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Board Writing :: Aftermath: The Prologue :: Page 5

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Posted by
Dec 28, 2004

Jules sat down, got ready, and proceeded to open the Tome. Right at the moment when he opened it, it felt as though an immense power erupted from the pages. He felt as though the fog was completely eradicated upon opening the Tome. Jules still had the reflexes to quickly close the Tome, but he noticed an apparent impact on his surroundings. All of the women suddenly seemed distracted from their tasks. Jules noticed this situation quickly catching the Collar’s attention. He just managed to hide the Tome away as the Collar glanced in his direction. Then he proceeded to get the women back to their work. With the Collar’s back to him and his mind totally cleared, Jules saw his perfect opportunity to slip towards the front doors and, hopefully, open them and get out quickly from this now not-so-comforting place before he was caught.

Unknown to Jules, the Tome had an external impact as well. The four people who were still relatively near the Church saw its aura suddenly brighten almost to the point of blindness, and then begin to dissipate. With this event added on to the slew of recent bizarre happenings, they stood dumbfounded, not caring that two were enemies of the other two.

It was Vincent who first broke the ice.

“So,” he started, turning towards Tanner, “would this be a good time to see if we can get Jules out of there?”

Vince’s question snapped Tanner out of his stupor, and he replied,

“Sure. Nothin’s not worth a try.”

Their conversation caught the attention of Gunter and Sasha, who separated from them and consulted with each other, Sasha asking Gunter,

“What should we do?”

“Let’s let them bring the Tome out. Then ve can ambush them and get out of here” Gunter replied. “They are both still veak, so ve can take them out quickly.”

With that, the two Thanox agents moved into nearby shadows as Vincent and Tanner approached the Church.

Posted by
Dec 29, 2004

"Funny that we had them at knife's edge and then come up with the plan of ambushing them from not there," Sasha grumbled.

"I dought you had a better plan in mind," Gunter snapped at his sassy underling from their shadowy position. Upon realizing the pointlessness of their retreat, the two pounced back upon the two agents.

"I never expected this," Ever told himself, as no one else was able to hear the thoughts of a disembodied spirit. "I thought living was bad, but to see all that I cannot change? That I cannot help? Truly, this is the more sinister punishment." The bodies of the Thanox members passed through him with no result. He was nothing to the physical world now. With longing eyes, he wished he could do something for his comrades, but, alas, he was powerless. They gained on the inattentive Vince and Tanner, but a tremble through the earth halted their advancement.

"Vat da-?" A thick hand tore through the blasted and battle scarred earth. It was too soon for Doc to have fully regrown after his incineration, so its origin was rather unexpected. Ripping out from the ground, the whole tired body was lifted out. Silver hair hung around a balding head, dusted and dirty from the soil. With rigid pulls of his muscles, the elder rose from sunken grave, reclaiming the war hammer.

"... Ever?" Vince questioned, startled by the loud outburst from the resurfacing of the man. In slow gait, the body of Samael approached the church with jagged steps. Not the smallest attention was given to any other present. Only the place of worship was in his sight. "Samael!" cried out Vince in another attempt to contact his thought dead companion as he dashed to him. Without outstretching an arm, the old man threw the younger aside with the unbalanced, rough movements in his steps.

"You fool," Ever whispered, "that's not me." He witnessed himself, his old self, staggering to the Church. His skin a sickly shade of grey, a tongue loosely hanging from his mouth, dripping a glowing, bright green saliva. Lifting his only arm high, the maul smashed into the already fading barrier around the sanctuary, utterly decimating it. Shards of fading holy wall rocketed from the resulting shock wave, passing through the concrete walls of the surrounding buildings but slicing though those unfortunate and unfit enough to be caught in their path. Screams poured out from within the holy structure, not screams of fainting as before but of the last breaths taken by the poor women.

"Vince," Tanner noted, "Something tells me that's ... not ... Ever. Who could have done this?" He asked this despite already knowing the answer. From the same hole in the ground carved by the resurrected Samael arose a slim figure, perfectly straight and proper. He did not claw or drag himself higher, he merely as lifted up. Within his gloved hand he clasped a vial, now empty, that still had the remnants of its bright green fluid clinging to its walls.

"My, my," spoke the Candyman, tossing the empty bottle aside, "that certainly was a walk through hell."

Posted by
Dec 29, 2004

The Collar turned to Jules, fallen from the shock of Ever's attack.

"What are you doing?" interrogated the priest, seeing the healer at the doors. It was only a moment before he would have escaped.

"Did you feel that?" the boy attempted to change the subject. "What was that?"

"Our barrier... it has fallen," stated the priest. "I must work to reinstate it; our few powers will be enough to stave them off until he arrives." With that, he tended to one of the women, lying motionless in the now dim ring. Jules, still impacted from the wall's fall, did not realize the words as the Collar spoke them.

"'He'? 'He' who?" he asked, picking himself from off the ground. Cowardice took over his newly cleared mind; whatever was happening outside suddenly sounded like something Jules wanted nothing to do with.

"A friend, a fellow innocent," informed the Collar. "Try as I might, we cannot keep safe forever. He was going to bring a new source for our protection."

"Things are crazy out there..." wandered Jules' mind, staring blankly at the doors. Slowly creeping with a slight sense of guilt, he decided to make himself useful and aid a nun while his magicks would still function. He could still not piece together what it was about this priest that bothered him, so he remained altogether cautious. "Father, will your friend be okay?" wondered he. "Without any protection?"

"He must be 'okay', son," laughed the Collar, moving onto another of the fallen women after the previous had resumed the prayer. "It is His will." Jules tried to understand what it was this priest was trying to tell him, but could not rationalize it. He stooped to the stony floor, his palm brimming with a gentle aura, but the nun unconsious beneath him remained still. Dismissing his magick, he now knelt to touch her, a touch cold as death.

"Father!" he exclaimed, beginning to shake the woman violently. "She is badly hurt! She may be dead!" He panicked. His healing abilities could only do so much; they had already failed on her. The collar did not change his pace or give any visible notice to the boy. He simply tended to another one of the black-dressed women and advanced to the next in the chain.

Jules could not be nearly so calm. He pulled back the long, concealing veil from the nun's face, not exactly knowing what he planned to do. Whatever it was, his unthought of plans were halted by a sudden stench that wafted by. His clenched, tearing eyes delayed the discovery of a parched, wrinkled, mummified face peeking from out the long, black garb. Shock overcame the healer; he dared not to move.

The Collar was not phased by any of this. Just as the others, he sat next to the woman. After a short chant, a sudden breath of life shot into the poor woman. The eyes filled with a dazzling white, and dead lips pushed out a dusty air Jules could recognize as a simple plea.

"Let me die." Jules jumped back, still transfixing his gaze to what once was a corpse. The priest just lowered the shroud and set her back to her task and moving on to his next one.

"She was dead," finally mumbled the ghost-white healer.

"Of course she was," answered the Collar. "They all are. They can do no evil now." He looked up to the boy, setting yet another nun up for her endless task. "They are perfect batteries of innocence, and far more agreeable like this," he went on. "They are much like you, save purer."

"I am nothing like them!" vehementhly denied Jules. He retreated, pressing himself against a pew. "Who are you? What is this?" assulted Jules repeated. "This is not white magick; this is... is... is... just sick!"

"Of course it is White," assured the Collar, unusually pleasant for the current predicament. "All magick derived from the Most High is good." He went on. "We all make sacrifices. Keeping them from Him is quite difficult for me," the Collar said, with some reflection. "Once my friend arrives, they can all rest; there will be no need for them to pray for our safety." Jules only looked onward, his eyes begging for the mad priest's ramblings to be explained.

"Son, we shall all be safe," he told. "The whole world."

Jules did not dwell long on this.

"You want to use this barrier," the healer attempted to reason, "across the entire world?" The priest nodded. "But, I saw what happened to my friends. If you were to..."

"Sinners," the priest harshly snapped. "It is of no concern what happens to them; they await a far worse fate in the next life." Jules stared onward into the Collar's face, contorted in rage.

"You could not actually... protect the entire world, could you?"

"But we could," replied the priest, whose expression returned to normal. "A great power has been unleashed upon the world. The sinners shalt not have it; the book will be delivered to us this day. We alone shall-"

"Book?" interrupted an increasingly worried Jules. The focus drew too much attention, which the healer tried to distract from with a quick question. "I mean, you don't know any of this will happen." As secretive as possible, he attempted to conceal the Tome even further from the father's eye. "I expected to be home today, wasting away the night. How can you say-"

"Those of earth are not meant to know the future," sternly stated the Collar. "Those of heaven, however..." Jules stood in awe.

"You mean... Him?"

"No," the priest shook his head. "A servant of His. An angel." This piqued Jules' attention. "Of sorts," muttered the Collar as a hasty addition. The thoughts flooded in.

"Father," started he. "Which angel exactly promised you the Tome?"

The lone man turned his head, taking in the whole of the devastation. Summoning a sudden gale, he took himself to the only clue, the only thing left amid the destruction. With searing fingertips, his arm thrust down, burning his grasp deep into the object. With a sudden jerk up, the pinkish mass was held level to the mage's view.

"I can wait," he told in a commanding tone. And, as soon as the Doc's lungs regenerated, the screams began. A carefree bolt smouldering his still exposed face put a quick end to that. "Speak only what and when I tell you," ordered the hyrid wizard, raising an eyebrow to the skull of the giant.

"Now, where did they go?"

The Keeper had lost the trail of the party some time ago. Few things could harm his other half, let alone fill it with fear, so avoidance of the Candyman seemed a wise choice. Coppers and Silvers were on constant patrol with the recent catastrophes and reports of entire squads being burned away, hindering his path little but proving a great nuisance. The rain literally made for difficult tracks. The Keeper wondered about any of it at all.

"You said we would have the Tome," he spoke into his spirit. "We don't."

"I am aware," hissed Ishmael. "We should have had the Tome by now," it lied. It only knew that the Tome would be in the Church at this time. It did not know that this was indeed the case. "Wait! I sense something." The Keeper stopped at his symbiote's request. "A Church... is there a Church?" The man looked at the deathly skyline.

"Yes," he returned, seeing the crux from afar. "Of what importance is that? We only need the book to seperate us."

"True, but it must be read within that Church," it again lied. The contents of the Tome were the darkest of black magicks; no matter how twisted, white magick was still its enemy. The spell would be ruined at so much as the book openning; rather, its power would be drawn with covers closed, still more than enough to complete his dark designs. "Once complete, we shall be seperated at last," hissed the spirit within.

This, it spoke true.

"Perhaps, the Tome is nearby that Church then. If the spell to free us is in fact to be cast at midnight, it cannot be far from it." With a mighty bound, the aeromancer flew toward the steeple.

Posted by
Jan 14, 2005

Before the Collar could answer Jules’ question, another shock, from Ever’s second attack, ripped through the reforming barrier and sent the women down into stillness again. The Collar broke off from conversation with Jules to hasten the recovery of the barrier. Jules, left by himself again but not wishing to go near the doors, tried to sort out the panicky thoughts flooding through his mind. Not only were the people outside the Church trying to get at the Tome, but now the Church itself was involved as well, with an angel?!

After a few moments, Jules began to think more about getting the Tome away from the Church. However, the front doors were dangerous enough from the recent attacks. He began to look around quickly for another means of escape, a window perhaps, or something. At the same moment, Jules began wondering about what he should do with the Tome if he couldn’t escape.

Meanwhile, outside, the four agents motionlessly watched Samael in the work of decimating the barrier, with the Candyman walking up next to him.

“Heh heh heh.” the Candyman voiced to himself while watching the scene, apparently unconcerned about the four spectators. “Even a reforming barrier cannot hold off forever.” He grinned.

The Candyman stopped next to Ever and looked at him, as if waiting for his third strike and the opportunity to pass through the barrier once it was broken again.

The Thanox agents were so absorbed into the scene that it took a few tries to finally catch Sasha’s and Gunter’s attention. Maria came up behind them, seeing what they saw, and asked in a small voice, “Both of you…what is going on?”

The other two remained speechless, leaving Maria to grasp what was happening.

“No…” Ever whispered to himself. “Is there any way I can stop this? Stop this destruction?”

Then, Ever noticed the aeromancer, from his high vantage point, approaching the Church from far away.

“This…can’t be happening.” Tanner said, his voice starting to become shaky.

Vince, unable to continue watching at that moment and witnessing their helplessness against the Candyman’s actions, turned his eyes to the dark sky.

“Man.” Vince said. “What I’d do for some help about now…”

Posted by
Feb 17, 2005

"Help you say?" called out an all too familiar voice. "Vhy, Vincent, you vere never one for accepting assistance."

"Yeah, he was always one for assisting himself," Maria implied. Half alarmed at their appearance but still in dismay at the worlds end, the duo only feignedly drew their weapons.

"What do ya two want?" Tanner growled. "Isn't there enough goin' on already?"

"That is exactly it, child," Gunter sighed. "This is not vhat vas suppose to happen. Thanox needs the book, not this church."

"Wait," Vince stopped the giant in the middle of his sentence, "you can't possibly be suggesting-"

"An alliance?" questioned a third familiar voice as a woman donning a crystalline visor approached. "Oh, how cliche is that? The sworn enemies unite to crush a common foe?"

"Ya guys had us at knife's edge not that long ago," Tanner reminded with a mark still left on his neck. "Now we're suppose to be all buddy-buddy? 'Tisn't that bad!" At his words, a great, winged figure soared overhead, diving into the church as the force field buckled around his approach to accept him. "Oh, shaeti, 'tis the end of the world as we know it."

"Oh, brave warrior, save me," blandly rambled Maria unaffectionately holding out her arms. Tanner still took the invitation, taking quite a nasty shock from her damaged, mechanical appendages.

"Still worth it," he coolly spoke, smoothing down his frizzed hair.

"It's all nice and good that you're willing to play the part of the hero when someone is making you look bad at being bad," Vince grumbled, annoyed at Tanner's antics, "but just how does anyone expect to stop anything if that wall is absorbing all our magic powe-" A great sound drowned out his words at Ever, or his body, took the last strike on the heavenly barrier. The blow glistened with the damnation he carried within himself. The shield was not just cracked as before but actually swallowed by darkness, dissolving into mere fading twinkles of light. The crux at the steeples's peak cracked before shattering into pieces that littered the once hallow grounds. It was not just gone, it was broken from its divine source. White magic of such magnitude required holy land to serve as a conduit. Ever saw the end of this. Curious, Vince held up his finger to witness it ablaze.

"Rock on."

** There is still more to this story. Continue to the next page. **

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