The Franchise #0

Kwazulu Alcazar - Cape Tassi

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"Mommy why did Catalina leave?" Ziccarra's pacific blue eyes tilt down toward her youngest daughter, She could see the confusion mounting in Tassi's eyes. Tassi was always taught that family stayed together; but it wasn't a theme associated with the Liafador Family. Zeon and her new band of Cardinals took up arms against them; Leonel and Alexis were once again off doing their own thing- because she felt imprisoned Cat left too. "Tassi..." Z called squatting down to eye level whilst Star annoyingly licked her ankles.

"Catalina is an adult, and as Adults we have to branch out and learn things on our own. See and experience things for ourselves. One day you and Star will leave too, this does not mean you don't love me--It just means you are ready to learn from the world. Tassi, these experiences are why we live life” Ziccarra’s words seemingly disarmed the confused Liafador, but she could see that deep down the confusion wouldn’t subside with a simple parable.

Over the course of the last few months, Z in Goddess form was in hot pursuit of a man known only as “The Architect” Most of her time was diverted towards finding this abductor of children; rarely did she have the opportunity to spend with her daughter.

Today was different, they began with ice cream in the markets, followed by a slight lesson in battle tactics—Ziccarra never really instructed Tassi in anything of the sort in hopes that she’d never need it. Today was different. After seeing how the Architect dismantled families; she realized her mandate to not train Tassi was foolish.

To Tassi, she was just slashing a sword and pushing a shield; but in the days, weeks, months and years to come she’d be molded into a well-rounded warrior; able to attack in close quarters and from afar.

The day ended here, both mother and daughter sweaty from combat sitting along the shoreline with Tassi propped in between Ziccarra’s legs---and Star between hers. The moment of silence was filled with the waves halting at the shoreline, Ziccarra with her lips pressed against the back of her daughter’s head. Being one of the world’s foremost telepaths, she could feel the thoughts of hundreds of parents worldwide; yearning for the return of their children.

But the truth of the matter was, she was never around for her children; she was always so busy fighting this, or fighting that; that she never really spent time with any of them—save for Selene.

“Mommy, are you leaving again…” Tassi’s sweet voice broke her meditation and nearly her heart. Of course she was leaving again; it was the whole point of her going to Tokyo and meeting with Cadence to get new Intel on the Architect.

“Yes darling. I will be leaving shortly.” Ziccarra’s reply didn’t seem to have a deep emotional effect on her child; which was horrible. “Ok then I train with Maya” It was almost as if she expected it; but how could she not ever since Alexis broke the hold on her memories Z had been on the go.

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She’d nearly neglected her duties as a mother; leaving the daunting task to her two daughters. But then again it was a reoccurring theme through her family’s storied history. Z herself had abandonment issues—issues that started with her mother; and were routinely reinforced by the departure of her husband. This was the curse—having such a beautiful young daughter; but caring enough about the world as a whole—being compelled to stop the Architect.

The Gift was Tassi, probably not now she’d see the true Good in her mother; she’d see the lengths she’d go to for the things she cared about--Even if there was an entire history of her doing wrong.

I promise
I promise

With her arms resting around her knees, she watched them play at the water’s edge, happy and innocent; her solace in their safety was something she couldn’t say the same for the parents of the missing children. Releasing a reluctant sigh, The 1st Princess rose to her feet; and made her way toward Tassi. “Darling…it tis time for me to go. I promise you. I will return.”

OOC NOTES: This'll be a series of blogs I put together for Z It's supposed to lead to an event I've been planning. I've decided to move slow because of IJ2

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Hunting The "Architect"

East Jerusalem, Palestine

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"Charlie, are you sure the children are being held here?" She screamed sprinting through town with bullets colliding with her Raxus Shield.

"Yes, Princess the warehouse should be about 3 blocks from your current location." His confirmation was all she needed; tensions were rising; rioters littered the streets praying for a reason to lash out against one another. A couple of hours ago, radicals attacked a Palestini school and kidnapped several children--children believed to be mutants. Via FB live the suspects claimed to be of Israeli descent, the claims sent the land of Palestine into an uproar. On a day as clear as this...the suspects didn't expect lightning to strike, and when it did It released the Mazoi Princess--Ziccarra Liafador.

Dashing through the packed streets chasing down a van, with her shield and braclets working overtime to prevent a sproadic round from penetrating her pristine features; she begin to process ways to disable the van altogether. "You know you could just teleport" Charlie suggest via her ear piece. "I do not know why I always forget that I can do that" Mid-stride the Goddess' frame gradually faded out until she was nothing more than an afterimage; she reappeared on the good of the van. "I gave you a chance to stop. My patience has worn thin mortals" Throwing mountain moving fist into the engine, the van came to an abrupt stop.

Their gunshots were dwarfed in comparison to the various riots taking place around them. Dashing forward just enough to grab the barrel; the Cape Princess disarmed one man before stealing his arm with her blade. Blood drip off the tip of "Medusa's head" there was no need to wipe the fresh blood--there was more to be had.

Ducking under a strangely well executed jab, she pulled her shield backwards using it to backhand the 2nd gunman out of the way, while she inpaled the third. Before the second gunmen could rebound, the cackle and hiss of her bullwhip left him lying on the ground with a huge "Z" cut into his chest.

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"Charlie, I have the children." Opening the back of the van trying to cast a calm demenor, she noticed all the children here were--"mutants"

"Say what?" Charlie chimed in again.

"These children are mutants. Just like the ones we rescued in El Salvador." She was curious now, the last three rescue missions involved children that were mutants--which was sort of a new development.

"Has our guy switched his MO?" He asked, but Ziccarra really didn't know. She'd find out who was running this ring and when she didl she'd collect his head. "Looks like it, but right now I have to find the rest of the children before a war breaks out"

"Yeah, you might want to do that. You also might want to fly this time girlie." Charlie was a friend of Ziccarra's grandfather, he was also her godfather; in her later years the old man played a huge role in shaping her development and helping her to establish Liafador International--a company Zeon now seemingly had control of.

"Make sure the local authorities pick the children up. I'll foward you the coordinates to where I left them"

The concrete broke under the sheer force of her take off, she needed to find the warehouse, but the archaic technology on her body didn't facilitate the search. "So uh you gotta plan B dollface?"

"I can probably find them by their thoughts, but I will first need to isolate the rest of the city. Do not call me dollface." She said closing her eyes.

Ziccarra had the ability to find and locate anyone in the city; with enough focus she could broaden that search country wide. What she was asking herself to do here; was find a group of scared children in a city full of riots.

"This would be so much easier, If I had Alexis' speed" she murmured, narrowing her search down to a couple of block excluding the thoughts of men and women. "I-I-found them Charlie."

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"You know I gotta ask, why are these people rioting. You'd think they'd be ready for war, not destroying their own city." Charlie was right, these Palestinians weren't retaliating against the Israeli's they were destroying their own homes.

"I suspect meta-human influence." Dive bombing into the warehouse the remaining gunmen scattered, they were taken off guard.

With a simple flick of her wrist, three psi-daggars impaled three of the gunmen, before turning her attention to a man wearing a black mask.

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"Hmm..the Goddess huh" He said smugly, his voice was course almost as if something had been done to his vocal cords. He stood about her height, and didn't carry any indication of an accent so she assumed him to be American. "Who are you, and why are you kidnapping children" Z spat with her shield still hoist.

"Who I am no longer matters, you've officially over stayed your welcome" From his suit, he brandish a pistol; but before he could point the weapon in her direction--Her conquistador bullwhip was lodged around his wrist. He pulled back, which immediatly surprised Z; she hadn't expected him to be so strong.

Moving closer with her left hand still grasping her rope; and her right hand clasping her shield, Z bobbed and weaved in and out of his punches. As a mortal Ziccarra was natrually passive; she didn't too much care to fight--but Shira? The Goddess? she was nothing short of truculent.

Things like this excite her, his fist smashed against the hull of her shield, the lissom Goddess executed a back leg sweep bringing down the masked abductor pinning him to the ground with her shield lightly touching his neck.

Most situations like this were brought to a bloodly quietus, but information was needed; and she sought to get it.

"Tis clear by your combat skills that you are not in charge, who do you work for?" He tried to fight, but the Princess bore down with the majority of her weight on his core preventing him from going anywhere.

"Go to hell" he cursed, Ziccarra's blade lightly grazed his neck in retaliation. "I have what I came here for. The children are safe, I have no need for you. I will find your employer one way or another. Do you want to be alive or dead when that happens--that is your choice." Ziccarra's cerulean tinted eyes never wavered, he could see she meant it. Even with her stoic demeanor Ziccarra could slit his throat and think nothing of it.

"We call him the Architect, no one knows who he is exactly. He sends us our orders through messengers. We were only abducting human children, about a month ago we switched focus to mutants and metas."

Finally, she was getting somewhere. "Where was the last known location of YOUR messenger?" She asked, having turned back to see the rest of the children locked in shock proof cages.

"Tokyo, a guy sent me my message from Tokyo. He never gave a name."

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"Charles book me a flight to Tokyo as soon as possible." she commanded, once again turning her pacific gaze back to the man in the black mask.

"Turn off the signal your using to cause the riots."

"I can't once I put it out, I can't turn it off until it's run it's course." He squirmed. "Or...unless you're dead... Children..."

"Turn away" Ziccarra called out hooking her Conquistador Bullwhip around his neck like a noose.

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Shira: The War Goddess

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The common misconception is that Ziccarra Liafador, and the Liafador family ascended to godhood, they did not; we came to them.

My kind owned this planet long before men discovered fire, long before the dates mentioned in man's religious scriptures, long before waterways parted the land mass.

We were a proud people, we were in many ways gods, and the only force that could stop us was each other. I was born the oldest of four sisters and two brothers living in a quaint town in the kingdom of Bristol. Despite living in what many would call poor, my mother and father made sure our days were filled with adventure. My mother would take my sisters to the mountains, and I would always follow my father to the desert for hunting. I loved my father, he taught me skills no other woman during my time knew. We would take our game to the markets and trade them to the Kings guards for other items; and then my mother and father would sit us down and tell us stories about the future.

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All of our happiness came to a screeching halt when our King died, he was poisoned by his own wife--a 'sorceress' who drew power from the fear of others. She sought to kill us all, and use her new power to wage a war against Asgard and the 9 realms.

The Queen's armies clashed against my people, and we fought them village by village, inch by inch. To protect my sisters I picked up my sword and shield and joined my fellow townsfolk in our battle against the Evil Queen.

We stormed her castle and cornered the sorceress, forcing her into submission--we had won. But it was that day...that I realized we'd lost. We trapped her in one of her own spells using two blades.

The Dreams and Nightmare Curse
The Dreams and Nightmare Curse

When the war was over famine struck, our brothers and parents got sick; and I was forced to take my sisters across the desert to give us a fighting chance. We came to a sullen town on the edge of the desert, where people knew nothing of our struggle or our power. They accepted us, and begin to worship us as gods, free of magical influence our powers knew no limit; and my sisters and I continued to perform miracle after miracle for the people who saved us.

They were happy, my sisters; but I was not. Something happened to my mind that made me see hatred. I could not appreciate the carefree lifestyle around me, I could only worry. I realized that in reciting the Dreams and Nightmares curse, I had implanted the sorceress into my own mind as an idea.

My youngest sister Nayru crafted a beautiful forest over the desert we'd once cross. Instead of seeing the beauty in her erasing our past, I saw hatred. I made it rain horribly until the remaining elements of the desert became a bay. I banished Tesla to the oceans, Naryu to the Forest and fought Faore to the death.

I begin to influence the people and creatures around me, until they begin to kill and attack each other. I became the War Goddess and sought to use the very same tactics the sorceress used to end our happiness.

But Nayru, Tesla and Faore helped them. Together through Faore's ingenuity, the banished my spirit. I continuously haunted the Earth spreading my seed, until I found the one person that could hold me.

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I lived in that dimension for centuries, until a woman named Ashley Emerald Mooreland used the very same curse we used to seal away The Sorceress on a woman named Ziccarra Liafador, ever since that day our fates have been intertwined--she could control me. She was the chosen one.

Poisoned, tainted to follow the will of a woman I now know as the omnipresent spirit Xiao Zing

Ziccarra Liafador is not the Goddess, I am the Goddess; and my name is Shira.

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The West Cape: Cape Tassiania

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"If you always greatly honor the kindness the kindly ones, you will surely be preeminent, keeping your land and city in the straight path of justice."

Previously

The Liafador Family emerged in the 1900’s, as a family built on business. The small family winery boomed in the Spanish town of Malaga; and soon the Liafador Wine called “Besos” flourished throughout the country of Spain.

After the resurgence of the Red Cardinals in the early 20 century; the Liafador Family became heavily involved with the then terrorist organization. Ramon Liafador and his wife headed the Family's involvement with the Cardinals before usurping all the other leaders to obtain sole power. Shortly after her journey through the Pit, Ziccarra transformed the Red Cardinal organization into a religion commonly called "The Cult of Cardinals". Under the Cardinals Ziccarra was able to attain the seat of power in Spain. Most recently, after the fall of Spain; and subsequentially The Liafador Family, Ziccarra's daughter Maya erased certain elements of the family from existence. Now the responsibility falls on the former High Cardinal Goddess, Sabella Liafador, to put the pieces of her family back together again.

Arbiter's Grounds.

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Arbiter's grounds seperates Kwazulu Alcazar and the new Liafador Holy-Land. Access to the land is only permitted by proceeding through a "Time Loop". The Time Loop was created by Sabella, and is guarded by the Mazoi, it is a place where a past date exists and repeats over and over, though inhabitants experience it differently. Only those who can see the loop can pass through it.

The Loop suspends the aging of their occupants, Should an inhabitant exit their loop into the present and remain there for two to three days, they will age forward however many years they have spent inside the loop, which, depending on how long that is, usually results in death. Only few cases exist where a person can pass through Arbiter's grounds and be completly immune to the effects of aging.

Temple of Shira

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Resting on the otherside of the Time Loop on top of Arbiter's Grounds is the Temple of Shira, a shrine dedicated to the War Goddess. The temple serves as a training ground for the Mazoi, and a processing center for those who are brought in from the outside world.

Children through adults are trained in the art of Archery, Swordsmanship, Unarmed and Shield Combat.

In order to survive in the Temple of Shira a student must pass a series of test that prepares them for the life of a warrior, or a citizen in the outside world which includes:

Wilderness Survival Test.

- Using the Sun to create Fire

- Crafting a rudimentary Fishing Rod

- Building a Primitive Camp Site

- Crafting Primitive Weapons

- Water Purification

-Recon

-Team Tactics

- Week Long Stay in the Wilderness using the skills aquired through school.

Escape and Evasion Test

- Avoiding Detection

- Evading Capture

- Escaping once being Captured

They are also instructed on things such as morals and ethics. The Mazoi are taught to follow their internal ethics, for example they are not to kill another member of the Mazoi or citizen of the Cape, but have free will to do so one the outside of the Temple. They are taught not only to defend the weak (As most of them once were), but to also instruct them in the ways to get stronger.

The Temple of Shira hosts a competition between it's best students every day before the Time Loop resets.

Cape Tassiania

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On the other side of Arbiter's Grounds rest, Cape Tassiania, or Cape Tassi for short. Thanks to Sabella's intricate manipulation of dimensions, Cape Tassi sits on the back side of Arbiter's grounds locked between both mountain and ocean front.

In the heart of the city rest a coliseum, where inhabitants are able to display their battle prowess in a number of different courses.

The cape is composed of citizens that were rescued from human trafficking operations and brought here for sanctuary.

The town is protected by troops known as the Mazoi, highly militarized women that use archaic magical weapons to defend themselves and the homeland.

Because the town is composed of many people of many different natures, Cape Tassi comes with it's own unique langauge different than the common tongues of the outside world. They speak with a Afro-Asiatic dialect long extinct in the regular world.

The Mazoi

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Known in modern terms as the Medjay, By the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom period, the Medjay were an elite paramilitary police force. No longer did the term refer to an ethnic group and over time the new meaning became synonymous with the policing occupation in general. Being an elite police force, the Medjay were often used to protect valuable areas, especially areas of pharaonic interest like capital cities, royal cemeteries, and the borders of Egypt. The Mazoi, as they relate to the cape were originally victims of Sex Trade and Human Traffiking. Eventually Orphans and Domestic Violence victims from the outside world were also recruited. The Creation of the Mazoi was a way for Sabella to protect vauable areas as it relates to humans (Such as a Child's innocence) The Mazoi are trained at the Temple of Shira, and upon completion of their training they are allowed to leave or stay to protect the island.

Once the Mazoi leave their duty to the Island does not end, The become and extension of the Cape showing victims of heinous crimes a way to get stronger.

The Mazoi follow the direct orders of Queen Sabella, but have been trained by Princess Ziccarra; giving her the nickname "The Mazoi Princess."

The Fall of Gods

The Citadel
The Citadel

Before the Cape came into being the lands exist as one land mass with a single city known as the Citadel acting as it's capital. The Citadel was a massive metropolis filled with "gods and goddess'" that served under a Divine Monarchy-- King Kalis and Queen Rose.

Because magic was the only known force that could hurt the Gods, it was banned; and those caught practicing it's secrets were punished by death.

Queen Rose uncovered the secrets of the magic arts, and used the knowledge passed down by Asgardians to poison her husband, and ascend to the role as Supreme Ruler.

What followed was a War of Gods that took place many years before man took his first steps.

Ultimatly the Queen was cornered in her own castle, and trapped in her own Asgardian spell called "The Dreams and Nightmares Curse" What none of the gods realized was that in reciting the Curse they inadvertanly placed it on themselves.

TBC

19 Comments

Z Foundation (Prolouge)

The West Cape

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If you think the family is messed up now, then ya never really knew it's origins. None of those children ever stood a chance. I kind of thought it'd be different when Ziccarra became the 1st ever Matriarch, but atlas she is still the daughter of Sabella and Ramon Liafador; and as much as I love that woman she just doesn't have what it takes--not anymore. Now, her children are the problem, I mean you got one who's pretty much a living sun--hell I don't even know how he got here. There's one Catalina, girls' a nutcase. She can absorb the powers of the people around her, not to mention she can also pretty much plunge world's in darkness.

Selene's a pretty young thing, fashion icon, but retains the powers of both her mother and father, which makes her virtually invincible. Tassi's sort of the normal one, but that's only because she's still a baby. The last one used to be a runway model, Maya, then that revolution happened; and the poor girl's gasket has been loose ever since. There's something in his demenor leads me to believe he thinks I'm insulting his intelligent. He knows the Liafadors just like I do, we both were it's first members under Ziccarra's grandfather.

I suppose I just hate that it's come to this.

"Charles, what are you proposing" I hear his question, but my eyes answer the question. We both know what we have to do. It was in our orders given to us by Ricardo Liafador; Ziccarra's grandfather. He never wanted his son {Ramon} to be Patriarch, nor did he want that b!tch Sabella to be Matriarch. It was all meant for Ziccarra.

"Do you think this is something they cannot rebound from." He asks again I say nothing. I just pull out my phone and show him Ziccarra fighting some hellish demon in downtown L.A, Parademons flying in Australia. "Giavelli...old friend...even if they can rebound from this, they are just too dangerous to let stay in the real world. We have a duty."

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"You are asking me, to give up years of service to our Matriarch young Zeon to reset everything she's worked so hard to achieve. Such is a request I'd come to expect from a Red Cardinal"

Ahh my old friend, he has grown senile he forgets were we all Red Cardinals at some point. His attachment to Zeon has made him weak. I've been in service to Nana since she was Six Years Old, but there was never a doubt in my mind that if it came to this I couldn't pull the trigger.

"I'm asking you to do your duty. We will be able to look over them old friend." He doesn't know, he's still holding on to that knife-edge loyalty to the older admins. He can't see that in their eyes he's banal. I own the majority shares for Liafador International, they were surrended to me when Ziccarra rose to power in Spain. At that time she was the Matriarch, put me in charge of constructing Emerald City--only to turn it into a wasteland a couple years later.

"A-alright! Fine. Let's end this. Set the loop here. The Time has come to deal with this, but know this when you do whatever it is you're going to do with Liafador International. I want a high-ranking role.

It'll be like paradise
It'll be like paradise

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The Rebirth

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The very first time I put this uniform on, my name was Ziccarra Isabella Liafador-Knightfall, even after my eventual divorce from the Noir Rose, I continued to wear it. Depending on who you ask, you would get two different perspectives about me. Was I a hero? Or was I a villian? I do not think it matters anymore, My physical continuity is so thrown off I would not know where to start. Many years have pass, yet I still do not have an identity. Am I Ziccarra Liafador-Knightfall, the woman who originally put this uniform on, the woman that lead a Cardinal Assualt on Venezuela; the woman that left both of her daughters to the wolves. Or am I Ziccarra Liafador-Pettis, The Goddess, a woman that fought gods, instigated peace and calmed realities?

Perhaps in truth, I am the Outlaw Queen a woman that was doomed to die on Asgard, but survived because of "Divine Intervention" Am I really the woman that destroyed Spain and turned Emerald City into a zombie-filled wasteland. Truth is I do not know. I have driven away everyone I once called friend: Mercy Sheridan, Ellie Knightfall, Valerie Huntington; I have even lost the respect of my own family.

But who exactly did they lose respect for? Was it me? Or the person I was pretending to be? It is only here and now that I ask the question--What happened to Ziccarra Liafador? The woman that fought with a purpose, the woman that ended a 500 year system of gender based slavery in her own family. What happened to the 1st Matriarch?

Within the realm of my family, I am probably one of the most feared combtants, but what am I to the rest of the world. Was I ever supposed to be a standalone entity? Or was I supposed to be seen on the arm of Alexis and Quintus because "I look nice"

There is a rebirth happening inside of me, something I should have seen coming. I am not the woman that unifyed the Tibetian provinces; I am either Ziccarra Knightfall or Ziccarra Pettis; regardless...this is not acceptable. In order to find out who I am...I have to start over. I have to completly restart my continuity.

I cannot be a gimmick
I cannot be a gimmick

If I am going to be The Goddess, I need to stand for something. I need to become a beacon of something, hope or decadence--just something.

Understand that I am not erasing everything that has happned. I had a second chance and I blew it. If people still feel angry for what happened in Spain, then let them come. I will destroy the mightiest of champions with my conviction. I shall no longer be affiliated with the Red Cardinal Assassins. I am the Goddess of the Cult of Cardinals a religious group of people that have pledged their faith in me to keep them safe. That is who I shall be. I. Am. Ziccarra Isabella Liafador. And I am The Goddess"

7 Comments

Maternal Hatred.

Austria, 1964

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Suddenly, I do not feel like the same person anymore. Perhaps it is the drugs, I see things, hear things. It is almost like something or someone is influencing my mind. It all started just a few years ago, we all came together.

The House of Huntington, The House of Knightfall, and The House of Liafador met in Vienna to craft a powerful weapon; using technology none of us were familar with--Valkerie. It was to be the be all end all. In the event of another World War, we're going to use it to completly wipe out the world and rebuild from the ashes of the old world. We were going to rebuild, Liafador, Huntington and Knightfall. Since then, my husband has worked ardously to build the project, even starting Liafador International as a front to lure the worlds top scientist into helping him complete this weapon. He has added things none of us agreed to, such as rudimentary A.I properties. He has not taken the time to think about what would happen if this thing was to become aware of it's existence...he just continues to work, to slave. I tried to explain to him what would happen if this machine somehow became aware, but he wrote me off.

Within the passing years since our meeting, he has increased productivity expontentially, his employee's work just as hard as he does. Something has happened to me too, I do not think much about myself anymore. I do not care about anything that does not pertain to Ramon and the Liafador name. It was these persuasive thoughts that forced me into bed with Jayden Knightfall, and now I am caring a child by a man I do not love. I want to cry, but it tis almost as if I have no emotions, like my mind has been placed into a cell; a cell where free speech and free thought are force fed.

I want to ask why, why did he make me do this, does he not love me anymore? The truth of the matter is, I know why. He wants the Knightfall money to continue. Without the Knightfall and Huntington loans, our quaint little winery would never be able to fund something as big; as this. To keep them happy, he is willing to give them whatever they want--including me.

I have slept with Jayden Knightfall atleast twelve times now, and everytime I want to feel sorry for what I am doing to Grace, but I can't--The Liafador name is too important to me. I am often void of emotions, I cannot cry, I do not laugh...I just exist awaiting my orders like a robot. I am not comfortable in my own skin, sex does not please me; and it seems that any attempt of self mutilation is prevented by some unknown force. Jayden told me, this last time that I was not myself. I agree, my mind does not belong to me anymore. I am indoctrinated, We are indoctrinated. We work for the machines.

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Past to Present

Past (Sweden)

“If a dream doesn’t come true… does that make it a lie? Or something worse?”

“No one seems to know anything about it, there is no evidence that it even exists” Ziccarra lamented, her thick Iberian accent impeding her elocution. Dropping her sheath at the foot of the bed, she circumvented the apartment to land a lust filled kiss upon Ashley’s bronze lips.

Many nights had come and gone since their initial orders, but the two lovers of the Braveheart order could find no evidence of their target—The Dreams and Nightmares Curse.

“We’re bounty hunters, not treasure hunters” Ziccarra continued, shifting her lithe frame on to Ashley’s lap. “Apparently, your brother thinks it’s all one in the same. What are you doing out so late anyway, I thought you were tired?”

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It was fairly easy, the quick change of temperament, the raised eyebrow; and the absence of eye contact-Ashley was mad, but not just mad more so jealous. Z hated when she got this way. “Lord…” Ziccarra sighed pushing away from the mahogany table. “I left to call my brother.” She replied defensively; “I’m not cheating on you for the last time Ash”

Their eyes told different stories, In Ziccarra there was anguish sadness coupled with anger. Ashley’s told a story of remorse and an insatiable distrust of others. “What are you doing anyways?” Ziccarra asked, changing the subject as she often did. “Well, this is a baby generator. I got curious as to what a child between us would look like if we could have one. And this is him.”

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There was hesitation in Ziccarra’s movement, a baby? Just what was going on inside Ashley’s mind? Feigning curiosity, the youngest child of Sabella and Ramon gracefully tread to her lover to see the results. “He does not look half bad.” She teased, according to the data Ashley’s dominant genes gave him a darkened complexion with hazel eyes, hints of Ziccarra’s Spanish ancestry could be seen in his hair and lips.

“I have never even thought about having children” Z admitted. “I’ve always wanted at least one “Ashley replied staring into the puzzled face of her Iberian partner. “You’ve never wanted to get married?” She continued, but her ingress was met with a quick shake of the head. “Hmmm odd, I thought that was all white folks dream” though it was a joke Ziccarra was not at all amused. “You forget my mother is technically African.”

“What did Kane want?” Ashley asked, realizing it as her turn to change the subject. “He just wanted an update on our findings, but I told him there were none.” Ziccarra’s exhaustion deposited her laxscidasically on the sofa.

Her ears twitch at Ashley rise, her eyes followed as her bronze beauty moved from the kitchen into the living room with her hands folded, eyes furrowed. “Problem?” Z asked almost instantly irritated by Ashley apparent attitude.

“Yes. I don’t like how much pull your brother has on you Z, it’s almost like he’s manipulating to do any and everything he wants.” There was truth behind Ashley’s words, unknown to the future Liafador family Matriarch; Kane had used Ziccarra’s DNA to forge a genetic child between him and his sister-- pure Liafador blood, Catalina.

What made it so…interesting to Ashley was that Ziccarra had never mentioned a child, or seem to have any recollection of giving birth. Revealing her findings to Z now didn’t prove beneficial, especially since neither of them were strong enough to actually confront the head Braveheart.

“He is…my older brother nina, my family is complicated. I told you once before.” Z retort with her index fingers on her temples. “Maybe if you did not exile yourself from your own, you would understand” The Malagan Beauties words weren’t meant to cut deep, but they did. At a young age Ashley’s parents were killed, but before that they showed favoritism to Ashley’s twin sister for being born with lighter skin. Ashley eventually joined the Braveheart, and cut off all communication with her only living relative.

“I should’ve known better, you never need my help” She said, sardonically before storming back to the bedroom. “I suppose this means I am sleeping on the couch tonight.” Ziccarra giggled. The first part of her plan was a success, not that it took much to anger the Melanin Beauty; but there was more to accomplish and so little time.

Present. (Union City, New Jersey)

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The newly resurrected Cardinal was able to move discreetly under the guise of her 27 year old body, it was here, in this city under the allure of the Relic Stone that the Goddess fought Thee Champion. A bout so destructive, that it sent a tidal wave crashing into shores of Union City killing hundreds. No matter how quiet, no matter how careful; just a little bit of sound was too much sound, at least when it comes to sneaking up on “The First Sound Bender”

Just paces behind her, about 12 feet away, moving her long legs in unison with the ebony queen. Without warning Ashley’s head whip around, sending a powerful sonic scream rippling through the vacant parking garage. Ziccarra’s vibration absorbing shield proved faithful, absorbing the blunt of the blast but not before Ziccarra’s feet drag the cement with her.

“Ash…” She whispered, only to be silenced by the sight of Ashley’s Jade Dragon blade sparking over the hull of her shield. “Ashley, it’s me Ziccarra!” Z screamed, resorting to evasive tactics to prevent from being injured by the poisonous blade of Y-intercept. “I know exactly who you are” She retorted pressing the attack.

“Fine” dispatching the Legendary Black Rose Blade, Ziccarra repelled Ashley’s demon blade with her on. Both blades of Y-intercept and the reason for her visit; exuded demonic energy as they clang with one another. Their demon blades parried in the vacant lot, both forged in the conquest of universes; but the skill of their wielders varied. Ashley under the discipline of Kane Liafador and the Braveheart Order, Ziccarra under The Grand Master Impero (Ishin), Quintus Knightfall, Faatina Knightfall and Alexis Pettis. Ashley was easily outmatched, but still had the advantage. Ziccarra would not kill.

Ashley’s blade slid across the hull of Ziccarra shield once more, however; moving with the grace and fluidity that only a champion grade flamenco dancer could, Ziccarra executed an adept pirouette kicking her leg out behind her, leg sweeping Ashley to the ground.

“Submit” Ziccarra commanded, with her poisonous Black Rose blade just inches from Ashley’s neck. “Phase if you want to nina, but there’s nothing stopping me from bringing this entire garage down on the both of us. One of us will survive.”

“Heh…I trained you well” Ashley spat pulling her neck away from Ziccarra’s blade. “No, you just provided a spark to a fire you were not prepared to extinguish.” Ziccarra replied, backing off with her aegis shield still providing cover.

Still as beautiful as she was when they first fell in love was Ashley, and for the first time in nearly 15 years the two former lovers were reunited once again—albeit for different reasons. “Ashley, I need your help.” Ziccarra’s plea for aid forced a scoff from Ashley’s throat. “I haven’t seen you since you slaughtered every one we knew, and then Spain. Now you want me to help you. Why? You’ve never needed my help.”

A warm breeze passed over the silence that parted them, like always Ziccarra changed the subject. “I-um heard you were engaged” her hand offered to help Ashley to her feet however, the gesture was not taken. “It’s kind of funny, you never wanted a family or anything, I did, and all I got were broken promises. But of course you know all about that don’t you?”

Past

Ashley took to their California King feigning sleep, her mind trying to piece together the puzzle that was the Liafador Family. Kane and Ziccarra were hunting down Red Cardinals, but why? This organization belonged to their Grandparents why would they help destroy a legacy they were meant to inherit? None of it made sense. What made even less since was Ziccarra’s involvement. When she first came to the Braveheart, she was a whiney, untrained dancer that cried when forced to fight; and despite being a grown woman she didn’t think for herself.

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Ashley trained her, forged her into the Braveheart she was today, even after all that she could see, this woman wasn’t supposed to be an assassin, rather someone’s mother living in the countryside somewhere. As she stirred her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Ziccarra moving toward the bedroom, propping her head up on the pillow she watched the endless pacific blue eyes part the darkness between them followed by almost a sheepish grin.

“What you ass?” Ashley asks doing her best to stay mad at the Spanish/Moroccan beauty. “I do not want to sleep on the couch darling” Ziccarra admitted picking up a slow saunter into the room. There were no more words exchanged as Ashley reluctantly shifted in the bed allowing Ziccarra to slide in right next to her. Both slept on their sides, in opposite directions of one another stubbornly resisting the urge to apologize. “H-hey” Ziccarra started, not caring to turn in Ashley’s direction.

“What?” Ashley retort, still with the attitude. “Is this how you pictured your life?” Ziccarra’s question singe Ashley’s nerves, who could ever picture themselves as a lone bounty hunter? Despite her hidden anger, she swallowed the thought and forced herself to reply.

“I kind of always figured; I’d be married with a child or two. Maybe doing some private investigating or working as a forensic scientist. Definitely not knocking doors down with a sonic scream, or cutting off limbs or in a rather lengthy relationship with another woman. What about you?” She asked curiously.

They turned, nose and eyes just centimeters from contact; so close they breathed each other’s breaths. “I honestly could not picture life any other way. You would think that a master ballet dancer, and a locally famous flamenco dancer would expect more of herself, but I cannot.

Kane’s manipulation, he’d affected Ziccarra on a level that hindered any form of self reflection, she was essentially a tool to be used by the Liafador State, at times an assassin; and quite often a means for recreational entertainment. What pained the Bronze beauty was that Ziccarra was incapable of seeing the extent of Kane’s sadistic manipulations.

Pulling Ziccarra’s arm she shifted the frail Spanish Assassin’s head to her chest, afterwards grazing the forehead with her share of kisses. “I know what I do want though?” Ziccarra said again, her hands digging deep inside her own pajama pockets.

“What’s that?” Ash replied, veering her eyes in Ziccarra’s direction. “You. Ashley Emerald Mooreland. Will you marry me?

Present

Ziccarra’s hand push through her dense raven tinted hair in a state of irritation. It was indeed a gesture she’d long forgotten, between her marriages to both Quintus and Alexis; she’d forgotten the promise she made years prior to essentially marry her own best friend. “Ashley, I” Her words halted by Ashley’s solitary finger. “It’s not your fault…” Ziccarra’s eyes scoured over Ashley frame, it was the trained eyes of Quintus Knightfalls former wife, that saw the minute changes in demeanor. Increased blinking, a hastened heart rate, lack of eye contact Ashley was hiding something. However, before Ziccarra could probe deeper Ashley changed the subject something she seldom did.

“What is it that you need my help with?” Ziccarra’s pacific blue eyes sent a paralyzing scowl in Ashley’s direction, what was she hiding? Why had she been so defensive before only to become so passive. It was as if she’d suddenly realize an error in her own ways.

“Do you remember mission #34 to Sweden?” She did, Ashley remembered most of her and Ziccarra’s excursions, but this one in particular. “I do, the one dealing with the Dreams and Nightmares Spell.”

“Well…it tis real Ashley, and I have used it—on my own daughter” Ashley’s jaw unhinged as she slowly turned to Ziccarra with widen eyes. “O-…on-which one?”

“Maya.” It was a whisper that sent chills through Ashley. “Ziccarra…what did you do?” Ashley whispered faintly. “The darkness that once held Catalina captive is now in Maya”

“YOU MEAN Y-INTERCEPT IS NOW IN MAYA. YOU GAVE THE ONE PERSON WHO CAN AND WILL DESTORY THE UNIVERSE A TOOL TO DO SO!” Ashley hiss, her own cheeks burning with thick blemishes.

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“Ashley, I was not in my right mind; but if we’re going to save the universe. We’re going to have to lock both Maya and Y intercept away.” Z explained, removing Y intercept’s legendary Black Rose Blade. “These are the key.”

“I-I don’t have the Green Dragon Blade, but it’s in safe hands. I gave it to Nikadaemus of the famed “Brick”

It was Ziccarra’s turn, her head rose from shame to confusion in a matter of seconds. “Ashley, Nikadaemus is Maya’s mentor. He cannot be trusted!”

“T-this is my fault” Ashley’s unwarranted comment brought a curious brow from Z; how on Earth could any of this be HER fault?

“What are you talking about?”

“Ziccarra…I used the Dreams and Nightmares curse….on you.”

Past

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The darkness loomed over their stationary bodies, blanketing both Ashley and Ziccarra in a veil of solace. The almost melodic breaths of the Malagan beauty were enough to trigger the sound benders intuition; that Ziccarra had entered the deepest depths of sleep. She’d reduced the sound before moving, something she could do with just a flick of her wrist. Afterwards Ashley dismounted and moved recklessly through the silence to a bookshelf on the far side of the room.

From the cut out of an old King James Bible, her hazel eyes fix on the blackened powder inside the vial. They’d been out here for3 months, looking for the mythical Dreams and Nightmares Spell—yet Ashley had found it in their first two weeks.

Asgardian in nature, the Spell was said to trick its victim into believing they were sleep, while they succumb to the whims of the caster. Ashley’s newly fashioned engagement ring flickered in the darkness while her hands spun around the spile of the container. There was no sure fire way to know how the contents of the vial would affect the sleeping beauty, but she couldn’t watch anymore. She couldn’t watch society take advantage of Ziccarra’s compassion.

“I pray that you can see the world—see it as I see it, See it for what it actually is” Ashley murmured blowing the contents in Ziccarra’s direction. “Sleep well love”

Present

“What?” Ziccarra’s voice went faint in the blustering wind between them, in Ashley’s eyes, Ziccarra saw truth. “What do you mean you used it on me?”

“Back in Sweden, after you proposed. I-I used it on you while you slept. I-I wanted you to see the world for what it really was.” Anger personified through the swelled blotches of red permeating through Ziccarra’s cheeks, knowing the Cardinal Goddess was more interested in information, than confrontation Ashley seized Ziccarra’s attention with the why. “I hated how Kane and the Society manipulated you; I wanted you to think on your own. But the spell had varied effects on you.

“The natural good in you wanted to help people, but the curse forced you to take your views to the extreme—causing cyclic destruction.”

In Ash’s explanation, The Cardinal Queen picked up a slow pace; struggling with what she was told. Cursed—for the ages between a cycle of destruction and heroism.

“E-everything I know…has been a lie. Y-you ruined my life. My children’s life!” Z screamed quickly dispatching her conquistador bullwhip until it rest tightly around the throat of her former lover. The thick lasso lined with thorn puncture Ashley’s pristine bronze skin causing blood gather at the vice.

“It-ss funny…the..ehn..ast time, I saw you….this….happened” Ashley struggled trying to force the words from her lips.

“Yes darling, only this time—I know no Mercy” Ziccarra replied with her eye sockets completely eclipsed in a fiery red blur.

“Nana stop” a familiar yet, antagonistic voice called out from behind. “Mother” She didn’t need to turn to see her, she knew almost immediately. “I didn’t give you back your powers to settle an old rivalry; there are more pressing matters to tend to. Zeon has returned from the pit with Maya’s dagger. It is imperative you receive it from her…”

The Conclusion: Zeon vs Ziccarra
The Conclusion: Zeon vs Ziccarra

“That depends on if you can control your dreams…”

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