Expanse: The City Reboot (Dark Fantasy Epic) Main Thread (Open, Started)

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imageScarlett Verneer - ???? - Tinsdal

When she woke in the dark and the cold of the room she tried to stand but found herself hanging, by her hands, from a chain attached to the ceiling. It had cut deep into her skin as her own wight had dragged her down while she had been out cold. She activated her gift but found it useless and confusing, unable to map like it should, with only the sound of dripping water and the clanking of the chain being audible. It seemed a logical conclusion she was underground. Scarlett raised her head and tried to stare through the dark to find a door but she failed and slumped her head back down.

Eventually, the door opened, spilling warm light and cold air into the room. Despite her situation it was a welcome break from the stale air trapped in the room. Instinctively Scarlett turned her head, blinded by the light, and let her eyes adjust. The sound of a key being removed from the lock echoed with heavy footsteps. With her eyes no longer bothered by the light she turned to see her guest. She did not recognise the face of the man.

'This is her?' The voice was gruff, simple, and seemed somewhat amused.

'Yeah, that's her, hard to believe ain't it?' Another man sneered in reply, chewing on food.

'How do you know?'

'The Cap'n told me what she looked like.' He paused to swallow. 'Told me about the markings.'

Scarlett raised her head. So, they knew about the Sigil she thought. This was bad.

'Oh yeah, pretty, now listen woman, going to give you some water so drink up, don't want you dying on us before the Cap'n sees you.'

She felt a rough hand yank her head back as water was poured into her mouth, regardless of if she was ready. She felt like drowning. Coughing, Scarlett tried to clear her throat and looked up to catch the sight of the door closing, returning her to the darkness.

"These are desperate times; I've more to think about than verbal frivolity.
I am stalked by a monster, unlike any you have ever fought.
A beast that grows stronger with every man you send to try and kill it, a beast that knows not fear or failure or bribery, a beast that..."
"No, so much blood!"
"Help, for the love of the gods!"
"Old man."
"What do you even want? This is just a"
"Run, just."
"I wasn't even supposed to."
"Old man."
"Please."
The was much screaming from the halls fragments of terror and last words form a disjoined chorus echoing through the home.
But there was another voice, it's solid precision calm impaling pandemonium, caring right to the doors of the room.
"Old man."
"Old man."
That voice. The vessel frozen in terror unable to move.
"Time to die."
The former storm, frozen as much as the vessel, unable to leave the chair was strained, as alert as the old war torn form would allow. From him emanated a light a golden glow, the same glow bursting from under the party's clothes. The weapons they had hidden sprung to a life of their own before flying to the aid of the old man. He could barely move a mussel but every blad in a good 10 feet of him now buzzed. They swirled is an amorphous mass desperately trying to protect him from anything and everything.

image Sun Stone Nursing Home - Tinsdal

Vergil slowly backed away as the amorphous field of blades, many of which came supposedly out of nowhere, began forming a protective field; almost as if they were alive. They began taking random strikes in various places, like they were writhing snakes, and in the center, the old storm gave off a frightening golden glow.

"Oh boy, that can't be good." Vergil remarked nervously, in a mixture of fear and awe regarding what was happening in front of him. It was then that the several of the blades, made a mad lunge towards the Vessel, who was frozen with fear by another voice that emerged. With a single leap, he dived straight towards her, narrowly avoiding the blades himself, and pushed her out of the way. After picking each other up, Vergil spoke to the two women.

"Come on we have to go, this isn't our fight. I don't think any of us could survive this long against these opponents."

Katelyn Verneer - Sun Stone Care Home - Tinsdal

The hell was this? She moved a hand, fast as her reflexes would allow, to snatch her blade from the grasp of the light but she was too slow. And Kate could only watch her knife slip into the amorphous mass protecting the old man.

She took a single step back and began to feel helpless as the weapons striked the air between the group. The young man saved the young girl from what would have been a fatal blow.

"Come on we have to go, this isn't our fight. I don't think any of us could survive this long against these opponents."

She had to agree, it seemed suicide to stay, and yet. Her own knife darted to the right without warning, narrowly missed her face.

"Yeah. I think you might be right."

Just in time.

They were out.

Defenestration was a terrible way to travel, especially when you don't start on the ground floor.

The Vessel lay there, on top of him. He's taken most of the glass, and even cushioned her fall.
She still couldn't move, but this time not out of fear out of, out of being flung out of a window by a well-meaning slightly daft, but so wonderful man.
She'd lost track of wherever Scarlett's sister ended up it wasn't important right now.

"Vergil you're ok right?"

The street below was wet and surprisingly soft.
Hearing him breath just then was the best news she could have gotten.

"Thank the gods."

Back in the room with the smashed window the exact opposite of a wonderful man entered.
The blades whirled even faster when they saw him, he wore pure white.
The golden glow rushed him, but not a single weapon responded.

"You don't carry a weapon. What use are you without one?"

The old man in the chair surged a little, with such confidence. More sure than ever he might survive.
His hopes were soon dashed though.

"More than you with one."

The blades dived, swarming the man in white, all but one clattered to the floor; they had become lifeless as soon as they'd gotten within a few feet of him. The only one that connected embedded about half way up his right man. There wasn't any blood.

Removing the blade caused a burst of black smoke and the area around the wound to become charred, but still no blood, no flesh or bone, just dust.

The man in white drew closer by the second; every blade brought to him loses all of its vigour and falls from the air before even grazing his skin. He was barely even moving, just taking small steps but it was more than the storm could manage, still locked in the chair.

Eventually the man in white was there, still unarmed even discarding the one blade he'd collected from his arms.

The champion looked at him, so much fear, somehow someone with a long life in the champions still found things to fear.

"Please, mercy."

"I've heard better last words."

The blades surge up once more, like ever cutting edge in the building had stepped up to the plate to save the storm. They were floating all around and above the storm, the man in white barely even reacted.

"Big mistake."

The man in white touches the storm, one hand in the middle of the chest, so gentle it was barely even a touch. But it was enough, the blades guarding the storm dropped like flies plunging deep into the storms flesh; he dies fast becoming the military equivalent of a pin cousin in under a second.

The man in white takes a step back, before pushing the chair now filled with a dead old man over.
Just as he expected there was a chest right under it.

He'd been hoping to get one of his guns back but oh well.
He lifted the chest and giving it a strong toss out of the window.

The vessel shuddered the loud thud as something heavy and metallic landed just missing her head.

No idea how long it was, but I thought it would never stop
The Vessel still hadn't looked away from the Vergil but she recognised the sounds of hooves on the earth.

She rolls over drawing the pistol from Vergil's pocket. Laying on her back gun pointed up at...
at.

"Gods." The man on horseback called out. "She's survived, there's hope yet. Men get this woman and her friend some care."

"Aye Storm." The second voice was older, wizened. He had his own horse.

The first started.
"Relax your safe now, we hunt the same monster and my people's desire for you blood will not distract me from the task at hand."

Falling asleep on their horses later

The man from earlier wakes her.

"This is our camp, feel free to get up and wonder around."

"VERGIL?"

"Relax he lived, and should soon be awake."

The Vessel look around, they were sitting in a camp. There were stars, she couldn't remember if they were even out when all that happened."

"Who?"

"I'm the 45th oncoming storm, but don't let that worry you."

image Sun Stone Care Home/Champions of the Tempest Camp - Tinsdal

Sun Stone Care Home

Seeing as though the window would be their only escape route, Vergil quickly grabbed the Vessel, and fell backwards out of the closed window; glass shattering everywhere, and him taking the brunt of the fall damage. They landed with an almighty thud, the Vessel still clutched within his arms. The Vessel, sounding very much out of fear, asked if he was okay. Despite the rather soft landing, all he could do was breathe for the moment, which seemed to reassure her.

For a while, everything was in darkness, whilst he could hear the sound of something crashing to the ground, and voices talking, they were hard to determine their origin. So for the mean time, he simply lay asleep, and perchance to dream, if dreams were available to him.

Some Time Later... Champions of the Tempest Camp

An unknown length of time later, Vergil slowly began to regain his senses and awake. First was sight, albeit bleary from slumber; after a few minutes though, everything came back into focus. His head felt like a melon about to split, but that does tend to happen when you fall out of a window several levels up, and survive to tell the tale.

He soon took stock of his surroundings, from what he could gather, he was in some kind of camp, and was in a tent laying down on a bed roll. Off to his left, he could see one of his pistols and the grappling hook on a bench next to him. Finally, after regaining his mind, he began to spoke.

"Ow, my head, can someone tell me why I threw myself out of a three story window?" He asked to no one, as if he forgotten, then his memory came back, and a smile along with it.

"Of course, for her." Vergil then chuckled briefly, attracting the attention of a passer by who began ordering someone out of his line of sight.

"You there! Go get the woman that this gentlemen came in with, she'll probably be surprised and overjoyed to see him awake." The man called out, the second individual then running off. The first one then turned back to face Vergil.

"Don't worry sir, everything is alright."

"Ungh. Thank you." Was all that Vergil could manage, before he sat up.

Katelyn Verneer - Sun Stone Care Home - Tinsdal

When she spun around she found the strange man had emerged and blocked the door. Kate had no intention of challenging him, not after what she had seen so far. There was the sound of crashing, smashing glass, and she turned around to find the other two had taken an emergency exit. She sighed. There was no other way. Sliding through the broken window Kate fell to the ground and landed, flexing her knees, it still hurt like hell but she had not broken any bones. Something landed with a giant thud behind. She turned her head and looked up, after inspecting the chest. Hopefully the strange man would leave them alone.

She had no time to react, a group had arrived and taken interest in the young girl and man. She instinctively reached for her bow but remembered it was still inside the building. They explained they meant no harm and invited her to join them back at their camp. She nodded, agreeing, but cautious.

image Lucian Grey - The North East Gates - Border of Rosenvalle

The Hunters' journey from the broken and beaten district of Hollow's Peak was rife with danger, some strife ranging from overconfident bandits who's last blood gurgled breaths were drawn in the back alley gutters, to the more prominent woes of search parties rushing in and out of the urban sprawls that linked this district to their destination; a problem that could have been avoided had his partner not acted so rashly in the districts heart.

"We're almost at the borders of Rosenvalle, once we arrive we'll catch a carriage up north, pass into Tinsdal and hope that our deeds haven't reached the ears of the more illustrious folk that call that capital home." Lucian announced as he beckoned his partner to the looming cement wall, it's epicentre home to a set of gargantuan hardwood portals.

With a quick slip of coin, the sentinels that stood either side of the gate rang their horn in unison, their signal enticing that towering mahogany to shift and contort just enough for the pair to slip into their new domain.

Soon news came of Vergil waking up.
They were barely even able to stop her getting to him.
He wasn't dyeing today.
"Thanks for the life save an all, but maybe next time warn me or at least open the window. That was a little stupid of you."
"We do stupid things for the people we..."
"Vergil, you don't need to say it. I know, and I..."
She could finish the sentence and eventually she didn't have to. They were called to a meeting.

A tent, champions camp, who knows where
It was dark, still night.

Gather around the table were five of them, the new storm, his old friend and the three of the party.

The Storm broke the silence.

"Ok, so I think first we should tell you everything we know, and who we are.
I'm closest things we still have to a leader. Don't worry I'm not one for repeating the mistakes of the past, after all the last storm trying to kill you is why I came to power. In fact you could say I owe you for that. If I actually had any power to speak of I'd try moving more towards peace, to make up for the past, but you can't exactly make up for a past that isn't in the past yet.

I don't know how much you know about our organisations past, but we haven't always been as weak as we are now, we used to command one of the most powerful forces in the north. We were much smarter then, we build weapons like you wouldn't believe. Most have been lost to history, but far from all.

Are you familiar with the tower of man? Few people realise its significance as it's now not nearly as much of a stand out but well, it used to be one of the tallest towers in this district.

But it's not just a tower, it's a pump, or at least it was designed to be one. Using the city's water ways and an underground heat it's supposed to start a fire that forces all the air in it out over the city, of course on its own it doesn't amount to much but if there's a plague as well, I don't want to think what could happen, all I know is any plague designed by champions past would have been built from the ground up to spread, it won't just be the district it might not even just be the north.

But it's not happening, because we know how to stop it. He's underestimated us, we have the last of the chests and we've gotten it open.

Which means." Looking at the vessel specifically. "Which means you can work on the cure, and once you've gotten that done well, we can't let our tower go to waste can we?"
"Yes, I can do this. I've worked it out. Just get me where I'm needed."
"That would be the top of the tower."

"Of course it would. Just our luck."

"How long will you need for the cure?"

"Maybe 10 more minutes, I'm surprised you'd even need me for this one, I mean come on. Its only taken me a few days and all I've had is notes centuries that we had to do a whole fetch quest to get, not to mention I recon I can add in a few cures/ immunity building agents for some other common illnesses."

"This is wonderful news. The glory of the champions will be restored before the set of the next sun are there any questions before we go?"

image Champions of the Tempest Camp - Tinsdal

Vergil patiently listened to the plight of the newest Oncoming Storm, as he explained a little about their history, and that this one wanted to push for peace, so that the sins of their forefathers could be forgotten, so that they could be seen in a new light. The Storm then explained how the plague was going to be cured, through the use of a pump that use to be one of the tallest structures in the district. It was now time to ask any questions.

"Yeah, I have one, how long will it take us to reach this tower?" Vergil asked. Before he could receive a response, a Champion came up to the group and talked to Vergil directly.

"Sir, some of our scouts returned to the Sun Stone Care Home after you arrived to see if we could find any traces of our target; whilst he was long gone, we did manage to find some weapons amongst the wreckage. They are, two katanas with a black and purple handle, a crossbow, a mechanical longbow, a strange device that looks like a wrist mounted retractable blade, and a boomerang."

"Ah, thank you, some of these weapons these weapons are rather unique." Vergil remarked, and retrieving the items that belonged to him, then passing back those that belonged to the Vessel and Katelyn. He then put his back in their original places.

image
Vincent - North East Gates - Rosenvalle

"Very well Lucian, let's find a carriage and get out of here." Vincent said, his eyes a dull red. Vincent passed the sentinels as Lucian slipped them a coin to open the grand gates guarding the district of Rosenvalle. His sword jostled lightly at his side while his crossbow hung loosely on his back. It took only a few minutes for Vincent and Lucian to find a carriage willing to take them up to Tinsdale before they were both on there way, the carriage bouncing slightly along the cobblestone road as they hurried through Rosenvalle on their way North.

"Ok do you mind just giving me a few minutes? I'll need to synthesise the cure do you have a medical tent?"
"Yes, you should find everything you need. Or at least as much of it as we can provide."

Medical tent

She was surprised that champions would have spent this much on medical resources. The facilities were indeed well stocked.

They were even kind enough to give her privacy.

She had to admit the new storm was a fairly admirable fellow if he was genuine. He really did represent a lot of potential for these people.

It would be weird having champions as allies, but then again Julie was probably going to be all over it. Hopefully they'd find lead in the tower at least.

image Champions of the Tempest Camp (Medical Tent) - Tinsdal

Vergil decided to follow the Vessel into the nearby Medical Tent, partly to see how she was doing, but also to keep watch over her. On the inside, the tent was a well stocked facility, and the Vessel was already busy at work, looking over formulas and using the items at hand. He waited for a quiet moment to speak.

"Hey there, just thought I come in here to see how were you doing, also to see if you needed any help." Vergil said in a calm tone of voice.

Vessel
"I don't need much done right now, I've pretty much got the cure."
There was a plume of smoke in one of her test tubes before settling into a clear orange liquid.

"It's done.
Powerful stuff no doubt. All we need to do is get it into the right place.
Then again, it might be nice to talk. Feels like a while since we have."

Guess who, on the open road
The carriage drove past; it was going at quite a speed now and heading in the right direction for where the man in white wanted to be.

It had been too long; he'd been working on this job for so long, sometimes something simpler was better. The driver of the carriage was convinced to stop. There was hardly even a sound, the man was too afraid to move on.

And so the man in white boarded, once the door was closed again he spoke.

"On man!"
The horses put on a burst of speed.

The man in white took the time to look around.

Mage hunters.

Oh this will be fun.

"But this isn't my stop. I've just gotten on.
You get off when you've got to where you want to go. That's how carriages work."
He was already weighing them up.

Blades, so soon how optimistic of them.

image Champions of the Tempest Camp (Medical Tent) - Tinsdal

"Yeah, your right, it does feel like its been awhile since we just talked; considering all the crazy things we have done over the past few days." Vergil remarked in a rather light tone, chuckling afterwards. He then walked up to Vessel, and gently held her hand, kissing it briefly and then looked at her straight in the eye.

"You ready for this Vessel? The final push, in a few hours, who knows what will happen."

"If you've no time to deal with me, then you've no time to stop me.
Anyway I've a mage to fight. One planning to arm the tower of man. She'll be there within the hour.

Now if you'll begrudge a man a chance to see his daughters before he goes to lay down his life, well anyway this is my stop."

He opens the door and steps out without the carriage even stopping.

Almost instantly there's a slight wobble in the carriage, soon after that it intensifies, the carriage is noticeably wobbling. If doesn't take long for it stumble fully, it's barely keeping on the road now and then it's not even on it.

Crash

At least they'd reached their destination.

Vessel
"I honestly don't know. I know exactly what I've got to do and I've got exactly what I need.
But there's something about him. I can't explain it."

image Champions of the Tempest Camp (Medical Tent) - Tinsdal

"Your right, something about him does feel strange. I can't explain it either, its almost as if he possessed some strange sort of power." Vergil remarked, amidst confusion surrounding this mysterious interloper that had given the group trouble. His smile returned as he looked at the Vessel again; he felt happy.

"I've always had faith in you Vessel, I knew that your mind would be able to comprehend this plague, and the means to cure it. It had to be you, someone else would of gotten it wrong. I am ready, when you are ready."

Vessel
"I don't think anyone could have made those words mean what you just did.
I won't lie, I'm scared, so scared. I don't even really understand why. It's quiet in my head, they aren't there. Is this what it's like for everyone else? Has he scared them off to? What sort of man scares away the gods? Is man even the word?"

image Champions of the Tempest Camp (Medical Tent) - Tinsdal

Vergil could sense the fear and panic in the Vessel's voice, due to not being able to hear the voices of the goods. He decided to embrace her, to try and help calm her down.

"Thank you Vessel, hearing that from you makes me feel a lot better about this whole situation we are in. I suppose not being able to hear the gods all of a sudden is quite the shock for you, after all, they have been an integral part of your life; I must admit, if I was in your shoes, I would most likely feel the same way. Whoever this being is, he is powerful, but you Vessel are stronger; I do not think he has scared them away, merely blocked your access to them. For now, focus on something or someone that has brought you joy to your life, and you won't feel scared any more." Vergil remarked, in an attempt to boost the Vessel's confidence.

"I... believe in you, that we'll succeed."

Then that happened
Can we please never mention this again?

First floor
It was weird; it felt like things were going way too fast but at the same time she was already regretting what she'd done with Vergil, it wasn't like her. She'd been doing so well trying to stay just friends. She'd no idea how to feel.

The tower was massive, reaching up into the sky, another reminder the Vessel didn't appreciate. The air was still barely a sound, the four standing at the bottom of the tower felt like the only four people in the world right now.

Vergil and the Vessel stood next to each other; her hand flickered between moving towards his and shrinking back.
But then she felt it a surge of confidence that had been few and far between in the past few days.

The door was right there shrouded in darkness.
All they had to do was take the first steps.

She took his hand firmly this time. She needed this discomfort psychical and emotional aside.
She strode forward into the darkness.
Ready.

"Time to die Velkan."
It was pitch black the sound seemingly coming from everywhere in the room and beyond all at once. There was a flash and a BANG.

The lights came on, but there were no traces of the mystery man. Vessel looked down, expecting blood or something, she'd just been shot hadn't she, what happened?

image The Tower of Man (Floor One) - Tinsdal

This was something that Vergil wasn't expecting from the Vessel; I mean, he respected them just being good friends, but never thought about it going this far, perhaps the Vessel was just feeling nervous about the task ahead, and needed a means to relax. Regardless of the reason, Vergil found himself to be rather confused, and might have to talk to her about it later. After regaining a sense of modesty, the pair remained quiet throughout the journey to the Tower of Man.

The tower in of itself was a colossal structure, reaching high up into the sky. What air actually passed through this towering creation, made the four of them, Vessel, Vergil, Katelyn, and the Oncoming Storm; feel like they were the only beings in existence. A door stood right there, hiding amongst the inescapable blackness. Without knowing, the Vessel gripped Vergil's hand tightly, a surge of confidence and adrenaline coursing through her veins as they took that first step forward. Suddenly, a voice appeared amidst the shadows.

"Time to die Velkan." The voice shouted, suddenly there was a bright flash, and an almighty bang.

"Not today!" Vergil shouted in his mind, as he stood in front of the Vessel, taking the shot in her place. Just as the lights came on, he could see the mysterious man disappear, and noticed a wound in his chest. He collapsed on the floor, his back to a wall and clutched at the wound.

"Ahhhh! *Insert Expletive Here* !" Vergil shouted in great pain, as blood began to form on the ground beneath him.

Did he just?

Really?

How did she not realise he'd do that? And so redily.

The vessel fell with him. Not really able to stand.
She barely caught him as she fell, landing heavily on the ground.
Time felt slower somehow, with his head in her lap.

He was bleeding, even this stretched time it was worryingly perfuse.
She inspected the wound, fuck, how many vital organs did that one shot hit exactly?
Even with her medical experience she couldn't recognise some of the bits.
It had gone deep, any deeper and she might be in just as bad a situation.
She was already covered in the stuff, she'd seen bad, but this.
She could already feel him slipping.

She held on tight but it wasn't doing anything to keep him.
She couldn't even be sure he was still conscious.

If this was the sort of person they were going up against, if this was what he was capable of, she had no idea why they were even fighting. Thoughts flooded her head, none of this made sense, she hadn't been able to think straight since the first time she'd heard the mystery man's voice, why hadn't he killed her back then? He could have done it, right there and then and his plans would have gone fine, and Vergil wouldn't have had to even be involved.

Or why hadn't the gods stepped in? They always had in the past? Had they abandoned her, had those cowards left her to fight on her own?

"You're supposed to help you bastards, you help keep balance and this is pretty fucking unbalanced right here!"

She screamed at the air saying many thing no one of stable mind could ever justify saying.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I never meant for this to happen to you, I should never have led you on? Why am I so stupid? Why are you so stupid as to follow me? What is it about me that gets you going? Because it certainly isn't my skills as a doctor, there no good, they can't even save one of the only people that actually deserve it.
I can even heal you, I don't have the energy.
Wait?"

Finally a small point of clarity, in the storm in her head, but this was no peaceful calm, no everybody lives the danger is go calm. This was the calm of acceptance, of the horrible duty.
She reached into Vergil's pocket, trying not to freak out again about the fact it was flooded. Her hand finds what she's looking for before she can think of an alternative.
At least he wouldn't have to see this, she hoped.

The pistol was heavy in her hands, especially considering the size of the device, then again it also had a lightness, after all you don't expect something so powerful to be so small.
She slowly drew it, in the light it glistened red.
She brought it up her breathing had slowed.

She looked at the other two, neither of than had done a fucking thing to stop this, they'd just stood there. But they could help, weather they wanted to or not.
The gun in her hand speed up confident now in its duty.
Soon it was pointed right at the two others.

Vessel's next words were said with more darkness that would shame the mystery man.
"Choose!" The shout carried across the tower. "I don't care which one of you it is, but if you don't choose I am."

There, blood soaked, on the floor with a pistol, looking up at two people that would probably kill her so easily, she stood her ground.

"I said Choose DAM IT!"

The gun switched between the two of them with ever small movement, it matched them point for point.

"DON'T FORCE ME TO CHOOSE!"

Katelyn Verneer - The Tower - Tinsdal

She had not expected that, Kate jumped, out of suprise, at the crack of the pistol. In the moments that followed as the sound echoed away across the stone of the tower she realized what had just happened. The man was injured. Taking the fall for the woman. He was as good as dead. She watched with some sympathy as the young girl tried to examine the wound but the blood kept coming, and that was never a good sign. She was stricken with panic. Clutching to straws at this point. Kate was about to say something when she drew the pistol.

In the silence of the tension Kate laughed. Laughed out loud.

'You choose little girl.'

image The Tower of Man (Floor One) - Tinsdal

There he lay, in a pool of his own blood, bordering on the boundary lines between life and death as his head lay nestled in the Vessel's lap. He already knew that he could slip away into eternal slumber at any moment. It was then that he saw the situation that the Vessel was currently in. Whilst he had noticed the occasional bouts of inner madness emanating from her, probably a result of being in constant contact with the gods; he didn't want to say anything, in case he upset her.

With a look of fear, pain, and exhaustion, he watched as the Vessel cradled the second pistol between her hands, furiously darting it between Katelyn and the new Oncoming Storm; ordering one of them to choose who should die so he could be saved. Whilst the thought was heart warming, the method of shall we say "execution" was less than desirable. No one should be forced into dying for the sake of another. With a blood soaked hand, Vergil grabbed hold of the Vessel's arm that had its fingers on the trigger.

It was then that Katelyn laughed, calling the Vessel 'little girl'. In a more normal state, this would have made Vergil mad; but due to the significant blood loss, he could barely muster any rage at all.

"Vessel, please, don't do this." He cried out, his grip getting tighter as he spoke.

"This isn't right, no one should be forced into choosing their own demise. Do you remember what I told you back at the camp? 'People do stupid things for those they love.' I fell in love with you, thanks to your beauty, your intelligence, and your heart. But the woman I see before me, isn't the woman I fell in love with, this being of both anger and rage. You are turning into something that deep down, you do not wish to become." Vergil remarked, as he coughed heavily.

"Do not blame the others for their inability to act. Like us, they did not know where this mysterious interloper would be amongst the darkness in this tower; it was by merely the smallest chance of luck that I saw where he was. You know, I've had dreams about us Vessel. Dreams that have kept me going, kept me strong, kept me alive; they are the only things that are making me not die this instant. Perhaps, if we both live through this, I can tell you what they were."

"Both of them deserve a chance to live. Think about the Oncoming Storm; he wants to lead his people into a new age of peace and glory. Also think about Katelyn, despite the animosity between her and Scarlett, I bet there is a part of her that wants to make amends for what happened."

"For the record, whatever happens, you'll have my undying love. There must be a way for all of us to get out of this." Vergil remarked with a brief smile and a wink.

image

"Vergil shut up. You're dying you don't get an opinion!
If there was a way other than this I wouldn't be about to murder someone would I."
She held the gun, more towards Kate at the moment since she'd spoken up.

"I don't even know you; really, you just came out of nowhere how are we to know we can trust you?
And you, storm, what makes you think for a moment we believe you about your reform.
For all we know either of you could be working with him."

The oncoming storm stepped forward.
He look at the vessel, saw her fear and distress as she raised the gun to him.
He had a surrendered look on his face one of acceptance.
"I'll do it, get back!"

He says nothing just takes off some armour.
"I said get the hell back! Don't make me do this. I will? Really."

He nods. "I know, but you shouldn't have to choose. So I'm making it easy. I volunteer."
"Thank you."

Bang
The blast makes her flinch as soon as she's pulled the trigger she starts to feel bad.
The Storm falls quickly there's a lot of blood. So much blood, then he speaks "At least I'll get to see you in action." His voice is week. The vessel feels the rush; it's been too long the gods were back within her.

Just in time as well Vergil was failing, his hearts last beats where getting fewer by the second.

BEAT, Beat, beat.... beat... b, each pump weaker and more spaced apart than the last.
Then she starts to play, each strum matching a heartbeat at first imitation, but then as the strums got faster and stronger his heart followed. She was conducting him back, from the brink of the void, as best as she could. His wounds were stitching up, entire organs regrowing. Blood crawling back into his body.

Vergil might just be saved.
The storm lay there watching.

"Now that, that was worth living to see."
His eyes closed. At least it was quick for him.
"Vergil? Did it work?"

image The Tower of Man (Floor One) - Tinsdal

With each consecutive beat of his heart, he felt himself steadily getting weaker, a step closer to his eternal slumber. What little he could make out of the world around him still, is was that the Vessel was still shouting at the others, still wanting them to choose. Suddenly, amidst the darkness, an almighty band was heard, followed swiftly by the sound of a body slumping; it seems that someone had finally chose.

Then, a new noise rose forth, it was sweet and angelic, matching the beat of his heart with increasing synchronicity. With each note, he could feel himself getting stronger, his wounds were healing, organs becoming whole again, and the sickly sweet ambrosia of life that was blood was flowing back into his body; he was being reborn. Air started flowing back into his lungs, and his eyes began to adjust to this sudden surge of life. Finally, came the question.

"Vergil? Did it work?" It was the Vessel, calling out to him. He then opened his eyes.

"Yes Vessel, yes it did." He replied, getting up from off the floor. Whilst he was angry at the Vessel, he remained calm, not showing his true emotions. Vergil then walked over to the now lifeless body of the Oncoming Storm, who volunteered his own life, and knelt down on one knee.

"Storm, even though you can not hear me on a physical plane, I know that out there in the great beyond, these words will reach you. All I can say is, thank you. Know that your deeds will not go forgotten, your name will be remembered; and I swear to you, on oath of vengeance, that the demon which has plagued us, shall fall this night." Vergil said with a burning passion, turning over the Storm's body so he was facing skyward. He then crossed the Storm's arms across his body.

"Requiescat in Pace." Vergil said out of earshot, before standing up once more, holding out a hand to the Vessel.

Katelyn Verneer - The Tower - Tinsdal

She took a step back and watched the restoration of Vergil in silence, keeping out of the way, and thinking about the life that had been sacrificed for it. Had it been worth it? Kate was not so sure. She would fight, but not for them, truth be told she didn't really like them, instead she would fight for the Storm. To make sure his sacrifice would not be in vein.

'So, that was... interesting. Always kill people to serve your selfish needs?'

Kate should really think before speaking.

There was something not quite right. Kate could feel it. Like a shadow hanging over the district. Was it all in her mind?

image

"Thank the gods."

She hugs Vergil, for a little too long probably in fact she doesn't stopped.

"So now, now that's done. We need to go up; if I've understood how this tower works we need to put the cure in at the top, now we might not have long. So we need to keep moving, no distraction, no rest. This needs to end.

"Vessel." This wasn't his voice, this was another weaker. Sounded like it had been through hell.

"Julie?"

"The one and only." She wretched a bit, spitting up something she probably shouldn't have. Her attempts at humour rang untrue. She looked around. Julie had come from a stairwell leading up. She limped a little and sloughed. Standing couldn't have been easy. She drew closer taking in the party

"He killed the storm already?"

image The Tower of Man - Tinsdal

"Well well Julie, its good to see that your up an about, I presume that the priest kept his word?" Vergil questioned, whilst he was pleased that Julie was alive, to him, something didn't seem quite right. He managed to gently wriggle out of the Vessel's embrace.

"Wait, what are you doing here? And more importantly, how did you obtain this location?" He then asked, curious as to see how and why she was here.

"What priest? I just woke up here, has it been long?
Wait, you don't mean the man in white? He's no priest.
Whatever he's told you forget it, he wants to use this tower for something and he's got my daughter, we need to stop him.
Look he's already killed one of you right? We can all see that." She pointed at the oncoming storm.

"So let's go, before he does anything to hurt Emilie."
Then Julie noticed Kate.
"Hey you're. Wait I know this, I recognise the face." She concentrated best she could. "No wait, who are you? Why don't I know who you are?"

image The Tower of Man - Tinsdal

"Well Julie, you suffered a pretty nasty concussion when the roof of the Champions base we were standing on caved in. Took me a while to dig through the rubble to find you, you were badly unconscious, and I was both surprised and relieved that you were still breathing. Don't worry though, I managed to obtain the chest that we were looking for, along with some other pieces of loot." Vergil commented on the situation, bringing Julie up to speed.

"The overall purpose of this tower, its a pump, and the contents of the chest that I recovered, well, I'll let the Vessel answer that. Anyway lets go, it seems now that we have multiple reasons to stop this man." He then added, as he made his way to the door.

Katelyn Verneer - The Tower - Tinsdal

Vergil moved to the door, the weight of his promise seemed to be a burden that lay heavy on his shoulders. He was keen to seek vengeance on the man that had cost the Storm his life. Kate turned to the new arrival.

'Katelyn Verneer.'

She would let the woman figure out the rest. Reaching back she drew her mechanical bow and unfolded it. She prepared a steel arrow between her fingers and walked behind Vergil. Staring through the door.

'Well, this is quite the party.' She muttered to herself as she stepped past Vergil and through the door.

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