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Digimon: Civil War

Discussion in 'Role-Playing Games' started by Kamotz, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Titus Cloudraker (Saviorhuckmon)
    Nastrond


    While Goliath spoke with the Dragonlord, Titus remained in the far rear of the Realmless. He’d returned to his Saviorhuckmon form during the journey to Nastrond, despite his best efforts. Since entering the Khan’s presence, the silver knight turned tense and rigid with his hood and goggles up to obscure his face. Thoreau, his father, stood distinctly apart from the Realmless, but they were close enough to hear one another.

    The Slayerdramon studied the change in his son’s demeanor. In the short time of their reunion, the two had reestablished a sense of familiarity and spoke with comfortable ease. However, the Titus’s cold silence was jarring for those who knew him best. His golden eyes never wavered away from the Khan, a clawed hand curled in a tight fist.

    “Why did you leave the hordes, Titus?“ Thoreau asked quietly, remembering Titus’s connection to the old horde chief, Rheagos. “Surely, accepting Karrthus as your Horde Chief couldn’t have been that bad, the rest of the Imperia horde did.”

    “Rheagos took me in, when I thought I had lost everything,” the young dragon’s eyes flashed with old pain. “Why would I want to follow the dragon responsible for his passing?”

    “You would have been amongst family again, son.” Thoreau said slowly, as he finally spilled the reason for knowing the Dragonlord personally. “Karrthus is my nephew and in turn your cousin by blood.”

    Titus’s blood turned to ice.

    “Knowing that now changes nothing.” Titus said, quickly regaining his composure. The knowledge that his own flesh and blood was the cause for Rheagos ultimately dying left him feeling ill.

    “Rheagos was ancient, Titus,” Thoreau said with a sigh, trying to reach out to his son. “He shouldn’t have engaged Karrthus in Ankam, not when his strength was failing. And I’m sorry, I hadn’t realized how close you were to him.”

    “Maybe,” Titus admitted. In the months leading up the to the fated Ankam, he’d often aided the ailing Imperialdramon PM in the early mornings, when the pain in his limbs was too great. “But he’d raised his horde up under the guidance of the Old Code. Yielding to Karrthus...that legacy would have vanished in the flames of the Firemind.”

    Titus burned with shame. He should have been the one to fight that day, not Rheagos. He’d still been too young and his strength inadequate to defend his horde’s way of life. “He acted as he felt he should. Is that so wrong?”

    “No,” Thoreau shook his horned head, “and I’m sorry I wasn’t there that day to reclaim you and save you further grief.”

    “What are you talking about?” Titus glanced sharply at his father. “You couldn’t have known I was his squire then.”

    The Slayerdramon glanced away from his son’s piercing gaze, silent for several moments, until he reluctantly explained, “After our home was left in ruins, Rheagos himself came to me one day and asked if you were my son. My decision to chose a mate outside my horde was common knowledge to several hordes, since it is seldom done. When he described the young huckmon he’d found, I told him yes.”

    “You knew where I was all those years,” Titus said accusingly, “and yet you left me believing I was alone?”

    “I entrusted you to Rheagos’s care for your own sake!” Thoreau countered heatedly. He waved a hand dismissively, “It’s...complicated and would require an explanation at a more appropriate time.”

    “No,” Titus said, his eyes hard with hurt and betrayal. “I think we’re done.”

    The Saviorhuckmon yanked his hood off, letting it hang down his back. Turning his back to his father, he said in stiff farewell, “I’m glad you’ve been well, father, and rest assured I will get mom back if she's alive.”

    “Titus!” Thoreau snarled sharply in a hushed tone to get his son’s attention, but the Saviorhuckmon had already slipped away to merge further into the gathered Realmless.

    “Not because I wanted too, Titus,” Thoreau muttered, he closed his eyes with evident regret. “but Rheagos was the teacher you needed, not me.”

    “If only to try and prevent a tragedy from repeating itself.”

    _________________

    Sawyer (Tuwarmon)
    Nastrond


    The mutant digimon hovered closely beside Ryia as they marched to the capital of the Nastrond. Sighting the massive Examon, Karrthus, Sawyer involuntarily stumbled sideways and pressed into the old mare’s thick red armor. Apparently less than thrill with the extra body mass, Ryia planted a solid kick, sending the Tuwarmon staggering away a few feet.

    “Stand your ground with your own two feet, mutant. I’m not a brooding mare.”

    Sawyer held up both hands to placate the Sleipmon, however, she payed no further attention him as she moved away. The tall mutant deflated with a breath and pulled himself upright to rigid attention as he glance around to observe their surroundings. He really wish they could finish up and be done.

    The Tuwarmon studied his gauntlet hands and arms, more to distract himself from the imposing Examon. He’d actually managed to do something useful during the last battle with this form. He was bigger, stronger, faster, and lost his squish factor. However, he hated what it represented and the potential risk to his father and other conscripted soldiers if he was caught in the open by the Empire.

    “A sh*ttier situation than a two-hole outhouse,” the mutant muttered under his breath. Sawyer dropped his arms to his sides without a clue to fix his predicament. A silver gleam flashed out of the corner of his eye. Titus glided up alongside the Tuwarmon without a word, appearing to watch the proceedings with the Khan.

    “Heya, Finn, sorry I didn’t mention the ‘new’ look to ya sooner.” Sawyer scratched his head sheepishly, “I kinda stumbled through the evolution by accident a year ago, when you weren’t around to kick a few butts for me.”

    The Saviorhuckmon tilted his head to the side and gave Sawyer a dull, tired nod of acknowledgement, before glancing away again. An awkward silence hung between the pair until the Tuwarmon happened to glaze in the direction Titus had come from.

    “So who’s the look-a-like?” Sawyer asked, looking at the larger silver dragon standing in the background past his friend.

    “Just one of the dragons that met us at the borders,” the Saviorhuckmon said offhandedly.

    “That’s it? Seemed like you two were talking for quite a bit,” Sawyer pressed, genuinely curious. “Was he someone you kn-”

    “Sawyer, please…” Titus said in a hushed tone, his eyes closed as though fighting a headache, “can we leave the matter be?”

    “Ah, yea, whatever you say, Finn.” Sawyer hesitated, but agreed nonetheless. The mutant stared at his longtime friend for several moments. Titus typically hid his true feeling very well or kept them well below the surface. But Sawyer had known the Saviorhuckmon long enough to know his friend was quite distressed.


    ____________________

    Ryia Rohhirrim (Sleipmon)
    Nastrond

    She knickered with annoyance at the fidgety Tuwarmon, when he’d tried leaning into her side for cover. A cold sweat dripped down her back from the sudden closeness of the mutant. Abruptly, she kicked Sawyer just hard enough to send him tumbling a few feet. “Stand your ground with your own two feet, mutant. I’m not a brooding mare.” She snapped, disregarding the pounding beats of her heart. Agitated, the Iron Mare stomped her feet and trotted forward where there was a bit more space.

    “Move aside, you lumbering rustheap,” Ryia barked coldly as she maneuvered her equine form into a better position to observe the exchange with the Khan.

    “No need for insults my dear." the RustTyrannomon’s metallic voice rumbled, "I may be old and rusted but I still know how to treat a lady." He took a step back, opening his spot for Ryia to take.

    Ryia snorted with contempt, barely acknowledging the old timer’s gracious words. Just because she agreed to tolerate the Empire turncoats didn’t she had to converse friendly with them. (The squishy one didn’t count.)

    “The Kahn is truly impressive." the massive dramon remarked, unable to see Ryia's face to judge her reactions. "Someday, when this war is ended, I may indeed return here to these lands to find rest. The Empire has nothing left to give me, and nothing left to take."

    A dark cloud passed over Ryia’s thoughts, recalling the dark and painful memories. Panicking younglings cut down by explosions and gunfire. Blood curdling screams of her children and herd mates drowning in their own blood as they tried -and failed- to defend themselves. All because of the Realmpact and the bondage it held them in.

    “I will know no rest until Rhuell and his subordinates lay dead beneath my hooves,” Ryia swore, blood boiling with anger. Her eyes narrowed, staring off into the distance as she imagined the retribution. “Over a hundred strong, the impact of our hooves echoed across the plains to be heard for miles. Yet merely words brought my herd to its doom.”

    Her tail swished wildly from side to side, ears folded back. “The Khan is a fool if he believes a flimsy paper will release the dragons from the bonds of the Realmpact. Bonds which will only be loosen for a time until they are tighten again, leaving them to the mercy of their jailors.”

    If not for the bitterness filling her heart, Ryia would have acknowledge and respected the Khan’s strength and prowess. However, in all things concerning the Realmpact and the Empire, her words turned into a cold, hard blade.

    “Better we count the dragons as allies for a day than not count them among us at all." Jericho said. His voice was low and solemn. "Actions require power. And words are the promise of power. That is the essence of the Realmpact. The promise and the fulfillment in one. Defying such a thing is no trifling matter."

    "Death has taken something from us all at Rhuell's command. Your loss has been a heavy burden to bear, but it is a weight that is familiar to most of us."

    “Nay, it is not,” Ryia snorted, crossing her arms and settling finally in a restful stance. Memories of broken bones and blood dripping from gaps in her armor plagued her mind. “It is the price we’ve paid to be free of the Realmpact, some by choice and others not. So, when the Realms fall to their knees, it will left to us to show them how to endure that burden and rise up.”

    Jericho nodded. "Indeed. Though if we see the day come when metal emperors die, empires fall, realms are shattered and lines redrawn... When the smoke clears and the horrors cease and we set right the wrongs of our time and new leaders rise from the ashes to rule with honor and virtue. At that time, the best gift we could give the world would be to fade into history and take our sorrows with us."

    “I will not go so quietly into the twilight,” Ryia said with fervor, “Not until the future’s children prove themselves worthy of the pain we’ve endured for that new day. When they remember and understand the price of our blood and sweat, than I will stand aside.”

    “Assuming I live long enough to witness that new dawn, of course.” Ryia said forthright.

    "All things fade in their time." Jericho sighed. "The Realmpact is no more immortal than are we. Even if our small rebellion can grow mighty enough to slay that which was born at the dawn of our history, that history will be ours to write for only a short time. And will not be etched at all by those who fall before then except by the memory they etch on those of us who survive. Our only duty to this world is to see our story etched into the hearts and minds of all who come after as a testament that once there was a Realmpact. That once there were Realmless. That once, despair and violence ruled the day. But no more. And never again."

    The dinosaur shook his head with a series of metallic clanks. "But these are the ramblings of an old man with too much to prove and no one left to care. We will see what becomes of all this fire and fury. We will see."

    "Once I'm dead and gone, who am I to care." the old mare said flatly, shifting her weight idly to a back leg.


    _________________________________



    Aayaash Animikki (Garudamon)
    Nastrond


    Ayas stood amongst the Realmless, his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes closed in thought. The Khan spoke true. The Astral Order, responsible for law and policies of Eon, could circumvent the bounds of the Realmpact if such a petition were granted. In theory at least, however, Ayas couldn’t recall any previous occurrence from the historical records to support it.

    “Indeed a writ would enable the dragons to fight within the bounds of the Realmpact, if the Order can be properly convinced of the justification for it.” The former judge said softly, just loud enough for the Realmless to hear him. “The due process for creating the writ will likely be time consuming and I would share my concern of the Empire perhaps overruling it.”

    "Please, you mean to tell me that we have an entire army here that we can't use until we get written permission?" Versa’s palm met her forehead perhaps a little too hard. "This Realmpact nonsense is absolutely infuriating. Why in the burning hell did anyone think this was a good idea?"

    "The Realmpact was created to enforce a peaceful existence equally between the Realms." Ayas stated, not at all bothered by her exacerbated outburst. "And the system has served its purpose as was intended, however, a shift has occurred to upset the balance in recent times as we, ourselves, have experienced first hand."

    Versa’s eyebrow twitched as her face tried a few emotions before settling on disinterested contempt. "You think? I'd call the Metal Empire doing whatever the hell it wants a little more than a 'shift'." Versa turned her nose up at him in a gesture that was surprisingly dainty given her earlier fire. "But call it what you will. Just get the permission slip so we can stop sitting on our asses and start kicking theirs."

    “In due time, of course,” Ayas continued on, as if he didn’t notice Versa’s dismissal of the subject. He did ensure she could hear him clearly though. The former judge had dealt with Versa’s sort before, he would not let her attitude get to him. However, now and again, he would indulge and ruffle their feathers with a hintt more subtly. It’s amazing how quickly some digimon will drop a fuss if you bore them with details. “We’ll need to send in a formal request for an audience with the Assembly of Judges to present our case, then there will be the time needed for them to gather if we are granted an audience. The next phase will be for deliberation and discussion. Then if they do agree, the writ must be carefully crafted to eliminate loopholes and usually undergo several revisions….”

    Ayas continued his ‘explanation’ of the proceedings a few moments longer for good measure. The older Garudamon let a bare smirk grace his features, before once again schooling his expression to that of a humorless and serious judge. While deadpan humor was not an attribute he exhibited often, it sometimes helped to keep the more unruly individuals guessing in confusion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  2. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Goliath Leonhardt (BanchoLeomon) >
    - Nastrond -


    Goliath grumbled as Ayas explained the process of even gaining an audience with the judges of the Astral Order. He knew there would be bureaucracy involved but it sounded never-ending when Ayas explained it. He felt like he'd been standing in the same place for two months! They needed to move - he didn't know why - there was something pushing him forward, urging him to action. Something boiled just out of sight.

    "You see, my lord?" Imego snarled off to Karrthus's side. "For all their bluster and talk, they have no way to turn that into meaningful action."

    "I'd be hesitant to criticize another's lack of meaningful action if I were you, Imego," Ajax snarled back.

    "And I'd be hesitant to criticize those above your station if I were you, lowly outcast," Imego snapped angrily.

    "What is the law of our people? What is the law of the Firemind?" Karrthus bellowed, turning to them both, silencing them. "To conquer is to survive. To rule is to bleed. Victory or death. Imego, you have achieved neither victory nor death. Ajax, you cast off the fire in your blood; you neither conquer nor rule."

    "Except I'm Realmless," Ajax said, standing defiantly before the massive dragon. "I'm not beholden to anything anymore."

    Karrthus leaned in slow, his massive eyes lowering to stare directly into Ajax. His voice dropped low as well, speaking to just the armored dragon knight. "Then if you will not conquer, and you will not rule...remain silent."

    "But it's a start," Goliath said, growling low, hoping to break the tension between the dragons. There was always tension when all those equally-stubborn reptiles got together. But more than that, they needed to move faster or any forward movement they had would be stripped away. He felt like he was clawing to get moving again, like the fight with the Horde had robbed them of all the momentum they'd built in their fight against the Empire. Outwitting Sabboth, the victory at Setessa, the allies gained at Ironclad...they were meaningless if they didn't continue to make further strides.

    "Even if we go before the judges, we'll need time and money to put together our case, and representation," Emmara said with a sigh. She turned to Ayas. "No offense, but we don't know if they'd even let you argue our case. For all the other Realmless that came before us and were wiped out, I doubt any of them ever went before the Judges to ask permission for one Realm to declare war on another."

    "Then perhaps that is our solution," Jaeger said. It was the first he'd spoken in a long while, and Goliath turned a patient ear to what the typically-thoughtful wolf had to say. "Would the Judges even know what to do with us and our case? Who would preside over such a thing?"

    "Who would want to?" Emmara groaned.

    "Who even could?" Goliath asked, slowly coming to Jaeger's meaning. "A request for hostilities made on behalf of one Realm by Realmless."

    "This would have to be taken up by the Supreme Judge," Jaeger said with a nod.

    "Or dismissed outright," Ulysses scoffed with a roll of his eyes. "Why in all the hells would the Supreme Judge agree to meet with us, tinwolf?"

    "Because if you are a cog in a ceaseless bureaucratic machine that has procedures for everything, and you're faced with an impossible scenario that you have no answer for, you pass it to your superior," Jaeger answered with a hiss. "And then the impossible scenario will reach as high as it can go. And at that point they will have no choice but to listen."

    "Unless they don't even listen to us in the first place," Ulysses snapped back. "They don't need to hear to us at all. They can just ignore us and be done with it."

    "Then you'll need someone to gain entry and audience," Karrthus grumbled from up high. "Imego, go with them as my proxy. Then they'll have to grant you audience with someone." He waved them off.

    "Absolutely not!" Ajax and Imego shouted together.

    "This untrustworthy-"

    "I'd rather die than go with them!"

    "I can arrange that, Storm's Fury," Karrthus boomed, his voice shaking the caldera. "Or do you forget who is your Khan?" The Dragonlord's threat left no room to argue further. "And if you raise a hand against them, and betray me, I will nail you to the side of this volcano by your wings."
     
  3. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Versa Victa (BeelStarmon) & Jericho Arcos (RustTyrannomon)
    - Nastrond -


    One thing Versa was good at was reading people. Ayas's eyes were saying that some part of him was enjoying this lengthy exposition Order politics. The Garudamon just wouldn't shut up. “We’ll need to send in a formal request for an audience with the Assembly of Judges to present our case," he rambled on dryly, "then there will be the time needed for them to gather if we are granted an audience. The next phase will be for deliberation and discussion. Then if they do agree, the writ must be carefully crafted to eliminate loopholes and usually undergo several revisions….”

    And on and on and on. Politicians and lawyers could all go straight to the lowest pit of hell, provided they weren't already practicing there.

    But enough was enough. "Alright already, its a long boring process, I get it." Versa tossed her hair with a quick flick of her fingers. "If I get sued, I'll look you up Jabberjay. And if someone tries to kill you, you can come find me. Until then, I'm going to find someone more interesting to talk to. Like that rock over there."

    The BeelStarmon sauntered off, knowing full well the smug sense of satisfaction Aayaash was probably feeling right now. Well, screw him and his smug thoughts. She signed up to be a Realmless to kick ***, take names, and hopefully do something worth doing in this strange world she lived in. What she did not sign up for was chatting politics and legalese with a bird brained scribe or watching dragons punch each other and shout about honor all day.

    Didn't anyone in this outfit know how to have fun? As she walked into earshot of Ryia and Jericho's conversation about death, legacy, pain, and the crushing weight of emotional baggage, the answer seemed to be a loud and resounding no.

    By the time the two geezers finished verbally assaulting themselves, Versa had heard more than enough to get her riled up. "You can't actually believe that." she said, approaching Jericho even as Ryia seemed to disengage.

    "Believe what?" Jericho turned to face her in all his imposing size, his joint creaking. "That I'm a relic of a bygone era?"

    "That the world would be better off without us once the Metal Empire falls." Versa was much less imposing compared to the huge machine, but she wasn't about to back down. She could only hope the fire in her eyes made up for how much she had to crane her neck to meet his gaze.

    "You don't think so? No I suppose someone so young would not." he shook his head.

    "Age has nothing to do with it. Its a matter of principal."

    "Whose principal would that be young lady? Mine? Yours? Goliath's? The Metal Emperor's?"

    Versa crossed her arms. "Don't confuse the issue. If things are so bad now that we have to rip the world's order out by the roots, then who else can we trust to run this world the right way except ourselves? Don't tell me you of all people don't have ideas on how the run the Metal Empire better."

    "That's not..." Jericho was silent for a bit, pondering his next words carefully. "Its not a matter of what I think is better. Its a matter of what actually is better. And I don't think we need an Emperor to decide that for us."

    "Please, don't tell me you actually think democracy is the way to go here?" Versa actually laughed at the thought. "Mob rule? In this twisted system? What could go wrong with millennia of hostilities to poison the waters. Yes, lets do all the hard work and then put a bunch of worthless, brainwashed, biased, peasants in charge. That'll really help things."

    "Its not our place to tear down dictators only to enshrine ourselves as kings and queens in their place. Are we conquerors or liberators? If we win we will be remembered as heroes, if we lose as rebellious scum, but who would rally behind us if we took the thrones for ourselves? Who would follow us if we told them things were going to be done our way now. No, we should let them decide for themselves how they will be ruled."

    "That's exactly what we shouldn't do." Versa placed a hand on her hip. "You don't help anything by showing people that when they're in trouble someone else will come to do all the hard work, that someone else will come and save them. You don't spoil them rotten and then make them all kings and queens in their own eyes and expect them not to tear at each other with renewed vigor. I know. I've seen it. Its called the Unhallowed Syndicate. What you describe as liberation for your empire is exactly what keeps mine in darkness and misery. The opulent rise to the top on the bodies of all those beneath them. Don't tell me to believe that a just and righteous ruler wouldn't be better."

    "Better is a matter of opinion that is impossible to define objectively." Jericho let out a deep sigh and Versa scrunched her nose. His breath smelled like oil. "But I have not seen the Syndicate with my own eyes. I will take your words into consideration. But take mine as well, young fire heart. The weight of a crown is not in its power but its allure. Imagine yourself a queen of demons, and a queen of demons you may become. For better or worse."

    Versa smiled slyly. "Better to wear a crown of thorns than a shackle of gold."

    "Perhaps." Another sigh from the big machine as he scratched at his chin. "But enough talk. We have much to prepare for. Its a long walk to the Astral Order, if that is to be our next stop."

    "Thanks for the chat Grumpy Gears." Versa imitated a little curtsy. "Not as fun as I was hoping for, but certainly better than talking to that rock." Jericho gave a puzzled glance to the rock in question. Versa ignored him and headed off towards where a few others were gathering. "Next time, tell me an old war story or something."
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  4. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Goliath Leonhardt (BanchoLeomon) >
    - aboard the Dauntless -


    Goliath and the Realmless had boarded the Dauntless by the coast west of Nastrond. Under Karrthus's orders, Imego hailed a representative of the Blue Coalition and chartered passage across the sea aboard the large ship. Prahv would have been a difficult journey otherwise - even for those among them capable of sustained flight. Goliath had almost laughed at the thought of Ajax being forced to swim - armor and all - across the sea. That alone was almost worth it.

    Instead, one of the Blue had arrived promptly and - no questions asked - allowed the Goliath and the Realmless to board his ship...with Imego in tow, of course.

    The ship and its captain, Ramirez DePietro, were equally eccentric. The CaptainHookmon helmed a massive frigate large enough to give even Jericho enough room to settle in, and urged it along with the help of several Whamon harnessed to the bow. Ramirez had a substantial crew - several Tylomon X and Mantaraymon X cruised alongside the ship sending the occasional report back to Ramirez from the depths. His crew - A throng of burly Zudomon, agile Lekismon, the odd Shawjamon and Ranamon - went about busily securing...whatever it was one secured on a ship. His First Mate, a stoic KorIkkakumon, had urged the Realmless below deck and ordered them to stay out of the crew's way.

    "Ah, Karmas, be more accommodating to our guests, yes?" Ramirez drawled.

    "Aye, Captain," the KorIkkakumon grumbled.

    "Que? the Captain asked with a smirk.

    "Aye, Cap-i-tan," Karmas deadpanned.

    "You see? It's easier, no?" Ramirez laughed. He spun and gestured to the wide open sea. "Speak like the sea, my friend. Freedom and salt! Libertad y sal."

    "Don't forget rum, capitan," the KorIkkakumon said with a roll of his eyes. "More rum in you than there is salt in the sea."

    "But of course! Where else would get freedom?" the capitan laughed. "Let's find some for our passengers, shall we?"

    For once, Goliath didn't mind the water. This was much better than watching Ajax struggle to stay afloat.

    ==\=/==

    < Ajax Vol (MedievalGallantmon) >
    - aboard the Dauntless -


    He'd rather be drowning. Ajax hated the sea - he always had. It was treacherous and unpredictable, and it flew in the very face of everything he was and strove to be. He prefered the feeling of something solid beneath his feet - on the rare occasions where he flew it was always under his own power. He knew he could rely on that.

    And damnit, Goliath knew all of this and was probably having the time of his life laughing at his expense. Ajax glanced over; Goliath was already downing rum with the captain - sorry, capitan. Big Cat couldn't swim, but he could drink like a fish. For all their similarities, that was where they differed most. Goliath - and all the rest of the Unbowed - were exactly that; they never allowed anyone else to dictate what they could or should do. They drank what they wanted, ate what they wanted, did what they wanted. For them it was all about the sheer freedom of the act itself.

    Ajax was a dragon, however, and to be a dragon meant embracing fury rather than freedom. Fury without dulled senses.

    "The faster we get to Prahv, the better," Ajax mumbled under his breath beside Adirael and Versa. The two demons had struck up an...amicable-enough sort of relationship in the short time since they were freed from Ironclad, but despite their similar appearances and origins, there was a vast gulf between them. Adirael seemed to embody the noble attitudes of the Syndicate, while Versa was a more...Ajax didn't quite have the word to describe her. "Volatile" didn't quite measure up.

    "As long as Ayas is able to argue our case maybe this whole thing might be actually worth it."
     
  5. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Jericho Arcos (RustTyrannomon)
    - Aboard the Dauntless -


    Water. Why did it have to be water.

    Jericho was a war veteran. A bastion of battle scarred metal, oil, grit, and cold calculating destruction. He had survived decades in the bowels of Ironclad. He was a soldier. Why then, did the depths of the sea fill his heart with dread?

    "Machines don't belong on the ocean." he mumbled as he lay flat on the floor of the cargo hold. "We sink. Sink down into the depths."

    He was afraid of the ocean. What a shame. If his men could see him now.

    Now that was a thought that sent him back. Jericho allowed himself to get lost in the thought. He imagined Richter laughing as he stood at the bow of the ship. Gloria dashing through the air around the mast joking about their fearless commander shaking like a leaf. And Dagon, patting him on the shoulder and saying quietly how he was also fearful of the dark below the waves. His Commandramon and MetalTyrannomon squads would be enjoying themselves greatly, themselves light enough to swim and having no fear of sinking uncontrollably into the deep.

    And for a moment, he would give anything to see them all again.

    And then he realized that such a voyage would end in them laying waste to the Order, and his heart sank.

    And for the first time since leaving Ironclad he felt truly alone.

    -+-+-+-

    Versa Victa (BeelStarmon)
    - Aboard the Dauntless -


    Somehow, they had managed to procure a ship.

    The resourcefulness of Goliath and his little pack continued to impress her. Connections, connections, her mother would say. Everything always seems to come down to knowing the right person at the right time, especially if they owed you a favor. Of course, her mother would also call her a fool for putting herself in such a hapless position as confined to a cargo hold of a stranger's ship.

    Well, her mother wasn't here. Nor was her father who would have just smiled and nodded as her mother talked. Neither was her sister or brother, who would have sat quietly snickering thinking their big sis was in trouble again. Neither of them old enough yet to grasp the concept of rebellion. Of trying to get your parent's doctrines to make sense.

    And of course the sailors and their suave but irritating captain had all looked her up and down the moment she stepped on board. Beauty was a blessing and a curse after all. So naturally she had latched onto Adriael and asked him to escort her to the hold, lavishing the request with all the charm and baby-doll eyes she could muster. She wasn't sure how well it worked but she managed to get down to the hold without getting harassed so she supposed she should thank the stuffy demon later. She had released his arm the second they dropped below decks. Hopefully she didn't hurt his feelings, but it was what it was.

    And that was the mildly interesting tale of how she found herself sitting in the hold with Adriael and Ajax.

    "The faster we get to Prahv, the better," Ajax mumbled under his breath. For once, Versa could agree. This ship was musty and damp and smelled like rum. A pleasure cruise this was not.

    "As long as Ayas is able to argue our case maybe this whole thing might be actually worth it." the MedievalGallantmon continued.

    Versa was pretty sure he wasn't talking to anyone in particular, but she had nothing better to do anyway. "Our quest is riding on an old bird's legalistic prowess. Kinda sad when you think about it."

    She was occupying herself by writing a little Syndicate children's rhyme in the dust that lined the floor. "You know, I know a guy in the Order too. He seemed pretty sure that their laws actually meant something, so I'm willing to give Jabberjay - sorry, Ayas, a fair chance. But lets say he can't convince them to do what we want. What then? Beat some sense into the big wigs? Draw up plan B? I don't like dangling, much less by a frayed little thread."

    A sigh escaped her lips as her finger scratched more letters in the dust. "But hey, if hope is all we have then I'll sit here and hope with you."

    She finished her little rhyme with a period, tapping the metal with a little thump. "Small lights in the dark glitter and gleam, the eyes of the night who watch as you dream." she read aloud. "Kind of a messed up idea when you think about it but children's things often have a dose of terror. You just don't notice it until you're old enough to know that that's how the world really is."
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  6. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Nastrond
    Aayaash Animkii (Garudamon)


    "Even if we go before the judges, we'll need time and money to put together our case, and representation," Emmara said with a sigh. She turned to Ayas. "No offense, but we don't know if they'd even let you argue our case. For all the other Realmless that came before us and were wiped out, I doubt any of them ever went before the Judges to ask permission for one Realm to declare war on another."

    “None taken, Emmara, you bring a valid point,” The older Garudamon scratched his beak in thought, “Though, perhaps, while we are in Prahv I shall submit my formal resignation and ceremonial sash as well, since the Order believes I’m on a ‘prolonged sabbatical’. The Digimon Resources staff detest inaccuracies in their records.”

    "Might wanna hold off on all that just in case we need a practicing advokist to weed through some of the red tape," Emmara said.

    “Yes, a matter of priorities, of course. It may very well depend on how proceeds go with the Order,” Ayas explained further, the different procedures, documents, and contacts within the Order raced through his mind. The Garudamon Elder much preferred the simpler and straightforward oral tradition of his tribe. As such, he’d committed to memory all he learned during his early studies and any legal reports he’d received from Prahv in the years following. For any documentation required by him to submit, well, that’s what scribes were for. “It is possible my own status as Realmless will be called into question.”

    “Regardless, my own reputation is well-known and respected. They cannot outright dismiss a Senior Judge without a potential uproar from such a disrespectful breach of decorum.” Ayas asserted, spreading his wings out in emphasis. “When we get to the Prahv, my office complex and apprentices are at the service of the Realmless.”

    ******
    Departing Nastrond

    They were leaving.

    “Titus!”

    Titus flat out ignored the draconic roar of his name. He marched on head of the Realmless towards the coast with a hurried pace. A shadow loomed over his back as a large figured dropped from the rocky ledge above and made a grab for his shoulder.

    The young knight’s instincts kicked in as Titus whirled around in a flash of light-the elongated tail blade of his Jesmon form caught expertly in a single claw at its base- before he was body-checked and pinned roughly against a nearby rock formation.

    “You’re good, son,” Thoreau rumbled deeply, “but you can’t overpower me, not yet.”

    “What do you want from me now?” Titus demanded, thrashing under his father’s unyielding arm across his chest.

    “You are angry with me,” Thoreau sighed. “You have every reason to be, but you must hear what I have to say.”

    A few of the Realmless had finally caught up to the pair, ready to aid their comrade.

    “Back off!” Thoreau bellowed, halting them in their rush. “This is a matter between dragons!”

    Titus gave a slight nod. At first hesitant, they slowly resumed their trek towards the coast. Only a lowly Garbagemon remained rooted on the spot, looking anxious at the two dragons.

    “I did not abandon you to Rheagos,” Thoreau said firmly, staring into his son’s eyes to make sure he understood. “Raising and training you in our ways was my right as your father.”

    “Then why didn’t you do that in the first place?” Titus demanded, pushing himself away from the rock formation and freeing himself from the Slayerdramon’s grip.

    “Because, I couldn’t do it alone, not without your mother, I-,” Thoreau snarled at himself, shaking his head with indecision, “No, I will not pretend otherwise, not anymore. I was a coward and afraid. I feared failing you again; to raise you in the matter Kara wished, when I failed to protect you both that day.”

    The fury within Titus flared for but a moment, before it frazzled out. Sovereigns, he was tired! But the young dragon’s angry seldom could sustain itself for long, not when he could plainly see the regret his father burdened himself with. Titus stared in wonderment at the Slayerdramon, as well, admitting such fears was undragonlike. The young knight believed the older dragon’s words.

    Titus stepped forward in a flash of light, a Saviorhuckmon again, and gripped his father’s shoulder encouragingly. In truth, he yearned to more about himself and his family. “Why Rheagos then? Aside from the fact he found me, why not among my cousins of your horde?”

    “Teaching you in the traditional ways would have been inviting folly. You needed someone who could teach you discipline first not... Fury” the Silver Dragon struggled to spit out that last word. “The greater gifts of your mother’s kin are different from those of other dramon. Unfortunately, her kin discovered with folly that those gifts didn’t always mesh well with the embrace of the Firemind if careless.”

    Titus jerked his head up alarmed. Already his head was swimming as he contemplated this new knowledge. He bided his father to continue. “How so?”

    “The Cloudrakers are not originally of the hordes, Titus, a generation or so back they immigrated here from another Realm.” Thoreau paused, watching his son closely. Titus’s golden eyes widen in realization.

    “The Metal Empire,” the Saviorhuckmon muttered, his armored claws closing into a tight fist.

    “Aye, early on they were a bad match to the dragon hoards since they had not been exposed to the collective intensity of the Firemind in these lands.” Thoreau said. “When I took Kara as my mate, only she and her younger brother, Cadmus, remained. I had heard the rumors of misfortune which plagued the Cloudraker horde, but I didn’t give it any concern until I witness it myself.”

    Thoreau collected himself, the horror on his beloved Kara’s face were still clear as day in his memory. “At Skarrg, your uncle foolishly challenged a dragon far more experienced than himself to Ankam. Kara attempted desperately to break up the Ankam, but our laws forbade her interference and Cadmus was embroiled deep in his Fury, heedless of her call. At one point, Cadmus did appeared to be winning, untouchable, but as the duel dragged on and grew more savage, his body started distorting until he was but a ghost. And then he vanished from sight .”

    “Mom knew what was going happen.” the Saviorhuckmon stated, “ that’s why she tried stopping the Ankam. Did she ever explain what happened?”

    “‘If we forget ourselves, our data becomes undone and we fade from existence,’”. the older Slayerdramon quoted his absent mate, shaking his helm wearily. “Sorry that’s all I know.”

    Titus rubbed his face. For years, he’d wished for answers, however, he’d never imagined any of this! For every answer, another question presented itself unanswered. The long hard peace he’d made with himself in accepting the past and looking ahead instead was threatening to unravel. Which horde should he claim connection to, Imperia, Cloudraker, or his father’s? Why did the Cloudrakers leave the Metal Empire? Or was he just a wanderer with no home to return to?

    Unaware of his son’s stirring thoughts, Thoreau continued on:

    “After Cadmus...passed away, Kara decided to raise you away from the pressure of the hordes and Firemind.” Thoreau reflected. “I was reluctant, but I love your mother with all my core. So I respected her wishes. When I lost her, Rheagos was your best chance. He lived according to a Code predating our laws, so he could shelter you until you were ready in your own time to join the Firemind, rather than have it impressed upon you.”

    “She figured it out then.” Titus pressed further, excitement pulsed through him wanting to know how his mother found balance.

    “Yes, I suppose, Kara, your mother, she didn’t fight with Fire in her blood,” Thoreau said, staring off into space as he remembered, “no...she danced as the Fire would, fluid and fierce; unforgiving in her strikes, but changing direction with the slightest of movements. A Silver Blade glinting like a soft flame in the night before transforming into a wildfire. I was captivated and lost to her allure in our Ankam, so I surrendered and joined her.”

    Titus coughed deliberately, feeling uncomfortable with the intimate memory. The older dragon shook himself out of his reminiscing, scratching his head embarrassed. Another memory rose to the forefront of his mind as though it shed some light.

    “I once asked her how she moved such, as if each action was deliberately thought out in advance and executed flawlessly,” Thoreau recalled, “she often spoke of keeping her mind open to the whispers of fate or some other nonsense like that.”

    The Slayerdramon wave a hand as if to dismiss what he just said. But Titus interrupted, turning away to stare off into the horizon, watching as the Realmless marched to the coast. ..” it's like you’re going about your day and you feel a gentle nudge on the shoulder to get your attention. No words, just a feeling to go look or walk in a certain direction. Sometimes there's a sense of urgency so great that it compels you to move that you can't fight it. I could go weeks or months without experiencing the sensation. Since joining the Realmless, it has been less...frequent, but occasionally I gain a moment of clarity in battle as guiding my every movement.”

    “So you have already experienced it,” Thoreau voiced warily. As a dragon, the slayerdramon welcomed danger he could face head on, but he couldn’t help but worry about the unknown for his son. “Since when?”

    “Shortly after Rheagos passed. I had already departed the hordes and a terrible pressure pressed on my mind. Whispers I couldn’t make out called to me, I thought I was going mad. After a while, I learned to sort through the sensation and not fight it. I can ignored it if I chose, but I’ve helped too many digimon from listening to it.”

    “And now?” Thoreau asked curiously, “Are you feeling drawn to the Astral Order?”

    “All is quiet,” Titus said, he nodded his head towards the distant Realmless. “I know where I need to be going.”

    Thoreau sighed, he couldn’t delay his son any further. He stretched out both hands to rest them lightly on Titus’s armored shoulders. “Whatever you may think of me, Titus, listen to me in this if nothing else, trust your instincts. True strength will come to you in time, but don’t force it. And don’t hesitate to embrace the Firemind, my son, it is your heritage. Let it fuel your Fire and Blood in battle, but let Rheagos’s Code be your guide, lest the Firemind Consume you and keep your friends close in support.”

    Titus nodded solemnly. Despite the uncertainties and doubts plaguing him from the day’s revelations, he’d endeavored that much.

    “Give the Empire hell.”

    “I will.” Titus replied resolutely.

    ******
    The Saviorhuckmon departed, leaving his father apparently alone among the rock formations.

    “You, Garbagemon!” Thoreau called out. Sawyer jumped startled from where he’d been eavesdropping. “get over here!”

    “Seems my son has strange tastes in friends,” the older silver dragon muttered, as the mutant scampered out from behind his rock. Thoreau knelt down to be more on level with the garbagemon. “Do not leave his side. My son may have been ill-suited for the hordes, but he is still a dragon. He mustn’t get caught up in fighting and lose sight of your mission. He will need his friends to keep him grounded.”

    Sawyer gulped and nodded vigorously. He’d heard the entire conversation and the odds facing his truest friend. The garbagemon saluted awkwardly, before jumping into his garbage cart to catch up to the gang. Thoreau watched the Realmless leave until they were out of sight.

    “Damn it, he is learning quickly…” Thoreau muttered,with great concern as he examined the gash in his side carefully. The wound was fortunately shallow and clean. He didn't know how it was done, but he'd once experience the same phenomenon once in sparring match with Kara. The Slayerdramon could have sworn he’d caught his son’s tail before he got a strike in. “...and I’m not sure he even realizes it.”

    *************

    Ryia Rohirrim (Sleipmon)
    Aboard the Dauntless


    CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK-THUNK!

    A rhythm of six hooved feet resonated with each step aboard the metal frigate, Dauntless, until Ryia planted herself firmly in one spot. Smack-dabbed in the middle of the outside deck.

    The ship’s First Mate sputtered as the Sleipmon plopped her heavy armored body onto the deck, folding her long legs underneath her. Free of her usual armaments, Ryia crossed her arms, shifted into a restful position, and closed her eyes; all the while trying to ignore the rocking motion of the boat.

    The KorIkkakumon, Karmas, said something about needing the space where she was cleared. The Sleipmon flicked one eye open and glared balefully at him, “I would like to see you try.” She knickered with annoyance, her tone daring him to.

    The KorIkkakumon threw his arms up in defeat and stomped off.

    ************

    Aayaash Animkii (Garudamon)
    Skies above theDauntless


    A mighty sweep of red feathered wings carried the old Judge into the clouds high above. Ayas breathed in the cool, fresh air of the ocean, reminiscing the lost days of his childhood cliffs. He would need to discuss much with Goliath concerning their case, but the journey ahead was long and many days worth, there would be time. Besides the BanchoLeomon looked to be in good company with the ship’s capitan and Ayas wished to mediate on the winds for a while.

    He was returning home to the land of his Ancestors, Co-Founders of the Astral Order, the ancient Ornismon. His family branch, in particular then, had been servants and keepers of the Zhuqiaomon Sovreign’s shrine. To this day, his tribe still honored their Sunlord and sought the firebird’s guidance in all things through prayer, meditation, and discussion.

    Sunlord, you’re guidance and Yggsdrasil’s will led our Ancestors to create the Realmpact in a time of turmoil. Now, the ancient treaty has begun to fail, yet, I find myself returning to the birthplace of its order and laws.

    I will put my faith in the Realmpact once more.


    *****

    Sawyer (Garbagemon) & Titus Cloudraker (Saviorhuckmon)
    Aboard the Dauntless


    Sawyer propped himself up on the ship’s railings; he rolled his eyes. Titus was doing it again. Staring off into space, when he had too much on his mind. The Garbagemon scooted a tad closer to the Saviorhuckmon staring quietly out over the ocean.

    “What’s up, Finn?” Sawyer asked, poking the young knight repetively in the arm.

    “The sky,” Titus said half-heartedly, attempting to humor his friend.

    “Hah! Good one!” the Garbagemon exclamation, but his outburst fell on deaf ears. “Sheesh, pal, lighten a load, will ya?” Sawyer rummaged around in his dented garbage can.

    “I believe the phrase is ‘lighten up’,” Titus corrected Sawyer’s ...creative ab-lip. He turned his horned head aside, when he head a clicking sound, “What are you-?”

    SPLAT!

    A flabbergasted Titus carefully wiped a clawed hand over his eyes, so he could see. A mushy brown substance was smeared over his formerly pristine armor. Flicking his wrist was pointless, as the material was quite thick and goopy. He could see it gumming up the joints and crevices of his armor. Titus dreaded to know what the rest of his face looked like.

    An unrepented Sawyer gave him a ****-eating grin, holding his precious poop bazooka, Suzanna, over a shoulder, “Nah, I said ‘lighten a load’.”

    Silence.

    “SAWYER!”

    A manic cackling traveled throughout the entire ship with hollered death threats in close pursuit.

    *****

    Ryia Rohirrim (Sleipmon)
    Topdeck of the Dauntless


    “SAWYER!”

    The old mare’s lips curved back a notch with a content sigh. Ah. It felt good to hear the energy of youth again messing about. Their voyage across the sea changed into a more familiar setting as she replaced the gentle crashing of the waves with the blowing of long grass in the wind from her home on the plains.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  7. storymasterb

    storymasterb Knight of RPGs

    Adirael rested against the ship's hull, wings folded. He had escorted Versa down here as she had asked, catching her reason immediately. Even if they had left the Syndicate behind and even if he could hear the captain's jolly laughter, she was wise not to trust everyone. Some might have expected him to reject the pretence, but it was a harmless one and he didn't mind playing along.

    He remained near her and Ajax, both to deter any more attention she did not want and because for the moment he preferred this. He wasn't familiar with ships and especially not the sensation of riding upon the waves. It made him feel uneasy and mistrust his balance. The sooner they stood on solid land again, the better.

    The fumes of rum he swore he could almost taste didn't particularly help.

    The battle with the WarGreymon had ended before their stalemate was broken, or perhaps more accurately the battle's end had broken it. It seemed almost strange to go from threatening to blow the dragon's brains through his skull to standing quietly as Goliath and Karrthus spoke, but that thought had quickly faded as they marched to the coast. And then onto this ship, headed for the Astrals. Now there was a destination he had never thought he'd see. The seat of the judges itself, the antithesis of the Syndicate.

    "As long as Ayas is able to argue our case maybe this whole thing might be actually worth it."

    Adirael looked around at Ajax and Versa, having been looking at the stricken Jericho.

    "Our quest is riding on an old bird's legalistic prowess. Kinda sad when you think about it," Versa replied. Her finger was running through the dust, etching words of cold steel amidst the grey grains. He followed it and read the words, and he remembered them. "You know, I know a guy in the Order too. He seemed pretty sure that their laws actually meant something, so I'm willing to give Jabberjay - sorry, Ayas, a fair chance. But lets say he can't convince them to do what we want. What then? Beat some sense into the big wigs? Draw up plan B? I don't like dangling, much less by a frayed little thread."

    "Laws..." Adirael murmured to himself, only to be distracted by her next words.

    A sigh escaped her lips as her finger scratched more letters in the dust. "But hey, if hope is all we have then I'll sit here and hope with you."

    She finished her little rhyme with a period, tapping the metal with a little thump. "Small lights in the dark glitter and gleam, the eyes of the night who watch as you dream." she read aloud. "Kind of a messed up idea when you think about it but children's things often have a dose of terror. You just don't notice it until you're old enough to know that that's how the world really is."

    That was right. He'd always been fascinated by the Syndicate clergy and the words of faith they preached. He'd admired them for their finery and the conviction in their voices. It was only once he'd become a man that it became apparent to him how much of a sham that conviction was and how their faith was nothing but a mask to hide their greed. It was only then that he'd begun to doubt, and from there he had walked the path his doubts led him down until he was here in this dank hold, watching Versa etch out old rhymes in the dust.

    He wondered how old she had been when she noticed.

    A Ranamon came by with a smile and a chuckle, offering him a bottle of rum. "Captain's offer?"

    "My thanks for the hospitality," he replied with a smile and a gentle shake of his head. "But I would prefer not at this moment."

    "Okay, stranger," she said warmly, looking him up and down. "Come find me if you change your mind." She turned to Versa and Ajax, presumably to offer the same. With a glance around, Adirael found others offering his fellow Realmless the same. Presumably the captain had taken it upon himself to offer them all the same refreshment. Once she had gone, he picked up the thread of Versa's thoughts.

    "I doubt the Astrals will look on us kindly," he said. "We are an exception to the order they hold sacred. Just by existing, by choosing to exclude ourselves from the Realmpact, we defy their principles." He paused, and glanced around. Medraut was not in sight, presumably up on deck. "Even if one of their number gives them our request, they may well simply slam their door in our faces." It was the grim reality of the situation. He didn't like having to confront it like this, especially not since the hold reminded him of the dark cell he had been liberated from what already felt like an eternity ago. But if the Astrals did refuse them, what then?

    He left the silence as an invitation for Ajax or Versa to answer.

    ----

    Medraut sat to the side of the deck, out of the way of the sailors bustling around him. He regarded his fellow Realmless around him, Goliath in jolly banter with the captain, Aayash ascending into the clouds, Ryia flopped down on the deck. Others had disappeared below decks, the two demons, Ajax, and Jericho at least. The crew milled around, busy with their duties and driven more by Karmas than by their captain. The latter was, of course, having too much of a good time and draining his rum bottle at an absurd rate.

    Some of the others might been unsteady with the ship's motion, but Medraut was familiar with it. He and his comrades had ridden these vessels before when pursuing lawbreakers in these waters. At first, he had been troubled by it, but he had adjusted back then. Even after all this time, it took him only a few moments to remember the motions of the waves and account for them. The memory reminded him of those comrades, the same ones he had fought against that day.

    "I wonder what your brothers and sisters think of that opinion of yours. Or is that why you are "the Exiled"?"

    He frowned and stared down into the crashing waves as Rorix's words haunted him. He remember clashing swords with those same comrades, then he remembered further back. They had ridden on a ship like this, though captained by a Digimon far more straight-laced than the jolly rum-drinker who commanded this vessel. Valenco had leaned on the railings as he did now, watching the ocean fly past. Helsk, gruff as ever, had sharpened his sword. And Gerava had been next to Valenco as ever, leaning backward against the railing like an idiot, trying to chat her up like always.

    He missed them. Even though the last time he had seen them they had been crossing swords, he missed them.

    A tap on his shoulder brought him back to the present day and he found a Lekismon beside him, offering him a bottle.

    "Ya seem lost there, friend," she said cheerily. "Care to share?"

    He sighed and looked into the water. "Just memories."

    "Fond ones from the look on yer face." She held out the rum and he took it. "Captain's gift to ya. Hope it does ya some good."

    "Thank you," Medraut murmured. She smiled at him and walked away, presumably to return to her duties before the first mate found her idling. He took a sip of the rum, staring out towards the horizon. He didn't drink, normally. He hadn't when he was with the Legion, except on certain special occasions. And on those occasions, it hadn't been rum or the like. If nothing else, becoming the Exiled had given him many new experiences, albeit many unpleasant ones. He wondered what Valenco, Helsk and Gerava would think were they here now. If they weren't trying to capture or kill him, of course.

    He turned around and his eye wandered, finding a familiar yet still unwelcome face. Imego was there, glowering as though the shame of Karrthus' rebuke was physically burning him. Their gazes locked and clashed for a moment, before Imego turned away with an air of disinterest. Medraut wondered if the Imperialdramon had overhead him and Rorix during their fight. It didn't matter if so. He wouldn't let himself be overwhelmed by the past in the heat of battle again. Rorix had already shown him the folly in that.

    “SAWYER!”

    Medraut looked, startled by Titus' shout. He saw a bemusing sight, the Garbagemon racing across the deck, being chased by a furious and filthy-looking Titus. It brought a smile to his lips as he watched the two continue their chase, a smile which endured as Karmas reared up and yelled for the pair to stop.
     
  8. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Versa Victa (BeelStarmon)
    - Aboard the Dauntless -


    A scampering of feet approached the hallway. A frantic, yet unashamed, Sawyer slid through the entryway to a part of the ship’s hold where Versa, Adirael, and Ajax had settled. The mutant spared only a glance to find the closest available hiding spot.

    Right underneath Versa’s seat.

    “Sorry, sweetcakes, I gotta hid!” Sawyer sputtered, as he dived between the StarBellemon’s legs and squished himself in the tight space.

    Versa took a sip of her complimentary rum as she listened to Adirael's response. She thought she saw a twinkle of remembrance in his eyes when she read her little rhyme, a glint that made her curious as to how many small memories they had in common. Did he know it too? Did he know what the Syndicate really looked like under its opulent skin? Suddenly the demon man seemed less like a stuffy noble and more like a kindred spirit. But before she could pursue that any further the topic was back on politics and she was forced to shelve that thought until later.

    Fortunately, things weren't boring for long. Versa nearly spat out her rum as Sawyer, that Garbagemon of all things, dove between her legs and disappeared under her seat. "Did he just call me 'sweetcakes?'" she asked no one in particular.

    She tapped her heel on the steel floor of the ship with a clink as the gun in her shoe loaded a fresh round. Said gun very quickly found itself inches from Sawyer's face. "No one calls me 'sweetcakes', got it? Now are you gonna get out from under my seat or do I have to see how much stuffing is in that little head of yours?" She crossed her arms, avoiding locking eyes with the other's while she waited for an answer.

    Sawyer gulped, when the heel pistol shoved itself near his face. “Sure thing, Sassafrass,” the Garbagemon said, his voice a little higher than usual, though he couldn’t help himself by calling her by a different nickname.

    Sassafrass, huh? Well, it was certainly an improvement on sweetcakes if nothing else.

    With a pleading, and pathetic, expression, Sawyer stuck his head out to look at her, “Ah, come on, gal, I just need a few min-” His eyes bulged and he blushed crimson, when he realized the angle to which he was looking at her with.

    Versa raised an eyebrow and another small clink marked her second foot pistol reading to fire.

    “I take that back, this is a terrible hiding spot.” Sawyer exclaimed. The Garbagemon bolted out from under the chair. The sudden motion was enough to send Versa's bottle of rum tumbling towards the ground. Her scarf caught the glass vessel with hardly an inch to spare. Slowly, she raised the bottle and took a sip as she savored both the drink and the sound of Sawyer running scared.

    "Lucky for him the rum survived or that nice angle would be the last view he ever saw." Versa said with just enough seriousness to make one question how much of that was a joke.

    A silver dragon coasted in from another direction, hearing the commotion. He stopped abruptly realizing the company present in the room. Titus collected himself and walked forward with a bit more dignity than his flat out run moments before. The poop smears across his face detracted from this.

    “Sirs,” Titus nodded to Adirael and Ajax. “Ma’am.” He said towards Versa. Having seen how the others interacted with the she-devil or vice versa, Titus managed to keep his wits about him and respectfully maintained eye contact. At head level.

    Versa wasn't sure if his cheeks had that slight flush because he had just been running or because he seemed to be making a point of looking her in the eye as opposed to a bit lower. Either way, the stains on Titus's face ruined any cute points he might currently have and made Versa offer a smirk instead of a coy smile.

    “I don’t suppose any of you have seen a smudge of excrement pass through here by chance,” Titus said evenly, though a hint of a snarl escape his throat.

    "If you're talking about that little Garbagemon," Versa said slowly nodding her head towards Sawyer's assumed location, "he was just here. He ogled me for a second and took off that way." She tapped her chin with one slender finger. "Give the little weirdo a stern talking to for me will you? Oh, and you've got a little something on your face. Kind of a shame too cause you're actually kinda cute when you're flustered." She took another sip of her rum. "But oh well, perhaps another time." she dismissed him with a casual wave and turned back to the others.

    Titus nodded his horned head in thanks and not without an awkward clearing of the throat. He futilely tried wiping off the remaining smears as he continued in the direction Versa indicated.

    Versa watched as Titus went off after Sawyer, who took the chance to fire another foul pot shot at the dragon. Versa shook her head. Titus was awkward, but at least he could be charming when he tried. That Garbagemon... ugh. Versa had to take another swig of the cheap but satisfactory rum to help put the little pest out of her mind.

    "Maybe drink a little less of the pirate's rum and instead figure out what our next moves are," Ajax said, eyeing the group of Versa, Titus, and Sawyer. "We'll be there soon enough and we're better off not looking like a gang of stumbling drunks."

    "Pull the axe out from underneath your tail," Surrak bellowed from the bow. He sat across a barrel from a Zudomon, who was trying desperately (but unsuccesfully) to beat Surrak in arm-wrestling. Despite the Zudomon using both hands, Surrak was relatively relaxed and unconcerned with the whole thing. "These are the first of the Coalition I've ever seen having fun."

    Versa grinned as Ajax chimed in. "Relax, I can handle one bottle without getting tipsy. Besides, this is the first real drink I've had since before Ironclad." She thought about that for a moment, then shrugged. "Well, maybe you have a point. My tolerance might not be as high as it was back then, so a whole bottle might be too much."

    Her red scarf floated over towards the dragon-man, the rum bottle wrapped in its folds. "Unless you want to help of course? Your buddy's right, these moments are for enjoying life. Something to make the fighting worthwhile. So take a sip and relax for a bit."

    She turned her head to the side, being playfully dismissive. "Or don't. As you said, we'll be there soon enough."

    -+-+-+-

    Jericho Arcos (RustTyrannomon)
    - Aboard the Dauntless -


    Perhaps the only thing worse than the thought of the dark, unforgiving depths beneath his feet was the sound of claws on metal echoing through the chamber. Immediately, thoughts of popped rivets, broken pipes, and water rushing into the cargo hold filled Jericho's mind.

    You are a beast of war, he told himself. Pull yourself together.

    But the sounds were only getting louder. And now there was shouting. Something had to be done.

    Slowly, he raised one large clawed hand. The sounds kept getting closer. And closer. And now it was right on top of him. With a small, precise movement, Jericho's palm gently but firmly landed smack on Sawyer's head pinning the little blob to the ground. A split second later his three claws hit the metal deck, caging the Garbagemon in.

    "Quiet child." Jericho mumbled. "I have enough thoughts of black ocean depths and sinking helplessly to worry my mind. I don't need the sounds of metal and shouting to add to it.

    The Garbagemon squirmed beneath the colossal palm. A panic overcame Sawyer as he realized he was stuck. “Ack! Finn! Help me!” He yelped, reaching out between the massive claws as the Saviorhuckmon slowed his run upon entering the cargo hold. Titus stood there, not moving, with his arms crossed.

    Sawyer’s cries quickly silenced with dread as his friend refused to budge. “Finn? Buddy, old pal, please?” He unashamedly begged.

    Titus turned to face the RustTyrannomon, content to ignore the Garbagemon’s pleas and let the mutant sweat for a bit. “My apologies, Jericho, for disturbing you with such commotion.” Titus bowed his head with sincerity. “I fear we may have gotten a bit carried away.”

    Jericho let the apology process for a moment, ignoring the Garbagemon squirming beneath his claws.

    Instead, he focused on Titus. The young dragon was eager, that much was certain. And he had a relation in the Hordes. Not surprising in and of itself. Perhaps Titus or his family could tell him how to settle down in the land of dragons.

    "Youthful energy is nothing to apologize for." The old machine rumbled, "My current state is worthy of pity as it is. But thank you for your concern."

    A quiet moment passed, then, almost as an afterthought, Jericho loosened his hold on Sawyer and let the Garbagemon out. A second later and a single large blade-like claw softly poked Sawyer on the head. "Keep the ruckus to a minimum if you would. My time in Ironclad has made me more accustomed to the still, silent darkness than I would like."

    The Garbagemon promptly scooted away from the massive claw, his old fear of scary-looking digimon that-could-flatten-him-like-a-pancake temporarily reasserted itself as he tried to flee on impulse. Titus snagged the mutant without a second thought as Sawyer tried to blitz past the young dragon, holding him by the back of his neck. Sawyer wiggled and squirmed and muttered profanities as he tried to get out of his predicament again.

    Ignoring the sputtering mutant in his grip, Titus studied the old dinosaur closely. With some trepidation, the Saviorhuckmon somberly asked, “Just how long were you imprisoned at Ironclad, Jericho?” Sawyer smacked his face and groaned loudly, clearly wanting no part of this situation.

    Jericho did his best to rise up off of the deck, but the boat lurched ever so slightly on the waves again, just enough to remind him where he was and what was below that he surrendered the fight. His joints creaked in protest as he settled down again.

    "Long enough to lose track of the time. I tried for a while to mark the days. But down below the earth, in the belly of the prison, there's no sunlight. No regular schedule. Time loses its purpose." He sighed, long and deep and full of a soft, time-worn pain.

    "In my conversations since my release, or escape more accurately, I've tried to estimate it. It was at least two to three decades. Perhaps longer." His eyes closed and he was still for a moment. "More of my life was spent in that dark cell than out of it, that much I know for certain."

    “I’m sorry,” Titus said softly, “I didn’t mean to stir up bad memories.”

    He subconsciously shifted his weight as the frigate rocked a few time from the old war machine’s movement, before evening out. The silver knight seated himself on a nearby crate as his adrenaline from the runaround with Sawyer finally faded. He set down the suddenly sober mutant beside him so he could rest his chin on an open palm. The extended red armblade dematerialized to make the position less awkward. Sawyer busied himself with some scrap material lying around to clean the brown gloop off his friend’s armor.

    “I only asked, because…” Titus paused, lost in thought, “...well, after our break-in at the prison, I learned that my mother had once been detained there years ago. I had wondered if perhaps you might have crossed paths with her. Her name…” Titus clenched his eyes tight, refusing to use past tense, “...is Kara.”

    Kara.

    The name buzzed around Jericho's mind like a fly looking for a way out of a bottle. Perhaps it was the damp, dark confines of the ship that helped the connection form. Or maybe it was due to Ironclad already being in the front of his mind. But suddenly that name lit up a whole row of memory circuits and illuminated memories long past.

    "She was in Ironclad, you say?" Jericho asked Titus, though he quickly answered the question himself. "Yes, yes I know that name."

    And that Kara had been a Metal Empire traitor. And that Kara had talked of OS Generics. And family lost.

    "There was one small comfort allotted to me in my time at Ironclad. And that was when Kara was placed in the neighboring cell. She was the only friendly voice I ever heard down there, though I never saw her face." Jericho sighed and adjusted his arms, sending fresh creaks through his frame. This was certainly a strange coincidence. Meeting the child of another Empire deserter he had met long ago? Perhaps people on this path of theirs would simply converge given time. But still, if Jericho believed in such things he'd almost put this down to fate. "I don't know of her fate.

    They took her suddenly and in the dark." A quiet moment passed as the ship gently rocked beneath their feet. "I do know that she spoke of the Jesmon's power, the OS Generics. About its dangers, but also its potential. She said her family was in the Hordes, which would explain why you and that other dragon seemed to enjoy your private talks." Jericho nodded to himself, as though confirming his own suspicions.

    The phrase OS Generics. seemed to get the young dragon's attention. Something in his expression showed... confusion? No, not quite. Something more complex. It was the face of a man who was just told a secret he hadn't known he knew. Titus shook his head, as if to clear up the fog in his mind.

    "What do you know of your past, Titus? Of your family?" the old machine asked, "I can share what parts I remember, but I need context."

    “My father,” he said, informing the RustTyrannomon as to the nature of his relationship with the other dragon. “And not nearly as much as I should.”

    The young knight straight his back with a sigh. Sawyer shoved a stein of rum into his claws firmly out of nowhere. He didn’t consume alcohol as one drink tended to tank his very precise balance.

    Titus started to pass the drink back, but the Garbagemon simply shoved it right back. The Saviorhuckmon reluctantly accepted it at that point and took a swig. The poor lad nearly chocked on it. The Garbagemon seemed satisfied at that point and busied himself with his own drink.

    Clearing his throat, Titus continued, “According to my father, my mother’s family originated from the Metal Empire and where once in greater numbers. By the time my parents met, only she and her brother, Cadmus, remained. Though from what he said, Cadmus eventually suffered the same misfortune that plagued the rest of the Cloudrakers.” He took another swig of the heavy rum, holding it down better this time. Was Titus trying to impress him? He clearly wasn't used to this sort of beverage.

    More importantly, the name "Cloudraker", like Kara before it, sent another wave of forgotten recognition though Jericho's memory banks. It was a name he knew, but from where was a place even more gone than his days in Ironclad. A time when the Metal Empire had been his homeland. Those days were less than a fuzzy memory. They were a past life, a fleeting wisp that might have been once upon a dream.

    Those ethereal memories were swept away by a new voice before they could fully form.

    "Who you were. Who your family was; that's irrelevant," Jaeger said, looking to Titus and Jericho. He stepped past the others. "You're here. Regardless of what came before. We have tasks. We have objectives. Complete those first."

    The past was anything but irrelevant. The past was the foundation of the present. But the old machine understood well the point being made.

    "Jaeger is correct young one." Jericho said. His memory was scattered and dusty, covered in as much rust as his armor. Now was not the time, but one day, he would uncover what Titus sought. For now... "Let us see to the past another time. Perhaps when the future is bearing down on us a bit less. I'm not as spry as I used to be and my memory is better served dealing with the task at hand."

    “Hey, haven’t you heard of a private conversation, wolfie?” Sawyer butted in rudely. The Garbagemon seemed to have had a change of heart about the conversation. If anything, the little squirt seemed disappointed that the tale had ended before it began.

    Titus placed a placating hand on the Garbagemon’s shoulder. “A few days ago, yes, I probably would’ve agreed with you, Jaeger.” The Saviorhuckmon met the MetalGarurumon’s cool gaze without flinching.

    “But knowing what I do now, I might not have walked down this path if not for the decisions of my parents.” The dragon knight set his empty stein down beside him. “My father today gave me a warning. One I do not fully understand. Only by piecing together my family’s past, do I hope learn the truth. Knowledge that might help me unlock abilities to aid in our fight.” The dragon seemed to resign himself to the situation though. “However, I’m no fool to jeopardize our mission in pursuit of it. I will drop the matter. For now.”

    Jericho nodded as best he could with his head so close to the deck. "Very well. Another time. For now, let me rest." And with that, the old machine switched off his optics and let the ship and the noise fade out.

    And in the back of his mind, he busied himself with sorting out the lost fragments of memory that had so recently been found.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  9. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Goliath Leonhardt (BanchoLeomon) >
    - The shores of Prahv -
    - aboard the Dauntless -


    The Dauntless neared the coast of the Order's holdings and Ramirez released the Whamon so they wouldn't beach themselves in the shallow bay. The Dauntless steered its way to port, with Ramirez laughing madly at the helm, one hand on the spokes, another around a bottle. He practically drifted into port, ramming the hull against the docks with a tremendous bang and knocking over everything above and below deck.

    "Aha!" Ramirez shouted down to his crew. "Get those picked up! We can't have our Dauntless looking like a Tortuga shipwreck, eh?"

    Goliath held back a laugh - was that how Ramirez was keeping his crew so busy?

    The pirate seemed to sense his amusement. "An idle pirate is a lazy pirate," he said with a flourish. "A lazy pirate is a bored pirate. A bored pirate is an insolent pirate. An insolent pirate is a mutinous pirate."

    "Isn't an annoyed pirate a mutinous pirate, too?" Ajax glowered, trudging past them.

    "Not as much as you might think," Ramirez shrugged. He tapped the side of his head. "Too busy to be annoyed." He and Goliath shared a hearty laugh before the beast man set off with the rest of the Realmless from the ship.

    "Madman," Ajax grumbled, still clearly irritated from the journey. "Slammed into the docks at full speed and it still feels like we've been on that boat for four months!"

    "Just because you did nothing during the voyage doesn't mean nothing happened," Ramirez laughed. He steadied the wheel with his peg-leg, took a swig from his jug, and motioned to the sea beyond. "A world exists beyond when you get your sea-legs!"

    "Landlubbers," the KorIkkakumon grumbled.

    Ajax scoffed. "I'll take solid earth over that any day."

    "Oh, but you can do both!" Ramirez bellowed. He reached down into a barrel and pulled out a large glass jar.

    "Is that--"

    "A jar of dirt? Yes," Ramirez said with a smirk. "Protection against all the foul things that lurk in the deep."

    "He's either mad or brilliant," Ajax muttered.

    "It's remarkable how often those two traits coincide," Ramirez slurred, wiping his chin and humming to himself. "Ah, Mr. Karmas, what is it?"

    "Capitan," Karmas bowed. "Might I suggest we not tarry here too long. The Order still has warrants issued for your arrest."

    Ramirez's humming stopped immediately. He stared from Karmas to the Realmless with a dark expression, then broke into a wild grin.

    "On deck, you scabrous dogs! Hands to braces!" The crew stopped what they were doing and immediately scrambled to follow their captain's orders. "Let go and haul to run free!" And all the while he remained, one hand on the wheel, the other with a jug of rum.

    "Now. Bring me that horizon," Ramirez said with a grin, and hummed a tune. He turned to the Realmless and tipped his hat.

    "Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!"

    ==\=/==

    < Jaeger Rhimewind (MetalGarurumon X) >
    - The shores of Prahv -


    That had been an entirely unpleasant experience, Jaeger thought to himself. The hull of the ship had been too all-too similar to the dungeons he recognized from his service to the Empire...and it rocked back and forth on top of it.

    The crowds around the port parted for the Realmless as they made their way into the city and up the shore to their destination. And Jaeger prepared himself for the inevitable confrontation with the lawbringers.

    Situated high in the rocky cliffs were the spires of Prahv. Towering, eight-sided obelisks dotted the city; each was topped with a glass-walled observatory. Great bridges spanned the chasms between naturally-occurring cliffs while others connected what appeared to be manufactured cliffs, all created for the purpose of maintaining symmetrical architecture. Each building was topped with a blue-jade dome of what appeared to be oxidized copper, and gushing waterfalls emerged at even intervals along the walls.

    Almost immediately, Jaeger's anticipated lawbringers arrived. They rode down from the sky and the high towers on shimmering wings. A flock of Garudamon, Silphymon, Zephyrmon. They formed a ring around the walking Realmless and watched them with a curious eye as they continued their march towards the collection of tallest spires in Prahv.

    "That's enough," said a slim Garudamon finally, fluttering down and standing before Goliath. Jaeger made a note that Goliath always stood directly front-and-center of their group. It made him an easy target. "State your business, Realmless."

    "You can--"

    "Recognize your state?" the Garudamon interrupted Emmara. "Of course we can. Now state your business here."

    "We've come to ask for…" Goliath began. But he stopped and frowned. Jaeger realized he had absolutely no idea how to explain what they were looking for in a way that wouldn't get them arrested.
     
  10. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul


    Titus Cloudraker (Saviorhuckmon)

    Leaving Versa, Ajax, and Adirael



    Titus nodded his horned head in thanks and not without an awkward clearing of the throat. He futilely tried wiping off the remaining smears as he continued in the direction Versa indicated. Just as the dragon knight pass through the entryway, he immediately ducked down. A wad of brown sailed clear over the young dragon’s head and splat against a distance wall.


    Titus glanced over his shoulder at the muddy colored stain. “Sawyer.” he snarled in warning at the Garbagemon down the hall. “You’re cleaning that, not I.” The Saviorhuckmon dashed down the hall to close the distance, a panic yelp soon followed.


    ________________________________


    Mid-conversation with Jericho


    "Kara.” Titus hadn’t spoken her name in years.

    "She was in Ironclad, you say?" Jericho asked Titus, though he quickly answered the question himself. "Yes, yes I know that name."

    "There was one small comfort allotted to me in my time at Ironclad. And that was when Kara was placed in the neighboring cell. She was the only friendly voice I ever heard down there, though I never saw her face." Jericho sighed and adjusted his arms, sending fresh creaks through his frame.


    "I don't know of her fate. They took her suddenly and in the dark." A quiet moment passed as the ship gently rocked beneath their feet. "I do know that she spoke of the Jesmon's power, the OS Generics. About its dangers, but also its potential. She said her family was in the Hordes, which would explain why you and that other dragon seemed to enjoy your private talks." Jericho nodded.


    "What do you know of your past, Titus? Of your family?" the old machine asked, "I can share what parts I remember, but I need context."



    OS Generics.

    He’d never heard the term before and yet...he felt he knew what Jericho was referring too. Perhaps it was the instinctive knowledge that comes when acquiring a new form. During the fight with his father, he’d felt his body brimming with new power he wasn’t all the way accustomed too yet. But, it also felt like there had been something else, waiting just out of his reach. Perhaps that’s what the OS Generics was. Titus shook his helm, clearing his thoughts

    “My father,” he said, informing the RustTyrannomon as to the nature of their relationship. “And not nearly as much as I should.”

    The young knight straight his back with a sigh. Sawyer shoved a stein of rum into his claws firmly out of nowhere. He didn’t consume alcohol as one drink tended to tank his very precise coordination.


    Titus started to pass the drink back, but the Garbagemon simply shoved it right back. The Saviorhuckmon decided to save face with Jericho present and not create another scene of chaos that was normal for the pair.

    Titus nearly choked from the taste as he took the first swig. The Garbagemon seemed satisfied at that point and busied himself with his own drink. Clearing his throat he continued, “According to my father, my mother’s family originated from the Metal Empire and where once in greater numbers. By the time my parents met, only she and her brother, Cadmus, remained. Though from what he said, Cadmus eventually suffered the same misfortune that plagued the rest of the Cloudrakers.”

    He took another swig of the foul drink, though it wasn’t quite as pugnant as the first time. Titus would have asked more, but Jaeger had interrupted and Jericho seemed worn out from the conversation and their current situation. Bowing out gracefully, Titus retreated to another part of the ship away from the other Realmless, grumbling garbagemon in tow. He’d rather no one laid witness to his embarrassing stumble through the ship halls, fortunately the ship swaying disguised his miscoordination for unstable sea legs.


    ____________________________


    Ryia Rohirrim (Sleipmon)

    Aboard The Dauntless


    The old mare opened a baleful eye at the youngster disturbing her rest (aka her concentration to ignore the frigate’s swaying). A bratty Ranamon stood there unphased by Ryia’s death glare, holding out a stein of rum.

    “The Capitan would like to offer ya some seamon hospitality,” the Ranamon said, entirely too cheerfully.

    “Very well,” Ryia snorted, accepting the stein. She chugged back a large gulp, savoring the strong burning sensation. The Sleipmon noticed the Ranamon still standing there smiling entirely too much. “Be off. You have duties to do, rather than bothering an old mare.”

    “Aye, Ma’am,” the Ranamon replied far too enthusiastically. Ryia slipped a slight smile as the youngster ran off.

    The rum was an appreciative gift, even if she didn’t utter so. Perhaps the strong drink and something else would do well to take her mind off the current situation. Ryia cast a sharp eye over the digimon uptop on deck. The lone Duftmon brooding by the rail caught her attention. No, she couldn’t let that carry on now, could she?

    “Tabby!” Ryia hollered at Medraut in a commanding voice well practiced at rallying up scattered youngsters. “Humor a crazy old mare and keep her company for a drink!”


    The Duftmon flinched, when the old mare called him to attention. The tabby made his way to her position, walking across the the swaying deck and weaving between the scrambling sailors with grace and ease. Ryia snorted, unamused but gave the youngin’ credit for his skill.


    “Well met,” he said quietly as he reached her. “Ryia is your name, isn’t it? I’m sorry if I have that wrong.”


    “Aye, Kitten,” Ryia chuckled lightly, her tone a rich tenor, “You got it, right. Ryia Rohirrim of the Thundering Herd. And you have much better manners than any of my brood of rascals. Not that I taught them many to begin with.”

    “Sit,” she said, getting to the point, “we’re not in the way crew’s way, I’ve told them that, despite what the strapping young First Mate of this frigate thinks.” The frisky mare glanced about the ship’s deck, a coy smile graced her face when Karmas lifted several heavy barrels of cargo to move.

    “Now, I may be old, but I know my sharp ears didn’t fail me back at Ironclad,” Ryia pinned him with an unwavering gaze, “Medraut, who?”


    “Medraut the Exiled,” he answered softly, sitting as she bid. He paused as if considering his words. “Former blade of the Legion, at least, for as long as I cannot prove to my brethren that I am not mistaken about the Empire and the Realmpact.”


    “Exiled?” Ryia snorted, an eyebrow raised. “Hardly a namesake I’d choose to be know by, but I have little room to speak…” Her own reputation as the enduring Iron Mare was wrecked the day the Empire shattered her armor and herd.


    The feline knight looked away as though lost in thought. Ryia sipped her rum idly with a patience few would credit the sometimes hot-blooded mare, but sometimes youngin’s needed a chance to air their troubles. Ah, she missed these moments.


    “Do you know what it's like to look at the world and just know that something is amiss?” he asked. “To see a fault with the order of things that none around you, not even those you cherish most, can also see?”


    “No,” Ryia said flatly, her ears laid flat against her skull in a sneer and disgust. “Not until it was too late, anyway.”


    “It is what am,” he replied. “An exile, driven from my comrades by an evil in the world I can see and they cannot.” He paused. “I saw the Empire committing atrocities only to be told that all was in accordance with the Realmpact. That when civilians were killed and lands occupied, it was sanctioned and legal. I couldn't accept that. However impossible it might seem, how insane it might sound...” He closed his eyes..

    “I couldn't just do nothing,” he whispered. He opened his eyes again, looking back at her and seeing her sneer. “I tried to convince them. I thought they would listen, but they didn't. I should have known, I suppose...”


    "Fools see only what they wish, when their vision is narrowed," Ryia said finally once the kitten deflated from revealing his troubles. "I cared for nothing beyond the freedom of my herd and for our young to thrive. Until the Empire came." The hand holding her bottle of rum tighten, shattering the bottle and spilling the hard drink on the deck. The long-fuse of the Iron Mare was cut closer to its boiling source. "Only then did I see the atrocities as they mowed down my children with ease and myself, bonded to the Realmpact, helpless to stop them."


    "We are not so free after all."


    Medraut's gaze fell from hers, filled with sadness and pain. His own pain? Or sharing in the knowledge of hers? Ryia inhaled deeply, cooling her building thunder. The kitten didn’t need to burden himself with her past. Her back was strong enough to deal with it and return the favor to the Empire.

    “I thought the law and the Realmpact were everything,” he said quietly. “I devoted myself to them, in the name of the Legion that saved me. And then I began to see the Realmpact used as a tool of injustice, and I had to do something. But my comrades... my family couldn't see. They called me traitor and heretic, and tried to take me to Sunhome in chains.” He stopped, silenced briefly by the memory of his sword clashing with theirs.


    “I have to prove to them that the Realmpact has been subverted,” he said. “Only then can I make them act against the Empire.”


    Young are so tender and vulnerable. They will scar easily, but those scars will toughen their hide to withstand the ordeals to come. Sometimes though, they needed some reinforcement.


    “Hold your head high with pride, kitten,” Ryia said firmly, she cupped the Duftmon's chin to raise his cast down eyes to hers, “stand tall with your conviction unwavering. So, that when they see you again, they will wonder what drives you to the ends of Eon to defy the sovereign-forsaken Realmpact. Then they'll have to ask and you'll have their attention then.”

    “My herd is gone,” Ryia rose to her feet, red armor glistening in the daylight sun, “but it's not too late to save your family.”

    “While my blood flows, no Realmless stands alone.” The Sleipmon swore, eyes full of fire.


    “Thank you,” Medraut said softly and sincerely. “I fear it will not be so simple. The Legion is passionate and I'm certain that they still hunt me, especially since I am their brother. But I swore I would prove it to them, and whatever lies past that, we will see.”

    “And while I live, I will be our blade.”


    “Is that so..,” Ryia considered, “then they’ve never dealt with the Iron Mare. They’ll have to get past my shield to come for you….I grow tired of seeing my children hurt.”


    Ryia glanced over shoulder as Karmas shouted ‘land ho’ from the bow of the ship. Finally! The sovereign-forsaken’ boat ride was over.



    ______________________________________


    Judge Aayaash Animkii (Garudamon)

    The shores of Prahv



    Ayas rested his wings on the final leg of the journey aboard the ship’s deck, staring at the rapidly approaching shoreline. He spoke to none of the crew or Realmless, preparing his mind for the improbable task ahead of them. The Garudamon left the Order to search for answers outside of the Realmpact, only to bind himself once more to its Laws for the Realmless’s best chance at gaining an ally in their fight.


    Could a Realmless fall back into the binding power of the Realmpact if they so choose? It was another question that dwelled in Ayas’s mind, as well as their chances of gaining a Declaration of War for the Khan while he mediated on the winds. The massive Garudamon set aside his ponderings. He would know soon enough.


    The Realmless disembarked from the Dauntless at the capital’s port. Aayaash lifted off with a great sweep of his wings to gain altitude and casted his gaze upon the spires of Prahv. A Judge of the Winds does not walk for the sky is his road. Skillfully, he matched pace with the ground-bound Realmless, each wing stroke swept with purpose. His eagle-eyes spied the flocks of law-makers drifting down from the cliffs circling the motley group.


    That's enough," said a slim Garudamon finally, fluttering down and standing before Goliath. "State your business, Realmless."

    "You can--"

    "Recognize your state?" the Garudamon interrupted Emmara. "Of course we can. Now state your business here."

    "We've come to ask for…" Goliath began.



    The elder Garudamon recognized the deadly hesitation which could killed any proposal before it left the ground. Aayaash dropped gracefully between a Silphymon and Zephyrmon to an open space of ground. A flourish of his greater wingspan drew heated attention off of Goliath to himself momentarily.


    “Judge Eurus,” Aayaash called out sternly, he moved to the front in measured step, arms crossed behind his back as though inspecting the smaller garudamon before him. His posture radiated the authority of a Prahv Judge, gone was the quiet and dignified Ayas. “I was not aware protocol for entry into the Reception Hall had changed to require an interview on the front stairs.”


    Aayaash cast his eyes down at Eurus, allowing disapproval to color his tone. The slimmer Garudamon flinched ever so slightly. Good, he was off-balanced, Aayaash thought. Eurus was a promising judge, but he was still new to the circuit and inexperienced.


    “Judge Animikii, you’ve returned!” Law-maker Eurus exclaimed, bowing stiffly in respect to the older Garudamon. “This is highly irregula-”


    “Senior Judge Animikii,” Aayaash corrected firmly, reminding all those present with his seniority ranking with the Assembly of Judges. “And these are irregular times indeed, Judge Eurus, as there has been unchecked disruption in our system of checks and balances between the Realms, maintained by the Realmpact.”


    “The unaffiliated digimon standing before you, led by Goliath Leonhardt, seek a resolution to the growing conflict and do so with the backing of Dragonlord Karrthus.” The Garudamon Elder gestured behind him to the snarling Imperialdramon, standing to the side of the Realmless. “Imego, the Storm’s Fury, attends as the Khan’s proxy in this matter, if you require further proof.”


    “However, as the dragons can only operate within the bounds of the Realmpact, Goliath and his followers have come to petition on the Dragonlord’s behalf for a special Writ that allows them to fight.”


    “Against what?” A Zephyrmon muttered in the rear.


    Aaayash immediately zeroed on the unnamed Judge, “A Machine,” he stated. The older Garudamon raised his voice for all to hear clearly and the urgency of the matter. “One that will render Prahv redundant and without jurisdiction if it is not stop.”


    He turned his attention back to the Garudamon who first greeted them. “Does that satisfy your inquiry, Judge Eurus?”


    Aayaash pressed the matter harder. “ If so, would you kindly take Goliath’s case?”

    Eurus didn’t have to take the case himself, but rather Aayaash put him on the spot to seek counsel with more experienced Judges on how to proceed with the Realmless’s situation and gain them entry further into the heart of Prahv.
     
  11. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Goliath Leonhardt (BanchoLeomon) >
    - The shores of Prahv -


    Watching the various advokists sputter dumbly before turning inward and bickering with one another in frantic legalese would have been enough to amuse Goliath for several hours were the threat of imminent imprisonment or death not looming over them all. The longer they allowed the judges to discuss and contemplate their case, the more they risked the chance that one of them might cobble together some sort of legal precedent that allowed them to dismiss their case.

    "Enough of this!," Imego snarled, stepping forward. He, too seemed to sense the uncertainty of their situation. And if for nothing else but his sense of self-preservation, looked to end the discussion. "I speak for Dragonlord Karrthus. Khan, and Firemind Incarnate. He he wields Prometheum, the Igniter in the name of the Realmpact." The Imperialdramon glared over the assembled judges. "Who among you does the same? Who among you can speak to me as an equal?"

    There was stunned silence from among the judges. It was a hell of a declaration, Goliath had to admit. While Imego seemed to lack any sort of honor or moral fiber, he carried himself with an air of imperious authority.

    Whether it was earned or not.

    "I thought as much," Imego said, half smirking, half glowering. "Bring us to your 'Supreme Judge,' because the rest of you are not worth my attention."

    Goliath had to hand it to Imego. The dragon knew how to command a room.

    Whether impressed by Imego's demeanor or his status, the judges complied and ushered the Realmless through the orderly streets and immaculately maintained walkways towards the high towers of Prahv itself. The judges moved swiftly through the halls, each peeling off and rejoining at different points after having accomplished some task necessary to rush them on to the next point as the Realmless were hurried through the wide halls and courts.

    After winding through the the labyrinthine halls they were led to a huge outdoor chasm, where a bridge that spanned the natural cliffs that made up the central domain of Prahv. Only a select few outsiders had ever seen this part of the Order. The bridge they strode across was massive. Wide enough to hold the entirety of their group standing side-by-side ten times over. Similar bridges crossed the chasms beneath and beside them. But no other bridge followed this same path towards the central domed acropolis.

    On either side of the wide bridge, and rising between all the others, were an assortment of large, raised platforms and narrow flat-topped spires. Upon each flat surface stood any number of winged judges posed in silent meditation.

    "Pah," Goliath scoffed. He'd always known about the soul-crushing wheel of Order bureaucracy, where any simple request took months to be reviewed. But here they were fast-tracked through corridors and meeting rooms to meet with the Supreme Judge herself.

    What a farce.

    "Her Honor, the Supreme Judge, Isperia, will meet you here," their Garudamon guide announced, stepping aside as they neared the giant building. From a high tower a brilliant light lit the sky. A piercing sound whistled through the air as a the many-winged Supreme Judge winded her way through the sky to land at the entrance of the acropolis before the Realmless and their escorting judges.

    "You may present your opening statements," said their escort. Goliath stepped back to give Ayas space, but their escort stopped him. "As Realmless, former-advokist Animikii has been disbarred and is forbidden from advocating on behalf of anyone in a court of the Order."

    Goliath sputtered. "Damn." This was their one real ace in the hole.

    "Not much of a court," Surrak growled irritably. "You don't even have fluffy wigs."

    "Nevertheless," said the Garudamon, raising an eyebrow at Surrak's outburst. "You will have to continue without him. And I suggest you do so as you have already used up a minute of the time allotted to present your case to the Supreme Judge."

    "How much time do we have left?" Jaeger asked, his voice clipped.

    "Four minutes."

    These ruffle-feathered -- they only gave them five minutes? Goliath glanced around to the other four Bancho, who offered him nothing but astonished hopelessness; to a glowering Surrak, to the ever-stoic Jaeger, and even wide-eyed Titus. Behind them, Imego rolled his eyes in annoyance, but said nothing.

    "The Dragon Hordes demand the right to fight." It was Ajax, who stepped forward before the rest of the group. He struck an impressive figure, with his scarlet cape fluttering in the ever-present breeze of Prahv's high spires.

    The edge of it fluttered into Versa and Adirael's faces. And they sputtered in annoyance.

    Isperia turned her head slowly...very slowly. Was she trying to run out their time? "Advokist Eurus, are you aware of any statutes prohibiting the Hordes from their usual barbaric squabbles?"

    "The Hordes are united," Ajax interrupted, likely before the Garudamon could stammer out some long-winded response. "No more squabbles. The Dragonlord Karrthus is Khan and has united the Hordes.

    Eurus started to speak "Then what--"

    "The Firemind demands," Ajax cut in, then quickly corrected. "Prometheum, demands, that the Hordes do battle with the strongest opponents. With the Hordes united there are no opponents within the Realm. So the Khan has sent us here, with his proxy," he indicated to Imego. "To ask the Order's Supreme Judge to repeal a the part of the Realmpact that prevents the Hordes from fulfilling their purpose and declare war."

    "And who would Dragonlord Karrthus be declaring war upon?" asked the Supreme Judge, speaking for the first time.

    "Chromium Rhuell," Goliath said, stepping forward to stand beside Ajax. "And any who chooses to stand beside him."

    "The Metal Empire, you mean?" Eurus flustered.

    "Only if Rhuell chooses to drag his people into this," Ajax said. "Karrthus has named only Chromium Rhuell and his inner circle as his opponents. The Hordes care only about fighting the strong. Not civilians in the streets or noncombatants."

    The Supreme Judge moved her claws and called up two ethereal columns of digicode lettering. She moved her claws over, scrolling through row after row after row of the code. Slight twitches of individual joints sent paragraphs and letters zooming from side to side, highlighting some sections while minimizing others. She studied the swirling code for a few short seconds.

    "Denied," she said curtly.

    "What?"

    "What do you mean?"

    "How can you just deny it like that?" Goliath demanded.

    "Hostilities against the Metal Emperor are prohibited," Isperia clarified. "It's a later amendment, but like all laws of the Realmpact it is designed to maintain the peace. And prevent chaos."

    "How can you speak of peace when so many die at the Empire's hands?" Goliath demanded again, fires sparking across his fur. It was sheer and utter madness. What the hell was an amendment?

    But if Isperia was at all intimidated, she didn't show it. "Chaos is diminished, disorder is curtailed. There are those whose very presence is a threat to order. Those such as yourselves. Realmless, yes?"

    Goliath suddenly noted the cold stares from the surrounding judges. His hands moved to his weapon at his side, and the other Realmless followed suit.

    "You needn't worry about my judges," Isperia said, and indeed, none of them moved to attack or bar their path. "It is not within their purview to engage and battle Realmless such as yourselves."

    It was hardly a comforting thought.

    "I have, however, sent word to Warleader Kytheon Iora of the Eternal Legion, and issued my Supreme Verdict," Isperia continued. "The Legion will be arriving shortly to take you for processing." She paused and glanced at Imego "You may leave, as proxy for the Dragonlord. Please deliver our best wishes and the results of this hearing. As for the rest of you, I strongly suggest that you not resist when the Legion arrives, as anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. As Realmless, you do not have the right to have an attorney, and must represent yourselves."
     
  12. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Aayaash Animikii (Garudamon)
    The Shores of Prahv



    "You may present your opening statements," said their escort, Eurus.

    Aayaash nodded to Goliath, when the BanchoLeomon made way for him. However, an extended hand stopped him from proceeding. "As Realmless, former-advokist Animikii has been disbarred and is forbidden from advocating on behalf of anyone in a court of the Order."

    The elder Garudamon exhaled a resigned sigh. Being suspended from the Order’s legal dealings should have stung deeper, but he’d been prepared for this possibility. The Order and Realmpact had failed to uphold and protect his tribe’s legal rights and holdings over a year ago, his faith in the system had already waned.

    The former judge closed his eyes, listening to the proceedings in silence. The voices of those speaking faded to the background and Ayas found himself in the air outside the Order’s shores facing to the south. Warm thermals carried him aloft on the winds of the open sea. The bright golden orb setting in the east. His wings strained to carry him further as if he flew for days. Yet, he soared still, an unseen force beckoning him onward. On the horizon at the very edge of his eagle sight, a lush green crescent island appeared.

    "Denied.” Aayaash awoke from his vision, the outrage of his comrades bringing him back to the present. However, he’d seen enough to understand the vision’s meaning. It was time for his tribe to seek safety beyond the Order’s shores.

    "Hostilities against the Metal Emperor are prohibited," Isperia clarified. "It's a later amendment, but like all laws of the Realmpact it is designed to maintain the peace. And prevent chaos."

    Ayas raised a eyebrow at the said amendment, pondering a thought.

    "How can you speak of peace when so many die at the Empire's hands?" Goliath demanded.

    But if Isperia was at all intimidated, she didn't show it. "Chaos is diminished, disorder is curtailed. There are those whose very presence is a threat to order. Those such as yourselves. Realmless, yes?"

    Unlike the rest of the Realmless, Aayaash remained still and relax as he was. The Judges would not confront them as jailors. Their place consisted of debate and counsel. No, the close placement of the Astral Order with the Eternal Legion was not one of coincidence.

    "I have, however, sent word to Warleader Kytheon Iora of the Eternal Legion, and issued my Supreme Verdict," Isperia continued. "The Legion will be arriving shortly to take you for processing." She paused and glanced at Imego "You may leave, as proxy for the Dragonlord. Please deliver our best wishes and the results of this hearing. As for the rest of you, I strongly suggest that you not resist when the Legion arrives, as anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. As Realmless, you do not have the right to have an attorney, and must represent yourselves."

    The Order had closed the book on the Realmless. The cold stares of Isperia’s judges said it all: they would not be swayed. Yet, the older Garudamon had an obligation to try and convince them otherwise. He would probably never stand before the Supreme Judge and her assembly again.

    His sharp eyes searched the surrounding platforms for his scribes. Normally, Vireo or Sarika acted as his proxy in his absence to keep a record of events. However, it wasn’t impossible that Ayas’s newest scribe, a Goldramon named Aakio, might have filled in for that duty instead today. Nonetheless, the older Garudamon could only hope that one of them would carry word to his family of his fate.

    The former judge, Ayas, stepped forward to stand alongside Goliath and Ajax. He looked to the fiery orb in the skies. Sunlord, grant me your Blessing and the Words to show them the Truth.

    “Former advokist Animikii, you have no authority to speak on behalf-”

    “I speak for myself, Supreme Judge.”

    “These aren’t the proceedings for your trial.”

    “No, it is my formal resignation for the record. It is my right to demand a closing statement.”

    “You have rejected the Realmpact and broken your vows, thus you have no right.”

    “Honored One, reconsidered this. You have denied me my previous authority, yes, but I am still a public servant to Eon. I will not revoke my vows. No, but I put my faith in a High Power, not the Realmpact. Besides what difference would it truly make anyway, except to satisfy the orderliness of the archivists and clerks?” Aayaash challenged, his voice carrying easily on the winds. He decided to put the Supreme Judge on the spot. “Unless, of course, you are willing to forgo the knowledge of why a Prahv Judge would part ways with the Order and Realmpact?”

    Respect for age and rank, tradition, enlightenment, knowledge, and procedure. Ayas called upon every aspect that defined the Order, to perhaps buy Goliath time to plan and to maybe still convince the Judges. Whichever came first.

    The Supreme Judge stared silently at him for a long moment.

    “One minute.”

    “Three is the customary-”

    “Two minutes, no more.” The Valdurmon said sternly.

    Ayas nodded, conceding. The Garudamon used precious seconds to compose himself.

    “Isperia,” muffled gasps of shock rippled through the ranks of Judges. To address the Supreme Judge without her honored title...it was incomprehensible. “I was once your Voice of the North for the Order’s remote regions and you heeded my words then. I beseech you, please do so once more.”

    “Do not make things difficult for your tribe by your words, Animikii,” the Supreme Judge warned, cutting into Ayas’s allotted time.

    “And the Metal Empire ousting us from our homes didn’t?” Ayas spoke with no malice, only sorrow. “Whatever shame I would bring to them is insignificant to the hardship force upon them when the Empire arrived to our shores, claiming divine right. Any question or resistance would have brought ruin upon our children and elders.”

    “I came before this very assembly, as is our way, for counsel and to appeal to the Realmpact, believing that an error had been made.” The Garudamon made a sweeping gesture to those Judges closest to them. He shook his head with slight dismay, “but no, the Committee overseeing the Aquila Tribe’s case, declared there had been no mistake and the Empire within their rights. Those shores were granted to my family’s ancestors at the birth of the Realmpact, who also aided in building the foundations of the Astral Order.”

    “My tribe has past down the history of the Order and Realmpact to each generation through our oral tradition unchanging. The current state of Eon is not what the ancient Paruns originally envisioned for us.” Ayas moved his wings in sync with his arms, carefully emphasizing each of his points. All his years of experience in politicking he used for this one moment, stressing keywords, changing the tone of his voice to build up to crucial points in his speech. “Consult the original charters and geographical maps depicting the borders granted to each Realm, if you must. The Metal Empire has grown beyond their allotment, this I have discovered on my pilgrimage. Rhuell is expanding his control unchallenged, by slowly absorbing the Realms into the Empire.”

    “All because he claimed it was the Will of the Realmpact. I ask you, Isperia,” Ayas stood unwavering. He was long past his time limit, but he didn’t dare stop while he had momentum. The Garudamon was going to challenge the very establishment of the Order, to open debate, to make them see the truth, to make them think for themselves. He recalled the confusion on Goliath’s face at the mention of the amendment. “Did the Metal Emperor declared hostilities against him forbidden himself or did all the Realm leaders agree this law to be added to the Realmpact? Somehow I doubt so. The Realmpact does not favor one Realm over another and yet the blatant balance of power says otherwise. When did it start? How long have we allowed the Metal Emperor to dictate policy in Eon, when that domain and task belongs to the Astral-”

    Enough, Animkii,” the Supreme Judge boomed, realizing too late her mistake in letting the Garudamon speak, “you are being held with contempt and charged for inciting chaos and disorder in th-.”

    “The only order that exists is the illusion of such you’ve built up around you,” Ayas interrupted, completely unphased by Isperia’s verdict. The Supreme Judge was going to have to silence him herself, rather than rely on the Legion to do so. “You cannot act against the Metal Empire or deny his claim, because the Realmpact forbids hostilities against another Realm. So you do not question it and blindly accept the Empire’s degrees. You are afraid of the Truth. That the Emperor can act as he choses, just like the Realmless. You are afraid to acknowledge that the Realmpact no longer maintains the status quo. So, you go along with Rhuell to deny the disorder that accompanies this truth and how powerless you truly are. ”

    “Of all the Realms, Prahv alone possesses the power with Etherium, the Banisher, to repeal parts of the Realmpact and allow digimon to defend themselves. But did we do so? No, we held tight to a broke system in a false gambit for stability.” Ayas raised his sash over his head. The symbol of his former rank. He held it aloft in a hand, setting it ablaze. “The Realmpact failed. Prahv failed. The Judges are the ruling body of Eon and we have betrayed the trust placed in us by Eon, by not seeking a resolution. Because such a resolution would require the Judges to accept the Truth. The Realmpact is broken.”

    The elder Garudamon suddenly felt very tired. All the energy he poured into his statement left him feeling far older than he was. However, he kept his composure and met the eyes of everu Judge he could, before settling on Isperia again. He shared one last bit of wisdom.

    “Look beyond the spires of Prahv, the Truth will speak for itself. It doesn’t need the government to support it, only a lie does.”

    __________

    Ryia Rohirrim

    “Stop wasting your words on useless rubbish,” Ryia butted in, fed up with the all the posturing and length exchanges. “I, Ryia, the Iron Mare, say bring on the Legion. I will suffer no further imprisonment at the hands of the Empire. Give me freedom or give me death.”

    She stared challenging to the Supreme Judge and her subordinates, nostrils flaring in defiance. “You defend a soulless machine of a trash heap who has blood of innocents on his hands. By his command, his soldiers slaughtered my herd. Including children!” Ryia shouted. She snorted with extreme disgust. “Meditate with that on your conscious.”

    ________________________

    Titus Cloudraker/ Sawyer


    “Yep, told ya, this wasn’t going to work,” Sawyer grumbled from his perch on Titus’s shoulder, “but does anyone bothered to ask the Garbagemon and former inhabitant of the Empire? A big fat no.”

    “We had to try, Sawyer,” the Saviorhuckmon said quietly, getting over his own shock at the Order’s outright dismissal. “I am willing to fight for our cause, but if there’s a chance to get cooperation of the other Realms we will have lessen the amount of bloodshed that will result from this war.”

    “Oh, and unleashing the dragon hordes is a great way of doing that.” Sawyer said sarcastically. He shuddered at the memory of the Khan.

    Titus didn’t say anything. Sawyer stared wide-eyed at his friend’s silent admission. The Garbagemon absolutely hated their situation and the burden it placed on Titus. The Saviorhuckmon was far too kind-hearted, but yet driven to right the wrongs happening in front of him. Sawyer bit nervously on his nails as he remembered his promised to the Slayerdramon. Stay by his son’s side.

    The mutant leaned his head into the cool white metal of Titus’s armor. Could he keep up with the dragon knight, without letting his friend down?

    ___________


    “This is bad, this is very bad.” A Buraimon clasped her hands tightly in front of her, nearly crushing the writing tablet and pencil in half. She shifted from foot to foot with unease.

    “Oh Master, what have you gotten yourself into now,” Sarika muttered aloud. She’d heard the gossip of a sudden audience with the Supreme Judge. She’d run with giggling glee to spectate, ever hopeful for drama to unfold and gossip to abound. She probably didn’t have clearance for this assembly, but the Buraimon didn’t care; she was dying for excitement. Besides she was obligated to instruct her fellow scribe in the sacred duty as proxy for the Master. She giggled madly at the prospect of being a Senpai to a Mega-level digimon.

    Sarika’s lower beak continued to hang in disbelief at the appearance of the large and painfully familiar Garudamon standing among Realmless. “He went through with it.”

    “I have to find his sons,” she said dumbly as she observed the proceedings, searching her numb brain to the current location of Ayas’s two oldest sons. Was Shappa currently in the study hall? His examination before a panel of Judges was approaching soon, so yes? And when did Hakan say he was coming to Prahv to request further provisions for their misplaced family? Yesterday? Okay, then he would most likely be with his younger brother, Shappa. Two birds, one stone, as the old saying goes.

    Sarika turned to run only to stop as another thought occurred to her. “No, I should warn Vireo first. With Master pissing off the Order, an investigation is going to be called for and his offices search and us with it.”

    A look of absolute horror crept across her face, “What if they find my graphic novels? The ones from the Unhallowed Syndicate that I had to order through a third party to smuggle them into Prahv!” She grabbed desperately at her fellow scribe. “I’m so dead if they those! What should I do?”

    “No.” Sarika snapped out of her panic in a dizzy whirlwind. “I owe it to Master to inform his sons first.”

    She planted a fist firmly in an open palm, mind made up. Then she remember her present company. “Huh…”

    “Aakio, go home to your family,” the Buraimon said with worry, glancing back as her Master gave the Supreme Judge a piece of his mind at long last. Sarika babbled on, forgetting to put a filter on her words again. “You haven’t been in Master Animikii’s employment that long, you could still avoid questioning. But if you must know, Master has been quite upset with the Order for a long time. It’s hard to tell with that beak for a face, but trust me I’ve known him for a long time. I probably should stop babbling so you can have plausible deniability.”

    “So, uh, yea, good luck!” She said in rush and hurried off to find Aayaash Animikii’s eldest sons.
     
  13. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Goliath Leonhardt (BanchoLeomon) >
    - Prahv -


    And, of course, they were back in the fire. Judges issuing verdicts -- Goliath knew how that story ended. He could see the others tensing up, preparing for the fight that was undoubtedly already on its way. He could already feel Jaeger scanning their surroundings, calculating where and when the attack would come from. But there was no way to be certain -- they were completely in the open. The Legion warriors could rush up from beneath any of the bridges or from any of the buildings and be on them in seconds.

    "We need to move. Now," Goliath urged the group.

    "Maybe we shouldn't," Emmara offered tentatively, glancing around. The judges were still eyeing them, but were mostly engrossed in their own private conversations that had nothing to do with them or their case anymore. "Maybe we cooperate. We'll never get another chance like this to speak to the Legion's high command."

    "If we get taken in we're through," Goliath growled low, already itching to move. He started ushering the group further from the assembled judges and back towards the way they came from. "We'll be lost in the soul-crushing wheel of bureaucracy and never heard from again...or we'll just be handed over to the Empire and executed."

    Emmara frowned, but nodded nonetheless. "So much for a peaceful solution," she muttered.

    "Keep moving," Goliath shouted, drawing the irate stares from advokists and judges as they passed. He bared his teeth and they let out startled gasps -- likely that anyone so brazenly savage would be allowed so deep into Prahv. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure the others were keeping up, and saw Demo and Jasper standing still and stone-like.

    "Hey, you two! Quit standing around and--"

    "Uh, boss-mon," said Demo, his mouth hanging open. "You might wanna…"

    "Look up," Jasper cut in, pointing a huge stone finger up over Goliath's head toward the sky. Goliath whipped his head around, expecting a flock of Legion warriors. What he got instead, however, stopped him in his tracks. It stopped them all in their tracks.

    Goliath had never seen anything like it in his life. It was larger than any Digimon he'd ever seen. From what he could see, he saw that the huge thing was made of glimmering white-and-gold metals, speckled with hints of blue, red, and black -- and vaguely U-shaped. The surface of the object was smooth nearly-seamless, and of not for the very-purposeful changes in metal coloration he might have thought it was made from a single piece of shimmering metal.

    Filling the center of the broken U-rim was a massive structure, taller than any of the spires of Prahv, jutting further up into the sky and down towards the ground. It was shining and plated like the rest of the thing, but inlaid with highly-reflective panels that Goliath quickly surmised to be glass windows. It seemed to fill half the sky, floating almost weightlessly. Though logically Goliath knew to attribute it to the four thrumming and glowing engines on its underside. In fact, that was the only part of the massive…thing he could see.

    "What is…" Ulysses stuttered to a stop, his legs no longer moving. They'd all stopped to stare at the massive object that filled the sky.

    "It's a ship," Jaeger said softly, stunned for the first time since Goliath had met him. "It's--"

    "The Parhelion," Goliath growled. Shit. He'd never seen anything like it before, but everyone had heard of the Legion's massive flying fortress. "Keep moving."

    But as he turned to urge them onward a thin, pale-blue beam of light speared from the central column of the Parhelion and touched down on the ground in front of them. It flitted about, highlighting ever-increasing geometric patterns of hard-light as it scanned and built upward. Goliath and the others quickly realized it was forming a Digimon from the hard-light.

    "Goliath Leonhardt, Codename: BAN-TYO," the figure said before the light finished coalescing. An Alphamon stepped forward out of the light toward them. "The Metal Empire has placed a substantial bounty on your heads."

    "Leave me out of this," Imego mumbled, pushing past Goliath and striding past even the Alphamon. "I'm not with these idiots."

    "Coward," Goliath snarled.

    "Dead man," Imego hissed back with a smirk.

    The Alphamon glanced at Imego and raised a hand loosely. A ring of digicode circled his wrist and his palm glowed green; a flat, narrow beam of light emerged from his hand and scanned over Imego, eliciting a startled snarl that settled to indignant resignation when the dragon realized he wasn't being attacked.

    "Imego, proxy for Dragonlord Karrthus," the Alphamon acknowledged with a nod. "You have no known affiliation with these Realmless. You may leave."

    The dragon rolled his eyes.

    "Taking bounties for the Empire now, are you?" Goliath snarled. He glared at Demo as the BanchoMamemon started inching forward tentatively towards the Legion soldier. What the hell was he doing? "I expected better from the Legion but I really shouldn't be surprised."

    "The Legion serves justice and justice alone," said the Alphamon. "Consider yourselves lucky that we have been sent to collect you. We are offering you the chance to turn yourselves in peacefully."

    Demo was now within striking distance of the Alphamon, who seemed completely oblivious to his encroachment. He jabbed the Alphamon's armored shin with the end of his bat and startled at the metallic clang.

    "He's real!" Demo shouted, springing back and dashing to the saftty of the group.

    "Of course he's real," Goliath growled in annoyance. "You can just smell the self-righteousness oozing off him."

    "This is your chance to end this without bloodshed," the Alphamon reiterated calmly. "For the sake of your comrades."

    Goliath glared at the knight, bristling. He squared his shoulders and took a step forward. "You think one Digimon and a flying ship is going to intimidate us? This is your show of force?" He spread his arms wide, gesturing to the Realmless on either side of him. "We've faced worse."

    "You misunderstand," the Alphamon said. He watched Imego leave with a narrowed glare before turning back to Goliath. "I advocated with my Warleader on your behalf for a peaceful solution out of respect for your personal tragedies. But if you are looking for a show of force…"

    The Alphamon lit his hand again. The digicode ring glowed brightly. He made a few quick movements with his fingers, like typing on a keyboard, and the thin blue beam from the Parhelion speared down once more. But this time many more forms took shape -- a Rhinomon, Maildramon, Gallantmon, JaegerDorulumon, Ophanimon, Qilinmon, Seraphimon, Beowulfmon, Aldamon, Knightmon, MirageGaogamon, ShineGreymon, UlforceVeedramon, and Omnimon Alter-S formed amidst the flittering beam. Unlike the Alphamon's initially tranquil demeanor, these fourteen Digimon were clearly girded for battle.

    In the Alphamon's hands, a sword of light took shape. "I, Arahon Ryu, First Blade and Champion of the Eternal Legion, hereby place you under arrest."
     
  14. storymasterb

    storymasterb Knight of RPGs

    Adirael Armaros (Beelzemon X)
    -Pravh-


    "Ah, Pravh," Adirael sighed to himself in the moment of silence that followed Isperia's verdict. "Where much work is done to make sure nothing is accomplished." An old saying, of course, but it seemed bitterly apt in this situation. It earned him a glare from a judge close enough to hear him.

    He regarded the space warily. From Isperia's manner, it was clear that the Astrals weren't intending to fight. They would leave that evidently exhausting prospect to the Legion. He glanced with a single eye at Medraut, curious if the Duftmon had reacted to the declaration that his former brethren would soon be coming to clap him in irons. To his credit, the Duftmon seemed composed in his place at Ryia's side. Not that he seemed to have left that place since they disembarked, curiously.

    Adirael filed the detail away and continued to sweep the area. He had almost expected Legion soldiers to spring from beneath the bridge the instant Isperia had made the declaration that they would be deployed, but it appeared that their fervor did not quite yet extend to such rapid and theatrical appearances.

    Then the Garudamon stepped up to join Ajax and Goliath. Intrigued, Adirael listened as Ayas made his speech. It was spirited and he applauded the effort internally, but he was acutely aware that every second spent on it was a second that the Legion drew closer. Even so, the final words resonated in him.

    “Look beyond the spires of Prahv, the Truth will speak for itself. It doesn’t need the government to support it, only a lie does.”

    He remembered the priests in their finery, preaching their empty words. He remembered the churches resplendent in gold and riches, and the huddled masses who came to them in search of a higher power. And he remembered seeing through it all and sensing the vapid greed behind it. Was there a truth somewhere that had been lost along the years? A meaning that the Syndicate had long since let go in their pursuit of wealth?

    If so, what was it? Where could he find it?

    Goliath's urging roused him from those melancholy thoughts, and he forced himself to focus. He turned to Medraut, who had been in the Legion. Presumably he knew how the Legion might attack and in turn how to respond, but before he could voice the question, Demo and Jasper's astonishment turned his gaze to follow theirs. A great structure hung above the spires of Pravh, shining metal that was dazzling in the sunlight. It was shaped bizarrely like a giant U, with a spire of brilliant glass pointing downward like a sword always aimed at the ground below.

    Nearby, Medraut looked resigned. "The Parhelion..." Adirael heard the Duftmon whisper in tandem with Goliath's own announcement of the thing's name. It was a name the Beelzemon had heard in hushed whispers, more dreaded than most things on the surface of Eon.

    Before they could do anything more, a beam of light spiraled down from the flying fortress and spun itself into the form of a Digimon. The Alphamon towered, resplendent in his jet black armor, taking a single step forward as the light completed his form. But he was alone. Adirael raised an eyebrow. Was this a measured response from the Legion? Or did this Alphamon think himself able to take on all of them at once? Imego was dismissed and Adirael waited, wary yet unwilling to attack just yet. If nothing else, this was unusual. He wouldn't have expected the Legion to act so diplomatically towards a group of Realmless who had the audacity to beseech the Astrals.

    Their response did not remain diplomatic for long.

    The beam of light poured down again and a formidable array of Digimon appeared from it. The Beelzemon sized the group up, considering them. Now this was what he had anticipated. He cast a glance at Medraut. Was the Duftmon ready to fight his own former allies? It was impossible to tell from how he stood. He wasn't cowering back, yet neither was he openly prepared to fight.

    "I, Arahon Ryu, First Blade and Champion of the Eternal Legion, hereby place you under arrest."

    Adirael returned his full attention to the Alphamon and his imposing force as the Legion troops fanned out, the Seraphimon among them moving purposefully for the Beelzemon.

    "Place your hands behind your head, kneel and submit," the angel declared.

    The Beelzemon looked fully at him, though he prepared to evade if any of the other Legion troops were to come after him. "I'm afraid I can't do that," he said. "I have traveled far and seen much. I have spent enough time bound in a cell for daring to protect people from the Metal Empire's ravages and I have no desire to be thrown into your cage on top of it."

    The Seraphimon raised his right arm and a sword of glorious light ignited from his bracer. "I am Tariel, Blade of the Legion. If you do not submit, then I must take action against you."

    Adirael chuckled, and drew a shotgun. "I am Adirael Armaros. I thank Arahon for his courtesy, and I apologize for what I am about to do."

    Tariel stepped forwards, his blade humming with power. "I train constantly to master the martial arts in all aspects, Adirael. If you are foolish enough to test my prowess, know that you will fail."

    The Beelzemon shook his head. "I might well surprise you." And with that, he erupted through the air. "Double Impact!" Slugs roared from his shotgun, but Tariel cut them from the air as he thundered forward. The two met, angel against demon, Tariel's beam sword slashing only to graze Adirael's wing. Adirael's claws lashed with a cry of "Darkness Claw!", but raked against Tariel's armor to no avail. The Seraphimon hammered his fist into the Beelzemon's chest to knock him back, following with a surprisingly fast stab of the beam sword. Adirael backed up rapidly, beating his wings to propel himself away. Strong as his claws were, he would need to find a weakness in Tariel's plate to do effective damage, and unlike his previous opponent no obvious vulnerabilities presented themselves.

    He drew the second shotgun as Tariel advanced, hurling slugs at the angel. They sparked from the armor and the brilliant angel kept coming, seemingly unfazed by the volley. Adirael knew he couldn't back up much further and so he surged into Tariel, weaving around the beam sword and a radiant fist. As he passed, he hammered the butt of a shotgun into one of Tariel's wings, crumpling the golden feathers. The Seraphimon whirled and light collected around him, forming seven glowing orbs.

    "Seven Heavens!" he called, and the spheres flashed through the air and plowed into Adirael's chest. The Beelzemon was knocked flying with a cry of pain, rolling across the ground before catching himself and pulling himself from the roll into a crouch. As Tariel pressed his attack, Adirael leapt skyward, wings exploding out as he soared. The Seraphimon pursued him as they rose above the others fighting below.

    With each beat of his wings, Adirael fired another pair of slugs at Tariel, alternating between each shotgun. The slugs tore through the air, some piercing the angel's majestic wings and ripping feathers loose, others again sparking from the shining plate coating Tariel's form. The orbs of light flashed forth once more with the cry of "Seven Heavens!", but Adirael had distance this time and weaved through them, leaving them to fly off into the sky beyond the bridge as he swooped toward Tariel, raking his opponent with more shots. He had a better measure of the Seraphimon now. While surprisingly fast, the angel wasn't quite as fast as Adirael. Good. He had at least one advantage.

    Now to find a way to leverage it.

    -

    Medraut the Exiled (Duftmon)
    -Pravh-

    And so their petition failed.

    Part of him deep down had expected it of course. To expect the Astrals to so easily work for them had been a slim hope from the start, but he'd wanted so much for it to work. So that they could begin to overturn affairs. That perhaps they could get the Astrals on their side and bring him a step closer to proving himself right to the brethren who would now be coming for him.

    He looked at Isperia in the aftermath of Ayas' speech and Ryia's fierce words. He thought of saying something, the memories of watching the Empire's forces slaughter and drag away innocents in their masses rising to the front of his mind. But he knew more words would do nothing. Even if they were to somehow sway Isperia, an impossible prospect, the Legion was still on its way. He had steeled himself for that prospect before they arrived, of course. The Legion and the Astrals were intertwined by their shared authority over enforcing the Realmpact. The Astrals scrutinized and interpreted the laws, the Legion brought them to the world at large.

    And both were equally blind to the Realmpact's failure.

    He took in the environment, measuring it as a battlefield. It wasn't good. Too open. He was sure the others noticed that fact too, but as a strategist, he was acutely aware that such terrain favored the Legion's angels. They needed to at least get under a roof, preferably inside a structure where they could control the space and hold the entrances. Goliath urged them to move and Medraut responded with the air of a soldier obeying his superior. He evaluated as he went, but his train of thought came to an abrupt halt when he noticed the others looking upward.

    The ship that hung overhead was one he knew well. He had been aboard it a handful of times on various assignments for the Legion. He remembered its interior and the immense carrying capacity it held. Many a lawbreaker had thought themselves safe in some isolated spot far from Sunhome, arrogantly boasting that even the Legion could not take them. The ship had proven them all wrong.

    "The Parhelion," he whispered as Goliath spoke the name too. He knew what would follow, that if the ship was overhead then the Legion would be down in a moment. Indeed, the transporter beam descended and an Alphamon he recognised took shape. Arahon Ryu, First Blade of the Legion. The icon Medraut had aspired to be like. Nearly peerless in the martial arts, a mighty leader, and the epitome of the Legion's ideals. They had never met, but even so, Arahon's gaze rested on Medraut for a moment as his eyes swept the group. The Alphamon and Goliath exchanged words, Medraut taking the opportunity to regard their surroundings. Still not good. Especially since the Legion wouldn't have sent just Arahon and the Parhelion. There were doubtless more troops aboard, ready to enter the fray if they were needed. This was a rare diplomatic offer.

    He wondered if his presence had motivated that, if Arahon or the Warleader had some sympathy for him or if this gentle approach was despite him.

    "I advocated with my Warleader on your behalf for a peaceful solution out of respect for your personal tragedies. But if you are looking for a show of force…"

    Medraut tensed for what he knew was coming. Indeed, the transport beam descended once more and this time it deposited a formidable cluster of soldiers. At their head, Arahon drew a sword of light. It seemed the Alphamon judged the diplomatic approach a failure.

    The soldiers fanned out in a standard fashion, moving to cover each of the Realmless. Their drill was impeccable, recited to precision, their formation designed such that they could focus on individual enemies yet easily move to cover a comrade should one or more of the Realmless turn violent. He recognized it from the drills he had done so long ago. A Knightmon came towards him, riding a Maildramon. He recognised them both. Lionel Steelheart, Arahon's second. And Firesong, his eternal companion.

    "Medraut," the knight said, his tone heavy with disappointment. "I did not expect to find you here."

    "Lionel," Medraut acknowledged softly.

    "For you to go mad is one thing," Lionel said. "But to associate yourself with such Realmless? When I heard what you had done, I thought you tragically afflicted by distress. An unfortunate fate, but understandable, curable. In light of your promise and prowess, I would have advocated for you to Arahon and the Warleader under such circumstances, suggested that while you were punished it was with understanding for your situation. But not this. You are traitor and oathbreaker, an accomplice to the forces of disorder and injustice."

    Medraut drew his rapier. He yearned to just leave this at words, to cling to the hope that he could talk Lionel down. But he knew Lionel from their few meetings and by reputation. His surname aptly described the Knightmon. His dedication to the Legion's justice was exactly that: steel.

    Lionel shook his head. "Drawing your weapon against your former comrade, Medraut? Look at what you have become."

    "I don't want to do this," Medraut said softly. He didn't, but he knew it would be necessary. He couldn't let them take him. As Goliath had said, they would either be left in the prison of bureaucracy or handed straight to the Empire, and either would end his quest. He would never prove the truth. Never bring justice to the Empire.

    "Then throw down your weapon and turn yourself in," Lionel replied. "Even now, you can do that. Accept responsibility for your crimes. Repent. Atone. Even an oathbreaker can do so."

    "You were our brother in arms, our fellow Blade," Firesong added, her gentle voice at odds with her size and strength. He looked from her to Lionel and back. The Realmless were springing into action around him and Lionel tensed, preparing to turn Firesong to help one of his comrades should the need arise. No. He couldn't let these two add their combined strength against one of the others. He didn't know if he could defeat them both, but if nothing else, he could keep them occupied.

    "I was," he agreed, drawing their gazes back to him. "But you don't, can't see what the others and I see. You look at the death of Ryia's children, at the tragedies Arahon speaks of, and you see the Realmpact at work. The gears turning as they should. You see justice in those things."

    "At times, justice requires that unfortunate things be done," Lionel replied. "It is an ugly truth, one I do not relish, but one I understand. Evidently, you do-"

    "I saw people dragged away in chains or massacred by the D-Brigade!" Medraut cried, cutting him off. "I saw innocents burn in the fires of the Empire's weaponry. And when I raised my concern, I was told, as you tell me now, that it was all in accordance with the Realmpact. That it was ugly but necessary." He paused, and brought up his blade. "But that is not justice. The Legion I called family is blind to that fact, but it doesn't change the truth. And I swore an oath to fight on until I saw that truth brought to light and justice delivered to those in the Empire responsible for those atrocities."

    Lionel raised his own sword, which had been drawn the whole time. "I give you one last chance, Medraut."

    Medraut shook his head. "I have to prove it to you and my words alone cannot do that. I can't let you take me captive, not while I know there are lost souls calling out for justice that the Legion will not deliver."

    The Knightmon spurred his steed onward. Firesong came thundering at Medraut, the Maildramon's eyes fierce now behind her helm.

    "Iron Press!" she cried, rearing up as she prepared to smash down on top of him, but Medraut jumped sideways and her hooves left dents in the ground where he had been. He needed to get on her back. Her tail would still be a difficulty in that situation, but it would restrict her ability to harm him and Lionel would be restricted by the need to hold onto her. He rushed to her side and her tail came at him, its point gleaming. "Tail Lance!" He only just dodged it, feeling the metal scrape against his armor, and then Lionel's sword scythed down.

    "Berserk Sword!" the Knightmon called. Medraut parried the blade with his rapier, straining against Lionel, and pushed it to the side. A beat of his wings sent him upward, but Firesong evidently sensed his intentions because she charged out of his reach before he could land and find a purchase on her back. Her tail whipped around and clipped him, sending him tumbling back to the ground, and by the time he was back on his feet the Maildramon was charging him again. "The Duel!" Lionel's sword swung and the air rippled as it shot towards him like a blade. Medraut dodged to the right, under the diagonal wave, then weaved further as Firesong tried to crush him again. This time he leapt right as her foreleg passed him and gripped Lionel's shoulder with his free hand, swinging himself onto the Maildramon's back behind the Knightmon.

    Lionel turned as best he could given the need to remain mounted, sword meeting Medraut's rapier. "I applaud your guile, but you cannot prevail here, Medraut. You don't have the footing to fight properly." Indeed, Firesong began to buck violently and Medraut swayed, having to focus on dueling Lionel and remaining in his place at the same time. It was difficult, especially when Firesong added her tail to the mix with a slap that he only resisted by gripping the edge of a plate with his free hand. He thrust at Lionel with his rapier, its point igniting with dark energy.

    "Black Aura Blast!" Lionel turned so that the shield on his back took the blow instead, but the explosive force still almost threw him from his seat. Medraut too nearly lost his footing, but clung on, and turned his blade swiftly to Firesong. "Extinction Wave!" He painted an arc of white light across the joint between her back leg and her body, making the Maildramon stumble.

    "Berserk Sword!" Lionel thundered, turning and slashing. Medraut took the blow on his armor and another sweep of Firesong's tail combined with the strength behind Lionel's blade sent him tumbling. As he fell, his rapier lashed out.

    "Black Aura Blast!" The tip struck into Firesong's left leg at the knee, the explosive force buckling the weaker armor there and making the Maildramon roar. Medraut crashed down and rolled as Firesong whirled, her front left leg slamming down where his head had been. She was moving slightly more slowly, or so it seemed at least. Recovering from his roll, he stood back up. "Extinction Wave!" He cut the arc of light with his blade and sent it at Firesong's front legs, but the Maildramon charged right through it. He needed the directed force of a Black Aura Blast on more vulnerable armor, he reasoned. In any case, he needed to take Firesong out of the fight. Riding her gave Lionel far more speed than he normally possessed, and their combined bulk was imposing and difficult to face.

    Firesong crashed towards him and he again ducked to her flank, her right this time. His rapier blazed with dark energy as Lionel's sword came down to meet him. Medraut took the hit on his left bracer, straining to hold up Lionel's blade, and with his right hand stabbed the blazing rapier into the back of Firesong's knee. "Black Aura Blast!"

    The metal fractured before the explosive force and the Maildramon thundered past with a roar, the weakened leg buckling. Medraut followed her, ready to deal another blow, but she skidded to a halt and turned to meet him. Lionel brandished his sword and slashed with it.

    "The Duel!" Medraut saw the air shimmer as the sharpened wind sliced towards him. He saw the angle at which it approached and moved around it, flowing like water as he beat his wings and rushed towards the knight and his steed. As he moved, he dropped low, dodging under a sweep of Firesong's tail, and his rapier caught fire with the dark energy once more. As he passed between her front and back legs, he slashed into the back of her foreleg and called the attack's name. Sharpened by the energy, his blade sundered the flexible segment of armor and cut into the fur and flesh beneath enough to draw blood. He exploded from beneath her before she could bring a foot down atop him, catching the ground with his own feet and using his wings to propel himself upright. The tail lashed just behind him as Firesong underestimated his speed, allowing him to put a decent amount of distance between himself and them.

    Medraut turned to meet the pair again, rapier ready to parry an attack from Lionel.

    "I see you retain your guile even after all this time," Lionel mused. "But it will not avail you. No evildoer can prevail against justice."

    Medraut said nothing.

    "Are you ashamed? Evidently not enough to accept responsibility for your actions," the Knightmon pressed as Firesong stalked forward. She was moving even more slowly, Medraut noted. Her injured legs were hampering her. "And even now, you attack Firesong rather than myself. Did you think I hadn't noticed your strategy?" Of course not. He knew Lionel would catch on. Arahon's second wouldn't be ignorant enough to allow his steed to be crippled without noticing. "You are under the impression that if you can remove Firesong from this battle, then you will gain the upper hand with your greater maneuverability and speed. Intelligent. You haven't forgotten your training, even if you turn it to a dishonorable end."

    "Only then did I see the atrocities as they mowed down my children with ease and myself, bonded to the Realmpact, helpless to stop them." Ryia's words echoed in his head. Lionel and Firesong were picking up speed, preparing to run him down. He didn't move.

    "But justice shall prevail," Lionel continued. "As always, the Legion shall triumph over wickedness and corruption. You Realmless will be defeated and the law shall be done. You cannot prevent it."

    “And the Metal Empire ousting us from our homes didn’t?” Now Ayas' words came back to him. Firesong was nearly upon him. The ground shook beneath her feet.

    "Fall and be defeated!" the Knightmon declared.

    "Break beneath the might of the Legion!" Firesong cried as she reared up.

    And Medraut struck.

    Like lightning, he darted forward between her forelegs. There was a small gap in the plates of her armor right before them and he turned to find it as he moved. The rapier blazed in his hand and he thrust it under the forward plate, burying it into the vulnerable spot. He heard Firesong roar in surprise and pain.

    "Black Aura Blast!"

    The rapier's power poured from the blade and ripped into Firesong. The Maildramon trampled around him, the Duftmon withdrawing his rapier and weaving desperately between her legs to escape the danger. She thrashed behind him and Lionel was distracted by the need to stay on. Seeing his opportunity, Medraut pressed it, lighting his blade with white light and going from a roll to a crouch to leaping. As he soared into Lionel he struck.

    "Extinction Wave!" He delivered a backhanded slash into Lionel's side, the attack's power catching the Knightmon off-balance. He tried to catch himself, but Medraut added a kick that foiled the attempt, and Lionel slid from his mount's back. The Knightmon crashed down with a clatter of armor. Medraut landed on Firesong's back with a beat of his wings and took the rapier in both hands. It blazed with the dark energy.

    "Forgive me," he said softly before striking at the base of her neck, where the armor became segmented. The point struck true into the gap between segments. "Black Aura Blast." He let the energy burst and Firesong roared beneath him, his body shuddering as she thrashed. Her armor fractured around the rapier and her body shook, before she crashed down. Medraut leapt from her back as the Maildramon slammed into the ground and her form broke into light, leaving behind an unconscious Gatomon.

    Lionel rushed to her side, kneeling by her. Medraut knew that strategically, he should press his advantage, but didn't move. No. He wouldn't sink to such a level. Even if they were not his brethren, he wouldn't do such a thing. He watched as the Knightmon made sure his comrade was not desperately injured, waiting for what he knew was inevitable. And indeed, Lionel turned, his eyes narrowed with righteous fury as behind him the blue beam descended from the Parhelion to recover Firesong.

    "I see honor has not deserted you," he said in a burning tone. "Small goodness that that is."

    "I will not kill you," Medraut said softly. "You are misguided and blinded, nothing more."

    "What a bizarre sentiment from one such as you," Lionel snarled. "You are Realmless seeking to overthrow the Realmpact. To the world, you are an enemy." He raised his sword and pointed it at Medraut. "I underestimated you, your ruthlessness, your cunning. I concede that. It seems that to meet the expectations of justice, I must exercise my full strength against you." There it was. He knew Lionel was holding back something. The Knightmon took out his shield and held his sword before him, the blade held between his eyes as he began to chant.

    "Let evil break upon my shield. Let the unjust tremble and yield." Burning light ignited from his armor, becoming flames that crept across the Knightmon, consuming his plate, his sword and his shield in a blazing inferno.

    "Come one, come all, I stand and fight. Behold me now - the Legion's Knight!"

    The flames burst into embers and unveiled Lionel. It was as though the fire had burned his armor black and reforged it, for now the plates were blackened. He towered higher, horns crowning his helmet, his eyes still burning with righteous fury. His sword had become a great double-sided lance and his shield was larger, marked with the Legion's crest. A tabard swayed in the breeze between his legs. The Craniamon took a step forward, twirling his lance as though it weighed nothing.

    "Extinction Wave!" Medraut called, slashing an arc with his blade and hurling a wave of light at Lionel. The black knight raised his mighty shield.

    "God's Breath," he boomed. A sphere of light formed around him, unfurling from the shield, and Medraut's attack hit it and was broken. Unharmed, Lionel continued his advance, raising the spear. "You thought that if Firesong was removed from the fight, then you would have the advantage. Logical thinking, but flawed." He spun the great weapon in his hand. "End Waltz!" A shockwave rang through the air and plowed into Medraut. He was hurled flying, crashing near the edge of the bridge. "We shall duel, your attacks shall be thwarted by my great shield, and I shall force you into submission. Such is the Legion's justice to all who would defy the law and the Realmpact."

    Medraut rose. He ached from the raw power of that attack, but he was far from finished. Raising his rapier, he strode forward with unbroken pride, gazing into Lionel's eyes. The Craniamon glared back as his footfalls thundered against the bridge. There was a moment of stillness broken only by the thudding of Lionel's boots.

    Finally, Medraut exploded forward, rapier drawn back to strike, and the battle was rejoined.
     
  15. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Surrak Dragonclaw (WarGreymon X) & Jaeger Rhimewind (MetalGarurumon X) >
    Vs. Razia (Omnimon Alter-S)
    - Prahv -


    Surrak stepped forward as the Legion soldiers squared off with the rest of the Realmless. Already they were pairing up and preparing to do battle. Adirael and the Seraphimon had already started, as had Medraut and the odd pairing of Knightmon and Maildramon. Versa and the Ophanimon were already eyeing one another, and both Ajax and Goliath seemed intent on facing down the Alphamon.

    That certainly eliminated a number of potential opponents for him. And logic narrowed down the rest. UlforceVeedramon -- too easy. He'd fought enough Dramon in the past week to sate him for some time. Aldamon, too weak. Beowulfmon -- same. Rhinomon -- he wasn't going to even dignify that as an option. JaegerDorulumon -- as much as he'd enjoy the chance to needle Jaeger he was well above such meager opponents.

    The Gallantmon seemed a decent opponenet, except Titus was already making his way toward it. Surrak growled. Stop. Stealing. His. Fights.

    "Who among you is strongest?" Surrak demanded boldly, out of sheer frustration. "Other than the Alphamon." He jabbed his thumb angrily at Arahon.

    The Omnimon Alter-S stepped forward. Surrak sighed. Well that only made sense. He'd never explicitly met an Omnimon of any type before, but by reputation alone he knew they were typically rather powerful.

    "I am Razia, Skyknight of the Legion, Archon of Justice, Fiendslayer, Defender of --"

    "Good. You're my opponent then," he declared. The Omnimon gave him a strange look, but stepped forward with easy confidence. A blade sprang from the armored visage on her golden-plated right arm.

    "This seems like a terrible idea," Jaeger muttered beside him.

    "Oh, shut up," Surrak growled. He crouched low and charged forward, vernier thrusters flaring behind him. He thrust his claws forward and Razia met them with a stroke of her sword.

    That single blow stopped Surrak in his tracks and robbed him of all his momentum. He felt the impact roll through him. His thrusters sputtered out and his feet touched down jarringly on the stone bridge. For the briefest of moments, Surrak felt the chill of uncertainty, that he might have taken more than he was able to handle.

    But all thoughts of that kind were swept away as Razia swung her sword in a flashing downward arc. Surrak managed to bring up the Brave Shield on his gauntlets and block the blow, but the sheer force of Razia's strike drove Surrak through the stone bridge beneath his feet and into the canyon below.

    He tumbled through the air, still jarred, still trying to figure out exactly what had happened and why his tried-and-true approach of straightforward brawling hadn't worked. He struggled to right himself as Razia dove through the hole and raced down after him into the deep canyon.

    Before Razia could close the distance, however, Jaeger intercepted her. He sent scores of screaming artillery ripping through the air. His salvo caught her off guard for a moment, but Razia quickly pivoted and focused her attention on powering through his attacks. This gave Surrak enough time and distance to regain his bearings and speed to a better vantage point.

    Razia chased after Jaeger, her black cape whipping in the air behind her. She fired several beams from the Greymon cannon in her left hand, filling the air with crackling plasma. Jaeger did his best to dodge, dipping nimbly between the beams, but Razia's aim was mechanically precise, and one finally slammed home. It sent Jaeger careening into the canyon wall.

    The Omnimon Alter-S dove after him with her sword drawn back, but Surrak dove forward and tackled her off course. They wrestled through the air; Surrak fought with everything he had, struggling to keep the wicked-sharp blade away while at the same time attempting to contend with the Omnimon's overwhelming physical strength.

    How the hell was such a skinny woman so strong?

    With a roar, Razia shrugged him free. She clamped her BlitzGreymon hand around his face and slammed him into the canyon wall. He let out a grunt of pain that was soon drowned out in the screech of metal-on-stone as she dragged him, face-first, across the cliff.

    A barrage of narrow blue beams rained down on her with machine-like precision as Jaeger let loose with his beam cannon, attempting to free Surrak from her hold. The blasts barely seemed to fluster Razia, who spun around and hurled Surrak up at Jaeger with all her implausible strength. Jaeger managed to catch the flying WarGreymon, but Razia's follow-up cannon blast engulfed them and sent them hurtling back up towards Prahv again; past even the high bridge where the others fought, and into the still-clear air above the city.

    They whirled to a stop and stared down at the still form of their opponent. She was watching with a predatory glare, and seemed unconcerned with allowing them a moment to recover.

    "She's strong," Surrak acknowledged in a tone he usually reserved for talking about his own feats. "Stronger than either of us." Jaeger could hear how much Surrak hated to admit that.

    "Too well-defended for my weaponry to punch through," Jaeger agreed with a nod. His sensors bleeped a warning as Razia began her slow ascent out of the canyon. "I think even her cape is stronger than your armor."

    "Bah, you're exaggerating," Surrak scoffed.

    "Oh?" Jaeger shot back. To which Surrak only growled in response. "She's too strong for either of us to engage in close-quarters combat. Too fast and well-defended to hit from any sort of distance either."

    "If you can slow her down I'll take care of the rest," Surrak said in a low growl.

    Surrak's overly vague suggestion managed to give Jaeger the inkling of an idea, and he nodded once to the WarGreymon. As Surrak dropped from the sky Jaeger sent a barrage of ice-based weaponry screaming down ahead of him. The missiles and nitrogen-beams exploded in the air around Razia, hindering her movement and obscuring her vision.

    And then Surrak struck, a gold-and-red meteor smashing through a cluster of ice and raking his claws across her front. She let out a cry of pain and swung around to counterattack, but another icy blast locked up the joints of her armor and Surrak dove out of sight. Razia pivoted, tearing after him, but again found herself encumbered by a barrage of icy projectiles that exploded in midair and blocked her path. And again, Surrak emerged from one of these created blind-spots and slashed her with his claws.

    As Surrak and Jaeger continued their assault -- which, Jaeger figured, if they lived through Surrak would complain about the underhanded and cowardly tactics of -- Jaeger also noticed that Razia hadn't fired her beam cannon since emerging from the canyon. In the wide-open sky, where he and Surrak had room to maneuver and dodge, she couldn't risk a stray shot coming into range of Prahv's buildings and structures.

    "Surrak! She cannot use her cannon while in range of Prahv," he shouted to the dragon man. Surrak dodged what might have been an otherwise-lethal strike if not for the sudden explosion of ice crystals between him and Razia. He whipped over the ice and landed a drop kick that sent her tumbling away.

    "Keep Prahv at our backs, and enough distance to dodge, and we can prevent her from attacking," Jaeger said as Surrak returned to his side.

    Razia had righted herself and charged the two, but Jaeger let loose with a salvo of explosive weaponry. Brilliant beams of piercing blue light howled from Jaeger's beam cannon and slammed into the joints of her armor. Though she managed to shake off the impact, Surrak's follow-up Terra Force barrage knocked her back and through the air.

    They continued their barrage, and Jaeger again realized that on top of not being able to use her long-ranged attacks, Razia was also prevented from dodging and allowing any of their attacks to go wide and impact Prahv below.

    "I hate this kind of cowardly fighting," Surrak grumbled between charging fist-sized versions of his Terra Force. But Jaeger also didn't see him break off his attacks or change tactics. Razia outclassed their capabilities so soundly that brute force was the absolute last way they could chance a victory.

    He and Surrak fired their next barrage, but Razia intercepted the attacks and slashed through them with her sword. A few more shots hit home, but Razia continued forward, continuing to slash through the incoming attacks and making steady progress towards them.

    She was adapting.

    Soon she didn't even need to stop; the path her sword traced through the air cut into Jaeger's artillery and Surrak's energy blasts with a flash of the gold-and-black blade.

    "Supreme Sword!" she called out, and let fly an crackling red-hued arc of energy from the edge of her blade. They dropped out of the way, but a follow up shot of "Transcendent Cannon!" sent another bolt of power slamming into the energy arc and detonating it violently in the air next to them.

    The shockwave knocked Surrak and Jaeger from the sky and sent them hurtling back down, crashing hard onto the bridge again.

    Razia fell upon Jaeger, her sword alight and glowing white-hot.

    With a cry of "Metal Wolf Claw!" he tried to slow her down. But she and the sword shred through the cascading ice like paper. With a lightning fast draw, she sliced through his laser cannon and gatling gun. Jaeger managed to grab hold of her sword arm and prevent her from slicing through him as well. But she pressed him hard against the bridge, cracking the stone underneath.

    Jaeger's struggle lasted only a moment longer, until Razia turned her cannon on him and blasted him through the bridge and back into the canyon below.

    ==\=/==

    < Goliath Leonhardt (BanchoLeomon) & Ajax Vol (MedievalGallantmon) >
    Vs. Arahon (Alphamon)
    - Prahv -


    In the Alphamon's hands, a sword of light took shape. "I, Arahon Ryu, First Blade and Champion of the Eternal Legion, hereby place you under arrest."

    "Of course you do," Goliath grumbled, rolling his shoulders with a series of cracks and flexing his knuckles to much the same. "And of course, I'll be doing this the hard way."

    "Naturally," Arahon said with a mock bow.

    Goliath smirked. Hell, he liked this knight. It was a shame they were on opposite sides...and trying to kill one another. He clenched his fists and felt his inner fire pool in his hands. With a shout of "Burning Bancho Punch" Goliath sprang forward. His clawed feet dug into the stone beneath and he launched himself at Arahon. In three steps he closed the distance between them and registered a brief instant of surprise flash over Arahon's face.

    With backhand from his left he tapped Arahon's blade out of his way and forced an opening. Then, in the same swift instant, the lion man shifted all his weight onto his back foot and threw a massive, fiery uppercut into Arahon's chin. There was a boom and a ferocious clang as Goliath's metal-plated knuckles hit home.

    But Arahon barely moved. He tilted his head back down and stared Goliath face-to-face. There was a sound of deep concentration from behind his black helm, and then Goliath's world exploded with blinding green light. He felt something massively dense drive itself into his stomach and send him flying back through the air, where he landed in a heap beside the other Realmless once more.

    "Having trouble," Ajax quipped, his halberd at the ready as he glanced across the Legion soldiers. Most of the others had already squared up and engaged the Legion, but Ajax seemed to have held back and watched Goliath get thrown around.

    "Just testing him," Goliath growled, climbing to his feet. Arahon had meanwhile let his hard-light sword dissipate and was staring him down empty-handed. Arrogant little…

    "I'm sure," Ajax half-laughed. Though the severity of Arahon's abilities were beginning to dawn on him and dampen his mood. "Want a hand?"

    "I have this completely under control," Goliath snarled back. He crouched low and sprang forward. But he'd barely made it half-a-step before another dazzling flash of green light knocked him off his feet and hurled him back and almost into a flock of judges.

    "Clearly," Ajax mumbled, watching Goliath skid to a stop. He turned to the Alphamon; he knew the species was typically powerful, but this was more than he'd expected. He smirked to himself; even so, he never backed down from a real challenge.

    Ajax charged with a roar. He battered away a flash of green with the blade of his halberd and swung downward onto the Alphamon. As with Goliath, the impact of the two Digimon sent loose stones and dust flying in all directions, and a vicious clang echoed across Prahv; and as with Goliath, Ajax, too, found himself locked into Arahon's unflinching stare. The Dunas's blade sparked harmlessly against the golden bracer on the Alphamon's wrist. He'd blocked it without even calling up a weapon!

    "You smug--"

    But Ajax didn't get the chance to finish his jab. A flash of green kicked into his stomach and sent him careening backwards. He rolled to a stop and stumbled back to his feet, but a second flash slammed into his nose and threw him onto his back even further away.

    He coughed violently and spit a facefull of blood into the polished marble of Prahv's bridge. He blinked hard, trying to clear his vision as someone hauled him to his feet.

    "You should've let me handle him," Goliath said. There was no growl in his voice, just fiery intensity. Ajax thought, for a moment, that Goliath seemed so much older and wearier than he'd ever seen him before. "I don't want your death on my conscience. And I don't want you stumbling into my way and getting me killed."

    "There's the Goliath that we all know and tolerate," Ajax said, spitting another mouthful of blood. He straightened and adjusted his grip on the Dunas. "But -- seeing as I'm much stronger than you -- maybe you should let me handle him."

    Goliath howled with fake laughter. "Ha! Just watch and learn," he said, then drew his blade and dashed forward again. He zig-zagged, weaving in case Arahon threw any more green flashes his way, but the Alphamon allowed him to close without resistance. Goliath made a quick horizontal thrust with his blade, but Arahon sidestepped numbly and grabbed Goliath's wrist.

    A quick twist from Arahon, a grunt of pain from Goliath, and Goliath's weapon slipped from his hands. Goliath reached for the falling weapon with his free hand, but Arahon's fist filled his vision and knocked him flat against the marble rails of the bridge.

    There was a flash -- shimmering red, blue, and gold -- from behind Arahon, and Goliath saw Ajax spring forward behind the glowing light of his beam lance, a cry of "Lightning Joust" filled the air and he thrust his mighty lance at the Alphamon.

    But once again, Arahon didn't bother to dodge. He extended an outstretched hand into the glowing beam of Ajax's lance itself and the energy split around Arahon's palm and fingers like flowing water. He palmed the full length of the lance, grabbed the beam-emitter in that same almighty hand, and crushed it.

    That baleful green light flashed once more, but this time Ajax managed to raise his shield in front of him block Arahon's attack, There was a tremendous crash of power as Arahon's beam splintered itself on the Aegis. Ajax dug in his heels, bracing himself behind the thick shield. But for all his strength Arahon's attack continued to push him backwards. His metal books left large scratches across the smooth marble. His shield held.

    Barely.

    But the force of the beam quickly overwhelmed Ajax. His shield slammed backward; he was swept off his feet and thrown away.

    Goliath let out a bestial roar as red-orange flames engulfed him. His Burst Mode howled into form around him and he struck like a thunderbolt. He slammed Arahon with a dizzying barrage of punches, each one carefully placed, each one clanging against Arahon's black armor, forcing the knight back step-by-step. Until Arahon snagged an incoming punch in his outstretched palm. With what seemed like a casual application of force, Arahon squeezed Goliath's fist and brought him to his knees.

    With Goliath's fist firmly grasped in his left hand, Arahon laid into the lion with a salvo of single-handed jabs. They hit with a speed Goliath could barely follow, and with a force he could barely process. Each punch was powerful enough to completely ignore the defensive properties of his gakuran. Arahon landed one last blow, burying his fist in Goliath's gut, while at the same time unleashing another flash of green energy that sent him soaring through the air.

    "Shield of the Just!" Ajax cried out. His voice echoed like a tremendous roar across the skies of Prahv. A torrent of energy erupted from the eye of the shield, spilling over Arahon like a beam of sunlight. It pushed the knight back and carved a gash in the marble bridge. Ajax fought to sustain the beam as it splashed against the Alphamon's armor. Arahon had managed to brace his shoulder against it and regain his footing.

    Ajax felt the sweat trickle down his brow. He couldn't keep up such an assault for too much longer. How in the Seven Hells was Arahon holding back his attack?

    "Flash Bancho Punch!" Goliath roared beside him. A beam erupted from his outstretched fist with a lion's face at its head. The beam itself let out a roar as it joined Ajax's attack and slammed against Arahon. The knight was thrown further back, though he maintained his bearings. Ajax and Goliath continued to unleash the steady stream of power in hopes of overcoming the Alphamon.

    "Digitalize of Souls!" shouted a voice from within the energy cascade. A bright field of green erupted from Arahon; and with seeming ease, formed a beam that sent Ajax and Goliath's attack hurtling back towards them. The three attacks washed over the two Realmless and sent them careening backwards.

    This time Arahon didn't give them even a moment to recover. He was upon them before they had even landed. Ajax managed to raise the Aegis, but Arahon formed his sword of light and shattered the shield with a single stroke. A kick snapped into Ajax's chest and sent him crashing to the ground.

    "Yield," Arahon said, without a trace of breathlessness or fatigue, as if he'd barely scratched the surface of his power. "Order the rest to stand down. This doesn't need to go any further. I don't want to see needless deaths."

    "Neither do I," said Goliath, wincing as he limped to his feet. "But these Digimon swore to fight alongside me until the end of the line." He shook his mane. "I would do them a disservice by giving up now."

    He threw himself forward. But Arahon swiped his fist aside and buried the Grade Alpha sword in his gut. Goliath let out a sputtered breath as Arahon twisted the blade.

    "I gave you ample warning, Leonhardt," Arahon said, a trace of sadness in his voice. "I admire your will and your devotion. But you are serving chaos and destruction on your path to vengeance. And no matter how noble your intentions, I cannot allow you to continue with such despicable methods."

    He withdrew his sword from Goliath's stomach and allowed the lion to fall to the ground. Goliath grasped at the wound. Eyes wide, panicked, but barely able to stay upright on his knees before the knight. He didn't know this kind of power existed. This was something spoken of only in legends! Who could have known some peon Legion knight would possess such unreal strength.

    Goliath fought to glance upward as Arahon raised his blade high. The knight's eyes were solemn, and Goliath found himself thinking that if he was going to die a failure, at least it was at the hands of someone with carried that weight respectfully.

    "NO!" cried a voice from the gathering of warriors behind Goliath. A brilliant red light erupted from within the melee, and Goliath felt another overwhelming pressure. Arahon glanced up and raised his sword defensively just as a ferocious beam of crimson energy slammed into him. The black knight let out a howl of surprise and pain as the beam washed over him and drove him across the bridge with a deafening boom.

    A form emerged from the light's source, a knight, clad in scarlet armor with ten shimmering, iridescent, white-blue wings. In its hands it held two glowing weapons of light: an elegant sword and a long, double-ended conical lance.

    "Ajax," Goliath gasped, clutching the wound in his gut. He struggled to catch his breath against the pain.

    "Will you be alright?" Ajax asked him.

    Goliath nodded. "What..the hell...is..."

    "I told you," Ajax said, and Goliath could hear the smirk in his voice. "I'm much stronger than you are." Goliath could only growl his displeasure.

    Across the bridge, from amidst the dust and bright-red flames of Ajax's attack, Arahon emerged. He walked briskly, two swords of light in his hands to mirror Ajax's own. His body language betrayed his emotions: he was upset.

    "Now," Ajax said, stepping forward with the same easy grace as the black knight. "Leave this to me."
     
  16. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Versa Victa (BelleStarmon)
    - Pravh -


    She had only just arrived and yet Versa had already had enough of this place. The shining center of the Astral Order was everything she had pictured it to be. Bright, tidy, pristine. Ugh. It was organized a little too well. It didn’t feel like people actually lived here.

    Like a masterly-crafted marble statue, it gleamed with a near-perfection that was almost sickening. Nothing real, nothing alive, should be this perfectly pristine. Even when they walked across the largest bridge Versa had ever seen in her life and stood in the innermost sanctum of the Order before the Supreme Judge herself, her opinions didn't change. None of this felt like life. It was cold. Impersonal. The uncaring wheels of autocracy toiling pointlessly and crushing who they may beneath them. This place was the Syndicate without its facades but with every drop of its vanity.

    She refused to believe that that man had chosen this wretched slab of bureaucracy over freedom. If Aakio was here right now, she'd throttle him within an inch of his life right here in front of the Supreme Judge.

    Speaking of which, Isperia was quite the piece of work herself. The Valdurmon's entrance was all pomp and theatrics. A radiant light descending from the heavens to pass judgement? Please. The glorified lawyer could dreg up every scrap of ceremony, every last ounce of self-righteous indignation she could muster. It wouldn't change the fact that all she did was coldly, blandly, read the words the Metal Empire used to defend itself and nod her head in agreement. What a disgrace. There was no autonomy here. There was no self-determination. How sad a fate was it to live your life at the whims of legal nonsense written by your enemies?

    It hardly came as a surprise then when she flatly denied their request. But then she followed it up by refusing to take any degree of responsibility for her judgement and instead passed that on to the Legion. Versa actually spat on the ground in disgust.

    By the time Ayas had stepped up to start his share of postulating before the Judge, Versa had zoned out entirely. Instead she scanned the others. Jericho stood resolute, paying careful attention to Ayas's speech. Of course the old geezer would find political rambling interesting. Goliath and the other bancho stood at the head of the group, their expressions hidden from her but their stance strong and determined. Watching thier fearless leader scramble for words when they disembarked had been both entertaining and a little sad. Versa couldn't help but wonder at this point if the BanchoLeomon actually had a plan for all of this of if he was just making things up as they went.

    There was also Medraut who had been by Ryia's side since the boat. Was that a thing now? Curious. Ryia looked as stern and defiant as usual while Medraut scanned the open space with the wary eyes of a someone expecting a fight. Versa was starting to like the both of them.

    Adirael was also paying some degree of attention to Ayas's speech. It made sense that someone of his former standing in the Syndicate would find the exchange of words interesting. Versa loved sparring with words as much as the next guy, but she much preferred sparring with weapons. How did the Beelzemon X see her? She was just a street rat from the underbelly of the Syndicate standing here with fire and fury in her heart and a smirk on her face. He carried himself like a noble. Like a man of status. In another life, men like him would treat her like a piece of property. Eye candy to boss around or dangle from their arms at fancy gatherings. She shook those thoughts from her head. Whatever he was in the Syndicate, Adirael was standing here with them now. Surely he wouldn't have carried old prejudices with him.

    Titus and that pesky Garbagemon whose name escaped her were busy chatting between themselves. The two seemed thick as thieves now. There was almost certainly a story there, she was certain of that. Why else would a handsome, capable dragon like Titus hang around with a runt like that? A pang of guilt ran through her head. Here she was preening over Adirael's feelings when her own prejudices were still alive and well. It wasn't too long ago that she was a pesky runt herself.

    A spark of light caught her eye and she turned to see Ayas literally burning his sash to ashes. Well, good for you Jabberjay. The old bird always seemed like a walking buzzkill but she was proud of him for making such a clear stand. Not that that made him any more fun to hang out with, but it was a start.

    The Legion was suspiciously quick to answer their call as well. Not more than a few moments after their meeting, a massive flying fortress appeared overhead. The thing was much to quiet for something that big. A murmur of recognition spread through their group. This was the Parhelion. Versa refused to believe this was a coincidence. The Legion was here for them. Why else? Had they been betrayed? Set up? Or was this really a case of the absolute worst timing possible? Before she could sort those concerns out any farther, the Legion ship beamed down a representative. And after a few words, they beamed down a small army. Of course, hostilities immediately broke out. Versa grinned. Perfect. Let them come. This battle could burn the entire Order to the ground and the world would probably be better for it.

    One of the Legion soldiers, an Ophanimon, locked eyes on her immediately. Of course the angel would. That figures. Versa flicked her wrists and her guns slid into her hands, the rounds loading with a pair of soft clicks.

    The Legion soldiers moved as one in an impressive display of discipline. They each covered one of the Realmless, spreading out in even match-ups. The Ophanimon stood before her now, her self-righteous smile a foil to Versa's defiant smirk. "Yield and submit." The angel declared as she leveled the tip of her spear at Versa. "You face Iona, Light-bringer, she of the-"

    "I don't give a damn who you are or how pompous your collection of nicknames is." Versa spun her pistols around her fingers, enjoying watching the Ophanimon's expression slowly melt into anger and annoyance. "I am not going back to jail. So you can bring it sister, it won't make a difference."

    Iona gritted her teeth. "You insolent fiend!" She stamped the bottom of the spear on the ground with a thud. "You will regret your words when I haul you from this place in chains. You-"

    Bang! A single bullet grazed the angel's helmet, leaving a small nick in the otherwise pristine armor. "Oh, I'm sorry, were you still talking?" Versa asked.

    The Ophanimon's anger was palatable as she charged Versa with a battle cry, spear raised to strike. "Eden's Javelin!" The tip of her spear glowed white hot with holy light as it threatened to run her through. The angel was fast, very fast. But not as fast as Versa. With no armor to weight her down, the demon slid to the side and let the spear pass her by. Even without touching it, Versa could feel the heat and power contained in that attack. An attack tailored perfectly to end demons like herself. For a small moment, Versa wondered if picking a fight with an angel was such a good idea. That moment didn't last long.

    Versa tried to capitalize on the small opening. "Double Claw!" She lashed out with the hidden blades on on pistols but they bounced harmlessly off the angel's shield. Okay, maybe Iona did match her in speed. Versa jumped back, trying to keep her distance. But the Ophanimon was quick to pursue. She had the advantage up close and she knew it. Versa had to change that. But first she had to not get run through with a spear. Another Eden's Javelin attack came at her almost immediately as she landed. Versa's muffler's lashed out, trying to repeat her trick with the Gaiomon from the hordes. The cloth tried to grasp Iona's arm, to hold her back. Instead, the angel brought the pointed tip of her shield down hard and pinned one of her muffler ends to the ground. Versa felt the cloth tighten around her neck, pulling her forward.

    Well, damn.

    The other end hit its mark and wrapped firmly around Iona's wrist, pulling it back. But Versa couldn't get enough distance to outpace the spear. Not with her other muffler pinned. The bright tip of the angel's spear tore through the air towards her chest. She had to think of something, quickly. Versa twisted into the air, the guns on her heels pointed directly at the angel's unarmored stomach. "Hurricane Screw Shot!" She spun wildly, losing track of the spear but hoping it wouldn't matter as her bullets pelted Iona. She felt the pressure lift from her muffler and allowed herself to fall to the ground. She felt the heat of the spear tip pass inches from her face as she scrambled to gain some ground.

    The angel had an edge up close, and she was fast enough to keep the pressure on. Versa had to change this fight before her tricks ran out.

    "I will say it one last time, yield or be destroyed." Iona had blocked most of the shots with her shield, but a few bullets had found their mark. If Iona felt the pain of the wounds, it didn't show on her resolute face. Her's was the smug look of a prizefighter who was toying with a weaker opponent just for the sport of it.

    "If I yield, won't I be destroyed anyway?" Versa snorted. "Some choice."

    "We would take you as prisoners." Iona said. "We have no wish for senseless bloodshed."

    "Is that a fact? You seem to be enjoying yourself." the BelleStarmon was mostly just trying to buy time while she racked her brain, but she couldn't resist taunting the smug Legionnaire. "Are you sure you're a proud soldier of the Legion? Cause you look like a common dog of the Empire to me."

    Iona's anger was boiling over now. Her scowl was absolutely lethal and Versa was sure that under that mask the angel was glaring daggers at her. The solider didn't even bother with a proper attack, she just charged at Versa with righteous fury. Her spear lashed out again and again, striking fast and viciously. It didn't have the added threat of the burning light, but a spear was a spear. Versa was painfully reminded of that as the tip grazed her thigh and drew a line of blood.

    Versa spun to the side again and lashed out with another "Double Claw!". Again, Iona raised her shield and deflected the attack. Screw this. One way or another, Versa was going to land a clean hit. Time to take this battle off the ground. With a flourish of black feathers, her mufflers became ebon wings that lifted her up into the air and over the angel's head. She leveled her pistol and fired one clean shot that struck Iona in the shoulder. Blood splashed up from the wound, staining the angel's armor crimson.

    Iona's fury had no words left to give now. She turned, a snarl slipping through her teeth as she beat her armored wings and took to the air after the demon.

    Versa had some distance for the moment and leveled her guns at the Legion soldier. "Fly Bullet!"

    The angel spread her arms forcefully and light erupted around her. "Sefirot Crystal!" Ten shining points of light coalesced around the rising angel before solidifying into crystals. The crystals erupted with pink light that hit Versa like a tidal wave. It burned, damn it burned. Not like the fires of that magma pit had burned. No, that had been fire. Hot and primal and elemental. This was the radiance of the sun. Purifying, cleansing. Light that sought nothing more than to scorch shadows like herself.

    Versa fell out of the eruption of light, her form steaming from the assault of holy power. It was only by sheer luck that one of her Fly Bullets struck home at that moment, and the angel's cry of pain and surprise galvanized Versa's fighting spirit once again. She wasn't going to go down that easily. Not now. Not ever. This fight was far from over.

    -+-+-+-

    Jericho Arcos (RustTyrannomon)
    - Pravh -

    The proceedings had gone about as well as Jericho had expected, all things considered. To be perfectly honest, he had never expected them to get a face to face audience with the Supreme Judge herself, but his time since escaping Ironclad had consisted of one surprise after the other. Was this the way the world had always been or had things truly changed so much since the days of his youth?

    He was the most surprised by Ayas. The former judge had showed himself to be a man much after Jericho's own sensibilities. The Metal Empire had taken his home from him. Some guilt rested on Jericho's own shoulders for that. Though he was not involved in any skirmishes in the Order's territory personally, he had led the same such missions across other lands for years. How many homes had his soldiers taken? How many lives like Ayas's had he been responsible for destroying? It was a grim reminder of the reasons why he had chosen to turn his back on his homeland.

    He had faced a public trail then. He had spoken his piece before his authorities much as Ayas was doing now. Jericho's reward had been several decades of imprisonment in the bowels of the earth. He would not allow Ayas to meet that same fate. A man of conviction deserved a better story than that.

    And as the mighty symbol of the Legion's power, the Parhelion itself, loomed menacingly overhead, Jericho steeled himself for the fight he knew was coming. The Legion's soldiers beamed down with all the purpose and self-importance that Jericho remembered. Many things had indeed changed since his day, but the Legion's ego did not seem to be one of them. The soldier's fanned out, picking their targets with well considered strategy. The armies of the Metal Empire were structured and formidable indeed, but the smooth ease with which the Legion did battle was always a sight to behold.

    Jericho found himself confronted by a hulking Rhinomon. The huge armored digimon certainly seemed capable despite being of a lower power level than his peers. That he had considered his opponents and had chosen Jericho to battle was concerning though. Was his age showing so much that this whippersnapper felt confident in taking him on? His pride felt wounded at the thought, but maybe it was time to accept that he really was a fossil.

    "I'd rather not fight an old man." The Rhinomon muttered. He didn't seem to have the same pomp as his peers either. If anything he sounded disappointed. "Do yourself a favor and surrender."

    "I'd rather not fight at all young sir." Jericho offered.

    The Rhinomon snorted in annoyance. "So you're actually going to surrender?"

    Jericho shook his head. "No." He slowly flexed his claws as his rose to his full height. The cannon on his back hummed to life as its energy cells began to charge. Fire rumbled in his belly, sending thin lines of smoke from his maw. "I would rather not fight at all. But I will not go quietly. If you intend to rob me of my freedom, I will teach you a lesson in combat."

    "A Realmless geezer like you has nothing to offer Sunspeaker of the Eternal Legion."

    Jericho fully expected the barrage of titles the Legionaries were so proud of collecting, but the Rhinomon stopped there. "You have no titles to offer me? No accolades to scare me into submission?"

    Sunspeaker pawed the ground embarrassingly. "I'm kind of new here." he offered half-heartedly. "I don't have any medals yet."

    "Well, that is a shame." Jericho sighed. "I'm afraid you won't be getting any today either. For you face Jericho Arcos, former commander of the Metal Empire, Seige-breaker, the Undefeated." It had been many, many years since Jericho had gotten to utter some of his accolades. Maybe his wounded pride deemed it necessary.

    The Rhinomon stared blankly. "Who?"

    Jericho sighed deeply. His pride wasn't just wounded anymore, it was bleeding out in the corner.

    "Anyway," Sunspeaker coughed, "I need to take you in. So..."

    "Right. Come then, and try to take me."

    The stone ground cracked under the Rhinomon's huge feet as he stamped, with all seriousness this time. "Atomic Burst!" The huge armored beast charged at Jericho as his form was wrapped in a glowing barrier of energy. Jericho wasn't fast or nimblr enough to dodge. But if there was one thing the mechanical dinosaur knew it was how to take a hit.

    "Rust Breath!" Jericho opened his jaws wide and unleashed a torrent of searing rust-colored flames. The fire washed harmlessly off the Rhinomon's body, as Jericho knew it would. Even if the flames could pierce the barrier of energy, his rust-inducing flames would never tarnish the golden Chrome Digizoid armor that the Rhinomon was encased in. No, this was a smokescreen to throw off the beast's aim.

    Sunspeaker was upon him now, the energy field glowing wildly as it repelled the flames of his Rust Breath attack. The Rhinomon's horn connected right where Jericho wanted it to. Right into his waiting claws. Jericho was keenly aware that he had a split second to act before the Rhinomon's energy field exploded. No time to waste. Before the Rhinomon could even lose his momentum, Jericho wrenched his horn to the side and slid his foot back. The Rhinomon, too fast for his own good and unable to stop his charge so quickly, continued barreling on right past Jericho.

    Jericho dropped to all fours and leveled his cannon, waiting for the moment to come. Sunspeaker's energy field exploded with a mighty blast of power and energy that scorched the earth in a huge circle around the Legionnaire.

    "Terror's Cluster!"

    The massive blast of electromagnetic energy tore through the air like bolt of thunder as it struck the Rhinomon right in the backside. Again, the soldier was engulfed in an explosion of energy. A cloud of smoke, tinged blue and crackling with arcs of electricity, rose from the Rhinomon's position. For a moment, Jericho was concerned that he may have overdone it and actually killed the poor bastard.

    Finally, Sunpeaker came stumbling out of the cloud. His armor was covered head to toe in arc-welding scars, dust, and debris. "That hurt." he rumbled.

    Jericho shrugged. "I tried to warn you."

    The Rhinomon snorted and stamped his feet again. "I'm going to flatten you old man."

    The RustTyrannomon sighed deeply. The sooner he could get this punk to give up the sooner he could end this farce and help the others. His cannon began to charge again. The next shot would be at full power.

    -+-+-+-

    Aakio Daisoujou (Goldramon)
    - Pravh -


    Aakio Daisoujou stared with equal parts panic and disbelief at the group of Reamless who had marched into the inner sanctum of Pravh. He absolutely could not believe his eyes. His mind was completely fried trying to make sense of the scene he was watching unfold in front of him.

    While he panicked internally, his co-worker Sarika was busy freaking out on the outside. He couldn't blame her. Their employer, the noteworthy Aayaash Animikii himself was currently standing before the Supreme Judge with a group of so-called Realmless. Not only was he not showing her the respect she was due, he was also defending the Realmless. Criminals against the Realmpact. What in the heck was going on? What sort of waking nightmare had he wandered into?

    “Aakio, go home to your family,” Sarika said with worry. Her words snapped Aakio back into the moment. This was bad. This was very bad. His family was the last thing on his mind right now. “You haven’t been in Master Animikii’s employment that long," she continued. "you could still avoid questioning. But if you must know, Master has been quite upset with the Order for a long time. It’s hard to tell with that beak for a face, but trust me I’ve known him for a long time. I probably should stop babbling so you can have plausible deniability.”

    They both stared in slack jawed awe as Ayas literally burned his sash in front of the entire assembly.

    “So, uh, yea, good luck!” Sarika said in rush before bolting away. No doubt she was looking for one of Mr. Animikii’s eldest sons. They certainly needed to know that their honorable father had just declared himself a rebel against the Order.

    Aakio slowly massaged his temples as his entire plan for the next few months disintegrated. He wanted to pick his moment. To find a way to reduce the Order's influence. But so much for that. He knew the Order was a giant exercise in futility. He held no more belief in their claims of honest and fair judgement. But such a public display as this was too much. He wasn't prepared for this.

    And then the Legion soldiers beamed down from their ship to square off with the Realmless and Aakio's panic solidified into a choice. Did he go down there now? Did he claim the Realmless as his allies here and now and join them, as he had refused to do so before? Or did he stand his ground for now. Miss this moment in favor of his original plan.

    The fact that a very familiar looking BelleStarmon was with the Realmless was also not helping anything.

    The Goldramon had a lot of mixed feelings about Versa Victa, and that was putting it mildly. She was as likely to greet him with a smile and a hug as she was to shoot him in the face for leaving her all alone those many moons ago.

    The fights began to break out as he was afraid they would, and despite Mr. Animikii’s presence he couldn't help but watch Versa as she struggled against the Ophanimon. What did he do? He didn't know. His fists were balled so tightly he was afraid he was cutting off the circulation to his fingers. Darn it, what should he do? He was paralyzed.

    But in his chest, a fire was building.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  17. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Ajax Vol (Gallantmon: Crimson Mode) >
    Vs. Arahon (Alphamon)
    ~ Prahv ~


    "I told you," Ajax said, and Goliath could hear the smirk in his voice. "I'm much stronger than you are." Goliath could only growl his displeasure.

    Across the bridge, from amidst the dust and bright-red flames of Ajax's attack, Arahon emerged. He walked briskly, two swords of light in his hands to mirror Ajax's own. His body language betrayed his emotions: he was upset.

    "Now," Ajax said, stepping forward with the same easy grace as the black knight. "Leave this to me." Goliath scoffed somewhere behind him, but this only made Ajax's smirk grow wider and he let out the faintest hint of an audible chuckle, just to ruffle the big cat's fur a little more.

    But as he and Arahon stepped closer to one another the smirk faded and his eyes set grimly forward. He'd been hoping to avoid using this form until at least they were faced with some high-ranking Imperial that needed to be put down. In his mind, that had always been the Emperor, especially once Goliath made his impassioned speech at Setessa. He'd wanted the Crimson Mode hidden until then. Now, however, Rhuell would know about it for certain.

    Arahon had given him little choice in the matter. The Alphamon's power was staggering. Ajax's beam lance was made to pierce through armor and flesh, and he'd struck at full power. Arahon had ripped through the beam and withstood the full power of his attacks like they were nothing. He didn't doubt that the power of the Crimson Mode would allow him to match the Alphamon, but he did worry about his body's ability to maintain that power for long.

    "Let's get this started," Ajax said, more to himself than to anyone else around him. His wings shimmered and lifted him a few inches off the ground. He couldn't help but feel exhilarated at his own weightlessness. With a roar he rocketed forward. Arahon met his charge -- their energy blades clashed as they met in midair, sending a shower of sparks and light cascading over the other fighters below.

    Arahon attempted to break Ajax's guard with a flick of his swords; but Ajax held firm, knocked Arahon's weapons aside, and landed a flying dropkick to the knight's chest. Arahon stumbled back; his eyes flashed green and Ajax swiped through a burst of power and charged forward. They clashed again but the force of their impact sent Arahon whirling backwards gracelessly.

    Arahon caught his balance quickly and sent two beams of curved green light arcing towards Ajax. Ajax smirked -- this was a fight he could win. He swung his weapons outward and sliced through those beams as well. With a roar, Ajax charged, and Arahon barely raised his guard in time. Ajax's furious slash shattered the two hard-light swords in Arahon's hands and the release of energy sent him back even further. Ajax charged again.

    The Alphamon regained his footing and pushed his hands forward. Glowing circles formed in Ajax's path -- hard-light barriers. Ajax thrust with his lance and tore through them, one-by-one, without breaking stride. The energy barriers broke all around him, scattering green, glass-like shards in all directions.

    But Arahon avoided his strike -- he ducked the thrusting spear, wove beneath Ajax's guard, and unleashed a point-blank blast of green energy directly into Ajax's chest. The blast erupted from Arahon's hands like a bomb. It carried Ajax through the air and slammed him into Prahv's city proper. Digimon of all sorts were sent screaming for cover as Arahon dropped from the sky and collided with Ajax.

    Glass windows exploded along every street and alley in a half-kilometer radius all around them. Marble foundations cracked through the streets. Ajax pushed hard against Arahon's weapon but found them deadlocked. The more he pushed, the more entrenched they became, the more energy built between them and crackled out into the surrounding streets. The stone beneath their feet grew red-hot.

    Ajax and Arahon disengaged and leapt back in the same instant, both recognizing the effect their clash was having on the innocents of Prahv.

    "You fight well," Arahon acknowledged calmly, though neither lowered their weapons.

    "Is this you surrendering?" Ajax half-laughed, positioning himself for a cleaner strike. Arahon raised the angle of his blade slightly and Ajax snarled to himself.

    "It's a shame you're fighting against us," Arahon admitted, and Ajax almost thought he heard sadness in his voice. "You fight as well as any knight I've ever met. You could do great things in the Legion."

    "I'm a dragon," Ajax snarled angrily. Who the hell did this knight think he was? "I don't need your Legion and I don't need your Realms. The Firemind is more than all of that."

    "Very well," Arahon said curtly. He lowered his sword. "I think we're done here."

    Ajax sprang forward with a roar. They clashed again, over and over, fighting through the skies over Prahv. Ajax struck hard and drove him through a series of massive marble spires, though he failed to break the Alphamon's guard. They clashed again in a flurry of blows and Ajax found himself receiving more than he threw out. A flash of green struck him full-on in the chest and sent him flying through the air, where another flash struck him from overhead and drove him into the ground.

    Flashes erupted all around him and he felt himself battered and thrown through the air, knocked back and forth, head-over-heels. He felt Arahon grab him by his ankle and smash him through a nearby pillar. Ajax landed a desperate kick to Arahon's jaw that seemed to barely stun the knight.

    They clashed again, zipping through the streets of Prahv, weaving between buildings and stunned onlookers. Arahon landed a blow to Ajax's gut that knocked the air from his lungs, and another punch hurled him to the ground.

    Ajax snarled behind his crimson helm and felt the fury of the Firemind rising up within him. His hands crackled with that shimmering red light and he charged Arahon. Arahon's eyes flashed green. Ajax slashed through the flickering light, but then suddenly found himself lying flat on his back, his armor reverberating wildly with the force of Arahon's attack.

    He hadn't even seen it coming. He whirled back to his feet only to once again experience a flash of green and receive the full brunt of Arahon's attack. He felt it drill into his stomach, hit him twice in the chest, and then smash him across the jaw. He was sent crashing through four different buildings and landed in a heap in a fountain square.

    He rose to his feet, shaking the ringing from his ears. What the hell was that? He hadn't even seen Arahon move! The Alphamon appeared in the sky over the square and Ajax took off to meet him. Once more Arahon's eyes flashed. Ajax felt his weapons knocked from his hands, and despite raising his guard in an instant, he took the full brunt of the attack, that seemed to be a dozen blasts all at once from every direction.

    The blasts threw him back. He caught himself on a domed rooftop, but was struck by another volley and driven high into the air, where the waiting Arahon extended a hand and caught him by the throat. Ajax threw a wild punch at the black knight's face, but a green flash parried his blow, cracked him across the jaw, and knocked him down into the chasm below Prahv.

    Ajax felt something grab him by his collar and his descent slowed. He turned his head and found Goliath, digging his claws into the cliff face to stop their fall.

    "You alright?" the lion asked, as Ajax took wing again.

    "What the hell is he hitting me with?" Ajax asked angrily. He shook his head, hoping to clear the ringing from his ears but nothing seemed to help.

    "I can't tell," Goliath admitted. "I don't see him anywhere near you. Just a flash and then you're ass falling all over the place."

    "Helpful," Ajax growled, breathing heavily.

    "Your armor is steaming," Goliath said warily.

    "I'm aware," Ajax growled. This wasn't good. He was nearing his limit -- he'd called up the Crimson Mode on maybe two other occasions after obtaining it. And he'd only ever used it in brief bursts for overwhelming victory. He was burning through the power faster than his body could withstand it. If he didn't finish the fight before then...

    "What the hell kind of power is this? Where'd you get it?" Goliath asked, scrambling up the cliff face beside Ajax as the both ascended.

    "It's a long story, and we don't have time," Ajax muttered, slowing to a stop once they reached Prahv above. Goliath vaulted over the side of the cliff and landed beside him. "If I can just hit him…"

    "Then let's get to it," Goliath smirked. He winced slightly and Ajax noticed the wound in his gut was still trickling blood. But he looked otherwise strong enough to continue the fight. "Try not to get too close to him and he can't get you."

    Ajax wasn't sure that was correct, but nodded all the same. He readied himself and shot forward only to find Goliath clinging to his back. With a roar, Goliath leaped from him, his fist glowing with power. Ajax followed suit, conjuring up his hard-light lance and pouring his energy into it.

    Arahon raised a hand, a faint green glow around it. He slowly clenched his fist.

    "Flash Bancho Punch!"

    "Crimson Light!"

    Their voices rang out though the clear sky. But before their attacks could launch, they were floored by a barrage of green that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. It splintered their attacks in their hands and knocked them from the sky in a flash of green. He and Goliath landed in two heaps on the bridge beside all the other fighters. Ajax fought to one knee, but Goliath remained still and unconscious beside the dueling figures of Titus and the Gallantmon.

    Arahon descended from the sky, looking none the worse for wear. Sweat ran down Ajax's brow and hissed to steam against the heat of his armor.

    "You fought well, Ajax," Arahon said again. "But it's over."

    "Hell it is!" Ajax snarled. He shot forward only to find himself flattened again by a cascade of green flashes.

    "I don't enjoy this," Arahon sad softly. His hands remained by his sides, but he never lowered his guard.

    "Then leave," Ajax said. He coughed, and his spit sizzled against the inside of his armor.

    "If only it were that simple," Arahon said. He gazed pitifully at Ajax as more steam wafted from the crimson armor. "I came to put an end to your violence because I knew I had the best chance at stopping you all without adding to it."

    "Stop this!" Ajax snarled. He hurled a crimson bolt of power from his hands into Arahon. But another rush of flashing green light shred through his attack and barraged Ajax, knocking him to his back once again.

    "Are you finished?" Arahon demanded, anger rising in his voice.

    "Just getting started!" Ajax shot back. But he was floored once more by Arahon's power.

    His armor was smoking now, and radiating heat.

    "You're killing yourself," Arahon said, calm returning to his voice once again. "You cannot maintain the strain of this form."

    "I can maintain it long enough to stop you," Ajax snarled.

    "You're infuriating," Arahon bellowed, striding forward. "I've been restraining myself with you and your comrades. I could end this whole charade in the blink of an eye. But I keep hoping you'll see reason."

    "I don't care about your reason," Ajax snapped. He charged forward again, and again he was throttled by a barrage of instant attacks and knocked to his knees.

    "You don't understand the power that you're attempting to wield, and it will kill you," Arahon said, glaring at Ajax and his armor that was glowing red-hot. He raised a hand and it lit with a faint glow. "But understand. If I wanted I could end all of this."

    His fist flashed. Ajax felt the energy whirl into the space around him; each of the other Realmless on the bridge let out a cry as a barrage of energy struck them and knocked them off their feet. Ajax growled under his breath. Just how much power did this idiot have?

    "I don't care how many people you knock down," Ajax snarled. Light flashed and threw him back, but he clawed his way to his feet. "I don't care how many times you hit me." Light flashed again, though this time he caught himself before hitting the ground. His armor seared red-hot against his skin. The air around him shimmered with heat and smoke. "Because I have something more powerful than what you can possibly understand!"

    Another burst of light flashed through the air. Ajax felt the barrage pelt against his armor, but the force of the attacks faltered and broke apart as they passed through the shimmering heat around him. Across from him, Arahon's eyes widened in shock. Another cascade fractured just as uselessly against him.

    "I have my rage!"

    Ajax roared and charged forward, burning red-hot. Arahon raised both hands and let loose a stream of seemingly-infinite green bursts, but they all failed against Ajax's overwhelming fury. He broke through Arahon's attacks and landed a crushing punch to the knight's jaw.

    Arahon went flying backwards and slammed into Sunspeaker. The Rhinomon was knocked away mid-charge and the two Legion soldiers tumbled over one another, skidding to a stop. Arahon scrambled quickly to his feet and checked on his comrade, before turning back to Ajax with a frown.

    "I know this power," Ajax heard him mutter. "Digital Hazard. I've seen this before." He stood up tall and his body lit with that brilliant green energy. "Ajax!" he called out. "Stop this now before you go too far! Stop this or I will."

    "Shut up!" Ajax roared. He charged and Arahon met him with a roar of his own. They clashed in the air above the bridge. Fist met fist, and an energy shockwave -- flickering brilliantly green and savagely red -- erupted from their collision. It spilled out over all the other combatants and exploded into the skies over Prahv...

    \==\=/==/

    < Surrak Dragonclaw (WarGreymon X) & Jaeger Rhimewind (MetalGarurumon X) >
    Vs. Razia (Omnimon Alter-S)
    ~ Prahv ~
    Minutes ago...


    Surrak charged her with a roar -- that was both of them now that she'd hit through the bridge -- but Razia spun around and grabbed him by the throat, snagging him out of the air in mid-charge. He struggled for a moment against her vice-like grip as darkness crept over his vision.

    "Terra Force ZERO!" he roared in desperation. He struck hard, exploding all the power of his massive Terra Force attack from point-blank range. Razia released her grip and was hurled through the air into the canyon, though she righted herself quickly and drew her sword once more.

    Surrak took a steadying breath, glancing down into the canyon for any sight of Jaeger but didn't find him. With a shout and a roar, Surrak turned back to the Omnimon and charged. The energy of Terra Force ZERO built in his claws. But Razia met his charge with a cry of "Supreme Sword!"

    Power erupted from between them. Blinding and fiery. Surrak felt the Dramon Destroyers shatter and crumble on his arms before he saw them ruined, but that didn't fully ward of the shock from seeing Chrome Digizoid claws destroyed by a single clash of attacks. And, of course, he snarled to himself, Razia's blade was barely scuffed.

    Razia charged him, sensing vulnerability. Surrak raised his guard, though he knew it would do him little good. If her sword could shatter the Dramon Destroyers and the Brave Shield his bare hands wouldn't offer much resistance.

    But Razia's arm and torso was suddenly engulfed in a stream of frozen breath. She shattered it with a grunt of exertion, but was slowed enough for Jaeger to land a spinning kick to her jaw and for Surrak to break away. She caught herself in mid-flight, spun around, and blasted Jaeger into the cliff face with a bolt from her cannon.

    Surrak rushed her, and threw a wild haymaker that cracked across her helm but left her otherwise unmoved. Razia countered with a swing of her sword, but Surrak grabbed the wolf-shaped head of her gauntlet and held it back.

    It took all of his considerable strength. And Razia pushed on, driving Surrak back and ramming him into the cliff face. The impact jarred him and forced her blade closer to his throat, but he kept his hold and his composure. Razia raised her left arm to bring her cannon around, but another burst of frozen air encased her arm in ice before she could bring it to bear on Surrak.

    Surrak hit her with a headbutt, trying to break free, but it barely moved her. The silver-clad knight let out a howl of fury and the rock-solid composure she'd held throughout their fight shattered with a roar. She struck with a headbutt of her own and sent Surrak crashing through the rock face of the cliff.

    She spun around and charged Jaeger. He let loose with what remained of his artillery but, backed by her driving anger, it didn't even slow her down. She slashed the Supreme Sword across his chest and Jaeger let out a howl of pain. Before the cry had even left his throat however, she brought her cannon to bear and powered up a point-blank beam.

    But Surrak struck once more and tackled her through the air. Her shot went wide, clipping Jaeger's shoulder and sending him spiraling down to the rocky canyon floor below. Razia backhanded Surrak with a snarl, sending him spinning. She thrust with her sword, but Surrak palmed her arm away and shoulder-checked her with his entire weight.

    She barely moved.

    But it gave Surrak enough time and room to pool a full-power Terra Force between his hands. Fire billowed wildly from between his palms, illuminating the canyon a violent shade of red. With a howl, he hurled it at her, smirking as the sphere of power expanded to full size -- nearly the entire width of the canyon. There was nowhere for her to run.

    Except she didn't need to. Razia extended her blade and with what appeared to be a casual swing, she sliced up and through his attack, splitting it in two and dissipating its energy.

    Surrak, despite his awe, managed to contain his shock and let his battle sense take-over. He charged her at full speed, shifting seamlessly into his VictoryGreymon form with a shout and clashing sword-on-sword with Razia. Sparks flew from their collision, but despite throwing all his weight into his charge, Razia held him off with the strength in one arm.

    She swung hard and Surrak's block took every ounce of his combat prowess. The sheer force of the strike hurled him back, with Razia following on his heels. He dodged a downward slash but Razia backhanded him with her canon. He felt his teeth loosen and the roof of his mouth split.

    Razia spun around and leveled her cannon at Surrak's chest. She let her power fly with a howl, but Surrak, pulling on all his years of fighting and training, maneuvered his Dramon Breaker into place between them.

    "Victory Charge!" he shouted. The plasma beam reflected off the flat of his sword and spiraled into the air where it struck a protruding tower and showered the streets below in fiery debris.

    Razia charged him again, clashing her sword against the Dramon Breaker with enough force to kick up a shockwave and knock Surrak through the air and down to the canyon floor near Jaeger.

    "You fought well, Realmless," Razia acknowledged, speaking for the first time since declaring her titles and ranks. She brought the BlitzGreymon cannon to bear. "But that was never going to be enough. Not against me. Transcendent Cannon!"

    A moment of charging, and then a crackling beam of red-hot plasma erupted from the mouth of her cannon and screamed down towards Surrak and Jaeger. Surrak dug his claws into the jagged stone. He swung his wing-protrusions around and formed them into a shield, then wedged the Dramon Breaker behind it as Razia's beam struck. The force of the impact jarred him to the bone but he held strong as his Victory Shield struggled to stave off the beam.

    Razia poured more power into her blast and it pushed Surrak back beside Jaeger. But he dug in and continued to hold. The beam fractured on his shield, scattering through the canyon and carving wild grooves along the canyon wall, but Razia continued. The beam grew more powerful, and the Victory Shield glowed white-hot.

    "If you have any more brilliant plans, now would be the time," Surrak growled through clenched teeth. He glanced at Jaeger from the corner of his eye.

    "It was your brilliant idea to fight her," Jaeger shot back. Sparks cascaded from a deep slash across his chest and his weapons were all but destroyed, but Surrak could see the flashes of blue and red across his eyes that signaled his biomechanical computers were processing information. "Adjust your sword's angle upward."

    Surrak did.

    "More," Jaeger instructed. He struggled to one knee but could go no further. "Until I tell you to stop." Surrak did.

    "Better tell me what's next," he said, glancing at his shield. The edges were already fraying and dissolving inward. "Or we're dead."

    "Stop there!" Jaeger said quickly, freezing Surrak in his tracks. He crawled over in a half-limp then said, in a low whisper, "When I tell you, drop the shield and hit a 'Victory Charge.' You'll send the beam right back at her."

    "I tried that already. I don't have the strength left for it. Not sure I ever did," Surrak spat angrily. "It I try that now her beam's gonna hit my sword and splatter me all over these cliffs."

    "Trust me," Jaeger growled low. He hauled himself to his feet and braced himself against the Dramon Breaker. Surrak huffed, but nodded all the same. "Now!"

    At Jaeger's signal, Surrak dropped the Victory Shield and let loose a bellowing roar. A shimmering orange field appeared over the Dramon Breaker as Razia's beam slammed into it. Jaeger and Surrak were blistered by the heat and shaken by its force, but they held strong; and Surrak's Victory Charge hurled the plasma beam back right into Razia's chest.

    She let out a shriek of pain as the blast struck her and carried her up towards Prahv once more. Surrak exploded after her, swinging the Dramon Breaker forcefully. Razia managed to block the strike but her pained and fatigued limbs lacked the stabilizing strength she'd had mere moments before, and Surrak's following onslaught forced her further upwards.

    Surrak swung again when they reached the skies above the city, but she caught his blade in the mouth of her BlitzGreymon arm. She let out a fierce cry and her sword's blade flashed. But before she could skewer Surrak he opened his palm towards her face and let out a roar of his own.

    "Trident Gaia!" Fire filled her vision, ripped a scream from her throat, and cast her from the sky to the massive bridge below. Her impact scattered the other fighters. It sent Brago and Emmara diving for cover and nearly knocked Jericho off his feet.

    With one last breath and a final roar, Surrak hurled himself down after her. He sent every ounce of strength he had left into the Dramon Breaker. It glowed with golden flames, brighter than the clear sun overhead. He landed hard on the bridge, sending chipped stone into the air from his forceful landing. As Razia scrambled to her feet, he charged.

    They collided -- not like bulls or trains or anything made by mortal hands, but like planets slamming into one another. There was an overwhelming flash of fire and light as their blades clashed. Surrak's breath was kicked from his lungs. The other fighters were knocked off their feet. Stone cracked beneath them. The thickly-masoned railings of the bridge splintered.

    But so did the Dramon Breaker's blade -- Razia's own empowered sword shattered it like glass. Her weapon, though dented, nicked, and chipped, remained lethally intact.

    Time slowed to a crawl for Surrak as he and Razia stared at one another amidst the dimming conflagration. His hands gripped the hilt and crossguard as he watched the splintered shards of his blade clatter to the ground around him. Razia was beginning to pivot back towards him with her sword poised for a fatal stroke. Her eyes flashed in the firelight, full of killing fury.

    Then!

    A flash! Over her right shoulder, around her five-o'clock. And a howl.

    "Z'd Cannon!"

    Surrak felt the air tremble as Jaeger's attack roared through the sky. It was like a meteor drilling towards them. All with Jaeger's perfect cybernetic aim. It'd hit the Omnimon, shower Surrak with fire, but leave him otherwise unharmed as it carried her down into the canyon below.

    Except...Razia had also heard and felt Jaeger's attack in those painfully stretched-out milliseconds. And instead of pivoting she began to follow through with the slash that had shattered his sword, shifting on her right foot to face towards Jaeger while raising her cannon in the same smooth motion.

    Red-hot plasma built in the cannon's maw. Jaeger's blast passed harmlessly over her, a hair's breadth from her shoulder and past Surrak. Or...it would have…

    But Surrak leaped into the sphere's path with a shout.

    "Victory Charge!" Surrak slammed his open palms into Jaeger's attack, and through sheer force of will, he took control of its momentum and drilled it into Razia's exposed chest.

    She made no sound as the crackling sphere bore into her. It crumpled her armored chestplate like tinfoil. To her credit, she held firm long enough for her eyes to widen in surprise. Then the overwhelming power of Jaeger's blast hurled her off her feet and ripped her through the air like a ragdoll.

    It carried her into the open air above the canyon, and just as it seemed the Z'd Cannon blast was about to detonate, a brilliant light exploded above her. Ajax and Arahon clashing at full power sent an energy shockwave -- brilliantly green and savagely red -- erupting from their collision and spilling out over all the other combatants. And Razia -- directly beneath them -- bore the full brunt of the cascade. It snapped her out of her flight path and drove her violently down to the canyon floor, where the Z'd Cannon finally exploded, sending fire and molten rock erupting up through the cliffs and into the sky.
     

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