OBERST DAMMERUNG IN:
In 1914, Germany and Japan had fought on opposing sides of the first World War. Less then thirty years later and not all wounds had been forgiven.
In a long, plain field just outside the city of Stuttgart stood Oberst Dammerung, guardian of Germany and pilot of the mighty alien warcraft, the Damagon. He was dressed in the iconic, pitch black power armor that had killed so many, red swastika painted upon his chest almost shining under the sunlight and golden, glass helmet upon his head, masking the smile he currently had. In the Colonel's hands was the crackling blue energy sword he'd named Zerstörer, a powerful, nigh unstoppable weapon he now leaned upon as casually as if it were a cane.
"You know..." Dammerung said, smile still stretched out under his helmet. "When they told me who you were... who you really were... I didn't believe them." The man stood up to his full height, easily dwarfing most men, and he placed the blade over his shoulder. "Too coincidental, I'd thought." He stepped forward and extended a hand of friendship towards his comrade. "But here you are."
Another hand reached out and gripped Dammerung's own, the two quickly engaging in a handshake whilst nearby a group of cows grazed peacefully, undisturbed by the two warlords standing in their territory.
"Here I am." Sandoragon said as he patted his comrade on the shoulder creating a faint, metallic clinking noise against the metal armor. "And I must say, Oberst Offsteader, you look quite well."
To the uninitiated, Sandoragon seemed quite unimpressive. Granted by normal standards he was a man at the peak of physical perfection, with a long, green dragon tattoo extending from his right shoulder to the exact center of his back. Yet when compared to more imposing members of the superpowered community, Daiki Yamamoto seemed to leave something to be desired. But to those that had heard of him, the mere thought of the vicious Sandoragon being upon a battlefield was enough to make even the hardiest of souls shake with fear. Oberst Hans Offsteader grinned slightly as he pulled off his helmet, letting out a sigh of relief as the fresh air of the German countryside covered him.
"Wish I could say the same for you." He grumbled, accent still very obvious despite his suit's translation device. "You Japanese claim to be all about honor. Yet there's nothing honorable about that greasy mop you call a haircut."
Almost self conscious, Daiki brushed his black hair slightly upon his head and grinned, beginning to walk after his companion as the soldier moved towards the field's exit. Dammerung walked quickly, almost jogging judging by the speed, Daiki actually had to run in order to catch up.
"Honor?" The dragon chuckled. "Aren't you the one beaten by a mere detective just a few months ago? A detective with no powers, training or special skills? Whilst you had an army at your beck and call and the mightiest weapon upon the Earth!"
Offsteader frowned, reminded of the unpleasant memories he'd encountered that dark, cold New Year's eve. To the pair's left a car whizzed by, skimming quickly along the brown, earthen road. Hans felt the driver's eyes upon them and smiled upon imagining the man telling his family what he'd seen.
"That... affair, was beneath me." Hans said, choosing his words carefully, his boots kicking up soil as they walked along the side of the road. "A waste of my time as well as the German soldiers deployed." The two men exchanged a look for a moment, passing judgement upon the other. "You have my thanks for assisting with the mission today." Dammerung finally said.
"I had nothing better to do." Sandoragon admitted.
The rest of the walk continued in silence, only resuming once the bright sun up above had been blotted out by the forest trees stretching up towards the sky. They stood on the edge of the forest, both men looking into the dark and seeing something completely different. One man, Dammerung, saw only danger and the horrors that would soon follow. While the other, the Dragon, saw adventure and glory.
"Before we step forward..." Daiki said as Offsteader donned his helmet once again. "Let us use the names that our enemies have come to know us by."
Offsteader nodded respectfully, and outside the Black Forest, the two shook hands again."
"Colonel Twilight." Daiki said, referring to his new ally, and old enemy.
"Sun Dragon." Offsteader replied.
Above the treetops came a flutter of birds, consisting of crows, ravens and the occasional woodpecker, all of whom quickly left their nests behind in anticipation of what was to come. Below the two warriors watched the flock in joined silence before stepping into the thick shade of the forest, shadows soon overcoming them. Moments passed as the duo trudged forward, boots sloshing through mud and grass and brambles, and as Colonel Twilight and Sun Dragon moved deeper into the woods, all traces of the sun seemed to disappear from the skies above.
"It's pitch black." Sun Dragon muttered, noting the growing darkness. His eyes flashed purple, the great power within him becoming cautious. "It's pitch black at 3 in the afternoon." Daiki frowned, nervous or excited, Twilight couldn't tell. "This is... unnatural."
Saying nothing, Colonel Twilight adjusted the vision mode of his helmet, the visor turning a dark orange briefly as he activated his suit's infrared vision. The blasters upon his wrists sprang to life, glowing yellow and giving off a teeth rattling hum... and Colonel Offsteader smiled.
"Then it seems we're headed in the right direction."
As soon as the words escaped Twilight's mouth the sound of something moving erupted from a nearby bush. Startled, the two men snapped towards the dark brambles, both immediately anticipating some ungodly form of danger to come bursting towards them.
"I've got it!" Daiki yelled, seconds before bright purple flames erupted from his mouth, engulfing the area where the noise had come from. Twilight winced as the flames brushed past him, not from the heat although he had felt it, but from the inhuman roar that seemed to escape his comrade's lips. Twilight watched his ally curiously, noting how his body tensed up as the flames escaped him... and for a moment, just a moment, Offsteader thought he noticed something move beneath the man's skin.
"That's enough." Hans ordered, calmly swatting away at the few burning branches that remained. Daiki did as requested, the purple flames that had shot from his mouth quickly dying almost as if he'd willed it, and as Colonel Twilight reached towards the charred, burned body upon the ground he found the flames were hot enough to make him sweat under his armor, a feat previously unaccomplished even by the might Icarus.
"Did I get her?" Dragon asked while walking to his companion. He referred, of course, to the one they were seeking. The one that lived among the trees... and the one that Sun Dragon was aware deep down would never have fallen so quickly to such an attack. "Did I?" He asked again as Twilight raised up the black skeleton of a rabbit, the true culprit behind the disturbance. Daiki's face fell flat with disappointment, and his purple eyes returned to their natural brown as they watched the dead creature fall to the ground with a soft thud!
"That was foolish, Dragon." Offsteader said, all earlier pleasantries gone as his voice became a hushed whisper. Twilight's helmet tilted backward, watching the last smoke from the flames drift up into the slowly darkening sky. "Whatever element of surprise we had just vanished."
The two men locked eyes, anger flashing in both. Yet to the Dragon, Twilight's face and thoughts were almost entirely hidden beneath the dark of his visor, a dark that only grew as what was left of the sun above began to fade.
"Good." Daiki finally said, storming past his ally and moving into the forest. "I prefer to face my enemies head on!"
"Then you're a fool who doesn't know what he's facing and is better off dead!" The Colonel snapped making Daiki stop dead in his tracks. A fast, cold breeze began to flow through the air, picking up leaves and creating a faint whistling noise as it traveled. "If you truly understood our enemy you'd be less..." Twilight paused, trying to think of the perfect word. "Retarded." He finally spat.
"Are you trying to tell me I should be afraid of some elderly lady?" Daiki asked, arms folded across his chest as he tried not to shiver from the cold.
"Our foe may be old, but that's exactly what makes her dangerous." Offsteader stood completely still like a statue, not even a hint of movement coming from him. "Walpurga Hausmannin loves Satan." He explained. "She sleeps with devils, devours infants and is almost 400 years old... not even being burned to ash can stop the woman."
Daiki frowned and raised an eyebrow, unimpressed with what he was hearing. "You've faced her before?" He asked.
Twilight shook his head. "My mother told me stories." He muttered, winds picking up.
Part of Sun Dragon wanted to burst out laughing at what he was hearing, amused by the almost ludicrous nature of the man's story, crazy even in a world of magic and aliens. Yet the other part of Daiki heard the tone of Twilight's voice... the fear mixed in with the words, and he knew to be afraid.
"Very well, my friend." He said. "Lead the way.
The Colonel nodded respectfully and ignited his sword, the blue energy casting an eerie light around them as they walked deeper into the dark.
"Strange how it has become so dark so soon..." Daiki muttered again, once the combination of dark, silence and cold became almost too much for him to bear. Not bothering to look back, Twilight gave a response.
"There's a mystic force in these woods." He grumbled. "I can smell it."
The trees ahead finally began to part, revealing the silver light of the moon above just beyond the clearing. A small river, golden in color trickled across the ground, just behind a rocky arch that pointed up towards the sky before heading back to the ground, forming an upside down u.
"Careful." Offsteader said as Sun Dragon approached the stone contraption. He held his sword at the ready, arching his back into a defensive posture. "It'll be a trap." Daiki smiled, placing a hand on the stone as he clambered under it for shelter from the cold.
"Let her come." He responded. Twilight frowned and followed, sitting down next to his ally as he sat cross legged upon the ground. "Better to face the witch now..." Daiki muttered, eyes closed. "Then spend another minute in this infernal forest."
Hans nodded, understanding but saying nothing. As the minutes passed he checked over some of the features within his suit, bringing up a holographic map of the area.
"We're not in the forest anymore." He said plainly, sounding almost bored as the Dragon kept meditating. "We're in some foul reality the witch has conjured up."
Daiki's eyes snapped open, he sprung up to his feet and almost bashed his head against the roof of their shelter, his whole body was tensed up as if he were anticipating an attack at any moment.
"Something's coming." He said quickly, eyes turning purple with large fanged teeth and claws sprouting from his mouth and hands respectively. Twilight stood up similarly, stepping into the clearing as he began to monitor the area.
"You're sure?" He asked while looking to the trees around them, visor switching colors as he toggled between the various different modes of vision his suit contained. "I can't see a blasted thing."
Sun Dragon's response was that of a frightened shriek, one caused by the thick, black root that had sprung up from the ground and wrapped around his neck, pulling him down to the floor where he quickly struggled against its sheer power.
"Dragon!" Twilight yelled as several more black roots wrapped around his ally, squeezing and shaking his body until the man stopped struggling and finally fell unconscious. Sword at the ready, Colonel Twilight rushed back towards the rocky arch, only for a giant, oaken foot the size of a house to step in front of him.
Looking upward, Offsteader found himself facing down an animated oak tree, massive in scale with sharp branches sticking from the tree's sides like limbs. Unafraid, Twilight braced himself for the battle.
"Witch!" He screamed as the tree stepped towards him. "I know you're near! I know you can hear me!" There was no response. "Show yourself and fight!"
If the witch was indeed nearby as the Colonel suspected, she did not deem it fit to give a response. Instead the mighty oak drew his fist backward, preparing to strike, Colonel Twilight leaped upward towards his foe, screaming as he did so. The tree's fist, size of a tank struck Offsteader across the neck and body, knocking him effortlessly to the ground. Twilight groaned in pain, feeling his body burn thanks to the broken neck he was suffering. Instantly he felt his armor clamp around his neck in an attempt to fix the damage, but he knew that the battle, brief as it was, had been lost.
Not far away at all, as suspected, stood Walpurga Hausmannin, shrew of a woman that she was. From her makeshift cottage she watched the world patiently, waiting as her oaken servant brought the two guests to her... and she smiled as faint cries drifted into the room from behind her.
"Do not cry." Walpurga tittered in her own tongue, she turned to the young child that the two warriors had come seeking. "Do not cry." She repeated while producing a bowl of worms and mud and slugs which she handed to the young boy crying in the corner. "Eat." She mimed the action, revealing the single, rotten tooth that remained in her mouth. "Eat up..." She said again before laughing, a foul cackle that shook the walls of her home.
The child shivered as the witch wandered away from him, and he feared that soon she would be the one about to 'eat up'.