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 End of Jungalore: Final Chapter 
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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter

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He removed his lance from the body of Lumbra as the deity slumped over, holding his burning chest.

"You... Who are you? How did you come by a second lance?"

"My name is Elsaiel, and I am here to put an end to your evils, spirit of light."

"I am no mere spirit, human."

"As I am no mere human, spirit. Know thy place."

Lumbra fell to his knees and Elsaiel walked away from the throne.

"Is it done, then?" Meridia asked. Elsaiel nodded and looked to Fuujin, Demeter, and a god of burning flame.

"He will be displeased with each of you when he awakens."

"Then what are we to do?" Demeter asked.

"For now, let him bleed Will into your world. It is necessary if a saviour is to come. I will take the treasures in your stead to your chosen people."

"What if he awakens before then?" Fuujin asked.

Elsaiel smiled, "My soul has survived previous iterations of your world. Let me handle it in my own way."

"An incarnation?" Meridia asked.

Elsaiel nodded in response to her question, "Something like that. He will be of two halves. One shall be of great strength, and another will be bound to shadow."

"When?" The god of flame asked.

"That, I refuse to say, Zhurong, but I will say this..." He stated with a grin, "Light and darkness, both must exist for this world to not fade away."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Afterwards, three days passed," Fuujin explained, "Lumbra awoke and slew each of us, and yet, he was bereft of the great treasures. For that god which should not exist had delivered them to each chosen people. Surely enough, he knew exactly who to give each treasure to, and yet, there are treasures missing..."

"It must be due to Baphomatt..." Eiryk said while pulling the Chalice of Meridia, "I retrieved this one from New Meridia..."

"What do you intend to do with it?" Fuujin asked. Eiryk looked to Philena, and then to Fuujin.

"These are far too powerful to be in the hands of man. Take this one back." Eiryk reasoned and Fuujin smiled.

"What does the Meridian queen think of this."

Philena nodded, "Mikkael, he was searching for the artifacts before he..."

"Worry not, he lives and he is close to you." Fuujin stated. Philena's eyes widened and she gripped his clothes.

"You know his whereabouts!? Please! Fuujin! Enlighten me!"

"Peace, young queen..." Fuujin continued, straightening his clothes, "There is issue with him..."

"... What is wrong with Mikkael...?"

Before he could answer, a rumble shook heaven.

"... I cannot answer, at least, not immediately... I can grant you this one word, Eiryk, go to Demeter, retrieve the crown. It is tied to my will, and shall grant you safe passage through the Chaos Desert. Hurry back to the gates! Otherwise, you will be trapped in the Yuunlands, for it is not a place for mortals to dwell..."

"W-Wait! What of-!"

Once more, a rumble. Fuujin snapped his fingers and whisked them back to the gates. "No time! Hurry back now!"

Eiryk and Izraf had to pull Philena through as it closed in the mortal world. She slapped Eiryk and Izraf.

"Why didn't you two let me stay!?" The angry Mer Queen bellowed at the two of them. Eiryk shook his head.

"You know Mikkael still lives, that should be enough."

"... Yes... I suppose you are right... Forgive my actions..."

Eiryk and the others reconvened with the group and Afalans back at Arcane Well. The trip back was uneventful.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Yes, we have something akin to what you experienced... But that is not for you..." Scorpio said, shaking his head with concern, "The Shadow Virus can, and will kill you, Eiryk."

"I must have it if it can control the power of whatever else is inside me!"

"It will either make you stronger or kill you! You lack discipline!"

"I cannot risk killing her or anyone on accident again..." Eiryk mentioned. Scorpio raised an eyebrow and sighed.

"If you so wish to, there is a target at your next destination, in the town of Demeter. A contract on one of the scholars..."

Eiryk looked up, "Whatever it takes, as long as I can control my curse."

Eiryk took the contract from Scorpio and the sketch.

"Do so quietly, and ten thousand Legens are yours."

"And I'll be given the Shadow Virus?"

"We'll see..." Scorpio smiles.

Eiryk decided to grab a ship, heading due south to Demeter. Worried for the state of the world. All in the meanwhile, from the harvesting of Hohenheim's soul, Baphomatt grew in strength...

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
"Taisho, the beast... something's happening!" one of the ninjas ran back the group.

"It's nyot coming this way, is it?"

"No, it's... sinking..."

"What?"

"As if its weight opened a hole below and turned to liquid, taisho..."

Kazeko ran up a tree, and gasped as she saw the sight with her very own eyes. Mikkael remained silent as she climbed back down.

"Perhaps he finished the summon and returned that demon back to the Underworld..." Karliah mused. "Should we go back after him?"

Mikkael rubbed his forehead, scrunching his head and trying to remember anything about this man that his new companions called his best friend. "I can't remember, but if what you say is true..."

They made a U-turn around, towards Cyndar's walls. However, it seemed that the demons and their thralls were regrouping back to the walls, and passing through would take more than what their battered and beaten bodies could do.

"Damnable old fool..." Karliah gritted her teeth. "You'd better not die..."

"I dyon't like this either, but..." Kazeko grumbled. "We'll have to fall back for nyow, and hope Yemhelch has the sense to stay hidden from the demons. We'll put together an expeditionary force and attack in full force as soon as we can, though. I'm sure Hiroko-sama would have no object."

Defeated, the small group resumed their trip to Vel Da Ir...

-

Yemhelch lay on his back in the shattered remains of the throne room, looking up at the dawning sky - naked as the day he was born. His armor had sundered when he had allowed his true form to emerge from his body. Silence filled the air - the undead mostly scourged from the city center. No doubt the demons and their thralls who survived would regroup soon enough... but for now, the city proper was silent... the castle a crumbling ruin, and several buildings nearby similarly brushed away from the wall of flesh.

He tried to move an arm, and winced in pain.

"Ow."

He felt the heavens rumble. Earthquake? Maybe the fight here had weakened the roof of an underground cavern or something...

-

"Is it done?"

"Yes. Those who wished to pass on have been released from the curse of the Book of Shadows."

"Ah..."

"Those who would remain behind to deliver their vengeance to the one who killed them, their Will is so strong that it would be wrong to exorcise them from the book."

"I see. It can't be helped then..."

"What will you do?"

"I feel that the world is still a dangerous place. I think I should do my best to help the people of this world in these difficult times."

"A noble goal. Then, the exit is just to your right."

"... but is it alright if I come visit every now and then?"

"Of course. Come anytime!"

"Thank you."

With that, Ahnbein walked into the swirling portal leading back to the outskirts of Fort Frenga.

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
Eiryk arrived by boat to find that the Demeter Isles were slowly but surely beginning to bustle with trade between the Mer and Elvine. He would watch as Elvine would struggle with the firearms and cannons of the Mer, but would be quite happy to see that both cultures were coming to good terms. However, he did not ponder this for long, he had a job to do. One scholar of the Meridian Court would need to be assassinated. Scorpio left little details besides treasonous thoughts on the queen, but Eiryk decided such was enough.

He hadn't understood when, but somehow, he had been thinking of the queen more often than not. Perhaps it was the sight of her in her white dress, or the thought of her strength in such dire circumstances. Whatever the case, he found himself eager to protect her from any and all treason.

Waiting on when the Mer went to sleep, he slipped away from the general crowd and into the resident embassy. From his death, as an envoy of darkness, he would blend into the undead and lesser demons alike. From the goddess of water, he would raise the dead. Now, as an envoy of the god of air and winds, he would carry with him plagues and disease which he could spread to his blades.

The scholars all slept carefully about their books, but the target was nowhere to be seen, and so Eiryk made his way to his second task, of seeing if he could take the crown for the time being.

King Ortza welcomed him back warmly, and they discussed matters as the Elvine King sat in his throne.

"I cannot give something of such power away, Eiryk. I would need a favour of my own..."

"Name it." Eiryk instructed, "I'll see to it that it's done. But know that your people are threatened by something far more dangerous, and so terrible that no amount of offering to your goddess will save her."

"Worry not, this concerns something of even dire news. It concerns a rumor..." The king spoke, clearing his throat, "Have you heard of the Orgris?"

"Orgris?" Eiryk questioned. The king spoke in a hushed tone to Eiryk while ensuring none were around.

"You see... The Orgris are a race of first peoples, long forgotten since man has hunted them for the past few generations. They are of two kinds of blood, and live among the Fae, who we believe are similar to us, but blessed by the spirit of light, Lumbra."

"Interesting. What does this have to do with me though?"

"Well, we have some... Business investigating a certain group near Cyndar. We had them test the blood samples provided, and a courier came by with a request for some of our goods for the Orgris. Could you... Perhaps deliver them?"

Eiryk agreed, "Sure, just let me know where to go."

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
It had been an arduous journey, but at last - Kazeko's team finally arrived at the gates of Vel Da Ir. For all the chaos the world had gone through, this place still stood strong; despite the fact that the new-formed monsters were constantly sieging the city.

As they stepped past the gate, Kazeko and Karliah spotted several ninjas leap from the rooftops towards the north end of the city.

"Myost of the mop-ups are done, so the city center should be safe, nyoro-n..." Kazeko sighed. "Come on, Lady Hiroko's waiting."

Karliah looked up at the pagoda. It had been a proper fortress before, but now it positively looked like a real bastion; even now with cranes carrying heavy plate armor and how archers and snipers filled out every balcony.

"I-is it alright for me to be here?" Karliah asked. "Just so you know, I have been asked to leave."

"You're not with 'them' anyomore." Kazeko replied. "I'm sure Lady Hiroko would give you an audience."

"But..."

"Times have chyanged now." Kazeko grinned, giving Karliah an affectionate pat on the back. "Dyont you worry about it!"

Mikkael stood quietly to the side, watching the two.

"Have I been here before?" he finally mumbled.

"Yeah! This is the city where you and old man Yemhelch really beat the crud outta Karliah in court and saved Lady Hiroko from the gallows! Don't tell me you don't remember?!"

Mikkael didn't answer. He knew - but he just couldn't find the words for it.

-

The Daimyo's meeting room was a splendid affair. Several elite ninjas stood at the sidelines, and flanked by two Shoguns, Hiroko Hajima limped in, assisted by a walking staff. Karliah almost gasped as their eyes met. She looked shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

"Kazeko.... Mikkael... This is a difficult time, but I see you've brought some good news and bad news." she sighed as she sat down. "Speak freely. And Karliah?"

"Yes?"

"If you serve the Inquisition even now, then leave."

"I do not."

"Good."

-

"Mikkael Altans, you truly do not remember me?" Hiroko asked. Mikkael shook his head.

"It is as you say. I've read of amnesia in the medical journals of Cyndar's Magus guild..." she sighed "...but to see this happen... then, if you're here, do you know where Yemhelch is?"

Mikkael shook his head. "I... I can't remember these names..."

"Lady Hiroko, Yemhelch may be trapped in Cyndar."

At this, Hiroko snapped straight to attention. "WHAT?!" - before wincing, grabbing at the bandages on her shoulder and sitting down.

"He went off alone to stop the summoning of the Dragon." Karliah explained. "He somehow managed to fight Baphomatt to an impasse... and, I think... it summoned a demon, a monster that consumed Baphomatt."

"A monster that could consume the new god of death...?" Hiroko gasped. "W-where is this demon now?"

"Thankfully, after eating the partially-transformed Dragon, it seeped back to the earth." Kazeko explained. "But it's quite likely that Yemhelch may be..."

"No."

"Hiroko-sama?"

"I won't believe this." she gritted her teeth. "I have a new mission, Priority one for every able man, woman and otherwise in the Clan!"

"My lady..." the samurai, the ninjas and the shoguns bowed before her.

"The man who once saved my life may be in mortal peril..." Hiroko spoke, her voice subtly wavering. "Your objective is to storm Cyndar, and rescue him! And should it be that we're too late... t... the least we can do is give him a proper funeral in the Hill of a Hundred Thousand Flowers..."

"HA!".

With that, most of the guards left her side; almost all the ninjas, ashigaru and samurai had left the upper floors quickly leaping out of the building.

"Do they know..." Karliah asked.

"Yes." Hiroko nodded and closed her eyes.

"And they all consider Mikkael and Yemhelch to be heroes..." she continued, now smiling weakly. "And I had to directly order them not to lop your head off when they spotted you enter the South Gate."

-

"What's the matter?" the thing wearing Yemhelch's skin smiled as he sneered down at Baphomatt. "Is the stwong and inchinsible champion of the arena beginning to falter?"

"Shut up!" Baphomatt yelled back. "You rigged this game so I would die!"

"I know. Ironic hells are funny, don't ya think?!"

Laughter filled the air.

"But your droll deaths bore us. So, everyone! What say you?!"

"INCREASE THE TERROR!" the blood-lust sotted roar made the arena itself rumble.

"Heh heh... well then."

A new opponent slowly walks out of the grated tunnel as the trumpets blared a keening tune. From the darkness, crimson mist seethed out and a majestic figure of a human woman, clothed in tight-fitting crimson wizard robes walked out. Magic energy seethed from her fingertips as she walks towards the center of the arena proper. Some of the other warriors appear to recognize her as she her approaches and respectfully step back. From her forehead down to her neck, a jagged line of scar tissue marks what once was a massive cut.

Baphomatt's eyes bugged in recognition, conflicting with his almost-instinctual male gaze over her beautiful form.

"M-mother?!" he gasped.

"You SELFISH LITTLE WORM!?" Ms. Flaggel roared as she raised a hand and blood-laced lightning blasted out, electrocuting Baphomatt and blasting him into the arena's wall like some kind of deranged home-run. "Not only you've chosen to try and kill everyone in your little temper-tantrum, but your thralls did this to me!"

"Sending the undead to silence someone who spoke against your crimes?" the monster sitting at the throne laughed. "I thought you were pathetic before, but this takes the cake."

"M-mother?! You sold your soul to the demon!?" Baphomatt yelled - his voice now equal parts terror and unease.

"No... I asked him nicely, and he accepted my terms." Ms. Flaggel grinned. "I appealed to him, for a chance to discipline you personally!"

The crowd went wild.

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
Eiryk had reached the path that would take him to the Temple of Youth, but rather than travel upwards, he chose to enter the chasm beneath it, which still had the flow of red waters.

As he walked through the forest, finding his way through thanks to the King's instructions, he was halted by a brutish looking man, green of skin, pointed of ears, and thick of accent.

"Wuvr!" The man bellowed, holding out a hand, "Dx xil blid curas nal den ndemitr?"

Eiryk nodded, "But, I am only knowledgeable of the common tongue."

"Ah, ap-logies yung so-l." The man tried pronouncing, "Yu comm this waey."

Eiryk gave a nod and followed the man where he saw for the first time an Orgris village. They came in two sizes of people; tall and average. It seemed that the taller fellows were hardier folk who did all the bossing, as the average folk would focus on crafts or cooking. Their houses were quite primal, but they seemed to have a strong sense of family as well. Yet, as the two of them walked by, Eiryk couldn't help but feel as though others were reeling at the sight of him. Perhaps it was that they knew? But that couldn't be, for his markings were covered, and his skin was still well-maintained due to his feasting in the last few days.

They turned the curvature into a large hut, with a bonfire in the center of the single room, a throne of bones, seating a blind woman who stood at seven feet tall. At least, by Eiryk's assumption.

The orgris warrior and the blind woman exchanged a few words. Though her tongue seemed sharp at the man. Eventually, he was dismissed and the two of them were the only ones able to speak.

"Sit." She commanded, and Eiryk did so, sitting on the floor, "Does Ortza insult me with such a person?"

Eiryk shook his head, "I'm sorry?"

"You! You are a black wizard!" She angrily growled at Eiryk. He now understood everything.

"I know of no magics. I just have... This marking."

"You can't be serious. You are-"

"Undead? Yes. I am well aware. Many who I have met in my travels are aware of this. I don't fully understand what it means yet, but I was unaware that it was so noticeable."

The blind woman glared from beneath her blinder, but then, seeing no ill intent from Eiryk within her mind's eye, she chuckled to herself.

"Well then... That is of interest to me."

"I do come on behalf of Ortza, my name is Eiryk Advento."

"I am Ha-Nabri, Ogreblood Chieftain of this village, slayer of two thousand bears, survivor of thirty winters, and last surviving wife of Chief Ha-Zakkturo." The blind woman introduced herself.

"What do you mean by last surviving wife?"

"I killed all the others with my bare hands. Simple as that." She stated straightforwardly.

"Ah..."

"Does it unnerve you, Lidnid Eiryk?" She asked, "Lidnid is our word for dead. Such as you are."

"I... Will admit, that's plenty frightening..."

She finally stood up, confirming her height to be well over seven feet. Her strong muscles were complemented by her long black braids, both from her head, and twelve more with blood-stains on the ends hanging off a belt.

"This is good. It means you are wise among your kind. Do you know this?"

Eiryk shook his head, "No, I'd say I'm rather foolhardy and impulsive."

"Then you are wise, for I can smell it off your mind's activity." She explained, "But how does a former priest of your kind turn to such a dark path?"

"Priest?"

"Yes, I can see you are a man of the cloth. At least, your strings show you to be such. Yet they have come to a sudden and abrupt change."

Eiryk scratched his cheek as she walked around the fire saying such, "I truly am not sure what you mean."

Uttering something to herself, she began speaking, "No matter, I am sure you will come to understand it all in time, and Ortza will be pleased to know that indeed, 'The fruit does not fall far from the tree.' But I must see your markings."

Eiryk held out his arm and Ha-Nabri pushed it into the flames. They grew to an enormous height, towering through the roof of the hut and shining a deep blue-purple. The room filled with smoke, and upon release, Eiryk checked his hand, finding it undamaged, but the smoke to change colour to a pitch black with blue lights here and there.

"Interesting... Something from another star, and..."

"And?"

Ha-Nabri grew pale at seeing something within her mind's eye, and held Eiryk's hand, tracing out the marking.

"... So, she dwells within you..."

"Who does?"

"Listen, you have an important duty ahead of you. But I know you are preoccupied, so I will not keep you." She tossed him two bags, "Take the brown bag to Ortza, with my detailed knowledge of the blood samples. Take the other to Sun Wukong. He lives deep in the forests of the place you call the Remnvald Kingdom, to the most beautiful mountain featuring two rainbows."

"I will."

"Make haste. Time is of the essence."

Eiryk, thereafter, was escorted out of the village. where he noticed a number of red trees off in the distance. The land was dying.

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
With two broken bones, nine torn tendons and several burn marks all over his body, he was in no condition to fight. Despite this, he had somehow managed to crawl from the crumbled palace and into the fortress depths. Now clothed in a filthy leather armor he had managed to find in the pile of corpses that decorated his destructive path like so many trophies adorning a hunter's lodge, he slowly crept towards a series of tunnels that had once served as Castle Cyndar's inter-tower supply depots.

"Ugh. I really shouldn't have pulled out all the stops like that..." Yemhelch mumbled, voice slurred with pain as he focused on getting to cover. From the overhang of one of the broken towers, he spotted a familiar glint from the shadows.

With significant effort, he crawled over... to find his old tanto. Now somewhat damaged, with more cracks and chipping on the blade - yet it was still quite a dangerous weapon. Putting it between his teeth like a classical swashbuckler, he continued his careful infiltration into the castle proper - his rampage had cleared away the demonic monsters and undead thralls for now, but his honed combat instincts kept him on the edge. He had to get out of this city once it got dark enough for him to sneak out.

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
"Something's happened in the world."

"Any idea why?"

"Our regul-communications are being damaged. As if the world itself has b--n significantly injured."

"Another mission, huh?"

"You could alw-ys return. I w-n't hold it against you."

"I'd rather live."

"Heh..."

...

"In t--t case, you should wake up r-ht now."

"Huh?"

"A-d roll to t-e left."

His eyes snapped open, and the dream ended. Standing over him was a bloated demon, his greatsword raised up high. Rolling to his left, he let the great blade slice through the air and smash into the brickwork of the shattered castle. The demon's blade was stuck! Using this chance, Yemhelch levered to his unbroken left leg and then cut the hamstrings of the towering, skinless monster with a powerful sweep of his blade.

Quickly rolling away as the great demon fell, he angled his next attack to the beast's head, and drove the tanto in, smashing through the decayed skull and severing the spinal cord! The vile energies that animated it kept it alive... but for now, bound to the skull which continued to thrash in a desperate attempt to gore him upon its fearsome horns.

Staggering away, he felt another tremor. Had the battle before damaged the area at a geological level? A sudden feeling of unease crept over him as he recalled his fleeting moments in the darkness; it felt like he had been buried alive, and the voice of his counterpart sounded.... as if similarly buried alive. Something was truly wrong. That was when a small crowd of things bearing still living flesh suddenly marched into the room. One of them turned an eyeless head in his general direction, pointed a 12-fingered hand at him and screamed - the sound of nails grating on a blackboard would have been pleasant music compared to this!

His injuries forgotten, Yemhelch leapt to his feet - the subtle cracks emanating from his broken bones as they fractured again forgotten in the rush of adrenaline. He was outnumbered, and he decided that discretion was really a better part of valor; especially when his link to the Source was so weak. Turning to run, he half-ran, half-limped down the hall.

Big mistake.

A giant aberration, formed of what appeared to be several torsos of still-living, still screaming Titans guarded the door.

"A pincer ambush... smart." Yemhelch gritted his teeth as the lumbering beast hunched its shoulders, all 6 of them down like a wrestler and charged forwards. Yemhelch attempted to side-step, and deliver a wounding slash to the beast's exposed throat, but at the last moment, it sidestepped his attack, then struck his head with a fist that felt like a mountain smashing through his skull. The impact floored him, and he could only watch as the giant lumbered up and raised its hammer-like fists to deliver the killing blow...

Only for the arms to fall, flopping uselessly by its side. Before the monster could turn around, three no-dachi slashed horizontally, vertically and diagonally through the beast! As the fleshy horror fell apart, his swimming vision cleared up a little to show a Hatamoto wearing the Kabuto insignia.... of Vel Da Ir.

"You are..."

"You're grievously wounded, filthy, matted in your own blood and at death's door." the hatamoto answered as he cleaned his massive blade and sheathed it with a sharp snap. "But, even if your face was dragged through dung, I would still recognize you as one of the heroes who saved my Lady's life. Consider this the karmic reward for your good deed all that time ago. Lady Hiroko sends her regards."

At that moment, the other pursuit force caught up... only for three ninjas to rappel in from a shattered window, pinning them down with magick flares, then leaping off as the beasts' bodies exploded into gore and flame!

"Youg... you guys... you're..." Yemhelch tried speaking... and felt teeth fragments on his tongue, followed by the taste of blood.

"Don't speak." a healer knelt down beside him, getting some medicated bandages, splints and magic potions. "You're supposed to be fainted dead away, given these injuries. Best to conserve your energy."

"Gghhh..."

"... you should spit that gunk out, though."

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
He took an obscure route into the town. In his absence, the party managed to return, and so, peering into the window, Eiryk leapt through the treehouse window and clawed the man from behind. It turned out to be easier than expected, but he realized that he hadn't done so as quietly as requested on the contract.

He looked around the scholar's room and found not a thing, and so, with no other option, Eiryk ate the meridian scholar. However, he wondered exactly why this man was to be killed. Nonetheless, he did leave a beaker of flower essence open as to rid of the cooked fish scent.

Upon his exit and "entry" into the town, he met with the leader of the Elvyn people, Ortza.

"So it is true... Then, we shall be fine it seems." Ortza sighed with relief, "I suppose I should give you this, then..."

Eiryk took hold of the Crown of Demeter with a smile, "Thank you. With this, I will be able to save Lady Demeter... And perhaps, I will put an end to the strife over the artifacts."

"I know that I can trust it in your hands, friend Eiryk."

Eiryk gave a light bow and made his way out of town, catching a boat to Selk...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When the boat docked, Eiryk immediately reported to Scorpio. The room they met in was dark, lit by a few candles.

"I heard that one of the scholars has gone missing... So you were successful."

"It was easier than expected." Eiryk responded, "So, does this mean I am eligible for the Shadow Virus?"

"Not quite yet... I want you to venture with Izraf. You were with him in Vex Vinas, yes?"

"Well, yes." Eiryk responded, jaded by the fact that he would still be ineligible to receive the Shadow Virus.

"Take him with you to the desert. Assassinate him." Scorpio directed, "We have plots of his treachery against Queen Philena. He's a conservative among the Mer people, seeking to return things to the old way."

"What? But he was rather protective of her." Eiryk questioned, but Scorpio shook his head, and showed some papers.

"Read these."

Eiryk read through each document, each more incriminating than the last, and he began to shake with rage and anger. Was it all a ruse? Was he being played by the guard? He could barely believe it.

"I should inform her majesty then-"

"No, we do it this way. The less she knows of his treachery, the better. Simply slay him out in the desert, say he was killed by the undead. You are venturing there anyways, yes?"

"... Yes."

"Oh, and before I forget." Scorpio tossed Eiryk a pouch of shining Legens, but these were designed differently than the coins he was used to, "Legeniums they're being called now, your old Legens will still work, but the new coinage is supposed to phase out the old, supposedly over the next hundred years."

"I see... Well then, I'll get right to it..." Eiryk said with a nod, walking out slowly. Should Izraf be the traitor he has been painted to be, Eiryk would show no mercy.

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
Mikkael stared down the window as the small force broke at the walls, co-ordinating like a well-trained army as they distributed their defenses as they entered the town. The ranged fighters and ninjas headed for the reinforced walls to stave off a group of large, ambling giants made of blackened... jelly? The smaller force rushed through the gate as it closed, carrying someone on a stretcher.

He sat back down and groaned silently. He knew what those things were, and yet the words eluded him. His eyes were focused on the skirmish when he noticed the citizens gather around the man being carried into the Pagoda proper.

"Thank the gods. He's safe." Kazeko sighed as she sat up from the chair and ran towards the door. "Come on, nyo! Maybe you might remember something if you go talk to your friend again."

Mikkael nodded quietly and let her slide down the ladder, before quietly following her down. Demons were evil, weren't they? And yet, whatever had emerged from Cyndar and carved away the horde of undead and the lesser demons... if it wasn't for the raking tentacles and ravenous mouths of the behemoth, he along with Karliah would have been dead for sure.

He shook his head as his foot found the lowest rung and stepped into the armored barricade's exit. Between his amnesia, the insistence of his companions and his own witnessing of the monstrosity that challenged the heavens itself... his stomach heaved at the sight, but nothing came up. Up ahead the main avenue was the pagoda where... something important happened. Mikkael still had no memory of this, but whatever it was, the townspeople were quite grateful for him. Even the samurai had bowed respectfully to him whenever possible.

Passing by the five guards who nodded and pulled back their naginatas, Mikkael entered the pagoda proper. Here, he saw the man on the stretcher and winced in sympathetic pain. Several of his bones were crushed, muscles torn and blood stained the little, rotted vestments he wore. Despite the fact he shouldn't be awake at all, the man still sat up and managed some conversation with those attending to him with the finest healing magic and healthcare the nation of Vel da Ir could afford. Eventually, the open fractures were pushed back together and his filthy clothes replaced with a simple white shirt and trousers.

That's when Hiroko emerged from the upper level, flanked by Karliah and followed by some more familiar faces - a rogue? A ninja? A retainer? He couldn't quite tell.

-

Despite his own, nearly blinding pain, Yemhelch managed to grin - the action showing off some chipped teeth.

"Oissu, Hiroko." he said in an almost conversational tone - but the strain in his voice was clearly visible to everyone in earshot. "I'd usually say thanks for the save, but I could have gotten out by myself. But not this time. I'd be a goner if it weren't for you. So, yeah.... heh heh, thanks for getting me outta death row."

There was an awkward silence as he committed several faus pauxes with so few words.

"Gods above, you're as cheeky as that day you walked in here all that time ago." Hiroko shook her head, blanching slightly at the bloodied bandages and bone fragments that lay about. "You do remember that, right?"

"Hah. How could I forget?"

"Good, I was just making sure." Hiroko nodded. "You should get some rest, though. I have no idea how you're conscious when you should be unresponsive due to the fact the healers just finished setting your torn-up tendons."

"Guts." Yemhelch replied, grinning again. "Like that one time I decided to be a defense lawyer despite the fact I had no formal training in forensics or law."

That broke the ice.

"Never change, you crazy old man." Hiroko smiled for the first time. "I'll come visit you at the hospital later. Rest for now."

"Yeah, I'll do that. Thank you again for putting up with me, especially after.... pulling a Mikkael."

"Pulling a Mikkael?"

"Oh, y'know... goin' at it solo, all gung-ho and stuff... getting myself in real trouble, that sorta thing... aha... haha... good times..."

With that, he drifted off into a quiet sleep.

"Is he..." Hiroko asked one of the healers.

"Rude? Yes." she sighed. "Dead? No... just let him sleep."

-

Mikkael watched from the balcony as the healers placed Yemhelch back on the stretcher and entered the Pagoda proper past the courtyard and into the field hospital that had been built in place of the old armory. After a while, he shook his head.

"He seems like someone I really should know." he said. "But I don't..."

Kazeko and Mikkael walked away from the balcony and Kazeko tried another angle of questioning. "Hmmm, in that case, tell me what you know about ...Avalon."

"Avalon! I know what that is!"

This had her full attention. "You do remyember?!"

Silence as Mikkael scratched his head.

"Well?" Kazeko prodded him.

Mikkael lowered his head and sighed. "... why did I say that?"

"So... nyo luck?"

"But I said it. Even though I didn't know..."

"So I guess not all is lost, right?" Kazeko grinned back. "Maybe if you went there yourself..."

"It could work, I guess..." Mikkael sighed. "Just one problem..."

"Nyo?"

"Exactly WHAT is Avalon?"

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
The sand whirling this way and that dissipated as Eiryk lifted the crown. Fuujin spoke to them over the rustling of the wind.

"Keep heading to the North West! There is where the curse on Demeter festers!"

With his disappearance, Eiryk gave a quick thanks to the god as Izraf began to trek through the sands.

The undead's mind raced with questions. Should he do this? He had onlt just met the Meridian, and he was a skilled warrior, likely able to go toe to toe with him. But even more concerning, why target Queen Philena? Even as a traditionalist, to murder the queen would be a grave act in their culture, one to be met with execution, torture even.

Yet the letters and evidence were clear, this man wanted his queen dead. He kept some poison at the ready as the continued their trek through the desert.

"So, you fancy the queen, huh?"

Izraf broke the silence, as if somehow Eiryk's thoughts barely caught his attention.

"... What of it?" Eiryk asked.

"She is quite wonderful isn't she? Like a pearl straight from the ocean itself, as if blessed by the waters she was born into... I suppose that means we're both down on our luck."

What do you mean?"

"She's pledged herself to chastity since Mikkael died."

"Oh..."

Eiryk felt his heart sink, but what caught his attention more was how Izraf worded the phrase. "... we're both down on our luck." As if he himself had feelings for the queen? Or was this another ruse?

The trek continued silently, when they stumbled upon a campsite, manned by a titan.

"Hail travellers." The white-haired man waved, "You're the first people I've seen in a few years."

"Truly?" Eiryk questioned.

"Yes, I am Cassius. I was abandoned here about... five years ago when my hunting party died in the sandstorm. Haven't seen civilization in many years."

After a moment of silence, Eiryk said, "Well, you'll be glad to know society is fucked."

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