Stormblood

«The Measure of His Reach

An Unwanted Truth»
And We Shall Call It Eureka»
Another Striking Opportunity»
Arenvald's Adventure»
Between a Rock and the Hard Place»
Dramatis Personae»
Dreaming of Home»
For Wilred»
Journey's Beginning»
Journey's End»
King of the Castle»
Secret of the Ooze»
Songs in the Key of Kugane»
The Hunt for Omega»
The New King on the Block»
Those We Hold Dear»
To Kill a Coeurl»

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Heh heh heh heh...

Ahahahahahaha! Yes, yes! Such ferocity, such tenacity!


I am loath to recall how disappointed I was when first we fought...but finally, finally, after bathing in the blood and offal of your enemies, finally you prove yourself worthy prey for the hunt!


It fills you even now, doesn't it? The hunger. To bite down on my jugular, to feel the warmth fill your mouth and run over even as you drink deep. Good, good! This is the beast I have longed to face!


As you sharpened your claws, I too sought newfound strength! But this is no place for a final contest. Come! the heavens shall bear witness to our dance!
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Welcome to the Royal Menagerie.

The King of Ruin built this place for his foreign queen. He kept it filled with familiar creatures from her homeland. They bored me all.


But this fine specimen, on the other hand, is simply...divine.


Your fates are entwined, are they not, eikon-slayer? This dragon, this...embodiment of unbridled despair, born of a desperate man's burning hatred for the Empire...


How raw the raging tempest that churns within its breast. No myth made manifest this, but...a being of pure violence.


Hah hah, mayhap you are the true architect of our design. You who fought the very soul of vengeance to the edge and watched him fall; you who let slip the Allagan hound, to drive this eikon into my arms!


Oh...my. Have I said too much? Forgive me, this...sensation is wholly unfamiliar to me.


A question, then—and I should like very much for you to speak from the heart. If I were to stand aside, what would you do to this eikon?
What will you say?
Bind it. Kill it. ...
But have i not already bound it with Omega's restraints? And does not the Seventh Umbral Calamity stand as a testament of the fallibility of such devices? Oh, how quickly we forget.
Ah. As simple as that. But of course. You are the eikon-slayer. Such certainty is to be expected.
Hm. You will not indulge me even with a simple reply, then? No. You think only of the fight to come. How alike we are.


A pity. There is another alternative. Or there would be...had you only mastered your abilities.

I speak of the Echo, of course. Does it merely render you immune to eikonic influence? Or is it rather that your influence is far greater than theirs? Granted, these implications are of no moment to a savage, who thinks only of killing the beast before him...


But when I read van Baelsar's reports, I immediately saw the boundless potential of the Echo. I saw how it could be instrumental in binding an eikon to one's will. Hence my research and the Resonant—and oh so much more!


All eikons must be exterminated, without exception. Such was the imperial mandate issues by my great-grandfather after he saw firsthand the destruction wrought by one such being. They are a blight upon this star, he felt, and so he began his great and just crusade.


Pah! 'Twas not justice which spurred his campaign, but fear! Fear of eikons, fear of their power. Cowardice made them march forth to battle. Pathetic.


Man should fight for the joy of it. To live, to eat, to breed—lesser beasts snap and howl at one another for this. Only man has the wisdom and the clarity to embrace violence for its own sake.


For we who are born into this merciless, meaningless world, have but one candle of life to burn.


I know you understand this. You and I are one and the same. Together, we could while away the quiet hours, as friend and confidant...if you will accept me.
What will you say?
I accept you. I deny you.
Heh heh...are we to embrace and let bygones be bygones? Do our deeds weigh so little that you would cast all aside? Come. 'Twas plain for the first how this would end.
Heh heh...and yet, in doing so, you prove me right. We are warriors. 'Twas plain from the first how this would end.


You live for these moments—when all hangs in the balance...when the difference between life and death is but a single stroke.

I live for them too! This is who we are, my friend! This is all we are! Ala Mhigo and Doma and Garlemald be damned!


We tower above the gods! You by your gift, I by my might!


And before the Resonant the gods shall be made to kneel!


An ending to mark a new beginning!
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Are you all right!?
Zenos!

Hah...hah...hah... The hunter has indeed become the hunted.
And yet...there is only joy. Transcendent joy that I have never known. How invigorating, how...pure this feeling.

Is that what this was all about? All the meaningless death and destruction? So you could feel something!?

Zenos yae Galvus
Meaningless? Men die that others may live. Those who survive are stronger for it.

Not that you could ever understand. To have stood upon this great stage of fools...to have played my part to perfection...


Oh, this...this moment...let it be enshrined in eternity. My heart...beating out of time... So clear, so vivid so real... So real.

Coward!

Stop!

Farewell, my first friend. My enemy.

Where is he?

He's dead. By his own hand.

Then justice has been done.

There's no justice in that...in that rabid animal's end.

Liberty or death. That so many should be forced to take up this creed to defeat such madness...

We won. Forget him. The living have need of us now.

Stand tall, Lyse! Now is the time to raise a cheer for all who fought for freedom! A cheer loud enough to carry to the highest heavens!

...You're right.

Thank you. Without you... Well...you know.


So let's do it together. For Ala Mhigo!