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Ok guys. We still have a lot of editing to do, but I think we can open this up, now.
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Feline Sage

The night that the Blackguard began their blitzkrieg on the various supernatural havens in Marshall City to reassert their dominance was the beginning of the end for the organization as a whole. Though the Blackguard had succeeded in destroying many that night, it also strengthened the resolve of those still left.

Finding the Blackguard headquarters had been tough enough; storming the location even more so. However, the leaders and generals of the organization had been finally cornered and, one by one, the Rook Ulrich, the Knight Dietrich, the Bishop Damien, and the Queen Azazel either fell, surrendered, or defected. While the bulk of the Haven Network forces continued to battle the Blackguard defenders, those who fought their way to break the spine of the organization finally reached the head of the organization, the Black King.

They were met by Lucien Sangre, Fallen Angel of Knowledge, the very self-same one as responsible for the unnatural prolonging of Pockycon. Believing in Satan's plan of saving humanity by removing Free Will from them, he had manipulated the Blackguard to bring that goal to fruition, using it even as he planned to destroy it. The battle against Lucien was even more fierce than anything before it, but the Haven forces and those allied with them prevailed in the end. Though many lives had been lost, they were not in vain, as they had put a keystone into securing a brighter future for everyone.

It's been two months since that momentous battle, and plans for the gradual integration of the supernatural into "normal" human lives is just beginning. Scattered cells of the Blackguard's forces still remain, but without the leadership that had guided them, the threat they posed is greatly diminished, but still quite real. With the Blackguard leadership gone, the C'ieth Curse began manifesting in the remaining soldiers, resulting in Haven forces having to deal with pockets of crystalline zombies. However, much of the original Haven leadership and founding members have since departed for a heretofore unknown continent called Silmeria. Other allies traveled with them, leaving a certain void to be filled by those left behind.
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Artemis wondered who'd come in today to see his body.

It was so strange to say that. But... it was true. Shorn apart, his soul sat at the end of the bed, and his body lay in it, living but barely. Nutritions through his veins, the beeping on the monitor... That beeping. He was so used to it now... That rythm. Constant and soft. The subtle rise and fall of his own chest. The feeling of the pulsing veins.

Lights were on, but no one was home.

And it was his own fault. The battle raged for hours, and Artemis was afraid. Certainly several unit leaders were in the fray, but it had turned out to be an ambush. Artemis could only look down at the massive amount of flesh suddenly missing from his side in horror, healing runes blazing along it. But he soon realized, he wasn't alone. So many were falling. Dying. He couldn't stand it.

You know why there's people like me around? his father once asked him. No, daddy, why? he'd asked.

Blue light glared at the tip of his finger. He could see the rune in his mind, the one he ABSOLUTELY should not be using. But if the Blackguard pushed through here, so many lives were at risk, even leaving out the men on the field. He couldn't let these brave men and women die in vain. He couldn't let that happen.

Because heroes want to make a world where they aren't needed anymore. he replied.

All his life, Artemis had never understood what his father had meant. But now, facing death in the eye... he got it. He understood. He couldn't really put it into words, but everything...

Clicked.

He drew a single line in the air, and roared at it:

"NO MAN OR WOMAN OF HAVEN DIES IN VAIN!" he roared. The rune blinked. Once. Twice. Three times. And then it killed him. Well, in a way. His soul left his body. Mentally, he was dead. A vegetable. But his simple functions went on. His heart beat. His breath came in, and out. He could only watch what he had wrought. He has spoken a Truth, essentially writing in a new Law to this world. For every man in a haven uniform that died, three or four more blackguard fell. For every furious defensive stand, the blackguard were repelled. Every wild charge striking deep seared its way through forces like a superheated spear. They'd won. One of the greatest victories in the War.

And all he had to do was die.

Oh, god, Spam.
So stupid. So infernally, horribly stupid. He couldn't begin to explain this. The only evidence of Truth being used was a massive scar that blazed the rune on his chest - to many people it would look like the letter I. Spam might know the difference, what it meant. He only hoped. He'd explained it to her, once, that the rune didn't quite kill the users - it used the seperation of body and soul as fuel. Not death. But not life either. A cost worth more than life itself. If anyone could save him... It was her.

------

Rostislav stared up at the memorial. It was similar to others around the world - simple marble with carved names.

But Rostislav had done something different. He'd had a revelation. They... weren't demons. Not all of them. Certainly some of them were. He remembered them most clearly. But a gentle finger traced a new line of names. The marble circled the room, as did the names. There were... a lot. Most of Alpha had died, the unit run ragged with the demands placed on it. But Rostislav was confident they would be able. That they'd be strong.

They weren't.

What is a general without his men? What is a captain without his squad? He went into this room to think, to memorize. He wasn't ever forgetting any of these names - Blackguard or Supernatural or Sympathizer. It should never have happened. Ever.
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A small, brown and white cat sat by Rostislav, peering up at him. "Mew?" She tilted her head. The cat's stare was almost expectant, as it saying, "I'm cute, aren't you going to pet me?"
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Esther54
A small, brown and white cat sat by Rostislav, peering up at him. "Mew?" She tilted her head. The cat's stare was almost expectant, as it saying, "I'm cute, aren't you going to pet me?"
A gentle paw picked her up, and he smiled. It was amazing, really, what could lift a heart. Gently, he pet it, still looking over the names, but not in sadness - merely recognition of their time with him, good or bad.
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Hat-tori
A gentle paw picked her up, and he smiled. It was amazing, really, what could lift a heart. Gently, he pet it, still looking over the names, but not in sadness - merely recognition of their time with him, good or bad.


She purred, always in the mood to be petted. The charm and tag on her pale, pink collar clinked together, both a pale green. The kitten nuzzled her head against his paw. She seemed happy.
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Ah, it was moments like this that made it worth it, he thought. He could... Relax. He'd forgotten what it was like to turn off those reflexes, to stop trying to sense enemies.
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Slowly, Spam stepped into Artemis's hospital room. It wasn't the first time she'd visited him since he had gone into his current state, but it was the first time she seemed relatively calm about. There was still a pause as she saw his body, still a look of deep sadness in her eyes, still her breath caught in her throat. The feelings passed quicker and more thoroughly than they had before though, and it seemed repeated exposure had turned the emotional pain to a dull ache. It had certainly been hard, the first time she'd seen him as he was.

She walked over and sat at the edge of his bed, near enough that she could stroke his hair if she so wished, which she proceeded to do. "...Still like this, eh?" she asked quietly, sadly, knowing he wouldn't -- and couldn't -- respond. "At least you're still alive...kind of... That incessant beeping lets me know that much," she said with a short laugh. The talking calmed herself a bit more and she finally got around to taking note of his actual physical condition.

She couldn't help but let out a little chuckle. "You don't look hardly any different...a bit paler, maybe, but otherwise it looks like you're only sleeping... Though, it seems you've a new battle scar..." Her gaze focused on the scar on his chest (what was visible of it, at least) and noticed that it looked like more than just a normal wound; as though it were something should recognize. Its potential meaning escaped her for the moment, though she continued pondering it.
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Ah, of course it was her.

He'd tried talking, of course. Completely pointless. He couldn't affect the physical realm. Still, he rested a hand on her shoulder, pulling in close. She was warm, at least. She wouldn't feel anything, but... For some reason, he could feel her. Tortuous, really. Then again, Truth was meant to be pricey. He just... hadn't expected this.
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Hat-tori
Ah, it was moments like this that made it worth it, he thought. He could... Relax. He'd forgotten what it was like to turn off those reflexes, to stop trying to sense enemies.


"Kitty~" came a soft voice. "Here, kitty~" Cinnamon's ears twitched. She jumped out and away from Rostislav, running to a girl. Avila. She lifted her cat up, chiding her for running off - again, it sounded. Her attention was soon drawn to the seven foot bear in front of her. Avila studied him curiously. She saw new people everyday, but rarely big fuzzy bears.
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"She is running off often, yes?" he asked with a chuckle. "Curious. As it should be." he smiled. "My name is Rostislav. Who are you?"
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Spam spent several moments pondering, eventually letting out a sigh and shaking her head slowly. "I can't shake the feeling that I'm missing something...something I know, but won't come to me... It would be so much easier if I could just ask you...though I suppose that's im...poss...wait a second..." Something had occurred to the dragoness and she looked from the scar on Artemis's chest to his peaceful face. "I wonder if I could speak with you as I sometimes spoke with Raiden: mentally, mind-to-mind..." she whispered, doubt entering her voice half-way through her thought. It was unlikely it would work. Raiden had helped form the link the first time she tried it with him, and she didn't know how utterly empty Artemis's head was.

She had to try, though. She closed her eyes, relaxed, and let her mind go blank, let it roam free, trying to sense any flicker of another's consciousness in the room (who knows, maybe she'd find his soul, if such a thing were possible).

Even if it didn't work and she found nothing with her mind, the meditative state might at least be enough to jog her memory.
AnCatDubh's avatar

Feline Sage

((I have no idea how I quoted on of the posts on the front page Owo;; ))
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Hat-tori
"She is running off often, yes?" he asked with a chuckle. "Curious. As it should be." he smiled. "My name is Rostislav. Who are you?"

She nodded. "Uh-huh! And she never calls or says anything or anything!" She gave her kitten an accusing look, then looked back to Rostislav. "I'm Avila. This is Cinnamon," she said, holding up the kit, "And we like flowers."
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He felt it. Like a poke in his chest. It wasn't... quite right. But it was close. He said her name, again and again, hoping she could hear. Most likely, she wouldn't hear it proper, but... she might hear something. It was like trying to connect an iPod and an Amiga. He was conveying way too much info way too fast, and at best she might get snippets, pieces.

Apologies were most of it, whole hearted outpourings of emotion, runic data and constructs, memories - contacting an avalonian or any soul directly with only your mind was like reading a whole book at the same time, trying to comprehend every single word.

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