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

  1. #501
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    It was Hell, in the purest and oldest sense of the word. It was Damnation, and all the damned had once roamed within. Now only seven remained bound...and one plummeted through. He fell like a meteor, crashing through the circles of the Inferno. His sin was too great to be contained in those thin outer layers; his soul was too black, too inexorably drawn to the churning heart of darkness at the center of Perdition.

    The first Circle was Limbo, an imperfect Heaven, created for those who had fallen unknowingly and had been tricked into surrendering their souls and wills to dark forces; and for the children promised in exchange for a demon's favor. It had once been a place of lush rolling fields and clear skies: meant to be a reprieve for those individuals, but as with all things of Hell, its purpose was corrupted. Like roads, so many things in the Inferno were paved with good intentions. Now it flashed back-and-forth between barren wastes and arid, gray fields; sometimes deafeningly silent, and other times raucous with empty noise. Its inhabitants were confronted with twisted images of their loved ones and brief flashes of paradise as the Inferno slowly twisted them into madness...into things of its liking.

    But even such a horrid place was too good for Samael. His body struck the grounds of Limbo and they swallowed him, cracking beneath him and climbing up over him, and dragging him--sometimes howling, sometimes in silent scream--deeper into Hell.

    =====

    Michael descended into the ever-shifting waste-fields of Limbo. He had to force himself to breath in the hard air, let it scrape his lungs and twist the chords of thought in his mind. Sometimes silent, sometimes deafening. He took his first step; treading where angels dare not.

    An angel walks in the Pit. A saint in Damnation. The Hand of God in Hell.

    Michael could hear the whispers rise up and echo down the nine circles; the cackling, desiccated data and ghostly remains of Digimon ripped apart by the Inferno. Their arrival would not be a surprise.

    Limbo flashed around them, and each of the Peacemakers witnessed their deepest desires brought before them and twisted maliciously. Michael stared into the abyss. Before him was nothing. Just the wastes. He looked back; behind him the Peacemakers shuddered, wide-eyed as their darkest dreams wracked them.

    "We move on," Michael said, feeling the air, searching for the pulse of the exorcism's path. "We can't stay here long."

    "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."

  2. #502
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    Tiwaz flapped his wings with strong, sweeping motions as his heavy body descended into the abyss, slowing his fall towards the bleak, ashen ground. He gave a final buffet of his wings, which sent a cloud of dry, choking soot into the air around him.

    A cough and a couple choice cuss words escaped his mouth as the large dragon stepped out of the residue and looked around him. As the other Peacemakers also descended, Tiwaz noted that this was definitely a place befitting of demons. It served to remind him that they had to do everything in their power to make sure that their world didn't end up like this place. He just hoped the others would be able to stave off the demons in the overworld without them.

    There was a blur of blue nearby, and Tiwaz saw Azur drop to the ground. He let out a 'hmph' and turned his head away from the wolf. Tiwaz was still annoyed at both him and his ancestor for the words that were exchanged.

    "'Coward', indeed..." he muttered at what he felt was absurdity. "Those Weissritters are all the same... Stuck-up, condescending, thinks-they-know-it-all, as..."

    Tiwaz trailed off as something caught his attention. In addition to the Peacemakers, the AncientGreymon also saw ten other individuals standing before him. Rizalia, Drazion, and the Great Ten...

    He grimaced and took a step back, exhaling sharply.

    "Tiwaz? What is it?" Tyr questioned.

    "It's them again..." he hissed in a harsh whisper.

    "What? Who?" Tyr asked, unable to see what Tiwaz could. It was then, in a brief moment, that he saw all the deceased digimon who Tiwaz was close to. "Th-Them..."

    Tiwaz shut his eyes and shook his head. "It's not real. It's not real," he told himself, trying to drill the fact into his head. "It's just like with Belial. More demon mindtricks."

    "Th-That's right, Tiwaz," Tyr agreed, though admittedly pretty frightened. Tyr wondered why he wasn't being affected by, what he assumed were more visions of a demonic origin. Was Tiwaz protecting him from them by being in control of their body? Tyr grimaced, feeling a tinge of guilt. Maybe he was being too dependant on Tiwaz...

    Tiwaz growled more severely. "They're not really here, Tiwaz... As soon as you look at them again, they're probably going to start blaming you like before. They're not real... They're just figments of your mind, damnit!" he told himself, almost like a mantra. With that, Tiwaz opened his eyes and quickly turned his head, tearing his eyes away from his dead loved ones.

    His eyes rested on Azur. However, instead of Azur, Fenrir was in his place. He felt uncertainty within him when the white wolfman turned towards him. His red eyes locked with Tiwaz's blue ones. However, instead of fury, Tiwaz was met with only sadness.

    "Tiwaz... Why couldn't we all have stayed together forever?" 'Fenrir' spoke, his voice defeated and bleak.

    "...Shut up! Shut up, damn you!" Tiwaz snapped, looking away once more. "Right! Everybody! I'm with Michael! We need to get out of here at once before we all lose our damn minds!"

    -

    Gunnar stared in front of himself wordlessly.

    A warmth flowed across his tense body, easing his muscles. His blue eyes were wide with a child-like sense of amazement as they gazed before him.

    Opposite to him stood a proud, strong, middle-aged ShineGreymon Burst Mode, looking at Gunnar with a fatherly smile. A shaky breath escaped Gunnar's mouth when he opened it to speak.

    "D-Dad...?"

    Dace Cyndar smiled a bit wider, looking at his son. "Gunnar..." he spoke. "It's been nineteen years, hasn't it, kid...?"

    Without missing a beat, Gunnar ran over and hugged Dace tightly, pulling him close. He missed the embrace at the demons had stolen from him so long ago. So euphoric was he, that Gunnar didn't realize that there was no heat coming from Dace's wings.

    "Dad! But... how?! And why are you here?!" Gunnar asked, pulling back to look at him.

    "...Why am I here?" Dace asked rhetorically, wearing a sad smile. "I'm stuck down here..."

    "What?!" Gunnar protested. "But why?!"

    Dace shook his head and took a step back. "Gunnar... You are going to have to take up the Royal Knights' mantel. You and your friends." Dace closed his eyes. "It won't be easy or glamourous or fun... You may even lose some of your friends... like how you lost me."

    "D-Dad..." Gunnar spoke, his voice sounding unsure and disheartened.

    Dace opened his eyes and looked at his son. "It comes with the job, Gunnar..." He sighed. "I wish I could have been able to see your mom one last time..."

    "Dad..." he murmured sadly.

    Gunnar flinged when he felt a hand on his shoulder that didn't belong to Dace. The ShineGreymon turned around and saw Barachiel standing in front of him, still donning his angelic SlashAngemon form.

    "B-Barry...?" Gunnar asked him, still not used to seeing him as anything other than a TigerVespamon.

    "Gunnar, you have to focus..." Barachiel told him. "Try to ignore these melancholy distractions."

    Gunnar frowned. "But it's my dad!" he protested.

    The SlashAngemon calmly shook his head. "If that is what you're seeing, then I'm afraid it's not..." he explained. "It's this... place. What you are seeing is a lugubrious corruption of your desires. They will only serve to torment and harrow you."

    Gunnar looked at his friend with a bit of scepticism. "If that's true, then why aren't you seeing stuff...?"

    Barachiel turned away. "This form provides a certain resistance..." he replied. "Belial's manipulations weren't as effective on me as they should have been either. Besides, my two desires would be in contradiction of each other..."

    The SlashAngemon put his the dull side of his bladed arm on Gunnar's back and pulled him. "Come. We need to make sure the others don't lose their way either."

    Gunnar grimaced and reluctantly allowed himself to be led. He gave a final glance over his shoulder to Dace a final time before sighing and walking through the bleak field.

    -

    Kheprius found himself within the land of Limbo. It was depressing and desolate. He kind of expected it might be.

    What he didn't expect was the sound of a young digimon's laughter from behind him. The laugh was warm, but it was out-of-place enough to send a chill down even his back.

    Kheprius turned and saw three digimon standing behind him. An Okuwamon chuckled as he played with a young Kokuwamon, while a female MegaKabuterimon watched with a smile.

    He recognized them immediately.

    "Dad! Mom! Terrak!" he shouted with a chuckle, running over to them.

    The three of them stopped what they were doing and looked at him.

    Khep smiled and rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, I know I look pretty different."

    "...Who are you?" the Okuwamon, Korbak Aeolus, asked.

    "...Come on, Dad, I know I changed a bit, but it's still me, Kheprius," the GrandisKuwagamon said with an excited grin.

    Gewyn, Kheprius' mother, looked confused, but gave him a small smile nonetheless. "You must be mistaken, dear. We don't know a Kheprius..." she explained.

    Kheprius' eye widened. "...What are you talking about. I'm your son. Terrak's my brother!" he retorted.

    Korbak turned to him. "I don't know who you are, but leave us alone. Terrak, here, is our only son," he said firmly.

    Kheprius looked between the three incredulously. "But, I... No! This is nuts!"

    Korbak sneered. "The only thing here that's nuts is you. You're not a part of this family, so, please, leave," he ordered in a voice that always made Kheprius cringe.

    Suddenly, a hand squeezed Kheprius' hand for a moment before yanking him harshly. With a swear, Khep stumbled a bit, but caught himself and looked up to see Pyra.

    "Pyra?" he asked. "What are you doing?

    "Stopping you from being sucked into these demon mindtricks," she replied, pulling him towards the others.

    "What the hell are you talking about?" Kheprius asked.

    "You were talking to your parents. Your dead parents who only you can see," Pyra replied.

    "Dead...?" Kheprius grunted and rubbed his head. "Oh yeah... To hell with this place... Let's catch Goatface and get out of here. Dunno how Sammy lasted in here. Cripes."

    "It makes one wonder what the other levels have in store for us..." Pyra mused.

    Khep nodded. "...Hey, so you weren't affected?" he asked, looking at Pyra and taking his hand back.

    Pyra glanced over her shoulder at him. "I was..." she replied. "I received a new form beyond Fighter Mode... One that had the absolute power to protect. Only, I had nobody to protect..."

    "I guess you were reasonable enough to logic your way outta it, huh?" Kheprius asked.

    Pyra nodded a bit. "I suppose having been tricked so badly by Belial made it easier for me this time, as well."

    Kheprius looked at Pyra. "Belial put you under too? Jeez, you're not having a good day..." he replied, a faint grin on his face to hide his disappointment of his vision. "Uhh... Pyra. Didn't mean to freak out at you earlier..." he mumbled, rubbing the back of his neck.

    The Paildramon stopped and turned around to look at him with a raised eyebrow. "...Was that an apology?"

    "...No?" he replied, though tinting crimson ever-so-slightly. "It was a statement of fact. Cripes. Can we just go before Mikey forgets about us?" he said, speeding up to walk past her.

    Pyra chuckled slightly and followed him. However, she turned and went towards Azur. She was worried about what he might be seeing.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  3. #503
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    Azur clenched his fists and stared at the figure before him. He should have known that this would be the first thing that the land of demons and devils through at him. The WereGarurumon should have known it was too much wishful thinking for him to think that he would be that lucky. He never was.

    “Why’d you do it, Zur?” the image of his twin brother asked forlornly.

    Azur grit his teeth and didn’t reply.

    “Why? Why? I mean, don’t you like that I’m alive?” Dunkelheit asked sitting in front of him with the sad expression whenever the young Cerberumon didn’t get what he really wanted. In the past, it was all the demon dog Digimon had to do to gain Azur’s sympathy.

    “Of course I do,” the blue wolfman whispered.

    The image of his brother seemed to hear him because a wide cheerful grin graced Dunk’s face. “Great! That means that you won’t bother me anymore, right? I can’t wait to use all my new powers again! It was so awesome!” the black Digimon said as his figure began to change.

    Azur tensed as Dunkelheit assumed the form of Anubismon…the form of Death. He knew that he was already hardening his fists enough that he might already injure his palm, and yet, he could barely keep himself from unclenching his fists.

    “I wish you could see me, Zur! I was zapping everyone, everywhere! They all disintegrated into data just like that! I always knew I was strong, but wow! I’m extra extra extra strong now! I can do whatever I want to whomever I want, and no one can stop me! It’s so fun!” Dunk said with chilling exhilaration.

    Normally, Azur would have punched the lights out of anyone that said that. But coming from Dunkelheit, coming from the one that he knew loved other people – loved to play with them, learning about them, being friends with them whoever they were and whatever past they had – it only made him sad.

    Then again, it wasn’t really coming from Dunk, was it?

    Without a word, he began to walk past the apparition. If Limbo were sentient and were trying to get him to lose courage or something of the sort, then it only did the opposite.

    That wasn’t his brother. And neither was the winged freak of a dog that had assumed and corrupted brother’s form and voice. His brother really did love to find joy and excitement whenever he could, but he would never willingly hurt and kill people to find it.

    “Don’t worry, Dunk,” he said to no one in particular, ignoring the pseudo-Dunk behind him that continued to speak with lightened and carefree tones about causing mayhem and destruction that the true Dunkelheit would have hated to see and cause. “I’m going to stop them from defiling your body and using you to hurt other people…even if it means having to destroy you with my own hands,” he said resolutely.

    That’s…what you would have wanted, right?’ he thought as he looked down.

    You know him better than anyone else, after all,’ Fenrir’s voice said in his head.

    Azur let out a small hum. It seemed like Fenrir was speaking to him again, although it might have been because of the turn of events. Fenrir hated it when the topic was about him, but he was always willing to put his two cents worth when it came to everyone else. How ironic.

    You can see and hear it too?’ Azur asked.

    No. I can’t see anything but barren wasteland, nor can I hear anything but everyone’s footsteps and words. I only know what you’re seeing through your earliest memories.

    Azur grunted. Whatever the illusion was, it seemed like it worked less on the mind and more on the body’s senses. He snorted and scowled; that meant in a way, they were still being manipulated by the force of demons. He turned to Pyra, hoping that she was faring just as well, if not better, than he was.

    He saw her with Kheprius, and for a moment, he thought he was experiencing yet another despicable mind trick. The WereGarurumon set himself at ease when she turned to him with a worried expression, and he walked towards her, nodding to show tell her that was fine.

    “The sooner we get out of here, the better,” Azur said as soon as he got close. He wasn’t going to ask her what she saw. He could probably guess.

    He turned his head to where Tiwaz was speaking loudly. He wondered if he and Fenrir would make up before they got out of this hellhole. It was unlikely, but he worried about what might happen if they didn’t.

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

    It was impossible. He couldn’t have been here. But he was.

    “Roman,” she whispered.

    Her late VictoryGreymon stood in front of her with emotionless eyes, but his whole body – the signals that she had been so familiar with – told her that he was not glad to see her. And ironically, she herself was so inexplicably relieved and happy to see him.

    “What are you doing here?” the supposedly dead Digimon asked.

    “H-here?” Aeria repeated. She looked around, and she began to wonder if she had really stepped inside Limbo. It was Roman’s old home. It even smelled the same. It looked exactly like how it was before… Aeria gulped. She didn’t even want to think about it now that Roman was in front of her.

    “Answer the question! Who are you, and what are you doing in my house!?” Roman asked her harshly, causing the WarGreymon to cringe back.

    “B-but…Roman…i-it’s me, Aeria,” she said as she raised her head and put a hand over her heart.

    The VictoryGreymon narrowed his eyes and reached for his broadsword, the Dramon Breaker. “I don’t know anyone named Aeria,” he said hard.

    “N-no…but…but Roman…we were…-” she whispered as she started to tear up. “We…were supposed to be together forever… We-“ Aeria closed her eyes as he body began to weaken. “…We were supposed to get married…”

    At her words, Roman hardened and raises his sword. “I…don’t know you. But I do know that I would never marry someone who broke into my house and hurt all my friends.”

    “W-what!?” the female WarGreymon asked in shock. “B-but I d-didn’t-!”

    “Don’t lie to me, wrench! You left the proof behind you!” Roman shouted angrily.

    Aeria froze. She didn’t want to, but something possessed her to look behind her…and she saw a trail of blood that came from all of her friends, old and new. And it made her sick.

    “No…no…NO! I didn’t! I-I wouldn’t!” she said, turning back to Roman in panic. Her heart began to quicken when she saw that he was raising his sword. “Roman, please! You- you know I’d never do this! Roman-“

    “Hey, Aeria!”

    Aeria was suddenly jerked out of the terrible dream that Limbo had built for her by a pair of hands on her shoulders, shaking her body from the trance.

    The WarGreymon blinked, tears falling from her eyes as she did so. “W-w-what?” Through her blurred vision, she could see a familiar ShineGreymon in front of her.

    “Hey,” Gunnar said as he gave he an unsure grin and let her go. “You were, uh, going crazy over here.”

    Aeria blinked again and looked around. No longer was she in her old home, nor was she in the presence of her old love. She clenched her fists as both relief and pain filled her heart. It was all a fantasy. “I…I see,” she whispered.

    “Yeah, so…uh,” Gunnar said as he let her go.

    “…Thank you…I’m…I’m fine now,” Aeria told him as she turned away, hearing Tiwaz’s voice.

    She needed to think.

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

    “Well, this craphole hasn’t changed one single bit,” Cresil said as he looked around.

    He saw some of the others go into peculiar trances and states – probably images that the new demons always saw. The Astamon couldn’t even remember what happened with him. Hell, it had probably caused him to become the demon that he was now. Not that it mattered anymore.

    “Hey, angel,” he called out to Michael. All pretenses of the gentleman were gone from him. Being back in Limbo made him sour to the core; he was in no mood to play the games that he was always so fond of. “How long are we going to stay here? Your friends are going to go crazy mad like me if they stay here for too long,” he told him.

    “Then again, maybe that’s what they need if they want to defeat the demon lords in here,” he said offhandedly.

    He wasn’t entirely lying. Cresil had heard of the strength of the Demon Lords. The Peacemakers couldn’t even defeat Mephistopheles or his cronies.

    What hope did they have in defeating the Demon Lords?
    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!


  4. #504
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    This was silence and despair.

    As Caradoc descended into limbo, he could hear nothing. He landed in ashen waste. Nothingness. Looking around, he saw only his fellow Peacemakers. This was the Inferno? Grayness and silence?

    Certainly, he reflected, it could drive one insane. All this silence. Something moved to his right, and he glanced at it. He saw her, looking at him with eyes which spoke only disappointment and shame. Still dressed in white, just as she had been the last time he saw her.

    "No," he whispered into Limbo. "I won't let my past chain me any longer. I won't let my sins haunt me." And he turned away, and when he glanced back, his mother's specter was gone.

    -

    Vritra landed, glaring around at Limbo. The earth was ashen and the sky dark. It looked like the aftermath of some monstrous disaster. How appropriate.

    The goddess took a step forward, and suddenly red flashed over her vision. Flames sprang up, but as she reached for them with her divine power, they were only cold and empty fires. The sky was red, the earth scorched black. She could see huts nearby, a small village, and it was burning. Flames roared on the wind and people screamed. The burning winds washed over the village, drowning the screams in baleful fire, and a silhouette rose, monstrous, draconic, blazing. Its eyes were the red of lava, its scales boiling hot as the undying sun. When it breathed, heat washed over the waste, and the air shimmered. Vritra looked up and beheld the sun, a burning red disk on the crimson sky, radiating down drought and utter heat.

    She looked at the burning dragon, and it stared back with eyes like flames. An inferno danced in each baleful iris, the deity's crimson wings burning with flames of desolation. And yet, it was familiar. This burning thing, rising over death and desolation, was not new to her. She knew it all too well. It was powerful, it radiated raw divine might, enough to turn armies to ash, to boil dry the oceans. To burn the whole world dry in endless drought.

    "Vritra Worldbane," she said into the emptiness. This was her past. And her future. The power which slumbered at her very core, waiting to be tapped. Unleashed. This was the power she sought. The power of a god of heat and flame. And yet, looking upon the dragon, she knew no triumph or admiration for it. She could only look at the ruin over which it presided. The burning death which was its kingdom.

    A hand fell onto her shoulder, and she glanced back, seeing Caradoc stood there.

    "Are you alright?" he asked.

    "I'm fine," she replied, looking back to see nothing.

    "Whatever you saw, it was a lie," the Valkyrimon warned. "Some kind of demon trickery. Nothing more."

    "I know," the BurningGreymon muttered. "Let's move. We have a goat to catch and kill."

    "Right."

    -

    As he looked out at Limbo, Bedivere saw nothing of the desolation. He saw only glory. Marble and gold, shining in brilliant sunlight, a glorious statue raised in honor of a mighty lord.

    Except no more. The statue was broken. Cracks ran across its surface and pieces had broken entirely, leaving shards cast haphazardly across the floor. There was an inscription which he could barely read, cracks had run across it and efforts had been made to destroy the words entirely.

    BE I RE S RM AR
    Lo he pt at

    He looked back at the statue, only to be distracted by footsteps on the marble floor. He turned, and saw a young boy, a Dracomon. The dragon looked startled as he took in the sight of the Slayerdramon, moving to flee

    "Wait!" Bedivere called out. "Who... who is this statue of?"

    "That's... Bedivere Stormheart... sir..." the boy murmured. Bedivere took a step back in shock.

    "What...?! Why... why is it smashed?"

    "You don't know?" the Dracomon said, confused. "They say he took control, after he slew the Demon Lords. He came back changed. He took advantage of all the chaos to gain power, saying the best way for him to fulfill his duties was to rule everyone. When people refused, he marched troops in and took control by force. Then, some kingdoms broke away, they wanted freedom. And he... he had them wiped out." The boy looked down. "My dad... he was killed in one of them... and now we're at war. Bedivere Stormheart and the Alliance of Logres, against the world, so they say. He's a madman. A dictator... a tyrant..." He gazed at the broken statue with contempt and hatred. "A monster."

    Bedivere stepped back in shock, reeling. "A... monster...?" He gazed at the broken statue, realizing what the inscription said.

    BEDIVERE STORMHEART
    Lord of the Empty Seat

    "I... that's... there's no way..."

    "Bedivere... Bedivere!"

    He whirled around, still shocked and horrified, and was met with Guinier. His sister looked at him, concerned.

    "Are you alright?" she asked. "You looked... worried."

    "It's... nothing..." he muttered.

    "No, it's not," the UlforceVeedramon said. "I can see it, Bedivere. Something's worried you."

    "I just saw... a vision, or something," Bedivere replied. "There was a statue of me... a marble and gold one, like you'd make for a hero. But it was smashed and broken, and I talked to this boy..." He paused, still processing it. "He said I was a tyrant... a dictator..."

    "It wasn't real," his sister said reassuringly. "Bedivere, it's just a demon trick." He didn't respond. "You won't be that, Bedivere. You've done nasty, horrible things lately. But I think... you'll stop before you fall off the edge into darkness. And even if you can't see that edge yourself, we can see it for it. And we'll stop you. I promise you that." She turned away. "Now, we need to move. Every second we waste here is a second Mephistopheles is getting closer to freeing the Demon Lords."

    His sister walked away with that, leaving Bedivere. He glanced back to where he had seen the boy and the statue, and saw only an ashen wasteland. Somehow, that wasn't any more reassuring than the vision of a dark future Limbo had given him.

    -

    "Why aren't you seeing anything?"

    Guinier glanced back to see Caradoc. "Have you?"

    "My mother," he murmured. "It's no good dwelling on the past. I can't be held back by my sins and memories... not now." he paused. "You still haven't answered my question."

    "I don't know... I'd seen things, just for a moment or two, and then they've gone," she said. "Maybe it's the Hazard, or my Future Mode power. Something means this place can't affect me like it affects the rest of us. I don't know."

    "It doesn't matter, I guess...so long as you're alright," he said quietly. "We shouldn't stay here. Michael's right, we can't stay long."
    [CENTER]

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  5. #505
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    Limbo.

    The first level of the Pit.

    It held visions of the past, regrets and despair given form, tortures of the mind far more effective than any natural torture.

    For Duo Greyclaw, it held only sadness.

    He had seen her bloodied form many times since he descended into Hell with the rest of the Peacemakers. And yet, every time he looked at her, each time he tried to reach out to her, each time one of them seemed about to call out, she would vanish. In many ways, it was crueler than if Rayne were to simply appear before him and blame him. That he had already accepted. That he could deal with. But this? This teasing, this offering of glimpses too brief to be certain of, this was subtle enough to slip under his armor and stir up old emotions he had long thought buried and dealt with. A cold sweat had broken out on his arms, and his breathing became heavy.

    If he stayed here much longer, he feared he'd begin to lose his sanity.

    Lucia Almehada was faring much worse. For the former queen of the Chess Kingdom's White faction, Limbo held something darker than a lost future. It held past regrets. It held faces of loved ones lost. People she still felt that she could have saved. People she could have helped. People who may very well be dead because of her failure. And they told it to her face.

    She watched as her fellow warriors belittled her courage and called her for a fool and a coward and a traitor. She watched as her parents blamed her for the loss of her homeland. And now, her own half-sister, Joan, the one who she had forced the queenship upon when she ran off with Duo and Trowa so long ago, stood before her. Her form battered and bloodied, her severed head resting in her hands as a result of the Red Queen's tyranny, a wicked smile upon her lips, there was no way it could really be Joan before her. And yet, there she was.

    "Dear sister." Joan said, her voice raspy and hollow. "Tell me, why did you leave me to die for you?"

    Lucia knew in her heart that it was an illusion. That it was just a trick of this demonic place. But the words still struck a chord in her that she couldn't simply ignore. "I didn't..." the words came out as a whisper, a voice too broken to find its sound. "I would never..."

    "Oh, but you did." Joan's eyes locked onto hers, even as her headless body took a step forward. "You left us all to die. Your selfishness put the kingdom in jeopardy. You broke the cycle, that's the only reason why the Red Queen took over."

    Lucia shook her head. "No, that's not..."

    "Oh, don't deny it dear sister. We both know the truth. You wanted your freedom, you wanted your excitement, and you didn't give a damn what happened to the rest of us you left behind to clean up your mess. From the very moment you tossed aside your crown and your title, we were already as good as dead in your heart."

    "That's not true!" Lucia finally cried, her voice restored. "You were my family. All of you were my family... I..."

    The weight of a hand on her shoulder stopped her words in her throat. Lucia looked up to see Trowa standing by her side, one had upon her shoulder. "Whatever you're seeing, whoever you're seeing, whatever they're saying, its not how they really feel."

    "Trowa..." she started, but he held up a finger to stop her.

    "Its not them you're seeing." he said. "Its yourself."

    She looked back at Joan, only to find that the Queenchessmon she was staring at was not her half-sister, but herself. It was her old form, as though she were looking back into a mirror that showed the past.

    "I killed them." Her apparition said, "It was all my fault. If I had done things differently, I could have changed things. I could have kept them from dying." They were her doubts. Her fears. Her regrets. It was as if her entire mind's darkness was given form. And facing it was one of the hardest things she'd ever had to do.

    "Calm yourself Lucia." Trowa said. "It wants to get at you. It wants to break you. To convince you that you belong here, that you don't deserve to live. Don't let it. The only power it holds over you is the power you give it."

    Lucia closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and calmed herself. She focused on the pleasant memories, on the things she knew were true and good. And when she opened her eyes, her double was gone. She exhaled in relief, but Trowa held up a hand again. "Its not over. As long as we stay here, it'll keep coming back. You just have to hold it off. Don't let it get to you. You have to fight them, and you have to win, or you'll risk losing yourself."

    Lucia nodded, her expression just barely betraying the fear that still lingered in her heart. "Thank you Trowa... but how do you know all this?"

    Trowa sighed and turned his head, his eyes meeting the burning gaze of the face that still haunted his nightmares. A face he knew only he could see. "Isn't it obvious?" he said. And with that, he began to walk after Duo. "My demons lost."
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

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    "Gigas?"

    "Ivy!" Gigas exclaimed, rushing to his wife. "What are you doing here?"

    "I don't know...but it's cold. So cold," Ivy murmured, shivering.

    The HerculesKabuterimon knelt over her, arms wrapped around her protectively. "Did you come in after us? I thought you were staying behind us!"

    "I...I was, but the demons, they came after us," she whispered, her voice faint. "I think I died."

    Gigas knelt with mouth agape, speechless. Choking out words, he said, "W-what? No! No! That can't be right! You can't be-- NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

    His roar seemed to shake the foundations of Hell itself, but it was cut short by a sudden weight on the end of his horn. He looked up to see Sha hanging there by his legs. The Shawjamon pointed to the place where Ivy had once stood, now empty. "Gig, I dunno what you're crying about, but there's nothing there."

    "Wha-what?"

    "It's Limbo. It's messin' with ya."

    "So Ivy's not dead?"

    Sha chuckled. "'Course not. She's fine. Saw her before I jumped in here."

    Gigas breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh. Thank you, Sha."

    Sha hopped down from his friend's horn. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go wake Nocchi up. He's waving his arms and grinning like a drunk Makuramon."

    -

    "Hail, Pinocchio Marion! Mighty hero!"

    Nocchi basked, arms raised high, in the shouts and hurrahs of his fellow Peacemakers as they praised him for his glorious deeds. The last thing he remembered was entering Limbo with the others...but now he stood high above the rest, soaking in the cheers of lesser warriors. He laughed, whipped off his cap, and flung it into his audience. Thor and Bedivere both reached out to grasp it, and got in a tussle for the treasured cap, while the others continued their ecstatic cheers.

    But something was wrong. His best friend wasn't in the crowd. He knew, because anyone could see Gigas from a mile away. He scanned the crowd once more to be sure, then the horizon. The HerculesKabuterimon was nowhere to be found. Then he saw it. Far off, a jagged stone had been erected, with words etched into its face. A lone figure, gray and despondent, lay hunched over before it, her shoulders heaving with sobs. It was Ivy.

    Nocchi leaped down from his pedestal above the other Peacemakers and tore through the crowd to the place where Ivy knelt. He hurried past her, his wooden palms striking the stone. The stone held the name of Gigas Kranatos. It was a grave.

    "He died...protecting you, Nocchi," came a voice, cold and full of hate. The Puppetmon turned around slowly to behold the small, weak frame of the widowed Ivy. Her colors had faded to gray. Her face was stained with tears. Her eyes were red and swollen. Her body trembled.

    "He died because you were careless," she hissed, slowly rising. "You fought Mephistopheles for your own putrid glory, and didn't care that you were putting his life in danger. He cared for you. But you didn't care for him. You should have died. Not him. Not Gigas."

    "B-but," Nocchi stammered, stumbling back against the huge gravestone, "it can't be! Gig-- He didn't die-- He couldn't-- What's--"

    "Shut up!" Ivy screamed, hand raised to strike him. Nocchi cringed, and the stinging blow met his face. His wooden head spun completely around on his neck until his nose pointed forward once more.

    He blinked. "Sha?"

    Awakened from his dark dream, he found Sha standing there, holding him up by the arm, one hand raised for another slap. The Shawjamon grinned. "Ya need to snap out of it, Nocchi. Limbo's a weird place. It messes with ya."

    The Puppetmon took a deep breath as Sha put him back down. "Whew... Thanks, Sha."

    Sha chuckled. "Cha-haw! No problem, bud. Now let's go win this game of limbo! I'm really flexible, and you're pretty short, so this should be a piece of cake!"

    "Sha, I don't think that's what 'Limbo' means."
    Last edited by Hotshot; 13th August 2012 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Found out I was supposed to make the dreams depressing. Hah.

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    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?"

  7. #507
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    He fell again, screaming as his body was torn into by winds and rain and hail and lightning. He felt his bones crackle and burn, and finally he hit the hard, ragged earth. He heard the howling winds; each scream wracked his body, seizing him with sharp pain. The noise was indistinguishable, just loudness. Until a few words began to emerge, chanted, growing louder and louder until they were all he could hear.

    "Lucky, lucky Samael, with Lilith, makes them blush in Hell."

    "Lucky, lucky Samael, with Lilith, makes them blush in Hell."

    "Lucky, lucky Samael, with Lilith, makes them blush in Hell."

    Again and again, until even with the howling winds screaming around him, all he could hear were those words, forced into his head, forced down his throat until all he could do was howl them himself, lost in the inexplicable madness of it all.

    Something grabbed him by his face, long claws dug into his skin and hauled him into the air.

    "Hell blushed, but I was screaming," his assailant said in a whisper that cut through the howling wind right through Samael's very soul. "I've waited so long for this, Samael. Now-"

    "Nama'ah, don't," he begged her.

    "Scream for me."

    She tossed him into the sky, and he was torn to shreds by the elements, only to come together again and fall in agony. And Nama'ah chased after him, grabbing him before he hit the ground and tossed him into the air again. And all the time she chanted:

    "Lucky, lucky Samael, with Lilith makes them blush in Hell."

    =====

    From Limbo the Peacemakers passed into Lust, the second circle of the Inferno. The ground simply gave way beneath their feet as they rode through the path of Samael's exorcism and they tumbled through what passed for Hell's skies.

    Lust was violent and turbulent, a realm of battering storms -- flashing lightning, whipping winds, and hail the size of Michael's fist. The second realm howled, screeching violently as the Peacemakers descended; dodging lightning and shielding themselves against stinging rains and beating hailstones.

    And there were screams. Echoing everywhere, ripping upward from the very core of the circle.

    "The souls of the damned," Michael explained, shouting over the noise; his shield raised to protect against the falling hail. "Those left here for so long their data desiccated and withered, and they could not escape with the other demons. Revenants, remnants; all that's left for them is to wail here."

    What he did not tell them was what awaited them. Here, desires--of the flesh, of the mind, of the soul--were twisted. And all who let their desires hold sway over their motivations were whipped and battered by the elements. A lifetime of temperance and duty was all that kept even one as controlled as Michael on his feet.

    They would follow the pull of those winds right into the beating heart of Lust--through flesh and writhing souls to where Lilith laid. Trapped for all time.

    And he would see she stayed that way.

    =====

    There she laid--the first of the Lords Mephistopheles reached. Lilith, moaning in the eye of the world-hurricane that consumed the entire Circle of Lust. Trapped there in the storm that billowed out from her own catastrophic sin, that whipped her body into a frenzy and a stupor and left her paralyzed.

    Mephistopheles waved a hand and cut through the magics that held her in place. He caught her as she gently floated to the ground and placed a hand over her face, prying one eye open.

    "Look at where you are," the demon boomed. "Look upon the state of your existence."

    "Samael," Lilith whispered, a half-moan--still in her trance.

    "Is not here," Mephistopheles said. "You are alone. No lovers. No kingdom. No rule or power. You have nothing but base desire, satisfied by an illusion...Samael, with Lilith makes them blush in Hell."

    Her eyes snapped open and she whipped to her feet. As she rose, so did Mephistopheles kneel before her.

    "Your name, fallen one," Lilith commanded, her eyes clear, her voice monstrous and all-enrapturing.

    "Mephisto Mephistopheles," the demon answered, still kneeling, sweeping his arms out and bowing even lower. "Ever the servant of The First One."

    "Then, by His Black Hand," Lilith began. She extended her golden-clawed gauntlet. Mephistopheles took her hand in his. He pressed his lips against its burning surface and whispered.

    "The damned shall Rise."

    "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."

  8. #508
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    Tiwaz let out a grunt of surprise as the ground gave way beneath their feet and they descended into a dark abyss of destructive elements. As soon as the rain started hitting him, his first instinct was to turn his heat abilities up to high to evaporate the water before it could get him wet. He saw a heavy downpour and forks of lightning around them, some striking dangerously close to the Peacemakers. He quickly pulled his goggles down over his eyes so that he could actually see in the oppressive rainstorm.

    The water hissed and fizzled as it hit his wings, but he wasn't expecting the hail, which was clear when he let out a curse after a hailstone caught him in the side of his face.

    "Son of a!" he spat as the ice shattered against his helmet. "This is the circle of Lust, then?!"

    "The noises are horrible," Tyr added, internally cringing.

    Tiwaz set his wings ablaze at inapproachable temperatures to try and melt anymore hail that came his way, though with the amount of hail swarming him, he wasn't sure how much it would help. He turned his head at another strong of profanity, this time, not from his mouth.

    He saw Kheprius being bombarded by the elements as well. The bug's carapace was pelted with hail and he let out a shout as he was struck by a peripheral strand of lightning. Nevertheless, he remained airborne.

    Kheprius looked over and saw Barachiel traversing with relative ease, seeming like he was barely affected by the elements at all. "How the hell are you doing that?!" Kheprius yelled to him over the screams and wails.

    "Doing what?" Barachiel calmly asked in reply, looking over and flying closer.

    "Not getting hit!"

    The TigerVespamon shrugged. "This is the circle of Lust... Perhaps it has something to do with one's temperance. ...I assume you have not been the most austere digimon in that... realm," he replied.

    Kheprius growled as the hail beat his back. "Well sor-ry for not being a total prude! Cripes, it's no wonder angels fall! It's to get away from the boredom!"

    Barachiel shook his head and continued descending. He looked around him and noticed that Gunnar was also having trouble whereas Pyra had less. He started to think his theory might be correct, as he knew Gunnar did have quite an appetite for women, while Pyra was much more in control of herself and, he guessed, her desires. Barachiel also assumed that Sha, Michael, and Duo would be less affected like himself, but with all the chaos around them all, he really couldn't know for sure. He just focused on navigating the hellish maelstrom.

    As they all fell, Tiwaz swooped down, his form still being battered by the winds, rain, and hail. He wanted to make sure that the Peacemakers who couldn't fly themselves didn't end up as splatters once they reached the bottom of this seemingly endless abyss. Unfortunately, that also meant helping somebody he didn't want to be near.

    His eyes rested on the falling, lupine form of Azur and Fenrir. He knew that Fenrir had access to a MagnaGarurumon form, but he wasn't sure if Azur could use it. He didn't even remember seeing Fenrir use his MagnaGarurumon or Beowolfmon forms since his resurrection. There was also the fact that his gut reaction to help people was kicking in. And, even if Fenrir didn't feel the same way, for all the arguments and fights they got into, Tiwaz considered Fenrir his friend. Getting him to admit it was another matter.

    Tiwaz tucked his wings back and dove further into the maelstrom, beneath where Fenrir was. Upon matching speeds with the falling wolf, he looked up. Due to the chaotic environment and the fact that there was water coating his goggles whenever he looked up, he couldn't make out which one of them it was.

    "Hey, mutt!" he yelled up to get his attention. "Do you want to end up as street pizza?! Get on my back!"
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  9. #509
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    Nocchi pulled his cap on tighter, his little wooden legs barely holding against the billowing winds and stinging rain. Hailstones and lightning struck all around, and the Puppetmon cringed with each near-hit. A hunk of hail beaned him in the head, and he sprawled onto the ground, struggling hard against the hellish elements. He raised his head just enough to gasp for breath. He tried to cry for help--he knew he couldn't move much more in this Circle--but the winds drowned his voice out.

    Gigas showed up suddenly and shielded him with his back and arms. "H-ho ho... I got your b-back, Nocchi!" Gigas shouted over the roaring winds.

    The Puppetmon just nodded in reply, breathing a sigh of relief. The HerculesKabuterimon had a lot more control over his desires than he did, but he could tell that even Gigas was struggling against the torrents and tempests.

    "Let's blow this joint before we're reduced to mashed potatoes," Nocchi growled, slowly rising to his feet, knees knocking.

    "But I like mashed potatoes," Sha said, shielding his head from the hail with his arms. He bounded over to them, largely unscathed by the cutting wind and biting hailstorm.

    "What the--?" Nocchi muttered. "Sha, why the heck're you not blown over by now? You're a freakin' demon!"

    Sha chuckled. "But I'm also an angel. And a god." He scratched his head, ponderously. "And an amphibian. But I don't think that one has to do with anything."

    "Maybe it's because you're too carefree to have any overpowering desires," Gigas offered, "so you aren't getting pummeled by hail."

    Sha shrugged. "I dunno. I'm getting pretty hungry, though. That's an overpowering desire." Immediately, a fist-sized lump of hail struck him in the back of the head, sending the frog-man flopping forward.

    "Ow! I take it back! I take it back!"

    (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?"

  10. #510
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    Azur gave Tiwaz a look, blinking as he fell. He was already halfway to digivolving into his MagnaGarurumon form, far too late to stop, and before long he had taken his MagnaGarurumon form.

    Even in that form, he was still having a difficult time trying to stay upright and stand against the hailstorm around them. It wasn’t until he overheard Barachiel’s words with his enhanced hearing that he understood what was happening around them; he was thankful that Fenrir had given him exercises to control his inner desires and control; he was sure that he would have had a much more difficult time had he not done them for the last six months.

    He flew down to Tiwaz’s side and gave him a nod of gratitude nonetheless. “Fenrir says thanks,” he muttered out through the storm, although Fenrir really didn’t say anything.

    No longer bound by gravity, he gave Pyra a look and let out a mental sigh of relief. It looked like she was faring much better than he was.

    As soon as they landed, the MagnaGarurumon lowered himself to a knee to keep himself balanced, and then he made sure to give their surroundings a good look just in case Micheal was wrong and there were more than wailing revenants around them. They were in hell, after all, and a little paranoia might help save their lives. Of course, that would mean that he could see past the rumbling storm of elements around them.

    Azur heard Tiwaz land behind him and looked over his shoulder. He wondered if having that large a body helped at all against the storm or if it made standing against it worse. Then again, it’s Tiwaz.

    He stood up on his knees and trudged his way towards Pyra, quickly taking her hand.

    “We need to stick close,” he grunted, knowing that if any of them were to lose their balance, they might end up getting thrown by the wind and separated. He turned to Micheal. “Let’s move. Quickly.”

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

    Aeria found herself braced against one of Tiwaz’s legs. The storm and hail didn’t particularly hurt her, but there was the occasional gust of wind that threatened to send her flying. She supposed that was her desire to be stronger and more confident; at least she didn’t have it as bad as some of the others. Thankfully, some of the others had decided that Tiwaz’ large form was as good a cover as any.

    She looked up from where they fell. She could swear that she could still see the image of Roman’s intimidating form looking down at her with hate-filled eyes, and she cringed.

    “I…must move forward,” she whispered to herself as she reached for the ring in her pocket and gripped it for encouragement. She squeezed it in her hand until it hurt, but at the very least, it helped her steel her resolve.

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

    Surprisingly, Cresil was handling the storm a lot better than one would have thought for a demon. Of course, if anyone asked, then he wouldn’t really answer that it was because his memories summoned a different kind of control in him…not to mention that he often did have to control himself when he was around certain people. Knowing when to act and how to act was often the best way to gain the most amusement out of a situation.

    Then again, it might have also been the peculiar transparent shield he put around him that could stand against the harmful weather of the circle of Lust. The Astamon doubted that anyone would willingly let him, a demon, put the same kind of shield around them with their permission.

    Their loss.

    No longer assaulted by hail and wind, he was able to concentrate more on their surroundings. There was something out there. Or maybe more than one something. He could sense it. Or them. It was like radio static; he knew that they weren’t alone, but he couldn’t pinpoint it nor could he give it an image in his mind.

    “Watch your step, Peacemakers. We’re not the only ones here.”
    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!


  11. #511
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    As they fell into the next circle, Caradoc was struck by a volley of hail, rain and wind. He lifted his shield, protecting his face from the barrage. He supposed that even with his resolution to not give in to his sins, the desire to atone was still there. So this storm buffeted him, smashing him with hail and rain and lightning. He forced himself on through it, even as the eerie wails of the damned filled his ears.

    As the storm struck him over and over, the Valkyrimon ripped through the storm, pushing through endless hail and drowning rain, enduring howling thunder and damnation. This was hell too, he thought. Endless torment, tossed from place to place on this terrible wind with only the shrieks of the damned for company.

    So he would fight through it.

    "How are you holding up?" he asked Guinier as she flew beside him, less affected by the storm.

    "I'm fine," she said. "I suppose... my sins are punished elsewhere in the Inferno."

    He was silent. "You haven't sinned, Guinier."

    "Haven't we all?" she answered. "In the end, no matter how much we try to rise above it... one moment of weakness, Caradoc. One angry blow, one ravished love... and suddenly it's there. Damnation. Lurking in our shadow, always haunting us." She paused. "You think I'm so pure and good... but I've sinned too."

    "Not as much as I have." There was sadness in his voice, because there it was again, inescapable fate.

    "But that's just it," she said. "We can't escape sin. You can't run from your desires forever. All you can do in the end is fight with and deny them. Chastity, charity, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, humility... in practicing those virtues, you deny your sins and desires. Because deep down in all of us, there's a beast. Its tastes differ depending on the person, but the beast is always of the same nature. An animal governed by desires."

    "A beast..." Caradoc murmured. "An unkillable beast, which can only be restrained and tamed... and taming the best is taming your desires... overcoming your will to sin." He looked out into the storm. "The beast is loose here. Howling in the wind."

    -

    "Damn hail," Vritra snarled as it pummelled her form. Though it broke against her armor and melted in her blazing wings, the hail was still irritating. The goddess ignited her body, searing the air with divine fire. She supposed it was her hunger for true godhood and power which brought the storm so fiercely against her, considering several of the others seemed to pass through the storm without much pause at all.

    Nearby, Bedivere wasn't faring much better. The rain lashed into him, his cape was ripped and battered by the wind, and the hail struck his armor with booms like thunderclaps, shattering as it broke on the plates. But still, even without the protection several of the others could muster, he pushed on through the storm. They couldn't be halted here. Not while Mephistopheles passed through the Inferno below.

    -
    [CENTER]

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    There was a sound so brilliant and terrible that it cut through the howling winds of Hell's second circle and split clear into the fractured ceiling of the first above it. Lilith rose, howling with laughter, enveloped in burning light, and shaking the foundations of Lust with her wails. She was unmistakable; blazing brightly in the harrowing grey sky. Limbo cracked above her as she punched through, rising up out of Hell.

    "She's free," Michael gasped, glaring angrily at the rising Demon Lord. He wanted nothing more than to alight himself and chase after her, to plunge his blade through her heart just as she emerged from the Inferno, to watch that terrified look of confusion and disbelief settle across her face as she dissolved; never yet stepping foot on Earth.

    Around him, the winds howled and he felt the storm strike him harder. And he couldn't help but roar in frustration. Because the first of the damned had risen, and dusk would settle across the Digital World with her ascension. And the Blackest Night would fall.

    "Wh-why aren't we going deeper?" Kole asked.

    Kole's experience in this second circle had been particularly disconcerting for Michael. One moment he would seem no more affected by the storm than anyone else -the next, he was picked up and blown away, and thrashed by the storm. Then he would stumble back, unaffected as before. Michael considered, for a moment, the strangeness of Kole's terrible Digivolution and the disturbing personality change that seemed to overcome him through his continued use of that form, and wondered if that had something to do with it.

    "Because Samael hasn't either," Michael answered, growling over the receding storm. It seemed that with Lilith no longer trapped the storm had no reason to exist. As the Demon Lords broke free, the Inferno itself began to lose shape. "Something is keeping here,"

    ===

    Nama'ah's claws closed around Samael's throat, cutting deep into his neck until she held him aloft by just his spine.

    "Look what you did to me, Samael," she cooed with half-lidded eyes. "What your touch did to me. What your monstrosity did to me." She let out a scream that was part ecstasy and part revulsion. "You forced this into me. And now you are damned. And I am free to rise."

    Nama'ah dropped Samael, and laughed at his silent, torn-throat scream. Then she rose up, cloaked in billowing light to ascend. But she stopped and turned her sneer back to the Fallen One.

    "No. I will fall with you," she laughed, and grabbed Samael by his face. She drew him close, pressing herself against him as he had done to her. She dug her long claws into his shoulders, gripping at his shoulder blades as he had done to her. And she drew a long scream from his bloodied throat, yes, just as he had done to her so long ago.

    "I will carry you down to the coldest, blackest pit," she sang, her breath hot on his neck. And it sounded to him so much like the words he spoke to her so long ago, except he had promised fire and burning, white-hot agony as she screamed beneath him. "And I will leave you there. Alone in the dark, frozen in fear. Forever."

    And they fell together.

    ...

    The third circle of Hell was Gluttony. Guarded over by the great beast, skeletal Cerberus. It raised its hackles as Nama'ah and Samael descended, but did nothing to stop them. Its duty was not to stop the damned from falling, but to stand guard and stand against the undamned. Cerberus simply stood guard amidst the torrent of freezing rains that created a soup of frozen slush over the cold stone of Gluttony.

    And Cerberus simply shook the accumulated ice from its exposed bones and continued his watch.

    The two demons fell, and struck the cold muck with a clap. Samael let out a gurgled scream from beneath its surface, while Nama'ah laughed loudly above him. And the cold hunger of the realm tore into him and ate away his flesh and cut him to the bone. And all he could do was scream, with Nama'ah above him, laughing, just as he had done to her.

    ===

    The Demon Lord of Gluttony had hungered for ages without end, it seemed. There was nothing to be had in his prison. Just bleak expanse and cold slush and water. And he hungered; had been made ravenous by his hunger for centuries upon centuries. And so he had been given the curse of gluttony, to consume -and consume without end. He gorged himself until there was nothing left for him to gorge himself on, and then he gorged more. Until he became an enormous, bloated, swollen parody of the sleek monster he once was. Always eating, never satisfied. Hunger - and cold - without end.

    "Don't you wish to be free of this?" Mephistopheles wondered, as he slogged through the slush towards the second Lord of Hell. "This...pointless consumption? Is that all you hunger for, mighty Beelzebub?"

    And Beelzebub, half-encased in ice and frozen rains, turned, crackling towards the new voice; one not bound by the prison of his plane.

    "Who are you?" Beelzebub spat between mouthfuls of slush and frozen gore.

    "But a servant," Mephistopheles said with a sweeping bow. "Of the First One. Sent to lead you to the greatest meal of all - the Digital World: Earth."

    "But I am-"

    "Chained no longer," Mephistopheles said. "Bound no longer. Free to rise."

    Beelzebub looked to the demon, one who he did not recognize, but sensed importance within. And he nodded, and his never-ending hunger returned - but not for food or drink, rather for the conquest awaiting. For war, and bloodshed, and death. Ravenous hunger for all things he would never have there in the Inferno, seated upon his frozen throne.

    And his body, bloated and swollen after centuries of gorging itself, exploded into a mass of gore and data and fire. And in its place the true Beelzebub stood. Sleek and hungry and wild-eyed.

    "You have guests coming," Mephistopheles said with a laugh.

    "Dinner guests, then," Beelzebub said, licking his razor-sharp teeth. His jaws snapped shut and he turned a monstrous glare towards Mephistopheles and offered his hand. "Release me."

    Mephistopheles knelt and took the outstretched hand of the Demon Lord. He pressed his lips against it and whispered. "By His black hand."

    Beelzebub laughed, a monstrous sound that cracked the foundations of Gluttony and sent geysers of frozen slush spewing into the air. "The damned shall Rise."

    And as Mephistopheles continued his descent into the Inferno's depths, the three-eyed lord of Gluttony turned his piercing gaze to the descending Peacemakers as they fought their way through the slush and slog.

    Right towards his waiting jaws.

    "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."

  13. #513
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    He flew down to Tiwaz’s side and gave him a nod of gratitude nonetheless. “Fenrir says thanks,” he muttered out through the storm, although Fenrir really didn’t say anything.
    For a split second - no longer than a blink of an eye - Tiwaz raised his eyebrow in surprise. Then in a bout of grounded realism, the Warrior of Flame shook his head and smirked.

    "Liar..." he murmured, grinning with a tinge of sombreness at Azur's attempt.

    There was a lot that Tiwaz didn't know about Fenrir. He knew that. However, there was a lot that he did know about him. Spending eight hundred-some years with a guy would do that, even if he was Tiwaz's anti-social, secretive opposite.

    Tiwaz knew that Fenrir wouldn't say thanks so readily, especially not so soon after such a heated argument. Hell, he couldn't even remember the if Fenrir ever called Tiwaz his friend.

    Tiwaz assumed not.

    For all of his desires, his wishes and motivation to make this world better, beneath that idealist was a hiding cynic, molded by centuries of grim heartaches. Friend after friend were lost in the pages of time, some to battle and some to age. Each one pulled the messily stitched wound open further, making it harder and harder to hide.

    Why did he bother? After all the pain and loss, why choose to keep going, fighting against the odds?

    It was because he had to. It was his duty as a god, as a member of the Great Ten, and as Tiwaz Koenig... He would fight until his dying breath with his own will for his own desires.

    The bitter irony was that his gut need, that primal instinct to help people, caused him so much pain in this circle. The elements beat him down, trying to break his indomitable will, the will that transcended heartbreak and even death.

    This pain was his doing. He wanted more for the world and himself. And that's why his armour, wings, and scales were pelted mercilessly. It made him remember a conversation he had with Fenrir awhile back about why they had been resurrected...

    “Impatient as always,” Fenrir said as he rolled his eyes. “You’re here because of your presence – your unignorable aura, stubborn hotheadedness, ability to lead and compassion for everyone – is needed. You have always been a person who couldn’t be ignored, even when you wanted to be,” he told the dragon before looking away. “…and I am only here to guide Azur along to achieve his greatest potential…to draw out the best of his ability,” he finished.

    “’Needed’? You mean like fate?” Tiwaz repeated, blinking and frowning. “That’s a load of crap, Fenrir. We’re not bound to some string that leads us along to our destiny. We’re here by pure, freak, coincidence. We all have the ability to change the outcome of our future with our actions. I made all the decisions I did, not some higher power!” he said, his voice getting louder with each word, until finally, he looked away. “…I made all of them,” he finished, panting.

    Fenrir simply let the dragon speak his mind – it was never a good idea to interrupt Tiwaz when he was talking. It usually meant an argument. “…And that, Tiwaz, is why you’re here. I’ve already given myself up to fate…a long time ago,” he replied in a slow, melancholic tone.
    There was no such thing as fate or destiny. That's what Tiwaz told himself and whole-heartedly believed. Their own decisions lead them to where they were today, and he believed people had to take responsibilities for their actions... and mistakes. While his pride sometimes stopped him from doing so, deep down, he knew his faults. He knew that his faults and mistakes were something that he was in no short supply of...

    Tiwaz continued forwards along the ground in the Circle of Lust. Were they too late?

    They were. A cacaphonous noise broke through the ground below and the Peacemakers could only watch as Lilith rose, out of their grasp to the world above.

    "No!" Tiwaz snarled.

    "We were too late," Tyr spoke, worry and disappointment in his voice.

    "Damn it, Sammy," Kheprius hissed from nearby. "You better not be taking the scenic route for nostalgia..."

    -

    The Peacemakers landed in the frigid slush of the Circle of Gluttony. Barachiel traipsed through the liquid at a steady pace. Not since before he was adopted by Hadrael did he have a desire for something more. Despite his discipline and training, he could still only move so fast through the viscous liquid. He supposed that flying would be much easier.

    Gunnar was fairing worse, though not nearly as badly as Tiwaz, Pyra, and Kheprius.

    Tiwaz snarled and gritted his teeth as he tried to traverse the icy slush. "S-So damn cold..." he murmured to himself, though due to his height and size, he was only about shin-deep in the liquid. It was like walking through a frigid bog. The fire god decided to use his heat manipulation abilities to give severely needed heat to his legs; that would at least help the cold-blooded digimon's sluggishness somewhat.

    He didn't like the implication that came with the fact that he was doing so poorly in this circle. However, he noted that Pyra and Kheprius were also having a considerable amount of trouble, so he supposed that his appetite wasn't the only factor here.

    Pyra sneered as she slogged through the slush. "I suppose my hunger for power has something to do with this, even though I'm over that now..." she supposed. She looked over and wasn't entirely surprised that Khep was going at the same rate as her. A part of her was beginning to think that, with all of the GrandisKuwagamon's vices, he might be more of a liability than a help down here. Though she conceded that many of the other Peacemakers, herself included, were having trouble as well.

    It was no more than a few moments later than she stopped. In the distance, she saw a an explosion of thick slush erupt like a geyser.

    "That doesn't look good," Kheprius said.

    "Not at all," Gunnar agreed, sneering.

    Pyra and Tiwaz frowned, trying to make out the cause. The AncientGreymon pulled up his goggles to get a closer look.

    "Beelzebub..." Barachiel spoke, staring into the epicenter of the explosion.

    "Beelzebub...?" Tiwaz echoed, flapping his wings to rise above the slush.

    Indeed, awaiting them in the distance was a demon digimon.

    "That's just Samael," Kheprius said, recognizing the digimon as a Beelzemon.

    Barachiel glanced at him. "Beelzebub... Beelzemon...?" he explained to him. "I highly doubt the names are just a coincidence..."

    "Fair point," Tiwaz muttered. He squinted his eyes and saw the Beelzemon staring at them, head tilted to the side slightly, staring at them with a wild, sadistic grin. The AncientGreymon's blue eyes hardened. "Right! I'm not waiting around for this one to escape too! Attack!"

    Without waiting for anybody to reply, Tiwaz flapped his blazing wings hard and rocketed through the air towards Beelzebub.

    "Omega Corona!" Tiwaz shouted, launching a savage, billowing fireball from his cannons and maw towards the lone demon.

    Beelzebub deftly lunged above the blast, flipping over the flames as they hissed along the cold water below and exploded in a blast of water and steam behing him. Tiwaz couldn't help but notice how fast the Demon Lord was.

    He snarled and dove down towards Beelzebub. Tiwaz's legs suddenly became engulfed in flames and four pillars of fulgurating fire extended from his feet, trailing him as he flew. Tiwaz brought one leg forward, one column of flame moving with his leg, roaring menacingly as it quickly approached Beelzebub when Tiwaz passed over him.

    The dragon moved his other legs, moving the other billowing infernoes in unpredictable patterns to make the sweeping flames harder for Beelzebub to avoid. However hard he tried, Beelzebub was able to avoid them, as he looked completely untouched when Tiwaz turned around.

    "Damn him," Tiwaz muttered.

    Khep frowned. "Can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm with the dragon. We need to take this bastard down before he escapes like Lilith."

    Pyra nodded in agreement. She, Kheprius, Gunnar, and Barachiel all raced forward to support Tiwaz. Pyra became cloaked in light and quickly became Imperialdramon Fighter Mode.

    "Positron Laser!" she shouted, firing a pulsing blast from her cannon towards Beelzebub.

    Meanwhile, Tiwaz flew up, doing a wide loop. Once he faced the ground and Beelzebub, he sent nine burning dragons out from his body, mimicking his EmperorGreymon's Pyro Dragons attack, and forced them to converge of Beelzebub in a maelstrom of fire.

    Unfortunately for him, a Demon Lord wasn't a digimon to be taken lightly.

    "Darkness Claw!" With a savage roar, Beelzebub leapt into the air and raked his claw across Tiwaz's chest armour, sinking them into whatever groove or crevice he could find. Tiwaz snarled and tried to kick him away, but his bulky form was too slow to compete with the nimble demon lord. Beelzebub flipped over in the air and drove his spiked metal boot into Tiwaz's chin, jerking his head upwards painfully. As Beelzebub descended again, he suddenly drew two shotguns and fired them at Tiwaz similtaneously, peppering and perforating the dragon's armour with burning, agonizing scattershot.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  14. #514
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    Azur snarled as he swooped upwards against the cold rain to keep himself airborne and away from the cold sludge that threatened to slow him down. Slow was bad. Slow would definitely get him killed, not to mention that his fighting style often revolved on relying on his excellent speed. He wouldn’t make the mistake of fighting on the Demon Lord’s terms. He looked down at the others who were still land bound; he supposed he could make it easier.

    ‘Azur, let me do it,’ Fenrir’s voice called out in his head, causing the MagnaGarurumon to raise an eyebrow in question. ’You have the right mind, but you might just end up making it just as hard for everyone if not done correctly. I still have better control than you do.

    Azur let out a discontent grunt, knowing that his ancestor was right.

    ’No fighting,’ Azur thought back, knowing that Fenrir understood.

    ’I won’t fight with him,’ Fenrir said after a moment. He would, at least, try to avoid getting into another confrontation with the large dragon.

    Azur nodded and began to jettison himself downwards, the light of digivolution covering him as he shifted to his AncientGarurumon form.

    Absolute Zero!” he roared as he thrust a lustrous Sharpness Claymore into the freezing cold muck, completely freezing it to form a form of ground for the Peacemakers to stand on. He also made the surface as rough as ice can get to give the others a better footing rather than something to slip on. At the very least, it wouldn’t impede their speed once they got the hang of it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do anything about the rain other than making another large ice dome, and that would only shrink the size of their battlefield.

    He stood back up straight, watching as Tiwaz and the others started to gang up on the Demon Lord. Everyone was being reckless again, attacking without thinking.

    The AncientGarurumon turned to their resident angel. “Michael, we need a plan. We can’t drag this out for too long.”

    Nearby and already found his footing on the ice, Cresil rolled his eyes. “Smart, but not smart enough wolfie. I suggest we let them handle that problem and focus on the bigger problem. Sure, stop this Demon Lord, but have to fight the next one that Mephistopheles’ releases. I say we deal with Beelzy later and stop the demon mastermind from releasing another one.”

    Fenrir frowned; the demon man made good sense. There was no certainty that they would even be able to defeat Beelzebub. His logical side was telling him that the demon man was right, and that there were still others waiting on the other side of the demon gate to fend off the Demon Lords. He wanted to trust in their ability to keep their world safe.

    “What do we do, Michael?” he asked. Regardless of what he wanted to do, they agreed that he angel would be their leader on this expedition.
    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!


  15. #515
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    Slush and endless rain met them as they descended into the third circle. Landing amidst the thick muck, the Peacemakers struggled through it, slush and mud clinging to legs, dragging down claws, binding wings.

    Vritra loosed fire into the slush, swathed in heat as she tried to push through, but it clung to her all the more, hampering her movements. Unable to melt through it even with divine flame, the goddess growled in frustration, simply pressing on. She could hear it in her head. The roar of her soul, howling for power and divinity. A flame screaming out at the world for sustenance. The circle only brought it to the surface, in this place where the hunger of the ground echoed one's own hungers. Her hunger for power and divinity now was nothing but a dread weight, dragging her down as she struggled on.

    Bedivere too struggled as he pushed against the sludge. It clung to his shredded cloak and battered armor, seeping into joints and holding him with fingers of deathly cold. Hunger for glory. Hunger for authority. A hunger he had not mastered or held back, which had divided him from his comrades, set him against Michael. Hunger which might even lead him to that terrible world he had seen in Limbo. As the Slayerdramon stalked on through the slush, his mind was dark with the memory. Could he really create such a world with his actions?

    Nearby, Caradoc struggled on through the slush. It was gripping at him, dragging him down into its depths, clutching his legs in icy-cold sludge. He knew once more why he was so affected. The hunger, for atonement, for salvation. The desire to be saved. That was why this slush so dragged him down. Why the winds had battered him so fiercely in the second circle. The Valkyrimon forced himself onwards, pushing through the sludge.

    "Do you want a hand?" Guinier asked, moving more easily through the sludge than him. She reached out, but he shook his head.

    "No... if we're attacked, I'd just be holding you back," he replied.

    "You need help."

    "This is something I have to do myself... it's my burden," Caradoc said softly.

    Then, in front of the group, the ground burst. A silhouette emerged from the rain of slush, lithe, vicious, barbed. The Peacemakers glared at the form as it emerged.

    "Samael?" Vritra hissed, before realizing. "No..."

    "Beelzebub," Bedivere said. He knew the Demon Lord immediately, his Black Sword-enhanced senses being struck by the aura of darkness and malice the Beelzemon exuded. Before he could speak, his comrades began attacking Beelzebub, only to be countered by the monster's overwhelming power.

    "No..." Caradoc growled, racing forwards, and ripping his sword from its sheath. As he approached, Beelzebub turned as a flicker of black, striking. Claws ripped at Caradoc, tearing at his throat. They closed around his windpipe, and Beelzebub growled, turning and throwing the Valkyrimon into the charging Guinier. The two were smashed into the sludge, and Bedivere struck past them, racing for Beelzebub.

    "You won't walk on the surface!" he roared. "You will not leave this place, Beelzebub!"

    "Double Impact!" the Beelzemon roared in answer, whipping a shotgun from his side and firing. The bullets flared with darkness and hate as they struck, smashing the knight back, and Beelzebub was on him, kicking him with a vicious whip-like roundhouse, followed by claws shrieking on Bedivere's helmet, clutching for his eyes.

    [I]"Feral Sword!"[I] Caradoc tore into the melee, slashing with his sword towards Beelzebub's throat, but the Demon Lord guarded with his shotgun, catching the blade on its barrel, before slashing out and raking his talons across the Valkyrimon's stomach. As Caradoc cried out in pain, Beelzebub backhanded him away and then with a snarl of 'Double Impact!' hurled the black-clad warrior away in a flurry of lead and shadows from his shotgun's barrels.

    Caradoc crashed into the sludge as Bedivere fought Beelzebub, claws and shotgun against the Slayerdramon's swords. The two collided over and over, but Beelzebub struck like a whip, fast and vicious, ripping claws into joints, knocking Bedivere reeling with sprays of hellish buckshot, pounding the knight back with a flurry of unrestrained, brutal attacks.

    Caradoc rose, and was wreathed in power. "X-Evolution! Dynasmon X!"

    His armored, knight-like form erupted from the light, radiance flashing from his armor's edges as he ripped forth and tackled Beelzebub. His mighty fist hammered down toward the demon's skull, only for Beelzebub to strike with a brutal bicycle kick to the face, landing nimbly and immediately bursting to his full height, shotgun ready. "Double Impact!" The bullets struck and in the moment of shock their impact caused, the Beelzemon was striking with claws once more. Their edges screamed on Caradoc's armor, and as the Dynasmon X reached to try and crush Beelzebub's skull, the Demon Lord was already flashing out of range, his leap away covered by a volley of buckshot aimed at Caradoc's face.

    "We can't fight him one-on-one," Vritra observed. "We need to contain him. He's too fast, too agile otherwise."

    "You're the one with the plan?" Bedivere muttered. "It's a good idea. Michael, you're the expert on demons. Can you think of a way to contain Beelzebub?"

    As he spoke, Guinier raced at Beelzebub, swathed in glorious light. Power sang from her hand, flaring at the demon and striking him viciously. As he reeled, the UlforceVeedramon Future Mode struck, trailing radiance. Her blades flashed, but the Demon Lord ducked around the thrusts, and his claws lanced at her face. But as he struck, he was smashed by a blow from behind, all flames and claws. Vritra ripped into him, burying him in a volley of flames.

    "Terra Force!" She smashed magma and flame onto Beelzebub, crashing a sphere of roiling heat and fire into him with a mighty blow. He hissed in anger and struck in retribution, meeting her with a flurry of vicious blows which screamed on her armor and ripped at her exposed flesh. The demigod snarled her own retort, as Guinier tried to strike the distracted Beelzebub, but suddenly his second shotgun was aimed and she was hurled away in a flare of buckshot, crying out as it seared across her face, lancing for her eyes and mouth. Beelzebub turned and knocked Vritra back with a twin volley from his guns, whipping forwards and smashing her throat with a blow from the handle of one. As she recoiled from the sheer force of his attack, he followed in a graceful yet vicious kick which smashed her away.

    As the demigod fell back, Caradoc exploded into Beelzebub once more, trying to hold back the Demon Lord long enough for the Peacemakers to form a coordinated assault. His claws ripped for the Demon Lord's lithe frame, trying to get a grip on him and hold him down with all the great strength the Dynasmon X possessed. Beelzebub laughed, a cold, vicious thing, full of empty mirth and chill humor. As though he mocked the idea of one so gluttonous for salvation ever daring to compete with him. The Demon Lord was striking Caradoc in a moment, hailing blows like the endless rainfall, forcing the Dynasmon X down and back. Kicks hammered into armor, talons ripping at joints and exposed flesh. The Demon Lord wore a terrible sneer, baring fangs dark with gore, eyes wild with hunger.

    As Caradoc fought desperately to hold the Demon Lord off, to hold him back, all he could recall was Famine. That Horseman, just as overwhelming, just as empty, just as hungry. And doubt fractured his resolve. Could he stand firm against this force? This ceaseless, bottomless maw, slathering for all of Creation to plunge into its depths? Could he hold himself and all he loved from falling into the jaws of this great gluttony, this walking, endless pit of hunger, desperate to sate itself on all things? With all his sins, with all the ghosts at his back whispering in his ears, could he be the pillar of strength needed to keep back the inexorable approach of this terrible, world-gorging, all-devouring thing?
    [CENTER]

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