the power to heal or deconstruct organic tissue, and is the reason I was able to heal you. The Deshavi Black Ops uses these powers regularly in their day to day life, training, and on missions.

Seraphina: If my wound wasn't completely healed, I'd probably call all of that bull*censored*. You're seriously telling me the truth, aren't you?

Tokahev: Ishta Menlayev founded the Deshavi Black Ops, along with his cabinet members Nadena Miyasane, Roy Diadara, and former leaders of nations that joined Vevoskovia, Axel and Toh. The reason he decided to found them illegally, without public knowledge or Supreme Senate consent is because he foresaw an era where the king and Senate would be at odds. The senate of his era worked well with him, because they were comprised of the Hall of Lords, all kings of nations that decided to band together to form Vevoskovia. They understood Ishta more than anyone else. But today, it's different. The senate is different. Ideas are different. And just as he foretold, the senate and the king are indeed at odds with each other. Can you imagine what the senate would do with the Deshavi Black Ops during times like these, with the situation with Syvia? You would already be dead, Yondel and hundreds of thousands of Syvian civilians would be dead, hatred and violence would be much worse than we already have it. Ishta hoped the Deshavi Black Ops could be used to do the underhanded and evil deeds needed to stop wars before they start, or to end them much more quickly than they would without them. So, he made sure that only people from the Menlayev bloodline can take the throne, defending his proposed dynasty from suspicious senate members. He won that case by proving the he was a great leader. Leigh Menlayev, his wife, reinforced that legacy when Ishta was assassinated and she was forced by circumstance to take the throne and go to war with Syvia. Throughout history, the Deshavi Black Ops has been utilized entirely from within the royal family. In times like these, I'm glad this is the case.

Seraphina: All of this time? That's amazing!

Tokahev was a little surprised Seraphina was amazed rather than scared.

Tokahev: Yes, well, in any case, you will have your memories scanned so the Deshavi can confirm your story. If you're lying, you'll die. If you're telling the truth, you will receive medical treatment and sanctuary from the Deshavi. They wont, and I won't let you be captured by the SOE. However, there are still some bad sides to this situation. You cannot go into the public again, probably not for a very, very long time. You'll just be reported and arrested, and we can't have that.

Seraphina: I understand. And I am telling the truth. If they're going to look into my memories, then I know I will be saved. For that, I thank you, my lord.

Seraphina extended her hand to Tokahev, who gripped it firmly and shook it.

Tokahev: I'm happy to hear that, Seraphina.

Seraphina was taken back to Deshavi HQ that night. Katya had finished peering into her mind with her Eye of Venus in the medical room. Seraphina was surprised and happy to see a familiar face. She was instantly recognizable to Seraphina because of her youthful beauty, long, thick hair, and the eyepatch she wore over her right eye. The process of mind peering struck awe into Seraphina's heart. Katya's eye turned an ocean blue, and a pink symbol of Venus formed in her pupil. It was unlike anything she had ever seen in her life.

Katya: She's.......

Locke, Samba, Jaya, and Seraphina waited in agonizing suspense over what Katya was about to say. This judgement decided her very fate.

Katya: As clean as a whistle! She's telling the truth!

Seraphina exhaled a sigh of relief as the others cheered for her.

Seraphina: Why did you have to scare me like that?!

Katya: A commander still has to have a sense of humor, right? And besides, I knew you weren't lying even without having to use the Eye of Venus. You're not a traitor. I may not have spent time with you since Sankadesh when you were still a little girl, but I at least know that much about you.

Seraphina: Thank you, Katya! You're the best!

Seraphina hugged Katya as tight as she could, much to Katya's embarrassment.

Samba: Four massive boobs.....p-p-pushing against each other!

Jaya: It looks amazing!

Locke: Cover your eyes, children! You're much too young to see this!

As Seraphina rested and healed in the medical room, Samba decided to sit outside atop the waterfall and go moon gazing. Today was supposed to be a golden moon, and it was. It was almost a pure golden color in the clear night sky. Without Samba's knowledge, Nadena was watching him from the trees, deep in the shadows. Inadora had just teleported behind her and met up with her as she watched Samba.

Inadora: How's Roy doing?

Nadena: He's so cute, gazing up at the moon! I just wanna hug him!

Inadora: Always such a girly girl.

Inadora and Nadena smiled at each other.

Inadora: Haven't heard back from Fate yet. He must still be checking up on Luxaura. But, I've just finished checking on Yahto. He's doing well. His sister Aussa is very attached to him.

Nadena: Wow really? Roy had a brother named Alex and they were pretty close too. Competitive with each other, but still close.

Inadora: Yeah. Listen, keep a close eye on Roy, alright? Out of the three, his life hangs in the balance more than anyone else's. He's constantly going to be sent on missions and be put in harms way. Plus, until he has his seal reactivated and his powers and memories returned to him, the Marluxian Arts will do damage to his organs. You should probably take a good look at his health records in the Deshavi Black Ops, though Fate is probably more suited for that job since he can wormhole out of there with the Eye of Nibiru.

Nadena: You're right. I'll watch out for him.

Inadora: Fate said you're allowed to intervene and save him if he's alone or can't fend for himself. So there's always that.

Nadena: Sucks he won't let us see Luxy and his sibling. I want to see cute little kid Luxaura!

Inadora: I believe Fate is much more suited for that job as well. He is a royal child after all.

As Inadora and Nadena wrapped up their overwatch of Yahto and Roy, Fate stood at Luxaura's side in the middle of the night. His bed was on the far right, Hita's was in the middle, and Marluxia slept on the far left. The room was lit only by the moon as Fate's tall and dark figure watched over the boys, with only his burning red eyes visible from his hooded Phoenix Demon cloaked, adorned with the symbol of the lotus flower on the back. Fate heard noise coming from inside the house. Tokahev apparently needed to make a late night run, and Amiya wasn't very happy about it. They were arguing, but Tokahev wanted to see his sons again before he left.

Fate: In 12 years, I will guide you to your seal. You will truly awaken, Luxaura. Let's hope Von is right that allowing you to live will prove more useful than killing you.

Fate wormholed out of the Menlayev Manor as Tokahev walked in. Fate, Inadora, and Nadena met together in their hideout in the mountains, in the throne room, which was half empty.

Fate: Report your findings.

Inadora: Yahto is doing well and is in good health. His parents are kind and loving. He practices the Marluxian Arts but only in secrecy, away from his sister and his parents. Aussa still hasn't discovered her powers and her parents don't seem to have any worries about the seals. They're a rural family, getting to a doctor isn't very easy from their location, after all.

Fate: Hmm...Yahto will probably be the first one I activate the seal with. Nadena?

Nadena: Roy is sooooo cute! I just love him!

Inadora: I can almost see the hearts above your head....

Fate: Well, uh....okay? I guess He's doing fine then as well. As for Luxaura, he seems to be doing fine. He's loved by his family and is very talented, apparently. Looks like everything is going well. It will take 12 more years until we activate their memories. We need to activate it while they're still youthful, but not too youthful. Their bodies will have the highest possible natural output of energy. If we activate the seals too early and immortality stops their aging process, their strength might be stunted. Out of this, Roy, Yahto, and Luxaura will actually grow stronger.

Nadena: Really?!?! That's so cool!

Inadora: That's amazing! So 18 years old?

Fate: Yes, 18 years old. That will be the most potent time of their lives. That's all for today, I suppose. Let's rest up.

Nadena and Inadora stood from their thrones and went to their bedroom. Fate remained on his throne for a while until a familiar rip in the air occurred. Von wormholed himself into the hideout and stood before Fate. He was clearly exhausted.

Fate: What happened to you?!

Von: Come with me! Quickly!

Fate immediately got off of his throne and grabbed Von's hand as he wormholed out of the hideout, taking him to a forest on the border of Syvia, where he, Iris, and Phaedra were hiding out. When they got there, Fate could hear the sounds of the Marluxian Arts being used. There was a fight going on.

Von: Go and help them! I need to rest! They're fending off Oblisks!

Fate: The Oblisks are here? I'll be right back!

Fate wormholed closer to Phaedra and Iris, standing with them on the waters of the basin as they were surrounded by Oblisks. Oblisks were souls that were damned to the Underworld but waded through the seemingly endless Sea of Blood of torment that the Underworld is known for. As a reward, they were spared their suffering, but ordered to work under Zorc, the god of the Underworld. They were responsible for seeing to it that every soul meets proper judgement, and that a few very special and powerful souls, The Heralds of the End, remained guarded and tamed. They wore long black hooded robes that concealed almost every inch of their bodies except for their sandals. Their sleeves were so long, you couldn't see the hands that held their Crystal Swords, swords made out of crystal and forged in the Underworld, with the distinct power of taking one's soul out of their body if they're impaled with it. No matter who you were, getting stabbed with those swords was certain death.

Phaedra wore her Phoenix Demon cloak, and Iris wore a white tunic with the Shaina Clan crest in red on the back. His robe was tied around his waist. While Phaedra had her kusarigama, Iris had his Shaina Clan sword, without a handguard. Fate usually didn't use weapons.

Fate: What happened?

Phaedra: *censored*ing Oblisks is what happened! They showed up out of nowhere!

Fate: If they're here, they're probably looking to reclaim the Heralds of the End they lost. Which means Zorc is panicking.

Dozens of Oblisks armed with crystal swords emerged from the treeline.

Phaedra: Damn it!

Phaedra pointed her kusarigama in the air, channeling the Art of Mars through it to shoot multiple flares into the air and illuminate the area.

Phaedra: Those will burn for a while and fall at a slow rate. We need to get these guys.

Iris: Can't you just use the White Phoenix?

Phaedra: Using it is like offering it on a silver platter. If they manage to strike it with their swords, they could pull it right out of my body and soul!

Iris: Well that's just *censored*ing dandy.

Fate: Try your best to stick to long range attacks and encircling defenses.

Fate placed his hands on the water and caused it to shoot high up into the air like a divine tidal wave. Phaedra reinforced it with the Art of Jupiter and charged the water with high voltages of electricity. It served as a blanket attack to make the Oblisks move where they wanted them to; up into the air. Phaedra and Iris readied themselves for their landing while Fate strained his Eye of Nibiru. Four of the Oblisks had wormholes open in their chests, and they were sucked in and spiraled back to the Underworld.

Fate: Back to hell you go!

About a dozen others landed, charging at the three. Phaedra was able to channel the White Phoenix's power through her kusarigama, engulfing multiple Oblisks in scroching white flames that could be felt from far away.

Iris: *censored* me, Phaedra! Be careful how you use that *censored*! I can feel it from all the way over here!

Phaedra: Get used to it, loser!

An Oblisks dropped down from the sky and landed with a strong vertical swing of his sword, displacing water and prompting Phaedra to flip backwards. Fate constantly teleported behind Oblisks and began running his sharp, long nails through their hearts. More oblisks jumped into the air, using the Marluxian Arts to fire compressed masses of heat and energy down at the three, who had to jump back away from the area to avoid the explosions.

Phaedra: *censored* all of this!

Phaedra clasped her hands together, and the ground began to shake as if an earthquake was occurring.

Fate: What are you doing?!

Phaedra: Just keep watching, buddy boy!

Made out of earth and rocks, a colossal statue of the Omni deity of the Sun, Anshu, emerged from the bottom of the basic, draining all the water out as it rose from the ground. Anshu was depicted as a female, with long hair tied up in a bun and a crown of fire lilies around her head. She sat with her legs crossed and her hands flat against each other in prayer, dressed in her long, floral dress. Our of her back emerged angelic wings and two more sets of hands, both sets flat against each other and cascading higher into the air. The highest set spread its hands apart, and a massive ball of darkness took form. The darkness turned into light, and was so bright it made the entire area look as if it was daytime. The light burned away the Oblisks that were too slow to shield themselves, leaving them with very little manpower left. The statue then fell back into the earth, and the sky was dark once more. The remaining Oblisks decided to flee the area, darting past Fate, Iris, and Phaedra and further down the basin and into the forest.

Fate: No you don't. This ends here.

Fate strained his eye once more. For a few minutes, nothing happened. The Oblisks escaped into the forest in the distance. But soon, comets began to reign down on the forest, blasting away a large portion of the area and dressing it in flames. The Oblisks were certainly dead.

Iris: Both of those were the coolest *censored* I've ever seen.

Fate: Quickly. Let's get out of here with Von.

Phaedra grabbed an exhausted Von and the group decided to return to their previous undergound cave hide out. Von made sure everything was okay from Fate's end before leaving.

Von: Thank you, Fate. Is everything going well?

Fate: Yes, they're doing fine. You should focus on you for now, they won't be ready for at least 12 more years. If the Oblisks catch you, you're going to be in a lot of trouble.

Von: Hmph. Phaedra here seems to know how to defend herself and all of us. We'll be fine. Will they be able to find the Heralds of the End sealed away with their memories?

Fate: No, the Heralds of the End are obedient to their respective masters and are working with me to suppress their own energies. It would be a problem if they were constantly trying to break out of the seal. It would be like footprints leading right to them. Everything is fine for now.

Von: Alright then. I'll return back to my previous hideout. Damn Oblisks! We need to find a way to exterminate Zorc. One thing at a time, I suppose. See you around, Fate.

Von wormholed everyone back, leaving Fate to sit by the basin. His Eye of Nibiru receded back to his normal red eye, and he was allowed a moment to rest.

But just what is rest in a restless world?

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2016, 11:25:15 AM »
For now, the short term conflicts plaguing Tokahev's mind were at ease. Seraphina was brought back safely and became an asset for the Deshavi Black Ops. Katya took it upon herself to even train her in the Marluxian Arts. She was best at sneaking around with the Art of the Moon, which was perfect for Katya. The SOE continued to look for her over the years, but never could find her.

She was deemed as a traitor nationwide while King Yondel refused to speak of the matter to the press. Marluxia was showing more promise as an heir to the throne. He was even permitted to skip a few grades because of his high intelligence. Luxaura and Hita continued to get through their schooling with good grades, still being forced to stay at home.

Five long years passed. On this particular night however, there was a commemoration of a miracle in the Menlayev manor. Today was the birthday of both Hita and Mori. After a long day of school and homework, Amiya, Tokahev, and Marluxia immediately got to work on making the cake and preparing the house for Hita and Mori. The kitchen and living room were almost filled with colorful balloons and the smell of delicious baked goods. Amiya took the time to teach Marluxia about baking cake. Preparing the batter, whisking the ingredients, measuring the dry ingredients, sifting flower, preparing icing, all the dos and don'ts of baking.

Tokahev wasn't much of a baker himself and had to have Amiya come in and clean up his mess. The cake was made in a round baking dish and laid out carefully on a glass plate. There were multiple layers of the cake, alternating from the cake itself and icing. The top layer was cake with icing spread on it, and just needed strawberries to be added on top. Amiya had flour in her tied hair and all over her apron and night gown. Marluxia managed to stay cleaner and Tokahev had to bandage his hand since he foolishly tried to touch the baking dish with his bare hand when the cake had just finished baking. The three of them put on the strawberries together.

Amiya: Alright! They're all washed! Now you just take the stems off and put them in pointed side up. Like so!

Marluxia: Where did you learn to bake cakes, mom?

Amiya: Actually it was my mother who taught me when I was your age. She used to make cakes for my dad and me and my sisters on special occasions.

Tokahev: Yep, and now she's dead.

Amiya slapped Tokahev's shoulder as he snickered to himself.

Amiya: She may have been mean but she still loved you.

Tokahev: I know, I know. But it's always great when a man is free of his mother-in-law. They're scarier than actual mothers!

Amiya: Your father is a dick, Marluxia. Don't ever take his lead and don't ever treat your mother-in-law like that.

Marluxia: Yes ma'am.

Amiya: All done! We did everything we needed to! Let's call the birthday boys up! I'll go get the party hats!

Tokahev: Party hats? Geez, why don't you make them wear dresses and bras too?

Amiya: Are you saying my boys are too grown up to wear party hats?

Tokahev: Your boys?

Amiya: Damn right my boys. I gave birth to them! Nearly tore myself in half trying to push them both out! Don't ever talk like me when you grow up.

Marluxia: No promises, Mom. Hey Hita, Mori! Get up here!

Hita and Mori walked up the stairs and into the kitchen. Tokahev, Marluxia, and Amiya both stood in front of the cake, but the cheesy motherly smile on Amiya's face immediately tipped Mori off to what was happening.

Mori: You made a cake, didn't you.

Amiya: W-what? How could you be so silly! Of course not!

Mori: The oven is hot.

Amiya: I-I-I was heating up left overs! The chicken tends to dry out if you heat it over a direct fire after it cools down!

Mori: It reeks of vanilla and almond extract, you've got flour in your hair, there's still flour on the counters, and Marluxia looks like he wants to kill himself.

Marluxia: Whew! He got you there, Mom.

Marluxia gave Mori a high five for his intuition, even though it was indeed incredibly obvious what was going on.

Amiya: Alright alright! I made you a cake for your 11th birthday!

Hita: Thank you, Mom!

Amiya knelt down to hug her two sons and kiss them on their cheeks. She guided them to the dinner table where everyone cut themselves a slice and dug in.

Amiya: No candles this time since Tokahev nearly burnt the house down trying to light some damn candles...

Tokahev: Hehe...sorry about that. Are you still mad?

Amiya: My beautiful drapes were burn to absolute hell! Of course I'm mad!

Hita: They WERE good drapes, Dad. You should've been more careful.

Tokahev: Son, let me tell you something. Among all the useless crap women like to spend 4 hours in the store buying at your own expense of money and time, drapes are one of the many things we can replace easily.

Amiya: Oh. I see how it is.

Mori: You spent 4 hours in the store?

Amiya: There were sales everywhere! Plus we got stopped by a lot of people for autographs.

Mori: What? Why would you need to wait for sales?

Amiya: Because the Supreme Senate hardly does anything about price regulation when it comes to larger stores. You've gotta get them in on that, Tokahev. Just because it's a free market doesn't mean companies get to abuse pricing structures.

Tokahev: Yeah, I should get on that.

Amiya: So, anyway boys! In lieu of candles, do you have any wishes?

Hita: You're not supposed to tell anyone your wishes, Mom!

Amiya: Oh come on! Tell me! I'll do anything to make you both happy!

Mori: I want my own castle.

Amiya: Dream a little smaller!

Mori: Alright. Then....I just want you to keep smiling like that.

Amiya blushed at her son's selfless consideration for others.

Amiya: That's so sweet of you, babe. As long as you're happy, I'll keep smiling. I promise! What about you, Hita?

Hita: For you to be proud of me.

Amiya always had a feeling that Hita felt underappreciated, being next to his two brilliant brothers. Amiya stretched across the table, grabbing Hita's face and kissing him deeply on his lips.

Hita: Ew, Mom! I'm too old for kisses like that now, it's embarrassing!

Amiya: You're never too old! And there hasn't been a day since you were born that I haven't been proud of you! You're my son, after all.

Tokahev: I exist too, guys...

Hita: Thanks, Mom.

Elsewhere under the Vevoskovian moon, Seraphina returned with Samba from a mission in Syvia, where they spied on King Yondel in his palace. Reporting their findings to Katya, they both knelt before their superior in her office as she finished sealing up envelopes for the day.

Katya: Is that so? He really intends to have dinner with Tokahev?

Seraphina: He claims it's because Tokahev is still relatively new to the Vevoskovian throne. He hasn't had the chance to sit down with him personally, face to face.

Samba: I'd reckon he probably wants to use this meeting as an opportunity to do a personal evaluation of Tokahev. His ideals, confidence, and ability to negotiate. If he's doing that, then it probably means he too is seeking other end results to the tension between our two countries, rather than a full-blown war.

Katya rubbed her chin as she began to ponder over the findings.

Katya: It was only with Tokahev's grace that we avoided a war already. The Koga Crisis five years ago nearly struck imbalance upon the tipping scales of war. On top of that, we've had a few misunderstandings along our borders that led to confrontations between Vevoskovian and Syvian border patrols respectively. I suppose, this is a good change of heart for Yondel. But it is only a temporary one if Tokahev fails. Geez...I'm not cut out for all of this political intrigue. I'll forward this news to Tokahev soon. It's late, so you two just get some rest. Dismissed.

Samba and Seraphina thanked their superior before departing the office and heading their separate ways for bed. The orange flames on the torches along the hallways seem to drag on forever down the left and right, one path leading down to the men's quarters, and the other the women's quarters.

Seraphina: Well, uh...great job out there! I feel a lot more confident when you're with me.

Samba: Of course. It's my job, after all.

Seraphina: Can I ask you something?

Samba: Hmm?

Seraphina: How is someone as young as you involved in the Deshavi Black Ops?

Samba: My parents tried to sell me on the black market for money to pay for their drug habit. I have been able to use the Marluxian Arts since I was born, and that allowed me to break free. I wandered around the wilderness and was found by Deshavi scouts. Then, the rest is history.

Seraphina: Your parents tried to sell you?!

Samba: Yes. And my brother too. I'm not sure if he's okay these days, but that's alright. I'm over those bonds.

Seraphina saw the empty apathy and darkness in Samba's eyes, even when talking about such a personal and important event. She wondered if he had really stopped caring for his family, or if his job in the Deshavi Black Ops simply required him to let go of those bonds.

Seraphina: Well, good night, Samba.

Samba: Goodnight!

Seraphina chose to sleep in a spare room in Deshavi HQ that night, her mind troubled and curious of Samba's mental state. There was no way an 11 year old boy could really have not developed any trauma over the events that transpired.

The following morning, Marluxia awoke before his younger brothers, washed up, got dressed, and ate a heart breakfast of champions consisting of almost burnt bread and salty butter. Tokahev had just woken up himself and grabbed a cup of hot cocoa before opening the blinds to let in the early morning light. To both of their surprise, it was snowing outside. So much that it already began to pile.

Tokahev: Damn. It really is that time of year again, huh? You should probably take something warm with you when you go, Marluxia.

Marluxia: I'll just grab my coat from the hanger. Even when it's cold like this, I don't like dressing in too many layers.

Tokahev: How was your homework?

Marluxia: Easy. We were going over Von Krum Soleais's mathematical theories and discovery of the number zero. That led to him forming the number line and various other different mathematical charts. Apparently, he even considered the fact that if there's positive matter and negative matter in the universe, then the net worth of all of the matter throughout the universe is a relative 0. In other words, the universe, from a mathematical perspective, has no mass.

Tokahev: I always thought that sounded like complete drivel. He really was insane.

Marluxia: I think he's a genius, honestly.

Tokahev: I really hope they're not going over his thanatology studies in class too.

Marluxia: We already have. Specifically, his findings on how the human body decomposes from the time of death to the point where there's only bones and leather-like sheets of skin remaining.

Tokahev: Oh dear....ah, well, I think your ride is outside. Have a good day, son.

Marluxia finished his toast, washed his hands, and fist-bumped his father before taking his coat and scarf with him out of the manor. At 15 years old, Marluxia was well on his way to graduating early from Tenzo Academy. He had done well in his political science course, physics course, and his intuition tests, which were made just for him as the heir to the Vevoskovian throne. After Tenzo Academy, Marluxia hoped to be able to attend Supreme Senate meetings and speak on the floor as a prince. He was ambitious, intelligent, and made it all look way too easy.

Amiya woke up after Marluxia left and greeted Tokahev in the kitchen, still yawning and groggy.

Amiya: Morning, dear. Did Marluxia just leave?

Tokahev: Yep, he's off.

Tokahev twiddled a silver spoon between his fingers as he sat back in his chair.

Amiya: You have that dinner event with King Yondel soon, don't you? You should take King Salem with you.

Tokahev: Way ahead of you. He's already agreed to go.

Amiya: What a know-it-all bastard.

Tokahev: Yeah, but he really is a genius. That guy always has a plan, no matter how crazy it is. And it always works for some reason.

Amiya: Just be sure to pack some warm clothes. Syvia gets lots of snow during this time of year.

Tokahev: I know, I know.

Amiya: And for god's sake, wear the scarf I made you. I put my heart into making it and you only wear it during the holiday season.

Tokahev: It nearly is the holiday season! Besides, I wouldn't want to wear it everyday and get it ruined.

Amiya: The classic lie men tell. "Oh, I just don't want to ruin it!"

Tokahev: I'm not lying, babe!

Amiya: Mhhmm. Whatever you say. But I'm just saying. If only you had worn the scarf a little more, I would be giving you plenty of this for the holidays.

Amiya stood up and lifted the back of her night gown, revealing her bare butt and legs, with no underwear being worn. Temptation was a knife that pieced Tokahev's stomach.

Tokahev: Y-y-you're not wearing any....

Amiya lifted up her night gown even more to show both cheeks, squishing one of them in her hand and letting go to let it jiggle around on its own.

Amiya: Now if only Toky had worn his scarf I knitted for him! I would be so happy! I even spent the nights knitting it for him without a wink of sleep. But I guess he just doesn't love me anymore.

Tokahev: Oh come on! That doesn't mean I don't love you! I'm sorry, hon!

Amiya turned around and lifted the front of her night gown. Not much needs to be said about what was revealed by doing that.

Tokahev: Oh sweet Agzabah...

Tokahev covered his eyes and looked away. Amiya had always been a master of teasing.

Amiya: Why are you looking away from your wife when she's trying to share the beauties of her body with you? Very few people in the world get to see a Providence girl's assets, you know.

Tokahev: I can't do this. Oh god I can't do this.

Amiya took Tokahev's hand, guiding it gently down her breasts and down between her legs. She knew exactly what she was doing and it hurt Tokahev for every second that it lasted.

Amiya: How does it feel?

Tokahev looked like he was in utter physical agony from a venomous snake bite. Who could've known a woman could be so potent.

Tokahev: Very, very wet. Damn it! God bless Providence!

Amiya: My bad, dear. Let me clean them off.

Tokahev: Oh god, Amiya! No! Please don't! I can't focus when you do this!

Amiya took Tokahev's fingers from between her legs, got down her knees, and began to suck the fingers clean.

Tokahev: Why, Amiya! Why are you doing this to me?!?

Amiya: What do you mean? A good wife always does this. A good wife from Providence does it even better.

Amiya sat up and whispered into Tokahev's ear.

Amiya: When was the last time I gave you head in this kitchen?

Tokahev: Okay, that's it!

Tokahev swept Amiya up by her feet and carried her into the bedroom. Her girlish laughter and excitement filled the halls as she realized her acts of temptation worked on the most powerful man in the world. The sound of their bedroom door closing was the last sound to fill the halls that morning. A few days later, King Salem of Sankadesh stopped at the the Menlayev Manor to pick up Tokahev and accompany him to the meeting in Syvia.

 Tokahev had combed his hair back, shaved down his beard, and dressed in layers for the event. Seraphina, Hita, Mori, and Marluxia saw him off outside in the overcast weather and chilly winds outside as Salem leaned against his carriage, waiting for Tokahev. Salem dressed as if it was still warm. A single tunic, 3 golden necklaces adorned with expensive jewels, royal rings, and a thin, silk, white robe over his shirt. He had grown his hair out long over the years, almost down to his hips. Amiya treated Tokahev more like a son than a husband as she said goodbye.

Amiya: Do you have your toothbrush?

Tokahev: Of course I do.

Amiya: Okay. A change of clothes? I'm telling ya, if wine spills on your nice coat or tops, you're gonna want a good set of alternative clothes.

Tokahev: Not even Kalina treated me like this.

Amiya: Kalina was too soft on you!

Tokahev: I have everything, alright?

Marluxia: Calm down, Mom. He's a grown man.

Tokahev: See? Marluxia knows what's up. Marluxia, when I get back, let's take a few visits to the Supreme Senate together, so you can see what it's like for yourself.

Marluxia: Sounds boring, but completely necessary.

Amiya: We have an absent minded genius for a son.

Hita: How long will you be gone?

Tokahev: 2 or 3 days. If the snow is thick and it starts storming, maybe 3 or 4 days. We're not going too far into Syvia.

Amiya: What....what the hell is Salem wearing? Does he know what season it is?

Salem waved at Amiya when he noticed her gaze upon him. Amiya waved back and smiled, keeping her repulsion on the inside.

Amiya: I don't even think he's human. Does he breathe?

Tokahev: It's very warm in Sankadesh, but they also have harsh winters. This is probably nothing for him. Anyway, I gotta go. I love you, take care. Marluxia, as always, you're the man of the house. Mori, you're second in command. Hita, you're third in command.

Marluxia: Understood, daddy-o.

Hita: Every single time....

Amiya and Tokahev gave each other a quick lover's peck before Tokahev descended down the steps and towards Salem. Amiya stuck her middle finger at Salem while Tokahev was walking. Salem responded the only way he knew how.

Salem: Hey, Amiya my darling! Are you pregnant with a 4th child or did you gain weight?

Amiya: Asshole! You just take care of my husband, alright? Both of you come home safe!

Salem: You know I will, ma'am! Hey there Hita, Mari, Marluxia!

Tokahev's children waved back at Salem.

Tokahev: Thanks for picking me up, man.

Salem: No problem. I'm quite curious to sit down with the man who squashed Hammurabi. You think he's scoping us out?

Tokahev: Not here. Let's get in the carriage.

Salem and Tokahev boarded the carriage, and the horses made their way to Syvia, coached by Salem's private serviceman.

Tokahev: I would agree. Yondel is trying to equip himself with the benefits of face-to-face evaluation. Which can only mean one thing...

Salem: He has bigger moves in mind. Hell, he's already gotten away clean with that Koga business. I can't believe you let him go for that.

Tokahev: Please, a war between modern day Vevoskovia and Syvia? We may as well just call it Armageddon and dig our own graves.

Salem: Knowing you, you probably want to seek powerful allies to try and diplomatically push Syvia to stop their acts of aggression, rather than resorting to bloodshed.

Tokahev: I'm really impressed and very creeped out that you analytical skills are that sharp.

Salem: Sankadesh and Asaji have gotten a better relationship over these past few years. What if I plugged you in? Gave Mustapha the good word for you?

Tokahev: Asaji?! Seriously? That would be wonderful! I've long dreamed of forming an alliance with them, but the terms have always been slippery. Wait...what exactly did they do to appease you?

Salem: Are you kidding? Have you ever gone to Asaji for yourself? the king always treats royal guests with the best women in the Asaji DAY! Big, round, beautiful brown butts and boobs! I swear, those girls must have some kind of oral sex training, because they sure know their magic.

Tokahev: Why do you wait to tell me these things AFTER I get married and have kids....why does polygamy have to be discouraged here?

Salem: Because in a lot of ways, Vevoskovia is still backwards.

Elsewhere under the overcast sky, Samba has returned to Deshavi HQ after being sent on an easy mission to make sure Tokahev made a safe departure. He had been watching in secret and in hiding the whole time. He entered Katya's office and knelt before her and she read books about Marluxian Seals at her table. Katya looked exhausted. Her job as commander was very demanding. She had to be on top of every situation both at home and across the world.

Katya: Ah, Samba. How did it go?

Samba: They've left safely. All is going well.

Katya: Good. We can only hope this meeting at least bears some kind of fruit. But I have a feeling Yondel is just using this to further his plans for conflict. Regardless, good work.

Samba: Thank you, ma'am. Uhm, can I ask you something?

Katya: Why, of course you can. What is it?

Samba: Your eye. Did you damage it?

Katya was confused at first, but realized he was pointing her out eye patch.

Katya: Oh! You mean this! No, I didn't damage it. I lost it. The whole thing.

Samba was shocked, but very intrigued.

Samba: Would it be too much if I asked exactly how you lost it?

Katya: No, I suppose not. You see, when I was about 17 years old, I was still in the Deshavi Black Ops, just like you. I was one of the only people in the history of the Deshavi to be considered suitable for a special kind of application of the Marluxian Arts. Usually, it is performed with one's hands. However, one could also perform it with their eyes. Ocular energy exertion. OEE training.

Samba: How does that work? It doesn't sound very safe...

Katya: Just as one uses his mind to focus and single out energy from the heavenly bodies and then exerts it through their hands, that energy can be stored in the brain and exerted through the eyes. So, if you wanted an Eye of Mars, you'd undergo specific training to help you store Mars's energy in your brain, and then channel that energy to one of your eyes. Then, it can be exerted that way. It's actually really beneficial. You could perform two Marluxian Arts at the same time very easily if you perform one with your hands and the other with your eyes. But, your guess is right. It isn't safe. Only a few people could ever do it. I am one of them. The problem with OEE is that it's far more dangerous than just using your hands. You can damage your eyes in many ways, and in the worst cases, you can damage your brain. Trauma from the usage of OEE could lead to brain hemorrhage, brain shrinkage, permanent stasis, paralyzation, or death. In my case, I lost my eye in a battle in the Koga region. I had to use my eye at its full power. It lost its vision, tore the retina apart, and popped god knows how many blood vessels. I had to get rid of it. So I pulled it out.

Samba: What kind of battle would require you to use such a large amount of energy?

Katya: I don't even know who they were. One of them called themselves Lilly. There was an older man among them, and then......and then there was a traitor from the Deshavi. But, as it stands, I'm not really allowed to talk too much about the details of their identities. It hasn't been confirmed who the other two were.

Samba: I see. Katya?

Katya: Yes?

Samba: You look very pretty, even with your eyepatch.

Katya was caught off guard by the compliment. The young boy had made her blush like a school girl.

Katya: I-I...uhm, wow. Thank you so much. I've actually always been a little insecure about it. I really needed that. That's definitely gonna help me get through this work faster! Thank you Samba! But hey, next time, don't hit on your superior.

Samba: Hit on? Oh no, I wasn't.....yes ma'am......

Katya: Is that all then?

Samba: Yes.

Katya: Dismissed then, sweetheart.

Samba got up and departed the office, bowing on his way out as an unrequired, yet thoughtful way to show an extra ounce of respect. Samba was the only one who ever did that.

Katya: How could someone as pure-hearted and sweet as him be in the Deshavi Black Ops. Life is just too cruel sometimes.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 10:48:40 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 10:57:30 PM »
Feathers Heavier than the Heart
On the restless journey to Syvia, Salem and Tokahev trekked dangerous mountain paths, gorgeous valleys, and snow covered forests of icy streams and pine trees. The Sankadesh Sub Rosa Services and the SOE worked together to protect both kings along the way. Through the cold days and nights of the Syvian winter, Tokahev and Salem made their way to their designated meeting place, and right on time too. Their meeting was to take place in a small yet very beautiful and lively town built along a hill, next to the Syvian Ocean.

Buildings cascaded down the hill, and were often painted bright colors. When the sun shined on the town, the corridors and courtyards were soaked in the color of the buildings in the surrounding area. Syvian architects liked to make use of color bouncing off of surfaces. Salem and Tokahev were guided by Syvian guards up to the Pearl Castle. The castle itself was made of limestone, but was complimented by the abundant amounts of marble statues depicting Syvian warriors pointing their spears skyward and holding their shields to the ground. Although the design of the castle was very clearly a testament to the pride of the Syvian people, the staff and servers at Pearl Castle made Salem and Tokahev feel right at home.

They were guided by beautiful women dressed in white floral robes made of silk that didn't cover their shaven legs. The halls were large and the ceiling was tall. Romantic, nudist, and slightly erotic statues adorned the inside of the castle until they reached the dining room. Thankfully, it was a round table. Lo and behold, King Yandel had just finished setting the table as he saw Salem and Tokahev walk in. He stuck out his arms and greeted them. He was a man of lavish tastes according to his robes, jewelry, and food.

Yandel: The genius king of Sankadesh and the merciful Tokahev of Vevoskovia. Glad you could make it here. I hope the snow didn't chill your bones.

Salem: You have lovely women here, where are they from?

Yandel: Pure Syvians. Born and raised.

Tokahev: Why must all of this happen AFTER I get married and have children...

Yandel shook firm hands with Tokahev and looked him in his eyes.

Yandel: Wonderful to have you here.

Tokahev: Likewise.

Yandel: Come, sit. I'll have the girls bring the food out when it's ready. In the mean time, you're free to snack on some grapes and strawberries.

To the rest of the world, this was just a peaceful dinner. To Tokahev, Salem, and Yandel, this was a very discreet battle. It was a fight for information on the enemy. How weak they are, how feeble minded they are, how decrepit their will to stand firm is. It was a battle that would be fought over berries.

Meanwhile, Marluxia was on his way to Tenzo Academy. Amiya made sure to wake up early, see to it he eats breakfast, drinks a full glass of milk, and wears something comfortable for the weather.

Amiya: Do you have everything you need? Notes, homework, money for lunch?

Marluxia: Yeah, I'm all set mom. Geez, you act like I'm moving to Asaji or something, like you'll never see me again.

Amiya's face reflected someone who was caught being too overbearing, but didn't quite want to admit it.

Amiya: Alright, whatever. Go to school, kiddo. Keep bringing home those good grades!

Marluxia: Sure thing, Ma!

Marluxia rushed out the door when he was called by his mother for one more thing.

Amiya: Marluxia, dear. You're forgetting something.


Marluxia give a big kiss to his mother and then continued out of the door and into his carriage. She may have seemed overbearing, but Amiya loved her children. She was happy to have been able to have a family with her first love, after all. She waved goodbye from the door, and Marluxia waved back as the horses pulled the carriage towards Tenzo Academy. The academy was built during the reign of Ishta Menlayev about 200 years ago, making it the oldest educational institution in the country.

It looked very much like a large castle with rather gothic architecture. As permitted by the Supreme Senate, young Syvian students could enroll at the academy. Quite a few Syvians actually made the cut, but it would be a mere dream to say there wasn't hostility among the Syvian and Vevoskovian students. It was especially trouble during history class, whenever the lessons had anything to do with Syvia or Vevoskovia.

Luckily, today was about the Golden Empire. The classrooms were as tranquil as libraries, and were built like them too, just minus the bookshelves. Polished wood and lovely carpets filled every classroom. The professor wrote out a timeline on the chalkboard to help teach today's lesson. The students were thoroughly studying the different periods of the Golden Empire.

Prof: Now, by the time the Saataan Conflict had ended, Freya Uzakaska took the throne, becoming queen of the mightiest empire of its time. I'm sure some of you know what name was given to Freya during her reign, right? Marluxia? How about you?

Marluxia stood up, becoming the apex of attention in the class.

Marluxia: Of course. Freya Uzakaska was infamously dubbed as the Mad Queen. That name was given to her for multiple reasons. First, she incarcerated her mother and father for questioning her rule. Then, she got revenge on the Eucanorian princess that tried to seduce her sister by demanding the fetus of a pregnant woman be cut out and cooked into a stew. They masked the flavor with garlic and sweet onion and waited until she ate all of it to tell her she had just eaten a dead fetus. And another time, while having intercourse with several female concubines, she found that one of their breast sizes were not to her liking. So, she had her thrown off of the palace roof. The guards were ordered to move the body into the grass and let her cadaver fertilize the soil, and she continued to have intercourse with her concubines.

Prof: Excellent! Indeed, as you can all see, Freya Uzakaska certainly deserved her title. But there is a reason for that last story. See, governments weren't all that fleshed out back then, as we've learned so far. There were many power hungry men who wanted to take control of the Golden Empire. So, what's a female ruler to do with all of those men trying to marry her and seize her power, or co-opt her regime?

Student: Reject the men and use concubines instead. They're technically property of the queen, and by extension, the state. Make them women in that era and they also have far less social privileges and authority. They were essentially powerless and could be used or abused at any time she wanted.

Prof: Exactly! Back then, when you didn't want your ruler, or you wanted to become the ruler, you simply killed the existing ruler. There were no impeachment processes, no votes. Kill or be killed. Despite the many atrocities committed by Freya, she is still regarded as one of the greatest rulers of the Golden Empire. The empire doubled in size during her reign and managed to sustain itself with an even more powerful military and abundance of resources. This prosperous phase of the Golden Empire is what became known as the Uzakaska Period.

As the hand struck the hour, the bells from the bell tower rung, signaling the end of the school day. Marluxia could always see the bell tower from his history class, but it was a little obscured in the light fog of the snowy day. Students began to gather their things and leave the classroom. Marluxia however liked to stay and do most of his homework there, since he loathed having to do it at home. By the time he finished, it was dark. The professor came back into the classroom once more to make sure nobody was left, and that he had everything with him before he locked up.

Prof: Marluxia, it's almost closing time. Your carriage should be outside soon.

Marluxia: Ah yes! Thank you! I just finished, so I'll get going now.

Prof: Excellent work today. Keep it up.

Marluxia: Thank you, sir.

Marluxia walked out into the courtyard, expecting to walk a straight line from the courtyard to the gate. The laughter of students behind him made him stop in his tracks and listen closely for their footsteps. They were three Syvian young adults

Student: Going home now, Prince?

Marluxia: I have a family to return to. I advise you do the same.

Student: Oh! I'm sorry! You have a family! Good old eh...what was it, Tokahev and Amiya? Yeah, you're lucky. Real lucky. You mind telling you almighty father to let my parents out of jail for being "Illegal inhabitants"? Because, I mean, I would love to go back to my family every day, you know?

Marluxia: Aliens are jailed and then deported. Ask them to write you a post card and a bottle of breast milk.

Student: Wow! The son of Tokahev!

Marluxia was not interested in a fight. He continued to walk towards the gate, ignoring the laughter and howls of the students. One of the young men picked up a rock and chucked it at Marluxia's direction. The rock struck him in the back of the head and made him fall to the ground. Thankfully, he wasn't knocked unconscious, but the students began to surround Marluxia and kick him into the ground.

Student: How does it feel to be the one on the ground?! Huh?!?!

Marluxia laid on the floor as the students finished beating on him.

Students: It's by Yandel's grand mercy this very city isn't in flames right now. 'Skovy scum.

The students cheered and began to walk away, but Marluxia was not about to let this go unpunished. He rushed behind one of the students and tackled him to the ground. The back of the student's neck hit the edge of a nearby wooden bench. When he landed on the floor, Marluxia began punching him in the face and head until he was kicked off by the other boys. They knelt down by their friend to pick him up, but noticed he was unresponsive. His eyes were jolting in all sorts of different directions until they eventually rolled into his head, and he stopped moving completely.

Student: Oh my god....what the hell did you do!??! Hey, get up! Get up!

Marluxia began to realize what was happening as he sat himself up. He realized the Syvian student hit his neck on the sharp edge of the bench. In his blind rage, Marluxia had killed a student. His eyes continued to gaze on the body as his friends screamed for help and cried in agony. He sat there, just like that, until the police were summoned and took him away. He was chained by his hands and driven away by carriage, still unable to do so much as move or breathe properly. He had just killed someone.

His carriage driver, who had been waiting for him, saw the police haul him away and returned immediately to the Menlayev Manor to tell Amiya. He rang the doorbell over and over in a frantic panic until he was answered by a clearly sleepy Amiya.

Amiya: What took you so long? Where's Marluxia?

Driver: Madame, I waited for Marluxia as I regularly do, and I saw him being carried away into a police carriage!

Amiya's eyes immediately shook the exhaustion off of them. She was now at full energy and awareness.

Amiya: What?! Are you absolutely sure!? But that doesn't make sense! Why would he be arrested?

Driver: I don't know, Madame. We should stop by the police station and see him there.

Amiya: Yes! Immediately!

Amiya put on her slippers and exited the manor in a rush, not even worrying about putting on proper clothes or a coat. They hurriedly made their way to the police station. Amiya was absolutely furious as she walked in. She walked past the guards at the door and straight to the receptionist, demanding to see her son.

Amiya: It is to my understanding the my son, my boy, Marluxia, was taken here earlier, am I correct? Let me see him!

Receptionist: Oh...yes! He was brought here around 20 minutes ago. But, even if it's you, my lord, I cannot allow you to disrupt a police interrogation.

Amiya: Interro......what happened?!?! Why is he being interrogated?!

Receptionist: Please, my lord, you must calm down. I cannot allow you in there until his questioning is over.

Amiya: Stay the hell out of my way if you want to keep your job! I'm going to see my son!

Amiya stormed through the building, looking through the windows of every room until she finally spotted Marluxia sitting in a white room with 3 police officers. He was given hot chocolate to drink so he could keep warm. He was crying and clearly distraught. Amiya immediately barged through the door as two of the officers attempted to peacefully guide her out of the room upon her entrance. She pushed them both off and demanded a reason for all of this.

Amiya: Officer Pinoy! I am a loving, hardworking mother of three. I will sweat, cry, bleed, and die for my family if need be! As your queen and the one person on this earth that you answer to before you even pray to god, I demand an explanation as to why my son is being interrogated!

Pinoy: Please, calm down. There's no need to yell. A boy as Tenzo Academy has been slain. Marluxia is our prime suspect.

Amiya took a look at Marluxia, who looked back at her with his crying eyes. It broke her heart. Her eyes began to soak in tears as she slapped Pinoy across the face so hard he fell out of his seat.

Amiya: How dare you! How dare you! My boy is not a murderer! He has a loving home, a big heart, and he works hard every day to make sure his father is proud of him and his brothers look up to him!

Pinoy: I'm sorry, Amiya. But Marluxia has already admitted to it himself. He got into a physical altercation with a group of students who were harassing him. The began to beat him down. He got up as they were walking away, tackled one of them and accidentally hit his neck against a bench. The student was confirmed dead at the scene. Since he got up and tackled that boy after they already began walking away, we cannot classify it as self-defense. But because it was an accident, he's definitely looking at manslaughter charges at best, 2nd degree murder at worst. No matter who's son he may be, it is my duty to you and to the nation to uphold the law equally for everyone.

Amiya turned back to Marluxia.

Amiya: Honey. Marluxia, my love, look at me.

Marluxia was still crying. He couldn't bare to look at his mother. Amiya knelt by his side and wrapped her hand around his.

Amiya: Baby, please. I want you to tell me. Is what he said true?

Marluxia gathered the courage to speak, even if it was just one word.

Marluxia: Yes....

Amiya held her hand over her mouth as she began to cry. She held Marluxia's hand tighter until she eventually took him into her arms and hugged him.

Pinoy: With all due sympathies and respect, Amiya, Marluxia will be transported to the holding cells tonight. There's a good chance the Supreme Senate will want to take up this case, considering he is an heir to the throne.

Amiya: I love you, Marluxia. I love you. No matter what you did, you're always in my heart.

Marluxia was taken from Amiya's arms and guided away to the holding cell. Only Pinoy and her remained in the room.

Amiya: This is going to be big and traumatizing for him. He'll never be the same.

Pinoy: This will also have a huge political impact. The deceased student was a Syvian.

Amiya was shocked to hear that. This ordeal was much worse than she thought. This case could actually affect the nation itself and its already decrepit relationship with Syvia.

While Tokahev dined with Yandel over roasted ribs and glazed sweet buns, he had no idea the amount of suffering his family was enduring, and how difficult it would be for him once he returned home. Indeed, from this moment, Marluxia's life would never be the same again.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 11:12:24 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2017, 09:22:25 PM »
That Which Cannot Be Avoided
After dining and conversing with the king of Syvia, Tokahev and Salem were just about on their way out. They pushed in their chairs and grabbed their coats as they walked to the door of the palace, their carriage waiting for them. Yandel walked them out.

Salem: Yandel, a pleasure. I believe we've learned a lot of interesting things about you.

Yandel: Yes, of course, likewise. Tokahev, you get home safely.

Tokahev: Snow and deep valleys won't stop me, I assure you.

Down the hall came a man, 16 years old. He was in a casual white tunic and black velvet pants. He was incredibly handsome, wore a gold necklace with the symbol of a crescent moon, and sported long, wavy, youthful hair down to his chest, just like his father. The young lad was Solomon, the prince of Syvia.

Yandel: Solomon? What are you doing down here?

Tokahev: Who's this?

Yandel: He's my only son. His name is Solomon.

Solomon shook Tokahev's hand and bowed his head.

Solomon: I've heard of you, you're the benevolent king of Vevoskovia. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I know there's an atmosphere of repudiation between our nations, but I hope it bears no affect on our ability to be on good personal terms.

Tokahev: Friendship is something I extolled when I first took the throne. It is something I still value. Considering your age, you must be on your way to being an official second-in-command for your father.

Solomon: Yes, that's right. I've taken all the exams, read most of the material, and I've taken the time to study previous leaders and the situations of the modern world. I wish to tackle these problems when I become king myself.

Tokahev: Is that so? You remind me of my own boys at home. I wish you luck in your quest.

Solomon: Much appreciated, sir. Be safe on your way home.

Salem: Come on, let's go. We're on a tight schedule.

Tokahev and Solomon left the castle and immediately began their ride back home. Most of the journey would be accompanied by gentle snow that piled on the ground and grew thicker with each day. This gentle scenery of snow covered valleys leading out of Syvia would be the gentle angel that thrusts him into the arms of chaos 4 days later. Salem, Tokahev, and their entourage of SOE and SRS security teams were greeted by a messenger rushing towards them on a horse as soon as they crossed the border and headed into the mainland.

Tokahev: Thank you for coming with me and handling the expenses, Salem. Having you there eased the tension, and you were able to analyze quite a bit of him.

Salem: Of course. Any matter concerning Syvia concerns Sankadesh, especially after the civil war. It's my duty to keep proxy wars from infesting the country. It only breeds more conflict.

The messenger's horse closed in on the chariot, making it clear to Tokahev and Salem that he was there to speak with them. The security was on guard at first, but was granted permission to get close to the two kings when he showed them his Supreme Senate Seal, legal proof that he is an official message bearer of Vevoskovia.

Messenger: Tokahev, my lord!

Tokahev: Hmm? What is it?

Messenger: Here, read this.

Tokahev took the scroll he was handed. It was a notification from the Supreme Senate about Marluxia. Tokahev read the letter in silence and became visibly agitated as he read until the end. His hands shook and his eyes widened, the signs of worry nesting within a man.

Tokahev: What is the meaning of this?!?

Messenger: Every word on that scroll is fact, sir. Your son, Marluxia, stands trial at the Supreme Senate for the killing of a fellow student.

Salem: What? Marluxia? But that can't be, they must be mistaken. I know that boy, he's as sweet as a strawberry. He would never kill anyone.

Tokahev: I...I must return home immediately. Salem, I know you meant to go right back to Sankadesh, but do you mind dropping me off at the manor?

Salem: Sure, I can spare the time. Are we done here, messenger?

Messenger: They also wanted me to tell you to be at tommorrow's hearing, early in the morning as soon as Tenzo Palace opens. That's all.

Tokahev: I understand. Tell them I will be there. Solomon, let's go!

The carriage continued to ride through the countryside like a furious dust storm. Tokahev wondered what had happened since he was gone. Why, when he comes back, is his son suddenly on trial for murder? He worried for Amiya's emotional health, as well as the well-being of his other sons. At sunset, the carriage finally arrived at the Menlayev Manor. Tokahev thanked Salem and waved goodbye as he quickly made his way out of Vevoskovia and back to Sankadesh, wishing him the best of luck in this situation.

When Tokahev stepped through the door, he called out for Amiya, who had been crying in the kitchen all afternoon. She rushed into Tokahev's arms and held onto him like he was a rock in the middle of a tsunami. Her eyes were puffy, red, and encircled from all of the crying and sleepless nights. She could not sleep with one of her boys missing from home.

Tokahev: Amiya, I've heard about the trial. What's going on? Marluxia couldn't have actually killed anyone, right? He's our boy!

Amiya: He didn't mean to, Tokahev! It was an accident! Some boys picked a fight with him and he got up and tackled one of them! The student hit his neck hard and it killed him instantly! He was a Syvian too, Tokahev! People are trying to spin it as a hate crime against Syvians!

Tokahev: What?

Katya emerged from the kitchen. Her presence startled Tokahev at first, but her being places without his knowledge was par for the course for someone in the Deshavi Black Ops.

Tokahev: You. Is this all really happening?

Katya: The trial has been going on for the past 4 days now. The way it's going, your son will end up in prison for a very, very long time. If that happens, he has no future.

Tokahev: They're already leaning towards guilty?!

Katya: They want to get this trial over with as quickly, smoothly, and quietly as possible. We can't afford the political consequences of a royal child killing a Syvian classmate and his parents trying to bust him out for it. Of course, I can see the futility in such a naive venture. But the Supreme Senate responded to dissidents within their own ranks with apothegmatic forcefulness. They believe it's axiomatic that the trial be hurried, or conflict will escalate. Once something this big happens, it's bound to hit the public before anyone can control it.

Tokahev: Damn them! Why do they keep making foolish decisions! If you're here, I take it you have a plan.

Katya: I do. But I must warn you, the plan is what has caused your beloved wife to cry for the past few hours.

Tokahev almost didn't want to hear it. What plan could possibly cause Amiya's eyes to be overrun with heart-wrenching tears?

Katya: If your son is found guilty, then as I said, he will be thrown in prison for a very long time. He may even face the death penalty if they conclude that his continuation of the altercation was unlawful. In which case, I have offered to break Marluxia out of prison and take him with me into the Deshavi Black Ops.

Tokahev: What the hell did you just say? Have you gone insane?! Marluxia is a prince! I will not have him join the Deshavi and become a killer in the shadows for Vevoskovia!

Katya: Marluxia will be unable to show his face in public, as there is fierce debate over the innocence and motive behind the altercation. He could be assaulted, reported, or killed. At the same time, if Marluxia were to come home, you'd be arrested for harboring a fugitive. Your life as the king and queen of Vevoskovia would be over. That could give the senate an opening to discontinue the Menlayev dynasty, and for obvious reasons, we simply cannot allow that. Please understand this. Your son can either rot in jail or join the Deshavi if he is found guilty. There is no going back to normal for him. Even if he's innocent, he would be illegible for the role you've groomed him for, since he now has a criminal record. He's too much of a controversial figure to participate in the things you wanted him to. He doesn't have a future anymore, Tokahev. He's *censored*ed. I need you to come to grips with that.

Tokahev knew that Katya was right. Marluxia's life is finished no matter the end result of the trial.

Tokahev: I need to talk it over with Amiya. Once the trial reaches its conclusion, I'll let you know what the decision is.

Katya: I understand. Please, think about this thoroughly and rationally. I'll be awaiting your orders, my lords.

Katya exited the manor and made her way back to Deshavi HQ. Jaya had taken a visit to Samba's room and had begun tying up Samba's fast-growing hair into all sorts of different styles while he read books on the art of swordplay.

Jaya: Gosh, how could it get this long. You really should cut it, Samba.

Samba: Yeah.

Jaya: Are you even listening to me?!

Samba: Yeah.

Jaya: No you aren't.

Samba: Yeah.

Jaya slapped Samba upside the head as Katya opened the door and summoned them both. They weren't exactly given a mission, but a warning. If things went south regarding Marluxia's trial, they would be the ones to take Marluxia into the Deshavi Black Ops, and he would most likely end up as the 3rd member of their team. Jaya and Samba agreed with conviction and vigor to accept that task and its circumstances if they arise.

 The very honor and image of the royal family hung in the balance, it looked like it was an uphill battle. There might truly be no hope of Marluxia ever being able to live a normal life again. Worse yet, Katya worried how Hita and Mori would be able to cope with their brother forever belonging to the grip of the Deshavi Black Ops. But it was needless worrying. Tokahev and Amiya would be the ones to figure that part out.

Katya teleported to Seraphina's countryside cottage in the night. Seraphina heard a knock on her door and stepped outside to talk, knowing it was someone from the Deshavi Black Ops. She wore nothing but a light, thin robe over herself.

Seraphina: What is it?

Katya: There's urgent business. I need you to keep tabs on Marluxia starting tomorrow. He will be transferred somewhere tomorrow night after his trial. Either he will be released from temporary holding, or he will be transferred to a prison somewhere. Wherever he goes, follow him. Samba and Jaya will then go with you to retrieve him.

Seraphina: Retrieve him? You're thinking about taking him into the Deshavi Black Ops, aren't you?

Katya: Its the only place he can go. His life is done, no matter the result of all of this.

Seraphina: I suppose you're right. Thankfully, you taught me all about invisibility and teleportation. I can do it.

Katya: Thank you, Seraphina. Oh, by the way, have you visited Vera yet?

Seraphina: Yeah! Actually, she's drinking tea in the kitchen right now.

Katya: She's here?! And you're dressed like that?!?! Oh god, I'm sorry, I came at the wrong time, didn't I!

Seraphina: What do you...

Serapina realized that her homely attire was sending the wrong message.

Seraphina: Oh, no no no! I mean, she's really sweet and beautiful, but I don't roll that way! I always sleep naked, it's comfortable like that! Besides, we're both women, so I didn't think it would be a problem if I came out in a robe!

Katya: Oh...alright then. Ahem! Well then, I'll be on my way.

Seraphina: Huh? You don't want to see her?

Katya stood in her tracks and became lost in her own thoughts.

Katya: No. I...I just can't. But please do keep her company. Knowing her, she gets lonely easily. She's always been like that. She may hurl insults at you, but Vera is a lonely and fragile girl inside. That's why she's the way she is.

Seraphina: Right...I'll keep hanging out with her then.

Katya: Thank you.

Katya walked off into the night, taking her time to stroll by the countryside. Vera was lucky. She could live without the memory of the things she did in her life, and only with the memories of the people she knew. Katya didn't want to blight that innocence. At least with pure ignorance of her missions with the Deshavi, Vera could continue to smile as she always did, even after she put her life and career on the line to save Katya.

Elsewhere under the moonlit countryside, Phaedra leaped through the plains with the Art of Mercury, which lightened her step and increased her speed. Blindfolded and wearing her Phoenix Demon cloak, Phaedra made her way to a cottage next to a stream, far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It was a large place, luxurious and clearly meant as a getaway. Phaedra slipped right through the door with an instant of intangibility that allowed her to pass through solid mass. She quietly and carefully searched the rooms before heading upstairs. With her step lightened, she hardly made a sound, nor did the stairs creek.

She crept slowly and poked her head around corners and into rooms. Finally, she had found what she was looking for; A sleeping and vulnerable Borealis, former commander of the Deshavi Black Ops before Katya. Borealis slept with his back turned towards the door and was vulnerable to attack from behind. But who would think that a long retired Deshavi commander would ever be attacked in his own home?

Borealis: Who are you, and why have you disturbed my slumber?

Phaedra was taken by surprise as Borealis somehow knew she was there.

Pheadra: Damn it!

Phaedra summoned her kusarigama as Borealis jumped out of bed and out through the window. He clasped his hands and let out a raging wave of fire through his hands. The entire cottage was now ablaze, but that didn't seem to stop Phaedra. Protected by the White Phoenix, flames had no power over her. She busted through the burning wood and timber of the cottage and stared down Borealis as the flaming house lit up the area.

Borealis: You....I remember you. You and I fought in Koga. I thought I killed you.

Phaedra: Don't flatter yourself, former commander. I'm not very easy to kill. Nor would I ever fall to the likes of you.

Borealis: I take it you're here to kill me? Will you at least do the honorable thing and tell my why you're here?

Phaedra's shadow was cast a long ways down the plain. The blade of her kusarigama glistened in the light of the fire behind her.

Phaedra: That statue. It is called the Forbidden Statue. It holds many inconceivable secrets about humanity, the afterlife, and the end of all things. The one person who was able to connect with the statue and the demon inside of it was.....oh, what was his name again...

Borealis, angered by Phaedra's disrespectful inability to even recall the name of someone she helped manipulate yelled out in anger.

Borealis: Kruger!

Phaedra: Ah yes! The guinea pig. Kruger was the only one able to connect with the statue and absorb its powers. Well, a tiny portion of it. Anyway, I can't ask him about it, because he's dead. I thought the Deshavi would have his brain laying around somewhere, since the guy did grow an eye on his forehead. But it seems the Deshavi isn't as bright as I thought they were.

Borealis: So then, concerning that statue, you believe I hold some intel about it. And so, you're out to get me.

Phaedra: Exactly. Make this easy and accept death. I won't tell you a second time.

Borealis looked up at the sky and noticed thick clouds covering the moon.

Borealis: You used the Art of Uranus while you were still concealed in the building...

Phaedra dashed at Borealis, who was just barely able to block the strike from her kusarigama with his bare arms. He suffered a deep wound and began bleeding through his arms. With no weapons or armor, Phaedra had the upper hand in this fight. Borealis managed to break away, but found himself on the defensive again as Phaedra now swung the weighted end of her kusarigama at him, reinforced with the power of the Art of Earth. Every attack literally shattered the ground where it hit. Borealis rolled and tumbled out of the way of the weight. Phaedra made an abrupt horizontal swing that came around and hit Borealis ribs on the left side. The hit made it difficult for him to breathe, cracked his ribs, and damaged his heart. Another hit like that, and he's certain to suffer massive internal bleeding.

Before he could get a grip on his bearings, Phaedra had already lunged towards Borealis once more. They were locked in a seemingly endless flurry of fist blows until Phaedra began to hug him tightly.

Borealis: What are you-?

The real Phaedra jumped out of the tall grass and unleashed a helix of fire that spiraled rapidly towards Borealis. The clone's forehead lit up with the symbol of Neptune and exploded into a foul smelling liquid. In a panic, Borealis jumped away from the pool of flammable liquid, but as the helix of fire violently impacted the pool, Borealis suffered burns to his face and chest. They were quickly extinguished, but his skin and vision were damaged.

Phaedra: What happened to you? You were much stronger back then. Oh, but I guess being away from combat for so long has made you incompetent. Yet not a bit complacent. I'm sorry to be so deprecatory on your last night alive, but I find your ineptitude offensive. Won't you even try to stay alive tonight?

Borealis began to cough up blood from the first hit he sustained. It seemed the damage was finally kicking in.

Phaedra: Oh, I think I see now. Not only have you been away from combat, but you're also aging. Your organs are kicking up the dirt of their own grave by nature. Probably even more so since you used the Marluxian Arts all your life. I bet it hurt like hell, didn't it? And that hit you took just now? You probably wouldn't have been able to use it at all anyway. So, although disappointingly short, I guess this is where you die.

Borealis clasped his hands and ran circles so fast around Phaedra that the wind in the area almost felt like it was storming. With even more speed, Phaedra actually began to be lifted off the ground and up into the air by the current that Borealis was creating. Phaedra could hardly keep up with his movements. Borealis then jumped into the air and began kicking Phaedra in the stomach, alternating his legs as they kept ascending. Phaedra knew immediately what Borealis was trying to do.

Borealis: This is a battle of the heart for me! I will not lose this fight!

Phaedra: You think I don't see what you're doing, old man?!

Phaedra's abdomen withstood the relentless and speedy attacks. Although they had speed, they lacked power. Borealis's body had simply reached its limit. Phaedra summoned her chain whip and wrapped around Borealis's leg. With a clasp of her hands, the chain whip tightened itself around Borealis's leg, who tried desperately to get it off. The whip tightened until it crushed the bones in his leg and split open the skin, emptying it of muscle, blood, and bone until it looked like a popped sausage. Borealis fell back down to the ground, and Phaedra made a gentle descent as well. Now loosing a lot of blood through his leg, Phaedra began to walk towards Borealis, who tried in all his futility to crawl away.

Phaedra: Now THAT was a battle of the heart. You should never underestimate the Asane clan!

Borealis: A...s..Asane? Impossible....only....the royal....

Phaedra: Oh, right. History tells you the Asane clan is on the brink of extinction. That's still true, even if the Menlayevs still keep a healthy family going. But I suppose wherever history told you that I perished, they were utterly mistaken.

Borealis: That blindfold.....it finally...makes sense....but I still can't believe it....you can't be....her....

Phaedra took out her kusarigama and prepared to finish the job.

Phaedra: Your rationale? 'Oh, she died hundreds of years ago, didn't she? She was exiled to the desert and left to die, wasn't she?' Well, I am very much alive. More so than you'll ever be from now on. Try not to look so pathetic as you die, Borealis. I'll be taking your head now. I don't want you having such a pitiful expression when the muscles in your face grow stiff.

Without another word, Phaedra decapitated Borealis and held his head by his hair as she stood in front of the flaming house. As she was instructed, Phaedra summoned the aura of the White Phoenix, and had it fire a white flare into the sky, signaling Von to come pick her up. Von's dimensional teleportation made its appearance with the sound and sight of the air in a certain point in space being disrupted. Out of the spiraling wormhole came Von, unhooded with his left eye glowing crimson red.

Von: Good, you preserved his head. I have no doubts he has information on the nature of the Forbidden Statue. I'll be sure to do a thorough scan of his brain. Come along now, princess.

Von and Phaedra teleported away, leaving the bloodied, burned, and broken corpse of Deshavi to rot away without a care in the world. He was yet another Deshavi who would die without so much as a thanks from the people he devoted his life to. This was the fate of all Deshavi. It was inevitable.

The Darkness Ahead
Early in the morning, on a snow-covered day in the capital of Vevoskovia, nearly every significant figure in the central Vevoskovian government and armed forces assembled in the Grand Court, a space built for dealing with internal criminal trials. It was very much like the Supeme Senate's hall in the way it was built. The ceiling was domed and much higher, and a massive, glittering statue of Lady Justice sitting on a throne adorned with roses sat behind the elder judge and peacekeeper. Everyone knew who the unfortunate guest of honor would be for this trial as they took their seats in the outer ring of the courtroom. The Supreme Senate took their seats in the inner ring and stood before the elder judge formally, with concomitant respect. Tokahev and Amiya sat in a secluded box seat, elevated off of the ground floor and overlooking the courtroom. Their hearts pounded uncontrollably, their breathing was labored and anxious, and their eyes were surrounded by dark circles of restlessness and despair.

Judge: Senate. Rise.

The members of the Supreme Senate uniformly stood up together and placed their right hands over their hearts. Formality was typical and expected in this setting, with such an important issue.

Senate: We, the 12 elected members of the Vevoskovian Supreme Senate, vow on this day to uphold this nation's values of justice. For the men and women on earth, and for God above.

Judge: Be seated.

Together again, all members of the Senate sat back down.

Judge: Today, as mandated by Vevoskovian laws of internal affairs, this court will decide the fate of one Marluxia Menlayev, son of our leaders Tokahev and Amiya Menlayev. Marluxia will stand for the murder of an unarmed Syvian classmate within the premises of Tenzo Academy of Sciences and Development. Please, bring the accused onto the floor.

The door swung open, and everyone in the room turned their heads to lay their eyes on a visually distraught Marluxia being led onto the court floor by two armed guards. The chain of his cuffed hands, compounded by faint sounds of whispers, were the only sounds echoing throughout the courtroom. Amiya wrapped her arm around Tokahev's as she watched her son. Marluxia took his seat and was freed of his cuffs. He sat in a lowered seat next to the elder judge's seat and could feel the gaze of all the Supreme Senate members, commanders, generals, advisors, and emissaries.

Senator Vezburn weighed his thoughts first.

Vezburn: Marluxia, who has admitted his guilt concerning the aforementioned incident at Tenzo Academy, has done more than commit a horrible crime. He has endangered the peace and stability of Vevoskovia from within, as we have tried so hard to quell external threats. We are still in an era of war and violence, but the stakes are higher. With advancements in our weaponry, our tactics, as well as our sheer size, manpower, industries, and firepower, a war between Vevoskovia and Syvia would be much more destructive than it was during Ishta Menlayev's time. Millions of people would be embroiled in such a war. Many would die or be forced to migrate. Part of the reason this has not happened yet is because of our greater exploration of diplomacy, compromise, and healthy internal relationship with our citizens, as well as migrating Syvians. This incident, compounded by the greater output of migrants from Syvia following the recent revolution, has put Vevoskovia on top of a powder keg. It was always said by my fellow colleagues that if they perceive an incident as an injustice towards one of them, they will respond as a collective. An oppressed collective. Marluxia's actions have done just that. Never has the divide between Syvian and Vevoskovian been so wide and intense than it is now. The heir to the throne killing a young Syvian man, who had dreams and a future ahead of him. It has set our hard earned internal peace ablaze. Given the political and social climate of the modern day, I find it necessary for this nation to repudiate, condemn, and punish Marluxia to the highest extent of the law.

Amiya couldn't bare to watch anymore. She turned her head away and shut her eyes as tears forced themselves out of her eyes.

Amiya: They're going to kill our boy.

Tokahev didn't know what to say and there was nothing he could do.

One after the other, until the late afternoon, each senate member expressed similar sentiments as Vezburn. If they let Marluxia off easy, it could set up a terrible chain reaction of events. The elder judge stood up, towering over Marluxia, who was too ashamed to raise his head.

Judge: The voices of the Supreme Senate have been heard loud and clear. Although it pains me to do so, the law is just and treats everyone equally. Marluxia Menlayev is hereby sentenced to capital punishment, for the good of this nation. The exact date and manner of his demise will be decided by the prefectural attorney for his holding facility. May god help your soul, justice has been served.

The bell in the hand of Lady Justice was rung and hollowed throughout the courtroom as everyone got up and exited. Marluxia was cuffed again, but the guards had trouble getting him out of his seat. He wept with his face buried in his hands, condemned to death by the people he admired and hoped to lead one day. The hearts of the King and queen were broken.

Hita wasn't told directly what was happening to his brother, or why he was suddenly missing, but Mori was keen and filled him in that night as they laid in their beds. Amiya had come home alone and immediately locked herself in her bedroom.

Hita: Trial?!

Mori: Yeah. The crime was severe, do they may dish out a very harsh sentence. That's why mom and dad left early today. Well, it's probably less of a trial at this point and more of a meeting to decide the proper recourse.

Hita: Is Marluxia gonna be okay? They won't kill him, right?

Mori: I really don't know. But mom didn't even come in to tell us good night. I have a feeling things didn't go too well. But we need to keep ourselves together. If we start crying, it will only make mom cry more. So, let's be strong, Hita.

Hita: Alright. For mom. We should make her breakfast in the morning. People forget to eat when they get sad, and she's no different. We've got to give her the love that Marluxia can't right now.

Moonlight shined brightly through the glass door of the master bedroom as Amiya laid on her back, staring up at the ceiling and crying.

Tokahev secretly met with Katya in Castle Asane. They both sat in the plant house, which held various kinds of potted plants, streams of water pouring out of the walls and flowing though small canals in the ground that ended at several pools, allowing for lotus flower to grow, and a row of colored windows for a peaceful atmosphere when the sun or moon shines through.

Katya and Tokahev sat either their feet in one of the pools, watching the lotus flowers glow in the moonlight.

Tokahev: They'll ship him off to the nearest, yet most secure prison in the neighboring prefecture. Find out where.

Katya: You want me to bring him in?

Tokahev: We don't have a choice anymore. You were completely right. His life is over.

Katya: I'll have a team swoop him up and bring him to Deshavi HQ then. Apologize in advance to Amiya for me. She must know this is the only way, but that won't stop her from hating me.

Tokahev: I know.

Katya: So. What now?

Tokahev: I must work to quell the social upheaval surrounding the recent events. I have to continue being Vevoskovia's King. Mori will have to take Marluxia's place as heir.

Katya: I see. Good luck with that. I'll raise Marluxia into a fine soldier.

Katya clasped her hands and disappeared, leaving Tokahev to his thoughts.

Tokahev: Silly.

Tokahev glanced over to Katya's boots, left aside before she put her feet in the pool.

Tokahev: She forgot her boots.

The woeful King spent that night in Castle Asane, too ashamed to even come home. Hita and Mori woke up in the morning and immediately got to work. They raced down to the kitchen and began preparing breakfast.

Mori: We'll make her glazed cinnamon buns, maple chicken sausages, vanilla and strawberry waffles, and a glass of orange juice. Sound good?

Hita: I don't think mom will be in the mood to eat all of that. Even if she eats, her appetite will still be minimized, won't it?

Mori: Hmm... I didn't really think that one out.

Hita: Maybe we can go with two waffles, make them small, 3 sausages, and some glazed buns.

Mori: Sounds like a plan!

Hita and Mori both tied back their long hair into pony tails. They cooked their hearts out, adding every ingredient with love, care, and concern. Mori plated all of the components of the dish and Hita put the plates on a tray, ready to carry the meal up to their mother's room. Mori walked behind Hita as they slowly went up the stairs together.

Hita: Why exactly are you walking behind me? I'm the one carrying stuff.

Mori: Exactly. I'll have your back in case you drop this and mess everything up.

Hita: Glad to know you don't trust me to carry up a plate of food, bro.

They made it to the top of the stairs without missing so much as a drop of orange juice. Mori opened the door, allowing Hita in first.

Mori: Hey, mom. You up?

Amiya sat up and rubbed her eyes, her blinds still closed and the room dark.

Amiya: Oh, yes! I'm sorry, dear. Did you need something?

Hita: We're fine! We made you breakfast.

Mori opened the blinds, and the dark room was illuminated by morning sunlight. Amiya could see the tray of food Hita held, noticing they prepared her favorite breakfast and minimized the portion size. They knew she was hurting.

Amiya: You made this? For me?

Hita: Of course we did, mom. We love you.

Amiya's face was streamed with tears that reflected the sunlight in the room. She didn't initially realize she was crying.

Hita: Whoa, what?

Hita looked at the tray of food with a puzzled, yet saddened expression.

Hita: Did we do something wrong?

Amiya: Oh gosh, no! Not at all! I'm just...thank you!

Amiya put the tray to the side and got up to hug Hita, who was smothered by her chest and the fabric of her nightgown.

Amiya: I love you so much, babe. It looks delicious. Mori! Get over here!

Mori was wary about Amiya's knack for generic, overbearing, motherly affection.

Mori: Uh, actually...Oh! I forgot! The bath water is still running!

Amiya: You're not getting away that easily! Besides, when you two were really little, you used to take baths with me!

Mori: We're a little old for that now!

Hita: I don't mind taking baths with you, mom!

Mori: Hita, you traitor!

Amiya walked over to Mori, knelt so she can see him face to face, and gave him the biggest, most embarrassing kiss on the lips in front of his laughing brother.

Mori: Hita, help! She's mad I tell ya, mad!

Amiya: After I'm done kissing you, I'm gonna tickle you, and then we're gonna take a bath together!

Mori: Don't leave me like this, Hita!

Hita: I'm gonna go make some more glazed buns. See ya.

Amiya: Happy dining, sweetie!

Amiya looked down after she tackled Mori to the floor, but couldn't seem to locate Mori. Suddenly, a voice called to her.

Mori: Mom. Your boobs are choking me.

Amiya: Oh gosh! My bad, love.

Mori: It's okay.

Amiya: You don't have to bathe with me if you don't want to. I was just teasing!

Mori: No. Let's go ahead and do it if you want to. Argh! But no bubble soap!

Amiya: Really?!? I'll go start the water!

As annoying as it was, Mori was happy that his mother was happy. She had gone from moody to excited and locomotive in such a short span of time. It was all thanks to her beautiful sons.

While they enjoyed the glow of the morning sun, Jaya, Samba, and Locke knelt before Katya in her candlelit office at Deshavi HQ. Katya was regrettably barefoot, realizing she left her boots at Castle Asane.

Locke: Ma'am, your boots....

Katya: I know that! I didn't summon you here to discuss my feet! Foot loving degenerates don't have a place here in the Deshavi! Ahem! I am assigning you a very important mission, so listen closely. As you know, Marluxia Menlayev was condemned to capital punishment early yesterday. In response, Tokahev has given me the go-ahead to assimilate Marluxia into our ranks to keep him out of prison and away from the public.

Samba: We're breaking him out?

Katya: Correct. I've given his location and cell number to the Lunar Division. Tonight, you will be teleported to the prison and offer Marluxia an ultimatum. Join us or rot in prison. It's his choice entirely. We've waited until Marluxia was assigned a cell to avoid having to kill of incapacitate any prison personnel.

Jaya: That's it? Just go there, give him the choice, and pull out with him if he takes the opportunity?

Katya: That's it. Any questions?

Locke: If he refuses, should we wipe his memories of recent events so he doesn't go talking about us up anyone?

Katya: Do as you must.

Samba: Why did you choose such a distasteful color to paint your nails? Blue would've complimented your eyes. Pink is a Spring color, but it's almost the winter solstice.

Katya: I do what I want, when I want! Now *censored* off!

The three left Katya to her work and parted ways down the halls. Jaya and Samba walked together, eager to meet the son of the King and queen.

Jaya: I heard Marluxia was Tokahev's chosen heir. Must've hurt to be sentenced to prison by the government. It'll be weird to have someone from such an affluent bloodline join the Deshavi Black Ops.

Samba: True. But I think Katya has plans to properly assimilate him. He'll need to have his pride and sheltered attitude broken.

Jaya: Oh man, this is so exciting! Should I do my hair?

Samba: Yeah, you can stop. You'll never land Marluxia. Even if you could, it wouldn't matter. His name is worthless now.

Jaya: Way to shoot down a girl's dreams...

The night soon came. Locke assembled with Jaya and Samba in the Lunar Division's deployment area, which was exposed to the moonlight for functional purposes. Nadejda greeted the team as they walked in. Samba was always amazed at how the Lunar Division stays up in the night, watching over the world, drawing up complex lunar seals, and tracking down wanted individuals.

Locke: The Lunar Division's ability to focus and be tranquil is always refreshing. How are you doing, Nadejda?

Nadejda: I'm doing well. How are Jaya and Samba treating you?

Locke: Samba is especially surprising. He may grow up to be more powerful than Katya even.

Nadejda: Oh my!

Jaya: I exist too!

Locke: Anyway, they're ready. Take them where they need to go.

Jaya: You're supposed to come with us, deadbeat!

Locke: It's also my responsibility to make sure you can go deploy on your own. Consider this your first chance at independence. It's an easy mission.

Samba: I understand. Thank you for trusting us with such an important mission. Let's go, Jaya.

Jaya couldn't help but give Locke and Nadejda a stink face. But for now, she would trust Samba and go with the flow. The two were guided by Nadejda to the transportation seal, as she and 3 other Deshavi placed their hands on the corners of the seal.

Nadejda: Marluxia is in cell 98. We can teleport you there in a jiffy! Oh, you should probably go ahead and take out your climbing hooks.

Samba: Wha-

Samba and Jaya were teleported up into the snowy north. The prison was a small, yet expensive castle built along the upwards inclination of a mountain. Escape from here was impossible. If justice couldn't kill an inmate, the elements would. Samba and Jaya found themselves on a cliff overlooking the walls of one of the prison blocks. Barred openings to the cells were vaguely visible from their position.

Samba: This is what she meant. We can jump from here and latch on to the wall with our hooks.

Jaya: Damn her! She knows I hate heights!

Samba: Are you okay? You can wait here if you-

Jaya: I'm fine! Let's go.

Samba: So obstinate.

Jaya: *censored* you say?

Samba: Nothing, love! Let's go.

Samba stood up and prepared to jump from the cliff. Both of them had their hooks out in preparation.

Samba: One. Two. Three!

The two jumped from the cliff, the ice cold air blowing through their hair and into their ears as the moon shined behind the prison. With their hooks in position, they landed against the wall, digging in with their equipment, and slowly slid a short distance down the wall until they stopped moving.

Samba: Whew! Still hate heights?

Jaya:...I think my pee is frozen...

Samba: Get through it, princess. Check the cells. Marluxia is in here somewhere.

Jaya: Left to right!

Slowly, Jaya and Samba climbed by the openings and peers into the cells. Jaya nodded "no" if Marluxia wasn't in there, and the pair moved on. They kept up with this methodical approach until Jaya finally spotted Marluxia laying in his cell. She nodded "yes", prompting Samba to go through the wall with the Art of Saturn. Samba quietly landed on the floor without alerting Marluxia. Samba stealthily put his hands over Marluxia's mouth, swiftly silencing him when he noticed someone had been creeping up behind him. With minimal noise, Samba wrestled Marluxia out of bed and pushed him against the wall.

Samba: Shh! Quiet! If you alert the guards, I'm out of here!

Marluxia: Wait, are you Deshavi Black Ops?

Samba: Yeah, and we're here to give you an ultimatum.

Marluxia noticed Jaya peering in from the opening. She smiled and blushed when she met eyes with the condemned prince. So much so that she almost lost her footing and fell off of the wall, but smiled through the opening again to convey that she was okay.

Samba: Careful, Jaya!

Jaya: Sorry! Just hurry up! It's freezing out here!

Samba: Marluxia, listen to me. Either you join the Deshavi and devote your life to servitude, or you sit here in prison and rot. Which is it?

Marluxia: What?! I want to go home!

Samba: There is no home for you. Tokahev was the one that allowed us to ask you this. You return home, you'll be forcing your parents to harbor a fugitive. Neither them not us will let you jeopardize the dynasty for freedom. The public has denounced you, so good luck trying to ever show your face in public ever again. The only way you can be harbored by the Deshavi is if you join the ranks. Katya doesn't accept freeloaders. Your life is over. That's a fact. So make your choice.

Marluxia realized that what he was saying was true. Any idealized hope of a life after this ordeal was mere fantasy.

Marluxia: You're right. I can't risk destroying the dynasty. Just get me out of here. I'll give you my life if that's what you want.

Samba: Good. Then come with us. Jaya!

Jaya went right through the wall and into the room, bringing a stick of chalk with her to begin forming the Lunar Seal.

Jaya: All set for three! Just step in Zander press on the seal!

Marluxia did as he was instructed, knowing full well that he was in for a life of darkness. He could never see his parents again. He was bound to be Vevoskovia's secret and dedicated killing machine.

As they disappeared into the night, a much more ominous group of people met in the candle lit sanctuary of their underground hideout. Von and Phaedra took out the preserved head of their recent kill; Borealis.

Von: Wake him, Iris.

Iris walked out from the shadows, wearing a sleeveless black shirt and beaded necklace.

Iris: Damn, your eyesight is getting better, old man. I'll go wake him up.

A voice called out from the darkness ahead. The candles ahead lit in a pattern, like two stacks of dominoes falling towards Von, Phaedra, and Iris.

Phaedra: Zenbu.

Zenbu sat down on s throne, wearing his white cloak adorned with the symbol of Jupiter. His body was completely covered in white bandages, except for his red eyes of Nibiru. He kept a sword with a chain attached to it by his side, as well as a war fan that hung on the wall.

His ominous red eyes of cataclysm glowed amongst the candle light.

Zenbu: Bring his head. We shall unlock the secrets of the Forbidden Statue.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2017, 03:15:54 PM »
The Power of Loss, the Loss of Power
The sparkling and dainty flames of the dozens of scattered candles and incense sticks around Zenbu began to slowly levitate in the air as he got up from his meditative position on the floor, grabbing his sheathed sword with him. It bore no hand guard, and the chain in the bottom of the handle was hooked into a clasp at the top of the handle. It rattled as it rose from the ground and swung around on Zenbu's back. He took his folding iron fan off of the wall, hooking it to his wrist, both of which were mostly concealed by the sleeves of his snow-white cloak when he stood.

Phaedra: Why don't you come with us on more of these tasks? You're the only one who gets to sleep all day while we do most of the killing.

Zenbu: Precaution. Movement and action are too ample in futility when they are ultimately ineffectual. However, I plan to go out a bit more now. Give me the head.

Phaedra handed over Borealis's head to Zenbu, who held it by the hair with his bandaged hands.

Zenbu: A thorough examination with the Art of Venus will suffice while the brain is still fresh.

Phaedra: Delegate that job to Fate. He's sitting with the Phoenix Demons feeling pretty complacent right about now.

Zenbu: Indeed. Iris, store the head in the archives for now. Keep the room chilled.

Iris: Wonderful.

Phaedra: Aww, is the Shaina clan baby scared of dismembered heads?

Iris: Am not! I'm the one who told your dad to start beheading people after the Diadara Civil War. I just don't appreciate being the designated executioner and corpse disposer.

Zenbu: You Omni Clans... What a shame there are so few of your kind left.

Von: Once you've extracted the necessary information, please take Phaedra with you to the Forbidden Statue.

Zenbu: Don't worry. The Great Destroyer's secrets will be unveiled in short time.

Zenbu walked past Von and Phaedra and wormholed out of the hideout. He landed gracefully, like an angel, on the surface of Callisto, one of Jupiter's greater moons. The massive gas giant, in all of its fear and awe-inspiring glory took up much of the space overhead, like the face of an angry God staring down on the surface of Callisto. Zenbu immediately clasped his hands and erected a bubble shaped shield of Jupiter. This allowed him to breathe on Callisto and covered the entire general area. Ahead of Zenbu, made out of the rocks and metals of Callisto's surface was a massive mausoleum. The front side of it was covered in hieroglyphics, written in a language unseen by anyone on earth today. To the four corners of the mausoleum, there were 4 large towers erected, taller than the mausoleum itself. These were the Towers of Silence, the final resting places of the fallen warriors, lovers, friends, and few family members of the man who once ruled the world. Dharja Zenbu.

Zenbu wormholed to one of the Towers of Silence, standing within its walls and gazing up at the opening above. These towers had open roofs, allowing for the dead to look towards the stars. The perfectly preserved, hardly decayed corpses were laid out on cascading, concentric rings that were built along the walls of the inside of the tower. The bottom level was the smallest ring, and was constructed some few feet off of the ground level. The bodies of deceased children were laid out, uniformly and neatly. Each of their hands were clasped, their eyes closed, and the symbol of Jupiter painted on their foreheads. Zenbu walked up the steps, onto the first ring, and passed by the dozens of bodies of children spanning several generations. All of them had the same father. The second level carried the corpses of women. Wives and, siblings, and warriors alike. They rested in the same position as the children and shared the symbol of Jupiter on their foreheads. However, each of them were given a bouquet of flower in their hands, and even more flowers were spread on their bodies and through their hair. It was a beautiful, yet sad sight. Zenbu continued to the 3rd ring, the largest ring. It held the bodies of the men. Many of them were old, having fought alongside Dharja during the great 200 Year War that defined their time. They were laid to rest in pure white cloth. Laid to rest with them were their weapons, the purpose of Zenbu's visit to this deathly silent place.

Zenbu: Agzabah has already stolen the Zenbu Ironwork from the mausoleum. But that doesn't mean your weapons won't prove useful.

Swords, war hammers, war fans, chain whips, and all sorts of different weapons imbued with planetary powers were at Zenbu's disposal.

Zenbu: So many choices...

The next morning, back in the Menlayev Manor, Hita and Mori were awakened by the sounds of yelling upstairs. They both stood up from their beds and listened closely.

Hita: It's mom and dad.

Mori: I thought someone broke in at first. I think they've both finally caved to their troubles.

The Menlayev household has always been peaceful and well maintained, even in times of stress. But considering recent events, their jobs as rulers of the country felt like it was at odds with their responsibilities as parents. The beginning of a family divide ensued.

Amiya: I cannot forgive you! How could you hand our flesh and blood over to them?! Marluxia is not some tool for the bloodline! He's our son Tokahev! The first baby boy you ever held in your arms!

Tokahev: Don't even *censored*ing try to go there! This hurts me too, but I had to do the best for him! That's what this is about.

Amiya: Best for him? He's already traumatized about what happened and you want to make him into a full fledged murderer?! How many people do you think he will have killed by the time he's 18? 50? 100?

Tokahev: That's why it's my job, my obligation as his father and as the king to keep the peace do he doesn't have to deploy anywhere!

Amiya: You can't. This is all going to spiral out of our control soon. Once that happens, the minute Marluxia has to go around the world and spill human blood to protect your interests and your safety, you're dead to me. You will have failed him, me, and your other children.

Tokahev:... I'm leaving. Make sure the kids eat.

Tokahev walked away from Amiya and left the manor to continue his work in Castle Asane. Hita and Mori heard it all from downstairs.

Hita: Are they going to be okay?

Mori laid back down in bed.

Mori: Just try to get some more sleep. It's still early.

Hita decided to let the incident pass so he can rest. However, Marluxia was always on both of their minds. While they slept in their beds, Marluxia was awake, cold, and afraid as he was presented in front of Katya outside of Deshavi HQ. Jaya and Samba stood next to him.

Katya: Do you remember who I am?

Marluxia: Commander Katya. You're a hero in the Deshavi Black Ops.

Katya: There are no heroes in the Deshavi. Let's get that clear. Heroes are remembered and glorified for the rest of time. We are not. Most of will die alone, and our deeds will go unremembered. That is how the Deshavi operates. Staying in the shadows of history allows us to achieve the desired results by any means necessary. So then, will you be joining us?

Marluxia: I wouldn't be here if I wasn't. I've already decided between this and execution.

Katya: Excellent. For the next year, you'll be training under me. If you prove yourself valuable, you will form a 3-man squad with Jaya and Samba. This means Locke will be relieved of his duty of chaperoning the squad. Adapt or die, young prince. If you fail to impress me, I'll feed you to the bears.

Marluxia: I understand.

Samba slapped Marluxia on the back as he began to walk away.

Jaya: Good luck, Marluxia!

Jaya smiled and walked back into Deshavi HQ with Samba. As unfortunate as his situation was, Marluxia understood his circumstances. If devoting his life to the Deshavi was the way out, Marluxia was the kind of man to take that way out. He wondered what his mother would think of him, or his brothers. And especially his father, who he was sure he had brought great shame to.

Tokahev sat with Sambo of the SOE in the meeting room of Castle Asane, who wore a white bear fur coat over his shoulders for the weather. The snow picked up again today.

Sambo: It may as well just be an axiom at this point to say that King Yandel is pissed. So are millions of Syvians both inside and outside the country.

Tokahev: Exactly how pissed is he?

Sambo: Is that a joke question? He's increasing the amount of KGR around the borders. That means Vevoskovian immigration might come to a standstill if either Yandel or the Senate will it.

Tokahev: *censored*! My mother worked so hard to set all this up.

Sambo: We need to quell any animosity before it reaches a boiling point.

Tokahev: Let's go meet with the senate. We need to make sure any action they take isn't unilateral.

Sambo: We can take my carriage to Tenzo Palace. You might want to grab a coat, my lord.

Tokahev grabbed his scarf and brown fur coat for the ride to the center of the capital. The wealth and glamour of the city was disturbed by the sound of an agitated crowd ahead. The sounds made the horses pulling the carriage uneasy, and the ride came to a standstill.

Sambo: The hell? Come, stay close to me, Tokahev. We can take the alleys.

Tokahev got out of the carriage, staying next to Sambo as they traveled through the alleys leading them safely to the rear courtyard of Tenzo Palace. On their way, they could both see wha the noise was. There was a large crowd of Syvian immigrants and refugees holding up signs and yelling out to the senate members trying to get into the building. Their shared grief and passion was heard loud and clear to Tokahev.

Sambo: They're protesting. Hundreds of years of animosity is backed behind the recent killing.

Tokahev: Oh no, they're getting much too close to the senators. We don't have enough guards here for a crowd this big!

The guards keeping the crowd at bay were becoming overwhelmed. They slowly had to back up to give themselves some space, but they were gradually pushing into the inner courtyard beyond the gate. Without back-up, the temple guards would be forced to assist. Push came to shove, and the crowd began dispersing into the courtyard like a wild pack of vicious animals. SOE agents armed with crossbows and bolt guns took their positions on the roof of the palace while agents inside shut the entrances and barricaded them. The staff were hastily removed from areas with windows, using the senate hall as a panic room. The head of security for the palace issued a warning on his speaking horn from the roof.

HoS: We understand your anger, your impatience, and your proud drive to do something about those feelings! We will not deny you your right to protest, but you are trespassing into restricted property! If you proceed, we will be forced to resort to lethal measures! Please exit the inner courtyard! This is your only warning!

The plea fell on deaf ears and angered the crowd's impetuous hearts. None of the men were willing to take the risks.

HoS: Take aim! Get the flare ready!

The SOE aimed their weapons at the crowd, and one of them prepped a small, iron apparatus with stylized decorations of a red dragon painted on the sides. He held a canister above the chamber of the launcher, waiting for the order to let it go. Colored flares were used to send messages to everyone on the premises. Red flares indicated complete lockdown and gave permission to the security to use lethal force.

HoS: Drop it! Open fire!

The canister was dropped, and a chain of chemical reactions launched the ignited flare into the air. The SOE began firing into the crowd the moment the flare was launched. Dozens of rioters fell to the ground with bolts lodged in their chests and throats, spraying the courtyard and its beautiful plants with blood.

Tokahev: Oh god, no!

Tokahev could only see the opportunities for more violence this incident could open up. It was like watching all the work his mother did be burned away as several dozen people were left dying on the ground, many of them trampled by others attempting to flee. 46 bodies littered the courtyard. One body was slouched over the water fountain, tainting the water red. Sambo and Tokahev rushed out to the courtyard while the guards began dragging the bodies off of the premises. All of the senators were rushed inside, along with Sambo and Tokahev.

Sambo: God damn it! It doesn't even matter if they were just following protocol. This is just going to keep escalating and escalating!

Their panicked and angered voices echoed through the entrance halls like thunder in the sky.

Vezburn: Those fiends charged their way into restricted property! Were our guards to just sit by and watch as they break right through our doors? They got what they deserved!

Tokahev: Nobody deserves to be shot with arrows and trampled, you warmongering troglodyte! You've pissed over everything we've worked so hard for!

The other senators kept Tokahev away from Vezburn. Sambo stood between them to make sure things wouldn't get too heated.

Vezburn: Kalina was a naive idealist. A wonderful woman, but a blind queen. We should've known the Hammurabi Compromise would burn down like this! Did you know that this isn't the first riot that's taken place? It's been all over central Vevoskovia! Property destroyed, neighborhoods locked down! Both you and Kalina ignored the bigger issue here! There is no peace between Vevoskovia and Syvia! None!

Sambo: This isn't how you solve it, Senator!

Vezburn: Perhaps getting them out of the country will make for a stronger message then!

The faces on the other senators were all too revealing. They were on Vezburn's side.

Tokahev: I will not allow you to do this.

Vezburn: Veto it then. We'll override it. Everyone has seen today that this is not working! The country will tear itself apart, and the Syvians will retaliate! It's all they know, it's their history! I propose a quick, emergency vote to repeal the open border policies regarding Syvian refugees. Get them out!

All of the senate members agreed and rushed to the hall to vote on it. Tokahev and Sambo sat in the lounge, both angry but silent. Tokahev flipped one of the wooden tables in his rage, breaking the glasses and vases sitting on top. Sambo held his shoulder as he sat down to relax, understanding his frustration.

All there was left to wonder, was how much more would be broken apart by the cruel hands of time. There was still much that could be destroyed.

Word of the incident spread back to Yandel, who was briefed in his meeting room by his most trusted KGR agent, Alecta. Alecta was too beautiful for her craft. She donned long, jet-black hair, fierce green eyes, and lips like roses. She wore the standard KGR flak vest and tight, tan long sleeved special branch shirt underneath. Tattooed on her back was the Inodis Tachtussen symbol, serving as the mark of her allegiance to Syvia and its King.

The room was bout in a semi circle, with stained glass all along the side facing outwards from the palace. The room was sunken in purple light from the windows.

Yandel: 46 people die, and they have the nerve to not only blame them, but kick them out of the country. When does the repeal take effect?

Alecta: It took immediate effect, my lord. There should already be thousands of people being pushed back out of the country. What will you do?

Yandel: Let them come home. I will keep any and all Vevoskovians out, however. We will go ahead and put more KGR around the borders.

Alecta: I understand. Will that be all?

Yandel: Yes. Dismissed.

Alecta left Yandel to his thoughts and relayed Yandel's wishes to the Syvian Assembly.

Indeed, there was still much to destroy.

Zenbu returned to earth with Phaedra by his side. It was near the Vevoskovian border, on a windy and rainy night. In this rainy, rocky valley, several refugee settlements had been built. The refugees were scheduled to leave within a week, and were forced to gather their belongings in preparation for their exit.

Zenbu's bright red eyes shined like deathly stars in the darkness of the rainy night. Zenbu had his chained sword on his back, war fan hanging from his wrist, a set of deer horn knives to his sides, and several chakram discs tied holstered behind his waist.

Zenbu: Now then. Begin.

Faster than sound, Zenbu and Phaedra rushed through the busy camp, slaughtering refugees one by one. The only rule was to use minimal amounts of the Marluxian Arts, so there could be no mistaking that these people were murdered.

Phaedra stuck with her kusarigama as her choice killing weapon. Her hands free bloodier as she went around killing every man, woman, and scared child she saw. Zenbu mainly used his sword, but took pleasure in using his variety of weapons to get the job done. Zenbu almost seemed to outmatch Phaedra in brutality. When two children tried to run from him after he decapitated their parents, he threw two chakram discs into the back of their heads, nearly breaking their skills apart when he pulled them out. Guards began to take notice of the intruder, and tried firing arrows at Zenbu.

Four crossbow men fired away, but the arrows went right through him without leaving a mark. He kept walking towards them despite their frantic fire, forcing them to take out their swords. Zenbu's swordsmanship was masterful, proven by his ability to use the weight of the enemy's weapons to throw off their center of gravity and swiftly slash their stomachs, chests, and throats.

The last one charged at Zenbu with his sword, expecting to impale him. The sword went through him like he wasn't even there, giving Zenbu the opportunity to reach for the sword, pull it from his chest and out of the guard's hand, and sever his head diagonally with it. Zenbu and Phaedra continued to the center of the camp, where the bulk of the people were.

Zenbu: Onwards.

Frightened onlookers noticed the two of them standing together with weapons and blood on their hands. They all began to scream as Zenbu and Phaedra rushed towards them, ending their nightmarish screams with their blades. Not even the pounding rain could stifle the sound of their agony.

When it was all done, blood and water saturated the ground, and so did the bodies of hundreds of slain Syvians. Phaedra put back her Kusarigama, and Zenbu wiped his sword on one of the shirts of the dead.

Zenbu: Doing more than this is unnecessary. The two nations will drive themselves to war all on their own now. We can focus on The Great Destroyer.

Phaedra: Damn your foresight. Did you time this massacre for the next moment of tension between them?

Zenbu: Dharja was able to have dreams of the future. Why do you really think sleep is so important to me? You can only dream when you're sleeping. But to answer your question, I did. This is all necessary bloodshed.

Phaedra: So then? What happens next?

Zenbu: There are several possibilities, and they all serve us in the end. My hope is that this will force the Phoenix Demons to hasten their plans. The closer the world is to war, the quicker they will have to wrap up Phoenix Rebirth.

Phaedra: Your cunning is disgusting.

Zenbu: No good things come without sacrifice. Besides, we've killed another bird with this stone. We can restock on corpses for our experiments.

Phaedra: I think this is a job for Iris!

Even still, there was much to be lost. With just one little push, humans can find all the reason they need to kill themselves. It was a truth that was being abused and manipulated by greater minds with inconceivable power.

Now Rise, Our Holy Prophet
The nations still stood six years later, but both were at the brink of total war. The massacre perpetrated by Zenbu and Phaedra killed over 400 people and sent the world into a steady, downwards spiral. Yandel began to grow paranoid, succumbing to both the severity of the events over the years, and his increasingly overwhelming position. Though Vevoskovia extolled its innocence, no Syvian believed them. Along the two nation's borders, the SOE and KGR kept their watchful eyes over each other. Sometimes, there were even false alarms and skirmishes that produced casualties.

Yandel was wise to welcome his fellow Syvians back into the homeland, for they rallied behind him and supported his cause. Now, more than ever in history, Syvia bulked up its military beyond regulated capacity. Sankadesh, Asaji, and Vevoskovia knew that such a large army wasn't necessary to act as a national guard. It was an act of preparation for war. The only things keeping both nations from commencing the war were last minute negotiations that saved lives during moments of conflict. The others were the increasing divide between the pro and anti war factions of the various populations.

The Supreme Senate were reluctant in taking a risk on their re-election. They wanted to stay at the helm of the nation, since Tokahev still, after all this time, still sought peace. That peace was just not possible anymore. Tokahev did the best any Vevoskovian King could do. While he still advocated for peaceful resolution, he gave full authority to the Deshavi Black Ops to operate within Syvia and manipulate the chaos within the country. He accepted that Amiya would be ashamed of him. The world was at stake.

So began Operation Thunderhorse, Katya's methodical plan to pressure the Syvian government to cease their military expansion. Several squads were deployed to the Syvian capital, including the newly formed squad with Samba, Jaya, and Marluxia. The luxurious Syvian capital was filled with plumes of smoke as Samba and Marluxia, now 17 and 21 respectfully, gazed at the chaos from the roof of an abandoned apartment complex. Both of them had grown their hair down to their chests and wore protective vests and black, plain long sleeve shirts underneath. Wrapped around their bare torso was a layer of leather for further protection.

Both of them proudly wore their Deshavi necklaces that bore the symbol of the Deshavi as its pendant. The sounds of society destroying itself filled the air along with the toxic aroma of smoke, fire, and carnage as buildings were set ablaze in the riots. The sun shined with unforgiving heat as it sat directly above the city, and the glass windows along the buildings reflected the bright sunlight into their eyes.

Samba: It should be past noon now, Jaya will be back soon.

Marluxia: Once the body is taken care of, we'll make our way to the hotel and take care of our targets. For now, this dismay is acting as the perfect blanket.

Jaya: Hey! I'm back!

Samba and Marluxia went back inside to meet with Jaya, who tied her bright blue hair back and was covered in sweat and dirt. She brought along the body of a Syvian general she had just killed, and cleared away the objects cluttering the table in the dining room.

Samba: Great kill, Jaya. Marluxia, get the tools ready.

Marluxia grabbed a folding bag full of scalpels, pliers, scissors, cloth, and other supplies, laying them on the table next to the body.

Jaya: Son of a bitch had at least 20 or 30 guys protecting him! He just refused to go easy. How long do we have?

Marluxia: 20 minutes. Let's get this done quick.

Jaya: I can handle the burial myself. You guys can go as soon as we're done here. Given the temperature right now, this big guy is gonna start stinking in less than an hour.

Marluxia took out a scalpel and handed facial masks to Jaya and Marluxia.

Marluxia: Jaya, can you form a tub? We'll need to slit his throat and drain his blood. It won't take long for bacteria and other organic compounds to start traveling through his bloodstream and hastening the decomposition process. Draining it will buy us more time.

Jaya: Yeah, I can.

Jaya clasped her hands and made a deep, concave hole in the ground.

Samba: He doesn't have any hemoglobin ailments, does he?

Jaya: He's clean.

Marluxia flipped the body over, stripped it naked, and flipped it back over again. He slit the throat over the hole, and blood began to gush out from the opening.

Marluxia: Someone work his arms and legs a bit to make sure we got as many pints out.

Samba stood on the table and worked the man's arms like pumps. Then, he moved on to the legs.

Marluxia: He's all drained.

The body was flipped on its back now.

Samba: I'll take out the teeth.

Marluxia handed Samba the pliers.

Marluxia: Be my guest. Jaya, you start gouging his eyes. I'll take care of the hair.

Jaya: On it.

In total concentration, each of them worked on different parts of the body. The purpose was to make the corpse difficult to identify be removing any possibility to identify him via dental records, hair samples, or with birthmarks and tattoos. They wanted the body to be found, but it needed to look like someone tried to hide it. It was all to sow discord in the Syvian government.

Samba: Teeth are out. I'll burn the prints now.

Jaya: Pleas do.

Marluxia: Von Krum Soleais would be proud, eh?

Everyone chuckled at Marluxia's nudge to history. Von was remembered as someone who loved to study death and find ways to conceal the signs of death. Samba burned the hand and finger prints with the Art of Mars. One less way for the corpse to be identified.

Jaya: Eyes are done. We should probably leave a lock of hair on the corpse. We don't want it to be completely unidentifiable. It's naturally blonde and curly. Someone will recognize it.

Marluxia: Good point. Stuff his mouth with it before you bury him.

Jaya: I've got it covered.

Samba: Need any help cutting up the limbs?

Jaya: Nah. I think I've got it from here. Thanks!

Marluxia and Samba took of their masks and took a deep breath, forgetting the room was hot, stuffy, and smelled of blood. Still, it didn't seem to phase either of them. Marluxia especially had grown used to it.

Marluxia: Let's go Samba.

Samba took out a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer, giving some to Marluxia, himself, and leaving the bottle for Jaya to use.

Jaya: Happy killing out there, boneheads!

Samba: See you soon, Jaya.

Samba and Marluxia returned to the roof, ready to move out.

Marluxia: We'll be headed west, towards Golden Spring. The hotel is in that general direction. It'll be built amongst the other hotels in that district.

Samba: Let's go then!

Samba and Marluxia utilized the Art of Mercury perfectly to quickly move around, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and staying above the chaos below. The crowds of anti-war rioters clashed with police and federal forces in violent, bloodsoaked waves. The two got their eyes on the targeted building, noticing there were armed guards guarding the entrance and the floor their VIP was on. Samba and Marluxia laid flat on the roof overlooking the hotel, feeling the heat bouncing off of it and onto their stomachers and elbows.

Samba: Look at that, that's a lot of guards. We could probably bypass the ones on the ground level, but we'd have to break the glass on one of the floors close to the target to get in. We could alert the security team. Unless you're up for going through the glass without breaking it?

Marluxia: The Art of Saturn. God bless intangibility. You've always been better than anyone at it, but I'll take you up on the challenge. Let's get ready to jump.

They both ran to the very back of the roof to give themselves some runway for their jump, keeping the Art of Mercury active.

Samba: Whenever you're ready, my man.

Both of them dashed towards the edge and jumped across the wide street below, across the courtyard swarming with guards, and clasped their hands to activate the Art of Saturn. Both intangible, they slipped right through the glass windows and rematerialized in time for their landing in the hall. They were just one floor below the target.

Samba: You didn't lose a foot or anything, did you?

Marluxia: Piss off!

KGR: Intruders!

A KGR agent standing in the hall ahead yelled out to alarm the other men on the floor.

Samba: Time to go to work.

Samba and Marluxia unsheathed their swords and moved faster than the guard could even see or hear. Before he knew it, both of them impaled him against the wall, and he died on impact. Samba faced the left hall, and Marluxia faced the right hall, both of them in plain view of panicking KGR security guards.

Maluxia: Both sides?

Samba: Yep! Through the rooms!

Marluxia and Samba took their swords out of the KGR agent's chest and slipped through the walls, running through the hotel rooms in the hallways to get around them. Both of them popped out of the rooms behind the cluster of guards, taking them by surprise and killing them swiftly. With the halls filled with blood and bodies, Samba and Marluxia continued upstairs.

Samba: Room number?

Marluxia: 581!

The two of them crept by door 581. They could hear the panicking VIP and his guards trying to calm him down. Samba slipped through the floor and entered the room just below 581. He pushed the glass table in the living room over and stood on it so he could touch the ceiling. With the Art of Mars, he drew a seal that acted as a timed explosion, just enough to collapse the ceiling and bring every one down. In what felt like the longest 10 seconds to Marluxia, Samba ran out of the room and shut the door to shield himself from flying debris and shock. Then, an explosion rocked the room and shook the very walls.

Men screamed as the floor collapsed and the place jolted. Marluxia broke down the door and stood over the hole. He could see everyone dazed and shocked from the explosion and began throwing knives at people, one by one, sticking them cleanly in their foreheads. Samba rushed back into the room and grabbed the target by his neck, a member of the Syvian Assembly. He was already losing blood after losing one of his feet in the explosion.

Marluxia: How you kill him is your choice. Just make it quick so we can get out of here.

Samba broke off a sharp piece of bone from his blown apart leg and stabbed him through the mouth and down the throat with it. The job was done with great brutality, all meant to intimidate Yandel and all other government officials supporting the push for war.

Marluxia: God damn, you didn't have to be all edgy about it, Samba. A clean cut to the throat is enough.

Samba: It gets boring after a while. If you're gonna kill someone, may as well do it creatively. Besides, we have to make sure whoever finds him gets the message. Brutality is how that message is sent.

The sounds of more guards rushing into the floor filled the halls. Samba jumped back up with Marluxia, and the two exited the room, coming face to face with the team of guards to their left.

Samba: Run!

Marluxia and Samba ran out of the hallway, dodging arrows, axes, and bolts coming from behind. If it weren't for the protective vests and leather, they may have been injured in such a narrow space. They jumped through the glass, breaking it on their way through. They landed in a building right next to the hotel, a taller structure by a few meters. Samba clasped his hands and touched the floor, and the place began to shake.

Marluxia: What the hell are you doing?

Samba: Giving them a parting gift! Just run!

The guards could see their targets from the hotel, but held their fire. They looked upwards in awe as the edge of the building Marluxia and Samba jumped into began to pull itself apart from the rest of the complex and began to fall in the direction of the hotel. They ran back down the hall, hoping to outrun the impending collision. It fell and hit the hotel, collapsing the floors above and below, making the whole building look like an M-shaped mess.

Marluxia: That was amazing, you glorious bastard!

Samba: You can buy me roses later!

Marluxia: You jackass, you deserve a night at a  love hotel for that stunt!

All around him could see that Marluxia had already grown accustomed to the life of a Deshavi. Killing was no longer a sin, it was a duty. Like spring without blooming flowers, like women without modesty, Marluxia had a part of his humanity removed so he could serve his country like this. He almost didn't regret any of it. Tokahev didn't feel good about it, but he saw it as a necessary evil. A long-protected evil, hidden away from anyone outside of the Menlayev bloodline. He kept that in mind as he stood before the Supreme Senate in a late session.

Disa: Judging from the events of just the past few years, it's almost as if fate is pushing us into war. Whether we like it or not, Tokahev, that is where this is going. And when that time comes, for the mothers, fathers, and wives of this nation to offer up their loved ones into the Grim Reaper's favorite game, will you stand strong? Will you stand with resolve to purge the enemy? Or will you continue to cower behind dreams and hopes of impossible ideals of peace and coexistence? This very nation was founded to counteract Syvian expansion long ago. You, who bears the names "Asane" and "Menlayev", should know when fate is calling you to defend your nation and bloodline once more.

Tokahev: I never wanted to be like my ancestors. I never wanted to be a repeat of our bloody history. I wanted to be the one man to enact countercyclical change and bring an end to the era of violence that consumed the times of our early leaders, and even this generation. I didn't want there to be another generation of widows and orphans, nor a second World War.

Vezburn: That choice is out of any of our hands now. But the question still stands, Tokahev. What will you do when the hour of war dawns on us all?

Tokahev: I...I don't know. But, I must ask you to hold off with your preemptive and preventive strategies. Give me more time to work this all out. Otherwise, the four great nations will annihilate themselves in a cataclysmic war just to dispose of Syvia.

Vezburn: Tokahev. I have all of the respect in the world for you and the legacy of your family. We do not have much time left. With or without you, this senate will begin arming its forces. We will respond to armament with armament. That is unavoidable. Whatever it is you plan on doing, do it quickly.

Tokahev was dismissed from Tenzo Palace. He was overwhelmed by the situation, as evidenced by his face of defeat and misery. The most powerful man in the world, ironically, had no power in this situation. It pained him so. But outside, waiting for him by a carriage, he met two familiar faces. King Salem and Sambo of the SOE.

Tokahev: You guys? Salem, you never told me you were visiting Vevoskovia again.

Salem: I often think back to when I met your mother, Kalina. And I wonder what she would want me to do for her son. Hope you don't mind my intrusion, but Sambo said it was okay for me to be here.

Sambo: We need all the help we can get. This can get very ugly very fast.

Tokahev smiled and entered the carriage with them, inviting them both to the Menlayev Manor to talk. The ride was peaceful as the full, blue moon shined gracefully upon the land.

Salem: Sankadesh will offer its full military support if confrontation erupts. Asaji is also with us. I think you should travel to Asaji with me and meet the new king. He's quite friendly, I assure you.

Tokahev: You're right. I'll start packing some things and making the proper arrangements. Asaji has every reason to pick a fight with Syvia after that KGR scandal.

Sambo: Ah, they still haven't forgotten that?

Salem: You steal from Asaji, you may as well just find a good tree and hang yourself. The only reason they held back was so it wouldn't endanger the other greater and smaller nations.

Tokahev: I think I'll also be meeting with Prince Solomon soon.

Salem: Yandel's son?

Tokahev: Yes. He's a bright boy, intelligent, sharp, and an honest-to-god visionary. We've always been on good terms, and he's personally against the war. We can use him on our side.

Sambo: It might be a lot to ask a man to betray his father.

Tokahev: We'll find a way. I still have hope we can prevent this from getting bad.

Once home, the three men entered with Tokahev, hanging up their sweaters and taking their shoes off by the door. Hita and Mori, now 17 years old, were surprised their father had brought home guests.

Salem: Well look who it is! Hita and Mori Menlayev!

Hita and Mori were delighted and offered their hugs and salutations to Salem.

Hita: What a surprise! You usually let us know when you're visiting Vevoskovia.

Salem: Ah, you know. Duty calls, right? Sheesh, Hita, you got so much taller from the last time I saw you! You're just a few inches shorter than me. And you too, Mori.

Mori: Mom always bugs me to drink my milk so I keep growing. It's a pain, really.

Salem: Yeah, my mom did the same thing. I got tall without milk though, and you seem to be doing fine without it. I see you're both donning the traditionally long Vevoskovian hairstyles, huh?

Hita: It looks weird on me since I'm a redhead, but Mori looks a lot like Dad with it. Right?

Tokahev: Absolutely. But you're both as dashing as I was when I was your age.

Sambo: Mori? I'm sorry, but I don't think you and I have met yet. I'm Sambo, I work with the SOE in intelligence gathering and espionage.

Mori: Really? A pleasure

Mori and Sambo shook hands. Mori was always taught to have a tight, firm grip whenever he shook another man's hands, to show no signs of weakness and timidness.

Mori: Welcome to our home.

Sambo: A pleasure. I've heard great things about you, Prince. Looks like you're gonna be king when your father either dies or retires, right?

Mori: That's the plan, yes.

Salem: So humble about it too.

Tokahev: We'll be in the study room downstairs. Where's your mom?

Hita: Sleeping, I think. She seemed pretty tired today.

Tokahev: Oh, alright then.

Salem: Wonderful seeing you both again!

Mori: You too, Salem!

While they descended into the study, and Hita and Mori ascended into their rooms, Marluxia, Samba, and Jaya returned to Deshavi HQ to report a successful mission to Commander Katya.

Katya: Beautiful. Now we await for the results of our labors.

Jaya: Ma'am, what if this strategy doesn't work? What will happen then?

Katya: Depends on what the king wants. If he gives us the go ahead to tear Syvia apart in less sub rosa means, then we'll do it. If he doesn't want us involved, then we'll stand by. I have to balance what the king says withwhat I know is right for the country. I've always tried my best to be coincide with Tokahev's plans though.

Samba: I don't know how he intends to shake this off, though. It seems like it's spiraling out of control.

Katya: I agree. I would say we should just go over there and slaughter Yandel and the Syvian Assembly, but that would be falling into Yandel's trap. That was very smart of him to take action following the exile of the Syvians from Vevoskovia. Now he's loved by everyone, excluding the anti-war faction. If he gets harmed in all of this, it may only make the situation worse. No matter what we do, it will probably be tied to Vevoskovia even if there's no proof. That's what paranoia does to people, and to nations as a whole. You've all done great work. Get some rest. Dismissed.

Samba, Jaya, and Marluxia stood up from their kneeling positions and went back to their quarters. All of them stretched their legs and yawned as they walked down the cavernous, torch-lit halls of the HQ. Jaya was given her own room, while Marluxia and Samba shared their own. Often though, Jaya would go to sleep with Marluxia and Jaya, as she hated being separated from them for too long. Marluxia found no issue with killing people by day and sleeping without nightmares in a warm bed by nightfall. The next morning, Samba was awoken by Jaya and saw another Deshavi agent standing at the door.

Samba: What's up?

Jaya: Sorry, but she came here to tell you that Katya is summoning you.

Samba: Crap!

Samba sprang up, slapped himself a few times, and rushed over to Katya's office. Before entering, he fixed his messy hair and straightened his clothes. He opened the door gently and saw Katya sitting on the front of her desk, waiting for Samba.

Katya: No need to kneel. Just come on in.

Samba: So, what did y-

Samba noticed that Katya wasn't wearing much beyond a night gown and underwear. It wouldn't have been so bad if the nightgown wasn't partly see through.

Samba: Did I come at a wrong time?!

Katya: Of course not, I summoned you here.

Samba: But your attire is inappropriate for a summoning! I can see your breasts and underwear!

Katya: And? You're in the most secretive special force in the world and you're concerned about seeing a woman's body? Breasts aren't inherently sexual, and neither are a woman's undergarments.

Samba: Yeah, I get that much, it's just off-putting since I always see you in a more formal manner.

Katya: I summoned you here so you can ravage my body, Samba. Take me from behind and wreck me raw.

Samba: What?!?!?!

Katya laughed and pointed at Samba. He should've known better.

Katya: I'm kidding! Oh gosh, you should see your face!

Samba: Didn't your mother ever tell you not to put spells on a man for fun?

Katya: No, my mother killed herself.

Samba: I...I didn't know that. I'm sorry for speaking so carelessly.

Katya: Don't worry about it. Truthfully, you're the only one I feel like I can be myself around, Samba. So, I didn't mind inviting you when I'm not even dressed. I'm sorry for startling you.

Samba: No, it's fine. You're very beautiful, Katya.

Katya: Really?! Oh gosh, you're gonna make me gush, Samba.

Samba: Don't you mean blush?!?!

Katya: That too!

Samba: You can really be a child, you know that? But, I honestly like that about you. So, what did you summon me for?

Katya: Right. Well, Tokahev dropped by earlier with a message. He wanted me to assign him a guardian from the Deshavi. Up until now, he had refused to do so, but since things are heating up, he wants to be sure he can have someone he can trust. I went through all the files of people I know are strong, and I settled on assigning you. You're going to be Tokahev's guardian.

Samba's face lit up with surprise.

Samba: Seriously? Me?

Katya: All you! He said he'll be waiting by Castle Asane, so drop by there whenever you're ready. It's a huge honor to serve as the king's guardian, Samba. You should be proud of yourself!

Samba: I don't know what to say, but I am truly thankful! I accept this opportunity. Thank you for seeing that much in me!

Katya: You're supposed to be saying that to him, not me.

Samba: Crap...

Katya walked over to Samba and hugged him tenderly.

Katya: You're a wonderful soldier and person, Samba. Let me be the one to thank you this time.

That moment reminded Samba of how a mother hugs her son when he's down, or when he does something amazing. It was a kind of love that had gone missing since he joined the Deshavi, but was now being given to him by Katya.

Samba: Thank you dearly. I'll go see him right away.

Katya: Good. Oh, and Samba. If you tell anyone any detail about my body, no matter how sweet, I will take you to the White Room, skin you alive, and douse your sensitive, bleeding flesh in hydrochloric acid until you beg for death. You will rue the day you laid eyes on my body!

Samba: I won't! Pinky promise! I'm actually really happy, Katya. I'd expect the commander of the Deshavi Black Ops to be cold and reserved. Thank you for trusting me with seeing you like this.

Katya: Keep talkin' and I might just pin you down and never let you out of here.

Samba: Yes ma'am! Bye!

Samba closed the door and took deep breaths outside. Katya was amused by the whole thing. Even the commander needed to be at ease sometimes.

Samba: Damn it, there's only so much temptation a man can take! But I've seriously been selected to protect Tokahev. I hope Marluxia won't be too bothered by this.

Samba hurried out of Deshavi HQ and made his way to Castle Asane. The sun was only just beginning to rise, and the air was still moist and cool as birds flocked in the sky and sang their morning song in a sky splashed with colors of deep blue and a slightly pink orange. Noticing an open window, Samba jumped onto the balcony and walked right into Tokahev's quarters. The king was sitting at the breakfast table eating buttered toast and sausages, happy to see Katya swiftly sent one of her finest agents.

Samba: Goodmorning, my lord.

Samba knelt to Tokahev the same way any Deshavi would kneel to Katya.

Samba: My name is Samba, and Katya thought I was the most appropriate one to be your guardian.

Tokahev: Is that so? I've actually heard quite a bit about you. You joined the Deshavi when you were just six years old, didn't you? You really impressed Katya.

Samba: That's true.

Tokahev: My, my. You really DO look like Hita. How odd.

Samba: Are you talking about one of your sons?

Tokahev: Oh, yes! My mother Kalina was a redhead. It's a recessive gene that's lived on through the family. Sometimes, every few generations, someone will catch the redhead gene, and that happened to be Hita this generation. Marluxia too, though, he's more of a rosy pink.

Samba: I see...

Tokahev: Rise, no need to be so formal. I'm a very relaxed person.

Samba sat down at the table with Tokahev, surprised by his laid-back personality and generosity.

Tokahev: I assume you know why I suddenly called for a guardian.

Samba: Because of the Syvia crisis, right?

Tokahev: That's the short story. I'm pulling out all the stops to try and end this peacefully. I'll be going to Asaji later today to formally meet the new king. After that, I'll be having a meeting with Prince Solomon to see if we can combine our efforts to stop this nonsense. I've also made arrangements to host a Ball of Lords here this weekend. I've already sent out the invitations. King Yandel is getting one too. If that fails, I'll have to use a last ditch negotiation meeting with Yandel.

Samba: And if that fails?

Tokahev: The most horrific bloodshed ever seen in human history will ensue. This is all I can do. I'd like you to come with me on my travels. I'll be leaving for Asaji in just a few hours.

Samba: Really? I can do that. It won't take me long to gather up my gear. We shouldn't expect any threat in Asaji, right?

Tokahev: No, but you should come prepared just in case.

Samba: As you wish.

Tokahev: Samba. This is a very real situation. My methods might fail. If that happens, I will ask you to do things that you may not feel comfortable doing. But I need your word that you will do them for me. I need you to put your trust in me. Even if I tell you to slaughter your own kind. Even if I tell you to withhold information from your superiors. You must do it. Is that clear?

Samba: If it ever comes down to that, you can rely on me to get the job done. I won't let you down.

Tokahev: Perfect. Then, let this be the start of a bright friendship and partnership!

Tokahev shook Samba's hand, delighted to have someone he can trust. Tokahev could never have known just how much history was repeating itself with that handshake. How could he? If he only knew the misery in store for the future, he might not have continued, might not have so desperately tried to prevent a world war. But for now, there was a small glimmer of hope.

Far away in Northern Vevoskovia, in the rocky canyons and caves devoid of civilization, The Order of the Phoenix Demons had created their hideout. The immortal beings hadn't aged at all, nor will they ever. Finally, after 17 years, it was time to enter the final phase of Phoenix Rebirth.

Inadora and Nadena saw Fate off as he prepared to head out.

Inadora: Who are you going to awaken first?

Fate: Most likely Yato. He's closest to us. We're running out of time. I would've preferred to wait a few more years, but we may be staring the 6th Cataclysm in the eye. After Yato, I shall awaken Luxaura. And after him, I shall awaken Roy.

Nadena: Yes! I'll get to see my baby again! Well, I mean, I could always see him, but he'll know he's Roy and he won't look at me like I'm a crazy nutbag!

Inadora: True, but you'll always be an airhead.

Nadena sunk her head in shame.

Nadena: Thanks for the support, Ina. You're the best.

Fate: You're in charge of the hideout while I'm gone, Inadora. If you encounter any Obilisks, shift locations immediately.

Inadora: I know. I'll handle it. You just restore those three for us.

Fate's Phoenix Demon cloak danced in the morning winds. At long last, it was time to start bringing back Yato, Roy, and Luxaura. The three Phoenixes will return, and the 6th Cataclysm will be avoided. Peace through a world without fear, anger, hate, or the weapons that personified them all; The Marluxian Arts.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2017, 03:31:22 PM »
Just As You're Told
Fate, the ominous demonic being, wormholed to the secluded, rural home that Yato was raised in. He was the only one up, sitting outside with his blanket wrapped around him, enjoying the sunrise as his parents and sister slept. Yato was startled by Fate when he appeared to slip in front of him from another dimension. He could see in his face that something was wrong with him, that he wasn't human. He immediately sprang up and began to panic, falling back and knocking over the table sitting on the porch. Fate moved quickly with the Art of Mercury to cover Yato's mouth. And stop him from alerting the others.

Fate: I doubt you remember me. But that's okay. In a few moments, you will remember everything. Come with me, Yato. It's time for you to wake up.

Fate snatched Yato from his home, teleporting him to an abandoned temple built underground close to the Asaji border. Sand fell through the wide, circular crevice above like drops of water as the area was illuminated in orange indirect light from the sun's light reflecting off of the sand. Fate helped Yato get on his feet, noticing how confused and bewildered he was.

Fate: Speak, boy. You're making me nervous.

Yato: I...I don't know what to say! Where are we? How did you take me here?!

Fate: I am your ally. An old acquaintance, in fact. Your true name is Yato, and you belong to the Order of the Phoenix Demons.

Yato: Listen to me, I don't know what you're talking about, so please just take me home! You have the wrong person! Just take me home and I won't tell anyone about this! Please!

Fate: Fine. See that archway over there? There's an engraving on it. Touch the engraving and you will return home.

Yato: What's your game? How is touching some ancient engraving supposed to get me out of this hole?!

Fate: The same way I was able to get you in. Lay your hand on it if you want to go home so badly.

Yato thought this may all just be a dream. Surely, he thought, that if he touched the engraving, he'd go home and the dream would be over. It would all end and the strange man in the black cloak would go away. He'd wake up on his porch, shake the dream off, and make breakfast for his sister. His naivety allowed him to think this way, and he walked over to the archway and found the engraving Fate spoke of. It was a series of concentric circles and symbols that Yato had never seen before. Nonetheless, he laid his hand on it and closed his eyes.

Fate stood right behind him and strained his Eye of Nibiru, which glowed a haunting blood-red over Yato's shoulder. The engraving also began to glow red, and Yato suddenly jolted and fell to his knees in agony. He was screaming as if his entire body had been lit on fire. His eyes glowed red like Fate's as his memories came back to him, forcing their way back inside his mind and into the soul from which they originated.

In a few minutes, the agony was over. His eyes returned to normal, and a smile stretched across his face. Fate extended his hand to help him up, and Yato happily grabbed it firmly. He shook his long, thick, blonde hair of sand and made a simple request.

Yato: Fate. Water.

Fate: Have you forgotten?

Yato: Ah. You're right.

Yato clasped his hands and produced a ball of drinking water from his hands.

Yato: God bless the Art of Neptune.

Yato hydrated himself and splashed some of the water in his face. He wet his rib-length hair just to make sure it was cleaned.

Yato: Isn't this a little early? I thought Luxaura specified to activate the seals between the ages of 18-21?

Fate: Time is not on our side. You were raised a farmboy, so I'm not surprised you don't know.

Yato: Yeah, and who's fault is that, asshole?

Fate: It wasn't an insult. I'm aware I'm the one who's responsible for that. It was easier to have you in a secluded area in Northern Vevoskovia, since we'd always share the general area. I wanted to be sure that you were awakened first, since you are the errand boy, after all.

Yato: You sure know how to piss a guy off. So, what's going on?

Fate: Vevoskvoia and Syvia might go to war. Sankadesh and Asaji might also be joining in. I don't think I have to say much more than that.

Yato: *censored* me into a cupcake, are you serious? How could it get that bad?

Fate: Human arrogance.

Yato: *censored*. So, I'm the first one to be awakened huh? Who's next?

Fate: Luxaura, the current prince of Vevoskovia. Since Roy is in the Deshavi Black Ops, I'll handle him last.

Yato: Understood.

Fate: Damn it...

Fate held his hand over his eye.

Yato: What's wrong?

Fate: I didn't realize opening that seal would use so much of the power stored in my eye. If I'm not careful, I'll run out before I can awaken anyone else.

Yato: Will it be a problem?

Fate: No. I should probably cut down on the teleportation. I'll take you back to the hideout with it, but after that, I'll be traveling with the Art of Mercury and the Art of the Moon.

Yato: Alright! Let's go then. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm pretty excited to be seeing Nadena and Inadora again.

Fate and Yato were teleported out of the hole and back to the hideout, where Nadena and Inadora waited for them.

Fate: He's back.

Inadora: That was quick!

Nadena: Yato!

Nadena ran into Yato's arms, who was overwhelmed by Nadena's love. They both fell onto the ground, happy to see one another.

Yato: Man, you never change, Nadena. You're always so excited!

Nadena: That's a good thing right? I'm just so happy you're home! I waited 17 years!

Yato: It's good to be back, Blue!

Inadora walked over to Yato with his Phoenix Demon Cloak folded neatly in her hands.

Inadora: Welcome back, dork. Time to put this on again.

Yato: I'm happy to see you too, Ina. Did you miss me?

Inadora: You just got back and I already want you gone.

Yato: I love how you pretend you don't love me. But I can see right through you, darling. I can see right throu-

Inadora: Put on the damn cloak and piss off!

Yato: Okay, okay.

Yato put on the Phoenix Demon cloak for the first time in 17 years.

Yato: Oh man! Feels good to don the Lotus Flower again. Though, being awakened at such a young age has made this a little too big. The sleeves are overgrown now. Ah well, it's all good.

Fate: Tonight, I will see about Luxaura. Yato, you are to stay put unless ordered otherwise.

Yato: Come on, I'm already on house arrest?

Fate: It's just until I can get Luxaura to come with me without having to rely on teleportation. We may need you on our way to Providence.

Yato: Oh, I see. Well, just let me know.

Fate departed from the hideout, making his way on foot to central Vevoskovia, where Luxaura, or Mori, as he was named, was waiting. Later in the day, Tokahev, who was traveling in a convoy of carriages, finally arrived in Asaji. The sun was almost beginning to set over the beautifully barren Asaji desert. The cities contrasted with their surroundings. They were like living, breathing oases amidst the lifeless deserts. Their roofs were often domed and painted with gold. The buildings in this particular city were built with stones and bricks, and many of the houses were adorned with awnings.

The streets were busy, yet clean, and the bazaar was especially bustling with people and money. Tokahev was granted access to a private road that would lead him to the king's personal residence, one away from his palace in the capital. It was a mansion much like Tokahev's but had much more plants lined up in the courtyard, as well as hand carved, wooden statues of Dhazi, female monks, greeting guests walking by pressing their hands together and kneeling on one knee.

The carriages stopped and Tokahev was let out and greeted by women from the Daijin Aiiwa Yozuruu, Asaji's special forces. They dressed much like regular women with classical head garments that hooded their heads and wrapped around their chests. Their arms were bare, and white shirts were worn under their garments. They had belts that had cloth that draped down to their feet, which were protected by sandals. As the wind blew, the cloth parted, and thin, flowy, tan pants could be seen under them.

The women of DAY were usually a variety of light and dark skinned, influenced mainly by which region of Asaji they were raised in. With the variety, their beauty was unquestionable. Heavy eyeliner and hints of blush were the only cosmetics used by them. They were all slim, fit, and toned for their jobs. The chief of the king's security Luna, greeted Tokahev with respect. She wore her hair in thick braids, had a light complexion, and plump lips.

Luna: We are honored to have you here with us, King Tokahev.

Luna bowed her head to Tokahev.

Tokahev: I'm honored to be here. I'd only ever been to Asaji a few times, but this is the first time I've been invited to the king's residence. You're Luna, right? Jin'Salah told me I'd be greeted by you.

Luna: Yes, please forgive me for not introducing myself. I'm sure you and your men are tired from your long ride here. Please, follow me inside.

A second convoy behind Tokahev pulled into the property.

Luna: Oh, this must be King Salem. You mentioned he was coming with you.

Tokahev: Yes, that's his convoy.

Tokahev watched from the distance as Salem and Sambo jumped out of their carriages to stretch their legs from their long ride.

Salem: Woo! I've been sitting on my ass for the past 7 *censored*ing hours! Which one of you cute ladies wanna give me a massage? I'd hate to die of a blood clot!

Tokahev: Please excuse him.

Luna: Salem has visited us before. We know how he gets. Honestly, the girls don't mind it. He's quite charming, after all.

Everyone was gathered inside and treated to cold glasses of strawberry juice, which served as wonderful refreshments from the long, hot journey. Jin descended from the spiral staircase leading to his bedroom, gazing down upon all the faces illuminated by the sunlight coming from the colored glasses that made up the skylight. The rainbow of color bled everywhere when the sun was bright and gave a warm impression to visitors. Jin was a thick, man of muscle. His beard was long, curly, and worn proudly. His jet black hair was kept relatively short, never going past his shoulder blades.

Jin: So, which one of you is the king of Vevoskovia?

Jin continued to walk down as Tokahev stepped forward.

Tokahev: That would be me, your honor.

Jin and Tokahev now stood together in the circle of light coming in from the skylight. Both of them splattered with yellow, red, pink, purple, blue, and green. Jin held his tongue for an agonizingly long 90 seconds before abruptly unsheathing a concealed short sword and pointing it at Tokahev. Tokahev responded as soon as he saw Jin move and unsheathed his own short sword. Both of them stood in the colorful light, pointing their weapons at each other. DAY pulled out their weapons when Tokahev drew his blade, and Sambo, Salem, and the SOE did the same when Jin pulled out his. It was a grand stand off. Jin judged Tokahev's every move.

Jin: You have good form. You're not trembling. Your eyes are focused, steady, and determined. This is not your first time looking into a man's eyes as he's about to kill you, is it?

Tokahev: I've been threatened before. This isn't my first time pulling out a weapon to defend myself. I see you have good form as well. You have very precise and steady hands.

Jin: My father trained me in swordsmanship. You?

Tokahev: My father died in a war. I never knew him. I only had my mother. Picked up the blade of my own volition.

Jin took one last, hard look into Tokahev's eyes. Salem, the SOE, and DAY were all pointing their weapons at each other, waiting to see what was going to happen next. If anything bad happened here, it would be an act of war. Jin and Tokahev lowered their weapons and laughed together, to the confusion of everyone behind them. Both weapons were sheathed, and everyone else stood down. Jin and Tokahev hugged as if they were old friends, laughing as they both understood each other in just those few, tense minutes.

Jin: Absolutely wonderful, King Tokahev! It is a pleasure to meet you! Welcome into my humble abode! Please, all of you, come in! Let us drink!

Sambo: What....what just happened?

Salem: I think Jin'Salah was scoping Tokahev out. Making sure he wasn't weak or lack resolved.

Luna took a deep breath out.

Luna: I was so scared! I didn't know what the hell was happening! He's never done that in might sight before! My apologies! Our master drew first!

Sambo: Not at all. He damn near gave me a heart attack, but it looks like they've already become great friends.

Everyone was invited into the living room, where they sat on plush seats and were served whatever food or drinks they wanted by DAY.

Jin: My father spoke kind words of Queen Kalina, may she rest in peace. I just wanted to be sure her son was on her level. Sometimes, I find tense situations bring out the true character of men.

Tokahev: Well done, Jin. Absolutely well done!

Samba watched over the property with his optics from a vantage point. What nobody knew was that Tokahev had Samba write a simple seal on his chest before departing. It utilized the Art of Venus and would allow Samba to hear everything that Tokahev heard. He was also spooked by the incident earlier, but breathed a sigh of relief when it was all in good intention.

 For now, it seemed like the visit to Asaji was a success. The day passed by into night, and from night into the dark hours of the morning. Many of the men were sleeping except for a few, including Salem, Sambo, Tokahev, and Jin. The day proved to be exciting and it was clear the Asaji were on Vevoskovia's side. The group began wrapping up their talks.

Jin: You have my word, Asaji will continue to cooperate with Vevoskovia and Sankadesh. I really don't know if things can be resolved peacefully at this point, Tokahev. With all respect, we have no intention of dealing niceties with them anymore since their agents stole from this country.

Tokahev: I understand. I will do what I can when I go back and talk with Prince Solomon. Will you be coming to the Ball of Lords this weekend?

Jin: I probably won't be able to make it. I have much to do here since everyone seems to be putting their forces on high alert now.

Tokahev: Don't worry about it. I'll put in the good word for you in front of all the other lords!

Jin: You're a laugh and a half, Tokahev. Best of luck to you. And god help us all. Ladies, please walk them out and wish them farewell.

Tokahev: Everyone, wake up! We've got to go! We're on a tight schedule. Farewell, Jin. Thank you for having us.

Salem: Thanks for the treatment, Jin!

Jin: Farewell, everyone! Safe journeys!

The tired men went back into their carriages and began the journey home. The women of DAY waved and blew kisses as they rode away into the dark morning. Many of the men decided to get some shut-eye, since the sun will surely have risen by the time they made it back to Vevoskovia.

Tokahev: Samba. It was successful.

Those words echoed in Samba's head, giving him a relieved smile. Vevoskovia had attained another ally.

Speaking of allies.

Fate had finally made his way over to central Vevoskovia and stood inside the Menlayev Manor, over a sleeping Hita and Mori. Fate had no intention of risking Mori alerting his parents about his presence. So, he began inserting visions into Mori's head with the Art of Venus. These visions were Fate's own memories of Luxaura and the many things he accomplished over the course of a thousand years.

His conquering of the Heralds of the End, destroying the Syvian army and captured Omni clans, The Great Quake, and the ousting of Neo from the Phoenix Demons. For now, Fate would peel back, but stay close to Mori. In due time, he would convince Mori to travel with him to unlock his true self. The fact that Mori was apparently the more keen brother worked all too well in his favor. It would mean he would have a lot of questions about his powers, being forced to stay at home for most of his life, and the disappearance of his older brother. Fate would have all the answers he'd need. Fate slipped away through the wall and into the night, having planted the seeds of wonder within Mori's head.

By sunrise, Tokahev made it back to Vevoskovia and asked to be dropped off at Castle Asane. Salem was dropped off at a hotel where he would stay until the Ball of Lords was over, and Sambo was dropped off to his personal residence. Shortly after the SOE carriages left, Samba appeared at Castle Asane and met with Tokahev in the kitchen.

Samba: Well, that went well. You making breakfast?

Tokahev: Yeah. I'm exhausted, but I've got to stay up. I'll make you something too.

Samba: You don't have to, really.

Tokahev: Come on, think of it as my treat.

Samba: Alright. I'll have whatever you're having.

The aroma of sweet breakfast food filled the room. The sky was still a very dark blue, so the kitchen was lit with candles for extra light. The sound of someone landing on the railing outside on the patio startled them both until they turned and realized it was Katya, who was dressed decently this time.

Samba: Katya, you're up early.

Katya: I wanted to see how the meeting with Jin'Salah went. So?

Tokahev: It was a success. He's on board with us if push comes to shove.

Katya: Good. Looks like we can officially count Asaji as allies. But you still need to do something to prevent a war from happening in the first place, my lord.

Tokahev: I know. That's why Prince Solomon is already on his way here. I immediately started the journey home from Asaji so I could meet him here later today. I'm moving as quickly as possible, Katya.

Katya: Makes me curious how your home life is going.

Tokahev: If you must know, my wife hardly even talks to me anymore. Not to mention she's drinking more these days. It's only wine, but it says a lot about her feelings. I can't save the world and maintain my family at the same time.

Katya: One step at a time, then. First, the world.

Samba: Let's just try to move fast. The world is sitting on a live fuse, and none us know what's going to happen next.

Crows began cawing in the sky as Samba looked out the window. One of them landed on the railing and twisted its head like most birds do. Samba couldn't help but feel uneasy in that moment. Like things were just going much too smoothly. Despite that, he would uphold his duties as Tokahev's guardian, just as he was told.

Your Dearest Friend, Isolation
In the intense heat of the Vevoskovian summer, amongst the blooming fire lilies and tall trees, Prince Solomon stepped outside of his carriage and in front of the gates of Castle Asane. With him was Alecta, holding a white umbrella over him to shield him from the heat.

Solomon, now 22 years old, had grown nicely. He was even more handsome than his father and began wearing lavish, white, hand-made clothes for the season. He wore a white, thin tunic with an thin and silky overcoat, and red velvet pants. He kept his hair long, but parted from his face. Bundles of strands of hair touched his cheek, covered his ears, and reached down to his jaw. In the back, it hung all the way down to his hip. Tokahev waved from above, signaling he'd be there to let him in in a moment.

Samba: I'll find a place to hide.

Tokahev: You know what? That won't be necessary.

Samba: Excuse me?

Tokahev: Think about it. The only one who knows anything about you is me. Solomon isn't from here, so he'd never think there was something we were hiding. Just take off your vests and weapons and put them in the closet there. I think it's important that you meet him. I plan to have you around for the Ball of Lords as well.

Samba: You're on to something, aren't you?

Tokahev: Maybe.

Tokahev descended downstairs to let Solomon and Alecta inside.

Solomon: Tokahev!

Tokahev: Look at you! Even more handsome than before! Come in, please!

Solomon and Alecta stepped on to the sparkling marble floors and left their shoes in the hallway, which let in sunlight as one side of the wall held a row of windows that stretched all along the length of the hall, shining on the realistically proportioned statues of nude men, women, and angels.

Tokahev: Ishta Menlayev spilled the money to build this place many years ago. It was designed by Nadena Miyasane and stood as a symbol of the friendship between the Asane and Miyasane clans even after the fall of Omni. He hated the idea of being in Tenzo Palace and just left the place for the Supreme Senate. I began to understand why when I became king myself. Constantly being under the watchful eye of the government can be stressful.

Solomon: So this acts as a separate hub for you? It's marvelous. Since it was financed by the family, I'm guessing you don't have to pay property taxes.

Tokahev: Not at all. Castle Asane is a constant of Vevoskovian royalty because of it. Come upstairs, you two. We'll talk there. There's someone I'd like you to meet.

Samba could hear them coming back up into the room. He couldn't help but take deep breaths and twiddle around with his toes. When they walked into the room, Samba stood and greeted them.

Tokahev: Samba, this is Prince Solomon. Solomon, Samba.

Solomon: A pleasure to meet you, Samba.

Samba: Likewise, young lord.

Alecta: The young lord knows why he is here. To talk about his father, Yandel. On his behalf, I'd like to clear up a few things.

Everyone sat down, ready to hear what Alecta had to say.

Alecta: First, your reports of Syvia arming its troops isn't necessarily correct. However, we will say that our military has seen a boom of recruits in the past few years. Yandel has decreed that if confrontation is the only solution, the troops will be deployed en masse. Basically, Syvia's furry is loaded on a hair trigger. Please do not take that statement as a threat. We are on your side. I am simply stating the situation as bluntly and honestly as possible.

Solomon: In correlation with the increased size of the military, Yandel has had the Syvian Assembly purchase more weapons. This is only natural for such a large force.

Samba: But still, the increased presence of the KGR on the borders has got everyone on ice. You must know how ugly it looks when the military suddenly bloats up like that.

Solomon: We understand. We cannot stop civilians from joining of their own free will. It isn't like they're being conscripted. With all of that out of the way, I will say this. The reaction from the other nations has already worn at my father's patience.

Tokahev: So there is a possibility he may actually arm and mobilize his forces?

Solomon: Yes, that's still a very real possibility. I also don't want our nations to be embroiled in war, but I don't exactly know what Yandel is plotting. He's been excluding me from joint sessions with the Syvian Assembly and the Board of War.

Tokahev: At your age? That's madness! He's up to something. Every young lord should be included in meetings like those.

Solomon: I must be honest. My father has grown increasingly paranoid. First, there was the massacre at one of his properties during Kalina's reign. Dozens of people slaughtered. Then, there was the SOE/KGR clashes at Koga. The slain student. The killed protesters. The massacred refugees. Not only that, but he's taking coincidences throughout history as if Vevoskovia had something to do with it. Like the earthquake that killed the first Syvian king after the start of the Second Vevoskovian-Syvian War. He suspects you more than anything, Tokahev.

Samba: I have a feeling your father is lying to you. My guess is that he also suspects you, Solomon. But you're his heir, so he won't say anything while you still hold some semblance of power in the government.

Solomon: I know he's crazy, but...lying to his own son?

Tokahev: Don't be too gullible, Solomon. When a king knows what he ought to do, he will lie to those close to him in order to get it done. I hate to reciprocate suspicion, but I have faith that the SOE's intelligence was accurate. It just looks different to everyone on the outside to avoid any further chaos from within.

Solomon: So that's your position. It is a possibility. You had something in mind, didn't you?

Tokahev: All I want you to do is keep an eye on your father's movements. The more he shuts you out, the more he has to hide.

Solomon: You're asking me to spy on my own father for you. Do you understand the gravity of your proposition?

Tokahev: All too well. But you're one of the few people I can trust. You don't have to do anything suspicious. Just keep your eyes peeled. If you discover anything alarming, forward it to me. I don't buy for a second that all of this was just a misunderstanding.

Solomon: Fine. I shall watch and relay. Nothing more. Not until we have definitive proof that he's arming the troops for war. I will need to investigate the Syvian Assembly.

Samba: Don't do anything too risky. In times like these, dissenters could be locked away.

Solomon: Indeed.

Solomon began to understand the possibility that his own father could be lying to him. If so, it would mean Yandel has tightened an already exclusive inner ring and is making calls in the dark. Solomon and Alecta left the castle at sundown, stopping to stay at a secluded inn until the Ball of Lords was over. Samba acted surprisingly well during the whole thing. He was able to observe Yandel's possible trickery through Solomon's ignorance.

Tokahev: Excellent work there. You knew it didn't add up.

Samba: Paranoia and isolation. They are the mark of a liar and a man who's losing his grasp on reality. I only called it how I saw it.

Tokahev: You're much too modest, Samba.

A knock on the door interrupted them, followed by a woman's voice from beyond the door. Tokahev opened the door after realizing the voice came from Amiya. In fact, it was Amiya and Katya standing together.

Tokahev: Amiya?

Amiya: I ran into Katya on the way here. We were both headed to Castle Asane.

Katya: I only came to see how the meeting went.

Samba: You're a real busy body, Katya.

Katya: B-body? What about my body?!?

Samba: Nothing! Absolutely nothing! It was a figure of speech, I wasn't literally referring to your body so please don't skin me alive and wash me in hydrochloric acid!

Katya: O-o-oh. Okay.

Tokahev: Are you blushing?

Katya: Don't be ridiculous!

Katya was pink like a rose. She couldn't hide it to save her life.

Amiya: You're totally blushing, dear.

Tokahev: Samba, you dirty dog! I think she likes you! Katya hardly likes anybody!

Katya: Shut up, Tokahev!

Tokahev wrapped his arm around Samba and gave him some man-to-man advice up close.

Tokahev: See, I know you're in the Deshavi Black Ops, so you don't really have that kind of interest in women, but let me tell you something. See how Katya doesn't know what to do with her hands? See how she's blushing? See how she's pressing her thighs together like she has to pee? These are all the tell-tale signs that a woman is completely infatuated with you. Trust me, Amiya was the same way when we first met. If you listen closely, you can almost her the sound of water drops!

Amiya: Oh no, you're giving the poor guy advice....wait, who is this?

Tokahev: Oh, right! I haven't introduced you two! Amiya, this is Samba. Samba, my wife, Amiya.

Samba: Hello, my lady. I'm your husband's guardian. I suppose I'd also be protecting you as well.

Amiya's eyes widened as if she fell in love with Samba. He reminded her so much of Hita, he looked like he could've been her son. Sounding like she was about to cry, Amiya gushed over Samba's looks.

Amiya: You. Are. Precious! Come here!

Samba: Wha-

Amiya hugged Samba like she would her own son. Samba could smell her aromatic hair and skin.

Amiya: Look at you! You look like my Hita! I could just eat you up!

Katya: I want to be loved too!

Amiya: Join us, Katya!

Tokahev: Wow, Samba. I didn't know you were already such a ladies man. You got yourself a three-way right there.

Samba: Three what?!

Katya also hugged Samba, who found himself crushed by their faces rubbing up against his and their breasts rubbing against his chest.

Katya: I love you, Samba!

Amiya: I love you too, Samba!

Samba: Okay, I get it! I love you guys too, now would you please let go of me?!

Katya: You're right! We should wait until marriage to touch each other like this.

Samba gasped as Katya's careless words. Katya realized what she just said and covered her mouth, backing away from Samba and Amiya.

Tokahev: Did...did she just...

Amiya: She did....oh my god....

Katya: I uh....uhh.....please just forget everything you just heard!

Samba: Personally, I think you'd make a great wife. You're nice, funny, and you're very organized.

Katya: Oh gosh...I need to use the restroom!

Tokahev: What? Why? You never use the restroom when you're here.

Katya: Out of my way!

Katya ran past everyone and into the bathroom down the hall. Within a few minutes, she came back into the room fully composed.

Katya: Ahem. Excuse me.

Amiya: Gross. Did you even wash your hands?

Katya: I'll have you know that cleanliness is a virtue of the Deshavi!

Amiya: Samba, it's a pleasure to meet you. Feel free to drop by our manor anytime, okay? You're always welcome. Thank you for dealing with my bonehead husband.

Tokahev: For shame, Amiya. For shame. Actually, Katya. It's great you're here again. I need something of utmost importance done.

Katya: Hmm? What is it?

Tokahev: Seraphina. Summon her here.

Samba: Seraphina? Why her?

Tokahev: She's a Syvian. I have a feeling Yandel will utilize the KGR before he uses the main forces.

Katya: You're planning on using her as a double agent?

Tokahev: Precisely so. We will prepare her for that and embed her into the KGR. She'll siphon information off to the Deshavi, and the Deshavi will siphon that information off to me. Do not let that intel leak anywhere else.

Katya: Damn it. To put her against her own like that...

Tokahev: Is she still in protective custody?

Katya: Yeah, she's still with Vera. I can go fetch her right now.

Tokahev: Thank you, that would be lovely.

Katya exited through the window, using the Art of Mercury to make haste with her travel.

Samba: So it's come down to infiltration?

Tokahev: It's the only way we'll get definitive answers. I don't like it either, but she's already been marked a traitor by the nation. As far as they know, she's still at large. She knows quite a bit about the SOE, so that will give the KGR reason to take her in.

The sun continued to fall and the moon began to shine again in a sky dotted by countless stars. Katya returned in the night with Seraphina, who she kept cloaked to conceal her identity to any wanderers. Seraphina, now 27 years old, knelt before Tokahev, Amiya, Samba, and Katya inside of Castle Asane. She still looked young though, like she hadn't aged a bit.

Seraphina: You summoned me, my lord?

Tokahev: I have a task for you. A long-term and difficult task.

Seraphina: I still haven't forgotten that you saved my life all those years ago. Whatever you need from me, I will do it to the best of my ability.

Tokahev: Good. You'll be deployed to Syvia in a Double Agent operation. You will be embedded into the KGR.

Seraphina: Am I to forward enemy intelligence to you?

Tokahev: To the Deshavi to be exact. They will forward it to me, and I will issue orders through them. Think of them as the middle man, the breaker in all of this.

Katya: Come to Deshavi HQ and we'll iron out the details on paper.

Amiya: How long would it take to deploy her?

Katya: I've already formulated a method of doing this. I can have her briefed and deployed within a day.

Tokahev: Perfect. This is a very dangerous task, Seraphina. If your cover is blown, nobody will be there to save you. You're not good enough at the Marluxian Arts to ward off the KGR since you're just an asset for the Deshavi...

Seraphina: So using it to try and escape is prohibited. I understand. I understand the risks and accept the mission.

Tokahev: Good luck to you then, Sera. Do what you need to, Katya.

Katya: At ease. Let's head back to Deshavi HQ. I'll fill you in on everything later, Tokahev.

Katya left the castle with Seraphina, who put her cloak back over herself and shut the door. Samba would later return to Deshavi HQ as well, leaving Tokahev and Amiya to part home together. But Fate had returned to the Menlayev Manor tonight, intent on collecting Mori. The black Phoenix Demon cloak left only the faint glow of his depleting Eye of Nibiru to be seen. Lucky for him, Luxaura was still awake and ventured outside into the courtyard to take a look at the moon. It was almost a golden color, with a ring around it. It looked much like a giant eye in the sky. Hita also walked outside to check on his brother.

Hita: Still up? Something wrong?

Mori: Nah, don't worry about it. I'm just looking up at the moon. It's pretty tonight.

Hita: And so it is.

They sat on the steps of the manor together in silence, listening to the sounds of the crickets chirping off somewhere in the bushes and trees.

Hita: Mori, be honest with me.

Mori: What's up?

Hita: Do you think mom and dad are gonna get separated?

Mori: They always put up a facade in front of others. But you hear how they argue all the time. It's been that way since Marluxia imprisoned and mysteriously vanished.

Mori was too keen for his father's secrets. He had an irking suspicion that Marluxia was broken out of prison by the Deshavi Black Ops and lied to him and Hita to protect Marluxia's secret. But Mori also felt how hard it was to tell Hita that. 6 long years and they hadn't heard a word from him. Hita began to think Marluxia was dead.

Mori: Being our parents was hard on them.

Mori clasped his hands and produced a small flame in his hands the warmed and glowed on his face.

Mori: No wonder they had us home-schooled.

Hita: You seriously kept messing with that stuff? I stopped doing that after we got busted for it when we were little.

Mori: I don't believe we can do this by accident. Nor do I believe we're just freaks who need to be sheltered and protected from plain view of the world.

Hita felt Mori's passion. He smiled, closed his eyes, and leaned back to look up at the sky.

Hita: Maybe you can argue my case when you're king.

Mori: I have no interest in taking father's place on the hotseat. It's clear he's in a rush to retire and pass his burdens on to me. That's how this dynasty seems to work.

Hita: What? No way! It's because your the best out of the both of us. Dad never considered me for the role. He doesn't talk to me like he does to you.

Mori: That's a blessing though, Hita.

Hita: Easy for the better brother to say. Anyway, I'm gonna go hit the hay. Make sure you go to sleep soon.

Mori: Thanks, Hita.

Hita went back inside the manor and up to his room for bed. Mori continued to watch the moon in a melancholy mood.

Mori: The better brother, huh? What a joke.

Out of the darkness ahead of him, Mori was alerted by a helix of flames suddenly heading towards him. As if he were a Deshavi himself, Mori clasped his hands and made a force field with the Art of Jupiter. The flames were extinguished, leaving only heat and smoke in Mori's surroundings.

Fate: Just as I thought. You never backed down from your abilities. From the very thing your parents tried to pass off as a simple mistake.

Out from that darkness came Fate, his skin as pale as death itself.

Mori: You...I've seen you before somewhere, haven't I? You were in my dreams...

Fate: Ah, so you remember me? Your dreams aren't figments of your imagination. They are a look back to the past. Your past.

Mori: That was you just now, with the fire. So, you have the same powers that I do.

Fate: The Marluxian Arts, yes. I know all there is about the Marluxian Arts. It doesn't begin and end with the Deshavi Black Ops like you Menlayevs believe. It's as old as the planets themselves.

Mori: Tell me your name.

Fate: I was born without a name. But I go by Fate. What about you? Do you remember what your true name really is?

Mori: My name is Mori.

Fate: No. No it's not. You, young lord, are the incarnation of the most beloved prophet on this earth. All of those statues in the temples, the verses in the Book of Wisdom, it's all you. You are Luxaura, the Enlightened One. That is why you can do what you can do. I have been watching over you since you were small, making sure that you grew up properly. I see your interest in the Marluxian Arts was carried over, even through incarnation.

Mori: That's who I was in those dreams?

Mori held up his palm and gazed at the symbol of Jupiter, still imprinted on his hand from his defensive move.

Mori: Me? An incarnation. It would explain why I can do it. But why is it that Hita and the Deshavi can do it? It clearly predates my own existence.

Fate: I never said you created the Marluxian Arts. As I said, they are as old as the planets themselves. Judging by how beautifully you were able to block my attack, you have kept practicing with the Marluxian Arts behind everyone's backs, haven't you? I'm impressed. But surely you know of the consequences for using the Marluxian Arts too much during your age? It's the main reason why your parents scolded you and Hita from using them.

Mori: Consequences? I only ever utilized them in small scale. I don't know of any consequences.

Fate: Your body. They eat away at your organs. Use the Art of Mars too often, and your heart will grow weak and fail. Use the Art of Neptune too often, and your kidneys will rot away.

Fate lifted his arm and pointed at Mori with his deathly hands.

Fate: Use the Art of Jupiter too often, and say bye-bye to your entire nervous system. You will grow numb to everything, unable to feel ever again.

Mori had his breath taken away for a moment. How was he to know using the Marluxian Arts could've been deadly? All he knew was the Fate did not appear to be human. His skin was as white as ash, his nails were long and sharp, and his ominous red eye pierced Mori's heart and soul like a god that knew all of his secrets. He had no reason to trust him, but his very existence was a work of curiosity. He clearly knew things that nobody else knew.

Mori: What else can you tell me? About me and the Marluxian Arts?

Fate: Tell you? I can show you. I can give you back the memories you had as a prophet. You knew everything back then. You can regain that knowledge. Come with me, and we will embark on the journey to Providence. Your memories are stored there, where no one would dare go looking for them.

Mori looked back at the Menlayev manor, thinking if he should really just leave everything behind. His brother would be alone, and it would bring panic to the household, perhaps even to the nation at large.

Fate: Thinking about them? They aren't your real family. The only mother you have was the one who gave birth to you a thousand years ago. Would you like to remember her as well?

Mori: My real mother? Damn it...

Fate: Make your choice. The clock is ticking.

Mori: Fate. I don't exactly trust you. But if going with you will explain all of this, I will embark to Providence with you.

Fate: Will the sheltered prince really leave behind his life of luxury for the truth?

Mori: Let's go before I change my mind.

Fate: A wise choice indeed. Let us go then, Luxaura.

Fate clasped his hands, using the Art of the Moon to summon an object he had marked for teleportation earlier. It was the Phoenix Demon cloak. His cloak. Mori remembered the Lotus Flower symbol from his dreams. All of it only starved his curiosity even more. He put on the Phoenix Demon cloak and dressed as Fate's equal. With one more use of the moon, Fate teleported them both for away from Vevoskovia and near the body of water and raging storms that used to be Providence. Temporary trust was all Fate needed. As soon as the seal was activated, Luxaura would be awakened.

Yet another sleeping soul wandered about, not knowing who he truly is. Samba returned to Deshavi HQ finding Marluxia waiting for him in front of the waterfall guarding the entrance. Their reflections in the water were distorted as the waterfall continued spewing water that settled into the lake.

Samba: You look upset.

Marluxia: Nah, just eager.

Marluxia clasped his hands and held a stream of electricity that gave light to the dark area.

Samba: I really would prefer to just get right to sleep. You mind?

Marluxia: Yes.

Samba: Suit yourself then.

Samba clasped his hands and trapped Marluxia into a spiral of water. He quickly got rid of the electricity to avoid shocking himself. Instead, Marluxia engulfed himself in fire that turned the water around him into steam. Neither of them could see the other. Samba paid close attention with his ears and heard the rushing footsteps of Marluxia, charging at him with a chakram. Samba blocked Marluxia's swings with his arm guards. They began to talk during this seemingly deadly game of show and tell.

Marluxia: So, how's it going with my father?

Samba: You know?

Marluxia: Katya told me when Jaya and I realized you'd been gone these past few days!

Samba found an opening that allowed him to take hold of Marluxia's arm and disarm him. With the Art of Earth, Marluxia was pushed back by a blunt, concussive blast that made his bones feel like sand. He knelt, unable to stand. Samba had won this sparring match.

Marluxia: Damn it...

Samba: You're not very good with chakram. You should stick to medium length swords and projectiles.

Marluxia: You win. I admit it.

Samba helped Marluxia up as Jaya came out from the waterfall. Just by seeing them, she already knew what they were up to.

Jaya: Sparring again?

Samba: Until this asshole gets better at using chakram.

Marluxia: I'm almost there! Don't judge a chick for not flying like an eagle!

Jaya: What am I gonna do with you two?! Just get inside before you catch a cold!

Samba: Yes, Mom...

Jaya: Don't even go there. Don't even!

If only the night could be so peaceful for everyone else. The sounds of Tokahev and Amiya searching around the manor and yelling out Mori's name woke Hita up. He came out of his room and saw Amiya from upstairs.

Hita: Mom? What's wrong?

Amiya: Hita! Where's Mori? Is he with you?! He's usually asleep by this time but his room was empty!

Hita: What?! Last time I saw him, he was out in the front watching the moon! That was just a few hours ago!

Amiya: Oh my god! Oh god, no, no, no!

Tokahev ran inside, returning from searching the back of the manor.

Tokahev: I can't find him!

Amiya began to grow even more distressed. Her lungs were taking in and exhaling air almost as fast as her heart was beating. Everything around her blurred into distortion and her vision grew dark. It was difficult for her to speak and communicate as she fell to the floor on her knees, prompting Hita and Tokahev to run to her aid.

Tokahev: Amiya, you've got to breathe! Breathe slowly!

Hita: Mom! Please relax! Dad, go get her some water!

Tokahev: On it!

Amiya lost consciousness in her own home. She relived the heartbreak of losing one of her sons. This time, she had no idea where he was or even if he was still alive. Hita was the last one left. Amiya was later rushed to Deshavi HQ in the middle of the night. A medical team took her inside as Katya probed Tokahev as to what happened.

Tokahev: He's gone! Mori is gone! We don't know where he went

Katya: The prince is missing?! He couldn't have gotten far!

Tokahev: Please, look for him! Use whatever resources you have to locate him and bring him home before word gets out! The Ball of Lords is tomorrow, and if he's not found, the world will know I lost a second son.

Katya: I'll get the Lunar Division on it ASAP! We'll conduct a full search, I promise you!

Everyone was rushed inside as the storms of awakening began to brew. The cursed marks on the chests of Mori and Hita were always meant to bring this kind of misery to the family that would raise them. Fate dealt a cruel hand.