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Conjuctions of Purpose - Escalation

Doctor Amos

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(Because normal battle reports are so boring)

"...Cowardly, craven, weak, imputant, sniveling, worthless worm!" The hissing venom of the words were betrayed by the speaker's elegant form. Her long, wings twitching in rage about her slender horns. Locks of pink hair draped carelessly across her face. The woman to which she was shouting seemed non-plussed by the tirade.

"And yet your sister has met with nothing but success in her campaigns. She has heaped victory upon victory and driven these humans out of our lands." With this, the seated woman's hair grew out and acheived a brilliant orange glow. Her clothes, likewise, took on the guise of a leather harness.

"By being a coward!" The first woman spat. "She has hidden in the shadows! She has barely gotten her blade wet with thier blood! There must be a reckoning!"

"There will be."

"...and when it comes, will you stand beside me?"

"I will do as my mistress pleases, of course. And you are not her." With that, the creature melted into a different form, that of a young lady, barely on the cusp of womanhood. "However, I will fight beside you as long as it pleases her that I should do so."


"I trust that this is enough?"

Collette snapped the teakwood box shut as its contents seemed to have momentarily transfixed the lady to whom she was adressing. The spell broken, the young woman glanced at her companion, a woman in a red overcoat with her features obscured, who nodded briefly. "Yes, it is enough."

"I must be protected. My purpose here is to great to have some petty sqabble quash it."

"And these intelopers who so offend you?" The woman offered.

"About a month ago, the Neverborne in this area became riled. They were always lurking, but it became a real issue."

"So the 'Borne are giving 'ya trouble, eh? No problem."

"Not exactly. The Neverborne I can handle. I... hold my own well enough against them. However, their presence here has caused unwanted Guild attention. The Ortegas."

"Now that's a problem. The 'Borne and the Ortegas, huh? I'll see what I can do." She mocked a pistol with her hand to her compainion, who made a sword-swinging motion in return. Both nodded quietly.

"Do what you must."


"Si. No. Si. Lo siento. Pero-- Si."

It was a testiment to the strength of the Ortega's matriarch that she could make one of the most powerful Guilld officers Breechside feel like a 14 year-old girl. She was mentally trying to figure out what had gone wrong even as abuela chewed her out. Perhaps she had given papa too much freedom. Perhaps she had used scouting parties which were too small. Certainly she had let the presence of the Arcanists distract her from her purpose.

"So what will you do?" The old woman asked, her ranting done for the moment.

"I..." Perdida formed the words 'don't know' in her mind, but finding them unpalatable quickly worked around them. "...will call for an expert."

"We are the experts in killing los Diablos." The old woman chided.

"Not for them. Someone to hunt down those dolls while we worry about the Nephelim. Hoffman."

"Bah!" The matriarch laughed. "He will take months to come here, even if you can get the Guild to approve him!"

"In the meantime," Perdida replied softly "We hold out as we always have, and try to survive."

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"I sent Bishop up ahead. He's scouting out the ruins for our client to see if they are worth further investigation." Viktoria glanced at her companion Taelor, who smiled but only seemed to be paying half attention. The other hammer-weilder, Johan spoke. "Isn't that a bit risky? Noone should be out here alone."

"Normally, yes, but we're right being him and Bishop can take care of.... himself?"

The smell of smoke caught her attention first, the acrid plumes twinging her nostrils. Then she saw him; a rumpled pile of musles perferated with numerous bullet-holes. The hooting and whooping coming from deeper in the woods made it clear that the Ortegas had gone on the offensive and the Bishop had been caught in the crossfire. A tell-tale russle in foliage ahead indicated that this drive wasn't over, either.

"Move out, we've got incoming! You two, help me get Bishop out of here. You four, head off any 'Borne that come out of those woods. It isn't my trap but we might as well close it." She waved her hands frantically giving direction. Like a well-oiled machine, her mercenaries moved quickly into possition, the heavy-hitters ready to intercept while Viktoria and two of her 'siblings' moved to load Bishop into thier wagon.

A sudden burst through the foliage and the creatures apepared. Massive winged beasts, taller than a man with rows of needle-like teeth errupted from the bush. They hesitated a moment, seeing the new and unexpected humans in their path. The mercenaries did not. A pulsing blast of gunfire errupted from the disciplined merc line, drawing close to the fleeing nephelim. The creatures shrieked and departed into the trees again, the mercanaries in hot persuit.

"We're being watched." Vikoria said matter-of-factly. "Something knows we're here." Her companion nodded silently, attempting to field-dress Bishop's injuries. "I wonder what it's waiting for."

"I'm not going to wait to find out." The other one said, drawing her sidearm and firing three or four blind shots into the bushes. The response was a report that shoot the forest as a might full-grown moster lept down from the treetops. With a few quick flashes of its taloned fingers it felled the gunner and set its sights on Viktoria. Viktoria, however, was seasoned to both surprise atacks and the occasional loss of a teammate. Her swords bit into the creature, drawing wide, graceful arcs into its flesh. The beast, evidently not looking for a fight, took a weak slash at its assailant before diving up into the air. viktoria made a motion to stop it, but the creature's flgiht seemed assisted by the air itself. Viktoria watched as it moved towards the treeline and her supply wagon and fealt a momentary pang of concern. The creature landed in front of the wagon, panting and dripping blood but still a dangerous beast. Then, a gloved hand appeared from inside. "Not today, beastie." Taelor beamed, and a moment later a the creature's pain was no more.


"We did well today." Viktoria was mentally assessing her current assets. "Bishop is alive, and will be able to tell our employer what treasures may be found in those ruins, which seems to indclude at least a few soulstones. We lost very few men, and we killed some big monsters. Not a bad day."


"It could have been worse, sister." The pink-haired demon was practically purring at her sister's failure, but still needed to court her favour, at least for now. "Some of your children have died, yes, but you are alive. And, what is more, I know where they are going..."

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The footfalls of the horses were rythmic, almost soothing. Viktoria's eyes began to grow heavy, her battle making her somewhat weary. Soon they would be at the Guild safehouse deep in the bog, and all would be well. It was Johan who pointed out the sound of more hoofprints. A quick look confirmed their fears. Beside them, another carriage was riding up quickly. With a mix of puzzlement and horror, Johan recognized the driver as none other than Bishop. A double-take assured him that Bishop was also laying prostrate in their wagon.

"Your doubles can't fool me, Neverborn!" Viktoria shouted defiantly.

"I wouldn't dream about fooling you, dear!" Came the reply from inside the other wagon. "But your friends, yes. I will deliver them this, personally." With that, monstrous forms errupted from within the duplicitous carriage. The horses, quite startled, took off on a frantic pace, nearly overturning the carriage into a nearby bog. A mercenary lives and dies by speed, and it did not take long for the call to battle to be answered. Sword and bullet lashed out against fang and claw. Beasts, horrable to behold, gnawed upon the flesh of the ilving while others nearby were ripped apart by blades or pulped by mighty hammerblows.

Viktoria, however, knew better than to trust the Neverborne at face value. She held onto the carriage, even as both began to apprach thier destination. Then, feeling a bit safer, departed to scout around to see if they had been followed. They had. No creature, seen or imagined, could have filled Viktoria with such a sense of dread and magesty. It was a beast of legend, a princess of Hell. With one clean motion, it ripped her carriage apart. With another, it grabbed her luckless companion and threw him into the bog. Its horrable laugh sounding like dropped silver. Victora drew her weapon to fire, but managed only to get off a single shot before it was upon her. It's massive blade slid effortlessly past Viktoia's defense, piercing her shoulder. With a quick flick, she found herself hoisted into the air and then likewise dropped into the bog.

"Just remember, dears, mommy loves you." Lilith rose, took a deep breath, and then faded like a fog towards her assailants. They had little time to react as she unleased a wretched battle-scream, and then began to swing her greatsword in a dreadful arc of carnage. Red blood fell upon the ground. Before she could raise her weapon again, however, three foes moved in to engage her, landing dreadful impacts upon her. Black blood fell upon the gound. It was, however, too late. The moment after the creature fell, a shadow blotted out what passed as sunlight. A winged beast fell upon them, and then another, and another. Weakned, they fell.

Niki walked, or was it skipped?, to the fallen form of her sister. "You will not deliver the false one, today. I will." She grinned, then laughed the horrable laugh only monsters were at liberty to make.


Colette blanched, an unusual show of emotion for her. She had seen the devistation wraught by the Neverborne first hand. Madness and death were expected. However, the unnatural scene before her was altogether more than she anticipated. It had taken her a moment to recognize the odd colection of greyish-white things scattered about the safehouse as reminants of humans. Bones, organs, flayed skin; no person there had more than two square feet of tissue to call their own. And yet, through it all, not a single drop of blood could be found. Not a solitary crimson speck betrayed the spectral scene or stood as testiment to the attrocities perpitrated.

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