(OOc note, this Ic narrative takes place about a week around *Date November 11th, 2015* for purposes of tracking it in AOC RP timeline)
Emil and Lleilwin hurried to their home, the Castagnier Villa. They could hear the heavy tolling of the Bells that were only used during emergencies in the Noble District.
From the path that lead up to the District they could see the heavy pillar of smoke rising from the direction of the Castagnier Villa.
“Lleil…Harkhem had to be impersonating Marcus…whatever he said to Raven was to make you leave…and drag me away” Emil said as he kept up a pace most would think impossible in full armor and carrying his massive sword.
“Aye, that vile bastard!” Lleilwin growled her rage mounting, even Fenris within was howling for blood and making the area around her grow cold. Her rage doubled for Harkhem had again tricked them and tricked her into holding ugly thoughts for Raven and Marcus.
They reached the top of the ramp that led to the Noble District and made their way through the streets.
Already the Black Dragons were out in force, Marshalling the citizens and nobles either to secure themselves in their villas or to gather in defensible locations. Their efforts backed by the elite of the Aquilonian army.
However they were of no interest to the Dark Swordsman and Red Queen, both of whom had people very dear to them in danger.
Finally they reached the Castagnier Villa. At ounce they saw the situation was dire.
One of the wings of the Villa was entirely ablaze the mercy, either by design or mistake, was that it was the guest section and unless any servants were inside then there would likely be little loss. The front gate was cracked, burning, and in pieces, but it looked as though that had happened from inside. Even now terrified servants were fleeing, some aided or guided by Black Dragons who knew the fewer innocents in their path the easier to make safe the City and the Villa.
“Here they come again!”
This drew Emil and Lleilwin’s attention to the gate.
A number of servants were hacked to pieces as they tried to pass through the clouds of smoke. From that darkness more darkness came. Several figures cloaked in black cloth with leather armor. They wore silver masks in the shape of various facial expressions from joy, pleasure, sadness, fury, and various others. Their hands the only part seen and showed pale and ugly skin, hand with talon like nails blackish white, each hand gripped a single edged blade slightly curved at the tip. They made no sound as they cut down the defenseless without mercy. Even the Dragons were pushed by them. They had already formed a defensive line and were dragging forth barricades from nearby posts to secure against this tide.
“The Endless” Emil muttered
“Aye?” Lleilwin asked
Emil narrowed his eye “I’ve heard of them once or twice. A force from the Black kingdoms far south of the Stygian empire. Serving the foul kings,….said they are demons in shape of men…..he must have brought them here”
Emil then charged, Lleil in his wake knowing his words were to caution her.
The soldiers made ready for another charge. Already a number had suffered wounds or fallen to these enemies.
They charged in packs to break their phalanx and cut into any openings. Still they had suffered their own losses but kept pouring from the Villa entrance.
In the light of the moon a shadow passed over them, the light striking steel.
In the blink of an eye, it seemed, a dozen of these demons were felled, by two new defenders.
“The Dark Swordsman and Red Queen rally to the defense men!” The Captain cried
The cheers of the men rose.
Emil and Lleilwin had both charged from behind the Dragon ranks and attacked, surprising the Endless. Cutting down an entire pack making ready to attack the blockade.
Emil slew with mountain rage, but with focus, temperance and power to overwhelm. Lleil herself knew how to hone and push her rage to make it her weapon, a deadly one.
Emil saw one Endless moving, and drove his sword down almost bisecting him. The act made that silver mask fall off revealing a face made hideous but whatever their practices were. A pale and clammy face, Eyes small and beady, teeth looking as if cut into fangs. Blood flowing from its mouth, black in color by the light of the moon.
Emil looked to the Dragons
“Hear me Dragons of Tarantia….these are the Endless…a brutal force that hails from the Black Kingdoms, they are vile and will show you no mercy…but they are not demons, they are men! They seek to break your will by making themselves look as Demons, but we of the white city fear nothing. You are the elite of your King, push the darkness back!”
This was a surprised so some as Emil was known to be a man of few words, or almost pure silence.
The effect however was clear, that it made Lleilwin smile with love and pride for her husband. He was rallying the Black Dragons. They were ever a stalwart force but the Endless must be a group relying on fear and intimidation.
Emil had brought the demons of darkness down to being mere men. Now the fight was on their terms.
Already the Dragons roared and the front lines broke from Phalanx and joined the two of them engaging the Endless as they poured out. As the Endless did not use a group formation and had to exit the villa they could be fought in a skirmish.
“Grimface! I see an opening, yer follow when yer can!” Lleilwin called
She saw that the flow had slowed and knew that to end this Harkhem ha to be killed, or at least driven to leave the city
Emil was busy dealing with what Endless were already out, so she knew he could not respond but would follow. Soon as he could carve his own entrance and leave the rest outside to the Dragons.
Not wasting her chance Lleilwin plunged into the cloud of smoke and through the broken gate. A naturally nimble and agile fighting, or sword dancer as Emil called it, she easily broke through. However she felt a very sickening sensation as she passed the threshold. She could not describe it, it was like insects crawling all over her skin making goosebumps rise.
Second was the fact that as she entered the entry hall, there was no one waiting her? She saw dead servants, thankfully very few in number, and blood here and there. However given as the endless were pouring forth through the gate, she had expected some enemies.
Sensing something at play, given Harkhem the vile Lich possessed mage was involved she knew there was.
Making her way slower now, with caution and blade raised. She headed for the main courtyard. She knew from there she could get her bearings on where the bastard was hiding.
Now she heard sounds of battle. Someone within was fighting.
She and Raven would be the only fighters within. Qisa would not be with them as she had already left on another secret mission for them.
Doing away with caution she charged the rest of the way.
Soon as she reached the Courtyard her fears were confirmed.
It was packed with Endless, many lay dead, either cut or filled with arrows.
She could see Raven, her and Emil’s Kushite hunter ally, at the far side of the courtyard leading to the other wings, he was fighting against many. Using his bow primarily, firing arrows with deadly precisions and timing, and the bow itself as a staff when any got close. However he timing his shots so that if need be he could draw his Kush style curved blade or dagger.
He appeared to be wounded as she saw blood pouring from his drawing arm and leg. However he was trying to reach another. From the trail of bodies it’s clear he had been driving away from whom he had been trying to protect
“Montez!” Lleilwin shouted.
Near the center, Montez was in the grip or the true enemy. Harkhem
The evil mage, partially clothed in the robed Marcus wore, as he had been impersonating the man. He had Montez by the throat, and had to be working his evil magic on her as Montez looked to be struggling by with weakening strength and was getting paler by the second. On the ground were her dagger, short sword, and bow among a few she had clearly killed herself.
“Welcome my dear, glad you could join” Harkhem said turning his bright grey eyes on her as he kept choking
Montez with one hand.
From appearances he was a slim yet fit man. However he was possessed with a lich and held its strength his touch alone was that of corruption, decay and death when he willed it.
“Bastard! Let her go!” Lleilwin shouted as she charged.
It took her no time to close the distance and as she aimed to remove his arm, Harkhem turned and tossed Montez towards her. Lleilwin having expected that old cowardly tactic, reversed and halted her strike. She caught Montez but the momentum broke her footing and she had to drop to a knee to keep from tumbling.
At once Montez started to cough and gasp for breath, she felt very cold.
“I was just saying hello to this lovely street brat whore, truly I am glad to meet her and grateful for her. Finally the Swordsman has planted his seed in another. That will make for a wondrous gift. Thankfully I kept my eyes upon General Typhorius’. When he sought a spy within this house I took the shape of one. After a few days skulking and plying others for information, and no small feat as these fools love to speak of their Lord. You can imagine my surprise learning the Swordsman was to be a father, and that you O Red Slut had returned from some mysterious venture. Well after sharing this all with that dull woman allied with Typhorius I felt a chance for my own goals” He said talking with evil glee.
Ever the man to enjoy his own voice he said this all as he remained where he stood. More of the Endless appeared from the shadows and circled him.
“Yer bastard, talkative as ever. I suspect yer the one talked Raven in ter pushing me away from here?”
She had little desire to hear this man speak, however Montez needed time to recover, she felt a little warmer, but still cold, pale and looked weak as she struggled to gain her breath.
“Much as I had being here, this place is protected by many means both holy and magical. I could still work my skills to alter my appearance and yes pose as that foolish lecher Marcus. I had hoped you and the Swordsman would not be able to join until too late but it seems there are many pieces at play this night”
Harkhem snapped his fingers. The Endless charged
“I’ll have the pregnant whore now, that child will be invaluable, as for you o Red Slut, time to resume your true place as you did before”
Lleilwin snarled as she called upon Fenris. Making the area cold but she felt Montez fall to the ground as she tried to support the woman. Normally calling on Fenris would not be this risky. Yet if Montez had been weakened…
She had to focus and keep how much of Fenris’ rage she called to a minimum or risk Montez life. She had come to care for the woman, and indeed Emil’s child grew within. A child she would love as her own, protect, and die before letting Harkhem have.
Taking a defensive stance before Montez she made ready.
Just as the Endless were on her a light sparked between them. A near blinding one.
“How dare you!” A powerful voice called
Lleil saw two figures appear before her, one lashed out with a mighty staff and smote the four endless with such power he broke their bodies.
As the light faded she saw it was Marcus, the real Marcus. However what she saw made even a battle hardened maiden as her quiver. For instead of the calm, and peaceful face she had come to care for greatly. Instead she saw a face alive with cold fury. Ever wrinkle and gouge in the old man’s face was seemingly made sharper by his anger. He wore his full robes and in his hand a staff with many symbols carved or draw onto it. Either end was tipped with a metal stud that seemed to shine with white light.
Next to him stood another figure. A tall, but seemingly very thin one. Completely obscured as the figure had a wide brimmed and pointed brown hat, with some sort of vine like wreath about the base of the point. The figure wore brown robes with a covering brown cape. The hands could be seen holding a wooden staff twisted and gnarled like that of a tree branch. The hands looked female.
“You dare you enter my home, and harm my family. By Mitra you shall know me wrath, Lich!” Marcus shouted as he pointed his hand towards Harkhem.
A powerful light began to emit. Despite his age, between his sixth or seventh decade, he was like his grandson still a man who radiated strength and power.
Lleilwin could feel the power of his faith being called, the rage of his god being summoned. Next to him the woman was moving to help Montez. Kneeling by her side and placing a hand on her forehead.
She could movement out of the corner of her eye.
Two dozen endless on the rooftop aiming bows at them.
“Marcus!” she called to warn him.
At once Marcus halted his attack and turned to ready his staff, Lleil did the same with her sword. IT would not be a perfect shield but they were ready.
Just as the archers were to fire.
A massive roar was heard in the night
In the blink of an eye, something descended onto the archers and killed half of them in seconds, disrupting them from loosening their arrows.
The moonlight fell upon this new attacker as it stood and snarled at the remaining archers.
“Atlis!” Lleilwin cried with joy
He had assumed his Lycan form and joined the battle.
Atlis roared as he charged the remaining archers. True to their form the turned and fired even as they died seconds after they did so. Atlis was not beyond them in strength and speed. However due to the closeness he still took about five arrows into his limbs and two to the torso. However this was nothing to slow him down as he cuts them all to pieces with his claws and fangs.
After that he leaped high and landed next to them all and snarled his challenge to Harkhem
Harkhem, who had been standing still the whole time, during both Marcus’ attempted attack and the appearance of Atlis started to clap.
“Stunning display, wolf pup. However with all this smoke even your nose would be rather useless. So perhaps you failed to noticed”
As he said this Atlis, who had taken a stance ready to charge, stopped and shuddered. He feel to one knee and groaned in pain. Looking down at himself he pulled an arrow from his flesh.
In the light they saw bloodstained silver.
His only weakness, even more so in his true form. No longer a lethal poison after years of controlled exposure, it still could slow and weaken him. Depending on the purity of the metal it would not take much to render him paralyzed or return to human form.
Atlis snarled, but weaker than before, and as he tried to pull the arrows he collapsed and feel onto his side, not moving.
“A fairly pure ore, but the arrows were coated with poison. Doubt you’ll die, but you’ll not be interfering anymore”
The others he now looked to and raised his hand, he began to speak some sort of incantation.
The woman Marcus had arrived with shouted and together she and Marcus joined their hands standing in front of
Lleil and the still down Montez. As they did so a light formed before them taking the shape of a large circle
As Harkhem ended his chant a bolt of lightning was firing from a darkness gathering about his hand. The light. Marcus and the woman erected their shield just in time as it was struck by the dark lightning and the two forces exploded upon contact in a deafening and overpowering shock wave.
The explosion closer to them, Marcus and the woman were all knocked to their fear. Lleilwin and Montez were sent back a few feet and both left with ringing ears and stunned by the magical explosion.
Lleilwin could see they were all moving and appeared to still be alive. The shield must had prevented what that bolt was meant for but even so they were vulnerable. The ringing was starting to subside but her body felt heavy and weak from the shock wave. She was trying to push herself to her feet when she saw even more endless appear and start to move towards them. She counted at least a couple dozen. Behind she saw something larger in the shadows.
Just as the Endless were upon then, blades raised.
Three heads went into the air, blood flying high in the night
Emil had arrived
Lleilwin felt the rage radiating like a hot fire from him. She saw his face, it was a cold dark mask, but she could read the fury that had been called to the surface.
Emil said nothing, he merely drove forward and his sword was a blur. To the disoriented ones on the ground it seemed like one second they were about to be killed or taken the next. Emil had killed them all and stood defending them.
After another few moments their senses returned and they all got to their feet. Marcus and the woman were supporting Montez as Lleilwin readied herself, still shaking things off.
“Welcome Swordsman, about time you joined”
Harkhem snapped his fingers and yet more of these Endless appeared.
“I’ll handle them. Lleilwin help Atlis, Marcus protect Montez!” Emil shouted as he charged the enemies.
Lleilwin wanted to join but knew for this fight to be won, the few chances Harkhem had to exploit a weakness the better. She ran to Atlis, he had lost consciousness after falling thanks to the drugged silver arrows, still in Lycan form and began to drag his much heavier bulk over to where the others were. It took a few moments, to which she kept an eye on Emil who was dealing death and carnage to the endless. They swarmed about him but he was never truly outnumbered for they were nothing to his rage and his sword right now.
After hauling him to the others she pulled out the remaining arrows and saw his supernatural healing starting to work, wounds were easy but a drug in his veins would take longer. As the silver was removed his body reverted back to human form, naked but alive.
“Emil behind you!” Marcus shouted.
Lleilwin looked up and felt her guts freeze as she saw while Emil was engaging the few remaining endless one hulking brute had emerge from the shadows and wielding a massive axe it struck Emil. This brute was ugly, standing easily close to seven feet tall and rippling with muscle and ugly scars. It’s badly head covered with many strange symbols and had a mouth full of crooked and ugly fang like teeth. It if was Endless it was clearly some freak born. Emil turned in time and raised his sword to block the large blade from cleaving him. However the brute was massive and apparently freakish in strength and Emil was sent flying. He struck a wooden door and vanished into where it led.
“Emil!” Lleilwin screaming in fear and anger.
Harkhem said to one of the three remaining endless
She saw in horror they raised small objects in hand, she recognized them as similar to the far eastern objects that held the explosive powered. They struck them to the ground to ignite wicks that would spark the fire to ignite the powder.
However before they could throw them. Those three were struck by arrows. Two of them dying as they were hit in the head.
Harkhem looked over his shoulder and sneered as Raven, bleeding but still standing. Having finished the ones driving him back, and down to his last few arrows had put what strength he had left to aid.
Harkhem swept his hand and sent the two dead Endless and their bombs in his directions. Raven dove but they still went off close, a roaring bang and blade of fire.
Raven was on the ground after.
As for the one he did not kill with his last volley. It threw its bomb towards the door Emil had vanished into, even as Lleilwin threw her own dagger and caught him in the throat.
Another loud bang as the fire ignited. They realized Emil had been knocked into the pantry full of crates and dried goods to make ideal fuel for the fire.
“Emil!” Marcus, Lleilwin, and Montez shouted in dismay.
Harkhem was laughing
“Easier than expected. Now for the rest”
Marcus and the brute turned to them.
“Look” Montez said weakly
Past the doorway, into the now blazing pantry they saw shadow rise and began to move through the fire.
Harkhem and the brute also looked and looked shocked, Harkhem due, the brute had an ever savage expression.
Emil appeared through the fires, like a shadow of death coming for his enemy.
“Tenacious as ever” Harkhem said with a sneer but also a pleased light in his eyes.
Lleilwin eyed her husband carefully. She noticed his cloak was soaked, hair dripping.
She sighed with relief and realized the truth
When Emil was struck and thrown into the pantry he must had hide the water supply of the villa, several barrel’s stored in there. Likely his collisions cracked and resulted in the water showering on him. As such he had avoided the fire and been able to walk through the flames.
As for the crash, well if he was in pain he should not show it.
It was then Lleilwin noticed a second thing
His eye patch was gone.
“Oh no…the eye” she muttered
This drew the attention of the others and they all too saw Emil’s eye patch was gone
His right eye revealed
The Hound’s Eye, or the Eye of Hel. This is the name that had given it. The eye was truly a frightening sight. The sclera was black, the pupil blazing blood red, and the pupil like a jagged slit. It was not a natural eye but born of his curse, his darkness, and of his time in otherworldly realms where mortals were not meant to treed.
“So that is your new eye Swordsman. I sense the rage and fury or your true nature in it. How good of you to show me it. Now show me more!”
He snapped his fingers.
With a snarling roar the brute charged Emil. Raising its massive axe.
Emil stood his ground. His expression was one of purest cold fury. Both eyes fixed on his charged enemy. He then smiled, a brief ghost of one, a blood thirsty one.
As the brute was on him and bringing its axe down with blinding speed. Emil Side stepped and his left hand flicked.
He threw his dagger
It struck one of the eyes of the brute and stayed stuck.
As the brute howled in pain and rage….Emil struck again and cut off the arm holding the axe just above the elbow.
His speed and timing much greater.
With that eye now open and ‘awake’ he was in a state close to his much feared berserker possession. Now fully possessed but with his ‘Hound’ now in this battle he was easily several times more deadly and dangerous.
The brute howled even louder as his now severed right arm fell away with the axe.
Emil spun to deliver the final blow.
The brute caught his sword, it bite into the meat of its palm, but he had trapped the blade.
Emil didn’t even bat an eye as he released his great sword, and drew his twin short swords from his hips. In a cross armed draw he pulled them and barely out the sheaths had he cut a bloody X into the torso of the brute.
The brute lost strength, being wounded so deeply. It let go of Emil’s sword
As it did so Emil dropped his own twin swords to grab his main sword as it fell. Holding this momentum he spun his entire body and in a flash cut off the head of the brute. The head flew high into the night and landed at Harkhem’s feet.
The entire battle took barely more than a minute.
Emil let out a breath.
Then he turned to Harkhem.
“You bastard” he muttered.
His body twitched
“My friends…home…family…my child….I WILL KILL YOU FOR HARMING THEM!” he started even but his last was a shout of purest rage.
It was then his armor began to shift. Turning to pure black, and morphing so that it covered him from head to toe. He teeth clenched, veins popping against his skin, body tensed and convulsed slightly. The rim of his breast and back plates moving up and like a massive set of jaws to closer over his head in a helm in the form of a hound from helm, jagged slits for the eyes. His belt harness fell away as nothing but his armor, cloak and sword would be left.
He had now been possessed by his curse. The power of it housing itself in his armor. He had become….
He hunched down, and then leaped towards Harkhem. Now making no vocal sounds.
Lleilwin, thanks to Fenris within her could sense it. The power of the Berserker had grown. He was clearly a danger now to them all, and not just to Harkhem.
“Come then!” Harkhem raised both his hands
The lich mage began to chant fast and the words sounded dark and evil.
Dark shadows grew and swirled around his hands and body. He let loose his magic and fired bolts of dark light at Emil.
Emil kept his pace, the attacks struck…..and they merely deflect off him. The made contact and like rocks thrown at an armored warrior they seemed to just bounce and fizzle into nothingness
“What!?” Harkhem Said in shock stopping his chant
He did not have time to finish.
Emil was on him and in the blink of an eye he had cut the mage..one…two..three…four times in the span it would take for a single strike
Harkhem still had the shocked look as his body was cut into pieces. The body parts feel to the ground. At ounce a dark mist seeped out from them and vanished into the air as fast as it appeared.
“Amazing. His armor repelled the magic” The woman whom had appeared with Marcus said
Emil then turned around and looked at them all. He then began to walk over towards them slowly.
“Dammit, get behind me!” Lleilwin shouted in fear
She knew now Emil was in a state of insane rage. He would seem them as dark shadows, as threats to kill. However even with Fenris she knew she could not stop him.
“No…” The woman said as she stepped past Lleilwin.
Lleil tried to stop her but Marcus held her back
The woman took a couple steps
“He wants us to stop him” she said
Then as Emil reached and slowly started to raise his sword, there was a hint of hesitation in his movements
The woman raised and struck his hellhound helm with her staff. It made a sharp 'ping' as it struck, and at ounce Emil fell to the ground. His armor began to revert back to its normal form.
The woman looked won and nodded. From under that covering hat, they heard a little laugh
“The Lich's power was weakened due to the protection cast here but even so his power was not without force behind it. Yet they were repelled. As I thought, the curse is growing strong…but my grandson’s will is ever the stronger”