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Digimon: Unholy Crusade


The Reforged Soul
Andrea Mercer
6th Locomon Traincar

"So you missed it all," Hoshiko murmured. "Things have become quite a mess, I'm afraid." She forced a smile. "Everything happened so fast with the guild that there wasn't time to get in touch with our other branches or anyone else. I lost track of you and everyone who wasn't with me while we marched. Even now there are people who haven't been accounted for."

"This train is going to Axis Mundi," Okatsu said. "The Royal Knights and their followers don't dare attack it with the Council there, and the Council are against the Knights, so it's a safe haven for the time being. We have a camp there to house those fleeing persecution."

“Hoshiko,” Andrea interjected, hoping to give the guild leader some assurance, “Sal’s moved Frontier Rescue operations to Axis Mundi. If we get word to her, I know she’ll send teams to look anyone you got separated from between Ama and the Capital.”

"I know we don't know one another that well, Andrea, but I am truly glad to see you safe. I worry about all the people who got lost when this madness started. It's good to know that you aren't..." She let the sentence trail off. "When we get back to Axis Mundi, if you need a place to stay, I can sort something out for you. I know it must be a shock to come back to Saga and find it like this when it's been welcoming for so long."

Andrea nodded with silent thanks, appreciative of Hoshiko’s offer. She might take the guild leader up on it, if Sal didn’t have enough lodging space set up yet for her teams. She and Deneb weren’t too picky about where they slept. Also she might be able to give Hoshiko a hand in helping with her own people. “A place to crash would be nice, Deneb and I don’t need much.” Andrea patted her backpack indicating she carried most everything she needed with her already.

She quietly considered her next words about how she felt about the situation, not something she usually shared, “I can’t say I’ve have a chance to really absorbed the situation. The last several months have been one emergency after another, dealing with wildfires and rescuing people lost or trap. I’m still in that mindset to be ready and keeping moving till the worst is over.”

Okatsu rested a paw on her partner's hand for a brief moment. "I apologise, I know that this is a lot to take in, Andrea, but what do you think you will do?"

The tomboy glanced over to Okatsu and said without hesitation and full confidence, “to help out in whatever capacity we are needed for, Okatsu. It's that simple. The Knights are forcing Tamers and their partners out into the open and endangering their lives. Saving lives is what we do, no matter the situation.”

And then with more emotion than she usually expressed, Andrea met Hoshiko's gaze with a determined look, “and I sure as hell am not letting them take Deneb from me.”


Knight of RPGs
Hoshiko Yukimura & Okatsu Sekishusai
6th Locomon Traincar

“Hoshiko,” Andrea interjected, hoping to give the guild leader some assurance, “Sal’s moved Frontier Rescue operations to Axis Mundi. If we get word to her, I know she’ll send teams to look anyone you got separated from between Ama and the Capital.”
Hoshiko took this in. She hadn't heard about that. Too caught up in making sure the Tamers' needs were provided for and that the Council were urged to do something, she supposed. She hadn't had the time to focus on much of anything else.

She nodded. "I would appreciate that. I keep hoping that they'll show up, but only a few have." She paused.

"The world is a large place, and much of it either already mistrusted humans or fell into line behind the Royal Knights," Okatsu said. "Many of our friends and colleagues will be trapped behind enemy lines, as it were. Unable to safely travel to Axis Mundi or any other haven on the face of Saga, if they have not been banished back to Analog already."

Hoshiko gave a slow nod. She had thought those same thoughts as she had worked, no matter how she tried to keep them away in the knowledge that she couldn't do anything about it. Even James and his group hadn't strayed far from Axis Mundi on rescue missions, the world had seemed too dangerous for that. Even someone as reckless as him hadn't dared to try and reach out further.

Andrea nodded with silent thanks, appreciative of Hoshiko’s offer. She might take the guild leader up on it, if Sal didn’t have enough lodging space set up yet for her teams. She and Deneb weren’t too picky about where they slept. Also she might be able to give Hoshiko a hand in helping with her own people. “A place to crash would be nice, Deneb and I don’t need much.” Andrea patted her backpack indicating she carried most everything she needed with her already.

She quietly considered her next words about how she felt about the situation, not something she usually shared, “I can’t say I’ve have a chance to really absorbed the situation. The last several months have been one emergency after another, dealing with wildfires and rescuing people lost or trap. I’m still in that mindset to be ready and keeping moving till the worst is over.”
"We'll make arrangements once we're back," Hoshiko nodded. She looked around the train. "For all of them as well." She was regarding the other Tamers, all of whom seemed so much younger than her and Andrea. So much more innocent. Some of them were probably her age, though it did seem at times like Digivices favoured children for some odd reason.

"I do not imagine you thought you would be returning to a crisis like this," Okatsu said to Andrea. "But with that frame of mind, I feel that you are more prepared than most to face it." That was true, Hoshiko reflected. She had never been prepared for this. She never would have been. Saga had been so welcoming where Analog had become cold to her. She remembered being just a girl freezing in the night, snow drifting down, her tears feeling like ice on her cheeks. The TV screen lighting up with those words. Her desperate cry of acceptance and her pleading to be saved.

The Digimon who had found her had seemed strange and frightening at first, so much so that she didn't wonder how she understood them or many other things until much later. But they had shown her compassion and care, taken her into their homes and looked after her despite knowing nothing about her except that she was lost and distraught. So Saga had seemed for the most part all the time she had been there, even with its dangers. But now the Royal Knights had unleashed the darkness boiling away beneath the surface and it felt like most of the world wanted her back in that freezing night. She wondered how many Tamers truly understood that situation and truly felt that they had nowhere else if they were exiled from Saga. Did James know or was he just here for the thrill of exploring this wondrous world? She didn't often think about it, wanting as few reminders of that night as possible, but recent events had brought her memories of the cold back to the surface of her mind.

The tomboy glanced over to Okatsu and said without hesitation and full confidence, “to help out in whatever capacity we are needed for, Okatsu. It's that simple. The Knights are forcing Tamers and their partners out into the open and endangering their lives. Saving lives is what we do, no matter the situation.”

And then with more emotion than she usually expressed, Andrea met Hoshiko's gaze with a determined look, “and I sure as hell am not letting them take Deneb from me.”
Hoshiko looked Andrea in the eye and let her lips find a smile. "And I am the same with Okatsu."

"They would have to cut me down," Okatsu replied softly. "I could never abandon you while I still lived and breathed."

Hoshiko let her fingers brush her partner's fur, feeling comforted by Okatsu's presence and the warm devotion she represented. "Though it isn't what I know well, I chose to fight," she murmured. "There are other Tamers with us who chose the same. People who couldn't bear to be forced out of this world, who couldn't accept what the Royal Knights are doing." As if on cue, she saw James and Artanis coming down the train, picking their way past Tamers. She saw him stop as a little boy said something. Her fellow Guardian smiled as he knelt down and put a hand on the boy's shoulder. Even if it wasn't directed at her, his smile was always reassuring. Even from that first meeting, his smile had been a constant part of him, like a beacon that said 'it's going to be okay'. But even that and the work she had thrown herself into since reaching Axis Mundi couldn't fully dispel her fears.

"We have to fight for their sake," she continued, looking at the boy more than at James. "There are so many Tamers who can't fight like we can. They need our help." If there was one thing she knew too well, it was helplessness. She had felt it so deeply that it had been like drowning. When she had been freezing on that cold dark night, she had been helpless. When she had been marching to Axis Mundi, deep down, she had felt it deep down. She didn't want these young Tamers to feel the same despair that she had. The despair that she still felt keenly when she couldn't bury it with determination or anger or something that wasn't so deathly cold.


God of Monsters
< Michael Ha'Yisrael (MagnaAngemon) >
- Locomon Transport: 1st Car -

Michael had gathered the Guardians and the Peacemaker squad towards the front of their train. He had the rescued Tamers and their partners leave the front car and make their way towards the back so they could have enough space to plan their next moves. All but a human named Andrea and her Hawkmon partner complied; she seemed adamant about joining them in their fight. And because Michael was nothing if not pragmatic, he was prepared to allow it - her history with Hoshiko and their comfort with one another was enough to impress upon him that she was - at the very least - somewhat capable of holding her own.

"I sent word to the junction," their Locomon transport shouted over the clang of pistons and gears. "You'll have another car ready to take you the rest of the way to Glen Elendra: fully rested. His name is Ghan - he's a GrandLocomon, and the fastest rail-runner I've ever met."

"Good," Michael mused. "We'll need speed if we're going to get there in time to make any difference." He was already beginning to doubt it. Even though they were minutes from the junction they were still leaving the continued battle at Glen Elendra entirely up to the already-strained efforts of the so-called Peacemakers. Even if this 'Ghan' could cut their ride's time in half, that still left too long for Michael to comfortably rely on another group already struggling with the fight.

He'd considered asking Tessa to teleport them once again, but recognized the incredible strain it had put on her the first time - she was already weakened and exhausted, and he needed her as clear-headed as they could manage during the battle in case things went terribly sideways.

"We'll accompany the Tamers to Axis Mundi," Lucia offered, gathering her squad beside her. There was a smattering of protest from Radha and Rhys. "Someone needs to be able to protect them if the train is attacked. It's unlikely, but I'm not willing to take that chance." It was enough to draw a begrudging silence from her squad. She turned back to Michael and the Guardians. "I can't heal your wounds or injuries. But I can restore some of your strength so you can meet the next challenge." She raised her staff and struck the end of it against the floor. A wash of light pulsed along it and flowed outwards.

Michael felt his body react - he was still stiff and sore from his battle with Sir Guinier, but it was just that, a stiffness. He could fight; his strength was returning with each breath enough to continue the battle at hand.


< Thor Odinson (Imperialdramon: Fighter Mode) >
- GrandLocomon Transport: 1st Car -

Their transport was a single car attached to the GrandLocomon named Ghan; it meant he'd have less to pull and they'd be able to get to Glen Elendra faster. Lucia of the Peacemakers had done a remarkable job returning the Guardians to some manner of fighting strength, but Thor still felt ragged and worn.

It was an odd feeling - his body was strong - sore, but strong - and he felt the strength in his limbs had returned. But everything else felt…frayed. His body moved a half-heartbeat slower than he wanted, and everything felt covered in an intense haze. He couldn't focus on the world around him. He could feel the transport moving, he could hear the other Guardians speaking, planning their attack. But everything felt swallowed-up and drowned out by the heady thrumming that came from everywhere all at once.

He was unraveling, being pulled into the spaces between worlds where the White Sword resided in its disuse. He no longer had the strength and clarity of will to remain separate from the blade, and was being pulled towards in.

Thor swallowed hard and grit his teeth, fighting against every fiber of his being to remain rooted in that spot on the train; to let his edges knit back together and hold, ever so precariously, to the very concept of existing in the material world. He didn't know how much time passed, but he fought the thrumming and the roar of the White Sword's call.

"If you can't agree on a strategy just fall in line and do what I tell you," Svarog's voice cut through the haze like a burning knife and snapped Thor's focus back into the here-and-now. The sun god glared out at the rest of the Guardians. "The lot of you, arguing about stealth or tactics; you're just going to get us all killed. There's no tactics now," he pointed towards the front of the train, to the city that was now visible. Smoke filled the clear blue sky. "Their city burns. The time for subtlety has long since passed."

"Not all of them can just fly in blind and furious," Michael said, his voice barely above a growl. It was the most frustrated Thor had ever seen the archangel. "Not even you can face all the Royal Knights on your own with that reckless attitude."

"Well I don't need to face them all now, do I?" Svarog challenged. He didn't even try to hide his snarl. "Just one. And there are only five knights reported, so if you can't hold up your end against four Royal Knights I'd say reconsider your place here."

"Those mere five Royal Knights are no paltry foes, we all know this," Michael said, remaining surprisingly even-keeled. "Even with Stein you were unable to overcome Dagonet in Kaladesh, you-"

"Had to fight with that bolts-for-brains in my way," Svarog roared.

"We know Gawain, Caradoc, Gareth, Lamorak, and Tristan are present, according to Commander Stormheart's report," Michael said, looking past Svarog and to the rest of the group. Svarog may choose to fly in wild, but the rest of us need to have a plan and make sure the humans are protected."

Thor caught Samael rolling his eyes.

"I'll handle Lamorak," Thor said. Anything to pull his focus away from that Odin-damned thrumming. "He's young and eager, but he's strong and a powerful swordsman."

"Which is the one with the jacket and the sandals? Gareth?" Svarog asked. Thor nodded. "Then he's mine. He owes me an uninterrupted fight."

"Samael, I want you to find Gawain and keep him from coordinating the Royal Knights' forces," Michael said. He turned to the fallen angel. "If Gawain is allowed to organize--"

"Yeah, yeah, I got it," Samael waved Michael off. "Get the knight with the staby-staby or things are bad. Whatever."

Thor wondered if Samael was always this abrasive or if he was making a show of it for the group. Either way, he wasn't endearing or comforting.

"Theo, Okatsu; I want you with him," Michael turned to the two Digimon in question. Samael began to object, because of course he would, Thor almost-growled. "I want Gawain questioning every move he makes. You two are to support Samael. If he's injured step in and hold Gawain off until Samael can recover."

"I can handle this damn fine by myself," Samael snarled. "I don't need their protection"

"No, but you also won't protect them either, will you?" Michael asked rhetorically. "So I have a choice: either you support them or they support you. Our best chance at victory comes from keeping Gawain off the board. And our best chance at that is by allowing you to do what you do best. And you can't do that if he starts analyzing your fighting style and checking you instead. Any questions?"

"Well I-"

"Too bad," Michael all-but snapped at the fallen angel. He continued. "Stein, I want you against Caradoc. He's ferociously strong and I think you're our best bet to contain him. Henry, I want you to support him." He waited for the nods. "Aria and Artanis, I want you with me against Tristan.

"Deneb and Tessa - to be honest I'm still not sure what your combat capabilities are," Michael admitted quietly. "I need the two of you to judge for yourselves where you'll be most effective."

Finally Michael turned towards the humans: James, Hoshiko, and Andrea. Thor watched quietly, wondering just how the archangel would factor them into his plans. This wasn't like Kaladesh where there was an evacuation plan, where the humans could set down and take shelter. This was already madness.

"Stay away from the fighting," Michael ordered, in a tone Thor recognized all too well meant there was no room for discussion (though whether the three Tamers would choose to heed that tone was another matter altogether). "Find whatever other tamers and humans you can and help them avoid the fighting as well. We don't have an extraction planned, and we have no way to get them out if things lose control."

It all made sense - too much so. It was too clinical, too antiseptic. If any one variable changed then Michael's plan was thrown into disarray and you would have twelve Digimon stumbling over one another looking for someone else to fight or run from.

Still, Thor didn't have time to muse over the specifics of Michael's plan; he'd turned down leadership in favor of the chance to focus on his personal struggles. He could still feel the howl of the White Sword from the spaces between moments. It still pulled at every fiber of his being.


The Reforged Soul
Andrea Mercer
Locomon Transport 6th Traincar

"Though it isn't what I know well, I chose to fight," she murmured. "There are other Tamers with us who chose the same. People who couldn't bear to be forced out of this world, who couldn't accept what the Royal Knights are doing." As if on cue, she saw James and Artanis coming down the train, picking their way past Tamers.

Andrea caught Hoshiko's line of sight of a young man about her age and his Agumon partner. She recognized him from when he helped her, Deneb, and Tessa with Theo a short time ago.

"We have to fight for their sake," she continued, looking at the boy more than at James. "There are so many Tamers who can't fight like we can. They need our help."*

The young woman nodded in agreement; her mind made up. To risk one's life so that others may live. The principle and level of responsibility impressed upon her at a very young age by her father, carried Andrea through the challenges and dangers she faced daily. In part to honor his memory and sacrifice, the 19-year-old tamer chose to follow in his footsteps.

Andrea gently caressed the worn dog tags around her neck with one hand, “Count Deneb and myself in, Hoshiko. We can help with the task of rescuing humans and digimon to free up the others on your team to focus more on the Knights. And if need be, we'll fight as well.”

She glanced back at the young man and his partner. “Excuse me, for a minute, Hoshiko.”

Stepping past the older woman, Andrea approached the young man with deliberate steps to gain his attentions. With some hesitation at how to start, she simply held out her hand and threw out her name, “I'm Andrea and I, ah, wanted to thank you. For your help with Theo earlier, that is.”

She recalled him and his partner helping in making the stricken greymon more comfortable earlier. However, she'd been to preoccupied at the time to say anything to the pair.

Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)
Locomon Transport - 3rd Traincar

"Wise One can speak languages that can't be spoken?"*Stein chuckled to himself.*"Wise One is even more clever than Stein thought."*

The little mage scratched the back of her hood with an unseen blush and giggled. “Not quite like that, Stein, but when a language hasn't been spoken for centuries it does get interesting to determine how words were once pronounced.”

"But it is nice to know that not even Wise One understands everything."

*"Stein doesn't understand most digimon either. Sometimes I don't understand myself. But sometimes Stein thinks its better to be confused because then you get to learn more things."*He nodded to himself once. Then twice. Then, after a pause, a third time.*"If you knew everything though, you could tell the Royal Knights what they needed to hear to fix their broken thoughts."

“By Eden, I would hope not! Life would bloody boring if I did.” Tessa popped up from her spot on the floor. The wisemon forgot her earlier exhaustion as her excitement built, “The journey of discovery...” Tessa paused, “...is the growth of new knowledge and experiencing it for yourself firsthand and...”

“...and even if you think you know everything about something...sometimes you have to throw that out the window in light of a new truth.” Tessa's hands shook with brimming energy. The words her father once shared echoed in her mind from the days leading up to his passing.

"Is the air good?"

Not missing a beat, Tessa licked a finger and held it in the air. “Stuffy, high moisture content, the moisture on my finger isn't evaporating, so there is no draft to circulate the air.” Tessa glanced about at the grimy condition of the windows and interior surfaces. “Likely a certain percentage of fine dust particles in the air as well, given the sooty ash and dirt from explosions back in Kaladesh.”

“So, no the air quality is not good, Stein. Let's open a few windows, but not too many.” Tessa affirmed after she assessed the air quality in the train car.

Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)
GrandLocomon Transport: 1st Car

“Deneb and Tessa – to be honest I'm still not sure what your combat capabilities are,” Micheal admitted quietly. “I need the two of you to judge for yourselves where you'll be most effective.”

The young mage tilted her head in thought. Her gaze drifted towards the Odinson. Tessa couldn't help her curiosity in regards to the thunder god, she came by it honestly. Ever since their first meeting at Axis Mundi, the young wisemon wished to understand him better from a scholar's stand point. The words he'd spoken had confused her at the time (granted she hadn't realized it was him at the time).

Plus, in a quieter part of her busy mind, she was somewhat concerned for the thunder god. She hadn't seem much of him since the retreat from Kaladesh, but when the Guardians had gathered on the GrandLocomon her space/time orbs gave off an alarmed tone. Tessa had reacted startled and quickly shushed them. Her orbs only did that when they detected spacial anomalies and she'd been in the vicinity of the Odinson at the time. Whispering a few words of High-Code, Tessa had combined the two orbs into a larger single orb to create a viewing window into the layers between realities. She'd looked at the Odinson through the enlarged orb. Startled, she saw his outline, but it was blurred around the edges. Perplexed, Tessa didn't know if this was normal for gods or not, but she hadn't noticed the event in their previous meetings. She wondered if something had happened recently to cause the change.

Wisemon frequently broke through and manipulated the digital layers and leylines for the purpose of travel and study (such was their nature), but usually with precautions in place to protect themselves from becoming trapped. Their massive tomes were more than just a vessel for knowledge.

For, now, Tessa kept the knowledge to herself, since she had few facts to go on.

“I can provide support for Lord Thor,” Tessa piped up. “I can work high-coding at a distance well enough without getting in the way and teleporting to evade danger is more or less second nature.”

She'd yet to find an effective method to use her high-coding in the fight against the Knight given the sheer power difference. However, Tessa was creative. She would find a way.


Andrea Mercer & Deneb Odebu (Hawkmon)
GrandLocomon Transport: 1st Traincar

"Stay away from the fighting," Michael ordered, in a tone Thor recognized all too well meant there was no room for discussion (though whether the three Tamers would choose to heed that tone was another matter altogether). "Find whatever other tamers and humans you can and help them avoid the fighting as well. We don't have an extraction planned, and we have no way to get them out if things lose control."

Andrea nodded her head in affirmative. Her intent in joining the Guardians was for that very purpose. Of course, Deneb had nearly passed out, when she stubbornly announced they were both going to Glen Elendra as well. Instead, he had reverted back to a hawkmon.

However, the young woman did not approve of the digimon being separated from their tamers. You don't leave your partners side, how else could the human back up the digimon half of the bond? A second pair of eyes on the lookout; providing the essential energy needed for an evolution; communicating with other tamers through their devices to coordinate all the pairs. Especially, for digivolutions! If the pair were too far apart, evolving the digimon partner was incredibly difficult or nearly impossible. Andrea fortunately knew her effective range with Deneb. They had experimented several years ago, in the event, Andrea had to be apart from Deneb for some reason.

Andrea and Deneb shared a silent exchange with the hawkmon exhaling relief. The hawkmon was far too nervous to fight the Knights on his own. Deneb politely spoke up, “It would perhaps be best if I remain with the tamers in their task to provide them and other humans with cover if need be. I have access to several different evolutionary forms, courtesy of Andrea, to fit any situation we may find ourselves in.”

Another aspect of digivolutions the pair had practiced to master. Andrea could push Deneb through several armor or slide evolutions in a short period of time if need be. Extremely tiring for both partners, but Deneb eventually became accustomed to it so the transitions were less jarring and less of a strain.

Also by aiding the tamers, Deneb could watch over James and Hoshiko to allow Artanis and Okatsu to focus more on their fights and not worry about the safety of their partners.


Phantom Thief
< Henry Vane (CaptainHookmon) & Frantz Stein (Boltmon) +
- 1st Locomon Traincar -

Michael said:
"Stein, I want you against Caradoc. He's ferociously strong and I think you're our best bet to contain him. Henry, I want you to support him."
Henry nodded along to the angel's instructions. It made sense, pairing a ranged fighter like himself with a brute like the Boltmon. That way, they wouldn't get in each other's way. Still... The pirate turned to inspect Stein, who was staring blankly into space in the general direction of Michael and softly scratching the side of his head. There might be a few screws loose in that one, Henry thought to himself as he closed the distance.

The Captainhookmon almost went for a friendly punch to the arm but the sheer size and bulk of the Boltmon made the thought of surprising him a little daunting. He settled for clearing his throat. Stein didn't even tilt his head in Henry's direction.

Middle ground it is.

"Is there a helmsman at the wheel in that head of yours or are you well and truly lost?" Henry asked.

Stein slowly but surely turned to face Henry, first looking in his direction then adjusting his gaze downward until he was finally looking the pirate in the face instead of several feet above him. "Hello Captain."

Captain huh? Fugues this guy would be the first one to show some respect around here.

"I don't recall making you a part of my crew." Henry said. "No need to call me Captain."

"Stein does the best he can to remember names. It helps if the names make sense." The big lug unceremoniously sat down, taking just enough care not to shake the train car too much. "So you are Captain. That is Wise One. And that is Flower Friend." Stein nodded towards each of the digimon in question as he named them.

Henry chuckled a bit at the thought of Stein calling Aria "Flower Friend", that feisty little plant didn't quite fit that bill. "You're alright Stein. I wouldn't be opposed if you wanted to join my crew. Could always use some new muscle to help me steal back my ship."

The Boltmon pondered this for a moment. "Stealing is wrong."

"Depends on your point of view." The pirate laughed. "Can't rightfully steal what was stolen first. That'd be liberating it you see."

"It is good to steal things that were already stolen? Stein is confused, but still wants to ride a pirate ship. Can I come if I don't steal things?"

"You got any problems with punching thieves in the face?" Stein shook his head and Henry grinned. "Well, then that'd be no problem at all. You punch bad guys and I'll liberate the loot. Its a win-win." The pirate nodded to himself, but quickly realized that the conversation had completely derailed from its intended topic. "Now that that's settled, are you clear on the plan?"

Stein pondered the question a few more seconds. "Stein thinks he understands. But Stein doesn't know what Caradoc looks like. I don't want to fight the wrong Knight."

Henry finally went for the friendly arm punch, which was much easier with Stein seated. "That's what you've got me for. When that Caradoc ruffian shows up, I'll point him out for you and you can go smash him."

The Boltmon nodded enthusiastically. "Stein likes that plan Captain. Stein will be ready to smash the bad guy. But what loot will he have for you to liberate?"

"You leave that part to me."


~ Aria Morningsong (Lilamon) ~
- 1st Locomon Traincar -

Michael said:
"Aria and Artanis, I want you with me against Tristan."
Aria perked up from her spot near the side of the car. So, she would be with the Archangel this time? And one of the tamer's partners at that. She questioned the idea of splitting up the tamers and their partners, she knew how strong they could be in tandem, but she trusted Michael's judgement enough not to raise an issue. But with Artanis at her side, she'd try to keep tabs on where James was during the battle, just in case.

But first things first. If she was going to be fighting with them, she should know more about her comrades. That meant getting to know Artanis and Michael a little better. Michael... could wait.

The angel wasn't the most easily approachable member of the team, which was actually saying something given their group. Though Aria wasn't entirely sure if that was due to Michael's persona or the supernatural awe she felt obliged to give him. The Holy Host was highly regarded in her hometown after all, which made Michael himself something of a living legend. Not unlike Svarog and Thor... and even Samael she supposed. But her emotions regarding the angel were of a different sort that the fearful respect she had for the other three.

That meant Artanis was first.

“It would perhaps be best if I remain with the tamers in their task to provide them and other humans with cover if need be. I have access to several different evolutionary forms, courtesy of Andrea, to fit any situation we may find ourselves in.” a voice she wasn't familiar with called out.

The Lilamon turned and regarded its origin, another one of the humans. The new girl and her Hawkmon partner. This was a good chance to pass on what she knew and introduce herself here too. She waited for the meeting to end before making her approach.

"Hi, Deneb was it?" Aria asked the Hawkmon as she nimbly floated over. Thankfully Michael had called everyone out by name for the most part. "I'm Aria Morningsong." She asked after Andrea's name and nodded when answered.

"Andrea and Deneb." The Lilamon turned to each, her expression serious. "I'm from this area, so I know these forests pretty well. And being a flower mon I know a few more tips to help with navigating these forests. If you're going to take on the task of keeping the tamers safe, then I have a few tips for you." She cleared her throat, hoping she wasn't sounding too pretentious.

"First, there are plenty of hidden paths through the deep forests that are used mainly by plant digimon who like to keep off the main roads. Look for bushes with three pointed leaves and small violet flowers. Those mark shortcuts through the woods many of which have small groves perfect for hiding in. Second, any building in town that looks like its made from a tree probably is. That means its got roots. A lot of those root systems have hiding holes or underground paths from place to place. Those might help you stay out of sight as well."

She gave a small formal bow of her head, both hands over her chest. It was a rare gesture from her, but she felt it necessary. Being this close to home was making her feel more nostalgic and agreeable than usual. "Thank you both for helping to keep the tamers and my home safe."

She lingered a moment in case they had any questions for her before heading off to find a certain Agumon.

What was it with her and dragons lately? She sure seemed to be spending a lot of time around fire-breathers.

She found him next to James thankfully not held up by anyone else at the moment. "Artanis, and James." she nodded in greeting. "We haven't had much time to chat, but since we'll be fighting together I'd like to discuss our strategy with you if you don't mind." Her expression hardened for just a moment as she remembered the beating she got in Kaladesh. If anything, that moment had certainly knocked some of the snark out of her. She just hoped she would bounce back.

"I don't want any of us getting hurt out there."
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God of Monsters
< Michael Ha'Yisrael (MagnaAngemon) >
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

The GrandLocomon, Ghan, had barreled into Glen Elendra full force, flying off the tracks as he thundered into the midst of battle. Trees exploded in his path as he charged through. He let out a trumpeting roar as he screeched to a stop. His violent arrival sent Digimon and humans alike scrambling for distance.

Before he stopped, the Guardians had launched themselves from the single car he was pulling. Michael felt the rush of wind beneath his wings and heard the startled cries around them. From the rear of the car, Deneb parachuted with the three humans clinging tightly to him, as he evolved into Thunderbirdmon in mid-flight and caught the rushing wind in his wings. Michael led the charge, throwing himself between Tristan and Drakn. His beam saber crackled against Tristan's heavy shield and pushed the Royal Knight back.

"Shield of the Just!" Tristan roared, sending a cascade of power from the center of his shield towards the archangel.

But Thor and Svarog answered in kind, sending fire and lightning to intercept Tristan's attack and detonate it away from Michael. They nodded once to Michael before splitting off to take their own objectives.

"Took you long enough," Drakn muttered. He tried climbing to his feet, wincing with the effort. He glanced around. "I don't--What do you need from us?"

"Contain their forces. Get the humans out of the city," Michael answered.

Drakn nodded. "Peacemakers, pull back - give them some room," he called out, his voice carried over the roar of battle. "Good luck, Lord Michael."

Drakn stumbled back and began to gather what remained of the Glen Elendran forces, quickly directing them to their new task. Michael found himself wishing for someone with that kind of clear sense and awareness of what was needed in the midst of battle. Oh well. Maybe in another life.

"So is this your answer then, Lord Michael?" Tristan asked as Artanis and Aria moved into position on either side of the knight. "You want to fight a war for them?"

"None of us want a war, Sir Tristan," Michael answered, his voice low and calm. "But this is the path you've chosen - war and blood. You were given a warning. You would have done well to heed it. Because between the brutalizers and their victims, there shall always be--THE HAND OF GOD."


< Svarog Rodsyn (Apollomon) >
vs. Sir Gareth (Gankoomon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Svarog rocketed off into the air as Michael and the others took their positions. All the others had their plans and strategies - fight the Royal Knights as a group or together; outnumber them, overwhelm them with tactics and clever tricks. But Svarog was not a god of clever tricks - he would leave that feeble business to other pantheons. He was Svarga itself, and he had no patience for subtlety.

He burned his way through the air, trailing fire in his wake. He caught sight of Gareth, white coat flapping in the breeze of battle. He drilled a Valkyrimon to the ground before knocking a Sakuyamon away with a kick that snapped so quickly it cracked the air like a whip.

Svarog smirked - this was what he wanted; not some pristine, holier-than-though, armored creampuff hiding behind a sword or a spear. He wanted a fight--a real fight--someone he could split his fists on.

And so he did - Gareth barely had time to register Svarog's arrival before the sun god was upon him. Glowing liquid sunlight exploded from the impact of knuckles on bone and sent Gareth sailing through the air. He spun mid-flight, correcting himself and skidding to a stop as Svarog tore after him.

"You again, eh?" the Royal Knight said with a smirk. "Well alright then."


Sir Caradoc of the Royal Knights watched silently as the Boltmon and the CaptainHookmon stepped into position on either side of him. He glanced over his shoulder - the Puppetmon and the Shawujamon were barely standing, and the huge HerculesKabuterimon was out cold. He almost felt the urge to thank the big bug; he so rarely was given the opportunity to cut loose, and it felt good to actually get to hit something and not hold back.

He prepared to face down his two new adversaries when a shout and burst of flame caught his attention. Caradoc turned from the two and faced the flames as an Apollomon clashed with Gareth, and after a brief flurry of blows seemed to be winning. Caradoc remembered Gareth's report from the battle at Camelot - he'd nearly succumbed to an Apollomon there as well, and Caradoc had no illusions of there possibly being two such similar individuals.

The Royal Knight spread his wings and launched himself into the sky, leaving the Boltmon and the CaptainHookmon abandoned and thoroughly confused. He soared through the air like a comet made of metal and nightmare. He was on the Apollomon before the fiery Digimon was even aware of it.

Caradoc plucked him from his flight, mid-punch and drove him through the air. He crushed his body against the ground and even then he did not slow. He tore a track through Glen Elendra with the other Digimon's body and then hurled the Apollomon through the city. The fiery Digimon crashed through trees and buildings as if they were made of paper and plywood before slamming to a stop against the trunk of a massive tree. Caradoc struck a half-heartbeat later with an enormous blow to his opponent's gut that splintered the tree into a million pieces and sent the Apollomon careening into the darkness of the underbrush.


< Svarog Rodsyn (Apollomon) >
vs. Sir Caradoc (Dynasmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Svarog lay in the dirt and the dust, acutely aware of the agony he was in but struggling to understand the "how" of it. He remembered Gareth - Svarog had been winning, again, and again something had happened. It was the second time he'd been prevented from beating that Royal Knight into the ground. He'd been blindsided, obviously. But by what, he couldn't imagine. All he remembered was the world pitching sideways and dropping out from underneath his feet. He remembered spinning and crashing and then a moment of impact and agony. And in that stillness, a single image came roaring into his mind's eye.

The Dynasmon, arm outstretched, practically burying its fist in his guts.

So Svarog did what he did best - he let that image burn--smolder and sear--until it set his rage on fire. And he let that fire burn away the thoughts of surrender and any feelings of pain his injuries were causing. He let it blaze up and through him until the earth beneath his feet melted, until the trees around him turned to ash, until the air caught fire.

Svarog roared - how dare that little knight get in his way? He set into the air and charged back into the chaos that was Glen Elendra. And there, at the center of it all was the Royal Knight, hovering in the smoky air.


< Samael Cain (Beelzemon) >
Vs. Sir Gawain (Duftmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Kill Gawain--wait. No, that wasn't right. What was it again?

Fight Gawain? Stop Gawain? Talk about words not really meaning anything. His "orders" were so open and vague. How did Michael possibly hope for him to remember any of it other than the "don't kill him" part? And then...what was he actually supposed to be doing? "Kill" was such an easy, quick, concise sort of concept. Instead Michael wanted him to take time and effort during a fight to figure out just how close to dead they all wanted to Royal Knights so that they could...flog them or something.

He found the knight easy enough - it looked like he'd just finished guttin' some poor, miserable bastard. The skinny sap had no idea what kind of hell Samael was going to bring down on his stupid, leopard-print face.

"Oy! I'm here to not-kill you," Samael announced, cringing as he did. See--it just didn't carry the same weight. He jabbed his thumb over his shoulder at Theo and Okatsu. "They're here to watch. And to make sure I don't kill you."

"A demon's arrogance is legendary," Gawain said with a smirk. He raised his blade and angled it towards Samael. "And your friends will be far too busy pulling my sword from your heart to do anything else."

"Yeah, you're totally misreading the group dynamic here," Samael said, rolling his eyes. He drew his two blades and crouched low before glaring at the other two Guardians. "Don't get in my way, meatbags."

Samael charged with a savage roar. His two black blades carved a shadowed path through the air towards Gawain, who maneuvered to intercept. There was a flurry of motion: Samael's wild--but perfectly precise--slashes sparked against the deft fencing movements of Gawain's rapier. Gawain parried quickly and knocked Samael off balance, following up with a stiff kick to send the fallen angel sailing back.

But Samael drew his gun mid-flight and fired off a shot into Gawain's chest as he fell back, sending the Royal Knight into a similar tumbling spiral.

The fallen angel twisted to a stop, a sword and gun in either hand. He swerved back towards the Royal Knight, but Gawain was already dashing forward.

Damn, he was quick - he moved at that graceful midpoint between running and flying: his wings caught the air and pulled him up just below the extent that he'd be actually flying. Each step carried him forward at twice the speed that he might otherwise have run, and he was avoiding the debris that was flying through the air.

This pointed punk wasn't all that bad.


< Thor Odinson (Imperialdramon: Fighter Mode ) >
vs. Sir Lamorak (Jesmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Thor and Svarog blocked Sir Tristan's incoming attack and then took off, each with their own objectives. Thor spared a glance back to Michael, Artanis, and Aria as they squared off against the crimson-mantled knight. He could only hope they were up to the task. Sir Tristan ranked highly among the Royal Knights; only Galahad and Lancelot carried more sway.

To say nothing of his battle prowess.

Still, Thor forced himself to turn away and continue forward; he had to believe that the three of them were prepared for the battle at hand. Sir Lamorak swerved after an UlforceVeedramon - Thor almost mistook her for Sir Guinier at first, they looked so similar. But this one was shorter and slimmer than the statuesque amazonian that was the Royal Knight Guinier.

The blue dragon was clearly faster than Lamorak, out-pacing and flying circles around him. But Lamorak was easily the better fighter, and quicker to react. He moved like a matador, weaving between the UlforceVeedramon's strikes, parrying and counter attacking all in a single series of fluid movements. It was as much a work of art as it was the promise of a decisive end.

And the UlforceVeedramon was tired. She was still moving like a bullet, but it took longer and longer for her to stop and turn. She was swinging wildly and overcorrecting and losing control. And all the while Sir Lamorak moved only the slightest amounts to punish her for ever misstep.

Thor raised his cannon and fired. A spiraling beam of crackling light lanced from his arm and thundered down towards the Royal Knight. He stepped back to avoid it and whipped away as the power exploded outwards on impact with the ground. Thor landed heavily betwen Lamorak and the UlforceVeedramon, electricity still dancing across his frame.

"Odinson," Lamorak acknowledged with a nod and a bow, though if he meant to mock Thor wasn't certain. He was certain, however, that Lamorak was barely fatigued by his exchange with the UlforceVeedramon, and this short moment of confrontation was only allowing him to regain whatever composure she had caused to falter.

If Thor was going to win he would have to act quickly. He rushed forward and - as expected - Lamorak weaved away. But Thor stopped quickly, no longer shooting past the Royal Knight, wheeled around, and fired the cannon on his chest point-blank into the Jesmon. Lamorak moved, fighting with all his might to bend his way around the blast as he had with his last opponent's charges, but the super-dense sphere of power pulled at him.

Until it didn't, and the cell was halted by a shimmering triangular shield of golden energy. Lamorak darted out of the way, then the shield flickered and allowed Thor's blast to pass harmlessly off into the distance.

Lamorak swooped back in as the three fire-geist entities circled around it. They didn't laugh or cackle, they didn't exchange words, but they moved as one; as fluid together and with Lamorak as he was alone. They were never in his way; their movements never obstructed his.

"Tekken Seibai!" Lamorak shouted suddenly, exploding forward with a brilliant burst of speed. He struck with both arm blades, swinging down with enough force to cleave a lesser Digimon in two.

But Thor was not a lesser Digimon. He struck back with his claws and lodged them against the downswing. He found himself smirking. Lamorak would have to try harder than--

"Schwertgeist!" came the second shout. Lamorak's tail-blade ripped upward, slashing across Thor's chest. He let out a roar and fell back, only to meet the six blades of the three fire-geists a half-heartbeat later.

The thunder god barely had the presence of mind to cross his bracers in front of his chest to block the final two-bladed strike from Lamorak. The two swords sparked against the metal on his arms and threw him back - which he much preferred to having his chest cut through. He barely had time to take a breath before the four were upon him once again.

"One For All!" they shouted in unison. A brilliant beam of bronze energy spiraled from their outstretched blades and slammed into Thor. He cried out as fire washed over him and hurled him into the ground.

"You won't win, Odinson," Lamorak said cockily, striding forward with that same fluid motion and a smirk on his features. The wretch was barely winded! "As good as you are, as strong as you are, you are but one. And we are four as one." He raised a blade as he stood over Thor. "Fare thee well!"

"Fly Bullet!" a shout rang out, and a zipping barrage of hot metal tore down at Lamorak. He danced away from Thor, his blades raised. But the bullets never struck the blades. They wove between them, between the three fire-geists, and slammed home into Lamorak. He cried out and stumbled back, clutching bleeding wounds.

"What the hell is it with you Royal Knights and the 'oh-so-significantly-poised-death-blow'?" a figure asked, stepping through the smoke and dust of the battle. The Beelstarmon spun a pair of pistols around the index fingers of either hand. "First you smash all my booze. You bust up my place. Then your leopard-boy knocks me into a well and forgets about me. And now you're fighting four-on-one?

"Let's even those odds a little bit."


Phantom Thief
< Henry Vane (CaptainHookmon/AvengeKidmon) & Frantz Stein (Boltmon) +
- Glen Elendra, Inside the City -

"That's the one, that smug looking dragon over there." Henry pointed from Stein's shoulder. The CaptainHookmon was well aware of the Knights. You didn't spend a few decades as a criminal and not aquatint yourself with the law enforcement.

The pair approached the Royal Knight and took up positions, Henry leaping from his perch on Stein's shoulder and landing in a burst of light as an AvengeKidmon.

"I don't see any loot Captain." Stein grabbed his tomahawk from his back and assumed a combat ready stance.

"I told you to leave that to me." Henry leveled his hand at the Knight, all three finger-guns and his wrist gun on target and ready to fire.

Sir Caradoc turned and somehow managed to get an even more smug look on his face. And then an explosion shook the air and lit up the city a block or two away. A very familiar explosion. The Dynasmon's attention was immediately drawn and without even a second glance at the two Guardians he tore into the air going after what could only be Svarog cutting loose.

"Get back here you blasted scallywag!" Henry called as he took off after the Knight. But Caradoc was far too fast to catch up to and he couldn't leave Stein behind. The Boltmon was strong but Henry didn't trust him to navigate this fight on his own. He had a bird's eye view of Svarog's fight from here though and Henry watched as Sir Caradoc slammed into Svarog like a falling star and tore him away from his own opponent, a Gankoomon. Sir Gareth.

A light bulb went off in the pirate's head.

"Stein, you mentioned getting pummeled by a Gankoomon in the first battle right?" he called down.

The Boltmon was running to catch up, his huge footsteps booming on the stone thoroughfare. "Aye captain. Stein was beaten by a Knight with a funny cape."

Henry landed next to the Boltmon and motioned for him to follow as he made a beeline for Gareth's location before the Knight could move. "You wouldn't happen to want revenge, would you?"

"Revenge?" Stein pondered this a little too long. "Stein only met Wise One cause the Knight dropped me in the salty water."

Henry rolled his eyes. "Surely you'd have met the lass anyway right?"

"Stein supposes."

An awkward silence set in as Henry waited for Stein to continue, but the Boltmon didn't elaborate any further.

"Stein, lad, bear with me here. We need to fight the Knights right?" The Boltmon nodded and Henry continued. "And if you gotta fight them anyway, it may as well be someone who's done you wrong, right?" Another nod. "So, if I told you I knew where the caped Knight who slapped you silly is, then we should go get him right?"

"Makes sense to me." Stein said. "Where is he?"

The two rounded a corner and came face to face with Sir Gareth who stood a few yards away. The Knight was waiting for them, no doubt due to Stein's booming footsteps.

"That'd be him." Henry said and cut loose with both hands, bolts of red energy blasting towards the Royal Knight who sidestepped nimbly and began his lightning fast approach.

The Knight strafed like a master, dodging nearly all of Henry's hastily aimed attack and struck the pirate with a vicious backhand before Henry could blink. The AvengeKidmon hit the wall hard and crumpled. Stein stepped forward to cover him as Henry pulled himself back to his feet. Gareth seemed thoroughly unimpressed.

"More pawns of the council, will they ever run out of fodder?" Gareth turned to face Stein and sized up the Boltmon. "First the Apollomon and now you too? So many seeking a rematch."

"Stein's shoulder is better now." The Boltmon offered as he readied to throw his tomahawk.

Gareth ducked and slipped beneath the huge bladed weapon, landing a series of monstrous blows to Stein's chest. Each one hitting where his defenses were weakest. "You're still as open as ever." Ont more blow sent Stain skidding back several feet as his huge metal boots dug out paths in the stone tiles. "Amateur."

"Our only shot is to take him together." Henry took his position next to Stein.

"You think I can't handle two opponents at once?" Sir Gareth taunted. The Gankoomon clenched his fist and the Hinukamuy, the golden draconian specter, erupted into being above the Gankoomon.

"Stein." Henry whispered. "If I don't make it out of this, you have to find my ship for me."

"And you have to tell Wise One she's pretty for me."

"You can tell with that hood?" Henry whispered back.

"You can't get a new ship?"

"Touche you big lug."

"PAY ATTENTION!" Gareth and his specter hit the ground between the two Guardians and cracked the earth wide open. Shards of stone, clods of dirt and a cloud of dust assaulted them and blocked their vision. Something hit Henry from behind and in the dust cloud for a moment he could no longer tell which way was up as he tumbled through the air. He heard Stein cry out in rage or pain or both right before his head connected with the ground.

No time to chase away the stars. Henry launched into the air, trying to use his wings to clear away the dust. A cry of rage erupted from the cloud of debris as Sir Gareth came tumbling out of the cloud. A massive blade of bone and teeth and fury cleaved the ground in two before the Knight, its tip inches from the Gankoomon's face. The massive Titamon that was Stein rose as the dust cleared and roared his challenge to the Knight.

"Phantom Blade!" Stein swung the bone sword the length of a house as if it were a twig. Sir Gareth leaped over the huge blade and it nearly cleaved a nearby building in two.

At this rate, Stein's going to do more damage to the city than the Knights... But Henry didn't have the luxury of worrying about people's homes right now. Lives were at stake first. At this range, and with the Gankoomon airborne, there was no way Henry could miss. "Misery Bullet Rain!"

A barrage of red lasers erupted from his fingers but Sir Gareth was quick indeed. There was a certain amount of awe due to the skill of the Knights, and Henry was keenly aware of it as the Gankoomon's Hinukamuy grabbed the ground and yanked Gareth downwards and under Henry's barrage.


Henry was on him like a cat on a mouse as his foot cannon hit the Hinukamuy in the square of the neck. "Destruction Trigger!" A huge blast sent Sir Gareth skidding from the crater with smoke trailing from the new burns in his jacket. He had landed a solid hit to a Royal Knight. He had made a legend bleed. Time to see if it could be beaten.

Gareth was on his feet faster than Henry would have thought possible. "Tekken Seisai!" A storm of blows hit Henry faster than he could even follow. He lost track of them well before a vicious uppercut launched him skyward. His world was spinning in more ways than one until a massive hand plucked him from the sky.

"Crush Knight." the Titamon rumbled. "Together."

"Yes, lets give this Knight a fight to remember." Henry said as he stood atop his friend's palm. "If these head injuries don't leave this whole thing an unpleasant and painful blur that is."
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The Reforged Soul
Tessa Tesla (Wisemon) Vs. Sir Lamorak (Jesmon)
Grandlocomon Car → Glen Elendra

Oblivious to the bickering of fellow Guardians, the young mage buried herself in deep thought to pondered the massive tome floating before her. What information she could garnered from its pages regarding a Jesmon’s abilities, she felt her plan would work to help support Thor.

But Sir Lamorak’s greater abilities…

Tessa clutched something briefly hidden beneath her robes, but then shook her head as though changing her mind and resumed turning the pages of the tome.

Ghan announced the rapid approach of their destination. The female wisemon rose, stepped onto the pages of the tome as it hovered. Pressing a slender hand onto the pages as she knelt, Tessa whispered a simple enchantment, “Be my wings and my guide; when I’m thus preoccupied.”

The great Book would act as an extension of her subconscious, working in synchronization with her Workings and automatically safeguarding its user from harm.

The Grandlocomon exploded into the battlefield, his occupants rushing to meet their chosen Knights. Tessa followed Thor’s lead, but kept back a fair distance. Her Book didn’t fly as fast or swiftly as the Thunderer, nor did she want to crowd him. She’d observed his power with a spare glance here and there to know she’d have to be mindful of her proxy to him and not get caught in the aftermath.

Her space/time orbs whirred around her and her arms held aloft out to her sides. As Thor clashed with Sir Lamorak, Tessa whispered archaic words, triggering the digimoji to swirl about her to lay the foundation for the necessary preservation spell. The invisible gridwork decorated the terrain in her immediate surroundings, seen only in her mind’s eye.

And there Tessa waited patiently for several long agonizing moments, utterly calm and focus in the task at hand. Ready. Occasionally, she’d divert a wayward attack in another direction away from the thunder god with the simple use of a portal. Perhaps, such minor attacks wouldn’t phase the Odinson, but the Wisemon had promised to support him in any way she could.


Sir Lamorak swept back away from Thor as three fire-geist encircled protectively around the knight. Tessa reached out with an arm to summon a portal to ensnare one of the constructs. However, her aim was seconds off as her target dodged away with impossible speed. Her face creased with an unseen frown as she made several attempts to catch one of the fire-geist. Their speed and coordination with their master was flawless. She needed to find a break in their rhyme to accomplish her goal. Her attempts to snag a fire-geist appeared to be ignored as though no more than a nuisance.

Sir Lamorak stood poised with his blade to strike down the Thunderer for good, when a yell interrupted. “Fly Bullet!” Smart bullets weaved around their target until they found their opening and struck the Jesmon with a cry of pain. A BeelStarmon appeared from the surrounding smoke and fire, apparently quite miffed and angry with the Royal Knight.

“Let’s even those odds.”.

Tessa giggled to herself in agreement. She was still too far away to be heard, but she could work that to her advantage. With a cheeky grin, Tessa declared, “Pandora Dialogue!”

A multitude of smart bullets blitzed through the air out of nowhere peppering Sir Lamorak. Tessa’s smart bullets didn’t carry the same damaging impact as the BeelStarmon’s, but her playback of the attack ripped loose a frenzy onslaught at high speeds creating added confusion to the scene. Sneaking an opportunity with Sir Lamorak occupied with Thor and the BeelStarmon, Tessa finally succeeded in teleporting a fire-geist, Anthos, away to her location.

If non-corporal constructs could express emotion, Tessa could have sworn this one was pissed. Anthos charged Tessa headlong with blistering speeds. Her tome barely dodged to the side, it’s pages flapping haphazardly and Tessa hanging on for dear life. Anthos continued to ignore Tessa as it flew straight back to its master. At least it would have, if Tessa hadn’t projected a portal so wide that it didn’t have time to zip around before being consumed. Despite its speed, Tessa had been able to predict its path more easily since Anthos made a straight shot for its master when given the chance.

“You know, I’m getting a little tired of being ignored,” Tessa said in a mocked huff, crossing her arms. She eased into a knowing grin within her hood, “but I guess that’s what I get for being able to vanish like this!”

Her tome snapped shut around her with an audible slam! Disappearing with a poof, the Book reappeared dangerously close behind the fire-geist and poofing off again into another direction every time Anthos swirled around to face the teasing Wisemon.

Tessa continued this maddening game of cat and mouse for a while, sometimes popping into existence closer or further away. However, with each pass she made at the construct, Anthos reacted with greater speed and reaction time, swiftly adapting to her methods. Until finally, the fire-geist spun around and pierced the great Tome’s cover with its blade, narrowingly missing the young mage on the other side.

Tessa glared balefully at the glowing sword sticking out of her precious book beside her, heedless of the fact that could have been her as well. “I think that will do it for the spell now.”

The Great Tome snapped shut protectively around its charge, flinging the fire-geist free. Putting a little distance between the two of them, the tome’s pages flipped opened and digimoji spilled out as though overflowing and stretching out in meandering paths in the air.

Tessa held her hands up forming a rectangle and kept the fire-geist framed within. Anthos charged forth at her with his energy arm blades fully extended. As the fire-geist got closer, Tessa conjured a portal between the two of them. Anthos abrupting halted, pulling backwards to avoid the portal. However, the portal was only a distraction this time, prompting the fire-geist to hold still long enough for Tessa to execute her next move.

“Eternal Nirvana!,” the young mage cried out, sliding her clawed hands together to close the rectangular window her hands formed, along with the fire-geist vanishing into thin air. Her space/time orbs flashed with brilliance as the fire-geist was within the spheres. Tessa plopped onto her butt relieved.

“Lord Thor better be keeping Sir Lamorak too busy to realize one of his constructs are gone. Otherwise all this effort would have been rather pointless.” Tessa muttered to herself, as she rose and dusted off her robes. “I can’t permanently trap non-corporeal entities, when they can simply be reassembled. I better finish the ruse.”

Her two orbs rose through the air flashing sporadically; digimoji spilled maddening through the air to form up in the center. A vague outline began forming into a familiar shape.

Tessa’s merry chase with Anthos through the air had been quite deliberate on her part. The whole time Anthos chased after her and improved in its performance; Tessa had carefully kept them within the grid area of effect for the preservation spell she’d casted earlier. She’d managed to record a detailed memory playback of all of Anthos’s movements and attacks in that span of time.

The outlined shape solidified into a copy of Sir Lamorak’s fire-geist, but one that would do Tessa’s bidding for however long the Greater Working lasted. Tessa pointed a slim hand back towards the silver-white knight and the pseudo-Anthos flew through the air to aid Thor and newfound comrade.

Sweat-dripped down Tessa’s neck, she kept her breathing steady, remembering her father’s lessons on how to endure the strain that came with casting such High-Coding. There was another reason why this was considered a Greater Working, Tessa merged the two space/time orbs to recreate a viewing globe to see from the pseudo-Anthos perspective. Muttering a string of archaic words, a new string of dijimoji materialized to create the puppeteer connection. In a nutshell, video editing on the fly. Tessa could direct and alter the pseudo-Anthos actions with segments of the living memory she’d recorded with the preservation spell.

The small mage beamed with a strained smile. She was quite proud of her skill with such advanced High-Coding. She’d learned from the best after all.

She could only hope the other two didn’t destroy her temporary pet by mistake.


God of Monsters
< Svarog Rodsyn (Apollomon) >
vs. Sir Caradoc (Dynasmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Svarog felt the tree explode as he crashed through it. He whirled around, forcing himself to a stop as the splinters flew around him. Caradoc was already upon him, crackling through the shards of wood like a mon possessed. Svarog parried a heavy fist and drove his own into the Royal Knight's jaw. But it wasn't enough to break Caradoc's momentum and he drove forward, slamming Svarog deeper into the woods. The only solace he took from the ringing agony in his battered body was the fact that the further Caradoc drove him from Glen Elendra proper, the less anyone else would mind if he cut loose.

The sun god fought his way out of Caradoc's hold and slammed his elbow down into the Royal Knight's shoulders. The knight kicked and spun back around and threw himself back at the sun god once more. Svarog met his charge, and the sheer force of their impact shattered tree trunks all around them. The next thing Svarog felt was Caradoc's fist snapping his chin back and sending him high into the air. The knight's hand wrapped around his ankle, and then the world kicked sideways, upside-down, and backwards. Caradoc whirled him around in a dizzying array of circles, spinning ever-faster before releasing Svarog's ankle and launching him through the forest.

Svarog hit the ground and skid to a stop, igniting the underbrush in his wake.
He fought to a stop, fire already pooling in his hands, the gems on his palms already glowing white hot.

"Sol Blaster!" he roared, and a torrent of fire howled from his hands.


< Samael Cain (Beelzemon) >
Vs. Sir Gawain (Duftmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Gawain's rapier practically danced through the air, cutting a pattern of slashes that even Samael's three eyes had trouble following. It was all he could do to block and parry with two of his weapons. And even then he wasn't able to block them all. He sported a few shallow gashes on his arms and chest...and a deep puncture wound in his belly. Not that any of those injuries was particularly serious for a demon of his caliber - his unholy regenerative abilities would be searing him together soon enough - but it definitely slowed him down, which meant even more of the knight's slashes would find their mark, which would slow him down even more.

And then it was only a matter of time before the Royal Knight actually took his head off.

"Extinction Wave!" Gawain snarled, thrusting his rapier forward. Energy exploded from its point and drilled into Samael. He felt his chest split open and his healing factor fight to keep him from being sliced in half.

He was thrown back and stumbled to his knees. He tried clawing to his feet, but his face exploded with pain as Gawain drove the heel of his armored boot into his cheek.


< Michael Ha'Yisrael (MagnaAngemon) >
Vs. Sir Tristan (Gallantmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Tristan's shield slammed into Michael's. They pushed at one another, locked together, stabbing and slashing from behind their shields. But Michael remained acutely aware of the danger he was in - at any moment, Tristan could fire off an attack from his shield and blast him into oblivion. Tristan's every move was tailor-made for these types of exchanges. Most of his attacks were lightning-fast, and the ones that took a moment to charge did so much more quickly than Michael's own.

The Gate of Destiny was an attack designed to completely annihilate an enemy - and he was still hoping to avoid killing the Royal Knights. They had to be stopped, they had to be punished; but Michael was not an executioner.

Michael pushed harder against Tristan's shield. Sparks flew from their impact. He fought to find an opening and start cutting away at Tristan's defenses, but the Royal Knight was as well-trained as anyone Michael had ever met. It took every ounce of his concentration to parry the piercing strikes of Tristan's lance and fight through to a counterstrike. The Royal Knight's form was nearly-flawless.

The Aegis suddenly lit with almost-blinding radiance. Anyone else might have been caught unawares and hit by the subsequent attack, but Michael had anticipated that kind of maneuver. He stepped back and grabbed the edge of the Aegis, then pulled it to the side. Tristan's attack sputtered out as he reevaluated, but he was off-balance and Michael swung with his Excalibur and scored a bright slash across Tristan's helm.

The Royal Knight stumbled back, but in almost the same motion he unleashed his counter; a spiraling blue beam burst from the tip of the Gram lance. Michael raised his shield but only managed to just intercept the attack, and it exploded.

Michael reeled, and Tristan was upon him once more. But simultaneous attacks from Artanis and Aria gave him room to maneuver and slip out of Tristan's way as the Royal Knight turned to defend himself against the others.


< Thor Odinson (Imperialdramon: Fighter Mode) >
vs. Sir Lamorak (Jesmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Tessa's intervention and the timely arrival of the BelleStarmon gave Thor a moment of reprieve. Lamorak was intense and powerful, but he was young. Despite all the accumulated knowledge and experience of the Royal Knights before him, Thor sensed an exuberance and eagerness that only the younger warriors had. It was wildly different from Svarog's blistering bull-headedness; Svarog's lust for battle was exactly that - lust. It was powerful, heavy, burning in its intensity. Lamorak's eagerness was light and agile - like an excited child bouncing back and forth on his heels.

Thor had to take advantage of that. But how?

Lamorak swerved between Tessa's attempted attack to confront the BelleStarmon directly. There was a furious exchange of blades - bayonets unfolded from the demon-woman's pistols and sparked against Lamorak's crimson swords. Each strike was accented by a gunshot as the BelleStarmon attempted to bury a bullet in Lamorak's chest alongside a blade. She swung her legs in dizzying arcs, a maelstrom of kicks and stabs and gunshots from pistol and heel.

She was as brilliant as any valkyrie he'd ever seen. It was phenomenal.

But Lamorak was still a Royal Knight. His tail blade spun upwards and broke her guard, allowing one of the fiery geists to bury both burning blades in the demon-woman's gut. Thor charged, forcing Lamorak to abandon his next strike and turn to face the thunder god. Thor collided with the knight, driving him away from the BelleStarmon. He ignored the burning slashes from the geists and focused on keeping Lamorak occupied until Tessa and their new ally could recover.

"One For All! Lamorak shouted. The geists were suddenly assembled between them, and a burst of blinding light slammed into Thor and threw him up through the air.


< Serra Castiel (BelleStarmon) >
vs. Sir Lamorak (Jesmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -


Serra couldn't really voice her pain - it was taking everything she had not to pass out. She'd been cut before; been stabbed and slashed and hit. What Digimon hadn't? But never like that. Two white-hot spears lodged deep in the gut. Nine hells, that hurt.

And that was just from those little fire ghosts! The hell was she in for when the actual Royal Knight hit her?

She was thankful for the momentary reprieve when the Imperialdramon took the knight's attention. But even that was short-lived. Another single exchange and the big dragon was launched skyward at the head of a huge energy blast. What kind of Digimon could just fire off attacks like that with no warning?

What the hell had she gotten herself into?

With the Imperialdramon out of the fight that only left her and the Wise--that left only her. And the Royal Knight knew it. He'd managed to work his way out of whatever juju the Wisemon had hit his fiery ghosty-guy with and it was now back on his side. One Royal Knight, and three ghosty-things against her.

"How is that fair?" she snarled to herself. She tried to steady herself, ignoring the flare of pain in her gut. "Aw, hell with it." Enough worrying.

Serra sprang forward, pistols firing. As predicted, the stupid little fire ghosts leapt into the way and blocked or parried each shot. But she pushed through, dashing between them and throwing herself forward. The muffler around her neck spun her through the air, launching into a spinning dropkick that drove her heels into the Royal Knight's midsection and fired the hidden guns in her shoes.

With a final kick she launched herself back and up into the air, flipping gracefully and landing in a crouch.

"Well? How do you li-"


She glanced down as pain exploded in her chest. And found herself staring down at the Royal Knight's fist - his blade fully pierced through the center of her chest.

How? How had he--? She'd hit him. She'd seen it. She'd seen the sparks, seen the blood, seen the way his armor chipped and dented. She hadn't imagined it. She could still see it. But...How was he still standing?

She felt the darkness creep at the edges of her vision, and let out a strangled scream as the Royal Knight pulled his blade from her chest. She couldn't hear his next words over the pounding of her heart in her ears, but she could see the grim lines etched across his young face.

Killed by a kid. Of course that's how she'd go.

The Jesmon raised his blade. She refused to look away; she stared defiantly into his eyes.

Serra felt - for a moment - the impulse to pray. To turn back towards that familiar path that she'd abandoned so long ago, and call out to God. But she quickly stuffed that impulse down. If she was going to die she wouldn't do it with a prayer on her lips. Not after everything.

She'd rather spend eternity in darkness than embrace a false light.

Serra couldn't hear his voice, but saw his lips move and call out the name of his attack. The Jesmon swung his blade, a crimson arc cut through the air. She could feel the overwhelming pressure of the blade as it neared and time slowed to a crawl. Static from the attack made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. The world around her lit with a brilliant light. And a sound, like she had never heard before, filled her ears and drowned out the pounding of her heart. A rumble, a--


Light. Overwhelming light. A crack that would have deafened her if she thought she could hear anymore, and the sound of metal on metal echoed through the forest. The Jesmon's blade never made contact. The earth heaved beneath them and thunder rumbled away.

Serra glanced from the Jesmon to the thing in the light. The figure turned to her. She blinked, and then the light was gone. She was no longer blinded--the figure within stood revealed in all his glory. He was tall, more than a full head taller than her (and she was taller than most); and broad--even without the thick white armor she could tell how broad and powerful he was. His silver wings were sleek and shimmering. His eyes sharp; bluer than the clearest sky. He filled her mind with a brilliant presence.

The Imperialdramon, but different; a Paladin Mode. She'd only ever seen pictures and heard stories of Digimon at that level, and only knew the name of a single one. Odin. The pagan god who the Host had both acknowledged and despised. But he was dead - last she checked, at least.

Who the hell was this dragon?


The Reforged Soul
Theo Grayson (BlackWarGreymon) VS Sir Gawain (Duftmon)
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

The black dragon released a barrage of War Blaster on lesser adversaries attempting to aid their Knight Commander. Theo flew low over the ground through the smoke and fire grabbing the attacking digimon and tossing as far as he could. He didn’t take his yellow eyes off Samael and Gawain for more than a few seconds at a time. They couldn’t afford the distractions from the task at hand.

Before they’d disembark from the Grandlocomon, he’d spoken briefly with Okatsu. When their opportunity came, she was to attack directly and Theo would exercise a more indirect approach to distract or offset Sir Gawain’s footing. Though the tag-team style was very familiar to Theo, it was a bold move on the BlackWarGreymon’s part in that he would take on the role opposite of the one he normally partook. However, it was for the best to lessen the chances of the Knights connecting him to the former Grayson brothers duo. Besides, Okatsu looked to be quicker and more agile than himself to keep a close pace with Sir Gawain.

Samael slammed to his knees as Sir Gawain proceeded to kick him in the face. Theo burst into motion, continuing his low flight path towards the Duftmon. His Dramon Destroyers torn into the ground creating a wave of rock and debris as he drifted to the Duftmon’s backside as Okatsu engaged in front as they planned.

“Great Tornado!” Theo roared, while roughly kicking Samael away to recover. The swirling and tumbling winds he called forth spun and carried the Royal Knight and older dragon into the air. Theo let himself be carried by the rotating winds, so as to not waste energy fighting it. Immediately, Sir Gawain’s rapier whipped with same intensity as the roaring winds into Theo’s personal space. Vicious slashes marked across his arms and chest as Theo blocked with his Dramon Destroyers held up. He threw himself into the tornado’s main air stream, rapidly rising into the air and breaking away from Gawain. At times, he thought he saw Okatsu exchange blows with the feline Royal Knight.

He shook off the last encounter and dove straight for Sir Gawain, twirling his body in flight. “Black Tornado!”

The swirling black mass, that was Theo, bisected and canceled the existing winds. A resounding clash of metal rang through the windswept trees. Sir Gawain’s sword locked with Theo’s claws in a brief standstill. Sir Gawain held the stalemate with far less effort than the old greymon, whose arms visibly shook in trying to break away.

“Theo Grayson,” Sir Gawain said matter-of-factly. “2nd Special Forces Group, 4th Platoon, NCO. A decorated and dedicated soldier with a twenty-two service record. Strange that you should oppose us, when you should understand our cause best.”

Theo grunted; he refused to appear surprised. Of all the Knights, Sir Gawain was the one most likely to deduct his identity. “How did you know?”

“Easily enough, your form may have changed,” the Duftmon stated plainly, “but your combat style and efficiency gave you away in our first conflict at Camelot. Our instructors have used examples of your exploits to help train new recruits at times. ”

“I’m flattered,” the black dragon muttered, he locked his elbows and knees, refusing to lose ground to the Royal Knight.

“Why do you try so hard?” Sir Gawain said mockingly, “The humans are an infestation to be cleansed from our world.”

“Who are you to decide that?” Theo grunted heavily, his feet slid back into the dirt, slowly losing this encounter.”You have not even bothered to get to know them and what they can offer digimon.”

“Offer?” The Duftmon Royal Knight scoffed, “They are frail flesh creatures that can be crushed by the weakest of digimon. They are a blight to digimon foolish to believe such babble. Separating these so called ‘partners’ is but a mercy for those enslaved to humans.”

The BlackWarGreymon dropped to his knees, a clawed hand clutching at his upper chest. Sir Gawain’s words were rusted knife to a festering wound. The bleak despair of his core sang with withering turmoil. The raw pain renewed with a vengance.

“Mercy?!? Theo snarled out between breaths. “You blame us for causing further pain by resisting your crusade!” He yelled at the Royal Knight, throwing his normal sensibilities to the raging winds gathering around again. “Yet, you don’t realize the level of suffering you are creating for us partnered digimon!”

“Allow me to enlighten you.” He whispered coldly, unbearable pain tore through him.

Theo snapped. “DARK TERRA FORCE!”

Dark energies gathered around him. Every haunting nightmare of Asher impaled before his eyes, every moment of helplessness reliving the memory of holding his dying brother, the shattering of his healed core the day Kyle died.

The day the dark void swallowed his happiness and he only knew a fiery hell of loneliness for a year.

Theo surrendered himself to the negative energies and the darkness exploded.
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Phantom Thief
~ Aria Morningsong (Rosemon) ~
Vs. Sir Tristan (Gallantmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Aria winced as Sir Tristan and Michael locked shields with a shock wave of force that shook the air. The angel wasn't a mega, but he was still skilled enough to keep pace with Sir Tristan. How much of that was due to the assistance she and Artanis provided was uncertain, but Michael's skill was anything but. The archangel stood his ground with all he could muster and Aria was extremely thankful that his efforts kept the Royal Knight too busy to strike back at her and Artanis.

That probably also meant that the Knight regarded her as little more than an annoyance. As much as that stung, she couldn't dispute it. All she'd managed to do so far was keep the Knight slightly off balance.

Well, mulch that. She had to give Michael an edge somehow or this stalemate would never end.

Michael nimbly dodged an attack from the Knight and scored one of his own. Then Tristan struck back and Michael reeled. Now.

"Rose's Rapier!" Aria's whip charged with powerful nature energies, coalescing them into an extremely venomous point that shot out and pierced Tristan's shoulder. Artanis seemed to have the same idea and the two attacks gave Michael the chance he needed to regain his poise. Neither the venom or the natural electricity in her whip seemed to have any lasting effect on the Knight though. Damn.

She had to give the angel a shot to end this. "Rosy Cradle!" A lovely smelling, but highly intoxicating gas erupted from Aria's outstretched arms and thorn whips enveloping the Royal Knight in a hazy pink cloud. Normally, that attack would knock anything in it into a deep slumber or at the very least leave them in a drunken stupor. But the Knight wasn't going to be that weak. This was a distraction, nothing more.

"Danger Thorn!" Aria poured as much energy into the attack as she could, filling the cloud with a barrage of thorns. A red glow erupted from inside the cloud as Tristan's Shield of the Just blasted a hole in her smokescreen, destroyed her thorn barrage, and nearly took off her arm as Aria narrowly dodged.

She needed to keep dodging, to regroup and ready another cheap shot. But she wasn't going to. Tristan seemed to think her an annoyance. The Guardians had little confidence in her. And why should they? What had she accomplished? Compared to the others, nothing. Well, right now, she was going to put her life in the hands of Michael and Artanis. It went against every fiber of her being, but damn it she had to trust them if they were to ever trust her.

She didn't run or dodge. She dove towards Tristan with single minded determination.

"Forbidden Temptation!" The black jewel on her chest erupted with light as Aria put everything she had into this technique. Dozens of roses sprung into existence around Sir Tristan, all erupting with corrosive pollen that would eat away at his data like acid boiling through flesh. Her Rosemon form was starting to falter. She had never been able to hold this form for too long at once. She wasn't going to get another chance after this.

If she survived Tristan's next move that was. She had one last card to play. If Tristan came for her next, she'd unleash a smokescreen of her Fascination attack, which would leave a cloud of energy sapping gas in her wake and hopefully give her the chance to escape before she reverted to Lilamon.

She'd dare not call out to them. But it was their move now. Artanis. Michael.

Give him hell.


< Henry Vane (AvengeKidmon) & Frantz Stein (Titamon) +
vs. Sir Gareth
- Glen Elendra, Inside the City -

Sir Gareth sidestepped another massive swipe from Stein's huge dragon-bone blade. A new canyon was carved through the city square as the blade pulverized the stones and the roots in its wake. His ghostly ally, the Hinukamuy, leaped forward and sunk its jaws into Stein's fingers only to receive a dual blast of Henry's arm cannons to its face for its trouble.

Give and take, strike and counter-strike. This was the flow of their battle as was it the flow of many of the other battles that raged through the once peaceful kingdom.

Stein roared in defiance and swatted his free hand towards Sir Gareth who stood his ground and with a single mighty blow deflected Stein's attack.

"We need another card to play Stein." Henry whispered into his friend's ear from his shoulder. "Do something big. Something flashy."

Stein raised his blade high into the air and stabbed it straight into the ground. The skulls on his arms glowed with unholy fire as black miasma seemed into the earth and spread like a disease. "Dark Army Pact!" The earth shook and cracked as skeletons of all shapes and sizes tore their way from the earth. Some shaped like dramon, others like ancient warriors, still others little more than petrified bark and branches all brought to life by Stein's hex.

Henry whistled. "Well, that'll do big guy. That'll do."

"You hope to best me with this fodder!" Sir Gareth stepped forward and demolished a skeleton warrior with a vicious punch that pulverized its skull. Stein cast out his arm and his resurrected army charged the Royal Knight.

Henry took off as well, using his arm cannons to try and limit Gareth's movements. Still, the Knight was an awe inspiring force as he tore into the skeleton warriors, he and his astral partner moving with blows so fast they could scarcely be followed as Stein's army was crushed back into dust.

Sir Gareth grabbed a dramon skeleton by the neck and ripped its head clean off only to come face to face with Henry as the pirate emerged from the dramon's rib-cage. "Destruction Trigger!" The Hinukamuy absorbed the blast and dissipated, leaving Gareth to dodge unharmed. Even now, the Hinukamuy was starting to reform. What did it take to bring this guy to his knees?

"Surrender and step aside. You're only postponing the inevitable." Gareth clenched his fist. "We do this for the good of this world."

"Wrong." Henry leveled his guns at the Knight. "Only a man who serves his ego claims to speak for the world. Only a man who fears defeat asks for his foes to surrender."

A skull warrior approached from behind but Sir Gareth dispatched it with a single blow without even turning around. "Then prove me wrong."

"Oh, its not me you have to worry about lad." Henry fired his blasts and Sir Gareth leaped to close the distance only to get swatted by Stein's blade as it came down on him like the thunderbolt of an angry god. The earth erupted with dust and fury as the remains of stones and skeletons alike rained down around them. And there, as the dust cleared, was Sir Gareth struggling to hold up the weight of Stein's blade.

The skull warriors left standing were closing in, and Henry had vanished in the chaos. Gareth stained against the force of the massive Titamon with the strength of a desperate Royal Knight. "Chabudai Gaeshi!" The Hinukamuy sprung forth and joined Gareth as he mustered incredable strength, the strength to move mountains, and flipped Stein from his feet. The Titamon crashed into a nearby building, crushing the entire tree it was carved from.

Three skeleton warriors closed in and Gareth moved to intercept. He felt the cool steel of Henry's leg cannon press into his back a split second too late to dodge.

"Destruction Trigger!" The blast tore forth and sent Gareth careening into a nearby flowerbed where he landed bruised but not beaten among the rose bushes.

"You try to lecture me when you fight with an army against one opponent?" Gareth said as he pulled himself to his feet.

"Says the man with an immortal ally attached to his back." Henry raised his guns and leveled them at the Knight.

Stein pulled himself to his feet with another roar of anger and rage. "CRUSH! KNIGHT!" The remains of his army rallied themselves against the Knight. Gareth's back was to the wall, literally, but would it be enough to take him down?
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God of Monsters
< Thor Odinson (Imperialdramon: Paladin Mode) >
vs. Sir Lamorak (Jesmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

He couldn't defeat Lamorak without the White Sword, the Royal Knight had made that abundantly clear. Thor had thought to hold off on pulling the White Sword from digital space until he felt ready again. Percival had pushed him to his limit scant hours before; it had taken everything he had to put the sword back in the space between worlds and moments, and since then he'd struggled to shake the sensation that he was unraveling.

With the sword in his hands, he finally felt whole again. But everything else felt so...ethereal. It was as if the world around him was made of gossamer strands. Nothing else felt real. Just the sword in his hands.

And the enemy before him. Somehow, Lamorak resisted the pull of the intangible world around them. He remained solid - steadfastly so. Thor had fallen back down upon the Royal Knight like a thunderbolt and Lamorak had still been able to block his strike. Thor had severely underestimated the young Royal Knight at the start of their encounter.

There was a flurry of movement from the Jesmon, and Thor's body acted on instinct, disengaging from their sword-lock and parrying both the strike from Lamorak's deadly tail-blade and the follow-up strikes from his wrist-mounted swords. Thor slashed upwards and broke his guard, then delivered a stiff kick to the midsection that sent him flying back.

Lamorak seemed stunned - momentarily - and Thor closed the gap between them. The White Sword crackled with energy as it fell; and it took Lamorak crossing all three blades together to stop it. The following cascade hurled him back through the forest and away from the center of Glen Elendra.

Thor felt a sense of urgency wash through him and felt his body move on its own accord as Lamorak's fire geists streaked past him, missing their strikes by a hair's breadth. Thor flared his power and sent the three spiraling away, then turned his focus back to Lamorak and the real battle at hand. The BelleStarmon lay injured behind him; he'd shielded her from the killing blow, but had no idea how much longer she'd last with the injuries she sustained.

Lamorak sensed Thor's moment of hesitation and charged forward; Thor met him, his sword at the ready. They traded blows, blades sparking against one another. Thor allowed the White Sword to take over and guide his actions; he let it move his arms and position itself to block the trio of Lamorak's blades and let him counterattack. With a flash, Thor sent the lightning boring into Lamorak and forced an opening in his defenses.

The Royal Knight twisted away, all agile muscle and sinewy serpentine movements. But this left his side exposed. Thor swung his sword, intent on ending the fight before it could spiral further out of control...he wasn't sure he was in control even at that moment.

But then Lamorak blocked the strike. It didn't make sense; Thor had found an opening, he'd forced one. But Lamorak had suddenly composed his defenses where a split second before there had been none.

The OS Generics, Thor realized. Was it actually possible that Sir Lamorak was capable of using such an advanced technique? That kind of ability and level of experience was rare, even among the Royal Knights who bestowed generations of experience and technique to each new member. Only a handful of Jesmon had ever manifested such an ability - usually after years serving among the Royal Knights. Could Lamorak, who was barely out of diapers have managed to do it after just four years with the order?

He couldn't dwell on that at the moment. The BelleStarmon was bleeding out behind him; Tessa's efforts to contain the fire geists were meeting with only marginal success. Lamorak was becoming more aggressive with each passing moment, each exchange only raised the ferocity of his strikes. The calm, composed regality the Royal Knights were trained to embody was slipping away into a furious sort of desperation that could only have come from someone that young and inexperienced.

It didn't matter whether he wielded the OS Generics or not if he lost control in the middle of battle. At the moment, Thor was the only one equipped to contain such an outburst.

The thunder god charged, but was met by the momentarily-forgotten geists. He fended them off quickly enough, but that gave Lamorak enough time to maneuver into position in the sky above him. The geists recoiled and - moving faster than Thor thought possible - rejoined Lamorak in the air.

"One for All!" Lamorak cried out. He hurled a beam of power down from the sky, channeled and amplified through the energy lens created by his geists. But Thor stood his ground as the attack neared.

"Omni Sword!" was his answer. He clashed his blade against the incoming torrent of energy, scattering it and sending a bolt of his own power thundering up into the sky towards Lamorak.

Even Lamorak and his OS Generics couldn't react fast enough to race the howl of power that ripped into them. The shield of shimmering energy faltered in front of Lamorak. He sailed through the air and forced himself upright. Thor took to the sky after him, but the three geists dashed between them and attempted to hold him back. As Thor fought his way through, he caught sight of several dark shapes sailing through the sky beside him, making a bee-line for Lamorak.

A group of Tamers, each atop their Digimon. A Quilinmon charged the injured knight beside a MegaKabuterimon and a DoruGreymon.

Lamorak was quick to evade them and move to re-engage Thor, but the three kept after him.

"No," Thor realized, fighting through the geists with a burst of power. "Leave him!"

But the three Tamers wouldn't listen. The urged their partners onward, practically nipping at Lamorak's heels. The Royal Knight's blades flashed three times. Then, in an instant, it was over.

The partner Digimon dissipated, and the Tamers plummeted from the sky.

Lamorak gasped as they fell, and he reacted an instant too slowly. The Tamers struck the ground below with a horrific impact and lay still. Lamorak descended the remaining way to the ground, gazing at their bodies with wide eyes. Thor couldn't hear what he mumbled, but the geists had retreated to his side and all four of them stood motionless.


The Reforged Soul
Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)
Glen Elendra, The Kingdom of Nature
VS Sir Lamorak (Jesmon)

Tessa muttered underneath her breath. The fire geists kept swarming Lord Thor immediately after every attempt she made to contain them. The collection of rips and slices in her Book were proof of it. Tessa could teleport very fast if she put her mind to it, but evading and occupying three targets was ridiculous! Eternal Nirvana only worked so many times to punch a temporary hole in the fire geists coordination. Not to mention all this rapid spell casting was tiring.

The lithe Wisemon knelt on the her Book’s pages holding out a hand with a trembling effort. Almost-done! Spirals of High-Coding condensed again in the flashy creation of a Great Working. Her newly formed pet fire geist, Anthony, (because pseudo-Anthos was a pain to keep saying) hovered protectively over its master awaiting instruction. Tessa glanced apologetically towards the fighting Paladin. She could do little more to aid the Thunder god, not when another laid bleeding out.

“Anthony, protect,” Tessa commanded the construct, the singular instruction was all the energy she could spare to imprint into her pet. The pseudo-fire geist turned around to watch for any intruders that would dare interfere as Tessa attempted to heal the injured BelleStarmon.

Stumbling off her Book, Tes plopped next the fallen angel on the ground. It was bad. Data bleeding profusely from stab wounds in the gut and chest. Why weren’t the wounds already closing, Tessa thought. The BelleStarmon was a demon type digimon, right? Unless she wasn’t a true demon, like Samiel. The sudden realization pushed Tessa to hurry in placing her hands over the stricken digimon.

“Don’t worry, I’ll have you fixed in a jiffy,” Tessa chirped with false cheer, her labored breathing betrayed her lessen confidence. Sweat dripped down her brow from exertion, a faint blue glow formed around her small hands-only to flicker weakly and die out completely.

“****,” the wisemon cussed uncharacteristically. She tried again, but nothing happened. Tessa stared at her hands helplessly for a long moment.

“No, no, no,” Tessa muttered insistently, “There’s got to be a way!”

Her father’s Book gently nudged her backside. Tessa glanced over her shoulder, the pages flapped animatedly in emphasis. Tessa understood the Book’s suggestion in a way only a Wisemon could. She lightly touched the warm spot beneath her robes at the base of her neck. “No, dad entrusted that to me to protect, not to use. Who knows what would happen if I unleashed its power.”

In a moment of desperation, Tessa cried out, “Dad, please! I need help!”

A ghostly hand touched Tessa’s lavender shawl, the wisemon jumped in surprise. Standing next to her was her father, Nikolai Tesla. The female Wisemon was baffled, then she realized: her father’s Book. The Great Tomes were a Wisemon’s life work, knowledge, ...and memories. The Book continued on even if it’s creator passed from the digital realm. The memory of her father heard his daughter’s cry for help.

The ghostly image of Nikolai held a hand over the Great Tome, causing the pages to flip rapidly until they stopped. Tessa peered at the displayed page puzzled. “A playback memory? But I don’t have anymore reserves left to Work the high-coding needed for such a task.”

The silent memory of her father pointed a finger at the Work requirements. “Wait, a seal? All the high-coding needed for the playback is already stored in there. I just need to apply the activation sequence!” Tessa said with growing excitement and hope. She pulled a small knife from the depth of robes and pricked her finger. A splatter of blood dripped onto the seal, lighting up the page and drowning Tessa in a sea of blinding light.

A radiant Angelwomon appeared in a flash, holding a baby Zerimon. Tessa stared in dazed wonder, “Dad’s favorite memory: Mom holding me when I was born.”

Suriel smiled kindly at her matured daughter. Tessa nodded. The young Wisemon knelt beside the BelleStarmon again. The memory of Suriel leaned against her daughter’s backside and brought a slender arm around Tessa’s left side to lay a healing hand over the Wisemon’s shaking hands. Baby Tessa bubbled happily in her mother’s other arm.

Together mother and daughter called forth their healing auras, strengthening and reinforcing Tessa’s waiving abilities to heal the BelleStarmon’s grisly wounds. When Tessa’s light began flicking again, Suriel hummed softly in her daughter’s ear:

Light, gleam and glow
My Love, Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse
Bring back what once was there

Heal what has been hurt
Change the Fate’s design
Bring back what once was there
What once was there.

Blue light spread out from their joined hands, engulfing the BelleStarmon. The dreadful wounds closed with no remaining scars. Tessa smiled tiredly after the light slowly faded. The young mage promptly passed out and collapsed in Suriel’s warm embrace.


The Reforged Soul
Tamers: Hoshiko, James, and Andrea
Digimon: Deneb Odebu (Thunderbirdmon -->Shurimon)
Glen Elendra, The Kingdom of Nature

Deneb touched down some distance from the battlefield, close enough for them to get in, far enough that they weren’t immediately spotted and attacked by the Knights’ troops.

James dismounted second behind Andrea, Hoshiko following him. She seemed more reserved than ever, as though she too felt her partner’s absence keenly. But then if he and Artanis were inseparable, Hoshiko and Okatsu seemed more so. And he knew how she must feel, unable to do anything if her partner was in danger. They could only trust in their fellow Guardians to protect Artanis and Okatsu, something that felt quite alien to him.

Hoshiko scanned the trees, though her gaze didn’t stray far from where they had last spotted Gawain, James realized.

He turned to Andrea and Deneb. “Aria said something about hidden paths, right?”

“She did,” Andrea said, surveying the forest until she tilted her head at James, “there are shortcuts marked by shrubs with three pointed leaves and violet flowers which lead to hidden groves.”

“Don’t forget the hollow roots and tunnel systems connecting the Tree-Homes,” Deneb interjected, his voice made deep and more gruff as Thunderbirdmon. While the Tamers made plans, the Avian twisted and bobbed his beaked head around, keeping a vigilant watch.

“Like that?” Hoshiko asked after a few moments looking at the surrounding undergrowth. James followed her gaze to a bush which did indeed have three-pointed leaves and violet flowers adorning it.

“Nice spot,” he said, smiling at her. She nodded, her gaze slightly to the left of the bush. He knew that if he knew where Tristan was, he would be looking that way in case he could catch a glimpse of Artanis through the foliage and know his partner was still fighting. But he forced it aside, difficult though it was. No. They had their own job to do, one as vital as the fighting their partners and the other Guardians were doing even now.

They advanced into the bush and through it, into a tunnel of branches and leaves. The roar of battle grew louder with every few steps, and they walked cautiously in case they suddenly emerged into the fray. He could hear the cries of the wounded and the crackling of distant fires.

“Andrea, you know about how to set up evacuation routes, right?” Hoshiko asked. “What do you think we should do here to get the Tamers out of danger?”

Andrea took a slow steady breath. James and Hoshiko were looking to her to take the lead. No problem, just another day on the job. With the Royal Knights reshaping the landscape around them as well, nope, no big deal.
“A map would be nice,” Andrea said wistfully, “but with only four of us, our options are somewhat limited to coordination. More than anything we need to maintain constant communication.”

“Let’s sync up our digivices so we can track each other’s location and give regular updates every ten minutes,” the young woman instructed, raising her left arm. A soft fabric armband cradled her forest green digivice securely to the back of her arm. “If you run into trouble and can’t verbalize use the Ping function to send an alarm to the tracking system on the devices.”

“James, you’ll come with me and Deneb for now to start corralling survivors,” Andrea reached into her backpack and pulled out a packet of six unactivated glowsticks. “Hoshiko, your priority will be locating one of those hiding trees or hollows situated along this path and mark the way with these glow sticks. Once you secure a spot, monitor the area immediately along the path for any Tamers and digimon seeking shelter. The thicket is dense enough here to let you keep a low-profile.”

Andrea had noticed Hoshiko constantly glancing in the direction where Okatsu was fighting, better for her to stay in relative safety if she was somewhat distracted. “If either of you need help, I’ll send Deneb immediately; he can cover the most ground through the forest the quickest.”

The young woman flicked through to another menu on her digivice, scrolled through a few choices, and held her wrist up towards Deneb as the device shined. The green glowing crest of sincerity appeared above the Thunderbirdmon’s head, descending to engulf him in light. Once the light faded, a Shurimon stood in his place.

Deneb secretly beamed with pride at his beloved partner behind his cloth veil. Andrea hated being the center of attention, but when the situation called for it, any reservations went straight out the window.

“James, we’ll help whoever we find first. If they’re able-bodied or with a partner, we’ll direct them towards this path, if not you’ll guide them back and join back up with us if you can.” Andrea continued. The female tamer exhaled as she got ready to make her most important point. “Because you two are without your partners right now, if you find yourself in trouble with no other option: Make a Gate.”

Andrea looked the other two tamers in the eye for a long moment. She couldn’t stress this enough. “Make a gate. But First find cover and Try to let the immediate danger pass, because once you start the gating process you've got limited window of opportunity to use it. Gates are loud lightshows and take a moment to build the connection between worldsBut it’s an option to Get out of here and safely to Analog. You can always get back here at another time or location when the coast is clear. You’re no good to your partners and everyone else dead.”

The two nodded. “I understand,” James said. It only reminded him that Artanis wasn’t there. For the first time since they had become partners, really, he was in Saga and Artanis wasn’t just a room away. Once again, he was powerless. It made him feel incomplete, and he knew Hoshiko felt the same. It was why she seemed less focused right now, he was certain.

Hoshiko looked at Andrea with an expression James hadn’t seen. She seemed almost haunted, like there was something looming behind her. “So do I,” she said very softly. If before it was like Okatsu’s absence had reduced her, now it was like something about Andrea’s instruction had reminded her of something terrible. But what?

“Let’s get started,” he said, as much to try and distract Hoshiko as to do exactly as he said. “Every second we wait is another second the Tamers out there in danger.” He turned to Andrea.

Andrea missed the glance Hoshiko sent her way, the deep shade of thicket making it difficult to see. The young woman crept through the bushes to peer through to see if the way was clear. Hearing a break in the attack for a moment closest to them, Andrea gestured with a simple nod to Deneb. The Shurimon sprang stealthy into the upper branches, blending in with the foliage.

“Deneb will follow from above to warn us about any of the Royal Knight’s forces approaching us. I saw a row of Tree-homes a little ways ahead before we landed. Someone could be hiding there.” Andrea said in a hush tone as she ducked out of the thicket in a crouched run.

James looked at Hoshiko for a moment, pausing. “I know you’re missing her, but be careful, okay? I know how it feels to not have your partner there, I’m feeling it now too. But we need to keep it together for them.” He knew how to do that. He’d done it since the day he found out his dad was dead, compressing the grief, burying the pain. And every time something else added to the mountain of misery, he just forced it back behind his smile.

“I know,” she said quietly. “Go. Andrea’ll get too far ahead.” He nodded, and raced away, passing through leaves and branches. The sounds of battle grew closer, sounds that he knew intimately now. Defending Tamers against the Royal Knights had carved the sensations of a battlefield into his memory. As he raced after Andrea, he glimpsed Deneb in the trees above, the Shurimon racing through the foliage with barely a sound.

He caught up to her near the tree-homes she had mentioned.

“James,” Andrea nodded towards the Tree-home just ahead. The southern wall was sagging inward on the one side, the tree growing throughout the building just barely kept the structure from collapsing completely. The main entrance laid obstructed with heavy fallen limbs. “My digivice is picking up an unfamiliar tamer signal within, though it’s not very strong.”

“Deneb, try and find a way in at the upper levels, we’ll look around down here as well.” The young woman called out on her digivice. An imitated owl hoot was the returned acknowledgement. An explosion rocked the ground from a wayward attack not far from two tamer’s position.

Andrea looked to James, her heart racing as she steady herself against a tree, “Are the confrontations with the Knights always this bad?”

The female tamer had previously encountered digimon with prejudice against humans and their partners. Some digimon she and Deneb had to fight to get away from or to protect their rescuees. Even some digimon they’d come to rescue refused their help. The last ones hurt the most. Often, she’d have to grit her teeth and bear it. If there was anything she and Deneb could do to save a life, they’d do it, even if their help wasn’t asked for.

More explosions followed the first. The ringing clashes of swords were briefly drowned by the all-too-near roars before again becoming the music of battle. Unlike Andrea, however, James was not shaken. He knew these sounds too well. He had been closer to death than this, though always with Artanis right beside him.

“Not always,” he murmured, just loud enough to be heard over the din. “Some of them have a bit more restraint than others. Not much more, but enough to make a difference.” He paused. “Not that it mattered much. I… we always lost, in a sense.”

"Because surviving - because this - isn't enough."

“People died,” he said. Matthew’s face was first to his mind’s eye, but it was followed by others. Too many others. “Human and Digimon alike. It wasn’t just the Knights doing it, it was the Digimon who’d always been there, hating us. When the Knights started this madness, those Digimon took it as a sign that they were right all along.”

Another explosion shook the ground as they moved cautiously around the tree-home. He wasn’t smiling now, both the danger of their situation and the grim conversation making it impossible.

“We couldn’t win,” he said softly. “All we could do was retreat fighting. That’s all we’ve done, and even that cost us so many lives.” The mountain was there on his shoulders, weighing him down like a pile of corpses stacked high upon his back. Both those who had been slain and those who had been banished, failed by him. Even when he smiled and joked, he felt the sheer weight of his failure and the pain of those he had lost, ever since his dad had died so long ago.

“Where have you been?” he asked, trying to force it away. “You’re reacting to all of this like you don’t know it.”

Andrea frowned as James described the struggle against the Knights. A futile fight against an overwhelming foe. In a way, she was reminded of the events of the past summer in trying to contain a wildfire that burned indiscriminately. Though James’s last comment made her pause in her search for an entrance.
“I knew the Royal Knights were starting to speak out against us, but I’ve been gone for the last five months,” Andrea bit down the edge of her retort, she couldn’t quite decided if James was accusing her or not of staying up to date with the situation. “I was fighting wildfires in the western United States and preventing human stupidity from causing them.” And trying to stay alive at the sametime.

She felt around the around the obstructed door, trying to loosen the jammed logs in front of it.

"Deneb, can I get an assist?" Andrea called through the device on her wrist. A second later, a giant shuriken sailed through the air. The young woman pushed James back with the length of her arm to grant the shuriken space. The large throwing star cut through the downed limbs like butter, clearing the entry way. "I couldn't exactly leave my post, when my fire crew could be called out at anytime."

“I’m sorry,” he murmured, picking up on the edge she forced back and only just realizing how barbed his question could have sounded. “I was just wondering. I’ve been here the whole time since this started, that’s all. I haven’t gone back, haven’t seen my mum or anyone…”

He followed her into the tree-home.

“It’s been hell,” he confessed softly. “Fighting like that when all we could do was hope someone else would end it. Just hanging on and hoping the Council would do something. I’m not used to that. I just do things, help people, save people.” It wasn’t the first time he’d hit this thought. He wasn’t used to having to rely on anyone except Artanis. He hadn’t had to since the two of them had become partners. But the Royal Knights couldn’t be defeated by one Tamer and one partner, nor perhaps by all the Tamers and partners there were. Alone, he and Artanis couldn’t even hope to defeat one Knight, let alone all thirteen. All he and the others could do was fight to save as many lives as they could and hope that the Host or the Council or someone would step in.

He looked around, eyes adjusting to the dark and seeking the Tamer Andrea’s Digivice had picked up.

Her empathic side ached for James , she really did. The confusion she felt when her crying mother handed her a set of warped and burnt dogs tags. She loved fiddling with those dogs tags, when sitting in her dad’s lap during the late evening hours on the family porch. But then he stopped coming home. The helplessness. The unknown that the future would bring. She didn’t know or understand at that age. Instead, she tried figuring it out for herself, rather than wait for someone to do it for her.

“I get it. I really do.” Andrea replied quietly, she’d seen her mother briefly after the fire season, but had high-tailed to Saga as soon as she could. The extra tight and prolonged hug from her mother didn’t escape Andrea. She returned the gesture just as strongly, even though she wasn’t much of a hugger. “A situation seems impossible and you have no choice but to reply on those at your back, when trying to suppress a force of nature.”

She could still remember the wildfire roaring around her fire crew, the heat pressing on them. Breathing was difficult, sweat and dirt clung to her face and arms. Still she had to carry onward, for it was do or die. “Even when you think you’re prepared for the worst, most often you’re not. Sometimes all you can do is regroup and keep pressing forward. Just never stop.”

Andrea glanced at her digivice again, the signal was getting stronger, She flicked on a flashlight to see better.

“These things we do, so that others might live,” Andrea quoted quietly, her digivice gave off an alarm as she stepped carefully in the open room. With a slight frown, the young woman tapped her foot several times. A hollow thump echoed back. “Check the floor, I’m wondering if there’s a hidden door here.”

He nodded in answer and began checking it, searching for any trapdoor or moving panel. As he did so, he reflected on her previous words. “I don’t stop,” he murmured, as much to himself as to her. “I haven’t stopped since… not since that day, really.” He had just buried the pain and moved on, instead. No matter how heavy it grew atop his shoulders. Even Artanis didn’t see how hard it was, he thought. He didn’t let anyone see that, because they needed him to inspire them. That was how it had been since this madness began and he had become a hero.

He hadn’t set out to do it. He hadn’t thought he wanted to be famous. He just saw people suffering and in danger and stepped in like he had a hundred times before. But there was a difference between fighting a bandit somewhere or saving people from the aftermath of disasters, and facing off against the world itself. At times, it felt like that. The Royal Knights were so powerful and so respected that to fight them like he had was like making the world itself his enemy.

“So that others may live,” he murmured, echoing her words as… what? Justification? Explanation? He wasn’t entirely sure. Andrea seemed to understand him, he realized. Had she lost someone close the way he had? Had she felt the same pain?

He stopped searching as his fingers found a well-concealed catch in the floor. “Andrea,” he called. “There’s something here.”

The female tamer shone her flash light by James’s hand. Indeed, she could barely make out the outline of door blending in with the natural wood. She nodded at her current company. “Do it.”

A second later, the pair heard a soft click and a section of the floor sprung up an inch. “James, wait,” she stopped him kneeling down beside him.

“Hello, anyone down there?” She announced down through the dark gap between the hatch and floor. She really didn’t want to get hit by a protective digimon partner. “We’re tamers. I tracked your digivice to this spot. Are you alright?”

She held her breathe, when there was only silence. Then… “Yea, more or less…” a young girl’s voice trailed off.

Andrea bit her lip, that could mean anything. “My name’s Andrea and I’ll come to you. Tell your partner to stand down.”

A soft ‘It’s alright, Dorumon’ greeted Andrea as she opened the hatch the rest of the way. Handing the flashlight off to James to hold, the young woman descended a creaky ladder and knelt beside the terrified girl.

“What’s your name?” She asked, the child hiccupped, ‘Megan....”

“Alright, Megan, I need you to tell me what happened” Andrea said soothingly, looking the dust-covered child over.

“Dorumon and I were running to find shelter, when I tripped over a root,” the child expanded her left leg out. The ankle was terribly swollen and bruised. Andrea gently felt the injured foot and at one point pressed too hard in the wrong spot. The young tamer muffled a cry in her partner’s fur.

“Looks like a bad sprain or partial fracture,” Andrea muttered to herself, reaching into her backpack for her first aid kit. She wrapped the joint securely with the bandages she had on hand.

“Let’s get you out of here and away to safety.” She said, turning her back around and lifted Megan piggy back up on her shoulders.

“Really?” Megan said hopefully.

“Without a doubt.” Andrea said smartly, climbing back up the wooden ladder. Dorumon hopped through the opening a moment later at Andrea’s heels.

“Take her to Hoshiko,” the brunette said to James, passing the young Megan off. “Deneb and I will start searching the next house.”

Before Andrea turned away, she looked at James closely. She didn’t know him very well, but something about him reminded her of...her brother, Kyle.

“James,” she called out to him, “If...I don’t make it out of this, could you do me a favor?”

This wasn’t easy to ask.

“Talk to Theo. I’m worried about him.”


Andrea Mercer and Deneb Odedu (Shurimon → ?)
Glen Elendra, The Kingdom of Nature
VS Royal Knight Sir Tristan (Gallantmon)

They had found Aria’s hidden paths and began extracting hidden or injured humans and their digimon partners.

The pair worked in tandem in extracting injured humans and digimon from collapsed homes or caught under fallen trees. Deneb, as Shurimon, sprung agilely through the thick woods and cut a path through the debris to clear a path for the evacuees. Andrea directed Tamers towards the hidden paths away from the fighting, occasionally assisting those too injured to move themselves. As they escorted another group to safety, a powerful red beam scorched a path through the trees not far from their location. Andrea rose slowly from behind the deep roots she’d taken safety behind.

“Deneb, I need a lift!” Andrea called out to her partner hidden among the canopy. A plant-like spring gently wrapped around her extended hand and recoiled, dragged the young woman off the hard ground. “Where did that come from?” She asked, slightly winded from the swift change in elevation.

“Sir Tristan’s shield,” Deneb pointed out somberly, he hovered closely behind his Tamer to grab her in case another stray shot came their way. “Tristan and the other Guardians are slowly approaching our position as they fight.”

“We need more time,” Andrea muttered, trying to come up with a solution,”just a little more time and I think this section of Glen Elendra will be cleared.”

Deneb looked to his partner and back at Aria making a pass at the Royal Knight, her vine whips arching through the air, “I’ll go.”

“What?” Andrea asked startled, a note of surprise creeping on her face. “Deneb, you nearly pass out when I volunteered us to join the Guardians, that’s why I was fine with you deciding our role on the team.”

“You’re right, I am afraid. I’d much rather sing songs of brave warriors greater than I in battle” the Shurimon sighed, watching the ongoing battle with growing dread. His beloved Andrea was willing to risk life and limb, yet she held back from joining the fight directly for his sake“ Yet, I can’t envision how we might walk away from this fight without doing so. Not without possibly losing you.”

“Deneb…” Andrea whispered at a loss.

“My beloved Andi, I fear losing you even more,” Deneb leaned his forehead into his tamer’s back, seeking strength in her comforting presence. The plant ninja exhaled a shaky breath he’d been holding onto. “You are my shadow as I am yours. Opposite sides of the side coin. My stories and songs were my only company until I met you. Your heart, your song, harmonizes with my core. You are my partner, friend, and sister, when I stood alone in my tribe. For you alone, I can muster up the courage to fight.”

Andrea turned around and touched foreheads with her partner in a sense of closeness she hadn’t felt since her father passed away and she and her brother drifted apart. A single tear slid down the female tamer’s cheek.

“What other choice do we have, other than to fight to survive,” she muttered, pulling away, the roar of the wildfire advancing on her fire crew as they desperately worked to finished the last leg of the fire line and stopped the wildfire’s advance on their side of the mountain sang in her memory. It had been too close of a call. She quickly checked the settings on her digivice. “I’ve got your back.”

“You always have,” Deneb reaffirmed. “I have never doubted that.”

His arms trembled at the prospect of facing the Knights, but he reminded himself he wasn’t going at it alone. Andrea and the other Guardians shared the same fight.

“James, Hoshiko,” Andrea called out to the other two over her digivice, “the Guardians fighting Tristan are getting too close to our location. We’ve going to help them out.”

Cutting off the transmission, a bright light emitted from the device and around Deneb, becoming a swift-footed Silphymon. Deneb scooped his partner up in his arms and leapt through the trees with great force to close the distance to Sir Tristan and the other Guardians. As they neared the battle ground, Deneb let Andrea down in a sturdy Elder Tree to stay at a safer distance and to observe the battle.

The Silphymon jumped high into the air and spread his arms to catch the thermals flowing through the skies. At the peak of his flight, Deneb brought his arms forward, energy forming between his hands. “Static Force.” The energy ball was sent soaring towards Sir Tristan, when Lord Michael disengaged and barely raised his own shield in time against the Knight’s counterattack. However, Deneb’s sphere just barely hit the Gallantmon’s shield with little effect.

“Deneb, I don’t think direct attacks are going to work, your Silphymon form doesn’t carry that much power.” Deneb could hear Andrea, but not in the normal sense. He knew she was speaking to him through the digivice that connected them both. “Maybe we can slow him and create an opening for the others. Drop down to the forest floor.”

The Silphymon acknowledged by immediately doing so. A huge relief came over him with a touch of guilt. He’d promised Andrea he would fight the Knights, but his hands had shook uncontrollable when he’d released the energy orb and throw off his aim. Deneb couldn’t help but wonder if his tamer realized this and changed their approach. He touched down on the ground disheartened.

Aria joined the fray, her various attacks seeming to have some effect at first. However, the Gallantmon seemed to brush them off with ease. However, the Rosemon didn’t cease in her course of attack.

Deneb held his breath in wonder as the Rosemon dived fearlessly at the Royal Knight as she released a maelstrom of black roses, a thick pollen covering the knight. Here he was camouflaged among the trees and the flower maiden fought with all her might. He curled his clawed fists.

The bird man felt the tingle of digivolution creeping over his nerves. Deneb knew which form Andrea had selected, each path felt different. “Andrea, stop.”

“Deneb, what’s wrong?” Concern carried over in her words. The flow of energy stopped.

“I need to assume the Warrior form,” Deneb stretched his feathered arms upward away from his body in the Position of the Rising Eagle with his eyes closed. A meditative posture taught to all the young braves in his tribe to quell a troubled spirit.

“Are you sure?” The question came quietly.

“Yes, Andi, please,” the bird man pleaded earnestly.

A new flow of energy overcame the Silphymon and he let it take him. Reddish brown wings sprung from his back, his hair changed to blonde and grew in length. His arms and legs thickened, becoming more muscular and his overall size increased tremendously. His head-mounted display morphed into a hardened keratin beak.

“Garudamon!” A much deeper voice yelled as the light cleared away to reveal the Winged Warrior. Deneb swept his massive wings, quickly rising through the forest canopy. Swiftly achieving a higher altitude, the Garudamon lit up with a red fire and divebombed Sir Tristan, who was currently surrounded by Aria’s black roses. “Wing Blade!”

The fiery silhouette of a ghostly bird continued in a straight path as Deneb ducked lowered with a different target. The flaming bird struck Sir Tristan’s Aegis shield, but not before he succeed in ripping loose a Lightning Joust in return. The lightning just barely glazed Deneb’s feather back, eliciting a pained cry from him. But the bird man held true to his path as he rapidly descended. He slammed both hands upon the ground in a closed grip.

“Boulder Breaker!

The ground beneath the Royal Knight’s feet ripped open with a tremendous quake. The surrounding trees shook, some falling down to the ground as their roots lost their anchoring. Deneb took to the air once again with great effort to wait for an opening to attack again.



Sir Tristan was relentless. Four against one and still he held them at bay. Occasionally, they got a solid hit in and threw the Royal Knight off his footing. However, the Crismon Knight would quickly recover and retaliate with a countermeasure. The Royal Knights were Saga’s greatest protectors for a reason.

Deneb! I need your eyes! Where are those three going?” Andrea yelled into her digivice over the roar of the fighting and weapons clashing.

The massive Garudamon peered his telescoping eyes towards a Quilinmon, MegaKabuterimon, and a DoruGreymon flying boldly past the Guardians fighting Sir Tristan. Their partners riding alongside encouraging them onward. The three sets of partners quickly gave chase on the heels of the retreating Jesmon.

“****! They’re just going to get in Thor’s way!” Both partners remembered the pure display of power the Odinson wielded back at Kaladesh. There was no way to warn them. The pairs were too far away and not linked up to Andrea’s digivice. Moments later, Deneb saw only the quick flash of metal reflecting in the distance. Three times.

“Deneb.” She said only his name, but with it came a heavy question. One he didn’t want to answer.

“The digimon partners are gone, their data dispersed,” Deneb whispered, his heart and digicore weighed heavily. He choked on his next words, “I-I can’t see the tamers, they dropped below the tree line. Sir Lamorak is simply standing there... where they fell.”

Long silence.“I don’t know what to do.”

The bird man clenched his eyelids shut with silent tears with the shared admission.

“What else can we do, Deneb? What else do we have?” A sense of loss leaked over the connection. Deneb jerked his beaked head with surprise at his tamer’s direction. Seldom did he see his partner’s rock-steady composure break. All the scenarios they’d encountered before paled in comparison to now. He didn’t think Andrea was asking him this, but rather herself. He didn’t have an answer, but he did know one thing.

“We still have each other.” The one Absolute. The greatest Truth of any Partnership.

“You’ll really let me fight with you, Deneb?” Surprise filtered through the link.

“Yes.” Deneb whispered with a heavy heart. Over the years, and as much as he disliked fighting, he'd kept Andrea at a safe distance for the worst situations. He knew he couldn’t keep her from the danger forever. But he saw now, this battle was greater than just themselves. They were fighting to stay together and not just for their lives."

“I just hope it will be enough.”

“We wouldn’t know unless we try, my dear,” Deneb reassured her, he strengthened her now. For all the years they’d been together, Andrea had been his rock and foundation. Now, he needed to return the favor. He couldn’t let his fear of losing her stop them. Deneb took to heart the phrase his dear Andrea always quoted: these things we do, that others might live.

“Okay, all or nothing then. We put everything on the line.”

The large garudamon drifted back through the air from the battle with Sir Tristan. A serene feeling passed over him amidst the battle. His ever present fear receded. All other sounds faded away, only a faint heartbeat pulsed all around him and throughout, filling him with a familiar presence. He and his tamer saw one another, but it was like they were seeing more of the other than ever before. A ribbon of light reached out from their depths of being, entwining the pair together in mind, body, and soul. An overwhelming green aura engulfed them and exploded outward in real space.

A beeping alarm sounded off in another part of the forest not far from Deneb’s position. A computerized female voice announced: Biomerge Digivolution

His and a young feminine voice cried out together.

“Biomerge ACTIVATE!”

“Deneb biomerge to…!”

The green light grew and grew in the open air above the trees, expanding at an alarming rate. Within the glowing nova of energy, a vague form began taking shape. Massive wings swept the air into strong gusts; a mature tree like club smacked away at a Royal Knight soldier approaching to attack; column-like feet made of stone and wood skimmed the top of the forest canopy; a colossal maul opened wide and gave a terrifying and deafening cry: “Ceresmon.”

The monstrous bird Ceresmon hovered it's impossible weight in the air as numerous vines shot out from its earthen body and connected with the trees and plants below. “Hunger.”

The forest directly below Ceresmon came alive. Shrubs and short trees bent over protectively of tamers hiding, roots erupted from the ground to cut off soldier giving chase, vines wrapped around the feet of unsuspecting attackers,effectively trapping them.

The section of forest Ceresmon influenced grew slowly with each passing second, searching out the Royal Knights attacking its inhabitants.

A graceful and serene figure stood atop an Elder Tree overseeing Ceresmon’s conduct. The gentle giant of a bird was a destructive force when angered, the rational mind connected to the bird giant mitigated just how much energy the manipulated vines and branches drained their trapped foes. The Medium/Andrea did not wish for anyone’s death, only to stop the fighting.

The task was laborious. Her/Their sense of awareness and interdependence was extensive. Was that her changed hand holding her steady to the Elder Tree, the great wings somehow keeping her aloft, or the vine wrapped tightly around an enemy soldier’s leg.

The Medium could not quite decide where she/they started or ended. Instead, she focused on the mighty bird, seeking the gentle spirit of her Deneb. Together, they sought a means to an end.
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Knight of RPGs
Hoshiko Yukimura
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

James ran off after Andrea and Hoshiko was left truly alone, with only the sounds of the battlefield around her. She stood for a moment holding the glowsticks. This was new. For a short while, James, Andrea and Deneb's presence had held it off, but now the feeling was there was nothing to hold it away. She was alone. Okatsu wasn't nearby.

Practically since they'd met, Okatsu had always been within calling distance at most. They had been together for years now, exploring together, building the guild together, journeying together. The Gabumon X had always been there since the day she had been saved, a constant warm presence at Hoshiko’s side. Even when Hoshiko was intently studying some artifact, Okatsu would be just outside her window, training the other protectors of the guild and keeping an eye on her partner at the same time.

But now they were separated and she couldn’t see Okatsu through the trees. She didn’t know how well her partner was fighting against Gawain. All she could do was hope for her safety.

James and Andrea needed her. She had to focus. She forced her worries aside, burying her fear for now. Theo was there, and Samael too, even if she trusted the former far more than the latter to have Okatsu’s back. And Okatsu could handle herself in battle.

But even as she found a hiding tree and began to mark the path to it with the glow sticks, her doubts still gnawed at her from within. Okatsu was strong and skilled and fierce, and she had so much faith in her in battle, but Gawain was a Royal Knight. An enemy out of the pages of legend, more skilled than any other. Against that, even with Theo and Samael there too, Hoshiko was afraid. She had been when Okatsu fought Guinier too, but then it had been buried by her passionate anger from confronting one of the Knights face-to-face.

As the sounds of battle echoed around her, Hoshiko continued. It was all she could do, help to save others while hoping that Okatsu would survive.


James Reeve
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

James took the little girl from Andrea, letting her cling to his back as she had Andrea’s. He gave Megan a smile as he did so. “It’s going to be okay. I’ll get you somewhere safe, and there are people out there fighting to protect you.” It made him think of Artanis, who even now was fighting Tristan, he could feel. But Artanis was strong and fierce, and he had Michael and the others there. All he could do was trust in them to protect one another, no matter how much he hated not being there. Some would call him insane for riding his partner into such a dangerous battle, but it was just natural to him to want to be there. Artanis was his partner, his friend, and no matter how fragile he was, he wanted to be there with him.

Even against a Royal Knight.

Before he could leave, Andrea stopped him with a look that he knew. It was that same strange look Theo had given him before, as though he reminded the two of them of someone.

It was Kyle, he was almost certain.

“James,” she said. “If… I don’t make it out of this, could you do me a favor?” He met her gaze. “Talk to Theo. I’m worried about him.”

He paused, struck by what she was asking. Not just the request itself, but that she was making it to him. Not to Hoshiko, who she already knew, judging by how he’d seen them talking on the train. Not to Deneb, her partner. But to him instead.

Why him? Because he reminded her of Kyle?

“I will,” he said quietly. The battle still raged, but for a moment he felt cocooned from it by his own thoughts and the solemnity of the moment. He wanted to say something more, to ask a question or offer some encouragement. The girl riding on his shoulders reminded him that she was there by clutching tightly onto him as an explosion rocked the ground, her Dorumon partner clinging close as though she might vanish at any moment.

He slowly turned away, casting his gaze back as he prepared to take Megan to whatever safe spot Hoshiko had found. “I hope I don’t have to, though,” he finally spoke. “I hope you make it out of this, Andrea.” He offered her a smile, covering his uncertainty and worries with it, before he left her behind, racing through the trees as fast as he dared while carrying Megan. Her partner raced with him, lagging slightly behind but never losing him.

“Who are you?” Megan asked. “Why are you here?”

“I’m James Reeve,” he replied. “And I’m here with some others to help protect you all. We’re called the Guardians.” He ducked through some vines, helping the little girl avoid getting tangled in them.

“Like the Peacemakers?” she said.

“That sounds right,” he nodded with a chuckle. He had gleaned enough to know the general gist of who the Peacemakers were by this point. “Not quite the same, though.” He came to one of the glow sticks Andrea had given Hoshiko and found the path she had laid out, following it to a hiding tree.

As he approached, Hoshiko emerged from the brush to meet him.

“This is Hoshiko,” he said to Megan. “She’s a Guardian like me, and we’ve got this safe spot set up for you. Just stay here until we can get you out of Glen Elendra safely.” He passed her to Hoshiko, who took the girl with a look of sadness in her eyes.

“I thank you for helping us,” Megan’s partner said, looking up at them both. “To venture out onto this battlefield without partners…”

“Our partners are here,” Hoshiko replied quietly. “They’re fighting the Royal Knights now.” She still seemed melancholy. The weight of Okatsu’s absence wasn’t as obvious as before, perhaps being able to do something had let her push it aside for now, but it was still there.

“Then they are as brave, if not more so, than you are,” the Dorumon mused. “I wish I could fight as your partners do. That I could protect Megan…”

“Hey, don’t be hard on yourself,” James said, kneeling down to his level. “I know what it’s like to want to be able to protect people. But right now, you can’t stand up to them. You’re not strong enough. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that.” He remembered Artanis’ words to Erin and Phoebe on the train. “Right now, trust in us. We’ll protect you. And one day, I’m sure you’ll be strong enough to be protecting others the way we’re protecting you now. Okay?”

Megan nodded from where Hoshiko held her. “Okay. One day!”

“Perhaps on that day, it will be you we protect,” her partner said. “It would only be fitting.”

“Maybe,” James replied, looking between the two of them with a smile. “And I’ll be glad to see you again whether it’s in those circumstances or just if you want to say hi.” He chuckled. “I have to go now. There are more people who need our help. But Hoshiko will be here to keep you safe.”

She nodded and he stood up, meeting Hoshiko’s eyes.

“What is it?” he asked, noting how she looked at him.

“It’s nothing,” she murmured. “You’re just so…” She let the thought trail off, before seemingly capturing it again. “Heroic.”

“So that others may live.” Andrea’s words came back, stirred by Hoshiko’s own. But being described like that felt wrong. Perhaps to others he was a hero, indeed, he knew plenty of people considered him some kind of champion to the Tamers. But it wasn’t anything he’d wanted. He wasn’t trying to make any sort of stand or become any kind of symbol.

He just wanted to help people.

“Not really,” he said, just as softly. “Not any more than you or the rest of us.”

Hoshiko’s brow furrowed in thought for a moment. “Sorry,” she finally answered. “I’m holding you up.”

He let his smile widen a little. “It’s alright. I’ll bring as many people as I can here.”

“Of course,” she nodded, with something unreadable in her eyes. He pushed that thought aside to join his other doubts, and vanished back into the foliage in search of more people who needed saving.


Artanis Dawnflame
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature
Vs. Sir Tristan (Gallantmon)

Deneb joined the fray, adding a fourth warrior to their number. Artanis soared around Tristan, hanging back where his ranged attacks would serve him better, shooting at Tristan when his allies ducked back or were forced away by the Gallantmon’s onslaught. For the moment, it seemed to work, occupying Tristan’s attention with Michael, Aria and Deneb’s united assault. Slugs roared through the air from his revolver, but were often met by the impenetrable Aegis or sparked harmlessly from Tristan’s armor. And without a clearer opening, he didn’t unleash his Rising Destroyer in case he struck one of his allies.

He felt uneasy. It might have been safer to leave James to evacuate Tamers, but the lack of his weight upon Artanis’ back was unsettling. He was so used to flying with his partner into battle that the sudden lightness and lack of James’ enthusiasm left him feeling like something integral was missing. Perhaps that as well as his relative weakness left him hanging back like this.

Harmless as his shots might have been, Tristan apparently took offense to them, or else decided to remove what he judged the weakest enemy from the field. His lance began to crackle with power and with a cry of “Lightning Joust!”, he hurled a beam of lightning at the RizeGreymon. It struck as fast as true lightning, blowing Artanis through the air.

The RizeGreymon caught himself, weakened as he was. He hadn’t yet fully recovered from the battle in Kaladesh. While Tessa’s healing had closed his wounds, it hadn’t invigorated him entirely. But he couldn’t let that hold him back.

Tristan’s shield glowed like a sun as he brought it to bear against the other Guardians engaging him. In clockwise sequence, the triangular marks engraved upon it burned gold, until all were ignited.

“Shield… of the Just!”

Crimson power exploded from the Aegis, parting the Guardians and the air before it. Though his Shield of the Just could not be sustained for very long, for the moment, it devastated all it struck. Trees were sliced through by the burning energy, leaves sent hurtling through the air. But as the attack ended, Artanis saw his opening and answered.

“Rising Destroyer!” Beams of white-hot light poured from his wings, shooting towards Tristan through the swirling foliage. Leaves became ash where the attack touched them, but regardless the Rising Destroyer converged upon Tristan, bathing him in its solar energy.

A crimson mantle billowed, its edges seared black, and the attack was parted. The sound of crackling echoed through the forest as Tristan emerged and rose skyward, his lance at the ready.

“Lightning Joust!” he called, pressing toward Artanis. He seemed almost unharmed, the burnt edges of his cape the only indication he had been struck by the Rising Destroyer. Perhaps the Aegis was simply that impenetrable. Regardless, Tristan was upon him in a flash and the Gram struck. It lanced into his shoulder and unleashed its power, hurling him through the air with a boom of thunder.

He caught himself as Tristan turned back to the other Guardians. Even with the Gallantmon’s power and the lethal speed of his attacks, he still had to divide his attention between four enemies. That was the advantage the Guardians could leverage here.

They had to leverage it.

“Trident Revolver!” he roared, hurling a spread of slugs at Tristan. They punched through his mantle and slammed into his back, but his armor still held against them. Artanis growled and angled himself towards Tristan, gliding at the Gallantmon. Perhaps if he could get up close, he could get around the shield and deliver a heavy blow somewhere it would affect him. If Michael, Aria and Deneb could distract him…

“Solid Strike!” He swung his revolver arm at Tristan like a club as the Gallantmon moved to engage Michael, but Tristan’s shield came round and ignited. The blow landed and the Aegis rang like a bell from blocking Artanis’ strength, but Tristan held firm. Though Artanis could slowly force him back, it would take time, and the Gallantmon had no intent or need to continue the contest of strength.

“Shield of the Just!” Artanis was hurled away by the beam of radiance, tossed into a tree despite his efforts to hold against it. His bulk smashed through bark and trunk, collapsing it into the forest as he crashed down. With a groan, he rose, seeing Tristan engage his comrades again. The circumstances of the battle were keeping him from focusing on any one Guardian for long, at least.

He forced himself back into the air.


Okatsu Sekishusai
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature
Vs. Sir Gawain (Duftmon)

As Theo fell back into the tornado, Okatsu lunged into the fray to press the assault. Gawain repositioned, moving back from her slashes, parrying with his rapier those he could not evade. They clashed across the forest floor, the ringing of steel in their ears muffling the distant sounds of the battlefield.

“Okatsu Sekishusai,” Gawain acknowledged. This was the first time in this battle they had fought uninterrupted. Okatsu ignored him and came in with a blow of her weapon, lunging with her other hand as she did so. Gawain was moving the instant she began, dodging the halberd and the claws and scraping his rapier’s tip across her chest. “Black Aura Blast,” he called, and the explosion sent her skidding back until her claws caught in the ground. “I study all facets of warfare, and your technique, while unsurprisingly altered by your experience across the face of Saga, is still at its core that which you were taught in your youth.”

Okatsu growled. “Technique isn’t everything, Sir Gawain.” Before she could leap at him again, Theo came back in with a cry of “Black Tornado!” His claws screamed against Gawain’s rapier, the Royal Knight holding firm with little effort, Theo visibly straining against the Duftmon.

And then Gawain spoke, quiet, but her sharp ears still caught his words over the sounds of battle around them.

“Theo Grayson. 2nd Special Forces Group, 4th Platoon, NCO. A decorated and dedicated soldier with a twenty-two service record. Strange that you should oppose us, when you should understand our cause best.”

Okatsu’s composure slipped with shock, her eyes widening. “What…?”

“How did you know?” Theo grunted.

“Easily enough, your form may have changed,” the Duftmon stated plainly, “but your combat style and efficiency gave you away in our first conflict at Camelot. Our instructors have used examples of your exploits to help train new recruits at times.”

She stared at the two, forcing herself to keep battlefield awareness even with utter shock running through her. Nothing about Theo had given her any indication of this. She could never have guessed it had she not heard Gawain speak just now.

“I’m flattered,” Theo muttered in answer.

“Why do you try so hard?” Gawain asked, his voice smug and mocking. “The humans are an infestation to be cleansed from our world.” Okatsu growled and her eyes narrowed, preparing to strike, but for now Gawain and Theo were locked closely and she needed a better opening.

“Who are you to decide that?” Theo grunted heavily. “You have not even bothered to get to know them and what they can offer digimon.” He was being pushed back, not even matching Gawain’s strength by this point, Okatsu realized.

“Offer?” Gawain scoffed, the word almost degenerating into laughter.” They are frail flesh creatures that can be crushed by the weakest of digimon. They are a blight to digimon foolish to believe such babble. Separating these so called ‘partners’ is but a mercy for those enslaved to humans.” He glanced at Okatsu as he spoke, as though to send the words like an arrow at her heart.

“You don’t know what you speak of, Royal Knight!” she snarled in answer. “Hoshiko is my lord, a worthier lord than any digimon I ever met on my journeys!”

Gawain ignored her as he pushed Theo down, the BlackWarGreymon clutching at his chest. There was more there than weariness, Okatsu realized. She couldn’t see Theo’s eyes, but his shoulders trembled.

“Mercy?!” he snarled. “You blame us for causing further pain by resisting your crusade!” She saw their faces again, those slain by the Knights and their followers in the fall of the guild, the flight to Axis Mundi, and everything since. “Yet, you don’t realize the level of suffering you are creating for us partnered digimon!” The rage and pain in his voice was raw, as though Gawain had just ripped the scars from an unhealed wound and laid bare something that had torn Theo right to the core.

“Allow me to enlighten you.” Now the BlackWarGreymon’s voice was as cold as ice, seething with venom. “DARK TERRA FORCE!” Theo’s form was coated in tendrils of shadowy energy that writhed like serpents across his armor, hissing like drops of water falling onto a hot stove. They coiled upon his body for an instant, then detonated into a black fireball. Gawain was hurled away, thrown across the forest floor by the power of Theo’s attack. He came to rest some distance away, his armor smoking where the fireball had seared.

Okatsu stared for a moment, shocked by the raw emotion in Theo’s voice and the fury with which he had unleashed his attack. She reeled from the revelation before forcing herself to focus. She couldn’t gape now.

There would be plenty of time for questions and answers later.

Gawain was rising to his feet. Perhaps he had been surprised by the ferocity of Theo’s retaliation, but he was a Royal Knight. He was already recovering and she could not give him that opportunity, not while Samael was somewhere behind her and she didn’t even know if Theo had it in him to deal another blow like that.

She leapt past Theo, racing at the Duftmon with a snarl of “Geki: Hyougetsuga!” Icy lances solidified around her and shot at Gawain, but he reacted as swiftly as she expected. His body weaved through the volley, his rapier parrying those few which aimed true. She followed the lances into him, weapon swinging as she spun. “Jurou Daikaiten!”

Gawain’s rapier flashed through the air and sparked against her blade, stopping her rotation and holding her there. He met her gaze.

“I see you’re surprised,” he commented. “So it would appear that he didn’t tell you who he was.” He paused. “It is a shame that he chose to oppose us. But we cannot halt this course even for those we once called brothers and sisters. Too much rests upon our actions for that.” He danced back, dodging her redoubled attack, before dashing back at her with his rapier glowing. “Extinction Wave!” The blade painted an arc through the air, and though she parried, she was blown back by its force.

Gawain advanced as she rose. “And so, we will certainly not halt this course for the likes of you. A samurai deluding herself that a human is a worthy master. And you, demon. If you persist, way shall be made through you.”


James Reeve
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

He raced back and forth through the forest, finding Tamers and partners. Some wandered aimlessly, trying to dodge patrolling soldiers. He sent them to Hoshiko with a smile and assurances that it would be okay, that the Guardians and Peacemakers would get them through this. Others he carried or supported all the way back to her. Once or twice, the battle almost engulfed him, attacks spilling through the trees mere inches from hitting him, Royal Knight soldiers running past and leaving him but a moment to duck into a bush. But he had escaped harm so far.

An explosion nearby rocked the ground as he directed a young woman and her Renamon partner towards Hoshiko. “Go, quick!” he called after her with a smile. He paused for a moment as she disappeared. He needed it to catch his breath.

He felt the air crackle with power and looked through the trees. Lamorak and Thor clashed in the sky some distance away, a beam of light from Lamorak met by a bolt of power from Thor that hurled the Jesmon away. He hadn’t fought Lamorak, but from what he had heard, he was the newest of the Knights.

Shadows passed over the canopy above him and he caught glimpses of a MegaKabuterimon, DoruGreymon and Quilinmon racing towards where Thor and Lamorak battled. They flew past Thor in a moment and were on Lamorak.

“No,” he whispered.

Even at this distance, he could tell Thor was trying to move, but something was restricting him. Lamorak danced away from the three and back towards the Imperialdramon, but they kept after him like hounds on a fox.

An instant later, where the three had been, there was but nothing but the glow of data and three specks falling to the ground.

He knew immediately what the specks were, what had happened. Tamers, perhaps desperate to do whatever they could to help, perhaps certain that Lamorak was too weak to do what he had just done.

Perhaps inspired by his example.

James didn’t move. He almost forgot where he was, even though he had seen this before. Could he have found them if he’d walked in a different direction? Talked them out of it? He didn’t know. But he knew they were dead, even if Lamorak had jerked downward as though trying to catch them. But… why? To save them, or because he didn’t know if the ground would finish the job?

He had said to Andrea that some of the Knights held back more than others. He didn’t know which of the two Lamorak was.

All he knew was that three Tamers lay broken on the ground somewhere nearby.

Light illuminated the forest from somewhere to his left, and he glanced over to see a ribbon of light passing through the trees. It rose from a figure in the distance through the canopy to a point he couldn’t see through the leaves. But it was familiar to him.

Could it be…?

“You there!” He whirled, startled, and a SaviorHuckmon loomed over him, its blades gleaming. “You…”

Before he could finish his sentence, a green glow burst through the forest from the figure in the distance, blindingly bright. With it came distant words that echoed through the trees.

“Biomerge ACTIVATE!”

“Deneb Biomerge to…!”

The green light rose up, passing through the trees. It was like it had electrified the air, the tension in the moment thick. But James was smiling in wonder, because it was Andrea and Deneb who had spoken.

A shadow loomed over the forest. He glimpsed it through the canopy, plant-covered wings, mighty feet of wood and stone. And then its voice echoed out, booming loud enough to shake the ground.


“What is this?!” the SaviorHuckmon exclaimed, only to be cut short again by the earth-shaking rumble of Deneb’s voice.


The ground shuddered underfoot as the trees began to creak and moan, like suddenly they were alive. Branches twisted and buckled, like an unseen puppeteer was pulling on strings to command them. The leaves shook in a frenzy, and suddenly the earth beneath the SaviorHuckmon erupted. Roots burst from it, coiling around the knightly dragon’s armor and holding him firm even as he tried to struggle free. He sliced one with the blade on his right arm, only to have two vines lash down from above and grab the arm tightly.

“Andrea…” James murmured in amazement. “Deneb… you’re doing this?” He backed away, awestruck and almost afraid by the power he was witnessing. It was like the Ceresmon had turned the forest into a weapon against the Royal Knights and their forces, making the trees themselves attack.

“What sorcery is this?!” the SaviorHuckmon snarled, struggling with the vines and roots to little avail.

James fixed him with a look. “The kind that’s going to stop you right now. The kind you’re trying to stamp out.” With that, he ran back through the trembling trees in search of more Tamers, hoping that Andrea and Deneb’s new power could protect everyone within the forest the way it had protected him.

He had seen Biomerge Digivolution before. Some of the Tamers he had fought beside had gained it as they fought, spurred on by some realization or resolution to become one with their partner. He was still awed by everything about it, the sheer strength it granted, the utterly fitting representation of the bond between human and digimon, that it was possible at all. And now Andrea and Deneb had become the great and powerful being he could glimpse through the canopy.

Surely with this they could win.


Hoshiko Yukimura
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

Hoshiko felt the forest shiver as she guided a girl with a Renamon into the hiding-tree, which was becoming almost full now. The trees creaked and whispered, the leaves dancing without any wind to guide them.

There was a shadow over the forest that hadn’t been there before, and she saw it through a gap in the trees as it flew. Great wings coated with trees held it aloft, its mighty stone feet almost touching the canopy. A tree larger than any other adorned its back, vines descending from its body to touch the forest below. She recognized it. Ceresmon, the form of one of the mighty Olympians. But she knew instinctively that this was not a god come down to fight.

She looked at the trees around her and realized that they were bending protectively around the hiding-tree, the bushes and shrubs too forming a shell like a protective embrace around them. She touched the leaves and it was like the hand of a friend was touching her own. She had half-heard words a moment before, but they had been too drowned out by the battle to hear clearly. But she thought now that she knew what they meant.

“Deneb? Andrea?” she murmured, looking at the Ceresmon. “Is that you?”

“What is that?” the Renamon asked, poking her head out of the shelter and staring at the distant great bird.

“I think… it’s my friends,” Hoshiko answered softly. She couldn’t know for sure. But deep down, she felt like she was right. That Andrea and Deneb were biomerged now, fighting as one to protect them.


The Reforged Soul
Theo Grayson (BlackWarGreymon)
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature
VS. Sir Gawain (Duftmon)

The darkness dissipated, revealing the standing and still form of Theo.

The BlackWarGreymon dropped to a knee as reality caught up with him, barely stopping himself with a locked elbow impacting the ground. Inside he felt numb and hollow, the previous attack had burned up all the boiling negative emotions festering within his core to power the black inferno. A very reckless move done in anger and wasted too much energy. Attempting a second attack of that caliber would be a mistake.

He barely registered Okatsu leaping past him to take advantage of the opening and engaged Sir Gawain, his long unkempt hair whipped about his face. Theo sucked in deep ragged breaths. His body quivered with tremors and his vision turned gray at the edges.

No. Not now. Theo quipped mentally. He pounded a clenched fist into earth until his knuckles turned blood red. The stinging pain in his hand grounded him to back to the present, the raging battle consuming the Glen Elendra forests. He couldn’t afford to black out now.

His brief inattentive cost him. “Lion Beast Wave Slash!”

Several stout trees were sent flying in his direction from a squad of GrappuLeomon coming to support their Knight. Caught by surprised, the barrage of flying trees impacted Theo in the side and sent him tumbling a short distance. Theo’s trained reflexes finally kicked in. He slammed a dramon destroyer into the ground to halt his momentum and angled himself back into the direction of the attacking GrappuLeomon.

“War Blaster!” The explosion of fireballs erupted from his hands, however, each fiery ball impacted precisely square in the chest of each GrapLeomon forcing them back in a heap. Theo followed up with a single gesture of a rising open palm. “ Great Tornado!” The burned, but still alive GrapLeomon were gathered up in the swirling winds and flung far from the Guardian’s battlefield with Sir Gawain.

A brilliant green light flashed through the skies right above the forest. Theo’s yellow matted hair stood on end. The raw energy buzzing through the air struck a deep chord within him. Wishful longing sang from his heartbroken digicore, a digivice beeped in response at his side unheard. Could the Knights understand what was happening? Or could only a partnered digimon understand the sacred union born from such deep bonds?

The Ceresmon’s roar echoed over the battlefield, vines rapidly extending from its massive flying body to the forest below. The forest shuttered as if it was a single entity in motion. Theo jerked back startled when a massive root exploded from the ground, but said root paused in its motion as though it were studying him. Then with great care, the tree root reached around his side and back, supporting Theo to his feet. The old dragon, eyes wide with surprise, glanced at the Ceresmon with realization, at least he suspect he knew. He also knew a potential game changer, when he saw one.

The black dragon dashed back towards to where Sir Gawain and Okatsu were fighting, ignoring the protesting of his tired limbs. They could not afford to let the Duftmon break away to redirect the focus of the Royal Knight armed forces. For Glen Elendra’s sake. And for the courageous partners’ sake.

Theo tapped Okatsu’s shoulder as he slipped past her, indicating he was a taking a turn. His dramon breakers immediately locking with Sir Gawain’s rapier, but the old dragon held his ground this time. They broke apart, Sir Gawain’s swift movements finding a hole in his defense and sinking into the old Greymon’s left bicep. Theo clenched his teeth from the resulting pain, but grabbed the thin sword with his right hand instead.

He had to keep Gawain busy whatever the cost. He narrowed his eyes at the Royal Knight.

“Terra Destroyer!”
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God of Monsters
< Samael Cain (Beelzemon) >
Vs. Sir Gawain (Duftmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Okatsu and Theo stood against Gawain alternating their attacks while the other recovered. Samael's third eye narrowed and its pupil dilated; it wouldn't be enough. He could see that clearly now. Gawain was too much, too skilled, and too efficient in his movements. It didn't matter how many times they got the "better" of him in an exchange -- he was prepared for it six moved beforehand and had already mitigated the damage and responded with a counter-strike.

Samael watched as Okatsu and Gawain exchanged a flourish and the wolf was thrown backwards. Theo rushed in to relieve her but one-on-one was outmatched by the Royal Knight's deft swordplay.

The fallen angel growled. Michael had tasked him with...handling Gawain specifically because he was unpredictable. But Gawain was not only predicting him, he was matching his moves and those of the other two Guardians sent in has his "backup." Samael didn't much care about their wellbeing, but they did have a tendency to stumble into his way and distract him; and any instant he was slowed down by them getting in his way was another that Gawain could capitalize on. Unless…

Samael sneered; maybe there was a way to get use those two idiots after all.

He watched the second slow to a crawl as Okatsu and Gawain clashed, weapons locked. His third eye focused in and he felt a jolt of excitement shiver down his spine.


Samael burst forward and thrust his sword. It pierced the seams of Okatsu's armor, through her back, and ripped through her chest, and tore into Gawain on the other side. Samael's third eye flashed, relishing the instant of shocked expression on Gawain's face, chuckling darkly at Okatsu's wide, wild eyes reflecting on the Royal Knight's armor.

It was a moment, a half-heartbeat, that hung in the air and stretched over the three fighters.

Then Samael sprouted black-feathered wings and with a bloodthirsty snarl he drove himself onward, pushing the sword through Okatsu to the hilt and driving her against Gawain. With a burst of speed he slammed them into a large tree and pinned them there on his sword. He sprung back, wings lifting him into the air. His right arm, now bereft of its blade, twisted and warped as blood and bone made way for sinuous living metal.

"Corona Blaster!" he howled, and sent a rain of unholy fire down onto the pinned Digimon.

Gawain reacted quickly, shoving Okatsu (and the sword) off and out of him before leaping into the air to avoid the blast. It struck the tree they'd been pinned two a half-instant later throwing Okatsu through the air and showering her and Theo with fire and burning splinters.

Gawain shot higher to survey the area and find Samael, but found himself nearly face-to-face with Samael's open-mouthed and fiery cannon.

"Corona Destroyer!" the fallen angel roared. A ruinous bolt tore from the cannon's mouth towards the unprepared Royal Knight.

But at the last second a streak of blue intercepted the bolt and blocked it with a cry of "Tensegrity Shield!"

A shout of "Magna Punch" filled the air. Pain exploded in Samael's cheek and his head nearly twisted off his neck. There was a flare of blue and gold light, and then Samael felt himself falling through the air.


< Michael Ha'Yisrael (MagnaAngemon) >
Vs. Sir Tristan (Gallantmon)
- Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

Everything had spiraled so quickly out of control that Michael could scarcely believe it. Despite their best efforts humans had lost their lives in the battle. He couldn't see Lamorak anymore, but the speed and desperation with which he had followed the falling Tamers led Michael to believe it had been accidental; just the unchecked reactions of an eager, young knight.

It had led to Andrea and Deneb's enormous Biomerge that was currently hard at work attempting to shield the fleeing Glen Elendrans and Tamers while simultaneously turning back the Royal Knights and their soldiers. Michael frowned. However much of a start they'd given the knights, that surprise factor would only last so long.

Indeed, Tristan seemed to recollect himself. With Aria indisposed and Deneb now expanded over the field of battle, it left Michael and Artanis exposed against perhaps the most polished fighter he'd ever faced. He could see Tristan tracing the flow of battle, eyes dancing back and forth from himself and Artanis to the giant bird god overhead to the general direction they'd last seen Samael, Okatsu, Theo, and Gawain tumble off to.

His eyes finally settled forward.

"Artanis! Move!" Michael shouted. Too late.

A flash of silver shot past him, knocking him to the ground, and slamming into Artanis's chest plate like a battering ram. Tristan, shield thrust forward, drove the large Greymon into the ground then spun around and whipped an arc of lightning from the tip of his lance that broke across Michael and sent him seizing back into a large tree.

Michael could only watch as Tristan turned seamlessly to face Deneb/Andrea. And with a roar of "Shield of the Just" he battered them from the sky with an onslaught of white-hot energies.

There was no pause in the knight's next move; he leaped into the air and sailed -- almost flew -- through the throng of soldiers towards the beaten Guardians. With a cry of "Lightning Joust" he drove his mighty lance into their massive fallen forms. The forest flashed with a pale blue light, and when it faded the giant Ceresmon had been replaced by the unconscious pair of Deneb and Andrea.

It was then that the other Royal Knights made themselves known -- the same ones Michael and the Guardians had faced in Kaladesh. They descended and emerged from the fiery forest: Dagonet, Bors, Bedivere, Guinier, Percival, and Kay -- with Gawain appearing soon after, gathering around the still-catatonic Lamorak

Michael couldn't hold back the grim frown that etched itself across his face. That meant Samael had been unsuccessful and the tables were turning poorly. A moment of reprieve occurred when Thor came bolting from the sky, landing in a crouch beside Michael, his weapon crackling with barely-restrained energy.

His appearance set the Royal Knights on guard, and they formed ranks -- defensively.

But that spot of home came crashing down with a literal meteoric fall from above. Fire plummeted from the sky and hit the earth with a tremendous crack. Svarog struggled to his knees in the self-made crater for a stunned moment before a flash of chrome struck from the sky and slammed him deeper into the earth.

Caradoc hauled the war god up by his fiery hair, and another thunderous blow cracked the ground beneath them and drove Svarog completely from view. This seemed to galvanize the Royal Knights again, and even in the face of the White Sword they shifted their formation offensively and spread out.

And then, despite Thor's presence beside him, Michael felt the worry creep up his spine.

"Knights, hold!" shouted Tristan, raising his shield high. Of the knights, he was the only one who hadn't stepped from Lamorak's side or taken his eyes from the sight of the fallen Tamers. "Stand down. We're done here."

Caradoc bristled. "There are still--"

"Lives to be taken?" Tristan offered, almost angrily. He gestured to the fallen humans. "This is not what we do. This is not who we are. Galahad made that clear."

"Gawain -- not you -- was given command of this mission," Caradoc snarled.

"Caradoc, please," Bedivere stepped in. "Just--"

"Gawain was given tactical oversight, Sir Caradoc," Tristan shot back, as if to remind Caradoc of his knighthood. "I was given command." He turned back to Michael and the panting Thor, who was clearly straining to maintain his control over his power level. "We'll leave you for now to collect the dead and hope your humans reevaluate whether trampling over this world is worth their lives."

"I thought that was not your intent," Michael countered, remembering the words Tristan had just spoken.

"You of all Digimon know what can happen in war," Tristan said softly.

"And that's what this is to you?" Thor growled from beside Michael.

"It didn't have to be. It still doesn't," Tristan said turning from Lamorak for the first time. He nodded to Percival and the Magnamon helped Lamorak to his feet. "It could have been a simple request - curtail them, contain them, regulate them. But our requests fell on deaf ears. And as you lot let them run roughshod over our world we are forced to escalate our actions in accord."

He nodded once more to the collected Royal Knights and they stepped away, even turning their backs on the Guardians to show their insignificance. Their forced joined them, disappearing into the dusty and smoky forest and leaving the Guardians to pick up the pieces.


Knight of RPGs
Okatsu Sekishusai
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature
Vs. Sir Gawain (Duftmon)

As Theo drew back, Okatsu rushed past him and engaged Gawain again. Her blade met the knight's rapier, the edges sparking on each other as she tried to wear the Duftmon down. But Gawain was a Royal Knight, his body at the peak of physical ability just as his mind was sharpened by many years of battle. Even with her and Theo rotating in and out to preserve their stamina, Gawain seemed nowhere close to tiring.

And what was Samael doing?

Their blades locked, screaming on each other. She glared into the Duftmon's eyes and strained against his rapier, but he held firm regardless, as unfazed as ever. Nothing they did seemed to so much as dent his perpetual calm.

“Extinction-” Gawain began, but his attack call was cut short as his eyes moved. He wasn't looking at her any more, she realised, but rather over her shoulder and past her. But she didn't dare look to see what he was-

A spike of pain ripped through her from behind. She felt it tear past her spine, through her chest and out through her front, slowing the battle to a crawl. Her gaze wandered forward to Gawain's brilliantly polished armor and in the mirrored surface she saw a black sword protruding from her chest, dripping red with her blood as it stabbed into Gawain too. And behind her shoulder, reflected in the armor, was Samael.

Gawain's eyes were wide with shock and disbelief.

The moment hung as she tried to understand what was happening. Gawain's disbelief was mirrored by her own in that instant as she stared with wild wide eyes at the sword and her blood on its edge and Samael's face reflected in Gawain's armor.

The instant ended with Samael's vicious snarl. The demon lunged, forcing her forwards and pushing Gawain with her. They slammed into a tree and Okatsu howled in pain as the sword moved inside her, pushing her against Gawain and staking them both to the tree with cries of pain. The jolting impact made the sword cut at her insides, and only it and Gawain kept her on her feet.

The pressure of Samael behind her vanished suddenly, but her back was struck by wingbeats.

“Corona Blaster!” the demon roared.

Gawain moved with the strength and reflexes of a Royal Knight, shoving her away and forcing the sword's tip out of his chest. The CresGarurumon tumbled back as the Duftmon leapt skyward, racing into the air. A half-instant later, a blast of unholy flame struck the tree and detonated. Gawain had thrown her a small distance, but Okatsu was still engulfed in the explosion and tossed across the singed earth. She landed heavily on her back with a howl as the sword buried in her jolted violently from the impact, a cloud of cinders washing over her. The scent of ash filled her nose, the tastes of blood and dust mingling in her mouth.

Her thoughts reeled, scattered by both the agony of Samael's blade in her chest and the shock of his actions. She lay paralyzed by pain, as streaks of blue and gold danced in the sky above her. Was this it? Was this her death?


Futilely she tried to move, reaching out for anything to lift herself off the ground, but every attempt to move so much as an arm set her chest ablaze with new blades of pain. She could only rest there on the burnt ground, thoughts in turmoil as she wished for her partner to be there. Samael, Theo and Gawain were nowhere in sight, and the sounds of the battle were so terribly distant suddenly.

She tried to cry out for her partner, for anyone, but her voice failed her. She choked on dirt and cinders there on the shattered ground, clinging desperately to consciousness out of fear that should she let go, she would never rise again.


Hoshiko Yukimura
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

One moment, she was watching the Ceresmon soar majestically above the forest.

The next, she was on her knees with a scream of pain. A spike of pain bored its way past her spine and through her chest, as though she had been stabbed from behind. It hurt more than anything she'd ever felt, and with it came a flood of shock and distress. She clutched at her chest, breathing wildly. It wasn't her who had been hurt. Nothing could have done it, there was nothing stabbed into her. But if it wasn't her, then that could only mean-

“Hoshiko!” The Renamon and her Tamer were at her side in a moment, holding her. “What's wrong?”

“Okatsu,” she gasped out. She forced herself to stand, gripping their shoulders to pull herself to her feet. “It's... Okatsu...” She stared wild-eyed into the forest, only to spasm as the pain spiked again. The two beside her clung to her, keeping her standing.

“We need to get you help,” the Renamon insisted.

“It's Okatsu,” Hoshiko whispered. “I need...” She shrugged them off despite their efforts to keep hold of her, staggering forwards until a third spike of pain sent her falling to one knee. She felt heat on her skin for a moment before it faded, the spike in her chest flaring intensely enough to rip a cry from her lips. But she still began to struggle back to her feet, weakly brushing the pair off as they tried to hold her again. Staggering onwards, she made for the shell of foliage that still wrapped itself around the hiding tree and its surroundings.

“Stop!” the Tamer behind her cried. “It's dangerous out there!” But Hoshiko wasn't listening. Still gripping a hand over her heart, she forced herself through the shell and back into the battlefield. Her steps grew faster and faster, spurred on by desperation.

Had Gawain overwhelmed Okatsu? Had Theo and Samael not been able to protect her? Or had someone else done this? She didn't know. She just had to get to Okatsu and be with her. That was all that mattered. The forest clutched at her, as though even Deneb and Andrea were trying to stop her. But even they couldn't stop her. The branches clung to her, but she tore out of their grip and forced herself through the trees. Vines lashed out around her, clutching at the Royal Knights' forces as they came near her.

“Okatsu!” she screamed as she ran, over and over. It didn't cross her mind that she might draw danger to her, only that her partner was in terrible pain and fear, and that she needed to be at Okatsu's side more than anything.

She should never have left Okatsu in the first place, regardless of what Michael had said. Regardless of the danger.

A vine cut a red line across her cheek as she passed, thorns clutching at her skin, but she kept running, every step accompanied by a cry of her partner's name. Her footfalls hammered on her skull as she sprinted, forcing aside the stinging of the cut with her desperation.


Artanis Dawnflame
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature
Vs. Sir Tristan (Gallantmon)

“Artanis! Move!”

Before Artanis could react to Michael's words, Tristan was upon him like a silver arrow. The Gallantmon plowed the RizeGreymon through the air with his shield, hammering him into the dirt before whirling to strike Michael with a burst of lightning from the Gram. The power of Tristan's blows was as strong as ever, while Artanis was weary from taking hit after hit. He struggled to rise up, but Tristan was already gone, fast as the lightning. He raced skyward and was upon the Ceresmon soaring overhead, toppling it from the heavens with Shield of the Just followed by a descent into a cry of “Lightning Joust!”

The RizeGreymon clawed himself up. As he did so, more Knights descended through the burning forest. Bedivere in particular landed not far away, sending a condescending glare towards Artanis as he stood with his brethren. Artanis sent a defiant glare of his own back, but it was all bark and no bite. He was exhausted and aching, worn down by Kaladesh followed by this. And he had never been strong enough to fight on their level. To have lasted this long had been a miracle in itself.

Thor descended too, his blade crackling with that power again. Feeling it reminded the RizeGreymon of the train, and of watching the horizon vanish into a cloud of pure white light before him. For a moment, the Knights tensed. For a moment, they were wary, defensive even. Thor and the power of his sword could cow them, it seemed.

But nothing else.

Svarog came down like a meteor, Caradoc hammering him into a crater. The Dynasmon rose up, war-lust blazing in his eyes, but before he could rampage further, Tristan's voice rang out.

“Knights, hold!” The Aegis gleamed with the light of the sun and the fire as the Gallantmon held it up like a flag. "Stand down. We're done here."


His eyes moved from the glare of the Aegis to the knight Tristan was standing beside. In the maelstrom of the battle, he hadn't taken notice before, but now there was calm enough for him to take in the detail. Lamorak knelt, catatonic, over the broken bodies of three Tamers.

“No...” he whispered, unable to stop himself. He shakily rose, staring at Lamorak and the Tamers. He had always thought that the Knights' words about avoiding deaths were empty rhetoric to present themselves as reasonable, and yet Lamorak's shock and grief were things that could not be faked.

Caradoc turned with those burning eyes. “There are still--” he began.

“Lives to be taken?” Tristan snapped in answer, with a gesture at the corpses before him and Lamorak. Though the retort had been aimed at the Dynasmon, the impact of it struck Artanis too. “This is not what we do. This is not who we are. Galahad made that clear.”

“Gawain -- not you -- was given command of this mission,” Caradoc snarled, but Artanis was only just listening to him and to Bedivere as the Examon attempted to calm his comrade. Tristan settled Caradoc's outburst with words that didn't sink in, before turning back to the Guardians, Michael and Thor in particular.

“We'll leave you for now to collect the dead and hope your humans reevaluate whether trampling over this world is worth their lives,” he said.

Artanis snarled, but it was as empty a gesture as his glare at Bedivere. He had no strength to fight on, even without the presence of the Knights from Kaladesh as well.

“I thought that was not your intent,” Michael answered.

“You of all Digimon know what can happen in war.” Tristan's reply was soft, though Artanis couldn't tell if it was out of sorrow. But even so, it put him on edge, burying the confusion that Tristan's actions and words had created with a spark of anger. It was like saying 'it happens', and whether the Gallantmon was sincere or not, it only reminded Artanis of those who had been lost because of 'what can happen in war'. Matthew and others, killed by falling during battle, by mobs of those who saw the Knights' actions as endorsement of their own hatred, by 'mishaps' and 'accidents' since the Knights had struck at that first camp so long ago.

Percival helped Lamorak up as the Gallantmon continued, turning to Thor. “It didn't have to be. It still doesn't. It could have been a simple request - curtail them, contain them, regulate them. But our requests fell on deaf ears. And as you lot let them run roughshod over our world we are forced to escalate our actions in accord.” With that, the Knights turned their backs and left, vanishing into the forest.

Artanis forced himself forward, holding his RizeGreymon form through sheer force of will in case this was a trick. But it seemed they were sincere, for they did not return, leaving only the dead Tamers and hard questions in their wake.

He struggled over towards the fallen Tamers, wondering where their partners were. If their partners had survived the battle at all. James wasn't with him, but he knew what his partner would feel when he found out about the three. Guilt. Grief. Pain. The losses stung Artanis, but he knew his partner took them far worse. That was how James was, smiling on the outside, suffering on the inside, always.

He cast his eyes over his fellow Guardians. He had to be stronger, like they were. Like Thor, like Svarog, like Michael, like all of them. He was holding them back like this, too weak to stand up to the Knights for long despite his courage. Courage alone wouldn't suddenly overcome the chasm in power and experience that divided him from them.

But for now, he just wanted to be sure that his partner was safe.


James Reeve
Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

The carnage of the battle had left him scattered from everyone else. Through the trees, he had glimpsed Svarog brawling with Caradoc, Henry and Frantz desperately battling Gareth, and Tristan striking down the Biomerged Andrea and Deneb with two attacks in quick succession.

He now ran through the blazing forest to where he had seen them fall, heedless of the flames. The air stank of fire, but he kept going. He wondered what had happened to Artanis, but deep down he felt that had his partner been wounded, he would know. He had met Tamers before whose partners had suffered terrible injuries, and they'd told him how they'd felt those injuries as their own. The bond that joined human to Digimon was stronger and stranger than most realized.

He felt like he could be Artanis' partner his whole life and still not understand it, he thought sometimes.

That thought, though, reminded him of the falling Tamers. Of Lamorak descending after them. He still didn't know whether it was to try and save them, or to finish the job killing their partners had started. Either way, the three were dead, he was certain. Even if Lamorak had been trying to save them, he hadn't seemed fast enough to catch them. Even if he had been, would he have been able to catch all three in time?

James forced the thought aside. He would know for sure soon, probably. For now, he had to find Andrea and Deneb.

After a few minutes more of running, he burst out of the blazing trees, and there they were on ground scorched by Tristan's lightning. Deneb and Andrea lay unconscious, Deneb in his Poromon form.

James ran to them, falling to one knee at their side. “Andrea, Deneb!” he called out to them, trying to rouse them. Them seemed just unconscious at least, but he had to make sure, and see if he could help them get up.


Phantom Thief
< Henry Vane (AvengeKidmon) & Frantz Stein (Titamon) +
vs. Sir Gareth
- Glen Elendra, Inside the City -

Sir Gareth was a truly formidable opponent.

The Royal Knight was both raw power and iron will, the perfect warrior. Henry was surprised that he had even managed to land a blow on him at all. But now, he'd landed three. That he figured was worth nursing his injuries over something expensive instead of cheap rum when this fight was over.

Stein finally pulled himself up from the rubble of the once majestic tree. Shards of bark and stone and bits of house rained down off of the Titamon's giant shoulders as the giant righted himself and pulled his sword from the debris. Across the field, Sir Gareth sat cool and collected with the last remnants of Stein's skeleton army at his feet. The bastard didn't even have the decency to look tired.

Henry moved to attack again, but a sudden flash of light drew his attention away from the battle. The Ceresmon that had appeared in the air what felt like moments ago was struck down by a massive blast of energy from below. From back towards the part of the city where the other Guardians had been fighting. And as it fell towards the earth the tension in the air shifted noticeably.

No not the tension. But something.

The sounds of battle erupted up from around the city seemingly simultaneously. And Sir Gareth smirked. "Looks like its time to wrap this up."

"Oh no, you're not going anywhere you scallywag." Henry kicked up a cloud of dust with a flap of his wings. Behind him, Stein roared in defiance.

"Oh? Then stop me pirate, if you can." Gareth clenched his hand into a fist.

And then he was upon Henry, having crossed the distance at incredible speed. Faster than he had moved the entire fight so far. Had the Knight actually been holding back his strength this whole time? Henry raised his arm to counter, trying to hit Gareth with a blast from his finger-guns, but the Hinukamuy sunk its fiery claws into Henry's arm and held fast. Gareth's elbow came crashing down on the side of Henry's head. The Captainhookmon's field of vision exploded into stars and he crumpled into a heap on the ground, barely conscious.

"CRUSH!" Stein roared as he brought his blade swinging around towards the Knight. The huge sword cleaved another path of destruction through the nearby buildings, further demolishing the square.

The Gankoomon leaped over the blade and made a beeline for Stein. "Jishin!" The Hinukamuy slammed both of its fists into the ground, shaking the earth. Stein's footing fumbled, and the Titamon stumbled forward.

"Kaminari!" A spear of lightning ripped from the spirit dragon's maw and struck Stein directly in the chest. The monster reeled, smoke streaming from the wound but the Knight was not going to give Stein a moment's respite.

"Kaji!" A pillar of fire erupted beneath Stein, scorching the Titamon's legs with the intense heat. Finally, Stein could hold himself up no longer and he too fell forward towards the Knight. But Gareth was not done with him yet. The Royal Knight calmly walked forward, beneath the shadow of the falling giant. And together, he and the Hinukamuy clenched their fists.


The two fists collided with Stein's jaw hard enough for the crack to ring out like a peal of thunder. The earth beneath the Royal Knight cracked and fragmented, shards of earth raising as the air crackled with the force of the blow. The giant's form exploded with light and the unconscious body of Stein, in Andromon form, tumbled away from the battle like another piece of debris.

Sir Gareth huffed. "Trash, all of you." The Knight turned his back on the defeated Guardians and went off to rejoin his allies.


~ Aria Morningsong (Lilamon) ~
- Glen Elendra, Inside the City -

Things had very quickly gotten out of hand, as was to be expected. When powers like the Knights or Michael or Thor got involved it seemed inevitable that absolute chaos wouldn't be far behind. Aria had started this journey with a certain degree of respect and reverence for the "higher" beings that walked among them. She had grown up with stories of the virtuous Host, the vile demon lords, the paragons that were the Royal Knights. Tales of awe and wonder and power and nobility and great deeds and glorious victories. To be a part of that, to step into myth and legend, had once seemed an impossibility. A fantasy of a young child with no respect for her own limitations.

Now that fantasy was reality. Aria had stepped out of the world that she knew. Away from the mortal realm where she belonged and into the domain of powers she did not fully understand. And as those powers lay waste to a city that she knew, a place so near to her home, she no longer felt awe, or wonder, or glory. Only fear. And the rising notion that she did not belong to this realm of gods and knights.

After Camelot, after Kaladesh, and now, after Glen Elendra, all she wanted to do was make it all stop. No more bloodshed, no more chaos, no more war. It was a childish notion, that a wish would make the world right itself. It was also against her nature. Try as she might to pretend she hated this, there was a part of her that relished in the thrill of combat. In the taste of dirt and grime and sap. That spark of rebellion that had always burned in her heart was burning all the fiercer now. It drove her on, compelled her to test her might against these godly foes. To prove herself as she had proven herself time and time again.

When Ceresmon had appeared above the city and its power had animated the plants themselves to rise up Aria had dared to believe that this battle might be won. As she had once done so naively that night before the battle at Camelot. That night a few days ago in another life. Now, Ceresmon was shot down. Her friends beaten and battered. Some whose fates were still unknown to her. The Knights were triumphant, leaving them once more. Their backs turned on them like they were nothing. Not so much opponents as annoyances. Left to lick their wounds and pick up the pieces. And three more Tamers from another world lay dead and broken in the dirt.

She punched the earth with her fist, the pain a welcome shock to her system. Maintaining her Rosemon form for so long, using so many powerful abilities back to back and trying to hold her own against a Royal Knight had left her more exhausted than she had ever been. Even including the beating she had taken in Kaladesh. That had been pain. This was a weariness that seeped down into her soul.

She was too tired even to cry for the dead.

The chaos had started to subside, but some of the Guardians hadn't made it back to the assembly. Maybe they were still out there fighting? Or laying beaten in a crater. Or worse.

She had to find them if she could. She had to at least do that. Maybe then, if she saved a life or two, she wouldn't feel so damn pathetic.

Aria took to the sky with what little energy she had left and began scanning for any signs of battle. But it quickly became apparent that wouldn't be enough. The whole city seemed more or less a battlefield from her viewpoint. Instead, she had to look for any bodies she recognized amidst the rubble and debris. It wasn't long before she spotted a familiar looking book and the small figure that rested upon it.

Aria descended, staggering a bit as she landed. Clearly she had torn some important fibers in her leg. That was yet another injury to add to her growing count. She tried to walk, but she would have to nurse the leg with a limp and she didn't want to look worse off than she had to. Instead, she opted for floating just above the ground.

The Lilamon approached Tessa as best she could, seeing the Wisemon was awake and looked like she wasn't in any immediate peril. A nearby BeelStarmon didn't look as well off though she seemed mostly unharmed on the surface.

"Tessa?" Aria asked as she floated over. "Are you okay? Do you need help?"

When she got an answer, she nodded curtly. "What about this one?" she said, gesturing to the BeelStarmon. "I can help you carry her, if need be."


< Henry Vane (CaptainHookmon) & Frantz Stein (Andromon) +
- Glen Elendra, Inside the City -

A beaten and battered CaptainHookmon stumbled into camp. A soft scraping sound accompanied him as he drug the severely beaten Stein behind him by the cyborg's leg. A feat that was only possible since the poor lugnut was still an Andromon.

The other survivors seemed to be gathering here in this clearing. Henry paid them no mind as he drug the unconscious Stein as far as he could manage, then dropped his leg unceremoniously and calmly took a seat on a nearby rock.

To be entirely honest, he wasn't even sure at this point if Stein was still alive or not. He had dragged the guy here partly out of pity and party out of a strange notion that perhaps he owed the guy a favor since it was the cyborg and not Henry himself that had nearly gotten his head punched clean off.

As a matter of fact, if Gareth had hit Henry with those blows he was pretty sure he head actually would have flown off.

He looked around at the group, decided that anyone they had that resembled a healer was currently absent, and figured if Stein wasn't dead yet he could wait it out a while longer. Instead, Henry busied himself with trying to figure out if the rib he had broken was the same one that had cracked in Kaladesh or a new injury altogether. And as he did so, he wondered just why the hell he hadn't taken this chance to close up shop and skip town.

No one could say he was a selfish bastard now, at least.

And, well, that was a thought that deserved a drink. He pulled out his flask, popped the top off, and tilted it back ready to savor the rum. Ready to let it dull his pain. And as he looked up the neck of the bottle to the view of the blue sky through the hole that had been blasted in the bottom of the now empty flask, he wondered just why the world seemed to kick him the hardest when he was already face down in the mud.
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The Reforged Soul

Andrea Mercer & Deneb Odebu (Hawkmon)

Skies above Glen Elendra (Biomerged Ceresmon)

The task was laborious. They were spreading out through the forest, covering hiding partners, blocking Royal Knight forces, lifting Theo to his feet, and giving a comforting grip to Hoshiko. It was too much at once and they were losing control over sections of the forest. The Medium/Andrea sagged against the trunk of the Elder Tree, her head spinning from making sense of the different perspectives.

The Medium was too far away Deneb/them to continue an operation of this magnitude. The plant sprite realized too late she needed to beside her Deneb for this to work, to be one in mind, body, and soul Vines lashed out from the depths of the woods, wrapping around a thick shovel-shaped forearm, and lifted her way in the direction of the monstrous hovering bird. Between the trees of the dense forest, the plant sprite swung from vine to out reaching branch.

Near. She/they were almost together again. The Medium stood for but a moment in awe beneath the immense Ceresmon. A moment costing the newly biomerged pair dearly.

A glint of red burst through the trees, a light of building power erupted in force. “Shield of the Just!” The swell of white-hot energies slammed in the monstrous Ceresmon, released a thundering squall of pain from Den-no from both of them-and sending their larger body crashing to the scorched earth. In their pain and dazed state, they weren’t ready for the second attack, jolting all their vast awareness in to darkness….


Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)

Glen Elendra, Kingdom of Nature

Light creeped through the thin cracks of Tessa’s squinting eyes, as the female Wisemon laid prone on the open face of her Book. The little mage groaned and attempted to lift her head, but vertigo and nausea said otherwise.

“Note to self,” Tessa muttered into the creases of her Book’s pages, “Depleting my reserves for high-coding sucks.”

Despite this apparent profound wisdom, Tessa knew she’d done it again. However, she was quite happy to lay still where she was for the time being until her stomach stopped rebelling. The pages of her father’s Book nudged her, prompting a quiet protest from the Wisemon. Before she knew it, Tessa was sitting vertical by a supporting page on her back. The sudden shift hit her gut.

For several minutes, Tessa leaned over the Book’s side dry heaving, a page corner patting her back comforting. She gave the persistent Book a glare.

“Alright alright, I get it,” Tessa muttered, reciting one of her father’s proverbs, “walk it off to begin again. Refreshing the body equals refreshing the mind. Eh...”

A familiar voice fluttered at the other end of her Book. Tessa lifted a heavy head.

"Tessa?" Aria asked as she floated over. "Are you okay? Do you need help?"

“Hey, Aria, “ she said with a half -hearted wave, legs hanging over the Book’s edge.

“Just puking my guts out as the saying goes.” Tessa paused, then added in afterthought, “...though if one were to puke their guts out does mean they have pull them back in from the other end…”

Tessa shook her from that questionable trail of thought, there’d be time to ponder it later. Truth be told she wasn’t sure the state o f the battle after healing the BelleStarmon. The forest was eerily silent. Tessa glanced around, she couldn’t see where Lord Thor and Sir Lamorak had gone during their fight. The Wisemon frowned within the depths of her hood, some help she’d been. Her own pseudo-fire geist had vanished after a time. She’d need to make improvements on that. When she new energies reserves that is.

"What about this one?" Aria said, gesturing to the BeelStarmon. "I can help you carry her, if need be."

The tired mage looked the BelleStarmon over, the worst of the injuries looked to sealed up properly. However, the demon woman so far remained silent and still. Tessa exhaled and her Book hovered closer to the ground beside the prone BelleStarmon. The Wisemon stumbled down to her feet unsteady, holding onto the Book for support.

“My Book will carry all of us easily,” Tessa said, maneuvering the BelleStarmon onto the worn pages with Aria’s help.

“You too, Aria,” Tessa added, having noticed Aria’s slight favoring of her leg during the process. The small caster slouched on the edge of the Book again. Her frazzled brain clocking to organized her jumbled thoughts to the next order of business. “Let’s find the others.”


Theo Grayson (BlackWarGreymon)

Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

Everything happened too fast. He’d swapped out with Okatsu again to recover, while the CresGarurumon took her turn to fight Sir Gawain. Theo had know he couldn’t rely on Samael to watch their back, but the old soldier never fathomed they’d have to watch their own backs against the Fallen.

Theo had been too faraway to act and stop Samael in time. Instead he was forced to take cover from the demon’s devastating attack on Okatsu and Sir Gawain pinned to the tree. By the time Theo recovered, the Knights, Lady Guinier and Sir Pervical, made their presence known and pummel Samael. However, Theo couldn’t concern himself with the Knights at the moment.

The black dragon leapt over burning logs and cinders, dropping to his knees beside the deathly-still CresGarurumon. His yellow eyes widen in disbelief at the short-sword protruding through Okatsu’s back and out her chest. For a brief moment, Okatsu was replaced with the image of his brother, Asher.

“Okatsu!” Theo shouted urgently, hoping against all chances for a reply. None came.

With steady hands forged from decades of high stress situations, Theo reached down to examined the injured mon gently. Careful to not jostle the sword in her back, Theo cradled her head in one hand and leaned in close to listen. She still breathed, but it was labored and shallow. However, the integrity of her data wouldn’t keep together for long in her current state.

“Okatsu,” Theo called more softly, forcing his fears and his memories of his brother to the back of his mind. “You need to regress, but you can’t with the sword still inside you. I’ll pull it out, but you must regress immediately before you lose too much blood and data.”

No reply. The older dragon closed his eyes, breathing deep. “Okatsu, you have to do this. Reach deep, past the pain. You’re not alone. I’m here with you.”

He stroked a comforting hand along the backside of her head. With a soft whisper, “Hoshiko needs you to come back to her.”

Theo felt Okatsu’s head nod in his supportive grip with a groan. Taking a gamble that Okatsu understood, but running out of time, the BlackWarGreymon swiftly pulled the sword out in a single fluid motion.

“Okatsu, now!” Theo shouted, to drive home the urgency. The CresGururumon disappeared into a flashing light, leaving behind an unconscious Gabumon X.

Theo scooped up the injured samurai carefully into his arms. The older dragon shot into the air, ignoring his own injuries and weariness. He had to find Michael. Regression didn’t heal injuries, only reducing their severity. The Archangel was the Guardian’s most skilled healer.

Plus, he thought with restrained fury, he would have to inform Lord Michael of who was responsible for the Gabumon X’s injuries.