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The Story of Palis A continuing story of worlds trapped in war, where their only hope are Heroes from other worlds.

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Old 07-02-2005, 03:12 PM   #31
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

The others seemed to be finally free of the dream world. Brian however stood there glassy eyed and smiling like a madman.

~~~

Deep inside his own mind Brian’s memory replayed the great battle of seven hundred years ago.

A great warrior stood weapon in hand commanding a great demon army. Hector, Bathoris, Kain, and Valmarus stood in front of the great warrior reading over battle plans. The figure turned so that Brian could see its face. It was a girl with a beautiful and kind looking face, however somewhere in the face Brian could see his own face there.

She started to speak to the demon lords that were reading themselves for the war; she had the same voice as the demon that had spoke to him while he fell from the airship. Quickly visions of a past life ran through his head, visions of hate, murder and war. Something inside him snapped and he started to realize he was not here to be helping the mortals, but rather to be helping the demons destroy this world.

~~~

Brian’s eyes opened a dark shadow formed around them. He started laughing madly.

“You’re all going to die, die! DIE DIE!!” He said laughing as more and more black lightning crackled around his body.

Malice and Titania still dazed and hurt from the encounter with the mental onslaught were unable to move. A gigantic ball of black lightning came from Brian’s hand Malice and Titania sat holding each other in fear of being destroyed. Osirus caught the ball of lightning in his chest knocking him back at first then sending him flying into the woods as it exploded. Osirus now stood in-between Brian and Belials comrades.

“Someone better get them out of here, this guys a whole different class of badass then we are Belial.” Osirus said as a wall of book pages came up in front of him to deflect what may be coming next.

Brian just kept laughing and laughing. “You’re all going to die why you are trying to save yourselves. Your have no chance none at all, and you still fight It.” the insane laughing continued.

The ghostly form of Nichi stood next to Osirus now. “It would seem I misjudged my choice when I brought you to this world.” Nichi turned to Malice and Titania. “We are expecting another guest soon please be waiting for her to arrive.”

Nichi cast a barrier to back up the one that Osirus had put up himself. Another ball of lightning came crackling against the back of the wall slowly burning though. Osirus caught this one and also was thrown into the woods. Nichi put up another barrier and hoped to the gods he could hold it off, with no real body to take the impact Titania and Malice would surely be killed and just as he thought that Magus joined in to protect them. “I’m staking my life on this barrier we best not fail them Nichi.” Casting another even greater barrier Magus turned and winked at his old friend.

The next lightning blast came and was tearing away at the barriers when a great explosion came from behind them. The lightning blast disappeared just before making its way through the barrier.

A girl stood on the other side of Titania and Malice. She seemed a little dazed and very confused. “Whoa a forest, no shit a real forest. I could have sworn we had destroyed them all a long time ago.” She said this as she ran over and hugged a tree. The girl stood there holding the tree tightly. On her back was the same sword that Nichi had wielded the day he died. She wore a lightly clad set of black plate armor and long dark blond hair that went down most of her back in a braid.

Brian looked at her and smiled wildly.

She stretched and then took in her surroundings. “So what is going on here? Hmm” Looking down at Malice and Titania who seemed scared, and then looking at the ghost form of Nichi who she recognized from a dream, then looking at Magus who was sweating trying to keep up the barrier. Finally she looked at Brian who was smiling like a pervert who just got his first peak at someone’s underwear. It made her shutter with disgust.

“Please help us Syne! We need to get him away from here.” Nichi said motioning at Brian.

Drawing her sword she nodded. Using her sword like a giant fan she swung it and made a vortex of dust and leaves that headed right into Brian’s side. Brian tried to dodge it by jumping back but the top of the vortex bent to grab him and threw him into the air. Then jumping high into the sky she hit him broad side with the sword knocking him into the woods.

Nichi and Magus sat down exhausted by the power use they had just endured. “Thanks Syne.” Nichi said.

“No problem at all it was no problem.” She said this as she walked over, then tripped on a root and fell on her hands. “Hehe. Happens all the time, no worries.” She said with a smile and a little laugh.

Titania and Malice had gotten themselves over to sit and see what was going on. Osirus and Belial, while burned up a little seemed fine and joined the rest of them again.

Nichi smiled. “Well good to see you all are alive and somewhat ok still. I’m sorry that you all seem to have had such a rough time here. I am also sorry for replacing my help with the evil half of who I am.”

“The evil half of who you are?” Malice said inquisitively.

Explaining the situation Nichi went on to explain that the three of them, Brian, Nichi and Syne were all once the great demon that ruled over Palis 700 years before. When Nichi died he wanted to draw the good side of him to help finish the war, but it would seem that that’s not what the world wanted so it sent him the evil side first.

“I see so you all have been drawn back to this world.” Titania said.

Nichi nodded.

“So I’m supposed to fend off him? The pervert?” Syne shuddered.

“Something like that.” Nichi looked at his body which was once again disappearing. “It would seem I must go for now once again. Be safe.”

~~~

Meanwhile in the woods Brian had gotten to his feat and had opened the full power that he was entitled to. “It seems that its time for me to return to the command of the army, my army.” He said as he laughed.
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Old 07-04-2005, 02:43 AM   #32
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

((Ah yes, aren’t you all sick of me posting so much? Well I’m posting one last time before I head off to vacation! Twill be back in a week!))

As the moon fell behind the ruddy cliffs, Brian trudged away, his feet dragging in the soggy mud. A revelation had come over him, and in an instant he felt as if his recent life were nothing but a dream. His real, tangible self had returned to him like a mother to its child, and now he stood, ready to conquer any obstacle.

*

“So erm…who might you be?” he asked, turning to Syne.

“Well that depends who’s asking…” she answered playfully, as she dusted off her clothes “Be you a friend or a foe?”

Her voice fluctuated in a humorous manner despite the danger of the moments before, and as she looked around the fire it was clear to the others that she would not have a hard time adjusting.

“Friend, hopefully.” Malice answered, with a curious smile tugging at his lips.

“Then I am Syne Rya.” She said, in a mockingly regal tone, as she bowed “And who might you be?”

“Malice Aquino.”

“And Glenn!” came an excited voice from a corner that the others had nearly forgotten.

“When did he get here?” Titania asked Magus “Was there a storm when I slept?”

He looked at her perplexed “You mean to say you don’t remember him?”

She shook her head.

“We’ll speak about it later.” Magus muttered and then turned to the new-comer “I am Magus.” He said in his usual deep tone.

“And Titania!” came an effeminate chiding.

“And who’re they?” Syne pointed to the two shadow figures who had already begun a new poker game.

“That would be Belial and Osirus.” Magus said, knowing they could not be bothered to speak to the new girl.

“Well then!” she announced in a bubbly voice. “Now that I know all your names, I suppose you have to be nice, or else I can turn you all in!”

Belial looked up from his cards, as if ready to throw one at her.

“Oh, I’m only joking.” She said, realizing that no one had understood “I won’t actually turn you in to anyone. I wouldn’t even know who to talk to.”

There was an awkward silence.

“Well that’s a relief.” Magus said, faintly “Come, sit! Tell us who you are!”

“Yes, yes. Speak to us. Anything that will stop us from falling asleep.” Malice agreed, and soon everyone had found a seat by the fire.

“Well…what would you like to know?” she asked, stretching her legs out on the ground.

“How is it that thy lovely presence has come to grace us here in this world?” Glenn asked, his gaze seeming to be absent and glossy.

“Hm…there was a storm. Then I was here. Next!”

The others seemed dazed by the quickness of her speech, and so there was a long silence.

“I have a question for you.” Malice spoke up, in a serious manner “What is it that Nichi meant when he said he ruled over Palis 700 years ago?”

“I think I can explain that.” Syne said, feeling quite intelligent “Though keep in mind, I am only repeating information. I’m not too sure about it all.

Once there was a great Demon Lord who ruled over this place. Somehow he was destroyed, and his spirit was divided into three in order to stop him from returning to the world. Nichi, and I are part of him, and so is The Pervert.”

“Brian.” Malice corrected.

“Since when do you know his name?” Magus laughed.

The coming of Syne had seemed to lighten the mood, and though the group knew they would not be able to sleep for the next few days, nor even let their guard down, they were for a moment joyous, basking in the presence of one who had not yet felt the burden of the world. In her all of them saw themselves in a time long forgotten, and though they would not admit it, most of them wished they could return to it.
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Old 07-04-2005, 02:44 AM   #33
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

*

As time rolled on and the fire began to dwindle on its last embers, the effects of the night had worn through their soft demeanour. Conversation had run thin, and now that there was not even warmth, the fight against sleep was becoming unbearable.

“I think that…I think that I’ll try to find more water…” Titania said timidly, and yawned, for though she had slept it was not a peaceful one, and she was as worn as the others.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Syne asked.

“If you’d like.” She yawned once more.

The two set off, wearily, wanting nothing more than to rest their eyes for just a moment, but knowing that there would be days ahead of them before they could. It was an odd sight to see them walking, for they contrasted not only in their height, but in their manner- while Syne moved with a carefree bounce and attractive sway, Titania walked slower, and more conservatively; while Syne’s hair shone golden in the moonlight, Titania’s remained its usual red-brown; while Syne’s voice was sweet and childish, Titania’s was quiet and timid. It was not only a witness who could see this, but the smaller of the girls, too, and in her tired state, she began to view her new friend with a touch of jealousy. She would never say so out loud, of course, or even hint at it. But the thought was now at the back of her mind and for a moment, she wondered why she could not be so lovely.

“Do you carry that everywhere?” Titania asked curiously, looking at the sword, which hung off of the other girls’ back.

“Yep. All the time! Wouldn’t you?”

“Not really. I think it’s taller than I am.” She laughed, though her voice fell dry from fatigue.

Syne joined in the laughter, but hers over-powered the other girl’s and shot loud through the silence of the wood.

“Tell me. What was it like to be the only girl here for so long?”

Titania was silent for a while; she hadn’t even thought of that. For months, the others had been her family and she had regarded them simply as that- not knights or sorcerers, not men or women, but people whom she trusted her life with and who did the same.

“I never really thought about it like that. When I came there was another girl…well sort of. She was half of Nichi.”

“I thought I was half of Nichi.”

“I think you’re one third of Nichi. She was…his eyes?”

“So what am I?”

“I don’t know.”

They continued walking, being civil but finding it hard to make conversation.

“It will be nice to have another girl to talk to, though. I sort of miss that. Though I never really talked to girls when I was home, either.” Titania spoke up after a while, breaking an awkward silence.

“Who did you talk to, then?”

“My father. My mother. The High Priestess.” She laughed, realizing not for the first time that she did not have much of a social life “It does not matter, though. I’ve found my home here. I can’t imagine trading the others for friends and a simple life at home.”

“How long have you been together?”

She thought for a while, and was surprised with the answer “Not more than three months!” she exclaimed, suddenly realizing how short a time they’d spent travelling “But after a few weeks of spending all your time together, it feels like more.”

“I understand.” Syne said, remembering her friends from her own homeland “Are they nice? What are they like?”

“Well, I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting along with Glenn!” Titania laughed, “But hm, let’s see... well I myself avoid Belial and Osirus. They’re in a world of their own. The others seem to be scared of them- I don’t know why- so perhaps it’s good not to bother them. Magus is dependable, but also don’t bother him, because I don’t think he’ll put up with a lot. He doesn’t talk to me too much- I think he’s shy to speak to anyone. (Don’t tell him I said that)! And then there’s Malice. He’s…” she tried to explain but found she could not make any few statements about him. There were simply too many things to name “…you won’t have to worry about him. I’m sure you’ll get along.”

They continued walking, and finally got to the river.

“Is that water safe?” Syne asked.

“For drinking? Yes. For swimming, no.” Titania said “There’s something not right about this forest, and if I were you I wouldn’t trust myself to it.”

Syne nodded “…how old are you?” she asked after a while.

“Seventeen, I think.” Titania answered “You?”

“Eighteen. What do you mean ‘I think’

“I mean I can’t remember.” Titania laughed “I know I’m seventeen but I feel like I’ve been here forever. Not only that, I haven’t really been asked my age since I’ve left home. You’ll find things will change for you soon, too.”

“Things can’t possibly be worse here than where I’m from.”

“What do you mean?” Titania asked, kneeling by the water and washing her face in it.

“Well, I was born into a war of sorts. And that’s all I’ve ever known. Every day I don’t know if it’s the last time I see the sun.”

Titania looked up at her, and saw a touch of un-expected solace in her eyes. Giving up on washing, she sat next to her.

“I’m sorry.” she said, consolingly “I was in a war for two months and I couldn’t even take it. I don’t know how you managed your whole life.”

“It doesn’t feel like that- ‘managing my whole life.’” Syne said, leaning back and putting her weight on her palms “I was living every day as it came, and now that I come here…it’s almost like a dream- like I shouldn’t be here.”

“You call not being able to sleep, and having to deal with mind-devouring monsters a dream?”

Syne smiled “I mean the peace. Look around.”

For the first time since she’d come to Palis, Titania looked around and took in the beauty of the forest. The sky seemed to her a deep and seamless ocean, dotted with clear stars, and revelling in a pool of moonlight. Around them, the grass was soft, and the river was peaceful. Trees lined the banks, dipping their branches into the bubbling water and swaying gently in the breeze.

“You’re right. It is quite beautiful.”

“I never would have dreamed of being in a place like this, not fearing that there were people waiting to slit my throat.”

“I hate to break it to you, then- this isn’t a vacation. Life here’s very hard. And it’s not only surviving, it’s keeping everyone safe…body and mind.”

“How do you keep ones mind safe?”

“Well…we’ve not only seen war. We’ve travelled and we’ve dealt with demons, monsters, danger of all kinds. And not only that, there’s pressure. It’s almost like we’re not only doing this for ourselves, but for other people to. And I don’t know why. It’s just something I’ve come to terms with.”

Syne nodded “How is it that you go about dealing with this?”

“Each other.” Titania shrugged “We cling to each other. The others aren’t as obvious about it, because they’re proud, but it’s true for them too. Glenn and Magus, Belial and Osirus. They need each other or else they will be alone and have to face everything alone. I think it’s really the only thing that’s keeping us going- waking up and not thinking ‘I might die today,’ but waking up and thinking ‘I have someone near me who matters, and I matter to someone near. Even if I never wake up again, at least I’ll have spent another day close to him.’”

Syne smiled and nodded, dipping a canteen into the river “I did not have that where I came from. Perhaps it will change here and I’ll find the same thing.”

“Perhaps.” Titania smiled, gathering water as well “No- not perhaps. You will. Welcome to Palis, Syne.”
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Old 07-04-2005, 10:09 PM   #34
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

*************************************************
Palis, The Year 0 Aikia, Chimera Woods

Magus, Malice, and Glenn sat around the dying fire. Magus looked up at Malice and grinned. "I've yet to receive an expression of thanks for making that barrier, Malice."

Malice looked up, eyes squinting. "Screw you."

Magus shrugged. "Just the response I expected. Either way, I have a question. Why wouldn't Titania remember Glenn?"

Malice indicated himself. "Remember way back when I was captured by the demons? Titanis healed me and I started to remember things that I shouldn't have been able to."

Magus nodded, getting a clearer picture.

"Now that I think about it, I can remember remembering the things I shouldn't have remembered, but I can't remember those things now. That make sense?"

Magus nodded again. "That's why you recognized stuff from her world. She gave you her memories. You gave them back while we were in there, but..."

"...'twas before she hath met myself."

"Exactly," said Magus and Malice at the same time.

((Yeah, yeah, it's a short post, but at least it might explain why Titania forgot Glenn. I'll make a longer one when I'm less tired - probably next weekend.))
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Old 07-07-2005, 02:11 PM   #35
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

Syne thought of what Nichi had told her. She really did not understand just what was going on and why she was here other then she was supposed to help save the world from an army that part of her once ruled over. “Titania, what is your dream?”

Meanwhile someplace deep in the woods a great power started flowing through Brian. Marks of torment came all over his body. With a giant blast of fire and lightning Brian took off into the sky heading to the great spire.

Hector stood in the meeting room of the great spire when Brian appeared in the room.

“Who is this little shit?” Kain said as he came in the room.

Hector looked at Kain and shrugged. “Don’t know, why don’t cha find out?”

“I wouldn’t be rude to our friend here. “He may just get mad and kill us all.” Came a voice from just out side the door. Bathoris came in and got down on one knee presenting himself to Brian. “It is good to have you back sire.”

“Eh? Who is he?” Kain said pulling at his goatee.

“You have to be a moron not to know who this is, its Kani Dokri” Bathoris said still bowing.

The other two quickly got on their knees and bowed before their great leader. In unison they said. “It is a great day now that you’re back master!”
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:49 PM   #36
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

((No I'm not back. I'm on my cousin's computer))

Titania laughed and leaned back on her palms, letting her feet hang into the water “Hm…I suppose it's do something that others will really appreciate. I want to make a difference in someone's life- for the better. I want to...I don't know. I want to do something right for once...really do something right. I feel like I can make a difference and it's in there somewhere, but I just don't know how. I want to find that, and I want to make it happen. I don't want to screw up.

And maybe this is one and the same, but I want to find what my purpose is.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well…my papa always told me that I must have some kind of purpose- it’s a long story. Anyways, I suppose I’ve always wanted to know what that was. I think that coming here has something to do with it, I just don’t know what. Being here feels right- it’s hard to explain. It just feels right.”

Syne smiled and nodded “I know what you mean. It’s the same with me. I feel at home here already.”

”It’s like this land is familiar, and even some of the people are familiar.”

“That’s right!” Syne agreed “I feel like we’ve already met.”

Titania nodded, enthusiastically “So I’m not the only one to think so! I thought I was losing it…or not getting enough sleep. Both are very likely.”

They laughed and for a moment tired eyes were lit with the glow of friendship. Slowly, the merriment dissipated and yet the girls still sat with smiles upon their young faces.

“Do you feel like you’re closer to some than others?” Titania asked.

“I do. With some I feel like family, with others I feel like…” Syne trailed off.

“Like what?”

“I feel like they’ve hurt me. But I’ve never met them before so it’s impossible.

“You feel like I’ve hurt you, don’t you?”

“…how did you know?”

“Because I feel guilty.”

“Do you think that has something to do with the Old World?”

“The what?”

“The Old World. In the portal Nichi explained to me our past. He called Palis 700 years ago the ‘Old World.’”

“Oh. I suppose that makes things easier…”

“So do you think that it has something to do with that?”

“Maybe.” Titania answered “…do you remember anything from your old life?”

“Sort of. It’s hard to explain. I see images but they come and go and they aren’t very clear. It’s almost like when you have a dream and the next day you try to remember it. You know it happened and you can almost figure it out, but for some reason you just can’t remember things fully.”

“Maybe that’s what Brian felt. Something triggered him to remember the past, though.”

“Brian’s the perv, right? Well…I don’t know about that.”

“You were once the same being, weren’t you?” Titania asked.

Syne shuddered “Supposedly. But I find it hard to believe that in my past life I was a psychotic demon warlord.”

“I do too.” Titania agreed “But maybe that wasn’t really who you were. Maybe that was who the others were. Specifically Brian.”

“Perhaps.”

“…you know what’s odd?”

“What”

“I feel like I know you. And a little less like I knew Nichi. But with Brian…it was like I’d met him but didn’t really know him.”

“That’s odd.”

”It is. How could you know one part of a person and be a stranger to the other.”

“Well…maybe it’s a coincidence. The fact that you even feel like you know me is very odd.- though I can’t say impossible, because I have the same reaction.”

“I wonder if we really have met and it’s just like you said- things come like dreams and you can’t remember them.”

“Well wouldn’t you notice?”

“Now that I think of it, I’ve had strange dreams before- ones I didn’t remember having. I can’t see anything specifically… it’s all a mess! I’m not even sure if that’s a coincidence or not, though...”

“Well, maybe we can piece something together.”

“Alright, that sounds like a good idea.”

Syne thought for a while “I think it’s safe to say you were in the Old World.”

“Maybe. I don’t want to say anything for sure.”

“Well…let’s assume. You feel guilty about something.”

“That’s right.”

“And I feel hurt.”

There was a pause.

“What kind of a hurt?” Titania asked.

“Like…betrayal.”

“That’s what I expected. Whatever it was, I don’t think my whole heart was in it.”

“But it didn’t matter, because whether or not you really wanted to, it made a difference. One that made things bad for me.”

Difference…” Titania said out loud, thinking for a while “Do you think then maybe that’s it? All of us-all of us in the group, I mean- we all made a difference back then?

“Maybe!”

“But wait…that can’t be right. How old is Belial?”

“Perhaps old enough to remember.” Syne mused.

“…do you feel like you know Belial?”

“I’m not sure. Do you?”

“I don’t know. I’ve always avoided him.”

“Maybe then that has something to do with it. But then again maybe it’s not everyone.”

”Maybe it is.”

“Now we’re just going around in circles!”

Frustrated, Titania buried her face in her hands.

“This is too much to figure out in one night. We should rest.” Syne suggested.

“Or at least try to. Let’s head back. The others will know what to do.”

“I’m pretty sure that they’re as lost as we are.”

Titania shook her head “No. One of them will know.”

”The best they could do is pretend.”

”Well that’s good enough for me.”

Titania prepared to leave without another word, but Syne stopped her.

“Are you sure about that? It doesn’t seem right.”

“I trust them. Something that they make up will be far better than something I make up.”

“How do you know?”

“I know, because I know.” Titania answered, turning to her new friend with a sense of frankness “Just listen to them. They’ve been here longer and they are all skilled warriors. It is not our place to question them. It’s for our own good. My papa used to tell me:

‘If you are to cross a field of swords, you do not ask the blind man to lead the way.’

The stubbourn and proud fool will find her feet bloody. Understand?”

“No.” Syne answered “We are both warriors in our own right and it is stupid to pretend that we’re not. The bigger fool is the one who thinks they’re blind when they can better see the field before them.”

Titania’s cheeks flushed with silent anger- how could this girl question the word of her father? Still, she said nothing.

“Come, let’s go. We’ll find the others.” she said.

Syne sighed, seeing that her point had fallen on deaf ears.

They walked for a while in silence, until the glow of the fire came into sight. As the smell of smoke flooded them and the gentle crackle of tiny embers filled the air, Titania turned to Syne.

“…so what’s your dream?”
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Old 07-08-2005, 02:40 PM   #37
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

Syne thought of just what her dream really was. “Well I use to think I would help end the war and finally set the world to peace in my lands.” She then looked around and let out a sigh of relief. “But I’m here now so I get to save a world that I can save. My world will never be free from war, even if everyone put down their weapons it would only take a few days before they tried to kill each other again.”

“Sounds like a painful place to live, you must have lost a lot of people dear to you.”

“I did, mom, dad, two of my brothers and my little sister all died in war.”

“So what is your dream now that you’re here?”

“You know first I have to get use to being free from my world before I can really think about that.” Syne stretched her arms above her head and started to skip a little. “Maybe I’ll get to live the dream of being in a world of peace one day.”

Titania smiled widely and laughed a little. “You know that sounds like a good dream.”

They walked a little further and arrived at the camp. The others didn’t have the energy to do much more then wave at them.

“Belial can I ask you a question?” Syne said with a silly smile on her face.

Belial pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and nodded.

“Were you around for the war that ended 700 years ago?”

Nod

“Do you remember it?”

Nod

“Can you tell us about it?”

“Nope, I already answered more then one question. Ask again some other time.”

“Ok, thanks for being nice.” She giggled
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:03 PM   #38
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

******************************************
Palis, The Year 0 Aikia, The Spire

Brain stood before the bowing demon lords when the doors flew open. A man dressed in official-looking armor and holding a broken pendant walked in.

"Who is this?" asked Brain maliciously.

The newcomer merely glared at him. "I'm not here to deal with you, boy. My problem stems from another."

Brain simply raised a hand. "You think yourself to be better than me?"

"I don't think of myself as better than you. However, I know that I am better than anyone from my world. And if my... brother, so to speak, doesn't deal with a certain someone from my world, he's going to find himself to be in a world of pain," said the man.

"Begone, Gamma. We'll deal with this later," hissed Kain from the corner of his mouth.

Brain sneered. "You know him, Kain? Tell me, of whom does he speak?"

"I - or, my 'parent' - controlled the evolution of humanity on my world. Somehow, though, my 'parent' was destroyed by a number of lesser creatures. One of those worthless things came here. Thus, myself and my three 'brothers' came here through the same portal and now we're going to destroy this worm."

Brain simply smiled. "And what would this worm's name be? Perhaps he is one of those who travelled with me for a short while."

"His name is Janus Zeal. Sound familiar? Didn't think so. Luckily, my 'brother' Beta went back to that war zone to kill him."

Brain's eyes narrowed. "War zone? The war that Valmarus led on Gracia?"

Gamma simply smirked. "I'm off to check on the girl. Her power can have tremendous effects if applied correctly."

*************************************************
Palis, The Year 0 Aikia, Chimera Woods

The entire group, exhausted, watched the last dying embers of the fire.

A screech from the sky sounded.

The fire burst back into life.

Magus got up, scythe ready, staring at the sky. A gigantic shape-shifting thing floated down on constantly shifting wings.

"I hAVe yoU NOw!" howled the monstrosity.

"Lavos Spawn," said Magus.

"Run. Now," said Glenn.

Instead of heeding Glenn's advice, the others drew weapons as well.

"I'll be damned if I let you fight this alone," said Malice.

"WHaT A coiNCiDenCE! yoU'lL be DamNeD anYWAY!"

Flames burst from the creature's transforming mouths. Belial, Osirus, Glenn, and Syne dove out of the way. The other three were not as lucky.

Titania cried in pain as the flames caught her robe. A quick chant later, Glenn had put the fire out with some water magic.

Malice stood and took the heat. The fire was painful, but nothing compared to some of the stuff Boiz had thrown at him.

Magus charged directly into the flames, chanting the whole way. Magic began to flow around him as the fire burned his skin.

The monstrosity directed all of its flames onto Magus. The man's skin began to burn away from the intense heat as magic began to radiate from him.

A dream of the gods. Listen to the great symphony of the multiverse. Hear every star in the galaxy. Listen to each star's song. They coalesce into a single song. A single harmony. A single note.

That note.

It is Fire.


The fires from the monster began to swirl around Magus's scorched body. His own magic began to permeate the flaming tornado surrounding him. Darkness flowed out of every wound, every pore, every orifice of his body. A voice, like a god's, came from him.

"DARK FLARE!"

Flames of pure darkness engulfed Magus and the creature, which promptly cried, "NoOOOooOOoOooOOooOOOoooooOOOooOO! i HavE FailEd!"

The darkness vanished. Magus's smoking body fell to the ground. The Lavos Spawn managed to get up, trembling. Its shifting had slowed considerably and it appeared to be panting heavily. Glenn stepped forward, weapon in hand. "Thou... thou art an abomination. Thy eternal torture shalt never be harsh enough for the likes of thee!" Two quick slashes followed.

The monster howled and took off, oozing important-looking bodily fluids profusely. It managed to slowly fly away, albeit barely.

The smell of acrid smoke filled the air in the camp. Everyone quickly checked to make sure nobody was hurt, only...

Glenn, Titania, Malice, and Syne surrounded Magus's scalded body.

(He's in no condition to talk, or even be conscious right now. I'll go into his mind and tell him to explain everything when he comes around again. But right now we're going to need as much healing power as we can get to keep him alive.)

Ouch! That looks really painful. He's barely got any skin left!

Yeah, are you even sure that all his blood didn't evaporate in that heat?

Mune, you're not helping!

Well neither are you, brother!

(Both of you shut up! We need him healed as fast as we can. C'mon, you tangible people, do something!)

************************************************** **
Palis, The Year 0 Aikia, Outside The Spire

Gamma looked around, the empathic feeling of pain coming from Beta. He soon saw the digusting morphing thing float over.

"Beta! What... what happened?" gasped Gamma.

"JanUS... usEd my FirE agAiNSt Me... wiTH hIs dArkNeSS iNFuSeD... aNd... He wAS bURNeD tOO... BuT... tHE OThEr oNE... iS HErE... WitH THe sWorD anD AlL tHReE Of ThE sPIrItS..." uttered Beta.

"The other one? What do you mean?" asked Gamma.

Beta finally stopped shifting, a single human mouth his only speaking appendage. "The... Frog..."

With a loud groan, Beta finally perished.
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Old 07-09-2005, 01:24 AM   #39
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

Three rounds of fighting had left them exhausted, and even as they stood in peace, it seemed as if the very air were wearing them down in a silent battle.

Healing. The word filled Titania’s ears with good entry, and she was glad to hear it. It had been so long since she had been able to use her magic for that which did not cause harm, and the act was beginning to make her forget.

With a sudden glow to her previously pale skin, she kneeled before and looked onto the injured man with the tenderness of a mother. Placing a hand on his unconscious arm, she examined the burns, knowing that –at least for the moment- his lack of awareness was his greatest benefit.

There was silence save for the wood, when at last there came a gentle glow, first only over the shape of her small hands, but soon covering Magus’ body like white fire.

There was something odd then in both of their presences, as if the flame connected their spirits until it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began. It became clear then, to the others, that her magic was not merely spells conjured up from a book, but the deepest part of her shared with an injured soul.

The fire spread and then evaporated into smoke; for a moment Malice felt as if he could see images amongst each gray tendril- once again in that ungraspable, dream-like remembrance. He knew that he had seen that flame before, and that it had once been part of him– perhaps still was.

*

In a place beyond the understanding of mortality, Brian sat upon an opal chair, staring at the faces of his Generals with a look of sudden fulfillment; he had his control back, and now whatever the obstacle, he could rise to power and shape things to fit his dementia.

“Tell me, Bathoris,” Brian began, his words seeming odd when clouded by his youthful voice “You who have prepared for me all of this time- what do you suggest I should do first?

The demon grinned his terrifying smile as he looked at his master, his eyes shadowed by black light “Do you not wish to continue your campaign? Finish what you started?”

There was a silence as he thought over it “That is indeed the final goal, but I am unsure of where to start.” His hesitation, of course, was not over ignorance, but rather over the sensation that a child receives when he is presented with a room full of toys “Shall I first start with them?”

“That would be a wise choice.” Kain advised “Destroy them before they awaken too. As they are now, they have not met the power of their past lives”

Brian laughed “What power? What they accomplished was mere coincidence. It took no skill. First, she betrayed me…left me to be slaughtered by the enemy. But I knew…I knew the whole time that something was wrong, and when they came I was ready for them.” a smile tugged at his young lips “I killed the him. And I enjoyed it, too… his arrogant face crying out from the pain of the sword- my sword! I drove it into him three times for good measure, and watched him squirm as his spirit left.”

“But the woman!”

Brian shot a look at the demon who had dared pull him from the high of victory, down to his bitter defeat “…yes, of course. I have not forgotten. How could I?” He pressed his fingers into the table and pulled them back, as if digging into flesh.

“It does not matter now.” Kain interrupted “You have returned, and she is dead.”

“Indeed.” Brian looked up from his invisible victim “Has her spirit returned to Palis yet?”

“No.” Valmarus answered.

“Good. I should not like a repeat of that day.”

Hector smiled as he turned to his master “Lord Kani, while we are at your service and willing to inform you of the state of our world, I find it is of great importance that I bring to your attention the issue of your body.”

“Ah yes,” Brian nodded, having wondered about it himself “Well, continue…”

“After that day 700 years ago, we saw to it that your body be hidden. Because we all did not trust each other, we entreated one of our kind with the task of placing you somewhere. We put a seal on him so that he would not be able to tell anyone of the location but us. It is a secret he has kept to this day.”

“And who is this demon?” Brian cocked his eyebrow.

“Belial O’Shauva.”

*

The white fire finally evaporated into the cool night air, and slowly Magus opened his eyes, Doreen having been ready to pull him from his unconsciousness when the time was right. He looked about, and saw his friends standing around with concern in their eyes.

“What-” he began to get up, but fell back down, grabbing his back in pain.

“You can’t stand for a while.” Titania said, blankly, “You’re lucky to be alive and you’ll need to rest for a while.”

He looked at his arms and saw that his burns were gone “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” she said as she withdrew to the fireside; it was clear that she was tired.

“What was that thing?” Syne asked crouching down near him.

“Lavos.” Magus answered “They’ve followed me here from my world.”

“Oh.” Syne acknowledged, unsure of what else to say.

There was pause.

“I don’t think we should stay here any longer.” Malice said “There’s too much that has happened. We should continue on east a little- we can’t sleep anyways.”

“I’d agree except that I can’t walk.” Magus muttered.

“Is there anything that can speed up this process?” Malice asked, turning vaguely to the others.

“I could try.” Titania said, pulling herself up and kneeling beside the fallen ally once mo re.

“Here, don’t watch.” she whispered quietly to Magus, placing a hand over his eyes.

Again the white light returned and spread over his body. This time, however, it was not as peaceful and as concentrated as before- now it seemed almost forced. When at last it was done, she removed her hand and nearly fell backward, as if off-balance. Slowly, Magus rose to his feet and stretched.

Malice looked him over and seemed pleased “Good then, let’s go.’

“Put out the fire first.” Titania said, coughing a little “the smoke’s thick, and we’ll burn down the forest if we leave it.”

“What a shame.” Magus muttered sarcastically as he began to throw dirt on the flames

“Alright, it’s gone. Let’s go.”

Wearily, the others began to follow, Titania being the last to finally remove herself from the site. Pulling her cloak tight around her cold shoulders, she followed them, lagging behind slightly, from fatigue.

“Syne, did Nichi say anything about the significance of the stone we’re looking for?” Malice asked, turning to the girl.
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Old 07-14-2005, 01:14 AM   #40
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

Syne thought for a moment about what Nichi had said on her way to Palis. Nothing was mentioned about what they did but just that they were important. “I really don’t know anything more then that they are important.”

“I see.” Titania said

“Maybe he will come back and tell us more later on after he has regained some more strength again.” Syne said pulling at her imaginary goatee.

As the sun began to come up they could make out the outline of a large building in the horizon. Everyone gave out a sigh of relief as they ran towards the entrance of the shrine. They had finally made it to where they had been traveling to.

Syne sat down on the steps to the main room and sighed. “Magic barrier.”

“What?” Malice said walking right past her.

“Nichi said the stones were behind magic barriers that keep anyone linked to Kani.” Syne said. “You guys go in I’ll wait here for you to return.”

“Ok, it doesn’t look like I can go in either.” Titania said pushing hard against the invisible wall.

Malice, magus, Belial and Osirus had no problems entering the shrine; Syne, Titania and Glenn were forced to stay outside.

“Please come back as fast as you can.” Titania said to the others as they entered the shrine.

“We’ll be back as soon as possible.” Malice said
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Old 07-14-2005, 04:31 AM   #41
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

Titania wandered along the barrier for a while, tapping it and running her hand along the hard air that the others had so easily passed through.

“Whoever built this shrine must have wanted to keep us out.” She said.

Syne nodded “As Nichi said, we are all connected to Kani.”

“We can’t be the only ones.” Titania pointed out, turning to face her new friend “That wouldn’t make sense…I felt as if I knew Malice. And he was able to enter.”

“Perhaps the architect did not want to keep him out.” Glenn stated “Only us.”

“That would make sense. Perhaps he was not a threat to whatever is in there.”

“And we are?”

Syne nodded “Titania, I felt betrayed by you. That must have meant we were on the same side. And Glenn…” she turned to face him “I feel almost as if we were once together, but for some reason there was a parting of ways. Perhaps we chose different paths.”

“You remember a lot, Syne.” Titania said “I can’t even believe any of this. How is it possible that I could have forgotten an entire lifetime?”

“But that’s just it…” Syne began “It’s impossible. Somewhere inside of us it’s still there. I think we see more of it than we know…we have to think from now on.”

“Perhaps we should think back.” Glenn added “Try to remember those instances where things might have seemed familiar, or people might have.”

“I think I know a time…it’s really striking me as odd…” Titania said “When I first came here, we rested at an inn. For some reason I didn’t feel like I could stay there…it was almost like something was pulling me from the outside- some sort of impulse. I felt I had to leave and I had to leave right away- or else. Then when I got to a square, I found that Malice had followed me. It was almost like something unfinished had finally been taken care of. I don’t know how to explain it any other way than that, and I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly what it felt like.
Afterwards, I went to trade in some of my stones for shoes. There was a man in an alley and I asked him for help, but he did not respond. He kept on whispering things- things I couldn’t understand. He called me by a different name, and I thought he was crazy. Finally, he stepped forward and all of a sudden I was scared. At that time I was so sure that I was going to die- that he had a knife with him he was going to use to plunge into my heart. I went to run, but then suddenly there was a rush of wind and I was back with the others.
After that I tried not think about it. I didn’t know why I was so sure he was going to kill me- and in that way. I just knew. When I thought about it, I figured I must have been paranoid, and he must have simply been insane, or a drunk... something like that. But now that all of this has come up, I’m beginning to wonder.”

Syne nodded “We must keep our eyes open and not pass these experiences off as oddities or déjà vu. Anything could be our true spirit trying to emerge.”

“Why do you call it our ‘true spirit?’” Titania asked, “This life is not fake. It’s not a mirage.”

Glenn nodded “I must agree. Perhaps this is simply a continuation of our old lives- assuming that this theory is true.”

“It is not a theory.” Syne stated, “I can tell you that it is completely true. This is not the first time our spirits have dwelled in this planet. We were away for a while and now we’ve returned.”

“All at the same time?” Glenn asked, “That’s too much of a coincidence.”

“Exactly.” Syne agreed.

“Not only that…when we were moved here we all ended up close to each other- we weren’t randomly thrown about. We were called.” Titania noted.

“The planet needs us back.” Said Syne, putting everything together, “It needs us and it’s brought us here for that reason. Something is going to happen, and don’t be surprised if we’re involved.”

Suddenly there came a loud crash from within the Verity Shrine, followed by a cry of pain. Instinctively, Glenn and Titania made a dash for the entrance but were stopped by the barrier.

For a while they tried to push through it, pounding on it, using spells- but to no avail!

“We can’t help them!” Syne yelled after a while, “And besides…we have a bigger problem…”

Slowly, the two turned, and there, looming before them was a dark figure, clad in black armour and shadowed against the dawn. Standing even higher than Syne, the human-like creature moved toward them at a menacingly slow pace. Weapons drawn, they stood their ground, ready to fight.

“Do not waste my time.” The creature said, raising his hand and knocking Titania and Glenn to the ground with some sort of magic “I’m here for only Kani.”

“My name is Syne.” She stated, boldly, tightening her hold on her sword “What business do you have with me?”

The creature laughed, “Do you not recognize me?”

“How can I when I cannot see your face?” she questioned, keeping a hard stare.

The others tried to stand but felt the air pushing weight on their bodies; they could not move.

“If you wish to see my face, you can view it later. Come- or else.” It said, coldly.

“Syne, do not listen to him!” Glenn cried, struggling against the suddenly strong force of gravity.

“I’m not going anywhere.” She answered them both.

“Fine…” the creature said, but surprisingly did not draw its sword “You have been warned, Syne. Stay here with these two snakes, but don’t think you have seen the last of me.”

With a grotesque smirk, Hector stepped into the light so that they could see his face.

“You will return to us, Kani.” He muttered, arrogantly, then turned to the others “And as for you, Llideah, Noah…” with yellow teeth he grinned at the struggling companions “Get used to this feeling” He struck them hard with black magic and they cried out in pain “You haven’t seen the last of me either.”

The demon raised his hand. Suddenly, from the ground came a smoky spiral, which wrapped around his body before consuming it. In seconds, the smoke disappeared and the creature was gone. No sooner did he leave were Glenn and Titania freed from their invisible hold. Syne did not even see them; her eyes were fixed upon the spot where Hector had vanished.

“Syne…?” Glenn spoke up.

“Noah…Llideah…” She whispered with cold lips, the names striking through her like lightning.
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Old 07-14-2005, 04:02 PM   #42
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

***********************************************
Palis, The Year 0 Aikia, Verity Shrine

Malice, Magus, and the two demons walked through the halls of the shrine, looking for the stone.

"Dead men, dead men, swinging in a tree. How many dead men do you see? Tongue turned blue and face gone gray, watch them as they twist and sway. The first one killed the butcher man then cooked him in-"

"Shut up, Osirus!" growled Malice.

"Hey, I'm just trying to lighten the mood with an old nursery rhyme I heard a long time ago."

Magus raised an eyebrow. "That's supposed to lighten the mood?"

"Or scare the crap out of all of you. Both are acceptable."

Belial's fist connected with the back of Osirus's head. "Shut up or else that kid Brain won't be the only one who's dealt a blow to your crotch in recent memory."

Suddenly Magus whirled around, noticing a figure looming over him. The shadowy figure cackled. "Well, well, well. What have we here? You're... you're that girl's brother, aren't you? And... you're also Variel? How very odd!"

Magus drew his scythe. Malice and the demons turned and prepared their weapons too.

The shadowy demon laughed as a huge scimitar composed of some sort of liquid-like metal extended from his hand. "You like it? It's only held into this shape by my power. Were I to let go of it, it would simply fall apart."

Magus buried his scythe deep into the demon's chest. The blow was met by a horrific snicker. "I'll deal with you later, Variel... oh, unless you've forgotten the last time? Either way, you don't interest me nearly as much as he does. You've both decided to protect the other two... Variel and Noah... and Gadriel and Llideah... Yes, Gadriel, we've met before. You'll protect Llideah until the end, but the end will come far too soon..."

The scimitar flashed through the air, leaving a huge scar across Malice's face. Malice screamed in agony, a scream that shattered the stained glass windows throughout the shrine simultaneously.

"Feel your powerlessness, Gadriel! Suffer at the hands of Lord Kain!"

Kain. The word echoed throughout Magus's psyche. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the Dreamstone pieces of Schala's pendant that he'd found. Kain. The murderer. The one who had Schala the whole time. The one who must be allied with the Lavos Spawn. The bastard. He murdered the only one who ever loved me. The only one who ever-

The scimitar slashed Malice's face a few more times, until Malice fell to the ground. Belial and Osirus were lifted into the air and thrown against the wall. Kain raised his sword and brought it down on Malice's exposed neck.

CLANG.

The sword bounced off the magical barrier that Magus had just created to protect his friend. "Not bad, Variel. Then again-"

Lightning shot from the mage's hand, touching the bottom of the scythe in the demon's chest and being conducted into the monster.

Kain began to tremble. "How... my god... Variel... GRAH!" The energy rebounded out of Kain and launched itself back at Magus. Belial floated off the wall, still unable to control his movements. "Valmarus can deal with you idiots - trying to seal the portals," said Kain, "bah! I only need this one. But don't think Gamma won't hear about your whereabouts, Janus Zeal."

Everything turned pitch black, and by the time everything had returned to focus, Kain and Belial were gone. Osirus slid from the wall as Magus and Malice managed to slowly and painfully get off the ground. Magus grabbed the Dreamstone pieces he'd dropped, shoved them in his pocket, and trudged further into the shrine.
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Old 07-19-2005, 02:42 AM   #43
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

“How’s your face?” Magus asked after a while.

“Fine.” Malice answered, though his blood-covered hand lay over his right cheek “Things could have been far worse. And you? How is your pain?”

“I’m alright.” Magus answered “I wonder where Belial is.”

“I don’t know.”

“I never did find him particularly pleasant, but like it or not I think we’re going to have to find him. He’s one of us.”

Malice nodded “We will. But first, let’s finish what we’ve come here for. There’s no sense in turning back, and there’s no time for grieving. We’ll just have to continue.”

“Indeed.” Magus nodded “How deep is this damn building anyways?”

The two continued talking as if nothing had happened, and as if they were alone- but as is known, that was not the case. Lagging behind them with an unreadable demeanor, Osirus was eerily silent; the darkness hid his face.

Belial…he had it coming, the bastard. he though as he moved through the shadowy halls Still…they’re probably going to kill him. Or worse… Dammit! being with these assholes has made me soft.

He kicked up a rock and it smashed to pieces as it hit the wall

What the hell is wrong with me. Every man for himself. That’s how it should be. So what do I care if they skin him alive? It’s not my problem…it’s not my problem, it’s not my problem…

“Hey, Osirus, can you see a way out of here?”

“It’s not my damn problem!” Osirus kicked up another stone and it nailed Magus in the back.

“What the hell was that for?” the angered mage yelled, turning and facing down his assaulter.

“Don’t f*cking talk to me, you damn human!” Osirus muttered “The only reason I associated with your kind is because of Belial’s screwed up vision of reality. Don’t think you can tell me what to do now that he’s gone!”

“He wasn’t telling you what to do!” said Malice “He was only asking for help! What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Shut up. Both of you shut up. This is how it’s going to go- we’re going to get that stone, and then we’re going to save Belial’s sorry ass.”

“Yeah. We decided that ten minutes ago,” Magus muttered “Maybe if you paid attention once in a while instead of just pissing everyone off, you would know that.”

“I don’t need to pay attention to you. Who the hell do you think you are?” Osirus yelled, and suddenly Magus struck with some kind of magic.

“Stop it!” Malice screamed and suddenly the wind caught the demon, throwing him into the wall “I don’t know what the hell has got into your head, but get it out! All of us are upset about Belial but we have to finish this first! There’s still the beast in this forest we have to worry about, and if we can’t even survive each other, there’s no damn way we’re going to survive that!”

“Whatever, I’m sick of this.” Osirus muttered, rising to his feet and brushing off his clothes “Go and find your stone, I’m going ahead and finding Belial.”

“Don’t be stupid.” Magus said, holding back his desire to set the demon on fire “If you go alone, you’ll be killed, and that won’t do anyone any good.”

“If I’m killed then at least I’ll have done more for him than you!” Osirus answered as he began to leave “Oh, and by the way…you might want to hurry up with your little treasure hunt…”

“Why’s that?” Malice asked, his hands already at his daggers.

Osirus smirked and was gone.
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Old 07-26-2005, 07:08 PM   #44
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

((Sorry this took so long to post))

Osirus disappeared running past Syne.

Titania just blinked and watched him run off. “What do you think that was about?”

Glenn just shook his head.

Syne was still repeating the names under her breath unshaken by the fleeing Osirus. Titania and Glenn sat down next to the shaking and now crying Syne.

“Noah and Llideah... Noah and Llideah….” Syne said softly as she cried. Without warning Syne just grabbed hold of both Glenn and Titania and held them tight.

“What’s wrong? What did you remember?” Titania said holding on to Syne’s arm.

“I don’t remember anything, that’s just it, all I know are these strange feeling of sadness and joy.” Syne said as she cleared her eyes of tears.

Magus and Malice came out of the shrine holding a small emerald ring in a glass case. “We got it…..” Malice said yawning. “Let’s get out of this place asap.”

Syne, Glenn and Titania all nodded.

“Did you get a visit as well? And where is Belial?” Glenn said with a raised eyebrow.

Magus nodded. “Kain gave us a pleasant welcome and seems to have run off with Belial.”

“I see.” Titania said shaking his head. “Why would they take him but no one else?”

Syne shook her head. “Yeah let’s just get out of here.”

Malice nodded and started leading the way out. For some reason on the way out of the forest there seemed to be a simple path leading out. However looking back it was invisible.

“Very interesting, the forest doesn’t want people finding their way in but you can easily leave it.” Glenn said pointing out the strange aspect of the trail out.

Only an hour later and everyone was back on the airship ready to leave. Syne stood awestruck at the sight of the colossal flying ship. “This is truly amazing.”

Aboard the ship everyone with little talk decided to go to their rooms and fall asleep. Syne spoke to the ‘Captain’. “Nichi spoke of a place called Dimarus. Then we are supposed to go to old’s Grove.”

“What about going after Belial?” Malice said overhearing the conversation.

“That’s up to you. What should we do about it?” Syne said yawning.

Thinking for a moment about what they should do about Belial, Malice decided not to go after him. “I don’t think we should worry too much about him, He’s a demon after all he should be able to fend for himself.”
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Old 08-01-2005, 10:09 PM   #45
 
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Re: Chapter 3: In The Clouds

The air near Malice began to form and spiral, twisting what once was a solid image. Black flames began to trace around in a growing ring.

"Couldn't take care of himself if I payed him to, actually." Osirus snarled as he stepped from the vortex in reality. Dragging behind him, shackled and dazed, was Belial, barely concious of what was going on. "You'd think that he could."

Belial shook his head till he felt at least a little more coherant. "wherererewe?"

Osirus just mussed up Belial's hair. "So, who or what are we killing now?"

[Sorry guys, I'm back, better post tomorrow.]
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