Hidden 7 mos ago 7 mos ago Post by apathy
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"... My people are not known for longevity and I wish to spend what time I have left in peace.”

Ayanda paused to consider the pygmy's words before responding, her tone full of warm understanding. "I am neither a messiah nor a prophet, despite what you may presume. When I invited you I did not intend to enunciate dogma and have you take up arms with us. No, my friend, you are a gentle soul who has seen much sorrow."

The rim of the largest vitrified pools widened to accommodate Ayanda as she sat at the water's edge. Her hand passed over its surface and in its wake the crystalline surface became multifaceted, each division depicting scenes playing out across Africa. She beckoned Ndakala closer with a gesture as the images congealed into one, that of an arboreal city bustling with life.

"My ambition in inviting you here is twofold; first, to be able to speak in the simple language of facts and clarity on behalf of my people, the people of Africa who resist Xanathan's tyranny, and secondly, to be able to express in my own way, the feelings of that mass of people who are disinherited—those who belong to that group maliciously dubbed "mutants"—and to state, even if I cannot make them understood, the reasons that have led us to rise up, all of which explains our interest in the Comte Foundation, the demands of our rights drawing strength in the clear awareness of our duties."

Ndakala approached the elevated rim and peered over it, unable to contain his wonder at such casual use of the supernatural. The image of the verdant cityscape gave way to its canals crowded with dhows crammed to nearly sinking with dried mitmita, baobab bulbs and casks of tigray white honey, their psychedelic sails reflected in Ndakala’s astonished gaze.

"Our duties to buttress against the tragic background of events which are sadly undermining the foundations of our world. Creating one of chaos in which the human race is tom apart by struggles between the great and the not-so-great, attacked by armed bands and subjected to violence and plunder. It is a world in which Xanathan, eluding international jurisdiction, command groups beyond the law, which with gun in hand live by preying on others and organizing the most despicable kinds of trafficking.

We feel on our cheek every blow struck against every other man. Until recently, we have turned the other cheek. Xanathan have felt no tenderness in their hearts. They have trampled on the truth of the just. We can no longer afford inaction. Our eyes have been opened to Xanathan's cruelty and there will be no more blows dealt against us. It must be proclaimed that there will be no salvation for our people unless we reject completely all the models that all the charlatans have tried to sell us for millennia."

She stopped, her words taking root while his eyes flooded with tears. With a shimmer the image of the colorful canals was replaced with that of children laughing as they played outside of large classrooms, the patient and mindful eyes of elders watching over them. A heavy sigh from Ndakala brought about a comforting hand on his shoulder as Ayanda continued.

"That cannot be accomplished through force alone, and not all of those who I call my people are capable of defending themselves from such violence. Like you, many of them yearn to walk upon the earth, not lie beneath it. They busy themselves with the health of their community and themselves. It would do me a great honor if you would join them at Mzinde we Mitengo.”

“She’s right, we’d be damned pleased to have you with us. Anyone patient enough to deal with ‘Ms. Benson’ for longer than five minutes without strangling her would be great minding little ones.” Khethiwe approached the two, obviously staring at Ndakala in rapt anticipation. Ayanda turned away to peer at the Kichaka Siri, the idyllic image dissipating with the slightest of trembles.

"Mzinde we Mitengo is something I would very much enjoy to see in person," Ndakala's words were cut short when a deep rumble sent him stumbling off the pool's edge.

The tremors had gone unnoticed at first; the subtlest of vibrations passing through Marange’s substrata. But as Ayanda’s attention was drawn further north and her breathing began to grow strained, the shocks began to multiply in strength and volume before, with a sickening groan the mycological morass outside the Kichaka Siri was thrown into upheaval. Her limbs grew rigid as she was pulled by a riptide of alien life and human misery into a sea of psychic pain.

A viridescent grove manifested visually in her psyche, and with it came the sobs of a crowd standing in a light rain. Their torches hissed as they gathered around the bloated and ravaged corpse of a child and its killer, a monstrous crocodile that still shuddered as blood flowed from its wounds. A woman wails while struggling to pull her son's form from the beast's maw, the others stunned into silence until with one final snap the reptile bit through the spine and sent the woman tumbling.

The raw grief of the woman's screams sent Ayanda's mind fleeing into the burning waters of the Mediterranean Sea as galleys rained a firey death upon the fleeing fishermen of Leptis Magna. The heavy beating of war drums bludgeoned the inside of Ayanda's skull as the thick boot of a Vandal raider smashed against the skull of a crimson-robed patrician. Flecks of brain and bone marred pristine marble as the chorus of the dead and dying swelled to a mind-breaking crescendo.

The bile that rose in her throat was felt a dozen times over as Janissaries opened fire on a throng of Christians protesting the Sultan's devshirme. Their children wept as they were tied together then crammed into the enclosed back of a wagon. Ayanda fell to her knees in crude imitation of those shot, her eyes transfixed on the sunlight reflected off a Janissary's bhok.

A defiling beam had torn loose eons of empathic trauma and as her throat grew hoarse with her yells, so too did the continent scream in agony. Her mind recoiled and as it hastily fled to return to her body, Ayanda was overwhelmed by a maleficent presence that was festering within Marange. She had not felt anything like it's kind since she had first come to the mine, when it had served as a killing grounds.

The celadon moss of her imibhaco quivered erratically as she struck the floor in a crumpled heap. Ayanda expended the last of her energy sealing off Marange's barracks and training colosseum as the crystalline tunnels of the Kichaka Siri slammed shut into a sanctified cloister with an ethereal tinkling. Consciousness slipping from her grasp, she saw a shapeless pygmy walking asleep through mist, searching for his own awakening.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Gattsu
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Gattsu Cold meat. Fresh cut.

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Perspiration trickled down Naguib’s temple as he trained the AR-15 on the scuttling ghoul behind the crystal pane. The creature, though vaguely humanoid in form, moved with a disjointed jerkiness of a crawling marionette. In the hour after Mshale had left, it had settled to just stare at him with its sunken, blackened eyes, behind the leathered wrinkled mask of its face.

It reminded him of a movie he had seen back when Johannesburg was still Johannesburg. Naguib shifted, uncomfortable under the creatures gaze and shouldered his weapon.

He was in control here. He had the gun.


Omari spent most of his time in a modest hovel tucked away in the eastern end of the hangar cavern. Space was a luxury that was difficult to afford in Omari’s clinic, hoards of supplies were pushed up against the walls, under tables, in corners--bandages, antiseptic, medicine, and some other medical supplies, some of it not.

The medic was known for his resourcefulness. What Omari wasn’t able to heal with medicine and thirty years of practical experience his other abilities came in handy for. The ambient crystal trimmed back in this room to the ceiling glimmered, giving the room a gauzy glow. This illumination was supplemented by pilfered generators that lit up several swaying incandescents. The center of the room was taken by a repurposed dental chair and was surrounded by a moat of clear space as if the chair itself had shoved all the junk at bay.

The tide of injured soldiers who sought his care found Omari’s den like a tranquil watering hole, common ground and a safe space. Currently, the medic’s attention was elsewhere, upon the broken from Phalaborwa.

“You are very brave to protect your mother,” Omari said to the seven-year-old who sat at the center of the room, “she must be very proud of you.”

The boy was still in shock, holding his broken arm as he vacantly stared through the doorway that the seated fixture faced. The aging Mozambican smiled, the dark creases folding around the corners of his eyes added ten years to his complexion in a single instance.

“You will find everyone here is very nice. We take care of one another down here.”

The boy sniffled, as he held out his arm into the clinical officer’s waiting palm, who began to set the bone and bind it.

Mungu atuokoe! Tafadhali nisaidie!” a man sobbed.

Omari jumped clattering a part of the splint to the ground. His eyes widened as he warily scanned the cramped interior of his clinic, then whirled about in his chair, and jumped to his feet looking at the door.

It was as if the shock knocked the boy out of his stupor as from behind the aging man the boy called out “What is it?”

But Omari simply stood, frozen, transfixed at some apparition beyond the confines of his safe zone. His shoulders neither rose nor fell for breath, and his body was stiff and rigid. After several minutes of tense silence, Omari turned back to the boy, his movements spasmodic and jerky. He looked back at the scared child, his visage twisted in malice but Omari's eyes betrayed his ill intent as they were full of teary hemorrhage yet his loins still stiff.


A low din of conversation, cars revving into ignition as well as humming in idle, and distantly shouted conversation filled the hangar. In a cordoned off section, a row of cars sat awaiting the attentions of several mechanics stationed in full-service shops. Here, the valuable tradesmen and women refurbished salvaged automobiles, as well as plundered Xanathan vehicles. Imani was one such expert. Six months into the job, she found Marange to be a hectic environment filled with (mostly) good people.

The Swazi woman sighed as she examined the stripped bolt from underneath the salvaged APC. “Hawu… Should I expect Xanathan to care about their things? No.”

A nearby raid on a Xanathan supply depot several months ago had rendered a number of valuable military-grade resources for NYUNDO. As Imani slid out from underneath the APC on a rickety wooden creeper, she wiped the grease off on her oil-stained coveralls and raised her glasses onto her dark, loosely braided hair. Pacing over to a nearby barrel, Imani shook her head as she made several curt strikes on a paper attached to her clipboard, then picked up a hammer and a would try her luck.

A strained snapping sound and the clatter of loose metal from underneath the vehicle caught her attention as the seized bolt rolled out from under, preceding the slow oozing of oil as the pan emptied its contents onto the floor. Imani paused, staring at the growing stain, and then picked up her wrench as she cautiously approached the vehicle. Placing her hand on the vehicle she slowly crouched down to peer underneath the car and saw only the diminishing trickle of oil below.

Suddenly, the vehicle, as if it had been waiting in the bush for her to let her guard down, pounced off its front tires before crashing back down. The crash reverberated through the hangar bay as a chorus of vehicle alarms echoed through the chamber. Imani jumped whirling about to confront a bay filled with confused technicians and screeching vehicles.

Mungu atuokoe! Tafadhali nisaidie!” A voice screamed.

She dropped her wrench and picked up a larger monkey wrench off the cart near her as she looked over to Taavi, the mechanic adjacent to her. “What was that?” She asked him, feeling her heart pound heavily in her chest.

He shrugged and bent under the hood to disconnect the screaming vehicle's battery.

A strange sensation washed over her. As sinister as the feeling was invasive and violating. Imani felt her limbs move on their own, and her teeth gnashed as vitiated urges flooded her mind, her heart, and just below her abdomen. Darkness clouded her vision, both emotionally and physically as she glared at Taavi with newfound antipathy. She approached the unsuspecting man, who had drawn his attention over towards stall 3 where his friend Dakari worked, with heavy footfalls that forewarned her enmity.

A half second before the wrench impacted the side of his head, Taavi looked at her,

“Imani? What are-”

Her facial expression twitched as if she were having a miniature stroke, foam began to develop around the corners of her mouth. Imani stared down her friends prone form, and reached down this rip back his coveralls.


Mungu atuokoe! Tafadhali nisaidie!

The echoes traveled through the mouth of the prison cave whereby a gun, gnarled almost artistically in nature, sat discarded as a single twisted, useless half strand of helix. The screaming, crying, growling, and grunting echoed macabely from the cracked porphyry and with each reverberation so too did its magnitude further reach. Pushing further into the grisly grotto a large pane of stone lay upended some ten meters from where the telekinetic had only just secured it. Within, the supine form of the cell guard Naguib lay wailing, violated, restrained, and hysterical. Atop him, pumping and thrusting its pelvis into the shattered hips of the man, a cyclopean creature, whose leathery wings shrouded the two like a dark cloak. The creature's carpal claws impaled through both shoulders and pinned the guard to the ground.

Naguib begged, called upon his god, screamed in horror, and beheld the horn-lined face of his assailant. The shifter delighted in his terror, feeding off the frenzied fear. With every grunt of pain from its prey, the swain beast's fanged grin widened. As his hip joints dislodged, bone splitting from the creature's shapeshifting phallus, Naguib exhaled a rattle of pain, and spasmed in tortured trepidation. After an eternity in Naguib's Hell, the creature released into the victims ruptured rectum, unnaturally distending the guard's abdomen.

The creature no more swain than it was demon, examined its catch, as if ensuring his survival for continued misery, then withdrew its barbed shaft,randy crawled away. The broken form of Naguib laid behind as a twisted remnant and the only thing he had strength or will to do was lay still and breathe.

The swain-beast, a telepathic popobawa who rode Naguib's empathic cries and seeded horror through the hangar and barracks, emerged from the prison on taloned feet and the bloodied claws as tremors rocked the cave sending dust and small bits of debris falling around it. Standing, the creature splayed out its wings and reflected upon its dark work. A doctor who violated a child in unspeakable ways. A woman sodomizing a man with a wrench. A man who would slay his love. The creature heaved its chest and chittered in what could almost be construed as a bestial laugh, then focused its attention to what would be its latest victim.


Thick plumes of dark smoke billowed from the humble Kasenyi village, which burned against the purple dusk sky. The small village, nooked into the firth of the freshwater lake, was a smaller settlement of the Kasese district and sat narrowly straddling the edge of guerilla territory, but were close enough to Xanathan influenced territory to benefit from the occasional patrol. Xanathan offered understandably flimsy support at this part of the Congo/Uganda border. Even were there a legal understanding Xanathan patrols were constantly assaulted, their caravans raided, their drones shot down.

Fire licked across peat and thatch roofs. The screams died down leaving the intermittent rapping of distant gunfire and crackling of healthy flames. Hunched humanoid shadows charged, crashing from pyre to pyre as they pillaged each homestead and business. "Adjoining houses always burn." That was what these proud people were told when they refused protection.

Gorerilla, the chief of the raiding guerilla gorillas, lumbered down the mainstreet towards the dock district where a single abode remained untouched at his request from both from the flame and from plunder.

The creature, more billie ape than gorilla, measured from shoulder to knuckle at nearly two and a half meters tall, and wore the talismans and trophies of a warlord proud of his conquered prey. A hollowed, mutated leopard skull—his prized trophy, hand wrested from an apex predator of the infected fauna of the congo, fitted over his skull outfitting him with a fearsome visage. Under his heavy custom stitched Xanathan-issue body armor, ripped from the corpses of a squadron of elites, Gorerilla bore the scars of the leopard, and countless other battles triumphant. Around his thick, robust, neck jangled a cavalcade of clinking skulls, mostly human, that clattered with his procession. He approached the two-story house with a three-point knuckle-walk, in his open arm what used to be an M2HB heavy machine gun was now an army-slaying weapon of the future with the best enhancements the tribe could pilfer.

As he approached the homestead, his dark eyes peered up to the second floor where he could hear frantic shuffling and shouting. Palming open the locked double doorway, Gorerilla forcefully smashed the entryway off its frame and squeezed through the vestibule, crumbling mortar and plaster raining in his aftermath. Flaring his nostrils, the billie ape leaped to the second floor, crushing in the railing as he barged into the room where he could hear commotion.

Inside, a woman shrieked as he pushed his way in, and an elderly arthritic man with fear in his eyes charged the chieftain with a hatchet. Gorerilla caught him with a foot, crushed him, and threw him shattering through the front window where he landed in a heap upon the street below, then turned to the man’s wife, repeating his caution.

“Adjoining houses always burn.”

Before leaving with everything of value the village had, Gorerilla added a few more skulls to his collection.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Nate1008
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Glasslands, Va'sen Hive outskirts

"GOAR VAS!" shouted a Val'gasra ravager, as it smashed into a human structure. Screaming and chaos sturred in the neutral human settlement as Val'gasra creatures crashed through buildings and slaughtered the settlers. "RA'THAN SHASLAN!" another ravager bellowed as it ripped a human soldier in half. More reavers grabbed, slashed and stabbed the civilians and scavengers ripped and tore through human flesh. The humans desperately trying to escape and survive as the raid progressed. Within a few minutes, the settlement was no more than rubble and bloodshed. Only 12 scavengers and 8 reavers died here, but human losses were higher. All the corpses of both human and Val'gasra and the survivors were dragged off back to the hive, leaving the settlement to burn. Some Val'gasra noticed a few survivors running for the hills in search of help, but the Val'gasra paid no attention to them.

Glasslands, Va'sen Hive
The Val'gasra was preparing to move again. Alarmed by the rate of the flooding has changed their behaviors from stationary settlers to nomadic travelers. Their environment was becoming inhospitable, and soon they would need to move to the outsider's land to survive if the flooding kept up. The hives moved every week or so, which tired out the Queens and made them stressed and agitated. Most of the hives sentient creatures were afraid to so much as look at the Queens at this point. Brood and prey were being moved and carried to the entrance of the hive now. The hive was hardly infested, which has been affecting the health of the brood negatively. They were moving so frequently that the workers didn't even bother to cover the interior. The hive gathered to make the next move, the Queen did not want to leave, but after some major convincing, the Queen finally submitted and climbed off her throne and proceeded to move to the next settlement location.

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by apathy
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Saudade, Glasslands (formerly Tunis)

The stoic visage of Ali III Ibn al-Husayn looked back at Nuberu from weathered parchment, the portrait’s features loosening into a wide, displeased look as Nuberu vigorously worked with the material. He frantically scuffed the portrait’s hemp against the twisted frame of a short bench until he could rip the painting to shreds. Offering his condolences to the late Bey, Nuberu stuffed the fabric into a pair of oversized boots he’d scavenged earlier.

He’d lost track of how long it took him to arrive in Tunis. Long enough that he’d been barefoot until the mottled grey of his soles left a splattered trail of olive cruor. The sight of the beam consumed him, pushing him past the brink of total exhaustion. Only the very real threat of dehydration released him from his fugue.

The soft glow of a fire burning in a waste bin he’d pilfered from the Bardo Museum’s administration offices comforted Nuberu as he slipped the boots on over fresh bandages, lacing them with care. Reflecting on his luck of stumbling upon a crashed helicopter he’d converted into his shelter while attempting to access the museum’s roof, Nuberu felt a tinge of hope.

It had been his second day in Tunis, having depleted what little reserves he’d left that air traffic controller tower with in Tripoli, when the midday sun was serendipitously caught by the sullied steel of a rooftop water tower. Like a moth to the flame, Nuberu braved the flooded foundation of the museum.

Even through the muck he was taken aback at the skill and majesty of the mosaics that had been carved by a master’s hands thousands of years prior. Transfixed at the expertise he realized he was the first to marvel at these works in over three decades. A heavy pang struck his chest and he moved on, wading through fetid ankle-deep waters as he approached the stairs that would change his fortune.

Although he knew it would eventually be worn away by the toxicity of his being, he relished in the now unfamiliar feeling of man-made clothing. Dressed in the salvaged remains of a Russian Hind crew’s uniforms, Nuberu leaned forward to inspect his newfound canteen’s contents when the bottom of his stomach fell out.

Wh-where is my ring…?

Searching for the ring in a panic, he tumbled forward through the comfort of the cabin into a fuliginous abyss where he fell, perception molding the darkness into byzantine polders expelled by stygian depths. Obsidian mounds protruded from brackish waters where bloated figures bobbed languidly. This labyrinth was flanked by an anachronistic skyline that flew by Nuberu; the rich white and sapphire of the Ennejma Ezzahra contrasted by the stark remains of Carthiginian ruins as they melted against a tangerine aurora atop the Mediterranean.

The landscape continued to streak past Nuberu in a viridian blur and inexplicably the distant form of Mt. Diaba appeared in his eyeline; austere planes meticulously accented with bands of green looming ever nearer. The pain in Paola’s voice as she cried out in protest when the Council delivered his fate bubbled up from the depths of his psyche. Conjuring her face gripped him in cold terror. He shot past the now shrinking mountain into another tenebrous void.

Weightlessly he tumbled through the dark, chest heaving when he was struck to his very core by a baneful magnificence that screamed across the cosmos, tearing space in its wake. Motes throbbed in sonorous contempt, precipitating the malice that struck the Earth with a horrendous boom that startled Nuberu awake.

Nuberu’s nails were dug into the thick hides he’d dozed off under, eyes adjusting to the predawn gloom. His breaths came in short gasps while the cabin of the helicopter juddered against the cocoon of marble and concrete that enveloped it. A fine mist of rain came in through the crater in the museum’s ceiling, drops suspended in an errant beam of twilight. Pushing the furs aside, he sat upright with a bolt and fished through the pockets of his new field jacket.

It’s got to be here. It’s got to- graças a deus.

Gently caressing the tantalum ring with his thumb, Nuberu took a deep breath when another peal of thunder caused a clatter of crashing marble. He cursed at himself, anxiety having hammered his emotions into an uneven edge. Enclosing the ring with the jerk of a zipperhead, Nuberu settled back against a bundle of cushioning he’d ripped from the pilot’s seat he’d found mostly embedded into a mosaic of slaves serving wine during a Roman banquet.

The thunderclap had nearly expended itself when he heard the panicked screams of someone in mortal danger. Nuberu scrambled up the inclined cabin of the helicopter towards the open cargo bay. Pulling himself up by a length of secured cable, he rolled over onto the rooftop just in time to regret his decision.

High above Saudade the muted wings of enormous raptors beat the night’s sky into submission. Clutched in their gleaming talons were the unmistakable shapes of two humans. Their pleas for death grew fainter as the monstrous avians soared towards the shattered ruins of the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul.

Hours later

What am I doing… I’m no hero…

The charred sling of a grimy Vityaz-SN dug into Nuberu’s shoulder as he tried to quietly navigate his way through the cathedral’s rubble-strewn courtyard. Each step registered as a dull ache, the potent cocktail of adrenaline and morphine efficiently combating the pain he felt. He adjusted his hold on the firearm, inspecting it dubiously. Does this thing even fire? He wished he’d been brave enough to test the weapon earlier but couldn’t risk exposing his presence. Maybe I should go. They’re probably dead by now…

Soft cries of distress spilled out from the cathedral’s inner sanctum and Nuberu cursed internally, stepping through the threshold. Had it not been for the sling he would have dropped the Vityaz. The wide chamber that had once been filled with the light of a thousand candles, penitent heads filling the pews was now supplanted by visceral horror, dominated by the treacly, gnarled trunk of a towering acacia. Rotting carcasses were impaled upon massive thorns along its splayed branches.

The cries had come from a crumpled form half submerged in a viscous sap that bubbled menacingly. A pungent vapor hung thick over the pool as the body tried desperately to raise its arm. Abruptly their torso was crushed with a sickening squelch as one of the monstrous strigidae landed with an inaudible pounce. The ashen horror of its tripartite beak exploded in a shrill cry of rapture as it split the thorax in two with a powerful kick that flung caustic sap in a wide arc.

Nuberu watched on in horror as it devoured half of the gore it created in one disgusting gulp. As viscera and sap pooled at the tapered ends of its mighty wings, Nuberu noted the odd composition of the monster’s feathers; they gleamed like anodized titanium and seemed to be covered in a type of patina. He began to slowly back away when he noted two minuscule apertures focusing on him; posterior eyes protruded from the covert feathers along its mantle.


Lustrous pools of deep amber the size of manhole covers glared at the intruder in its territory. Nuberu unloaded the Vityaz in a panic, completely missing his mark, before dashing down a hallway adjacent to the vestibule he’d just passed through. The Broxa’s rampaging form crashed through the rotting wood of an aged confessional then slammed into the stone archway. It desperately snapped its triadic neb, slavering gluttonously until its frustrations grew to a fever pitch. The raptor let loose a deafening screech that disoriented Nuberu as he struggled in vain to cover his ears. If he’d been able to hear over its incensed din, his heart would have sank at the number of calls that came in response.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Nate1008
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Glasslands, New Va'sen hive

After many hours of travel, the Val'gasra nomads finally found sanctuary. A large ruined city with many towering buildings and many smaller ones, ripe for the taking. Queen Va'sen senses that the flooding has finally stopped, and that outsiders are near. She takes a few steps back, rearing up and bellows a cry of joy, to show other hives nearby that they are finally safe. "Visagel, nisegan vesilathan. Jianskell muigen. JES NI'BAS!" She yells to her brood, the Val'gasra creatures cheer in happiness. "Jes ni'bas! Jes ni'bas! Jes ni'bas!!!" they chant.

Glasslands, New Je'gell hive

Queen Je'gell finally lay on her new throne. It had been many weeks since she had sat on a throne. "Vigeslian, shisen kielsga malkan." A creature tells her. "You know I can't speak much ve'gethsan... Just tell me through outsider's tongue. This is such a curse, how was I born this way." she says. "we find outsider ton close near hom. shod we kew?" the creature asks in a very broken English. "Fine. Go send some brood. You can lead the group." she says, waving the creature away.

Glasslands, outland outskirts

"We will find new lands and conquer the outsider's territory! We will bring our masters back and we will take control of this world! We will return to our masters, no matter what it takes! Fight with me my children, fight for your masters, your brothers, your sisters, and your Queen! We leave at once, and fight through the outlands to breach the outsider's land. If we die, then make a mark in outsider history! This war will be one no living creature will forget! Go, and claim new settlements as our own. Our empire grows stronger!" Queen Vi'lan announces to her brood as they cheer through her speech. Attacking the outsider's territory was a stupid idea, she knew. But her strategy, tactics, leadership and convincing ability always got her through her troubles. But this would be her biggest one yet.

What seemed to be hours of trekking through the god forbidding plains, and still no sign of green land. Radiation was higher here, which the eggs and larvae that were being carried gladly began feasting uppon. The other creatures loved the smell of it, but this place did not have good enough prey, and was nowhere near outsider civilization.

"Gisan vala! Gisan vala!" A ravager shouted, peering into the dark eyes of some creature atop of a spire of rocks. The creature hissed and howled at them, but knew it was outnumbered and fled. "This place is dangerous. Keep close eye on each other, and keep the brood safe. We are close to the outlands now..." Queen Vi'lan warns her brood.

Three ravagers, twelve reavers and nine scavengers have been lost to the creatures of this place already, and the hive has just entered the outland core. Greenery can be seen, but barely in view, as if miles away. More fighting starts and the howls and shrieks of Val'gasra creatures death wavers through from evening to dusk. "We have lost many, but do not let the fallen discourage you, we are close. We cannot go on through the night. The creatures here are too dangerous during daylight, so night must be worse. Dig a small burrow. We rest until daylight.

Glassland outskirts, *3 miles from Xanathan influence*

The final day here in this forbidden nightmare, even for the Val'gasra, this place is living hell. More than a thousand deaths by the powerful creatures here, and hardly a hundred of the Vi'lan hive is left. "We have lost many, and possibly many more, but we must not give up. If we cannot cross, who will? We must fight on. For our masters, for our species! We move out, for the greater good of our kind!" Queen Vi'lan tries. But her hive is not near convinced. The amount of losses have been too high, and with the other leaders dead, she has no support left. "If you want to go back, be my guest, fight through those beasts without me. I will build a new hive, even if I must do so myself!" she roars at them. Her former hive digs holes in the ground and decide to house themselves here. "Fine." The Queen spat as she turns to leave. Moral just isn't in her favor right now, and it seems her hive has been disconnected from the hive mind. We are too far from the hive to hear its voice. 'Overlord, are you there? ....... Overlord! "No... I cannot hear my sisters. They are gone. Why did I not see this sooner? This really was a mistake. Why did I come here?" The Queen questions herself, not realizing greenery is only a few hundred steps away. She continues to wander, lost in her thoughts.

Xanathan influence, New Vi'lan hive

New brood has been born, and Queen Vi'lan's wounds have started to heal. She has started to feel like a newborn Queen all over again. No underlings to annoy her, nobody to talk too and not even the comfort of the other Queens minds to communicate with. She is alone with her tiny hive and brood. She knows she can't fight the outsiders here. Not yet. She might die here, because she walked straight into the hornets nest with nothing to fight them with, and no way to turn back.

Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Zyamasiel


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The Jeep rumbled down the roadway, if you could even call it that. The rutted ground jostled the two men inside it, bouncing them back and forth, up and down. They held on, barely keeping the wheels pointed the direction they needed to go. Up ahead, Markus could see the towering canopy of trees denoting the rainforests of the Congo. Checking his phone, and then the mirrors, he seemed satisfied with not being followed. Yet, something felt off. He’d been checking their trail for a while now, and found no sign of being followed at all. Not from the first moment they left Xanathan City, so why couldn’t he shake this uneasy feeling? This sense of dread that rippled through his body, as if a child tossed a stone into the pond that was his emotional pool. An intense feeling of dread washed over him, seeping down into the very core of his being. He reached out with his mind, intending to check their surroundings again - just to be one hundred percent sure.

<Don, stop. Stop the Jeep, STOP RIGHT NOW!> The wheels locked up, skidding across stone and dirt the rear-end slid halfway around, almost overtaking the front - a rut caught them and the Jeep barely remained upright as it came to a stop.

“What the fuck, Markus? What’s going on? Why’d you make me stop?” Don’s hands gripped the wheel firmly, white-knuckled to control the violent shaking going through his body. No one ever controlled him like that, just eased into his mind and forced his body to do things. It left him feeling violated, empty. He couldn’t stop trembling, his whole body convulsing on the most minute scale. “Why the fuck did you do that, Markus? You couldn’t have given me the time to stop on my own, you couldn’t have trusted me to follow direction? Wha…” As he continued his rant, he watched Markus’ face - realizing he wasn’t even paying attention to him. No, Markus eyes were glazed and off into the distance behind him. The look of pure horror struck him as odd, and Don turned in his seat to follow Markus gaze.

What he saw there shook him to the very core of his being, and rewrote his entire concept of what they were doing. The smoke rising into the sky, blackened and charred was only paled by the orange glow of the burning village below it. Kasenyi, a usual stop for Xanathan soldiers moving in and out of the Congo to protect their interests, or further north to protect their mines, was burning. Not just a house, but all the adjoining houses. They burned to cinders, ashes floating into the sky on the rising currents created by the heat. He couldn’t find the words to explain what he saw, and all he felt was anger. “It was them, wasn’t it, Markus?” His voice seethed with rage, white-hot fury building in his gut and welling up like an explosion waiting to happen.

<I don’t know, Don. Let’s ease our way up there, but be careful. Whatever did cause this, might still be around.> Markus spoke softly, monotonously. His mind was already searching ahead of them, touching whatever living creatures it could find. Which were few and far between, mostly carrion-eaters already preparing for the feast they were about to receive. As used to death as he’d become, serving under Bharata all this time, this was senseless and served no purpose. It was just death for the sake of death. It was atrocious, horrifying. Sighing, he resigned to make whoever did it pay. As they drove further toward Kasenyi, and eventually breached the outskirts of the city, he felt something different. Not the rats and ravens congregating for their meals.

Opening his eyes, he pointed toward the city center. <We need to go there, on foot. We can’t risk the Jeep.> Don stopped short of the fire, giving enough clearance to keep it safe. They stepped out, and began walking toward the center of Kasenyi. All around them smoke rolled from half-burning bodies, some already reduced to more ash than flesh. Markus nearly vomited, but managed to hold it back. He couldn’t imagine what kind of monster could do this to innocent people, surely even NYUNDO weren’t this brazen, this full of hatred toward the things Xanathan touched. He couldn’t make himself buy it, terrorists often don’t have regard for humanity outside of their own groups.

They walked the dirt roadway, while Markus tracked the rapidly fading signal of a human mind. He couldn’t get into it, not at this distance with that much trauma. It was like it built walls around it, a delusion to justify what happened. An easement of the pain and strife that cycled through it from the attack. Yet, Markus knew he could find what he needed once he got close. They walked through the reeds surrounding the lake, finding their way through the denseness of it to the lake shore. Circling it for a moment, they stumbled upon a half-burned body, laying half in the water face down and trembling. Markus reached out, letting his hand rest upon the back of its head, before sliding over to the shoulder and turning the body over.

The face of a small child, a girl barely old enough to understand what womanhood meant, looked back at him. Wide-eyed and in more pain than any person should ever feel, the mental scream she released when he rolled her body sent shivers down his spine. The chances of survival were naught, even the best of Xanathan’s doctors couldn’t save her at this point, and she’d die long before he could get her to the Jeep. He sighed, and a single tear streamed down his face as she tried to move her lips, trying to make a sound from her burnt vocal chords.

<Shhh, don’t speak. Just think. What happened here?>

“Is that you God?” Her mental voice asked softly.

<God? No, child. I am no God, but I am a friend. What happened>

“It’s too much, the pain. I can’t…I ca…”

<Shhh, what happened child, who did this? Show me. Remember, and I will see.>

The view around them changed, like time rewinding everything around them seemed to stop and turn back. It was like a movie rewinding, as the fires burned out and the buildings became whole. The people of the village were happy, going about their lives - not hurting anyone, and not being hurt. Markus stood up from the reeds and watched intently. He walked out of the reeds into the village proper, where the girl’s unharmed body held the hand of a woman of similar looks, but advanced age.

<Ah, so you were out with your mother, yes?> Markus asked, and the girl he watched turned her head and nodded toward him.

“Just a normal day, work and family. The way we’ve lived for years, happy and unassuming. We didn’t know The Demon would come today.”

<The Demon?>

“Just watch.”

The girl and her mother returned to their daily routine, gathering supplies for the dinner the village women would cook for the working men when the evening came. They lingered at on stall, the vendor giving them a hard time about some vegetable or another, when the blood-curdling screams tore through the din of the village. The commotion began, and in that moment Markus focused firmly upon the memory passing through his mind. He ran through the streets, following after the mother and her daughter - trying to find out what caused this. The commotion brought the men from the fields, the hunters back from their journey into the trees.

However long the real attack took, it was only seconds in memory. All Markus could see, through the smoke and the fog of memories fading, was a blackened, humanoid mass. It looked like a monster, like some kind of demon from the pits of hell itself. Standing a dozen feet tall, weighing more than a ton. It was clearly an exaggeration of a broken mind, the child-like rendering of something beyond the imagination and understanding of someone so young. Yet, Markus felt a sense of darkness to it even through this. The anger, the hatred. The desire to cause pain and suffering. Those feelings persisted, and he could tell they belonged to the dead as much as the monster. He felt it in the soil, in the air. He felt it in the very essence of existence.

<What is this thing?>

“The Demon, he came and he burned us all. Village is gone, thanks to him. The Demon must be stopped, God. You must stop The Demon.”

<I told you, girl. I am not God, but I will stop this monster. I will stop all of the monsters, all of NYUNDO will feel my wrath for this.>

“It wa…” and then the voice faded, before it could finish the sentence the memory was gone - melting away into nothing. Markus sighed, and let his hand slip off the girl’s forehead. Standing up, he turned to Don. Shaking his head, he started back to the Jeep.

“What happened, Markus? Who did this? What did this?”

<They did this. They killed them all, for nothing. For helping us. For existing. I don’t know, I don’t care. I was beginning to think maybe they were good, that maybe they were an alternative to the madness we live under. I know you’re not a friend of our boss, I know you don’t care for him at all. That’s why I brought you into this, why I asked you to bring me to the DLO. I was going to set up a meeting from here with their operatives, to try and work out a deal. But now? After what they did here? They’ll be lucky if I don’t flay their minds and score their souls with my fury.>

“I’m with ya’, boss. You’re right that I don’t care for Bharata or his way of running things, but that’s preferable to this level of evil. I’d deal with his insanity long before I got in bed with people capable of…this.”

The Jeep doors slammed, and they both stayed silent. The trip to the DLO was another couple of hours, and they wouldn’t break their silence in that whole time. Their anger eventually faded from white-hot to a deep-seated hatred, and their moods didn’t improve. Yet, they knew they had business still - and Markus, at least, knew what he’d find once he reached the DLO. Boy, was Don in for a surprise.


Deep Congo, 2 Hours West of Kasenyi.

<Alright, Don. This is it. Stop.>

“This is what, Markus? There’s nothing but trees and jungle.”

<Just wait.> Markus exited the vehicle, letting his door slam and stretched. <They’ll come in a minute, don’t worry. Just keep your damned head, and don’t speak until we get inside. Understood?>

Don just nodded, and got out. He was still more concerned with revenge than whatever was going on here anyway. As far as he could tell, Markus lost his damned mind since Kasenyi - he hadn’t spoken a word in the hours since, and he barely seemed to even be there. In fact, Markus wasn’t there anymore. His mind, a portion of it, was still reliving the horrifying memories of Kasenyi - the rest of it was searching the area around them. Constantly scanning, like radar, his mental signals bounced off living organisms building a map around them.

It was odd, though. They should be revealing living humans beneath the surface, and patrols moving through the jungle - but he couldn’t sense anything. Were they in the wrong place? Did the people who worked in the facility up and move without reporting in? They wouldn’t have done that without good cause, but it’d been several years since Markus visited them - and even longer since any reports of their activities made it to him. They’d been ordered into radio silence, and they held that order near and dear.

That didn’t explain why they wouldn’t tell them they moved, though, or why Markus couldn’t sense them now. The creak of leather snapped him out of his search, and he turned toward it. Nothing, not even Don. <Something isn’t right, Don. We need to g…> Before he could finish, a shimmering of light revealed a half dozen soldiers with their weapons shoulders and eyes trained down the rails directly on the both of them.

<Camoflauge, that’s fancy. And handy. How’d you manage to avoid my thought-search, though?>

“Identify yourself.”

<I asked you a question, Corporal.>

“And I said identify yourself, or you’ll never have to identify to anyone ever again, mutant.”

<M…mutant? I’m no fucking mutant, you fool. And what do you mean identify myself? You should know who I am, or has it been so long you’ve forgotten who you fucking work for?>

“Last chance. Identify yourself.”

<Fine, Authorization Code Nine-Eight-Lima-Sierra-Seven.>

“Authorization received. One moment.” The soldier keyed up his microphone, repeating the authorization code into it and then waited for a response through the receiver in his ear. After a couple of seconds, he motioned and the group lowered their weapons, putting on their safeties in the process. “Welcome to the DLO, Markus. I was pretty sure that was you, but you know how protocol is.”

<Yeah, sure. Is General Bogdan still in charge here, or did you guys forget who he was as well?> It was clear from the tone of his thoughts that Markus wasn’t very happy with the young Corporal.

“He’ll meet you inside.”

Markus waved his hand dismissively, and they all faded back into the forest - their camouflage reactivating and hiding them from view - and from Markus’ mind. He’d have to make a record of that, it could become trouble later on. Don, meanwhile, didn’t speak - but he observed every bit of it. These people had technology he wasn’t even aware of existing, what was going on? He wanted to ask Markus, but his orders were clear. Do not speak. Only observe. Markus repeated it into his mind one more time. And he nodded in assent.

As for Markus, he walked three paces forward and looked down. <Well, they gonna let us in or n…> he was interrupted by the hissing sound of pressure releasing, as a hatch in the ground slid opened - vibrating within the immediate vicinity. A large disk-shaped platform rose up from it, big enough for several dozen vehicles and people. The grating sound of it showed it was rather unused, probably easier access for small groups somewhere else, Markus thought.

<Bring the Jeep, Don. We can’t leave it out here, it’d look suspicious.> Markus said as he stepped onto the platform. < I’ll meet you inside.>


Inside the DLO, five minutes later

“Markus, my old friend!”

<Don’t give me that shit, Bogdan. Friend my ass, you don’t call, you don’t write. You have me accosted by soldiers who work for me, but don’t even know my name. Some friendship>

“Markus, please. You insult me. In my home. You know my loyalty to you runs deeper than the bonds of blood I have to my own family.” Bogdan looked genuinely hurt, his scar-ridden face dropping. “We have been friends many years now, we fought in the wars together. Long before we came to this backwater planet. How could you say these things to me?”

<Oh, calm down Bogdan. I was only joking with you, and you know it, old friend. But, I’m not here for a personal visit. We have catching up to do, but there’s more pressing matters we have to attend to, General.>

“Yes, more than you’re even aware of at this point, I’m sure. How long have you been on the road?”

<A few days, give or take. Time is weird, but we were held up in Kasenyi.>

“Oh, so you saw it then?”

<I did, and I know what happened there. The same people who have been attacking us, killed innocents to get at us. Like the monsters they are.>

“Aye, we saw the aftermath on our scans. But that doesn’t explain why you’re here.”

<Well, Bogdan…things have taken a turn. Bharata’s treatments are accelerating, and so his the decay of his mind. I can’t keep the crazy in check anymore. It’s time to replicate the process.>

“Ah, so that’s why you’re here.”


“And the other part?”

<I want to go home…or I did. Before Kasenyi, now I want to make them pay.>

All the while, they were walking through room after room - soldiers saw the outsiders, some had looks of disdain, others looks of excitement. It’d been a long time since new recruits joined the DLO. Markus stopped for a moment, and turned to Don.

<Go mingle with the others, if they ask you why you’re here tell them the truth. You’re my personal aide, and trusted friend.>

Don nodded and meandered off, disappearing into the common lounge, he wondered what exactly this place was - and he intended to find out before they left.

<Now, Bogdan. Let me know what you think I don’t know already.>

“Certainly, come with me.”


<Holy. Shit. What in the hell was that thing?> Markus looked at the still-shot on the screen, his eyes taking in every detail. It looked like a monster from the stories he’d once heard from what remained of the decidedly downtrodden Psions. Yet, it couldn’t have been that.

“We’re not entirely sure, but it came not long after that Beam hit, and the tidal wave began. It seems that most people have forgotten about it already, the only information we have is that it happened. We think the forgetting is a by-product of another, but we can’t even be sure of that. If not for our cameras and sensors picking it up and storing the data, we wouldn’t even remember it happened.”

<Jesus H. Christ. Is that it?>

It wasn’t it. Almost immediately Bogdan keyed up another video, this one some miles north of them in and around the Glasslands. It showed creatures, mutated monsters assaulting cities. Devouring people. Markus could barely stomach it, and this too he blamed on NYUNDO. None of these monsters showed their faces until they began their attacks. It was clear that, if they didn’t work for NYUNDO outright, they only bothered to attack when given the distraction of NYUNDO’s own assaults.

<What in the hell are those things?>

“We don’t know. We don’t know what they are, or what they want - aside from to fucking eat us apparently. But we’re already preparing counter assaults. So far, we’re the only ones who know about their attacks. At least as far as we’re concerned. We have a platoon ready to mobilize in a few days time, we’re waiting to see what else they do for now. It seems they’re moving in on our border, though, and once they cross into our territory - we’ll for sure intervene and wipe them the fuck off the map. Along with whatever attacked Kasenyi, and these NYUNDO fucks giving you a hard time.”

Markus only nodded, before he turned away from the screens showing still-shots of everything going wrong. <You know, I blame NYUNDO for opening the doors for these fuckers. But, it’s as much our own fault as theirs. Bharata going insane turned a lot of them against us, and I should have done more to stop it when I had the chance.>

Markus sighed, before running his finger across his face - the smooth portion where humans would have mouths. A small slit formed there, opening as sections of his body that weren’t used since his people first evolved their telepathy regenerated and separated. He took a cigarette from Bogdan’s desktop, and lit it. It wasn’t a thing he did often, most people weren’t even aware he had a mouth - much less lungs and piping to make it all work.

Yet, he needed the stress relief right now.

<Alright, prepare the assault unit. I’m going North with you guys, we can’t let these things leave the Glasslands, and we sure in the fuck can’t let them find what we have hidden up there. Not if I’m ever going to get my wish of going home, anyway.>

—— Xanathan City, Bharata’s Boardroom —

“Sir, the people outside the walls are getting more agitated. They’re chanting about injustice and inequality. What do you want us to do?”

Bharata sat back in his chair, looking at the CFO and the others on the board who called this impromptu meeting without Markus. “I mean, what can we do? Kill them.”

“Sir, isn’t that a bit…brash. That doesn’t sound like it’d further our goal at all.”

“Kill them.”

“Sir, we can’t. Killing them would only make martyrs of them. It’d prove they’re right about you, about us.”

“Kill them.”

“No. We won’t. You’re not thinking right, and you’re not yourself. Effective immediately, you’ll be put on forced suspension and leave. You will no longer be running the day to day business of Xanathan, or making decisions. All in favor?” The vote was called, and one-by-one, everyone around the table lifted their hands into the air. Bharata even lifted a hand, without knowing what was happening. That small part of his mind that was still sane, still capable of rational thought, had that tiny victory.

Bharata slammed the same hand back onto the table, breaking off a piece of it. “And what do you think you’re going to do to enforce this? You think you guys aren’t replaceable? I’ll kill you all. I’ll kill you and I’ll kill them. You don’t even have a solid replacement for me. There’s nobody that can run this company but me! I’ll kill you, fuckers!” He screamed as the power-band kicked in, an implant he agreed to when he took over. A containment field for his powers, so that if he were to ever grow out of control they could stop him.

His body shuddered with rage, but he couldn’t lash out at them. Even in his inordinate strength was held at bay by the restraints, and security guards already held him. They pulled him from the room, kicking and screaming with the tantrums of a child. “And what about my treatments? Are you going to let me die, because of your own ignorant grab for power?”

“Your treatments will be decided on by your successor, whenever Markus decides to return from vacation he will take your place as Chairman, and he’ll make a decision on what to do with you then.”

“He’d never betray me! He’d never let this happen, you’ll pay for this!”

“No? It was his idea, you fool. Now get out of here, we have to begin fixing the mess you’ve made of things.”

The board shut the doors as Bharata found himself drug through the hallways of the company he once ran, he kicked and he fought - but he was powerless against the augmentations of the guards. As long as the power-band remained active, he’d not have much of anything he could do to try and escape. Resigning himself to his fate, he went limp and tears streamed down his face. What went wrong? He could feel his mind deteriorating, all these years he could feel it happening. While his body regenerated, his mind was on a downhill slide that got steeper with each passing year. He couldn’t understand it, couldn’t find the reason for it. The best tried, but they didn’t seem to know what was happening to him anymore than he did.

And now, it’d cost him everything. The company he’d built from the ground up, the friends he’d molded and crafted through the years. The territory he fought tooth and nail to protect after the attack from space. He’d done everything he could to help the people, but perhaps his help went too far…no. Not that. Never too far, he had to kill them. They didn’t appreciate everything Xanathan did for them, that he did for them. He was Xanathan. And Rendenvauld Bharata would not be held captive within his own company, he would take back what was his.

Then he’d kill them all.

As the doors slammed shut on his cell, deep in the pits of Xanathan tower, his crazed laughter rang across the plaza. It echoed loudly enough to be heard throughout the building.


“It is with great pleasure, my friends, that I tell you we have overturned the decision to allow Bharata to run this city…” they spoke to the people outside the walls, whose signs and screams made it barely audible. At the sound of the news, though, they stopped - and then they cheered. “His replacement is currently on vacation, but you all know Markus. You’ve spoken to him, he’s aided you. He’s helped you.” They screamed at the top of their lungs, screaming in happiness at knowing the replacement was Markus. The man’s words were true, while Bharata worked to hold them down, Markus sought only to lift them up.

“Markus! Markus! Markus!” Their chants rang out through the city, their unified voices carrying. For miles the screams could be heard, like thunder on the horizon. It was a new day in Xanathan City, and it was a new day, a new dawn for the people of Africa. Hopefully, Markus would return soon. They’d need to show him to solidify their newfound peace within the city’s walls.
Hidden 6 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Nate1008
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Glasslands, Eastern Val'gasra territory *6 miles from Xanathan influence

"Gi,vel sahn! Gi,vel sahn!" a hive commander bellowed at his underlings, pushing them with commands to attack the new victim settlement. Screeches and roars emerged from the rocky cliffs as the Ji'gen hive raiders lunged forward, slashing and smashing through human soldiers and civilians. "Destroy this settlement, and claim it as our own!" another commander roared in human tongue. "Soon, we will move for the outsider's territory! Claim these lands for the Hive!"

Glasslands, Heart of Val'gasra territory

Val'gasra workers moved and scampered, gathering all the flesh structure they could to cover Val'gasra territory. It was an ambitious project, but It would secure the health of both the Val'gasra young and adults, and boost Queen egg production and Queen birth rates. Worker production has been bolstered and Hive expansions are now frequent and increased greatly. The Val'gasra is preparing for war, and they intend to win it.

Glasslands, Val'gasara hive

Val'gasara hive had not been this active since the birth of the Val'gasra empire. Eggs, larvae, and cocoons were being transported and produced constantly, and food intake was at an all-time high. But food was becoming more and more scarce with every batch of births, and raid chains were getting longer and longer with every raid. Prey was becoming harder and harder to find, and each assault and birth furthered that difficulty. Soon, Val'gasara hive will need to stop brood production.

Come on... come on... where are you? Val'gasara thought, trying to reach her daughter Vi'lan. "Where is my daughter! I cannot sense her presence in our land! I told her not to leave, I told her to stay! Where is she! Find her! Even if I must search the world itself, I will find my daughter!" Queen Val'gasara roared.

After what seemed to be hours of searching telepathically, she found a faint call. "hear me?..... ...you..." The voice spoke. "Vi'lan! Come home, how could you be so stupid! My smartest, brightest daughter chooses to go into the unknown! Come back or I will drag you home myself!" she responded. "I found my daughter. Send a search party to the outsider's territory! Bring my daughter home!" she commanded to her underlings.
Hidden 6 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Circ
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Marange, Nyundo

Lydia Benson veritably sighed in her decanted roobios as she politely emancipated her taken limb from her hostess’ grasp. Otherwise and unpleasantly alone, she perambulated desultorily through Makemba’s wake and into the adjacent almost-kitchen. Therein, her nostrils irritably twitched. Refuge was taken in her mug’s floral vapors. While the warmth of fresh-baked bread and simmered soup were pleasant, if not prosaic, undertones of rubbish and rotten vegetables tortured her olfaction. Waste belonged outside in a bin, but in the grandiose metropolitan tomb fate decreed she occupy, it, unable to escape, morphed into a quintessence of rot and lingered in the stale air.

“Mmm,” Lydia demurred on a question posed by Makemba. Something about being hungry, she surmised. A scullery tour was far from her preconception of a tolerable itinerary, much less an extended stay. Besides, though Marange’s novelty, if not its deficient accommodations, impressed her, neither it nor her thus far narrow view of it were the subject of thousands of her dollars. In as tactful terms as possible, she alluded to that vexatious conundrum and soon gleaned her charity all but perished with Phalaborwa. In spite of such a cruel pronouncement, Lydia was delighted to discover the village’s refugees were at that very moment received into Marange and beneficiaries of able care.

“Well, that is assuredly auspicious!” Lydia ejaculated, her elation accentuated by a double tap of her pearl-enamaled nails, painted to match her attire, on her borrowed earthenware mug; “Of course, you must guide me to them post-haste.”

Although reticent to accede to Lydia’s request, Makemba’s objections were whelmed by a swift current of ripostes and assurances. What piqued Makemba’s curiosity was Lydia’s attestation of being a doctor—although artfully omitted was that the focus of her doctorate was in human genetics, not medicine.

It was a brisk, brief, and quiet walk to the hangar cavern. Around them, chemiluminescent fungus and crystals illumined the way, their shadows softly diffused along the moss-draped walls. On the way, Makemba informed Lydia that Marange’s medics, guided by doctor Omari, cared for the distraught of Phalaborwa and assured Lydia that they were in good hands.

Just as they turned the final corner toward their destination, the tunnel ominously collapsed behind them and chaos jarred their senses.

“Mungu atuokoe! Tafadhali nisaidie!” reverberated throughout, half cried, half howled—spat venomously from the contorted mouths of its victims.

Lydia’s mascara-laden eyelashes mechanically fluttered in disbelief. A women squatted on the cold stone floor above a pool of urine, babes clutched so firmly to each breast they surely could not breathe, and wailed as mellifluously as a deranged succubus. Everywhere, men and women in uniform, expressions stricken with cowardice, rushed the tunnels and clawed their fingers to grisly stumps in their futile efforts to dislodge the debris and escape an unseen yet terrible fate. And, as Lydia’s vision panned and her thoughts whorled, her focus intuitively latched on to a bald man whose distended frame blocked the entrance of a medical hut. On all fours and with khakis pushed to his ankles, he spasmodically thrust his hips into a writhing mass pinned beneath him. The tension of his taut sweat-lathered glutes was palpable, but only when his pate tilted back and his lips ceased to muffle his victim’s screams, still constricted by the stethoscope coiled around their throat, did the act morph into horrific clarity.

A boy, all too young, supine, penetrated, and sullied in the flow of his hematic egesta.

“The savage negro,” she whispered, then felt a slap across her face. Her hand half-lifted to shelter her bruised cheek as she turned toward Makemba when, suddenly, she could not recall what transpired. Only the pain lingered. Again, her face was struck. Again, the memory faded. Like a dumb cow, she gaped at her assailant and struggled to process an agony for which there was no antecedent. Everything felt fragmented, blurry. The rouge-caked palm, elegiac shrieks, smothered babes, sanguine stench, the doctor’s vast leathery piston soiled and gritty, and the boy—oh god, have mercy on that poor prolapsed boy!

Eventually, Lydia collapsed to the floor, her occipital bone cracked, jaw dislocated, and left ear deafened.

. . .

Alarmed at the sudden quakes and Ayanda’s collapse, Ndakala instinctively reached out to aid her. He was, however, too late; a crown of crimson-tipped lavender spines erupted around the quavering pool in which she drowned and pricked his wrist. Immediately he recoiled from the intense pain and cradled his wounded limb, the ugly gash already prolific with viscous yellow bile. As tears deformed his vision and tormented howls reverberated from his mouth, he saw his arm grotesquely transform. It was fantastical, akin to a continuation of his prior and lurid hypnagogic state where he thought he saw a vision of his family’s ancestral village destroyed by gargantuan gorillas.

“Ndakala, no!” Kheithiwe, too late, implored, then covered his face with his hands and heaved.

Rapidly Ndakala’s limb, slick with pus, morphed and decayed. Aghast, he watched transfixed as his digits fell from the stump of his hand onto the kaleidoscopic moss where they liquefied as fetid pools. Meanwhile, a bloated black lattice writhed up along his forearm. Through his screams, he gagged at the stench. His limb no longer resembled an arm, but a noxious black morel that attracted swarms of gnats with its foulness.

The parade of horrors intensified as Kheithiwe, unable to contain his revulsion, retched and vomited out a piebald flesh-egg. It landed on the venomous spines and, even as it grew into an ersatz copy of its progenitor, it likewise transformed to a fungal canvas that unleashed spores into the gathered cloud of winged insects. Naked flesh rotted before their very eyes, covered in a translucent choleric film, limbs, trunk, neck, and genitals engorged into a polyp-bestrewn mycological hellscape.

Acute pain lanced through Ndakala’s arm, just above the elbow. His shock refocused, he glanced at his bloody stump and realized Kheithiwi, in that vital act of dismemberment, likely salvaged what remained of his life.

“Quick,” Kheithwie commanded, his composure restored and a torn bit of cloth pressed over his mouth and nose, “we must leave this place—there is nothing we can do for her now.”

Trance-like, Ndakala felt himself stand, grasp Kheithiwe by the shoulder with his remaining hand, flee, then shortly thereafter darkness possessed him.

. . .

Saudade, Glasslands – former Tunis

As it lumbered out of the wreckage of the airport terminal and lunged with feline grace to the precipice of a vast concrete i-beam that jutted precipitously skyward, Reaex cycled its sensors and stress-tested its integument. Steam emanated from slits exposed by the angled scales that were normally pressed flat against its body. Gradually, its internals rejected the impregnated microbial invasion and integrity was completely restored. Then, as it lounged on its apex and basked its solar-receptive exterior in the hot midday sun, it took the time to survey the city.

“Къде сега да отида?” Reax pondered, its words carried on the wind like tinkling chimes.

A dilapidated sprawl transitioned from ultraviolet to true color, was overlain by a heat map, and further overlain by magnetic fields. The various layers were beautiful, although what they exposed was tragic. Even before the wave, this was a place of death. Afterward, it was a salted blight where all save the hardiest structures were submerged in sodden marshes of oil-slick liquefied pavement. Bemused as to the world it found itself in, for clearly this was not Fortis, Reaex peered south along the eroded coast and, for a brief moment, faintly observed an avian form just before it dipped beneath the fractured skyline.

Immediately, Reaex plunged from its perch and sprinted like a truck-size jaguar through the crumbled edifices of a once grand empire and onward toward the detected glint of metallic wings. Four kilometers through a maze of anticlines, synclines, rifts, and debris, it came across a seaweed-cloaked sign that read Cité de la Culture. A spire pierced the courtyard of a structure that tried, yet failed, to embrace the monolith. And there, barely concealed behind the spire, was a heat signature. From a run to a prowl, Reaex’s movements became deliberate and silent as it ascended the tiers of concrete stairs in order to gain a height advantage on whatever lurked nearby. With hushed grace, it sprung atop the structure that unified the four distinct blades of the spire. Then, it peered down at a Val’gasra ravager. Although a strong heat signature emanated from the flesh horror, it was all biochemical. Nothing, Reaex assessed, it could digest.

In spite of its care to remain undetected, Reaex was noticed by the creature; no doubt by pure happenstance. A stare-down ensued. Just as the ravager appeared, to Reaex, a lump of useless biomass, so, too, did Reaex seem to the ravager so much twisted metal. That each carried a heat signature meant little, for rot produced as much. It wasn’t until the ravager’s vocalization that Reaex was sure it was even alive.

“Vora gusk ga-ttusk!” bellowed the monstrosity, a phrase Reaex proved unable to translate in spite of the presence of a universal translator embedded in its neural-cohesive bramble. After a moment longer, the ravager meandered off through the busted double doors and into the depths of the facility. Yet another moment passed, this one of contemplation, then Reaex inwardly decided уви, просто тъпо животно, jumped off the platform, and raced toward its former destination which, as it so happened, was one and the same as the Cathedral of Saint Vincent de Paul—just in time to behold Nuberu crash through the rotted wooden confessional amongst a splinter of shattered pew upheaven by the avian menaces. Yet those wings, those delicious ferrous wings, practically made Reaex salivate palladium-nitrogen compound.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Nate1008
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Saudade, Glasslands - former Tundis, now Ga'san hive

"Gathsan! Gathsan! Gathigello kithsa gilo!" A ravager shouted, running through the facility, waking the brood inside the hive. "What is it now you squealing pest!" Queen Ga'san spat at her underling, stopping it dead in its tracks. "Vi'gen gilo! Shesgi gathsan kela!" It reported to her. "What? A creature is near the hive? Alert my brood! Track it down, do not let it find us!" She commanded.
Minutes later, many of the Ga'san hive underlings started forming search parties to find the new creature.

Xanathan influence, Vi'lan hive

Vi'lan knew she needed to construct a hive synapse node to communicate with her mother and sisters, and more importantly, the Overlord. She had heard her mother but did not want to return. She had a mission, and she was stubborn and wanted to finish what she had just started.

Her brood finally started to be born, and her hive has started hunting smaller animals as food supplements. She must not be found, or the outsider nation could easily wipe her and her hive out. She would remain in hiding until her brood is large enough and the other hives are ready for the first assault on the outsider's nation. It would be a long wait, but the other hives would soon be finished conquering their birth-land, and the first hoard will rise to cut down the outsider's land.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by apathy
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Assad’s eyes narrowed in contemplation, staring at the senterej board over the rim of a stoneware mug. Complex notes of cardamom melted into the black tea he’d taken to growing during his time spent away from NYUNDO’s command. With a satisfied smacking of lips, the old man leaned forward and moved his negus away from Najwa’s feresenya. “Kaliya kuwa jaahil ka ah dagaalka ayaa ku soo dhacaya. Only those ignorant of war rush in. This is a lesson you have learned well, habibti.”

Across the earthen table Najwa absently munched on a piece of muufo she’d dipped in her tea, eyes meticulously moving across each piece on the senterej board. The old man had made the first capture during werera, immediately setting the tone of the match. Since then she’d been on the defensive, capturing what few pieces she could in what was quickly becoming a war of attrition. “Still… I should have planned for the delay. For the Xanathan patrol. If not for that chi-”

Assad held up a wooden finger, its lacquered surface gleaming in dim quartz-filtered light set in the geotic ceiling above. “Hal farood maydhi karin wajiga.”

“Please, Baba. No more proverbs. I promise I’ll stop brooding.” Najwa groaned, placing a medeq one square forward. “Still, I think I’ll go see if I can help once I win this match.”

The old man feigned shock as he tossed a dried fig into his mouth, “Such disrespect! For your own father!” Chortling, Assad slid his remaining der across the board and set it defensively against her feresenya and medeq. Even now, after only a few hour’s rest following a night of horrors she only thought of others. A grin spread across his face as he looked at her and a memory was dredged out of the fog of time.

Through the lens of recollection he saw a child, trembling with fear as she stood up to the guards at a Xanathan research facility all those years ago. She had placed herself between the guards and a pair of younger children, eyes filled with determination. At 8 she was capable of keeping a contingent from joining the main XSF defense platoon. At 15 she accompanied Mshale and Semret in the clearing of a Durbaan hive. Now at 26, she was the heart of Marange; of NYUNDO. Ayanda’s withdrawal into the Kichaka Siri over the last decade had come as a heavy blow to all, but Najwa and Mshale were the ones most hurt. Yet while Mshale grew sullen and recalcitrant, Najwa resolved to fill Ayanda’s role. If only she realized how similar they’d become.

Assad was jarred from his daze by the grim turn of Najwa’s expression. “Ya amar, you don’t have to be so sore about losing,” he remarked with raised brows when he noticed the rippling surface of tea in his geotic mug. He rubbed at the stubble on his chin with curiosity when his eyes grew wide at the smooth veneer of his ligneous limb beginning to gnarl.

“Ya Allah!” Assad exclaimed while the fingers of his prosthesis exploded into a writhing mass of roots that splayed out over the table. Senterej pieces were rapidly enveloped in sprawling rhizomes that burrowed into the stone surface with a series of dull cracks, anchoring Assad in place.

“Stay back!” Assad exclaimed when a multitude of torn minds screamed in unison, their unfocused rage and euphoric agony crashing against his will. A leitmotif of disparate voices seethed within his mindscape as he furiously waved Najwa away.


A litany composed from the commonality of humanity’s fears, appetites and pain created a psychic nebula through which only the truest of connections could pierce. Characterized in this instant as the concern that wracked Najwa’s face and caused Assad to rally against the intolerable noise that gnawed at his soul. “Habibti... you m-mun-must listen. Seek out… Omari a-atu-and use him to help t-tafa-the others!”

“Abb, what’s wrong!” Najwa pleaded as Assad continued to push her away with his unfettered arm, tears streaming down his scarred cheeks. She could hear the distant crashing of stone as tunnels collapsed. Paralyzed at the calamitous shift in their evening, Najwa watched in horror as Assad reeled back then slammed his face against the wooden and stone mass he was bound to. She took a step forward when he shot upright and bellowed “No!”.

Channels of blood poured from his lacerated forehead and shattered nose. As he tried to speak again the remnants of a tooth fell with a muted clatter from his nostril, encased in a thick glob of sanguineous phlegm. “O-Omari! Qatal takhatur!” At his limit, Assad embraced the void of unconsciousness with another self-inflicted blow that Najwa could not bring herself to watch.

In a full sprint, Najwa dashed past the growing discord. She was assaulted by the barking of commands in Shona and Xhosa. The tang of iron in the air from fresh wounds. Staccato eruptions of small-arms fire that echoed through the barrack's massive chamber. Every fiber of her being told her to stop and help her comrades. Torn between obligation and guilt, Najwa was prepared to disregard Assad’s commands when she saw it. The tell-tale saffron flash of Nkosiyabo’s magic illuminate the interior of his schorl quonset. The young Zulu sent the door flying with a blast of primal energy. Nkosiyabo beat his chest in defiance and yelled.

“Yidla umlingo wami, nina madube angahlanzwa!”

Bolstered by the sorcerer’s words Najwa roared like the Lioness she was, “FALL BACK, NKOSIYABO! TO THE HANGAR!” She bolted down the unblocked passage that connected the barracks to Marange’s cavernous hangar. With her speed it would take him nearly a quarter hour to catch up.

The steady emerald glow of the tunnel’s bioluminescent fungi had been diminished, a soft haze along twin channels that lined the over mile-long adit. Even now, nearly a third through she could feel the ambient heat of rising flames from the barracks. A heated sigh against the nape of her neck. Her ears rang as she pressed on into the intensifying pandemonium, an agonized cacophony amplified by the passage’s smooth walls.

Up ahead she could make out the growing aperture of the hangar’s quartz-filtered sunlight cutting through the virescent daze. Fists tightened with resolve as she charged forward, approaching the limits of her speed. Pupillary reflexes fired off at an accelerated rate continuously adjusting to the ever-brightening threshold.

Najwa hurtled through the luminous portal. Her jaw dropped in immediate horror. Bedlam gripped the subterrene hangar. The expansive chamber was dominated by a thrashing monstrosity. Mucilaginous grey flesh smashed against the kolwezite siding of a two-story tenement. Indigo ichor splattered from innumerable ocelli against the cerise structure with a sizzle. Slick ungulate forelimbs futilely sought traction against the hangar’s quartzite flooring. An equine skull was exposed, its elongated muzzle ending in heat pits that twitched wildly. A tripartite barbed tongue flung an oil drum in the air. The steel barrel was reflexively crushed in the vice grip of enormous oozing forcipules. Viscera pulsed within its translucent telson that skittered helplessly against the creature’s own bulk. The surrounding structures rattled as it threw its head back and keened. Cries of rage and terror were drowned out by a bestial wailing all too human in its expressiveness.

In her periphery she made out the nearby form of Imani beating a crumpled mass with a gore-coated wrench. She slowly turned her predatory gaze towards Najwa, wrench held high overhead. Directly across from her on the other side of the hangar she saw commotion in Omari’s clinic. Past the flailing abomination she made out warring silhouettes against the collapsed tunnel that led to Marange’s civilian population. An entire tenement missing with no signs of wreckage. Her nostrils flared at the pungent melange of innards and shit, petrol and ammonia. Her senses recoiled as they correlated and processed each heinous act slowed to macabre choreography.

Yet she never stopped her headlong charge. Najwa reached out as she dashed under Imani's vicious swing She firmly grasped the mechanic by the collar and flung her effortlessly. The enraged Swazi youth soared into a stack of tires with enough force to knock her unconscious.

300m away.

Najwa’s arms rose defensively, elbows tucked in tight. She approached a throng composed of corrupted comrades and refugees. They were armed and drawn to a distant clangor that boomed from the corridor that led to the training colosseum. Suddenly aware of prey in their midst, the drove turned on her. Situated between her and the clinic, she had no choice. Najwa slipped and wove her way through the crowd’s clumsy attacks. She took in each minute detail behind the reinforced knuckles of her combat gloves.

Dilated pupils. Flushed skin. Rapid breathing. Uneven heartbeats. The stink of adrenaline pouring from them. They’re stricken by rage. Najwa ducked, the glint of a blade slicing the space she’d just occupied. Her gaze shot past the immediate threats in her vicinity to a crowd of wailing children in the arms of immobilized mothers. Or fear.

Rolling forward Najwa positioned herself in the mob’s center. She took a step forward and planted the sole of her boot in Eshile’s stomach. His form smashed into two others, sending them to the ground. Turning, she lashed out in a flurry of strikes meant to incapacitate the remaining dozen hostiles before they could cause any further harm. Najwa stepped over their unconscious forms and peered towards the clinic.

200m. Need to get moving.

The distressing stench of fumes grew as she approached the clinic. Half-way there Najwa skidded to an abrupt halt as a gargantuan insectoid telson crashed down. Quartzite cracked in an eruption of debris. Meters-wide forcipules clacked menacingly above Najwa’s head. Venomous beads of dark rust dripped from the pincers. Incapable of forward locomotion, the monstrosity had blindly skittered to her as she’d become the cynosure of whatever was corrupting Marange.

“I don’t have time for you!” Najwa yelled, slamming a fist against the abomination’s translucent tergite plates. The chitin fractured in a moment of magnificent kaleidoscopic impact. A faint shimmer emanated from the telekill knuckles. In the blow’s wake the atrocity reacted violently. The fringes of its form quivered sickeningly and in a fleeting instant of clarity the exposed equine skull mutated into that of a confused and terrified young woman. As the spark from the knuckles faded so too did the gleam of humanity in her eyes. Now Najwa understood Assad’s last words.

She apologized internally for what she was about to do while leaping away from a swiping tarsus. Najwa leapt atop its back, slick with blood sweat. She took two lurching steps then launched herself at the arm supporting the abomination’s weight. Her knee crashed against its enormous elbow and shattered every bone around it. Najwa catapulted away from the shapeshifter.

She was another fifty meters closer to the clinic when the creature struck the ground. Her resolve steeled at the far-off sight of a child’s form collapsed at Omari’s doorway. The tempo of her footfalls created a frantic beat. Just a few more seconds.

A mephitic cloud of formaldehyde and peracetic acid accosted Najwa as she slid to a stop at the entrance. The boy’s limp form felt weightless in her arms. She gingerly laid him against the clinic’s alabaster wall. Najwa softly brushed dirt from his cheek. Her ears twitched at the tell-tale sound of striking flint. She was already in motion by the time Omari could give the lighter another attempt.

She crashed through the wooden door without notice. Splinters of wood harmlessly bounced off her exposed skin. Omari’s thumb was pressed against the flint wheel. He sat in the clinic’s chair, covered in chemicals. The hiss of butane cut through Najwa’s focus. Sparks were set to erupt and engulf the clinic in an inferno. Just then a gloved hand wrapped around Omari’s fist and crushed the lighter and several bones in its grasp.


Najwa released the grisly pulp of Omari’s hand. She struck her knuckles together in a prismatic cascade of cleansing light that filled the small clinic.

Minutes later…

The gleaming glove resting atop an ornate rug in the middle of the room drew Nkosiyabo’s eyes. He sat in silence in the small alcove beside Omari’s clinic that served as the doctor’s quarters. Najwa had sat at the tunnel’s entrance, waiting on the sorcerer’s arrival. The unconscious form of Makemba was slung over her shoulder. He was lost in contemplation at what she’d told him as he arrived.

“Can your magic make people forget?”

He knew many spells and had made many pacts with the jungle’s own but this was beyond him. This was an ancient evil that preceded humanity. Perhaps even the Imimoya he had sworn fealty to.

Najwa returned with Omari and Makemba in tow, heads bowed in shame. Tears freely fell down the doctor’s face. Cradling the slowly mending mass of his hand, he muttered under his breath. “Etthu xeeni yootakhala evanrya aka?... Etthu xeeni yootakhala evanrya aka?...”

“Nkosiyabo, can you do what I asked?” Najwa fixed her gaze upon the Zulu, returning the glove to her hand. The sorcerer solemnly shook his head. “No matter. I have another plan in mind that requires each of your gifts.”

Omari began to protest but quickly went silent when Najwa shot a steely glare his direction. “Fix your hand, doctor. Makemba’s as well. I am going to ask much of you. But first, Nkosiyabo… you are renown in Marange for your guile and craft. In your travels have you made dealings with an imimoya of sleep?”

A look of understanding slowly washed over Nkosiyabo and he nodded, already exiting the cramped quarters. The others followed close behind. Omari and Makemba watched as the sorcerer began the ritual summoning. Najwa stepped away from the group, removing the telekill panga from its sheath at the small of her back. She grimaced at her blood-flecked reflection in the scoured stone blade.

Najwa struck the flat of the machete's blade with a glowing fist until it shone intensely, bathing her in its light. She gave a great hurl of her arm. The machete embedded itself deep in the hangar's ceiling. An imperceptible aura began to radiate from the panga and resonated through the quartz with a cleansing effect.

Najwa turned to Nkosiyabo who was exhaling a ghastly wreath of violet flames. With a flourish a batá appeared tucked under his left arm. The drum was made of rich mpingo and emblazoned with faintly luminous sigils. A gossamer vellum was stretched taut over the drum's head. He struck the drum once and was met with the sound of beating wings. Rapid syncopation caused the plumes to condense into a blazing pillar Nkosiyabo slowly circled.

"Ibhumubi vusa. Ibhumubi vusa. Silethele. Silethele. Ibhumubi vusa…"

His chanting continued softly as the remaining conscious refugees and comrades awoke into a living nightmare. Disparate voices began to call out in sudden realization. Staggered gasps from weeping mothers. Outraged howls of confusion. Repressed sobs of self-loathing. All were soothed at the Ibhumubi's evocation.

Spectral scales shimmered along diaphanous moth wings creating a cloud of somnolescent powder that descended upon the hangar. The tenement Najwa presumed destroyed slowly materialized. Cries of lament and bellows of rage softened to a torpid murmur as the Ibhumubi navigated the cavernous chamber.

Najwa left Nkosiyabo to his work and approached the duo of Omari and Makemba. The two looked up at her lithe form as Omari finished healing the elderly woman’s hand. “Do you understand what must be done?”

They nodded gravely. Najwa’s eyes sharpened as she spoke. “Say it out loud.”

Makemba responded, rising to her feet with an aged groan. “You want us to heal everyone. Body... and mind. I have never tried to remove memories in this way… But I will. For them. For NYUNDO.”

Omari’s bowed head rose, eyes raw with tears. “For them. For NYUNDO.”

Najwa departed without a word. She eyed the returned tenement and the naked form of a young woman whose arm was shattered at the elbow as she strode towards the colosseum.

Two new individuals with gifts. What a foul way to discover them. I’ll protect them too. For NYUNDO.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Circ
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Marange, Nyundo

Somber silence settled on the hangar, just as dust settles on abandoned sarcophagi. Mixed light sources conspired to compound the chamber’s crypt-like brevity: the amber dance of small isolated flames, the monolithic quartz ceiling’s diffused aura, and the prismatic bands that streamed sharply from Najwa’s machete. Miraculously, this was not yet a chitunha and, as the Ibhumubi lilted body to body, Makemba wondered how it was so many survived the bedlam. As Najwa sprinted away and she knelt on the cold stone by Lydia’s supine and disfigured form, she checked her optimism.

“Omari, are there triage markers amongst your supplies?”

As she glanced at the doctor, she noticed how her question disrupted his fixated glare at the tunnel to the coliseum, as yet uncollapsed. He jerked his head briefly, murmured a despondent yes, and rushed into his supply hovel. Momentarily he emerged, dropped a pack of green tape beside her, and sighed, “Green for mind, yellow for body. Around the right wrist.”

With a nod, she pulled off a strip of green tape and extended it to Omari.

“No,” he insisted.

She acquiesced and peered down at her erstwhile victim. With a frown, she decided nothing could be done for the woman. Lydia’s memories—each brutal collision, each garish scene—already throbbed in her bosom and compounded with her own experiences. Still, it felt abstract; tolerable. She wrapped a strip of green tape around Lydia’s wrist and cupped her good cheek in her hand. It didn’t matter how gentle she was, Makemba realized as she eyed the shattered jaw’s ugly purple bruise, for she felt the damage was deserved and that brutal truth hollowed her act of tenderness.

Eyes shuttered briefly in a stolen moment of meditation, she steeled her mind and turned to her next charge, a boy propped against a hut with a blanket haphazardly thrown over him; not clutched for comfort, but clumsily cast to conceal. His abuse was plainly evidenced by his swollen, cracked and bloodied lips, the bruise that swept across his throat, and incessant sleep tremors accentuated by soft cries of hayi, hayi. She sat beside him, wrapped an arm around his shoulder, and placed her hand on his brow. Almost instantly, she sensed the child’s suffering ablate. Simultaneously, her eyes narrowed on Omari as he moved from patient to patient. Tears poisoned with fury stung her eyes as she felt him on top of her. Internally, she recoiled as his huge dark hands grasped and tore her clothes; the last of all her worldly possessions. Her favorite pants, her favorite blue and white Ørsted Energy t-shirt, her only pair of big boy underclothes. She struggled to breathe, but her throat was constricted by a frigid plastic hose. The ground was rough, the doctor was rough. Suddenly, she felt him on top of her. The absolute worst—the worst was the crazed mask of his face. Wide eyes, open mouth, close breath. Then it suddenly wasn’t when pain lanced into a place nobody was ever meant to touch her. It burned so much. She tried to cry for help, but her tenuous rasps for air were stifled when his tongue invaded her mouth and his nicotine-tinged saliva filled her throat. Urine soaked her loins and stung as acid upon her fresh wounds.

“Nceda moya omkhulu, hayi le,” she choked out as a hushed sob, for she now knew the truth of what transpired.

Unsteady, she pushed herself to her feet and pushed the unabashed tide of tears from her cheeks with the back of her fist. The cruel experience was too familiar to her own childhood and defiled innocence amongst Boko Haram, a memory deliberately buried. However, she could not stop: hundreds of others remained to be assuaged, thus she needed to be strong; not merely for NYUNDO, not merely for the people here, but for herself.

A deep moan interrupted her ruminations. Omari rocked back and forth on the floor, face in his hands, and sobbed, “Kakhulu, kakhulu. Ndifanelwe kukufa.”

Anger welled within her, but experience tempered her tongue’s edge. Without a word, she exhaled, stepped behind him, and placed her hands on his shoulders. While he rocked, she massaged away the tension and relieved him of his anamnesis; except it wasn’t another life, another person, or malevolent spirit who committed these atrocities. Omari raped J’sie. Makemba pummeled Lydia. Although their bodies acted on another’s volition, as marionettes in a sociopath’s puppet show, their hearts betrayed how it all made them feel. Even as he despised himself and longed for death, Omari exulted in and climaxed to the warmth of the boy’s soft, moist lips; the piquant nectar of his spit; and the provocative resistance of his tongue as it feebly wrestled back his own. He lavished in the tactile sensation of skin on skin, something put aside for too long in the pursuit of medicine. Almost forgotten, now awakened, his brain surged with dopamine at the touch of another’s body. The power he felt! The mightiness of his adult form atop a timid stripling! Then the ultimate release when he pushed through the boy’s defenses, his member engulfed tautly and fully by...

Makemba abruptly stepped back and impulsively shuddered. Bile rose in her throat, but she choked it down. It was enough—it had to be enough.

“What is the last thing you remember, Omari?”

“I—I am missing time. Resetting a dislocated wrist, maybe. What happened here?!”

“Time for that later. Focus on healing people now. They need help, Omari. Yellow triage markers for those you’ve healed.”

She needed to get away from him. She couldn’t so much as look at him anymore. Overwhelmed, she turned around and set herself to the task of extracting the wounds of the past from a victim. And so it went, victim and victimizer. In the end, she knew they were one and the same. Still, the sadistic delight, however well hidden, taken by these people—her people. It filled her heart with agony. Each mind she cured with her empathic siphon brought more pain into her bosom; numbness, meanwhile, remained an elusive hope. The mothers who murdered their babies; how much was she to taken from them? What lie could conceivably be spun to mend that open wound? Was she to entirely wipe their minds of their children’s existence? It hardly mattered as the implantation of false memories was beyond her capacity. Instead, she surgically ripped months of time away and prayed they never learned the truth.

Exhausted, she paused to catch her breath. Already, one roll of tape was spent. Three more remained in her pocket. She panned across the hangar wherein, finally, the destructive fires were quelled and peace again reigned. Omari’s efforts already surpassed her own. Nkosiyabo busily levitated bodies and cots toward a central staging area directly beneath Najwa’s machete, by then only somewhat faded. Amidst the stain of blood, chemiluminescent mold sprawled across the floor in a massive mandala that grasped all present. So focused were the people on their sexual violence toward another, a remarkable amount of infrastructure remained unscathed. Jeeps and convoys with their canvas enclosures sat in perfect rows. The dozen or so wood shanties, hastily-erected in preparation for Phalaborwa’s refugees, stood unspoiled. No, it wasn’t the sight that bothered her. It was the smell that clung to the motionless stale air. Fuel oil, dust, mildew, blood, urine, feces, sweat, fear, anger—death.

It smelled like death.

Resolved to continue, she moved on to the next dreamless sleeper. A corpse marked by Omari with red tape. She continued on. Time for prayers, mourning, and closure would come later. Explanations would come later. The lies, oh the numerous incredulous yet absolutely necessary lies.

Tears openly flowed over her crusted lashes and down her cheeks and throat by the time she reached Kamuanya, the shapeshifter girl; perhaps an hour later. Above, the light of Najwa’s weapon was nearly depleted, yet there were so many left to heal before she could beg Nkosiyabo to grant her relief in the form of slumber. Perhaps it would be compulsory, should fade the light that shielded them all from their worst impulses. Long ago, trepidation usurped the tenderness of her touch; now raw exhaustion gripped her. As skin touched skin, Makemba felt the girl’s terror pulse through her until it matched the beat of her heart. The sideshow mockery of the girl’s youth was tragic, but tragedies were bountiful in Marange that day. In contrast to the plights of others, this one’s recent pain was mild; a confusion ripe with terror, physical pain as her body contorted unnaturally into shapes beyond her ken, and regret at last at the damage her rampage caused. It was over for this young one, yet, as Makemba confusedly took in the hand that rested on Kamuanya’s brow, with its gnarled ancient flesh, melanomas and splotches, and arthritic bones deformed in a claw-like posture, a defeated horror flooded her bosom.

That is my hand, she thought and, stricken, collapsed.
Hidden 6 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Nate1008
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Xanathan influence, Vi'lan hive

The winds howled in the night. The sky was an open grey, and the moon glowed humbly. The perfect time to seek out a new ally. Under the cover of night, Vi'lan and her small brood abandoned the hive. She knew the Val'gasra would not succeed their goals unless they had an ally. The outsider's territory seemed endless, stretching miles upon miles in length and distance.

The shrubs and greenery was getting thicker for every meter she trudged. She pulled a look of grimace. Greenery meant little radiation, which meant her and her brood's health was at risk and their bodies would be prone to sickness and disease. She focused on her goal and discarded her fears, trying to stamp out any flame of fear and discouragement. It would be days, possibly even weeks to find the rumored nation, but even rumors are not always true.

Glasslands, unknown neutral city

Fires roared and blood spilled. Another raid, another day. Shi'vas enjoyed watching the bloodshed and chaos unfold. Standing on a ruined building, he reared back. "Kill them all! For the Val'gara!" He roared, encouraging his troops. He lunged into battle, slicing an outsider's chest and jumped back to cut the throat of an outsider soldier. Suddenly, a loud sound, loud enough to deafen Shi'vas... An outsider, holding some strange looking box stood on some debris. The box was smoking, and the dead corpse of a ravager stood in front of it.

"How is that possible?" Shi'vas spat. "Kill it! Avenge your brother!" he roared. Multitudes of Val'gasra horrors charged for the outsider, but the sound kept coming, the box kept firing, and the corpses of Val'gasra kept falling. The outsider was finally dead, but it had killed many of Shi'vas's forces. More soldiers with the strange boxes came, these with different shapes. Some long, big, and heavy, others small, short, and tiny. But all were just as deadly. "Retreat! Fall back! Brothers and sisters! To me!" Shi'vas commanded, his troop's morale was as low as his. The boxes were obviously weapons, and they were stronger than him or his forces.

Glasslands, Ga'san hive

"WHAT?! DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT YOU FAILED TO SOME STRANGE CONTRAPTIONS?!" Queen Ga'san roared. "I...I...It was not our f..fault... their weapons were too..." Shi'vas tried. "AND YOUR FORCES COULD NOT STOP THEM?!" Bellowed the Queen. "We tried, but the first one took more than half of the swarm, then many more enemy soldiers appeared! They would have killed us!" Shi'vas complained.

The Queen took that one. "How many were there?" She asked, calmer than before. "Tens, twenties... We are not sure, we did not look long enough to see them..." Shi'vas winced, preparing for another scolding. "Very well then," The Queen said unexpectedly. "Send some scouts. See if you can figure out where these 'weapons' are coming from." She commands. "Yes, my Queen. I will not fail you again..." Shi'vas says with a low bow before heading out of the hive.

"We must evolve... Our enemies are getting stronger. The outsiders must have more weapons like those... summon the weavers here. We must grow stronger." The Queen commanded her underlings. "If our enemies advance faster than us, we will be wiped out and we may never fulfill our goal and purpose.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Gattsu
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Gattsu Cold meat. Fresh cut.

Member Seen 25 days ago

Mshale leapt aside as a shower of loose scree pelted off his telekinetic barrier. A large boulder of bloodstone lurched half a meter from where he was standing as the hulking elemental it was attached to retracted its fist-one of Nkosiyabo’s creations. The fungi that lined the chamber walls assumed an angry carmine that pulsed like a throbbing bruise. The internalized magic holding the creature together blossomed in this hue. The color-encoded danger of the fungi, the note on the polished stone tuning fork as well as the lock and key the implement was held under, and the secret utterance required to bring the golem into existence were all safety measures that Mshale, in his anger, threw into the wind. The peril matched his mood.

The telekinetic roared in frustration at the golem as he pumped his fist towards its center mass, and an unseen wave came crashing into the construct. Six meters of stone wasn’t so easy to move, and for his efforts the creature merely took a half step backwards before another death blow surged towards him like a Kilimanjaran avalanche. This strike was too wide for him to dodge, and so he met it head-on pitting his barrier against the creature’s mass. Mshale felt it burden him, burying his body and mind like a ten-ton blanket. His knees buckled as his feet sunk into the hard soil and his temples throbbed as he pushed back. His muffled scream was smothered by a hillock of earth. The mass above him shifted as it was inexorably forced outwards once the telekinetic got the better of it through sustained pressure. He transformed his focus to a point within the rotund stone torso and rotated, churning loose mass away before the golem began to crack.

A few seconds passed before a small web of fissures surfaced upon the back of the prone stone golem. The cracks widened and breached completely as an invisible augur ripped through the interstice. With this invisible drill Mshale pulled himself from the wounded golem, and hopping back, ripped chunks of the ceiling off to crush the pieces of the elemental underneath.

The dust settled, leaving Mshale panting, his fury subsiding to dull annoyance at his and Semret’s last conversation. The arena usually cooled his temper to placid weariness, but this time was different. He couldn’t understand why NYUNDO wanted to keep that creature alive.

He shrugged as he plopped down upon a stone and took a different approach. Ayanda had taught him to use meditation techniques to clear his mind when violence didn’t work. He breathed in deep as he clasped his kneecaps in meaty palms and slowly exhaled, unpacking the worries of his mind.


The distant echo of screams pulled Mshale out of a deep torpor. He stared down the hallway of its origin, and closer yet heard the hurried amble of footfalls. It was at this moment that he noticed that many of the bioluminescent fungi of the arena hallways were dark. The telekinetic stood to his feet and clenched his fist as the distant commotion intensified, but was met with a mixture of concern and relief to find Semret emerge from the cavernous darkness. Relief to find a familiar face, concern to find the panic that masked her normally calm demeanor.

“What is happening?” He yelled carrying the tone of a demand than a question.

“The whole hangar…” Semret shouted back, “they’re all befok!”

Mshale furrowed his brow and cocked his head as if he’d just been insulted, “What!”

As Semret neared him he could see her dirt-smudged face, her wild and panicked eyes, and could smell oily smoke clinging to her clothes. “They’re killing everyone! They’re killing- They’re-” She choked through sobs. Mshale put a hand on her shoulder and buried her in his arms, nearly encompassing her like the golem had to him.

“Tell me,” he said in brief respite of tenderness. “who.”

Something landed near the cavern ceiling that shattered their moment. A heavy slam and a snorting exhale followed by a lengthy guttural hiss. Semret paused as she looked beyond the ramparts of Mshale’s forearms. Beyond, the two of them could see a fiendish winged shadow, a darker blot on a dim canvas. It skulked along the wall as it stalked its prey from above.

The telekinetic instinctively deposited his love behind him and reached out to the heaviest part of the golem he’d destroyed. It levitated a few feet off the floor as he mustered his strength, gradually rotating the boulder. The creature above stopped, he could see its humanoid head oriented towards him even though it was obscured by nearly fifty meters of distance and shadow. More disturbingly he could sense its attention-the cold, malicious, alien presence invited his violence with bemused anticipation. The presence was almost invasive were it not for Semret’s support-a presence of warmth and comfort that danced upon the other end of his mind and filled heart. The two apparitions took hold of either end of his psyche and pulled.

Mshale looked over at the boulder, now spinning rapidly upon its axis, and slung his arm up as if he were tossing a baseball. Keeping pace with the baseball analogy the boulder hurled towards the ceiling at a hundred and fifty kilometers an hour, and then exploded like a bomb upon impact above. Flushing the creature out of the veil of darkness, the demon leapt to the ground moments before impact, its wings shielding itself from the debris much as his shield protected he and Semret from stonefall.

There he and his love beheld the gruesome creature. Bipedal with wyvernic arm-wings, a six foot phallus trailed between multi-jointed legs and flitted behind the creature like some sort of indecorous tail. The blood crusted carpals of its wings steadied it upon the ground like a giant bat as it returned their stare with its own cyclopean gaze. It hissed at them, its crooked tooth line of razor fangs parted and a thick maroon tongue lolled between a pair of stout tusks. The creature’s flesh was the color of a mudslide, but rigid and thick with scales, and it stepped forward upon taloned raptor-like metacarpals.

“Fok… what is that..” Semret gasped.

“Dead.” Mshale grimaced as he buffeted his palms together bringing two planes of force on either side of the creature.

The popobawa fell prone, slithering behind his initial onslaught before it hopped back avoiding the telekinetically enhanced hammerfist that Mshale brought with him as a follow up. The beast chuckled as it lashed at him with its tendril, which harmlessly whipped off his telekinetic shield. He retaliated with an empowered palm to the chest, which catapulted it into the archway of main thoroughfare. The creature, larger than even Mshale, ragdolled into the stone with a crack and crumble as debris fell atop its form. It rose slower this time, shaking off bits of rock. The telekinetic didn’t give it much time to recover, as with a grasped hand he pulled more stone down on top of it. It scurried towards him, and Mshale launched himself to meet it, an empowered fist at his apex. The popobawa pulled a wing over and slid backwards three meters from the impact of his strike, but still stood. All the while he could also feel the internal battle in his mind, he could feel his mind being pulled into this creature’s presence, like a fly into the maw of a sundew.

“Semret!” He called out, his tone under more duress than he seemed to physically be in. “This thing is trying to control me!”

“I know,” she grunted, “I am trying…”

A welcome rush of familiarity pulsed over his mind. I must finish this creature quickly, he considered, or things will get much worse.

Mshale reached out to the mud and stone of the slain elemental and packed it together while elongating the debris into spears of compressed soil. Six of these weapons hovered around his form as the creature crouched like a cat preparing to pounce.

Without so much as a motion, the spears fired forward like darting arrows, and met… nothing.

Mshale’s eyes widened as the creature pounced, its wings splaying out to either side, beating once as it flew over his head. He whirled around just in time to see the creature’s taloned feet hook around Semret’s shoulders and her following fearful scream.

“No!” Mshale shouted as he slung both of his arms forward, spines of telekinetic force erupted invisibly through space, evidenced by the havoc they wrought as each one missed the creature and pierced stone and earth in miniature explosions instead.

The popobawa flew into one of the darkened tunnels, and Mshale frantically sprinted after it. “Semret?! Semret!” He shouted out as he tore into the darkness.

“Mshale!” She cried, “Help me!”

The telekinetic’s feet impacted upon the cobbled stone of the corridor and fortunately ran into several patches of glowing crimson mushrooms. He paused in the crossroads, the distant sound of claxons amplifying the tense panic he felt. He frenetically darted his gaze down each hallway.


To the east.

As Mshale barreled down the corridor, the firm impact of cobbled slate devolved to the soft smack of slush. The glowing scarlet fungus that dimly illuminated the hallway made the slushy fluid appear like blood. The telekinetic could smell iron in the air as the claxons blare faded whether by distance or focus, and scuffling of Semret’s cries and struggle intensified.

The arena’s layout hadn’t been developed to confuse, but Mshale found himself having to twist and turn through pulsing corridors, crawling in places through crimson washed liquid, and eventually stumbling upon a dead end. He roared as he could hear her voice behind it, blasting away the wall to reveal sinews of contracted muscle. Placing his palms together, he wedged an angle of telekinetic force and pulled the compressed flesh apart. Sickening sinews of ligaments and fat stretched apart as the flesh tore and the hallway shuddered.

He didn’t care, he had to go to her. And more recently another thought incubated in his head-he had to be right. He couldn’t prove it, but he felt something similar to this creature and what he tossed away in the jail. That thing should be dead, and now all of this was happening because they didn’t listen to him. With an enraged shout and a flinging aside of his arms, he ripped the flesh apart, and scampered into the hallway beyond.

She wasn’t there.

“Semret!” He shouted.

“This way!” She called from around the corner of a stark four hallway intersection. He recognized this area of the arena. Her voice was coming from the meditation chambers he eschewed in favor of the battle room proper. Of course, he thought.

Out of all the areas in the Arena, the meditation chamber was where he and Semret spent the most time together. The empath had reasoned that frequent meditation was the best way for him to keep his focus in stressful situations, but Mshale wrote it off to her disdain for combat. He remembered the hours they spent in quiet contemplation and it seemed only natural that in the chaos this would be a safe space for her.

Mshale approached, fists still clenched, but relaxed when he found her knelt in the corner behind a pile of woven mats. Even fond memories wouldn’t soften his edge, though. The burly man paced up to her and extended his palm to her, his eyes on the doorway “We are leaving. Where is the creature?”

As Mshale pulled the empath to her feet he felt a sharp pain in his stomach. He twisted back looking at Semret, who peered up at him through a tangle of brown hair, and a grin like a drawer of razors. She warbled an inhuman chitter and skittered past him. Warm liquid oozed through his palm contrasting with the cold of the bloodstone tuning fork the shapeshifter stabbed him with . Neither sensation would last long, before the telepath was overcome with fury.

Mshale yelped gripping the tuning fork embedded in his abdomen as he slowly withdrew the object, tides of pain radiating over his body, and tossing the bloody instrument clattering to the ground. Shock frequently gave way to rage.

“Maaifoedie!” he roared, the chamber quaking under his wrath.

Leaned against the threshold the creature scampered through, Mshale called the gnarled branch that comprised the shaft of a broom, sheared off the end, and using telekinetic expertise sharpened the branch to a lethal spearpoint. The act of creating the weapon did little to focus his anger, and the hallway beat red as he stormed into the hall.

“You cannot hide!” He shouted then paused and listened as he stopped at the intersection.

To his left he heard the whistle of wind, the entrance, but the crosswind fluctuated, ebbing and flowing like it were blown through some gigantic lung, and he was stuck tumbling through its capillaries. To his right, the faint shuffling of movement; Mshale charged towards it. He could still hear the inhuman chuckle from the creature that dared to wear Semret’s face. The warble taunted him through hallways haunted by memories, good and bad. But only the bad seemed to float to the surface.

The things he saw in the slave mining den when they took Marange. The first time he went in over his head in the arena only to be rescued as if he were some child by Assad. The point when he found out his friend chose to be lost in the kichiki sari instead of finishing what she started. Mshale didn’t stop to think why all these thoughts manifest; they only further stoked his wrathful flames.

In the distance he thought he could hear the dull beat of a drum, and the image of the cavern shaman and his grisly fetishes filled his mind. The twisted corpses the slavers composted to the razertsanga played through his mind. As he bounded down the hallway he could feel the arena shudder, cringing at his retaliation and in his anger he felt powerful. For every mission he was passed over by Assad for young Najwa, he thought of a Xanathan patrol he ripped apart with his mind.

The hallway terminated ahead of him in a sealed vault door, secured by a rusty wheel. Mshale reached out with his mind and felt the protected hinges of the door. Sensed further yet where the pilings driven into the stone to secure the doorway to the earth. He reached out with both of his palms as if grabbing frame at thirty feet away. Tensening every muscle in his body Mshale poured his rage into the door, filling the hall with a ferocious roar as the entire complex quivered.

The metal groaned under the stress before it started to crumble. His wound spurted viscous blood that clung his undershirt to gore-slicked flesh. The pain fueled his focus, forged his fury like a tsanga-thin blade. The door twisted clockwise in its secured moorings before, in an inanimate scream of metallic agony, whorled and crushed to the size of a soda can. Mshale released his fist dropping the scrap and stepped through the dust-caked interior, pure adrenaline coursing through his veins.

Within, stacks of forlorn crates, a backlog of confiscated supplies awaiting refurbishment. He paced over the bedrock, unaware or ignoring the crimson trail he left behind. He could feel the foul presence in the room. His skin rippled with gooseflesh and the telekinetic could feel the temperature drop a few degrees. The shifter was near. In one hand he tightly grasped his spear, and in the other, he pressed down on his wound that bubbled between the cracks of his fingers.

“Come out and die with dignity.” He demanded through clenched teeth.

“Mshale..!” Semret’s panicked voice called from the ruined doorway.

Not to be fooled again, the telekinetic immediately went on the offensive, twisting around at the hips and feet, and with all the athletic skill of Julius Yego he threw his spear, its trajectory boosted with telekinetic speed to be nearly undodgeable, straight through the base of the woman’s throat.

It wasn’t what he expected.

The evident pain and horror stricken across the beautiful caramel colored visage of Semret was only rivaled by her expression of betrayal as she tried to choke something up that manifested in red gurgle. She crumpled to the floor, clutching at the knotty haft as she gasped, wincing in pain, leering at the confused telekinetic as he cautiously approached her spasming body. In that moment, Mshale scowled down at a dying enemy.

Semret died in an awful way. She died afraid. And she died alone.

At first he hadn’t even realized what he’d done. He stared down at her final convulsions, waiting for her lithe feminine form to shift back to the demonic beast. For her beautifully haunted, vacant hazel eyes to shift back to the cyclopean jaundice of the popobawa. The percolating cocktail of adrenaline and anger came to a simmer as the cadaver rattled: the punchline to the deranged joke.

This wasn’t the malign creature he’d sealed in the prison, but wanted to kill. This figure lying on the ground was the woman he traveled to from Agadir to Cape Town. The girl who’d taught him to cook fufu. Who’d been there and comforted him through the loss of his parents. It was the friend that always took first watch when they were on the road days after the world died. Not the beast of his wrath, but temperer of his furor. His center. His heart. The motionless corpse was Semret.

“S-Semret…” He whispered, kneeling to her.

Behind him, like a looming gargoyle lurking atop a hoary mausoleum, sneering down upon the ancient graveyard of its charge, the popobawa sat. The beast nearly completely enveloped Mshale in darkness he tumbled headlong into, and whispered. The beasts voice as sweet as passion fruit:

“Release your anger, and focus that ever so dreadful mind on me.”
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Xol Raiyel
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Xol Raiyel The Malevolent Devourer

Member Seen 1 mo ago

Val'Kierna ; Xanathan Research Site - Formerly Madagascar | Let me give you my life...

Chains rattling, agonized screams, the thrashing of a dying body against cold slab - a chaotic symphony of music playing on repeat through speakers linked to a glass chamber. The latest batch of serum was proving to be a supreme failure just like the last forty-six versions of this new serum. The irritation was evident, chiseled into soft alabaster skin nearing a state of permanency at this point. Nir'Zomal released an audible groan and shoved backwards from the desk with enough force to shake the monitors. "Useless.. Put it out of its misery." She ordered the men behind her who were trying desperately to become one with their clipboards. The more the tests ended in failure, the more the entire lab was exposed to her temper.

"Don't make me repeat myself. MOVE!" She shrieked while slamming her palms down. "NOW." Standing violently from the chair, she snatched up her own clipboard, notepad and pen and headed for the door. Before the door even closed, one tech had already began prepping the injection site for termination while another geared up to do a complete decontamination and sterilization of all the medical equipment and surfaces in the test chamber. Every single one of them could have completed the process from start to finish in their sleep - and why couldn't they? They had been doing it for decades now.

"How long before she cracks and burns the whole facility to the ground?"
"Shit, at the rate these failures are going, tomorrow."
"The fact she didn't go nuclear yesterday still surprises the fuck out of me."
"How long before she terminates us is the question you twats should be asking. How long do you think she'll keep accepting these fucks up? One of these days she's going to stop using these mutants as guinea pigs and start using us. End of the year tops before one of you is on that fucking slab."

Day in day out, the same chatter - like a bunch of gossiping girls. They would never say it to her face, but it didn't prevent her from hearing their musings until she nearly reached her office at the end of the wing. By the time she turned down the last hall, their hushed whispers had died down to faint unintelligible buzzings. Their doubts weighed heavier on her chest with each passing day. They were so worried that they'd be test subjects on the serum, none of them considered what would happen to her the longer she remained unsuccessful in creating a cure to the radiation. She was still on thin ice after what happened at the previous facility nearly twenty years ago.

Xanathan Research Site - Undisclosed Location ; Year 2021 | I think I left my consciousness in the Sixth Dimension...


Sirens blared at deafening decibels through the intercom speakers in every room, closet, and hallway and broadcast across every cell phone and computer. The halls strobed white and red while the sound of guns cocking echoed with the shrill alarms. He wasn't even sure if the guns were from there side or the invaders. "Nayash.. Nayash what are you doing?" Nir'Nashini's whispered voice seemed far away in comparison to the ensemble of other noises all around them. His pale body was just as fragile and small as his voice. When the First Contact War happened, Nir'Zomal hadn't anticipated her brother tagging along with her. Her twin - in every sense of the word, to the point that most confused him for a girl - had spent centuries traversing the wide universe without her, getting his own feet wet. Yet thirty years ago he suddenly became very attached and possessive.

"Quiet. I'm making sure we're safe and no one is coming down this way. Just sit there and be quiet for me. Please." The tone in her own whispered voice brooked no argument. They were in a very precarious position, one she wasn't sure they would make it out of safely without exposing their true selves to the enemy, her bosses, and the planet's government. Xanathan was aware she wasn't human - they just weren't aware of the fullest extent of her inhuman qualities, capabilities, and motives. Even Markus, her closest acquaintance with the corporation, wasn't fully aware of her purpose in arriving on F67X.

Shadows danced across the wall at the T intersection of the hall leading down to the supply room they took refuge in. Every now and again, she caught a glimpse of a face through the small window on the door. Some faces looked familiar, others looked very unfamiliar and confirmed her suspicious. The NYUNDO. "Those pesky mother fuckers... How did they even find this place..?" She muttered, maintaining a tight grip on the .45 at the small of her back, index finger pressed firmly to the trigger guard.


The sudden echo of the robotic announcement in the room triggered a survival instinct in her - gun no longer at her back in the waist of her pants but held firmly in front of her, finger on the trigger. The nature blue of her eyes had been swallowed by crimson and bled out into the sclera. Nir'Nashini could feel the pressure change in the small room and knew what it meant. This was bad, quickly approaching worse if this was his sister's unconscious response. He hunkered further down in the corner in an attempt to become one with the wall. Despite being her twin, his powers never came close to the raw intensity of hers. Some days that left him bitter, other days, like right this minute, he was very thankful to not be on her bad side.

On the other side of the door, a NYUNDO warrior came walking down the hallway cautiously with his gun at arm's length. Nir'Zomal could hear the rattling of door handles getting closer. He was looking for something, someone. Hostages. When he reached their door, the knob rattled longer than it should have. Even with the lights off inside the room, he'd still caught the shimmer of white through the glass. She had to make a hasty decision right then and there. If she did nothing and he broke the door down, it would only attract other NYUNDO operatives to their location. If she gave him time to even breathe a word to his comrades through their comms, they were done for.

She settled for mild exposure. In one sweeping motion, she unlocked and opened the door, reached out with a dainty hand, and yanked the man into the darkness of the room before closing it again. He aimed blindly and fired off shot after shot in the room. The first two hit the opposing wall and another pierced through the cabinet on the fall side of the room. The fourth round tore through flesh and muscle, sinking deep into the tissue of her arm and shoulder. It stung like a bitch but she'd survived worse.

The last three rounds though.. Those last pesky shots blew through Nir'Nashini's skull and torso. Blood and brain contents splattered across the white canvas behind him. "N...Na-yas..h..." In the seconds it took her to pull this stranger into the room, he had turned her world upside down and left a hole that would never be filled.

"What have you done!" She screamed in agony. The last of her words split in two voices - the more feminine tonality of her everyday voice and then a second harsher, more demonic sounding voice - in tandem with one another. Wadjeet aimed for the voices and pulled on the trigger several times but the only thing that escaped the gun was clicking, indicating that the magazine was empty. "Fuck.. Fuck fuck fuck." He hurriedly attempted to withdraw the magazine and replace it with a new one but it was too late. His human body wasn't fast enough to keep up with her alien speed.

Shrill screams resonated in the room but had long since been drowned out by the security alarms. The wet noise of skin tearing open and organs being rummaged through were all Wadjeet and Nir'Zomal could hear. Serrated nails peeled back layer after layer of skin, muscle, tendons, veins, splashing blood and other bodily fluids over the floor, the walls, the ceiling, her lab coat and jeans. Before long, fangs tore through arteries and down into the left atrium and then there was nothing but an unnerving sucking noise as she devoured the agent's heart.


By the time the search of the facilities was completed, Nir'Zomal was gone along with her brother's corpse. When they reached the supply room, all they found was a horror scene and the shell of what was once a man's body. No one at the facility would ever identity who the body belonged to and if they were Xanathan or NYUNDO. Only she would know the truth. By the end of the night, they had a complete list of all missing and accountable staff, test subjects, and NYUNDO agents. Of the list of missing subjects was a young girl named Najwa who made it out during the raid.

Val'Kierna ; Present Day | I'm relivin' moments, peeling more residual...


"Director Nayash Raiyel." Her voice was crisp and clear when she responded to the automated security system leading into her office. Nayash Raiyel was the name she chose to give the corporation when she bought her spot on the board. Nayash had been a pet name her brother called her since they could speak. Raiyel in honor of the narcissistic patriarch of their family.


An audible groan filled the space around. She hated the system in place, thought it demanded too much of her to prove who she was just to get into her own damn office. She knew the logic behind the security protocols but it didn't make her less annoyed having to do the same four steps a hundred times a day. After the system scanned her eye, it'd scream at her about scanning her badge, then it'd want her to put in a pin number before it would unlock the door. By the time she stabbed in the last number of her pin, she was fuming.

"All this security and for what?! What are they going to steal? NOTHING. Some barely functioning mutants? Some bullshit formals that don't do anything?" Although she had been mumbling to herself, the guard behind her felt inclined to chime in. "Your research notes for the last two decades. Security codes. Mapping systems of all of Xanathan's territories including where our other labs are hid--" "Averies. Do me a favor and shut the fuck up and get out of here. You're dismissed for the day." She snapped, tossing her clipboard down on the side table by the couch.

"Ma'am you know I ca--" "OUT!" As she yelled the word, she lifted the vase off the table and flung it aggressively in his direction. The multi-colored ceramic shattered on impact against the wall to his left. "Y-yes ma'am." He said hastily and evacuated her office - and her rage. While hustling from her vicinity, he touched the earpiece on his right hear and muttered to other guards on duty. "For your own safety, leave Director Raiyel alone for the remainder of the day. She's on a rampage. Don't be that guy, you hear me? That means you, Brodrick."

Nir'Zomal kicked off her flats and shrugged out of her lab coat before she sank down into the leather couch she seemed to find herself in more and more these days. She flipped idly through the pages on her clipboard, skimming notes in a mixture of English, Arabic, and one other undiscovered language. After a long sigh, she rubbed her eyes and leaned over to lay across the couch, one arm draped over her eyes while the other dangled off the side along with a myriad of blonde tresses.

'Markus... Can you even hear me from here..? Today was another epic failure.. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I don't...' Her thoughts trailed off into silence momentarily only to pick up again. 'There's something missing but I don't know what. I should've paid more attention last time.. Maybe then... I'd know....' Breathing slowing, she drifted into a trance of old memories from what seemed to be lifetimes ago, filtering through to find something, anything from her past that could explain what she needed to make the compounds work.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Zyamasiel


Member Seen 18 days ago

The DLO - Somewhere inside the Congo

“Markus, are you ready?”

<I’ve been ready, Bogdan. What took you guys so long? We’ve been waiting here forever. These monsters could be anywhere by now! I can’t even track their thoughts, they’re so scrambled. It’s like watching cable television at two in the morning. All white noise and static.>

“Well, it’s not that easy to mobilize the forces quickly - and you know it.”

<Excuses, Bogdan. The men are afraid of what they might find out there, and so they dawdle. We both know it. You can see it, and I can hear it. Their fear screams at me. As does your own.>

Bogdan scoffed, shaking his head and raising his hands. He hated how Markus read their thoughts and emotions so easily, he hated the idea that his men felt fear - that he, himself, felt fear. Of course, the only reason it hurt so much was because the truth hurts. He lowered his hands, and sighed. “There’s just no winning with you, Markus. This is why I don’t play cards with you anymore.”

<Pft, I’ve never used my powers to beat you at cards. Your face is just too emotional.> Markus rose from his cross-legged position, for the first time opening his eyes to look directly at Bogdan’s face. He quickly pushed past him, rushing through the room and to the door - before stopping to turn back. <Are you coming or not, Bogdan? Or does your fear grip you so tightly you can’t make your legs move?> Markus’ mental voice joked, the chuckle in it subtle but enough for Bogdan to scoff and lift his middle-finger.

“Fuck you, Markus. Let’s go.” Bogdan shoved past him and through the hallways, “Like you’d have even found the readied troops without me, you don’t even know where the bathrooms are!” Markus laughed, letting Bogdan think that his sentiment held accuracy. Markus mapped the place out the minute they’d entered, his mental prowess passing through the others - making a makeshift mental map from their thoughts and memories. It might not be entirely accurate, but it could definitely get him to the places he needed to be - especially when compounded with the passing thoughts of the others. Still, Bogdan’s feelings were hurt easily, and Markus didn’t want to cause any friction between them. He was, after all, and old friend. Though, had their friendship truly survived the time and distance once Bharata assigned Bogdan to the DLO? Did he blame Markus for not putting up more of a fight? A quick scan of his thoughts said he didn’t, but Markus feared delving deep into his subconscious. Partly for what he might find, but mostly he wasn’t sure Bogdan’s consciousness could survive it.

<Well, if you say so old friend. Let’s go.> Markus felt the flash of happiness, short lived and small, but there. The words he spoke to Bogdan elicited a feeling of glee from him. ‘So, I guess he does still consider us friends. Good. I’m going to need his help if things keep going the way they are right now back home.’ <Come, Herr General.> Markus followed behind him as he lead the way, letting his mind wander back over the last couple of weeks. Bharata mentioned the lack of an attack, and he was right. It seemed odd that they were so active, whoever they were, so quickly - and then not a peep for this long? Even the most recent threats to Xanathan’s people and the outlying villages might not have been them. At least, not directly. He knew their handiwork was in it, somewhere. He knew something about this had their mark to it, but he couldn’t place it. It didn’t really fit their style of attack, so heinous and so brutal. They’d yet to kill the indigenous peoples of Africa in their attacks, only attacking Xanathan strongholds and cities. Kasenyi wasn’t theirs, it was under their influence. They fed and clothed them, they took care of them - but they were native. Something smelled…wrong.

<Bogdan, I just had a thought. I know how hard it is to get in here, to get inside the DLO is nearly impossible. How hard is it to get out?>

“Well, Markus, it’s not all that difficult. Our people do it all the time to make supply runs, hunting trips. Scouting parties move in and out freely.”

<So, have any of our experiments ever been allowed outside, or to get away from us?>

“No, sir. All the technology here is kept on secure lockdown, we don’t even use things that humans aren’t close to making - so if we get found out we can just explain we invented it first. Our facility is the second most secure facility on the books, third if you count that special one you keep off the books, eh, Markus?”

<You know nothing about that, Bogdan. And you’ll continue to know nothing about that, understood?>

“Sir, yes, sir.”

Finally, they turned a corner and Bogdan input the codes that allowed the snap-hiss of pressurized air to release and open up the ready-room. They stepped down onto the deck. “Officer on site, boys!” They all snapped to attention, while Bogdan’s hand snapped up to return the salutes they offered. They dropped their hands, and his fell back to his side while the officer who called attention to his presence walked over to them. “Sir, everything seems to be ready to go. We’re not really sure how this is going to work, we’ve not put it through much stress-testing. Hard to do it when we have to be completely off-grid at all times, you know.” The soldier sighed, turning back to his comrades. “And I have to be honest, General. The men aren’t really prepared for this. Most of them have seen war, and they don’t like it. The ones who haven’t, they have their ideas of grandiose. I’ve seen war. I’ve seen it and I don’t want to see it again, are you sure we can’t let this problem sort itself out?”

“Son, you’ve got no idea what’s going on out there right now. This isn’t a threat we can sit idly by and let burn itself out, these things - and this creature. This Demon….the thing that attacked Kasenyi, the creatures living in the Glasslands that are mobilizing. We can’t just let it go. Markus and I discussed that option. We’re the protectors of our continent, of our land and the homes of the people who live here. We took this land from the governing bodies long ago, and we did it to provide them safer and better lives. Bharata contorted and twisted that mission into something…disgusting. But, that doesn’t change what we’re here for. These things will kill and maim us the same as they will the indigenous peoples. We’re not just fighting for them, we’re fighting for ourselves. Besides, each and every one of you knows what we have hidden in the Glasslands. We can’t allow them to find it, to use it. Imagine if we unleashed that level of power on this planet, right now? We may not be from here, son, but we have friends here. We have family here now. We can’t just let them die, can we?”

“Sir…no…sir…” he breathed his response quietly, realizing how horrid the things he’d been saying sounded. He let his gaze drop, and his eyes closed as he thought about the friends he had outside the DLO, the ones he visited when he was on leave. Sure, all they knew about his job was a lie. Everything he told them a fabrication of the company, but other than his career they knew more about him than most of his family back home. Especially Shelby…Shelby knew everything there was to know about him. Could he live with himself if he didn’t do everything he could to protect her? Even if she barely, truly knew him. He nodded his head, closed his eyes and wiped a single tear from beneath on of them. “We can’t let them die. I’ll die before I let her die.”

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing, sir. Let’s get moving. Platoon, mobilize.”

The platform upon which they stood began to rise, as the opening in the ceiling separated. The men were silent, only the sounds of leather shifting and guns easing on their slings permeating the air aside from the soft grinding of the gears bringing the platform up. Markus reached through them, steeling their minds and bringing them peace they thought they found within themselves. All the while, his consciousness searched through them until he found the one he sought. <Come, Dan.>

A man amongst the greater whole walked away from them, until he was standing next to Markus with his heavy-rifle pointed toward the ground. <Yeah, boss?> He still took his order to remain silent seriously, barely speaking more than few words since their arrival.

<Did you find out anything useful?>

<Not that I can tell, really. These people are loyal to Xanathan, regardless of who runs the company they only want to live their lives. Nothing out of the ordinary, they’re not fanatics - but they’re loyal.>

<Good, many of them won’t make it back from this mission, I don’t think. I’m not a Seer, that was my sister. She could tell you who amongst this group would die, but I don’t need her power to know that many of them won’t make it back. I just pray we take the enemy with us, when we go.>

<Understood, sir. I’m more than willing to give my life in service to you, and to the company.>

<That won’t be necessary, Dan. You have a family, you have kids. They need you, you’ll be returning to the city as soon as we begin moving out.>

“I will not, Sir!” Dan’s excitement caused him to explain it aloud, unable to keep his voice purely mental. “You can’t do that, Markus. I’m not a coward, and I will not be returning to the city when our comrades will be fighting for their lives to hold these creatures within the Glasslands.”

<Shut up, Dan. You’d be a fool to go fight alongside these men, you’ve never even seen combat outside of training simulations!>

“I don’t give a damn, sir. These men are my brothers, even if I only just met them. They’ll not go to battle without me there to watch their backs, and you won’t go anywhere near these monsters without me there to watch your back, understood? This is one argument you won’t win, Markus.”

Sighing, Markus let his eyes closed for a moment and his fingers pinched the bridge of his nose. <Fine, Dan. Fine. But be careful out here, we’ve got enemies we’ve not seen yet - and they could be anywhere.>

Finally, the group reached the top of the ascension - and their vehicles roared to life. They began to use the roads they’d hidden amongst the trees, many of them being nothing more than very good representations of vegetation, without actually existing to impede their movements.

Xanathan City

Bharata sat in his prison cell, his fingers etching lines into the wall - a half dozen of them already, four with a crossed on. He counted the days spent in the cell, his mind constantly reeling in on itself - fighting against itself. He couldn’t fathom the amount of time he’d been here already, where was Markus? He was supposed to be back four days ago, why hadn’t he come home? Why hadn’t he come to free him from this horrible existence, the aging of his body slithered through him like fire in his veins. He felt his skin wrinkling, his hair turning gray. How many more days could he spend in this hell? It’d been too many already. He opened his mouth, his gruff voice reverberating in the shadows.


“With all due respect, sir,” the guard began, turning his head to look through the unbreakable glass in the door, “it’s been thirty minutes since you were put in here. Shut the fuck up, or I’ll shut you the fuck up.”

“Oh, how quickly you grew a fucking pair, Brighton. You think I don’t have the strength to fuck you up? I’ll fucking gouge your eyes out with my fingers and shove my cock right through into your brain, you fucking mongrel.”

“You’ll sit the fuck down and you’ll shut the fuck up, look at you, old man. You don’t even have the strength and mental capacity to properly keep track of time, you’ll for sure not be able to do anything in your condition. So just shut your goddamn mouth and die already.”

As soon as they stripped him of his title and power, and locked him in this cell, the respect he’d once commanded from his employees seemed to drain away. Bharata scoffed and threw his mug against the wall. “Fuck you, Brighton. Your mum was a shitty lay anyway, I should have made her abort you when she told me she was pregnant. Fuckin’ cunt.”

“Love you too, Dad.”

A few miles north of the DLO, Markus’ position

The vehicles covered ground quickly, only a couple hours since they left the DLO, and already they were nearing the border of the Congo, they could see the trees growing less frequent as they approached the borders. It wouldn’t take much longer and they’d be right outside the Glasslands, taking up their encampment on the edges of its vast expanse. The soldiers from the DLO were in for a shock, of course. Markus already issued commands to mobilize much larger forces, intending to encircle the whole of the Glasslands until they could cover every inch of its perimeter with guards. They couldn’t enter it, not right now. Not until the things happening within Madagascar came to fruition and the serum became available.

<Markus, can you even hear me from here…?> the message began, disrupted and corrupted by the distance between them. He could hear her, though, and he focused his mind on her voice - clearing up the brunt of her message.

<Yes, Director Raiyel, I can hear you. Have you got any new information for me? Has there been a breakthrough? Figured anything out? Anything at all? We need this serum, you know. There’s a threat out there in the hostile lands, a threat to all of our lives. We need to get in there and stop them…please tell me you have good news?>

Before he could get a response from her, his communicator began beeping - indicating a message left when he was locked in the DLO without the ability to get messages over the normal methods. Pulling it open, he played the message aloud for everyone else to hear around him, without thinking.

“Markus, we need you back here immediately. Bharata lost his mind, we’ve had to take precautions, and initiated Directive 09-3. He’s been locked up, caged and without his power for the time being. We’re going to need you back here asap, you’ve been placed in charge of running his company. The riots have stopped for now, but they’re expecting to see you soon - we need you here to handle this situation immediately.”

Sighing, Markus didn’t speak to the others - and while their thoughts ran rampant through his mind many of them were of relief and happiness. They’d always feared what Bharata might do. Bogdan clapped him on the shoulder. “Well, good fortune to you, eh, Boss?”

<Oh, don’t call me that. How could things have gotten this bad? I’ve not been gone that long, could they not control him for even a handful of days? DAN!> He snapped, motioning the man to come over to him. <Follow me.> He lead him to the back of their transport, sitting cross-legged against the wall. <Wake me up when we get to our encampment, and not a minute before. If anyone tries to come near me, make up some reason they can’t speak to me. I’ll be busy in meetings for a bit, if we reach camp and you can’t wake me, then just have a few guys set up my accommodations and move me inside - but continue to watch over me.>

“O…okay, sir.” Dan wasn’t entirely sure what the hell Markus was talking about, but he wasn’t going to not listen. How was he going to be in meetings way out here, though? He couldn’t begin to fathom the idea of it, maybe Markus was losing his mind too. Maybe it was a curse of being in charge. Dan just shrugged, and sat down beside his friend. For Markus’ part, his eyes closed and his breathing slowed - relaxed shoulders had him slumping against the side of their truck’s internal storage area. He seemed to be asleep, but if only Dan really knew what was happening.

Xanathan City, Markus’ Awakened

“And I’ll tell you right now, Director Fritz, if he’d gotten our message he’d be here al…” his words cut off, and his eyes blanked out as if something happened and he could no longer live the life he was in - inside his mind he was already yelling, though. Yelling at Markus, screaming at him. “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY MIND, MARKUS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU CAN’T DO THIS. YOU CAN’T JUST SUBJUGATE MY BODY LIKE THIS, THIS IS RIDICULOUS.”

<Shut up, Fred. This is literally your only purpose for being on the board, to be a body for me to use when I’m away on important business. Now, shut up so I can address the others.>

Fred’s body opened its eyes to reveal the likeness of Markus’, and his lips moved but no sound came out audibly - instead it projected directly into the minds of the others. He asked them to fill him in on what happened, and as they spoke he listened intently. Understanding washed over him. They really weren’t given a choice in the matter, and they demanded he come back and run the company from the central offices - but he couldn’t. He explained to them what he’d seen, where he was headed, and what his plans were. They listened in abject horror, understanding the issues coming from the threat in the Glasslands, as well as the Demon that attacked Kasenyi.

“Bharata never would have offered to provide protection, but that’s why he’s not the one in charge anymore, I guess…Alright, Markus. We’ll do it. Send out the word, Damon. Demons and monsters in the wildlands are attacking the free people. Xanathan is offering protection inside our walled cities for anyone willing to accept it, mobilize the military - use a fourth of them to help with evacuations and protection details. The rest of them send North, Markus has the furthest outposts already mobilizing to protect the closest regions of their borders with the Glasslands. Send the rest of them to fill in the gaps, and spare no expense. I don’t care if everyone on Earth knows we’re aliens by the end of this, we have to contain this threat. Take our greatest weapons, our strongest fighters.

Someone get in touch with Raiyel and let her know what’s going on, we’re going to need that serum very soon - and she’d better get to work on getting right. Her failures won’t be tolerated much longer, we can’t afford to tolerate them.”

Fred’s head nodded, and Markus said his goodbyes, before receding back into his own mind. <We’re getting a lot more help, Dan.> Markus spoke as he opened his eyes. The scene around him changed, he felt like he’d been gone for seconds, but it’d turned into hours. Their camp setup was mostly done, and the stars shone brightly in the night sky - above the smoke and orange glow of their campfires. Markus’ tent was well lit, and he could see through the slit in it that the men were jovial. The ones in camp, anyway. There weren’t many of them, Bogdan wasted little time in setting up patrols and scouting parties.

<Bogdan, prepare yourselves. We’ll have plenty of guests and supplies in a few hours.>
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by TangoV2
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TangoV2 Anger Cage

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March 9, 2008. Tangier Exportation Zone

The downpour of rain cast a shadow upon the midnight operations out of a warehouse that bustled with business. Underground workshops, implantations of operations, moonlight steps hollowed out and swallowed up by the dark day’s showers, guiding themselves upon two guards armed with AK’s. Two opened palms reached down to grasp upon handles of twin Walther P99’s, retrieving them from the leather holsters they resided in, the silencers giving off a little ring once retrieved, causing one of the guards to turn.

The man stood there, with the muzzles to their heads, the subsonic bullets would leave the chamber, after the squeezing of the twin hair-trigger mechanisms. The flash muzzled, hidden, the sound fell silent under the heavy rain as the two lifeless bodies dropped, smoke leaving the end of the silencer as the man holstered the guns. Kneeling and picked up an AK, he’d rack the bolt, which launched a bullet out and to the side, gripping the handle, the brown-eyed man would scour the little area, then slung the rifle over his shoulder and dragged the bodies off. Dumping them into a dumpster before going back to the area, now approaching a white van, he’d open the back door and inspect the goods inside.

Reaching up, the man would grasp unto the bandanna and lowered it, revealing the weathered face that belonged to the forty-five-year-old. Stubble misaligned and patchy, the tanned skin wrinkled, streaks of water dropped from the short white hair that brushed in front of his sight, which was then swept aside with his left hand. He stood there, counting the load, the blocks of cocaine, weed, and any other assortment that was in the vehicle. Counting it all up, although the supply was low compared to the amount in the warehouse, he’d consider it a small steal of the rainy day. Though this wouldn’t come without trouble as he raised the bandanna over his mouth and nose again, the glare of his brown eyes pierced the dark day, spotting two more guards wandering by.

“Putain, Je dois juste m'occuper de ces idiots” the anglophone grumble under his breath, his back would hug the panel of the van as his left hand unholstered the P99 once more. Raising it as they have gotten close, squeezing the trigger, letting one drop that was furthest to him, with his free hand grabbing onto the collar of the other and threw them unto the ground. Slamming his knee into the spine and grabbing onto the hair, lifting the head and slamming it into the ground. Repeating the process as blood poured from a broken nose, holstering the P99.
Retrieving a double-barreled sawed-off from the man he had pinned, he’d raise the head again, pressing the muzzle to the bottom of the skull, where the brain stem and spine meets. His two fingers indexed the double triggers, pulling both to set off both trigger mechanisms to fire off the individual rounds. Blood splatter and mush of pink brains were sent aloft, covering the pavement and the white panels of the van with the grey matter, strands of hair dangled with a piece of skullcap attached, gritting his teeth, the man would let go and step off.

The ringing of the shells echoed outside of the warehouse, the hair at the back of his neck rose as he realized his murderous vengeance had only made his operations overt. In quick succession he’d scramble through the pockets and pouches for shells, fumbling some onto the pavement, rolling into some of the pigments of the bits of the brain matter. His thumb turned the chamber release, the barrels falling as the shells were tossed out, leaving some resonance of smoke to leave the chambers as he shoved the clean one into it, wiping off the mush onto the clothing of the corpse before dispensing it into the chamber. His wrist flicking upwards with the arm going downwards to close the chambers with the fresh shells, his thumb working back the two hammers before he hugged the side of the van as shouting came closer and closer. Warehouse doors swinging open as stomping through the ever-growing puddles.

His left hand worked its way to his back, which gripped unto the handle of the AK that was slung, taking the smaller machine gun and brought it to his front. His arm extended far enough for the sling to tighten, as it was hooked to the front sight and connected to where a stock would normally be, waiting in the hushing sounds of the rain until the first victim would willingly step in front of him, the quick squeeze and release setting off one round in the AK’s chamber and into the man that was onto the unlucky end of the muzzle’s abdomen.
Standing, he’d have his right forearm around the man’s neck, forcing him up as he stood quick behind, the muzzle pointed out from the man’s left armpit. Soon to send rounds into those unfortunate enough to stand in front of him, littering lead into their carcasses as rounds were now being returned, digging deep into the meat bag he held onto. With two down and one to his right as he stepped in front of the van now, he’d release the lifeless body and kicked forward. Letting the body fall to the ground while two more shots rang out into it, the rather petrified teenager who only stepped out with the rest believing nothing was happening, had pissed himself and shot the body.

Stepping out, the bandanna wearing man had the sights of the twin-barrel shotgun aimed at the pelvis, pulling one of the triggers and letting the squelching sound of body parts fall to the ground and shriek of pain collapse. He stood over the teen and kicked him over from his stomach and unto his back, their eyes locking as pain welled up in the others, he knelt onto the chest and brought the barrel to the kid’s left rib cage as he softly whispered.

“Tu n'aurais pas dû être ici. Vous n'auriez pas dû rejoindre une foule meurtrière, c'est le résultat.”

Letting the hammer hit and set off the shell, the head of the mortified teen in pain’s whimpering numb to the sound of the rain surrounding them. In silence, he’d stand from the body, bowing his head slightly in respect. Though, he knew there’d be more soon, so he’d take it up into the van, tossing the shotgun into the passenger’s seat as he opened the driver’s side door. Stepping in and removing the AK and laid it unto the dash, he’d begin his search for the keys, lowering the visor to let the keys slide out and fall unto his lap. Taking them up, he’d push them into the ignition and turned, the engine shitting itself before turning over and letting out a soft purr with each piston firing.

The sounds of the engine had began to flood memories as he gripped onto the wheel, his foot to the cutch as he given the engine gas, shifting into gear and speeding off, blasting down a gate and turning off the lights to disappear into the night.

Weaving the roads, he’d lowered the bandanna that covered his nose and mouth, taking a deep breath as more memories swirled in his head. Dissociating himself from his body as it’d soon carry out driving through the darkened day, images of his past life came back to haunt him as he glanced into the rear-view mirror, finding his eyes to stare back at him as he succumbed to the weight of the memories.

“Why are we going to Morocco, daddy?”

“I think it’s a nice change of scenery, a nice place to live. Come, mon petit, you’ll see why when we get there.”

The thing he had was contentment taking care of his family, under the reassurance of his own skills to never bring harm upon them, even through the PTSD that had redefined who he was as a man still didn’t deter him from putting his family before him.

Even with all that, the experience, his training, his fighting expertise, never has he felt so weak on the other end of the call, the last time he drove. He had been speeding 100 over the limit with the cellphone on speaker with his wife’s shrieks and shrill voice coming to silence as gunshots had rung out. Men shouting something about leaving no witnesses, the drugs and scouring the house for cash and other inhabitants, a little girl’s crying soon to be silenced by a final shot.

Lambs to the slaughter, he arrived too soon.

From the fateful night given him anger, loathing, which fueled him to steal and disturb the drug runners, to avenge his wife and daughter, to get back at those that had wronged him and taken away those he cared about and had left him apathetic in his ways. Leaving a trail of blood and bodies behind him as he pushed his body forwards, headstrong on vengeance no matter the price.

His family was the only thing he truly cared for.

Yet, the teen, youngling brought into operations of drug lords and war, why? Youth taken away, the old man had no problem with adversaries half his age, but only with a decade to their name. Something he’s realized, the same circulation of pain upon parents just as he’s suffered… he’s just letting the wheel turn.
“Old dogs of war never rest.”

Something he repeated to himself to bring him back to earth, he was former JTF2, a French Canadian who had used questionable funds to get himself out of the military and to a place of higher prosper and wealth. An escape from the lifestyle of worry and shame he had adopted from before whilst training in Afghanistan during the Desert Storm raids, to start anew in a different country altogether that seemed more prosperous and less likely to have the threat of terrorists. PTSD and muscle memory forcing him to retreat to solitude and loneliness, best kept at a distance.

His past curses caught up to him, turning him back to his old self with the loss of his humanity, which peaked like night terrors to remind him why he pushes himself like he does, despite age and health issues that ensued. Arthritis, asthma, silicosis, he’d soon cough, raising his left elbow to cover his mouth, coughing into it as he’d begin to slow down the van itself, his eyes coming to a blur as the lack of oxygen already taken effect. Unbeknownst to him, he’d also suffer a wound to the right lung which had leaked small amounts of blood into his lung, his adrenaline preventing him from knowing as he’d focus on the delusions that have returned.

Black dots poked into his sight as he’d close his eyes. Coughing harder, cracking joints in his back as he hunched over in the car seat, the coughs deeper, harder, grasping onto the steering wheel as he forcibly closed his mouth. Attempting to force his body to stop as he pulled over, opening his eyes, though barely, and turned off the engine. The coughing fit would soon pass, though it left him gasping for air.

Deep labored breaths, he’d slowly regain control over breathing. Laying back into the seat, he’d shift and glanced at the mirrors to see if anyone had trailed behind him as the heavy downpour pounded onto the roof. Echoing in the cab, it seemed to usher a wave of fatigue over the old man as he’d close his eyes, resting his head back onto the headrest of the seat.

Soon, the darkness stayed with the overwhelming sense of guilt. The abyssal void swallowing his train of thoughts as he’d lay in slumber, disconnected from the world, somehow the old man felt at peace once more, though offset from the feeling of limbo as he’d feel conscious, yet afloat comparable to laying in the dead sea. Losing touch with his sensors, the disconnection left him empty and desolate from the rest of the world. Absent of time scale, oblivious of the occurrences around him he’d float along in the greying days.

“You’re here, papa!”
A familiar voice, a phantom of his past? Where was he?
“Pourquoi es-tu ici? Papa?”
“Oui, moi petit- where am I?”
“You’re here, you’ve died. Mais tu ne peux pas rester longtemps, papa, you’re special like I always thought you were!”
“Quelle? Pourquoi?”

Opening his eyes with a flutter, he’d sit up in a cot. ‘Where am I?’ He’d ask himself as he’d look around in the new environment. Breathing heavily, he’d look down upon himself, a new body? Inspecting further, he was much younger and yet the same gender.

“What the fuck?”

Present day

“Pourtant nous y voilà.”
Something that had been uttered out of the crusty lips of the male, the darkness somewhat illuminated by the electrical lights outside. The shanty shack covered in dirty clothes and bloodied planks, the ground itself padded down with the extensive use from the surrounding survivors, though the male stood out as he kept to his solitude since watching another die. Slender, skeletal like body as he was starved, with an outgrowth of hair rather sporadically. ‘Probably another suicidal, too easy to take over these bodies. Broken spirits, hell where the fuck is that other?’ the man thought as he’d sit in the darkness, elbows on the knees as he’d been curled into the wall.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Circ
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Saudade, Glasslands – former Tunis

Daggers of decaying sunlight cut across the ruins of Tunis' seaside district. Toppled sandstone walls, expunged of their kaleidoscopic arabesques and vibrant whitewashes, amorphously recompose to a post-apocalyptic sepia necropolis. It is desolate, but neither still nor silent. Rough-hewn balls of concrete dust and algae clatter laboriously along the heaved pavement, propelled by the salt-laden breeze. Aluminum sheets sway and groan, grit-streaked and perforated. The ocean's apoplectic tidal churn roars ubiquitous. Yet, on a particular block occupied by the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul, other noises surge to the forefront -- splintering wood, predatory shrieking, and the beating of heavy wings.

Into this tumult Reaex prowled, its large head veiled by the broken light of the cathedral's ominous entrance. To his right, half a door, rotten and splintered, vaguely creaked on its rusted iron hinges. The other half should have hung to his left, but instead the sodden dust of its decomposition deformed under his excitedly vibrating forepaw to a reticulation of cleaving ridges and asymptotic slopes. Above him loomed the cathedral's vast skeleton, heavy and lifeless, like a rorqual's seafloor-interred carcass, prematurely rent from its splendor as an alabaster shrine ornamented with priceless porphyry, filled with song, and gilt with gold. Bereft and reduced to a veritable ruin, only one of its parapets ascended in the aftermath of the great wave. Sludge and soot blackened walls and murals irredeemably marred attested to its downfall.

He refocused. Atmosphere disinterested him, but hunger -- hunger could not be ignored. It was the justification for his trek to this queer place. For this he internalized his environment, refined his engagement opportunities, and immobile lingered with the anticipation of a stone gargoyle. Reflected in his dim sapphire eyes were the multitude of massive strigiformes. The biogenetic shimmer of their ferrous armor amplified his voracity. Several flew in through holes in the roof and perched high atop engaged columns at the back of their gratuitous nest, mordant demons that likewise obscured and corrupted a serene scene of triumphal ascent painted on the interior of the cracked apse. Necks rotated in profile and truncated jet beaks pressed to their breasts, they watched as their companion cornered its prey. That other was much nearer, its wings extended like a barricade.

Stealthily, Reaex leaned forward, arched his shoulders, impacted his spine, and funneled the energy of his posture down through the momentarily inflexible alloy of his inferior femurs and into his metatarsals. A flake of mortar drifted unawares through a band of dingy light. Within it, he saw his chance: the avian's two posterior red eyes in the nape of its neck briefly closed.

He lunged.

An microsecond latter, the needle-sharp contoured selenium blades that terminated his forelimbs gouged through the mirrored intersections of the beast's coracoid, scapula, and humerus bones, expressed sawtooth ridges, and oscillated viciously as he carved forward through its neck. Instinctively, it careened backward, but he was heavier and pinned it down. Mantis green blood mixed with the ruddy contents of its predigestion spurted from its trunk as a putrid geyser. All around thrummed the hammer of heavy wings as its flock erupted out of spectation. Dust so thickened the cathedral's interior that he tightened his visual spectrum analysis to a tighter frequency. Yet, although they vastly outnumbered him, the scent of death -- of one of their own -- overpowered their desire for flesh. Prey recognizes predator, and to them Reaex was novel and lethal. Shrill as an exorcism, a cloud of black wings erupted from the cathedral.

Content in his victory, Reaex bit down on his prize's wing, tore off a mouthful of feathers, and gorged.

"Puta que pariu o que você é?!" (1) Nuberu simultaneously coughed and muttered from the wreckage of pews and a confessional as he took in the unbelievable image of Reaex as he ripped pinions from the felled menace and noisily ground them to minuscule flakes in its vicious maw.

Fascinated, Reaex ceased to devour its prize and contemplated the language fragments detected by its translator. Filtered by its manifold subroutines and bicameral judgment processor, it deduced the animal was frightened and unsure of what graced its presence. Seconds passed as Reaex constructed a fuller model of the language so it could reply intelligently; meanwhile, the beast it was about to address remained frozen in what appeared to be fear, perhaps as a consequence of Reaex's lidless and steady gaze. It was, he surmised, a pathetic creature, defensively draped in olive-colored fabric, the few patches of skin it exposed ashen, dark, brittle, and flecked with green mica. It only possessed one eye, insufficient for binocular vision. There was a concavity where the other once was.

Finally, Reaex spoke, the projection of its audio akin to the patter of rain into the hollow of a glass bell: "Servo de carne, fui esculpido nas forjas de Panjiis Uor muito antes de sua civilização sair da lama. Meu nome é Reaex." (2)

Nuberu was stupefied. All he could do was watch as the machine or beast, whatever it was, devoured the postmortem nightmare owl. It didn't even look up at him as it asked, "Seu mundo inteiro é um terreno baldio?" (3), yet seemed to understand when he, still speechless, nodded, for its posture transformed to one of disappointment. Then he noticed how Reaex glanced up, fixed its gaze intently on the wall behind him, and heard it as it uttered, "Qual é o mistério que está aqui escondido? Uma maneira de escapar? Então devemos aproveitar ao máximo." (4)

With another mouthful of feathers ripped away, chewed, and swallowed, Reaex languidly stretched, grabbed the carcass in its massive jaws, enlarged the hole in the wall with a punctuated kick, and sauntered forward, its meal dragged along with it. When Nuberu turned, he saw the creature disappear through a portal and could practically smell the clean fresh air the other side promised. Present circumstances being what they were, Nuberu was more than motivated to get up and follow.


1: Holy shit, what are you?!
2: Servant of flesh, I was artificed in the forges of Panjiis Uor long before your civilization rose out of the mud. My name is Reaex.
4: Is your whole world a wasteland?
3: What is the mystery that is in here hidden? A way of escape? Then we should make the most of it.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Nate1008
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Glassland outskirts

"Vash threscan... Tilas-" "Quiet..." "want.. kill... now...." a group of Val'gasra ranted as they watched the outsiders campsite. Soldiers patrolled the area and filled the tents. 7 Glassland prowlers, a ravager, and 39 reavers quietly moved around the camp. Some prowlers split off from the group to prepare an assassination while the others got behind a vehicle. Finally, the ravager got up, grabbed the vehicle they were hiding behind, and threw it at the nearest group of soldiers. "VASH THRA!!! KILL!" It roared.

Glasslands, Val'gasaras hoard

Val'gasara and her hoard continued heading west, towards Vi'lans last known location. They came across another human town. "Yes... Bolster our numbers. Take them all!" she commanded. It was over in a few minuets. The town reduced to nothing but ruins, slag, and ash. Its inhabitants were ether eaten or driven mad by the mind-snares. Brood that was due to hatch soon was taken with the hoard to hatch before or after combat. Val'gasara had sent scouts to explore far ahead of the main hoard, and a light attack group that would show their enemies what they were dealing with.

Glasslands, Va'salls hoard

The hoard resumed their march. Day and night, they would walk and walk. Attack a town or two each day to feed the brood. They would arrive at Mount Cameroon to split the outsiders nation in half, cutting off supplies and troops to support the other attacks. They would claim miles of territory in a few weeks. Va'sall had a few more weeks of travel left before she arrived at their destination, but it would hopefully be a swift and easy victory.
Hidden 7 days ago 6 days ago Post by R3APER
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Somewhere underground in Morocco
Due to the lack of resources caused by reckless experiments, a group of 6 volunteered to go out into the wasteland to try to find supplies so they can be prepared for further damage to the industry.They headed to a nearby gas station and were successful in the loot as they managed to find a dozen of old car battery,edible canned food, and information of whats going on above ground,as they headed back to the industry they came across a man who was dying but was fighting for his life.They were in need of more people to keep the industry alive and running however half of the group were against saving the man's life as it would cause a major shortage in supplies to keep the man alive as there was also a possibility of him not surviving.However; a man named Lynonel stepped in and said that they bring the body even if he already died for "experiments".

By the time they reached the industry, the man was already dead Lynonel continues to swear as he dragged the body into his makeshift lab throwing the body onto the wet table of blood and started linking machines to prepare surgery even though he got onto bad terms with the elders because of his stunts and killed someone the last time he tried bringing someone back to life.

Hidden 6 days ago 6 days ago Post by Circ
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Mount Diaba, Guerrilla Territory

Dussan didn't know the flesh menagerie was still alive when he dragged it through the blast doors of Mount Diaba, its exposed kyphosis-twisted spine thrashing spasmodically from when he, on a routine patrol, stumbled across the fiend and with his two good hands ripped it in twine. He'd neither heard of nor even contemplated concepts such as swarm intelligence and adaptive bioteleiosis. Thus, he was justifiably proud of his victory over the demon. He didn't grasp the novel circumstances of the moment, perverted such that it instead portended the likely downfall of the Arcelisk to the Va'sall flesh horde.

All for the incomplete execution of a mere scout to an enemy army he didn't know existed.

As it had done so many months before, the electronic voice chimed from a speaker and greeted Dussan as he entered the subterranean complex, << What did you find today, Dussan? >>

He glared at the carcass clutched in his left hand, his fingertips lost amid the morass of exposed tendons and musculature of what he presumed was its neck, and grunted, "An isolo(1). Wicked, weak. Preys on children like umdala(2) say. I kill."

A group of spectators gathered, although they kept their distance. They were impressed by his victory over the demon, he could tell. Hushed whispers. His face lit up with pride at his accomplishment. Not smart, he knew, but Dussan was still a great warrior. The strongest in Diaba! Even with only half of its remains, the fiend was hideous, its semblance the flayed offspring of mosquito and man afflicted with gigantism. Its claws were sharp and wet with a viscous green substance, like smoothed malachite. It reeked of necrosis.

<< Please take it to ... >> the voice paused, atypically indecisive, then implored, << ... the incinerator. >>

He took a step, then the doors all sealed shut, trapping him and the others inside the bay.

<< Belay that, Dussan. Don't move, don't put it down. Contamination protocol. Head Doctor Mpondo is on her way. >>

Suddenly, although he wasn't quite sure why, Dussan didn't feel heroic. Shame tinged his ebony cheeks with crimson, but he nevertheless held his head up like the proud warrior he knew himself to be, even as the agitated crowd pressed back against the walls and maintained as safe a distance from him as possible. After several minutes, a harried Mpondo draped in yellow plastic burst through one of the theretofore locked doors, a flamethrower heavy under her arm.

"Everyone, please head outside and prepare to camp for the night. I am going to sterilize this area," Mpondo breathlessly exclaimed while she inclined her bulbous head down toward her expediently selected utensil of purification, "and then we will provide tents, food, and water to you all for the night. Dussan, stay here and use this pack of syringes and so forth to extract blood and tissue samples from, uh, that thing."

She set the pack on the floor and slid it over to Dussan.

"It is an isolo," Dussan insisted.

She paused, briefly transfixed by the abomination caught in the big guy's grasp.

"It very well may be an isolo," she eventually agreed. Then, to those who still stood shocked roundabout her, she insisted, "Get going, get going. This is a precaution. The Mwongozo(3) does not know what this creature is so it suggested these steps to keep us safe. They worked very well in other countries to prevent sickness."

She almost said after contact with the Val'Gara, but didn't want to alarm people with the thought that this, too, could be such an alien horror. Thus the hushed murmurs were difficult to ignore as people collected their things and filtered from the compound. Finally, when the last of them were gone, Diaba's AI -- what she referred to as The Mwongozo -- reassured her, "Their reaction to you was very positive. As it should be, you were there when many of them were brought into the world and they trust you. As such, you have prevented a panic. Statistically, that is of the utmost importance in these situations."

Doctor Mpondo didn't respond. The words hardly reassured her as she knew what her reaction would be to a forced excursion in the dark of night outside of Diaba's fortress-like walls. Not good at all. Especially when there could be more of these. Still, she went about her work. First she instructed Dussan on how to collect the samples. Then she unrolled a thin silver sheet, unfolded and unzipped it, and watched as Dussan dropped the corpse inside with special care to her instruction not to let anything touch the outside.

"Thank you, Dussan," she said as she sealed up the bag, "You go outside now and stand guard while I finish up, understood?"

He grunted, turned, and stalked out with that slow exaggerated lurch so typical of him. With the blast doors closed, she pocketed the samples, ignited the flamethrower, and scorched every inch of the place as well as the bag's exterior. Soaked with sweat inside her containment suit, she was grateful when the AI indicated it was safe to stop. She panted, one knee on the blackened concrete floor while things cooled down, then she grabbed the bag by the handle and dragged it toward the incinerator.

She imagined it was merely fatigue or paranoia when the screams reached her shortly after she dumped the thing in the massive kiln that served Diaba's crematorium and trash incinerator, bag and all, and observed through protective glass as it melted, blazed, and crumpled to soot.


1: demon
2: village elder
3: guide
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