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Oblivion Calls
(2013-05-19 - 2013-05-19)
Two are drawn to Mirage Tower, where the Iron Nightmare makes an offer...

It is said that those who supplicate the Darkness inevitably find its blessings. That blessing comes in strange and profane forms, numinously perverse and luminously black. Sometimes it is offered directly, a kiss of dark power surging through the supplicant, offering what they need at the cost of what they most cherish. Others, it is offered through an intermediary, a servant on behalf of the shadows that loom across time and space, threatening to devour all that is. But sometimes...

Sometimes, it is a call; a murmured whispering on the edge of sanity, an omnipresent mumbling in the dreams of those who would seek out the tenebrous power of nightmare and destruction for their own ends. Some turn away here, afraid for their miserable mortal lives; those who do not, however, find that mumbling leading to a place. It is not always the same place, but it is always similar - a place of infinite darkness, tainted forever by the poisonous presence of evil. There, the supplicant is often offered a final choice - turn away, or take the step into oblivion itself.

Atop Mirage Tower, the King of Shadows sits in his iron throne. He fears nothing; even time has been broken under his ironclad heel, even age destroyed in the face of his dark and terrible might. He seeks nothing but the darkness; he desires nothing but its truest and greatest power.

But first, he must play the game. And to play the game...he needs more pieces. Angantyr Vespar has already betrayed him. Kuja's betrayal, long in coming, is likely moving to fruition. Zidane, stolen by Kuja, is lost to him. Mikoto, mindless, is not yet ready.

More pieces must be acquired. Garland will not lose. Not at this stage.
Souji Murasame Good things come to those who wait.

The definition of good, in this case, is up for debate. Souji Murasame's dreams, such as they were, are troubled. Something calls to him. He could ignore it...

Or he could seek it out. Thus it is that he comes to Rabanastre, without his airship, and travels across the desert on foot. His mastery of air protects him from the environment. The Murasame Blade protects him from the rest. So it is that he travels across the endless desert, seeking the Dark Tower.

And there it stands, a distant mirage to the people who wish to never have it loom over them, impossibly large and terrible in its countenance.

The yawning darkness opens wide for him. He does not hesitate. He walks along the ancient halls, letting his intuition guide him through the labyrinthine corridors. Over time, his path takes him higher. Should He Who Calls test him, he will find the Murasame heir ready to cleave through or obliterate anything in his path. In his own way, is becoming inexorable.

Finally, he reaches the pinnacle, the majesty of the Iron Throne beckoning. Souji Murasame steps forward, standing before Garland. There is no peacebond on his blade. Peace has no place here, this is a home of battle. of Chaos.

Souji bows deeply to the man before him. "Garland." Souji says. "I am answering your call."
Pumpkinhead Feige Abramson has found out about Garland through mysterious means. And that includes of the tower. Feige Abramson has certainl seen the effects of his assault on Traverse Town--or rather, the effects of ANgantyr's asault on Traverse Town for Garland's will. Somehow the fact that Ang did all that just to try and trick Garland only impresses her further.

Feige Abramson has been listening to the whispers at the edge of sanity for so long that the whispers have become louder than the other noises.

She is wearing a labcoat, goggles, suit, blouse, dress shoes. The labcoat has magic runes lining the interior, revealed every so often.

Feige is not prideful. She will do anything for her goals.

She walks into Mirage Tower. Her intent: To volunteer to be a piece. For an opportunity. An opportunity to learn.

An opportunity to learn Evil Science.

She just flat out goes through the front entrance, smiling madly.
Garland It is indeed a home of battle. As Feige Abramson and Souji Murasame arrive on the top floor of the tower, they would find the air much more oppressive than before, as though the physical air they breathed were a great boot stamping down upon their throats to crush them into submission. It is not a place for the weak-willed; the shadows chitter with hungry eyes, the machines whirr with dark purpose, and the throne itself is less a throne and more a control panel for the entire tower - a control panel unlike anything either would ever have seen, simultaneously ancient and endlessly advanced. But then, that was Garland in a nutshell, wasn't it? Ancient beyond years, but so far ahead of everything.

The Ironclad Nightmare upon the throne does not stand. His sweeping gaze falls over them both, the red pinpricks inside his helmet the only sense of eyes he possesses. Garland had not called them, specifically - he had not sent out a summons to these two, not selected them out of all the many thousands who lay in the world listening to their maddened dreams - and yet they had come.

He had not been a superstitious man. As a god, he found it hard not to be.

"Kneel," Garland commands, the room echoing with his voice. Behind the throne, a glimpse of something great and blue moving as if to kneel; the shadows bow their heads, the machines crouch to their wheels.

"The darkness in your hearts is powerful." Garland intones as he looks over both of them. "Like calls to like; you would not have risen to the top of Mirage Tower without the power of shadows lodged deep in your soul."

"I have need of those with darkness in their hearts. I have need of those with blackness in their souls, with the taint of shadows rolling in teir thoughts. If you seek power - true power, not the mewling, snivelling power of friendship or love or kindness, nor the pitiful puddles of might from which you have been drawing - then speak now."

"Speak of your deepest wish to Garland, that I might grant your dark desire."
Souji Murasame Souji was not expecting to see this man... If you can call them a man... So soon. Souji remembers his challenge to Garland that night in Traverse Town, cutting Avira's battle short in his derision for her weakness. The response from the Dark Knight who sought revenge, who called this man his master.

And now he is commanded to kneel before Garland. So be it. Souji is a prideful man, but he is not so prideful that he has no conception of what he is dealing with here. A single look, the atmosphere in the air, the concentrated presence and dominion that Garland possesses tells him that this is the man who has progressed farther than him. To not acknowledge that mastery would be an insult.

And he knows that an insult at this stage would be quite lethal. Souji bends, kneeling smoothly with his head bowed and blade in his left hand.

He is asked his deepest wish. Once more, he is given a choice. What is his deepest desire? What is most important to him? Two choices are left before him. One which sees him remaining here, and one which sees him leaving, perhaps destroying himself in the process.

He remains. "I was born from power, to achieve power. I have always been dedicated to fulfilling my destiny. My desire to become that which must be, the incarnation of destruction which cannot be denied. I will become Chaos, he whose reign never ends, for all things return to it in time."
Pumpkinhead The atmosphere is positively chilling. The shadows are /hungry/. Feige is happy to be here. She kneels--it's a practiced, well performed kneel. She has likely kneeled before others before. With Chambers, she didn't have to kneel, before Dr. Chambers, but chances are many of the people she kneeled before ended up in similar circumstances as him once they could no longer provide Feige what she hungered for. This may not be something Garland has to worry about but Feige doesn't answer first. She looks towards Souji, a man she doesn't really know--but has heard of--through her methods.

She laughs a bit, not in mockery, but as if emulating humility.

"My goal isn't so grand as that. To become Chaos! That's quite impressive." She looks up and towards Garland, resting a hand over her own breast.

"All I to learn. Learn everthing. Learn until I am destroyed. I want to know everything." Her smile widens. "Of course. Those people who have defied you... have given me some trouble as well." She's still pissed about some elements of that too. GRump. More importantly, she doesn't want their interference in future plans.
Garland Souji's pronouncement is bold. To sit before the Soul of Chaos and proclaim that it would be you, not he, who took the reins of immortality...this one would be trouble. He would be trouble the same way Kuja was trouble - he would bow and smile and listen until he had felt he had learned all he needed, and then Garland would find the knife flashing for his back. He would likely have to kill this boy, at some point in the future - kill and eat him, as darkness always did its own. the process...he could be used.

The other one is less bold, but that's alright. The wheels of Garland's mind are already turning as the woman speaks; he knows what use he has for them both, his ancient thoughts falling together as easily as breathing comes to the mortal kind. Garland stands, his cape flowing off him as he walks down the dais towards the two supplicants. "Rise."

"Souji Murasame. Feige Abramson." Garland's hands crackle with physical darkness as he reaches out for them - the Heretic's Brand was the first thing he did for all his servants, all his playing pieces; a dark baptism into his service, as his soldier. "And be thankful. Garland has decided to grant to you your wish."

"Feige Abramson. You will work with Souji Murasame; in exchange, I shall grant to you knowledge beyond your wildest dreams, secrets of civilizations long-since snuffed from this or any world."

"Souji Murasame. As fate would have it, I am in need of a new apprentice. Be warned - Garland is not a soft taskmaster. You will be tested, beaten, and tested again, passed through innumerable fires until you emerge, a blade pointed squarely at the throats of my enemies. Through Abramson I will grant you technology and magic; through my blade I will grant you skill and knowledge. Through the shadows, you shall obtain pwoer."

"Place your heads in my gauntlets, and let the shadows burn my name into your souls."

"Or...leave. Walk from this place; Garland's mercy is enough that I shall grant you leave without punishment."
Souji Murasame Souji is more versed in this kind of deal than some might think. The Chaos Cult of the Murasame Family is harsh and brutal, though perhaps it was a testament to his spirit and his purity that he remained good and bright until that fateful day.

Since then, he has been an excellent pupil indeed.

Souji rises, and he listens intently to Garland's offer. Even as Garland considers having to kill Souji, Souji similarly is already considering how best to deal with the inevitabile point wherein he is no longer gaining from their association and it must be terminated. Violently. Until then, they will use each other as they will. It is a pragmatic and dark deal, simple and suited to ones of their demeanors. There are no unrealistic expectations here. Souji will serve, and in return he will gain in lore and power. Once he can grow no more, that relationship ceases to be a benefit, and becomes a loss.

Souji abhors a loss.

"Steel is not forged through kindness and pleasantries. It is forged by plunging it into flame, burning away impurities, and then striking it repeatedly. Souls, like iron, must be shaped properly. You are someone who understands this. I will accept your tutelage." Souji steps forward, placing his head within the massive iron grip of Garland.
Pumpkinhead Feige Abramson looks towards Souji. Seems like someone had considered the recent vacancy. It must be pretty big news--or he's just very well connected. She considers the young man. Glasses, of course, mean that he's intelligent. She lets him make the first move, because he's the guy with the big ambition. But once he makes his move, Feige does as well. Perhaps he just felt 'Chaos First' was an appropriate maneuver here.

She steps forward, taking a moment to take off her goggles. She's worried they might explode? Yeah, so she's taking them off as she places her head into Garland's hands.

"That's all I ask for." She murmurs.
Garland Pain. For a brief moment, the world is pain. Garland's iron claws close about their heads, burning his terrible black brand into them not physically but spiritually, a mark left on their souls - a mark that would in the future prove to be most handy. The pain is intense, but mercifully swift; when it subsides, Garland has turned away from them both.

"Then hear me now, my young apprentice. We prepare for a war - not merely against men, but against gods. We will tear them down from the sky, rip open their souls, and feast upon them like cattle; when all the gods have fallen, and Heaven is silent and still, ultimate power will be yours."

"You may have your pick your first assignment. Either slaughter Angnatyr Vespar like the runaway dog that he is, or hunt down Morrighan Alazne and drag her kicking and screaming before my feet, that I might punish her as I see fit."

Garland turns to Feige. "As for you...a book." Garland's fingers crackle with the shadows again; a book emerges from nowhere, rising into his hands. It is ancient, old beyond old; the script is Lufein, and the drawings within are of ancient weapons of destruction long-since lost to time.

"This book will speak to you of the ancient ways of the Lufein - the first civilization I exterminated. Their ancient war machines will run forever on nothing but their own power. Unlock the Lufein language, and begin your journey, constructing these machines for Murasame's army."


"Then, we shall see about building you an army."
Souji Murasame The pain scorches through Souji's mind and soul. He wants to cry out, his body begs him to... But he does not, clenching his jaw before he can do so. He will not show weakness before this man. Under pain that would drive lesser men to their knees, Souji stands... Barely.

"I will begin as your hand of judgement, and bring you the woman you seek... Master." It is an odd word to him, but not untoward. He was at the pinnacle of his craft, but now he has moved into a bigger world, a bigger game. Plans are already forming in his head on how to give Garland what he wants. Once complete, he will begin learning what he needs to learn.

From him, anyway.

He looks over to Feige. "I will give you a place in my Company. Putting you in our sciences branch will fit your calling and allow you almost unrestricted access. You look capable enough of handling anything we need."
Pumpkinhead Pain. Feige is not nearly as composed as Souji. Feige screams. She screams like she's being murdered. The scream reverberates throughout the shadows, her eyes widen and for a moment, go bloodshot. Her body writhes in agony and midway through the scream, she starts to laugh. It is not the laugh of a sensible reasonable individual. It's like she's getting off on it. Her body continues shaking even after the brief instant fades. She grasps at her own body, panting in between giggles.

Gradually she remembers sanity and looks up--at the offered gift in exchange. She takes the book. The fact that he says 'ancient weapons of destruction', well. "I love ancient weapons of destruction, how did you know?"


Feige gets off of horrible agonizing pain!


"Whatever you wish." She whispers. "I am a simple woman with simple needs."
Garland Garland turns away from them both as they agree, and slowly nods, turning his attention to Archadia for a brief moment. All is going as he has forsee it. Soon, Archadia's streets will run red with blood, and a war beyond wars will roar through the worlds, paving the way for the fall of the Occuria.
Souji Murasame "If I was to believe that, Abramson, I would be twice a fool. And Garland does not suffer fools." Souji replies. He turns away.

If someone's throwing a war in Heaven, he's not going to allow himself to be left out of the festivities. "Come, we have much to do."
Pumpkinhead Feige says, "Well!" cheerfully. "Then we're in for some fun aren't we?" She doesn't seem upset at being called out on it. Even if nobody's peeked at the cards, everyone's well aware of the aces up everyone's sleeves here. It's hardly cheating if everyone is doing it. That just becomes the new game.

She bows her head to Garland once more, holding the book close to her. Of course, if it's a civilization that fell, does not mean that the secrets are worthless. Most people aren't Garland.

Not even her present employer is Garland yet. But she still follows him out, eager to hear what he has to say.

This scene contained 15 poses. The players who were present were: Pumpkinhead, Garland, Souji Murasame