1. SELCTEC'S DEATH.|
2. ANTILLES ANQUILLES.
6. SLAYER SYNDICATE.
7. HERO'S FALL.
8. THE RAGENAR WARS.
9. FOUR LIGHTS UNTO THE DARKNESS.
10. SEAN McCREED.
11. KATELIN MORGAN.
12. SOLO ACT.
13. BROKEN GUN.
14. THE BLOODCRY INCIDENT AND THE ANGEL OF MERCY.
1. SELTEC'S DEATH
I strive for a world full of peace and free of pain... Will I ever succeed? Who knows? If I accomplish that then what would my goals be in life? I'd have none. It has been said that a person is who they are by the sums of their experiences. I find that to be true, and thus sometimes I wish I was not the man that I am today in some sense. If my experiences did not make me who I am today, then many people may still be alive... However many people who are alive today would not be, while others, who I am proud to call friends... No... Family, I never would have met. Again, a person is the sum of their experiences, both good and bad. Seltec, my father's, death was by far the most tragic to me... It blinded me into a quest for vengence. That path led me to this life now, and that realization that life should be held sacred, the world is full of too much hate, too much rage, too much violence, and not nearly enough love, compassion, and charity. Who am I to be one of the majority? For once, let us minorities rule.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
Dyerdon Sandren started as he heard the gunshots ringing out in the canyon, his feet began moving, carrying him in the direction of the sound. His boots thudding on the sand covered stones. He stumbled seeing the man lying against one of the cliff walls. A crimson flow pouring from his chest. Dyerdon knew the face well, it was so much like his own...|
He rushed to his father's side, dropping into the sand beside him, pulling him close. Seltec was the very first man to achieve the rank of G4 amongst the 'Slingers... now... now he was dying. Dyerdon called out to him.
"My... son... you must break... the cycle..." Seltec had coughed, blood coming from hs mouth...
"Who did this?" cried Dyerdon, he'd kill the one responsible, he swore to himself.
"Break... the... cycle..."
"I promise" he told him, not knowing what he meant, a tear dropping onto his father's face "But, I need to know who did this"
"Vy`Don... Blaskus" he said, his breath coming in shorter gasps.
"Where can I find him?"
"Please, tell me..."
"InterCity..." he gasped once more... his last breath. Dyerdon let out a sob, and sat there, holding his father. An hour later he stood, covered in blood. He looked to the west, seeing his town, that was where Seltec wanted him to go, he knew, to 'break the cycle' whatever that had meant. His eyes moved to the east, nothing but rolling sand dunes, and beyond the horizon he knew was the Walled City, InterCity... Danger to the east, safety and mourning to the west... he knelt beside his father, kissing his forehead and saying a silent prayer, taking his hat and gun he stood... His feet taking him east.
2. ANTILLES ANQUILLES
"You're fightin' a losin' battle, Young Blood!" came a voice, Dyerdon spun to see a man standing calmly beside a great white wolf, the sand did not seem to bother him.
My road was begotten in loneliness. I strove forth, my heart hardened, filled with blackness. My mouth shut, no one to talk to, so why speak? My nights filled with silence, my mind left open to my turmoil and grief of watching my father die. My grief was fast becoming despair. Despair, depression. Depression, anger. Anger, rage. Rage soon became hatred for this man I did not know, this, Vy`Don Blaskus. All these emotions fueled my need and desire for revenge. My road, however, crossed paths with a fellow Gunslinger, an odd one at that with an even stranger companion. Together we could accomplish anything, meet any chalenge, climb any obstacle, and defeat any foe. With the help of Antilles Anquilles, a vampire of all things, I learned the gun was not my most powerful weapon in my arsenal. Rather, it was my mind. He also taught me how to live in humor and mirth, and for that I am grateful (besides, it ticked off the enemy). But the final thing he taught me is one that shall forever ring true in my mind, a simple prayer:|
"Lead me to the harder right, rather than the easier wrong"
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
He walked in silence, his path surrounded by foes. During the day the harsh sun beat down upon him unmercilessly. During the night the air becaming deathly cold, threatening to freeze him to death. Then there was the constant threat of hunger and thirst, exhaustion, and the ever present denizens of the Gerdan desert. Night came hard, bringing with it one of the many harsh sandstorms that he had seen a lot of lately, as if his father was trying to persuade him to turn aside his quest. It stung his eyes, but he pressed on, constantly going on... Until a yawn left him with a mouthful of sand. He spat it back out, gagging, then sighed, he was tired. He'd need to make a camp. He began to dig himself a hole, he'd climb inside and cover the whole with his poncho he carried with him, it'd keep the sand out, and his body heat would keep him warm during the night. The sandstorm however was intent on making his night miserable... The more he dug the more sand was blown back in.
"Gotta least try!" Dyerdon shouted back, turning back to continue digging.
"Good attitude!" answered the man, "I saw ya out here, and was wonderin' if I could get a bite ta eat" he asked Dyerdon.
"I ain't got no food, sorry!"
"Butcha got blood, don'tcha...?" he asked... Dyerdon stopped, looking over his shoulder at the man. The man was gone... so was that wolf... He turned quickly, his father's gun coming up into his hand. As he turned he was hit hard with the impact of some 200 lbs of fur and teeth.
"No!" he cried, fearing that he'd be unable to avenge his father's death, since he'd be joining him, but the wolf merely snapped out, snatching the gun from Dyerdon and bounded away. Dyerdon jumped to his feet, that was his father's gun! He turned to give chase, but a strong hand spun him around to look into the face of the man, his fangs glistening in the moonlight as the sandstorm ended...
"I am sorry, but there are not that many creatures out here... I promise, it will not hurt.." he said, moving his face forward...
"Can't say the same for this," answered Dyerdon as his boot connected hard with the vampire's stomach, forcing him to drop him, he kicked out again, the loud crack of his knee echoing in the still silence of the night. The vampire howled in pain as he dropped, Dyerdon rolled sideways, four massive paws slamming into the sand beside him. He kicked out with both feet, sending the wolf into a sudden sidelong roll, then rocked himself forward, noting the glint of silver drop from its mouth, he caught the revolver before it hit the sand, then stood in one motion, firing after the wolf. The wolf darted away, behind one of the many dunes. The vampire tried to move fast, bringing up his own weapon, Dyerdon spun, pointing at him with the revolver, then squeezed the trigger... nothing happened... The weapon betrayed him! It would not fire. The trigger would not be pulled... Then he recalled the nature of the weapon... the equalizer... it would not fire at other 'Slingers... He rose a brow, looking at the vampire who in turn could not fire his weapon...
"Yer a 'Slinger?" he asked... The vampire nodded... Then something hit Dyerdon, not physically, but emotionally, his heart softened. He moved to the vampire, holstering his gun. His despair at a possible futile chase for revenge hanging ominously over him. "Then make it quick" he said, dropping to one knee before the vampire, knowing his blood would heal the broken limb. The vampire shook his head, then pulled Dyerdon into his embrace, his fangs sinking deep into his neck. Dyerdon knew his time was up. But then the vampire pulled away, standing... offering Dyerdon his hand.
"Name's Antilles Anquilles... and I'm like you, I can't go ahead and kill a fellow 'Slinger... beside... wasn't gonna really kill ya anyway... Death is bad business..." he said. Dyerdon took his hand as he saw the wolf rejoin them. "And this is Antioch, my best friend" he finished pulling Dyerdon up. He felt weak, loss of blood no doubt, he thought.
"Come with me," Dyerdon found himself asking, "To InterCity,"
"Why'd I wanna do that? Cause you gave me a drink?" he asked sliding on a pair of shades.
"No, because a fellow 'Slinger asked ya?" asked Dyerdon, hopeful... There was something about this man that Dyerdon felt was intertwined with his own fate.
"Okay" said Antilles, grinning widely, Dyerdon knew at that point, that the rest of his life was about to change forever.
I marvelled in the concept of Antilles's and Antioch's relationship, a vampire and a wolf, what an odd pairing. He had found Antioch alone and near death in Novard, the harsh winter threatening to take the young pup. Antilles's being the man he was had risked life and limb to scale down the steep cliff face, and pull him free, climbing back up. For an animal? I found that ridiculous at first, until I realized that it was not for an animal, rather than a living creature... Life is sacred... ~All~ life. I realized this more when I came across a grall village, and seen the wild horse there, a black beauty, something that would haunt my dreams for many night afterwards... The grall could not tame her, no matter how hard they tried. She was a creature who could not be caged, she wanted to be free. I found myself coming back, and this time I asked for her. They would not give her to me, she was too wild. I did not want to tame her though, and she sensed this... I wanted her to be free. Finally the chieftan agreed to allow me to take her, on one condition... She was owned by his son, and his son would not give him up therefore I would have to issue the Challenge. These gralls seemed more tribal than most. I agreed, that was a my bad... Gralls are very fierce, very agressive warriors. This was hand to hand, I was good with a gun, but to fight a grall is to taste your own blood for the next few weeks following. Antilles seemed to have a good laugh at my expense. I never stood a chance, but the grall also found it funny. He could have killed me if he wished, though I knew Antilles and Antioch would have prevented that, but he nodded, and said that the horse was to be released. Broken and battered I limped from the camp, to hear her hooves beating behind me... she followed me right up to the gates of Inter. I finally grew to realize that she trusted me, that we had the same wild spirit. She still haunts my dreams, and I am glad that her and I are as one, not as rider and horse, but as friends... She is NightMare.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
At long last, the city stood before me... no, before us, Antilles, Antioch, NightMare and myself. The great walls, the grey air hanging like a omen of the darkness that lived within. My first taste of the evils in the world, my first taste of betrayal and wickedness, aside from my father's murder. I wore the same grin that Antilles always wore, the grin that became my trademark later in life. We entered the gates, with hope though, a hope to make a difference, that difference in my eyes would be the death of Vy`Don Blaskus, who in my blinded state was the cause of all this evil. With his death then the light would shine through, oh how ignorant I was... Blissful ignorance... May I never regain that, for then I was no better than he... Even the dimmest of lights shall break the darkness... I pray now that peace will rule out.
~from the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
I heard of this group called the police... An interesting concept really, they arrested criminals for wicked deeds done, rather than kill them like a 'Slinger did. So we went to them, figuring they might help me find Vy`Don Blaskus. I was wrong. Their cheif of police was not exactly helpful, Razor said that if I wanted to do something about his supposed crimes I could always join the force... And what the hey, sounded good to me. Though I didn't know the length of Blaskus's reach. Razor knew him, perhaps too well. I took to calling him Dull, a habit that I still retain, I can't call people by their names anymore, thus Antilles became 'Skeeter'. I served on the ICPD for a total of one full year...|
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
6. SLAYER SYDNICATE
Ah, the extent of the evil and corruption in the city. I followed a lead that led me to Vy`Don Blaskus... I had not seen him, but I found out he worked for this person known only as Slayer. I investigated further and found out that Slayer was linked to the military in some way. I was becoming pretty good in solving the smaller crimes in the city, but this one was well hidden with bribes and blackmail. I would not be swayed. I finally realized that the link to the military was Slayer's favorite toy, the VHG, the Vampire Hunter's Guild. I feared for Antilles on that one, but that also explained why my father was killed... King Dryien of Gerdan despised my father, for he would not succumb to his will, and he was a friend to most of the old super soldiers. Vampires hid regularly in our home. When I killed the one who murdered Seltec, then I'd hunt down Dryien himself, and paint his palace walls with his blood...|
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
7. HERO'S FALL
There was a moment in life that I was not sure as to who I was, or why I was here. My father was murdered, and I had great friends by my side now... that was why I was here, and my friends made me who I was. But how long would that last. The day I met Vy`Don Blaskus face to face was the day I realized not that long at all...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
He didn't know what had happened, he was still upset with the dismissal of Razor. Slayer's man had murdered his father, justice had to be done. But then the air around him had exploded with what seemed like a nest of angry hornets, zipping past them. Antilles and Dyerdon dove for cover, coming up, their own weapons in hand. A bullet ripped through one man's eye, he screamed in agony as he dropped. Dyerdon froze for a moment, just a moment, he had never killed a man before... The feeling sickened him, but he quickly made his resolve, Vy`Don and Dryien had to die. Standing he saw another man moving fast, his movements so much like his own. Antilles screamed for him even as Antioch ripped another man's throat out. Antilles thrashed about, his flesh smoking from the bullet that had found his chest. The bullet laced with the Black Jack toxin. He turned to see the other man coming at him... Knew this was Vy`Don himself. He stood quickly, coming up, his revolver an inch from his opponent, whose black revolver was the same, each aiming at the other's head... Each looking into their own face....|
"Trevor?" gasped Dyerdon. His brother looked equally surprised.
"Dy... what are you doing here?" asked Trevor... Vy`Don Blaskus.. the man who killed Seltec... His own father!
"I came to kill Vy`Don Blaskus... You.. How could you?"
"Easy... like this" Dyerdon knew the implications of those words, and moved around, his weapon coming up as he bent at the waist and twisted sideways, the bullet from Vy`Don's weapon going off harmlessly into the night. Dyerdon's bullet grazing the side of Vy`Don's face. A foot caught Dyerdon in the chest sending him sprawling onto his back, as he caught the glimpse of his brother holding the side of his head, blood dripping through his fingers... Their job done, he turned and fled with the rest of the VHG soldiers.
When Dyerdon finally regained the wind knocked out of him and stood he rushed to Antilles's side... there beside the charred and disfigured corpse lay Antioch, covered in the blood of many enemies, and riddled with bullet holes... Antilles and Antioch had been one in life, thus now, they were one in death... Dyerdon said a prayer over them.
"Rest in peace friends, and help lead me to the harder right, rather than the easier wrong," he whispered... He was once again alone in a city that did not care... No, not alone... there was still NightMare...
8. THE RAGENAR WARS
The city had grown on me, and I have came to learn many valuble lessons... Trevor was lost to us, but he was my brother, despite the depth of his crime I could forgive him. But he still had to come into justice. I had gone to Razor about Vy`Don again, when he had denied me that once more I went straight to the media. They put them all into hiding, and I was removed from the force. I remember leaving the PD when the first wave hit. The sky went dark, the roars of the great zombie dragons revertabrating off the city's walls, the groans coming from outside told of the invaders' desire to enter. We had gone to war, much like the battle of Pearl Harbor from the days of Old Earth... We had not expected it, but still it came, and I did all that I could that day...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
The cries of the wounded and dying filled his ears, the sky filled with the flying creatures. His revolver was a blur, his hand working the hammer while the other worked the trigger, the creatures taking many grazing wounds before going on their way. Then he saw two men, standing near the wall one man directing troops, the other seemed to be defending the other... The one barking orders he recognized as General John Stranycz, he would not yield though, despite his usual bigoted opinions and actions, he was defending the city he had claimed to want fall. Dyerdon moved toward him as the wall began to crumble, the other man called out to the General, leaping into him, the two rolled away even as the wall exploded. The hordes gaining their foothold. The General stood quickly beside the other man, a great war hammer in his hands. With a wild swing several of the undead creatures scattered from the blow.|
"Jerad! Are you alright? Still alive?" he called to his guard.
"Roger, sir... a little banged up..." came the reply. A blade cleaved a zombie in half before it reached the General. "But I've suffered worse," said the other man. Jerad Novain, grinned widely at the face of adversity, a sword in one hand, a sub machine gun in the other. The General offered a small chuckle as the second weapon turned several zombies into a pile of steaming, decomposing flesh. Despite their mirth, they were greatly outnumbered, and Dyerdon knew the outcome.
"To the Church of Light! They're our only hope!" called the General, Jerad nodded then began heading toward the church, he stopped when he realized the General was not following... Dyerdon watched in surprise... the General had been a dark sinister man, but now, seeing him, he saw the change, the light! He had just tricked Jerad into fleeing so he could set up his plan with out harming him... The gernade dropped between his feet with a clank... The explosion ripped through the air, the wall falling farther, creating a great hole. When the smoke cleared Dyerdon and Jerad stood side by side, holding their breath... Bodies littered the ground where the explosion had gone off, the General's included... Jerad said a small prayer, and Dyerdon joined him. The war was far from over, it had just begun, but then Dyerdon realized the extent of his path. That even the most wicked of people could be changed for the better.
9. FOUR LIGHTS UNTO THE DARKNESS
Once again I found myself alone, against a tide of pitch darkness. What was I to do against such odds? Fall back into my despair and depression? No, I would strive forward, a lone figure, a single light amongst the waves of blackness that ran and ruled the city. I had lost so much, my father, Antilles, and Antioch... and as far as I was concerned the man that had been Trevor Sandren, my own brother, was dead. All killed by one man, Vy`Don Blaskus. I swore that I'd not let my heart feel again, but I did not know the depths of which he could find, to still hurt my fragile heart.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
They moved to the Church, back to back. The chaos running rampant in the city. Jerad swore, falling backwards, thus pushing Dyerdon into a roll, the two came back up kneeling, each aiming in opposite directions. A huge monster of decaying flesh and bone roared loudly as it flew low overhead. They stood after it turned in its flight, with another teeth jarring roar, heading toward the location that everyone seemed to be heading to, the Church of Light. The two men paused looking up at the human-like shadow on the Church's spire... The undead dragon circling it. The dragon swooped down, its great maw gaping
wide. The figure brought its arm up, and a burst of light flew forth from the outstretched hand. The dragon stopped in midflight, thrashing violently from the sudden torrent of energy. Then the figure snapped its hand down. The dragon began falling, tumbling toward the now already screaming crowd below. Then it just exploded... Not violently like one would expect from such a great creature, but just as if a strong wind hit a pile of ash. It sprinkled harmlessly down upon the people. Several more of the undead creatures circled overhead, but upon seeing the spectacle, decided that there had to be easier prey in the city... The figure vanished for but a moment, then reappeared before the crowd, calling for order. Dyerdon froze, she was beautiful... A member of the CoL, and judging by her demeanor, the way she directed the crowd into the Church calmly, she was their head... A slow smile crept upon his
face, as he recalled the many nights back in Gerdan, with the women in that town...
The first member of the Church of Light I had met was not what I had expected. Not at all. I had thought of the old priests, in the long flowing robes... Not the exotic beauty that was HugsGM. I had gone toward her, forgetting the chaos around us. I wanted to get to know her a just a little... But before I could reach her a woman stepped in front of me calling my name... I stopped, looking at her, and what I saw came to me as a bit more then just a simple surprise, it was outright shock. My mother. The town had been flattened by the armies of Ragenar as they advanced through Gerdan, and I needed to go, Seltec needed me... That threw me. I tried to explain to her that he was not among the living anymore, and she told me she knew, but I should go to the Sandren Tomb, the place that held the final resting place of every Sandren that had been worthy of the title, 'Hero'. I was still confused however, but I agreed to go investigate. I turned to leave, NightMare by my side, she'd carry me to hell if she had to...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
The tomb was open to him, blackness leaking out into the burning day. The city far behind him, the desert all around, and the great stone tomb yawning ominously before him. Saying a silent prayer he entered. The tomb stank of evil, the forces of Ragenar defiling the crypt. Several Sandrens had lay scattered on the ground near a single tomb, which seemed untouched by time. The fallen Sandrens had been filled with fresh bullet holes in their decaying corpses. With trembling hands he moved to the tomb, reaching out slowly, he grasped the stone cover, pushing the lid forward... A loud click resounded in the crypt as the twin barrel of a small handgun came up aimed at Dyerdon's head... Seltec's eyes widened in surprise, as did Dyerdon.
"I wanted it to end with you..." he whispered, "Its a family curse, Dy... The Sandren's have always been born twins... One somehow always faded into darkness... And killed their parents... The other would hunt the first down, and kill him... only to someday have twins of his own. Then the cycle would begin anew..." Dyerdon turned to look at Seltec.
"You returned?" he asked. Dyerdon staggered back in reply.|
"M-mom said you... you needed me..." he stammered as Seltec lowered the weapon and slowly sat up.
"Did she?" he seemed to smirk, then he nodded. "I do..." he sighed at that. "Look at me, Dy!" he cried finally, "I seek rest, this unlife cannot grant me... The Dark Lord Nezalian has come here himself... He dominated me, all of us... but when he left to return to Ragenar I was freed... the others turned on me," he finished motioning to those fallen. Dyerdon was suprised at his father's resilience, and power within his heart.
"You want me to kill this Nezalian?" he asked him, still unnerved with the fact that he was talking to his dead father...
"I want you to find a way to free me... Please... That may be the only way... but fear not.. you shant be alone,"
Dyerdon nodded for a moment... he knew better... he was always alone. He turned to walk out but paused.
"When you died... you told me to break the cycle... I have no idea what that meant..." he said not turning around. He could hear Seltec's sigh.
"I swore to honor your death... And that I shall..." said Dyerdon, Seltec's eyes lowered in a profound sadness. "I could not kill my own brother... Nor shall I now... I will honor you, by doing that which you asked of me..." and with that Dyerdon spun, walking back out into the burning desert sand.
NightMare was becoming fast exhausted on that journey into the desert, as I rode her hard toward Ragenar's borders. The land of the dead. Yet I did not fear, for I had nothing to fear for. Nothing to live for. The Dark Lord Nezalian was my newest goal. I didn't know exactly who, or what he was, but I could make out the extent of his massing armies from the last sand dune, looking to the border and seeing the great battle fought there... The King Dryien, had pushed back the horde and was trying to hold them at the border in vain. I rode in hard and fast, diving off NightMare as my bullets found the undead. The I came up, face to face with a man I had sworn to kill...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
"Well met then... Say hello to your father for me..." he began to say... The ground seemed to explode beneath them, sending them flying in several directions. Dyerdon and Dryien lay side by side... Staring up at the towering form of the great sandworm. They could barely make out the form sitting on its back.
Dryien looked at Dyerdon oddly, the gunslinger had flew off his horse, rolling across the ground and then had come up, that gun in his hand pointing it at Dryien's head. Soldiers surrounded him, while more fighting continued.|
"Who dares speak my name without title or fear?" he growled at the man.
"Dyerdon Sandren, Son of Seltec!" he called back at him. Dryien rocked back on his heels... Seltec's son? A wicked grin soon replaced the shock, his hand came up.
"Enough!" came a female voice. Dyerdon turned his head to notice a beautiful woman walking toward them, her auburn locks barely covering her delicately pointed ears that showed her half-elven heritage, her dark tan was further proof that Gerdan was her home. Beside her was a tall man, a human, a sword in each hand, both covered with black ichor, and a strange pouch that wrapped about his left bicep. "There'll be no fighting amongst the living, not while Raganer is knocking at our door," she finished, then glanced back over her shoulder. The sandworm lowered its head, allowing the other form to hop onto the ground. The creature went back into the ground as Dyerdon stood. The man was some seven feet tall, a half-elf himself, with striking blue eyes, and wearing a heavy black cloak. A spear in his one hand... The man radiated with raw power in this place. Dryien snarled a reply, but the man with the swords stepped forward, his eyes shining with a bright green flame. Dryien, despite his power took a few steps back. He apparently knew these three, and feared them. Dyerdon glared across the short expanse of sands at him.
"This ain't finished..." he said to him. The king growled back his answer.
"Not by a long run, Son of Seltec..." with that statement the three paused, looking at Dyerdon.
"Son of Seltec?" asked the man with the swords.
"I thought you were in the city..." said the woman.
"I had my reasons to come back..." answered Dyerdon, the other man said nothing.
"We had planned to seek you out when we learned that your father's tomb had been defiled, but we had been busy pushing them back." began the swordsman.
"I am Lacey AcOula," said the woman, she pointed to the man who had stood beside her, "This is Neiko Jaxon," and then she pointed to the seven foot tall man who had not spoken a single word, "And that is PerVonus Drek," she finished with a slight bow. The king's eyes narrowed dangerously watching the exchange. Then Neiko spoke.
"We had gone to your town to find Seltec, we thought that a man of his stature could aid us in this time of troubles... We arrived too late, the armies had already marched through..."
"We prepare to push the armies of Ragenar back to their source," continued Lacey. "Right up to the gates of the ones responsible..."
"His name is Nezalian," answered Dyerdon, holstering his weapon, "And I need to kill him..." at his proclaimation the other three looked back to each other, then to him.
"How-?" began Lacey, Dyerdon held up a hand to cut her off.
"Long story, darlin'" he replied, "Long story"
The Fearless Four... What better name to describe four fools who would blindly charge death's gate? Neiko had called us the Gerdanian Four at one time, and I laughed and told him that it made us sound like a buncha push over, wussy boys like the VHG, or worse... Slayer! Who I had heard began to make a group called the Slayer's Six... How original... No, we became the Fearless Four. A human swordsman, a half-elven beauty... a theif... a human Gunslinger, and a half-elven Earthmancer, plodding forth into the coming wave of millions of blood-thirsty dead monstrosities... It was insanity to go forward, when our minds begged us to go back. Even PerVonus's ride, that great sandworm had the sense of mind to get outta there. But no... we had to do this. Myself, for my father... Neiko and Lacey had witnessed their own home decimated... And PerVonus? I learned he could not speak... he had such raw power within him that his vocal chords had never really developed. But over time I became close to this silent man, I took to calling 'Rocks' due to his ability with nature. I learned to read his thoughts so to speak, I could understand what he meant with a simple look, a nod, or a rolling of the eyes that I was becoming accustomed to. The undead horde was an afront to nature. While death brought about rebirth this undeath brought more death, and destruction. PerVonus would not allow this to continue, so he joined them. And then I to followed... Perhaps if it had been allowed by Fate we would have added more to our numbers, but Fate has been unkind to the Four, but that is another story. We continued on... undaunted by the endless horde that continued to block our way... But I remember that day... the day we finally found Nezallian's tower....
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
The tower stood before them, a plight upon a plight. Ragenar's desolate black land housing a darker tower. The grounds about it swarming with the great battle that raged on. A silver beast flew through the air, raining fire and destruction on the horde of undead monstrosities that ambled toward the ground force. A lone woman waded through the mass, sword leading the way as the other living creatures roared out their warcry. Dyerdon froze, he had heard of these people in InterCity... The Guardians. XenoDragon the leader of the group was the silver dragon, flying over the battlefield raining destruction. The woman was Wander, his second in command. The Guardians had taken the fight from the city... but how had they gotten here before them? He wondered... Then the four began moving, the ground trembling from PerVonus's power. A bolt struck one of the creatures in the head, from Lacey's crossbow, causing it to tumble backwards even as Neiko launched himself into the throng of undead. Bodies flying everywhere. Then came the horse... NightMare launching herself right beside Neiko, spinning, two zombies coming face to... well... foot really... with the black mare. Two hooves smashing into the decaying flesh of their faces sending them flying backwards in a crumbled heap of flesh and bone. Dyerdon levelled his weapon even as she spun, black ichor spraying from another monster's forehead... He hadn't the time for this... Nezalian was right in that tower... he knew it. He could sense it. NightMare reared up, then brought her hooves down, crushing the unlife from anything unlucky enough to stand before her. Another round sent a skeleton spiralling into its comrades. The doors slowly began to open, a wave of darkness seemed to swarm from the openning, and wrap around them.
"You are fools, to think you can contend with ~the~ Dark Lord" came a voice, that Dyerdon knew could only belong to this Nezalian. The creatures that had already fallen before them slowly began to rise again, pressing their attack, forcing them to fall back. Their blows no longer caused any harm. Wicked laughter ehcoed throughout the battlefield. Wander's sword cleaved through a former orc, it still stood.
Xeno sent down a column of silver fire upon a small group of them. They still stood... NightMare spun kicking two of the creatures in the face sending them flying backwards shattering bones, and ripping flesh. Yet they came back to their feet. Dyerdon unloaded his weapon at point blank range in the face... It only staggered back. The only person who fell anything was PerVonus Drek... The mute, half-elven shamen closed his eyes the ground trembling violently... A stone pillar erupted from the ground, slamming into the horde, crushing them. Their bones shattered, and while they still lived they were out of the fight. Then Dyerdon saw him... coming from the door stood a shadow. Two glowing red spheres standing out against the darkness. This was him... Nezalian... The man... could he be called that? The man who held his father in an unholy unlife... He cracked the cylinder dropping the shells, then snapped in the new rounds in one fluid motion. He took aim then fired. Everything seemed to happen at once, the spray of crimson blood from his own arm, the vertigo as the impact threw him from his mount. The dust shrouded his eyes as he hit the blasted ground, the excrutiating pain causing him to scream out. He could barely make out the crimson mark on his forearm, and the sound of Nezalian's laughter as he faded into darkness...
When I finally awoke I found myself in more pain then I had ever known, my coat had been removed to allow access to my arm, where my own bullet had pierced through the leather and flesh, muscle and then finally stopped at bone. One of Nezalian's spells prevented me from healing, and a black rotting effect began to form around the wound. Lacey tended it the best she could, while Neiko continued a screaming tirade at the steel door. Apparently Nezalian had thrown us into a dungeon deep in his tower. The severe earthquakes told me that PerVonus was trying to break us out, but to no avail. Only something with an inhuman strength could break through there... Little did I know, one such was with us...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
Neiko glanced back at Dyerdon, then muttered a silent curse. He was only getting worse. He slammed a fist against the door again, screaming for any to hear.
"Give 'em back! I swear, in about ten minutes ya won't be happy, cause I won't be happy..." he growled at the door when no answer was forthcoming, then punched the door again. They had taken the bandolier from his arm... The bandolier that held the syringes he needed... If he didn't have it, then the other two, PerVonus, and Dyerdon would know... Too late... he hissed a curse at the door, Dyerdon was too far gone from the pain, and all PerVonus could do was try his best to heal the festering wound. Lacey glanced up to see Neiko as it happened... First his clothing began to tear... then he clenced his eyes shut... the pain... God the pain... His eyes snapped open again as the world seemed to swirl before him, finally exploding into a myriad of reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues... The colors fell into the shapes of those around him. He could feel the coarse hair sprouting from his thickening skin, the fangs lengthening in his mouth. The room was bright... But nonetheless... Neiko Jaxon was who he had always been again... a mutant... Albeit hidden in human form to most, save those who knew him. Now he was a massive gorilla-like beast, with huge claws and fangs... the door was like aluiminum foil to his sudden fury... Rage filled his crimson eyes, his muscles bulging as he leaped out into the hallway... The sounds of battle reached Lacey and Pervonus's ears, but was quickly silenced, Neiko soon stood in the doorway.
"The way is clear" he growled. Lacey and Pervonus stood as Neiko approached, despite his massive size, his touch was gentle as he lifted Dyerdon. They'd not leave him behind, even if he were to die. They moved quickly across what passed as a foyer, Neiko practically leading the charge with Dyerdon still atop his broad shoulders as he shattered the bonemold door that stood before him. Dyerdon's eyes opened for a brief moment to see the interior of a great throne room. A battle was being waged beyond it, while the Dark Lord Nezalian himself stood in the center, turning sharply to face them...
I cannot describe the sensation I felt when I gazed upon Nezalian in that moment, there was no fear, only rage, and the incessent drone of his voice within my head. The wound I had bore was festering with his dark power, and he was within me in spirit... He had defiled my father, and now he had dared do such to me... This was now a battle that only I could win...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
"Son of Seltec... leave this mortal coil..." came the voice, Dyerdon paused, looking around the black and barren void that had suddenly surrounded him.
"You first," he offered, he could see nothing, but himself, which was odd given what seemed to be utter darkness.
"No... me last... If you will not leave I shall help you find your way off"
"You're more'n welcome to try..." was Dyerdon's response, his hand dropping to his right hip... he glanced down seeing he had no weapons... "Aw hell..." he swore as he glanced up in time to see the black creature glide down toward him. A shadow amongst shadows. He dropped into a roll in time to feel it blast through the air above him. Coming up onto his feet on the opposite side, he glanced up to see it was gone. His eyes scanning the surrounding void... he saw nothing. Sliding his trench coat off he watched in muted anticipation, saw the thing again, then snapped an arm up, the creature snagging in the leather coat... with a triumphant smile Dyerdon pulled back... And found himself airborne. The creature was stronger than he, and more agile. A quick sudden snap sent him up into the air, above the monstrosity, which he had noted had the wicked face of Nezalian. He turned about in the air as if to land on the creature.. only it had faded once more. Below him he could see the form of iron spikes rise up intent on skewering the gunslinger. Dyerdon closed his eyes, then hit something solid. His body felt a burst of warmth flood through him... And he found himself sliding to the ground. His eyes opened, a white light had appeared, forming a sort of slide for him... He knew what that was. His faith... He knew... Nezalian appeared before him, a look of surprise and apprehension on his weathered face.
"No..." he whispered as Dyerdon turned to look up at him.
"Oh yeah..." he said back to the necromancer, raising one hand
Nezalian was thrown backwards from the group, in what had seemed like an hour within their minds had been but a few seconds. Nezalian smashed through one blackened brazier, sending embers and red coals flying about the throne room.
"Set... me... down..." came a voice. Neiko started, then relized it was Dyerdon. He did as he was told. The wound had seemed to simply fade... but Dyerdon still ached. He staggered somewhat, then watched as Nezalian stood, a black sword materializing in his hand. The fighting outside had broken inward, and they immediately recognized the great dragon, Xeno as he burst forward, two quick cuts brought the mighty thing down. A garish 'X' carved in the great silver scales. Dyerdon moved fast, something that sounded like a prayer came from his mouth as his right hand, a blur to those watching, appeared before him, a loud report echoing within the room. All froze... the blade winked out of existance as a red pinprick appeared in Nezalian's forehead.
"Rest well father," Dyerdon said as Nezalian fell backward, dead as those he had summoned... The others paused to look at Dyerdon as he dropped, to sit on the floor...
10. SEAN McCREED
Returning to the city we found something darker still... In this day and age it is said that there is no good or evil... I beg to differ... In the form of Sean McCreed I had found such evil... such raw permeating menace... A drow, an elf with skin the color of black ink, the hair of whitest snow, and two eyes, that glowed with a wicked violet light, he did not come alone, he was rarely seen without his friend, called Odin, another drow, with a single red eye... Sean and Odin had been exiled from their home, and had come to InterCity, with pure malice in their hearts. To make matters worse they employed those thought past... My own brother, and his friends... With funding from their former employer, Slayer, they had been able to build something to allow Sean that which he wanted most... InterCity, in his name and no other, and the CoL destroyed. That was when the Fearless Four answered the call once more, and we had found ourselves in space, above Jenearth, and within a labyrinth within a space station, called Star One...
~from the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
They found it best to split up, in groups of two. Star One was huge. Lacey and Pervonus however had already found some trouble, in the form of Rain Sno'Narus, and Kavbra Nexis. Two of Vy'Don's team. Slayer's Six. Rain was an elf, of unsurpassed beauty, her heritage heavily seen as oriental. Kavbra was her polar opposite. An orc of gigantic size, his body covered from head to toe in scars. A great falchion blade in the place of his left hand. That was the moment they choose their first actual enemies, within the team. Lacey and Rain, Pervonus and Kavbra. Speed and agility, power and strength. Rain was an expert in several martial arts, she was after all an assassin, and Lacey was naught but a scout however, she could fight, but Rain was her better. Pervonus however proved to be Kavbra's better, throwing sand up into the air from his cloak, the sand blew into Kavbra's eyes with an unseen force, then solidified. Kavbra screamed in pain dropping to the ground. Rain turned, she had disarmed Lacey, and held her by her shirt, preparing to kill her. What she saw surprised her. A wall of rock, slamming into her, sending her up against the wall. Pervonus scanned the room, then moved to Lacey, throwing her over one shoulder. They had a mission to do...
"Just go get him, Dy..." said Neiko as he watched the three men approach him. He didn't like this at all. Vy`Don had made a run for the control room. Neiko faced the three swordsmen, alone. Dyerdon however refused to go.
"Damn it, don't be stupporn, Neik..." he whispered.
"I'm ordering you..." Dyerdon paused. Neiko had become their leader, reluctantly, but it seemed now that he was pulling his weight. "If Vy`Don succeeds we're all dead anyway..." Dyerdon nodded, then glanced at the three men. Randos Martis, he seemed like a good enough man, but what possessed him to join with this group. Nefar Dascon... Randos's best friend, a vampire, his blade was solid diamond, he didn't understand why he was here either. Artemis Njrek however was a whole 'nother story... That man was insane. Dyerdon began to move as Neiko charged them. Dyerdon could make out Vy`Don's form as he ran down the long corridor that attached to the observatory that a great duel had begun within. A set of blast doors began closing behind him, forcing Dyerdon to dive through the gap. Vy`Don's foot kicking him in the stomach as he came through. A blast of air leaving his lungs violently. He lay there for a few moments, Vy`Don driving another booted foot into his gut.
"You are still a fool, Dyerdon..." he snarled at him, kicking him again. Dyerdon, unable to defend himself in his prone position, simply took the blow again. "You are nothing but a thorn in my side... I thought that with him dead there would be no one to oppose my rise to power... But here you are!" another kick, this time Dyerdon anticipated and rolled with it. Slamming against the wall hard. He grunted, looking up at his twin. Vy`Don shook his head, standing over the control panel now. "Doesn't matter... We all die here," he said, his fingers working on the keyboard. A whirring sound filled the room as a small section of the panel slid away to reveal a great red button, set onto a dial. Vy'Don gave it a quater of a turn to the right, Dyerdon stood slowly.
"No one dies... no one needs to," he told him. Vy'Don looked at him, then smiled... The smile was darkly sinister on his face. His hand hovering over the button.
"Still a fool," he repeated, his hand dropping. A blur of motion from Dyerdon found Vy`Don clutching his bloody stump of a wrist. He let out a loud roar of pain as his hand splattered against the view window, that overlooked the observatory. Vy'Don looked back at his brother, the look of pain gone from his eyes. He turned toward the button again. A bullet tore through his back, propelling him across the panel, a shuddering breath escaped him, then he was still. Dyerdon sighed softly, then glanced out the window, Neiko was in trouble... He turned and sprinted down the hall again.
Neiko dropped into a roll beneath the diamond blade, the weapon carving a deep indentation in the steel plating. He spun as he came up, bringing his blade up to block Randos, then he cried in pain as Artemis cut deep into his back. He turned again then rolled backward, leaving a trail of blood, snapping his blade up, Randos screamed out in surprise, a deep cut from wrist to elbow sending him back. Randos's sword dropping to the ground. Nefar glanced at him for a moment, giving Neiko the time he needed. His blade cutting clean through his right shoulder, removing the arm. The vampire screamed out dropping to his knees, then Artemis was upon Neiko again. Neiko brought his blade up to block, but Artemis feigned his attack, and drew a deep gash across his stomach. He staggered backward. Slashing at Artemis's throat. Laughing Artemis slapped the sword away then stabbed Neiko's right arm, severing the bandolier that rested there, then snapped it off. Neiko's arm dropped, a coldness creeping through it. He dropped one of his blades, then stepped back as Artemis advanced, cutting backward, the forward again. Right then left in a deadly dance of steel. A loud explosion made him jump in surprise. Artemis staggered backward, looking down at his chest. A red patch had appeared there and began to spread. He looked back up in surprise. Neiko turned and saw Dyerdon Sandren, the Son of Seltec, standing there, his father's equalizer smoking and still aimed at Artemis. Neiko turned back to Randos and Nefar, they were gone.
"I told... you to... go..." said Neiko.
"And I did... Vy... Trevor... is-" his words were cut off as Artemis fell, and a female voice filled the station.
"Self destruct in T-minus 10 minutes and counting," They looked at each other for a moment, then began to run... They didn't get far... Standing at the far end of the corridor stood a tall man, his skin was pitch black, like black ink. Two violet eyes burned with outrage, his long white hair cascading about him like a shroud, pointed ears protruded from the tangle. He wore solid red armor, with obsidian in place, a medallion hung about his neck, half sun/half moon, solid black. This was the drow elf, Sean McCreed. Dyerdon drew at once, firing, the drow flickered as the bullet ripped through thin air. Twin scimitars hissed free of their scabbards. One becoming solid flame, the other glowing with a pale blue light.
"How dare you..." he spat at them. "How dare you!" and with that the drow came running straight at them. Dyerdon fired again, nothing... how was that- the drow cut through his trench, digging a thin cut into his chest. Dyerdon hopped backward, then looked to Neiko. His friend was not doing too well. He winced, looking down at his cut, it felt so... cold... and the cold spread. He looked up in time to see Sean's flaming sword coming down at him. He closed his eyes. What he had expected never came... He opened his eyes to see Neiko's own blade blocking the other. Thick fur had formed on Neiko's forearm, his wounds gone. He now wore a smile.
"Go get Lacey and Pervonus..." he told him.
"Again?" Dyerdon asked, as Neiko advanced on their target. "You want me to hide while you have all the fun?"
"No... I want... you... to..." Then he became feral. The monstrosity that none matched in strength. Sean's eyes widened as he scrambled backward, his blades working to keep the beast at bay. "I want you to help them... I'll meet you at the escape hatch..." he finished. Dyerdon didn't like it, but as they vanished behind a set of closing blast doors, he realized he really had no choice in the matter. He ran on...
Sean backed up, then grinned slightly. Neiko paused, watching him through burning red eyes, why on earth was he smiling... He didn't sense the madness that had consumed Artemis Njrek...
"You are not the only one with tricks up your sleeve, mutant..." he said. The medallion about his neck began to glow.
"Do not..." growled Neiko, as Sean dropped his weapons. Claws began to extend from his fingers, as he began to grow in size. Neiko moved fast, swinging his blade through the drow's neck, Sean's head rolled across the ground. He turned to leave, but a sound stopped him. The body had fallen, but twitched, the skin turned into scales, a thin protrusion running along it's spine. Sean's dead eyes took on a reptillian look, its mouth and nose elongating into a large fanged snout. It's neck stretched outward, then split as two similar heads grew from them. Neiko stumbled backward, as a bladed tail appeared, and the eyes opened to look at him.
"Do you like?" said the gigantic, mutated Sean. "Its a swamp hydra, a denizen of Devil's Creek... my homeland..." The bladed tail snapped down at Neiko, he parried then hopped forward, bringing the blade across and through the tail. A sickening 'rip' gave Neiko pause as two more tails grew from the wound...
Dyerdon had found Pervonus carrying Lacey still. She was hurt, bad.
"Rocks... we gotta get to the pod," he told the mute shaman. He looked at Dyerdon, then tilted his head. "He'll join us there" the shaman nodded and they began to run together for the escape pod.
"Good... progress..." came a voice over the intercom, it sounded laced with blood... But Dyerdon knew it well, "I'll... be... waiting for... you... brother," finsihed Vy`Don. They didn't slow down, and when they reached the pod they realized he was not bluffing. Between them and the pod were the remainder of the Six. Vy`Don's face was covered in blood, Randos's arm was injured, and Nefar only had one arm, Rain and Kavbra seemed to be the only two without any actual injuries... But that would not prevent an epic fight here. Dyerdon's revolver came up levelled at Vy'Don, who only smirked at him. Raising a hand that had been shot off earlier... It was fully healed...
"Going to shoot me again, dear brother...?" he asked Dyerdon with a feral snarl, despite his wicked grin. Then a loud explosion drew their attention down the corridor... Neiko in his beast form seemed to be wrestling with a massive many headed, many tailed, overgrown lizard (Dyerdon's words...). They burst into the main escape pod chamber. Forcing all within to scramble back. Neiko bore many grievous wounds, and the reptile didn't seem close to being injured. Neiko looked at them as he fought the thing, a pleading look. Pervonus knew what he wanted of them, and began to bound for the escape pod. Vy'Don and the others seeming to vanish elsewhere, they didn't want anything to do with Sean's hydra form. Dyerdon fired at the beast. One of the heads exploded, before being replaced by two more.
"Go, damn it!" called Neiko as the beast managed to throw him against the wall.
"The hell ya say!" cried Dyerdon, rushing to his friend's side, he was not going to leave him behind... Neiko wobbled on his feet as Dyerdon helped him up, the hydra letting out a wicked roar. Neiko glanced at Dyerdon, then the hydra. With one hand he punched Dyerdon, hard, the power behind the blow nearly decapitating him, instead he was flung against the far wall. He strode forward as a bladed tail snapped out at him, narrowly avoiding it, scooping up Dyerdon in one hand then flung him into the escape pod with the other two. A second bladed tail ripped from his chest... He gasped in surprise, then was turned to look in the hydra's many eyes. He heard a scream, and glanced over his shoulder to see Lacey... she had awoken. A bolt fired from her crossbow putting out one of Sean's eyes. He roared again as Neiko gripped the blade, then twisted, it snapped, and he found himself laying on the floor. Sean turned toward him, forcing him to roll away, leaving a gigantic trail of blood. The stood weakly. The hydra snapped another tail at him, this time it was Neiko who roared out. In outrage, pain, and sorrow, he caught the tail, then spun. The hydra was lifted from the ground, colliding into Lacey, sending her back into the pod. Then he spun again throwing the beast away from the pod running toward it himself. The hydra roared behind him, the bladed tail tearing through his back and out his chest yet again... Blood sprayed into the pod. He smiled at them weakly, then to Lacey...
"I'll always love you..." he told her, then hit the red button beside the door. The pod hissed shut, then jettisoned into space, toward Jenearth. Lacey pulled herself upright to stare out the pod's small porthole in time to see Star One erupt into a great fireball that buffeted the small ship. Lacey closed her eyes, forcing a stop to the tears as she set back... The Fearless Four were no more...
11. KATELIN MORGAN
What sort of man had I become? I'd lost my father to my own brother, and now I've lost two great friends. The women in my life never really meant anything to me. Sure, they were good, and they were friends when I needed them, and yes, I cared about them, but love was an emotion I'd only heard of. Then I came to an odd place called Beyond's End. Somewhere in the Wildlands. All forest, and one lone tavern had caught my eye. Naturally I entered, and found the one thing that made the thought of any sort of resistance a joke.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
She snorted derisively when the cowboy entered. Long red curls framed her angelic face, and demonic eyes. Her eyes, those were what hit him. Emerald green, and sparkling with such fire. She wore a green tunic with a leather corset tied over the front, a sword hung from her perfectly shaped hip. The gunslinger allowed his most charming smile to fall upon his lips as he santered up to the bar she sat at.
"Self serve?" he asked in regards to the bar. She didn't say anything at first before snatching the black stetson off of his head and dropping it onto the bar in front of him. He simply rose a brow.
"Havn' ya heard that ya need ta take yer hat off in the presense of a lady?" she asked with much disgust at his presense. Her voice was musical, she did that irish lilt justice.
"My apologies darlin'," he said bringing a hand to his head in a small salute, then offered it to her, "I'm Dyerdon Sandren," he told her, she didn't seem like the type of person who cared about lineage so he stopped himself from continuing with the rest of his title. "And you are?"
"Not interested," she told him after taking a disgusted look at his hand. Part of him wondered if his reputation had preceded him.
"Suit yourself," he told her sliding onto a barstool. She scowled deeply, though to him it did nothing to remove the immense beauty.
"Cocky, arrogant..." she muttered, causing Dyerdon to flash her another charming (usually) grin.
"That'd be me," he told her, winking. That made her stand.
"I oughta hogtie ya, if ya gonna be keepin' that up," she told him. He simply shrugged at her standing himself as if rising to some challenge.
"You're more'n welcome ta try darlin'... If that's your thing," he stated. She growled, a coil of rope coming into her hand from her side, snapping out what appeared to be a lasso, her throw was perfect, looping around him, then with a pull, she tightened it. Dyerdon favored her with another grin, then moved fast, diving forward to roll past her feet, trapping her hand behind her back with a cry of surprise he continued around her, making circuit after circuit. She stared at him as he stopped in front of her, the lasso having gone slack on him, he removed it, then slid it on over her, tying it neatly into a bow. When all was done, she was the one completely tied...
"Now.. I don't know what ya got against me, darlin'... but I ain't done nothin' to ya, so I can let ya go and at least get a civil meetin' here, or I jus' have my fill of refreshment, and get me a room for the night, an' whoever comes by can let ya go," he offered her. She didn't seem pleased, but she relented.
"Let me go..." she said, he gave her a look for a moment, "Please..." she added, saying the word as if it was a curse. With a small grin from the gunslinger, he untied her. With a sigh she gathered up her ropes and moved to sit down.
"Self serve?" he asked again, "I'm just tired, an' thirsty, maybe a little hungry-"
"Am I ta believe ye expect me to serve ya?" she asked him incredously. Dyerdon rose a brow.
"My arms an' legs ain't broke darlin'... Think I can manage..." he told her, she paused to stare at him as if surprised.
"Aye, it is self serve," she told him, then watched as he grabbed a bottle of whiskey moving back to his seat. "What manner of male be ye?" she asked him, "If ye not wish to make a female your servant?" she asked. That made the gunslinger pause in the process of pouring himself a glass.
"You use stereotypes, darlin'," he told her, "I ain't here to cause any sorta trouble," he told her before reaching into his coat to pull out a flask, pouring some of the dark liquid into his glass, it turned the whiskey black as tar.
"Ye're not from around here then, are ye?" she asked him.
"Surprised there's anyone 'round here... there's only trees as far as I can see..." he told her. She simply nodded, then passed him her empty glass. He stared at it for a moment, then poured her some of the whiskey.
"Lemme try some o' that, I bet I could drink ye under the table," she told him. Another challenge? Was that it, he had bested her and won once, now she wanted to try again, just to say that she could not be beaten again... accepted then... Challenges came often in his line of duty, and he'd always stand to take them on headfirst. He added the black substance, then handed the drink to her. They nodded in acknowledgement and both down the first shot. She coughed once, her eyes bulging as Dyerdon watched her calmly as if nothing happened to him.
"What the hell is this?" she asked him, her voice hoarse.
"We call it Black Whiskey," he told her, she nodded absently, motioning for him to pour her another round, he obliged but held the glass back. "You sure?" he asked her.
"I'm made of tougher stuff then I look, I can assure ye," she told him, he nodded then allowed her to take the drink once again. Once again they downed it, the woman swayed in her seat threatening to topple. Dyerdon caught her but was pushed away.
"None of ye'r advances now.." she slurred. Dyerdon smirked lightly.
"I think you're done," he told her, his body had grown near immune to the effects of the potent liquid, but he could see she was worse for wear, despite her scowl, he could hear the sound of another man enter at that point, though he opted to ignore the man, he wasn't threatening, though a bit curious as he watched them.
"I'll tell ye when I'm done, not the other way around," she managed.
"I won't be held accountable for what may occur," he told her. She scowled deeply, trying to stand, she almost fell, but she possessed a grace far beyond her drunken state.
"Nothing'll be occurin' unless ye forfeit to me now... cause I'm not as drunk as ye seem ta be thinkin' I am," she told him. He shrugged, and another round was made. Together they downed it, and she fell backwards, Dyerdon stood to catch her but the newcomer was there already, catching her in powerful arms. The gunslinger looked to the man for a moment, taking in his features, he wore only a deer skin loin cloth, showing off his many muscles, it was apparent he belonged out here in the Wildlands...
"Lady Katelin... Are you alright?" asked the man. She smiled up at him.
"Nevah bettah Lyro..." she mumbled, a hand trailing up his forearm, the man turned a bright red.
"We should get 'er some coffee..." he began, she scowled at him, even in her drunken state it was obvious that she still didn't care for him, didn't matter.
"That man beat me twice now, dinna he?" she asked, the guy simply shrugged and looked at Dyerdon, almost pleading, her hands were moving all over him, and it was evident that the man hadn't that much willpower if that'd continue.
"You'll need some coffee," Dyerdon tried to tell her.
"The hell ye say," she murmured.
"That or cold water," he said to her.
"You wouldna dare..." and with those words the gunslinger vanished, heading behind the bar, he popped up with a pitcher full of ice filling it with water.
"What are you planning on doing, sir?" asked the Tarzan looking fellow.
"Drinkin' coffee?" he asked the woman, Lyro recieved no answer.
"Kiss me lily white a-aahh!" came her reply as Dyerdon let the water fly. Lyro on instinct got himself out of the way, but let go of the woman, Katelin, as the water hit. Black whiskey may have been extremely potent, but the shock of cold water normally sobered one right up out of it's stupor... Such was the case now. She sputtered upon the ground before turning her emerald gaze upon him, the gunslinger saw flames burning in those eyes as she pointed at him. A brow rose as the hair raised on the back of his neck, what...
"Ibnair Glaciurius.." she muttered, before Dyerdon could say anything a shadow fell over him causing him to look up at a dark cloud, a curse was all he managed as the cloud broke apart dropping a gout of icy water upon him. He sputtered in surprise, she was a magic user? Her laughter echoed in the tavern drawing his eyes to her, he must've made a comical looking figure there, his hair matted to the side of his face. He simply stared for a long moment before laughter claimed him as well. He moved around the bar as the man, Lyro, just moved clear of the odd pair, the gunslinger finally sliding to the ground in his laughter.
"Okay... that's twice ye've bested me," she said once her laughter had subsided.
"I didn't realize that we were in competition," said Dyerdon, his eyes scanning over her face as they both stood facing each other.
"Somethin' ye should know about me, Mister Sandren," she told him, "I'm a very competetive creature by nature,"
"Well, I am glad that I was able to stand up to your standards," he told her.
"Ye're still failin' in one..." she said, leaning toward him. That surprised him, as her eyes closed, her face growing closer and closer. He began to back peddle fast, he could handle any woman who wanted him, but this woman seemed different, and her advance frightened him. The way she slipped her leg between his, wrapping it about his leg. With a shot he realized too late her ploy and found himself sprawled flat on his back. She pouted lightly looking down at him.
"Don't wanna kiss little ol' me?" she asked, Dyerdon would have strongly disagreed with that statement, but had difficulty in finding the words to do so, a wicked grin slowly spread upon her face. "Looks like I've finally bested ye then," she stated. A flame burned brightly behind his face, for Dyerdon too was a creature of competition, and he'd be damned if he let this woman win. He was up on his feet in an instant, staring hard at her, she still wore that grin of triumph upon her face, until Dyerdon grabbed ahold of her, in that moment she went for a dagger that hung on her belt, but the thought that he might hurt her collided hard with the reality of the movement, his lips crushing her's... Her body went limp in his arms as he pulled her tighter against him, not wanting to let go of her now. Electricity crackled about the air stirring up the storm that raged inside both of them. Then with that it was over, Dyerdon stared at her as she broke the kiss, for the first time in his life, he was at a loss. Her eyes went wide as she scrambled from his arms, and began to back out the door.
"Wait.." Dyerdon managed to breathe even as she stumbled down the steps, landing in a sitting position, he came forward but she was back on her feet and turning to run off into the surrounding woods...
My mind had fogged up under the heat of that kiss. Blurred and steaming in my head. I had been with many women in my life time, but this woman, with hair as firey as her spirit, had ahold of me in ways I could never hope to understand, so naturally, even though I let her run, I wound up seeking her out again. My heart pounded relentlessly harder the closer I came to where she was, but it stopped when I found her two days after our first meeting.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
He swallowed hard as he took in the scene. She sat with her back to him upon the edge of the steaming waters, her legs unseen from the knees down in the pool. She let out a sigh, leaning back slightly on her hands, her firey hair cascading down her bare back, dripping upon the rocks. He took note of the green marking, a celtic cross wrapped about a red rose, right above her buttocks, on the left, on the small of her back. He found himself unable to move, he wanted to say something, anything, but the words caught in his throat. He felt like he should just turn about and leave the naked beauty there, wait until she was decent... but he couldn't find the strength to tear his eyes away, only watching as she washed herself. She paused for a moment, then reached for her clothes, grabbing up her sword in a flash to coming up on one knee facing him, he almost fell down at her athletic buld, and perfect body, then found himself on his back just the same, lightning crackling across him, she had said something before and he then realized she had zapped him... She heard her footsteps before feeling the tip of her sword against his throat, he looked up at her, and took note in the bright redness in her cheeks.
"You? How did ye find me?" she asked him, she didn't seem like one for modesty, but she made moves to cover herself now.
"I asked around, Lady Morgan..." he told her, bringing a deeper touch of scarlet to her face, "I found your trail in the woods, and I followed it," he added.
"To what end?" she asked, scowling down at him before she began to back away, "There was a reason I left ye in the tavern like I did... I reason why I ran,"
"And your reason for running is mine for following..." he said slowly, painfully standing.
"Ye're a fool, I'm a ShinJari warrior, I will not be dominated by a male," she hissed at him.
"And I have no desire to dominate you," he told her, moving toward her, she came back to back with a tree, her sword held up toward him, trembling lightly, he looked at it incredously before slapping the blade away with his hand, it turned to the side and she let it drop as he moved to her.
"I simply... want to be with you," he added, his hands finding her shapely hips, she melted against him as he kissed her again. His body burned with her touch, and when he found no resistance, he pushed forward, soon he felt her arms move around him, and his kiss returned, before they tumbled to the ground. As many times as Dyerdon Sandren had been with a woman, this time, here and now, was the first time he ever actually made love to one.
So that's the story of how I met the woman I later married... In order for me to actually take her hand I would've had to fight her, and that I refused. She too couldn't fight me, not anymore. Her people wouldn't let her go through with any ceremony even if she were to turn aside her people. No, instead she told me to return to the city, where she felt I was needed, I refused to leave her, and she told me that I wouldn't be, she would go to InterCity with me. As my wife... An odd feeling that, and one I relished for as long as I could.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
12. SOLO ACT
What can be said about the greatest friend I have ever known, aside from Antilles? Solo Darken is a unique soul. A spirit that despite having a natural jovial manner, like yours truly, he also had a dark aspect of his heart. I still remember when I first met him I had been trying escape Slayer, who had begun to make it's presence known once more. The rest was just history.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
He staggered more than just a little as he entered the pub, a handcuff clamped to one wrist, the chain having been broken off. One man watched him in silence for a moment before finally speaking.
"A little trouble with the law?" he asked him. The gunslinger grinned looking back to him.
"No trouble," he told him.
"You got a name, stranger?" he asked him seeming intrigued by the man.
"Dyerdon Sandren," he told him. The man nodded to him before grinning wolfishly.
"Sergeant Solo Darken, ICPD..." he told him. Dyerdon's smile froze for a second.
"Nice ta meet ya.." he began before diving out the window. Solo muttered a curse before giving chase. Dyerdon moving hand over hand up the fire escape, the good Sergeant right behind him. The gunslinger hopped up onto the roof, running wildly as Solo reached the roof, giving chase. Dyerdon spun, drawing his revolver, causing the cop to swear as he charged faster at him, the report filling the air, followed by a loud snap, a crackle then a pop. The gunslinger hadn't fired at Darken, but rather a power line! The cable landing in the way. Solo didn't slow down, he leaped upward, wings erupting from his back, his body becoming larger. Dyerdon turned again in time to come to the edge of a nasty looking drop. He'd never make it to the other roof across the street far below... The dragon roared behind him loudly.
"What the hell..." he muttered, leaping. The dragon diving after him... Yep... sure enough... he missed the roof, he braced himself. The sound of glass shattering around him as he rolled along the ground, okay, that hurt.. but he was alive. The sound of movement told him to head up the stairs as the dragon, now a mere (hardly) elf again came flying through the window to crash painfully at the base of the stairs.
"Well, I'd love ta stay, but... ya know.. I can't at the moment," he told him. Moving toward the window.. perfect.. he heard a groan then footsteps as Solo began to charge back up the stairs again. He reached the top just in time to watch Dyerdon drop from the window.
"Son of a-!" he cried moving toward the window in time to see a speeding convertible. "Lucky bastard..." he muttered leaping after him, landing lightly, then began to give chase, calling into his comlink. "Got a suspect, headin' for the wall! Red convertible, stop him at all costs!"
All costs happened to be a guard with a anti-personell weapon, Dyerdon grunted as it was fired upon them. Grabbing the kid who was driving, spinning out of the vehicle to shoot the man in the shoulder. The vehicle erupting in flames. Solo was fast himself, he had even been gaining on them, up until Dy spun in the air. The report of his revolver echoing in the already noisy courtyard. The sound of an explosion.. several explosions actually.. preceded it. Solo tried to stop, but was running too fast, another car coming around a corner, swerving on its blown out tires, collided into him, throwing him up and onto the hood. In his blurred vision he could make out Dy's form running through the hole in the wall. A hole created by the seemingly ancient Ragenar Wars. A shrill whistle, a black horse.. and he was gone.
Solo groaned lightly as he slowly opened his eyes, feeling the ache in his bones, his mind spinning wildy about him. Who the hell was that man? He slowly sat up taking a slow look around. A bed? Where..? ICMC... The InterCity Medical Center... he knew this place anywhere. He slid his feet to the cold ground, wincing. That bastard hit him with a car? What the hell? He moved to the window for a moment to stare out at the city, in time to see a burning object fall from the sky in the distance, the impact rattling the windows... Something told him that something dark and foreboding had returned...
"What the hell do ye think ye're doin' out there, Dy?" asked Katelin. He simply shook his head.
"Slayer made his move..." he muttered, she scowled.
"Ye need to be more careful, Dyerdon," she said, he nodded, though something seemed off about her words, before she would have been upset that she had missed the action.
"What's wrong?" he asked her, moving to hold her. After his daring escape he had managed to double back and move through the gates of the city to the apartment they called home.
"What? Can't I want my husband to be safe?" she asked him, then sighed softly, burrying her face in his chest. "I'm... pregnant.." she murmured against him. Dyerdon opened his mouth to say something, anything reassuring, but then it hit him what she had actually said.
"You're what?" he asked, his voice cracking.
"I was gonna tell ye sooner... but I didn't know how you'd feel about it, we've never talked about kids..." she sounded scared to him, he took her shoulders in his hands and held her away from him for a moment so he could look into her eyes.
"This city may not be the best place to raise children, but it's a place we can try... This is good news," he told her. She stared at him for a long moment before her lips turned up into a small smile of her own. The kiss that fell between the two in that moment was one of deepest passion, and the purest of loves.
"You really shouldn't let him get to you?" she purred in his ear. Solo scowled lightly, turning to look at the red haired woman, and her pale grey eyes.
"I'm supposed to bring outlaws like that in, Lya," he muttered, before rubbing the bridge of his nose. She chuckled kissing the tip of it then moved away.
"Seems like he's an interesting fellow to me," she said. That brought another scowl on the elf's face.
"I'll give him that much... He has a knack for elusion," he called after her. A small laugh was all she gave before falling back into a chair.
"And you have a knack for bringing people in, normally," she teased.
"And I will... in due time..." he muttered, looking down at his legs, they still ached, but apparently the man hadn't meant to deal any lasting damage... then again if he had been anyone else... He'd have been dead from the impact. Could be this Dyerdon knew that? Knew that he'd survive?
"You're thinking too much on it," her voice brought him from his thoughts, he offered her a small smile as he focused upon her. Her hand motioning for him idly to come to her. Who was he to refuse?
Days went by as I went about business as usual, I kept reminding myself of the wife I had, and the child on the way, a son... I just knew it, it had to have been a son, I was a father to be, what father to be wanted anything other than a son. Truly I was happy, no matter what the outcome would have been. I knew I'd have to keep a low profile, the police were so completely and utterly corrupt that I had little faith in them. And they would keep seeking me out, if Darken had pushed the chase any further I probably would have wound up shooting him... An act I would have not enjoyed at all, but I thought he had been corrupt too, better to be a corrupt man, knowing that the force was corrupt than a noble one, finding out the hard way...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
"Why the hell do you keep bringing me these guys, Darken?" asked the larger man, Solo noted that Razor never seemed very happy... like... ever...
"Breaking and entering, that's usually a public offense, people are supposed to be arrested for that," he said, sarcasm, just one more free service offered by one Solo Darken.
"The place wasn't owned by anyone..." Razor said.
"There was a small family hidding out in it, Chief,"
"And I bet you think he was trying to do a hit or something equally paranoid, huh?" he asked him, scowling deeper, that was a new one, didn't realize he COULD scowl any deeper.
"The last guy that didn't let anything go here, got let go... you got it?"
"I got alot gots and go's..." he said, Razor simply stared at him for a long, long time. "Out of your office?"
"Out... of... my office..."
"You got it," Solo said stepping out the door.
Dyerdon walked down the street with a massive spring in his step, any more spring and he would've been skipping. A large smile spread across his handsome features. He was in an excessively good mood, a son, he'd have a son, he knew he'd have a son... (though to ask Katelin what she thought she knew it'd be a daughter just as he knew it to be a son... such was the way of men and women...) He rounded a corner and paused. There stood a woman, an obvious woman of the street in profession, scowling lightly at a familiar face. Sergeant Solo Darken, of the ICPD, she did NOT look happy. From the sound of it he was threatening to arrest her or write her a ticket... He smirked, could always have a little fun with him he supposed and help the poor girl, he didn't approve of her choice of job, and would later try to get her to stop, but for now, he didn't want her hurt in the prisons around here. So of course, he walked by, waving at Solo.
"Hey Sarge, good ta see ya back on the beat..." he said. The man had been reaching for his handcuffs when he caught sight of Dyerdon, the woman opened her mouth to say something but found her facing an empty space... Solo forgetting her then and there to give pursuit to Dyerdon who already had began to run. This time however it was Solo who decided to shoot, he reached for his weapon, drawing in a flash and pulled the trigger, he paused, then pulled again, with a hiss he looked down at his weapon as if it betrayed him, the safety was off! Why the hell wouldn't it shoot? He aimed again, and pulled, still nothing. With a growl he lowered his body to move faster toward the man as he rounded the corner, barreling forward, sliding the revolver back into his holster he went for the assualt rifle on his back, and raised it to take aim, pausing. What? Where the hell did he go? His ears twitched lightly, a sound that a person with normal hearing would never hear came easily to his keen ears, his eyes snapping up, why did he always have to climb? He turned to fire at him, the weapons jumping in his hand lightly, the report echoing in the street. Dyerdon turned at the last second, rolling onto the roof. Solo growled, he knew there was no way for him to reach the top in time... The guy would have escaped a second time... He turned, noting his shadow on the ground, he was running along the rooftop, the image jumped a gap between the shadows of two building. Solo grinned suddenly, then broke into a run beside the buidlings, his body begining to change as he ran. Massive wings ripping from his back. Within moments the great crystal dragon was tearing the the street, flapping to lift into the air.
Dyerdon ran on, he couldn't slow, couldn't stop, he knew that the cop would continue his unrelenting chase, though he held onto the hope that he could clear the next, larger gap, between buildings. He leaped forward, his eyes widening at the sound of the great roar beneath him his eyes moving down to see the wide maw of a dragon snap up at him, and he had nowhere to go to escape the biting mouth that fell over him with a loud snap!
Gah! Did he roam the desert? The man tasted awful! He dropped to the roof with a crash, feeling the man inside his mouth struggling futilely, there'd be no escape from him this... time? As the thought passed his head his mouth felt as if something exploded, his nostrils flared and burned, his eyes watered and something ate at the back of his throat. With a cry the dragon lurched forward, spitting Dyerdon across the ground, gasping for breath, noxious fumes floating in the air around them. Dyerdon gagged on the ground as Solo reverted back to his usual humanoid form, gagging as well. What the hell was that? His blurring vision focused on a steel canister nearby, he stared at it for a long moment, then started coughing again.
"Tear gas? You asshole!" he coughed. Dyerdon tried to laugh a little, cause as unamused as Solo found the affair, it was funny. That just ticked him off more, still gasping for air he threw himself toward Dyerdon. The two crashing together in a heap, rolling across the roof, coughing, gasping and in the case of Solo, cursing. In the end Dyerdon wound up on top, his revolver out and aimed at his head.
"I... Can't... let you take... me in..." he managed, being free from the gas cloud now the cool air helped to regain his composure. Solo's eyes widened as the man thumbed the hammer back and pulled on the trigger... Nothing happened. The two stared at his weapon in surprise, the gun had no safety, unlike Solo's, but the make was much the same. Dyerdon figured it out however, where Solo failed too.
"You're a Gunslinger..." he said, a statement, not a question.
"Wha-huh? What's that have to do with anything?" growled Solo.
"Everything... I wield an Equalizer, a 'Slinger's weapon, it bonds to its wielder over time, only usable by 'Slinger's, and can't fire upon fellow 'Slingers..." he said. Solo simply stared up at him.
"We're hardly fellow 'Slingers..." he said, before Dyerdon could react however, a fist found the side of his head, throwing him to the side. The man packed a punch, he'd give him that much.
He awoke with a start, his head hurt like hell. He reached up to touch the side of his head, feeling the bandages tied tightly over his cheek. He groaned a bit turning about to press his hands against the hard, dusty concrete, pushing himself up. It took him a moment for his vision to clear, the world swam about him for a moment before they focused on the bars before him. A jail cell... Solo caught him. The thought of that brought a grin to his features. Then a frown, Katelin... what about Katelin?
"Okay, time's up, you can go..." came a voice, causing him to jump, he looked toward the bars again, he could hear the shuffling of feet, and some talking, another prisoner was being released. A large man swaggered by his cell, long black hair dishelved about his face, a scar running along the unmistakable face, and across the arrogant, smirking lips.
"Jerad Novain?" Dyerdon asked, surprised. The man spun about to stare long and hard at the gunslinger before a massive smile threatened to engulf his head.
"Dydie! Ya ol' rascal... Fancy meetin' you here," he exclaimed.
"Yeah, what's an old merc like you doin' in a place like this?" Dyerdon asked.
"Gettin' fired... How was I ta know that there'd be that many guards there...?" that got Dyerdon laughing before a thought occured to him.
"I got a job for you..." he said. Jerad stopped his jovial nature in a flash, turning to his business-like side. His interest piqued, Dy went on. "I need you to keep my wife safe," he said. Jerad couldn't stay professional on that, his eyes widened.
"You're married now? Well... this is new... What's she look like?" he asked. Dyerdon paused for a moment, eyes widening as his hands dropped to his pockets, he let out a sigh of relief as he found the object in question. He had thought that they may have taken it from him, like they had his weapons and armor.
"Here... I'ma want this back," he told him, holding out the picture. The mercenary took it and stared at it long and hard.
"You want me to protect this you gonna have ta pay me extra, old friend... she's hot as hell, I'll need the money to keep my mind on protecting her from myself as well..." he flashed Dyerdon one of his grins, showing off rows of pearly white teeth.
"Done," Dyerdon said without hesitation, Jerad's eyes softened for a moment before he found the hardness in him again. The voice told Dyerdon why the cold, hardness returned so quickly.
"Get that merc out of my prison," the figure stepped into the corridor, staring at the two for a long time.
"Razor," said Jerad.
"Dull..." mused Dyerdon, Jerad smiled slightly.
"I'll see ya 'round Dydie," said Jerad pushing past Razor, ignoring the daggers in his eyes. The man then turned to Dy once Jerad was gone.
"Looks like Solo finally did something right, promoted him to Lieutenant just for bringing you in..."
"How the hell did you stay Cheif?" he asked.
"Slayer realized that I was an asset to him, this city itself is corrupt, bringing down Slayer would never do anything to stifle that,"
"No, but it'd make me feel great..." he said, "What brings you here?" he asked.
"I've still suffered greatly after you went to the media..." he growled, pacing in front of his cell, "There has been a greater influx of policemen who want to try to change this city... This city is perfect! Don't you see? Does it matter? You're a fool..." he snarled. Dyerdon watched him with growing trepidation.
"You and Slayer are losing your grip on the good people of the city..." Dyerdon said. A scowl creased Razor's face.
"Because of you!" he shouted, pulling the rifle from his back to aim it at him, Dyerdon froze, "People see hope it your stupidity! Knowing that someone dared to oppose the mighty Slayer! And still lives!"
"So you plan to remedy that..." Dyerdon noted.
"Hell yes I do..." growled Razor, pointing the rifle up, at his head, slowly squeezing the trigger. The report echoing in the closed area, Dyerdon jumped, then paused, Razor's gun pointed away as it fired off. Razor's eyes turned dangerously beyond Dyerdon's cell, then froze.
"Th-this is mutiny..." he stammered.
"No... This is justice," came another voice, Dyerdon's brows furrowed as he strained to see around the corner but found himself falling back, away from the door as Razor turned his weapon back to the voice.
"Justice?! I am justice!" he roared, there was a roar of gunfire at the movement, throwing Razor back against the far wall. He gasped a curse toward them, slowly sliding to the ground, then tilted to the side, crimson blood pooling around him, forming a proverbial lake. Dyerdon watched in a muted horror as the group who had fired came into view. The owner of the voice that had led the group looked at Dyerdon for a long time, his eyes glowed with a pale blue light, a silvery mane wreathing his weathered, but striking face. The man who stood beside him Dyerdon would know anywhere, Solo Darken....
"Dyerdon Sandren, the charges against you are dropped, had we known of Razor's deception to arrest you we would have moved sooner," said the silver haired man, "My name is Xris Wolff," he said in greeting. Dyerdon simply stared for a long, long time. Another figure caught his eye, she was staring at him long and hard, sending chills up his back, her red hair flowing wildly down her back, unkempt at the moment, but striking just the same. She leaned over to ask Solo something, he glanced to Dyerdon, then simply nodded.
"Found out you have a record a mile long in the PD, Sandren..." said Solo, crossing his arms over his chest. "Turned out you were a cop yourself, that coulda saved you a beating..." he told him.
"Maybe, but figured this way was more fun," he told him. The elf simply smiled, then nodded.
"You're more than welcome to join us again, I'll be taking his," he motioned to Razor's lifeless body, "Place as cheif," he said, "Things will be more fair from now on.
"Slayer?" asked Dyerdon, the woman smiled at that.
"So going down," she said.
13. BROKEN GUN
So I found myself back in the ICPD, the corruption gone from the force save the occasional one or two officers. They usually got dealt with justice in the form of bars or lead, whichever they wound up choosing. Slayer had lost his hold on the police force and was being driven back step by step. Little did I know that Slayer had taken to one of his elite. Giving him the rank of his second in command, and commander of his Slayer's Six. The past has a way of coming back time and time again, no matter how often you think it gone. Katelin gave birth, and we were both right... a son and a daughter, Adam Chase Sandren (named after one Chase "Solo" Darken), and Cheyenne Katelin-Morgan Sandren (named after her mother), and I built a Gunslinger Academy in honor of Seltec, right on the edge of the DeadZone. Several years passed by then like a blink, the twins growing older each year. Seven years passed, Solo taking the rank of Captain, though I stopped calling him Sarge, switching to the same name I use to this day, Loo, and married the red haired woman, Lyandra by name. I ended up becoming a detective again when weapons started being delivered by the truckload by some unknown benefactor. Slayer had to have been planning to wipe out the PD... I was sent to investigate, what I found there, and what I found, when I came home, would set a repeating path in my road that would one day be my undoing.
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
Dyerdon dropped lightly upon the concrete floor landing in a light crouch, his belt was a new thing for him, he liked it, he had a variety of nonlethal canisters upon one side, a comlink that ran up to his ear on the other, a dagger, hanging from his other hip, then the revolver and another weapon he now favored, a tranq. His eyes had a red glow to them in the darkness, but when he blinked they returned to the normal bright blue. Then he had more than a few tricks up his sleeve. The weight there fitting comfortably against his wrist. The warehouse was silent save the occasional sound of conversation. A curse, then another string of incoherent words. Dyerdon crept closer, slowly working his way along the outside of the room, he paused for a moment, seeing the scarred visage there. The man's long silver hair flowing down his bare back, the flesh of his body stood bright pink in the dim light, as if he had sustained major burns. A razor sharp sword hanging from his hip. The man he was speaking to didn't seem pleased at all, much to the scarred man's amusement.
"It's only a matter of time before he gets his nose into our business again," growled the man, a man that looked so much like Dyerdon, save the scar that ran along the side of his face.
"You worry too much, Vy," said the scarred man. Vy`Don Blaskus merely scowled at that, "If he sticks his nose in our business, he'd do it alone and he wouldn't last long here with the Six,"
"You underestimate him again... Remember Star One?"
"How can I forget? He shot me through the chest..."
the scarred individual slowly turned to stare toward Dyerdon, as if he heard some sound, he held his breath. How had Artemis Njrek survived? He shot him in the heart! He wasn't there when Star One exploded, he had seen the others, but not Artemis... And the Six? They were the Six.. That meant that Trevor was Slayer's second in command? His line of thought cut out as he felt something sharp press through his armor, with a grunt he twisted around, feeling the tearing sensation in his side, the movement throwing him around and out, he saw her then, the pointed ears, the sais in her slender hands, a trail of blood following him as he crashed against a crate, rolling over it then landing on his feet, staggering from impact his hand pulling his revolver from hip before taking a look around. Vy'Don and Artemis simply stared at him, Vy'Don unhappy at his presence, and Artemis amused as all kinds of hell. Two forms landed behind him, turning him around, Randos Martis, and Rain Sno'Narus, the woman who pierced his side. Randos didn't seem happy himself at Dyerdon's appearance, Rain's face was nuetral, no emotion upon that lovely visage.
"Howdy ya'll, how's everythin' goin'? Jus' thought I'd drop on by, pay a visit to muh brother an' all, ya know?" the gunslinger asked, a soft chuckle turned his head to the sight of Nefar DasCon, the vampire at least liked his humor, the others where so deadpan... well, except for Artemis, but he was certifiably insane, that totally didn't count.
"Told you he'd show up again... He has a way of just royalling screwing shit up..." growled Trevor.
"He's alone out here..." came a rumbling voice, his eyes turned to a massive walking suit of armor. The black plate didn't look like it'd be easy to damage, the head was completely covered, and the tinted visor over the eyes told him that had to be bullet proof, maybe even blast proof. The armored creature's left hand had been removed, replaced with a massive falchion. Took a moment to realize that this beast was the giant orc, Kavbra Nexis.
"See ya'll got some upgrades..." Dyerdon muttered. Nefar had two arms again... Kavbra had his armor... Artemis was alive somehow... What about the other three? His eyes darted back toward his twin, then beyond him, his eyes landing upon a series of red canisters, ammo perhaps for some massive weapon, fuel sources for flame? He snapped his head back toward his brother.
"Kill him." said Vy'Don. That didn't surprise Dyerdon as much as he had hoped it would have. He had the oppurtunity to kill him once, but wasn't able to, once again his brother showed he was his polar opposite. Artemis, Rain, and Kavbra showed no hesitation, it was Randos and Nefar that did, but in the end they came as well. Dyerdon leaped to the side between the gap their hesitation created, firing at Artemis, bright, flourescent blue liquid sprayed into the air as the man staggered backwards. The gunslinger rolling across the ground to come up beyond the others, Rain right in front of him, kicking out, he dropped to the ground, her leg sweeping over him, he rolled to the side as her heel struck down hard, then turned to follow him. He fired at his brother, only to find a wall in front of him, Kavbra taking the rounds to his chest and stomach. The bullets pinging harmlessly off of him. Artemis appeared in front of him again, causing him to turn and fire, another hole appearing in him.... He paused as he took note of that, the first few holes that should have been there weren't. All that was left of as proof of his shots hitting was the scars. And right before his eyes, the new hole he created began to seal shut once more. His eyes moved up to the psychotic man's, his grin telling him that he too had indeed had some major upgrades. He couldn't win this fight, Rain was too fast to hit, Nefar didn't bat an eye at being shot himself (damn vampires...). Trevor was being guarded by Kavbra, and Randos was usually too close for him to risk the brief pause he made to shoot at him. The gunslinger turned, his revolver striking against Randos's sword, pushing it away, the man grunted in surprise, but turned back around in time to feel the boot of the gunslinger crunching into the back of his leg, he came forward, felt another boot between his shoulders, then a kick to the head spinning him about as Dyerdon ran up his form and leaped forward, Kavbra was in the way of his preferred target, but... His weapons turned, aiming past the massive orc, then fired. The Six stopped as one of the fuel canisters erupted skyward, taking out another, than another.
"No! Damn you!" cried Vy'Don, Kavbra took the brunt of one explosion, throwing him end over end through the air to crash through the wall. That'd have to be an escape route, Rain sensing danger decided now would be a good time to leave, and Randos went with her. Nefar laughed a bit before standing before Dyerdon, that diamond sword of his stretched before him.
"You are an impressive human..." he said to him, Dyerdon afforded a grin.
"Lucky if ya ask me... I was aimin' for Trevor's head..." he told him. Nefar smirked, those fangs made Dyerdon think of Antilles, why did Trevor employ a vampire when he had been with the VHG? Another explosion sent a truck careening through the air behind him, he didn't flinch, couldn't afford to, he had to survive this meeting so he could get back to Katelin and the kids. Nefar chuckled again.
"Not that different from skill sometimes, Gunslinger..." he said, the blade arcing around suddenly, Dyerdon dropped to one knee, firing, the blade cutting over his head, and the bullet doing nothing to detere the creature. The blade turned then snapped down, Dyerdon rolled backwards as the blade cut through concrete, the man scowled, tearing the blade free.
"You're even faster than one would expect," he told him, Dyerdon came up to his feet then bowed. The vampire flickered for a moment, "But, you're no match for a member of the Brood," the monster told him, Dyerdon noticed a blur, the vampire looked like he was still there, but... no! He twisted to the side, letting out a sudden cry, his armor squealing loudly as another explosion punctuated the moment, Nefar now stood behind him, a trickle of blood dripping down the crystalline blade. Dyerdon winced, lowering his hand to his side, if he hadn't moved he would have been cleaved in half. As it was he had a shallow cut in his side, that blade was sharp enough to cut through his armor as if he was just wearing his shirt... Blood pooled lightly from the cut, great... he'd need to learn how to dodge that... Use his speed against him. The blur caught his eye, he moved, a hand caught the base of his coat, swinging him about to through him into the side of a crate. He hit hard, groaning at the impact, before sliding to the ground. He rolled himself over slowly, with a curse, the blur was there again, he rolled to the side. A loud squeal filling his ears, a cry escaped him as he looked over, his arm pinned to the ground by the diamond blade. He screamed out again as the vampire turned the blade slowly.
"You can't contend with me, you shouldn't try..." he told him, Dyerdon floated on the edge of darkness as the vampire tore the blade from his arm, blood spraying from the hole, then he reared the weapon back. The loud report threw Nefar backwards, he writhed on the ground for a moment as Dyerdon managed to stand, his arm hanging limply at his side, his other hand holding onto his father's revolver. The pain was more than he'd ever felt, with the exception of Nezalian's curse... Nefar let out a howl as he stood, one eye a bloody mess, he shook his head, then came forward, slow enough for the gunslinger to see him coming, he fired but the beast dropped low beneath his bullet, as if dodging it at the last second, then he came forward, spinning around with a powerful backslash. Dyerdon hopped back, bringing his weapon down to parry the crystalline sword. There was a loud 'shink' as the blade never slowed, never stopped, cleaving clean through the weapon, right in the center of the cylindar... Dyerdon's eyes widened with his surprise, his father's gun... broken? He jumped back as the sword snapped back at him, the blade cutting across his stomach, he growled lightly, the world spinning as the warehose was rocked by another series of explosions. How much blood had he lost? And now how could he fight? The vampire grinned at him, and he could see the cold truth of this fight, he hadn't the ability to heal as quickly as Nefar had... His eye fully restored now. Anytime Antilles had used his healing ability he had needed to feed afterward... That thought unnerved him. Great, now he'd be dealing with a hungry vampire... Dyerdon looked around quickly looking for some means of escape, then it came to him, he dove to the side, wincing before he came up, his back to the wall, Nefar moving past him. The vampire turned to regard him, the Dyerdon saw the blur again, with a hiss he came forward, then jumped. The blade appeared before him, lancing out, the wide blade being utilized as a spring board to the nimble gunslinger, flipping him up and over the fast vampire. His sword striking dead center of the metallic fuel canister, sparks flying from the violent impact... The resulting explosion throwing both combatants away. Nefar taking the brunt of the explosion. Dyerdon groaned slowly coming to his feet, his arm still dangling useless at his side. Trevor had vanished as well, and the footprints that were left in solid stone, and the path of destruction through the warehouse, told him that Kavbra had returned unscathed to extract him as well. He turned his gaze to the half weapon in his hand, then down to the other half, moving to scoop it up, he frowned, staring at it. Then made his way for one of the fresh holes in the warehouse's walls. Slayer had another reason to hate Dyerdon Sandren it'd seem, all shipments stopped.
Dyerdon had wound up calling for help over his com. Xris didn't seem happy that all that evidence had been blown up, but understood. He was lucky to still be alive, his side, and stomach had cuts that weren't deep enough to spill organs, but had come close... And the hole in his arm that went straight through, not to mention a few burns from the fight inside the inferno. He laid in the hospital bed staring up at the ceiling for a long time as he felt her presense, her scent was unmistakable, overwhelming to him, his eyes slowly moved down to stare at Katelin, he offered her a small smile, but she simply scowled.
"You're suicidal..." she murmured. Dyerdon shook his head.
"The contrary, darlin'... I fought really hard to get out of there alive," he said, offering her a small smile. She blew out a soft hiss at him.
"Ye're gonna die one of these days, an' I'll be damned if I'm around ta see that..." she told him. He stared at her for a long time.
"We all die one day, but you're askin' me to give up on people in general..." he said.
"Damn fool... No, I'm askin' ye to think about us... Ye're a noble man, Dyerdon Sandren, but nobility runs so far... Ye're loved, an' ye run around with complete disregard for yeself, somethin' happens to you, then what do we have left? I'd have ta raise Adam an' Chey alone," she said. Dyerdon turned his eyes toward the window to stare out it for a long time.
"I can handle myself out there, jus'..." he thought for a moment before turning to look at her, "Jus' trust me..." he said. She sighed then moved to the bed to sit beside him, reaching out to take his hand.
"I hated ye for the whole first five minutes after I met ye, now I want no one else by me side," she said. Dyerdon offered her a small smile.
"Ya ain't got nothin' ta worry about, I'm made of tougher stuff then steel..."
"You're lucky to be alive..." said Randos, running a hand through his jet black hair, emerald green eyes shining in the dim light. The creature laughed, staring at his disfigured, pink flesh, one hand held out to touch the ray of sunlight that filtered into the penthouse, smoke billowing from his palm as if he had thrust his hand in fire.
"You give me too little credit... my blood allows me to survive alot..." said the vampire, with a soft wince, pulling his hand back into the shadows. "Why are you still here?" he asked his companion.
"What? Where else would I go?" asked Randos, turning to stare at his friend.
"Anywhere from the evil of this group... You're not like the others..." he stated. Randos frowned a bit, then shrugged lightly.
"Neither are you," he stated. Nefar smirked a bit.
"Surely, you underestimate my resolve..." he said, Randos offered the smirk then, turning to look at the bed, there slept a young woman, two holes in her neck from the vampire's meal, yet her breath came in long, relaxed sighs, she was alive, and he'd keep her that way. Randos couldn't help but notice how the vampire cared for the woman, he knew love for her.
"I have... resolve..." the vampire said, smiling, "Yeah, you and I are not that different, we have our reasons for staying, pray tell what's yours, if you don't mind me asking..?"
"I tell you mine, you tell me yours..." said Randos taking a seat to prop his feet up on the table between them.
"As you wish,"
"Rain..." Randos said. Nefar jumped, startled by that revelation.
"The elf?" asked Nefar.
"She had been hurt by the captain of the raiders who attacked my home... We managed to drive them off and seriously injure him, I tended to her, and over time she got better, I ended up falling madly in love with that woman, and her with me I thought," he said. Nefar rose a brow.
"I asked her to marry me, she disappeared soon after without ever really answering me... She faked her own death, the raider had showed up again and made it look like he had killed her, so I tracked him down..."
"It's beginning to make more sense... That was why you attacked Artemis Njrek on sight... He was the raider..." Nefar said. Randos nodded slowly.
"I'm here to protect her from him..." he said finally.
"Yes... I see... I've seen how he looks at her... There's no affection there, just violence.. and I've seen the women he has... taken..." Nefar said. Randos blanched at that. Artemis Njrek was best described as a modern day Jack the Ripper. He tortured women, he enjoyed the sounds of their screams... and with Slayer's facilities, he had unlimited resources to increase his deadliness... he was a master with that sword of his, Randos knew, he'd found out first hand, if not for Rain he'd have been dead long ago. The serum now allowed him to heal faster than any man had a right to, and the metallic substance they were working on as of late boded nothing but ill for the city.
"Now I've told you my story, what's yours?" he asked the vampire.
"Mine is nowhere near as noble as yours..." Nefar began, Randos smirked a bit, "I'm here for the adventure, the battles, and the glory that comes with," he stated. Randos scowled.
"There is no glory here... Not in this city, and not in this organization..." said Randos.
"Ah, but there is... In this city anyway... That gunslinger... he's a true warrior..."
"A warrior faces his foes, he exhibited cowardice..." Randos said, waving his hand dismissively.
"Cowardice? Oh... yes... you could not smell them upon him... he has a woman and children to worry about... he fought for survival, not glory, but glory was his,"
"He blew up the largest of us, cut the others off, and tried to escape, he would have been unscathed if not for you,"
"He exhibited genius, he eliminated the largest threats quickly, so if he had to he could fight one on one... then, with me, he studied me even as I was assaulting him... then used my own speed against me... it was glorious, truly glorious, I hope to fight him again someday..."
"You speak madness..." said Randos smiling softly, he didn't care either way about the man, he had shot Artemis in the chest once... he loved that guy for that... Nefar chuckled before shrugging.
"Don't we all?" he asked Randos, flashing his fangs in a grin that split his healed, handsome, face...
Dyerdon sighed softly, flexing his fingers, the ache in his forearm pulsating lightly, but passable enough, he turned his gaze down upon the halved weapon before him, his fingers tracing over the gold engraved signature upon the ivory grip, the word Seltec, etched there. A pair of bright blue eyes stared across the table at him, peering over the surface of the table at him. He glanced up at smiled at the boy, reaching over to ruffle his sandy blonde hair. The kid gave him a lopsided grin.
"Whatchya workin' on pops?" he asked. Dyerdon motioned to the broken weapon.
"Tryin' ta fix this thing, I dunno that much about guns though, jus' how ta shoot 'em..." he said. The boy nodded lightly, enraptured by the artifact of days gone by.
"Chey could fix it..." he said, Dyerdon rose a brow, looking up at his son for a moment, Adam had his rougish grin, he'd have a way with the ladies later in life...
"How can she fix this?" he asked him, the boy grinned wider, knowingly.
"I have a way with fixing things..." came the girl's voice, he looked over at Cheyenne, smiling, she smirked lightly at the weapon, her golden hair cascading down over her face, her blue-green eyes sparkling in the light. She sat down beside her father, resting her head on his shoulder, staring at it. "Put it together..." she said. Dyerdon was doubtful at first, but shrugged, sliding the two pieces together, holding them there. She pointed at it, light sparkling along the cut. There was a soft click, then a hiss, Dyerdon let out a surprised cry, but managed to refrain from dropping it. She smiled up at him.
"All good, daddy," she said. He stared at her for a long time before gently pulling on the weapon, it held... It was whole again...
"How did you do that?" he asked. She shrugged.
"I don't know! I just can!" she said, looking innocent. Dyerdon shuddered lightly, magic... he knew what that was.. his daughter could use magic... born with the ability and knowledge how to, but without the knowledge of how she knew... He hated magic... but he couldn't help but smile at her face, a look of pride in her features, surely matching his own.
"How goes your schooling?" he asked them after kissing her on the head, she giggled then hugged herself to him.
"I can hit every target that pops up now! With the paint and the stick!" Adam exclaimed, Dyerdon shot him a look that made him shrink down again, "And I don't shoot to kill, never that..." he stated, Dyerdon nodded, waiting for him to continue. "An' I'm doin' alright with the other stuff..." he murmured.
"Other stuff?" asked Dyerdon, Adam looked up, Cheyenne simply giggled.
"The math part he hates, an' the science," she said. Adam shrugged.
"There's no place in that... I wanna be a fighter like you dad..." he told him, Dyerdon scowled.
"I'm not a fighter, but... In my day to day routine, the danger I tread through, math and science come in handy..." he stated, "Your mind is the most crucial weapon you have, with that you can topple the mightiest of foes," he told him. The twins stared transfixed up at their father as he went silent for a long time. A shadow drew his eyes upward to see Katelin.
"They don't need ta be like their father..." she said, the twins sank down, they knew their mother didn't care for the danger he often found himself in, the adventure of his life.
"She's right, the life I lead is far too dangerous, and ya'll shouldn't want to follow that lifestyle..." he said, Katelin simply stared at him.
"Then why do you follow it, dad?" asked Adam, Katelin folded her arms over her chest, waiting for that answer. Dyerdon sighed softly as he tried to find the words.
"There are evil people out there, alot of them, a tide of darkness, that would hurt people for no reason save personal gain... There is some light in that darkness, and a light, no matter how dim, when surrounding by darkness, burns bright," he said, Katelin gave him a curious look, he had made no sense to her. "I protect the light, I fight because no one else will, I fight for a better place, and I fight, to protect my family." he finished.
"Ye can protect ye'r family better by bein' here..." came Katelin's response. Dyerdon sighed softly, then leaned over to scoop up Cheyenne as he stood, setting her on the ground.
"Go play... your mother and I need to talk..." he told them, Cheyenne hesitated, but Adam piped in.
"C'mon Chey!" she smiled sadly before running after her twin brother.
"They don't need to hear this foolishness..." she hissed at him.
"What happened to the woman I married? The woman who would pick up a sword, and have a spell upon her lips willing to fight by my side, willing to fight me..?" he asked.
"She had children... Children who need their father... What's this darkness tripe?" she asked advancing on him until they were face to face.
"If I don't do something, then who will..?"
"What about Darken? An' Wolff? Simon?" she asked him. Dyerdon scowled lightly then sighed, sitting back down.
"You'd expect me to let them fight my brother while I stand idly by?" he asked.
"Yes!" she shouted at him, he jumped, as if slapped in the face, staring hard at her.
"You can't ask me to surrender after so long..." he said.
"It's not surrenderin'... It's lettin' go, and lettin' the dead rest," she said, "The story of Nezalian... I doubt it was he who truly brought your father back from the dead, that was you... You wouldn't let go until you met the necromancer in that chamber and killed 'em..." she told him. Dyerdon stared at her for a long time, then shook his head.
"I've let go long before that, but I hold onto his ideals... He died fighting against darkness," he told her.
"Exactly, ye damn fool!" she cried, "An' ye keep this up, so'll ye!" her voice was shrill, screaming at him, at his stubborness. He opened his mouth but no words escaped the hand across his face. His face burned for a moment before looking back up to her, but before he could say anything, she was gone, running from the room. Dyerdon stared after her for a long moment, something told him he should follow, else he lose her forever, but he couldn't find it in him to do it. He understood her, knew where she was coming from, and a part of him felt he could easily have stopped, could have begged her to stay, but... he didn't have that power. It wasn't pride that made him hold his ground, rather, it was cowardice. What if he found himself on his knees before her, begging her to stay by his side, and she told him that she held no love for him, none, whatsoever... That she had just used that as an excuse? He knew that to be silly, and stupid, but... There was so many what-ifs. She had left, gone from his life in Inter. He'd only see her one more time, but that is another story...
Katelin never really said goodbye to me. She just... left. Leaving me with Adam and Cheyenne. This is when I learned that while I had not killed my brother, the circle continued... Even my own children had been bound in it. Cheyenne accused me of chasing away their mother. Adam tried talking some sense into her, but it was of no use... She too vanished, but she didn't leave for good... no... I wound up seeing her sooner than I would have liked... My own daughter, having vowed to kill me...
~From the diary of Dyerdon Sandren
She rubbed her hands over the inferno that burned brightly before her, her creation. The fire swirled in the air, needing no fuel, defying the laws of physics. She heard the man enter the warehouse ruins, and pause behind her. She made no move to show that she knew the man, recognized his face, so like her father... Save the scar on his head. The city had grown colder, and she had made her vows to distance herself from family, yet here was her uncle, a man she didn't know, but hated for his blood.
"You know... It is a bit chilly out here for little girls..." said the man. Chey smirked before casting her eyes toward him, they shone red in the light of the fire.
"You've some nerve coming for me..." she said softly.
"I know who you are, though you may not know me-"
"I know exactly who you are, Vy'Don Blaskus, he who was once Trevor Sandren, bonded of Yanaan..." she said to him. The man froze, his eyes widening in alarm. She favored him with a grin, "Surprised, uncle?" she asked standing, her body rippling with the movement. She appeared to be a full grown woman, long black hair cascading down her back, her body covered by a black spiderweb style gown. Vy'Don seemed surprised by the transformation as well... when she was seated she was still the blonde haired little girl...
"Where is Dyerdon?" he asked her. That elicited a scowl, as she lifted one hand, pointing at him. He flinched, body tensing to jump aside.
"I care not..." she growled, "He has a habit of chasing people away..." she told him. The man smiled suddenly, she wanted to blast the smug expression off his face...
"Come with me..." he said. She flicked her finger at him, forcing him to hop aside, a tiny fireball landing in front of him with a minor explosion. He stared up at her for a long time.
"Explain to me why I should... While the blood of a demon runs through your veins, so does the blood of your father, and his blood also runs through Dyerdon's..." she told him.
"And his blood courses through your veins as well... Would it not be best to spill it?" he asked. She smirked at that.
"You're more than welcome to try..." she said. Her uncle laughed at that.
"Not our blood, child... but his... the blood of your father... my brother..." he stated, she froze and stared at him for a long, long time...
"I'd be working with you then though, wouldn't I?" she asked him.
"I suppose so..." he said.
"Fine... I don't see why not..."
Artemis dropped down lightly upon the ground, crouching as he landed, then moved swiftly after his prey. The woman mocked him! He thought it was funny... but this... this was so much better! She let out a shriek as he moved in behind her. She had made her way up to the rooftops to escape him, but he had made it to the roof before she could make her way down the otherside. She knew she had little options, so... naturally... she jumped. Her arms flailing as she moved to clear the gap between buildings, only to have her miss her mark. Her chest slamming hard into the wall before she began to slip down, her arms grasping onto the ledge. A shadow passed over her, her eyes moved up in time to see the madman land before her, spinning around, the sword coming out from the leather loop on his belt, then snapping down across her arms. She let out a cry as it embedded in solid bone, not cleaving clean through, as was his intention. She fought to maintain her grip as he drew back to strike again. She let out a shout as her feet found some purchase the sword began to come down even as she pushed herself upward fast and hard. Her bloodied arms shooting out to wrap around his sword arm, now he'd have to take a step back to avoid from.. fall..ing... The few clear thoughts she had turned into a full fledged panic as he simply stepped off the ledge. Her screams grew louder as she found herself falling free of him as she bit, clawed, and scratched. His sword spinning back and forth to cause cut after cut in the woman. Then they hit with a loud *clang!* She continued screaming in shock as Artemis stared up at her, she had survived simply by breaking her fall on him. Fluroscent blue liquid flowed from his mouth and his eyes, the side of his face had been torn away to reveal his next enhancement, the silvery glint of metal beneath flesh... He reached up to strike her with one arm, throwing her off of him. She whimpered turning to face him as he advanced. Sword coming up high, before he snapped it down, she let out a shriek, the sword stopping inches from her with a bone jarring crack echoing in her ears. Her eyes turned to see her savior, his eyes burning with a demonic red light. His diamond blade glistening in the dim light of dusk.
"Nefar? Why are you spoiling my fun?" Artemis asked.
"Is there really any need for this?" asked the man, she took note of fangs in the man's mouth. A vampire? Was he really her savior or was he just saving her for his meal? In this city one could never tell...
"Must there be a need? I like the sound she makes, and I like the sound even better as I make her stop..."
"You're a sick individual..."
"How long has it taken you to figure this out?"
"Let the girl go, Vy'Don does not believe in harming innocent people..."
"He doesn't care what I do... you'd be wise to not care too..." Artemis turned to point his blade at him. Nefar frowned, taking a step back to point his own weapon in his direction.
"You'd be a damn fool, Artemis... I can't let you harm this woman," he said, Artemis came forward suddenly, his sword swinging for Nefar's head, he hopped back bringing his own weapon up. The girl scrambled backwards to get clear of the two titans as the duel seemed to begin.
"You've no choice..." said Artemis, Nefar came forward, blade ringing against blade, Artemis was experienced with his thin sabre, and Nefar had centuries of experience in the art of war. The two calculated each other's every move, block, parry, counter, dodge... Nefar spun aside as Artemis thrust forward, he turned back around to drive his diamond blade downward against Artemis's blade. The two swords slamming hard into the ground throwing chunks of asphalt into the air. Artemis struggled against the sword but found Nefar to be the stronger of the two. Nefar could have swept his blade up, but Artemis might have been able to counter his attack since it would free up his own weapon. So instead Nefar surged forward, releasing his weapon and grabbing Artemis's wrists, spinning around to throw him into the side of a wall. The woman shrieked as bricks rained down around her, Nefar leaping in after him. Artemis slowly stood shaking his head, turning to face the vampire.
"Stop this now, you fool..." said Nefar, Artemis smirked, moving toward him, bringing his foot up in a kick.
"You started this, you'll let her get away for sure, I bet! At least be some sport about it and just die..." came Artemis's reply. Nefar caught his leg then turned, Artemis flipped in the air coming back to his feet turning to face the blur that was upon him. He let out a cry of surprise as the vampire grabbed him and held him close.
"You first then, your evil is over.." said Nefar, his fangs sinking deep into his neck. Artemis gave out a shout of outrage and denial as the vampire began to drain him of his life's blood... Drinking deeply. Pleasureful pain coarsed through his body followed by the tingling sensation of his enhanced healing ability. It took him a few moments to realize that he could not die this way... Nefar could never drink fast enough, his healing factor replenished his blood! He cackled madly, struggling to be free, but he couldn't... Too strong... A hand came up to grasp his face, pushing him back so the vampire could drink more, that's when Artemis took that oppurtunity to snap his own teeth over Nefar's hand. The vampire released him with a shout, but Artemis held on, tasting the vampire's blood. He tried to pull away but Artemis began to drink of the blood... Feeling it burn in his body, he could feel the transformation, the strength and speed. Nefar pushed against him trying to push him away, but where Artemis was gaining strength, Nefar was fast losing it. He let out a strangled cry as the madman's metallic teeth elongated, silvery fangs sinking deeper into the vampiric flesh. The woman shrieked as the vampire's flesh blackened, then cracked, firey light shining as embers from within. A thunderous roar echoed in the air, the walls trembling from the anguished cry, windows shattering, raining glass upon them. Then with that, Nefar simply crumbled into ash, blowing away in the wind. Artemis trembled lightly, raising his head to look into the sky, letting lose a scream, followed by a peal of maniacal laughter. Oh such power! He turned his eyes back upon the woman for a moment, but found her gone, he scowled lightly, sniffing the air. What was this? Another scent? Who had managed to sneak in to get the girl? He cackled madly before moving onto the trail, he noticed the subtleties that made a man from a woman in scent, this was all so new to him... he found hunting all the more fun now...
"What is going on?" she asked the silent figure. His armor shone brightly in the light, giving him the true look of a knight in shining armor. He moved swiftly across the fire escape with the woman dangling over his shoulder, he had told her to shut up at least once or twice, didn't anyone ever listen? He jumped onto the roof, eliciting a cry of surprise and fear, she seemed to have a healthy fear of heights after her tumble to the ground prior to this.
"Would you please shut up?" he asked the woman again, her scream told him that was a big negative... He sighed softly jumping easily over a gap.
"No! No! Keep him away!" she cried in his ears. He winced, turning to look over his shoulder, through the shaded plate glass over his face he could make out Artemis pursuing them. Perfect, he mused, before turning on his heels, flipping the girl off his shoulder with a cry, letting her drop down the side of the building into an open dumpster, her shriek carrying up to him.
"Ah, and you are?" asked Artemis as the armored figure drew his blade to hold it out before him. Artemis examined the jewelled blade for a long moment, then laughed, drawing his weapon again. Two fights in one day?! Oh this was fantastic! He came in fast, the man spinning away from the blade bringing his weapon back to slap hard against the newly made vampire's back, throwing him from the roof, he reached down to pull something from his belt, throwing the odd, metallic barb. It tore through the flesh and muscle over one of Artemis's bicep, eliciting a pained cry in surprise, the man tugging on the cable at his side, the barb snapping open into a small four pronged grappling hook, pulling snugly to the florescent blue opening. He knelt quickly, disengaging the cable and looping it over a small pipe jutting from the roof. Artemis spun wildly before swinging back to slam hard into the side of the building with a resounding crash. The man sighed softly, peering down to see two men helping the girl from the dumpster and tending to her wounds... With a small smile he nodded, she'd get some medical attention and be right as rain he hoped, now to attend to the vampire's ashes... He turned sheathing his blade heading back the way he had come.
"Are you out of your mind, Dy?" asked Solo scowling at him, Xris Wolff just listened at the moment, he had a distracted look about him, what was the gunslinger asking?
"I have a family I need to think about," Dyerdon told him.
"Screw your family... I'm already getting tired of your brother, he's made a move on Lyandra..." muttered Solo, Dyerdon scowled.
"What sort of move?" he asked him.
"As in hitting on her, flirting and winning her over... notice how she ain't here?" he asked. Dyerdon frowned, Lyandra had been taking a liking to him lately... Had she seen his likeness in his brother and taken to his oily, serpentine charm herself?
"I'll talk to her, but I can't stay on the force, it's too dangerous for a fa-" he paused as Xris jumped as if startled, reaching up to touch his ear. His eyes grew wide.
"Raven's hurt?" he asked, heading for the door, that drew Dy and Solo into step behind him. Ravenesque was the name of his wife... A strong willed woman, with a lively spirit, who would hurt such a person? Dyerdon rode with Solo as Xris took the lead, the newly appointed chief of police, who took Xris's place was already enroute to the hospital, unaware of the warzone they'd find there.
"Quoth the Raven, never more..." said Artemis, the woman cried out, ducking beneath his swinging sword, scrambling for the door, Artemis grabbed the bed with one hand, flipping it toward her. She scrambled to the side on her banadaged arms as the bed slammed in front of the door, blocking her exit. She screamed out as he advanced on her. The sounds of the nurses, doctors, and other like security hammered on the door, trying to find a way in. The door had been locked, then blocked off with no way of opening, short of bashing it in, and none there were strong enough. The call went out again to her husband that there was someone in there with her, and that they doubted it was with a friendly visitor... So it was no surprise that they found him rushing down the hall for the door. They leaped aside as he barreled into it, calling out her name. Inside Artemis growled low in his throat, the woman scrambling between his legs then leaping onto his back, biting, scratching, and clawing. He hissed as the door caved inward, the cold, steel grey glare of the man before him gave him pause, his body anticipating the coming, epic struggle... But right now, he wanted to end this woman... He leaped backwards toward the window, as much danger as she was in, as much pain... she kept her mind about her, and simply released... She hit the ground and rolled away as he soared through the plate glass, shards of the material tearing apart flesh as he fell into the yard below, the ground cracking apart as he landed flat on his back. He came up to his feet fast as he took note of the police force that had gathered, he cackled moving into their ranks, their bullets doing nothing but open up gaping holes to his unpenetrable armored skeleton. His sword cutting through them flawlessly, he laughed madly as the man leaped from the window after him, a baton extending fully in one hand, he smirked meeting the man's charge, the baton coming down fast and hard, Artemis brought his blade up to slap the baton aside, then brought the blade back down, the man scrambled backwards, then wrapped the man in the head with the baton. His arm trembled from the impact, staring wide-eyed as the man didn't seem effected in the least bit. The blade cut deep across his midsection, causing him to take a couple steps back, that was when Ashanti entered the battle. His own sword trailing, the new chief of police (formerly known as Guyver) snapped his blade up, Artemis turned to parry the blade then turned, the two meeting head on, steel ringing off steel in the air. The other man, Xris, held his side then growled moving in to assist his new boss. His baton coming in trying to find some opening, Artemis taking the new assault in stride, deflecting both men's weapons with ease. He ducked beneath the sword, lunging forward, Xris stopped, then blinked, staring down at the sword protruding from his chest. With a cackle Artemis brought his foot up to push him off the blade, letting him drop to the ground, lifelessly. Ashanti came in again, standing over Xris as Artemis parried his attacks. There was a beep, and a buzz, Xris's body jolting, his eyes slowly opening, aahh... a bio booster... he was still hurt bad though, couldn't stand, couldn't fight... Couldn't live if Artemis could land one more blow...but the man before him was no slouch with the sword, and he could find no opening, the blades ringing off of each other in a cresendo, the men circled around trying to get a clear shot without hitting Ashanti. Two figures pushed through, eliciting a growl, Solo went for his sniper rifle. Dyerdon frowned, shaking his head.
"Won't get through his armored interior..." he told him, drawing his tranq, a single dart fired, pricking the madman's neck. He grunted, turning a hateful look toward the gunslinger, two slashes opening up his chest, revealing the metal armor beneath. He turned to face the swordsman, advancing two steps before collapsing to the ground...
That had been a pain explaining to Xris and Guyver who that man was... The right hand to my own brother, a madman, one best suited for an asylum. The Church intervened when the ICPD opted to sentence him to death, or at least a life sentence in prison... The Church of Light had begun it's rapid deteriotation, brought on by the death of Hugs by a plague that had spread rapidly from the Deadzone, Hugs had defeated it, but it claimed her life. The new leader of the Church, an old man by the name of Nomad had taken over and proved to be inept, his mind decayed... He said the sentence for Artemis's crime of assualt was to be... three days... only three days!! He was released to wreck havoc upon the streets of InterCity once more. The Church of Light was closing an iron fist of the city, and even Slayer was effected by it, but not against him... The people wanted freedom, and thats what they got at the cost of peace... the police force was disbanded as quickly as it had started after Razor's fall... There was no more justice... The Church was folly, for Trevor himself was able to rise in power, and claimed Lyandra, who grew dangerously darker, and closer to the edge, until she realized that the man she loved wasn't Trevor... But the man who looked like him, well, loved is a strong word... I suppose she found more of an infatuation with me... But when she deigned to leave him, he snapped, she ran, he followed... The battle that ensued was harrowing indeed, for the Randos had left the Six, and with Nefar gone that left Artemis, Rain, Kavbra, and Trevor... still a formidable force... luckily PerVonus had found out about my plight through one young man, Adam... My son had felt a presence threatening to destroy me in that place I found her, and then they had contacted Solo, who of course would help to save Lyandra. Whom they had managed to corner, and we alone had to venture into that place... The skyscraper that Trevor called his home... I told Adam to go but he refused, and after a moment, I knew I had to trust in him...
~From the Diary of Dyerdon Sandren
They moved slowly through the lobby of the building, their eyes scanning over the room slowly as they made their way toward the elevator, Dyerdon grunted lightly as he felt the ground rumble beneath his feet. PerVonus scowled lightly, then turned slowly to regard the couple. Sitting on the behemoth's broad shoulder was a young woman, jet black hair cascading down her back, her eyes shone brightly with a crimson light. Kavbra stared at them from beneath his faceplate. Dyerdon drew in a blur, his tranquilzer gun coming up, firing at the girl. She raised a hand, stopping the flying dart cold...
"Now that's no way to say hello to your little girl... is it daddy?" she asked. Dyerdon froze, all color leaving his skin.
"Cheyenne??" asked Adam, staring hard at the woman, she smirked devilishly, sliding from Kavbra's shoulder to stand before them.
"Adam, my dear brother... I hear you guys have been looking for me... Well... Look no further!" she cried raising her hands. The windows exploded outward as a gout of flame tore into the room, wreathing the walls... "Tear them apart..." she growled, Kavbra lowering his head and charging forward, PerVonus brought his hand up, a wall of stone rising from the ground. Adam and Dyerdon began moving in seperate directions as Kavbra didn't slow, shattering the wall to slam into PerVonus, the man grunted as he was pushed back, kicking his legs out to touch against the wall, slapping his spear across Kavbra's face plate, staggering him before moving to flip over him. Sending the armored orc headfirst into the flaming wall. Debris raining down upon him as he staggered before turning to face the man. Cheyenne muttered softly to herself as she took sight of Dyerdon making a run for the elevator, she rose a hand then snapped it back Adam brought the wooden sword down where her hand had been...
"What's this? The warrior wishes to play with the sorceress?" she asked him, smirking, very well then... Dyerdon turned to cast them one look, Adam said nothing, studying her, could he leave the boy to distract his sister...? Or would he hurt her? There are other worlds then this. He winced lightly, moving back toward them.
"Dad! Trust me!" called Adam as Cheyenne let lose an orb of flame at him, Adam dove to the side, rolling across the ground, bringing up his revolver to fire a shot at his sister. Dyerdon froze as the round stopped in midair before her, then burst into a blue spray. A... paintball? Paintballs and a wooden sword? He had no intention of killing his sister... But she didn't seem to have any qualms with it herself...
"Save her then save me if you have to.. just go!" Adam called. Dyerdon scowled then nodded, he'd have to trust in the young warrior... He moved into the elevator Solo behind him.
"Gameplan?" asked Solo, Dyerdon shrugged.
"They most likely are up in the penthouse... that seems like Trevor's style," said Dyerdon, Solo nodded. The elevator however stopped sooner than anticipated, opening out into what seemed like a construction zone, uncompleted, flames licking fromt he outside, the whole place seemed like it was on fire... Whether the flame was magical or burning naturally from the magical fires in the lobby was to remain seen, though he was certain the flame would feel real enough if touched by it... He paused as he saw a dark shadow move outside, on massive wings, it looked like a dragon of somesort... Dyerdon swore, diving to the side as it burst through the opening, clawing at Solo, who had begun to transform in time to compete with the beast, crashing through the wall and into the sky of Inter... Dyerdon winced as the sounds of their battle shook the walls, two great dragons locked in a deadly struggle... Still Dyerdon couldn't stop, nor could he be of much help... so he moved for a ladder, leading up toward the catwalks, the climb was long but as soon as he made it there he saw the stretch that led to the outter levels of the building. That's when two figures stopped him... and this time he had no distractions... no one to fight as he moved on... The elven assassin and the newly appointed vampire with the metal fangs stared at him. Artemis and Rain... great...
"Dydie! How ya doin'?" asked Artemis, drawing his sword.
"Been better..." said Dyerdon drawing his revolver. Artemis smirked as the round pinged off the metallic bone beneath his flesh. He cackled madly, Rain sighing then came forward. A voice stopped her short.
"Hold!" Artemis laughed lightly, taking note of the man's scent... The white armor... Oh this would be fantastic... Dyerdon grunted as the man ran forward, leaping over Dyerdon to roll between him and the others, his sword coming down for Artemis, Artemis blocking the blow moving back with him, the blade arching for him, he ducked beneath it as Rain came around with one of her sais to thrust for his back. He winced at the near miss, then brought his blade back around. Dyerdon noticed he was going after Artemis alone. Dyerdon would have fired at Rain as she tried to circle around for his back, but the man gave him a look, bright green eyes flaring to life from beneath his helmet gave him pause... Told him to move on... To save the girl... When he turned back to face Artemis he was rewarded with a strike to the face, the blade hitting the helmet hard, eliciting a thunderous cracking sound that threw the man backwards, staggering, Rain taking that moment to move in to stab forward, the man managed to scramble to the side, but her sai found his arm, she smirked, turning him to face her rearing a hand back then froze as she stared into his face.
"R-Randos?" she muttered. Randos Martis groaned softly staring at her, then set his feet, pushing Rain, she fell backwards with a curse, catching herself with one hand on the railing, flipping herself back around to land on the catwalk again as Randos fell backwards, Artemis's blade cleaving into the metal of the catwalk... Rain stared in disbelief as he turned to face Artemis once more. Dyerdon took that as a cue to make his way to the outside platforms, making his way up higher.
Adam swore, his shots had gotten nowhere near scoring an actual hit, though they'd been right on target... His sister had grown in her ability as a sorceress, and a powerful one at that... A burst of electricity struck him hard in the chest, sending him sprawling, with a curse he scrambled backwards rolling over his bokken, turning... And he had no way to get close to her... There had to be something he could do to disrupt her spells... to blow her concentration... get her to lose her cool... but what?
"An' here I was concerned about dodging your magic... thought they'd hurt..!" he called to her, she growled, bringing her hand back, then forward, a massive, firey orb flying from her hand. He grunted, diving to the side... "Why'd I jump like that.. psh.. .coulda side stepped... slow things that..." he taunted her.
"Shut up... just shut up!" she called, he turned to fire at her, she raised her hand, then pulled it back with a yelp, her eyes widening as a grin broke out onto his lips, she held her stinging hand to her chest, her flowing, black hair, paling, becoming blonde. Blue paint boiled from her hand from the heat of her still powerful magic. She hissed, pointing at him, flames erupting from her finger toward him in a spiraling column. A blue mark appeared upon her eye, eliciting another shriek, the flames dispersing quickly as she staggered backwards, slowly shrinking in size. Another shot to the chest, then another to the shoulder. He broke her concentration... He charged forward, leaping at her, wooden blade pulled back to strike. With a cry of surprise she raised her hand again, stopping him in the air. She growled as his eyes widened, pushing forward, throwing him throught the air violently to let him crash across the front desk...
PerVonus naturally was a peaceful man... but there was always something worth fighting for, and here he fought for his friend, and for his friend's son... and for a girl he didn't even know... why? For the sake of life in general... But he knew when he was outmatched... ah the benefits of being an earthmancer... He dove to the side as Kavbra came in, a stone wall coming up before him again, this time however he was recoiled. Thrown back by the terrible force. He crashed to the ground looking up as he took note of the creation... An elemental, or a golem, or whatever it was called... gigantic, humanoid, made of solid rock... He raised up his falchion in defense as a massive fist slammed into him. PerVonus winced lightly, bowing his head at the death of a worthy opponent... though his mourning was too soon... The golem trembled violently before flying upward, Kavbra letting out a massive roar, as he stood, throwing the thing off of him with a fierce strength no man could have ever possessed... The golem crumbling on impact with the wall... PerVonus had underestimated the orc....
Dyerdon winced watching briefly as the two dragons battled in the air, their manuevers mimicking each other, together they tumbled toward the ground, crashing through the side of the building, the howling wind buffeting up at them. Unseen to the Gunslinger the two beasts stood in the confined quarters, struggling to get at the other. Then, they began to change, Solo perhaps realized that the beast could be killed if he could use his guns on it, but what he saw before him now made his eyes widen, there before him he could see his mirror image, his eyes the only difference, one being crimson, cold, unfeeling... What on earth was going on here? His copy smirked at his reaction.
"You've bled in her presence..." he said simply, Solo scowled, had Lyandra given his blood to this Vy'Don? Has she inadvertently allowed for a clone to be made of him? He drew his weapon in a flash, the copy drawing simultanoeusly, diving to the side as he fired, catching Solo in the chest, throwing him backwards with a surprised cry. Hitting the ground and rolling backwards. He came up to his feet, his vest shredded from the impact... Okay, he was as fast as he was... This would be interesting...
Randos danced backwards, his sword ringing against Artemis's as he moved between him and the stunned Rain. The two danced back and forth the blades dancing together as one in perfect unison, knowing the other's move before they performed it. Artemis cackled madly as he stared into Randos's face.
"I can't believe you, Randy!" he called, parrying a blow meant for his face, "Betraying us all like Nefar!" he shouted, swinging wildly at Randos's head, he snapped himself back to avoid the blade.
"Betray you? I've never been on your side, Artemis! I've longed for this chance to kill you, and it seems that Gunslinger has paved the way!" he called, pressing forward, blade against blade, ringing out, the two blades spinning back and forth, arching to the side, they turned as one, leaping upward to land on the thin guard rails, balancing perfectly as their swords rang out against each other.
"Then why have you served with Vy for so long?" asked Artemis, sweeping his blade low, Randos pivoted as the blade cut into his rail, flipping sideways onto Artemis's, his blade cutting deep into his chest, spraying fluroscent blood onto his white armor, and slammed hard against the metal beneath, scraping harmlessly against it. There was no way to win against this beast... Artemis came forward, Randos snapping his blade down reaching out to catch Artemis's shoulder, springing up and over in a flip to land in perfect balance on the rail again before cartwheeling back onto the catwalk itself, Artemis, overbalanced fell forward, his fingers touching against the metal walkway, twisting about as he rolled forward, coming up on his toes and the fingers of his free hand, his sword out to the side, facing Randos. Randos glanced over Artemis for a moment to take note of Rain.
"To protect a love who loves no more..." he stated. Artemis snickered lightly, Rain turned away. That was all he needed to spur him into action once more, rushing forward, Artemis snapped his blade up as he stood, their blades locking together with a haunting, ghostly hiss... Randos slid backwards across the metal ground, Artemis was by far stronger than he was, and that wound he had taken was already gone... Artemis shoved him back, causing his sword to fly back over his head, he took a step backwards, perhaps the only thing that saved him as the vampire's blade cut across his body, he cried out, staggering back further, but Artemis pressed his attack, leaping forward with a powerful kick that drove him back to the ladder, falling backwards to the ground below. Randos hit the concrete below with a sickening crack, his world spinning crazily about him. Artemis leaped from the catwalk, dropping feet first toward Randos. With a grunt he rolled to the side at the last second, Artemis crunching into the concrete leaving deep impact marks. The vampire andvanced, kicking out, Randos flew back to slam hard against the wall, groaning lightly, reaching for his sword, Artemis was already there, standing over him, sword drawn back.
"Say hello to your father for me..." he began, then paused, his eyes narrowing, he slowly turned a sai sticking from his back. He laughed at Rain for a moment, "You can go first I suppose..." he told her, begining to swing. He paused again, a flourescent blue spray covering her face. She gasped, staggering backwards, looking to see Randos, hurt badly, sword held out to the side, the blue liquid dripping from his sword.
"No... you can go first... Heal from that, asshole..." he managed, slumping against the wall, Artemis lurched forward with a muted cry of denial, dropping to his knees, then hit the ground, face first, his head rolling free of his body... Rain stared in surprise as Randos slunk to the ground, and despite her desire for freedom, she realized that this man had long ago given up his own, for her own silly quest... She moved to his side, pulling him close.
"We have chosen our paths... My quest is done, fulfill your own," he said to her. "I loved you, only to be denied what you felt, so again we must part paths, we won't meet again..." he told her, she doubted that to be true, though in this life perhaps it was... He'd live, but he'd be the one to leave this time...
Adam groaned pushing himself out of the debris of the desk, seeing her hover before him, not the woman she had portrayed herself as, rather as the girl who was his twin sister. Cheyenne's eyes burned with an unholy light as she stared down upon him. He winced feeling the heat of the raging inferno around them, her golden locks framed in the flames, giving her the look of a demon...
"Why... don't... you... die?!" she shrieked at him, rearing her hand back, then thrusting it forward, Adam let out a cry of surprise as the flames focused down upon him, his arms coming up defensively. The heat washed over him, then around him. A blue light pulsating around him, protecting him from the magical burst. He winced, feeling the bubble about him feed from his mind, his focus keeping it in place. What? Did he have similiar abilities as Cheyenne? Impossible? Well... not impossible... but... He hadn't known he had any... He blew out a hiss, his arms crossed over his face in an X, struggling against the endless stream of fire, when on instinct he threw his arms down. The bubble, rather then simply disperse... burst... Exploding outward, the flames stopping abruptly, and Cheyenne thrown from the air to crash into the wall. Adam winced then moved forward, scooping up his wooden sword as she moved to her hands and knees, groaning herself, pushing herself up slowly. His feet carrying him fast toward her, he uttered a simple:
"I'm sorry," her eyes moved upward in time to see the back end of his weapon, cracking against the side of her head. Her head snapped to the side, her eyes glazed over for a moment, before closing and she slumped to the ground, the sweet darkness of unconsciousness claiming her. Adam glanced around slowly, the flames that had marked the battlefield within the lobby slowly dying down, then guttering out, the only signs that there had been a fire at all were the charred walls, and the lingering heat. He turned his eyes upon his sister, dropping to his knees beside her, drawing her into his arms, holding her close, tears forming in his eyes. What world was this when siblings had to do battle? When once, not so long ago, they had played as children...
If PerVonus could speak, he surely would have set out a curse as that massive falchion swung down, PerVonus barely had enough time to raise his spear up over his head to take the impact of the huge blade. The ground cracked at the impact, the half elf's feet sinking into the cement beneath the charred tiles of the lobby. This was getting him nowhere fast... He took a step forward, against the blade, pushing back hard, the heavily armored orc taking a step back, his feet slipping on the debris that littered their battlefield, how many walls had tumbled? Was there any unbroken ground? PerVonus pressed the attack, turning his spear over in his hand to lunge forward, the sharp, obsidian tip of the weapon striking the orc square in the chest, the point bouncing harmlessly against the inpenetrable armor Kavbra wore. But the force behind the mighty blow was enough to send the orc tumbling backwards to crash to the ground. The ground trembled from the impact, portions of the ceiling crumbling around them. PerVonus didn't waste anytime, stabbing his spear into the ground before him as the orc struggled to stand, the half-elf hopped back, clapping his hands together. Kavbra came up to his feet as the ground began to tremble violently, the orc staggering trying to keep some hold on his regained footing. He took one step forward, and PerVonus swept his hands out, arms out to his side as if meaning to fly away. The orc let out a roar as he began to charge the vulnerable man, but realized too late that the ground had opened beneath him. A massive hand shot out grabbing the edge struggling to pull himself up, then PerVonus brought his hands back together. Kavbra let out a cry as the gaping fault snapped shut on him, trapping his head and his hand from the wrist up. He let out a rumbling growl, struggling to break free of his prison, PerVonus walking toward him slowly, Kavbra paused, staring up hard at the man as he stooped to remove the clamps of the orc's helmet, revealing his horribly disfigured face. One of his upward jutting tusks having been broken in half long ago.
"Go ahead and kill me..." he rumbled to the half-elf, who merely bowed his head, ripping his spear from the ground. When he snapped it down over Kavbra's head, it was the blunt end, sending him into a deep sleep that would last for a while, PerVonus had witnessed this beast's strength, and had no doubt he'd be able to free himself... best to avoid that bridge altogether, but, the orc was not evil, he had not sensed the perversion he had in only two of the original Six... He'd spare the orc, but delay another battle with him, he'd be sore enough as it was.
Dyerdon had no more problems in scaling the side of the building, the walkways were rickety but he managed to keep his balance and surefootedness as he made his way to the penthouse from the exterior. He doubted Trevor had expected him to have passed all his traps... and he had been waiting for Solo, he hated that man for whatever reason... He hoped his friend could handle the dragon that had attacked Solo alone... He crossed over to the final stretch, coming to what looked like a stone archway a short distance off, without thinking too much about it he ran toward the edge, jumping over the gap, and rolled silently across the ground, grasping the stone railing, he had reached the penthouse... He looked out over the city for a moment to see the first rays of morning, the orange light casting deeper shadows far below him, the street itself blended into the city, one slip and one could perhaps witness their entire life flash before their eyes in real time before hitting that ground, Dyerdon mused. He tore his eyes away from the haunting beauty, and morbid facination brought of the city, turning to the sliding glass door. He inched toward it, slowly opening it.
"Let me go, Vy... Now..." came Lyandra's voice, he knew that voice anywhere.
"Yes... in a hurry to be rid of me..." came the growling hiss of Trevor. Dyerdon crept through the crack, taking note of the room. It was huge, lavish, Trevor liked to live in style it seemed. Across the way was a huge sofa, sitting on it was Lyandra herself, her hands bound behind her back, and her ankles likewise tied together. Trevor stood over her, facing away from Dyerdon himself. Dyerdon scowled lightly as he noticed the swelling of the woman's eye, had he hit her? Or did he send Rain to pick her up... that looked like she had kicked her... Dyerdon drew his revolver from his hip, Lyandra catching the movement looking past Trevor to him. Dyerdon froze as Trevor straightened, then snapped his hand to his own hip, turning to face his brother without pause, the black revolver he drew ringing out in the room. Dyerdon threw himself to the side as the shot blew out the door he had come through, glass raining out into the city below. Dyerdon came up fast to return fire, but Trevor was already moving, scooping up Lyandra in one swift move, then spinning about to present her to him. Dyerdon held his fire, Trevor was using her as a shield! After all he'd done to her, to make her feel for him... To try to find something in him that she liked herself, he was now planning to kill her?
"You always seem to win everytime we face off, don't you..?" Trevor asked Dyerdon. Dyerdon frowned lightly, Lyandra casting him a pleading look. He felt pity for her, she was caught between the two men, the fight that had gone on for what? Seven... eight years now?
"Let her go, Trevor..." he told him. His twin let out a growl.
"Trevor is dead dammit!" he shouted, Dyerdon suddenly felt pity for him as well, he had lost a portion of his sanity in this woman, had he truly loved her? "I am Vy'Don Blaskus!" he roared. Snapping his weapon out to fire at his brother. Dyerdon swore, diving to the side, rolling across the ground then snapped his body back to seek cover behind the kitchen counter.
"You're talking crazy, Trev!" he called. Trevor hissed, he hated his name, the name of a past life in his eyes perhaps.
"Lyandra wants you... And I'll be damned if I'll let that happen!" he shouted at Dyerdon. Dyerdon grunted, scanning over his options, his eyes darting around the area before him, nothing useful.
"Dammit! Let me go! Stop!" came Lyandra's voice. Dyerdon swore, turning from the counter to peer around the corner toward the couple. They were gone, a single door slowly swinging shut. Dyerdon sighed, then barreled for the door. Trevor fled toward the roof, and the gunslinger followed.
Solo cursed as he tried to get the drop on his own twin at that moment. The man was fast! Somehow faster then himself, how that was possible was beyond him, when all was said and done, he WAS himself. He couldn't get a clean shot, and the clone had already shot him at least three times, twice in one arm, once in his armored chest. This was getting him nowhere fast... And then there was the occasional thrown crate, those were getting annoying... Used to flush him out of cover to avoid being crushed. He was faster and stronger... And his eyesight was by far better... That crimson eye seeming to see everything in slow motion... His body able to react to that. Then again, if it was him, how come he fought him? Why did he work for Vy`Don? Unless he had something that kept him controlled... It hit him suddenly like a fist... Cyborg! He was a frickin' cyborg! He snapped himself up to snap off a quick shot, only to take two rounds to his chest, throwing him backwards, his armor all but crumbling to dust as he struggled to his feet. The clone was upon him, bringing his hands together, and slamming them upward into his chest, he felt something crack and a fire gripped his lungs. He gasped for air, snapping his arms down to grab his twin's arms. The clone turned sharply, slamming him through a pillar. He let out a cry before managing to bring his legs up, his feet connecting with the abomination's chest as he threw himself back, a sickening pop resounding in his ears as the clone passed over him. His hands releasing it sending it crashing through the wall. Solo managed to come up to his feet, removing the grapple from his belt, then swore as he watched the clone take on the dragon form again. Wasn't this just peachy...? He turned to secure the rope end to one pillar, then dove out the hole in the wall, the rope spinning wildly in his hands as he gripped the end, yeah, this was going to hurt... The ground rushed up at him as the dragon grabbed the rope in his talons, turning back into his elven form. It's revolver in one hand coming down to take aim. The wind howling up at them, Solo winced, snapping the hook up, then tore it back down, the hook catching the clone in the side of the face, tearing a gaping hole into his cheek. He let out a horrendous cry as Solo jerked it down, tearing him from the rope as it grew taut. The revolver dropping to the ground that was now mere inches from them. Solo groaned, releasing the rope dropping to the ground as his clone struggled to free himself. A yellow glow washed over them, eliciting a curse from Solo, rolling to the side, sending flashes of fire across his body. His clone let out another cry as his existance suddenly ended, the semi never slowing, let alone stopping. In this city, it could be dangerous to stop, just cause you hit someone, no matter how big the mess they made..... Solo turned away from the gruesome sight of his clone, the hook swinging back toward him, his face, and only his face, no body or head attached, staring down at him. Oh yeah... that'd be burned into his memory, traumatized for life... yep... that was him... Solo groaned, letting himself find the darkness of pain induced sleep.
Dyerdon moved swiftly onto the roof, pausing for a moment, taking a look around. There was a piece of machinary that blocked the view of the rest of the roof from the door, possibly the air conditioning system. Somehow he figured Trevor was on the other side, with Lyandra. How had he planned on escaping? Had he planned on escaping..? He scanned the area a moment more, a length of rope moved around the corner of AC unit, one end secured tightly to a thick column in the ground. Perhaps from the men who had been working on the construction of the lower levels of the huge building. The wind howled wildly up here without the protection of the building to keep it off him. His trench fluttering wildly behind him. The sun at it's morning apex, casting his shadow before him as he began to move cautiously around the corner, Trevor stood there, one hand gripping tightly to Lyandra's shoulder as he peered down the side of the building, the rope coiled near them both. Trevor glanced over at Dyerdon, moving quick to keep Lyandra between them. His black revolver held against her temple.
"Drop your gun!" Trevor shouted, Dyerdon froze, Lyandra gave him a fearful look for a moment, she trusted in him, but.. she knew what Trevor was capable of. What he would do to her. "I swear I will shoot her in the head..." he growled, "Her blood will be on your hands..." Dyerdon winced staring at them for a moment. Dyerdon could shoot Trevor easily, but he'd have to shoot through Lyandra to do it. Wasn't this whole war that had taken place in the building been all for her? To save her? The look she gave him was to shoot through her to kill him, to just do it and be done with it. She was regretting her decision to marry this man. Married to both him and Solo... it was an odd city to allow such, then again, Nomad's madness apparent. With a growl he threw his weapon to the ground, then kicked it away. Trevor grinned wickedly.
"You're weak, Dyerdon..." he told him, turning his gun onto the gunslinger. Dyerdon began to move for his gun but was too slow in reacting as the weapon fired off, taking Dyerdon in the chest and throwing him back hard against the AC unit, he slowly slid to the ground, slumping to the side.
"Dyerdon!" cried Lyandra, fighting against her bonds to go to his side, instead however she fell forward, her ankles still bound tightly, Trevor caught her by her hair ripping her back to him. She let out a gasp as he stared into her hatefilled eyes.
"I loved you..." he hissed, then smiled darkly, "But, all's well that ends well, let's hope this angel can fly..." he told her, turning to cast her past him. She let out a scream as she tumbled backwards, and off the roof, her cries echoing up as she fell. Trevor laughed lightly to himself then paused as something tugged violently on his ankle. He let out a cry as he looked down at the coil of rope pulling on him, he turned sharply to see Dyerdon stand, his eyes widened in surprise as his eyes fell upon the rope in the gunslinger's hands. Trevor gave one last shout before falling backwards after Lyandra. Dyerdon held onto the rope moving fast toward the edge, slipping a loop into his belt and securing it, he simply did the unthinkable... he dove off the roof. Trevor's leg had caught in the rope, trapped on the edge, he watched Dyerdon fall past him and realized his plan, the rope loosening to let him fall as well. His hands scrambling for the rope. Dyerdon brought his arms to his sides, his face staring into the wind as he plummeted toward the flailing Lyandra. Her cries going unheard by him his thoughts focused on her form, he'd have to time it just... right... He turned slightly, his arms opening as he slammed hard into her. Her cries left her, as he knocked the wind out of both of them, his arms wrapping about her. She looked up at him in surprise as they tumbled, then jerked to a stop. Lyandra shrieked as she almost slipped from his grasp, but he held on. He winced lightly, feeling something pull on his arm, there was still a noce little fall between them. At least fifeteen stories. He took a deep breath as he reached down to unhook himself, trying to hold onto her with one arm, then moved to hook the rope to her belt. That done he regained his grip for a moment, then moved to untie her hands. She threw her arms around him, kissing him heatedly. He grunted, pulling away, almost letting go and plummeting to his death...
"What are you-?" he began, she cut him off.
"It's you I love.. don't you--?" she asked, pausing as he shook his head.
"Solo is a good man, and I'm married myself, I believe in loyalty in that..." he said to her. Even if he deep down knew that Katelin was gone, out of Inter, out of everything he had ever known... Gone from this chapter of his life. Gone forever. Lyandra nodded weakly, slowly lowering her head. The rope trembled violently, causing them both to look up. Trevor slid down the rope fast... With a curse Dyerdon gripped the rope tighter, but that did no good. Trevor slammed hard into them, Lyandra staying in place thanks to Dy tying the rope to her... but the gunslinger however now fell with his twin, tumbling toward the darkness below. He twisted his body, trying to disengage himself from his brother, but he turned back around, they hit a wooden platform on the side of the buidling hard, blasting the air out of them, the platform twisting, careening out to the side. They laid there for a long moment before slowly trying to stand on the diagnal platform. They grunted, pushing away from each other to stand there for a moment, staring at the other. Blood trickling down the side of Dyerdon's face, his nose flattened, blood dripping from it. Possibly broken. Trevor had a deep cut along the side of his arm, and his hands smoked lightly, Dyerdon was certain that he had sacraficed his hands in that attempt to kill him...
"You should have stayed in Gerdan..." Trevor growled, Dyerdon found a smirk appearing on his own face.
"I had to find the man who became a murderer.." he said. Trevor hissed, coming at him, Dyerdon turned to move, but his brother excelled in close combat where Dyerdon was better at keeping his distance. However, the construction platform offered little option for manueverability.. Trevor swept out his foot, tripping Dyerdon. The gunslinger tumbled toward the edge, but caught the metal guard rail. Trevor was upon him already, swinging out a fist for his face. Dyerdon grunted as the blow landed, followed by another one, his nose felt like it'd explode if he took another shot like that... His eyes watering. Another fist had him snap his head to the side, throwing a punch of his own, Trevor staggered backwards, before regaining his balance, then came forward, Dyerdon threw another punch, but Trevor had expected it. Catching his wrist, he turned, and over Dyerdon went. He grunted, catching hold of the side of the platform, Trevor grabbing the railing so he could stomp onto his fingers. Dyerdon let out a cry, fighting to hold on as another foot came down. The platform trembling from the impact. It was then that Trevor may have realized that hadn't been the wisest of moves. The platform tearing free of the wall, spinning wildly in the air before crashing into another awning, sending it swinging wildly out before crashing into the side of the building once more. Dyerdon was hurled from his grip to crash into the wall, landing on another lower awning as the falling platforms spun out away from the building to crash to the ground below. Trevor slammed hard into the side of the awning Dyerdon found himself sitting on, before spinning out to follow the platforms. A loud blast of a horn from below told the gunslinger his brother's fate through the windshield of a speeding car... Dyerdon took a deep breath, part of him feeling that everything was over. The Six had been dismantled... but oh how he was wrong.... An explosion from below shook the tower, forcing Dyerdon to forego the pain in his body, moving to the edge of the platform to look down. About two more stories down, on the street, stood what looked like the remnants of a human... Flesh peeling from it's body, firey debris raining around it. It took Dyerdon a moment to realize the walking corpse was indeed his brother, it turned glowing red eyes up to stare hard at him. Dyerdon paled, great leathern wings ripping from his back. What the hell had his brother done? Was there truth when he said that Trevor Sandren was dead? Was this the reason why he took the name Vy`Don Blaskus? The creature let out a deafening roar as he shot his arms out to the side. His flesh exploding outward, as if some creature had been trapped inside was suddenly released... The monster turned it's horned head back and forth, red, pebbly flesh covered its powerful body. Great, black, razor sharp claws glistened from the tips of the demon's fingers. Dyerdon scrambled back as the beast took to the air, crashing through the base of the platform, he found himself crashing through wooden construct, sending Dyerdon tumbling over the beast as it soared upward again. It turned in the air, catching his leg with one of those great claws, tearing him free of it's back, then snapped his hand forward. Dyerdon found himself tumbling in the air once more, crashing through boards and plaster, drywall, crunching through the side of another building, until finally coming to a painful halt on the ground. He groaned heavily, finding no will to move until it crashed to the ground behind him. He slowly pushed himself up before looking at the gigantic beast that had once been his brother. The creature moved over him as he moved, slamming a foot into his back, holding him there, he coughed, wishing he had his revolver, still left on the rooftop of the skyscraper. Wishing to God he could somehow get to that blessed weapon... The creature let out a roar as a loud hiss filled his ears. The demon taking a step back, Dyerdon managed to roll over onto his back with another groan to see the wisps of steam rising from him, and from the demon's foot. The Gunslinger painfully stood up, the world spinning around momentarily, but he held on. The beast slowly moving forward, Dyerdon would have very much so loved to get out of the way as the demon broke into a charge, but found it difficult to make any movements at all, his body ignoring the cries of his mind. He closed his eyes as the claws moved back to strike. A white light nearly blinding him, he winced back, and found his body propelling to the side as if thrown by some unseen force, his eyes flew open as the demon barreled past, the ground becoming carved into a hail of concrete as it's claws tore it apart. Dyerdon winced, slowly standing again, the unholy creature turning to face him once more, growling softly.
"You can't dodge forever..." it said in a low, infernal, rumbling voice. To Dyerdon the creature sounded like crackling flames.
"If God wills it I will, beast..." he told it, straightening to stare at the monster, letting all thoughts of fear be cast aside in that moment. The demon let out a roar before charging at the unarmed Gunslinger again... and this time... Dyerdon met it's charge. A cry of his own upon his lips. The demon raked his claws toward him again as his feet left the ground, he reached out, catching one claw in his hands. The hiss filling there ears, and Dyerdon hit the ground, rolling between the monster's massive legs, the broken claw in his hands, he blinked, surprised, but didn't relent, snapping the claw back. The monster let out another of those bone jarring roars as the claw sank deep between the massive leathern wings. A white light flowing around the claw, the demon dropping to it's knees. Then with that.. it simply exploded. Dyerdon finding himself thrown through the wall of the building to hit the street hard. He rolled a few feet before coming to a stop. He raised his head slightly to see the human sillouhette stagger from the building, then drop to his knees and tumble over. Dyerdon groaned softly, before letting his head drop to the ground.
Adam and PerVonus had made their way to the roof, Adam carrying Cheyenne, Lyandra sat on the edge of the building staring down. She seemed serene, calm, in the face at least. Her body trembled, from either the chill of climbing to the roof on the outside of the building, and she couldn't really look at them.
"Where's dad?" asked Adam, she looked at the boy for a moment, realizing who he was, she looked to where she had hung previously. With that, Adam began to make a run for the door leading back down. PerVonus frowned, and then with Lyandra they began to make their way hastily to the ground once more. Once on the outside they found Solo, broken and bloody, but alive. Lyandra ignored him as she moved around the building to where she had hung. PerVonus knelt to tend to his wounds. Then looked up to stare at the torn face of the clone, he simply rose a brow before turning his attentions back to healing the injured Gunslinger. Adam followed after Lyandra still carrying Cheyenne, there they found Dyerdon. Laying face down in the street where something had thrown him, debris laid around him. A little ways off laid Trevor... the source of their problem here, broken and bleeding. His chest rising in steady shudders, he'd live... Lyandra knelt over Dyerdon, reaching to his belt, sliding the revolver into it's holster. She checked his pulse, then simply nodded... standing. And with that... she walked away...
I had been hurt badly, to be sure, at first I didn't know how I survived, but I looked back to the battle... Who can truly say that there is no God when he protects those who but believe? But what deal had Trevor made? That was something I had looked into after that, and finally, I came across a book, a black bound leather book, well... one I hoped was leather... Within the ancient tome I discovered the something I had never thought to find. The words Vy'Don Blaskus... A term used by a demon cult that referred to a Half Blood, or Half Breed. Looking deeper for the terms I came across a demon of Demortus. The text explaining how he was a demon that required a host upon the mortal planes, but it could not claim a host unless the host agrees. Even then the demon does not take charge, this... Yanaan, as was it's name, gave it's host all it's power, in return it would be allowed to retain their soul at the end of life, however, part of the deal was to not allow the host's life to be easily taken. So the demon was bound to defend him, to even go so far as to preserve his life if he was about to die so he could heal and survive. A terrifying prospect to be sure, again, I could have killed Trevor just the same, and it would have been over, all done for him... but... now knowing he would spend an eternity in a hellish purgatory? He not only is my brother, but he shared the womb with me, we grew together, and despite his crueler nature... we had been bonded once.. Close... what had changed? Was there redemption for a man who tore apart a brother's bond for one with a demon? I pray that there is, to the one thing I can use to fight such a monstrosity... God. That was the last time I had seen Lyandra, when she walked away... it was from the city. Solo left in the cold as much as I. And Cheyenne... My little Cheyenne... She grew mad with her power, and her desire to kill both me and Adam, and to chase after Katelin and kill her for leaving us as well. That, I couldn't allow, when all else failed, and it became evident that she was growing more and more powerful, she was sent to the CoL, a mistake perhaps when they could do nothing for the city in favor of the rights of killers and monsters... But they placed her in an asylum, and set protections in place to great a magical deadzone. Left only with Adam and NightMare for consolation... I would have set NightMare free into the Gerdan desert, had Adam not been there, for if it wasn't for Adam, I would not have found any reason to stay in this plane of existance... I surely would have done something with the hopes that I would not survive.
~From the Diary of Dyerdon Sandren
14. THE BLOODCRY INCIDENT AND THE ANGEL OF MERCY
How often must I wade through the depths of hell? How many times must I be surrounded by fallen comrades and invincible foes? What sort of life can a man live when all he seeks is death? What sort of man seeks only death..? What was I becoming? The woman I loved gone, lost to my own path, frightened from me... my daughter... wishing me dead... and Lyandra..? I never saw her again. So started a depression that lasted two lifetimes... That is another story, I'd be getting ahead of myself. Adam and Cheyenne had grown into young adults, and while Cheyenne remained trapped within the asylum, Adam took to the road. A hunter of hunters. Lending aid to travellers upon the dusty highways of Gerdan. Seeking the raiders and monsters of the sands and bringing their reign to an end. Because of him and a small band of others, the wasteland had become a safer place. That left me alone... Solo went on to fight against Slayer endlessly, his struggles against my brother being well known throughout the city. I looked on with my normal jovial attitude despite what I felt within me. I took the occasional odd job, usually mercenary work, one such mission led me into a meeting with fate. A meeting with a woman who would destroy me, and another, who one day would save me... The mayor of InterCity, finding out about Solo's actions realized that his ties to Slayer would lead him to his doorstep, so he fled across the desert, beyond the jurisdiction of the law. The Church of Light, realizing that he needed to brought to justice, call on anyone willing to go forth and bring him in, alive, preferrably. So we went and made camp, it was there I met the woman with her pale eyes, and extrodinarily snarky attitude... And the mark of a Gunslinger upon her hip. Times of darkness called for heroes, even those who hadn't realized that they were indeed heroes... She didn't talk much to me, too concerned with the mission ahead, and I ignored the others, keeping my council with NightMare. That was when the raiders struck....
~From the Diary of Dyerdon Sandren
"Hummers!" came the cry snapping Dyerdon from his darkening thoughts, NightMare nudged him lightly, causing a small smile upon his face. His eyes moving toward the horizon and the dusty plumes rising from the ground. He couldn't make out what was causing it, but he knew what it was by the call. Military vehicles? Where they coming to take care of the job? His skin tingled lightly with the energy of the others, he paused for a second, something wasn't right... He grabbed ahold of NightMare's inky black mane and swung up onto her back.
"Raiders!" called the watch this time, he dropped his binos quickly then moved for his weapon. An explosion lit the sky for an instant, and Dyerdon immediately knew what they had brought...
"Mortars!" he called, everyone began scrambling, except for the woman, she was running for him. Dyerdon grunted, looking straight ahead, they couldn't hit someone who was too close... "Okay girl-" he began before feeling added weight behind him, the horse reared for a moment, causing Dyerdon to hang on. "Easy! Easy!" he cried, looking over his shoulder to see the female Gunslinger, she stared at him for a moment. NightMare didn't like anyone on her back but him... She didn't seem pleased... but she listened, calming a bit, but the look he gave him spoke volumes.
"We goin' 'r what?" she mumbled loudly. Dyerdon smirked then turned toward the horse.
"I could use the help, let's go..." he told her, she whinnied and snorted pawing at the earth for a moment, a whistling overhead set her flying across the sand before the mortar hit. The woman hanging on, peering over Dyerdon's shoulder and readying her revolver. The sand began rippling before them and Dyerdon recognized it as heavy small arms fire tearing apart the sand. A resounding crack echoed in his ears as the woman fired over his shouler to catch one man in the shoulder as they closed the gap, there was about three of the hummers, one mortar tube on one, the other two had what looked like infantry... these were the Mayor's people... The man who had been hit spun as he fired, taking the driver in the head... the vehicle listing to the side before catching the side of a dune and spinning wildly in the air to crash in the rocks beyond. Dyerdon admired her handiwork for a moment as he fired at the mortar vehicle, the soldiers within however had too much cover... That left one more option... He urged the horse toward the tube before he scooted back a bit, the woman gave him an odd look before turning to fire at the men in the other truck. A hail of gunfire filling the air between them. Dyerdon swung his feet up to rest on NightMare's back. Then he was standing. The woman had said nothing so far before she scooted forward again.
"Keep this course!" he called, the woman gave him a strange look again before noting he spoke to the horse. "I'll be back..." he stated. The woman's eyes widened as he leaped from the horses back onto the mortar vehicle. She grunted moving to stand... the horse however didn't like that for her, and lunged forward, throwing the woman from her back. Dyerdon swore, diving to the side, to throw his arm out to grab her arm as she bounced against the sand. That could have been worse, though he was certain that still hurt. She cursed loudly up at him as he struggled to pull her up.
"You coulda stayed, darlin'," he said with a half grin, he turned his head as a hatch began to open.
"You're fuckin' horse dun like me..." she muttered as a man poked his head up from the hatch. The Gunslinger's looked at each other for a moment as their weapons came up and fired. The man's head snapped backwards before dropping back into the hatch, a single hole in his forehead, two rounds lodged his skull. The other truck began to move over for a clearer shot, and was met with shots from two revolvers. One man fell from the vehicle to be crushed by the heavy wheels, the vehicle turned to the side, another round ripping through a front tire, sending it flying into the air spinning wildly before crashing upside down in the sand. Dyerdon smirked a bit.
"Not a half bad shot, Sandy..." he said to her. She just gave him another odd look as he moved to the hatch and reached for his belt. He pulled up a green canister, pulling the pin from it, he dropped it in. Her eyes widened for an instant as he moved to slide an arm around her waist.
"Jus' hold on..." he told her, then jumped. He landing hard on NightMare's back, wincing, part of him wondering if he'd ever have kids again... The horse just suddenly stopped as if on cue, the vehicle spinning suddenly to the side before rolling over hard. The woman cast him another odd look from her position in front of him, "Tear gas..." he said with a smirk. Then turned the horse back toward the cheering that had risen from the camp.
"Dyerdon Sandren, Son of Seltec..." he said as a way of greeting, no better way to get to know someone than battle. She regarded him for a moment.
"Tack..." she said, leaving it at that. Dyerdon helped her from the black mare's back before sliding to the ground himself. One of the mercenaries motioned to him. The man had been the self proclaimed leader of the group since they had left the city, and no one questioned it, they didn't care, they'd get paid either way. The woman, Tack... or Sandy as Dyerdon would forever call her, naturally followed.
"Good work out there, both of ya..." he stated, Tack shrugged, Dyerdon nodded, watching him expectantly, it was obvious the man had something to tell them. He didn't disappoint. "I sent a scout ahead of our position, he told me about the trucks-"
"An' you neglected to tell us?" asked Tack, "M'tter o' fact... where were you?" she asked him, the man looked flustered for a moment, before turning his gaze toward Dyerdon.
"There's an airstrip..." he stated simply, Tack made a grunting sound before walking off, heading toward the APC that the others seemed to prefer. Dyerdon could tell that the man before him was an obvious coward, not his choice in leaders, but he, himself, was no leader...
"Those were the Mayor's men... so that airstrip is most likely meant for him, he's planning on flying..." he told him. The man nodded briefly, staring toward the horizon.
"Alright..." he said then called to the others, "Mount up!" he called Tack scowled deeply. Dyerdon could read her expression well enough, she didn't like this guy.
"Need a ride?" he asked her sliding up onto NightMare's back. She turned to stare at him for a moment, her scowl slowly fading a bit.
"Tryin' to g't me killed?" she asked him, "I'll take my chances in the box..." she said climbing into the APC, Dyerdon simply shrugged, patting NightMare on the back of her neck.
"There was no need for that, ya know, I coulda handled it myself, but the help was nice..." he mused as the APC began forward, the horse snorted before letting out a soft whinny, stamping into the ground, then moved to trail behind the APC.
The going was fairly easy, no more resistance as they began to cross one of the dunes, the APC rolled down the other side the horse bound Gunslinger clearing it to take sight of the airstrip and the massive airfortress that the merc had failed to mention... It looked to be in the final stages of fueling, they'd have to move quick- The ground erupted beneath them the APC sent spinning backwards toward Dyerdon, he grunted, as NightMare hopped to the side running down the side of the dune as the APC crashed to the ground, listing awkwardly into the sand. A great, pillar rose up from the ground, it's appex turning toward the fallen vehicle as everyone began to pile out. A few paces away laid the woman, Tack, she groaned softly, coming up to her hands and knees slowly, the impact had thrown her clear of the vehicle out the back doors. The pillar, however, turned out to be a sandworm, gigantic beasts of the deserts, the last time that Dyerdon had seen one, it had been an ally in the form of PerVonus's mount... This thing however was no friend... It's massive head coming down for Tack, Dyerdon squeezed his heels into NightMare's sighed, she knew he wanted speed, so she broke into a run, Dyerdon firing up at the creature. The bullets hitting the thick hide and bouncing harmlessly off, but the sting forcing stopping the creature's descent, Dyerdon lowered his body reaching down to catch Tack's hand and jerking her up in front of him, much to the dismay of NightMare. The sandbeast slamming down hard into the ground where she had been, sending up a shower of sand. The other's began to pile out of the APC, and their fearless 'leader' was off, bounding back up the dune to escape the danger of the monster. Dyerdon swore as the others began opening up on the thing, shouts coming from the airstrip just a few yards away. They were rushing the fueling process, trying to hurry up and get out... The bullets did nothing but antagonize the creature.
"Fall back!" cried Dyerdon, Tack grunted as she took sight of the beast, it let lose a horrendous roar moving forward fast to scatter the mercenary party. No one seemed to be listening as they scrambled to their feet. His eyes moving for some means of defeating the beast... then he saw it. The APC, the beast was right over it's flipped form, and glistening in the heat standing in sharp contrast the the damaged vehicle... the massive gas tank... He took aim as everyone began to try to gain some advantage, no one was working together at all...
"Move!" he called, clicking the hammer back, no one paid him any attention, everyone else was too busy trying to bark out orders of their own. Dyerdon sighed softly.
"Jus' shoot the damn thing," muttered Tack. Dyerdon shrugged.
"Last chance! Move!" he called... still nothing, so he fired... The bullet pierced the tank, sparking brightly. The explosion ripping through the air, throwing people clear, Dyerdon had judged that much. When the smoke, flame, and debris cleared the worm's lower half was all that stuck from the ground.
"What the hell?" called one man staring at him from the space between them, "Why didn't you warn us?" he asked. Tack snorted, sounded like she tried not to laugh at the statement. Dyerdon simply lowered his weapons.
"Might wanna move..." he said turning NightMare around then charged toward the airstrip. The man scowled about to ask him what the hell was that all about when the upper half of the sandworm rained down atop them, leaving the mercenary band covered in green ichor. Tack let out a bark, that was as close to a laugh as he had heard from the woman thus far, the skyship began to roll away as he drove NightMare onward with his odd use of the Grall language.
"This time you'll let me go first?" Tack asked him, he smirked, without answering her as she looked back at him. The flying fortress rising from the ground, he reached out to grab ahold of the raising landing gear, and when he was pulled from horseback, Tack went with him. There was the loud clanking sounds of grappling hooks upon the fortress. Ahh.. the mercs caught up... how nice.. bet they stunk of sandworm guts now... The world soon went dark around them as they were raised up into the underbelly of the massive plane. They stood slowly, as they waited for their eyes to adjust, then began moving forward, coming to a ladder that led up toward a hatch. Dyerdon took the lead as Tack followed, he paused to slowly open the hatch to peer out from beneath it, seeing a pair of dusty boots, something green splatted in front of him removing any anxiety he had... He pushed upward causing weapons to be drawn and pointed at him even as he moved before them, as if they didn't worry him.
"Nice a' ya'll ta join us," he said as Tack moved beside him. With a grin he moved to take a look around, there was a series of doors on either side of the long, red carpetted, corridor. They scowled, lightly behind him as he moved slowly down the hall, he paused at the sounds of voices, a familiar one within the group of three, giving orders...
"That was close, I want a security sweep to look for any mercenary stupid enough to have managed to hitch a ride..." said the Mayor as he rounded a corner. "They're dangerous.. they defeated that sandworm that the medallion called..." he went on the guards grabbed for their weapons suddenly, causing the overweight Mayor to look up at the ragtag band. His eyes widening as the man to his left fell to the ground. The Mayor moving as quickly as one who had lived as much luxury as he had, could... The second man took to some cover behind around the corner. The mercenaries opened up on his position but couldn't score an actual hit. Dyerdon scowled at the waste of good ammo, then moved forward, he paused then slipped through the door. Tack once more followed, curious as to what he was up to... his foolhardy charge against the trucks had been successful, and he had thought fast in defeating the sandworm... The way onto the plane had been daring indeed.. what went on in his head? He was an enigma, or maybe he was just plan nuts... Dyerdon paused for an instant, then turned to open another door, sliding out into the corridor behind the guard. He was 'cooking' a grenade in his hand, pin pulled, preparing to roll it down the hall at the mercs that had him pinned down. Dyerdon had other plans. His shot rang out, the man jumped, surprised by the new threat to his side, Tack studied Dyerdon, he hadn't fired AT the man... but toward the opposite side of the corridor... The grenade however, slipped from his hands... Dyerdon moved back into the room, pushing Tack into the room again, she didn't fight him, she sensed his urgency... There was a pop, followed by the rapid thunking of metallic spikes riddling the walls. Then silence. Dyerdon poked his head back out the door to see the man pinned to the wall that had served as his protection, the spikes holding him in place and lining the corridor. The mercenaries came around the corner slowly at first to look at Dyerdon, he simply nodded. Then turned to pursue the Mayor, everyone else following. The mercenaries seemed inept if nothing else... The Mayor stumbled slightly ahead before diving into a room. Everyone began to follow until the loud hiss told them to hit the ground. They slid for a few feet as a loud explosion filled their ears, wind roaring past them to buffet them for a moment. Then they were up, moving toward the opening, looking out they could make out the falling form of the escape pod.
"We got parachutes!" cried one of the mercenaries. Dyerdon shook his head, the escape pod was moving too fast to catch up to the Mayor once they reached the ground... he'd be gone... He grunted softly, running toward the opening as the others began putting on parachutes... They paused as he dove from the plane.
"Sweet mother of-" began one of the mercenaries moving to peer down at the man, his arms straight at his sides, legs together, body straight... moving like a bullet. It brought memories back of saving Lyandra... But this time he had no intention of saving the person he fell after. He closed on the pod, then turned his body around in his free fall. Then he took note of the twin pods on the side of the small pod... thrusters, firing up. He winced as he hit with a soft clang. Then threw himself onto the hatch of the pod, clinging to the sealed handle as the thruster kicked in, propelling the pod from the plane. He dared a glance back to see the opening chutes of the others in the distance... yeah.... he would have escaped... Still might if his grip slipped... But then again, letting him get away would have been the last thing on his mind with him spinning in the air with nothing to catch him... He grunted, shaking the morbid thought from his head, pulling himself forward slowly, the handle slowly sliding back. He grunted, not liking that at all, if the hatch opened that would give his presence away... if his landing hadn't... His eyes darted up as he saw some movement, well... he didn't have to worry about the hatch opening he supposed... those trees would most likely prevent that from happening... And yes... they did indeed hurt... they were moving fast through them soon enough, branches tearing at his unprotected face, the speed at which they were descending made him realize that the landing would be a rather rough one. Boy was he right... The pod crashed through two wide oaks, then slammed hard into the ground, sliding forward, Dyerdon being flinged forward from the shuttle, spinning through the air, the shuttle moving behind him. His eyes moving quickly trying to take in his surroundings, but only managed to see flashes of silver, green, brown, and blue... sparkling blue. Then he realized the blue was rushing at him... fast.. He hit warm water hard, all air pushed out of his body, but found himself swimming upward. A dark shadow falling over him, he grunted, bubbles blasting from his mouth, a quick flick of his arms propelled him backwards as he surfaced, gasping for breath, the pod crashing into the water beside him the wave causing some buffeting waves, but the small ship stayed upon the water, floating. The Gunslinger let out a soft growl before he turned to pull himself from the water... a river... how lucky was that? The hatch popped open, and the Mayor was struggling out of the pod. Dyerdon drew his revolver in a flash, though he wasn't sure it'd fire, what with wet ammo and all... But here was to hoping the Mayor didn't know that fact...
"Stop right there!" he shouted, the Mayor froze turning his eyes down to look at him for a moment.
"How did you-?" he began, unable to find the words to describe what he wanted, Dyerdon smiled he knew what the man wanted to know.
"Eh... hitched a ride, seemed the quickest way... parachutes are for girls, ya know?" he asked, the Mayor, despite his surprise and fear of capture actually tilted his head to the side to watch him curiously, indeed, the man could be labelled as eccentric. "Anyway... you're to be brought up on charges and punished to the full extent of the law..." he told him. The Mayor, having nowhere to run, and no one to cover his escape, simply surrendered...
What would have happened if I had rode alone against those hummers? I kept looking back on that moment after a while, and I realized this Tack was faster then I could ever hope to be. I regrouped with the mercenaries after my joy ride to the ground... Yes, we split the cut on bringing the Mayor in... Even though it had been solely upon the shoulders of Tack and myself to bring him in... Still, I suppose they had come in handy as a distraction when they had pinned down the body guard in the corridor, giving Tack and myself the oppurtunity to flank him. After the mission I took a few more doing other jobs in and around the city, but when I found Tack again, it was upon the arm of one Solo Darken... go figure... He seemed to attract the female gunslingers, TackFyre was her full codename, Lillian Snoqualm, her real name. She soon after sought me out, to let me know of a job she had been given, and she got to chose the team, I was touched, she thought of me when fighting needed to be done... She told me that things seemed to blow up when I was around... and that could be an asset... Who was I to argue? Solo wasn't around at the moment, having business in the desert, but when all was said and done, we found ourselves trapped in ways thought impossible, battling not just for our lives, but for our very sanity...
~From the Diary of Dyerdon Sandren
Dyerdon looked around at the small party, just four of them... Tack and himself, and two other mercs whose names he didn't catch, they were capable at least... unlike that first mission.
"We're supposed to go into THERE... and do what?" he asked... again... Tack gave him that crooked grin of her's then shook her head.
"C'mon man... Jus' gotta go in there and bring in this drow dude, man..." said one of the merc's, this man had a razor sharp, curved rapier at his side, on his head he wore a bandana... And he seemed to enjoy a little... well.. okay... a lot of the elven weed... Tack nodded then motioned to him, as if saying, 'see, he understands,'. Dyerdon shook his head he had bad experiences with drow... particularly on Star One... The second merc had an assualt rifle, and the air of a soldier, the man was a professional while the other guy (who happened to be his younger brother) was happy with his freedoms... waaaay too happy perhaps. He moved off for the moment as they spoke.
"Yeah... caught that... what's he done, how tough is he.. and a temple like that-" he said pointing to the massive structure they were about to enter, "-is bound to be crawling with guards if he has an entourage like our last one...." Tack shrugged.
"Nothin' we can't handle, right?" she asked, Dyerdon just stared at her. "Eh, we've survived worse..." she said, Dyerdon stared. "Shit hits the fan, jus' blow somethin' up... you're good at that..." Dyerdon's stare shifted from her as the swordsman piped in...
"Woah, man... don't blow me up, dude... that'd, like, ya know... suck..?" Why'd she bring him again? Thankfully he was saved as the rifleman returned.
"Alright, we got three guards in the corridor to the left, a machine gun nest east of that with five guards to keep it running should one fall, and to add to the impressive hail of bullets that'd be moving down the hall if we get seen..." he began.
"Yeah, dude... so let's not jus' go that way... Ya know?" said his brother, the man ignored him, moving on.
"One of the guards has no weapon... but I could get a feel off him..."
"Magic user, dude?"
"Aww man.. that sucks..." The rifleman actually sighed at that, Tack still smirking.
"Yeah... sucks balls, I know... shup, huh?" the other man blinked for a moment.
"And I got a feel of powerful magic toward the peak of the temple... Could be our drow..."
"Magic..." grumbled Dyerdon.
"Powerful magic..." corrected Tack in her trademarked mumble.
"Yeah... thanks..." he muttered, he hated magic... it wasn't something he could combat easily... "Alright then, you're the boss, Sandy," he said with a smirk, Tack shrugged, this was after all her mission.
"Could always charge the nest..." she murmured, the three men simply stared at her, causing a smile to spread across her face. "I got some magic, I can get myself in... take out the five in the nest..." she told them. Dyerdon tilted his head a bit, even as the words left her mouth wings began to spread from her back. Magic seemed to be everywhere in this world, weaving it's spells around him... She turned and moved toward the temple, her created wings carrying her into the air toward a glassless window her wings draping over her shoulders to disipitate into thin air. That done, she simply dropped through. The first gunshot rang out, followed by the sound of automatic weapons fire, the two brothers seemed ready to charge forward, but Dyerdon held up a hand to hold them off. The shots sounded as if they were beginning to slow, then finally stopped. Dyerdon lowered his hand then slowly began to walk up the stairs, the brothers seemed anxious while Dyerdon seemed calm and collected as he entered the hallway, the machine gun was dismantled, strewn about the floor, five men laid bleeding in the long corridor that greeted them. Tack strolled casually to join them, her weapon cocked over one shoulder.
"Showoff..." Dyerdon said.
"You're jus' jealous I took all the fun..." she mumbled as they moved down the corridor. The other two simply took in her handiwork... nicely done... They moved swiftly, knowing that the little gunbattle could not have gone unheard by anyone in the area. If that was the case... then there was going to be alot of resistance heading their way, and with the machine gun destroyed, they'd need to find a more defensible area. That came in the form of a great hall... A drow stood upon a dias, as if expecting the group, two thin rapiers in his hands, an eyepatch over his right eye, his covered eye glowed a bright red, in stark contrast to his ink black skin and long, pure white hair. A third rapier rested in the nook of his elbows as he held his arms before him.
"This isn't the guy..." muttered the rifleman, taking aim at the guy, "I'll jus' bring him down real fast..." he went on, before he fired. The drow moved faster than one would have thought imaginable, the third sword flipping around his body as the other two blade spun about him in his hands. The bullet was true, sailing for the drow's head. It pinged harmlessly away as a blade caught it, sending it spinning away.
"Holy hell..." muttered the rifleman.
"I got this guy, man," said the swordsman rushing forward. He swung wildly at first, hoping to disrupt the dark creature's defense, but found his blade batted aside. He turned his body as one of the blades went tearing through the fabric of his tunic. The two gunslingers opened up on the drow as he made himself a target, but no bullet made it past his steel shell.
"Fall back!" called the swordsman's brother. It was then that they saw the reasoning to his call. Soldiers began pouring in through the doors, taking aim... The swordsman shot a curse at the drow as the men fired, forcing him to dive for cover. There was the sounds of bullets hitting steel as the others scrambled for cover themselves. It took them a moment to realize that they were not firing upon them.... but rather the drow! Rounds perforrated the walls and the quartet's cover.
"What the hell is going on?" called the rifleman. Dyerdon had no answer, nor did Tack, judging by her grim silence, Dyerdon could see she was used to having people under her command, but this group was different, they each had their own skills they'd need to implement to survive this unfolding debacle. Dyerdon found a slow smile creeping upon his face, peering around the pillar he had found himself behind with Tack, the drow was moving through the soldiers as they tried to gun him down, the blades lancing back and forth, no bullet coming closer than his swords, unfortunately, they had nothing to stop his blades as he cut a bloody path through them. There had to be some way to get past the fighting, cause this one eyed drow would kill them soon enough, and then stand in their way once more.
"Fall back!" cried one of the men, "Fall back to the rightful heir! Fall back to the queen! The medallion is not lost yet!" Dyerdon's brows furrowed for a moment as the soldiers began retreating, at first it looked like the drow would give chase until something caught his eye, turning him around to stare in the direction of the others.
"Ceramian..." he said. Dyerdon felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end as he spun around to see the monstrosity. The creature didn't look of this world, standing at about eight feet, three tails whipped back behind it's great form, ending in dangerous looking stingers, the bulge at the base of each stinger reminded the gunslinger of a scorpion's tail. Massive leathern wings stretched from the monster's humanoid body. Its flesh covered in reddish scales, and the head... that reminded Dyerdon of a Tyrannasaurus from prehistoric times. Then there was the eyes, huge spheres that bulged on either side of the things head, broken up into segments, compound eyes... The thing would be able to see all around it at once. Much like a fly, whatever this thing was it looked like an amalgam.
"Odin..." the creature hissed in greeting. Odin? Wasn't that the a Norse God? He wondered. The creature took a step forward, its talons opening to slap lightly against the blasted earth. "Where is he?" it asked.
"As if I'd tell you where he is..." Odin said, hoping down the stairs to stand a slight distance from the creature.
"It'd be so much easier if you did..."
"When have I been known to take the easy road?" The creature laughed at that, the sound was disturbing, sounded like grating metal. Then without further ado, the beast raised his hand. The drow, Odin, dove to the side, a pillar of flame erupting from the ground spiralling upward to tear through the roof of the temple leaving a great burning hole. The drow came up fast, one weapon lancing out to sever the creature's arm. The beast released a horrifying roar, that sounded like a lion roaring while using a chalk board as a scratchin post... It was horrible.
"Let's let them fight, an' get in there..." muttered Tack. Dyerdon nodded and together they moved toward the door the soldiers had fled through. Dyerdon couldn't help but notice that the severred arm was thrashing on the ground. There was something more to learn about this creature, but now wasn't the time... They moved through the corridors swiftly, the few stragglers they found that tried to put up a resistance going down fast and hard. They made their way up a flight of stairs to reach a great foyer, the apex of the temple, there stood two figures, both drow, what was going on here? One was a male, wearing heavy armor, crimson from neck to toe, his helmet rested beneath his arm. Small black wings stretched from the shoulders of his armor. His white hair blow wildly in the wind as the female drow chanted at the door before her. The massive door glowing a bright blue. Dyerdon studied the female for a long time, she was lovely to be sure, but there was something dark and sinister about her. Then again he could have gotten that vibe from the eye that hung from a chain about her neck, or the crimson goo that seemed to flow from her eyes like tears of blood... The door flickered for a moment, before a burst of flames shot out to throw the male back. The female stopped for a moment, then scowled, turning to face the four mercenaries.
"I'm getting a lot of energy off the woman... but the powerful force I'm picking up is coming from beyond that door..." whispered the rifleman.
"You're not my soldiers... are you.." the woman asked, the male began to stand up, then slid his helmet on before drawing his sword. All at once he seemed to just ignite, fire swirling along his armor and his blade. "Hold Donovan.... They are not Sean's men either..." she said, moving slowly to examine them. Dyerdon studied the woman for a long moment.
"Derana BloodCry is the name I go by these days, and my most loyal guardian, Donovan Thunderbain," she told them.
"We're here for a drow, an' now we've seen three of them so far..." Tack mumbled. Derana looked at her for a moment.
"There are four, the one I seek is behind this door, but his power is a bit stronger than I had anticipated, all we had managed to do was wound him, and he fled behind the door and sealed it..." she told them.
"You said Sean..." Dyerdon said at last, the name gave him goosebumps, it wasn't possible... was it? He had died... hadn't he?
"Yes, he goes by many names, and has changed his form on many occasions to elude us, but Sean McCreed is his true name, and we have at last cornered him," Dyerdon paled. Sean McCreed... the drow that Neiko could not defeat, the drow that Neiko had sacrificed himself to make sure he did not escape the explosion of the great station.
"There another way to get in there?" Dyerdon asked, drawing curious looks from everyone.
"Dyer?" Tack asked, Dyerdon shook his head, he'd rather not elaborate.
"You've met the shapeshifter before..." Derana said softly, Dyerdon nodded, "He is not a natural shapeshifter, it is the medallion he wears I wish, that is where he gets all his power... His ability to use magic the way he does, his ability to alter his form..." she went on, Dyerdon held up his hand to stop her, she rose a brow, and Donovan looked ready to launch an attack at that display of insolence, but one look from Derana stayed his hand.
"We get the medallion, he's helpless...?" Dyerdon asked.
"He's still adept with his blades..."
"But no hydra?"
"Then let's try to blow a hole in the side of the wall to get to him... outside, then back in..." he said motioning toward the rifleman, he carried the explosives. Derana held up her hand that time.
"Genius..." she mused, turning to thrust her hand, palm first, toward the wall. The wall crumpled inward as if being hit by a rocket. Debris spinning out into the sky beyond, rotating a bit, then moving down, solidifying to the side of the wall, creating a wide ledge for them to cross upon. They moved swiftly across the expanse, below they could see a series of explosions, creatures flying about in the smoke and flames. A closer inspection of the beasts revealed three scorpion-like tails... More creatures like that one Odin was fighting. They moved across the ledge until they came to another wall, Derana making quick work of it. There was a flicker as flames shot back out the hole surrounding them, Derana's arms thrown out wide to hold the magical shield she had created. They moved forward, protected by the drow's shield until it began to waver.
"Find cover!" she called, the others moved swiftly, save Donovan who stood before her, the shield winked out and the magical flames began to become absorbed in the armor he wore. The fountain of fire ended abruptly, and sure enough, there he stood. One eye horribly mangled, scales growing around a serpentine socket, as if someone had stabbed his eye out and the hydra form had granted himself a new one, much like the clawed, scaled left hand...
"Sean... so good to see you again, after all these years..." Derana purred. Sean scowled a bit, his eyes falling to the eye she wore around her neck.
"Still keep John's eye as a momento?" he asked her, his scaly hand crackling lightly with white currents of electricity.
"Given to me by my most loyal of servents, and guardian..." she said.
"I hear he goes by Odin now.. rather fitting, no?" asked Donovan. Sean scowled again, letting lose the energy from his hand, Derana lifted her own hand stepping past her guardian, simply batting aside the attack, the bolt striking the wall beside Tack causing her to scramble backwards. What the hell was going on here?
"I've come to take my inheritance..." she said.
"Your father gave me the medallion to safe guard it, last I heard you were exiled by him for attacking John for his love to my sister, and not you..."
"You try to wound, but you fail to realize that Derana Sarn is no more, I am Derana BloodCry!" she cried, thrusting both hands forward, Sean grunted raising his hands before him, the blast that came from the female's hands threw the mercenaries from their vantage point. Sean however stood tall as ever, absorbing the attack. It took Dyerdon a moment to realize that he was way out of his league here. Sean blew out a hiss as Derana jerked her hands forward, everyone, even Sean, staggered forward. The medallion tearing from his neck, the obsidian sun/moon flipping through the air into her waiting hands.
"This is mine by right..." she said, then pointed her finger at Sean.
"That power I was feeling... it IS Sean... but the medallion has it too.." muttered the rifleman, Dyerdon paused, what did that mean in terms of magic?
"Goodbye now, Sean, you should be losing your eye and hand again... but... I think I'll kill you before that happens to save you the trouble," Derana said, letting lose a blast of flame. Sean snarled, opening his mouth, flames erupted from within, effectively countering the stream of fire. Derana let out a shout, taking a step back as Sean began to grow. "What... no... how is this possible? You're powerless without the medallion!" she cried. Sean's body began to turn red, scales sprouting from his flesh. Great leathern wings ripping through his obsidian armor.
"None can touch that medallion but those it is given too, or the family of it's creator, the rulers of Devil's Creek... It grants to its user the powers of the souls trapped within, thus the name, the Soul-Stealer... I however did something no other wielder of its power has done before, granted it my own soul... we are one and the same..." he roared, his voice deep, rumbling, much like a.... great.. red... dragon. Derana took a step back as Donovan strode forward. Flame could do nothing to hurt the dark elf, as long as he wore that armor... However one good back hand from the massive dragon was enough to send him crashing against a wall hard, and slump to the ground. So much for being invincible... Dyerdon glared at the dragon for a long moment, raising his weapon to fire at the great beast. Its head snapped back surprised by the new attack, its serpentine gaze falling on the gunslinger.
"What... you..? You fool! Do you know what you've done!" the dragon roared as Derana began running toward the door, in close quarters against Sean McCreed in the form of a formidable dragon... she was most likely no match, she really didn't want to find out...
"I'd hope I just paved the way to sending you back to Hell!" called Dyerdon, the beast blew out a thick plume of smoke in retort.
"You may have, but everyone will be going along for the ride..." the thing snarled, before rearing its head back.
"Shi- Get some cover!" cried the rifleman, Dyerdon and Tack were already moving, diving to the side, the swordsman paused as the room grew hotter, then with a shout he charged forward. The beast's head shot forward, flames shooting over the man's head by a few inches, singing his scalp a bit as he brought the sword back, then leaped onto the dragon's chest, thrusting his sword downward... Being met with a resounding clang of two unyielding forces meeting. The flames washed over the stones where Dyerdon had been, forcing him to scramble back a bit more. A hand landed upon his collar, pulling him back behind a stone pillar. He grunted shaking himself off, looking up at Tack.
"Huh... thanks..." he muttered.
"Whatever..." she said taking a peek around the corner, "Ya know this guy?" she asked him. The swordsman swung his sword repeatedly against the beast's chest throwing sparks into the air, but doing no damage.
"Unfortunately... A friend died so me and a few others could survive our last encounter..." he told her. She rose a brow at that.
"There's gotta be another way here," she told him.
"Yeah, I'm lookin' for that other way..." he began, the rifleman began opening up on the dragon's face, drawing his attention, before rolling back behind the pillar. Flames washing over the stone, melting away a good portion, with a curse he dove to the side again, scrambling for the exit. Dyerdon couldn't blame him, they couldn't win this fight... The beast's great tail smashed through the pillar, sending debris flying through the air. An earsplitting roar echoed throughout the room as Dy stole a glance, seeing the figure hanging from his chest, the sword buried under one of its scales, striking actual flesh. The swordsman twisted about in the air, wrenching the blade free before grabbing ahold of the great scale, tearing it free with a heroic pull. The dragon toppled forward gasping for a moment, throwing the young warrior free, sending him sliding across the ground on his back with a grunt, fighting to get back to his feet before the great monster could recover. The creature let loose a bellow, shaking the temples foundations, before coming up to all fours, its wings folded over its spiny back, staring at the swordsman. Tack used that moment to start an attack of her own, firing a single shot across the expanse. It skimmed over the beast's steel hard beak, turning it's attention on her. She simply stood there for a moment, her eyes widening as it's maw opened to lunge, she cringed as Dyerdon seemed to just fly through the air, boots first, slamming the great beast's mouth shut and driving its head into the ground for a moment. Inches from Tack's position, his guns roaring loudly into the creature's eyes before flipping backwards, off of the great monster before it could snap its head back up in pain, now blinded. Dyerdon cracked a grin toward Tack.
"Y'alright?" he asked her, she smirked then shrugged.
"Had 'em right where I wanted him," she told him before moving to the side. Dyerdon took to her example moving in the opposite direction fast as a gout of flame erupted from the dragon's mouth, scorching the ground between them.
"I see that!" called Dyerdon after a few more moments. The beast let out another earsplitting roar lunge at Dy's voice, forcing him to dive beneath the creature's head and between it's legs. He threw himself down onto his back, spinning about to slide out the other end, firing upward. Despite the heavily armored body the underbelly was soft... but not nearly as vulnerable as the spot he just blasted to hell. The creature staggered hard before collapsing in a massive heap. Dyerdon staggered to his feet watching the dragon slowly revert back to the drow, Sean. Clutching his groin and cursing at his dirty fighting style.
"I fought dirty? You're the one who turned into a dragon... I just improvised," he said as Tack joined Dyerdon in their cautious approach of the drow. The other two soon regrouped as well.
"You... fools... BloodCry will destroy..." Sean managed. Still going on about that damn medallion no doubt.
"And you weren't?" asked Dy.
"I intended to conquer..." he groaned, "The world needs a new leader to usher in a new stage of peace, oh you fools... She's mad with power, she has no regard to life!" Sean shuffled a bit, sitting up some, only to find himself staring down the barrels of several weapons. His eyes seemed to work well now, the bright purple light shining brightly. He healed when he transformed it seemed, though he was sure he'd feel the bullets to the groin for quite sometime. He held up one scaly hand, which drew a partial smile from Dyerdon. He was quite sure that he had lost his old hand and eye to Neiko in such a way that he could not heal it.
"An' killin' you right now would be a sure fire way to make sure that there'll be some peace," Dyerdon stated simply. Sean growled low in his throat.
"Don't be foolish, only I can stop Derana," he managed.
"If only you can do it, then we're screwed, since we managed to take you out so easily... I'm pretty sure we'd stand a fair chance,"
"That's where you're wrong... You can't combat magic, I can... I am the epitome of antimagic,"
"Lemme roast ya an' see if that's true," came Tack's muttered response.
More Coming Soon.....