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Thread: Digimon: Devil's Ascent (RPG Thread)

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    Default Digimon: Devil's Ascent (RPG Thread)

    Digimon: Devil's Ascent
    Rated PG-13


    ______________

    Somewhere...

    Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

    The glaring inscriptions on the gates burned red hot, mocking him with the brevity of its meaning. The dark figure wished to abandon hope, but he was prevented from doing so. He wished to abandon hope for pride, love for lust, courage for wrath, friendship for greed, sincerity for envy, knowledge for sloth, and reliability for gluttony. He wished to embrace the deadly powers from behind the gate. But alas, he could not; for destiny had spread wide the hand of fate and bound the seven powers of hell within the power of seven heavens.

    "Virtue," the dark one mused as he placed a hand on the burning chrome surface of the gate and traced the etchings. "Virtue and sin, forever opposing one another. The world is kept in balance...but now there is no sin. Only virtue...virtue and virtue...virtue against virtue. And thus to balance, does virtue become sin, and sin, virtue." The dark one let out a terrible laugh as he remembered the terrible words of a terrible prophecy.

    "Sin is virtue, and virtue, sin; to loose the beasts that lie within. Born of power, darkest might; swallow all their lofty light. Break their wings, bring them fear; impale their hearts on burning spear. A crimson rage, a bright red scream; with our own hands we crush their dream. For we shall sail from bloody shore; and shatter all their hearts with war. And they shall all sing their lament; as He doth rise, the Devil's ascent."

    The words sent a hot chill through the dark one's black soul, and with his spirits high, he turned away from the gate and vanished into the air before him. The time had come, as he had always known it would. It was time to open the gates of Hell and venture into the inferno. It was time to bring Heaven to its knees.

    ===
    Paradise Eden...

    "Michael. I'm coming."

    The archangel's eyes snapped open as his dream erupted into flame. The Inferno roared in his mind's eye as the voice of Lucifer the Morningstar rang in his ears. Every night for the last month he had been haunted by these dreams--visions--of the Inferno opening and his brother walking free once again. Michael had prayed to God for these dreams to be nightmares and nothing more, but the dreams did not abate; in fact they worsened and became clearer. It became evident to Michael that these were not--in truth--visions, but premonitions.

    He soared through the spheres of Paradise, passing through the physical and metaphysical into the pure transcendental nature of being. Only those closest to God could exist in this place; it had been the abode of the three Archangel Lords--also called the "Celestial Ones"--before their untimely demise at the hands of the Mikaboshi. Now it served again as the home for Heaven's new leaders.

    They were the Seven Sacred Angels, the bearers of the Seven Sacred Virtues. Until now they had served the Holy Host as spiritual advisors and guides. They served as the religious authority while the Archangel Lords served as the Host's political presence to the world. The Sacred Angels, however, had always held the true power of rule. The death of the Archangel Lords brought the Sacred Angels to the attention of the rest of the Digital World. With the world's leadership in ruins as a result of the Mikaboshi's rampage, prayers and cries for assistance rose up to the Host and the Sacred Angels and their role expanded once more to help the entire Digital World.

    The Sacred Angels were holy Digimon of the greatest power; Mega-level angels, each one's power was further amplified by their possession of one of the crests representing the Seven Sacred Virtues. Zadkiel the Seraphimon held the Crest of Hope, Jophiel the Ophanimon held Love, Cassiel the Cherubimon held Knowledge, Anael the Dominimon held Reliability, Sachiel the ClavisAngemon held Friendship, Ramiel the GuardiAngemon held Courage, and Haniel the MarineAngemon held Sincerity.

    "Something stirs in the darkness," Michael told the assembled seven. "My dreams for the last month have been haunted by images of the Inferno and the voice of Pride."

    "These are dreams and nothing more, Saint Michael," Cassiel assured, using Michael's new title in an attempt to calm him. "You are not the bearer of God's visions; that honor belongs to the Metatron...and the Metatron alone."

    "I know when a dream is not a dream," Michael insisted. "And while these are indeed nightmares, there is a certainty in what I tell you. Someone is attempting to open the Inferno! And you are doing nothing!"

    "Michael, please," Ramiel said, without the use of his new title. It was admonishment; reminding Michael of his place in the hierarchy. Saints were few and far between, and while they were spoken to and spoken of with great respect, they were not the equals of the Sacred Angels.

    "The Metatron bears the visions of God," Sachiel reminded once again. "Dwell no further on this matter, Saint Michael. It will only lead to darker dreams."

    "Dreams do not get darker than those of Lucifer rising," Michael growled in annoyance.

    "If it helps," said Jophiel, "consider this an order."

    "Your Holinesses!" Michael objected.

    "It has been decided, Michael," said Zadkiel adamantly, cutting Michael off from saying anything further. "You have duties to attend to."

    "I will not let this go," Michael said firmly. "If the Holy Host will not aid me, I will seek assistance elsewhere. I have new allies now, those willing act; those not so enraptured in dogmatic tradition."

    Michael turned and left the sphere without another word; he left no room for complaint or objection, his exit was far too quick for the Sacred Angels to do anything more that sputter their astonishment. He descended through the spheres of Paradise and promptly left Heaven without ceremony. Upon arriving in the Digital World he set a course for the city of Babylon.

    Once it had been a place of beauty to rival even Avalon, but decades of infighting and civil unrest had turned the city into a haven for criminals and the followers of dark philosophies. It was here among the filth and refuse of Babylon that Michael knew he would find his first recruit.

    "Samael," Michael whispered to the shadows, acknowledging the fallen angel's presence.

    "Aw, you knew I was here," Samael groaned in disappointment. "I was gonna sneak up and shank the living daylights outta ya."

    "You have a distinct odor," Michael deadpanned.

    "Was that a joke?" Samael asked, impressed.

    "An observation."

    "HA!" Samael laughed. "Wait, you're not kidding?" He lifted his arm and inhaled deeply. "I don't think it's that bad."

    "I didn't come here to discuss the fine-points of your secretions," Michael said with a roll of his eyes. "There is trouble."

    "Oh yeah?" Samael said, his interest piqued. "What kind of trouble?"

    Michael related his nightmares and his situation; his fears and frustration that the Sacred Angels were doing nothing.

    "Well what do you expect?" Samael sighed. "You're the Hand of God, and on top of that you just rose up like...ten notches on the food chain from General to Saint! Now it looks like you're makin' a play for Prophet status? Can you blame those guys?"

    "I see," said Michael. He hadn't considered that possibility.

    "And to put icing on the cake, you've been hanging around with pagan gods, mortals, and the likes of me," Samael pointed out. "They're gonna definitely doubt your judgment now."

    "Will you help me or not, Samael?" Michael asked.

    "Yeah, why not?" Samael sighed. "It's not like I've got anything better to do, you know? This place is gettin' pretty dull; there's only so many times you can beat up the same guys and call it fun."

    "Do you have any idea who might be behind this?" Michael asked.

    "Demon-wise?" Samael clarified; Michael nodded. "You sure that Gulfmon and Murmuxmon you smote way-back-when are really cooked?"

    "Absolutely."

    "Well scratch them off the list," Samael muttered. "There's probably a couple other high-level demons that either found a way out of the Inferno or escaped the initial imprisonment. Digimon have been selling their souls for centuries so you know they're still active. I can ask around here if you want."

    "Do it," Michael said. "Where can I find the new Council?"

    "After Avalon was wiped out the remaining Council members headed to a city called Anatolia," answered Samael. "It's a nice place."

    "Meet me there in three days," Michael ordered. Samael nodded. "Why are you doing this?"

    "If this turns out to be legit, I'm back in Heaven's good graces for sure," Samael said. But Michael fixed him with a penetrating stare; he didn't believe that was the real reason for the fallen angel's cooperation. "Fine, the truth? If I do this, you owe me big-time. And you're a saint now, so that's something I can't pass up."

    ===
    Asgard...

    The realm of Asgard slowly came into view as Michael soared through the cold mists of the northern reaches. The great city lay nestled high in the mountains. At the center was the hall of Valaskjalf, wherein was the throne of Asgard. Further along the city outskirts were the halls of the other prime Asgardian gods. Breidablik the hall of Baldur, Sessrumnir the hall of Freya, Fensalir the hall of Frigga, Himinbjorg the hall of Heimdal, and Bliskirnir the hall of Thor.

    Michael marveled at the ability of the Asgardians to keep their realms removed from the rest of the Digital World for so long. Then again, Asgard had been all but abandoned until recently and only now were Digimon returning to the city after nearly a decade of diasporas. The city was bustling with returning life; soldiers were training, farmers were selling their produce, and merchants were advertising their goods.

    The archangel soared over the city and headed towards the throne room, where he expected Thor would be. They had last seen one another in the aftermath of the battle with the Mikaboshi, and Thor had pledged Asgard's support should Michael ever find himself in need of it.

    He was surprised, however, to find Thor missing from the room.

    "Ah, the archangel comes to greet us," said Freya, Thor's wife and queen of Asgard. "I wonder what news he brings us. Perhaps he brings a message from my husband?"

    "I come seeking Thor," Michael said, having never meet the queen, he didn't want to begin with a quarrel. "Upon our last meeting he promised Asgard's assistance should I ever require it. I am here now to ask for Asgard's aid. I have had dreams of the devil, my brother Lucifer, rising from the Inferno. Heaven refuses to take me seriously, but I know that my dreams are more than dreams."

    "Unfortunately," Freya said arrogantly, "Thor is not here. After you and your merry band defeated the Mikaboshi six months ago, Thor retreated into isolation. We haven't heard from him since."

    "Can I count on Asgard's support?" Michael asked.

    "Your agreement was with King Thor," Freya answered. "And Thor has neglected his duties to the realm. You have no binding oaths with Asgard now, Michael."

    Michael growled in frustration. "Can you tell me nothing?" he demanded. Around, the Asgardian nobility shot to their feet, hands moving to weapons. They had heard stories of the archangel's might and would not risk him attacking their queen. In the end, however, there was no danger. "Can you not tell me where he is?"

    "Last I heard, he was in the mountains," Freya hissed, she hadn't flinched from either Michael's demands or the surge of the Asgardians. "If you find my husband," she said. "Tell him I--...tell him his people need him."

    Michael sensed Freya tried to remain harsh, powerful and aloof, her body language had conveyed all of these things, but her voice had cracked and softened ever-so-slightly. She was not ready to rule alone, and Michael wondered what could have possibly overtaken Thor to cause him to abandon his wife and his kingdom.

    ===

    The heavily wooded forest surrounded him, embracing him in fog, mist, and shadow. He breathed deep the air, heavy with moisture from the nearby waterfall. As he inhaled he synchronized his breath with the wind, and his heartbeat with the falling water. As he exhaled, his body mirrored the movements of the trees. His mind cleared of all unnecessary things. He breathed in again, repeating these actions in an endless cycle. In his mind's eye, a single point of light appeared, and above the sounds of the wind and water, he could hear a single note of music, perfect and pristine.

    A fluttering of wings took him from his reverie, and he felt the note of music fade away. He sighed in frustration and turned to face his disturbance, though he had already sensed who had come to disturb him.

    "Michael," Thor acknowledged. "How did you find me?" Michael related to him his journey to Asgard and confrontation with Freya. "So what do you think of my wife?" Thor asked with a smirk.

    "She's strong, but she's alone and cannot rule by herself," Michael answered. "What are you doing here, Thor?"

    "Before we confronted the Mikaboshi for the final time I sought enlightenment," Thor answered. "And for the briefest instant, I was granted it. And then again in the final battle as I struck the Mikaboshi for the final time. There was clarity," he explained. "I saw everything."

    "And that's why you're here," Michael surmised. "To find that again?" Thor nodded. "But your people need you."

    "I can serve them better with a clear mind."

    Michael sighed; he didn't come here to berate Thor on his decision not to rule. In fact, he admired the Imperialdramon's desire to be an enlightened king. But Thor's reluctance to lead might also translate to a reluctance to assist him.

    "You need my help," Thor said quietly. "It's written all over your face." Michael quickly told Thor of his visions and fears. "Lucifer again, are you sure?" Michael nodded. Thor glanced to his little corner of the world, full of silence and sound. "Very well," he relented. "Let's go."

    ===
    Anatolia: several days later...

    Over the next several days, Michael would send word to the rest of the Peacemakers to gather in Anatolia. And they came, from all across the Digital World; gathering once again in the halls of the Council, though the face of the Council had changed. Of the old Council of Avalon only Sei-Ryujin, Loki, and Ahura Mazda remained; the others had been slain by the Mikaboshi. Sei-Ryujin, however, had retired from Council life; he returned to being called simply "Seiryu" and rejoined his three brothers in far off lands to the East.

    Loki and Ahura Mazda had gathered other gods and formed a new Council. Each had contacted two gods from the remaining pantheons. Worried that Loki might seek out more easily swayed individuals, Ahura Mazda contacted the most noble and honorable of his allies, Yu Huang the OwRyumon and Amaterasu the Phoenixmon. Surprisingly, however, Loki's choices were equally well-respected: Artemis Selene the Dianamon and Ijapa the JumboGamemon. The new six-member Council was struggling to repair the damage done to the Digital World by the Mikaboshi. Even Loki seemed changed; in order to shed the over-the-top pompousness he was associated with, he adopted the form of Merukimon. The Council's chambers, too, were different in order to reflect their new attitude of ruling with instead of ruling over. No longer did they sit elevated over those who came before them; instead the elevated stance was reserved only for matters of the courts: law and judicial rulings. For other matters, the Council remained on an even level with their guests.

    Michael and the assembly of Peacemakers stood within the new Council's chambers. He recognized most of them: Thor, Samael, Bedivere, Caradoc, Guinier, Khep, Pyra, Gigas, Nocchi, Sha, Kole, Duo, Lucia, and Galic; but there were some he did not know: a BurningGreymon, TigerVespamon, ShineGreymon, WarGreymon, Mamemon X, Lilymon X, Persiamon, Mihiramon, and a SuperStarmon. Still, Michael would not object to their presence.

    "Thank you for meeting me," he said, bringing the meeting to order. "I asked you here because I have distressing news. For weeks now I have had nightmares, where the Inferno was opened and the demons walk free. I fear we are close to Hell on Earth, that someone is attempting to break open the Inferno and release my brother Lucifer and the other Demon Lords."

    "Shouldn't you inform Heaven of this?" Yu Huang asked.

    "I did," Michael admitted. "But because I am only the Hand of God and not His Voice, my dreams are treated only as nightmares and nothing more. That's why I came to you, the Council and the Peacemakers, because if I'm right, then our world is in grave danger."

    "And all arrows point to Mikey being one-hundred percent correctamundo," Samael said. "I did some digging...some clawing, some cutting, and my sources let me in on a little secret. The Nightmare Soldiers are gathering; they're organized for the first time in centuries. Someone's pulling the strings and uh...well, Mikey, you ain't gonna like this, but I know who."

    "Who?" Michael demanded.

    "Mephistopheles," Samael answered grimly.

    Michael growled low, Mephistopheles was a dangerous and cunning demon, eager to make deals and sew deceit. If he was the true mastermind behind the attempt to open the Inferno, they had a serious problem on their hands.

    "Demons and the Inferno are the affairs of the Holy Host," Ijapa said. "If the Host did not wish to become involved, we should honor their wishes."

    "The last time the Demon Lords were free it took the entire Digital World to stop them," Michael reminded. "If Lucifer rises he will bring on the Apocalypse"

    "Lucifer and the Demon Lords are locked in an inescapable prison," Ijapa countered. "We were all there when the gates slammed shut. Nothing can escape from that."

    "Need I remind you, Ijapa, that it is not impossible to escape from a room without doors," Loki said, finally choosing to speak, "As I have proven time and time again. It is also much easier if there is someone on the outside working with you."

    "Loki is not incorrect," Ahura Mazda said, his voice ringing clearly. "Unfortunately, Peacemakers, the Council cannot offer you anything more than ideological support. As it stands our resources are stretched to the limit trying to repair the damage caused by the Mikaboshi. You have our blessing, but that is all we can offer."

    "It's better than nothing," Michael said with a nod. He turned to the Peacemakers. "I need to know now, are you with me?"

    ====
    Elsewhere...

    The Mephistomon stood in the barren field outside the wastes of Avalon. Rebuilding had been attempted, but the site was still poisoned from the final battle with Amatsu-Mikaboshi. Mephistopheles surveyed the reconstruction effort, pleased with its progress. He would intervene in time, but was content to allow the pitiful mortals the opportunity to do his work for him.

    "What are your orders, My Lord," asked a hulking BlackWarGreymon. Beside him, an Andromon, BlueMeramon, DarkSuperStarmon, and ShadowWereGarurumon stood at attention, waiting for Mephistopheles.

    "It's time to get to work," the demon mused. "The time has come for you to fulfill your contractual obligations. To some of you I gave power, to others I granted your hearts desire. Now you must hold up your end of the bargain, for your souls belong to me. You will help me unseal the Inferno and the Demon Lords will walk across this world again; then our rewards will be endless."

    "Where do we start, Boss?" asked the DarkSuperStarmon.

    "Sigma," Mephistopheles said, addressing the Andromon. "I have a task for you. Access the human world's data mainframe; there are seven children I need you to find."

    "And the rest of us?"

    "When Lord Lucifer rises he will set the Apocalypse into motion," Mephistopheles said. "To pave the way we will need to bring forth the Four Horsemen."

    "Where can we find 'em, Mephisto?" asked the ShadowWereGarurumon.

    "Everywhere," Mephistopheles said. He looked up into the night sky, where a bright red star burned. "You see. And there fell a great star from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell upon the river. And many men died. I have found War."

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

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    "Oh, and this is my dear sister..."

    Bedivere tried to resist the urge to scream as the nobly-attired Rosemon beside him introduced him to a seemingly endless group of various relations, all of who were packed into a regally adorned hall in all their finery.

    "And, I believe that is everyone," the Rosemon smiled. "Do enjoy the festivities, Lord Stormheart." With a graceful curtsy, she disappeared into the throng of relatives, all of whom had already been introduced to Bedivere in a ten-minute long torture session.

    While Bedivere did not exactly begrudge his new position as Lord of the Empty Seat, protector of the Digital World, the social events he was forced to attend to fulfill his duty were admittedly very dull indeed.

    Walking across the hall towards the doors leading out onto the balcony, in order to get some fresh air, he found his path blocked by a Lilamon, who giggled slightly as she looked at him.

    "Hello there," she smiled. "Where were you going?"

    "To get some air," Bedivere replied as politely as he possibly could, given his inner frustration. The Lilamon gave a dazzling smile.

    "Then please, allow me to accompany you," she simpered, prompting Bedivere to stride past her, his eyes taking a look of despair. Undoubtedly this would be another of the women who attempted to try and garner his favor in the hopes of becoming his wife and thus gaining the prestige of marriage to one of the Digital World's foremost figures.

    As he stepped onto the balcony, simpering Lilamon in tow, he mentally steeled himself for the undoubted display of womanly wiles that was to follow, before a Crowmon dived from the heavens and landed beside him, sending the Lilamon back with steps of shock.

    "Bedivere... Stormheart?" the avian Digimon gasped out, prompting a nod from Bedivere. "I have... an urgent message... from Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael... asking for your presence... at a meeting... in Anatolia... tomorrow..."

    "Michael?" Bedivere echoed, recalling the archangel, his fellow Peacemaker. The Crowmon gave an affirmative nod. The Slayerdramon stood for a moment, deep in thought. What could his comrade need of him? For him to call on the Lord of the Empty Seat... it must have been something important, something urgent.

    He turned to the Lilamon. "Please, give all these noble Digimon my sincerest apologies, but I cannot ignore this. I must go, now." The flower Digimon pouted, but turned away and stalked back inside as Bedivere turned back to the Crowmon. "Will you be alright?"

    "I'm... fine..." the messenger panted. "Just give me... a minute..." Bedivere nodded, and took flight, shooting into the sky like a rocket. He would need to travel quickly to reach Anatolia in time...

    -

    Smoke poured into the heavens, toxic miasma that billowed from the seething mass of crimson lava within the pool. Fountains of blood-red fire erupted, splashing back down into the lake of molten rock.

    The world ripped asunder, and shadow poured forth, a chill darkness that consumed all. Four forms rode at its head, four horsemen of war, of famine, of pestilence, and of death.

    Behind the riders, within the darkness, seven arose, seven kings, seven dark shadows of once-heavenly glory, now hellish might, and their dark celebration rang out across the entire world...


    Crimson eyes snapped open, clouded by the nightmarish vision, of Hell's rise, the Devil's Ascent, the Apocalypse...

    The pool roared open in a great pillar of magma and fire, and from that hellish flame a draconic shadow erupted, spreading wings of elemental fire into the flame before the crimson draconic form of BurningGreymon exploded into the air from the fire.

    Vritra Ahi burned into the heavens, wings spread wide as she roared towards the sun, trying to burn away that vision of hell itself rising forth into the world. It had been there for too long now, too many days and nights with the vision of Hell, the four riders and behind them the seven lords...

    Stopping in the sky, far above the ground, she roared, unleashing her flames in a great corona from her burning form into the sparse air around, eyes wild with anger and fury toward the darkness of the vision. She couldn't escape them, not the riders or the lords...

    The flames receded and Vritra hung there, suspended by her fiery wings, staring down at the world below. Something had to be done... that much she knew, but what?

    As if in answer, an Aquilamon swooped from the sky, barely stopping beside the fiery dragon Digimon. She regarded the avian with burning crimson eyes, making it flinch.

    "Uh... Vritra Ahi?" it asked fearfully. She gave it a curt nod.

    "What do you want?" she asked fierily.

    "Uh... Saint Michael... Ha'Yisrael is sending... a call for powerful Digimon... I thought given your reputation..." Vritra fixed him with a fierce gaze, cutting him off mid-sentence as she considered. Perhaps it was to do with the visions of darkness and the Apocalypse...

    "Where?" she barked.

    "Anatolia... tomorrow..." Flame roared from around the crimson-armored flame dragon, and she erupted forth, swathed in hellish fire as she shot towards the horizon, leaving the avian in her wake...

    -

    The city of Anatolia was a beautiful one, a majestic place, greater than ever now the Council had chosen to make it their seat of power following the destruction of Avalon.

    In a small house on the ever fringes of the city, two Digimon lay together on a bed covered by a large white blanket, holding each other. The Valkyrimon and UlforceVeedramon lay snuggled close, the cobalt dragon-knight's eyes closed, the jet-black warrior clad in feather-adorned armor staring at her lovingly as he gently rubbed her shoulder with one hand.

    The two Peacemakers lay there in silence, the sunlight spilling onto them from the crack in the curtains across the window, Caradoc holding Guinier close to his chest.

    Suddenly, a loud knocking resounded through the house, Caradoc's eyes narrowing as he tensed from the shock, Guinier's eyes snapping open as she stirred.

    "Who is it?" she asked drowsily. Caradoc gave a gentle, almost inaudible sigh, releasing her and rising from the bed. He strode from the room, down the staircase and to the door, which he wrenched open to reveal a Yasyamon, the Digimon's wooden katana sheathed across its back.

    "Caradoc Stern? Guinier Stormheart?" the warrior Digimon asked, before catching the look in Caradoc's eyes. "Uh... was I interrupting anything?"

    "No," Caradoc muttered. "What is it?" The Yasyamon pulled a scroll from his belt and unfurled it, before reading aloud.

    "The Archangel Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael hereby requests the presence of the Peacemakers Caradoc Stern and Guinier Stormheart at a meeting before the Council later today, in order to discuss certain urgent and pressing matters, the nature of which will be divulged at said meeting." He looked up from the scroll at Caradoc, whose expression of irritation had turned to one of curiosity.

    "Michael wants us?" he asked. "Why?" The Yasyamon shrugged.

    "It must be important, for him to summon you like this," he replied. "I heard he's sent messages to the other Peacemakers as well, requesting their presence at the same meeting."

    "What's happening?" Guinier yawned, descending down the stairs in her cobalt battle-armor, presumably she had been dressing while the discussion was taking place.

    "Michael wants us at a meeting later today," Caradoc explained, looking back at her. She frowned.

    "Why does he need us now?"

    "I don't know... but we should go... it's Michael," the Valkyrimon mused. The UlforceVeedramon gave a gentle sigh as she stepped down to his side, wrapping an arm around him.

    "We'll be there," she told the Yasyamon, Caradoc giving a supportive nod...

    -

    And they were gathered, beside the other Peacemakers and the newcomers.

    Bedivere strode into the room, finding the others already gathered there in preparation. Unforeseen circumstances had delayed him slightly, but at least he had arrived in time.

    Seeing Caradoc and Guinier stood side-by-side, the Slayerdramon moved to stand beside them, but before he could say anything, Michael began to speak.

    The Lord of the Empty Seat quickly understood, and it was troubling that the Holy Host would not intervene. That left only the Peacemakers, and these newcomers. He studied them carefully, taking them in. But when his gaze turned to Vritra, who was stood in a corner alone, he felt something. It wasn't anything truly tangible, but there was something there, some hint of power... since wielding the Black Sword, he had become more attuned to the energies living things gave off, and from Vritra he caught the hint of hellish fire and heat, of drought enough to crack open the land, trees hardening to the strength of bone under the intensity of the heat.

    The BurningGreymon glanced at him, and the gaze of her crimson eyes bore greater flame, greater anger, making him avert his own eyes.

    "Who are you?"

    "Are you with me?" At the words, Bedivere turned to Michael, who now addressed them directly.

    "I am," he spoke. "This is something that needs our full attention, and I would say this threat is something the Lord of the Empty Seat cannot ignore. I will stand beside you and fight this threat, Michael." He drew the Fragarach from the air and held it at his side, showing his willingness to fight beside the archangel once again.

    "So am I," Guinier followed. "It's a responsibility I won't throw aside." She stepped up beside her brother.

    "I'm not leaving Guinier," Caradoc said guardedly, taking a step to stand at her side. "If the Demon Lords want to escape, then let them know that I will fight them every step out of Hell." Vritra observed the three with a chill indifference, before finally taking a step to stand behind the three.

    "I don't know you, and chances are you don't know me, but I don't care," she said, her voice bitter and burning with something, perhaps guilt? Sorrow? Loss? "I see them rising... the riders and the seven lords, and I know that they must not rise. I will fight to stop them from rising." She fixed the archangel with a fiery gaze, showing the burning conviction in her soul, the fiery will to stop the seven...
    [CENTER]

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    A eerie feeling lingered over the world. The sense of darkness and danger hanging in the night's air. A strong breeze blew through the desert, parting around an extremely large hut that was thirty feet tall and a hundred feet long and wide. It sat solo in the desert, though it wasn't far off from the nearest oasis town.

    A strong gust increased, blowing grains of sand along the duneless plain. The front of the abode was lit up by the brilliance of a single torch. Its flame swayed to the side as it was blown with the wind, flickering as it was pushed.

    Inside the hut sat an AncientGreymon, who lay on his stomach with his chin resting on his crossed forearms. The dragon's eyes were closed in deep thought. He has sensed an external darkness looming over the world. It grasped at his heart, taunting him, coaxing him.

    He let out a deep sigh. Anybody who knew the digimon knew that he wasn't his regular self. As of late, his heart lacked the passion and enthusiasm that he so often held for his life and his missions. No longer was he the first one out of the gate. Instead, he gave off a feeling that nobody would ever have expected from him... and air of hopelessness. Anybody who knew Tiwaz would say that he has changed...

    His bright, blue eyes snapped open upon hearing a rapping on the door. The AncientGreymon grunted and stood to his feet, trudging towards the large door to open it. Outside he saw a Halsemon, who was angling his head to the side to prevent sand from flying in his eyes. Upon his seeing of Tiwaz, he promptly bowed his head respectfully.

    "Sir Tiwaz..." he addressed formally. "...There's a problem... and you might be needed..."

    Tiwaz slowly looked over to his goggles hanging upon his armour rack and then back to the Halsemon, sighing. "I know... I can feel it."

    "There's a darkness coming... It's coming fast," the Halsemon said with worry. "I don't want to ask this of you, but... I can't do anything else about it," he said, shutting his eyes.

    The AncientGreymon looked down at him. "...Tell me."

    "I don't know what caused it... but there's an outbreak..."

    "An outbreak of what? Get to it already," he impatiently responded.

    "...Of Death-X digimon," he said, suppressing shivers as he spoke. He refused to open his eyes. "...It's my village... There's five Dexmon getting near it. We don't stand a chance against them!"

    Tiwaz's eyes slowly narrowed as he spoke. "Dexmon...?"

    The Halsemon nodded. "I-I can't ask you to fight for us, but if you can gather-"

    "No." His words were resolute as they left his mouth. "...I'll fight them," he said, his words heavy. He spoke as if he knew of what the outcome already was... as if he knew of his fate.

    He knew he wouldn't return.

    "But Tiwaz, sir!" the Halsemon protested. "You can't!"

    "Don't tell me what I cannot do," Tiwaz told him, his eyes icy as they glared into his.

    "But it's suicide!" the Halsemon pleaded.

    "No..." Tiwaz said. The AncientGreymon slowly walked past him and looked up, gazing into the starry night sky overhead.

    "...It's what it means to be a hero..." he whispered.

    Within a second, the Halsemon had vanished and he could feel a new presence behind him. The dragon knew who it was exactly, just by the way they made him feel by being around them. He turned around and saw the form of a female RizeGreymon standing in the hut, behind him.

    Tiwaz offered a small smile and turned around to walk towards her. As he did so, he used his tail to take his goggles from the armour rack beside the door.

    "Going again, Tiwaz?" she asked in a kind but slightly disappointed tone.

    "...Yes," he said sadly, not wanting to tell her the grim truth.

    She moved closer to him, equal to him in height. "Tiwaz... Why have you been gone so often lately?"

    The AncientGreymon's gaze turned to the floor, not prepared with an answer. "Rizalia, I..."

    Rizalia moved closer and placed her claws on his shoulders, rubbing them soothingly. "You've been getting more nightmares recently too... ever since you found out about Fenrir..."

    Tiwaz grimaced, but looked up to face her directly. "...I know ...I've been trying to distract myself," he said grimly. "...It hasn't been working," he thought.

    "We'll get through it, Tiwaz... I promise," she said, moving closer to him.

    "I've tried..." he told her. "But I'm the only one left... They're all gone."

    "I must go now..." Tiwaz said to his wife. He knew that this was probably the last time that he would ever see her. He stared deep into her golden eyes, not wanting to ever take his eyes off of them. For once, not hiding his true emotions, he spoke more genuinely than he ever had before. "...I love you, Rizalia."

    He then moved his head towards hers and kissed her passionately, to which she returned the loving action. After several minutes, he finally forced himself to wrench his head away and turn around. "...And tell our sons I'm proud of them."

    "Tiwaz... Why are you saying this?" she asked, slightly worried.

    "Because I mean it," he replied resolutely, looking over his shoulder and now donning his goggles. "...And I'll always love you."

    "...And I'll love you too, but--" Rizalia responded, but was cut off as Tiwaz instantaneously changed scenery.

    Within a second he was suddenly standing in a blackened wasteland. He immediately knew there was a village behind him. He could hear the panicked running of fleeing civilians. Before him stood a towering Dexmon, giving even his size a match. To his right was also a Dexmon. Both the undead digimon were heavily burnt and wounded. Between Tiwaz and his foes was a shroud of black, dissapating data. Somehow he knew that it was from three Dexmon that he had slain.

    The dragon looked down at himself. His blue goggles rested in front of his eyes. His armour was dented, cracked, and even shattered in some parts. His form was soaked with blood from various burns and cuts he had sustained. His black skin was bruised, though they weren't visible, and deep wounds covered his body. Even his blonde hair was matted with dirt and blood.

    "Process F!" the Dexmon on his right shrieked.

    Tiwaz felt the familiar sensations that came with a high density, emerald beam piarcing through his now-unarmoured right flank and passing out his left. He let out a roar and soared through the air at full speed towards the Dexmon.

    The undead thing gave a rivalled roar and prepared a second attack. "Process F!" it bellowed as it released a second surging beam towards the rushing dragon.

    Tiwaz flapped his torn wings and flew upwards, over the blast of his wounded foe. The AncientGreymon plowed into the giant Dexmon at full force, slamming it into the ground. He then closed his powerful jaws around the undead digimon's neck, piercing his teeth into its rotting skin. The dragon knew his time was coming to an end and that his life was slipping away. With a pained snarl, Tiwaz ripped the Dexmon's head from its body, and discarded the limb far into the air.

    "Process F!"

    The AncientGreymon arched back with agony as he felt the attack burn into the square of his back. Tiwaz tore himself away and swung around to face the last remaining Dexmon. With a roar he shot towards the digimon as two thick streams of data poured from his body. Tiwaz's whole body suddenly ignited, blazing with suffocating flames.

    His large-fire enveloped body shooting through the night sky gave him the appearance of a comet, with his streams of data acting as the tail.

    "These are the raging flames of a dragon's heart!" he roared as he propelled himself towards the Dexmon, nearing ever closer. "Behold the final action of the Great Ten! Behold our bravery, our determination, our compassion and our will! And behold. YOUR. END."

    "Process F!" the Dexmon roared as its utterly immense attack burst forth as Tiwaz was upon him.

    "OMEGA CORONA!" Tiwaz echoed. An umatched inferno ripped from Tiwaz's body in an inescapable wave of burning power. "Rizalia... Fe--

    The two attacks collided piercing through each other and exploding at point blank range between the two foes. Both Tiwaz and the Dexmon were obliterated by the blast.

    The remaining traces of the AncientGreymon was a now-safe village and a blazing mushroom cloud that lit up the night sky...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tyr awoke with a start, twitching on the ground and wrenching his head all around him. "Wha..." he groggily sputtered in a slurred voice. Tyr looked above him and saw the stars above.

    "Tyr..." Tiwaz said, addressing him in his mind. "...Did my dream cross over to you? ...I didn't mean for that..." he said sheepishly.

    "It's okay..." Tyr said, awake now and gazing up into the sky. "...Was that how you died?"

    "Yes..."

    Tiwaz shifted into his AncientGreymon form, swapping control with Tyr. "Why didn't you get the aid of the Royal Knights or something?" Tyr asked from within Tiwaz.

    "Because-..." Tiwaz began but let himself trail off. "Because the village would have been destroyed by then!" he angrily snapped. "...And because that's what it means to be a hero."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Doing what's right... no matter how hopeless it seems. And fighting for those weaker than you, no matter the odds. That's what it means," Tiwaz told him.

    Tyr thought about his words carefully, but he couldn't help but think there was another reason why Tiwaz did all that.

    "...Let's get a move on, Tyr," Tiwaz said, stretching before continuing their trek. "No sense hanging about."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A TigerVespamon stood in a great hall that donned magnificient archways on either side of him. There were grand, colourful murals of angels and holy figures on the high ceiling of the monastic cathedral as well as on the walls. Rays of light shone through the large oculus of the ceiling, casting light down into the otherwise dark hall.

    The form of an Angemon flew down through the oculus, bathed in the rays of light before leaving them and descending towards the great hall where the bug digimon waited patiently. The Angemon, garbed in a prestine white, hooded robe, gently set down in front of the TigerVespamon and gave him a warm smile.

    "Barachiel... I suppose you are leaving to help Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael try to quell his suspicions now, am I correct?" the Angemon asked.

    The TigerVespamon, who was now known as Barachiel, nodded. "Yes, Hadrael... From what I have heard, the Holy Host had some problems with it."

    The angel known as Hadrael Aker nodded. "While you should not doubt that his visions may indeed be true, some say that it is his new title going to his head."

    "Do you?" Barachiel asked.

    The Angemon shook his head. "It is not our place to judge... but I can only pray that his visions are false, for if they the Demon Lords are rising..." he trailed off.

    "If they are, I will do all that I can to prevent it," the TigerVespamon replied in his calmed, celestial voice, similar to that of Hadrael's.

    Hadrael smiled and placed his hand on Barachiel's shoulder. "And I can only give you my blessings and prayers of safety and victory."

    "They are more than enough," Barachiel reassured, giving him a thankful nod.

    "You do realize that your brother will probably be there, right?"

    "Yes... I do." To this the Angemon nodded.

    "There is one more thing, before you go," the Angemon said to him. Barachiel looked at him curiously. "I would like to give you something." Hadrael motioned to the necklace around Barachiel's neck, mostly all but the pendant hidden by his red scarf. "May I?" he asked.

    "Of course, Hadrael," Barachiel said, gently taking the necklace from around his neck and handing it to his mentor with the upmost care.

    The Angemon took the necklace in the palm of his hand and inspected it carefully. The pendant of the necklace was an obsidian scarab with an '8' on the back of its shell. "Your father gave this to you, correct?" he asked Barachiel, who nodded. Hadrael gave a small, fond grin. "This pendant represents rebirth and new beginnings," he explained. "Did you know that?"

    The TigerVespamon shook his head. "I did not..."

    "This must be very special to you... being from such loving parents as the ones you had."

    Barachiel nodded. "It is..." he said somewhat solemnly.

    "Would you mind if I added to it?" Hadrael asked him.

    Barachiel shook his head and looked at him curiously. Hadrael took a pendant from his pocket and slid the string of the necklace through it. Barachiel looked carefully at the metal pendant. It was of a crescent moon with a six-point star within it. In the center of the star was a cross.

    "Some of the symbols of the Holy Host to help safeguard you, Barachiel," Hadrael said, smiling as he placed the two pendants around the bug digimon's neck.

    "Thank you..." Barachiel replied, shocked and honoured by the gift. "Thank you very much, Hadrael..."

    "Be safe, Barachiel... Terrak," he said softly, bringing the TigerVespamon into an embrace.

    "Thank you..." Barachiel murmured, returning the warm gesture. "For everything."

    The Angemon released him and looked into his eyes. "You always have my prayers with you. May God shine joy and good fortune upon your journey."

    The TigerVespamon nodded in thanks and turned around, walking towards the large doors behind him. "Goodbye, Hadrael."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Babylon

    The roars and hollers of a crowd echoed around them. Boos and cheers rang out from the unruly mob as a digimon gurgled in pain. A relatively small, rundown arena was the source. Throngs of digimon were gathered around a large, fenced in enclosure where two digimon fought.

    A GrandisKuwagamon retracted his enclosed, Gran Killer-less fist from the stomach of a Darkdramon. The digimon staggered back, nearly falling over. Cheers erupted from many of the digimon, who seemed like they were about to win their bets on Khep, while the digimon who bet on the Darkdramon started swearing and throwing things at the fence.

    The Darkdramon lunged forwards once again, driving his fist towards Kheprius. The GrandisKuwagamon leapt backwards and angled himself. He then shoulder rushed to meet his foe's punch. Khep drove the edge of his shoulder armour into the Darkdramon's fist, creating a sickening crack from the digimon's hand.

    The digimon reeled back, swearing furiously in pain. Kheprius then grabbed him by the face and started punching the Darkdramon's chest repeatedly with his other hand. He then released him and gave him a solid headbutt.

    The Darkdramon swung around, whipping his tail at Khep and striking him in the chest. The bug digimon stumbled back, tuning out the noise of the crowd. The Darkdramon charged once again, hoping to get a hold of Khep's wings. He seemed angry enough to tear them off once he got a hold of them. Kheprius, however, had a similar idea. He leapt to meet the Darkdramon in the air and drove his knee into his opponent's midsection.

    Kheprius then moved around the doubled over digimon and grabbed hold of his white wings. He bent them in awkward angle before swinging downwards, causing the Darkdramon to plummet into the ground. The GrandisKuwagamon then flew down and landed heels-first onto the Darkdramon's face, knocking the dramon unconscious.

    The crowd erupted in differing emotions, and Khep watched as a fistfight broke out among the mob.

    "Kheprius Aeolus wins!" the announcer called out. "He remains undefeated! See tomorrow night if his fortune lasts as a new challenger emerges to fight him for the top position!"

    Three digimon unlocked the fence-enclosed area and ran into the arena. Two of them went over the Darkdramon and hauled his unconscious body out. The third digimon, a Devidramon, came over to Khep and threw his arm around his neck, leading him out of the ring.

    "I tell ya, Kheppy boy, your winning streak is great for business! Digimon from all over Babylon are coming to either bet on you or watch you fall!"

    "Nice to know I have such a loving fanbase," Khep replied with a roll of his eye. "I gotta say though, it's getting kinda boring. All these competitors you're bringin' in can only fight like street thugs. It just makes it too easy. Can't you get me a real challenge?"

    "I'll see what I can do, Kheppy," the Devidramon said.

    "What about Samael? Set the right price for him and the tricloptic demon'd be here in a second. I never did get to fight him back then."

    "Word on the street is Saint Michael came and got him to go with him for whatever reason in a few days. Can't find 'im right now. In fact, some guy came to me during your match looking for you, saying Michael was looking for you too."

    Kheprius looked at the Devidramon in surprise. "Me? What the hell could that be about? Is he still here?"

    "Yeah, I told 'im to wait in my office," the Devidramon said, leading him to his office down a hall.

    Kheprius walked in to see a Parrotmon fidgiting nervously and looking around in pretty much every direction. It was obvious he was nervous about being in the city. "Yo, who are--"

    The Parrotmon gave a surprised, reflexive squawk, but soon stopped upon seeing that it was Kheprius. "Oh... uhh... K-Kheprius Aeolus?" he said, fear in his voice.

    "That's me. What do you want? What's this about Mike?" he asked.

    "Uhh! He... has sent for all the Peacemakers... He wants you to meet him in Anatolia two days."

    "Do I get a place to sleep?" Khep asked.

    "Pr-Probably..."

    "Then let's go right now! It's better than this dump," he said, leading the messenger bird out.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pyra stood amongst the other Peacemakers, looking around the council chamber while listening to the Council and Michael talk. She looked around at the faces, many familiar, but several unfamiliar. She noticed that three -well- five of the Peacemakers weren't present. Trowa, along with Tyr and Azur, and thus their ancestral counterparts. Pyra was disappointed that the WereGarurumon wasn't present. The Paildramon wondered if he was delayed or simply chose not to come. While she understood, she hoped that it wasn't the latter.

    While she didn't see Tyr, she did see two other Greymons, one she recognized as Tyr and Sigurd's friend, Gunnar. Pyra became close friends with Sigurd since rejoining the army. Sig and she ended up in the same unit as a result of internal reconstruction to adapt to the severe losses they faced. For the time being, the Greymon Alliance forces were dissolved and phased into the Anatolian military, as were the remnants of Avalon's military. It was a temporary measure until each of the forces grew in size enough to become independant. For the most part, the army did clean up work on Avalon.

    Gunnar saw that she was looking at him and promptly gave her a wink. Pyra turned away and sighed. "Oh great..."

    Meanwhile, mostly everything that Michael said was lost on Kheprius. He was staring, dumbstruck, at his brother who stood among the Peacemakers and, in contrast, was hanging onto every word that Michael was saying. "What is Terrak doing here?!" Kheprius thought to himself.

    He was snapped out of his thoughts upon Michael saying, "I need to know now, are you with me?"

    "Uhh, sure! Demons! Right..." Kheprius said, acting as if he had been paying attention.

    "I'm with you, Michael," Pyra said, stepping forwards.

    "I am if she is," Gunnar said, stepping forwards. He then looked to the female WarGreymon beside him. "Same goes for you. ...Though it's not like I have a choice in the matter; if I don't, they'll put me on cafeteria duty for the third time this month!"

    "I will do my very best, Archangel Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael," Barachiel said, stepping forwards and bowing slightly.

    Kheprius rolled his eye. "Yeah, just as long as I get to fight something strong."
    Last edited by Griff4815; 16th October 2010 at 3:57 AM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 17 is up.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2008
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    The morning sun shone through the open windows of the dojo, the old wooden building looking back up to speck after a new coat of paint and some minor repairs and cleaning. The dojo itself was an ancient building, either pre-dating the nearby town or built up around the same time at the earliest, and it looked much like the classical dojo's of the human world, with large red columns, bamboo floors, paper screen doors, tile roof, the works. With its new coat of red, black, and gold, with other areas staying the natural wood, the dojo looked as good as new, or at the very least, as good as it had looked in over a decade.

    Inside the building that had once belonged to his master, sat Duo Greyclaw, former Peacemaker and new master of the dojo. It was a slow day today, so Duo was relaxed, sitting cross-legged in the corner as he watched the only class for the day. He wasn't the one leading the class though. Those who wanted to learn the ancient style of the twin blades that this dojo had been founded for would learn from him, but this class was on an important battle technique, how to use your opponents force against them, and the one leading this class was not only another former Peacemaker, but a former Queen, Lucia Almehada.

    Duo couldn't help but smile as he watched the Minervamon lead the group of Rookies and Champions through a few exercises. She looked up and caught his smile, smiling herself in response before turning back to her students. The two of them had re-opened the dojo together after they had returned to the village, and if everything went like he hoped that it would, then they would stay here together. His gaze landed on the digimon training alone in the far corner however, and his smile loosened a bit. Of course, every thing had a downside.

    The SuperStarmon in the corner happened to be an acquaintance of his, Justin Wright. He could probably be a nice enough guy if he tried, but unfortunately he had his own style of doing things, and something about him just rubbed Duo the wrong way. Perhaps it was because he kept hitting on Lucia, or perhaps it was because he was obsessed with defeating him and taking over the dojo himself, but either way Justin was usually his only bother these days. He made up for it of course by being a rather large bother.

    Duo's thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. At first he thought it was just noise from one of the trainees, but another series of knocks followed, and Duo rose to answer the door, casting a glance at Lucia as he did so. The students all knew that they could come right in, so whoever it was was obviously not a regular of the dojo.

    Duo made his way the large wooden doors, still patterned with the inscription that marked this dojo as a branch of a larger dojo, a place that Duo still knew very little about. This dojo was founded a very long time ago by a student of the original dojo, but their names had been lost to history. Duo opened the heavy wooden door, and to his surprise found a Flybeemon on the other side. This was a small village, and Duo knew most of the villagers, but he didn't know this digimon.

    "Duo Greyclaw?" he asked.

    Duo nodded. "Yes, what can I do for you?"

    "Is Lucia Almehada here as well?" the Flybeemon continued as he read from a small scroll in his hands.

    "Yes, she is here. What's this about?"

    The newcomer cleared his throat before continuing. "The Archangel Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael hereby requests the presence of the Peacemakers Duo Greyclaw and Lucia Almehada at a meeting before the Council later today, in order to discuss certain urgent and pressing matters, the nature of which will be divulged at said meeting." With his speech finished, he tucked the scroll back into his pouch.

    "Michael?" Duo thought aloud, "Is it so urgent that he would assemble the Peacemakers again?"

    The Flybeemon shrugged. "I'm just a messenger, I don't ask for all the details Sir."

    "Sorry," Duo said, "thank you for the message."

    The Flybeemon nodded and started to unfurl his wings to fly off again when a voice that made Duo cringe shouted out. "Wait!"

    Literally skidding across the bamboo flooring, Justin came around the corner, stopping just in front of Duo. "My name wouldn't happen to be on that list too would it?"

    The Flybeemon seemed confused and he looked to Duo who shrugged. He turned back to the SuperStarmon, "Not unless you're Lucia Almehada."

    Justin fell to one knee, as though wounded, mumbling something to himself.

    Duo shook his head and the Flybeemon sighed as he took to the skies and flew off into the distance.

    Suddenly re-energized, Justin shot to his feet. "The nerve of that guy, how could he not know me? Surely my reputation had begun to spread by now?"

    "What reputation?" Duo asked, "You never leave the village. In fact, you rarely leave the dojo."

    Completely ignoring Duo's remark, Justin instead shot his fist into the air. "That's it, I'm going with you, and I won't take..."

    "No, you're staying here." Duo said.

    Justin paused for a moment before picking up right were he left off. "And I won't take 'no' for an answer!"

    From the main room of the dojo came the day's students, heading out for the day. Lucia followed them, bidding them farewell as they headed home. She turned to Duo, but before he could start explaining she held up her hand. "I heard the whole thing. It must be something serious if Michael has to turn to us for aid."

    Duo nodded, "Yes, I admit, it does have me worried."

    "I told the students that we won't be meeting for a while." Lucia said. "After all, I'm going with you."

    Duo nodded, "Of course, I figured I wouldn't be able to stop you anyway."

    Justin was getting more and more annoyed in the corner, and finally he couldn't take the lack of attention anymore. "I'm going with you two, I can't let Lady Lucia get into any trouble with no one but you to watch over her." He caught Duo's annoyed glare and quickly added a bit more. "No offense or anything, but I simply cannot allow my rival to go out and get even more famous. Its time for me to get out there and prove what I'm made of!"

    "But this is a Peacemaker matter." Duo said. "And if Michael has to turn to us, it must be something very serious."

    Justin waved his hand dismissively. "Fear not, for I am strong enough to withstand any evil that comes my way. Once I prove my worth, Mitchel will gladly accept me into the Peacemakers!"

    "Um, its Michael." Lucia said.

    "Him too!" Justin said, getting more fired up by the second. "Come on, I can handle myself. You guys won't even know I'm there!"

    Duo and Lucia exchanged glances. "Do we really have a choice?" Lucia said.

    "I suppose not." Duo said. "Knowing him, he'll probably follow us all the way there anyway."

    "I'm standing right here you know." Justin said.

    "Alright, you can come with us, just try to stay quiet on the way there okay?" Duo said.

    "And why should I take orders from my eternal rival?" Justin asked.

    "Will you do it for me?" Lucia asked with a smile as she poured on the charm. Duo brow wrinkled as Justin's eyes (which were of course hidden by his shades) filled with sparkles.

    "For you my Lady, anything." he said with a bow.

    Duo rolled his eyes. "Alright, we should probably get going. It's a long walk to Anatolia."

    Lucia nodded while Justin fought back the urge to shout out with all of his might, settling instead on a silent but heavily stylized march as the three of them set out.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Duo and Lucia looked around the room, glad to see so many familiar faces here. There were a couple of new faces as well, but considering how Justin was standing beside them at the moment, they figured that the other newcomers probably had their own reasons for being here as well.

    Duo caught sight of a TigerVespimon on the other side of the room, and at first he thought that it was Trowa, but after looking at the smaller details, he realized that this was a different digimon altogether. He hadn't heard from or seen Trowa since the day that they had split up at Avalon, and the fact that he either hadn't shown up for the meeting or couldn't be tracked down to get news of it was starting to worry him.

    Lucia placed a hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry, I'm sure Trowa's alright."

    Somehow, she always knew what was on his mind. "Yeah, he's not one to go out quietly."

    Michael finished his speech with a question, "I need to know now, are you with me?"

    After a few of the others stepped forward, Duo started to move forward to give his answer, but was cut off by a certain SuperStarmon.

    "I give you my word that I will not let you down." Justin said with a bow as he crossed his arm across his chest. "I am at your service Saint Michael." Duo once again exchanged glances with Lucia, both of them honestly surprised at Justin's sudden formality.

    Duo was the next to step forward. "It's obvious that this is a serious matter, and I'd be honored to work alongside you all once again."

    Lucia stepped forward too. "Where Duo goes, I go. You can count me in as well."
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

  5. #5
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    A menacing figure, bathed in an azure inferno, rose up from the ashes of a destroyed home. The surrounding village had been set ablaze, and its inhabitants were frantically running to and fro in a desperate attempt to flee their assailant. Their fiery attacker, a SkullMeramon, clutched a red-hot chain in both hands, grinning menacingly.

    Just ten feet away, a young Terriermon had tripped and fallen to the ground in a heap. The SkullMeramon's evil grin widened and he swung his chain above his head, preparing to kill the defenseless Terriermon in cold blood.

    Suddenly, however, the flaming monster froze in place. His eyes widened as he lost control of his body. A sinister voice from behind spoke, "Nyeheheheh...your butt is mine."

    To be perfectly honest, that was probably the creepiest and most awkward thing the SkullMeramon had ever heard. Suddenly, a form appeared directly to his right, and struck him in the side with a forceful blow. "Cha-haw-haw-haw-haw! Get a load of this!"

    Then, to his left, came another figure, shouting, "Flower Cannon!"

    The SkullMeramon howled as the attack slammed into him at full-force. But it was nothing compared to the next attack. This time, a fourth attacker came hurtling down from above. This particular figure was much larger than the others and nearly blotted out the entire sun. With a booming roar, the form thundered, "THE NINJA BUG STRIKES FROM ABOVE!"

    An instant later, the SkullMeramon was reduced to nothing more than particles of data flowing in the wind. The figures gathered around the spot where their enemy had previously stood, revealing themselves to be a Puppetmon, Shawjamon, Lilymon X, and HerculesKabuterimon: Pinocchio Marion, Sha Wujing, Ivy Tifaret, and Gigas Kranatos.

    "Nyeh," Nocchi muttered, folding his arms across his chest. "Why is it we always get sidetracked by random thugs pickin' on somebody?"

    Sha grinned. "Because if we don't beat the tar out of thugs, who will?"

    Ivy placed her hands on her hips and said, "Besides, it keeps us in shape!"

    The other three Digimon, who were of varying sizes (none of them being exactly "in shape"), looked at each other and shrugged. "Uhhh...right," Gigas murmured, after a long pause. "We thrashed the bad guy...so shouldn't we be on our way? The messenger sounded urgent."

    Sha leaped up onto the HerculesKabuterimon's shoulder with his hands on his hips. "Well spoken, Gig! Let's get a move on!"

    ===============

    "I need to know now, are you with me?"

    Nocchi strode forward, his hammer resting in its usual position on his shoulder. "You got it, Mikey. Nyeheh. I ain't afraid o' nothin'!"

    "Psh. Yeah, right," Sha muttered. "You looked pretty scared of Pumpkinmon back there..." The Shawjamon chuckled under his breath and then joined a now-scowling Nocchi. "I'm with ya, Saint Michael. Let's kick some Me-Fisto-butt!"

    Gigas and Ivy stepped forward together.

    "I will join you, Michael," Gigas rumbled, with clenched fists.

    "As will I," Ivy said, curtsying.
    Last edited by Hotshot; 31st August 2010 at 1:20 PM.

    (Credit for the banner image goes to All0412 from DeviantArt!)

    Chapter Three: The Seashore House
    "Do you guys have any milk?"
    "No, but we have soda pop."
    "How about some fresh water?"
    "Fresh out. Would you like a soda pop?"

  6. #6
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    A hut in the nomadic village in the outskirts of Avalon was full of hustle and bustle, loud but cheery voices coming from it. Inside the hut, Galic smiled at the small children that crowded around him and his very comfy chair. They clamoured for his attention and kept on asking him questions and for requests of storytelling. The MachGaogamon treasured the innocent and sincere smiles on all of their faces and the happiness and unbridled joy in their voices.

    His single ear twitched, singling out their various voices, identifying them with each child. It was a big improvement from just months ago when he first lost his hearing in his other ear. If it wasn’t, then he wouldn’t have heard the insistent knocking coming from the entrance of his hut. He couldn’t really recognize the voice though, muffled behind the door.

    “Settle down,” Galic started as he stood up and walked through the crowd in order to get to the door across the room. “We can continue the story after I have attended to my guest at the door.” His statement was replied with groans of disappointment, but the young Digimon soon distracted themselves with telling each other their favourite parts of Galic’s current story.

    Galic looked at them from over his shoulder, a content smile on his face. He hoped that they wouldn’t have to see any more of the strife and darkness he had seen since the end of war of chaos. He turned to the door, letting the hand of his good arm on the doorknob. The moment he opened the door, he was met with the ever-enthusiastic voice of his newest apprentice, sent to him by Azur.

    “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! Master Galiiiic!” Shoon the Mamemon X spoke excitedly, his eyes sparkling with fervour. He was jumping up and down, clear as day that his energy was running high for some reason. Galic grabbed his sashes with his good arm and suspended him in the air, forcing the machine Digimon to stop, although his arms and legs were still moving wildly.

    “Shoon! Calm down!” Galic ordered, holding the Digimon in his hands at arms’ length to keep from getting hit by Shoon’s flailing limbs. Galic narrowed his eyes as the Mamemon X continued his animated rambling and flailing, apparently too caught in his excitement to even hear the MachGaogamon. He took a deep breath, and then gave said with a Howling Blaster augmented voice, “Shoon! Attention!” Galic’s voice echoes loud, causing the children behind him to suddenly quiet down, as did the mental equivalent of the child in front of him

    The Mamemon X’s eyes were wide. And then he blinked. And then he shouted, “I did nothing!” Silence. “…Run awaaaaaaay!” His announced attempt to escape Galic’s clutches was met with futility, seeing as his feet didn’t even reach the ground.

    Galic sighed and shook his head. If he could move his other hand, he would have had it pressed against his face. “We wouldn’t have to do this so frequently if you calmed down long enough to listen to me, Shoon,” Galic said to the still-trying-to-run-away Mamemon X. “Now, mayhap you can tell me what is so important that it rendered you to speaking gibberish?”

    “Ah!” the Mamemon X said, freezing. The realization seemed to have snapped Shoon out from his momentary goal of fleeing. “A messenger came! He was looking for you!” he said, piquing the MachGaogamon’s interest.

    “From whom did it come from and what did it say?” Galic asked, putting his new apprentice down. Now that he had the Mamemon X’s attention, he didn’t have to worry about him attempting to do his run away routine. And then came the shine in Shoon’s eyes that Galic had long associated with trouble brewing, usually for him.

    “It’s. From. Michael!” he exclaimed with glee. “He’s calling all the Peacemakers! That means you!” he said excitedly. “Can-I-come-can-I-come-oh-please-oh-please-can-I-come? Oh-please-let-me-come-with-you!” he asked rapidly, resuming his energetic jumping.

    Galic, however, opened his mouth slightly in surprise, and his reaction was quite the opposite from Shoon’s own. In fact, it had struck something akin to worry to grow in his heart. Michael wouldn’t be calling him for something unimportant, and he inferred from the fact that he had called all their old comrades that this wasn’t something as easily resolved as a little coordinating and planning.

    He then turned back to the Mamemon X, who had yet to cease his jabbering of “take-me-with-you”s and “oh-please-oh-please-oh-please”s and the like. He frowned, still remembering the time he had brought his first two apprentices to battle. “Shoon, I don’t think-“

    “Lalalalala,” Shoon suddenly started, pressing his palms against the side of his head. “I’m not hearing you~ lalalalala,” he added, spinning around.

    Well,’ Galic thought to himself with an amused smile. ‘At least he’s enthusiastic and determined.’ Then his smile fell, realizing just what his words meant. He then sighed. Perhaps it would be better if he would be able to look out for him. It would be better than Shoon unknowingly tagging along without Galic knowing, as unlikely as that would have been.

    “Very well, Shoon, you ca-“

    “Yeeeeeees!” Shoon said, pumping a fist into the air. “This will be Master Shoon’s first accomplishment ever!”

    Galic sighed once more and shook his head.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    At a distance away, sitting on a tree branch and leaning against the tree trunk it was attached on, an Astamon watched the MachGaogamon and Mamemon X interact, slightly entertained by the latter Digimon’s peculiar antics.

    And it wouldn’t be wrong that he was…very interested in the topic of their conversation. After all, he had been bored for quite some time already. His last outlet for entertainment hadn’t really lasted long. Then again, he didn’t really expect much from weak warrior-wannabe raiders that sometimes thought that the small village in the forest was going to be a peace of cake to plunder from. They could have at least tried to last for five minutes, but they were just too pitiful, pathetic and puny to let live any longer, or at least that’s what the Astamon thought.

    He then grinned, stopping his constant repression of his power. It would have been a hassle if anyone who wasn’t in the know to be aware of his presence, but this time would be an exception, since he wanted a certain someone’s attention.

    The MachGaogamon froze for but a split-second, and no one but the extremely observant would have noticed. The Astamon grinned as Galic looked to his direction, his eyes instantly finding the demon man. The canid narrowed his eyes, a silent question asking the demon man what he wanted.

    The Astamon grinned a toothy grin. He spoke, knowing fully well that Galic could read his lips and understand what he was saying as if he were speaking right next to the MachGaogamon. “You know what I want, mister Galic.”

    He jumped down from the tree he situated himself on, landing on the ground without even making a sound. “After all, I’d be so bored if you left me here all alone with nothing to do,” Cresil said, a sly smirk on his mouth.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Somewhere in the far east, a WereGarurumon nodded at the Saberdramon that proceeded to take off, flying towards the east and the rising sun. The avian Digimon had a long journey ahead of him, something that the WereGarurumon experienced first hand sans the convenient and useful wings.

    Despite looking straight at the grey colored Digimon, Azur’s eyes were unfocussed, his mind fully on the strange event of the angel Michael calling for the gathering of the Peacemakers only six months after the end of the war, and he believed with great confidence that this wasn’t just for a happy end-of-war semi-annual anniversary or anything of the sort. And if it did, then he would wonder greatly what might have happened to the MagnaAngemon in the past few months and whether he would need counselling.

    What will you do, Azur?’ Fenrir’s voice asked, simply giving a better articulation to what all the questions in his mind boiled down to.

    The WereGarurumon gave a sigh full of his uncertainty. He closed his eyes, seeing the faces of two of the most important people of his life: Pyra and Galic. He had no doubt that they would answer Michael’s message as soon as possible, meaning that he might see them face-to-face again were he to go and arrive in time. And in truth, there wasn’t really any problem with that, but…

    “Azur!” a loud voice called from behind him. He turned to see a WereGarurumon like him, but this one was a black in color rather than the usual blue, a ShadowWereGarurumon. “What was that all about?” he asked, approaching his blue counterpart and with a sword in his hand.

    “Scharlach,” Azur greeted his distant cousin. They had decided to call each other that since trying to figure out the true blood relationship between them would have been difficult, given that Azur didn’t know any blood relatives past his parents. “It was…a call, I guess. From Michael,” he told him, walking past the ShadowWereGarurumon and into the sparring area.

    Scharlach, or Scar as most would call him, raised an eyebrow. “The angel called for you,” he asked curiously, following him. “Why? I thought you had a relationship with the one called Pyra,” he added with a grin. “Unless, of course, you are-“

    “Finish that sentence,” Azur started as he halted. “And you’ll be losing an ear the next time we practice,” he threatened lowly before moving on to one of the sides of the room.

    Scar smirked and rolled his eyes. “Nah, you still have a long way to go before matching me, dear cousin,” he replied walking to the opposite side of the room that Azur was walking towards.

    He then turned to face the WereGarurumon, who had taken a fighting stance with the altered weapon that was once Fenrir’s original Sharpness Claymore. Scharlack took a similar stance, though with a sword of his own choosing. “Seriously, what was the message?” he asked as Azur’s eyes narrowed.

    And then they dashed at each other with the blades bared. Azur’s sword clashed noisily against Scar’s, their movements precise and quick.

    “He’s gathering,” Azur said while thrusting his blade at his cousin, who merely sidestepped the attack. “All the Peacemakers,” the WereGarurumon finished shortly, turning his thrust into a horizontal slash midway.

    Scar parried Azur’s sword with a clang of their weapons. He pushed his opponent’s weapon away, and then he countered with his own sweep of the blade. “Oh? Must be important then!” Scar interjected.

    Azur jumped backwards to avoid a gash on his chest, but then jumped back forwards, slashing his sword horizontally. “Likely,” Azur replied.

    Scar ducked, feeling the whish of wind as Azur’s sword swept passed his head. He then acted, rushing forward and slamming his shoulder into the WereGarurumon’s gut. “Well, are you gonna go?” he asked as he watched Azur get knocked backwards.

    Azur frowned, an answer in itself that Scar instantly understood and translated into ‘I don’t know.’ That didn’t stop the WereGarurumon from attacking back however. Azur stepped forward to do yet another horizontal slash, which Scar ducked. He then had to duck again, however, as Azur continued his sweep with a sideways kick that barely missed the ShadowWereGarurumon’s head. And then as he stood back up, his torso got struck by Azur’s other leg, sending him flying to the wooden floor.

    He was able to roll quickly back on his feet however, and he was ready for Azur’s consecutive attack. “You know what I think?” he asked as Azur as the blue wolfman aimed to do a vertical slash.

    Scar stood up, parrying Azur’s sword at an angle and forcing the blade to slide off his, causing Azur to follow the blade through with the momentum, feeling his body tilt downwards, as the tip of it embedded itself into the wooden floor. Scar had taken the chance to do a quick spin, swinging his sword around.

    Azur looked to his side, seeing the blade come right at his face. He almost winced as the sword almost connected with his face, barely stopping an inch. He looked up at the smug black wolf that had won yet another of their sparring matches.

    “I think,” Scar informed Azur. “That you might want to get a lot better at this before you see them again. Unless you want to become the bumbling idiot with the sword.”

    Laughing, Scar had to duck quickly and dash away before Azur could do good on his threat and cut off his ear…not without the blue wolf’s lack of trying. They made a quite an entertaining spectacle for the dojo students just coming in for their daily lessons.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Aeria looked around nervously, not feeling very comfortable in the presence of so many unknown people, even if she were supposed to know them as the heroic and famous Peacemakers that had helped bring about the amity that had blessed the world for the past few months. She self-consciously rubbed the sides of her arms, trying to focus more on what Michael was saying rather than the butterflies in her stomach and the voice in at the back of her mind telling her that what she was doing was stupid and that she would only get in the way.

    She would do this. For Roman.

    She mentally took in her surroundings, looking at the few Peacemakers that Roman had so vividly described to her. She recognized Thor and Bedivere, the leaders of the group that both dealt the final blow on the monstrosity that was Amatsu-Mikaboshi. A few more she recognized - particularly Guinier and Pyra, both of whom she took more note of during the war than the other Peacemakers - a few others she didn’t, and then the rest that she thought were maybe like her and were not part of the Peacemakers at all.

    The angel, Michael she recalled, then caught her attention with his words, “I need to know now, are you with me?"

    The first that answered was Bedivere, followed by the Valkyrimon and Guinier and the Vritramon beside him. She bit her lip, unsure of what she should say. She wasn’t even sure if she was allowed to join…but she would try. As she was about to open her mouth, a voice rang loud.

    “We’re with you!” Shoon said, jumping into the air and waving a hand in the air. “You just see! I’m going to be a great addition to the team! Right Galic? Right, right?” he asked the cyborg canine behind him.

    Galic smiled and patted the Mamemon X’s head with his good hand. “Though he may be a bit rough around the edges, I can vouch for him. He’s full if surprises, this one,” he said, praising his apprentice. He then turned to Michael. “Unfortunately, I will have to correct him on his first statement, however. As in the state that I am, I believe I’ll be more of a liability than an asset, but if you need tactical support, then I am at your beck and call, Master Michael.”

    Galic then looked into the MagnaAngemon’s eyes, desperately trying to convey a look that said that he would need to speak with him after this meeting. There was something important to talk about later, and it would involve a certain Astamon hiding somewhere in the vicinity…hopefully not causing any trouble.

    Aeria looked at the two with a bit of envy. She wished that she could be as confident as the Mamemon X, and she tried to gather all her courage in her breath. And then came the next Digimon that beat her to their answers. She had to blink when the ShineGreymon looked at her, and then she had to look away, excusing herself in a low mutter.

    She then realized that there was a short pause of silence, and then she finally opened her mouth. “I…I’d like to help as much as I can,” she said, hoping that her voice was loud enough. “Please,” she added, although she had already started to go back into her meek shell.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  7. #7
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    Situated on a remote mountain was a medium sized hut. Sitting just outside the hut was a Piedmon and a Bastemon, the pair appeared to be meditating, and an older Piedmon was supervising them.

    "So how have your dreams been?" asked the Older Piedmon.

    Kole looked up at Old Man Piedmon and grimaced. "Not all that well, the dreams have started to become more vivid and, honestly, they have been more frightening."

    Tia looked at her Piedmon friend and smiled.

    "At least they are only dreams," she purred. "But how is that voice?"

    "Well it seems to have disappeared since I came back here," replied Kole. "But I don't know if it will return or not."

    "Well we can only hope," said Old Man Piedmon, "Okay meditating is over. Rest up and meet me here again in four hours."

    The pair of digimon got up off the ground, Tia actually pushing herself up off the ground and Kole floating off the ground.

    "So what are we going to do?" asked Tia, stretching her limbs out.

    "Well there are still parts of the mountain that we haven't seen," suggested Kole.

    It was just then that the pair noticed a digimon flying towards them. As it came closer, they saw that it was a Birdramon.

    "Are you Kole Sterj?" asked the bird once it got much closer.

    "Yes, I am," replied Kole, "What about it?"

    "Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael has requested for you to meet him and the Peacemakers at Anatolia," said the Birdramon, before flying off.

    "So are you going to go?" asked Tia.

    "Of course I am," replied Kole, "I trust that Michael is calling us for a reason."

    "Well then I am going with you," said Tia.

    "I don't think that it would be the smartest of ideas," said Kole with concern, "I mean if it's anything like what happened before-"

    "Yeah, what are the chances of that happening?" said Tia. "And like it or not, I am coming with you."

    ========================================
    Home of the Sovereigns

    A Mihiramon was standing before Seiryu, wondering what was going on.

    "Hira, do you know why you have been summoned?" asked the Azulongmon.

    "I am afraid that I don't your lordship," said Hira.

    "I have heard that Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael has summoned the Peacemakers, and I wish for you to go there as well," said Seiryu.

    "Okay your lordship," said Hira, "What do I need to do?"

    "You must go to Anatolia to meet Saint Michael and the Peacemakers," said Hira's lord. "And to aid you on your way."

    One of Seiryu's digi cores floated off the ring and zoomed towards Hira. The core shone brightly before fusing into the Mihiramon.

    "To help you, I have bestowed upon you the power of the X-Antibody," explained the Azulongmon.

    "Thank you," thanked Hira, bowing his head down before making his way out.

    ===========================
    Anatolia

    "You know that I am with you," said Kole.

    "If Kole is with you, then I am with you," purred Tia, putting her hand on Kole's shoulder.

    The Mihiramon behind them spoke up, "By Lord Seiryu's wish I am with you."

  8. #8
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    Samael's gaze swept over the room as he made a mental note of each Peacemaker and new arrival. He frowned at some--Vritra, Barachiel, and Hira. Others he fixed with a quizzical gaze and a raised eyebrow--Shoon, Gunnar, and Justin. The rest--Ivy, Aeria, and Tia--lit a smirk on his features as his eyes traced their forms.

    "Nine new recruits," he said. "But no Azur, Tyr, or Trowa. Tsssk, too bad. Trowa was fun--Tyr and Azur less."

    "You're in then?" Michael asked.

    "You came to me first," Samael said. "If I wasn't in I wouldn't be here. I bet the same goes for twinkle-toes over there." He pointed to Thor, who bristled at the name. "If he wasn't up for another go-round he'd be sittin' on his throne with his pretty wife and making big kingly decisions."

    Thor sighed and shook his head.

    "What, you know it's true," Samael continued. "Or are you back to being all mopey and pathetic?"

    "You couldn't possibly understand," Thor said.

    "Oh for God's sake, you're doing it," Samael said, throwing his hands into the air. "I thought you'd finally grown out of that stage. Are you really going back to that now? We're gonna tangle with Lucifer and you're wimping out?"

    "Enlightenment was so much easier when there was no one else around," Thor muttered.

    "Tell me about it," Samael quipped, but it drew a smirk from Thor regardless. He turned to Michael. "I'm cool with Thor and Bedi-O, and Caradocaloc, and all the old crew coming along, but some of these new guys...really? You're gonna let that WarGreymon chick fight with us? Brave Shield? That's a little ironic, don't you think? The Lilymon and Persiamon--they'll just...you know what'll happen to them. And that Mamemon, he's what, like, eight years old?"

    "I'm well aware," Michael muttered low through clenched teeth. "But without Heaven to aid us we need whoever is willing to join."

    "And what's this about Galic not taggin' along?" Samael demanded. "He's a big, fast, blue wolf with light-based weapons. I think he'd come handy in a demon-filled spot."

    Michael glanced to the MachGaogamon nearby and gave him an apologetic look. "He can't," Michael said. "Can't you tell? He's tilting his head toward us, and he hasn't moved his left arm. That's the price one pays for overusing the power of the Burst Mode."

    "Cripes that's depressing," Samael said. "Remind me to never get one. Whatever, let's--" Samael cut himself off; he smelled something in the air, something...familiar. "Gotta go. Need to use the little mon's room."

    As Samael left and the others declared their intent to join him, Michael once again turned toward the assembled warriors. He read their eyes, full of worry, excitement, and fear. Could he be the one held responsible for these brave few? He glanced to Bedivere, understanding the weight the new Lord of the Empty Seat was forced to bear. Michael had always led armies, he'd focused on the larger picture. But the picture didn't get any smaller than what it was now.

    "Thank you," Michael said. "This will be the most dangerous thing you've ever done. Our objective is to prevent Mephistopheles from opening the Inferno so that we never have to come face-to-face with the Demon Lords. But even without facing them, we face an enemy more sinister than any other."

    "Michael is right," said Loki, stepping forward. "I've had my own encounters with Mephistopheles in the past--"

    "You have?" Michael asked.

    "Tricksters like myself do not appreciate competition," Loki said. "Mephistopheles is dangerous beyond measure. He is a master of sorcery; he has mastered the demonic arts and pantheonic magic. He's likely even delved into the sinister magics of the Dark Gods. I wouldn't be surprised if he's acquired knowledge of Chaos Magic as well."

    "He is powerful," Michael urged. "And is not to be underestimated."

    ===

    In the shadows, something moved, silently slipping between doorways and dashing through spots of light. The basements of Anatolia's Great Hall were dark and damp, but the smell remained.

    "You shouldn't be running around in the dark like this," Samael said, his voice echoing down the corridors. "All this dampness: it'll ruin that nice blue suit of yours." He made his presence known to the Astamon, stepping calmly out of the shadows. He suspected the Astamon had sensed his presence, though, which explained why he'd led him down into these dark tunnels.

    "I come all the way here to this nice bright city to hang out with Mikey and all my old war buddies, and what do I find? An Astamon lurking around just out of sight," he said. "Now imagine my surprise; here we are trying to figure out a way to slice Mephisto into itty-bitty pieces and a demon comes along, and it looks like he's spying on us.

    "But I think to myself, 'Sammy, no demon would be stupid enough to spy on you guys. Mikey would smote the crap outta him in two seconds flat,'" Samael said. "Then I realized Mikey ain't his usual self and might not be paying attention like I am. Otherwise he'd have smelled your brimstoney *ss from a mile away. But what's really interesting, is the way Galic smells. See, he smells just like you, which--while also filling my head with some extremely disturbing imagery--tells me that you two have been hanging out a lot recently."

    Samael circled the Astamon the way a hungry shark circles its prey: in this case, another shark. He could tell the demon man was giving him his full attention, but he wasn't worried. That wasn't exactly what Samael had been hoping for.

    "So there's two possibilities," Samael said. "One: you're a spy--and a bad one at that--and we find out which of us is the quicker draw. Or Two: you've made some sort of deal with Galic and you're...I dunno, tied to him or something. I think number two's more likely, so I decided to stop by and tell you one last secret.

    "You're not the only monster in the dark." Samael turned and walked away, leaving Cresil to his devices once more. He returned to the Council hall and shot Galic a knowing smirk. He muttered so only Galic could hear him, "Mikey's gonna be sooooo ******."

    "First we must figure out how Mephistopheles intends to open the Inferno," Michael said. "Powerful magics went into the creation of the Devil's Gate, and even with all his knowledge, Mephistopheles cannot simply force the gate open."

    "Gates got locks, don't they?" Samael asked.

    "Yes, the 600 Seals," Michael answered. "But they cannot be opened until one breaks the first seal."

    "And what's the first?"

    "The war of Virtue," Michael answered. "The war of Virtue will break the first seal. But Virtue cannot war with itself. Heaven is in harmony. Mephistopheles must be trying to--"

    "I think you misunderstand the meaning of virtue, Michael," said Thor. He stepped forward and gave a nod to his returning Peacemakers. He thought to introduce himself to the new arrivals, but what would he say? 'Hi, I'm Thor, son of Odin, god of thunder and King of Asgard'? No. He'd figure it out later.

    "What do you mean?" Michael asked.

    "The meaning of virtue does not apply only to your Seven Sacred Virtues," said Thor, "it applies to all virtues, and the virtuous hearts of heroes. A war of virtue: a war between heroes...does this not sound familiar?"

    "The Crusade," Michael muttered. He closed his eyes in frustration; so the first seal had already broken. How could Mephistopheles be so lucky? How could they be so unlucky? "Maybe he had a hand in it."

    "What?" Samael asked.

    "Nothing," Michael said. "Just thinking dark thoughts. But I wonder what other seals might have broken?" And as Michael played the events of the Crusade back through his mind's eye, the blood drained from his face, they were already well on their way...

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  9. #9
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    Bedivere listened to the conversation with interest.

    "If these 'seals' are broken by events," he considered. "Then the odds are that the Mikaboshi's return was one such event. Something on that scale... it has to be. And if its return was one seal broken, then perhaps its final defeat broke another seal."

    "Megidramon..." Guinier murmured. "Two Megidramon... the Digital Hazard present in two Digimon at one time..."

    "Another seal," Caradoc mused. "That sort of event is never supposed to happen. If it did... then the chances are that it broke a seal." As he spoke, he remembered facing Guinier when she was forced into that state, how he had been forced to take his new evolution of Dynasmon X in order to overcome her. The memory brought a dark shadow to his eyes.

    Vritra wasn't openly concerned. She had no knowledge of these 'seals' and no interest in the Crusade beside the times she had chosen to intervene, fighting on the front-lines. All she wanted right now was an enemy, something tangible she could kill. At least then she would know she was achieving something.

    "Why are we debating?" she snapped. "If we know who this 'Mephistopheles' is, why aren't we hunting him down like the demonic dog he is? These 'seals' are irrelevant if the one attempting to break them has his head stuck on a pike for all to see."

    "If we know what the seals are and what breaks them, we can predict what Mephistopheles will do next," Bedivere answered. "The problem with your idea is that we don't know what Mephistopheles will do in order to break more seals. If we know what he will do, then we can find him and deal with him then."

    "Bedivere is right," Caradoc added. "It's best to know what your enemy is planning so that you can take steps to ensure their plan will fail. Rushing in recklessly may only make things worse if doing so will cause events breaking more of the seals. At this point, our best plan is to find out what will break the seals so we can take measures to prevent those events and therefore keep as many intact as possible to buy time to deal with Mephistopheles."

    Vritra just snarled in disapproval, but stayed, listening to the conversation.
    [CENTER]

    Credit for the banner goes to Kamotz

  10. #10
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    "Seals, huh?" Gunnar mused, folding his arms across his chest. "And they're broken by large events? ...The siege of Avalon was a big event, if I've ever seen one. And those Chaos minion guys who were with the guy. Amarco-Mitsubishi or whoever that guy was must have raised the six of them. That could be one."

    Kheprius looked over to Pyra. "Hey, Pyra -good to see you again, by the way- what about your whole rampage during the last fight with the Royal Knights? If I hadn't stopped you, who knows how much that could have escalated?" he suggested.

    The Paildramon grimaced and tilted her head away from him slightly, bitterly remembering the event. "...Yes ...Perhaps," she answered quietly.

    Barachiel, upon being sure that he wasn't speaking out of turn, offered a suggestion as well. "The unfortunate destruction of the Three Archangel Lords perhaps broke a seal?" He then bowed once again to Michael. "Barachiel Aker at your service, by the way."

    "Lance Corporal Gunnar Cyndar," he said, informally following Barachiel's introduction. "I'm here relieving Tyr's position... who nobody can seem to find," he added with some mild worry.

    "Oh boy," Kheprius reacted sarcastically.

    "Perhaps the resident demon knows a thing or two about these seals..." Gunnar suggested with contempt, giving an icy glare to Samael out of the corners of his eyes. "Makes sense to me that he'd know, unless that third eye of his is to compensate for being deaf."

    "I always thought it was to compensate for something else," Kheprius said, casting a grin in the Beelzemon's direction.
    Last edited by Griff4815; 2nd September 2010 at 3:10 AM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 17 is up.

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    Cresil jumped from shadow to shadow, waiting for his…chaser, if one would call him that, to finally make himself known. And if he didn’t…well, he didn’t mind playing cat and mouse for a while. And if he lost him, well, then he would have sorely overestimated the Peacemaker’s resident bad-*** demon, or so he called himself.

    "You shouldn't be running around in the dark like this," Samael finally said, his voice echoing down the corridors. "All this dampness: it'll ruin that nice blue suit of yours."

    Cresil let out a small smirk; it looked like he hadn’t ‘accidentally’ let his presence known for nothing. He turned to face Beelzemon, no longer bothering to hide himself. That didn’t necessarily mean he was showcasing his power; it wouldn’t exactly be a smart thing to show anyone just how strong you are on first impressions. “The same has to be said for you. I can’t imagine how people would take the wet leather smell…though I bet it suits you quite well,” Cresil replied, giving an insincere smile.

    "I come all the way here to this nice bright city to hang out with Mikey and all my old war buddies, and what do I find? An Astamon lurking around just out of sight," Samael replied, seemingly ignoring Cresil’s remark. "Now imagine my surprise; here we are trying to figure out a way to slice Mephisto into itty-bitty pieces and a demon comes along, and it looks like he's spying on us.

    "But I think to myself, 'Sammy, no demon would be stupid enough to spy on you guys. Mikey would smote the crap outta him in two seconds flat,'" Samael said. "Then I realized Mikey ain't his usual self and might not be paying attention like I am. Otherwise he'd have smelled your brimstoney *ss from a mile away. But what's really interesting, is the way Galic smells. See, he smells just like you, which--while also filling my head with some extremely disturbing imagery--tells me that you two have been hanging out a lot recently."

    Cresil played the quiet captor, not that he was giving it any effort. He simply put on an uncaring smile and let Samael circle him, let him think that he had the upper hand in this little meeting of theirs. Let him think that he was the big dog. He’d realize sooner or later.

    "So there's two possibilities," Samael said. "One: you're a spy--and a bad one at that--and we find out which of us is the quicker draw.”

    Cresil didn’t let out any reaction other than an entertained raise of an eyebrow, not that the Beelzemon would be able to see it. Did Samael really think that the Astamon had let down his guard? Did Samael think that someone who had lived in a metaphorical shadow for more than he could remember like him was found out because his ability wasn’t up to par?

    “Or Two: you've made some sort of deal with Galic and you're...I dunno, tied to him or something. I think number two's more likely, so I decided to stop by and tell you one last secret.”

    There was the coming of the typical threat that Cresil expected, and he mentally grinned at Samael’s predictability.

    "You're not the only monster in the dark." Samael seemed to be happy with simply saying that, and then he left, leaving Cresil to smile in the darkness.

    “You think I don’t know that, fallen one? I know that very well,” Cresil said to no one in particular, although Samael was already too far to hear him. “Now, I wonder…do you think that you’re the biggest or even scariest monster out there? Because if you do…then I’m afraid someone might have to knock you down a few pegs,” he said with an amused tone.

    He turned back into the darkness, hiding his presence once more, enough that Samael wouldn’t be able to sense him again even if he tried, although Galic wouldn’t probably be able to hide the smell of demon on him. Well, not his problem.

    “It’s just too bad that I don’t think I’ll be the one to do that,” his voice said, no longer traceable in the shadows. “There are monsters out there that even I wouldn’t want to meet.”

    -----------------------------------------------------


    Galic decided to cut in between Gunnar’s and Kheprius’ remarks before it escalated into a full-blown fight. “Perhaps the undead we all fought in search for the Black Sword may have also played a part. In any case,” he called out. “We may need to find out more about these seals so that we ourselves don’t unknowingly or accidentally end up breaking one of them,” he said, still eyeing the ShineGreymon and GrandisKuwagamon.

    When it involved Khep, and directly or indirectly involved Samael for that matter, the MachGaogamon wasn’t very sure things would go as smoothly. Or as peacefully when he considered the ShineGreymon that introduced himself as Gunnar. He didn’t need hearing or the ability to move both of his arms to see that he had a little more than a small issue with the Beelzemon.

    Which reminded him. His hearing was still good enough to have heard Samael’s strange announcement. He had to wonder if that was meant for him to hear, since it was too low for most of the others to hear. The nomad didn’t have to think too much to understand what the demon was talking about; he still needed to speak with Michael about Cresil, and as soon as possible before the angel found out himself.

    He wondered if it would be too suspicious if he asked the MagnaAngemon to speak with him privately. Or maybe not privately; since Samael already seemed to know, maybe he could get the demon to help him. And in any case, he was sure that Michael wouldn’t like that the Beelzemon hadn’t told him as soon as he found out.

    Galic turned back to the MagnaAngemon. There was time for that later. The matter at hand was still important. “Michael, perhaps you may know a bit more about these seals?” he asked.

    “Oh, oh, oh!” Shoon cut in from beside the MachGaogamon’s side, raising a hand in the air. “And we need to know if there’s a way to put back those seals again, and how many we have left, and how many we can prevent other people from breaking those seals themselves. That way, we can minimize the damage and maximize how much time we have,” he said, showing a bit of his surprising intellect.

    Aeria dragged her foot across the ground, looking around nervously. She felt useless, especially since she couldn’t really think of anything useful to add that wouldn’t make her sound stupid or ignorant, or at least in her opinion.
    Last edited by Tundra_Wolfmane; 2nd September 2010 at 3:27 PM.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


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    "Perhaps when we fought the Hybrid digimon could have resulted in a Seal opening?" suggested Kole. "I mean we were fighting digimon made from the data of the Ancient digimon."

    Hira listened to the digimon speculating about what could have caused the seals to open, and shook his head. They should just get Michael to tell them what has caused the seals to open. Noticing Hira shaking his head, Tia growled at him.

    "Is there something wrong?" she growled.

    "No there isn't," replied Hira, "Now go back to whatever it was that you were doing."

    "Excuse me? How about you swipe that smug look on your face first!" growled Tia.

    "I am sorry, but I don't take orders from those who are beneath me," retorted Hira.

    Tia snarled at Hira and started to walk towards him, but Kole put his hand on her shoulder.

    "Just ignore him Tia," said Kole. "He isn't worth it."

    Deciding that Kole was right, Tia hissed at Hira and turned away from him.

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    Samael scoffed and flipped Gunnar the bird. Khep's mocking and jabs he'd tolerate. It was Khep, what else was the big, one-eyed bug gonna do? Besides, that was there thing; they'd go at one another like cats and dogs, or in this case, bugs and demons. But he didn't know Gunnar, and as it stood, the ShineGreymon was fast on his way to a face-full of buckshot.

    "Yeah, sure," he said, rolling his eyes. "That's exactly it. I know all about the seals, including the order Old Scratch is going after 'em. Because...you know...demons are such huge freakin' fans of mine. After I betrayed 'em they even threw me a going away party. Yeah, I'm really eager to see all those guys again. You f***in' moron."

    He turned to Khep. "And it's just an extra eye, Kheppy. It's not even a big one." He looked at Khep pointedly. "If anything your best bet would be mocking on a numbers basis. It's not a size issue. C'mon, buddy, that's just sloppy work."

    "Truthfully I'd prefer Vritra's methods," Michael said. He'd never met the BurningGreymon, but he'd heard rumors; he knew she was powerful, violent, and intense, and they would need that in the battle to come. He needed someone who could simply act without worrying about the consequences. He needed someone like Samael, but someone who had no ties to the demonic. "But the problem remains: we have no idea how to find or locate Mephistopheles. We can only attempt to anticipate his movements."

    "There are 600 seals," Thor said. "Mephistopheles has his work cut out for him; I can't imagine that he's broken so many as to be a threat."

    "Only 66 seals need to be broken for the Devil's Gate to open," Michael said, his eyes cast downward grimly. "And we are well on our way there."

    "How many?"

    "Perhaps twenty," Michael said.

    "You kidding me!?" Samael gasped. "Twenty seals? What the hell are you guys doing in Paradise, eating baklava?"

    "I've run through the events of conflict with the Royal Knights," Michael said, "and I count twenty broken seals.

    "The first seal was the start of our battle," he began. "The next was the arrival of the false prophets: the false Digidestined. Third was the desecration of the Ancients: the human soldiers and their experiments with the ancient lines. Fourth, the world will stand in the shadow of a Dark God: Kole's Digivolution to Apocalymon. Fifth, the ten lives reaped in anger: Samael's murder of the humans. Sixth, the destruction of Avalon by its heroes: the Siege. Seventh, the hero murders his son in the name of virtue: the murder of Galahad by Lancelot. Eight: the birth and death of a blood dragon in a single day." his gaze settled on Guinier. It was normally impossible for two Megidramon to exist at once; one must first die for the other to be born, which made this seal very difficult to break. He looked to Thor. "Ninth, the unchaining of a killer of gods. Tenth, the demon lords to battle on the Earth: the fight between Sha and Samael."

    "We tore it up pretty good," Samael said with a smirk and jabbed Sha's shoulder playfully. "Wait. That was a seal?"

    "Of course," said Michael. "When the seals were crafted, their creators chose events they thought would be impossible to create; how could the demon lords break free if one of the necessary events requires them to be free."

    "But the seal never specified what demon lords," Thor added, glancing to the two Digimon. "And because while you two are not the Great Demon Lords, your forms are theirs nonetheless."

    "Craptastic," Samael muttered.

    "Eleventh, the shattering of a holy sword: the breaking of Artorius's GradeAlpha," Michael continued. "Twelfth, the summoning of an archangel's wrath by a demon." He looked to Samael, remembering how the fallen angel had called upon his wrath to alert the Peacemakers to the location of the Royal Knights.

    "My bad," Samael said.

    "Thirteenth, the claiming of the Black Sword," Michael said. "Fourteenth, the sky darkened by the wings of a black dragon: Pyra's dark evolution. Fifteenth, the unbinding of Amatsu Mikaboshi. Sixteenth, the fall of the servants of Order: the deaths of the Royal Knights. Seventeenth, the breaking of the Gate of Destiny." He remembered his own failure in stopping the Mikaboshi. "Eighteenth, the rise of the servants of Chaos: the Chaos Lords. Nineteenth, the slaughter of the Archangel Lords. And twentieth, the destruction of the Council."

    "Twenty seals," Thor said, cursing under his breath. "This demon is nearly one-third of the way there. Is there any way to anticipate where he will go next?"

    "No," Michael answered. "There are 600 seals that can be broken. To know where Mephistopheles will strike next is virtually impossible."

    =====

    The wastes of Avalon...

    "Lord Mephistopheles, I've found the children you asked for," said Sigma 018, disconnecting himself from a control terminal. "Specifically your first: Victor Henricksen. He's in the city of Washington, DC in the human world."

    "Good," Mephistopheles said. He interlaced his fingers. "Can you calibrate a Digital Gate?"

    "I need approximately 13 hours and 29 minutes," said Sigma.

    "Gaul, I want you to begin operations here," Mephistopheles ordered. The hulking BlackWarGreymon stood at attention. "There are seven Digimon out there. I need you to find them and bring them to me."

    "By your will, Lord Mephistopheles."

    "Good, then I have a task for the rest of you," said Mephistopheles. He stood from the wreckage of an Avalon skyscraper. "We are going to find an old acquaintance of mine and collect on a deal. But first." He extended his hand towards Damien Ghostrider and the BlueMeramon was engulfed by hellfire. His body flared white-hot, and when the light died, a SkullMeramon stood in his place. "Much better, now you look the part."

    "GRAAAHHH!" the Ghostrider snarled. "This power. It's unlike anything I've ever felt before."

    "We'll put it to use," Mephistopheles sneered. "Damien, Lucian, Marcus...come with me." The demon then turned towards his newest addition, a massive and thickly-built Marsmon standing at stark attention. "War," he addressed the lone Horseman. "Go to the Chess Kingdom. Bring them gifts of your presence."

    War bowed curtly and turned. He lit with fire and took off in to the black sky. Gaul, too, took flight and left to scour the Digital World for Mephistopheles's chosen Digimon.

    "So where we headed, Boss?" Marcus the DarkSuperStarmon asked.

    "Wallachia," Mephistopheles said with a sneer. "Home of a certain Count who owes me his soul."

    "Holy crap!" Marcus said. "We're gonna go collect from him? That's so badass!"

    "I will meet you there," said Mephistopheles. "There is something I must do here first. Go. You do not want to be around when it's done." His three followers bowed and left. "Now, another seal must break, and the witnesses will rise up to take vengeance upon those who failed them."

    Mephistopheles brought his hands together, calling upon old and arcane magics. He called upon dark powers and even darker names. Magic couldn't break the seals on its own, but Mephistopheles wielded sorceries that could create the events that would. As his power seeped into the stone and ash and steel of the broken city, Mephistopheles raised his own power around himself and vanished.
    Last edited by Kamotz; 4th September 2010 at 1:35 PM.

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamotz View Post
    "Tenth, the demon lords to battle on the Earth: the fight between Sha and Samael."

    "We tore it up pretty good," Samael said with a smirk and jabbed Sha's shoulder playfully. "Wait. That was a seal?"

    "Of course," said Michael. "When the seals were crafted, their creators chose events they thought would be impossible to create; how could the demon lords break free if one of the necessary events requires them to be free."

    "But the seal never specified what demon lords," Thor added, glancing to the two Digimon. "And because while you two are not the Great Demon Lords, your forms are theirs nonetheless."

    "Craptastic," Samael muttered.
    Sha grimaced. Slinking back a couple of steps, he murmured, "Oh, oops...haw...maybe I should'a stuck with bein' Neptunmon."

    As Michael continued to list all of the seals now broken, Nocchi pondered it all. The Puppetmon, tapping his chin thoughtfully, whispered, "Sixty-six seals. Twenty of 'em gone. Jeez, we're screwed." But then, grinning, he continued, "But then again, we always make our biggest comebacks when we're screwed."

    Nocchi plopped his fist down on his palm. "So if we all screw ourselves--"

    He was promptly interrupted by Gigas, who lumbered forward in his usual manner. Most paid him no mind, for they were used to the hulking HerculesKabuterimon clumsily moving about. But when he stepped up in front of everyone, he commanded all attention.

    Awkwardly standing there in front of the Peacemakers and their new recruits, the massive bug cleared his throat and fidgeted. "Uh...hi there."

    He cast a pleading look over in Ivy's direction, but the Lilymon X simply smiled and clapped silently for him, urging Gigas to continue.

    The HerculesKabuterimon sighed. "So...uh...I have something to tell you guys." Another pause ensued. Gigas took in a deep breath. "Ivy and I are engaged...and we'd like to invite all of you to a sort of reception-ceremony-thing..."

    Gigas cleared his throat again. "That is, if you can. I'm not sure if we'll have the chance once all of this starts...so...yeahhhhhh..."

    Sha raised his hand. "I for one am extremely fond of wedding receptions! And parties in general."

    Nocchi rolled his eyes. "And I for one could care less. But whatever."

    (Credit for the banner image goes to All0412 from DeviantArt!)

    Chapter Three: The Seashore House
    "Do you guys have any milk?"
    "No, but we have soda pop."
    "How about some fresh water?"
    "Fresh out. Would you like a soda pop?"

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    "Truthfully I'd prefer Vritra's methods."
    Vritra glanced at the archangel, before looking back to Bedivere. "It's the best way to deal with this. Cut off the head and the body dies... go for the throat. We kill Mephistopheles and this plan of his collapses."

    "But as Michael just said, we don't know where Mephistopheles is," Bedivere replied. "So for now, we work around the principle of containing damage to the seals. With almost a third of the needed amount gone, we work to contain the damage and prevent further seals from breaking." Vritra gave a soft snarl, the idea didn't appeal to her. She was a shock killer, her tactic was to go in and lay waste, killing whatever stood in her way. This padding around, this defensive tactic, she didn't like it.

    Gigas lumbered forward, drawing Vritra's attention, on her travels she had heard of this herculean Digimon and his raw power, but she payed him little mind as he made his announcement. Matters of the heart were things she didn't care about.

    "I would be glad to attend, Gigas," Bedivere said. "But for now, I'm afraid we have to focus on dealing with Mephistopheles. Once that's done, I will attend, I promise."

    "I'll be there, if we can defeat Mephistopheles," Caradoc swore softly.

    "Me too," Guinier added, nodding slightly.

    "Right now, though, those promises are dependent on us ensuring the Demon Lords don't escape," the Valkyrimon mused. "So we need to focus on handling Mephistopheles. Once he's dead, then we can celebrate together. For now, let's get to work..."
    [CENTER]

    Credit for the banner goes to Kamotz

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    "A wedding?" Michael demanded. "You want to have your wedding now? We don't have time for this!" He scoffed and shook his head in frustration. "Why don't you just offer to help Mephistopheles, you oafish--"

    "Michael! Take control of yourself," Thor said, interrupting Michael before he could finish his insult. Michael certainly didn't have the creativity with insults that Samael or Kheprius did, but it didn't make his remarks any less scathing. In fact, a harsh word from the normally respectful and kind archangel could cut deeper than any elaborate remark from the others.

    "We don't have time for this," Michael hissed. "Mephistopheles is getting ready to unleash Hell on Earth and they're planning a wedding."

    "Michael, I know you're upset, but--"

    "Do you?" the archangel snarled.

    "Yes," Thor said. "Or have you forgotten how my past intertwined with the Royal Knights and Amatsu-Mikaboshi? The burden fell to me then as it does to you now, and know this: lashing out accomplishes nothing. Wringing our hands accomplishes nothing. We have no leads, nothing to go on; our only options now are to remain vigilant, to prepare countermeasures and to prepare ourselves to act as soon as we have a sense of where Mephistopheles might be. Until then why not allow them this measure of happiness? Moments like this are few and far between."

    Michael sighed; he realized that he lashed out unfairly. Gigas wasn't deserving of his ire; none of those present were. Well...maybe Samael, but that was for entirely different reasons.

    "My apologies, Gigas," Michael said. "If you would like, I can arrange for a Host priest to preside over the ceremony."

    Michael looked to Thor, and the thunder god nodded his acceptance. Thor, too, had a troubled past with one of his brothers. Loki was a vicious adversary, but his challenges to Thor had always been of more mischievous nature, and had been devised out of boredom. There wasn't true malice there, not like there was between Michael and Lucifer. Between the two of them there was pure and utter hatred. Lucifer wanted to sterilize the world, Loki only wanted it to be more interesting.

    ===

    Thor turned away from the boiling conversation. It seemed that he and Michael had switched roles. Six months ago it had been Michael telling him to calm down and not lose his cool; now it was reversed. Thor was the one keeping Michael from exploding.

    He looked to Loki; the trickster god wore a bemused expression, but still seemed rather bored with the whole thing. That wasn't good; a bored Loki was a dangerous Loki. Keeping him busy and entertained was the only reason Thor hadn't made a move to have him removed from the Council.

    "Shall I set up a courtyard for you then?" Loki asked, flicking dirt from beneath his fingernails.

    Thor looked to the rest of the Peacemakers. They all seemed eager to go after Mephistopheles, but until the demon made a move, there was no way to guess where he'd be. Instead, Thor took a moment to glance over the new arrivals. He doubted the wisdom of including so many new and untested warriors in this dangerous mission, but decided to keep that to himself. Instead, he made his assessments of their new additions.

    Barachiel seemed a capable warrior; his name lent itself to Host origins, and Thor wondered how he came upon it. His cool and detached demeanor reminded Thor of angels he'd come across, but Barachiel was certainly no angel. Gunnar Thor recognized as one of Tyr's old comrades, but he seemed more confrontational than the good-natured and soft-spoken VictoryGreymon. He'd already accused Samael of withholding information, even without understanding the dynamics of Samael's relationship with the demons and angels.

    Greymon...the hotheads.

    Aeria, on the other hand, had none of the typical Greymon fire. She seemed tame and rather subdued. Was it really so wise to include such a troubled individual? Ivy seemed a strange addition to the trio of Gigas, Nocchi, and Sha, but with Gigas's declaration of their betrothal her inclusion seemed rather obvious. Shoon was a strange one as well, but Thor understood Galic's attachment to the little Mamemon X; his happy and playful demeanor was reminiscent of Dunk's childlike attitude, and Thor didn't doubt that Galic missed his apprentice.

    Hira's involvement was not unexpected. Thor had expected Seiryu or one of his brothers to send a Deva, especially with Seiryu's departure from the Council; they needed someone to be their eyes and ears. Tia, however, Thor was suspicious of. She seemd to have some connection to Kole, but the Piedmon had never mentioned her before. Duo's new companion Justin appeared to be an almost-unwelcome addition, and Thor had twice caught Duo and Lucia rolling their eyes.

    His gaze finally settled on Vritra, and a chill swept over him. The name he knew from the old stories. Indra's battle with Vritra thousands of years ago was legendary. Had the first Vritra existed during the time of the Mikaboshi, the Chaos would have undoubtedly made him one of its vassals like Ophion or Tiamat.

    "Ahura Mazda, a moment, if you would," Thor said, moving to speak with the great dragon alone. "The BurningGreymon, Vritra, is she..."

    "Indra's great foe?" Ahura Mazda asked, guessing Thor's question. "Yes. I believe she is: reincarnated. She inspires the same burning fear in those around her. Be wary, Odinson. When you dance with devils, be careful not to take your eyes from Dark Gods."

    "If only Lord Indra was still among us," Thor said with a sigh. "If only the Council was still whole."

    "The Council is whole," Ahura Mazda said. "The Council is new, reborn. And you, King of Asgard, must learn to rely not on the wisdom of others, but on your own."

    Thor nodded.

    "Saint Michael is at a turning point," Ahura Mazda continued. "And you of all Digimon know the difficulties when family is involved. Michael will need a strong voice to keep him steady. He needs someone strong enough to stand up to him, look him in the eyes, and say 'no'." The old dragon looked down at Thor expectantly. "It must be you. There is no one else."

    "Svarog could have done it," Thor said, remembering his old friend fondly.

    "Svarog could say no to anyone," Ahura Mazda agreed. "It's a skill inherited from his blasted father and twice-blasted grandfather." Thor smiled. "And I miss him as well."

    ===

    In the Chess Kingdom, the armies prepared to go to war.

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamotz View Post
    "Fourth, the world will stand in the shadow of a Dark God: Kole's Digivolution to Apocalymon."
    "You're kidding right?" asked Kole, his eyes wide open. "Me digivolving broke a seal? That is so reassuring."

    "Kole it's okay," reassured Tia, "It's not like you could have known that merely digivolving would break a seal."

    The Piedmon shrugged his shoulders, "True, but it means that I had a bigger part in breaking the seals than everyone else."

    "You mean excluding Samael, Michael, Pyra and Guinier?" asked Tia, "You know, the other digimon that unwittingly broke seals as well."

    "I know, Tia, but still it just makes the whole thing about the voice seem much worse, I mean what if they were connected!" wondered Kole.

    As the two digimon continued to talk, Hira was focused on another thing. Namely, what Gigas had just said. The Mihiramon was outraged at the giant bug, how dare he suggest such a thing at a time like this.

    "I really don't see how this oaf of a digimon was allowed to be a Peacemaker," he murmured. "Talking about a wedding at a time like this, it's a miracle that Lord Michael decided to bring him back."

    But he knew that he was in no position to argue, it was a miracle that Lord Seiryu had decided to choose him and not any of the other Devas.

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    Galic observed the meeting conclude with a lot on his mind, which, he had to admit, was harder when one only had a single ear’s worth of hearing. It already seemed like there was a whole lot to think about, and it wasn’t even a full day since they had come together. Strange…he had thought that the first meeting that the Peacemakers would have after that harsh battle would’ve been a happy one. Maybe it would have, considering Gigas’ sudden declaration, if it weren’t for this Mephistopheles character coming into the picture.

    The foremost thing on his mind, however, was that since the meeting had ended, he could finally steal Michael away to talk about a certain demon man. He sighed; he was not going to enjoy this conversation. He hoped that he would still have the ability to move at least one of his arms by the end of it. The angel didn’t seem like he was in a good mood, inferring from his outburst at Gigas’ sudden announcement. He hoped it didn’t make the HerculesKabuterimon feel bad about it; he deserved all the happiness in the world.

    The MachGaogamon turned to Michael, approaching him as he gestured Shoon to get to know his new allies but giving him a look as to not try any monkey business.

    “Lord Michael - or should I say Saint Michael now?” he said in a light tone that belied the seriousness that he needed to speak with him. “There is something that I would need to speak with you about, and I would kindly ask you to please keep an open mind as I speak,” he said, gesturing to out of the Council Room where he hoped no one would be able to listen in.

    He then looked around for a certain other demon man. His eyes locked onto the Beelzemon that he knew already knew his supposed secret. “Sir Samael,” he called out. “I would also like to ask for your presence. I assume you already know the essence of what I need to speak about.”

    He led the angel outside of the room, looking behind him to make sure that the demon man followed…if he decided to. Samael was one of the few that he had a hard time predicting.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Aeria sighed, looking around and wondering if she had made the right choice. Gigas sudden announcement had struck her, rendering her speechless for may reasons, one of which also reminded her of the ache in her heart that ceased to heal.

    She but her lip, trying to keep herself from suddenly breaking down. Instead, she tried to focus on her surroundings. The first person that she spotted was a female dramon a few feet from her. She recognized her from Roman’s stories, and she had always tried to keep track of the female members of the Peacemakers. In attempt to distract herself, she cautiously approached the other one.

    “Pardon me,” she said, letting her voice rise higher than their normal tone. “You are, um, Pyra, right?” she asked, looking at the Paildramon in front of him. “I’m…I’m Aeria,” she added softly, rubbing her right arm.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    "I really don't see how this oaf of a digimon was allowed to be a Peacemaker," Hira murmured. "Talking about a wedding at a time like this, it's a miracle that Lord Michael decided to bring him back."

    “Tut tut tut,” a voice behind him said. Shoon stood behind the Mirihamon, with his arms folded together and a foot tapping on the floor. He raised an arm to wag a finger in front of the tiger Deva. “You shouldn’t talk like that about him!” he reprimanded. “He’s a really nice guy, and really strong too, ya know! I should know, ‘cause Master Galic told me aaaaallll about the war.”

    “And he’s really fast too! I bet he could outfly you, since his wings are bigger than yours,” he suddenly said, gesturing to the Mihiramon. “Besides, I mean, just look at you! Compared to him, you look so small where Gigas is all huge and big-like. And what are you anyway? Galic said you were a diva or something like that. Does that mean you sing and dance and complain a lot? Well, you complained, so maybe you are, but aren’t divas supposed to be girls? Unless you just sound like a guy, then I-“

    Shoon suddenly stopped his rambling as he spotted the Mihiramon’s eyes turn dark. “I-I-I-…I did nothing!” he shouted at the top of his lungs, one of his fingers pointing upwards. And then he did a one-eighty turn. “…Run awaaaaaaaay!” he exclaimed, proceeding to flee, screaming and with his eyes closed.

    For a few more seconds, he continued doing so until he slammed into what felt like a large, brick wall, causing him to rebound back on his behind.

    He let out a groan, pushing himself to sit up. He shook his body-for-a-head, his arms swinging wildly in the process, and then looked at whatever he had crashed right into. He blinked when he saw a large clawed foot, which connected to a large golden leg, which was attacked to an even larger golden bug, which he recognized as a HerculesKabuterimon, whom he knew to be Gigas Kranatos. Or at least he was supposed to.

    There were only a few things that registered in the Mamemon X’s still-likely-to-freak-out-mind: that there was one extra huge foot in front of him that could very well smash little him into tiny, pebble-shaped bits if he was so unlikely to get stomped on. Which was usually the goal of most extra large feet that he had the grace to slam into. So he did the first thing that came to mind.

    He stood up on his feet and looked up, and then, bowing as Galic had taught him, said, “Excuse me.” He then turned around…and screamed. He started to run, his arms already flailinf in the air, only for one of his feet to step on one of his long sashes and feel himself get pulled back, slamming him into the floor with a painful sounding bam.

    Shoon groaned, his eyes already beginning to spin from all the crashing as well as from all the screaming. “OoOoooOoo…don’t smash me into bits, mister big feet,” he managed to mutter through dizzy eyes.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  19. #19
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    Duo and Lucia watched the proceedings with interest. Justin watched the proceedings with boredom.

    "What's all this talking and carrying on about?" the SuperStarmon asked once the main part of the meeting was over, "We need to get out there and find this Mesto... Merphy... Mist... Mephistil..."

    "You mean Mephistopheles?" Lucia said.

    "Yeah, that guy." Justin said. "We should be out finding him rather than sitting around here talking about seals that have already broken."

    Duo turned to him. "That's the issue though, we don't know where Mephistopheles is or how many seals have been broken yet. We need to find out where we are before we can go anywhere."

    Justin frowned but seemed to give in. He nodded. "I suppose I see your point Duo. It isn't very heroic to get lost in the woods so to speak."

    Duo nodded and turned away from him. He seemed to have calmed down for the moment, but Duo knew it was just because of all the new faces. Once the novelty wore off and things got rolling, Justin would be back to his usual self.

    "What do you think of all this?" Duo asked Lucia. "Are there any instances you can think of that may have been other seals?"

    She shook her head. "Nothing tat hasn't already been mentioned, but twenty so far that we know of? Its unsettling to say the least."

    Duo nodded. "I agree. I don't like how things seem to be turning out so far. I can only hope that things start to look up form here, we don't need another incident like the Mikaboshi so soon after..."

    Lucia nodded as well, and put a hand on Duo's shoulder. "Things will work out for the best, I have faith."

    Justin laughed a hearty laugh, "Yes! The lady speaks the truth. With my assistance, this world will have nothing to fear!"

    "Its your assistance that I'm worried about..." Duo said quietly.

    "What was that?" Justin said as he pointed a gloved finger Duo. "You said something about me didn't you?"

    "What would give you that idea?" Duo said.

    "Alright you two," Lucia said, "We have enough to worry about without more of your antics. Besides, there's not all bad news."

    "You mean the wedding?" Duo asked.

    "Of course I mean the wedding, its not that often that one of your friends gets married, its a wonderful occasion."

    "I'm not so sure its the best time though..." Duo though aloud.

    "Nonsence!" Justin proclaimed, "There is always occasion for a happy... occasion. What do you think heroics are all about! Protecting the happy times and the peace of course. Facing your enemies in combat is great, but the end goal of that is the happiness of the populace!"

    "For once, I think I agree with you." Lucia said. She grabbed Duo's arm. "Come on, it'll be a bit of sunshine for once."

    "Alright, I'll try to enjoy myself there." he said with a smile.

    The next thing the three of them heard, was a scream. They all turned towards the source to see that little Mamemon X (Shoon was it?) practically fleeing in terror, from Gigas apparently, before tripping over himself and collapsing on the ground.

    "I think someone's a little too excited..." Justin said.
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

  20. #20
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    Samael scoffed and flipped Gunnar the bird. Khep's mocking and jabs he'd tolerate. It was Khep, what else was the big, one-eyed bug gonna do? Besides, that was there thing; they'd go at one another like cats and dogs, or in this case, bugs and demons. But he didn't know Gunnar, and as it stood, the ShineGreymon was fast on his way to a face-full of buckshot.

    "Yeah, sure," he said, rolling his eyes. "That's exactly it. I know all about the seals, including the order Old Scratch is going after 'em. Because...you know...demons are such huge freakin' fans of mine. After I betrayed 'em they even threw me a going away party. Yeah, I'm really eager to see all those guys again. You f***in' moron."
    Gunnar narrowed his eyes, promptly calling Samael's raising of the middle finger and then going on to raise him the second one (both literally and metaphorically).

    "Prick," he murmured, indignantly pointing his head in the other direction.

    He turned to Khep. "And it's just an extra eye, Kheppy. It's not even a big one." He looked at Khep pointedly. "If anything your best bet would be mocking on a numbers basis. It's not a size issue. C'mon, buddy, that's just sloppy work."
    Kheprius grinned and shrugged. "Hey, I'm a bit rusty, Spawn. All the mugs down in Babylon just made it so easy for me."

    Barachiel's ears picked this up. "Babylon?" he thought, suppressing a glower. "I suppose I am not surprised that he has been to that place... given his history."

    "The first seal was the start of our battle," he began. "The next was the arrival of the false prophets: the false Digidestined. Third was the desecration of the Ancients: the human soldiers and their experiments with the ancient lines. Fourth, the world will stand in the shadow of a Dark God: Kole's Digivolution to Apocalymon. Fifth, the ten lives reaped in anger: Samael's murder of the humans. Sixth, the destruction of Avalon by its heroes: the Siege. Seventh, the hero murders his son in the name of virtue: the murder of Galahad by Lancelot. Eight: the birth and death of a blood dragon in a single day." his gaze settled on Guinier. It was normally impossible for two Megidramon to exist at once; one must first die for the other to be born, which made this seal very difficult to break. He looked to Thor. "Ninth, the unchaining of a killer of gods. Tenth, the demon lords to battle on the Earth: the fight between Sha and Samael."
    "Score! I got one right!" Gunnar exclaimed, putting aside his ordeal with Samael for the time being. As the list went on, began to think more about it. "Twenty, huh? Damn... We'd better get to work before Mister Mistoffelees unlocks the other forty-six."

    "...Who?" Pyra asked quizzically.

    "You know: demon guy who's trying to blow up the world," Gunnar answered, referring to Mephistopheles.

    "Not so good with names, but hey, a Greymon who can do math," Khep jeered with a grin. "That's one up on Tyr."

    "And I'm better looking too," the ShineGreymon added.

    Barachiel regarded this new group of digimon with... confusion. He was a bit surprised that such a mismatched bunch of oddballs were responsible for the saving of the world just six months ago. His musings were interrupted as the larger of the bugs there, Gigas, began addressing the group.

    "So...uh...I have something to tell you guys." Another pause ensued. Gigas took in a deep breath. "Ivy and I are engaged...and we'd like to invite all of you to a sort of reception-ceremony-thing..."

    Gigas cleared his throat again. "That is, if you can. I'm not sure if we'll have the chance once all of this starts...so...yeahhhhhh..."
    "...A wedding reception?" Pyra asked with shock, which only grew upon Michael's outburst.

    "Now?" Barachiel asked, also surprised.

    Kheprius also stared in shock at Gigas and Ivy. He looked back and forth between the hulking bug and the much smaller Lilymon. "You and her are...? ...Engaged?"

    It was then when the GrandisKuwagamon broke into a fit of laughter. After the long period of chuckling ceased, Khep was finally able to speak through his tittering. "Hahah... Gig... Wow, you--... Hoo boy. Really though, that's great," he said flying over to the HerculesKabuterimon and giving him a hard, playful punch on one of his shoulders. "You can count me in as long as there's free booze..."

    He looked over to Michael, who had uncharacteristically snapped at Gigas. "Looks like Mike'll need a long, hard one... a drink, that is." Khep turned his gaze from Michael to Barachiel. "Or is it a sin or something for you guys to drink alcohol?"

    "I do not drink..." the TigerVespamon answered firmly.

    "Big surprise," Khep answered, rolling his eye.

    Gunnar proceeded to approach Gigas and Ivy, particularly Ivy. "I'll come too, standing in for Tyr. ...Happen to have any hot bridesmaids or friends who're attending also?" the ShineGreymon asked excitedly.

    "I'll attend, Gigas," Pyra reassured him, smiling slightly, despite her eagerness to start searching for Mephistopheles. "And congratulations..."

    As she spoke this, the Paildramon couldn't help but wonder where Azur was off to. However, she cast the thoughts aside. She found no use thinking about it, especially considering the tasks at hand. If he shows up, then he shows up. If he doesn't, then he doesn't. Despite the fact that she has feelings for the wolfman, she perfectly independant and not one to long over others. However, she certainly wouldn't object to his presence either.

    Barachiel nodded also. "Though I doubt either of you know me, I would be honoured to attend and you both have my humble blessings and felicitations," he said, bowing to the soon-to-be married couple. "I regret I do not have a gift on such short notice..."

    "That reminds me!" Kheprius said, bending over and picking up something in his hand. "I've got a gift too." He then approached Gigas and extended his hand.

    "I got you a rock." He offered the rock to him. "Sure, it's not much, but it's the thought that counts, right?"

    "'The thought' meaning you just thought of it now?" Gunnar asked, bemused.

    "Shut it, Sparkles," Kheprius said to the Greymon, not turning away from Gigas. "It can be a pet rock or a scale replica of Nocchi's head; it's up to you, Gig. Use yer imagination... if you can. The point is, can I have first dibs on the beer?"

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pyra looked to the side, observing a female WarGreymon approach her, timidly, it seemed. The Paildramon couldn't help but feel a bit curious by this. She also noticed that she didn't seem to personally know any of the digimon here, which might explain her discomfort and awkwardness.

    “Pardon me,” she said, letting her voice rise higher than their normal tone. “You are, um, Pyra, right?” she asked, looking at the Paildramon in front of her. “I’m…I’m Aeria,” she added softly, rubbing her right arm.
    Pyra smiled softly and nodded. "Yes... I'm Pyra Torren. It's nice to meet you, Aeria," she said, taking Aeria's hand and shaking it lightly.

    "...I hope you don't mind me asking, but what brings you here, Aeria? You don't seem to know anybody here, so you must have your reasons for coming, but..."

    The Paildramon trailed off. On first impressions, Aeria didn't really seem like the fighting type to Pyra. The Paildramon didn't doubt that Aeria had the capabilities to (Pyra, herself, would have been annoyed if somone passed that judgement onto her, as had happened in the past once or twice) but the WarGreymon's shy personality didn't really seem like that of a fighter's. She was definately not like Vritra (who even made Pyra seem almost tame in comparison).

    "I apologize," Pyra said, offering a small smile. "It's none of my business, really. At any rate, you're a welcome addition to the team and we... well, most of us... will try to make you and the other newcomers feel at home."
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 17 is up.

  21. #21
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    Preparations for the wedding went underway almost immediately after the Peacemakers' meeting. It wasn't going to be a very large event, the only attendees being those present during the announcement, a few of Ivy's friends (to which Gunnar was more than likely very excited), and some acquaintances of Gigas' who weren't considered Peacemakers (most notably Dhazbog, Sigurd, and Ulik).

    And finally, the big day came ('big' most likely referring to Gigas). The ceremony took place within a large garden, with blossoming trees surrounding them on all sides. Ivy had selected the place, and Gigas had whole-heartedly agreed to it.

    As the wedding progressed, several of those attending had trouble sitting still. Nocchi, the groom's best man, in particular. This was all so strange to him. Standing there, watching his best friend (who happens to be the biggest insect he's ever known) get married to a Lilymon of all things (and one with whom he can never seem to get along).

    Sha, on the other hand, became more and more emotional throughout the ceremony. He had used up several dozen tissues already (imagine how many he would have used had he been Leviamon at the time).

    As promised, Michael provided Gigas and Ivy with a Host priest to preside over the ceremony, and all went well. The only problem was that Gigas' wedding ring had been just a tad too small, so he was forced to slip it onto one of the smaller fingers on his lower left hand. Even though it was small, it was still a wonder as to where Ivy obtained a ring of that size.

    Finally, the climax of the wedding had been reached, and both Gigas and Ivy said, "I do." (Though Gigas' was more like, "I-I...I d-do...I do! I do!")

    And, just like that, they were wed.

    ===============

    As the attendees of the wedding dispersed to eat cake, drink (in you-know-who's case), chat, or just hang out, Sha began prancing around, singing and dancing like he was in a Bollywood movie. Nocchi sat on the buffet table, distributing plates to those who wished to eat. As they passed him, he would often make snide remarks like, "Ya know, ya might wanna go look in the mirror before even thinkin' about food."

    As expected, one could find Gigas near the wedding cake (most likely eating half of it), with Ivy at his side, wiping the icing from her husband's horn between gulps.

    (Credit for the banner image goes to All0412 from DeviantArt!)

    Chapter Three: The Seashore House
    "Do you guys have any milk?"
    "No, but we have soda pop."
    "How about some fresh water?"
    "Fresh out. Would you like a soda pop?"

  22. #22
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    Outside of the council room, Galic looked around; making sure that no one was near enough to eavesdrop on them. His hearing, though handicapped, was enough to signal him if anyone was approaching. He nodded to himself, satisfied that no one other than the angels, fallen and saint, in front of him were his only audience.

    He started off by looking straight at Samael, a serious and knowing look in his eye. “The first thing that I want to know is whether you already know what I’m going to say, or at least the essence of it.”

    He remained expressionless at the demon man’s reply. At the end, however, he sighed, turning to Michael. He gave his best mediator face and started to speak.

    “If I may humbly ask, Saint Michael, I plead of you to keep your peace until I finish speaking, even if you think that I am, as Shoon would say, completely out of my head crazy. You know that I’m a rational mon, and I am not proposing this lightly. I have thought this through, and while there are still…variables I am not aware of, what I have come to know has allowed some leeway for possible advantages and opportunities to take advantage of. What I have to tell you…for lack of better words, will certainly not please you, and may incur your wrath upon me and someone else explicitly involved, but it might possibly be in our best interests if you decide to look over and reconsider what I, or rather, he is might be offering.”

    Galic prepared himself for what he was going to say, ready to move and dodge or placate and appease at any given moment. He just hoped that Cresil was smart enough not to do anything until he gets his part done. With a lame arm and one unusable ear, he wouldn’t be able to do much against an angel who’s trying to get rid of what said angel believes to be the bane of the world.

    “I apologize for not telling you this sooner, but…for the past few months - since the middle of the war that brought us together, actually – the nomads have been sheltering (though I use that word very loosely in this case) what you would call a demon,” Galic admitted, glancing at Samael before turning back to the angel in front of him. He tried his best to keep a straight face at Michael’s reaction, and then spoke once more.

    “He’s…peculiar. From what I’ve seen and observed, he’s not really the evil. Or if he is, he’s very good at hiding it from me. He’s arrogant, insufferable, impish, conniving and likes to play mind games, as well as pushing anyone’s buttons when he can. And while it may be true that he doesn’t really pay mind to others’ lives, he’s not really the kind of evil that threatens to kill thousands upon thousands just because he feels like it, not even for his own amusement,” the MachGaogamon enumerated, using a tone that told of believed facts rather than one of ill-will. He then shook his head.

    “Of course, his amusement seems to be a large thing for him. When he’s bored, he’s dangerous. While he’ll not kill, he’ll try to get a reaction to keep him busy,” he said, unpleasantness on his face and in his voice. “The reason why he chose to stay within the nomad group was to keep himself entertained, and that was what made him stay relatively inactive during the Unholy Crusade, particularly because of Dunkelheit’s participation.”

    Galic sighed and pressed his able hand to his forehead. “In fact, to keep himself amused may very well be his motive for…asking me to let him be a part of the mission you have entailed on us.”

    The nomad then looked at Michael, seriousness in his eyes. “And as hard as this may be to believe, this might be something useful. He has only escaped Hell a few months ago, and he unlike Samael, he’s had to live for many years,” he said, looking at the demon man. “He may know things that may come of use to us. You may have your standards and beliefs, Saint Michael, but I request that you do not turn a blind to an advantageous position.”

    Many meters away, Cresil watched. He remained hidden to the three that he observed, his skills and abilities long practiced in Hell still polished and sharp. It proved to him that if ever the demons that he himself had to deal with came out, then they would have a lot more than a hard time, and that itself was an understatement.

    Oh well, at least he wasn’t going to be bored anytime soon.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Yes... I'm Pyra Torren. It's nice to meet you, Aeria," Pyra greeted, suddenly taking Aeria’s hand and shaking it. Aeria took back her hand when she was done as soon as possible, trying not to pay attention to the warmth. It had been a long time since she’s had any physical contact with anyone, let alone from someone friendly…

    "...I hope you don't mind me asking, but what brings you here, Aeria? You don't seem to know anybody here, so you must have your reasons for coming, but..."

    Aeria blinked, opening her mouth, and then closing it. She didn’t really know what to say. Would it be in distaste if she said she was doing it because else someone else couldn’t? From the looks of it, the WarGreymon was even having a difficult time speaking up, so it might have been a wonder as to why she was there in the first place.

    "I apologize," the Paildramon in front of her suddenly said, seemingly noticing her inability to speak. "It's none of my business, really. At any rate, you're a welcome addition to the team and we... well, most of us... will try to make you and the other newcomers feel at home."

    Aeria nodded, trying to smile back. “Thank you,” she whispered softly. “I…I just hope that I won’t bring anyone down,” she added, looking away, watching as the people started to leave, most likely in preparation for Gigas and Ivy’s wedding.

    Aeria bit her bottom lip. She didn’t know if she wanted to be there, invited or otherwise.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  23. #23
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    Aeria nodded, trying to smile back. “Thank you,” she whispered softly. “I… I just hope that I won’t bring anyone down.”

    Pyra smiled reassuringly. "When we were trying to stop the Royal Knights, I had that same problem. Don't worry; I'm sure you won't do anything but help us."

    She looked towards the direction of the ceremony, which was being prepared. "Well, this should be interesting..."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The wedding service went smoothely with the exception of Khep raising his hand when the guests were asked if anybody objected to the marriage. He was quickly elbowed in the side by Pyra. ...And then when Gigas and Ivy kissed after the "I do's", Kheprius made a crack about Gigas eating his now-wife. Pyra promptly stuffed a fruit in his mouth.

    The reception had now begun and mostly everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves. Barachiel remained vigilant through the service and was now offering the bride and groom his well wishes. "May you both behold a bright future," he said, bowing formally before walking away.

    As he did, he cast a disdainful glance to his brother, who was guzzling down the "refreshments" nearby. "I must talk with him soon... unfortunately," he thought.

    Barachiel made his way towards Michael, who seemed impatient, though the TigerVespamon couldn't blame him. He stopped in front of him and bowed formally. "Saint Michael Ha'Yisrael... Would you please do me the pleasure of humouring a question of mine?"

    He looked up at Michael upon hearing his response. "...Please forgive me if I am out of line, and I realize you know him well, but Samael... is it wise to bring him on this mission? I realize he knows important information about the demons and that he has shown his worth among the Peacemakers, but..." Barachiel paused, hoping that he wasn't doing anything to offend the high-ranking angel. "...Well, we are going up against demons... in the worst scenario, even the Demon Lords; God have mercy on us..."

    Barachiel sighed. "I suppose the point I am trying to make is treachery is in the heart of every demon... it all comes down to what is in it for that individual demon. Samael has betrayed a friendly party thrice over... the Holy Host, the demons, and the Royal Knights when apparently gathering information to use against them. Whatever his goals are... we must humour that there is a chance he could fall a second time..."

    The TigerVespamon looked in Kheprius' direction. "...And he may not be the only one."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Meanwhile, Khep downed his fifth "refreshment" and was now feeling very "refreshed"... so "refreshed" that he was having trouble walking in a straight line.

    The GrandisKuwagamon staggered over in the direction of the groom and placed his hand on the large, half-eaten cake to lean against it. "Gigasss! My bug!" he greeted, staggering forwards to try to give him a high-five, unknown to Gigas, but instead palmed the large bug in the face. "...Too slow," he slurred.

    "Y'know... you really are a good pal, pal... really," he said, walking to the HerculesKabuterimon's side and patting him on the back. "And now yer married... well goo'fer you! I always knew you could do it!"

    He then started walking away from him, but turned around and pointed at him. "You're a good friend, Gig," he said drunkenly. "...But don' tell anyone 'bout tha' time we hugged during the Siege. ...Dughay onday ixnay... something or other..."

    He promptly spun around and began walking away. "Hey! Where's that Thor guy? He needs like five beers, right now!"

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Gunnar leaned near the refreshments and hors d'œuvre tables, chatting it up (to nobody's surprise) with one of Ivy's friends, a Lilamon. The ShineGreymon was having no problem making his exploits known.

    "Yeap!" Gunnar said, placing his hands behind his head in a relaxed fashion. "I'm officially a Peacemaker now. It's pretty awesome, to be honest."

    "Did they just call upon you?" the Lilamon asked.

    "Well, sorta... I'm here replacing somebody else, but I was like at the top of the list, y'see," he responded, grinning slyly as he let off an aura of shining blue particles from his wings, hoping to add to his appearance.

    "Who are you replacing?" she questioned.

    Gunnar folded his arms. "My best pal Tyr," he explained. "Yeah, not only am I a Peacemaker, but my best friend is too. How awesome is that?" Gunnar proceeded to move in closer to her.

    "Which one's Tyr again?" she asked, seeming not to notice his advances.

    "The VictoryGreymon, but look--"

    "Oh!" she squealed excitedly. "He's adorable! He's so charming and sensitive and hot! Look at that toned body! I heard he's such a sweet guy! His personality is just..."

    Gunnar's eye twitched as his interest started to ramble on and on about Tyr. "I... I'm awesome too!" he said indignantly. She didn't hear him.

    The ShineGreymon's body drooped and he turned around to huffily pour himself a glass of punch.

    "Scorch," a voice said from beside him. Gunnar looked to his side, upon feeling something on him, and saw Sigurd having pushed past his wing from behind him and was looking at him over his shoulder with a smug grin plastered all over the WarGreymon's face.

    "You're just jealous," muttered Gunnar, pushing Sigurd to make him cease leaning on his back and shoulder.

    "Oh yeah," Sigurd laughed. "I cry every night at the thought of not being able to be turned down by girls in favour of Tyr!"

    Gunnar splashed his glass of punch in Sig's face. "I meant you're jealous that they picked both me and Tyr over you to be on the Peacemakers, genius."

    Sigurd growled. "What a load! They only picked you because you have that Burst Mode form! Even though I could beat you in that form while blindfolded and my hands tied, they chose you because having a mode change looks good on paper!"

    "Wanna bet?" Gunnar asked with a sly smirk.

    "Anytime!" Sigurd snapped.

    "Great! I'll get the rope, then!" the ShineGreymon said.

    The two Greymon cringed and tensed up upon feeling a sharp pain in their necks. They looked to the side and saw an EmperorGreymon staring at them with their necks in his hold.

    "Not right now, guys," Dhazbog said, glaring at them. "This is a wedding."

    "Whatever you say, First Sergeant," Sigurd responded rebelliously.

    Dhazbog sighed and shook his head. "When are you going to grow up, Sig?"

    "Just as soon as you shut up, Dhaz," he responded.

    "Sigurd, enough," Ulik said, the BlackWarGreymon appearing from behind Dhazbog.

    Gunnar looked at Ulik and blinked. "...Is that lipstick on your cheek, Ulik?"

    The black dragonman blushed and averted his gaze, trying to strategically shift his face so that the lipstick print was out of view. "No no..."

    Dhazbog grinned. "One of Ivy's friends took a liking to him."

    "...Why is it never me?!" Gunnar whined.

    "Where to begin?" Sigurd said with a smirk.

    "Sigurd," a female voice called out, catching the groups attention.

    The WarGreymon in question turned around and saw a familar Paildramon walking towards him. "Oh, hey, Pyra," he said, giving her a nod.

    "Nice to see you all here," she replied, returning the nod to them.

    "What's up?" Sigurd asked.

    "I was overseeing a drinking competition between Kheprius and Samael to make sure it didn't get out of control... but I figured that that would be like asking a Whamon not to swim."

    Dhazbog stepped forwards. "Ulik and I'll be able to handle them if they get too out of control,"

    "What about us?" Gunnar asked, motioning to himself and Sigurd.

    "You two always make things worse," the EmperorGreymon replied, sighing.

    Gunnar shrugged and then turned to the female Paildramon. "...Are you single, Pyra?" the ShineGreymon asked, grinning. "I'm hoping to debunk the rumour that you and Sig are secretly a couple."

    "What?" Pyra asked in surprise.

    "What rumour?!" Sigurd barked, equally shocked.

    "You're blushing, Sigurd," Dhazbog said, highly amused.

    "Go to hell!" he snapped, turning away.

    The Paildramon sighed. "Sigurd and I are just friends, Gunnar."

    "Great!" Gunnar exclaimed, walking towards her. "There's an awesome restaurant I know in downtown Anatolia, maybe you and I can--"

    "She has a boyfriend, idiot," Sigurd said.

    "It's true," Ulik agreed, nodding.

    Gunnar took a step back and swore under his breath. "Of course... Who?"

    "Azur the WereGarurumon, one of the Peacemakers, I believe," Dhazbog said, the EmperorGreymon looking at Pyra for confirmation.

    Pyra nodded. "That's right..."

    "Where is he, anyways?" Gunnar said, looking around.

    "He's still off... somewhere..." Pyra explained. "I know he was headed to a dojo, but I'm not sure why or for how long. I last saw him when that Shoon guy came across us... the trip back was... nightmarish."

    "Shoe's the bowling ball with eyes, right?" Gunnar asked.

    "It's 'Shoon' but yes, more or less," Pyra answered.

    "'Shoe'; that's what I said," the ShineGreymon responded, convinced of his pronounciation.

    "...Anyways, have any of you heard from Tyr?" Pyra asked.

    The four Greymon solemnly shook their heads. "I hope he's alright..." Dhazbog said.

    "He'll be fine!" Gunnar said adamantly. "He's got Tiwaz the Valiant with him!"

    "From what I hear, that's not exactly a good thing..." Sigurd muttered.

    "As long as he's safe," Ulik said.

    Suddenly, a female Lekismon wrapped her arms around Ulik's neck from behind. "So that's where you went!" she said playfully.

    The BlackWarGreymon's face flushed and he looked at Gunnar pleadingly. Gunnar, realizing his cue to start flirting with her, smirked and strutted over to them. "You know, sweetheart... I could benchpress two Mammothmons if I wanted to..."
    Last edited by Griff4815; 14th April 2011 at 3:07 AM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 17 is up.

  24. #24
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    Bedivere regarded Michael with stunned surprise in the wake of the archangel's outburst at Gigas. Never once had he seen the angel so incensed, perhaps there had been times in battle, but then the knight would likely have been distracted by the strain of facing his foes.

    Michael seemed to catch himself with Thor's help, apologizing and even offering the services of a priest, possibly out of a desire to redeem himself. As the others seemed to lose attention, devoting themselves to other matters, Bedivere moved swiftly to the MagnaAngemon's side.

    "Don't attack them, Michael," he said with a firm tone. "I don't understand your desire to stop this threat... but venting your frustration at your comrades isn't the way to deal with it. Let them have a moment, one golden instant they can treasure... for all we know, it could be their last. Let them have that... Mephistopheles will be dealt with, the instant we know his location, we will attack and stop him. We defeated the Mikaboshi... he won't stand any chance, not against the sort of force we can bring against him..."

    -

    Time passed, culminating eventually in the wedding.

    Perhaps only one Peacemaker chose to be absent from the occasion, Vritra. She stood atop the highest pinnacle of Anatolia, a burning glow lighting her form as she glared out towards the horizon with her crimson eyes. Her wings were fully spread, giving her the visage of some burning gargoyle atop the pinnacle. She glanced at the festivities, and a growl of frustration escaped her throat, a spark of anger lighting in her eyes.

    There was something out there, something willing to shatter the chains of the seven kings and unleash the Apocalypse itself, yet here they were, celebrating, joking, enjoying themselves when they should have been at work, trying to find and defeat Mephistopheles. Michael had been right, this was no time for celebration!

    But he had backed down and left no voice to protest. They wouldn't listen to her, already she saw the mistrust in their eyes. Well, let them have their opinions. Let them have doubts. All she cared for was the end of Mephistopheles, the end of this oncoming storm. Once that was done, she need never consort with these foolish 'heroes' again. Their voices clamored for peace and understanding, holding off the blows that were necessary, holding back the inevitable war.

    But then no-one understood. These lords, these gods, angels and heroes... they could never see it. Not even Bedivere Stormheart... oh, how the emptiness of his ideals made her scoff and detest him. He spoke of nobility and chivalry among the burning fields of war, when she knew the cold reality... in War, there was nothing but War itself. To the soldier standing upon that bloodied field, what was there but War? A protector, a deity, a faith. War was all that soldier had.

    And they would come to understand that. When all they knew was torn from them... then they would understand the truth, that there was no eternal peace. All life was struggle, and all struggle would only brew war. In the end... everything, this decency they sought to preserve... it would just burn. Everything wanted to survive. They would cast aside every shred of this 'code', this 'chivalry' to live.

    So inevitably... they would see the cruelty of this sundered earth. They would embrace the truth, that they were fools dreaming of decency in an indecent world. They would embrace that deity, that faith, and through it they would shatter Mephistopheles and end his apocalyptic ideals...

    -

    Bedivere, Caradoc and Guinier stood stoically, witnessing the wedding in solemn silence. When the ceremony ended, each stepped forth in turn to the newly-wed couple.

    "I wish you luck," Bedivere began. "And I hope your lives together are happy ones, both of you. If you ever need me... don't hesitate to call. I'll come as fast as I can to help." He stepped aside to allow Caradoc and Guinier to give their own blessings.

    "Gigas... you have a good heart," Caradoc murmured softly, drawing his words from Sir Galahad, the knight's emotions regarding the couple inspiring his blessings. "I know that you will live long and well with Ivy. And Ivy..." he smiled, "I know you'll make him happy. We don't know each other well, but if you can get along with Gigas, Sha and Nocchi... then I'm sure I can rely on you in what's coming." Guinier subtly elbowed him aside and stepped forwards.

    "Live long and happily," she said simply, before taking Caradoc aside. "Don't remind them of Mephistopheles. They don't need that now." He gave a soft nod of agreement and apology.

    "Sooner or later... we'll have to face that reality," he murmured. "He's out there, somewhere... stirring up chaos to break more seals... and we can't do a thing..." He clenched a fist. "I want to stop him, before anyone has to suffer. With the Knights, with the Mikaboshi... we could fight them. We could take them on in open battle, contain them. But Mephistopheles could be doing almost anything... setting up some plan to kill hundreds... and we can't do a thing..."

    -

    The white-clad thunder god was there, standing stoically, of course, White Sword nowhere in sight. The blade didn't fit a wedding.

    "Thor," Bedivere acknowledged with a nod to his counterpart. Even without the Black Sword, he still felt he was Thor's opposite in many ways... a mortal opposite a god, a knight opposite a king, the potential of a mortal against the power of a god. But funnily enough, it was a god he now came to Thor to discuss.

    "The BurningGreymon, Vritra," he said. "I saw how you looked at her before... is there something significant? It's just that there is the legend... how Indra fought and slew Vritra... is there more to her than just a shared name? There's something deeper... when I look at her, I feel something... not the sort of energy I feel from you, or another god. It's like..." he struggled to find a way to describe the comparison, "it's like the difference between a sunset, and a portrait of a sunset... all the details are still there, but muted... suppressed. She has power... divine power of a sort... but it's like it's buried... chained. What is she?"
    [CENTER]

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  25. #25
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    Michael regarded Bedivere with a silent glare. "You're right, Lord of the Empty Seat," he said stiffly. "You don't understand." He turned and followed Galic into the empty hallways.

    “The first thing that I want to know is whether you already know what I’m going to say, or at least the essence of it.”
    "What, that I'm not the only monster you know?" Samael asked with a laugh. "Though I'm the only one that can pull off the leather look. I could never manage in that stuffy blue suit."

    "What is he talking about, Galic?" Michael asked warily. He listened tensely as Galic explained his and Cresil's situation. He grit his teeth in frustration; Galic didn't understand, he couldn't understand how dangerous these creatures were...or did he. Michael realized with sickening dread that he couldn't see Galic's eyes behind his visor.

    "You almost had me," he hissed. "I was almost convinced you were Galic. But you should have known better than to trifle with the Hand of God!" Michael sprang forward, grabbing Galic by his throat and slamming into the nearest wall.

    "Woah! Mikey!"

    With a wave of his hand, Michael sent Samael flying through the air and back into the Council's chambers with the door slamming shut after him. Michael placed the same mighty hand over Galic's face.

    "Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas," he chanted, his hands glowing white with holy power.

    "Michael, get off me," Galic choked out, struggling against the archangel's grip.

    But Michael didn't relent. "Omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica," he continued. But Galic did not react as he expected. There was no writhing, no spewing of black demonic smoke from his mouth. He stopped and released the blue beast man from his grip. "I'm sorry, I thought you might--"

    A cry from the shadows caught his attention as Cresil fell from his hiding. The demon man hadn't been the focus of the exorcism, but his proximity and hearing the banishing words had wracked him with holy force.

    Michael wheeled about, Excalibur drawn and burning blue. He struck towards the quickly-recovering demon, the words of another exorcism were already on his lips.

    "Mikey, shut your trap!" Samael shouted, bursting back through the doors and grabbing the archangel. "Get a hold of yourself, buddy. Didn't you listen to a think Ol' Blue was saying?"

    "This creature is an abomination," Michael seethed, struggling against Samael. "He is a blight against God! He must be destroyed."

    "That's what they say about me," Samael hissed.

    "Off me!" Michael shouted, burning with holy light; he forced Samael to relinquish his hold. Then he turned back to Cresil and shot forward again.

    He suddenly found himself pinned to the ground once more, only this time, he was unable to break free. The hold was too strong, and his holy powers only served to elicit hisses of annoyance instead of cries of pain.

    "Michael, control yourself," Thor growled. He picked up the archangel and pushed him against the same wall he had pinned Galic to.

    "Release me, Odinson," Michael seethed.

    "Only once I am sure you are in control of your actions again," Thor said. "There is wisdom in Galic's words, as always. This demon might provide us with the edge we need."

    "He will destroy us!"

    "Unlikely," Thor said dismissively. "I doubt he has the power."

    "He is a monster! He is the enemy!"

    "Did many of us Peacemakers not feel the same way about Samael?" Thor asked, glancing to the fallen angel. "We were sure of his dark intent."

    "He will betray us at the first opportunity," Michael growled.

    "Like Samael did?" Thor asked with a smirk. "This demon has been freed for months and under Galic's watch. If he were making moves against us, Galic would surely know."

    "Galic is deaf and lame!" Michael shouted angrily. But his face quickly fell in shame. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. All the same, Galic cannot know the demon's every action. He cannot account for every minute."

    "This might be the best chance we have," Samael said, rolling to his feet. "Face it, Mikey, we've got no freakin' clue where Ol' Scratch is gonna strike next. There's 580 seals left, he can be anywhere. Maybe the Suit can help us out."

    "He is a monster," Michael insisted. But the fight had left him. "Fine."

    Thor released the archangel, though he remained ready in case Michael was playing at a ruse. But Michael stayed detached. He fixed Cresil with a burning glare, but made no more moves to attack.

    "See," Samael said with a smirk. "We can all get along."

    "Perhaps we should establish some ground rules for the demon," Thor suggested, hoping that such rules would serve to eliminate further outbursts.

    "No, he's a demon," Michael said. "He'd simply find a way around them. There's no point. Know this though, demon. I will tolerate you to an extent. The moment you become more trouble than you're worth, I will turn you to dust." Michael turned and walked away, but stopped beside Galic. "And know this, my friend," he said to the beast man. "Should your demon betray us, it is on your head; I will come down upon you with the entire weight of Heaven and smite you where you stand."

    "Well, that's settled then," Samael smirked. "The Suit here won't act up and Mikey won't kill everyone. Now let's get to that wedding."

    ==========

    Wallachia...

    The castle of Count Vlad Tepes Dracula jutted into the black sky. The cold, iron-grey stone cut into the bare mountain face. Snow dotted the spires and towers. The mountain was covered by a perpetual darkness. Blizzards and thick clouds blotted out the sun, leaving the castle shrouded.

    Mephistopheles and his three conscripted soldiers walked up the steep set of stairs towards the great stone doors. Lucian and Damien wrenched the doors open and bowed as Mephistopheles walked through. Together with Marcus, they followed their dark lord into the vampire's den.

    "It's quiet," Marcus muttered as he followed along. "Too quiet."

    "He's expecting me," Mephistopheles said with a sneer. "It's been ten years after all. Ten years to the day. It's time for me to come collect on the deal we made."

    "Indeed," said a voice from the shadows. "I've been waiting for you, Mephistopheles."

    "Ah, the great Count," Mephistopheles said with a laugh. "It's been too long."

    "Not long enough," Dracula said with a snarl. He motioned to Lucian. "I see you brought your new hellhound with you. Looking to collect my soul?"

    "That was the condition of our deal," Mephistopheles said. "I gave you power beyond your wildest dreams. I transformed you from a pitiful, sickly human Tamer to a Digimon of immense power and influence. And I gave you ten years to enjoy it."

    "You killed my partner," Dracula said. But the sneer he wore showed how little the death of his partner bothered him.

    "The Dracmon?" Mephistopheles asked with a chuckle. "Well, I needed some digital data to complete the process. You were suffering from debilitating diseases: anemia, porphyria...I gave you a way around these things. In return you promised me your soul."

    "I knew this day would come. And I've been ready for it," Dracula sneered. "You brought your hounds...well, meet mine." Dracula snapped his fingers and a trio of snarling Sangloupmon emerged from behind Dracula's throne. "You have your soldiers, and I have mine." A pair of Matadormon emerged next.

    "So you're going to fight me?" Mephistopheles laughed. "Do you really think you can win?"

    "I'm not fighting you," Dracula hissed. "Crimson Lightning!" The vampire lord's burning whip slammed into the wall, sparking a chain reaction. A cascade of red energy flooded over the walls, ceiling, and floor, revealing a series of Devil's Traps decorating the room.

    "Clever," Mephistopheles mused. He looked to his three conscripted soldiers. "Take them."

    Lucian, Damien, and Marcus leaped forward to engage Dracula's minions. The three Sangloupmon tore at Lucian while Marcus battled the two Matadormon. This left Damien to confront the undead king himself. The battle was furious, Mephistopheles's soldiers and Dracula's followers sliced at one another.

    "As amusing as this is, I simply don't have the time," Mephistopheles mused. He raised a glowing hand and poured his magics against the binding power of Dracula's traps. His power struggled to overcome the binding magic, but the Devil's Traps proved too powerful. "Damien, take care of this."

    The SkullMeramon lashed out with his fiery chains and looped them around Dracula even as Dracula's crimson whips lashed around him as well. The two held each other in a stalemate. Dracula bared his pointed fangs and Damien growled behind his metal faceplate.

    "Enough, Dracula," Mephistopheles snarled. "You've managed to impress me. Here I am! Trapped and at your mercy...except for my loyal soldiers at your throat. It seems, however, that you've defeated the terms of our deal...as I knew you would."

    "What are you talking about?" Dracula demanded.

    "Did you really think I would give you so much power and knowledge and expect you to not fight against the deal?" Mephistopheles laughed. "No. I came here knowing you would be prepared."

    "You wanted to defeat our deal?" Dracula asked. He released Damien from his crimson whips, and Damien released him from the fiery chains. The other dueling Digimon also disengaged and stepped away from one another. "Why would you want this, the defeating of a demon's deal?"

    "Well, when you put it like that, it almost sounds like one of the 66 Seals," Mephistopheles said with a sneer. "I wouldn't want to be breaking those, would I?"

    "There are many who would go to all lengths to stop you," Dracula said. "You're playing a dangerous game."

    "No more games," Mephistopheles said, still locked within the Devil's Trap. "I will break open the Inferno. And I knew you would help me towards it. So now I have a proposal: join me. Help me free the Morningstar. Our rewards will be endless."

    "How do I know you won't simply try to collect my soul?" Dracula asked.

    "Consider it a deal," Mephistopheles said, smirking. "Set me free from your traps and join my endeavor and I will consider your debt repaid. Do we have a deal?"

    Dracula gripped the glowing band of lightning tightly, sending showers of scarlet sparks shivering down to the floor. He raised his whip and lashed it against the wall. Power flooded his chamber and the Devil's Trap deactivated.

    "Deal."

    ==========

    Avalon...

    Grigor the Prairiemon continued to dig at the rubble that had once been his home. His long claws weren't made for this type of excavation and it was backbreaking work, but he worked anyway. This had been his home since he was a child; the Siege had destroyed it, and his brother was trapped inside. Grigor wiped away a stray tear and diligently got back to work.

    "You should have saved me," an eerily familiar voice whispered. Grigor spun around, and his blood ran froze. Before him stood his brother, Sasha. The other Prairiemon sated at him with cold eyes. "Why didn't you save me?"

    "I couldn't," Grigor choked out. "I--I couldn't. I--" Grigor was cut off as Sasha's claws tore through his gut.

    "You should have," the ghost whispered. He then flickered and vanished.

    ==========

    Anatolia...

    Michael regarded Barachiel with a frown. He wondered where the insect got off speaking as if he understood the ways of angels and demons, but then made the connection between Barachiel's last name and the missionary Hadrael. Still...a convert to the faith could never understand the events that shaped him.

    "Your opinion has been heard," Michael said stiffly. "But your opinion has not been asked for. Your suspicions of Samael and Kheprius speak poorly to your character. I thought an acolyte would know the value of forgiveness and trust. It is true that Samael has erred in the past, but until you know him as I do, I recommend you keep your opinions to yourself. As for Kheprius." He looked to the one-eyed bug. "You might want to ask yourself if a soul so impure would sacrifice his wellbeing as he did to save a comrade.

    "You have much to learn, Barachiel," Michael said, shaking his head. "Even Lucifer did not rebel because he hated God. He rebelled out of love." Michael turned away. "My fool of a brother."

    ----

    Thor looked to Bedivere and nodded. "There is divinity within her, but it has not been realized," he said. "Much as my own divinity was dormant until Svarog assisted me in releasing it." He turned his eyes back towards the sky, where he felt Vritra's fiery presence. Her fire reminded him of Svarog, both were beings of flame. But Svarog's fire had been honed to a blade's edge over two-thousand years of life and battle. Vritra's fire was young and ill-tempred.

    "As to her relation to the legend," Thor said, "I do not believe it is my place to say."

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

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