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Nightfall - Reopening for new peeps

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((We will be starting off where we left off in Vex's room. Thael, feel free to jump back in whenever you feel.))

Edited by zakku_uchiha

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(( Right, let's get this going. ))


Vex smiled softly as he shared the embrace, feeling relieved that his plan had worked out. Honestly, he'd never ask any royalty - hell, anyone stronger than him or with a higher standing than him - for a hug, but Ellecia... she was different. Of course, that didn't mean she was lax in punishments, for every other servant in this household had gone through her methods once - however, she seemed... strangely more down-to-earth than the other exalted members of the Sekher bloodline.

"Ah, thank you, mistress," The Thresher spoke out, bowing courtly with both of his hands going to the side, then rose up. He turned to Azheim as he approached and patted his shoulder, which, though earning a slight wince from the reaper, didn't trouble him much. In return, he thankfully nodded to the prince and watched him leave the room. Sighing softly, Vex walked backward and sat on the edge of his bed. Thankfully, the once strange presence he felt faded away, and he slowly became calm again.


"Mistress Ellecia," The thresher began to speak after a moment of silence as he moved himself back and leaned on the wall next to the bed, "If you aren't bothered by a few personal questions, I'd like to ask some things of you. First, since I know your life expectancies are long, how has your family remained hidden through time? And, the thing I often wonder about - have you changed your identities before?" Vex asked with an interested tone, then slowly gestured toward the chair with one hand and the other side of the bed with the other so she didn't remain standing.

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Ellecia nodded at Vex's gesture, grabbing the back of the seat her brother had been sitting in just moments ago and made herself comfortable. Upon his questioning, she raised an eyebrow and a soft giggle resonated in the air for a moment before she looked up at the ceiling. With her arms propped on the back of the seat and her legs crossed, the young dragonoid began to reflect on some of the lessons her father had taught her and even a few of her life experiences.


"Well, you'd think for a creature who has a human form wouldn't stand out that much, but when you live in the same society in a prepubescent teenage body. Heh, I got called out a couple of times and it was difficult moving up in grades with the, uh, lack in development.


Anyway, before we came under the official care of Master Seghil and this city, we were under King Arthur's care. For the most part, he gave us the space we needed and often derived a means of our disappearance to society. Sekher is the family name, but in the public we were known under a multitude of names. Kurts, Van Douer, Gran, Aldredge, the list goes on. Well, when we 'disappeared,' we would remain hidden for at least two or three decades, long enough so that the new generation was able to move on. After that time passed, we'd make our return under a new name.


As for identities, I think I answered most of that. Only other thing I can think of is our physical identities. In which I'll tell you plainly. This form you see before you now, it is the form I was given since birth and it is the one I will have until my time on this world has passed. Only one of us can alter our physical appearance enough to be unrecognizable and that's our youngest sister, Se'Lene."


Ellecia looked back down at the thresher, a smile spreading across her thin lips and she jumped up from her chair. Leaning in close, she peered into his dark eyes for a moment and then twisted on her heel until her back faced him.


"Come, let's go find where that troublemaker went off to. I doubt he's still in that cell father let him stay the night in. Ku... he was not happy about that at all. Now, while we search for the shadow walker, tell me a bit about yourself... well, about your origins."

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Vex silently listened to Ellecia's words, his mind going over the details that she'd mentioned. The surnames she mentioned - the Kurts, the Van Douer, Gran and Aldredge - were ones he definitely hadn't heard often, and though he took his time to dig through his old life's memories, the thresher couldn't remember anyone with that name. No person he'd worked with, nor anyone's name he knew either personally or by memory, matched up with these names.

Quietly contining to think, he then turned to what she'd first said. Had Ellecia really looked like this throughout her lifetime? That'd certainly more troublesome - after all, being like an adult would allow you to hide easily between the ages of 20 and 40 just by adding some new aging features as time passed, such as silver hairs, growing beards, wrinkled skin... but to try hiding someone whose body continued to look like a teen? The reaper was certainly confused, since she'd have to show sings of bodily development, and that was even harder to pull off. Thank god he wasn't born as something like them - around 300 to 500 years of lifetime was much, much more prefer-

"Ah!" Vex suddenly exclaimed as he returned to reality, only to find Ellecia in front of his eyes. His eyes had become dimmer because of the small trance he'd gone into, but now that he'd stopped it, they once again lit up brightly, shining with a strange glow - bright white on the insides which slowly changed to blood red along the edges. Those same eyes stared softly at the young woman in front of him, the dark red pupil surrounded by the white iris disappearing from time to time to indicate that the reaper was, in fact, blinking.

"To think I'd be the one to get so easily startled..." He quietly whispered to himself as the princess pulled away from him, then slowly rose up. Well, at least it wasn't an actual enemy or something scary that startled him, but still... a reaper, mark of death, got scared by a being in a teenager's body - that felt odd. Shaking his head clear from such thoughts, Vex waited for Ellecia to leave before quickly changing into a normal black set of clothing he had in his wardrobe and warping away the damaged one for repairs at a friend of his. Then, he left the room, locked the door and momentarily caught up with her.


"Eh?" Vex curiously replied at her request to learn more about him. What was so interesting about him? Of course, he was a Thresher, and those were rare, but... what'd he earned her interest with? Becoming a Sehrx? Fighting Azheim? Something else?

"As you wish." The Thresher softly replied once his thoughts faded away, deciding that it wouldn't hurt, anyways. If anything, she'd know more about his past - and he couldn't really find a problem in that, since she'd already told him something about her family and herself in return.

"I'll go with the short bio... My life started as Victor Exton, a young lad living in Eastern England, near London. As far as human lives go, mine was relatively simple, I guess. Got good grades as a student, had a good childhood, the usual. One lucky thing is that I both married my loved one and got a house to call my own on the same year. One unlucky thing - both cost me too much, so I went and became a mercenary." Vex spoke out softly, stopping for a moment as flashbacks flooded into his mind. Time spent as a child, playing with others; days spent playing or studying as a student; moments with his family and his wife - all of these gave birth to a strange set of emotions within him that he hadn't felt since a lot of time. However, clearing his throat, he supressed them and moved onward.

"Right... well, it turned out I was good with a sniper rifle, so I moved into the Black Adder Company and packed off to work secretly in Africa. Though I didn't enjoy being seperated from my friends and loved ones at first, I have to say that was the best part of my life - it was me and my comrades, placing bets on who can hit a specific number of hostiles first or simply playing tricks on one another... definitely fun times. Well, guess faith had enough of me, and a few years after I moved there, one of the villages we were having a rest in got hit. Everyone but me died, I think... It was a massacre, with bombs flying everywhere..." The Thresher continued, his visage turning painful as he remembered his last moments of life. He softly sighed, lowering his head for a moment, then decided to finish his tale.

"And though I really believed that it was over for me once our camp was bombarded, life decided to give me a last chance for vengeance. I woke up, found a combat knife stabbed in a wall from the explosion, then took out all of the force that came to pillage after the bombardment. It truly felt good... and then, I died. At least, for a few moments - then I suddenly appeared in the D sector, around 75 years ago." Vex finished, deciding that his tales as a Thresher weren't too interesting to share. Well, maybe not all of them - for instance, the first time he met Isaac and Dusk a couple years ago was interesting... but, eh, some other time.

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"Oooohhh, don't you just smell oh so tasty, hellspawn."


Ellecia turned at the source of the voice, startled by its sudden appearance. Neglecting her of responding Vex's rather intriguing tale of his past and some of the events that led up to how he became what he was. To further her surprise, this new persona had her arms wrapped around Vex's and her head was pressed against his abdomen. Blood red, demonic eyes held a sense of joy as their gazes met. Short white hair hid under a black hoodie that was unzipped and exposed most of the girl's pale torso, only a black bikini top covering the most sensitive spot of the girl's body. Around her neck, the girl wore a black and gray striped scarf, the loose ends being tucked under the wrap. As far as Ellecia could tell, there was no other hint of clothing beyond that, aside from a pair of black slip-on shoes that adorned her small feet. A smile that was both sinister and innocent revealed this girl had, rather than normal human teeth, a row of sharp fangs that lined the interior of her mouth.


For a moment, all Ellecia could do was scoff at how... well, how provocative this girl came off to be. With how close she was to Vex, despite a severe lack of subtle clothing, it was quite obvious the girl didn't care about moral standards. Still, another thing that bothered Ellecia was just who was this girl and how had she evaded her senses?


"Uhh... excuse me, but how-"


"I phased, right through that wall right there. Was out on a stroll when I smelled something delicious and decided to come investigate. Turns out, he's one of your servants, so it means I can't eat him."


"Umm, and who exac-"


"I'm Mira Zel Neuvhorn, sorry for not introducing myself sooner. I guess I would be suspicious too if I didn't know who just suddenly showed up in my house. Of course, the likelihood of that ever happening is slim to none."


Hearing that name was just as surprising as when the girl appeared and Ellecia didn't know how to respond. This was Master Seghil's daughter? Should she take a knee and pay her respects then ask for forgiveness for not recognizing just who she was? So many thoughts were running through her head, that the dragonoid began to literally sway in the confusion of just what was going on.


"You don't need to do anything, Miss Ellecia. Papa might have brought me into this world, but like his other children I am just a spawn of his gift not of his loins. What is it you call them, a censorkip.gif*** child? Something like that? Though, Papa does care for me, so I guess that wouldn't be right either. Hmm, may I taste you?"


This time, her question was directed at Vex and her deep red eyes peered into his with a pleading look. Yet, before the Thresher could even respond, the girl hunched over, pulled up the reaper's sleeve and began gnawing on his arm. Ellecia could see a shiver run down the girl's spine and her body relax shortly afterwards. As if she had just tasted a delicacy. By this point, Ellecia had fallen to the ground, a bewildered expression reflecting the complete puzzlement and confusion she was dealing with.



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Isaac blinked from where he'd been crouched, confused.

Of course, he'd been meaning to try and escape this place, after all.

He'd been thrown in here the night before. One of Master Sekher's guards had found him in the lobby and worked with a few others to toss him into one of the old, prison cells to await Father Sekher's judgement. Though Isaac normally honored the master of a house, ... this time he wasn't too keen. After all, everyone seemed determined to make him understand this man wasn't to be trifled with - including Aurora. And Dusk was missing, so he felt it was probably time to pack-up and go.

He'd been sidling along the walls when he'd heard voices. For some reason, his invisibility wasn't working unless he was in perfect shadows, so it'd actually been very hard to wander unseen for as long as he had. Twice, he'd had to knock out a couple of guards who'd almost found him darting among the guardposts. However, their patrols were peculiar to him, now that he thought about it.

It seemed they avoided going ANYWHERE near what Isaac believed to be Father Sekher's room, even though he was the master of the house. Wouldn't his safety be their prime concern? It only raised more questions.

He'd tried to reach what seemed to be Aurora's room, after much listening to idle banter from guards and overhearing a few other conversations - but no go. About four guards sat outside her room at any given time, two of them patrolling back and forth.

"Learning that stealth is actually harder without my help, aren't you?"

Isaac swore under his breath as the familiar voice returned. If there was one being that could annoy him, it was...

"Kaiser.." he muttered. He wasn't really feeling up to speaking with the old demon now that they had just discovered what they had. Why the demon hadn't spoken of this before, Isaac had no idea.

According to Venheim, who'd given the order for Isaac to be arrested, Isaac would not be allowed to partake in the Arena because of one simple reason - he'd been weakened. He'd had no idea what that meant. He felt fine.

But, apparently, Isaac had been sealed by some unknown force, and now his precious demon and his power had been limited. His demon had managed to somehow grin from within his prison in Isaac's body, admitting he'd known about it all along.

Like a prison cell which prevented escape, someone had shackled Kaiser into the back of Isaac's mind, preventing the two from communicating more than with a few touches and pokes. They could not merge as they once had - nor could Isaac summon Kaiser out of himself in order for him to help him in battle. As such, Isaac was definitely far weaker than he had once been.

As such, though Isaac normally loved to speak to the demon, right now was not the best time. It kept bringing to mind thoughts of vengeance and depression - things Isaac hated to feel.

"If you had been more careful of your actions, such a thing wouldn't have happened..." Kaiser's voice said chidingly from the depths of Isaac's consciousness.

"But that wouldn't have been fun at all..." Isaac smiled inwardly, dodging another patrol with a quick sidestep, his shadowform a blessing. It didn't make him completely invisible - but it made him harder to focus on. To the passerby, the sensation was like when a torch moves ever so slightly, making the shadow dart from one side to the other. It was the flicker of the torch, the movement of the page. But if he stood in front of them for too long, even a few seconds, he was sure they'd see him.

He sighed as he noted three more guards moving towards him, cackling and laughing amongst each other. Quickly moved to the side, pressing himself to the wall and fully trying to merge with the shadow there.

It seemed to work. All three of them passed by him, leaving him to exhale just as he realized where he was. He could hear a familiar voice from behind him, quietly.

"....and though I really believed that it was over for me once our camp was bombarded, life decided to give me a last chance for vengeance. I woke up, found a combat knife stabbed in a wall from the explosion, then took out all of the force that came to pillage after the bombardment. It truly felt good... and then, I died. At least, for a few moments - then I suddenly appeared in the D sector, around 75 years ago."

He was outside an open room. From within, past the crack in the door, he could hear Vex speaking to someone about his life, it appeared. ... Ellecia, maybe? He cursed. She would have felt him by now, and that wouldn't work at all. Though he doubted she'd be quick to report him, he could have been wrong - and taking chances, though fun, wasn't smart at the current moment.

Vex could handle himself, as well, especially if he was on his home turf - this castle. Isaac didn't worry about leaving him behind for now. However, now he heard a third voice, oozing with desire and purpose.

It was definitely female, but not Dusk, Aurora, or anyone else he could recognize. He wanted to look, but he was sure Ellecia knew he was there by now. He needed to hurry, and leave..


Sighing and relinquishing himself to his curiosity, he slid over to the door a bit and looked through the crack in it just enough to get a glimpse of the people within.

Yes. There was Vex. His large, shadowy form was unmistakable in this good lighting. He was looking at Ellecia while a third person - indeed, a woman, barely clothed at that - stared the two of them over. Then, suddenly, after she finished talking, she grabbed Vex's arm..

Now, in the present time, Isaac was watching this, bewildered, as the woman bit into Vex's arm for a good moment before releasing him. The only thing keeping Isaac from bounding into the room to ensure his Shadowbrother's safety was his knowledge that he wasn't supposed to be here. But still...

Still nothing. He needed to escape. He looked through the halls for a way out, when he began to realize.

He actually had no idea which way to go in this castle to reach the front door now. The prison was located in the sub-levels, and he knew he'd gone a few levels up, but he didn't know if he was on the main floor or not anymore. He sighed again and turned back to the room, making up his mind. He needed Vex and Ellecia's help to get out of here.

But by now, she'd know he was out here anyway. He pushed open the door so he could walk in, preparing for the worst. He considered drawing a gun, but Ellecia didn't know him that well, only Vex did - so any open signs of possible hostility would probably not help him in this case. In fact, if Ellecia herself didn't want to deal with him, shouting for help would be her next best option. Plus, he was pretty sure Vex would choose Ellecia over him if it came to it, and would attack him if Vex thought Isaac meant to hurt her.

No, he'd walk in normally.

He wandered in, this time without the theatrics or the hand-waving that accompanied it. This time, he simply pressed his hair back in place and waved in a friendly manner, allowing the shadows to leave him - no matter how meager they were now that he was sealed.

"...Uh... Hi?" he said, hoping they weren't feeling in an aggressive mood for now.

Edited by Thaelasan

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Vex had continued to silently walk forward, his head slightly bent downward, when he had noticed something... off. Though he couldn't sense anything different, he had a strange hunch, when the air in front of him moved toward him instead of floating randomly. Something was causing it to move... or someone. However, before he could react, an unknown voice had addressed him.

"Eh?" The Thresher confusedly blurted out as he lifted his head up, only to realise someone was literally embracing him. Taking a moment to lower his gaze again, he noticed a rather unusual young lady. With her light gray skin, the short, white hair, and the blood red eyes that reflected the reaper's glowing gaze, she seemed extremely strange to him. The aura that she held, however, made him immediately stop questioning her appearance and choice of attire. A sense of dread came off from her, as well as a wave of power that was quite unlike her young body.

"Erm..." Vex spoke out as he stared softly at her, both annoyance and curiosity evident along his features. He was irritated that someone had literally walked through a wall, approached him, commented on the fact he smelled like food and then came up to hug him... but at the same time, he was interested. Who was this girl? Able to walk through walls, with what seemed to be an appetite for creatures of death - she seemed to be either a strange fool, which the Thresher doubted, or someone important within the city. His confused gaze turned toward a befuddled one, however, as she mentioned she was a Neuvhorn.


"Mira... Zel Neuvhorn?" The chain reaper quietly whispered, turning to look at Ellecia. His gaze was filled with a mix of feelings, ranging from worry all the way to absolute excitement. What had he earned her attention with? Being a hellspawn? And what the heck was that?

Shaking his head clear of the mess, he continued to listen to what Mira had to say. The last few words she had said confused him even more - she was the censorkip.gif*** child of Seghil? - but he immediately dropped the thought process when she turned toward him, asking for a taste.

"Beg your pard-" Vex attempted to reply, but in a series of actions he couldn't have predicted himself, she had lifted his sleeve and started to bite into his flesh. Almost instantly, he dropped to his knees, feeling an extremely strange draining effect on his body. The affected arm was normal at first, but as she continued her barrage, it slowly became smaller, the flesh inside seeming to fade away and into her. Somehow, this girl was absorbing his essence - and, to be honest, he didn't like it. Though he knew that she was stronger than him, Vex wouldn't let her have his arm for a meal. Moments after she had started biting into his arm, he slowly rose up.

"Please let go..." The Thresher said, after which the area she'd bitten into started sharply glowing. It seemed that his body was starting to react to this intrusion and resource withdrawal, and it rather violently. The glow became stronger and flames started visibly appearing... until suddenly, she let go. Immediately reacting, Vex raised barriers around his arm, which proceeded to explode, releasing ghastly essences within the air. However, he quickly reabsorbed them, then extended his damaged arm forward. In a matter of seconds, the bone fragments that had scattered along the floor flew up and back to their place. After that, lines of energy spiraled upward along them, squeezing them powerfully and joining them once again - so well, in fact, that there were no visible cracks. Then, finally, the remaining tissue near the shoulder lit up and the flames moved along the length of his arm, a wave of ghost essences following and momentarily rebuilding all tissues and details along the way, until they finally reached his fingertips. Finished with the rebuilding of his arm, Vex pulled down his sleeve, then turned toward Mira.

"Please, the next time you are going to do something like that, alert me first... I was only mildly suprised, but my body felt as if I was attacked... I figure you're a Death Eater of some sort, but it's risky to do that - especially with us Threshers, since we have... a defense mechanism, of sorts.." He said softly, his voice obviously filled with annoyance. Though he couldn't do a lot to stop her, that didn't mean she could just march up and bite on him - especially when he was a Thresher. Sighing, he became quiet, then turned to look at Isaac, having heard his approach. Though he knew that the Shadowborne was supposed to be imprisoned, Vex payed no heed and silently waved a welcome at him. After that, he turned to Ellecia, offering his good arm for her to use when she got up. He seemed tired, as if he'd used quite a bit of his souls to fix all the damage, but thankfully, for now, he was holding together.

Edited by KuroKishi

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"Wow! That was certainly exciting! I wanna do it again! Wait, you said you didn't want me to do that again, but it was certainly tasty and very enjoying! Then again, Papa would be disappointed in me if I did something to upset the Sekhers, but another taste wouldn't be too much of an issue. Oh? What about him?"


Mira's eyes went from staring at Vex, pleadingly, to Isaac with a new found interest. As she blinked, the girl went from hugging Vex's arm to sitting on Isaac's back, her chin resting on his shoulder as her nose twitched, indicating she was smelling him. Meanwhile, Ellecia was regaining her composure, accepting Vex's aid to stand back up.


"You smell quite interesting, don't you? Got a hellspawn all tucked up inside you. Ah! It seems Papa played with this one too! Hmm... guess that means having a taste would be difficult. Kinda like drinking ice through a straw."


Mira giggled and again, as she blinked she went from Isaac's back to standing in the center of the little group. From there, she looked like she was filing her nails, as if everything that had just happened was a natural event that occurred consistently around her. Maybe now was the time to start questioning her, but when Ellecia started to open her mouth, the girl pointed at Vex with her filer and smiled.


"You're a reaper, but unlike some, you weren't born that way. You were created, your pure spirit filled to the brim with evil ones so you can ease their burdens and allow the soul to move on to heaven or whatever, yes? Yeah, you're certainly not the first of your kind, but you certainly were tastier. Sometimes, you thresher reaper things get tainted and break under the madness, becoming evil beings themselves and then running amok in the world. You, however, are different and still retain a sense of your humanity. This is probably why you can even recall your past. Still, interesting, cause even then that's a rarity.


Now, as for this guy... he must have laid some interest on my Papa cause Papa has certainly tampered with him. Do you feel okay? Are you sick? Have you ever experienced this building pressure that you just can't seem to alleviate? I mean, it's not the most intrinsic, but I'm sure it might be putting a burden on you in some manner, yes? Wait, you probably don't even know and there I go opening my big mouth. Well, that part of the game might not have been too amusing for Papa, but this baffled experience that you're probably about to go through will certainly provide some entertainment."

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As Vex waved, Isaac relaxed slightly. At least the Thresher didn't feel like throwing him into a prison. He could always depend on good, old Vex.




Isaac had always been a bit of a wild card. Around 80 years ago, shortly after reaching Nightfall, and after challenging one of its gatekeepers out of sheer sport, he'd managed to win his way in rather than buying it or having certain connections. It was a privilege he'd relished.

The freedom Nightfall offered to leap around without care, to enjoy its views that never seemed to change, and dance in perpetual darkness - these were things the Shadowborne couldn't believe he'd ever done without. His ties to his family were permanently severed.

His story as to how he met Dusk definitely deserves merit and attention, but the story as to how he met Vex is currently more related.

It had been the night of his first Judging. Unlike Venheim's Judgements, a Judging was based on - as Dusk said - the morality of the Judge rather than the morality of the people. As such, a lot of Judging's resulted in excessive punishments - which suited Isaac just fine.

However, when Isaac was informed by an outside source that there was a rogue Thresher beating up random passerby in Sector D, he became immediately curious. It wasn't his business, though, until the Thresher wandered into Sector C and began to cause trouble there. Now, it was his business.

He'd jumped to the opportunity, quite literally, landing near the Thresher with one of his signature leaps from the shadows. Those watching nearby clapped as he demanded the Thresher cease his mindless actions before it came to blows.

Vex, as it can be assumed this Thresher was, by now, was merely perplexed. Isaac remembered him trying very hard not to laugh as he'd explained that he wasn't hurting anyone and that a nearby gang of Threshers had caused the problem and framed him - as a new blood.

Isaac, however, wasn't convinced. Isaac was sure now that if he'd fought the current, trained Vex at the time, things would have gone very differently. As it was, they'd already been very well-matched. His speed and Vex's strength had resulted in two hours worth of trading blows until both of them realized neither was going to give any ground. It was then that Isaac had finally pulled out his revolvers and taken another go.

When the dust cleared, one of his guns had been taken by the Thresher and was pointed at Isaac's chest. Isaac's other gun was at the Thresher's skull.

Isaac then revealed that shooting him in the chest was fruitless when he was in shadowform. As such, it was declared his win - for that time, anyway. They had still fought more times than that as friends as their relationship had grown.

After defeating that gang of Threshers and Judging them, Isaac had parted ways with Vex, who'd been recruited by an - at the time - unknown noble family and he was curious. Isaac had also received an invitation but declined. Protection duty didn't sound like his thing.

However, the two had continued to meet over the decades, their jobs normally running side by side. If Vex was acting as bodyguard for one of the Sekher's local businesses in the area, Isaac was killing a group of vampires who had targeted it for assault. If Vex was killing a man who'd defied Sekher law and caused them grief enough for it, Isaac normally needed to Judge the man for another reason entirely.

Isaac had to admit - he enjoyed their torture sessions together. Since Vex had military training and Isaac just knew what caused pain, Judgings were normally more fun as a pair. So, the two normally had worked together when their interests had been aligned - and sometimes even when they weren't.

However, mysteriously, through all those years - Dusk had only met Vex now. It was slightly confusing to Isaac, who had mentioned Vex several times to her over the years, but never had a chance to introduce her to him. She never really seemed interested in meeting him either, claiming that it was "not necessary."

Still, Isaac's loyalties were to Dusk for reasons that could be explained at a much later date. But he still appreciated Vex's presence whenever he had the privilege to be in it. As brothers of the Shadow - who'd even gone ahead and undergone the Brotherhood Ritual 40 years previous - they stood together whenever possible. Someone would be hard-pressed now to make them even consider battling each other for anything more than just sport or play.

The mark of their brotherhood for Isaac was on his left hand, opposing the hand with the mark of Kaiser. It was a small circle, with two circles ringing it - more could be added if more people joined the Brotherhood - and in the center, another circle, connected to the outside one by two lines. In the center, in English, the words read "Bonds Unbroken, Words Unspoken."




As he looked over his left hand now, a bit out of remembrance, he released it back to hang by his side as he looked over at Vex. Though the two had vastly different backgrounds and their reasons for doing it, both of them had chosen the shadows as their home, yet had been a pair of the greatest heroes that Nightfall had to offer - if you could call them that.

He turned to Mira, now appraising her fully. From what he had seen, and from what Vex had said, she was some form of "energy devourer." But it didn't look like a pleasant experience. Being in her presence actually made Isaac more uncomfortable than Venheim had. Her face spoke of powers he probably didn't want to see at this moment.

"Hello, ... madame.." Isaac bowed slightly, formally, to Mira, but also to all of them. "You are... the daughter of who, again?"

He actually had no idea who Seghil was. As a man who had lived his life leaping through the slums and never really approaching the main part of the city, Seghil hadn't been much of an influence on him. He'd heard the name, yes, but not the full name.

Edited by Thaelasan

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"Hmm? Seghil Van Neuvhorn is my Papa, you fought one of his shadows when you tried to get into this city, made a slight impression on him cause not many are able to beat one of his shadows. Anyway, if that still doesn't answer your question, he's the one who rules over this entire city and determines which events he wants to watch and which events need to be taken care of. It's understandable if he doesn't make a big impression, cause he stays cooped up in our home for the most part."


Mira had taken a seated position, legs crossed and her right arm seemingly resting on some sort of invisible arm rest, as the rest of her body hung freely in the air. At the moment, she was looking over her nails, making sure they suited her tastes before turning her attention to the Shadowborne.


"Oy... pay attention, no need to be so uptight. Vylain might get mad, bet King Venheim won't question your escape if I tell him I had an interest in you, I mean... It wouldn't be too hard, especially in your current state, to snap you back in that cell, put a ward around it and call it a day. Yet, your demon smells tasty and I want to know why you're locked up. Why that energy is sealed behind a door that requires two keys. It's a pity that even if I eat you, I still can't get all the power. On the bright side, at least it wasn't the one that required four keys."


Blood red eyes reflected in Isaac's as Mira looked at him, an uncanny smile etched in her facial expression before she shrugged and dropped her feet back on the ground. Walking up to Isaac, she placed a finger under his chin and grinned before shoving him through the door he had come through where several guards now resided.


"Let's go talk to the King about shortening your sentence. I wanna play a moment, if you're willing to entertain me? That, or I could go with the former suggestion, hmm?"

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Things were beginning to piece themselves together in Isaac's mind. As he began to form questions, Kaiser was only too happy to oblige with answers.

"Oh yes. This is the daughter of the one who trapped your powers. Though she says she is not of his loins, she is truly his daughter, formed of the energy he leaks, born of it. She was probably a normal child tainted by him in some fashion...." Kaiser hissed, his lips moving over two rows of teeth. If Mira were to see him, they could have a smiling contest that would have lasted years.

"Is that so...?" Isaac said aloud, perhaps prompting quizzical looks from the others. He straightened his suit and smiled at the young girl. Well, it seems she wasn't giving him much of a choice - and if he followed her, he may find the one who sealed him, if it was indeed her father.

And hopefully find out how to break it, and why he was even sealed in the first place.

The compliments were definitely invited. He nodded with approval at her words as she recounted his actions against the shadow gatekeeper. So that was what Seghil looked like?

For some reason, a lot of the people who had been there had given him weird looks when he had challenged the gatekeeper for entry - something not done for roughly a century, he learned later. Normally, you bought your way in, or just had friends who let them in - connections, as it were. But he had battled the shadow, and it hadn't been easy - but good use of his dark manipulation and his guns had earned him the victory. Of course, a broken arm and shadow exhaustion had followed for roughly a month, dark healing only helping a minimal amount. He hadn't been sure how the man had actually hurt him in shadowform but he had, and far worse than any other creature Isaac had fought. His left arm had been completely unusable for the duration of its healing, and even now he could remember the pain - eighty years after it had happened. But the mark that hurt even worse was the one from the Shadow's attack as it grabbed him as he ended it.

A symbol - branded into his left shoulder.


He reached to touch it. For some reason, in this girl's presence, it tingled slightly. No... that couldn't have been true... but it would have explained these eighty years of feeling progressively weaker. A seal that had snowballed over time. Had it always been two seals, or only one, and only recently had another been placed?

"The second one is more recent..." Kaiser responded to his unasked question, laying on the ground, bored. "The girl has something to do with it. The magic is residual from her.. of course, it could be that she simply devoured the magic of the person who placed it on you... but..."

"You said you were Seghil's daughter, ja?" Isaac interrupted his mental voices, removing his hand from his shoulder. "Then I suppose that I am obliged to obey regardless of your threats. Very well then. Gut. Take me. I will trust you - for now. After all, you have not tried to devour me yet. But I would ask that Vex accompany me, and perhaps Ellecia as well..."

He knew not about the Wright that was coming shortly, so time felt open to him. If he had known, perhaps he would have enjoyed those sparse few moments he had with Aurora.

And truly understood the significance of the necklace she had given him before he was thrown into the prison, where she left him, smiling.

"With that, I'll be with you when I'm not around." she had whispered, leaving before the guards had returned. "Keep it safe. You have earned that much."

Edited by Thaelasan

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Mira smiled and shrugged simultaneously as a response to Isaac's request. So, he didn't want to be alone with her? Understandable. Why would you want to be alone with a creature that made snacks of demons and dark entities, especially when you had said dark entity dwelling within your own body.

"It's not my house, they're free to follow or stay put based on their own decisions."

Motioning for Isaac to follow, Mira began walking down the halls as if she had lived here her whole life. Turning down particular hallways, going through certain doors, descending down several flights of stairs and then coming upon the massive double doors that had a symbol in the center. It resembled the entrance into the arena, but the atmosphere that resonated from the room beyond was significantly more tense.

Without a moments hesitation, Mira yanked open the door and waltzed in, revealing not a living quarters like the rooms above. Rather, it was a space almost identical to the arena, a vast expense of battle ridden land, with mountains in the distance, trees that had seen more life in the past, scorched grass and tears in the ground from various weapons.

"You probably didn't see this during your Judgement, for he was probably in his human form when he passed it onto you, yes? Well, King Sekher, I'm sure you didn't want this pesky meat sack to see you in this state, but I came to request his release under the custody of myself, my sister, your daughter of light and your daughter of fire, the thresher, and... uhh... my dog. Yeah, the custody of my dog as well."

Mira spun on her heel, now facing the small group she had lead into Venheim's quarters, a wide grin spread across her face as one of the mountains behind her seemed to begin moving. Yet, slowly and surely, it became quite evident that it was no mountain at all. Rather, it was the horn that sat atop Venheim's nostril and that very 'mountain' was now moving much closer to the group. As it did, the ground rumbled and shook, cracked and tore as Venheim pulled his head closer to the group. Behind him, a deep gash was all that remained in the ground from where his head had been resting and where he had dragged it.

"Child of Seghil, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit and what reasoning do you have for requesting this insolent creature's release?'

"Oh, keep your scales straight you angry behemoth. I have an interest in him and keeping him locked up makes things boring. So, I'm pulling him out. Now, before you go on about how he broke your house rules and tampered with the light, I know that you're merely worried about her safety and my father's atmosphere can be a bit... poisonous to lighter creatures, but you need not worry about your daughter getting sick. Father makes sure his selected families are protected."


"Don't worry, I'll keep a close eye on him and make sure he doesn't try anything funny. If need be, I'll just eat him and he won't be an issue any longer."

"It's not like I can say 'no' to a Neuvhorn, anyway. Am I correct? Fine, I accept your conditions and request that if you see him trying to pull anymore stunts like last night, eat everything."

Edited by zakku_uchiha

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There is a moment when a man realizes he should probably keep silent, for once, and allow things to happen, because exacerbating an issue in that situation would only lead to harm to himself, and nothing pleasant.

For some reason, being told he was sealed had made Isaac more likely not to try anything outlandish or cocky. After all, he'd been weakened, and it'd gotten progressively worse the longer it had stayed upon him. It was agonizing now, to know, and it felt hypocritical not to be himself just because his power was gone. But, truth be told - he felt like the insect these people were making him out to be - and he hated it.

He flexed his fingers experimentally as he looked around the room, confused. Venheim's presence probably should have inspired fear, or awe, into him, but all it did was make him angry. The beast treated him like some sort of irritation or gnat, and now his life was being moved from one hand to the other with the unceremonious nature of trading a cow or sheep. The fury was welling up within his noble form as Mira continued to speak.

It reached its peak as Venheim finished speaking, without any care or consideration, he simply seemed to brush Isaac aside. That's all he was - an irritation. He was exactly correct in his assumption. Angry shadows flickered from Isaac's body as he clenched his fists tightly in his gloved hands, his eyes staring intently at the dragon before him.

"Listen here, master of the house..." Isaac stood, unhostile, but with power beginning to flow with him as his anger fought for dominance. "I am not a mere bug to be stepped on when you please, or to be traded away like livestock or a slave. I may be witty. I may be cocky. But if I have a sin, it is pride - and it is a pride that will not allow me to leave here without leaving my mark."

He punched the ground, sending the shadows outward in a billow of dust and black smoke. Working with them, he began to form a blade, long, black, and ebony. It was then that he shoved the sword deep into the ground of the room, letting the black seep from it. Shadows nearby seemed drawn to the blade, trespassing into the light as they tried to reach it.

"You know what this is, mein Freund?" Isaac said, leaping so that he was on an elevation to look into the dragon's eyes, just out of the reach of his maw. "Of course you do. We both know very well the meaning of that rite. You issue Judgements? I issue Judgings. We both have the right to challenge each other as those who walk in the shadows. I saw your power, from how your shadow moved and writhed. You are also in tune with them - that very darkness and its denizens - and many other powers as well, in other aspects. It's fascinating.. really. And it's because I can see that, no matter where I get my power from, that I won't let you simply treat me like a nuisance."

He stood to his full height, and drew one of his guns from its holster. This he tossed to Venheim, with a bit of ceremony and pride.

"This gun was sanctified for Judgings. It proves my authority. It's also my collateral, the other gun staying in my possession." Isaac leaped down from the height, bowing. "It's also the gun I used to beat a gatekeeper, the one who sealed me. My mission now is to find how to break this seal and break it, ja? So, give me a month. That's the time until I shall come to fulfill my challenge. In one month, I will return. I will fight you under your circumstances. I will fight your children and anyone else you deem to take your place. But you cannot refuse this challenge. Ellecia taught me that much."

His English was firm and solid. His accent, though light, still stayed in his inflection, but the words were clear.

"Call me a fool or a man going above his pay grade, as it were. Call me whatever you like. But the moment you call me insignificant is the moment you touch my arrogance and make me rise up to meet you. If I lose, then so be it. My life, as the rules state in the challenge, would be yours. But my victory means the adverse is the same.

Our terms of victory shall be the same of any shadow challenge, issued amongst those who know them - the life of the loser belongs to the victor. So, I say to you, I believe my life worth yours in a stake, and I will damn well prove it to you. Now whether you wish to kill me or force me to serve you if you win, that is YOUR choice... For me, I already have my own goals to fulfill, and you've become part of them.. Master Venheim Sekher."

He stepped backward, hands at his sides.

"Come. Mira." he seemed to order, his face full of righteous fury. Regardless of how Venheim reacted to his words, he could not refute them. To deny the Rite of Shadow, or Ahs'sanbet, was to relinquish one's honor. No matter how strong or mighty that Venheim was, he'd know the sincerity of such a challenge. Now it wasn't an impulsive action that Isaac had simply entertained upon meeting a woman - now it was a personal vendetta.

Isaac Ebner, son of the Ebner line, and the bearer of Kaiser, had been insulted - and no matter how petty it was, he would not let it go without blood being shed, his or the dragon's.

For himself.

And for Aurora.

Edited by Thaelasan

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A deep rumble formed in the pit of Venheim's stomach as he reared his head back, further accentuating his massive size and a heavy laugh bellowed out into the realm, echoing off the mountains and scattering the birds. From there, the mighty King of the Sekher's shrunk down into his human self, a toothy and dark grin reflected the amusement he was now in. So, this boy now challenged his own shadow?


"Boy, you defeated a shadow of Master Seghil, not even worthy of being called a fraction of the power he holds. Yes, it is impressive, but know that it is not impossible. Even I have defeated several of those shadows in an attempt to please the Master with my capabilities. Child, powerful beings still lurk in the outside realm and those shadows are merely to attract Master's attention to the possible threats of this city. As for your challenge..."


Venheim stared the shadowborne with dark red eyes, a massive shadow blade forming behind him and the toothy grin returning. Walking up to where the previous blade had been placed, he too stabbed it into the ground sending a ripple through the rock and a wave that toppled nearby trees. Its size towered that of the blade Isaac had made and its own shadow seemed to be attempting to eat away at the former.


"I accept, but is it right to call it pride or is it arrogance that fuels this rebellious nature and your sense of disorder? You came into this city, ruled by a force you cannot even fathom, who created a hierarchy who is to maintain order and defend his creation and you somehow gave yourself the right to Judge? Young shadow walker, your right to anything in this city is given to you by only one being and I needn't say who unless that point hasn't made it to your mind yet."


Mira just simply watched from the side, pleased at the show she had been allowed to watch. As it seemed to be coming to a close, she returned to a normal standing position just as Isaac was making his way back to their group. Yet, she stopped short when he instructed her to follow. Oh, that wasn't going to be allowed. No, no, no. When Venheim heard the boy say such a thing to Mira, even his face seemed to pale slightly and he backed up a few paces.


"Oh and there you go spoiling all that momentum you had just built up, bravo! Is it a knack of yours to get on everyone's bad side or is it mainly cause of that demon all locked up inside you, cause the support you had from me just seconds ago... yeah, you lost it completely. Actually, you just spoiled my appetite and I really don't like it when my appetite has been ruined. So, you scooch along and think about what you just did, I'll stay here and renegotiate with King Sekher."

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Isaac shrugged.

"I'm assuming you think that I should owe you, ja?" he frowned. "Or perhaps not. I doubt you think I could do anything for you anyway."

As he stepped towards the exit, he adjusted and flexed his fingers again. He considered added something like "Since when do I give a damn about your appetite, you arrogant witch?" but the impulse was definitely suppressed. Damn, he was hating feeling this confined - this weak.

He felt like he had all those years ago, when his training had begun, and he'd been barely of age to wield a gun - much less confine Kaiser within his mortal form. It had been the time when his older brothers and sister had been able to ridicule him, especially since he'd been slow to complete his own Rite of Passage.

As he passed through the door, he stopped, momentarily.

"As I'm on a roll tonight when it comes to bad emotions, tell your father that I owe him for the seal." Isaac tapped his shoulder, gesturing to Mira. "It's been a real pleasure, meeting you both tonight. I believe the feeling is mutual, ja?"

He stepped out, closing the door behind him. If his life belonged to anyone, it was certainly not a giant, pompous dragon and certainly not a woman with a fetish for devouring people. It would be his Sonne, and no one else. His Licht.


He stepped through the hallways, now not really concerned where he went. The guards who passed him gave him a wide berth as he stepped among them, no longer giving heed to the fear of earlier.

Now all he felt was a vengeful rage.

"You really do like to cause problems, don't you?"

Isaac paused, about to say something Kaiser, when he realized it was a voice from upon his body, not within. He checked himself before finally finding Aurora's amulet, placed in a pouch at his side.

"I don't cause them on purpose. Trouble just seems to find me." Isaac joke, sighing. "You heard everything, ja?"

"Of course, though a bit muffled." Aurora responded. "Mira is a dangerous enemy, Isaac, moreso than my father. And you even threw a comment about Seghil in there. If you die before we have a chance to battle, I won't forgive you."

"I'm not planning on leaving this world anytime soon." Isaac promised, tying the amulet around his neck. "So, how do I get out of here?"

"The front door, of course. It's further down."

"And you can't accompany me?"

"No. My youngest sister's Wright is very soon, and if I keep getting pulled away, my father really WILL lose his temper."

"I see. More tradition." Isaac frowned as he slid down a flight of stairs using the banister. He landed with a majestic, unnecessary flip on the main floor.

"Something wrong?" Aurora asked, her voice sounding ethereal from the depths of the amulet.

"Not really.. Well.." Isaac replied, searching for the door. "I suppose it's memories of my own."

"Do tell."

Isaac rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

"I suppose I could. I haven't told anyone about it in about fifty years, so it hasn't really been on my mind. But, all this 'Wright' business and family honor... It's been poking at me."

"I see."

"Basically... about 90 years ago, if I recall, I was born to a family - the Ebner family. From a very young age, I was pressed with the notion that one day I would be called to accept a power from a demon lord, after a series of trials.

My parents were the leaders of the Ebner family, so their word was pretty strong. As such, I had to do my part to keep our honor. People from other families were jealous of my siblings and I. I had to kill several of my own relatives, all of my age, when they attacked me out of spite. I still have a few scars from those days. But no one stopped them from doing it. My parents called it 'separating the wheat from the chaff.' I called it butchery, mindless murder. I regretted it. I remember shaking and crying myself to sleep every night, unable to handle the killings I had done. My brothers and sister insulted me, saying I was weak, mentally. They could somehow kill without feeling the slightest remorse."

"...My brothers and sisters fight for rank.. but we.. we never killed each other. I'm sorry." Aurora whispered, concerned.

"I've gotten over it now, I suppose. The moral of the story is that I always felt confined, imprisoned. If I went anywhere, there was a danger of me being attacked. I would lock myself in my room for days on end, trying to ignore the dangerous, outside world. But one day, my family forced me to follow them, binding me to take me to Kaiser, our paragon."


"The source of my powers. During the whole 'march' to Kaiser, I felt betrayed by my own family. My parents didn't even give me a glance as they hurled me into an arena with the rest of those who wanted Kaiser's power. Alongside my 'beloved' brothers and older sister, I was forced to fight to gain Kaiser's favor. The losers would be devoured by him as a sacrifice. The strong would be given his blessing. But all the while, I battled, and felt nothing for once in my life. No regret. No sadness. Only desire. I looked upon Kaiser - the source of my suffering for all those years - and cursed him mentally as I fought. I only got angrier and angrier as I was forced to kill more of the other acolytes, their blood mixing in the dirt of the arena, their names forgotten, their lives lost. No one shed a tear for them. They were the weak.

When the dust cleared, I - of course - stood there. I had stopped fighting. For a long while, I had just been standing still. The other acolytes continued to suffer and writhe during their battles. But soon, they all began to realize I wasn't participating. All I could do was stare at Kaiser.

I grabbed him, I demanded he give me his power. Not the little bit he promised - but far more. I wanted Kaiser for myself. I believed, utterly, I had earned every part of him and I would take him, gladly. I would accept him, both as a curse and blessing, within the prison of my being. He would relieve the boredom and fear and break the chains around me. So I did. I sealed him within my own body and began to learn how to use his powers to the best of my ability."

"You were... a prisoner as well.." Aurora mused.

"Yes, indeed, meine Sonne." Isaac responded. During his conversation, he'd managed to make it outside. He found himself staring at the daytime sky, sighing inwardly.

"Are you outside?" Aurora asked.

"Yes. Yes I am."

"Would you mind holding the amulet up to the sky, so I can see it?"

Isaac obeyed, raising the pendant high up into the air, the front of it facing the heavens.

For a moment, they both stared in silence at the sky.

"I'd appreciate if you did this, every day, if just for a moment." Aurora said quietly. "Just so I can see this."

"Of course." Isaac promised, bringing the amulet back down and tying it back around his neck. "I can do that."

"So what will you do now?"

"Find answers. I suppose the first choice is to talk to Seghil himself, but I don't know where I could find him." Isaac shrugged. "So, I guess I'll just walk directionless until I find a path."

"How adventurous." Aurora complimented, smiling on her end. "I wish I could help more, but as I've only been in the castle most of the time, I don't know where Seghil's castle really is. Father has mentioned it a few times, but.. never the location. I don't even know if he actually knows."

"That's fine. I don't really think I want to go back and try to ask him anyway, after what happened." Isaac laughed. "No.. I think I'll just start walking."

And with that, he began to take a brisk pace...




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After helping Ellecia to her feet, Vex had decided to remain quiet - mainly because the sudden drain inflicted upon his body had made him feel powerless, but also because he didn't find the right words to add. His senses felt clouded and there was a slight dizziness that just wouldn't go away - both of them caused the Thresher to react and move slower, as if he was tired or drunk. The Chain Reaper silently turned toward Mira as she spoke about him.

A reaper who wasn't born that way... a creature created by a free spirit that aborbs people's faults... one of very few with a sense of humanity left... able to remember my past... my... beginning... Vex considered the points she'd raised, ignoring what she had to say about Isaac, but his thoughts eventually faded into yet another flashback. The day he'd appeared, he had immediatelymet with a couple other Threshers which helped him get into his body's instincts properly, taught him him a few tricks and found his unique ability. However, it had found them first - the two lovers that had met him became the first victims of his unknown gift, the Curse of the Damned. For hours, he layed on the ground, their now dark forms sitting across him in the alley they'd met in. For hours, he cursed himself, as well as his new powers, and harmed himself because he was a monster... and finally, on the next day, he'd risen and left silently. Although Vex had learned the importance of souls from day one, he had let theirs, as well as the ones which they had captured go. He wouldn't dare that - taking their lives away, though unwillingly, was already something he couldn't forgive himself for, and then making use of their remains, as if a hunter's spoil... even the thought would make him feel horrible.


It didn't come as a suprise that the others had shunned him afterwards - though it took over 20 years for the rumors to spread and for the truth to truly surface, other Threshers had soon learned that he was the true killer of the Casto couple. Blinded by rage and oblivious of the fact that their kin was never aware of the abilities they had until the moment it was truly used on another being, the other reapers had created a gang. 'Casto's Redemption', a hate-filled community comprised entirely of vengeful Threshers, had been born because of the actions of a lone figure.

Of course, Vex had never forgotten the two - he had their bodies retrieved from the public graveyards, after which he performed a cleansing ritual on them before creating a large memorial for them in a private part of the city once he was good on coin. Hell, he had contacted the two through a soulseeker, and had apologized for hours in front of the elders. They had told him that their time was coming, as they were nearing their fifth century, and that they were thankful it was a fellow like them who had freed them beforehand. Vex was unable to control his power when he had first used it - thus, the moment he had activated it, the two had melted away, the bond between soul and body being severed in an instant. That had helped ease the young Thresher's worries a bit, but in order to save himself, he'd asked the two for any wish. Days later, Vex was now working as a freelance vanguard around the city. He was known as a Keeper of Justice, though, at first, he only did this because that was their wish - a form of redemption. This part of his past - the first time he had met the gang - was always clouded. He could only recall pieces - fighting off other Threshers, running for his life - and though he wished to know more, the society that hunted him managed to keep it all a secret. It had been around ten years after the start of the hunt, however, that he had met Isaac.

It was a random day and the Chain Reaper was doing his usual rounds through the streets when he heard screams coming from an area in the D sector. Rushing to help, he had strangely found another Thresher. This one looked like an exact copy of him, and whether it was the work of a fancy trinket, a magical gimmick or an actual clone of his didn't matter - not then, not now. Vex only knew that he had to stop this madman. So, he moved to attack, only to see this strange clone of himself turn and start running. He followed suit, attempting to stop the strange being. However, the moment he had passed through a strangely empty checkpoint between sectors, he had felt something was wrong. Stopping in a small square in the C sector, he had looked for his opponent... only to hear someone drop drown from the rooftops. As the observers applauded, the man approached slowly and threathened him. It had truly felt hilarious because this man thought he knew everything, but he suppressed the urge to laugh and instead quietly explained to him that it was the work of the gang and not him. However, the man didn't trust him, and moments later, they had started fighting. Vex knew he was able to deal more damage than him, but the strange, dark person was way too fast, and his blows would often miss. The moment Isaac had drawn two revolvers, however, was when the Chain Reaper knew it was time to act. He moved instantly, dashing to the man and raising a cloud of dust. With a single action, he had dislodged the weapon from his arm using a technique in the military and had taken it for himself. Then, as the dust settled, the two were revealed in a standstill. Though the victory had gone to Isaac because he couldn't be shot in the chest, Vex could easily aim for his skull and shoot. However, both not knowing his ability to create barriers and the risk of getting shot in the head had stopped him from acting. Thus, their story had begun, and a few months later, they were working together against the gang.

40 years ago, somewhere after they had defeated 'Casto's Redemption', the two had went through the Brotherhood Ritual. Though they had split afterwards, the marks had remained with them. Vex silently turned to look at Isaac's left hand and spotted the mark, after which he slowly lifted up his right one. Dispelling the gauntlet, he gazed through the flames and into the symbol carved atop his hand and recognized the insiginia left upon it. The words within the circles had slightly faded, but they still could be read - "Bonds Unbroken, Words Unspoken."


Vex soon snapped out of his daydreaming as he overheard his name being spoken out by Isaac. He lifted his head up and watched as he spoke with Mira, the end of her words indicating that he'd requested they be allowed to come with him. As the girl started walking, he followed suit, standing quietly to Isaac's left and walking with a pace that matched his own. The two figures moved together, and if one were to slightly focus on them, he would barely, just barely notice a glow that connected both of the marks on their hands.

Though at first the direction that Mira had taken was known to him, he'd never taken it all the way to the end - at most, he'd escored Ellecia to a couple of hallways, and when she opened the door, he could notice a long tunnel and a large set of double doors. Well, now he was standing in front of these strange gates, wondering what could just need such a huge entrance. However, he shook his head clear and moved through, following Mira inside and observing quietly as she turned to smile at them. Then, in a series of events he'd never really expect, he saw one of the landmasses in the distance move toward them. He watched with a baffled expression as it approached them, but soon shut his open mouth once he recognized a few key features... this was undoubtedly King Venheim Sekher. The Sehrx dropped down to the ground in respect, then rose up and watched Mira speak with the King... only to turn to watch Isaac instead as he felt a strange wave of emotions flow into him.

Vex felt conflicted as the Shadowborne turned to directly speak with the King, commenting on how he was treated. Of course the Thresher shared these feelings, but even he knew better than to go against Venheim, especially with Seghil's child and Lady Ellecia, whom he deeply respected, standing within the same room - and this, mind you, was only to share what he thought or just to show a small act of rebellion, not fight and win. Curse of the Damned could kill practically anyone and anything, but Venheim would crush him with his giant form before he had the chance to keep his eyes on the man for even a minute.

The reaper's features twisted and turned even more suprised as he watched Isaac summon a relic from a time he'd long forgotten. The blade he had conjured had once been placed against Vex himself, long ago. It was a simple friendly duel with the main goal to simply practice the Ahs'sanbet, but the ritual section had been true to the second. The Thresher was standing across the Shadowborne, after which both quietly stepped forward. As Isaac worked with the shadows around him, Vex instead released a burst of souls from his core, then started to mold them. Then, the two had stabbed the swords into the ground, finishing the ritual. The two blades were strangely in contrast - while Isaac's was solid and ebony black, Vex's was... almost nonexistent, made up entirely of energy and shining with a bright red color. Though these weapons only served as visible essences of their hosts, it was said that some could be wielded - if the host was powerful enough.

Suprise turned into worry, however, as the King left his gigantic form and stepped forward, then summoned a blade of his own. Even as the Thresher gazed at it, he could feel it eating away at the shadows created by his brethren's sword, and the power that spread along the floor slowly passed along the ground under him, causing ripples and slight shakes. Unlike an essence, that blade truly felt like an existing artifact on its own, because it held power unlike any being's own core.

As the pact sealed itself, Vex watched the two blades get covered by a thick, dark shroud, composed entirely of the blades' power. It was probably impenetrable by anyone except Aurora, and even she would have to use something very powerful to get through the shadows that covered the blades. Such strength, and only from a fraction of the two... these blades truly felt like one's own willpower, focused into something that could actually harm.


The Chain Reaper quickly shifted his gaze toward Mira as she angrily remarked at Isaac's words. She was obviously not going to take it from someone weaker than her, since she was a part of the city's royalty... and Vex softly watched her, wondering whether her actions annoyed him or were right on their own. As the Shadowborne leaved the room, however, the Thresher turned toward the others within the room.

"Since we have 'agreed' that Isaac is to be under our jurisdiction at all times, I'll be taking my leave - and even if we didn't, I doubt any of us want to leave him do whatever he wants." The ghastly voice echoed through the room as Vex slowly turned to Venheim and Mira, bowing as a Sehrx. Rising from that position, he then turned to walk out of the room. With a quick pat on Ellecia's shoulder and a slight nod to her, the reaper approached and pushed open the large twin doors. As soon as they shut loudly, his slow, brisk walk turned into a quick dash. He speedily moved through the manor's levels, using shortcuts he had memorized throughout the years spent patrolling the halls. Soon, he'd reached the main floor, and he immediately ran to the entrance. Kicking it open yet again, with the difference this time being that the doors didn't go flying off the hinges, he watched Isaac in front of him. There, he stood for a moment, wondering if he had truly chosen correctly to follow the Shadowborne instead of staying with Ellecia. However, doubt soon left his mind, and he moved until he was next to Isaac.

"So...I'm guessing you want to find Seghil." Vex spoke out as he slowed down and placed both his hands behind his head, then shut his eyes. Did he have any idea as to where this man was? No. Did he hear anything at all from others within the household? Yes and no.

"Well, I don't know where it is for sure, but... I guess we have a lot of time on our hands, ja?" The Chain Reaper said softly, a grin spreading on his face as he offered Isaac a fist bump with his right hand.

Edited by KuroKishi

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Isaac returned the gesture with his left hand. The marks gleamed softly as their hands came in contact, showing that the rite was still strong.

"Of course!" Isaac replied, letting his hand hang back by his side. "Though a bit of direction would be nice. But a man with that much power would either love to be found, and make it very easy... or not want to be found at all."

He rubbed his chin, frowning. He hadn't shaved in two days, and it was beginning to show. Oh well. It didn't bother him much. What DID bother him was not having a direction in mind.

Being sealed gave him a lot to reflect on. He couldn't be as impulsive as he desired. He had limits now, no matter for what purpose they were placed upon him. He needed to respect those limits or risk being destroyed by an outside opponent.

Well, Vex being there made him feel a bit better. He patted the large Thresher on the shoulder and turned to the horizon.

"I would assume he'd be even further into the city than the Sekher household, perhaps even in the very center." Isaac suggested. "I mean, if he's as strong as Mira and the others claim, surely we would feel something in his presence, ja?"

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Vex smiled softly, dropping his hand after the two had shared a fist bump. His eyes reopened slowly as he turned to look around.

"Hm..." The Thresher muttered as he went over the options that were given. Seghil's hideout... it would have to be somewhere nearby, in proximity of the city - that is, if he couldn't simply teleport to them at any given time. Also, it would need to be secluded somehow, which meant that the center was a no-go, because the whole thing was covered in buildings and the only way one could go is underground.

"Well, I wouldn't immediately go with the center of the city. I mean, it seems way too obvious, don't you think? For me, it'd be the equivalent of making yourself the center of a large bullseye." Vex offered, his mind shifting through different things he knew about this town. Throughout his time here, he had remembered quite a few things. First, both low sectors and high sectors were packed to the brim with buildings - difference was that the former had a ton of illegal and legal residences, whilst the latter was filled with enterprises, headquarters, shopping centres and other things he really didn't care about. Then, he considered something else entirely - what if the hideout wasn't within the city?

"So there's a few options, but I'll give the ones I seriously consider only. One - it's somewhere inbetween sectors C and A; two - it's not within the city but close to it; three - it's underground; and four - it's transparent and somewhere over our heads. What do you think?" Vex asked the Shadowborne as he started thinking of a few individiuals that they could 'ask' for help, if the need was big.

Edited by KuroKishi

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Isaac nodded with approval, impressed.

"I like options three and four." Isaac replied, crossing his arms as he craned his head upwards to look at the sky again. "A sky domain makes sense. Since the magic of Nightfall makes the sky turn darker earlier in most areas, it would have to have a focus up there, I'd imagine... You may be on to something. But I have no idea how I'd get up there."

He placed his hands on his hips. Unlike Vex, the only people he could go to for help were either normally not around during the day, or had died long ago. However, there was one pair of people he knew of that could help...

"Well, I suppose we can go with your contacts or mine."

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"So, you wish to find where my home is, do you? Come visit me, question about the seal I placed on you and how to get it off, yes? Why? So you can regain the strength necessary to beat my right hand dragon?"


From one of the alleys, a rather familiar looking boy appeared, his appearance reminiscent of a young Isaac. Even the voice was vaguely similar to his when he had been a child. Suddenly, another voice echoed from an alley behind them, raspy and almost choked, reflecting an elderly person.


"Do you really think you would still stand a chance? I personally selected him for this position, after all and it is your fault for getting into this mess. Why, you even upset my hungry bunny, barking orders at her."


As the figure became visible, it reflected what Isaac would potentially look like when he grew old. A thick white beard, growing from darkened wrinkled skin matching the moppy white hair atop his head, that still held youth at the roots. Even his stature remained straight and strong. Again, from a third alley, a mix of deep tones with younger ones spoke out from the darkness, similar to a developing adolescent gaining his voice.


"Oh, but they infringed upon your freedom. Freedom you attained through difficult times and having to overcome tough trials, including the murder of your own family. Must have been tough, an adolescent, forced to kill those who were too weak simply so they can gain favor of one of my pets. Tell me, was it truly worth it? Would you have felt better if your family had been free from such constraints? I bet you didn't know... no, they probably never told you, did they? No, they did not."


This time, the figure was a reflection of Isaac's adolescence, scruffy hair and frail appearance. A welp that was picked on consistently, but never gave up so that he may prove that he was stronger than the rest. What came next was probably the most surprising. Rather than a male voice, a female voice echoed in the darkness of, yet again, a separate alley. One that certainly held wisdom and one that Isaac potentially recognized.


"It was the Ebner line that requested a gift from me, one that would make your village known across the lands and one that was not to be trifled with any longer. Yet, the route they took... it was not the route meant to be. They began to appease my pet by shedding blood rather than attempting to take command of it as you did. I bet it was easy, shedding the blood of your family, friends, neighbors and whoever else participated in the Rite.


I fancy your determination, it intrigues me so. Challenging the head of the Sekher family, why? Knowing you are sealed and that your powers come not even close to his own. Nor are you forged for battle as he, spending millenia on the battlefield and fighting many battles against creatures you have only seen in your nightmares. I applaud your bravery, but I must laugh at the choice you have made. I shall witness your battle, but what you have come to request of me... there is nothing that I can do. Well, there is, but I'm not going to do anything. If you wish to prove your worth to a battle forged leader, you must do it by gaining the strength on your own."

Edited by zakku_uchiha

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He stared out into the sunset with a mixture of desire and fear. His feet would not move. All he could do was gaze upon it with wide, open eyes, trying hard to stand his ground. For most his age, they would want to run outside in a heartbeat, free from all constraints.

But he was not most children.

"The sun is our enemy, my son." they had told him. "It burns us. The Sun is not something to cherish - it is something to be feared. While it is up, our clan is weak, vulnerable. When the sun is up, we hide."

But as he stared at it now, a primal instinct told him that that was wrong - that he should appreciate this view. He'd gotten lucky today. Most days, he wasn't up this early. Since all the clan activities took place at night, the sun coming up heralded the end of the day for them. Only a select few in the clan had ever even caught a glimpse of the sun, or felt its warmth.


Isaac turned, right as a hand came across his face. He grabbed his cheek in sudden pain as he stared up at the woman before him, now close to crying.

"Isaac Ebner you foolish, rotten child!" his mother chided, grabbing his shoulders. "Do you even know what you're doing right now? How will you ever reach the Rite if you put yourself in these situations?! What makes you think you have the right to be out here now!?"

"Mommy I.." Isaac began, tears welling up in his eyes as he looked at her with a depressed and broken look.

"If you think that crying will solve any problem, you have learned nothing from your classes. Stand up straight. Quit being such a whining baby. Your brothers and your sister were never this weak and foolish." his mother insulted, picking him up. "We're going back to the house, where you will be punished for this atrocity. You will understand the severity of your infraction."

"....Mommy I'm.. I'm sorry..." Isaac pleaded, his eyes now full of water, unable to stop them from flowing. "Please..."

"Silence your tongue, you miserable excuse for an heir." his mother responded, carrying him roughly. "To think that I gave birth to you... What a pitiful child."

Isaac could only look back helplessly with one last, fleeting glance as the last few rays of the sun left the world...

And yet again plunged his existence into a helpless, inescapable one once more.




Isaac stared at the three newcomers as they approached, his emotions mixed. The one who affected him the most was the youngest one.

But the voice it spoke was not his. He remembered when he had been that young. His voice had been strained, weak, afraid. This ... demon spoke with confidence, with a condescending tone that irked him.

As a child, he had been abused and mistreated, and not just by his own close family. But just how did this demon know about that? No one in Nightfall knew about his past, excluding Aurora, who had been the first he had told since he had arrived. Not even Dusk had ever asked about his past life. She only cared about the job and the task at hand.

The adolescent one was also accurately depicted. It even had fresh bruises and cuts upon its body, visible on its arms and legs. But the most frightening piece was the birthmark visible on his stomach between gashes in its clothes. That was something no one had ever seen, not even his family, save for after particularly rough fights, when his flesh had been shown beneath his clothing. He'd always hidden the mark from prying eyes, keeping it as the only thing he could rely on to tell him he was still alive, after all the murder and battle.

"I will only assume you eavesdropped." Isaac finally muttered, looking at each version of himself in turn - past, present, and future.

"I suppose you believe in trying to teach me the true Spirit of Christmas or something?" he chuckled, placing his hands on his hips. "Otherwise, there is no need for this sleight-of-hand."

He listened to the chiding words of the demon with a slight hint of irritation.

"You're wrong, mein Freund." Isaac responded finally. "I never enjoyed any of what I was forced to do. I'm not a sadistic fool like you seem to believe I am."

He crossed his arms, agitated.

"As for my family's decisions, if they cursed themselves so, then that does release a bit of weight from my soul." he admitted, frowning. "But the actions I took in the name of honor and self-defense are ones I don't regret, but I do remember. I learned long ago that if I continued to let them eat at me in such a fashion, I would never enjoy my existence."

As the demon finished, he sighed.

"I see. You won't even give me a hint?" he shrugged. "I had hoped you would give me at least some sort of hint as to how I could break the seal. But I don't regret challenging the Sekher either. I don't do it solely for myself. I do it for the hand of meine Sonne, and nothing else. So, I must break the seal so I stand a chance, however slim. Surely you can respect a man fighting for the woman he loves, ja?"

He turned to each of the different versions of himself yet again and smirked.

"So I suppose I won't even get to see the person controlling these ....husks, either?" he asked, gesturing to them. "You won't even give me that little bit of respect?"

Edited by Thaelasan

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"Hahah! Eavesdropped you say? That is putting it mildly. Child, I have been in your presence far longer than you think. I am in the presence of many, but few have the privilege of ever meeting me. No, rather few have the ability to be in my presence. This is just a mere precaution, one to make sure you are able to speak with me without holding your tongue, but it seems you've already proved that it doesn't matter who that being is."


As he spoke, each perception of Isaac's childhood vanished, only his potential future being the body that remained. With each word, the figure turned to look at Isaac, its form altering until it became nothing more than a black figure with a set of deep red eyes.


"As per your request for respect, why should I give you such an honor when you have disrespected many already? Defying everything a family has established to ensure the safety of a precious gift bestowed upon them and then claiming it as your own. If you wish to win her over and acquire the trust of her father, then you must do it by your own strength or have you relied too much on the power of my pet that you have grown weak and no longer have such strength?


If my point is not clear to you, allow me to be rather blunt about it. Human, you are weak. There lies no strength within you that does not rely on the gift I left your clan so many years ago. What strength was there when you participated in your Rite? None. If you had strength, you would not have slaughtered your own family. If you had strength, you would have been able to save them instead.


Before you ask, I did not place a seal on you, rather I placed a seal on my pet. Two, actually. One, that bound its rage, that allowed you to control it after you absorbed it and the second to close off the very source of power you have relied upon all these years and that very source is starting to run dry. Now, allow me to ask you once more, what strength do you have to face against my Templar King and what are you willing to sacrifice so that you may achieve your goal?"


A grin spread across the shade's black face, a row of white fangs glistening in the light and the last remaining sign that it had been there as the figure slowly began to reform into a feeble and weak variant of Isaac's future. Even that did not remain present very long as it began to disperse until nothing remained of its existence. For a moment, everything remained still and then a female wolf fae appeared. Immediately approaching Isaac, she pulled out a large manilla envelope from a pouch at her side, bowed and handed it to the Shadowborne. With a weak smile, she scurried off without even exchanging any words or instructions.




Isaac Ebner,


What you choose now will determine which future path you will follow. I'm sure my words to you just moments ago potentially fueled the burning coals within you, but I can assure you that was my intent from the start. As with most of the residents within this city, you are just a simple piece of my entertainment, someone to provide a sense of amusement as the decades turn into centuries and centuries turn into millennia.


Now, onto the main reason I went through the trouble of writing this letter to you. You seek power so that you may defeat a foe that prevents you from obtaining your light. As a human, gifted the darkness, you have no strength of your own. Inside this envelope, you should now find a ring inside that will grant you the strength you require to impress the Warlord, but do not be so hasty as to immediately retrieve it and place it on before I inform you have the conditions behind wearing it.


Conditions are as follows;


1. By placing the ring upon your finger, you are thereby swearing your loyalty and your servitude to the Neuvhorn family. When one requires your services, or your aid, you are to report immediately and assist them.


2. What strength and prowess you acquire through this ring is your own, but it will unshackle the demon inside you, thus freeing it from your body and returning it to the bidding of the Neuvhorn family. By doing this, you revoke the remaining ties to your family name.


3. Your rights to Judging are further revoked, relinquishing you of the unrecognized authority posed by a false god.


4. As a result of the previous condition, you will instead be granted the authority of a Defender. Details of this position will be passed on to you based on your final decision of this contract.


5. Agreeing to this contract, binds you indefinitely, preventing any other contracts from being made. This ensures that your loyalty and servitude remains complete to the Neuvhorn family.


Allow me to further explain that this does not, in any way shape or form, remove your freedom. Rather, it bolsters it, for as a servant of the Neuvhorn you are entitled to so many more possibilities than what you are currently looking at. Now, allow me to be blunt once more in regards to this ring. By placing it upon your finger, it will imbue you with dark energy so great that the process of absorbing Kaiser will seem like a walk in the park. It is painful, it will take a long time to master it, and there is a potential that it could kill you at any time in your life.


Lastly, by accepting this contract, you will become a true Shadowborne. It will course through you like blood through your veins, you will become a new breed that I have waited to manifest for centuries. Kaiser was merely a means of testing whatever human who absorbed him would have the potential of handling this gift of true darkness.


All you need to do to accept is allow a single drop of blood to splatter on this parchment and place the ring on your finger. My fae will collect the contract and provide aid as you undergo the painful transitioning. Upon your unfortunate demise, if that were the case, well, let's just hope you don't die.

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Vex was about to reply when he felt a strange aura immediately surround the two. Even the souls within him reacted to this strange presence, diving deeper into his core in an attempt to hide away from the looming power that scared them far more than the reaper, by which they were imprisoned. Slowly, the subtle aura turned into a solid form, indicating that the person's presence was now on a physical level.

We've got company... The Thresher thought to himself as he heard footsteps coming from a nearby alley and shifted his gaze toward it. Suprisingly, what emerged from it appeared to be a young boy. Though at first he wasn't sure, a quick gaze toward Isaac had indeed confirmed that this was his young self's incarnation. The boy's voice did remind him of the Shadowborne, but there was something off that he could vaguely pick up.

Confused as another voice came from behind them, the Chain Reaper turned around, squinting his eyes in an attempt to spot the figure coming toward them. As it became visible, he slowly opened his mouth in disbelief - it was a strange, old man, who somehow still gave off the feeling Isaac did. Though his hair was becoming white like the beard on his chin, he still felt strangely young. At least, the aura he gave off did, as it was an almost perfect match to the one that the reaper could feel from the figure next to him.

Lastly, a third figure stepped toward them, causing Vex to turn around quickly. The young man that stepped forward... was practically what the Thresher had imagined Isaac looking like, were they to meet during their teenage years. Though he had a frail figure and seemed weak, the look in the teenager's eyes told the reaper that he'd seen more than any normal child. This... was Isaac really like this?

As a female voice came out this time, Vex turned around, wondering if he was about to see a female version of Isaac, or possibly a relative. However, with nobody emerging, he instead focused on the words that these copies of Isaac's life had spoken.


An adolescent, forced to kill those who were too weak... a gift that the Ebner line asked from Seghil... shedding the blood of your family, friends, neighbors and whoever else participated in the Rite... Isaac, just what the hell have you gone through? Vex questioned himself mentally, making a note to ask him later about all of this. He might have died young, barely around his middle 20's, but the life he had lead was never this dark. Isaac would have to share this with the reaper, or he'd bother him until both of them came to their end.

Snapping out of his thoughts, Vex lifted his head up and listened to Isaac's reply. The ethereal being slightly chuckled when the Shadowborne mentioned the True Spirit of Christmas, which was something he'd often heard as a young kid on Christmas Eve. The next words didn't really suprise him, however. He knew that this young friend of his wouldn't enjoy something like that - murder of the ones closest to you, just to impress some demon from the darkest abyss, seemed quite unlike the Night Judge's choice of actions, let alone something that he would enjoy doing.

As Seghil replied to the Shadowborne next to him, Vex listened to what he had to say with interest. He probably had more power than everyone in the city combined, so it came as no suprise that he was aware of what happened in the city at all times - in fact, the Thresher was sure he'd be more suprised if such an almighty powerful person was unable to track everyone within the city. When the man spoke about strength, the reaper was slightly irritated. How could this man speak about strength so freely? Even if Isaac was strong because of the demon within his body, his first choice to absorb it within himself was something nobody would dare do. Hell, even his own family found it better to slay eachother, and somehow, only he was the one that wanted more than the usual treat of power. That was true courage, and courage always gave birth to power, no matter what.


When the dark figure in front of the two slowly faded away, Vex noticed a strange female approach them. However, he immediately focused on the envelope that she'd left, only noting quickly where she was headed off to before turning toward Isaac. With a slight nod to him, the Thresher grasped it and opened the seal, then pulled out the sheet of paper within and unfolded it within Isaac's hands - the other object inside could wait.

"This..." Vex quietly started as he read through what was written within the parchment, his interest growing with each line and sentence he went over. A strange contract, bound by blood, that made him a servant of the Neuvhorn family, along with an unknown ring that promised to 'free' Isaac from the chains left on him by Seghil. As he reached the end, however, the Thresher shook his head and turned toward Isaac with a serious look.

"Isaac... this is way too risky. I can already feel the ring eating away at the souls that are floating around my body - it's corrupt beyong any relief. The offer surely is tempting, but if you were to put on this ring... you'd turn into Seghil, as well as Mira's puppy. Do you really wish to sacrifice that much - and I'm ignoring the fact you can DIE at any point! - to have a chance of beating Venheim?!" The Chain Reaper spoke out, his hand quickly going within the envelope and drawing the ring from inside. Holding it in his open palm between the two, he quietly observed it. The surface was made of an ebony black metal that looked quite like Isaac's Ahs'sanbet blade. However, what caught his attention was the small crystal socketed within one side of the ring, filled with a crimson liquid. The power that flowed from the contents of the crystal definitely told him this was a part of Seghil - and, judging by the color, that was blood inside. Quietly, Vex turned his head up and looked at Isaac.

"This ring... if you put it on, you may no longer be Isaac. I can feel the power within it, and if I guess correctly, the ring will free both seals Seghil placed upon you. That means that your once withheld strength will be freed, but at the same time, the demon within you will be fully released. You've grown accustomed to its taint, but I am sure that the power of the ring will be far stronger, so it could kill you..." Vex said, his voice filled with irritation, but not at the Shadowborne. The ring that they had been sent... was the biggest double-edged sword he'd ever seen. Even if Isaac was to subdue the ring's powers, he could die at any point from the stress caused on his body - one second more than usual of focused strain on the heart, and he could suffer a cardiac arrest. However, slowly, he sighed and looked at Isaac yet again.

"As much as I regret saying this, though, I think this is our only chance. There are people I know that can break a seal, but the process can take from a couple months all the way to a year - and unfortunately, you only have a single month. Also, there's no guarantee that my way won't cause the same strain on your body... so... it's up to you, my Brother." Vex finished speaking, stepping back and extending his arm toward Isaac with the ring still resting in the palm of his open hand.

Edited by KuroKishi

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Isaac accepted the ring from Vex with a bit of ceremony as he held it aloft, staring at it for a long while. The demon had had one, last, sour joke upon the Shadowborne, one that would forever remind him of what he had been.

The Ebner family crest peered at him from the jewel in the ring, black with blood-red tints, to forever remind him of what he had once been. He recalled, with a bit of melancholy, the first time he'd seen that crest.

It'd been on the body of a devout follower as they had carried it up to the peak to offer it to Kaiser. For him, it had meant utter devotion, finality, a love for a god that wasn't a god at all.

To Isaac, it had always symbolized a curse, a life he had been given and countless times wished was gone. He had always hoped, one day, he could simply let go. Of course, he'd also considered ending it all, but something kept driving him forward. Something told him that his life was still worth living, and that ending it would have stopped him from reaching his goals.

The wind whipped around him as he stood there, the ring the focus of a small storm of its own. From within it, he could sense the furious power of eons, manifested as a simple trinket. What sort of man, indeed, was this Seghil, if his power was so great?

On one hand, Isaac didn't really know what had made him want to fight the strongest people. He supposed it was inherited from his family. It probably had become instinct after all those years of suffering. Venheim's heirs. Venheim. Seghil. He wanted to fight them all, if just to scream "I am my OWN BEING!"

But if what Seghil said was true, as long as he held Kaiser, he still held fealty to the Ebner line. As long as he depended upon this demon for any amount of power, he owed his respects to it. The very thought burned in the depths of his consciousness. To think, even for a moment, that he still served those who forced him to draw blood in their name....

He read the contract binds again, sighing. The impact of them weighed heavy upon him. As he gripped the ring tightly in his palm, feeling the cold, dark metal of the accessory press into his flesh, he could feel nothing at all.

First, he would ask the one he was doing this for, all of this. He held up the amulet so he could look into its depths, placing the contract under his arm.

"Aurora..." he whispered, weakly.

"It's a heavy burden." Aurora responded flatly. "If you were to accept it, I would not think less of you. A gift of Seghil is something to be treasured. No one knows the ways he works. But for him to take personal interest in you, and speak to you...."

"Should I be cheering?" Isaac asked jokingly.

"Perhaps not cheering... but respecting.." Aurora replied. "Relics of the Neuvhorn family are few and far between. In your hand now is most likely a ring that has been improved over millenia.. perhaps even far older. He may have given it to people before, only to have them fail to handle it. As such, for him to believe you could do it... I don't know."

"You don't think I can?"

"I don't know what to believe, Isaac." Aurora replied. "But if you do take it... don't die... Otherwise... otherwise how can we fight each other? Hmm?"

"Ah. I see. You do care!" Isaac smiled lightly.

"Perhaps." Aurora said slyly from the depths of the gem. "Just don't do anything you'd regret. If you choose to wear it, do it."

Isaac took her words to heart, smiling as he held the ring before his eyes, admiring every facet.

"As you say. Then there is only one other I should speak to."




Within the depths of his mind, Kaiser stirred, being called upon by Isaac's consciousness. He grinned devilishly as he awoke, the chains that held him rattling as he stood to his feet.

Isaac now stood in front of him, staring at the demon for the first time in years.

Kaiser, because of the seal, now looked slightly sickly and weak. His black, leathery flesh was pulled taut over his bones. His demonic, bat-like wings were held at his sides. His four horns still held nobility, however, and his eyes were still very alive. They stared at Isaac with curiosity.

"So.... a gift from Seghil, eh?" Kaiser stood to his full height, the chains hampering him only slightly. "What a treat indeed."

"What do you know of him? He speaks as though he created you." Isaac crossed his arms, frowning.

"He did, indeed." Kaiser admitted. "Is that such a surprise?"

"A bit."

"Well, there's nothing for it, as it is the truth. I was created for one purpose - to be given to the strongest of the Ebner line. At their side, I would have brought them honor as a weapon to be used to unite the rest of the families. But instead..." he laughed for a moment. "You fools couldn't tame me, and when you no longer had the bravery to try and do so, after witnessing the deaths of your fellows, you began to worship me as a god. You drank my blood. You desired my touch. It was pitiful. Pathetic. I laughed each day after you miserable whelps left my arena, only to return the next day, groveling."

Isaac's eyes narrowed.

"Oh don't be so angry. You were different from them, to be sure..." Kaiser held up his hands in surrender. "You had eyes of determination, of a will of your own. Unlike those ignorant lemmings that led your family, you had other ideals. And for once, you questioned your existence and mine. It was quite fascinating, really, to watch you mature. Normally, I don't show interest in humans... but you were different, as I said."

"Should I take that as a compliment?"

"Take it as you will.." Kaiser replied, holding up his arms. "But as I am, neither of us benefit. And a gift from Seghil should never be thrown away. If, indeed, he is offering you such blessed terms, you should take them at face value."

"I should listen to a demon in regards to contracts!?" Isaac laughed hard. "And should I sell him my soul as well?"

"Seghil has no use for souls." Kaiser stated. "As a man who can form life from nothing and take it without a second thought, souls to him are like toys to watch rather than manipulate. As I said, you should accept a contract with such good benefits, rather than question the sincerity of it. There is one man who would never have reason to lie, and that man is Seghil."

"And why is that?"

"Because lying is a weapon of the weak." Kaiser whispered. "And Seghil is far from weak."

Isaac stared at Kaiser with a mixture of disbelief and confusion.

"Don't take my word for it, then, or do." Kaiser shrugged. "As I am, I can do nothing about it. We are both bound in a stalemate, Isaac, and Seghil holds the key to our freedom."

"He's the one who shackled us in the first place!" Isaac replied, furious now. "This is unfair, to force us to do this for the power we once had, right!?"

"He shackled us?" Kaiser cocked his head. "Are you so sure? I believe it was me he shackled, and I don't belong to you. My service is to him. Besides, if I had continued to be at full power, I would have only caused your death over time. No mortal can handle the amount of dark energy I was constantly pressing into your flesh with every bit of power of mine you used. To be frank, I'm surprised you were able to last as long as you had. Perhaps that's why Seghil has shown such interest in you. And that's why I say - you should accept such a pleasurable contract."

Isaac gripped his fist but said nothing. Finally, he held out his hand to the demon, fingers outstretched. Though this beast was both a curse and a blessing to him and had been that way for his entire life, he still felt as though he was about to lose a very, very dear friend.

"....Then if that is what we should do.... I suppose this is goodbye, Schwarze Kaiser." Isaac said sorrowfully. "You were the most human out of anyone I knew as a child."

"Hah! A demon?" Kaiser replied, grasping Isaac's hand. "But why the sudden farewell?"

"Is Seghil not taking you back from me? Is that not a condition?" Isaac said questioningly.

"Make no mistake, he always owned me, Isaac, even now.." Kaiser said, bringing Isaac closer so they were staring into the eyes of the other. "But you also hold claim to me, and you're the only mortal I am bound to. Until you die, I can be tamed by no other. Besides, you are still an interesting being, Isaac Ebner, and I have no desire to be taken from you anytime soon. You have started a story that you are writing each day, even now, and I wish to see how it ends with my own, black eyes. I may not serve you from within any longer, but I will always stand by you."

"A very poetic demon, aren't you?" Isaac chuckled.

"A very devilish human, aren't YOU?" Kaiser replied, grinning. "Now go. Make your choice. And let us both find our destinies. Take the step you've been given, and find out where it leads us. You. Me. Everyone. We are now all waiting for you to decide."

"I've already made my choice." Isaac moved back, releasing Kaiser's hand.

"Then let us see it."

As Isaac departed the depths of his mind to return to the outside world, Kaiser sat back down on the ground, curious.

Silence returned to the inner chamber once more - a silence Kaiser was very familiar with.




Isaac retrieved a small knife from his pocket and turned to Vex, sighing. He removed his glove from his hand to reveal the mark on the back of it which showed the seal of Kaiser.

"I am happy you are here to witness this, my Brother. I don't know if I would be able to do it alone." Isaac admitted, pressing the knife to his hand and holding it there for a moment. "But again, this deal seems interesting, and after all I have done... if what Seghil has said is true, and I still hold any fealty to my family... then I am not yet free. If I die, at least then I will be free of my past... free of that which has followed me all these years. Das gut..."

He looked at his hand and braced himself. Then, he turned to Vex, smiling.

"But, if I were to die.. make sure I am remembered not as Isaac Ebner, of that demon-worshiping cult that tried to turn me into a murdering beast... but remember me as your Brother, as the Isaac who wanted to free people from evil... who shot criminals and brought justice to the slums, no matter how small of an impact I made. Remember me that way, and I can die with no regrets."

With that, he cut his hand slightly on the knife. Blood began to trickle slightly as he placed a few drops on the paper of the contract. They began to glow with power as they touched the material.

Then, Isaac held the ring up to the sun and smiled.

"I would only do this during the day... because then I have truly rebelled against my family." he chuckled.

He slid the ring onto the third finger of his right hand, then waited.

"I am no stranger to pain." Isaac muttered, as his finger began to tingle. "But I don't doubt I've never felt what I'm about to feel."

A strong, numbing force pressed over his body and began to throb through him. He gritted his teeth, knowing it was only the beginning.

Edited by Thaelasan

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You have much to learn, young Shadowborne. A gift of darkness, to gain the light... that will now be the very poison to what it is you are becoming. Pity, I seemed to have forgotten to inform him of the consequences.


"Nel, would you go and retrieve Kaiser from our newest toy? There is a bit I must discuss with my pet before I... make necessary adjustments for his new purpose. Also, give this to the Reaper. Have I just been forgetful in the last century or did I have a purpose behind not giving it to him straight away?"


Sitting on a rather large throne, one that would put any lord or god to shame if they laid eyes upon it, a young looking male with cropped pitch black hair and devilish red eyes grinned and jumped up from his seat. Behind him, a dark skinned female with dark brown hair, wolf ears and tail, a pair of short horns, and emerald eyes bowed before departing. Seghil sighed, pressing a finger against his forehead and then looking to his right.


From the shadows of the hallway and beyond, Mira came running down and embraced the head of the Neuvhorn family. Shortly after, another female walked in and put her hand on the mysterious being's shoulder.


"So, how did it fare at King Venheim's residence?"


"King Sekher can be difficult to negotiate with, but eventually we reached an agreement. As for the sword, should we inform Arthur of the current dilemma or shall I have Obrien forge a temporary replacement? Arthur's visit will occur much sooner than originally anticipated and the Sekher's only lead is one who is not willing to share the information with them."


"Do not fret, I have already... made the necessary arrangements to ensure that our friends are able to retrieve the sword. In fact, Arthur won't be arriving as originally scheduled. Something about a demon attacking the lower region and is beginning to pose a potential threat to his kingdom... or something like that."


"You sent Noire?"


Seghil smiled and Mira giggled, letting go of her embrace and leaning against her father, staring out the window in front of them at the rest of the interior. It was reminiscent of dwarven architecture, but it also had a futuristic atmosphere about it. Like, was this really an ancient catacomb where wars of the old gods had been waged?


Hopping forward, Mira spun on her heel and looked at her father once more before smiling and running off. No words were needed for him to confirm her request, nor were they necessary to tell the other female to accompany. After all, Mira was getting hungry and what was a better snack than a newly formed darkspawn? Besides, it would aid in making certain he didn't die right off the bat.

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