16 Red Twilight Worldwalkers chapter 16
Attack on the Steel Rose
Belmond and company leap to the Steel Rose fallowing Charlie's portal this time as he was the only one of the Worldwalkers that know the way there and had the energy to open the gate safely. Milli shouts when they arrive "We are in need of medical assistances!" in no time at all it seems Cilverent's hospitality staff is leading the party into one of the structures and off to receive care for their wounded.
It takes Sigh several days to revive October, Charlie becomes extraordinarily distant in the meantime. This conflict with the overseers has set them back, now finding Fate, the Three-headed-Goddess will be nearly impossible, and countless people have been harmed by their actions.
Lances spends some time talking to Sigh
"I couldn't help her." Lances complains
"to the contrary, your magic may have stabilized her. Without your aid she might not have lived long enough for me to heal her."
David with Cinder
"this fight was never meant for Milli. Can you send her home?" David ask
"I have no way of knowing which realm is hers then alone world. But I may have seen something that looks like her once, let me see if I can remember where."
Charlie on the other hand spends time with himself.
Charlie baracades himself in a bedroom, he stands before a mirror leaning into it staring hard at himself. The mirror allows Charlie not only to look at himself but though himself. Hidden within the mirror's reflection and his own soul there are now four entities; Swallow, Xzoner, himself, and one more soul one he can't place at first glance. Charlie points at the shadow in the mirror "you. Who are you?"
The faceless shapeless being whispers to his mind "surly you haven't forgotten me."
"on September 10th, my soul was clean. I have only taken two lives into myself." Charlie expresses "the angel and the diminution eater." He counts them aloud.
The shadow taunts Charlie "oh please. You're not that innocent. You are a walking holocaust. The number of souls you and your fathers have taken are approaching levels that I would find commendable."
Charlie jumps to attention one hand finding his whip. "you!" he snaps the whip downwards uncoiling it "Come on monster, let's dance."
The shadow walks forth filling Charlie's vision "you are not ready, yet. I wouldn't want you to through this all away so quickly. Besides, I am more in a mood to talk at the moment."
Charlie ponders "have you been hiding in my shadow this whole time?"
"Longer then you think. Tell me Belmond son of Belmond, what does it feel like to walk in my footsteps? You have now seen the first three worlds that I ever set foot on, and you almost perfectly acted out my behaviors when you reached them."
Charlie bites his lip in anger and points at the mirror as if to threaten it "I am not you, I am not a soulless…"
The mirror interrupts "how dare you? You mistake me for a heartless, soulless construct. Me, one of the oldest things in all of creation, I have walked…"
Charlie stops him "I don't care where you have been. You are the very thing that set this ridicules chain of events into motion. Why? What does it all mean? What are you looking for that is worth unspinning the web or reality?"
"I don't need to answer to you mortal."
Charlie start to shout at the mirror "Come on! you silly bastered, I just want to know what it is you are fighting for. What am I keeping you from? What is it worth? Do you know? Do you remember what was behind all this insanity!? You and I, we broke time! I had no idea that was a thing, did you? What happens next do we keep running in circles indefinitely? Is there a way to make this all right again? How does this story end?"
The shadow backs away from the mirror freeing up line of sight. "do you want to know?" the voice in the darkness is soft and calm. "there is only one possible ending. There was never more. Before there was time there was space, space was filled with nothing, but then something appeared and where there was nothing there is now something. Within the walls of nothing there was room only for thoughts. Thoughts gave birth to our mother. But when you barrow from space there is a leisure that needs to be checked. From the moment, our mother was born to today there remains an unchecked balance. Mater is a cancer on the face of memorial, since the beginning nothing has been sending antibodies to try to cure itself of you and I. we have put up a good fight, but we are losing. I lost when I fight nothing now I am a part of it, you will lose as well."
Charlie grins defiantly "I plan to go down swinging."
The shadow takes semi-physical form standing before Charlie, his face looks like marble, his eyes velvet flames, his body shadows pressed into a tangential state darkness rolling off its skin like dry ice misting to the ground, once hand is at Charlie's neck lifting him into the air effortlessly. "you don't get it. This thing you see before you is not formed from flesh or bone or clay, this thing, it does not bleed. Chaos could not canton It, I cannot face It, Lous-DayO runs from It. The old one lost. Yggdrasil alone withstood the wraith of nothingness and not even she will tell you the tale. You are so small, so weak, your powers are meaningless, give up, give in, welcome me with open arms and I will see to it that you pass into the darkness painlessly. Fight me, fight It, and your suffering will be legendary."
Charlie struggles against the shadow shouting defently at the darkness "I… will… never stop."
The living shadow drops Belmond, Charlie buckles in a heap on the ground. "that is why when everything comes to an end you will become what I am." The shadow vanishes as quickly as it had appeared.
Hetatsubatchi is the least shaken by the battles of the perverse days, the concept of sitting still is unthinkable to the demon wolf, Tatsu needs to keep moving, he needs to work, Tatsu takes point and begins searching for a new means by which to track down the three-headed goddess.
His hunt begins with a consultation with Celverant. The white wolf strolls into the throne room his head to the ground sniffing about. Celverant sits at his throne knowledge from around the multiverse being feed to him by his machines.
"Demon of the flowers. How my I serve you?"
Tatsu stands before the mammoth machine. "interesting, you are not alive but still you have living parts. You used to be human. But not this body, another body…" turns his eyes to the ground looking inadvertently to the hidden door.
"is that truly what interest you?" the voice of the architect echoes from his chest.
"No, whatever devilry keeps you alive is of little interest to me. What I seek is knowledge." Tatsu walks around Celverant studding his shape "I want to know about the calamity the Belmond seeks to evert."
"I have no knowledge of such things." Celverant explains.
Tatsu's eye burn "you are a liar. You know what we are looking for, and you know how to fight it. You and you hundred-thousand clones have surly seen or heard something of value."
The architect stands "are you so foolish as to make these unfounded assertions to your better?"
Tatsu lowers his body and sticks out his tail ready to fight "you would be shocked by how foolish I am. I will happily fight and die for my ideas."
"the you will be foolish enough to do what I will ask next. When angels are unwilling to talk then you must seek out Kami. Go to Godshand valley and ask for the spiritualist Nine, she will take you to Fate."
Tatsu stands up looking perplexed "then we aren't going to fight?"
"Speak to Sigh, he has had relations with Nine, he will help you in the name of altruism is nothing else,…" A siren sounds, Celverant cuts off what he was going to say mid thought. "Hetatsubatchi, prepare yourself for battle. Something is coming."
At the stone pillars that make of the 'Gate' landing Harm has summand Krane. Harm offers Krane a sales pitch "… And that is all as hard as it needs to be, offer yourself to the Blood God's and my mother can ganterite you and your offspring long life."
The things in universe that are not human are very not human, and Krane, she is not human, she has no fear of mortality and no fealty to her children this sermon on sanctity is of no interest to her, but Krane plays along listening to what the vampire has to say. "Long life? How long?" Krane sits are her knees crawling over to the preacher animalisticly.
Harm places one hand on the head of the puppet that is Krane's shell of a body "As long as you wish to live. Kill in my name and you will never need to taste of death…"
"and how many of my children will be protected?"
Harm continues his haggling "All of them."
"so, the blood gods deal in tautologies? I offer you my blood and I never go hunger?" Krane can hardly chock down her amusement. "Does my lover enjoy such prophets as well?"
"Of course, there is room enough in my fold for everyone ."
Sensually Krane stands up griping Harm by the hips as she whispers with him "I have forty thousand children and a hive mind, I can lay one hundred eggs a day without a partner and with no ill effects on my body. You bring us to your world we will eat you."
The two star each-other down, in almost playful scorn they look each other over. Harm make the next move "do you believe you have such power?"
Krane's cartilage bonelike hair ruffles with a chattering sound, a pair of pincers grow out of her maw and two extra sets of crab like lags form her back assuming a monstrous shape, this is a challenge, the two-square off reading for this childish game.
The duel between them is cut off early. A string of portals spring up around the two of them. An army of bird like angels with golden gold blindfolds fly in the movements of the angles is wrong, they are ridged, their moving around is jagged, followed quickly by stone Overseers and the Overbeing Christopher.
Christopher the Baptizer flings one hand down at his side a silver short sword rules out of his cloak Christopher orders "Burn everything in sight." The blinded Angels charge into battle against the worldwalkers.
Harm ingangs Christopher "I think not." His voice is a deep hallow growl. Harm holds one hand before him producing, a long, hooked, C shaped, rusty blade "you, slave to the host of Zion have no place here."
"vampire scum." Christopher whispers to himself. Christopher is a well-practiced fencer, with a twist of his short sword he pushes Harm's blade off to one side then reaches out to grapple with Harm. Christopher uses his purifying touch to attack Harm, A single touch leaving deep burns around Harms eyes. "suffer your sins."
Krane moves in to intercept, the Zzruragg throws Harm out of melee range and savagely throws herself at the Overbeing. Krane is fast, striking with claws and fangs, her hair becomes a coat of horns that she lashes out with, and she conjures a tail to sting with. Krane is Christopher's equal in close quarters combat, her reckless abandon pushes Christopher's highly refined footing and delicate strikes off center. Christopher attempts his purifying touch against the Zzuragg but Krane has no concept of sin, she is a wholeheartedly neutral being.
Fires erupt, angles attack, other worldwalkers come to the defenses of their home. Jloose is the next on scene, followed quickly by Xia the Rat black mage , and Suahoon the gryphon knight. Keyor, Cinder, Soren the barbarian snake cultist , and Seeker only a few steps behind that and a dozen more thereafter.
Jloose points out "all of these creatures wills are being oppressed. Only one of them wishes to fight the rest are big forced to fallow. Find the alpha and the rest will flee." Jloose shares his thoughts with the worldwalkers.
Angels beset Jloose, the mentalist conjures a set of orbital shields to hold the angles back. Suahoon jumps in to protect Jloose, she pounces in using her size as a weapon first and foremost, she throws pecks and paws dragging angels to the ground and throwing them into the distances with the utmost of easy.
Xia looks about taking in her surroundings, she taps a foot and bobs her hips starting to sway side to side dancing in preparation for battle. Her thoughts invaded by a song she heard not so long ago she starts singing softly to herself
"Reaper. Reaper, that's what people call. Why? Because they all die. When I sing my song, I take their lives. Don't even bother fighting back. The Reaper has your name!" Xia charges into the mist of the angels leaping in and out of shadows like pools of water she draws a knife in each and one with her tail.
Xia's speed and dexterity a formidable distraction. Her favored tactic to pin her targets weapon hand with her primary knives then strike a crippling blow with her tail. Xia dances around the battlefield like some comical hero from a 'spectacle fighter' computer game almost unhindered by things like inertia or gravity.
Keyor takes it as her responsibility to protect the space station as the others protect each other, she calls on her oceanic magic to suffocate fires being set by angels. But any foolish enough to approach Keyor as she works find that her magic is not restricted to dousing flames and an antigravitational bubble of water can kill a man and a fire equally quickly. Even with the preservation of life being keyor's principle philosophy protecting herself is a higher priority yet.
Cinder is the force of nature incarnate, her approach stirs wind, rain, and lighting in earthmoving proportions. One of the Overseers quickly tries to contain Cinder. The to clash, the Overseer spitting prehistoric surpints to try to capture the elementalist. Cinder allows herself to be grabbed then draws the storm into herself. The ensuing cascade of power rolling out of her in a devastating pules of energy
As the battle between Christopher and Krain prosiest Christopher must show more of his hand, he uncaps his wings, he slaps his wings to the ground forming a bubble a round himself wheren time is disrupted, Krain is caught in the slow field. Christopher pulls Krain into a hug and viciously shoves his short sword into her underbelly and through her back. Krain collapses, the parasites in her body needing time to repair cracked bone and shredded muscle.
Harm takes a spectral shape to hide and watch the battle in safety, even though Krain had protected him, Harm will not repay the favor. The Snake Cultist Soren takes up the job instead charging in to protect the fallen worldwalker. Christopher's eyes turn to Cinder and he imposingly matches towards her.
Soren throws serval angels aside then howls as he jumps at Christopher. Christopher sides steps the leap strike Soren stands with a lung taking a second thrust. Christopher wraps his sword arm around the spear to pin it to his side. Christopher rest a hand on Soren's chest and floods his thoughts with nightmares burning his handprint onto the cultist chest. Soren screams. Christopher pushes the barbarian over and gives him a disinterested stab as he walks past. The Overbeing rampages across the battlefield having outclassed three worldwalkers already.
Christopher flaps his wings to places himself between Cinder and her next objective. Cinder pulls her hands back to call on a pier of flames hopping to engulf the Overbeing. Christopher draws a symbol of silence in the air separating the elemental from her magic. Cinder backs away horrified that her magic wont replay to her call.
The portal still active six more Overbeings appear fallowed by a hundred more Overseers and countless angels. The Worldwalkers start to get overwhelmed and retreet to the courthouse in hopes of regrouping. The new group seems more interested in watching then participating in the fight but there very presences is enough to sway the battle.
Christopher readies a killing blow against Cinder but then freezes, distracted. One of the angels has spotted Charlie Belmond in the court house and Charlie is how Christopher wants. "the corrupted soul." He whispers, Christopher then looks down at Cinder, he planned to say something smart then just shrugs and walks off.
Celverant comes to the aid of the retreating worldwalkers, protecting the court house and the people in it being his greatest interest. Swarms of his metal bodies form parameters protecting people and buildings. The architect of peace has little interest in fighting, he is a shield not a sword. But should any in his presences wish to press advantage he is more than willing to counterattack.
The Steel Rose itself come equipped with an assortment of satellite artillery; Pin guns as the first line of compliances that spill cages of energy state mater to hold troublemakers still, and a life cannon for larger targets that sucks the soul from living beast or ages it targets to become more brittle then drywall. The Architect needs only fire each weapon once to get the attention of the attackers. Celverant speaks out "who would like to talk?"
The balk of the battle come to a standstill, small side skirmishes need a few more seconds to boil down. Those with an agenda care on regardless. Harm and Christopher both have scores to settle.
Charlie after awaking from having seemingly beet himself half to death makes his way to the medical wing, blissfully unaware of the battles taking place outside. The voices in his head encouraging him to check on October.
The small fragile bird lie in bed, most of her feathers having regrown buy still singed and sore. The blanket of the bed pulled up tightly to her neck. Belmond places a hand on Octobers head and rubs down her beak. October turns to face Charlie offering a happy chirp. October does not see what is before her but what is hidden. A broken hero, a man that fights a hopeless struggle fueled by love and fear.
October pulls a wing from under the blankets to offer Belmond a hug, she touches her beak to his noise in silent recognition. Swallow again protect Charlie, she shouts into his thought to look backwards.
Charlie dare not question the angelic soul he houses looking quickly over his shoulder. He see the flash of a blade, Charlie tucks his arms into his chest protecting his neck narrowly as Christopher reaches around the hunter in a Chinese strangle hold. Charlie drops one elbow back japing the Overbing in the side allowing Charlie to cross step out of the grapple.
Christopher squeezes his silver sword tightly flicking it out taking a slash at Belmond. Charlie picks up a serving tray from the nearby table intercepting the slash. Christopher comes back for a back slash. Charlie counters attacking the weapon smacking it out of the way with his tray.
Charlie criticizes "What is the matter with you?"
Christopher grabs Charlie with his free hand. Charlie pins the hand to his chest then roles it over palm first effecting a joint lock. Charlie takes a step forward and thrust is weight forward pushing Christopher away giving himself the opportunity to draw his army knife from his back.
Christopher spins his short sword reversing his grip "you are unclean. The blood of the pure stains your soul. I will purge you of this sin."
October starts to squeal in fear and confusion, this acts as a fine distraction for Hetatsubatchi. Tatsu jumps thought the window of the observation room and falls atop Christopher, his fangs dig into the angels with crushing power. Tatsu rips into the meat, scratching and clawing as he consumes the Overbeing.
Charlie recoils from the grizzly display, Harm slips into the room brandishing his cursed chains ready to assassinate Belmond and feed off October. Tatsu calls on his magic to seize the chains "I literally just eat and angel. Do you really want to pick a fight right now?" After considering the situation for a moment Harm drops the cursed chains on the ground and slips back into the shadows.
The white wolf whips the blood from his mouth with one paw then turns his gaze to the chains clamming ownership of them just like he had the hooked knives the other day he also takes the angel sword as a trophy. "Charlie, Celverant found another way for us to track the Three-headed Goddess. Are you ready to get back on the road?"
"I want to weight here for October to be back on her feet, then we can check things out." Charlie sits down to pet the bird calming her.
"Fine." Tatsu walks off "I'll be watching the door in the meantime. I can't wait for the vampire to come back here."
A voice comes in over the loudspeakers "Charlie Belmond, David Jazzman, Milli Malagaurd, Hetatsubatchi-Una, Cinder of Vishnu, and Lances Jacob. Your assistances is required in courtroom number eight, please report at your earliest possible covenants. Repeat…"
Charlie looks to the speakers as he is holding, cradling and shacking October calmingly. "well that sounds bad."
Charlie is in no hurry to get to court. When he arrives Celverant is on the throne, to his right sits Charlie's friends, to the left 2 of the angelic Overbings. This courtroom is smaller, more interment, there is no room for jurors' or an audience.
Celverant calls to Charlie as he walks into the room. "please be seated on the right side of the room" he points to a chare waiting "it took you considerable longer to arrive then I had hopped. This meeting is almost at its closer" Celverant relaxes into his set "You made a mistake Belmond. One that will cost me something to repair."
Charlie melts into one of the sets "I killed a woman. Her name was Swallow..."
Celverant cuts Charlie off "Insignificant. The life of a single sentients is nearly meaningless. What is much more concering to me is that you and yours interfered in the politics of a world that is not your-own without the consent of the this cabal."
The female Overbing, how Celverant knows as Gab, calls out "that man killed a Overseer, and an Overbing…"
Celverant stops her "As a result of the previse action indicated, now this court is prepared to offer compensation for damages done under the 'Missionary act' shared between the Steel Rose and the people of Zion. Are you prepared to quote me a price?"
The male angel, who is called Remerez, "repairing the damage these travilers have done will cost no less the 500,000 Sal, 9000 words of prayer, and one human sacrifice."
Celverant commands "No. that price is obscene." The colossal man sits in silences for a moment in deliberation "75,000 Sal, 100,000 prayers and they will be delivered by a galvanized titan I will construct in your image."
Gab slaps the table in front of her "prayers sung by robots have no value!"
"I don't think they have value regardless of who delivers them. But you believe they do and you accept songs as a form of currency on your planet. There for you ask for empty platitude and platitude I offer. You will accept this political offering or I will offer a military ultimatum in its place." Celverant is a passivist in many ways. But in the face of disrespect he shows his hand, Celverant could rule all he sees with an army of metal clones of himself, but he looks first for a way to allow prosperity to rain.
Remerez ask inquisitively "and our blood sacrifice?"
Cilerant's hands cross under his chin diabolically "if you wish to bath in the blood of animals that is your purgative. If you wish to take a tribute out from under my protection… feel free to try."
Gab and Remerez whisper with each-other. Gab is the next to address Celverant "we will take your money and your robot but we wish to not have this conversation a second time."
"then you may be dismissed emissaries' of Zion." The Architect commands.
Without another word the Overbeings' vanish in a blaze of light.
Lances looks to the judge "not one of us ever spoke a word?"
"I want to impress on to all of you. War is not to be taken lightly, most everyone I have encountered on most every world will sooner sacrifice a great deal of money and suffer a fair amount of poverty over the prospect of trading lives for miner infringements. Idealism is the only thing I know of that would convince a man to trade his life for a philosophy." There is a short silence before Celverant addresses the group once more "If I am not mistaken Hetatsubatchi was going to ask the lot of you to go see Dr. Sigh. My understanding is that he may know a way for you to contact the Three-Headed Goddess without the need of Zion."
Much of the group turns to face Tatsu, Tatsu looks around offering a semi-cold glance "
In-and-amongst the whole invasion thing it slipped my mind."