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Unread 9th of March, 2011, 03:59
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Of Gods and Soldiers

“Cyrill Bishop?”

Some six meters away along the packed dirt path a tall lean pale man removes his black wide-brimmed hat revealing a mess of pitch hair under which an angular face smiles broadly.

“I’m Ingram Specter,” he says.

All around them tall buildings rise into the sky, surrounding the small park and filling it with shadow despite the earliness of the day. Beyond the low park wall simply dressed workers scurry about, casting only the briefest of glaces at the thin well dressed man and the gore spattered wreck he was talking to.

Cyrill stands and eyes the dark haired man in the nice clothes skeptically. “I’d thought I’d already taken care of the trash. No friend knows Cyrill Bishop in this place, I suppose you’ve come collecting debt, was my last payment not enough?” Cyrill says. The images of recent events flashing through his mind, hot coal upon which his rage had smoldered. This man’s presence, the bellows for the fire.

The smile fades into resolve, and though his dark eyes flash he holds his ground and evenly says, “No, Cyrill Bishop, you owe me nothing. Have I....”

The thin man’s sentence goes unfinished. A large shadow flits over the grass of the park, and screams and bedlam erupts from the streets beyond. Men and woman scatter, their parcels and belongings strewn behind them as they blindly run for the nearest building. The shadow circles back, its owner hidden behind the screen of pointed maple leaves. That’s when both men see them - a young mother half carrying, half dragging her daughter towards a cluster of dusty faced workers crammed into the entryway of a building. Unintelligible cries and frantic pointing come from the group but in a flash of silver the woman is wrenched from the child and thrown like a child doll into a wall. The impact sends a crimson halo about the woman’s head before she falls unmoving to the ground.

The child begins to run toward her mother when an immense winged creature drops in front of her. The beast is larger than a fully grown ox, yet low and lithely built like a cat. Great bat like wings sprout from its panther like torso, but where a head should be there was only a massive mouth - wider than a man, and bristling with rows of metallic teeth. Framing the mouth is a mane of arm length spines, and a similar tuft of spikes sprouted from the creatures whip like tail. The whole creature looks as if it were poured from a lake of mercury.

A piercing wail shudders from its argent frame, a horrific ear splitting bellow that sounded like massive rusty wheels grinding against each other.

Ingram’s training had him moving as the first intuitive pangs of danger danced across his mind, his will resonating through the crystals implanted all along his spine. Electric fire shoots through hyperactive neurons as the world around him begins to slow. Swirls of blue-white energy radiate off his body, condensing about his right arm as a nimbus of light. A similar spark of light grows and intensifies at the tip of his left middle finger, and with a thought the bolt of focused telekinetic energy lances through the air and into the creature’s side. Red hot metal pours from the wound and hisses across the cobblestones. Shield at the ready, the soldier slides behind the cover of a low brick wall that marked the edge of the park.

Still roaring in metal tinged anguish the beast launches itself skyward and lashes its tail toward the hiding Ingram. Spines scream through air and rain down around like shards of silver hail. Brick and mortar explode filling the air with a choking haze and the smell of cordite.

"I’ll get the girl!” the haggard looking man rumbles as he breaks into a sprint. He snatches a stone bench as he passes by, his fingers effortlessly sinking into the hard stone. The thin man’s admirable act further clouded his mind. When things were done he would seek clarity.

Last edited by -J-; 9th of March, 2011 at 11:04.
  #2  
Unread 15th of March, 2011, 12:01
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Dread Lord on High [Epic GM]

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Segment 3

The wall little more than dust around him, Ingram scampers from between the forearm length spikes and moves down the park wall. Shield at the ready his head skims just above the lip of the damp brick. Hot metal drips from the beast’s side, falling and hardening in the air into burning metallic cherries. Another salvo of spikes oozes from the empty sockets lining the thing’s tail, and its gleaming wings whip the air into swirling vortices as it prepared to dive.

Still in a crouch, Ingram levels his left hand at the creature and exhales sharply. Psychic energy cascades from his mind and roars down his limbs as he wills it into a piercing stream that erupts from the tip of his middle finger. The bolt’s nascent power excites the atoms in the air, ionizing them into a brilliant blue white stream. The bolt strikes the beat squarely in the chest and sends it tumbling back through the air. For a brief moment it seems that it would fall, but that spark of hope dies in his chest as the pantherine beast’s wings catch it in mid air.

Primal rage erupts from the beast’s toothy maw as it roars in pain. Its tail lashes forward, and Ingram barely has enough time to duck behind the wall before the deadly rain of spikes shreds the wall. Ingram’s thin frame torques wildly as the spikes slam through the wall and into his shield. The telekinetic barrier takes so much of his attention that at first he only registers the impact of the spike as it rips through the wall and his force field before perforating his leg.

His reflex is to keep moving but as he tries to straighten his leg he finds that the dart had pinned his thigh and calf together.

Then the pain hits.

Last edited by -J-; 22nd of March, 2011 at 13:31.
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Unread 22nd of March, 2011, 13:31
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Segment 4

Sensing more than seeing Cyrill feels Ingram fall. Faced now with a choice, Cyrill fights with the option of continuing with the girl to safety, or working to defend the unknown man who had covered his approach to the girl thus far. The beast screeches with bloodlust as it swoops towards the ruined mess of a wall, and the ruined soldier therein. Through the haze of dust Cyrill can see the thin man struggle against the massive metal spike skewering his leg as the silver beast’s talons open wide.

Another screech bellows past rows of shard like teeth. Realizing the futility of it, the soldier readies his shield and levels a glowing finger.

Courage.

Duty.

Sacrifice.

Something inside Cyrill stirs at the bravery of this stranger. Like a half remembered dream of a distant age when heroes walked the land and shook the pillars of Creation with their deeds.

A dream of being a god…

Light begins to churn under his skin, and leak out his pores until it forms a glowing nimbus around him. On his brow a golden sunburst blazes into life, an ancient symbol denoting him as one of the Exalted, chosen of the Unconquered Sun himself.

“Get the girl!” Cyrill shouts at the man in the doorway, not noticing the awestruck expression on his face, or how he slavishly obeys the command. Turning, Cyrill hopes and prays to what gods might be listening to get that man to the girl and the girl to safety.

Hefting the slab of stone he breaks into a run, the cobblestones shuddering beneath his sandaled feet. Intent on his prey the creature doesn’t see the glowing man charging him from the side, nor the 800 pound slab of granite that he hurls like a child’s toy.

The stone explodes on impact, and the force of the blow sends the manticore careening into wall just 20 feet from the prone Ingram.

Last edited by -J-; 27th of March, 2011 at 01:06.
  #4  
Unread 28th of March, 2011, 12:53
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Segment 5

Shards of broken bench ricochet off of Ingram's shield as he rolls away from the plummeting beast. Its impact with the wall nearly knocks him off his feet and sends a shower of bricks into the air.

He had to finish it.

Churning psychic energy surrounds his hand as he reaches back and cuts through the spike transfixing his leg and shin. Hobbling to his feet the twin shards of metal burn with pain, but leaving them in would reduce blood loss. Limping around the corner hes sees the manticore sprawled in the mound of rubble that was the wall. Finger leveled at the beast's torso, Ingram reflexively scans the area before moving in for the kill; people fleeing - a small girl crying to a still bloodied corpse as she is born away – a glowing Cyrill uprooting a lamp post to use as a weapon – curious silhouettes looking on from the windows high above.

There is no time for hesitation. The shield around Ingram's right arm fades as he begins to channel his will into the resonators at his wrist. Twin motes of blue white light pool at the tips of his middle fingers. In his mind he visualizes the flow of energy leaping from his fingers and into and then through the beast's chest.

Focus through your target, the Master Chief would always say.

Focus through.

A sharp exhale and a pinprick hole opens in the dam, and in an instant an ocean of power empties through it. The twin bolts strike dead center, ripping through the hard, metallic flesh of the beast and exiting its torso on the other side. Molten blood hisses onto the ground, cracking cobblestone and brick with its heat. The beast convulses, its mane of spines clattering like a clutch of silver icicles, then quiets.

Cyrill cautiously approaches, the 10 foot light post leveled spear like at the thing. The amber light streaming from his body casting the creature in shades of gold and bronze. With a quick glance at the limping soldier he shuffles closer and gives the beast a nudge.

Nothing.

It took a few more pokes and prods before the tension begins to drain out of his shoulders. Grinning broadly, he turns towards Ingram to share in their victory. His smile quickly fades .

“You alright?”

Ingram wants to lie and say he was fine, but he can't. Pain arcs wildly through body, overwhelming his feedback inhibitors with hot, voltaic agony. At first he thinks it is the metal spike in his leg, but he had had far worse with no where near this reaction. He can feel every implant along his spine throbbing with energy, as if he had taken a live power cable and spliced it directly into his flesh. He falls hard to the ground, his muscles dancing in mutinous ecstasy.

It is then that he sees it.

Lying on his back he can clearly see the sky growing dark as thick bands of black clouds churn and swirl above him. Lightning dances along the cloud's surfaces, and he realizes that the convulsions of his body are somehow linked to their pulsations. His senses begin to overload chaotically, casting the world in a riot of light and sound, and memory. Images from his childhood explode into crystalline clarity only to shatter into the faces of people he had never before met, and places he had never before been. Sanity begins to boil out of him as the bedlam in his skull erupts into full-on genocidal war.

Then, right as he is sure that the fragments of his psyche are to small to find, a sudden quiet washes over him, and he feels like a man who was on fire falling into cool, endless water.

He is aware that his body still twists in torment, but within, there is only peace. With his mind's eye he sees himself floating in a great, flashing vortex. A churning column of debris and energy that seems to bore straight through the thin fabric of space and time into what lay beyond. Gazing into its swirling heart Ingram sees a brilliant light, not the warm angelic light of Cyrill, but a soul searing light that peels back the layers of reality, exposing what he can only express as Truth, and, for an moment, the soldier knows peace.

Then, in an instant, it is gone, and he is falling.
 

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