[Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

The story unfolds around Osaka, Japan, with the unlocking of one girl's hidden potential, and a gathering of Young mages whom are destined to change the fate of the Earth.
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Kokuten
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[Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Kokuten »

Elementalia Magicus
The Centrifuge
The Heart

They stood on what looked like the surface of the moon. A white expanse of dust that stretched on forever before them and behind. Bodies that had forced their way in during the assault laid cut down in a path to the most prominent feature of the strange land: a massive, spilling gout of light wrapped in the bindings of a massive snake. The beast was impossibly large, frozen in time as it loomed to sink its fangs into the vein of light. At the base of it all was a hole that dug deep into the dusty landscape, and standing at its edge was the dark warrior himself.

Aurus. The God of Fire and Rage. The Blood Child.

Covering the horizon above them was a dark, celestial sky filled with stars. Each star seemed to have a sister or a brother, and each blinked in and out in tandem. As they approached the center of this empty land, the stars shifted, as if looking at them. Then they turned, grew and shrank, almost like faces regarding one another in an audience.

The warrior in blackened armor stood within a pile of dead bodies, with a mangled form held by its head in one of his clawed gauntlets. When they got closer, he tossed it to the ground, revealing a dead, twisted reflection of Modeka. He had crumpled it in his hand, and they only had moments to see the ravaged corpse before it burnt away like the rest of the shades.

Besides his armor being slick with fresh, boiling blood, Aurus looked the same as he always did. He didn't seem to bear any corruption from recent events.

"When we found him, he was just a boy."

Aurus' voice resonated from his armor and it touched their minds the same way the shades had. Rather, the shades had been speaking in a manner much similar to Aurus.

"Now look at the thing he has become. A piece of bait for a god-eater. A spectacle for the cosmos. An unearthly creature not fit to be called a man."

Those glowing, smoldering eyes turned to regard them. "And now the circus has come. Come to reclaim its clown."
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

The vanguard, Calamity Jane Smith, announced her entrance to the dome with a foreboding clink of spurs that hadn't previously been strapped to her boots. Her silhouette grew then shrank as the last breath of wind died, choked by this desecrated final battlefield, and her duster skimmed over the alien terrain, gathering a ghostly trim. Leather gloves sat weary on sandalwood grips. They were ready to perform one more of the old song and dance, not eager to perform, but eager to be done.

Looking upon the scene, something immediately struck the gunslinger as dead wrong. It was something to do with Aurus and the snake. He lacked any signs of the other shades, while the imminent threat of the jormungandr called her.

"Ye thought long n hard bout that one, din ye? Cute. Now help us remove the god-eater or shut the fuck up. I done had a long march n I'm tired of y'all's posturin."

The Calling was an adrenaline-laced tingle in her spine. Gauntlet gladly thrown.
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Straken
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

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It was an impressive posse the group had accrued. To each member was a god lending support, or at least he figured they would be supporting the group. Zulan, Akanus, and Decanus could act responsibly well, Ruarc reasoned as he looked down at Tulan by his own side. The most fighting he had seen her do in this form was crack him over the head with a small chest. For what it was worth, her potion had saved his life. It’s important to have a healer.

It was with that thought that Ruarc felt Laoise take off from his shoulder, and before he could protest her involvement she was already changing forms. Sighing, he left her to change and focused on analyzing the surrounding, paying particular attention to what his detection eye might see. Scanning first the sky, then Aurus, the snake, and finally the bright light. The light damn near blinded and he looked away before it blinded him. The direction he looked wasn’t much better however, as he came to look at Laoise in her new form; and Ruarc was almost blinded a second time. With a surprised ”Ah!, he brought an arm up and wiped some tears away and stopped trying to detect magic.

Looking again at Laoise, Ruarc was momentarily dumbstruck at what he saw. Initially, the outfit she had come in here with was efficient and utilitarian in a similar manner to Ruarc’s own outfits. Now, well, he wasn’t quite sure how to describe it. Divine, perhaps? Only able to attribute it to the magic that had been used to revive her, as she seemed more akin to the gods of this realm. Her outfit had changed to something one could expect to see on a Gothic era noblewoman. She wore a long flowing white dress that hung loose on her shoulders with long loose sleeves cinched up with crimson silk ribbons high up on her arms. Around her slender waist was a silken golden sash that held a cherry pink half skirt around her waist, which was embroidered with a number of intricate designs. He hair looked like strands of silver, and had grown quite a bit and now hung low on her back; a number of tight braids kept the hair out of her face as they wrapped around to the back and wove their way down to the end where the lochs were secured with a black velvet band. The most striking and apparent change though was the addition of two large, feathered wings on her back. Laoise seemed just as surprised as her druid did.

“Get tired o’ the clothes I got ya?” Ruarc said bluntly. “Now I feel underdressed.”
“These just seemed more fitting for me,” Laoise responded as she placed an appreciative hand on the smooth skin of her cheek, while she stretched and tested the wings on her back.

Drawing up a short ways off to the side of Jane, Ruarc punctuated his arrival by planting his staff audibly on the ground while Laoise took a spot behind the two . Hooking his gloved thumb into his belt, the Irishman took on a relaxed yet defiant posture.

“Cut ‘im some slack, Jane,” Ruarc said, loud enough that Aurus could hear him. “He’s not the god Ah would go to for witty banter.”
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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Kokuten »

Aurus was a tall figure, the tallest of all the Gods in the Elementalia Magicus. When in his miniature form he was no more than a couple feet, his full-size ranged up to three meters in height. He was a beast of a man covered in overlapping plates of black, molten metal. Chainmail clinked in the motions of his arms, glinting in the joints. His greaves were massive, sheltering boots that split off into clawed feet. Enormous plates covered his shoulders, encasing powerful mailed arms that ended in clawed gauntlets gripping the blades Wrath and Fury.

Miyuki could notice it now, not that she had the reference before today, that Fury was similar in make to her Arctic Key. The weapon was long, but appeared to be more like a bladed wand than your every-day sword. Jakku spoke aloud as the realization hit, right as the elevated Laoise appeared.

"WOW! Her boobs are huge now!" announced the fire sprite, looking down at her tiny self. "Ms. Kagami, how do I get big like that?"

"You open your mouths and prove how much of a circus it truly is. Fools from every walk into this tent of horrors." Aurus took a few steps forward, his massive form kicking aside corpses like leaves. "You've slain all of the Bindings, cut a swathe to this hallowed place, and despite your wounds, have the courage to demand action from me. For once, I am truly impressed."

Jane could feel she had the respect of the monstrous figure, but something about it made her blood curdle.

"I will ask you all, as I am feeling generous after a proper slaughter..."

Shunk, shunk! Fury and Wrath sank into the sand as the God of Fire towered over them.

"... what do you think is happening here? What has the Maelgwyn told you?"
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Kai
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Kai »

The Ice Queen took the scene in as they entered the dome, this new landscape feeling so foreign compared to what they'd dealt with before. At the center, a familiar being, the god Aurus, with all his wrath and presence, although, his wrath, once he had finished dispatching his last foe, the unfortunate Modeka, seemed to be slightly cooled. Still, Miyuki didn't trust him at all right now, despite the distinct lack of the obvious corruption the other they had fought had borne before being defeated. She noticed that her new acquisition, the arctic key, seemed to be of similar make to one of Aurus' weapons.

Still fighting fatigue, but just as determined as ever, Miyuki stood next to Ruarc and Jane, presenting herself with her normal power and grace, emitting an aura of cold, bits of frost fluttering off of her and to the ground. She twinged at the comment Jakku gave her, trying her best to retain her cool, calm composure despite the somewhat sore subject the spirit had touched upon. "Ask Laoise later..." she whispered aside to the little spirit, trying to remain focused of the obviously threatening, quite imposing god before them.
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

Jane paused. The tingle had escalated to a thrumming. This was why she was here. She glanced back to the empty space where Eryl would have stood. Then her gaze shifted to the miniature Akanus and a reassuring hand gripped his shoulder. Lastly, her eyes returned to Aurus.

"I think we c'n agree the time fer dramatic effect has passed. Tell us what we need t'know t'save Mister Caxton n the EM. Cuz I'm gettin the feelin we ain't here t'scrabble wit ye. We're here fer that." She vaguely nodded upward in the general direction of the plane-consuming leviathan coiled around what she could only assume was a physical representation of the Elementalia's source: the Mana Font.
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Gwathdraug
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Gwathdraug »

"Really? You aren't wrong about us needing to be here for the giant serpent, but I don't know if I can tell from here if it is much of a 'he' or not." Riley's tone was glib as she commented on Jane's observations. As soon as the stage magician and the stalking armoured shadow behind her had entered the star field their attention had been decisively split. Like their gunslinger, Erin's attention was nearly riveted to the form of the dragon entwined to the base of the font, but Riley herself was staring at Aurus - even as she made her quip - as if nothing else in the room mattered. For once sparks of fire - glinting and fizzling - had gathered around the stage magician's fists instead of the talon's of her companion.

Sorrow - The weight of loss and a lack of mercy. What is a mother without her children? A wife without her husband? A woman without purpose? My emptiness is absolute and tears unending. Are you here to join my dirge?

"It is funny, because I always thought of you as my favourite out of everyone Aurus - I'm not a stranger to fire and when my blood races it just feels like adventure - but-"

Doubt - Heh heh heh, how stupid am I? To have ignored the signs, to right what was wrong, and yet do nothing? He he hahahggk... They hate me. So useless... So utterly useless... ha ha ha... Do you think I'm useless, too?

"-but it IS funny to see you here because Modeka's spriggans were the ones that tried to help the most to get us all here and-"

Shame - How could I stand and watch him murder her? I was not fast enough. Not agile enough. By the time I found my sword, her head rolled upon the floor, the name of the beast barely left her lips. Begone fools, there is no hope here, only shame.

"-while you really are the big man in red and black - those are your colours right? - around here it is odd that your thralls only died IN the breach-"

Feaaaar...Consume. Do you understand... Black One? I must. I could do nothing but hide, it consumed me. I will consume you.

"-but what really gets me - in the way my brain goes all professional now - is that everyone we met seemed to have been injured dealing with two different situations or at least one that had two very different prongs-" Gesturing with her hands for the first time Riley formed a pair of fangs with her fingers and mimed them sinking into the air. "-and while the snake does have two teeth what I really want to know Aurus is: Tulan, Zulan, Akanus, Decanus and even Modeka, what would make them turn themselves into something that looks a lot more like you? Who were they so desperately outmatched by here that they would risk twisting the whole world to try and be strong enough to fight?"

Riley's smile was all teeth as her one visible eye bore everything she was worth down upon the armoured creature that towered over her and the rest of the group. "They're questions that feel really important to me."
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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Kokuten »

Akanus looked up at Jane, it was the first time that one of the small gods acknowledged such recognition. As if to answer her, the small, winged squire stood in front of Jane, interposing himself between Aurus and herself.

"We must draw the god-eater off the font if we are to do anything." Aurus spat, his disgust obvious at the creature, his voice spoke evenly to answer Jane. "The clown and I are holding it in place as the last two bindings of the power here. If I release my hold it will move, and when it does, we may strike. Draw it away. It fears its death greater than it hungers for its next meal."

Then came Riley.

Aurus seemed to listen patiently to the stage-magician's misgivings of the situation, and the way she seemed to see it. As she spoke, the magma-esque cracks in his armor seemed to glow hotter and hotter. The suppositions were having an obvious effect on the temper of an already temperamental god. Before he could retort with a spit of fire, the pillar of light pulsed, and the voice of a young girl floated on the wind.
"Partners. That's what I've been calling you almost every day since I escorted you home and out of mopeland."
The glowering helmet turned only slightly to the distraction. When the voice died down to whispers, he turned to regard the mages before him and grasped his weapon. With a rocking motion he withdrew the blade from the dusty ground. There was a growing hiss from the neck of the towering warrior.

"How little you've grown, tiny pup. If there weren't more important things to do, I'd remind you of your place. The world is crumbling and you've the gall to cast some aspersion upon me, the last guardian? The reason your beloved clown is still alive? You should wisen yourself to that of your compatriots, roach. I have cut down greater than you for lesser."

Miyuki felt something gentle touch her thoughts, and the voice on the wind took a more divine tone.
"He spoke highly of you. He insisted that you would come. He said that you would expose the truth. I expected something more, but you are polite and in good company."
The growl grew within the fiery god's throat, "You carry with you the traitor that beguiled you into coming here. The sole survivor that should have died the last time this world lost its stomach."

Jane could sense a pressure on her mind now, and the sky ahead of them gently opened to the vision of a stable. The traitor Aurus spoke of stood within it, forming a frown as desperation seem to take her eyes. They heard the gunslinger's voice first, and then Eryl's.
"I know the prodigal son has returned, but familiar ain't a term I'd use to describe our relations. Acquaintances more like. So if he's got somethin' private goin' on, I don't know a thing. That's his business, ye should ask him about it."

"He is dying, Lady Smith, and as I've come to learn, he has exhausted many options. It is only now that I have learned of it, and I would like to provide assistance... and I would ask for yours as well."
The interruptions seemed to incense Aurus further, lit with Riley's prompting, but the next vision that played seemed to snuff out the light that burned inside the god's armor. This time, a young triclops with black hair was center stage, there was a fierce look in her eyes. Behind her were mages old and young, from a different time and age, grouped in fear.
"What is the meaning of this!? The realm is collapsing and you are barring our flight! We have no time for games, Aurus! Abandon this foolish, black guise and your jests. Stand aside!"
The small, wiry triclops seemed to be the only one standing up to the keeper of this memory, who stared down on her from so high. When it appeared she couldn't get an answer, she opened her mouth to speak more fury. The words were struck from her mouth as a blade rose from the edge of the vision, running her through. Jane recognized the look in the little girls eyes, because she had seen it only minutes ago. The group of mages were set upon by frenzied thralls in brimstone armor, scything through in a wave of death. As the vision faded, the last thing they could see was the life leaving the body of a young Eryl Maelgwyn, pinioned limply upon Wrath.

The whispers stopped, the sky a black curtain of speckled stars again, and silence filled the celestial space once more.
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Straken
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Straken »

Pieces of an obnoxiously large puzzle were slowly falling into place as Ruarc cataloged the new information on a mental web diagram. He still lacked necessary information to completely fill it in, and even now felt only slightly more confident than he had an hour prior. A number of pieces stood out in particular.

First, Aurus had referred to Eryl as a "traitor" and "sole survivor that should have died", but in that last vision they could see Eryl run through. Had Aurus failed to kill her despite the circumstances; how had she survived? Could Eryl be an imposter? What's more, a question he held from his first run in with the woman; how had she been around for so many years?

Second, Eryl's words in the vision, and namely Aurus' foolish, black guise. Its true that the corrupted versions of the other gods were forms oddly reminiscent of Aurus, even to the extent that the normally defense oriented Zulan held a weapon that resembled Aurus' own. Had Aurus become corrupted during the previous cycle? If that were the case, then why did the other gods associate with him? If the vision was to be believed, Eryl and those mages had tried to help but Aurus had assaulted them.

Giving the imposing god a weary look, Ruarc reached into one of the small back pockets, checking on its contents before letting his hand rest on top of his other hand holding his staff.

"So, what color was your armor, originally?" Ruarc asked as he subconsciously began to well up some magic, preparing to cast in the need arose.
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Re: [Chapter 1.3] A Theater of Gods

Post by Gwathdraug »

"We really are alike." Riley hadn't taken her eyes off Aurus for any of the visions - not until the last. Watching Eryl be turned on, her body spit through by Wrath's brutish blade, had the stage magician twisting through a gamut of emotions. Her eyes were wet, not enough for tears to stream, but they hurt and she had to quickly scrub her face as her vision waivered. Her smile though refused to fall.

“I will impart to you what our deal will be Eryl Maelgwyn.” The phantasmal avatar spoke with a distorted version of Riley's voice. Every word echoed with the muffled sounds of roars and the crash of metal on metal and flesh on flesh. “I will 'Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war', and you - you will bleed until you are dry.”

She had made an oath a lifetime ago. Riley had made an Oath on her very Identity and dropped it - let it fester - because it had been wrong.

The stage magician had woken every day, slept every night, telling herself she had been in the wrong.

One vision had - not unmade the pain but cut the urgency, cut the anxiety, cut the chain. Looking at Aurus again Riley laughed. "I never did thank you for not eating me."

"Ruarc!" Riley raised her voice, but didn't shift from in front of the war god. "I asked you once to be Holmes for me and it got you hurt. I-" Riley's voice choked and stumbled. "-Jane isn't wrong about the snake. Neither really is Aurus. So I'm asking you again, not for Watson, but because I'm selfish."

A heavy white gauntlet landed on Ruarc's shoulder as he prepared to square off with Aurus. Stiff fingers clutched hard at the druid's flesh and imparted to him a heat that was warm instead of searing – the sudden transfusion of energy adding back to the Irishman's mana, and hopefully, mental reserves.

“Do not be distracted by our enemy's ploys.” The distorted voice of Riley's Avatar barked from behind Ruarc. The knight and its ride-along owner had been blown away in Eryl's sudden outburst of power and – from the looks of the multitude of cracks being quickly sealed with glowing pulses of blue magic – had had a rather rough landing.

Surprisingly enough, as the Avatar removed its hand from the Druid's shoulder, the Knight let loose a short chuckle. “You know best of all of us what exactly we are dealing with Ruarc. It looks as if it matters not what promises I bark at Eryl Maelgwyn as you will have the pleasure of bringing her down.” The Avatar walked past Ruarc but turned its canid visage so the shadow covering helm was looking straight at the Druid. The Knight raised one hand and then formed a gun with its fingers and made a shooting motion at Ruarc – who would find himself now topped with a checkered detective's hat and covered by a waist length rain cloak. “You're Mister Holmes for this one; I'll be our monster hunter. Don't let Watson down.”


Riley's heart was giddy as it beat a rapid tat-tat-tat and she brought her fingers together - grabbing at nothing and suddenly holding a deep red featureless mask. "Have you ever thought why the strongest guardian, the last guardian, only ever stands alone Aurus?"

The mask in the stage magician's hand shattered and Riley was gone - no music no explosion no fanfare. In her place stood a figure just a head shorter than Aurus himself clad in thick red plate and maille shot through with spidering veins of glowing white. The Knight had a mantle of wolves' fur thrown across her back and shoulders and the head was helmetted by a snarling canid visage. Gaps in the armour were an endless, empty black only offset by two blue flames burning where eyes should have been. The avatar drew the longsword belted at her side and when the crimson blade came to rest against her shoulder curls of smoke rose where steel touched pelt despite no fire being visible.

"Because he can only be trusted by the dead and they only trust him with death." The Knight stood in front of the group, weapon steady in a fool's guard, and nodded not towards Aurus but his weapons. "Wrath, Fury - Dyrnwyn says hello."
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