Family Matters RPG

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Honor Avenger

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#1  Edited By Honor Avenger

The smoke hung heavily in the air like a curtain. Or a shroud. The spicy fragrance of tobacco, marihuana and other far more exotic substances mixed into a sense- and mind-numbing concoction that made the head swirl and the eyes water. Dampened laughter and conversations in multiple languages could be heard in the strange twilight of the sticky room and delivered an appropriate background to the suspect nature of the place.

Freetown was not a nice place by any standards. The capital of Sierra Leone still bore the wounds of decades of violence and war that bled poverty and malice. Perhaps no other location on earth was as torn as this and this bar in the broken heart of the big city symbolized it perfectly. Suspect people from all over the world came here to do dirty business. Drugs, death, weapons, even slaves, all were awfully cheap here.

The moment the trained white woman entered the room the focus was on her. Greedy eyes in the darkness scanned all over her, assessed her worth and made a decision. The smoke drew hypnotic patterns in the air that danced around her high cheekbones and fine features. She just stood there and let her almost discomforting self-confidence seep into the room.

Then the discussions set in again as the patrons decided to feign disinterest and returned to their own business. The strange raven-haired woman did not seem to be worth the trouble but the true reason was too obvious: An Apex Predator had entered the room.

Wide steps carried her further into the room with almost eerie determination. Not once did she look left or right but everyone could tell that she was perfectly aware of her surroundings as she dextrously stepped over the more disgusting leftovers of former guests without breaking her stride. Her destination was clear.

Like the other occupants of this room the guests at this special table had returned to their private business. The dark skinned men had taken up their bantering and laughter but it did not look as honest anymore. The shadow of a bird of prey had fallen upon them. The group was composed of six people who gathered around the nucleus of a very peculiar man.

His black skin contrasted sharply with his cheap purple suit and the turquoise feather on his hat of the same colour as his get up. Actual gold glistened all over his body as rings, chains and fake teeth. He was the only one who had not taken his eyes off the visitor and still his dark brown gaze rested upon her. To others he might have looked like a simple pimp. She on the other hand knew he was more. Much more.

As she finally approached his table his goons tightened up. Sneakily fingers wandered to hidden firearms. The woman acknowledged it with a simple nod.

Suddenly an ironic smile appeared on the leader’s face and he touched the brim of his hat as a gesture of greeting towards the strange woman. As he spoke with a dark, soothing voice his accent was an enticing mixture of British, Kenyan and French.

“Jessica.”

“Maurice.” Her voice was almost clinical. No warmth, no volatile emotional exaggeration.

“What brings you here? What can I do for you?”

“I need your help with a… family reunion.”

"An… uncommon request. Especially coming from someone as you. Have you tried Facebook already?”

“You should know I have no such thing as humour, Maurice. I need your special talents to get into contact with my half-sister.”

“Ah well, I see. So contact is not as easy as calling her on the phone, right? I guess you want me to do this as a payback for the little episode in Somalia? Or what else in Papa Legba’s name can you offer me?”

“No, I want you to do this because I know you want to. You cannot resist to test your power like that. To do something that only a handful wizards, let alone houngans, have ever done before.”

The tension rose. One of the thugs reached behind his back. There was only the slightest shift in pose from Jessica, the Lethal Lost Liafador. Maurice acted instantly. Abruptly he turned around and scoffed at the man in his employ.

“Do you want to die, fool? Don't you know who this woman is?”

As the gaudily dressed man turned around to his conversation partner again the smile on his face had become wider, more honest.

“Ogoun The Iron Warrior would really love you, you know that? You have guts. But then let me know: Who is your dear sister?”

“Zeon Liafador.”

The answer was short and intense. In a second all of the eyes at the table had switched from him to her and back to him several times. They did not know the importance of this name but in certain circles it carried power. Power and the promise of a slow, painful death.

It was a subjective eternity before Maurice, legendary Voodooista, reacted to that. When he finally did his deep hearty laughter echoed through the room.

“Zeon Liafador? La Reine De L’enfer? I knew you were crazy, chere, but I didn’t know you were suicidal! Conjure the Queen Of Hell? SHE is your sister? Mwahahahahahaha!!! Okay, okay, I’ll do it! Just for the kicks! But you will deal with her once she enters this realm! We’ll need all the protection Damballah Wedo, the rainbow serpent, can give us! And we’ll need some very… particular things. You think you can get them for me?”

A cold smile graced Honor Avenger’s lips. Yes, she indeed thought she could get them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A few hours later:

The room stank of blood and death. No wonder. Several goats and chickens had to die to paint it red with their life juice. Also smeared with it Maurice sat in a corner and sang himself into a trance in the secret language of his religion. The varied singsong delivered a dark background to the grave ongoings in the center of the room.

Jessica stood in said center with a knife in hand. Beneath her feet complex concentric patterns were drawn with coal dust. She avoided looking at them too much as they tended to burn themselves into one’s eyes and cause severe headaches. It was obvious those were no warding sigils or blesses.

Before her knelt a 13 year old boy who the pair had snatched from the streets were life was of no worth. Chains wrapped around his body and cut into his flesh as he desperately tried to wiggle free. To no avail. His big brown eyes teared constantly and through the gag in his mouth came a dulled whimper as he was fixated on the wickedly curved knife in the Darwinian Dictator’s hand.

To her he was worthless. He was weak. He let all this happen to himself. He had sold off his body for drugs. Now at least he served a purpose. Maurice’s arcane incantations gained in intensity as he started swaying forth and back in an ever more aggressive pattern.

Slowly Jessica lifted the blade. Her sacrifice tried to scream but all that came out was a single high pitched note. The metal started to paint a distinctive red line on his throat. A single tear fell onto the weapon. Then she pushed in.

A sudden rush of crimson streamed out of him as his eyes widened in terror and she pulled the blade ever more left. The life gushed out of him and the light of life faded out of his eyes. Bit by bit his convulsions stopped and he tilted ever more forward. When he fell over all life force had left his body and he had stopped moving for all times.

His blood was not finished it seemed. There was still energy in it. Like it possessed a will of its own it flowed together to form a single flux that concentrated at Jessica’s feet. Faster and faster it moved till it formed a disturbing vortex.

There was no bottom to that vortex. Where the floor of the room should have been there was only an endless tunnel of circulating blood. Down and down it went in a captivating swirl going into infinity.

Accompanied by Maurice’s powerful conjuration the Quantum Queen waited for her guest to appear with a cruel smile on her crimson lips.

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Zeon Liafador

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Cardinal Hell

The Self proclaimed Queen of Hell sat upon her throne as glared upon the floors of Cardinal Hell. She had been busy trying to set up the ultimate showdown in her family. Her army of clones simply waiting on standby to unleash upon what was left of Ziccarra’s family. Clones that were of Catalina Liafador, of her imperfect form. The same look that Zeon was carrying herself ever since her cousin, Maya, destroyed her body in a battle that broke out between the two.

For years Zeon had made a declaration of war against her family. Herself verses everyone. It was a war that has had several battles. Some she won, other she had lost. But the endgame to destroy the family that drove her into this self induced insanity would be worth it. Once a mere mortal among Gods and Goddess in her family, she was now a Demoness. She crawled her way to power. Descending into The Pit becoming a Demi Goddess of Rage. Obtaining the Ring of Rage. Becoming an Aggressor. Now? She was what was known to mortals as The Queen of Hell.

She still had Cardinals, Hell Cardinals. Spirits of deceased Cardinals who obeyed her every word. They weren’t white cardinals, but they did the job. “Are we almost ready?” Zeon finally spoke, her voice twisted with darkness.

“Almost.” one of her Hell Cardinals spoke. “We need just a few more moments to-”

The Demoness stood up abruptly. “We need to be ready NOW, I’ve waited long en-” There was an unfamiliar feeling expanding throughout her body. Her eyes shown confusion as she felt a suddenly, forcefully tug upon her chest. “What… what is this!?” She roared as a crimson energy began to cover her entire body. “NO!” She resisted as she clutched to her chest, trying to fight the summoning. But was too strong. A pool of blood began to form under her feet, taking shape of several symbols before a swirl of Hellfire engulfed her.

The Mortal World

Jessica
Jessica

Hellfire could be seen swirling upward from the vortex in the ground as it shot up like a raging inferno. The heat beyond that of mans fire as the form of a woman took shape in the hellfire flames. As the fires vanished a woman with deathly grey skin, hair darker than the night sky and eyes as red as the crimson blood that poured out of the young child's body now stood before them. Zeon, the Queen of Cardinal Hell, dawned in her armor as her eyes looked upon the mortal men that were in the room. "Who dare summoned me?" She growled with un-amusement. Her hands began to each out to them as she began to tug on their very souls before feeling an all too familiar energy in the room among them.

Her head snapped in her direction and that’s when she saw her. “Jessica.” Zeon hissed through her teeth as she forcefully pulled a blade from her sheath as she turned her entire body towards her. Her brows pushed against each other to the point that they could have formed a crack in the middle of her face. The last time she had seen her half sister was when she was sent to kill her by their own father, Marcos. “You dare summon me?!” She roared, her hand that held her blade trembled with rage for her half sister. “Tell me why I shouldn’t take your soul and torment you for all eternity.” Her thick Italian accent was still there even with her new life as a Demoness. The ware on the Cardinal Hell Queen could be seen throughout her body with scars littering the warriors body. Some... placed there by Jessica herself.

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#3  Edited By Honor Avenger

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Jessica did not need her unique gift to tell that this was her sister. Yes, she was changed but this was Zeon Liafador.

Her former porcelain skin now had the hue of perfect granite, her brunette mane had darkened to the color of the abyss itself and her brown eyes burned with a scarlet fire now. Even her bearing was different. The subtle stance of a martial arts master subservient to greater instances in the hierarchy had been replaced by the regal bearing of a true queen. All of this was presented on a different frame, one that Jessica knew all too well. That of their relative Catalina Liafador, a name that still struck terror in the hearts of humans.

But there was something inside Zeon that called to her sibling. Her blood. From deep inside her she could feel the siren song of the common powerful blood they shared. Although the two had different mothers, Zeon being an official heir and Jessica being a bastard of the prodigious family, their father was the same. Marcos Liafador.

The legacy of this man that they both hated run in their veins and neither could deny it. It gave them power. It gave them will. It gave them purpose. It gave them hate. The Liafador family seemed cursed to betray, backstab, murder and bury each other by every possible opportunity. And so Jessica had done to Zeon when they first had met.

The Darwinian Dictator did not regret that, she did not know such feelings as regret. She had thought she would take a weak and incompetent officer out of action but from the first moment on this strong woman had earned the hard earned respect of the Quantum Queen. This had been the first moment she had considered the manipulations of their father. The proof had come when his White Cardinals had tried to take her out after the battle. Marcos would never allow anyone beside him whom he could not control.

Now the two met again in this blood soiled backroom in one of the worst countries of the world. A drugged out and still chanting naked houngan in one corner, a dead urchin between them. The dim lighting cast threatening shapes on Zeon’s blade that promised quick, certain death. As the Hell Queen’s thundering voice addressed the Lethal Lost Liafador she could not do different than smile.

“Jessica. You dare summon me?! Tell me why I shouldn’t take your soul and torment you for all eternity.”

Jessica waited for a fracture of a second. Like a mongoose infront of a coiled cobra.

Then she struck. With the sacrificial dagger still in hand she went straight for Zeon’s face. A strong straight thrust, thrown with deadly precision and speed. Other than for its speed it would have been easy to parry but for once in long time killing was not her intent. It was a greeting between warriors, a business card. The Lioness Of The Concrete Jungle knew very well that if she did not awaken her half-sister’s old reflexes and remember her of the old times Zeon’s arcane abilities would destroy her in a blink of an eye. Instead she intended to turn this into a game of attack, parry, counterattack and riposte where every strike would be accompanied by another part of the conversation. The play of blades would build the net of dialogue as she kept Zeon busy and made her forget she was so much more powerful. Perhaps the former head of the White Cardinal’s would even enjoy this blast from the past and rediscover her old love for physical combat woman versus woman. And as a last fact Jessica respected Zeon too much not to attack and test her. For her it felt impolite.

As her dagger still raced towards her older sibling Jessica delivered her first part of this conversation, her answer to the posed question:

“Greetings sister, it has been a long time. There are some family matters I would like to talk to you about."

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Zeon Liafador

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Zeon’s mind was no longer stable like it once was. Was it because of the consistent betrayal of her family that drove her to this insanity? Or was it the Demonic powers that now flowed through her? Or perhaps it was the three visits to The Pit? It was difficult to tell with a life as complex as Zeon’s. What was once the protector of the family, was now a cancer that was trying to destroy everything she once swore to die for.

There was a standoff between the two even after her voice boomed throughout the room. Like a viper, Zeon stood ready to strike, and Jessica? All she did was smile, that same smile that she gave when they first fought each other. She would cut the smile off her face! Zeon opened her mouth to condemn her sister to the eternal flame of Cardinal Hell, when her beloved sister went for a strike.

No Caption Provided

The dagger that was still dripping with blood was now being launched towards her face. Even with Jessica’s amazing speed, to the Demoness, it was a slower attack than she was used to when fighting against the Goddesses of the family. She tilted her head as the blade flew past her face, some of the blood that was still clinging to the weapon had now splattered against her deathly grey skin. Her sister was a skilled and deadly warrior, probably more-so than Zeon was when she was a mortal. But Zeon wasn't a mortal anymore. Zeon’s face twisted with disgust as the words of her sister were the only thing keeping Zeon from ripping the soul from her body and dragging her back to Cardinal Hell with her.

“Greetings sister, it has been a long time. There are some family matters I would like to talk to you about."

Ah, she understood now. It was a similar situation when she needed to speak with Isis without using words when Maya had turned on the family. Instead, they spoke through a ‘friendly’ sparring session. With her free hand Zeon wiped the blood off her face as she then returned the attack with the blade of her own. She began to unleash a series of strikes, and while they were precise and true, they were a routine of attacks that someone like her dear sister would be able to follow without fault. To the untrained mortal, it would appear that the two were locked in a fierce combat. But to a fellow warrior, it was easily enough to be countered and blocked. “Family matters you say?” It did catch her interest. “You have my attention. What family matters are so great that you felt the need to summon me?” Her lips stretched across her face into a sadistic grin.

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Honor Avenger

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#5  Edited By Honor Avenger

Here they were again. The Liafador sisters. So different and yet so alike. Fierce warriors bred to be the absolute apex. And the old ritual commenced. In the dim red light of the shady backroom the blades formed a dance. A deadly ballet barely visible to the mortal eyes as lightning fast swipes, stabs, blocks, dodges and ripostes combined into a breathtaking spectacle of steel crossing and disengaging in the obscure twilight.

Jessica’s first stab to Zeon’s face had been expertly parried as had been the intention. A fiendish counterattack followed in which the Hell Queen brought her sword around in a silvery arc. With less than a second to react the woman known as Honor Avenger leaned to the side and the searing hot metal forged in the fires of the underworld itself parted the air only a millimeter away from her skin. The Lioness Of The Concrete Jungle’s sharp senses could pick up the fine hair on her arm smoldering.

Not wasting any time her opponent pulled the blade back only to go for a lethal stab right for the heart. Smilingly Jessica remembered how many people had already told her she did not have one. Only few of them were still alive. In fact most of them had spat that phrase out as their last words. Leaning further to the side she sideflipped to avoid the cunning attack. The very air around the two combatants seemed to burn with intensity and produced hissing sounds as blades parted it again and again.

Still the former head of the White Cardinals was not done. In a timeframe where simple mortal fighters could have dealt out one attack the Duchess Of Rage already delivered her third. Amazed Jessica noticed how much more powerful her sibling had become. This change was not only externally, it went deeper on an actual metaphysic plane. Whatever Zeon had endured to attain such power and prowess had been worth it in the Quantum Queen’s eyes.

The supernatural instrument of death came at her again. With as much effort as she could bring up she brought her sacrificial dagger up. Not to block the blade, that would have been suicide. Instead she struck the side of it to divert it away from her. A million tortured souls seemed to scream as the dagger who had claimed so many lives and the sword from hell met. The screams got only the louder as the grey skinned woman’s weapon was denied another victim.

Jessica used the opening to draw a line from where the weapons had clashed towards Zeon’s chest. To no avail. What once had been a human being was now too strong, too fast, filled with the power of the mysterious energies of The Pit. Demon was too inadequate of a word. Her swipe was easily and expertly parried. The two stabs the Martial Arts Mistress let follow met the same fate.

She was hopelessly outmatched. A more than just formidable mortal against a god.

And Jessica loved it. She could not tell when she had been challenged like this before if at all. This was the epitome of what she believed in. Adapt or die. Deep within her she could feel that Zeon held back although the Gothic City Horror’s bone trembled with the force of every impact. The sheer power went through her dagger into her body and made her nerves tingle. She had to be cautious not to get lost in the wild dance and lose focus on the overarching goal. The one and true reason why she had come here.

Zeon’s voice, familiar and strange at the same time as the rest of her appearance, brought her back to her original intent.

“Family matters you say? You have my attention. What family matters are so great that you felt the need to summon me?”

She had her. For all the rage that obviously consumed Zeon, there were still things that could bring her back to reason. That was what Jessica had counted on. And what she had to say was hopefully important enough that the Hell Queen could overlook the fact that the first time they had met Honor Avenger had attacked her. On the other side Jessica had always been the one family member who had been honest to her, who had never lied to her even if that had meant violence and attempted murder. At least she had never backstabbed her and had attacked her from face to face in an honorable battle.

But still it felt incomplete, impolite even, two deliver her next line without an attack. It was just so ingrained in them to neglect it and Jessica enjoyed the exchange too much even if she was not up to the impossible task that was Zeon Liafador, Queen Of Hell. So she changed gears once more, pulled from her inner strength to gain just a bit of extra speed and strength that was so close outside of an ordinary mortal’s realm of possibility. With renewed vicious intent Jessica feinted for the heart and went for Zeon’s calf where the aorta would have lain in a mortal being. Doing this she uttered the words that she hoped would bring Zeon in on her personal quest of vengeance.

“I thought you might be interested to hear that our dearest father, this pathetic excuse for a family head, has resurfaced once again. With a new heir at his side whom he wants to exploit to regain a firmer grip on the Cardinals. I intend to end this mockery once and for all and would not dream to cheat my sister out of her birth-right. So what do you say, Zeon? Is it time for some good old-fashioned patricide?”

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Zeon Liafador

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#6  Edited By Zeon Liafador

The dance of death was exchanged as the two moved swiftly and efficiently with every attack. Even though it was certain that Zeon could end the match whenever she pleased by taking the soul of her sister, it was bringing back a tingling of excitement. When was the last time she fought in this way? The twisted grin fixated on her lips with every attack, block and counter. Her sister was not just a warrior, she was a predator and Zeon respected that. A part of her wished Jessica would have grown up with her, things may have turned out differently if she had a sibling like her by her side. They could have made the world bow before them.

But then the words were spoken by her sister and it pulled her focus from the sparring session before them.

“I thought you might be interested to hear that our dearest father, this pathetic excuse for a family head, has resurfaced once again. With a new heir at his side whom he wants to exploit to regain a firmer grip on the Cardinals. I intend to end this mockery once and for all and would not dream to cheat my sister out of her birth-right. So what do you say, Zeon? Is it time for some good old-fashioned patricide?”

The Former Matriarch paused mid-battle, the mention of her father brought on a rage that was even more so than when the name ‘Ziccarra’ was spoken to her. Even in her death, Zeon never found peace with the wrongs that Ziccarra and her family did to her. But her father? He wronged her more times than Ziccarra. He wronged this family. His manipulation, lies, deceit, abusive relationship, consistently demeaning her… and now he was trying to take power within the family through a bastard child. How dare he think this would go unnoticed. How dare he think he could continue to get away with this.

She felt a pain surged through her calf as she grunted in pain. As soon as the teeth of the blade sliced into her, a thick, black liquid began oozing from her wound as it slowly moved down to the ground, it sizzling upon the tile flooring. Her blood wasn’t circulating through her body, because Zeon was technically dead, and it showed in her heavy unholy body fluids. Her sister had drawn the first blood in this battle, and it would stop there.

Let's free our family from his toxic grasp
Let's free our family from his toxic grasp

“Enough!” Zeon growled as would extend her unarmed hand to sister, if she would attempt another attack, she would use her Aggressor powers to force her down to the ground. The fun was no longer there, instead a new fire burned in her eyes. She was giving no attention to her newest wound as she stood silent for a moment, setting her blade down as she crossed her arms along her chest as if deep in thought. She still had to carry out her war upon the family by using the clones she made and putting the Hell Cardinal souls into them. But this? This was far more important. “Our father has overstayed his welcome on Earth.” Zeon’s crimson eyes looked over at Jessica. “It’s time to drag his soul to Cardinal Hell.” She extended her hand out to her sister. “Let us free our family from his toxic grasp.”

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Honor Avenger

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With serious, deadly certainty Jessica knew the playtime was over.

The moment she had mentioned their father the Darwinian Dictator had knowingly given up the distraction that kept her alive. Sure, it had thrown the Hell Queen of balance but like a mongoose prancing around with the infinitely more deadly cobra this hypnotic game had preserved her existence.

Hatred ran deep in the Liafador family. Wife versus husband, elder versus child, sister versus sister. They seemed to be stuck in an eternal cycle worthy of a biblical epic. In the best case it was a stern, loveless respect as shared between Zeon and Jessica. In the worst case it was the pure, abyssal disgust the two siblings felt for their sire.

Only the fracture of a second after she had mentioned the arch-traitor of a dynasty of traitors the Gothic City Horror felt the consequences of this well calculated provocation. The Liafador of Rage’s concentration broke like glass. Jessica’s dagger sliced through her sister’s open guard as easily as through the flesh on her calf. Sizzling black liquid oozed out of the wound and burned a hole in the floor under a nasty hissing sound.

Then the answer hit her like the wrath of a god. Or rather the wrath of a goddess. The whole weight of the world suddenly rested on her shoulders. Heavy like the inherited family-hatred of the Liafadors or all the sins that she had never regretted it pressed her down. The Lioness Of the Concrete Jungle stood valiantly for the fracture of a second but then it became too much. Like a ragdoll she collapsed to the ground as the gigantic willpower of the Hell Cardinal forced her down.

The Goddess stood above her and looked upon her with a blood red gaze. The wound on her thigh already closed. Now the Apex Predator was at the non-existent mercy of her hellish counterpart. The air itself in her lungs seemed to burn. The pressure increased as much as the tension in the room. Like a verdict the thunderous voice of the former Liafador Matriarch echoed through the bloody room.

“Enough! Our father has overstayed his welcome on Earth. It’s time to drag his soul to Cardinal Hell. Let us free our family from his toxic grasp.”

Zeon’s outstretched hand hovered over her in an outspoken invitation to something neither the Liafadors in general nor Honor Avenger were familiar with: collaboration. Everything in her fought against it, accomplishing anything not out of her own strength was anathema to her. But this was Zeon’s birthright as much as it was hers. So she did the unthinkable. Using all of her exceptional strength she laid her hand in her half sister’s while the blood drenched Maurice still chanted his dark incantations in the corner.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Two days later:

Paris was obviously a nicer place than Freetown. Center of art and culture of Europe for several centuries the city of lights was still an epicenter of beauty for the whole world. Honor Avenger swam through the French metropolis like a feral shark through a lavishly designed living room aquarium.

Her prey was chosen. Salvatore Enzio Rosato Jr. A man whose family had a legacy in the White Cardinals almost as old as the organization itself. He was a trusted confidante of Marcos Liafador and not here on idly terms but on a diplomatic mission for his master. Able assassin, dedicated diplomat, loyal lapdog. And interestingly enough the son of the man who had killed Jessica’s mother 19 years ago. A direct connection to the masterfully hidden current leader of the Cardinals.

The Lethal Lost Liafador was well aware of the armed sentries that registered her entrance with paranoia. The club was divided up in different perimeters, each professionally monitored and secured. Only the astonishment and curiosity of Salvatore kept them from opening fire.

With her trademark dexterity Jessica maneuvered masterfully through the dancing crowd in the booming rhythm. Swaying from side to side like a king cobra with the music she avoided physical contact with anybody while her ice blue eyes were firmly fixed on her target. Artificial lightning made it difficult to keep the eyes open all the time but she ignored the pain and focused on the group on the table that periodically appeared and disappeared in the man-made storm. With each step the people at the table seemed to dissolve into nothing only to be closer when the light flashed up again.

Salvatore was a professional without question. The second she had entered his attention had not diverged from her all the while still entertaining the crowd at his table. So far she had discerned at least four weapons in his direct reach, probably there were a lot more not to forget his armed guards. There was no way she could have approached him this way and leave alive again under normal circumstances. But she had an ace up her sleeve. Literally.

He was handsome, tall and trained. His dark brown eyes, sharp features and rich black hair told of his Mediterranean heritage in enticing detail. For the present evening he had chosen black trouser pants, a black vest over a wine red shirt without tie and a discreet silver watch that accentuated his silver family signet ring.

An ironic smile graced his thin lips as she stepped close. Totally relaxed the Quantum Queen stood in front of him and fixated him with a cold sapphire gaze. Honest amusement spoke out of his voice as he addressed her.

“You have quite the nerve of coming here after we searched for you so long, Jessica. You know your father has signed your death sentence long ago. So what should keep us from killing you right here and now and gaining his goodwill?”

The threat hung almost visibly in the air but the Martial Arts Mistress was unmoved. Her stance had not changed a single bit.

“Perhaps the message I carry, Salvatore. You may want to hear it.”

His amusement did not wane. Still smiling he made a waving hand gesture towards her for her to carry on. He was sincerely interested what message could have brought her here on this suicide mission.

Jessica breathed in deep and touched the cuffs of her light jacket with her fingertips. A short almost unnoticeable sting was everything that told of the hidden razor that cut open her fingers. A few droplets of blood trickled to the ground and instantly began to boil a she spoke the words that would summon hell on earth, that would bring Zeon Liafador to earth once more to begin the carnage.

“The message is this, dear lackey:

CLATU VERATA NICTU!
CLATU VERATA NICTU!"

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Zeon Liafador

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The screams and cries of the tormented Zeon stood in the Cardinal Hell with a small group of Hell Cardinals standing beside her, adorn in their armor as they used the bodies of the clones she created to house their souls in. Clones of Catalina Liafador. This wasn’t the original intended use, but it was better than leaving them festering in the bags in which they were created in.

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Two days ago, her sister, Jessica, had come to her regarding their manipulative father, Marcos, and how he was now using their youngest brother (Samuel) to gain power within the family again. It was Jessica who wanted to hunt their father down and it was Zeon who gathered her Hell Cardinals and a surprise that she had to make arrangements for that she would use only if she must. They were about to go to the land of the living. This was it.

“No one is to be spared, I want every single one of those souls to belong to Cardinal Hell.” Zeon gave instructions to the small group she was going to take. Small, yes, but effective? Even more so. The Hell Cardinals who were with her nod their head, adjusting their helmets that were in the shape of monstrous looking creatures. “In the name of Ramon, let none survive!” Zeon recited the last part of the Hell Cardinal Oath. The group roared, raising their blades into the air.

Salvatore Enzio Rosato Jr.
Salvatore Enzio Rosato Jr.

It was in that moment that the words were spoken. She could feel a tug upon her body as a vortex opened from underneath their feet as a swarm of hellfire surrounded the group. A second later, in a roar of hellfire that spewed from the ground, they appeared behind Jessica with Zeon appearing to be in her more mortal form. Zeon took a second to look around, it seemed they were in the middle of what appeared to be a club of some sort. Lights flashing and music vibrating in the air all around them. Zeon stood tall with her blade in hand as her crimson eyes fell upon one person. “Salvatore Enzio Rosato Jr.”

People had already begun to scatter the moment the group arrived and security had already begun to surround them, guns and swords drawn. There was no subtle entrance for Zeon and her Hell Cardinals. Even with the music he heard her as his eyes widen in shock. “Z-zeon? He said you were dead!” The people who once sat his table were already rushing away, only to have Zeon stretch out her hand to them without bothering to look. The group suddenly stopped running, her telekinetic pull on them too strong for mortals to break free from. “It’s rude to step away from the table without being excused. Now, SIT.” She dragged the people back to the table, slamming them into their seats as her eyes looked over to Salvatore. “Io e mia sorella abbiamo unda domanda.” <My sister and I have a question> She rose her blade to a woman who was sitting at the table. “Where. Is. Marcos?”

The White Cardinal (who once served Zeon) stood his ground, puffing his chest and raising his head as if trying to appear intimidating. “Vai all’inferno.” <Go to hell>. Ah yes, the dog obeys blindly at his masters orders.

The Queen of Hell threw her head back in laughter as she suddenly slammed the blade upon the table, but not before slicing the woman’s arm off. Her warm blood flowed from amputation site as her arm flopped down to the ground and as she looked to her Cardinals, she gave a nod and in that instant, like a pack of hungry wolves, they attacked. The woman screamed in pain, falling over to the ground as tears streamed down her face. It would be a few moments before she would bleed out and die.

“The next arm will be yours, at the hand of my sister.” Zeon's eyes began to glow crimson as she gave a chuckle while screams were heard from all around them as one by one the humans bled upon the dance floor.

But the lapdog didn’t say a word, instead, he drew his blade. Ah, a war it was. Her eyes looked over to her sister. She knew what this man meant for her. She knew what he did all those years ago. What her father ordered all those years ago. This was just as important to Jessica as it was to Zeon and she would let her have her fun.

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Honor Avenger

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Hell had broken lose on earth once more. Around her the screams of the panicked humans, the clashing of steel on steel and the merciless drumming of the massive bass mixed into a sweet, sweet cacophony. The adrenaline already flowed through her veins and she felt right at home in the heat of the battle.

She, Zeon and Salvatore were in the eye of the storm. Surrounding them like a ban circle were the Hell Cardinals who slaughtered civilians and White Cardinals indiscriminately. Crimson life fluid already began to cover the ground and reflect the club light in grotesque new ways. Severed Limbs and heads with expressions of terror on their faces flew around like leaves in a tornado of carnage. How did the European knights say during the siege of Jerusalem? Kill all, god will know his own!

But in their own microcosm an almost magnetic force held them in suspension for a moment. After the Hell Queen had chopped of this woman’s arm the three seasoned veterans had sunk into a state of waiting. Waiting for a deadly mistake. Salvatore’s brown eyes nervously darted from one sister to the other. He knew he was out of his league. Jessica he could maybe take but Zeon? Not in a thousand years. Still the loyalty to his master burned hot in his chest and demanded action. He could not pass this opportunity to take his most powerful enemy out of the game.

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A blade flashed in the darkness and he darted forward like a cobra. Even in his near-suicidal stupidity Jessica could not avoid to admire his technique. His whole body formed a single line, arm fully outstretched, his whole weight behind the blow, his upper body slightly turned to enhance his reach and stability, Marcos’s lapdog was exquisitely trained. This was clearly visible to the Combat Savant’s eye as he tried to stab his short sword into Zeon’s face.

She knew Salvatore could not hurt her sister. Judging from the amused look on her face as the tip of the blade raced towards her left eye Zeon knew this as well or she would have acted already. Hell, Jessica had seen the proof only two days ago as the Liafador Matriarch had simply ignored a wound dealt to her by the Martial Arts Mistress that would have killed almost any living being. But she would grant Salvatore not even the very short lived triumph.

Once more acting like a mongoose Jessica sprung into action in a whirlwind of violence. Salvatore had been trained for his entire life but Jessica had had to survive on her wits and reflexes for more than two decades every day. The brutal, unforgiving streets of Gothic City made no mistake and forgave none either. There was no instructor, no second tries, just the sheer brutal relentlessness of survival. And that was why Jessica was just a millisecond quicker.

Grabbing his wrist and his shoulder Honor Avenger used his own momentum against him in an impressive Aikido move. The weapon missed Zeon’s still ironically smiling face by a fracture of an inch as Salvatore was spun around. Following a spontaneous inspiration she rammed his pretty face into the edge of the table he had just sprung up from. Bloody teeth flew in all directions and a sordid crunch told of the fracture of his nose. Letting go of his arm she allowed him to stumble away and try to hold his face together with his bare blood-soaked hands.

Now that he stood directly in front of her his face had become a gore-smeared mask of hatred. Red slime flowed out of his devastated nose while bubbles of the same color swelled and deflated before his mouth. Pure rage sprayed from his eyes. Everyone but the Lethal Lost Liafador would have been frozen in terror getting a look like that from a trained killer. But that was what she counted on. Rage made him stupid.

With another lightning quick gesture he reached into his stylish Sacco. At the same time she reached for the glass on the table. Once more she proved to be faster. The moment the gun came forth the glass she just had thrown already hit his wrist. In a burst of colors the glass exploded, send shards into his hand soaked him in alcohol. The cloud was still in the air when she hit him. The gun had not even dropped to the ground completely. It seemed suspended in mid-air as in stasis. A vicious shoulder rush to his solar plexus made perfect use of the pain-induced moment of shock and forced an involuntary gasp out of his lungs. Cruelly smiling Jessica ripped a larger shard of glass out of Salvatore’s arm and started slashing while she was still in close.

One to the left wrist. A sinew was cut. Hand useless.

One to the right thigh. A nerve node destroyed. His leg would not support him anymore.

One to the left armpit. She had used a similar move on Zeon the first time they had met. The whole arm paralyzed.

One to the torso right beneath the seventh rip. His Diaphragm severed. He would not be able to stand up without immense pain.

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The shard came around in a blinking cycle, reflecting the flashing lights of the nightclub as well as the bloodbath around them as the Hell Cardinals made quick work of Salvatore’s men. Dante himself could not have painted the screams in hell more adequately. The demolished husk of what once had been Salvatore Enzio Rosato jr. fell to the ground in subjective silence.

But he was not dead. The Darwinian Dictator had seen to that. As she towered above him with the bloody piece of glass still in hand his eyes glanced at her in terror. Even though she almost whispered he was so focused on her he could clearly understand her through all the noise.

“Where is he, Salvatore? Where is Marcos Liafador?”

He spat out a bloody puddle on the floor.

“Screw you! I won’t tell you! Some of us still know what loyalty means!”

She looked almost sad.

“Too bad. I really thought you would make that easier on yourself. What were you drinking? Whiskey? Knowing you it was probably Macallan, 52 years old. 90.897,63 € per bottle. And more importantly what my unique gift told me as I touched it: 48% vol”

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As the match lit up in the relative darkness he understood the reason for her painfully accurate description. He watched in fear unable to do anything as it flew towards him and suddenly he was covered in terrible, agonizing fire. He flailed around and screamed as it began to burn his skin and devour his body.

For how long this torture endured he could not tell but although it could not have been longer than a few seconds it felt like an eternity full of pain. The fire extinguisher felt like deliverance when she finally used it on him.

“I will ask again and again and again till you tell me, Salvatore!”

But he still had some fight left in him. He even managed to lift his middle finger.

“No!!!”

A short sprinkling of exquisite whiskey and the fire came again. He could not even scream from the top of his lungs to relief himself. The fire used too much of the oxygen around him. The terrifying prospect of being burned alive was accompanied by slowly choking to death.

“Again, Salvatore…”

“N-no…”

The fire came again. He thought he would have been used to it by now, that his nerves would have been seared shut but she was a nightmare of a torturer. She did not only dish out pain, she made him afraid of living on.

“Okay, listen: I did not want to do this but I know where your mate and offspring reside. Do you want the same thing happen to them? Over and over again?”

“You… You mo-mo-monster… You w-wouldn’t…”

“Who are you trying to fool here, Salvatore? You know I would. Like your father did to my mother…”

“No… No… NOOOOO!!!”

Bitter tears rolled down his face. Betray the man who had treated him like a son or know this monster would inflict untold horrors unto his family? He could not take it. With a final sigh he broke and whispered the location of Marcos’s hideout into her sensitive ear.

As he lay there he thought it would be over. That nothing would mean anything anymore. She had taken everything from him. His body, his self-image, his pride and his loyalty. Breathing heavily he just tried to live on and ignore the pain while terrible images of his future life as a burned cripple floated through his mind.

To Jessica it was an uncommon act of mercy as she flipped the last match on him and transformed him into his own pyre. She was already on the way to her sister and nonchalantly threw it over her shoulder right into his face. The backdrop of the flames made her appear a goddess of vengeance as she walked over to Zeon and stopped in front of her sibling. Her voice was strong and steady, almost emotionless and told nothing of the excruciating pain she had just inflicted on another human being. Right now she was the embodiment of why people called her The Gothic City Horror.

“So, sister dearest… We have his location. Do you want to do it the silent or the loud way?”
“So, sister dearest… We have his location. Do you want to do it the silent or the loud way?”

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Zeon Liafador

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#10  Edited By Zeon Liafador

@honor_avenger

She didn’t even flinch as she watched Salvatore come at her with his blade at amazing speeds for a human. No attempt to try and defend herself. Why? Because she knew her sister would engage. It was strange, even with her cousins, even with her Zia, Ziccarra, there was no one she could connect to in a way that she did with Jessica. It wasn’t love, or trust, or even the fact that they were sisters. It was the pain, unjustice, betrayal and manipulation that pulled them together. A bond stronger than the blood they shared.

And just as she predicted, just mere meters before the blade would have pierced through her grey flesh, Jessica was seen literally leaping into action. Her sister had grasped into his wrist that held the blade and twisted it, causing a shout for Salvatore as he was now at the mercy of the Lethal Liafador. Zeon watched as her sister began to play with her prey and she couldn’t help but snicker in amusement as the screams that were once heard all around them had been silenced. The flashing lights of the club still going with the beat the music that echoed through the facility.

The light of the final flames that engulfed his body lit up Zeon’s face, her toxic grin still upon her face as she began to wish that Jessica and herself had begun working with each other long ago. If she would have been by her sisters side, maybe things would have turned out differently. Maybe they could have nipped the beginning of the spiraling of their family. Maybe Zeon wouldn't have to be on this seemingly never ending quest to kill the children of Ziccarra. Ah, but thinking of the past was of no use to Zeon. It was the future she had to sink her teeth into. Starting with the death of her father.

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She continued to stand tall as her Hell Cardinals had begun to come back to her side without question. Blood of the innocents that happen to be here at the wrong time stained their armor. The Liafador Demoness looked upon her sister as she asked her a simple and important question.

“So, sister dearest… We have his location. Do you want to do it the silent or the loud way?”

Her smile faded as her lips twisted into anger. “We shall go in like a hurricane of Hellfire and turn everything he has to ash.” The hate she held for her father was one that no one would truly understand. It went beyond the verbal and physical abuse she endured throughout her childhood. It was the manipulation, betrayal after she did everything right, sending her own sister to kill her, still seeing Zeon to be unfit to be his daughter. He called her a disappointment and a regret he could never take back.

“Come sister, let’s pay a visit to our father.” She spoke the word father with bitterness as she turned to walk out of the graveyard they had created.

Mirage Island

Mirage Island
Mirage Island

The island was one that was known only by Marcos and those he brought here. Zeon had stepped foot on this island once when she was 18. Her father brought her here so she could prove that she was ready to lead The White Cardinals. He brought her and left her to survive on her own for six months with no weapons, rations or tools to help her survive. Aside from surviving The Pit that would be a part of her future, this was the hardest thing she had ever done. The water was tainted with salt all over the island, water was found only through rain that sometimes didn’t come for days at a time.

Then there was the island itself. It wasn’t called Mirage Island for no reason. The atmosphere of the island shifted every few hours. Where you made camp in one moment would vanish within a couple of hours. This made creating shelter to be time wasting and navigating the island futile. You had to pack light and carry all items with you at all times otherwise you would loose them. When her father came for her after six months, he wasn’t impressed with her achievement, but had no further excuse to keep her from sending her rank in the family.

In a swirl of Hellfire Zeon, her small group of Hell Cardinals and her sister appeared upon the island. “Unfortunately this island is magical and changes every few hours, so this is as close as we can get to him. So stay close to each other. I know how to navigate this wretched place.”

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“How will we find him?” One of the Cardinals dared to speak up.

Zeon’s head snapped in their direction as her fingers instantly wrapped themselves around their throat and lifted them off the ground. “I will worry about that, you simply follow my orders without question, do you understand Cardinal?”

Choking noises could be heard from behind the golden mask as they gave a faint nod of their head. “Good.” She released them, dropping him to the ground. Turning back around she began to march forward as she forcefully drew her blade out, hacking away at any vegetation that dared to stand in her way. Every few minutes she would take in a deep breath as she closed her eyes, her head tilting upward towards the sky. To the mere mortal it would simply stink of salt water, but to the self proclaimed Queen of Cardinal Hell? She could smell the soul of her father. She was silent the entire time, never giving a glance to her sister who was next to her the entire time. Her mind was so focused on finding Marcos, that her vision had become tunneled, something that was always an issue with the Eldest of Marcos children.

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And just as Zeon had stated, the island around them changed. What was once a evergreen hardwood forest filled with Ma­hogany, iron wood, teak and ebony was also heavy with humidity suddenly became a Mediterranean type forest. The air became dry and the trees around them? It changed to a variety of Oak, Cork, Eucalyptus and Redwood. A curse could be heard under her breath as she closed her eyes once more, taking in a deep breath. But as she did so, a twisted, grin appeared on her face as the white of her teeth were revealed. “We’re here.” A hunger for revenge was seen in her eyes as she turned to her sister. “He’s behind this treeline.”

She then turned to face her Hell Cardinals who bowed their head the moment she looked at them. “I want the souls of everyone who breaths in there be dragged to Cardinal Hell, understood?”

The Hell Cardinal’s nod their head as Zeon turned back, her muscles began twitching with excitement. Heat could be felt radiating off her body as she began to summon Hellfire within her free hand. After all, she said she wanted to go in like a Hurricane of Hellfire.

Without a moment to waste she let out a most unholy war cry as she threw her free hand forward. A raging inferno of hellfire swirled down her arm and escaped from her fingers, setting the trees on fire and hitting the two story home that sat in the ever changing island. White Cardinals could be heard shouting in panic as a couple were hit by the hellfire blast of Zeon. She didn’t waste time though, she ran through the hellfires like the Demoness of Rage she was. “IT’S ZEON!” one of the White Cardinal’s yelled in a panic as Zeon’s blade sank into his abdomen, his blood staining the White Cardinal ivory uniform.

“Your souls belong to me now.” she hissed as she jerked the blade out of his body as the Hell Cardinal’s leap into action as well.

Marcos

Marcos was seen sitting in his office with a cup of Liafador Wine as chaos could be heard erupting from the outside. This meant that Salvatore had fallen. "Took her long enough." His body seemed wasted his skin pale and his hair that was once as black as the abyss of the Pit had turned grey as the ash that Zeon wanted to turn him into. It was the corruption of Zeon’s χ-Gene that had done this to him the moment she became a Cardinal Demon instead of a Cardinal Goddess. Because of the choices she made, it was now affecting her bloodline, causing her father and mother to wither away into nothingness. It was something that Zeon was unaware of because she was never taught. There were many things Zeon didn’t know about her own bloodline and Marcos kept it like that for a reason. Knowledge was power, and Zeon already had too much of it.

Just then a White Cardinal burst into the room. “Sir, Zeon she’s-”

“She’s here.” He spoke with a tired voice as he took a sip of his wine. “Call the boy. Tell him to meet me in the hall.” He stood up using a cane as he began making his way to what he knew was to be his final stand.

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Lebreau_Liafador

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#11  Edited By Lebreau_Liafador

On The Ferry

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Abby's words played on a loop in her mind as she sat waiting for the ferry to make landfall. 'Say the word, and I'll be there faster than you can say, you were right' ate at her mind until she could no longer stand it. The flight from Gothic to L.A filled the future Matriarch with doubts. If she truly believed Abby was wrong, why did she bring her gear?

The flight from L.A to Hawaii and on to Aipa nearly cause her to change her mind, but now that she was on the ferry to the clandestine mirage island she knew there was no turning back. 'I hope to God, she's wrong' Chance thought with her chin resting in her palms.

It seemed so long ago now, she was watching Catalina destroy Malaga on television, learning from her mother that Zeon was her sister and had been injured in the attack. That's what hurt the most, she said horrible things to her mother; things she would ultimately never get to take back. She remembered standing in the threshold of the Liafador palace wearing a cerulean cocktail dress that'd been given to her by Ziccarra; watching as Zeon stood gingerly having just woken up from a coma. She remembered how petrified she was thinking Zeon would kill her. It wasn't the case, the two hit it off wonderfully, Zeon that informed her of their OTHER sister, Jessica, the one that tried to kill her.

She remembered thinking of giving up, that Zeon's warrior lifestyle would drive her to a life of vengeance and that the Liafador Pettis family was too "Eccentric" for her taste, she remembered wanting to return to Oxford for school reconcile with her family in Morocco and continue her life, but the allure of having a sister cost her everything.

Sitting balled up alone in the corner of the ferry the forest tinted eyes of Chance spew salty tears, whilst clutching a replica of the bracelet she made Zeon years ago. Time after Time, Fight After Fight she was involved in petty feuds with the rest of the family, Zeon's feuds, feuds that's didn't concern her. Even when she lost it all, she persevered. She couldn't show it to Abby, but if her newest confidant was right; it could break her, but she knew--somehow Abby knew.

Her emerald eyes dart upward, seagulls, they were there. Grabbing her backpack she pulled out her red hood before staring around blankly in fear that she was missing something. "Ahhh crap...I did it again" She was referring to her Hoyt Gamemaster and Quiver, she was so caught up in catastrophizing this trip she never packed it. 'She's going to kill me' her thoughts ricocheting back to Abby.

The only solace in this whole ordeal was knowing she'd also purchased the vibranium coated under armor from Juno Fei, so she was somewhat durable, but having defensive capabilities with no way to mount offense was useless. 'Might need to just start carrying a gun' she thought to watch as the ferry soon docked. "If things go south, and trust me you'll know. Then you leave me" She ordered before setting off the beach toward the forest. Something told her to turn back, as she did she could see the ferry already pulling off. 'Probably should've made sure that guy spoke English'

It was weird being back here, it was here she found her father he trained her; gave her closure on his indirect mistreatment of her after all these years. She knew long ago that if Zeon returned here, she'd kill him.

Oh, God.
Oh, God.

Navigating the forest was the worst, on top of it changing every couple of hours to a dehydrated inhabitant all the paths appeared the same. She was lucky, or unlucky the forest quickly began to change, but when it did she found herself narrowly escaping the scorching heat of hellfire.

"Oh, God" Watching as the flames charred the once beautiful forest. She could hear the chaos, but thanks to the suffocating smog she couldn't make out anything. "ZEON!" She called out, the roaring flames silencing her screams; but she was completely audible to Zeon's Cardinals.

The heat and smoke reduced her to a knee, as she tried to gather herself she could feel her anxiety getting the best of her. She thought she was hastily retreating, but she'd just saved herself from being skewered by one of the Hell Cardinal's blade.

"Fck!" She screamed frantically crawling to put distance between her and her attackers. She was being suffocated and blinded by the heat and smoke, she couldn't switch to her heat signature night vision goggles because the entire forest was on fire.

Stumbling backward thinking Abby was right, she once again narrowly avoided a grim death, a sword cut through the darkness piercing the armor of another gruesome Cardinal. Crawling again this time using her arms, her fingers dug into the moist soil only this time they were wrapped around..."A sword" the distinct engravings showed it belonged to a fallen white cardinal, but for some strange reason, the only thing that surges through her mind was the SpongeBob episode where he and Squidward found the rock. 'WTF is wrong with me' She thought quickly using her blade to block a sure fatal strike from the Cardinal. Quickly kicking its feet out, she got the drop on him positioning her blade at its jugular.

She closed her eyes, it'd make it less gruesome. But again she hesitated. "W-why can't I..." She said a loud trying to force herself to kill it. Trying to will the anger out of herself, but she couldn't. "GRAAH!" She screamed before punching its mask, her shock gloves sending an electrical discharge over its body knocking it out for the time being. Sword in hand she kept low to avoid the flames, but she had to find Zeon before she found Marcos. Flailing around in the darkness she called out like a lost fawn to its mother; tripping, and stumbling over down trees and white cardinals. She just had to get to Zeon, everything depended on it.

Grand Cardinal Isle.

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They all stood around watching through a portal as their "Pope" 'dumb-lucked' her way through a dicey situation. For those that would be her loyal servants, they feared for the life of their future general; however, the High Cardinal Queen did not.

"Are we just going to leave her without our aid, my queen they are right on our doorstep!?" Bethany protest. Chance was just a job Bethany took, but she still believed what was left of their friendship could be salvaged.

"Your loyalty is admirable. Regardless of their location, they cannot get in here. We are still without a Matriarch. Besides, you know that if I dispatched a force they would be slaughtered. Until Lebreau believes in herself as the Matriarch the warriors here might as well be humans. Chance is to be the first Matriarch to combat the threat of the Cardinal Demons...she needs to see exactly what she is dealing with."

All, save for Bethany, knew what Sabella was saying. For Chance to see the world for what it really was she was prepared to sacrifice her son, Marcos. Zeon had to succeed if there was to ever be another Matriarch.