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Digimon: Unholy Crusade

Discussion in 'Role-Playing Games' started by Kamotz, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Thor Odinson (Imperialdramon: Paladin Mode) >
    - Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

    Thor let the White Sword slip from his grasp and return to wherever it chose to reside. He forced himself to remain standing despite everything his body was screaming to him. Glen Elendra continued burning around him, but the pressing danger of the Royal Knights was, at least for the moment, passed. The real question at this point became what to do with the dead. He had heard rumors that the Royal Knights had caused unnecessary human deaths. But this was clearly different. Lamorak had not intended to kill those children, as evidenced by his catatonic nature after the fact.

    "Michael, we need to continue the evacuation," Thor said, his voice strained. Even as he spoke he was trying to pool his strength for his next act of power, but the control kept slipping. With the sword he finally felt real again, and powerful -- but the world felt fragile. Now, without the sword, he felt the reverse. That the world was real and powerful, but he was unraveling.

    Michael nodded, stepping over to each of the Guardians, placing a hand on them one by one and reenergizing them with a small burst of healing energy. Michael wasn't a healer, that much he'd made clear, but he could get them back on their feet.

    The Digimon, at least. Humans he couldn't heal.

    With a grimace, Thor reached inward and grasped at what he was looking for. The skies above Glen Elendra darkened and downpoured. He gasped, straining to catch his breath. He'd never had so much difficulty summoning a simple storm before.

    "Turn off the damn water," Svarog snarled, rising out of the crater. Raindrops sizzled against his skin and shrouded him in wisps of steam.

    "The hell did those other knights come from?" Samael snarled, limping forward from the treeline. He waved off Michael's offer of healing, and Thor could already see glowing red-and-black flames knitting his wounds together. "I thought we left those dumbdumbs back in Kaladesh."

    "Evidently, they followed you," said the BelleStarmon that had fought beside Thor against Lamorak. She, too, walked briskly past Michael. Thor had seen Tessa attempt to heal her during the fight...or had he? He was completely focused on his duel with Lamorak. But then how did he know…?

    Before he could contemplate the how, Samael and Svarog were already snarling and bristling at one another.

    "Hell happened to you, coal-brain?" Samael taunted, standing over the still-hurting war god. "You fight one knight and this is what you're left as?"

    "And where were you, three-eyes?" Svarog shot back, surging to his feet with a grimace and a growl. "Fighting with all your extra help against one knight?" He appeared to gesture to Theo and Okatsu, but his arm flopped lazily against his side.

    "Those two spent more time getting in my way than they did helping me," Samael snarled. "And they barely served as a distraction! And I still woulda' had 'im except I got triple-teamed at the end before I could put the skewers to Gawain."

    "Seems only fair," Svarog snapped.

    "Yeah well you just straight-up lost, burning man," Samael snapped back.

    "Damn, can you lot keep it together for one minute?" the BelleStarmon hissed from where she stood under a low overhanging shelter that had managed to withstand the battle. She shook water from her hands and hair and fixed the two with a glare. "It's no wonder the Royal Knights kicked your asses.

    "Who the hell are you supposed to be? Low-budget, porn star me?" Samael seethed angrily, whirling around.

    "I'm gonna assume that your blood loss has compromised your judgment," Serra said, her voice clipped and even. She strode over to Samael and stared him in down. "But if it turns out you're stupid enough to talk to me like that again, I will put you in the ground."

    Svarog let out a short laugh, despite the pain that cut it short.

    "Oh, and don't get me started on you," Serra fixed Svarog with a withering glare. "I know you're the asshole that almost burned down my bar the other night."
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  2. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Theo Grayson (BlackWarGreymon)
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

    Michael nodded, stepping over to each of the Guardians, placing a hand on them one by one and reenergizing them with a small burst of healing energy. Michael wasn't a healer, that much he'd made clear, but he could get them back on their feet.

    The BlackWarGreymon released a sigh with some disappointment as the Archangel laid a hand on the unconscious Okatsu in his arms. The Gabumon X appeared a bit better for the small boost of healing energy, but she needed a proper healer. His own injuries were less noticeable, but physical pain he could deal with. The flashbacks of his brother struggling for breath and life in his arms…

    Eyes clenched shut from the old pain, Theo shook his horned head to shake the image. A single tear escaped the confines of his armor. He needed to be in the present for Okatsu’s sake. He addressed the Archangel, “We need to locate Tessa then. I’ve seen her competence with healing auras. Hoshiko, too. The close proximity of her partner will help support the healing process.”

    He’d know. Kyle had ignited his worn down digicore, when they became partners. He grimaced. He didn’t know how deep their partnership ran. Some humans were very sensitive to the condition of the digimon half. Guilt plagued Theo from his failure to watch Okatsu’s back. Raised voices drew his attention to the rest of the Guardians present. Theo narrowed his eyes sharply as bickering between Samael and Svarog rose in volume in the clearing.

    “Sir Gawain didn’t do this,” Theo said in a low tone. Long were the days when his greymon temper got the better of him, but his words were heated from a simmering anger. “Samael struck Okatsu in the back while fighting Gawain and pinned them both to a tree. If the other Knights had not interfered, he might’ve killed her. She likely would have if I hadn’t gotten her to regress to her rookie form.”

    He waited for the Archangel’s response, while speaking softly, more to himself, “I don’t want to see another comrade stabbed in the back again, not if I can help it.”


    Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

    Tessa’s Book floated through the air just above the trees with Aria. The BelleStarmon had been fine after all and headed off for a different part of the burning forest. The small mage would have insisted on the gunslinger taking it slow for a bit, but Tessa was too exhausted to try. Instead, she searched out for the rest of the Guardians.

    The pair reached the edge of the City in a recently cleared opening of the forest. Survivors, human and digimon, loitered about the clearing in confusion. At one end, a familiar pirate appeared in their view, sulking on a rock. Tessa racked her sluggish brain for the pirate’s name. Humphrey? Hendrick? Henry? Bingo!

    “Henry!” Tes called out waving an arm. The Book moved faster now to close the distance. Her stomach turned uneasy from the increase of speed, that and she remember Stein had been with the pirate at the beginning of the battle. “Where’s Stein?”

    The pirate gestured. Tessa’s hidden eyes widen.

    A beaten up Andromon, not a Boltmon, laid prone upon the ground. Tessa didn’t think the CaptainHookmon would mislead her, so it could only him. Releasing a breath she didn’t realize she was holding, Tessa dropped to the ground before the Book stopped. She stumbled over to Stein with uncooperative legs and tripped over the hem of her robes. The young mage flopped beside the unconscious cyborg’s head, resting a shaking hand on the metal head.

    Worry and concern struck a chord deep within the Wisemon that she didn’t understand, but that didn’t matter so much to her right now. Rather, Stein was hurt bad and she was out of juice. A warm spot hummed gently beneath her robes. Tessa brushed her free hand to the warmth resting at her neck line, an idea growing. Her father would understand. Right?

    Mind firmly made up, Tessa rose and faced the other two digimon present, “Help me move him onto my Book, please.”

    Once the Andromon was settled on the Tome’s pages, the small mage sat with Stein’s head in her lap. Tessa touched the hidden medallion with a hand and closed her eyes in concentration. Turning inward, she saw the outer layers of code making up the medallion and locking securely the power the artifact contained. However, Tessa only wanted to borrow a small portion of its power. Just a drop. No more than absolutely necessary.

    With her mind’s eye, she brushed the dormant coding, lighting up a single line of digimoji. To those watching on the outside, blue light flared engulfing the Wisemon. Tessa breathed deep and even out her breathing as she struggled to control the other-worldly energies. After a moment, she grasped the power to her command and blue light focused into the palm of her hands, now resting on either side of Stein’s head.

    Tessa shared a tired, but determined glance to Aria and Henry. “I’ll heal your injuries too, when I’m done with Stein but this is going to take me a while.”

    The Andromon’s wounds were extensive, yes, but she was more worried about losing control of the energies if she attempted the healing too fast. So, Tessa began methodically checking Stein over and closing one wound at a time.

    “My Book can carry us all,” Tessa said without opening her eyes as she concentrated on the task before her. “If you see anyone else, just say so. The Book will listen to your directions.”

    Then added as an afterthought, “Most of the time, anyway.”


    Andrea Mercer
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

    She felt hands shaking her. A voice she heard but couldn’t yet comprehend. Not yet. Finally, her eyes cracked open, feeling rain fall gently onto her face.

    “Andrea, Deneb!”

    “James?” Andrea asked groaning. Her hearing cleared up, but that was the only thing making sense at the moment. She held a hand out and felt it grasped by another, yanking her into a seated position. Her vision swam as someone supported from behind. Then the memory of Sir Tristan’s brutal attack came to her and terrible scream of pain that accomplaint it.

    “Deneb! Where’s Deneb?” Andrea asked alarmed, trying locate her partner by sound and touch as her vision still tried to clear up.
  3. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Michael Ha'Yisrael (MagnaAngemon) >
    - Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

    Michael fought the urge to curse, but the sentiment rolled out of him in a ragged sigh. He shouldn't have been surprised. By all accounts he wasn't, this was wholly in line with Samael's usual methods. But Michael had -- he realized now foolishly -- hoped for better. For more.

    But it was his own fault: put Samael with honorable Digimon and the fallen angel would be sure to both disappoint him and astound him with his savagery. Michael should have been there. Should have been there to curtail Gawain himself, to prepare for the arrival of the other Royal Knights and formulate a strategy for their intervention.

    What was it Sir Tristan had said? Sir Gawain was given "tactical oversight," but Tristan was given "command."

    Michael needed something similar. It was one thing to lead Heaven's armies, where all hearts beat as one and all minds were focused on the same goal. But this was a group of disparate methodologies and sometimes-disastrous personality-clashes.

    "Neither do I," said Michael. He thought for a moment how to assuage Theo's worries, but nothing came to mind. Should he scold Samael? Would that accomplish anything more than aggravating Samael to the point of attempting the same stunt again for the sheer thrill of defiance?

    No. Michael needed another. Someone to share the burden of leadership with. Who could inspire their group in battle, implement the tactics that Michael devised, but also improvise in the thick of it when things changed.

    But who among their motley group was up to the task. Certainly not Samael, for reasons that needed no explanation. Svarog was far too interested in the fight itself to be bothered to lead, and had a generally low opinion of the group as a whole (and individuals). Michael wanted to ask Thor...but the Asgardian spent his time sulking and worrying about the sword, and then struggling to control it during the fighting. That already excluded anyone who lived beyond the last 100 years.

    Who was even left in consideration? Tessa? Aria? Stein? Certainly not. Theo?

    Michael glanced over at the BlackWarGreymon, glowering quietly and morosely. He was certainly capable as a fighter, but could he lead when called upon? Or would he, like Thor, sulk and sputter amongst his own insecurities?

    Other than the Tamers and their partners, that just left Henry. And while Michael supposed he might be a fine pirate there was no way to know how he'd lead this group...though Michael had to admit they more resembled a pirate crew than his phalanx of angels.

    That left the three Digimon partners and their Tamers. Deneb had just run wild, so Michael was in no hurry to add responsibility to his plate. He'd fought alongside both Okatsu and Artanis, and while they were each competent fighters they were each lacking as well. Okatsu seemed cold and dispassionate. Artanis was was perhaps too passionate...and had yet to reach the Mega level.

    Was there anyone at all who Michael could see standing across from Galahad or Lancelot and declaring themselves their equal?
  4. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    + Frantz Stein (Andromon) +
    - Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

    The warm sunlight filtered down on Stein for what felt like the last time. He was weak, powerless, as the SkullMeramon dragged him into the dark, cold, mouth of the factory. He was small here, in this buried memory. Small and weak and helpless. A child.

    The shadows closed in, held at bay by the eerie flames of his captor. There were sounds now, echoing from somewhere deep in the bowels of the facility. Loud clangs and crashes. The piercing screech of metal on metal. And every now and then, a soft, deep groan. It was impossible to tell if it came from a slowly opening set of doors or something much more living.

    Time stretched away. Minutes into hours into days into years. One moment his cell seemed like a fast expanse. A bitterly cold tomb to bury him in. The next it was small and cramped. Not enough room to stretch out and move. Not enough room to pry the tomahawk from his back. A cage for a beast.

    They made him fight. Sometimes they made him kill. He remembered them only here, when his mind was free to wander deep into the dark corners of his pshcye, past the mental block that sealed off this part of his memory circuits. Faces he knew swam before him in hazy renditions. Some he knew from the other cells. Some, more recent. Some too long past to recall fully. Some of the faces had voices to match. A soft, dainty voice singing a song wafted by. The melody was pure and sweet, a balm in this dark place. Other voices cried out in pain for the last time as the memory of their deaths drifted up and into focus one by one. First his fellow prisoners. Then his captors. Then the SkullMeramon. Then, a small, pathetic Hagurumon. He could not remember killing one so small.

    He tried to reach out to the child, but his arm wouldn't move. His body was still and unmoving. He could only watch as a Datamon, his features cruel and void of any compassion, wrapped his wires around the child and dragged it into the abyss.

    He could not remember killing the Datamon either.

    The darkness lurched. Light, blinding light pierced this place like a supernova. It scorched away the darkness with such force and heat that Stein could feel his memory circuits singing. There was nowhere here the light did not touch. No dark unknown corner it did not sear painfully into clarity. This world of dreams melted away in the blinding light, giving way to the waking world.


    A burst of light erupted from Stein as the Boltmon sat up straight. He had digivolved right as he awoke, returning to his Boltmon form but also doubling in size.

    He felt... okay. Which was a surprise in and of itself. The last thing he remembered was the Royal Knight, tinted red and blurry from his rage at the time, cracking him in the jaw so hard his skull was probably still vibrating. But he also felt something stirring deep in his mental processes. What that something was, he wasn't quite sure of yet. It was warm. But also painful. His logic circuits returned errors each time they tried to analyze it and the organic part of his brain wasn't having much luck either. Maybe the Knight had actually knocked a screw loose? Stein didn't know if he had screws in his head or not. Henry seemed to think so, and the Captain was pretty knowledgeable about things Stein knew nothing about.

    "Hey there ya big lug." The pirate called out with a wave. "Glad to see you haven't keeled over just yet."

    Stein pumped his fist, ignoring the screams of his aching muscles. "Stein does not know what a keel is Captain. But there may be a screw loose in Stein's head."

    Henry turned towards the two ladies, Aria and Tessa, with a smirk on his face. "Well, there you have it."


    ~ Aria Morningsong (Lilamon) & Henry Vane (CaptainHookmon) >
    - Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

    While Stein and Tessa caught up and the other, more important members of their group grumbled among themselves about what the plan was, Aria and Henry found themselves off to the side with nothing to do and nowhere else to be.

    "Well, it wasn't a total loss this time." Henry offered. His attempt to break the silence was met with little more than a grunt from the worn and tired flower mon. "You know, you are the least pleasant flower mon I think I've ever met."

    "Oh?" Aria huffed. "Look around for once instead of down into a bottle and you might find a few reasons for my less than sunny disposition."

    "I am lookin' around lass. And you know what I see? I see civilians gathering over yonder. I see all of our number, even the wounded, still kicking. I see the flames being put out. And I don't see the Knights anywhere around here. Compared to Kaladesh, this is a blasted victory."

    "Anything would be better than Kaladesh. If this is what winning feels like then I can understand why you drink so much."

    "The drink has its uses, aye." Henry kicked the empty and broken flask on the ground as if to punish it one last time for its failure to protect his rum. "Maybe this is a victory. Or a defeat. Depends on how you weigh it. Depends on what you consider to be valuable, you see. But this isn't what winning feels like. No lass, winning is the feeling you get when you sit back in your chair as you watch the sunset over the ocean. Winning is patting your pocket, fat on coin, and hearing the clink of the loot you've earned." Henry patted his pocket absentmindedly as he spoke. They didn't clink. "But this is what life feels like. And if you can't see that we came out of this storm far better off than we could have then you're still just a landlubber who hasn't made it out of the port yet."

    "Your sailing metaphors are wearing thin, pirate." Aria frowned. "I'm not a sprout and I'm not as naive as you seem to think. I just can't look at a scene like this, a place I used to call home mind you, and feel anything remotely pleasant. So don't try to preach to me about the hard knock life. I've seen my fair share of trouble just as I'm sure you have and I'm not going to duel you in a contest of who can out pity the other."

    "I'll have you know I've only ever lost one duel." Henry said, a little quieter than usual.

    "Good for you. I'm sure it was painful to sully that perfect record."

    "Aye, like a bullet to the chest."

    "What did I say about the pity party?" Aria scoffed. She stamped her foot in the dirt. Then once more for good measure. "Start taking this seriously or leave me alone."

    "All I can do is deal with it my own way." Henry said, his head hung low. "We're all different ships lass. We each have to sail our own way."

    Aria nodded, her arms crossed defiantly. "Right. You deal with things with strange sailing puns and I do it by telling you how stupid that is. So pardon my sass."

    Henry looked up and over towards the flower mon, who had turned her back to him. "Oh, your sass is fine. And if you don't mind me saying so is your-"

    "You are absolutely insufferable." Aria said, turning to face the pirate. She walked up to him until she was just a foot away, staring right at him. "What are you trying to do? Cheer me up? Flirt? Do you even have a plan? Okatsu is wilting away over there, Stein was beaten within an inch of his life, and this city is half burned to ashes. So no, I don't want to flirt. I don't want to chat. And I don't want to hear another two-cent sailing quip." Aria took a deep breath. It felt good to let out some stream. To shout. To rage. "I do however want some drink, as long as it isn't yours." she added.

    "Its your lucky day then lass. I'm all out of drink." Henry laughed. Aria's brow furrowed and she started to say something else but Henry spoke first. "That's the trick to people lass. We're all insufferable. You just have to find someone who's issues you can handle. Someone you can let yell at you when they need something to fuss about." The pirate smiled a half smile and shrugged. "You know lass, I was a captain. I do know how to handle a crew." Before Aria could respond, Henry sauntered off towards the others. He gave the empty rum bottle another kick as he passed.
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  5. storymasterb

    storymasterb Knight of RPGs

    Okatsu Sekishusai (CresGarurumon)
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature


    The voice sounded distant, as though Theo were miles and miles from her. She lay in agony on the ashen ground, only faintly aware of the BlackWarGreymon at her side. She felt him gently grip her head, and even disrupted by pain her keen senses felt him lean in close

    “Okatsu, you need to regress, but you can't with the sword still inside you. I'll pull it out, but you need to regress immediately before you lose too much blood and data.”

    His words washed over her without sinking in, lost in between the spikes of pain that flared as he held her. Samael's blade burned at her core, like the hellfire he had bathed her in.

    Theo drew in a breath. “Okatsu, you have to do this. Reach deep, past the pain. You're not alone. I'm here with you.”

    Again the words didn't sink in. She was holding firm to life, but it felt like each surge of pain threatened to drag her from the rock to which she clung. In her mind, the name echoed like a mantra. Even with the sword like poison in her heart, she gripped that thought tight and held it with all her strength as though it were her own life.

    Theo's hand stroked along the back of her head and feverishly she imagined it was her for just an instant. She wanted, needed...

    “Hoshiko needs you to come back to her.”


    It was like dragging herself up a mountain, broken as she felt, but the name was a comforting fire at her core. Her partner's face smiled in her mind and Okatsu forced herself to focus enough to nod to Theo. It was a weak, small gesture, and even that was a terrible effort.

    The sword tore itself from her heart, ripped free by Theo's hand, and though its edge was smooth it felt like barbs cut her from the inside-out every inch. But she clung to Hoshiko through the pain and held herself together, focusing on that truth. Hoshiko needed her.

    “Okatsu, now!”

    She let go of the power that was so useless to her in this moment, and let herself surrender to the weakness. Her body collapsed into light and reformed, but when the Gabumon X was left behind, Okatsu was unconscious.


    Hoshiko Yukimura
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

    The spike of pain tore through her chest again and her knees buckled before it. She slammed down, crying out as both the psychosomatic pain and her left knee hammering down onto a rock ripped through her. But even with her knee aching in protest, she forced herself to her feet.

    The spike was gone, replaced by a dull throbbing ache that then became nothing.

    What did that mean?

    Did it mean someone had found Okatsu and healed whatever terrible injury she had suffered? Or did it mean...

    Violently forcing that dreadful thought from her head, she continued onward, shouting Okatsu's name from her hoarse throat.


    James Reeve
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

    Rain was falling now, appearing so suddenly from the sky that it couldn't be natural. Had Thor called it down to douse the flames? If so, it was working, the inferno around him, Andrea and Deneb hissed in protest but was snuffed out by the downpour. Their heat was abruptly replaced by the cold water seeping into his clothes.

    Andrea stirred.

    “James?” she groaned, pulling his attention back to her. He held out a hand to take hers and helped her to sit up, his other hand supporting her back. She was conscious at least, and the rain had put out the flames now. She was looking around, but something was off, her gaze didn't seem to settle on anything and she seemed confused.

    “Deneb! Where's Deneb?” Her hands were reaching out, brushing past him in a panic.

    “Hey, hey, it's okay,” he said, gently catching one of her hands and steering it to Deneb's unconscious form. “He's here. You both got hit hard, but you're okay, you're safe.” He smiled even though he wasn't sure she could see it.

    It wasn't okay, though. They had been beaten again. The sounds of battle had faded enough for it to be clear the fight was over, and from the glimpses of battle he had seen, he doubted they had won.

    “Can you stand up?” he asked, rain dripping down his face. “We should probably get back to the others and find out what happened. And Tessa or Michael can patch Deneb up too.”

    He wanted to find Artanis too. Even feeling that his partner was alive, he needed to be certain, and being apart from him this long was horribly unfamiliar after months fighting at his side.


    Artanis Dawnflame (RizeGreymon)
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

    Before Artanis could take flight and try to find James, Theo descended to Michael, holding something light blue in his arms as though cradling an infant. The RizeGreymon stopped, attention drawn, and moved closer to get a better look. As the BlackWarGreymon touched down, his arms moved enough to give Artanis that look.

    It was Okatsu.

    Michael was moving around, healing each Guardian. He had already done so to Artanis, forcing back the fatigue that had nearly made him regress back to his Agumon form. It was only a stopgap, but for a while longer, he could stay evolved. As the archangel came to Theo, he placed a hand on the BlackWarGreymon, then Okatsu. Words were exchanged, quietly enough that Artanis couldn't hear them from where he stood, but the sigh Michael gave in response suggested something amiss.

    What had happened to Okatsu?

    Before he could move closer to investigate, something broke the treeline close to him. On edge, he whirled, only to see Hoshiko less composed than he could ever remember seeing her. A cut stained her cheek red, she was evidently soaked from the rainfall, and she looked utterly panicked and distraught.


    Hoshiko Yukimura
    Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature

    The skies rumbled above her, rain hammering down through the trees. The fires nearby voiced their displeasure with angry hissing, but were forced to submit to the downpour and die out. Water soaked into her clothes and droplets caressed her skin, but she kept running and crying out with a throat that hurt.

    She broke the treeline and came into a clearing, seeing them stood beneath the storm. Thor, Svarog, Samael, Michael, Aria, Henry, most of the group in fact besides James, Andrea and Deneb. Three bodies lay on the ground some distance away, but for the moment their presence didn't sink in, blocked out by her desperation. Where was...

    “Okatsu,” she said, staggering over to the Guardians, legs worn out from running, cuts on her arms and cheek stinging. “Where's...”

    She stopped dead as Theo turned and there was her partner, unconscious in the BlackWarGreymon's grip. All thoughts scattered to the wind, she rushed over to him and took Okatsu in her own arms. She scanned her partner desperately and there on the Gabumon X's chest she saw the wound. No doubt reduced by her regression, it was still obvious, blood staining her flesh around it. Something had stabbed right through her chest.

    Hoshiko remembered the terrible spike of pain impaling her. Her suspicions were horribly confirmed, that the agony she had felt was Okatsu's.

    The Gabumon X's breathing was faint but steady, her chest barely rising and falling with that wound in it. Hoshiko cradled her there, forgetting that the others stood around her, forgetting the water that chilled her skin. All that mattered was the person she loved most in the world lying so grievously wounded in her arms.

    “I should have been with you,” she whispered. “I should have...” What could she have done, the logical part of her whispered, but it was drowned by the feelings she usually didn't show. All she knew was that she had been separated from Okatsu and come back to find her in this state. Theo and Samael had been there and yet this had happened.

    She thought to turn to Michael and plead for help, but that thought was stopped by the realization that Theo had been stood talking to Michael. The archangel had to have already done what he could, surely. If so, how much worse had Okatsu's injuries been before his efforts?

    Raindrops soaked into her hair as she pulled Okatsu closer to her, wanting already to never leave her like that again. Anxieties already stirred by leaving her and by Andrea's innocent suggestion of going back to Analog were made worse, coiling in her stomach like snakes. How close had she come to losing Okatsu? Her relief at finding her partner alive mixed bitterly with her lingering fear and horror at what had happened.

    Slowly she raised her gaze, forcing herself away from Okatsu for a moment to look up at Theo.

    "What happened?" she asked, her voice made a whisper by her aching throat and the turmoil still swirling in her chest.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
  6. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Svarog Rodsyn (Apollomon) >
    - Glen Elendra -

    Svarog had been many things over his long. A prince, a soldier, an exile, a wanderer, an avenger; he'd had a kingdom and had it cast away. He'd had a name and worship, and then discarded it all. He'd been beaten and bloodied, he'd been victorious and glorified. But in all his life he had never been humiliated so thoroughly. Caradoc had thrown him around like a toy. The Royal Knight had barely broken a sweat; even against the heat and fire of Svarog's indomitable solar heart the knight had stood tall over him. And it was only what little remained of the knights' "noble calling" that left his body intact.

    He had, for the moment, reverted to his Flaremon form. That was even further insult. The defeat left him with barely-contained rage. A Svarog incensed was not a pretty sight...or a safe thing to be around.

    The pirate -- Svarog hadn't cared to remember his name -- kicked an empty bottle of rum out of his way as he strode by. Svarog felt whatever little was left of his patience run out.

    "What kind of pirate only brings a single bottle of rum," he snarled angrily -- intending, of course, for that to be part of his inner monologue, but shouting it for all to hear. He was really beginning to regret starting the fight in the bar the other night if it was really owned by the BelleStarmon that had come limping and bloody -- but glorious -- through the flames of battle.


    < Samael Cain (Beelzemon) >
    - Glen Elendra -

    Samael limped away from the self-important bigwigs, his body stitching itself together with each painful step. He was relatively unscathed by the whole ordeal. A few light gashes, another few cracked ribs; hardly something to write home about. Even Digimon without his demonic healing factor would've been able to walk those injuries off...probably...after a day or two. Whatever.

    No one would ever accuse him of caring one way or the other. No. What he did care about, however, was his sword. They were special. Forged from the sharpest Obsidian Digizoid. They were one -- two -- of a kind. No other Beelzemon had anything like them. He'd been forced to drop it when shifting into his Blast Mode. But for the ever-damned life of him, he couldn't remember where he'd put it.

    Crap! Why the hell was he having so much trouble with this? It must've been the blow to the head. Hadn't quite recovered from the Magnamon's punch -- he was still seeing triple-ish. He knew it was somewhere...important? That didn't seem right. He had the vague recollection of think that the yuppies would be mad about it though.

    He growled irritably. He was getting annoyed with his own injured brain. Why was that always the last thing to heal? He remembered thinking that the two yups would be fuming. Something like, "Clean up your mess, Samael." Or "Why did you think that was the best place to leave your sword, Samael?" And then Michael, who'd know better than to start an argument over something as trivial as where he put his sword would roll his eyes in that "classic Samael" sort of way.

    So who were the idiots he was fighting with? He glanced over the rag-tag bunch. Eh. They all kinda looked the same - all varying levels of useless and stupid. He tried replaying the battle in his head, but all the parts he wasn't directly involved with had been so boring that he barely remembered it. Although…

    Oh! He caught sight of the lumbering gloom of the BlackWarGreymon and instantly recognized him.

    "Oi! You! Lizard Lips," he shouted, wincing as his own shouting caused a splitting headache. Yep Definitely concussed. "Where the hell is my sword? And before you go starting with that 'I don't know' crap, I remember specifically -- probably -- leaving it with you or uh...the…" he snapped his fingers, wracking his brain trying to remember who else he'd been fighting alongside. "The other one -- him, her, whatever -- I gave it to one of you nit-wits when I had to step in and save you from that knight. Remember? And then, just as I'm about to win, I get punched in the head," he pointed to the side of his head.

    "And I'm not saying you two -- or three? I don't remember -- not sayin' you didn't help out," he continued. "But I pretty much handled that pointy ponce on my own. So," he stopped and took a breath. "I'm not blaming you -- for the record, you were useless -- but I'm willing to admit it's not entirely your fault and I probably shouldn't have trusted you to do something as simple as carry your weight in a fight.

    "But again -- and I mean this -- I'm willing to forgive you and offer all that warm fluffy bullshit from the bottom of my cold black heart as long as you tell me where the hell you idiots left my sword."
  7. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)
    Glen Elendra

    Blue light poured from Tessa into the unconscious Andromon, her hands shaking in fragile control of the potent, primordial energies. She’d only tapped the medallion’s dormant power for an amount the equivalent of a grain of sand, but it was still a strain for her mortal body. She had to shunt the excess energies somewhere, but her natural reservoirs were insufficient. But where?

    A moment of inspiration struck, the young mage paused the healing process. She withdrew a radianting hand from the broken down machine’s forehead and placed her hand and the energies upon herself. No change was visible to the naked eye aside from her hand moving, but her vision exploded with the outer layers of the world peeling away, revealing the digital make up of her immediate surroundings and of herself. Gazing inward, she saw the bright digicore that was her own unique self. Now she wasn’t foolish enough to mess with that, but focused on the small area right below it. With her mother’s healing abilities she could restore damaged data, but perhaps with a Wisemon’s innate understanding of high coding and digital underlayers, maybe she could take it a step further.


    Reshaping the healing light into a slender elegant scalpel, she made an incision into her digital wireframe. Pain shot down her spine, but Tessa pushed on, determined, using the cleansing light to push aside the pain so she could work. A familiar line of digimoji sprang to life, the same coding she used to open portals. However, she used only the beginning lines of the portal activation sequence. A portal with no end point. A dimensional pocket. Not unlike the pockets sealed within her books to store items as she traveled or the portable laboratory hidden within the pages of her father’s Book. Tessa summoned a new sequence of digimoji from memory, one she’d used less frequently, and anchored the new dimensional pocket to the fabric of her digital wireframe. Sweat dripped down her brow with intense concentration. Almost done.

    Tessa summoned one of her smaller books with a flick of a finger. The next set of sequences were more complicated and she needed a reference. The book hovered at eye level, flipping to the page she desired. Seals, grafting, and assimilation processes. Very specific and refined coding sequences to connect the pocket to her digital biological functions and trusting the intuitive qualities of her healing abilities to make it work. The light burned through her body, following the directions she’d outline.

    The Wisemon slumped forward over Stein breathless and lightheaded, but it was done. With one more strained effort, the young mage shunted the excess primordial energies into the dimensional pocket. However, she didn’t completely seal the pocket shut, instead she allowed a slow steady current to course through her body from it. A sequence of coding regulated the inflow of energies, so she wouldn’t have to worry about an instant burn out.

    She opened her eyes, gazing at her hand. The coolness of the blue healing aura had returned to normal. No longer did her nerves burn from the intense scalding sensation of such raw energy.

    Tessa mentally groaned. She wanted to sleep so badly! However, a deep stirring in her core reminded the Wisemon of her task. Returning her glowing hand to Stein’s forehead, she went about to finish what she’d started. Never did she stop to wonder, if what she just accomplished was normal or even possible for a Wisemon.

    Time meant little to her as she healed Stein, until finally she was done. Tessa scooted back as her Book tilted to let the Andromon slide off the pages and gently onto the ground. Though she and the others didn’t have to wait long until Stein sprung up with a jolt and a flash. The small mage wearly chuckled at the confused look on his face as he returned to his Boltmon form. Tessa was glad the lumbering lug was back on his feet so quickly. The Wisemon contently sat cross legged on her Book as Henry greeted Stein.

    "Hey there ya big lug." The pirate called out with a wave. "Glad to see you haven't keeled over just yet."

    Stein pumped his fist, ignoring the screams of his aching muscles. "Stein does not know what a keel is Captain. But there may be a screw loose in Stein's head."

    Henry turned towards the two ladies, Aria and Tessa, with a smirk on his face. "Well, there you have it."

    “Keel,a nautical term. a central fore-and-aft structural member in the bottom of a hull, extending from the stem to the sternpost and having the floors or frames attached to it, usually at right angles: sometimes projecting from the bottom of the hull to provide stability.” Tessa muttered exhausted, head propped up by her arm and knee. She smiled beneath her hood, “though that’s not quite the ‘keel’ the captain is referring to in this case.”

    Her smile faded a bit at Stein’s complaint of a screw loose. Had she missed something? Her Book floated over to the Boltmon, looking the cyborg over intently. Her head spun again from the sudden motion. She hoped Henry and Aria wouldn’t mind waiting a bit for her to heal them. Tessa needed a break badly.

    “Stein, would you describe your ‘loose screw’ to me?” Tessa asked, a book sat in her lap. However, she held the ink pen in her hand instead. She no longer had the mental concentration to will the book and pen into motion. The little mage hid her other trembling hand within the deep sleeves of her robes.

    Andrea Mercer/ Deneb Odebu (Poromon)
    Glen Elendra

    “Hey, hey, it's okay,” James said, gently catching one of her hands and steering it to Deneb's unconscious form. “He's here. You both got hit hard, but you're okay, you're safe.”

    Her hand brushed against a soft, feathery body. Andrea breathed a sigh of relief. However, the feeling was short-lived. Her partner had regressed to his in-training form. That hadn’t happened in years. The cold rain chilled her; she nestled the Poromon close to keep him warm. Andrea blinked as water seeped through her hair and onto her face.

    “Can you stand up?” James asked. She could see him vaguely now.

    “I think so,” she said, tucking her partner under one arm and pushing off the ground with the other. In the end, she needed James’s help to stand and steady her wobbly legs. “Deneb took the hit more so than me.”

    At least, she thought so. Their biomerge had been so disorienting. She thought Deneb had been the one up in the air, but why did she recall seeing a plant-like humanoid on the ground? Hadn’t that been her?

    “We should probably get back to the others and find out what happened. And Tessa or Michael can patch Deneb up too.”

    Andrea nodded, leaning on James as they walked through the smoking forest. The outcome of the battle was unknown to her since Sir Tristan blindsided the pair, but she did know one thing. “Deneb and I managed to secure several groups of tamers and digimon locals in the northwest corner of the city. That’s the largest group. Others are scattered in pockets elsewhere, but I can point them out roughly on a map.”

    If the hidey holes of thick vegetation manipulated by Ceresmon stayed intact, Andrea thought grimly. The trio moved through the forest, their digivices tracking Hoshiko’s location. However, the direction they were heading in was away from where they’d left her and the other tamers. Andrea frowned and shared a concerned look with James.

    After a while, they finally reached a clearing and spotted the Guardians at the far end. However, Andrea wasn’t watching the group. The female tamer pulled away from James, running with a limp.

    Three bodies laid still among the bushes and ferns.

    Andrea gingerly set her pink-bodied partner on a soft grassy patch. She knelt down to touch a pale arm, but the tomboy lurched to her side suddenly. Holding a hand over a rebelling stomach, Andrea swiped the bile from mouth with the sleeve of her torn jacket. She hated this part of her job. Nor was this the first time she’d had to do it.

    With an iron resolve, Andrea checked the bodies for pulses, despite already knowing what she’d find. The female tamer choked back a snob, knowing James was nearby. She refused to let anyone see her cry, except for Deneb. Her body was taut with grief, hands clenched into tight fists on her knees.

    “I’m sorry, and thank you.” Andrea whispered. She glanced over her shoulder to James and nodded towards the bodies solemnly, “Deneb and I might not have biomerged to save more lives, if we hadn’t seen them fall.”

    “Somebody has to inform their families, if that’s even possible,” she said, staring off into space. A TV news report popped to mind. “Back home there’s been an escalation of missing person reports for our age group. Their families need to know.”

    “But how does one tell the average human in Analog what really happened?” She was rambling. Sir Tristan’s attack left her more off balance than she’d previously realized. Andrea glanced at the fallen tamers with a prolonged sigh. Painful memories returned to the light of day: a painfully slow knocking on the door of the family home and the dreaded phone call. “I don’t know which is worse; delivering the news of a dead family member or receiving it.”

    Theo Grayson (BlackWarGreymon)
    Glen Elendra

    "Neither do I," said Michael.

    Theo carefully shifted his arms as he held the unconscious rookie. He missed the scrutinizing glance Michael sent his way, too concerned for Okatsu. He was about to reply to the Archangel, when a frantic Hoshiko broke through the tree line, asking desperately for her partner.

    The old dragon turned and knelt down, surrendering the Gabumon to her partner. He bowed his head in silence. Theo could find no words of reassurance for the female tamer.

    “I should have been with you,” Hoshiko whispered. “I should have...”

    He should have been watching her back. Instead, he’d gotten distracted by his own internal turmoil and the bitter reality of Sir Gawain recognizing him.

    “I’m so sorry, Hoshiko,” he said softly.

    Hoshiko tore her fearful gaze away from Okatsu and asked with a hushed whisper, “What happened?”

    Before Theo replied, however, a jarring shout interrupted him.

    "Oi! You! Lizard Lips. Where the hell is my sword? And before you go starting with that 'I don't know' crap, I remember specifically -- probably -- leaving it with you or uh...the…" he snapped his fingers, wracking his brain trying to remember who else he'd been fighting alongside. "The other one -- him, her, whatever -- I gave it to one of you nit-wits when I had to step in and save you from that knight. Remember? And then, just as I'm about to win, I get punched in the head," he pointed to the side of his head.

    The black dragon’s whole body tensed at Samael’s jiving words. His clawed hand automatically reached for the black sword tucked in his belt, gripping it tightly. Theo remembered why he detested dealing with demon spawn. Having been retired from the Royal Knight service for twelve years now, his wariness of demonkind had lessened. Heck, he’d been willing to give Samael the benefit of the doubt when he and the Archangel first joined up with the Guardians. Theo snarled quietly. The memory of Samael lashing out at Tessa at the temple resurfaced with a vengeance.

    "And I'm not saying you two -- or three? I don't remember -- not sayin' you didn't help out," he continued. "But I pretty much handled that pointy ponce on my own. So," he stopped and took a breath. "I'm not blaming you -- for the record, you were useless -- but I'm willing to admit it's not entirely your fault and I probably shouldn't have trusted you to do something as simple as carry your weight in a fight.

    His grip tightened around the blade, an impulsive temptation lurking at the back of his mind.

    Kyle’s digivice flared to life, beeping urgently. A ghostly hand settled over the clenched fist. Take it easy, Theo. Remember what you taught me about letting anger control your actions.

    Theo released a heavy breath, his grip on the curved blade relaxed. He didn’t turn around yet to acknowledge the Fallen.

    “Hoshiko,” he said in a low voice. He pointed towards the Wisemon and Stein, “ Go to Tessa, she can heal Okatsu for you.”

    He gently nudged her, indicating haste. Theo wanted her and Okatsu at a safer distance. Just in case.

    "But again -- and I mean this -- I'm willing to forgive you and offer all that warm fluffy bullshit from the bottom of my cold black heart as long as you tell me where the hell you idiots left my sword."

    Theo recognized the danger walking the same path as them. Samael was a snake coiled, waiting to strike if you weren’t watching cautiously. He should’ve paid more attention from the start.

    The old soldier rose and faced the demon spawn. He grabbed the black sword in a fluid motion from his belt and threw it skillfully through the air. The blade pierced the earth upright a few feet in front of Samael. Theo anchored his emotions in the discipline forged from years with the Royal Knights. Don’t drop your guard. Remember, what happened to Asher. The battle may be over, but a clear danger is still present and you’re exhausted. You’re not with a highly trained team anymore for support.

    Choose your battles.

    He couldn’t hide his disgust and disdain, but he finally stifled the urge to strike. The black dragon didn’t want to make the situation worse, if that were even possible.

    “Exactly where you left it,” Theo snarled, “buried in Okatsu’s back.”

    Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)
    Glen Elendra

    A distraught voice snapped Tessa out of her fading mental state. A terrified Hoshiko held the unconscious Okatsu to her chest, pleading for her to heal the stricken samurai. Tessa breathed a sigh, closed her dripping wet notebook slowly, and nodded. The Wisemon knew she was done after this. She’d pushed past her limit too many times in a short period. Her Book hovered to rest on the ground so Hoshiko could step up more easily.

    “Lay her here,” Tessa said quietly, shifting onto her knees for a better position. The young Wisemon suddenly felt the world tilt sidewise and she had to catch herself with a trembling arm. The Book’s pages crinkled from the ongoing rains as Tessa tried to upright herself.

    “Sorry,” she said, voice badly strained. “Just...give me a second.”

    Tessa reached into her robe pockets, withdrawing a small elixir bottle. Popping off the top, she drank the bitter herbal cocktail with a grimace. The bitter drink hit her senses hard and a resemblance of her normal mental clarity returned. Temporarily.

    “Okay,” Tessa said. Blue light flared to life once more. The Wisemon examined the nature of Okatsu’s wounds and frowned. She directed Hoshiko to support her partner upright, so that she could access both sides of the wound at once. Tessa placed a hand each over the entry and exit wounds, visualized the damage inside and out, and poured her healing light over Okatsu. Moments later, the light frizzled out and Tessa slumped back.

    “I’ve done what I can,” she muttered, before swaying and collapsing onto her side.
  8. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Theo Grayson (BlackWarGreymon)
    Glen Elendra

    The old soldier started turning away to check on how Tessa’s healing of Okatsu was going. He didn’t get very far, when the Fallen shouted at his back.

    “Oi! Where the hell is Ukatsuzbek? Never heard of it.”

    He whipped around to face Samael with an incredulous expression. “Is that all you have to say? That stabbing someone in the back is of no consequence to you?” Theo shook his head in disbelief. Why would the Host send someone who was their anti-thesis? “ I supposed I shouldn’t have expect anything less from demon scum.”

    “Oh no, my feelings. Please stop. Your words cut so deep and true.” The leather-clad biker deadpanned, while rolling his three eyes. "And I didn't stab anyone in the back, I stabbed her through the back. There's a difference. I don't see how that has anything to do with you, but there's definitely a difference."

    “Semantics. Once is chance, twice is a coincidence, three is a pattern.” He recited an old Royal Knight saying. The black dragon narrowed his eyes. “I’ve spent twenty years dealing with types like you. I don’t have to guess whether or not you’ll follow through and injured a Guardian again.”

    “Lord Michael, have you nothing to say on the matter?” Theo said accusingly at the Archangel. “Or does the Holy Host not hold their people accountable for their actions?”

    “Oh boo-hoo, you blubbering bore.” Samael butted in, waving vaguely in Hoshiko’s and Okatsu’s direction. ”She's gonna be fine-ish in a few.”

    The Hand of God signed, frustration evident on the otherwise composed angel. “Samael is--”

    “Speaking for himself, thanks.” Samael interrupted bluntly. The Fallen One turned back to address the simmering BlackWarGreymon. “I ain't one of "their people", as you've pointed out twice now. They sent me here for a job. That's what I'm here to do.” Samael lips split into a toothy grin. “Put down these shiny **** heads by any means necessary.” His eyes danced with wild excitement. “I'm the black blade of the Host, I'm the walking grave, the defiler, the lord of riots, the murder-king. Accountable? Jack, the only reason I'm here is to bring accountability to this doomed little quest we've got going on.”

    Suffocating walls closed in on Theo, the reality of their situation rearing its ugly head. Did they really have any hope at all to defeat the Knights? Or were they kidding themselves? The Council wanted to bring the Knights to trial for their crusade against the Tamers, but did the Host have a different opinion? He stared at the destruction brought to Glen Elendra. Their hastily put together group was to supposed to the hope that stopped the Knights, along with the other teams.

    The Guardians. What a mockery. They had a demon among them willing to sacrifice another to get the job done. This wasn’t hope. This was desperation.

    “So that’s what it’s come to…” Theo muttered, his shoulders sagged. The old soldier looked to the other Guardians; the fight no longer in him. “A doomed quest...the demon’s right. Fighting the Knights is difficult enough, but achieving victory over them while watching our backs from our own side…it’s impossible.” He let out a short, dark laugh.

    “If this is the best we have to offer... We don’t stand a chance. We’ve barely survived the previous battles already and we’ve yet to see Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot on the battlefield.” Theo said grimly, he recalled his years training with the previous generation of Knights. “The few times I’ve faced Sir Lancelot in combat was for training purposes with my squadron. Our only objective was to hold out against him for as long as possible, until we were forced to yield...there’s a reason he does not join the battle very often.”

    Blackness gnawed at the edges of his vision. The memory flashed rapidly like a projection screen; Asher dying in his arms, the cold bleak emptiness replacing Kyle’s presence, him comforting a dying tamer after their first battle, Samael plunging his sword into Okatsu. The despair he’d been fighting since leaving Kaladesh overcame the black dragon. He gazed helplessly at the three dead tamers and how he failed them and countless others.

    “The Knights can’t be stopped. We can’t protect the tamers from them.” Theo whispered hoarsely, “...I can’t protect anyone.”

    “I’m done.”

    “ Again, boo-freakin-hoo. Crying about watching your back -- the hell else are you doing? What, you don't know how to fight? Watch your damn blind spots!” Samael yelled, sneeringly at the depressing dragon man. “Or are you pissed I showed your grumpy ass up? Big man over here, looking to impress his own bosses. Lookin' to carry the torch for someone. Burdened by all those emotions and feelings and this…” The fallen angel threw out a hand flippantly at the old soldier, “... glum and boring disposition.”

    “Leave if you want. Uh.” Samael muttered, points a hand vaguely at Okatsu. “Oshkosh over there was way more helpful. Maybe if you didn't have such a raging hard-on for your old bosses you'd have carried your weight a little more. Don't you worry: when Lancerfrans shows up I'll kill him too.”

    “We're not here to kill the Royal Knights.” Michael inisisted.

    “Of course not,” Samael said, winking.

    “I mean --”

    “Done here,” the demon said, walking away with his arms behind his head.

    “Samael!” Michael shouted.

    “Is not listening! Please leave a message at the beep.” He flipped the Archangel the middle finger. “BEEP!”

    Theo’s eyes narrowed at the departing demon’s back. However, he grimaced with pain and shame, refusing the make eye contact with the others. He approached Andrea, avoiding James and the three fallen tamers.

    “Andrea, we’re leaving,” he said, with no room for argument.

    “What?” Andrea asked, warily perplexed.

    “I’m not letting you stay to fight,” Theo frowned, “It’s too dangerous.”

    “It’s dangerous anywhere the Knights are hunting Tamers,” she insisted.

    “Exactly why you should head back to Anal-”

    “Theo, I am not leaving Deneb!” Andrea said stubbornly, upset by the suggestion. The pink little poromon awoke with a jolt from the shouting, groggily confused.

    Theo shook his head frustrated, “I understand, but if something happens to you, your mother…”

    “Do not bring my family into this, Theo,” she cut him off sternly, her voice tight with hurt and rising in volume. “My mom knows now. About our partners, our adventures, and the threat endangering them and us. She doesn’t like, but she understands.”

    “Just because you were my brother’s partner, doesn’t mean you can order me around” the normally private young woman continued berating the astounded greymon. “You are not my father. I’m staying with the Guardians and seeing this fight through.”
  9. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Henry Vane (CaptainHookmon) >
    - Glen Elendra, the Kingdom of Nature -

    "What kind of pirate only brings a single bottle of rum," Svarog snarled angrily.

    "The broke-ass kind, that's what." Henry shot back. He turned to face the god with no respect left to offer. He seemed a little shorter than he remembered. And less bulky. Well, tan his hide. The bastard had been beaten so silly he'd reverted back a level. That should take him down a peg.

    "Tsk. That's right, I've got no crew, no ship, no money," Henry waved his arm, as if gesturing to all the things that had been taken from him, "and as of now, no rum. Everything a free, seafaring man should have in abundance I'm missing. If that means I'm a sorry excuse for a pirate then so be it. I caught a bad wind somewhere I suppose if the only place I have to be is here with this washed up excuse for a crew."

    He waved his hand dismissively, almost turning to walk away, but the words kept flowing and so he turned back to face the others. "And about that. What in the seven seas is wrong with you lot?"

    Henry was probably going to walk to plank for this but damn it, this was a cause he had decided to pick up. And he felt like he was one of the few people here who actually took all of this seriously. That could not and would not be allowed to go without challenge on his watch. So if they wanted to rip him to pieces after this, then fine. He probably deserved that much at least.

    "I don't know if some of this lot even knows how to fight with any skill at all. We've got folks with brains but no brawn to back it up. And vice versa. Some of us are adrift with no clear purpose," he said with a slight glance in Theo's direction, "and some of us don't have a full grasp of our own power. We can't win like this. We will never win like this.

    "And thanks to that one," he pointed a thumb over his shoulder towards Samael's retreating form. "We don't even know if our own teammates will betray us or not. This little crew of ours works about as well as a schooner made of paper. So what are we going to do about it? Cause damn it, I'm prepared to take up this cause as my own but if you sorry lot expect me to throw my life away without even bothering to chart us a proper course then I'll be following the old lizard's example and finding a better port."

    Henry was worked up now. Samael had walked off one way. Theo had jumped overboard. The crew was one rough wave away from all out mutiny. Either someone took charge and got their sails aligned to the same wind or the fleet would completely scatter.

    "How long are you going to let Samael walk all over you?" he asked Michael. "He disrespects you to that degree and you offer soft words?

    "And you three," he turned and gestured towards the collected group of Aria, Stein, and Tessa, "Between the three of you there's one good brain, two strong arms, at least one fine body, and a whole lot of average. The lot of you made the choice to be here so start taking it seriously.

    "I couldn't even begin to understand what the deal is with the tamers and their weirdness, but you," he turned back to Svarog, "Bloody hell, you're a god. The Knights should be groveling at your feet. Instead they beat the Mega stage right off you and you could probably send me to Davy Jones' Locker with one hand behind your back. So if you can't handle the Knights then how are us mortals supposed to do any better?

    "Do the Knights have something that we don't? Can we hope to actually match them? To best them? Because if we can't, if this is a bitter draught of a quest with naught but fool's gold at the end, then tell me now so I can go live the rest of my life in peace. But if we actually have a shot then can we figure out how that's gonna work before we all get each other killed?"

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