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At Nemesis Gate


Margrave
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In a seemingly empty Temple Of Nemesis:

Luis cast about, unsure and full of fire, old anger, and the cold hunger of one long denied. He had used his influence to clear the temple this night, in order that he might "Contemplate the fate of the vindicated". The Priestesses had taken it as a point of great pride and honor, and thus he had been left alone in the shadows, to seek what answers he might.

He wandered aimlessly, an inner diatribe slowly building, a fury held in check by graciousness that had been frayed and torn, by years, wars, and dissapointments. Finding himself at the Altar of Vengeance, he stared up at the Harpy Herself, the Goddess Nemesis, raven-winged and strong, her nakedness exposed, her cold eyes lit by strange, reflective lights. This, then, was what he had been reduced to; and so this then would be his breaking point.

"Lady of Vengeance, Goddess of Vindication, Queen of Battles", he spoke with an angry grin, "And whatever Gods may be, hear me! I have lobbied to the Powers, and remain unanswered! I have poured forth my life's work and yet I go unsatisfied! Vengeance, Vindication, Virtue! Goddess of the raven-wings, Vindicate me now! For I have spent my heart seeking love; I have survived shipwrecks and slain many men, I have sold myself to strengthen others, I have burnt myself that my true love might have a fire! And all to naught! I demand Justice, for am I not a Prince of the Land? Have I not sacrificed my own heart on the Altar of Absolute Goodness over and over and over? And yet your sister the Foam-Born mocks me! Suspends women of worth on an invisible chain and then drags them right back, leaving me more broken than before I had love! Vindicate me, Nemesis! Deliver unto me my wife, whoever, wherever she may be! If you deliver unto me my WIFE, one and eternal, I shall grant the patronage of my people toyou, their hearts and dedication to you!"

Luis shook with the amount of emotion that had come out. "Never mind that one sits in the Palac Absolute who I would take hands with, and her matchless beauty and power are the only equal to myself my eyes can see. Ignore that I have made my heart known and been left cold. No, DO YOUR WILL, NEMESIS! Give me your daughter, or else carve my queen from light and fire, for I will not settle with dairymaids and flower girls! Find me my match, Bloodseeker, or else ever shall my brood be in woe!"

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Suddenly the stone statue that stared down at him with jeweled eyes lit up among the torches lit in the temple, the torches which burned a red and orange flame turned to a blood red fire that illuminated the halls of the holy site. It felt like the world was coming apart as a horrible wind came through the halls, howling in anger at the man who had dared to come and present himself to the goddess. In the quake the ran through the temple, one of the torch stands fell to floor catching the mosaic tile on fire as a wall of flame jumped up to the sky and behind it, the screams of a demon coming closer and closer towards where Luis stood. As he would turn, there, there in front of him descended a woman figure, she was just as the statue depicted her, strong, black raven wings sprouting out from her back, her body glistening in the flame and her red eyes stared down the man that had come to call on her.

"You dare disturb my sanctum?" The goddess asked as she began walking towards the soldier. "You who I have blessed with the ability to destroy the world, to destroy those people who oppress the weak, to create an equality and you complain when I claim my daughters and sons? I should strike you down for your insolence." Nemesis continued walking towards him, a horrible smile on her face. She was the goddess of retribution, a lady of death, she laughed when stupid leaders sent their soldiers to death, and she rewarded those soldiers at death by bringing them peace. But more than anything, she enjoyed to see a world that was so unequal be brought to burn and she would continue to see it burn.

"So let me see if I understand this?" The goddess said as she created a throne of flame out of the floor of the temple. "You are a man without love, a warrior who all he wants is the chance to have desire and yet you accuse me that I yank this woman away from you?" With a snap of her fingers a figure of Sarah arose from the flames, the way she had been in Finland. "You want my daughter?" She chuckled. "Do you understand what she has become? What I have turned her into?" Nemesis smiled again as the figure began to contort in pain on the ground, flames began to enter into the figure's body, her arms beginning to grow with muscle, her eyes became as red as Hell itself, her teeth fangs and her fingers like claws as the figure screeched to the sky. "She is my agent dear Luis, she is going to help me burn this world, to burn these fools in their homes. She will defend the weak by destroying the powerful." With another snap, the figure disappeared. "You want her correct? You want to be able to call her your own? Is that right? Or are you beyond her? Are you beyond my other child as well? But if you don't want your dreams of peace and kindness, I will be sure to extend the gesture."

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Luis laughed loudly, brazenly. "Surely the Lady does not expect me to cower in mortal terror? For what is fear, or death, or even eternal suffering to me? When my blood sings with the authority of my position, and when my blade is stained with the blood of many? I know you, Harpy Queen. You love raw courage and hate cowardice, you love those who offer their lifesblood to protect what is innocent. My sacrifices have been my own blood and honor, in order to be the Shield of the weak and the Guardian of the Shining Light. But what of it? Have I not backed your daughter the Potentate in all ways? Does this not reveal what dream I am dedicated to?"

Luis shook his head, lamenting choosing to come here. He felt there was no opportunity; that this Power was yet another braggart without strength. "My people are Godwrought, and their blood is the strength of any faith they commit to. In past times your sister Scathach, the Red Fear Herself, was our patron. Now I offer them to you. But my payment must be a wife, a true wife, a wife who is my equal and my strength as surely as I will be hers. You mock me with the image of Sarah Tintagyl, you call me unworthy of Hannah, but I say your will be it. Grant me my wife, Nemesis, and you shall have a hunter like no other, a sworn sword. As soon as you have shown me and given me my true love, You shall from my lips receive Our Oath. WHAT SAY YOU?"

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Nemesis smiled as she pushed herself up from her throne and walked over to where Luis stood. "If you dare mock me again." She reached out and grabbed his neck in her claws and lifted him into the air. "I will send you to Hell in a raging inferno that you cannot begin to fathom. You want a wife? You want someone to hold? You want her to be of equal strength to you? You want her to be dedicated to you and you dedicated to her?" The goddess chuckled. "What do you want me to do? Create her? Find her for you? Tell you where to look? I do not attempt to understand your emotions of love and you are talking in riddles. You ask for a wife birthed out of the flame correct I can give that to you. Yes, I can give you a demon from the flame. Is that what you want? A warrior? An equal to you? Is that what you want Luis of the Light?"

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Nemesis smiled as she pushed herself up from her throne and walked over to where Luis stood. "If you dare mock me again." She reached out and grabbed his neck in her claws and lifted him into the air. "I will send you to Hell in a raging inferno that you cannot begin to fathom. You want a wife? You want someone to hold? You want her to be of equal strength to you? You want her to be dedicated to you and you dedicated to her?" The goddess chuckled. "What do you want me to do? Create her? Find her for you? Tell you where to look? I do not attempt to understand your emotions of love and you are talking in riddles. You ask for a wife birthed out of the flame correct I can give that to you. Yes, I can give you a demon from the flame. Is that what you want? A warrior? An equal to you? Is that what you want Luis of the Light?"

Smiled as his flesh smoked, light burns appearing where her claws held him. "I have seen what waits for me on the other side of the Light, Nemesis. I have no fear.

He was having abit of trouble breathing, and his sight was dimmed by the fury of her countenance. "I stake my impossible claim, Lady Vengeance. I shall wed one equal in your estimation with yourself, and dedicate each and every bullet and sword-thrust to your glory.l Give me this bride, and you shall be welcome in the even-time in every Marchar house, given due honor and strength from our dedication. The Marchar are lovers of their gods, Nemesis, and each time we take one we honor them with sacrifices. In this, we shall make a sacrifice of every enemy we slay, every murderer and lawless man we remove from the face of this blighted earth. Our passion for you shall be the fire that cleanses, hot and unslakeable, until the world itself shines like polished steel, strong, bright, without stain or imperfection."

Luis drew the knife from his side, glad of what little oxygen he had left. He drew it raggedly across his palm, blood spurting, as he extended it out to her.

"My life's blood be yours, Nemesis! By the authority of the Godwrought people, the Wandering Nation is yours, to your honor and glory! Let every man see your eyes shine from ours, let our hands be yours, let every weapon we raise be to your perfect honor! SO MOTE IT BE!"

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"Very well." She said and kissed him passionately on the lips, fire spewing forth from her mouth and into his body. "You shall find her. She blessed by me." At that, the temple began to vanish from sight as Luis would find himself overcome with the fire that she had surrounding him until he had passed out of consciousness. When he would awake, he would find himself in the middle of a dark woods somewhere in southern Hansa, near Brisbane, but tens of miles out from the city. In the distance was another temple, a single torch burning from what he could see in the distance, and a quiet singing going on from there. An eerie song that danced off the rocks and the trees to his ears.

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Luis, confused and filled with the strange heat of his (for she had already taken the place of the Patron of the People, even now) Goddesses kiss, he made his way through the wood, dagger drawn, one sleeve shortened to staunch the bleeding in his hand.

As he approached the temple, he prayed quietly to Her. "Lady Of Vindication...let me find satisfaction by your blessed one." He crept inside, searching for the location of that strange, haunting noise...

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Approaching the temple the sound of singing would continue to increase and when he would finally reach the gate of the circular holy place he would be able to see a figure inside, wearing a black cloak, covering her body. As his footsteps echoed on the marble floor of the temple, the figure stopped singing for a moment and turned to face him. He could see shining eyes through the cloak and the shadows of a thin, slender face as well. "I have been waiting for you Luis, I have been waiting for a long time for someone to come and reclaim the glory of the Marchar People. Too long have we waited in silence, mislead by these women calling themselves Valkyries and Amazons, but I know that we are better than that and if we must serve them, we should serve them in our own way, in the Marchar way." She took of the hood and smiled, her long black hair reaching down her back. "You've grown soft." It was the Margravine Liselle.

"Nemesis has guided you here has she not?" She threw off the cloak, wearing the uniform of a Lillian Commander. In her right hand a saber, and in her left a syringe and inside, Raging Nostrum. "If she has, then it is destiny, but I want to know that you have not forgotten the Marchar way and if that is the case. I'm sure you will have no trouble fighting me and fully deserving our future. I should tell you." She chuckled. "I for one have not grown soft at all." Liselle held her saber up. "Are you still a true Marchar, Luis de Luit?"

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What?

This was the path he'd followed, demanding what he fully considered his due. And now this spectre, this ghost appears from the void, this dead soul appeared from the outer black? What joke was this?

"I AM the Marchar, Keeper of the People. Without me, there is no way."

He drew his sword, its silver pommel shining in the moonlight, its keen edge sparkling. In anger, he gestured with the tip, settling into the familiar pattern of Cat Crossing the Courtyard; an arrogant posture, open to striking by one quick enough, the stance one took when shown an unworthy foe.

"I am the Keeper of the Shining Light. Who has stood in the shadows creating regimes that bestrode the world? Who else led the broken people of Camberlain to become the proud warriors we are today? I have stood and broken myself and all my desires so that my people might enjoy their current prosperity. You are a traitor, the girl that slew her father. Shall I take such words from you? Shall my pride be denied yet again, after all of my sorrow?"

He slashed the air in front of him impatiently, strength crackling in the cords of his arms, forgotten battle rage suddenly pushing in from the past.

"I will not be denied! I have been the sacrifice that goes consenting, the man that bleeds for the land and its good. No More! Prepare yourself, for the Son of the Morning comes upon you!"

He rushed forward, his blade striking out like a coiled snake, the passions so long held in check finally burning forward as their swords met. With each strike, he called forth his strange new god:

"Nemesis!"

"Nemesis!"

"NEMESIS!"

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As he ran towards the Margravine, Liselle backed up and connected with his own blade with almost equal strength, she laughed as he called out at random at the sky for some god that didn't exist. Finally with a great push, she disconnected their swords and pushed him out into the center of the temple. "Honestly Luis, who do you think you are? I don't give a damn how good you are at spewing a monologue to me about how you're going to be beat me. About how evil I am or how great you are, also your god better be strong if you're going to take me down. I find science much stronger than religion at the moment." With that, Liselle took the syringe and plunged it into her neck, injected the Raging Nostrum into her bloodstream.

Liselle's body when numb for a moment as she slumped forward, holding her head in pain. She screamed, frothing at the mouth as the adrenaline pumped through her body. Sweat poured out from her neck and her arms and her eyes narrowed as she finally got back up to her feet. "Heh, heh." The Margravine chuckled, she tried to speak, but the rush was too great, the power too much, her strength too pounding. All she could do at this point was charge ahead towards where Luis stood in the middle of the temple, slashing at him in every which way. Crazed chaos in her eyes.

"Try your monologue now Luis, where is your fairy princess to protect you now?"

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He struck forward with anger, passion guiding his hand. He was furious: This girl, this traitor to the people, speaking to him this way? He let his anger and arrogance guide him, sweat pouring out of him as he struck back, his fury allowing him to match her stroke for stroke...for the moment.

"I am the Shining Light! I won't let you take what belongs to me!"

He threw himself forward, locking blades with her, then slipping around her, striking at her back...only to meet her sword there. Past caring about consequences, he flew into a series of strokes, a flurry of well aimed cuts and slashes meant to disarm and defeat her.

"I hunger and thirst for Vindication! Shall I always be denied?"

"MY PRINCESS IS GONE, TRAITOR! All that remains is my blood and my sword! See if you can take them!"

with that, he pushed her back, only to charge forward, heedless of anything except the angry dance of blades.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The flash of blades sounded throughout the temple as Liselle charged against Luis, every swing bashing against his own blade. He had fury, yes, he had a lot of fury, but anger and discipline do not always go hand in hand with each other and with Liselle's veins filled with Hannah's stolen creation, she only laughed knowing that if she could keep going for just a few minutes it would all be worth it. How long was the average sword fight anyways, a minute? Two at the most? Raging Nostrum stayed in ones veins for ten.

"I am the Shining Light! I won't let you take what belongs to me!"

"Shining light? Pah!" She laughed. "You never did anything a value, succumbing to the demands of a fallen queen is not honorable. Its just weak!" The metal bounced again.

"I hunger and thirst for Vindication! Shall I always be denied?"

"And a poet too?" She laughed. "You expect everything to be handed to you. You expect that the world's axis is pointed to you. If you want something you have to take it. That's how the world works dear. Until you learn that, yes, you will always be thirsty, you will always be denied."

"MY PRINCESS IS GONE, TRAITOR! All that remains is my blood and my sword! See if you can take them!"

"Oh hush." She said over the clash of metal. "I will take them just fine." And she charged again, thrusting this and that coming dangerously close to running him through. She would get there, eventually, after all, she had ten whole minutes to fight and then after that, she still had a bit more to finish the job.

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Luis wasn't tired...yet. For him, the world seemed to shine; the faceless despairs and nameless enemies given a form. She would not defeat him...but he would have to be exceedingly careful if he was to win. Slowly, surely, he worked his blade into a tighter and tighter defense, allowing her to do the work of pushing him around the room as he swatted her blade slightly with each pass. She was getting closer and closer, and so he was going to have to get abit...dirty. He decided to try his monolouge again, making his voice sound winded:

"You were...supposed to be the next leader of our people. Instead you destroyed the last true Marchar nation, killed your father, and brought our people to death and dishonor. Words that mean nothing to you."

Her lunge brought her within arms reach...and cut a line of fire down across his side. Rather than blocking it, he'd raised his blade above it..an brought the pommel against the side of her head sharply. Not content with the process, he headbutted her so hard he saw stars blur his vision, and as he staggered, slipped...and fell against her, bringing both of them to the floor. Shooting out his arm, he caught himself, his blade behind her neck, ready to finish it..and just as quickly felt her snake an arm around his side, her other holding the blade against the back of his neck.

There was a short silence, Luis allowing himself to breathe, staring into those eyes for any sign of her next move...and then shook his head and signed, consigning the battle rage to the backburner, and rather suprisingly gave a very slight smile.

"Well...it seems we're going to be here for a moment. Anything you care to say?"

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