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Pokémon FULL Crimson Dawn: A Tale of Conquest (IC) Page 14

Started by Ray Maverick March 1st, 2014 11:51 AM
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SV

See You Space Cowboy

Male
Seen 1 Week Ago
Posted 2 Weeks Ago
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8.3 Years

Gerrick and Romulus - Beyond



The Old Mines of Union City were the last place anyone would look for a traitor. Long since drained from the gold that could be extracted, they were abandoned now, home to Galvantulas and Golbats and their children. Vellas, one of the leaders of the Gold Tribe during Union City's birth, made it his personal business to make use of that mountain that was lodged on the eastern part of the city; gold was found in it, and that gold served to make Union City rich, especially the district around the mine, as its residents were the miners with the highest and obscenely generous salary. Their houses near the entrance were like palaces in their prime, but once the mine was drained, they withered in time.

This district was now in a perpetual state of misery. Drowned in a haze that hung like a jinx over it, those who lived there were cursed to never look up. The houses were ancient but broken and in desperate need for renovation, as some lacked parts of their walls or roofs, letting the cold sweep right through them. Moss had grown from their snow-covered gardens. There were corpses on the side of the street; the cold or the hunger had reaped them. No one dared to look at a stranger, as strangers had no good to offer. No one dared to look at a brawny Haxorus who looked brutish enough to bring more bad things to the residents of this district.

It was exactly why Romulus had chosen this place for a hideout. These people were struggling with their every day lives, to make ends meet; they would not know or care who has abandoned the Gold Tribe and who has killed far more people than their soul could handle.

The Old Mines were warm, too.

The front entrance was collapsed long ago, but there was another way in; the way that was dug by Gerrick. The disconcerting thought that Romulus was depending on Gerrick's abilities to survive in this weather came often to him, but he always put off thinking of a way out of it... the Haxorus knocked off the barricade he'd placed at the small entrance Gerrick had created and slithered inside, where the sharp cold couldn't bite through his scales as badly. That entrance was simply a shortcut to bypass the collapse on the front entrance, so Romulus ended up inside the mines very quickly. He grabbed one of the torches that were burning on the walls and made his way through the caverns, to the small cave where he had his brother chained with a tristanite ball that the taskmasters of the mines used to fix in place prisoners who mined out their sentence in gold by strapping it onto their foot.

A few hundreds of meters into the cave, the torches wore out and eventually, and then there was only darkness. Romulus hadn't lit the rest of the way in case any wiseguy thought to enter the mines.

An hour later, the Haxorus entered the small cavern where his brother was in. The place seemed to be an interchange between many caverns the miners had dug in all directions; but all the separate caves had collapsed and half of the wooden supports that held the ceiling had turned to dust. The train-track that was used to push the cart with gold out of the mine was almost buried.

Romulus threw his small bag on the ground, between the train tracks, and sat on the bit of cold steel that protruded from the ground. "Eat up," he said to his brother who was near, without looking at him.

Gerrick glanced down at the pile of food in front of him, if you could call it that. Mushed up fat that was passed off as meat, along with some sort of grass that acted as a side. He was certain he could find better in the garbage. But at this point, 'food' was food, even if it... well, wasn't.

"Arceus, what I'd give for some ale to wash this down," Gerrick whined and scooped up the discolored meal and placed it into his mouth. "I don't think I even remember how ale looks like at this point! Or tastes like... "

Romulus on the other hand didn't care much about what he was eating, or what he would wash it down with. Food had lost its taste long ago. He looked at the Krookodile, chewing on his meat soup without much excitement. "No ale today," he said.

Gerrick scoffed, both at the combination of the horrid taste of the food and his brother's answer. "No ale today, no ale anyday. Arceus, look at where I'm at. What the hell am I doing here? Hiding like a frail Caterpie! Escapin' this damn cold is the highlight of my day! What the hell are we doin', Rom? What the hell am I still doin' here? Exathor... this psyduckin' wasteland... " He shook his head and sighed. "I think I overstayed my welcome here."

The Haxorus picked up a piece of meat and brought it to his mouth, still staring at his brother. "Where else do you want to be?"

Gerrick offered the Haxorus a meek shrug. "Somewhere else, anywhere else. This land ain't what it used to be. Maybe somewhere south. Somewhere warm," The Krookodile shivered. "Somewhere where I can feel my toes. Yeah, there's somethin' like that out there. That's where I'm goin'. There are stories, ya know."

Romulus smirked. "Stories? What stories?"

Gerrick grinned as he rubbed his shoulders to warm them. "Stories beyond. The world don't end with Exathor. I heard tale of many lands. Lands where the 'mon live in a sunny paradise on small islands. Lands of fire scaled so high, no foreigners ever get in. Lands of buildings higher than any in our nations, so high that Arceus touches them from the sky. Lands where the 'mon live in forests, and another where they live deep in caves. And lands with harsh cold, and even harsher 'mon. You can be sure I'd avoid that land," Gerrick stated. He then shrugged again. "If a place like that is actually around. They're only stories. But it's a nice thought."

Romulus threw him a harsh look of disbelief. "I've never heard of these things," he scowled, but then gave it some thought. If there was truly new land to the south, then perhaps there was a chance he could... "We're already on the land harsh with cold," he grunted. "You can be trapped in a fantasy for all you want. Even if these lands do exist, they're lifetimes away from our reach." Romulus would choose to simply do what he would do best... here.

Gerrick snorted. "I've got a lifetime to go lookin'," He retorted and filled himself with what remained of the horrid food on his plate. "There ain't anythin' for me here anymore... I'm done with this land..." He paused for a moment, and looked over his brother. "You should come with me. It'll be like old times. The three of us together. Remember those times? There's nothing left for us here."

The Haxorus dropped his stiff expression for once and stopped eating. His heart ached and he looked at the Krookodile like a child about. In this moment of weakness, he looked at a pouch that he kept next to him; a pouch that contained a heavy stone disk...


A Legend once told me that roleplaying is about bringing people together and celebrating creative vision.
Paired with the Artsy Infinite and the Spectacular Shak

Ray Maverick

Age 23
Male
Online now
Posted June 9th, 2019
3,388 posts
10.4 Years

Luthor "Silver Claw" vs Romulus "Earthquake"


After Luthor spoke with Achilles about the discovery of Romulus in the city, it was made clear there was no knowledge on where he was hiding. He had left, in search of the traitor. After wandering the streets of Union City, Luthor had realized the one place Romulus would actually go. The Mining District.


Luthor observed the surroundings, the abandonment, the misery and utter despair. It vaguely reminded the Feraligatr of his childhood. The starvation, the struggle, the very air... he felt like he was breathing the very same air he took when he was but a Totodile. Shaking it off, he scanned the surrounding area. It is quite abandoned, but those unfortunate souls in poverty usually end up here. A Croagunk appeared in his vision, walking across the road. Luthor inhaled deeply, and shouted at him, "You there! I need to speak with you." The Croagunk froze in place, not a muscle even twitched when he saw the large, lumbering figure in a black cloak. "U-Uh... y-yeah?" The Croagunk shoke, obviously hiding something he didn't want to share with Gold Tribe. "Have you seen any new... 'residents' around this area? I'm looking for a Haxorus."

The Feraligatr's eyes pierced into the Croagunk. "O-oh... yeah, yeah. In the mines. I think somethin' like that was trudging in those mines, fella," the Croagunk explained. Not thinking further on what that Croagunk was really hiding, he thanked him, and stormed off to the mines. After that, the Croagunk sped off in the opposite direction, not wanting to meet up with that lumbering nightmare again.

When Luthor approached, he could see the main entrance was blocked off. No sign of any recent tampering to it. That's when he looked around, and saw a 'mon-made hole. He bellowed lowly, angrily. He knew at that moment, Romulus had to be hiding in those mines.

Luthor steeled himself, and crawled into the hole. He crawled and crawled, deeper and deeper until he found himself in the mine tunnels, torches already lit. Luthor snatched a torch from the wall, and held it in front of him as he traversed through the emptiness.

It was faint, but Luthor could sense other 'mon besides him in these lifeless tunnels. He descended further, relighting his torch with nearby stationary torches. Eventually, after a restless search, he came across a growing light. A light separate from the torches along the wall. This is it. This is where Romulus was hiding.


***


Romulus and Gerrick had stopped their dining and stood completely still the moment they heard sounds from the cave. Romulus rolled his eyes and exhaled half-wearily, half-angrily as he first assumed some homeless 'mon had found their way in. He placed his bowl down quietly and pushed himself up, ready to call out, but he stopped suddenly and perked up his ears. What he was hearing was the footsteps of a heavy Pokemon. It occurred to him that whoever it was, perhaps he wasn't the regular citizens. It occurred to him, that he could have been followed.

He didn't call out. He pointed at his brother with one claw, ordering him to be silent as the 'mon was stepping closer. There was no time nor place to run; Romulus was facing the entrance of the dimly lit cave when the mon showed up. It was a hulking Feraligatr, tall enough for his head to be grazing the ceiling of the caves; as tall as Romulus, in fact. The Haxorus didn't instantly recognize the Feraligatr in the poor lighting, but he remembered that face, he had seen that face among other faces of the Gold Tribe, and had even heard the title: Silver Claw. Colossus, the former leader of the Gold Tribe and also mentor of Romulus, spoke of Silver Claw fondly.

Romulus looked at him intensely, as if he wanted to melt him with his stare; he bent his legs slightly and spread his arms low, ready to ignite them with dragonfire. Blood was going to be shed. Gerrick had already lumped in the shadows, gone into hiding away from sight.

Luthor's eyes met in full fury with the Haxorus. Even now, he could think back to all the talk about before Romulus was first admitted to the Gold Tribe. A real bully in the ECUL. A merciless fighter. "Romulus... if there was ever a member of the Gold Tribe throughout the years I would've enjoyed taking down...." Luthor's eyes gleamed as he spoke, his right claw seeming to glow a brilliant dragonflame. "I would've taken great pleasure putting you in your place. In the name of the Emperor Cyrus Aurelius, Ruler of All Exathian Nations... I shall finally deliver justice onto you."

Romulus scowled harshly. "You're using pretty words," he commented with iron in his voice, although he was tired. Through Romulus's dark eyes, there was a weight growing heavier with each kill, and it was visible now. Yet, his hands erupted with red and blue flames, giving the dark cave a different light. Luthor would use the same attack as he: Dragon Claw. It made the Feraligatr's hands hot with the same dragonfire that Romulus possessed, gone up in flames at the same time.

Luthor matched Romulus, and swiped first with a Dragon Claw of his own, shining blue and red flames as his claws raked the Haxorus. Romulus roared, feeling the scales of the side of his arm licked by the destructive, consuming dragonfire; his own slash came across the Feraligatr's chest at the same time.

The wounds were left scorched with blue and red embers, on the side of Romulus's arm and on Luthor's chest. Luthor bellowed, and attacked with a Crunch attack, lunging forward with jaws wide open. Romulus made no attempt to dodge; the Feraligatr locked his jaws around his side, his teeth piercing through the Haxorus's hard scales. The dragon grunted, already harmed from the cauterized by dragonfire gash on his arm, and responded with an Assurance that grabbed the Feraligatr from the neck. Normally, if this was any lesser opponent, Romulus's weight behind the Assurance would have flipped them off their feet and on their back, and that would be the end of them. But Luthor was heavy, and the Assurance only managed to push off his Crunch attack.

Romulus bared his teeth, exhaling audibly, upset. "You're making a mistake," he spat, "did you come down here to die?"

Luthor simply bellowed at him again. He ignored his own cauterized wound, and heatedly replied, "You're pathetic. You think you can kill me, Romulus?!" Luthor tightened his left fist, aiming Rock Smash attack at Romulus' gut. The attack connected as the dragon was preparing his next attack; Dragon Pulse. As the Feraligatr was so close, he was showered by dragonfire that burned hot like an anvil. Embers of dragonfire lingered on the ground after Romulus had spat out the attack from his mouth. The darkest corners of the cave were lit in a flash.

Luthor stumbled backwards, but roared, and sprayed a vicious Scald attack, a powerful stream of searing water aimed towards the Romulus' face. The dragon screeched when the attack struck him and flinched; he could feel his tough skin burn. He wanted this to be over quickly, now.

"Time to take your punishment. The consequences of all your actions to this point... the betrayal of the Gold Tribe Oath. Aiding the enemy, and slaying your own brethren. The only punishment for you is death. Face justice, traitor!" Luthor inhaled deeply, and released a Hydro Pump, again, with great force.

Romulus's face was drawn with madness, burned from the scald, lit in the dark by his own dragonfire. More dragonfire burst in front of his spread arms, creating a huge fireball just as the Hydro Pump was shot at him. He fired it at the stream of water and the dragonfire bit through the water in an explosion of steam. The Draco Meteor was one of Romulus's most powerful moves; he had hoped it would finish off the Feraligatr, but the Hydro Pump hindered its advance and diminished its strength. But it connected with Luthor, and the stream of water ceased. Luthor fumbled to the groud, wreathed on dragonflame, burning most of his body, and his cloak. He bellowed and groaned loudly from the pain, but clenched his fangs.

The Haxorus was heavily breathing, his scalded face stung and the wound on his arm ached him, but it wasn't time to let up. The brief pause gave him room to leap in front of the Feraligatr who was dazed by his Meteor; now he would give it his all. "Let us finish this!" his roar boomed in the cave, "feel my might!"

His whole body burst in dragonfire. It came out of his eyes and mouth and engulfed his scales, swirling around him wildly. He exhaled, feeling his whole body burn. The Haxorus let out a different roar rock the cave this time: a roar coming from hell. The Outrage made him wild with pure rage. He swung his head around, burying the axe-blades on dragonfire inside the Feraligatr's shoulder. His fiery claws came slashing up and down, pushing the Gold Tribesman back,

Luthor fell again, with a swift rake of Romulus' attack, Luthor was deeply wounded. Searing and burning, Luthor laid there recoiling in pain. He spattered blood, coughing and wrenching. But... despite the agony, he slammed his right claw to the ground and clumsily rose. Those yellow eyes continued to gleam with rage at the Haxorus. "I can see you desperately cling to winning this fight. Whatever the case may be... I will still kill you... I WILL kill you, Romulus!" Luthor bellowed once more, water engulfing his very being, a raging Waterfall attack was being formed. He raised his silver claws above his head, and again, the blue and red flames covered his claws.

He lunged, he shot towards Romulus with all of his might, his unbridled wrath. He slashed into the Haxorus with a Dragon Claw, and crashed into him with a furious Waterfall attack.

The water came washing up on Romulus like a rising wave, although it was consumed by the hellish dragonfire that surrounded the dragon. The strike, though, that came with the water, connected to Romulus's gut, and the Dragon Claw slash followed, tearing his scales apart. Pain blinded the dragon whose dragonfire was extinguished with the powerful strike Luthor's counter attack had delivered.

The cave became dark again as the dragonfire died out. Romulus was left standing a few meters away from his opponent. Blood dripped down from his nose onto his mouse as he drew breath, giving Luthor a deadly stare. His face was burned from the scalding water that had splashed on it, and the wounds on his arm and gut had turned purple and black between crushed scales.

A dragon on the brink of death, barely alive. With his jaws ground and his eyes full of something that resembled cold fury and weariness, he licked his lips, and slowly, he turned his head to his brother Gerrick. He couldn't see him in the dark, but he could smell him. The look he gave his brother should have been enough to get a message across.

His misty, weary gaze returned to the opponent that was standing in his way. He bent his legs as he would normally do before casting his signature move, Earthquake. "This is your last chance, Silver Claw. Get out of here, or you will be buried. I'll bring down the entire cave if I have to," he roared, but part of him knew it would not work. Silver Claw was too bent on his quest to give up now; he would have to be slain.

Luthor, heavily breathing and desperately clinging to life, huffed at the Haxorus. "You won't be able to pull it off, you wretch...." The Feraligatr lumbered towards Romulus, each step a great thud. Luthor was greatly feeling the blood loss and the deep wounds that covered his body. Still... his sharp, yellow eyes never let go of Romulus' eyes. "You're finished, Romulus," Luthor stated as he stepped closer and closer, his thudding footsteps causing his own quake. "Any last words, before I deliver unto you your punishment?" Luthor questioned the broken, worn down dragon, just in claw's length.

Romulus's mouth trembled. His resolve was crumbling. Yet, he raised one foot for the Earthquake, but the battle worn dragon did not finish the move correctly. What was set off was a small quake, and the Haxorus fell over. However, the quake rocked the cave violently and rocks cracked from the ceiling, and parts of it started to collapse into the cave below. A cloud of dust rose and the light of the torches was extinguished, leaving everything into darkness.

MurkMire

Toxic Terror

Age 28
Male
Somewhere dark, cold, and quiet.
Seen 3 Weeks Ago
Posted April 10th, 2019
863 posts
7.8 Years
After the Battle

The quake and rumbling from Romulus's failed attack still made quite the scene within the mine tunnels. Both Romulus and Luthor were buried underneath debris, but after some time, the Feraligatr shook free from his rocky tomb. He coughed and spattered more blood, groaning from the intense fight that took place. The mine was collapsing. Despite a failed Earthquake, Romulus still had enough power to make the entire mine collapse.

It took him a few moments to realize he was surrounded in darkness, though he could still barely see. Squinting, his vision became clear enough to somewhat navigate his surroundings. And, where his opponent was previously. In his place, were the rocks that fell on top of him. Though he knew he had to inspect the body, the collapsing mine was a more important matter. He himself would die in there as well if he didn't get out quickly enough. However... something caught Luthor's eye, and attention. Not only the bloodied bag that lay some feet away from him, but the fact that the Krookodile with Romulus was nowhere to be found.

He picked up both his back and his tattered cloak, shrouded himself and strapped the bag to his person. He looked around, but appeared to have no escape. "I'll have to find water... my only chance of survival. Again." Luthor thought this to himself as he got on all fours, lowering his head to the ground, he trained his very being to the environment. He laid there, training his ears to anything at all. Finally, he caught it. It was faint, but it was there. Running water. It seemed to run somewhere, so Luthor had no choice. Looking at his claws, he readied himself to tunnel through the earth once more.

"Grnnghh!" The Feraligatr bellowed, as he raked, clawed and dug through the earth, all of his training paying off once more, as he once again dug through pure rock and dirt. As his clawed his way, the room caved in, and became a tomb if it's own.


***


Back in the White Citadel, inside the War Room, Emperor Cyrus was seated in his place in the round table with the map that depicted Exathor, and all the pawns that symbolized the armies on it. Garland was standing by his side, pointing to the north where most of the Crimson Crusade's army had gathered in Telmor. They were discussing how they would move next, when a Doublade from the Emperor's Shield appeared in the door.

"Your Highness," the blades spoke quickly, "apologies for the curt interruption, but it appears Silver Claw has returned. He claims to have completed his quest."

The Beartic and the Floatzel paused for a few seconds.

Garland grunted with his hands on his hips, "so soon? Is this some kind of joke?"

As Garland finished, the door swung open, Luthor, in his tattered black cloak covered in blood, slowly lumbered into the War Room. He limped slowly, even a bit of his blood smeared onto the floor as he made his way. "Y-Your Highness... Brother...." Luthor groaned, trying to speak without coughing terribly.

Emperor Cyrus stood up in a hurry, nearly knocking his chair back. Luthor was just limping right past the lower table that was used for lunch when the Beartic made him sit down on a low, wide chair made for 'mon of his size. He barked to the Doublades, "get a healer, go."

Garland stood near the Emperor as he examined Luthor's wounds. The gash across the Feraligatr's chest was blackened, cauterized, as was the deep cut in his shoulder. Cyrus placed the tip of his claw on them and brought it to his nose. "Dragonfire," he said to Garland, whose face darkened.

"Romulus?" he asked, his voice strange, as if he was choked up.

"Yes..." Luthor answered tiredly. "I found h-him... in the mines... Achilles informed me of Romulus' presence in the city. I found him... in the abandoned mines. We fought, and near death, Romulus had set off a quake in the mines, making the place collapse... we were both buried, but I managed to escape. I wasn't able to be certain of his condition, but... I found this." Luthor held up a bloodied bag. The bag he swiped before leaving, as proof of his encounter with the Haxorus.

"What is this?" Garland inquired, his eyes darting to the bloodied bag Silver Claw was holding.

At that moment, a Chansey and her Happiny helpers walked in, waddling quickly to the Feraligatr's side. They took out potions and bandages out of the Chansey's pouch and got to work.

"Sir," the Chansey said to Garland, "we will have to sedate him to sew up his wounds."

"So be it," the Floatzel said, "take him to the infirmary. Make sure he survives."

The Doublades helped the Chansey and the Happiny get Luthor outside the War Room. Once that was done, Cyrus took the bloodied bag to his hands and examined it. Out of it he took a small but heavy disk made of stone. It had streaks through which a white liquid passed through, giving it its own slight illumination. This was one of the vessels used in the Vaults to store thoughts and memories.

Garland was upset as Cyrus spun the disk to show its contents, but he said nothing. A vision captured their eyes.

Ray Maverick

Age 23
Male
Online now
Posted June 9th, 2019
3,388 posts
10.4 Years

Earthquake


It was dark as the curtains were drawn over the window, but a single ray of the sun was enough to give color to the room. A very simple and tidy room, without much furniture or finery or even personal items. On the wall above the feather bed, there was the schedule of the summer activities for the Gold Tribe. And next to it was a mirror, more than six feet tall.

The Haxorus was staring inside the mirror, searching deep in his own grey eyes. His breathing was quickened and his heart raced. His face had been molded into an expression that had never touched it before: that of pain, and that of fear. But only briefly. The pain and fear faded, and iron was left behind when he started talking.

"I am Romulus Errias," he stated in front of the mirror in a deadpan, lifeless tone. "Brother of Second-in-Command, Alonsus 'Shadowrend' Errias, and mentored by Raphael 'Colossus'. Titled, 'Earthquake.' The date is seventeen of August, year a thousand and fifty nine After the Prophet. This is the start of my memoir; this is all I will have left once this is over. It will be updated... every chance I get, in the following months. I don't know if it will serve a good purpose or it will be a pointless exercise; but I know that it'll help me a lot."

He drew a deep breath, staring at the mirror as if it was his enemy. He was frustrated.

The vision shifted, the room faded.

"Sixteen of August," Romulus was heard saying as the scenery changed into mountains. "Yesterday."

A Haxorus and a Krookodile were standing on the edge of a cliff, in Montajo range, central Exathor. There were no snows, and the heat of the summer made it comfortable for the two reptiles. But there was tension between them; they never loved each other much, even though they were brothers in the Gold Tribe for years now.

The Krookodile always had a black cape and dark eyes to match it, and his golden insignia on his lapel gave him a certain degree of... authority. He was unsmiling, always unhappy, always unsatisfied, dutiful to a fault. Very unlike their brother, Gerrick.

"Romulus," Alonsus Errias said, "there's no time."

"Get on with it, then," Romulus prompted him. Indeed there wasn't time. Romulus was in the service of Lord Chantalai of the Vanir, and he had been pulled away secretly for this conversation.

"Are you still loyal to the Gold Tribe?" his older brother asked him back in the same curt manner. Alonsus, of course, would flay him on the spot if he said no, but he had to ask. War was right around the corner.

Romulus scowled, putting his hands on his hips. He said, "of course. I will be loyal till my death, and afterwards if I can."

"Swear to me that you are loyal. Say your oaths again."

Romulus rolled his eyes and exhaled.
"I swear to honor the customs and traditions of the Gold Tribe. I swear to respect my fellow Pokemon. I swear on my honor, on my life, on my heart to protect those who can't be protected and those who asked to be protected. I swear to defend the freedom and liberty of the Pokemon of this Realm and its leader, the First Man of Union and Alliance, Emperor Dareon Aurelius. The true Emperor."

Alonsus "Shadowrend" stared at him, with his dark eyes piercing through his. He did not detect lies, Romulus observed. Alonsus was the one who had taught him how to lie; Alonsus knew how Romulus lied, and Alonsus hadn't been lied to by his little brother forever.

The Krookodile shut his mouth and inhaled through his nostrils. "As the Second-in-Command, I discussed your position with our leader. Your spot is rather favorable for us. The bodyguard of the Lord of the Vanir, the supposed chieftain of the rebel lords, and you've the reputation of a brute on top of that. Someone who respects no law, only force."

Romulus was used to his brother belittling him for his reputation. He shrugged. He didn't give a damn about his reputation. "People like to talk."

Alonsus ground his jaws. "Indeed," he said between his teeth.

"So what's this about, brother? Did you drag me all the way out here to make me say my vows again? Has Dareon started to sweat on his throne about every brother and sister's loyalty?" He snickered.

Alonsus was unamused. "As I said, your position has been discussed. And Garland and I have agreed that we shall be giving a quest to you. You cannot tell anyone about this."

"And what will that quest be?" Romulus asked.

Alonsus looked at him with dark pity in his otherwise cold eyes. "To betray your oaths on purpose. To go back on our principles as member of the Gold Tribe; to be branded a rogue, a betrayer, a traitor. All that to gain the trust of the enemy. Stay close to them. Do what they bid you to do. Slay your brothers if you must, but remain to their side at all costs; none of the laws that applied to you so far do so now. Blend in with the evil. Find out about their plans, study them; learn who incites them and why. And help us, when you can, from the shadows, undetected. You will be chased." Alonsus shrugged, his mouth forming a passive line downwards. "You might be slain," he added, "for the greater good. Why you?" Alonsus questioned. "The reason is obvious. No one will question it. No one will think otherwise. You're one of the best fighters in the Realm. Your strength has made you a symbol to many Stygians. You're already a monster to the eyes of the rest, and you can play the part well, you know how. You're an actor Romulus. We taught ourselves to be actors in front of our father. We joined evil, so evil would not destroy us."

What was he to say? The Haxorus looked at his brother sadly for a time, and then glanced off to the side, where the mountain valley opened up before them beyond the cliff. A gentle wind brought the summer scent to his nose, and the birds cried out as they flew above the mountains of the sky island. The river of the valley shone under the sun. Would that all feel different... if he accepted? Would his life be forsaken forever?

"What if I say no?" Romulus said, his throat very dry suddenly. This was not a choice anyone should be given.

"Then," Alonsus said, his eyes suddenly widening in rage, "I'll slay you right here," he bellowed, spitting saliva his way, "you miserable, useless wretch! The Gold Tribe needs you, and you dare say no?! You deny the very people who took you in and called you brother?! You were nothing but a violent, nearly uncivilized baby before I made sure you got into the college, always bringing nothing but trouble! You led a dangerous, risky life, and you survived, because you were good at it. That's all you're good for. Maybe I should've sent you to the fighting pits instead; it seems you lack the courage to do right by the brotherhood."

"Enough," Romulus spat, and they stared each other hatefully. "I'll do your quest."

The Krookodile let out a slight grunt of acknowledgement, grinding his jaws; if he was satisfied, there was no sign of it. There never was any sign of happiness in Alonsus, only bitter grimness.

"But tell me the reason," Romulus continued, "I can just fight for the Emperor as well as I can for the enemy. Why should I forsake my oaths, and risk my honor forever?"

"Garland suspects someone is inciting the rebellion. That it isn't simply the doing of the ambitious little psyducks half of the lords of Stygia are. Someone with the power to move so many people in such way is dangerous to the Realm and must be identified."

The Haxorus laughed dryly, "so, I'm risking my life and my honor for a suspicion?"

"Don't question it," Alonsus spat, "even if Garland is wrong, the Stygians are powerful. And we lack men on the inside."

Romulus grinned joylessly, bitterly. "I see how it is," he said. "I'll be going now."

"Don't fail us," Alonsus said.

"Don't worry," Romulus retorted. "I won't risk everything just to fail."



***



Now it was night, and Romulus was in a small cave, alone. He lay down on the tough rock floor, staring at the wall.

"I watched my brother die today," Romulus's voice was heard, though the dragon did not move his mouth. "It was an ambush. I would have warned him, but there was no time, no opportunity. Or, maybe there was, but I missed it. Lord Chantalai watches me closely, as if he suspects. He did not allow me to be present while they butchered the Gold Tribe party that was sent just to talk with him; maybe he was too afraid I would do something. Only afterwards, he brought me to the room and showed me what had been done; Alonsus was still alive and writhing on the ground, when Vendra plunged a dagger through his eye. I did not move a muscle. I did not feel a thing. I hated my brother. My brother was just a hunk of meat with a zeal that made him a tool for the tribe. But he didn't deserve to die like that. Nobody from the Tribe deserved to die like that."

The Haxorus ground his teeth together, a knot stuck in his throat, choking him up with hatred and bitterness. "Shadowrend and the rest of them ought've died in battle, with their honor intact."



#***#



Night, again, and in a similar cave, Romulus lay on the ground. This time, his scales were damaged and bloodied from war. He was trying to sleep, but it just wouldn't come.

"I have dipped my claws into Gold Tribe blood," he reflected, "no going back." He remembered vividly the Gold Tribe that had fallen in the Battle of the Deathbringer's Mark. Had they fallen to his Earthquake? He was not sure... he was checking their bodies to see if that was the case. Some of them were broken indeed, in many places, very likely from the powerful shock-wave one of his Earthquakes caused. The quake had killed them instantly. Some survived. He found as many as he could and granted them mercy; but he wasn't quick enough, and those he could not finish off were captured and sent off to Arceus's knows where, to be tortured, no doubt.

"Lord Chantalai asked me to deliver him Garland's head. To prove that my oaths to him as his guardian wouldn't break as easily as the oaths I gave to the Gold Tribe. The brothers and sisters I slew on the Mark weren't enough. What do I do? If he will not trust me completely, their deaths will have been for nothing."

But suddenly, he was angry. He pounded his fist on the wall, causing it to crack. "They're dead, for nothing! I should've never taken this quest." His rage focused on one person: Garland Fordring. "That fool would have me slay people of our own for nothing! I shouldtake his head!"

He pounded the wall again. His blood was boiling. He craved battle more than ever now. And he knew where he would find it next. He would confront Garland.



#***#


The caves in the Grey Waste Romulus would dig up looked the same. He lay on the ground, but this time, he wasn't alone in the cave; the witch Vendra, a Meloetta with a childish face was sleeping quietly near him, like a baby, as if the greatest siege the Realm had known for centuries hadn't happened in the last few days.

Romulus had picked Vendra up, saved her from the heat of the battle. Vendra was dangerous, despite her appearance. She was important, perhaps one of the chief minds behind the rebellion.

He had saved her purely because he had nothing else to show for in the siege. He had failed to cut off Garland's head; he had only managed to talk to him. They played catch up, that's all they did, and they fought, for appearances, in case anyone was watching; and indeed, Vendra had seen them.

Sleep would not return. Romulus was consumed by rage.


***


He was alone again in a room in the monasteries of Stoneyard. Standing in the middle of the room, his eyes would not close. They remained wide open.

"They have the Prince," Romulus thought. "The rest of the Gold Tribe are trapped down in the caves. I tortured them. I have no way of contacting Garland or the Tribe... they'll never find them here..."

"The enemy is acting strange. They pretend that the Caretaker is in fact the Emperor. I wonder why that is."

The memory was fast-forwarded a few days. The sun rose and dark fell multiple times, with Romulus going in and out of his room often.

"The priests have noticed our presence in the Spirit Summit. Their voices travel up to the mesas, so when I'm standing outside, I can hear them..."

"So that's what they were doing, down in the caves. Taunting Dareon, not only with his son, but challenging his axiom. I don't think the Caretaker is interested in becoming the Emperor. They just wanted to lure Dareon straight into a trap. The Prince can't stay here any longer. I'm going to free him."


***



So many things had happened since the last time he had recorded his memories into the disk. He'd released the Prince, but he hadn't anticipated that high a level in the security of the other Mesas of Stoneyard, and the Prince must have never truly escaped. But that damage was miniscule to what had taken place in Stoneyard. The Deathbringer awakened. The Nexus of Stoneyard rose from the Midnight Shrine, and then it had fallen, and he had failed to retrieve the crystal that energized it. Inside the tower of the Nexus, Lord Chantalai had been slain, by his own brother Gerrick. Romulus was glad that his lord was dead; the Haxorus had plans of his own to slay his master if by chance he survived the foolish duel he started against Emperor Dareon. He would have covered it up as collateral damage to the Nexus collapsing. But Gerrick saved him of the trouble.

"Gerrick, who pretends to be someone he's not... he has no idea what kind of person wore that black cloak. Krookodile, yes, but very unlike him... if he's not a spy for the enemy, he's there to steal. Either way... he must die. Family is everything. You don't dishonor them that way. Not the Errias family, and neither the Gold Tribe family."

Sleep avoided him for many days now. His eyes were red as he stood in the middle of the cave, with Vendra sleeping peacefully like a bird on the cold floor. He had abducted her, saved her again; now that Lord Chantalai was dead, he would use her to stay close to that being of destruction and death that was called Thrace. "Vendra likes her a lot. And that vision the witch showed me, of that King long dead and her, it confirms that Vendra and Thrace knew each other centuries, maybe millennia ago, allegedly ageless as they are."

The Haxorus was left staring at the exit of the cave. In his face were mixed hatred, rage and disgust. The face of a certain Primeape came to mind; Thrasher, of the Gold Tribe, former Stygian assassin. Thrasher had stood in his way when he descended the tower. Romulus's will had broken then; he had failed to kill Thrasher. He had grabbed the battle-worn Primeape, and instead of breaking all the bones in his round body and wrenching out his heart, he only tossed him to a wall. It was better this way. Thrasher did not stand in his way any longer, he got to live afterwards, and there was no one to tell of the event to the leaders of the Crusade, except Vendra, but he would bully her well into silence.

He glanced at her. There was nothing more he hated than having to band with his enemy in this way. He wanted to strangle her while she was awake, to see the shock of his betrayal in her eyes. He wanted to plunge his claws through her little body and cut her in half, twist her head off and burn her to ashes. And little Vendra had no idea why he acted like this. It didn't cross her child-like mind that Romulus detested her and that a minion of hers shouldn't be acting this way.

Romulus cracked his knuckles; he couldn't wait to rush through Montajo range tomorrow. Their next destination was Telmor, where the rebels gathered.


***


Romulus was crouching under a tree in the swamps of Telmor. The butchered carcass of a mon that couldn't be identified by that point lay beside him. His meal served as a warning to others who might approach and interrupt him. The only mon in sight was a Pidgey who was sitting on top of his arm willingly, who trembled and looked away from him, scared.

"Quiet," Romulus commanded the Pidgey, "I'm not gonna hurt you if you do as I say."

He was writing a letter to the Gold Tribe, describing the situation in Telmor. He'd seen Thrace with his own eyes, but he had best not include so much information, lest he give himself away. He merely listed the status of the armies of the newly formed Crimson Crusade. And, of course, he mentioned that Gerrick was impersonating Alonsus. He smirked with a joyless, dry grin as he scribbled the line that would behead his traitor of a brother.

"Now, be still," he whispered to the Pidgey standing on his arm as he tied the sealed letter to its foot. He grabbed the small mon with his other hand, lifted it and forced it to look at him. "You know how to speak?" he asked curtly.

The Pidgey cawed. Romulus nodded. "Good. If he's caught, he won't tell anyone."

"Remember," Romulus underlined his words, staring intensely into the bird's eyes, "fly around the mountains, outside of the edge of the land if you have to. The mountains are bad for you." The blockade of the Crimson Crusade was vicious; they shot down any birds in range, with or without letters tied to their feet. "If you can't continue, give the letter to another bird. Don't mess this up, or I will find you, and I will make you pay."

The Pidgey cried again and flapped its wings in a hurry to get away.

Romulus got up from his crouching position and leaned against the tree. He exhaled, staring at the ground. He was troubled by what he had heard in the meeting of the Sages. Thrace was not the only enemy that he ought to find out more about. Thrace herself was only a Sage. The rebellion was not even her idea. It belonged to the greater mind of a person hidden so far... a person who was most likely close to the Emperor, or at the very least, not within the Crusade's ranks. That was merely a suspicion, nothing worth mentioning in the letter, yet this suspicion Romulus could not simply leave unattended. He had to make sure that the Gold Tribe knew who they were fighting. He had outlived his usefulness besides Thrace; now it all came down to the strength of the two armies.

Romulus was on the wrong side precisely to identify their enemy, but the Caretaker was unidentifiable so far. He had not contacted the Crusade; he was only waiting at the other side for them to come and sweep everything. He did press Vendra to reveal what she knew about him, how the two supposedly communicated; apparently Sage Kagemusha could communicate with him as well, and Thrace, even, but neither of those people, not even Thrace, seemed so sure about it, from Romulus's perspective.

He snickered. "They're his tools, and they don't even realize it. They take pride in the one or two times he has graced them with his presence and words, and they parade as his heralds, but in reality, they know little more than they're telling us. But they do know his identity, so they do not wonder who he is. I need to find someone who does wonder, and maybe I've already found him..."


#***#


Out of the monsters the other Sages were, Romulus thought Lord Teneth was the only one who would make a good ruler. The Shukahen loved him; he was kind to them. He'd been alone with him in the Crystal Palace, and the thought to assassinate him did cross his mind, but the slippery Umbreon with the green neon rings unnerved him. When he was alone with him, he had a feeling Teneth would not let himself be vulnerable just like that. He seemed to have a trump card. So, Romulus did not risk compromising his position.

They would work together to find out about the Caretaker. But it was all blown to bits when Romulus learned that they kept Gerrick alive in a cell in Amoon village, instead of having him executed already.

And now he had end up in a cave in Montajo range with his brother snoring besides him. He stood in the middle of the cave as per habit, half asleep, half awake, with his eyes wide open.

"Gerrick has changed, and he hasn't. I don't ever remember him being good company." And this was a notion unspoken, hovering over his subconscious: this was the most fun he had had in years, and it was with his brother, a lowly criminal who'd impersonated his brother just to get some loot from a favorable position. It was pitiful.

"He tried to lure me with enticing propositions. Leave everything behind, lead a new life, let it all burn. It is not that easy."

Romulus's mouth trembled and his reddened eyes became watery.

"Especially now that I know you know of the Caretaker."



***


In a cold shack in Union City, Romulus was holding the small disk he was using to record his thoughts and memories. Gerrick was somewhere in the back, snoring.

"Gerrick spoke to the Caretaker, but I couldn't see. The voice was coming from behind the wall, near the ground, but no one was really there, even after I checked. Only snow and a pile of rocks. I'm left clueless... what do I do now? What is the next step?"

The thought to give himself in to the new Emperor crossed his mind. But that could not happen. The Caretaker was near, and if Romulus was caught, his brother Gerrick would be caught too and beheaded, and the only string he could hold on to to find the enemy would snap. If he would tell them that Gerrick knew of the Caretaker? They wouldn't believe either of them. Garland would look like a fool to trust them.

And the deaths he had inflicted were catching up to him. Innocents that had stood in his way during this insanity had died, others had been injured. Murders unordered. He could give himself in. That's what Alonsus would have suggested he do, at least, and hope that he would be pardoned with this memory disk. Of course he would be pardoned - the leader of the Gold Tribe, who was still alive even, had approved of this mission. Even if crimes were committed, and even if he had earned the hatred of the entire Tribe, he would not be executed.

But that would be the worst part. Romulus would be stigmatized forever. Even if his heinous crimes were forgiven and forgotten, he would not forget. And others would never understand how a person like Romulus would be haunted forever by the ghosts of all the people who could have lived longer if he was not there. He would not be allowed to fight besides the Gold Tribe, even if he returned; the blood of his brothers stained him, and if one from the Tribe thought that was unforgivable, and refused to have him, then the others would not question him.

In the cold shack, he was drenched in pain. His mouth trembled and a sob rocked his body.

He would continue his way down this route, and he would die fighting for it. For the greater good. For the Gold Tribe!

"Lord Chantalai said to me once that I have no title. That I am simply Romulus Errias. That's not true. I never forgot my title. Always, every morning with the sunrise, I would remind myself that above all else, I am Earthquake."

Ray Maverick

Age 23
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Online now
Posted June 9th, 2019
3,388 posts
10.4 Years

Emperor


The Emperor bent beside his bed-ridden father who breathed very slowly, only every once in a while. The Mega Evolution had slipped off of Dareon. He now looked like a simple, sickly Ampharos. His blank stare was fixed on the window across his legs. A blue liquid was pumped into his blood by the six needles, three stucks on each arm.

Cyrus grabbed his hand and the Ampharos took his eyes from the window to his son. The poison had blinded him, but he was fiercely holding on to life.

But there wasn't much of the Dareon Cyrus knew in the eyes that had turned yellow. "Blinded and slain by an insect," his father let out a laugh that sounded more like a cough at the irony. His grasp over Cyrus's hand didn't have much strength.

"Not slain yet," Cyrus stated, perhaps to encourage him. "And don't speak. You still have life in you, don't waste it in such words."

Dareon gritted his teeth as he retracted his sightless stare from his son. He hissed in pain and closed his eyes.

The Beartic wasn't feeling anything. He just felt a sense of duty, to inform his father of what he was about to do, and perhaps he sought his advice. Without letting go of his hand, he said:

"I will be marching to that valley of ice with the biggest army Exathor has seen in the last five hundred years. We will fight for the Last Nexus."

Dareon grunted quietly, his features drawn from pain. "Destroy their leaders before anything else."

Cyrus remained still for a moment. "They're the ones who hold the Crusade together."

The Ampharos shook and coughed violently. "There is no room left for honor. Send daggers out for them... issue a bounty for their heads. Even their own soldiers will think of it."

The Beartic thought about Thrasher. "I will."

He was about to go, but his father tightened the grip on his hand, holding him in place. His yellow, blind eyes were sad and his tone was withered. "I wish I could fight for the Realm now."

Cyrus gripped his father's hand strongly and patted it with his other hand. "You are fighting now."

The Beartic got up to his feet and left his father's side.

For if my death comes before yours, you will carry on the rest of the Realm's fights.


***


Outside of the walls of Union City, on the iceberg, the army had assembled in hosts according to their nationality. The banners of Hesperian lords and the Otori hang limp for the lack of air, and the snow was perched on top of them. From Union City, those that had gathered on the walls to see them off couldn't tell which banner was which. The snow was already claiming all, stripping them of nationality, sweeping above their heads, impersonal like death.

Cyrus wasn't phazed by the cold himself, of course. Snow slid down from his armor of ice. The Thunder Crown was warm and wet above his head, melting any snow that stayed on it.

He had ordered massive torches to be lit and carried by Pokemon in the army and organized them so those who needed the heat the most would stay near the moving fires.

The Emperor leaned on Thresh's handle, who had the tip of his edge buried in the snow. In front of him, an army of many thousands, around him, the Emperor's Shield, and next to him, all the brothers and sisters of the Gold Tribe, a few dozens that were still alive. At his back, half of the dark castle that floated in the air was hidden in the fog above the valley.

"Here we are," Cyrus shouted his voice travelling amidst the grim ranks of his soldiers with the help of the psychics. "In this foreign land, our island, or should I say, our vessel, touched down on its own. I do not know what for. But it seems to be the doing of our enemy, Thrace and her loyal minions. Those who follow her out of fear should be forgiven, but do not hold back. We will find them somewhere in this valley, and we will end their lives. Or they may end ours. But we will have fought to see our nation safe from the terror and madness of that so called Goddess!"

Some soldiers shouted and cheered, but it wasn't well-heard through the snow.

"My father today," Cyrus continued, "told me he wished to fight with us, for the Realm. To protect us from the future of fear and death Thrace promises." His tone grew louder, and anger was poured into it. "Do you think they will not realize what they are fighting for, once they all see what she is? They will shake and crumble before us!" he roared, and the warriors roared as well. "And when they are in pieces, we shall give them our hand to help them up, because they will join us," he roared again, raising the blade high up in the air. "We are all Exathians! And we will fight the terror together. March onwards!"

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