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Digimon: Unholy Crusade

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

  1. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Michael Ha'Yisrael (MagnaAngemon) >

    “Yes, well, if someone of your talents will be satisfied with being my first mate then I gladly accept your help.” Michael nodded his acceptance. “I’m sure you agree with my assessment that we have a serious morale problem around here. We aren’t going to make any headway against the Knights if half of us expect to get our tails kicked.”

    "On that we're in agreement," Michael said, his voice low. "I'll handle the Council -- they'll call on us when we arrive. For all intents and purposes they'll continue to see me as the one leading this…team." He glanced out of the window where Axis Mundi rose up from the horizon. "We fought the Royal Knights twice in one day. We should have some reprieve; until they regain their strength as well, at least. Use this time and see if there's something you can make of this…morale problem."

    "Y'can always use my place. I've got a bar in Lower Axis," said the BelleStarmon. She'd arrived with the rest from Glen Elendra and had seemingly joined in against the knights alongside Thor. "It's the same place this idiot tried to burn down the other night." She jabbed her thumb back towards Svarog.

    "Horvath's Tavern?" Svarog half-sputtered. "That's yours?"

    "'Horvath's' what now?" she wheeled around and glared at Svarog. She grit her teeth and snarled to the wall. "I gave Nadia one job. One: pick a new freakin' name for the bar. She's been there for a month now! I even gave her some names! 'Gunslingers,' 'Bullet Club.' Just gotta pick one."

    "Whatever the name, perhaps that's best," Michael murmured, as much to himself as to Henry.

    "Yeah. You're welcome to stay there," the BelleStarmon's demeanor turned somber as she regarded the other humans scattered throughout their car, their partners, and the Peacemakers. "Them, too. Place is big enough."

    Michael was about to thank her.

    "Not him though," she glared at Samael, leaning against a shadowed corner. "His ass can go with you."

    "Aw, Serra, I'm hurt," Samael clicked his teeth, stepping away from the corner and striding over. Michael caught Serra bristle momentarily as Samael neared. "Like the name, by the way. 'Gunslingers'...wonder where I heard that one before."

    "We're going with 'Bullet Club'," Serra snapped.

    "Like that one, too," Samael drawled as he walked past. "See. What'd I tell ya? You learned a lot from me and it's stuck with ya." Samael disappeared into the other train car and Michael silently hoped he would stay out of trouble.

    “But first, the Mammothmon in the room. Samael.” the pirate took a breath, gathering his thoughts. “I’ve dealt with his type before, but you seem to know him the best. If this lot is going to be a fully functional crew, then even he needs a specific job. But after today, I don’t think there are many here who would be comfortable with Samael watching their back. Which is fine. He might be better off working without a partner."

    "It's a worthy assessment," Michael said, almost without thinking.

    “So, as someone who will be responsible for what comes next, I’m asking: can he be trusted to carry out a mission? And more importantly, what is it that’s driving him? Why is he here? I have to admit the demon is something of an enigma to me. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone so thoroughly… abrasive. And believe me, I have met some of the most disreputable scoundrels you've ever..." he coughed, as if remembering suddenly who he was talking to. "But I need to understand him as best I can."

    "He's a psycho and a monster and the worst sort of both," Serra snarled.

    "There are worse things out there than Samael," Michael assured the group, his voice almost betraying the uncertainty he struggled to hide. "But very few things are more dangerous. His motives, however, are entirely his own."

    "He just likes killing," Serra insisted, eyeing Michael distrustfully.

    "Hmm," Michael acknowledged absently. "But there are easier ways to do that than fight the Royal Knights. If you're asking if he can be trusted...in the way comrades stand shoulder-to-shoulder and go to war? No. But you can trust Samael to act in his own best interests. And his interests align with ours."
  2. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Theo Grayson
    Front Locomon Car

    The older Greymon stared listlessly over his shoulder to the outside window, paying no heed to the passing landscape. Aria's light touch and encouraging words eventually drew Theo from the depths of his despair. For now. He still walked a narrow ledge, the slightest of breezes threatening to send him back into the dark pit.

    “Tell me, Gramps.” she started. “What is it that you want?”

    A fogging memory rose to the surface:a orange-scaled hand grabbed his own wrist roughly and snatched a crumpled paper from his grip. His brother had been upset with him at the time. What had they been arguing about?

    “There must be something. And don’t even try to give me something impossible like turning back time cause I won’t accept that and neither should you.”

    No. The dead couldn't come back. He knew that truth all too well.

    You’re alive, Theo.” she said, dropping the nickname for the moment. “You might not have realized it with your head buried in that pit of sorrow you carry around with you, but you’re alive. Cherish that.”

    How could he? A wife is without her husband and a son never had the chance to know his father, all because he failed to watch Asher's back.

    Aria, slowly and gently, pulled her hand away.

    “The next time we talk, I expect you to have an answer for me.” she said sternly. “And you aren’t going to let me down, right?”

    He turned his head to meet Aria's encouraging with a pained expression. “Right, Gramps?”

    Theo shook his helm, responding softly, “I'm sorry, Aria, there won't be a next time.”

    Tessa Tesla
    Front Locomon

    The small mage sprung from where she slept, searching frantically through her robe pockets. “My book! Where is it?! I need to write this down!”

    Finding her small notebook, Tessa paced restlessly up and down the car isle completely absorb in her thoughts from the onslaught of inspiration. Her weary body swayed uneasely from side to side as she wrote a mile a minute, her tired brain in overdrive.

    “Time, time, time,” she muttered obsessively, paging through an old section of notes, “-not time travel, even a Wisemon can't mess around with that.... Time displacements? Temporal abnormalities? No, no, still too disruptive to the time/space continuum. We can't have tears in the fabric of reality starting to show up.” Tessa sketched elaborate diagrams with several complex mathematically equations, mentally whacking her brain to remember. “Time differentials! That's it! Much more forgiving in the time/space continuum if kept to a small area of effect. Might only slow a Knight down for a few seconds at best. But how to apply it with an effective delivery system....” Tessa stared blankly at the floor in thought, scratching her hood with the back of her pencil. She scribbled maddeningly on the page, only to abruptly erase a whole string of calculations. “No, no, that would turn everything in the affect area inside out...”

    Tessa managed to take a calming breath and snapped her notebook shut. “I need sleep. Someone knock on my Book, when we get back to Axis Mundi.”

    Without bothering to check to see if anyone replied, the mage stepped on the giant pages of her father's ancient tome, disappearing from view as the massive book closed.
  3. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    < Serra Castiel (BelleStarmon) >

    The sun was already setting by the time the Guardians arrived back in Axis Mundi. Michael left with a wordless nod to Henry and headed towards the Council's Hall. The humans, their partners, and the other refugee Digimon all departed the overcrowded train cars and were ushered deeper into the city by Council guards and support troops. The Peacemakers -- Drakn, Adriana, Odric, Sha, Nocchi, Gigas, and Saria -- remained with the support troops to assist in the offloading and relocation of the Tamers.

    Drakn and the others glanced briefly over towards the Guardians as they too disembarked. There was a mutual respect and camaraderie there, but also a distance -- the awkwardness of the forced separation the Council had arranged between the two groups. Guardians and Peacemakers were each their own entity. Of this the Council had made certain. The very fact that the Guardians had then intervened to rescue the Peacemakers at both Kaladesh and Glen Elendra had only solidified that distance.

    Serra led the Guardians back through lower Axis Mundi towards her bar, until she realized that most knew the way after having spent time there before the first mission. The moved wordlessly through the streets, dissolving slowly into the crowds of Digimon until they were became unremarkable parts of the scenery and indistinguishable from everyone else around them.

    That was how Serra preferred it. Being unnoticed and unremarkable.

    Only Samael failed to blend in. Even amidst the cacophony and churn of lower Axis Mundi his presence was impossible to miss. He remained a black void in Serra's vision. A hole in the world that drew her gaze and attention with every breath he took. Surrounded as they were by sea and salt and sweat, the tangy iron scent of blood was overpowering in his presence. The result of decades of violence poured over him.

    She wondered why no one else seemed to notice.

    At last they arrived at her bar -- Horvath's, though thankfully Svarog's brawl the other night had successfully destroyed the old sign from when she'd "purchased" the place.

    Serra strode in and caught Nadia's eye. She shook her head and nodded stiffly towards the door.

    "Alright, folks! Bar's closed! Get out and see ya tomorrow!" the Lekismon shouted. The patrons -- savory and not -- grumbled low and ignored her. "Hey! Don't make me get the boss to throw you out!"

    "Yer 'boss' is never around," one of them shouted back. He was an Ogremon with a poucy gut and bloodshot eyes. "She--"

    "I'd watch how you finish that sentence if I were you," Serra said, glaring down at him. "Especially if you like your guts on the inside of your body."

    There was a moment of stunned silence, and then the non-Guardian bar-goers scrambled to their feet and stampeded out the front door.

    "Hope you're happy, boss," Nadia muttered, wiping down the counter as the last drunk straggler tumbled out the door. "Because I'm not getting tipped after that."

    "I'll double your wage for the night," Serra waved her off.

    "I do your bookkeeping! You haven't paid me in weeks!"

    "Don't get yourself in such a huff," Serra said, rolling her eyes. She patted Nadia on the head and scratched her rabbit ears. "You know I'm good for it."

    "The hell happened to you guys?" Nadia asked. She glanced around at the Guardians and a look of despair and recognition dawned on her. "What are you doing with them?!"

    "When did you get so high strung?" Serra wondered.

    "You've been gone for weeks!"

    "I have other bars to run!"

    "Then go to one of them to lick your wounds!" Serra's teasing smirk faded into a grimace, and Nadia's tone quickly changed. "What happened?"

    "These are the 'Guardians' -- Council called them up to fight the Royal Knights," Serra said, and then quickly summarized the events in Glen Elendra. "Looks like I've thrown my lot in with them now."


    "Someone's gotta watch their backs," Serra said with a sigh. "Make sure Samael doesn't shove a knife in them."

    "Samael? Wait -- the Samael?" Nadia glanced over to the darkest corner of the bar where Samael sat alone. His eyes glowed in the low light and he seemed to be gazing directly through them. "You do know this is a terrible idea, right?"

    "Oh. Absolutely."

    "Then why?"

    Serra shrugged and shook her head. "Not sure yet." She glanced over to the Guardians milling about. "Drinks are on us tonight though. We'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here."
  4. storymasterb

    storymasterb Knight of RPGs

    James Reeve
    Axis Mundi

    James lagged behind the other Guardians as they moved through the crowds, held back not by exhaustion but by the weight of friendship. Of course they had been waiting. He had messaged Alexis on the train back to let them know he was safe, that he was coming. They'd want that. To know that James Reeve hadn't been snuffed out like a candle, impossible as that might seem to the Tamers he had watched drift into the depths of the city. Their lives in the hands of the Peacemakers he had bid farewell to with a respectful nod and a smile. Even though they surprised him, it was a good surprise, in a way. To know that there were more out there fighting the good fight. Even if he'd prefer to fight it himself so that no one else would have to risk being hurt or killed, he couldn't do it. Reality wouldn't back down for him, not even in the face of that legend that lit the eyes of others with hope.

    Alexis was at his side, Artanis at his other, Cielstraza perched in her partner's arms. The googles, his googles rested atop Alexis's brow and to him it seemed like they fit better there. Behind them, the others walked with their partners, Ryuga and Kazumi trading banter, Tosh with them offering his own occasional quip, and Ariel listening with her smile that tried to be disapproval. It felt like home and yet between them there was still a hole that could never be filled. He knew they all felt it too. Matthew's silhouette was a void beyond Artanis and no one could ever erase that emptiness.

    "What was it like?" Kazumi asked. He and Ryuga were Japanese, but both had picked up English well in Saga. "Fighting with the thunder god there." He gestured to where Thor's black and gold armor gleamed in the sunset light. James considered it a moment, remembering a storm of power making the horizon vanish into a field of white. The sword's energies vibrating through his bones.

    "Incredible," he offered, forcing the smile. "You wouldn't believe that sword of his."

    Kazumi nodded with a smirk. "Maybe he'd let us try it one day."

    James laughed and shook his head. "I don't think it works like that." Not that he knew for sure. Hoshiko would, probably. She'd have read about what the sword had done, the monsters it had slain, the men and women its edge had made knights. But she was silent, walking with Okatsu ahead of them. The Gabumon X had awoken on the train just before they arrived, but what words the two had shared James hadn't heard. He just saw Hoshiko's hand never straying more than an inch from her partner. He couldn't blame her for that. How close had Samael come to getting Okatsu killed? The demon's shadow threatened to drown his joy at seeing his friends and he tried to force it away, but the Beelzemon's presence made it stick in his mind.

    "But even with that sword," Tosh mused, "you didn't do it, did you, brother? They'd be here if you had. Them Royal Knights." The atmosphere fell.

    He shook his head. "No. Not this time. But at least we saved people from them."

    "Because surviving - because this - isn't enough." There were Thor's words again, reminding him. They hadn't gone there just to save people. They had gone there to stop this madness, to defeat the Knights and bring them to justice before the Council. And in that, they had failed.

    Ryuga's hand fell on his shoulder. "Oh, man, Alexis has some news for you."

    Alexis glanced back at him. "I was going to say! I just wanted to let James talk first!"

    James looked between them as Ryuga backed up and Tosh gave a low chuckle. "What news?" She looked back at him and their eyes met, holding with each other for a moment. "What happened? You're okay, right?"

    Alexis smiled. "More than okay. While you were gone, a group of Tamers got in touch, doing the last stretch to get here. They had Royal Knight forces in pursuit, some guy called Maleagant." She looked down at Cielstraza. "You know the score, just... Ciel and I Biomerged."

    They all stopped as James looked at her. He felt happy, definitely. Knowing that Alexis and Cielstraza had become so close and gotten so strong as partners that they had become one. But his own doubts and worries welled up at the news. Shouldn't he and Artanis be there too? If they were, would things have been different? A WarGreymon or a ShineGreymon or something else could have stood there in Kaladesh and Glen Elendra, strong enough to protect more. Strong enough to find victory against the Knights. He forced them away. Not now. Not here.

    He smiled. "That's great! What was it like?"

    Alexis visibly struggled with the words. "It was... so amazing. Just feeling everything like I was Ciel. You know? Like I had her scales and wings and we were fighting together like that. Like when she was attacking it was me doing it too and we were thinking together and moving together and feeling together!" Cielstraza's eyes were gleaming.

    "You have called it a miracle before," the Dorumon said. "All of you. And you were right. It truly is a miracle, something precious."

    "Something we have to protect," Ariel said. They began walking again, for the Guardians were beginning to fade into the crowds.

    "Something we will protect," James said firmly. "Absolutely." He looked at Alexis and Cielstraza and the former looked back at him, and as one they reached out to pull each other close, embracing with one arm each as they walked. "I'm so happy for you both. It really sounds so amazing!"

    Artanis finally chimed in. "You have found that strength, Alexis, Cielstraza. The strength of your bond." James nodded in acknowledgement. There was strength in the bond between Tamer and partner, they all knew that. That was why partners could reach new evolutions in fractions of the time it took their solo counterparts, why when times were desperate new power presented itself, and why human and Digimon could ultimately become one whole stronger by far than the sum of its parts. And yet even with that strength, they were failing, falling, dying. What chance did he and Artanis truly stand without it? They were just a symbol, nothing more. "Hold firm to one another and I hope to see you become stronger still. Stronger than James and I, perhaps." The Agumon gave a warm laugh.

    "We'll see," Alexis chuckled back. "I mean, you guys are the Guardians. We're nobodies compared to you really."

    "Always were," Kazumi laughed. "What are musclebrain here and I compared to the great James Reeve, huh?" He gestured to Ryuga.

    "Who are you calling musclebrain, potato farmer?!" Ryuga grumbled back, his Vorvomon partner stifling a chuckle at his side. Zeta, Kazumi's Hagurumon partner, was as impassive as could be expected of a robot.

    James chuckled himself at their antics. "I missed you guys."

    "You've only been gone a day, brother," Tosh smirked. "But it's good to know that you miss it." It had only been a day, hadn't it? It felt like months had passed. But he had missed them in the midst of it all, missed their company, missed knowing they had his back. When Theo had gone his own way, when Samael had to be watched with one eye (or so it felt), he missed the teammates he knew so well and trusted absolutely. He saw that the other Guardians ahead were filing into a bar, presumably Serra's bar, and he stopped with the others.

    "Going to leave us here?" Alexis asked. "If it's a Guardians-only thing, we totally get it, right guys?"

    "Of course, man," Ryuga said with his smirk. "If you're going to hang out with the cool kids, we can go be places." He laughed.

    "Go on, brother," Tosh added. "You're working with those guys now. You'd better get in your downtime with them." Did James even want to? He felt like the only people he wanted to be with right now were the ones he was standing next to. Not with Thor, who was so distant, not with Svarog, who was so full of scorn, not with Theo, who had given up and who James didn't truly know how he felt about, and especially not with Samael, who stank of blood and was a constant shadow of negative thoughts. But Hoshiko would feel the same, he was sure. And Hoshiko seemed so fragile right now in his eyes, even with Okatsu back on her feet.

    "I'll come see you and everyone else when I can," he finally said. "Sorry. Serra offered us a place here."

    "You've always got a place with us too," Alexis replied. "Always. If they kick you out, just come knocking." She smiled and reached out and they hugged. "I know tomorrow they'll probably have you running off to fight again, right?"

    James nodded. "Wherever the Knights are." And tomorrow he and Artanis would be better. They had to be. He felt like a millstone around the Guardians' collective necks, useful as decoration, but only hindering the others. He knew Artanis felt it too. They had to be stronger. Faster. Whatever it took.

    He and Alexis parted, only for Ariel to hold him next. "Stay safe," she said as they too parted. Digimon were spilling from the tavern now, grumbling about one thing or another as they made their way into the streets of Axis Mundi.

    "Always," he smiled back, and she returned it weakly. Kazumi, Ryuga and Tosh followed with fistbumps, acting manly as they all always did. The way he tried to be, so energetic and inspirational.

    "Kick some ass, man," Kazumi smirked. "Show them some soulfire." Soulfire. There was something these three had in spades.

    "I'll crush them with it," he replied, making Kazumi laugh.

    "Fight hard, brother," Tosh said last, as the others began to slowly move away. "You're gonna need to with these stakes." He had a dark glare in his eyes, surprisingly solemn, and James trusted it enough that his own reply was serious.

    "I know," he said quietly. "I have to."

    "You always got us out of those messes back in the day, mon," Tosh said. "I know they say all kinds of things about you. Making you this big hero, right, mon? But you know the biggest truth they be telling?" He pressed a fingertip to James's chest, right above his heart. "It's that right here there's a heart that doesn't know what quitting means." He gave a smile that was almost a smirk. "Like Kazumi said, brother, show them some of that soulfire you got there." He clenched hands with James in a tight handshake, clapping him on the back before walking away to leave Alexis and Cielstraza.

    "Go on," she said softly as the others began to leave. "You're a Guardian. Be a Guardian with them." He wanted to say it to her, to them. Even if he couldn't bear to let anyone else see the doubts deep within, Alexis was the one he always debated letting down his guard for. He wanted to let it all out, the strife within the Guardians, his fears and worries. How he didn't feel strong enough to fight the Royal Knights, how he had failed to save Lyanna and so many others. But he couldn't do that. He couldn't break her faith in him, not when she and everyone else needed him to be strong for them. To be the hero his deeds had made him. Artanis lingered at his side too, reminding him of his duty.

    He smiled. "Guardian I am," he replied. Even with Thor and Svarog and Samael in there, he could do it. Be one of them, even if he didn't entirely feel it.

    She smiled back and was gone, following the others with a last glance back. He watched her walk away into the twilight.

    "Shall we proceed?" Artanis finally intruded.

    James nodded, and made his way inside.


    Artanis Dawnflame
    Serra's Tavern

    It was indeed a tavern, full of fond memories and the echoes of many a bar brawl. The Agumon took it in as he and James entered, the counter, the chairs that bore the scars of those brawls, the scent of ale and merriment. There were many places like it across the face of Saga, each with its own unique flavor, but Artanis had never had much time for it. Others among the Akilae were more lax than he, but Tassadar had impressed upon him the importance of a clear head. Merriment had its place, but he preferred to spend it sober.

    The Guardians were the only occupants of the tavern now, the other patrons having clearly been vacated to leave the space for them alone. He was glad of that. The atmosphere was quiet, even with Samael skulking in the dark corner with those eyes glowing menacingly. Artanis met them for a moment, then turned his gaze elsewhere. His body ached with exhaustion, the wound in his shoulder still flaring with pain as he moved. But the most grievous wound was in his spirit. He knew as well as James did, as they all did perhaps, that this was only barely victory. They had saved many Tamers and partners, but many more had not been saved. And the Royal Knights had defeated the Guardians with little effort.

    He looked about the room, seeing wounds both physical and mental apparent in healing scars and downcast eyes. The scar on Okatsu's chest caught his eyes in particular, most striking because it was an injury inflicted by a supposed ally rather than a noble foe. Mad as the Knights had become, they retained some of their nobility. He had weighed Tristan's actions and words long and hard on the train, the Gallantmon's statement echoing in his head. But regardless of how nobly they spoke, people were dying because of them. If the Knights truly cared, he had finally reasoned, then their crusade would have ended at the first death.

    The Agumon's wandering eyes found Theo, the BlackWarGreymon despondent amidst the crowd. He felt the urge to go to the other Greymon and say something. Some inspiring speech perhaps. Tassadar would have had just the words to inspire new courage and resolve, but that skill was one his mentor had not quite passed to Artanis. James possessed it, but even he seemed struck dumb by Theo's current state. Was it the feeling of betrayal? The loss of such a comrade? Of all the Guardians, Theo had seemed among the most resolute, alongside Michael and the humans. And indeed, Theo knew what it was like to be Tamer and partner, and what it meant to lose that precious bond. He almost shivered at the thought.

    As the others made their plans, he turned to Hoshiko. Okatsu too stared at Theo, her eyes unreadable. Did she too wish to try and snap the BlackWarGreymon from his despair?

    "Are you well?" he asked, directing the question at them both.

    Okatsu looked at him and gave a curt nod, a twitch of her mouth betraying her pain. "I will mend," she answered. "In body and mind." They all would, in body at least. Minds on the other hand...

    "Glad to be back," Hoshiko murmured, her fingertips brushing on Okatsu's fur.

    "What will you do?" Artanis queried. "You have your guild here, do you not?"

    Hoshiko gave a weary nod in answer. "Yes. I... I want to check on them. See if-" She cut herself short a moment, as though exhaustion and fatigue had overwhelmed her. "If anyone else found their way here." Okatsu reached up to touch her partner's hand. "I should go." Her gaze wasn't on him, Artanis suddenly noticed. It was drawn across the room, to the darkest corner where Samael haunted them. And beneath the tiredness, it was like a dark fire burned in her eyes.

    "Go and rest, Hoshiko Yukimura," the Agumon said softly. "It has been a taxing day. And there are more trials to come."

    "I'll call if anything comes up," James added, stepping forward. "Artanis is right." He looked down. "We did well today, saving that many, but-"

    "But just surviving isn't enough," Artanis finished softly. James gave a nod, but Hoshiko was silent.

    "Then what is enough?" Okatsu posed. "Victory, correct? No matter what cost?"

    Artanis frowned. "Victory, of course."

    The Gabumon X faced him. "Defeating the Royal Knights, you mean. To write your saga." She seemed almost scornful again, as she had before.

    James seemed to ponder this. "What else can we do, Okatsu? Just be satisfied with having saved some people, despite the fact that the Knights will just hit somewhere else tomorrow?" He frowned, and Artanis knew that he found that line of thinking painful. If James could have his way, he'd have saved everyone in Kaladesh and Glen Elendra. It was just the way he was.

    She turned to him. "They call you a hero, James Reeve. You want to save everyone, correct? Be the one who carries a child out of the fire, though you risk your own life to do so?" Her expression was curiously somewhere between a frown and a smile. "Ask yourself this. And you, Artanis Dawnflame. If surviving isn't enough, if only truly defeating the Royal Knights is victory, then does that mean that achieving that victory means more than anything else? Even the lives you so want to save?"

    Artanis bristled, but caught himself. Beside him, James stared at Okatsu in surprise. "How can you ask that?" the young man asked.


    Okatsu Sekishusai
    Serra's Tavern

    It was like the two of them hadn't found a conclusion themselves, she thought. Like they hadn't fully thought through those words. Even though the wound in her chest ached, even though Samael's presence was a constant tug on her thoughts, she could still feel it in how they'd spoken.

    "Because if you are going to fight," she said softly, "then you should have no illusions about why. No doubts and no hesitation. Otherwise, you will be held back, no matter how subconsciously." She turned away, only to glance back. "We should all rest, for now. Perhaps you can meditate upon that question and find your answer. I hope it brings you clarity." They were looking at her with some confusion still.

    "Do you think I could just let people suffer?" James said after a moment, quietly.

    "I cannot know," Okatsu said quietly. "Only you can be certain if you're capable of that, James." She looked between the two. "Think on it. Perhaps answering it will give you strength."

    "Do you think we need riddles and games at this moment?" Artanis pressed. "With everything that has happened and that we are doing?"

    "I think that you need certainty," the Gabumon replied. "That right now, you wrestle with those words you both know, uncertain of the resolution they should lead to." She looked up at James and met his eyes. "A warrior without certainty about how and why they fight is like a house on unsteady foundations." An old lesson borrowed from her sensei, but apt. "Excuse me, sorry, but there is something I must do." She looked away from them now and found Theo. It seemed like he had been talking to the Lekismon bartender about something or other, but now he was turning to leave through the back.

    "We should get back to the others," Hoshiko said. "Can't it wait, Okatsu?" Her partner sounded so weary, so worn by stress, but Okatsu had a concern she needed to lay to rest.

    "I'm sorry," she murmured. "But I have to settle this, Hoshiko."

    "Then I'll come with you," her partner said immediately. "Whatever it is, I can help-"

    Okatsu shook her head, hating herself for it. Hoshiko didn't need to be left alone in this moment. But what Sir Gawain had said about Theo... she wanted to feel like it could be left for another time, but right now she wanted certainty. "I need to do this alone, Hoshiko."

    The woman looked at her with a pain Okatsu very rarely saw. It occasionally filled Hoshiko's eyes in moments where she was wistful, always banished as soon as she noticed Okatsu looking. But now the Gabumon X saw it fully, an icy agony that stained Hoshiko's eyes with the ghosts of a terrible past. "Okay," Hoshiko murmured finally, her voice soft. "I'll wait for you."

    Okatsu reached up, resting her hand on the back of Hoshiko's. "I'm sorry," she said, aware that James and Artanis watched. "I will be as quick as I can. I just need to find some answers." She let go and made her way across the bar, following Theo.


    Hoshiko Yukimura
    Serra's Tavern

    She found a chair and slumped down into it, watching her partner vanish into the back of the bar. Separated again. Her hand came to her chest, where the merest phantom of pain still troubled her. Hoshiko looked around the bar, checking each Guardian in turn, skipping past Samael's dark corner now because whether imaginary or not, seeing him seemed to make that phantasmal pain spike. Theo and Okatsu were gone. Was it Theo Okatsu was going to talk to? Why? Had something else happened besides Samael's backstabbing?

    She should explain. The thought came as her gaze found Serra and the Lekismon. It would only be polite. She didn't have much energy for politeness right now, but Serra had offered so much already, and otherwise she would sit in the chair and do nothing until Okatsu came back from her secret task. It stung that Okatsu hadn't told her what exactly was happening. Why she had to go alone. But she just felt uncertain, glad that Okatsu was safe, but fearful of the demon who had done it to her. Not knowing whether more of her lost guildmates had returned or if their unknown fates would still weigh on her mind as she tried to rest along with guilt and grief.

    Hoshiko forced herself to rise from the chair, crossing the room to Serra and the Lekismon bartender. "I just wanted to thank you for your hospitality," she said quietly. "But I have people here, my colleagues, I suppose. My friends. I need to check that they're okay and if... if any more have come back." The last part was quieter. She didn't expect that they had.

    But she could only hope right now.
  5. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    + Frantz Stein (Boltmon) +
    Axis Mundi -> Serra's Tavern

    Stein remembered this place. This was the big city the invitation had led him too. There were so many digimon here. Huemons too. All kinds as well. Stein hadn’t paid much attention to such details the last time he was here. He was running late after all, his only concern was getting to the planes before they left without him.

    That seemed like such a long time ago. Stein wasn’t the best at keeping track of time as it was. Much less having spent several long sections of it unconscious. The Boltmon frowned at his own thoughts. He was getting beaten up too much. How could he protect his new friends if he was unconscious? He could not, his logic circuits reminded him.

    He followed the others through the crowds and into a large tavern. Stein was reasonably certain he ran on batteries, so drinking was not something he had ever experienced. He could eat, sure. But he didn't have too. Could he drink? His circuits gave a digital shrug. Maybe if he drank the strange juice, he would get all red-faced and wobbly like some of the others he’d seen. Was that fun? Stein was skeptical, but the others certainly seemed to think so.

    He looked for Flower Friend to ask her if she though the wobbly part was fun, but the Lilamon was already seated at the bar. Captain was likewise occupied. And he didn’t see Wise One at all. She was probably too small. Stein was not good at finding small things, even when they were his friends.

    Who could he ask about the tavern and its strange rituals? Who was the best? Stein had heard several of the others mention how Svarog had “gone wild” in a tavern before the first fight. They seemed to mention it with a level of respect as well. Stein nodded. He needed an expert.

    Svarog wasn’t hard to find. He never was. Stein approached the Apollomon with the same level of reservation or tact that he approached everyone with. That is to say, none at all.

    “Mr. Sun!” he began, as though this was a normal way to address Svarog, “Stein has heard the legends of your tavern abilities. I normally chop firewood or crush boulders to unwind, so Stein has no knowledge of what to do in a tavern and would like to learn from an expert.”


    ~ Aria Morningsong (Lilamon) ~
    Serra's Tavern

    Well, that had been a dismal failure. Theo was even worse off than she had thought. And she had even gotten all sappy in front of him too. It made her cringe now just to think about it. She thanked her lucky stars that she was in a tavern right now cause she sure as hell needed the drink.

    Her eyes drifted over to where Theo was moping and she let out a long frustrated sigh. Some people just couldn’t be pulled out from under their sad little rain clouds. Some people even carried their rain cloud around protectively, afraid to let it go cause they can’t remember what it feels like to be dry. Theo might be the later, someone who couldn’t be helped until they helped themself. Oh well, can’t blame a girl for trying.

    It was far past time to set her thoughts on more sunny things. She took a seat at the bar and set about mentally calculating how many drinks her too light pouch of coins could get her.

    That BelleStarmon who seemed to run the place turned and addressed the group. "Drinks are on us tonight though. We'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here."

    Aria raised a nearby empty glass in response. “That is the best news I’ve heard all day.”

    The Lilamon turned to the Lekismon bartender, who she remembered from the other night was named Nadia, and slid the empty glass towards her. “I don’t care what you fill that with, just make it something good.”

    Nadia smirked. "You know that’s code for the cheap stuff, right?”

    “Honestly, I’m too worn out to care that much. And in a few glasses I can assure you I won’t care at all.” Aria leaned forward on the bar stool and rested her elbows on the bar itself, ready to spend the evening trying to forget about what had happened recently. And what would happen soon.

    Until she realized that it made her look like Henry. Sitting here moping alone, head buried in a bottle. That though was unpleasant enough to make her straighten in her seat. She was a lot of things, but a spoil sport wasn’t one of them. And wasn’t going to start being one now. Not now, not ever.

    A glass slid to a stop gently in front of her. Nadia was good. Whatever was in it certainly smelled strong. Good. She had downed half the glass before she knew it.

    This place needed some livening up. Too many moping faces. But first, she needed a little more drink.


    < Henry Vane (CaptainHookmon) >
    Serra's Tavern

    After spending the rest of the train ride mulling over everything he knew about his teammates, their skills, styles, and personalities all, Henry was beginning to understand the depth of his position. Most crews started out with a few guys. A handful of lads who had ambition and a common goal. This was like starting with the broken remains of a fleet’s worth of crews, some of whom hated each other, and trying to make it work.

    And he would make it work. A gentleman’s word is as good as law.

    The Knights were another problem entirely, but he would deal with that second. First, he had to sort out the shambled mess that was this team’s morale. But when even that spunky little flowermon looked like a haggard drunk things had to be bad.

    Might as well start at the place he had least amount of information, the tamers and their partners. He approached James and Artanis first, as Hoshiko and Okatsu weren’t together.

    “Hello there lads.” he said with a small measure of cheer. “Mind if I have a word?”

    While he listened to their response, he took a moment to size them up. A human, and an Agumon. One, fragile and without a means of self-defense. The other, a Rookie with abnormal strength for its level. The bond between a tamer and their digimon partner was still strange to him, but there was no denying its power now that he had seen Deneb and his partner biomerge.

    “Don’t know if you’ve caught wind of it, but there’s been a change in leadership around here. I’m the official captain of this crew now, and as such I’ve got to figure out how not to get us all killed tomorrow.”

    “So, on that note, I’ve got to know what to do with you two and the other tamer pairs. You lot are something of a double edged sword. One one hand, that biomerge thing is a trump card that we desperately need. That sort of unpredictable power could turn the tides in our favor. But on the other hand…”

    The pirate looked directly at James. “You present a special sort of risk, a weak point. We already know they have no qualms about killing. Get a Knight desperate enough, and they may strike at you directly. Are you prepared for that, lad?”

    “Because you need to be. And anyone around you needs to be.” he looked at Artanis as he said that part. “Same goes for the other humans.” He scratched the back of his head. “Blast, I sound like my old man. Look lad, I’m not trying to discourage you and I’m not telling you to abandon ship. What I’m saying is, I need someone to manage the tamer pairs. A first mate, if you will. Or rather, mates, in your case.”

    “Show a little grit, speak up, and the job’s yours. You two will be my bridge with the tamers. If you aren’t up to it, then point me in the right direction. You two seem to know what you’re doing. Either way, I need your help.”
  6. Solsabre

    Solsabre The Reforged Soul

    Serra’s Tavern

    Serra shrugged and shook her head. "Not sure yet." She glanced over to the Guardians milling about. "Drinks are on us tonight though. We'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here."

    “Fine. Though I’m still cleaning up his handy work from the other night,” Nadia shot a glare towards the Apollomon, before turning to the other Guardians. “So mind the mess, otherwise sit wherever it pleases ya. Washrooms and bedrooms are down the back hall and up the stairs, if you feel like retiring early.”

    The Lekismon noticed the familiar BlackWarGreymon lingering apart from the group. Her eyes soften ever so slightly as the older Greymon made a beeline for the back hallway without a word. A female tamer in the group called after him with a hushed Theo!, only for it to go unheard. Nadia shook her head slowly, recognizing the haunted expression as he passed by her. Only time would tell with that one, if he sank or swam.

    Dropping her filthy rag in a bin under the counter, Nadia resigned herself to playing host to the lot of them (She was more than still slightly pissed about the previous incident). “I’ll get some food and drink going.”


    Andrea Mercer/Deneb Odebu (Poromon)
    Serra’s Tavern

    Andrea stared after Theo. She immediately regretted her parting words to him on the train. Now, he’d closed her out completely. The female tamer tighten her grip around Deneb for comfort. The Poromon squawked only a little at the discomfort, understanding his tamer was stressed. The female tamer approached the bar, settling Deneb on a stool and taking one for herself as well.

    “I’ll get some food and drink going, “ the plump Lekismon called out, getting a clean batch of steins ready.

    “I can help with clean up,” Andrea immediately volunteered, gesturing to all the abandoned steins and glass mugs of the regular patrons. She needed a diversion and in general she didn’t like sitting idle. Helping Nadia with the leftover mess was the least she could do. The Lekismon nodded and gestured to where clean rags and a collection bin for dishware was located.

    “I could eat a roast the size of a Monochromon,” Deneb muttered from his stool. The Poromon was already drooling at the imagery roast in his eyes. Andrea gave Deneb a long-suffering look, then turned to Aria, who was busy with a drink, currently seated next to them. “Would you mind making sure he doesn’t drink anything terribly strong? At least, before he eats something and returns to his rookie form? I’d rather not have him dancing on the counter and singing off key.”

    “I do not sing off-key,” Deneb protested, his pink little feathers raised in irritation at the insult. “I am a bird. I have perfect-pitch.”

    “Sure, Deneb, whatever you say,” Andrea retorted, a smile creeping to her face. She loved her partner to death, but she didn’t trust him when it came to alcohol. He loved his sweet wines way too much.

    Satisfied that Deneb was settled, Andrea went about the empty tables collecting half-filled or empty glasses and wiping sticky residue off wooden tables. She silently maneuvered the other Guardians that were fickle about their personal space. All the while, she staunchly tried to not pay attention to the the raised hairs on her neck. Everywhere she went to gather mugs, a relentless presence bored itself into the back of her head, refusing to be ignored. Unconsciously, she took the long way between tables to avoid Samael’s dark corner.

    Finally, she couldn’t help herself and glanced back in his direction. Her stomach rolled nauseously with growing unease. She’d been too preoccupied with the dead tamers and Theo’s demands earlier for Samael’s true nature and his actions to completely sink in. But now, she had his undivided attention. Two empty glasses sat on the table next to Samael.

    Andrea leaned hard on a table to steady to a tremor in one hand. She shook her head to dislodge the instinctive fear that demons inspired. The flames of the previous summer’s wildfire licked at her face tauntingly from her memories. She stared into the inferno that swirled around her then, running from the rapidly encroaching flames...

    “Damn it!” she said, non too softly and smacking a clenched fist onto the table. Her decision made. Andrea returned to the bar, requesting a large glass of strong drink from Nadia. The female tamer made a straight line for Samael.

    She didn’t want to do this. Two dirty glasses were not worth it. She doubt many of the Guardians would blame her for avoiding him completely tonight. But that wasn’t why she was doing this.

    Samael wasn’t going anywhere. He was here with them, whatever his reasons. Better to accept that reality now, than try to convince oneself otherwise. She couldn’t avoid him indefinitely.

    She couldn’t afford any hesitation in her normal line work, much less in their current situation. What if she froze up upon crossing paths with him on the battlefield? Deneb most certainly would. Everything can change in a split second. Act, rather than react.

    Better to face the budding fear now in a more controlled environment, than in the chaos of battle against the Royal Knights.

    She was closer now. Her approach and exit strategy already planned. Plus, she made sure she wasn’t coming empty-handed.

    Time to bite the bullet.

    “Trade you a full glass for those empties,” she said, gesturing with a nod to the two glasses on the table beside him. Blood pounded in her ears, though she kept her voice even and outward composure steady.


    Tessa Tesla (Wisemon)
    Serra’s Tavern

    Tessa made herself right at home.

    Her father’s tome propped up against the wall. Several tables were shoved noisedly together in haste and littered with multiple books scrolls over the surface. The small mage was bright-eyed and bushy tailed as the saying goes. She already managed to snag a few hours of sleep before they reached Axis Mundi in the pocket dimension connected to her father’s Book. An essential tool and resource for any Wisemon to bring their lab and library on their travels. Time in Tessa’s pocket dimension could moved at a faster rate than in Saga. A cheatsy-doodle way to sneak more hours in the day if need be.

    A concept she was currently brainstorming with, but in the opposite manner. Could she create a time differential to temporary slow down time in the immediate area around or the Royal Knight themself and create a window(if brief) of opportunity for other Guardians? The mathematical calculations were massive and more than one way to code for execution. Tessa understood the theory and crunching the numbers was just a matter of time. (Ha! Time Pun!) It was the delivery method the young mage was torn on.

    Should she use spell tags on magework paper with the necessary coding and seals? She could make several of those with some ease ahead of time. Tessa begin writing prototype seal on one scroll. However, they were less effective and required being tagged onto the specific target. Perhaps an area-of-effect method would be better to use as a trap with the potential to hold a Knight frozen still for a longer period. A blank scroll appeared with a *poof* as various digimoji stringed themselves together on the parchpaper. Still...the coding required was far more complex to cover a larger area of ground. She’d still have to create a large portion of the coding on the spot and actively reinforce the entrapment spell in case a Knight decided to try and simply brute force their way out of it.

    Tessa watched a playback of the previous battle with her Time-Space Orbs. The constant game of cat-and-mouse with Sir Lamarock’s geist limited her to high-coding skills to using more crude methods and creating the code as she went. No, she needed to attempt these Greater Workings of Code to be of any use to the Guardians, but that required tremendous set up beforehand. She would need a more stationary position for part of the coding she had in mind. But...how would she fend off an attack while in the middle of casting her work together?

    Her recently acquired Construct of Sir Lamoracks’s fire geist was one possibility, she supposed. Tessa would have to set up a simulation engine with her Orbs in order to advance Anthony’s programing to operate far more independently. That was an ambitious project alone. Programing a Construct Assistant from a playback recreation was an area of specialty all of its own. That and reproductions rarely matched up to the real thing.

    Truthly, she would probably just have to resort to a convincing illusion to disguise her location.

    Tessa slumped in her seat, banging her hooded head on the back of the chair and groaned. What she needed was a peer. Someone who could provide intellectual feedback on the pros and cons of the various methods she was developing to aid in their against the Royal Knights. She knew the theory behind her ideas were sounds, but which concepts were more practical when put into practice? The fight with Sir Lamorack punched a dozen or more holes in her attempts to help Lord Thor.

    The female mage fiddled with the journeyman cords attached to the sash at her waist. Tessa frowned. She could immediately discount the idea of seeking consultation with the Wisemon Council of the Coding Arts. They wouldn’t even assign Tessa her Great Task to earn a covenant place of recognition among the Masters.

    Unpure pedigree, they cited. Her mixed parentage would never grant her the potential to create Great Workings in the Coding Arts. Bah! What did they truly know about her?

    Tessa’s rapidfire thoughts shifted to a singular problem she pondered since the very first battle.

    She couldn’t heal humans.

    A problem to which she couldn’t present a viable solution. The Wisemon stared at a raised hand, allowing the faint glow of the healing light to manifest. Leaving Kaladesh, Tessa tried to heal as many as she could. She mended many digimon without a problem, so long as she had the energy for it. However, every human she tried to heal? No change.

    Why? She didn’t understand. Was it maybe her?

    Was the Wisemon Council correct after all? Was her potential ability to heal others mediocre at best, since her father was a demon man and her mother an angel? What did she really know about the wondrous nature of Angels?

    Tessa smacked her head down on the table in frustration. The young mage rarely questioned her abilities. However, the only Angel available for her to ask was currently away with the High Council.


    Theo Grayson
    Serra’s Tavern - Rooftop

    The BlackWarGreymon quietly closed the roof door behind him, starring ahead to the dark skies above. After moment, his weary legs shuffled towards the nearest ledge, lowering himself to sit. The elder greymon rubbed tired eyes, apparently lost in thought.

    Okatsu stepped out behind Theo, taking in the sunset-lit sky. Orange glowed to the west, still illuminating the spires of Axis Mundi. For a moment, she was silent, testing the atmosphere. “I’m sorry to disturb you like this, Theo. But I must speak with you.”

    Theo glanced over his shoulder, dulled eyes met the Gabumon X’s. He released a small sigh, either from relief or resignation. The BlackWarGreymon resumed his watch of the open skies. “Say what you must.” He rumbled softly.

    Okatsu took a step closer. “What Sir Gawain said in Glen Elendra. You once served under the Royal Knights, did you not?”

    “Yes,” he answered, his voice hollow, “I was a career soldier, enlisted back when I was a teenager. I left their ranks more than a decade ago, though.”

    Theo looked back at Okatsu, “Does that concern you?”

    Okatsu weighed this. “I only wish to know why you were not more open about that fact,” she finally said cautiously. “Why I discovered it by overhearing what Sir Gawain said in the heat of battle.”

    “I..” the old soldier started hesitate, uncertain. “I wasn’t trying to hide it, Okatsu, not from you or the other so much.” Theo shook his head in dismay, “Perhaps it was a fool’s hope of mine to keep my past service hidden from the Royal Knights at least for a little while.”

    His shame. Burden. Guilt. He had tried to hide the past from himself. So, he could pick up a new cause, join a new battle. But he couldn’t bury his failure. Or the Truth. He was a broken warrior with no will to fight. Not since that day and he left the Royal Knights. He’d been a fool to try and believe.

    Theo turned his eyes away, “I should've realized that…”

    “Yes,” Okatsu said quietly. “Our fight is difficult enough without room for mistrust, Theo. And I had to know that no secrets would be spoken to the Royal Knights.” She stepped up, only a step behind the BlackWarGreymon now. “But to be open myself, I do not believe you a spy or saboteur. If I thought so at all, the fury you showed towards Sir Gawain corrected me.”

    Theo nodded slightly, “My reasons to fight…” his fists trembled from more recent memories. “Are..or were not all that different from yours.” He rubbed his forehead wearily, as if fighting back a terrible weariness or pain. A gray haze lingered threatenly at the edges of his vision. Theo slowed his breath to calm the terrible ache at his core.

    Okatsu frowned, regarding him with uncertainty. “Not that different? In what sense?”

    Unable to speak, the black dragon reluctantly withdrew a small item from the pouch on is belt. A lifeless yellow and grey digivice.

    “For a fight, I would have fought anyway,” Theo managed to choke out. He closed his pain filled eyes.

    Okatsu took the final step, joining him at the edge of the building. Far below, Digimon passed through the streets. She stared at the Digivice in Theo’s palm with widened eyes.

    “You had a partner?” she whispered at last. “What… what happened?”

    “An accident,” he said hoarsely, his hands calmed a bit from their shaking, “in Analog where I couldn’t be by his side...”

    Theo placed a tarnished armored claw upon his chest, “I am one of the Bereaved.”

    Okatsu stared at him for a moment before catching herself. “I am sorry, Theo,” she murmured.

    The BlackWarGreymon gently grasped the small digivice, tucking it away. The darkening night hid his solemn form. “Okatsu,” he muttered quietly. “Be wary in your next battle.”

    “Wary?” she echoed, struck by the sudden change in subject. “Wary of what?”

    “When Hoshiko…” Theo shuddered from the memory. “...saw your...state and it’s cause. She displayed an anger towards Samael. Such anger, I did not suspect from her. Human emotions energize us and give us strength. They change us in ways that bring out the best in us, but it can go the other way as well. My current form is proof of that. I was not always a BlackWarGreymon.”

    “Anger, from Hoshiko?” Okatsu said, baffled. A moment of silence hung between them. “I know what you speak of, Theo. Dark evolutions. Thank you for your warning. I will heed it.”

    The BlackWarGreymon nodded silently, then stared down at his black armor and claws. “It’s the least I can do for failing you in Glen Elendra. Your fight ahead will be impossible enough.”

    “You do not need to apologise for that,” Okatsu replied, with a harsh retort. “You could not have predicted Samael’s actions.” She frowned, pausing in thought. “‘My’ fight, Theo?”

    “I..” Theo turned away in shame. He couldn’t meet Okatsu’s questioning eyes. “I can’t protect anyone anymore, not the tamers, their digimon...” the old dragon muttered a different name under his breath, “not from the Knights. It’s impossible.”

    Okatsu stared at him. “So many have said,” she answered. “And yet you have. We have.”

    “It won’t be enough.” Theo bowed his head, defeated. Visions of past battles played through his mind. He felt old. Useless. “It’ll be a war of attrition. I don’t have that kind of fight left in me. Not for a long time.”

    “Then what will you do?” the Gabumon asked, disappointment creeping in her voice. “Leave us? Go wait out this war in the belief that you can change nothing?”

    “I...don’t know,” he admitted. “I thought I could take up one more battle, because I should…” The old dragon held up his Dramon Breakers, tarnished and claws dulled from neglect. His long, ratty, and unkempt hair caught in a cool night breeze. A look of disgust crossed his face as he fully took in his appearance. “I’m of no use to anyone. I’ve failed too many people I care about.”

    “If that is where you stand, then it is your choice, of course,” Okatsu frowned. “But Samael heard Sir Gawain too, Theo. If you leave now, how would that look to our comrades?” She paused. “I do not want them to draw false conclusions about you. Let them judge you based on the truth.”

    “Andrea knows the truth. That is enough for me.” Theo said, pulling off his Dramon Breakers and attaching them to his belt. He pulled out the digivice again. “Kyle was her brother.”

    “Your partner?”

    The elder Greymon gave a slow nod.

    Okatsu was silent, turning to face the sunset. Finally, she spoke, the disappointment clear in her voice. “If you wish to leave, Theo, then I cannot stop you. Regardless of the oath you swore and the duty you wish to abandon.” She turned and began to walk away, stopping at the door and looking back with conflicted eyes. She hesitated, but then gave voice to her thoughts. “But if Kyle could see you in this moment, what would he say to you?”

    And with that, she vanished back into the gloom of the stairs.

    Theo stared off over the city horizon a moment or so longer. The aged warrior departed from the roof shortly there after.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019 at 6:32 AM

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