Friday, June 12, 2015

Day Eight-Seventy-Two: Fall

Now. Do it now.

The tower creaked.

The Baron and his team arrived at the base of the tower with surprisingly few injuries. The Baron twisted his leg along the way, and Traveller lost part of his exposed eyebrow when another wing of dragons took offence to their approach, but everyone else made it there just fine. The Imperium forces they encountered along the way could not say the same.

The tower swayed.

Though powerful, Antonio clearly knew that he was not in the same league as the rest. He was, after all, just an orc. He stood defiantly nearby, fists up, fending off scads of Imperium soldiers as they waded in to stop the lunatics accosting the rear of the tower. When the competition got too ugly for one orc to handle, even an orc as skillful as Antonio, The Baron would use his powers to possess a member of the opposition and force them to switch sides. 

“Zat iz a handy zkill,” Antonio commented, his tone light despite the blood running down his temples and along both arms. “You are a ztronger man zen I zought.”

“Don’t… mention it,” The Baron murmured, hands outstretched, fingers wiggling. He was busy controlling a tank full of soldiers at the moment, and the strain of doing so…

Antonio shrugged. Bellowing a joyful laugh, he sidestepped a spear thrust and unleashed a rapid series of punches into the face of an oncoming soldier. The woman went down like a sack of ragroots.

The tower creaked. Bits of its flawless, shining exterior flaked away on all sides.

Cedric grunted, sweat pouring down his face. Titan Blue, beside him, her hide littered with projectiles, hissed quietly to herself. Traveller, the next in line, paused to dig a wad of snot out of his nose, considered it, and flicked it away. Pushing seemed almost like an afterthought, even though his face was bright red. Even Eve seemed a little put out, her upper lip raised in a slight sneer.

The stone beneath their hands began to crumble. It also rebuilt itself, snaking new bricks into place where the old ones were falling away. The four warriors soon stood ankle-deep in shed masonry, each shard of ivory pulsating with a ghostly light that gradually faded to a dull, slate grey. 

The tower groaned. 

The Imperium was not blind to this mad plan. General Landry, commanding his forces at the forefront of the Non assault, had noticed the pronounced lean in the tower moments after it had manifested.  He sent whatever forces he could spare to stop whomever was trying to push it down - but the Non were coming at the Imperium with such furious zeal from the front that he was somewhat lacking in resources.

Standing in his mobile command centre, listening to the reports of the guns rumble around him, Landry stared up at the image of the execution above, protruding out of the stonework of the tower. Arabella had fallen away, leaving their hooded lord to ramble insanely as he loomed over his three captives: a man, an oil-slicked duck of some kind, and a rat.

THEY HAVE SLIGHTED ME FOREVER AND FUCKIN’… FUCKIN’… ALWAYS,” his lord boomed, though the tone and words were those of a petulant child. “ALWAYS! I… WE… YOU… REVENGE! WE DO THIS FOR GLORY!

“If we get out of this,” Landry mumbled to himself, fully aware that he could now critique without fear of punishment, “I’m gonna have to look into some kind of rebellion. I think.”

The tower tilted.

Philip held his axe high. He swung it over the heads of his prisoners, from one side to the other, giddy at the way all three of them seemed to flinch at the rush of wind rustling their hair. He held it over Dragomir’s head for a moment, wishing he could use the axe to sever the man’s outstretched arms and watch the suffering it caused, but the power of the Catastrophe flowing through them needed to be properly channelled.

Dragomir was the only one not to respond. His eyes had rolled up into the back of his skull. He was seeing things only he could see, knowing things only he could know. His powers were busy dying, burned out by the chaos of the glitch that rampaged in his soul. 

Watching his former associate twitch, Philip decided to rant some more. He had plenty else to say. He needed to say these things now, because he would never get another chance. Everyone here would soon be annihilated, after all, and Philip didn’t want them to go without learning just how thoroughly they’d fucked him over. His phantasmal elephant’s trunk raised, he began to whine out another complaint -

- but was cut short when something body-checked him, hard, from behind.

SON OF A BITCH,” Philip cried, and he fell into empty space.

Philip owned the tower. It was his plaything, even if he’d lost much of his connection to Grayson. He knew he still owned it, because he still possessed a body. So as he pitched over the edge of the executioner’s balcony and fell down the side of the tower, arms flailing, he wondered just how in the hell someone had sneaked up on him and done this thing. It should never have been possible.

His body never hit the ground, of course. It was just an avatar, and disappeared less than halfway down the tower’s immense height. But the distraction was more than enough for Driscol.

Flexing his arms - they were made of controlled blue flame - the former noble broke the bonds holding Plato in place. He did the same for the tiny rat at Plato’s side, grabbing the creature as it slid towards the balcony. The tower’s lean was becoming more and more pronounced with each second, and Driscol braced himself by extending one of his arms to an unnatural length and grasping the door frame. The door slammed on his fingers several times, but since they were magical fingers, he didn’t seem to mind.

“I… don’t think I… know… you…” Plato panted. He was clutched beneath one of Driscol’s arms.

“Don’t worry about that,” Driscol replied. Dropping the rat into Plato’s hands with an awkward stretch, Driscol hurled the pair through the door. A surprised squeal inside hinted at an abrupt meeting with Arabella, who, Driscol imagined, was crumpled against a wall in the corridor.

That left one person.

Despite the ever-increasing lean in the tower, Driscol paused a moment to stare at Dragomir. His one-time nemesis was caught in an ever-expanding wave of his own destructive power. The coruscating, pixelated strands of green and red flowing up and down his arms were spreading, encompassing the whole of his body and flowing into the tower’s facade. Dragomir continued to twitch convulsively, but whatever process had been triggered by Grayson and Philip was now too far along to end easily.

If Driscol touched Dragomir, he would be engulfed. The tendrils of Catastrophe would grasp him and rip him apart.

“Sorry,” Driscol grunted, pulling himself into the doorway. “But mother dearest says you stay here.”

The tower buckled, doomed by its own self-repairing nature. As a single piece it pitched forward, propelled by the strongest muscles on the planet, and gravity did the rest. Non and normal troops alike screamed and scattered as the tower fell, its severed connection with the ground finally allowing the grand structure to come apart at the seams.

The Catastrophe exploded. And when it did, both Grayson’s and July’s plans came to fruition.

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