Author note: This chapter has been in development for over a month, I was just too lazy to finish up, to busy with 'Crimes Against Humanity' to bother with it, or a combination of the two.
The new story on the chopping block is an anime that I honestly never looked too deeply into before now.
Fate/Stay Night would've been hard to do, on account the Skulltaker and Tzeentch herald wouldn't really care about being seen in public, and cause a lot of ruckus from the magi and normal humans alike (not that the 4th grail war was all that 'secretive', on account of a giant monster showing up and being attacked by military jets). I could probably do one know that I've finished the Fate/Zero series, but I've got too many other things I'm working on at the moment.
Inuyasha, I don't know nearly enough about to write a decent story for. All I remember is that the plot mainly revolves around the sacred jewel, which is like an endless supply of steroids and heroine for demons. The main character is a half-demon, with an asshole brother, dead farther, presumably dead mother, abusive girlfriend, bipolar ex-girlfriend, and a host of odd friends with even stranger problems. I used to watch it fairly often a few years ago on adult swim, before it went off air. Since then, I only remembered what I did off memory from a few years ago. I haven't mustered the desire to go revisit the series.
I want to try and avoid Mecha anime because its not as satisfying to write about the Skulltaker cutting down a giant robot as supposed to a flesh and blood creature. I had to introduce a new anime that was not so usual. All the main ones that would be vaguely practical for a pair of daemons to ransack, I've already done. The two that are left, I'm almost completely ignorant about. Then a new anime caught my attention.
Gather around kids, I have a story to tell.
One day, while watching the second season of Sekirei, I noticed another anime on the funimation site that was being showcased in the 'if you like this, than you'll probably like this!' section. It's called 'Freezing'. It was very similar to Sekirei in a sense. For whatever reason, adolescent girls have super powers and some arbitrary need to be in a relationship with adolescent males in order for them to use their powers to the fullest (which often leads to a less than professional working relationship). Like most anime of this type, one male in particular is able to completely break all the pre-set rules and limitations of their powers for some unexplained reason (which usually stays unexplained). This ability grabs the attention of multiple amazon-esque girls, who take their roles as Pandora even more seriously than most soldiers take going to a war zone. The reason they have those powers, and the full mechanics behind them, aren't made very clear. Something called 'stigmata' come up every once in a while. They give Pandoras and Limiters their powers, but you go for a long time before finding out where they even come from. The reason Pandoras and Limiters are needed is that they need them to fight some other worldly monstrosities called 'Nova'. Despite the clear purpose of their abilities, they end up fighting each other more often than not (which isn't surprising, considering these are high schoolers (who come from filthy rich families) given super powers, and bunched up in the same area for years). This sort of leads me to question if it's really a good idea to be giving hormonal teenagers deadly powers, especially while they attend what amounts to a high school. It almost seems like more of them die in schoolyard fights than in actual combat against Novas.
Oh yeah, there's also an underlying story about Maria, the very first Pandora to live. At some point between her twirling around her powers, and killing a Nova or two on her own, a religious cult dedicated to her started up. As more Pandora's started being trained and produced, that cult grew into a international religion. This, of course, leads to the person in charge of a major Pandora school being a cult Nun who goes by the name 'Sister Margaret'. It's at this point the story starts getting a bit 'iffy' for me. The people of this cult are basically Christians who see the newd chick floating in a test tub as a being who is, and I quote 'a being who is at the very least, on par with God'... If you aren't aware, that awkward silence is the sound of hundreds of Roman Catholics purchasing torches, pitchforks, and tickets to Japan.
...Sorry, I lost my train of thought.
Funnily enough, this anime is something I've gotten drawn into. Despite the fact that they have nearly all the pitfalls I usually hate about certain action anime, I still enjoy the series. People constantly take blows with their defense wide open, yet they never take more than a tiny gash with lopsidedly large amounts of blood coming out. The traditional military is a complete non-factor in their war against the 'Nova' (despite Nuclear weapons never even being brought up, except for use as comparisons). The enemies in question aren't so much 'threats to humanity' as much as they are 'otherworldly terrorists' (As Nova simply go in and kill whatever they see, then suicide bomb themselves). Finally, the Pandoras have that habit of constantly talking about morals and personal issues during fights, as if their mortal enemy is a substitute for their psychiatrist.
That's another thing I like about this anime by the way. Most 'Ecchi' anime make female fighters into unshakeable badasses, with no emotions in combat other than anger, determination, and confidence. In this anime, the characters actually feel like semi-real teenagers in an important position. You actually see them crack under combat and stress like you'd expect to see from a child being placed in the shoes of an experienced war vet. There's a legit reason most nations don't allow teenagers to serve in the army, and this anime does a good job portraying why that is. Across the series you see (hopefully intentional) examples of why impressionable youths, biological science, and military affairs should all be kept separate. One example would be Pandora using lethal weapons to liberally try to kill each other over arbitrary things like 'disrespecting the upper classmen', then getting shell shocked when people actually die in front of them.
Despite all of that, I've watched the entire anime, and read through nearly the entire manga. Maybe it has to do with the slight grittiness of the series. Unlike most anime, they don't trivialize warfare into some extreme life or death sports competition (or rather they DO, but they make sure to reign it in every once in a while). The reason the army can't really do much is because Nova are supposedly 'invulnerable' to conventional weaponry. Of course, they don't actually give you a reason why military weapons are ineffective or why they can't just modify their ammunition. They just show you a few helicopters shoot at a Nova, fail, and expect you to be satisfied with that. I should be a lot more mad at the half-assed explanation, but another person's theory that Nova armor was made of something Diamond-like calmed me down a bit. Since Pandora weapons were made of the same thing Nova armor is made of, I can accept that somewhat.
As well, Pandoras are a double edged sword, due to how they're made. Nova can corrupt Pandoras and make them into their own soldiers by manipulating their stigmata, causing further risk to fighting them. It's almost a realistic situation I could see humans being placed in, as far as the Nova attacks are concerned. Of course the whole matter of how humanity handles the Pandora/Nova situation is wasteful and impractical, but that's something I'm teaching myself to ignore when watching anime, and most fictional stories in general.
The one plot-hole I saw in it though (SPIOLER ALERT), were these people called 'Valkyries'. They were girls that didn't have the genetic ability to be Pandora's, given advanced tech to put them on level with Pandora. My issue isn't that they exist, but that they're still teenage girls. The entire reason Pandora were woman was because the process required to make them required a woman's DNA at a certain age, which isn't an issue for Valkyries. So now they don't have to go around getting teenage girls to go to war, and actually use conventional soldiers of acceptable age and whatever gender, yet they still insist on grabbing young girls.
I highly recommend it to watch (that is, if under-aged women's clothes magically tearing off every 30 seconds or so doesn't bother you).
Anyway, watch these warp daemons eat all the characters in that entire series alive.
Purging of the Pandora
The Skulltaker could feel it.
Khorne was displeased by something.
Knowing that either he or Karanak would be dispatched to handle this, he set off toward the Brass Citadel. He and his juggernaut marched across the fortress of Khorne, crushing the countless skulls of the slain, that made up the soil beneath their feet.
It was odd to the Skulltaker.
Even though Khorne was by far the most static of the chaos gods, even his realm was forever changing. New skulls of all species types randomly replaced the ones crushed under foot by the larger daemons and war engines, an ever flowing river of blood flowed across the realm of Khorne, occasionally tinted by the blood of something whose life fluid wasn't red. New spires of war and daemonic bastions willed themselves into existence, sprouting out of the blood soaked earth and into seemingly random places across the daemonic world of Khorne.
Skull towers, the apocalyptic battle tanks of Khorne, rolled across the dimension on their own consciousness, opening fire on anything it decided to label as an enemy, which included other Khorne daemons. A couple of Soul Grinders affiliated with Khorne were also seen stalking across the realm, itching for an enemy to battle with their new-found mechanical strength.
For once in the Skulltaker's life, this all felt nostalgic.
He'd been 'living' here his entire existence, and not once did he ever feel so uncaring while watching all of this occurring. Perhaps it had been so long since he forced his way into the materium, that he was aching for combat against mortals. As he watched a rather large host of Khornate daemons be led outside the fortress of Khorne by a mighty bloodthirster, he was almost inclined to follow. When such armies were led out, they always found a battle. Seeing as Slaanesh needed a lesson in impudence almost every other second, it was likely that they would attempt to ransack to Palace of the Pleasure once again. It was equally possible that they would storm the Garden of Nurgle, or despoil the Labyrinth of Tzeentch. By the warp, it was equally likely that they were planning to attack another Khorne daemon host. After all, a day without bloodshed is a day wasted.
With that thought, he frowned.
That Tzeentch herald hadn't been present during his last scourging. While he hoped it had been killed during one of the many battles across the warp, it was every bit as likely that it was simply busy during the previous daemonic incursion. The damned scrawls did have a rather unhealthy like for learning more of their cowardly magic. So much so, that he once encountered a Tzeentch daemon pair named 'the bluescribes'. They had spent the last several hundred millennia trying to catalog all the magical spells in the world. The herald of Khorne didn't know much about magic, but he did know that there were as many different types of magic in the world as their were weapons of war. He learned of both through first hand experience, and labeled the Tzeentchians as insane for even daring it. To his knowledge, they were still at it to this very day.
Banishing away his idle thoughts, he entered Khorne's throne room. He immediately snapped his eyes to the shadows when he couldn't quickly find the whereabouts of a certain 3 headed flesh hound. There were more than a few times that the damned dog wound try to pounce on either him or his mount while unaware. While he had faith that his brass juggernaut would be able to handle itself in combat, he had suffered more than a few wounds trying to fight off the damned creature himself without killing it. Khorne would be very displeased with him if he killed the blood god's personal attack dog. He supposed if Karanak came close to killing him, the three headed attack dog would be severely punished as well, but that certainly wouldn't give him closure. Khorne being who he was, he certainly wouldn't discourage violence amongst his warriors.
He relinquished his musings when Khorne himself turned his attention toward the Skulltaker.
The Blood God didn't bother with words.
Images and thoughts filled U'zuhl's mind as the Blood God transferred his thoughts over to his creation's. The most powerful of the Khornate heralds saw images of humans with strange powers. It wasn't magic, but rather some form of advanced technology that substituted for magic. It was similar to the Necrons in a way. Aliens with even more advanced, reality defying technology ruthlessly assaulted the humans by sending simple machines to assault them in cowardly attacks. These aliens, Nova as they were called, deserved to be exterminated for fighting in such a despicable manor. Those particular humans however, had a few interesting warriors on their world. Warriors whose skulls would make excellent trophies.
The task was simple. A host of Khorne daemons were going to annihilate the Nova where they stood. Meanwhile, he would wreak his own personal slaughter upon any of those human warriors who dare step forward. He was only too happy to be sent out on another mortal reaping.
Until he was informed that Tzeentch wanted to be involved as well.
Over at East Genetics, radars were going haywire.
People ran left and right, typing furiously on their computers and yelling to each other in panic voices. It was a scene of controlled anarchy. Only a single thing caused these reactions from people for any reason. And these things always heralded great suffering for humanity.
A dimensional anomaly was occurring
All nearby camera's were being linked to where the dimensional rift was occurring. While this happened, people were being evacuated from the nearby city. East Genetics Academy was having its alarm raised.
The Nova were here.
While this occurred from the ground, a pair of fireballs streaked from the sky.
One fireball burned with pink and blue fire, with the occasional volt of pink and blue electricity streaking across the comet's surface. The other burned with pure red fire, While this in itself wasn't too weird, the smoke it left behind seemingly reshaped into skull faced imagery of their own accord , as if the smoke was made up of the souls of the damned. The pair of fireballs streaked down to earth, side by side. To an outside observer, it would appear as if two of the four horsemen of the apocalypse were descending to earth, ready to bring about war, famine, pestilence, and death.
To these particular daemons in question however, they would only aim for war and death.
With the appearance of 4 S-class Nova, the threat that two tiny comets presented was almost laughable. However, as the comets descended to the earth, something unusual happened. Both of the comets redirected their flight path of their own accord and streaked straight toward the group of Nova's. The alien structures could only manage to look at the comets in seeming surprise before impact was made. The four Nova in question were demolished by the surprise collision, and laid low. They never rose again.
A stunned silence followed.
Everyone simply watch as what they swore was divine intervention occurred. Streaking fire sent from the heavens had come forth to destroy those that would threaten the creations of God. Evil had been destroyed for the world to see, as proof. There was unquestionably a greater being watching over them, who wound protect them from any other creatures from beyond.
Unfortuneatley for all involved, they had the identity of their savior horribly mistaken.
The Skulltaker stood on the back of his Juggernaut, staring down at the remains of this 'Nova' with distaste.
The idea of creating a war machine was completely accepted. Khorne himself had more than a few titans and 'super-heavy' battle tanks under his command. What was cowardly was that the builders weren't using these machines as support for a strong advance, or to counter enemy war machines, but to ship them off into this dimension and have them cause as much damage as possible. It would at least be acceptable if these machines were being piloted by living beings. At least then, it could be said that war machines were simply powerful weapons in the hands of a warrior. The Nova didn't even do that. They simply threw automatons at their enemy until they submitted. This wasn't warfare This was simply hiding from your enemy while you manufactured something to fight for you. Such a craven tactic was-
The Khornate herald looked to his left and saw the one creature he currently hated more than all else. A Tzeentch herald. To be more accurate, the Tzeentch herald.
The freakish, four-armed, pink skinned, staff wielding daemon was standing upon his disk of Tzeentch, studying the battered remains of one of the Nova. He levitated a piece into the air with his telekinesis in order to study it more closely.
The Skulltaker growled at the fickleness of his, how he hated to say it, 'partner' and began galloping forward on the back of his brass juggernaut.
He smelt the stench of mortals mixed with the odd metallic smell these Nova gave off. He assumed them to be hybrids of some sort. Meanwhile, the Tzeentch herald floated next to the furiously galloping Juggernaut at a leisurely hover, flames licking out from the back of the disk. The disk itself opened three eyes and stared at the juggernaut. The Brass beast responded by bucking its head back and trying to impale either the rider, the mount, or both. The flaming disk easily angled out of the way, the Tzeentch herald on top somehow managing to stand on top of the disk without even needing to shift its weight. It didn't even seem to notice that the disk was now at a 60 degree angle with the ground.
"Da-DAMN Tze-TZEENTCHIANS." The Skulltaker muttered, though with his daemonic voice, he may as well have said it out loud.
The Tzeentch herald ignored the statement entirely, still staring at that piece of the Nova it had picked up. There was no point in acknowledging the Khornate.
"What are those things, a new class of Nova?"
Both the mounted daemons picked up on the hushed whisper with keen senses and stopped.
They both looked left and right, scanning their surroundings with critical eyes. Their mounts picked up on their respective masters' behavior and also perked up. They assisted in the search for the hidden mortals, the juggernaut by sniffing the air, and the disk by using its multiple eyes to scan the area.
The Skulltaker was no fool.
He could tell by a glance. They were surrounded on all sides by mortals. They were compacted behind pillars, hidden behind closed doors, prone to the ground, and in all other manor of obscured places. The Tzeentch herald appeared to have picked up as well, because he was lightly muttering arcane chants under his breath. He faintly noticed the volts of blue electricity sparking across the tip of his staff, signifying he was preparing to cast a bolt of Tzeentch at whatever he chose for a target.
When you lived for countless millennia, and were older than even a couple gods, you recognized the signs of an ambush very quickly. The air felt different due to the breathing of many others, shadows were altered if any source of light showed on an object from a certain angle, and most of all, the heavy emotions of anxiousness, nervousness, and unsureness smothered the both of them like a blanket.
"I-I Be-Believe these are the mortals you were sent for. I will leaveyou to it." With that said, the Tzeentchian daemon hovered into the air, off to fulfill whatever objectives his master had set out.
Apparently that was enough to draw out their would-be ambushers. Without warning, dozens of human females jumped out of cover and toward the ascending Tzeentchian herald, with varying cries of 'don't let it escape'.
What followed was fairly predictable.
The herald turned and pointed his sparking staff at the closest female to leap at him. A pure bolt of blue lightning struck her dead center. She was completely obliterated as the bolt seared through her, as well as someone behind her. Following in quick succession, his three spare hands combusted into blue flames and hurled a fireball at the nearest target, each with pinpoint accuracy. The warpfire struck the attackers from the sky, burning them to ashes before they even reached the ground. Finally, the Tzeentch herald opened his beak, flames bubbling in the back of his throat. The few attackers that remained, finally got within striking range of the herald. They raised their weapons, not yet realizing their own demise.
A great gout of fire erupted from the Tzeentch heralds mouth, 'the breath of chaos' as it were called.
The women's clothes were left untouched. Their physical bodies however were completely burnt from existence. Of the 8 or so mortals that leapt to kill the Tzeentch herald, only articles of clothing and ashes came back down. The Skulltaker was disgusted by the cowardly use of magic, but he could still appreciate a decent slaughter, no matter the surrounding circumstances of it. The Tzeentch herald eventually disappeared from sight, elevating himself above the clouds for whatever reason.
The Skulltaker was perfectly alright with this. With the absence of the damnable Tzeentch scrall, he could now focus on the particular skill of his that had earned him his title.
Taking an excited glance around, the Skulltaker sized up his prey.
All of them were young, which in truth, he had little problem with. The females were all armed with a wide variety of weapons, most of which were bladed or for bludgeoning. Behind the females, were males with their arms outstretched. They were unarmed, but their posture made him think they were pyskers. However, they all clearly lacked a strong enough warp presence to be psykers, meaning whatever they planed to do, it wouldn't be magic. They all stared at him with an air of fear and curiosity. It was as if they were confused as to whether or not he was the enemy.
If they decided they were too hesitant to make the first move, he'd gladly take it.
He dismounted from his juggernaut, realizing that if they could casually jump as high as they did when attacking the Tzeetchian, then he'd be better off on foot. The juggernaut was ordered to wait for his command before he attacked, not a second sooner.
That taken care of, the daemon began lumbering toward the opposition with the intent to take the skulls of at least a few of them. The mortals in question, 'Pandora' as they were called, steeled themselves for battle against what they suspected to be a new type of Nova or some other extra-dimensional monster. If was unfortunate that they would never learn how accurate their initial assumptions had been.
"Ye-YES! Sho-SHOW Me-ME Wh-WHAT Pa-PASSES Fo-FOR Fu-FURY Amo-AMONGST Yo-YOUR Ki-KIND!"
At once, they all let lose a surprised gasp as he spoke, as if they didn't think he was capable of speech. The Skulltaker ignored it and phased forward, hellblade in hand.
The closest woman barely managed a squeak before he nearly chopped her head off with a horizontal stroke. She barely brought up a claymore sword to block. Despite that, she was sent flying backwards into her fellow comrades, who struggled to not get knocked off their feet trying to catch her. The daemon was several dozen times stronger than her, simply from that display alone.
The moment he made that movement, the other females counter-attacked. To the daemons surprise, many of them began speed boosting toward him in a similar manner to the 'phasing' ability all daemons, and by extension Khornate heralds, possessed. Khornates only used the ability to close in with the enemy for glorious close combat. These mortals were actually using it to try and scatter his senses, while attacking at his blind spots. Sadly for them, the Skulltaker would not be the undefeated duelist he was if simple speed could outdo him.
"Ye-YES! Le-LET Th-THE Re-RED Ri-RIVER Fl-FLOW!"
In a rush of motion, the Skulltaker swung his flaming hellblade in a large arc. Five of the Pandora couldn't stop their momentum, and ran clean into the strike. The others planted their feet and double accelerated backwards.
Three of them were bisected in a single slash, while two more managed to get their weapons up to block. Those two were sent tumbling backward in a heep. Two more Pandoras triple accelerated behind the daemon and swung at his back. The Skulltaker evaded by phasing forward while simultaneously making an underhand slash at one of his rear attackers. Being a daemon, he could see the souls and essence of mortals and immortals alike. Simple afterimages did little to fool him.
The woman screamed as one of her arms was sheared off in a visceral spray of blood. She fell to the ground, clutching her stump in agony. She never even saw the massive clawed foot stomping down on her head. The Pandora's head was squashed, as well as the concrete around her head shattered. The other Pandora leapt forward and quadruple accelerated at the daemon, appearing in four different directions at once. The Skulltaker simply sought out the only image with a soul, and thrusted his hellblade at the image. The woman's eyes widened in alarm and she brought up a ball and chain to defend herself. The hellblade cut through the simple chain, and went through her heart. The Khornate daemon didn't linger on the kill, swiping his blade through the dead Pandora's side to free it from the mortal's corpse.
The Skulltaker spun around to see an incoming group of attackers from above, all of them using their acceleration powers to make afterimages of themselves. The Skulltaker held his hellblade in front of his face and let it intercept the three attacks aimed at his head.
"What!?" One of the women cried out in shock, as if she was surprised that he was strong enough to block the three of them with only one arm.
The Skulltaker was easily 10 ft. tall, and by no extent considered lanky. Every limb was packed with muscle and unholy might. More than once, the Skulltaker had manhandled the walking battle tanks of men called space marines before cutting them apart with his hellblade. If he couldn't beat out three little girls in a test of strength with only one arm, then he would be ashamed of himself.
Another Pandora came at him from the side with a axe-staff. She glowed a strange blue aura as she swung, yelling furiously while she did so. The herald of Khorne saw the attack coming from a mile away. Using his free hand, he moved his armored forearm in the way of the attack. The brass metal plates were forged in the warp by daemonic black smiths, created in a fire of burning souls. It could stand-up to most anti-tank weapons, and outright ignored any small arms or non-power weapons.
The Axe-staff harmlessly pinged off the Skulltaker's forearm armor.
Pushing off the three blade-locked Pandora with ease, he turned to face the axe-staff wielder with furious glowing red eyes. She barely managed to get out a an undignified 'eep' before her head was loped off her shoulders in a clean sword stroke. The three women he had pushed away earlier had come charging at what they thought to be his unprotected side. The Skulltaker repressed a face-palm.
A Khornate herald never left an opening... or at least not an unintentional one.
The Skulltaker whipped around and lashed out with his clawed foot. The woman in the center of three Pandora was sent flying back when the front kick made contact with her chest. The other two leapt to the side and made swings at his sides. He blocked one stick with his forearm armor, and parried away the other strike with his hellblade. Turning on the Pandora who struck his forearm, the daemon made a powerful overhand swing. The hellblade glowed bright yellow with roaring fire, leaving an afterimage of flames when it moved. She feebly tried to block with her double sided axe.
The Pandora and here weapon were split into two.
The Pandora he parried with, swung her ball and chain at his lower back. Annoyed by the attack, he spun around and caught the annoying lead ball in his palm. The weapon's owner turned pale as a ghost when she saw the massive daemon looking down on her with a mix of condescending and fury. The Skulltaker yanked the chain forward, bringing the Pandora with it. With her weapon no longer in her control, she was defenseless as the daemon's hellblade swung toward her neck.
Her head rolled across the ground, at the feet of a group of terrified limiters.
The Skulltaker had almost forgotten about them. Curious how they were obviously physically superior to their female counterparts, yet they made no move to attack. He suspected that the female warriors, or 'Pandora' as they were called, were simply canon fodder and these were the true soldiers.
Then he remembered the visions Khorne had given him.
They were but scared weaklings. The only purpose they served was countering the null fields that the Nova created. Him being a chaos daemon, those null fields didn't work. His physical manifestation was still made entirely of warp energy. Because of that, he was only superficially bound to the laws of physics.
The Khornate herald calmly walked through the null fields the limiters casted at him, ignoring whatever effects they had on his physical manifestation. The limiters began fumbling backward in fright, seeing their abilities inexplicably fail to work.
Before they could blink, an abomination of machine and daemon, twice as large as a battle tank, came thundering toward them. It was easily twice the size of the sword wielding daemon they had previously been retreating from. To their dismay, the juggernaut of Khorne completely ignored their overlapping freezing zones as well, lowering its razor sharp horn/blade to attack. They tried to scatter and flee for their lives but it was fruitless. The Juggernaut was a daemon of mechanical muscle and daemonic viciousness. It ran each and every limiter down, stomping them into a red paste with their brass hooves or running them through with the man sized butcher's knife it called a horn.
The Skulltaker walked over and mounted his steed once more, trudging through the bloodstained ground. As he rode through the field of bodies, flaming black sword in one hand, chain reins of his mount in the other, he glowered in annoyance.
The Pandora were not worthy of being called soldiers. The limiters were absolutely pathetic. Even the human guardsmen were more competent than these sorry excuses for warriors. At least they could gather the courage to charge him and his daemons if they were in high enough numbers and one of their commissars were present.
Perhaps he was being preemptive in his judgment. There was a chance that maybe one of these 'Pandora' could impress him before having her skull ripped from her charred bones. The chances were definitely slim, but present none the less. As well, something else was bothering him.
Not that the Khorne herald particularly cared, but he was curious where that Tzeentch herald had gotten off to.
"Do NOt fear! You shall be the first I change from life TO death."
The Tzeentch herald cried out, its voice fluctuating between three different voices as it spoke.
Balls of warpfire, gusts of acidic smoke, and bolts of blue and pink electricity rained across the east genetics academy. People screamed in panic and fright as Pandora, Limiters, and staff alike were incinerated in colorful flames, dissolved into a screaming puddle by pink gas clouds, or charred into crisps by lightning.
The herald darted across the sky like a hawk, continuing its relentless assault on the school.
Attack helicopters came in to fire at the daemon, but he was having none of it. The disk banked downward, as a 90 degree angle to the ground. The helicopters fired their miniguns and anti-tank missiles at the disk as it went. The herald of Tzeentch brought up a mini void shield to intercept the ballistic weapons. The disk of Tzeentch defied gravity by making a perfect 'U' turn before it hit the ground and shooting toward the attack helicopters. Somehow, the herald of Tzeentch never once lost his footing while standing on the smooth and speeding disk. The Tzeentch herald began hurling fireball after fireball at the helicopters as it approached.
A single chopper was struck in its side by a ball of warpfire, blowing off its tail rotor. The chopper feebly spun around in circles, before it smashed into the side of a building and violently blew up. A sizable chunk of the building itself was damaged by the explosion. The herald fired a bolt of Tzeentch at another chopper. This one wasn't nearly as dramatic in its destruction as it simply blew apart into hundreds of flaming pieces.
The herald of Tzeentch madly cackled in delight as it changed buildings from pristine to damaged, vehicles from functional to charred scrap, and mortals from life to death.
More Pandora showed up, leaping toward the herald with the intent to kill. The daemon turned around upon hearing their raging battle cries. It laughed in 3 different voices at their feeble attempts.
The Pandora roared in righteous fury to kill the thing that had caused such destruction. They soared through the air with their stigmata enhanced bodies. Their volt weapons were poised to strike a death blow against this unworldly being that was reeking havoc upon their school. Their eyes could only widen in surprise as the creature laughed at them, before opening its beak to reveal the raging inferno building in the back of its throat.
With a daemonic bellow, the Tzeentch herald bathed the Pandora in magically searing flames.
The Skulltaker assumed that the Tzeentch scrawl was probably off reading a book or something else that was equally pointless. Tossing that thought from his mind, he made his way to the nearest concentration of Pandora on this planet.
The herald of Khorne had picked up certain tricks in its long existence. Daemons that escaped into the materium were technically only 'halfway' there. They manifested physical bodies, but their actual essence still resided in the warp. It was because of this that daemons seemed to phase in and out of reality. The Skulltaker had derived a handy trick from this state of being however. By willfully destabilizing its presence in reality, he could re-manifest himself where he so chose on the planet. Most daemons didn't do this because there was the very real chance the warp rift that sustained them would fluctuate while they were in this process, and cut them off before they could completely re-manifest. As such, daemons tended to simply appear where they could, and went the rest of the way by simply walking/slithering/flying to their next destination.
The Skulltaker, do to his special circumstance for being sent here, had no fear of that happening to him.
Both he and his mount began fade in and out of the material world. The juggernaut took off at full gallop while this happened, angered at being pulled out off reality without having first slain something. The Skulltaker gave up trying to placate his mount and simply held on for the ride. As they faded away the juggernaut resisted and flailed harder and harder. The two daemons completely exited reality, the brass armored juggernaut releasing an infuriated roar as they left.
The only evidence of their existence was the mutilated bodies of recently slain humans, along with a lingering echo of the Khornate juggernaut's roar.
The Skulltaker and his brass juggernaut tore into reality at the front gates of West genetics.
The Khornate herald immediately scanned his surroundings for signs of any enemies. He took passive notice of the massive walls in front of him, and incoming tram overhead. He could sense countless souls in the area, all of them going through the motions of preparing for combat.
If he had to haphazard a guess, he would assume that they were preparing to fight those machines he and the Tzeetchian herald had destroyed earlier, and were now preparing to fight him and the other daemon that had accompanied him. It wasn't necessarily pointless, but given what he had seen from these 'Pandora' so far
The juggernaut didn't immediately realize that it was back in the materium, as it continued to roar and charge forward. The Khornate herald on its shoulder encouraged the daemon in its angered frenzy as it charged forward at the front gate. The Skulltaker tightened his grip on the chains and flattened himself against the back of his mount.
Several thousand pounds of daemonic muscle and steel met the front doors of West Genetics academy, with a lot of momentum behind its charge.
"ALERT TO ALL PANDORA! WE HAVE A HOSTILE FORCE ON THE PREMESISE! ALL SENIOR PANDORA ARE TO DEEPLOY IMMEDIATLEY. ALL THIRD YEARS ARE TO GO INTO RESERVE, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATLEY!"
A pair of 4th year students leapt backward to avoid being crushed.
In front of them stood an angry red bull, adorned with chains, skulls, and other violent imagery. The very air it breathed out seethed with irrational loathing and hatred for those in front of it. Throwing it's head back and roaring, it thundered forward on powerful legs.
The Skulltaker leered down at the humans with contempt and anger.
"What is that thing!? It can't be a Nova can it?!" One of the limiters cried out, his voice tinged with fear.
Panic went up in their ranks as they beheld the daemon and its mount. It was covered in gruesome imagery that placed fear into the hearts of the young children. The blood splatters that adorned the extra-dimensional monsters matched their armor and skin so well that the students didn't know whether or not they had actually painted themselves with human blood, and splatters were the parts that hadn't dried yet.
One of the more strong willed Pandora shoved her way past her frightened comrade, starring into the Skulltaker's own baleful yellow eyes. With no clear retina to discern in the daemon's gaze, she felt as if she were looking into the eyes of creature with no soul. She would never realize just how spot-on her assumption was.
"Perhaps that is what Nova really look like beneath all that armor. Either way, that thing clearly isn't here for any good. The very sword it's carrying has specs of stigmata on it! Let's take it down!"
What? The Skulltaker blinked and took a good look at his blade.
Sure enough, there actually were specs of some sort of bloodstained alien metal lying on his sword. The Skulltaker had gotten so into the slaughter that he hardly noticed. The daemon quickly concluded that these bits of 'stigmata' as they were referred to, must've been in the bodies of the Pandora he had slain earlier. He saw similar pieces in the bodies of the warrior women facing him, all of them at their backs. Thinking back, he had impaled quite a few of the wenches upon his blade. He guessed it wasn't all that odd that a few specs lingered on his hellblade.
Channeling some of his essence through his sword, the hellblade spontaneously combusted into a violent yellow fire. Warpfire flayed away all the specs of blood, flesh, and even the stigmata pieces on his sword, cleansing it as clean as the day it was forged. If Khornate daemons didn't use this trick immediately after receiving their hellblades, the swords would be so slick with blood and flesh pieces that the sword would probably slide off of everything it tried to cut.
At once, the women all materialized their volt weapons. The Limiters simultaneously initiated an 'erinbar set' with their Pandora partners and casted a freezing on the monstrous beast. The second the overlapping Freezing fields hit the Skulltaker and his mount, the 4th year students double accelerated toward the beast with the intent to kill.
The Skulltaker laughed at their attempt to rush him.
He had faced the Space marines. Super human warriors in impenetrable power armor. Fast enough to dodge bullets with ease, strong enough to punch holes in tanks, and utterly fearless to even the most insane odds. Their skulls alone made up over 60% percent of the skulls on his personal cloak. He had faced soulless Tyranids. Bio-engineered creatures who could mold themselves into whatever form that fit their combative needs. He had faced Eldar. The second most eldest mortal race in history, and most psychically potent, agile, and hyper sensitive enemy he had ever fought. Their skulls were also hard to get a hold of, due to how often they fled from glorious combat in their cowardly ways.
In comparison to these enemies, children with swords simply couldn't compare.
The Skulltaker thundered forward on his mount, completely ignoring the freezing field with his daemonic aura.
The juggernaut of Khorne was a slow creature. It was meant to endure a withering hail of attacks and press on into the throng of enemy forces. It was so large that their riders could easily lay flat and use the bulk of its mount as cover. It was built for endurance and power, not speed and precision.
Despite this, the mount proved its worth.
The Skulltaker was a whirlwind of destruction on top of his mount. Any Pandora that came at him, no matter the angle or power behind their attack, found themselves disemboweled or headless. The daemon was not only strong and practiced, but precise and calculating. Every sword stroke he made claimed a life, or opened up the target for an attack that would claim a life. Some Pandora opted for less dangerous tactic, and tried to immobilize him by killing his mount. The Juggernaut of Khorne was powerful enough to endure weapons that would fell a battle tank. The Pandora's weapons glanced off the daemon mount's bloodstained armor plating. The Juggernaut retaliated by bucking and charging toward any enemy that got close. To it's ire, it found it's enemies a little too speedy to land a direct hit. This only made it more angry, and lash out even more brutally.
When the Skulltaker fought enemies like the Eldar, the Slaaneshi daemons of the whoreish chaos god, or the more heightened of space marines, he had learned that no swing could be spared. Every attack had to be a set up or a death blow. The Skulltaker knew his current enemies favored hit and run tactics, rarely dedicating themselves to an all out attack on his person. Even the ones wielding weapons like heavy maces and spike studded bats would only swing once at him, and try to disengage.
The Skulltaker knew that trying to block every attack would be foolish, as if he tried, he wouldn't be able to make any counter attacks in between the interval of two attacks. So instead, he projected a course for where every attack would land, and depending on whether or not it would find his flesh or armor, he would let it make contact. His armor was every bit as tough as the armor on his mount, but it was so sparse that he couldn't rely on it to protect him from all angles. Coupled with the weak force behind each blow, and it was almost laughable at how little damage the attacks that made contact were.
The Skulltaker never tired as it lashed out, sending female child warriors flying back into their classmates with entire limbs missing. His sword arm was the cause of most of those death's but not all of them. A good warrior never limited himself or herself to a single means of attack. Their would inevitably be moments in battle where a blade would be either too unwieldy to adjust to a given situation, and leave the owner vulnerable for precious moments. In these moments, the Skulltaker used his legs to kick. His powerful legs and sharp talons sent many Pandoras backward with their chests caved in. When his legs weren't optimal for the direction of the threat, he used his other arm to briefly release the chains that helped him balance on his raging mount and deliver a wall shattering punch. When he was too off-balance to risk releasing his chains or lifting his legs, he reared his massive horned head forward and into enemies aiming for his decapitation.
A Khornate herald doesn't reap as many kills as he does, claim the skulls of as many legendary warriors as he does, without learning a few unconventional methods of attack.
The Pandora were hurled back time and again, losing more of their number with each rushing attempt they made on the daemonic pair. By now, entire classrooms worth of fallen classmates littered the ground around the Skulltaker and his mount, many of them separated from their heads. The furious juggernaut refused to see living enemies escape it's wrath, and charged back into the fray, bringing his rider along for the trip. The Pandora counter charged, be it out off courage, desperation, or stupidity. The Juggernaut stomped on many of the littered bodies along the way, some of them still barely hanging onto life. Those that were caught under the steel feet of the Juggernaut were pulped into a gooey mess that were unfit to be referred to as 'remains'.
The Pandora renewed their assault, making use of every trick they could.
They made copies of themselves to confuse daemon, hyper accelerated to out speed the monster, and even entered Pandora mode, but nothing would work. The daemon was able to see their very souls, and was unperturbed by the numerous copies in his field of vision, as he could easily identify the real ones. The Pandora's speed was a non-factor, as he had faced enemies much quicker and stronger than they were. He need not be as fast as them, only know where they'd try to strike. The strange armor they wore was a massive strength boost that he actually put a fair bit of effort into blocking, but it slowed them down and did little to protect them from his hellblade. That combination only saw them decapitated before they could even get off a swing.
By now, many of the limiters and their Pandora allies were breaking. The males could feel their female partners being hacked apart, decapitated, and battered, if only barely. It was a terrifying experience to see their allies, future wives even, torn apart as casually they were. They eventually fled from combat, not that they were doing anything particularly important to begin with. The Limiters that still had remaining partners urged their partners to flee with them or went as far as abandoning them to their fate.
The Skulltaker was not amused by the act of cowardice, and thus ordered his juggernaut to charge past the evading Pandoras, and head straight for the fleeing males.
The Khornate herald could easily continue his fight with the Pandora. In fact, it was even easier now that his mount was moving in a predictable pattern rather than violently flailing about. He had better balance, and by extension, became a more coordinated killer. The Pandora's remaining boosted forward to either attack him, protect the Limiters, or take off with their own partners. The first two were easily repelled or cut apart. The later were simply cowards fleeing from combat.
Finally realizing their disadvantage, the Pandora set out to speed boosting away as many limiters as they could get their hands on. If they couldn't fight this monstrosity, they could at least avoid it. Sadly, the juggernaut's long strides and tireless pace saw it bearing down on the screaming Limiters.
It began madly swinging its horned head into the crowd of screaming teenagers, its bladed horn slicing through them like a horizontal pendulum. The Skulltaker leaned over the side of his mount and began reaping the heads of screaming Limiters as they ran, decapitating them in a similar manner to how farmers reaped wheat. Pandora leapt at him to defend the helpless limiters, but found themselves helpless to the might of the daemon herald. Single sword strokes saw them split in half.
Out of nowhere, a strange figure wearing metallic wings slammed into the front of the Skulltaker's juggernaut.
More surprisingly, it actually made a Khornate Juggernaut, charging at full tilt, come to a complete halt. The Skulltaker felt himself suddenly lurch forward and fly off his own mount. His body was still going the speed of his mount, even though the mount itself had stopped going forward. The daemon managed to angle itself so that it landed on its feet when it hit the ground, as apposed to taking a head-first dive into the dirt.
The Daemon completely ignored the Limiters running around him, his evil yellow eyes set firmly on the target in front of him.
The Juggernaut of Khorne was repeatedly being struck in the face by what the Skulltaker would compare to a power fist. There was a tiny and petite woman with a pair of gauntlets repeatedly hammering into his juggernaut mount. Seeing as his mount had taken blows from power fists being wielded by space marine terminators, it wasn't under threat of being beaten to death, but it's head was snapping backward with every punch. The Juggernaut roared in fury, and reared back to try and stomp on the Pandora, only to find her launching a punch into it's lower legs.
Juggernauts were very front heavy beast. This was meant to help their momentum and make their impact all the more powerful. Their center of gravity was located in between their shoulders, where nearly all four legged beast had their center of gravity in their mid-section. As such, it was no surprise when the daemon mount actually felt its hind legs getting punched out from under it. The woman teleported from under the beast directly after the blow. The juggernaut fell flat on it's stomach, feeling so much rage that fire was beginning to bubble in the back of it's throat.
The Skulltaker snarled in fury at the assault, but also felt a ting of excitement.
The Skulltaker took this moment to imprint the memory of this woman's face into his mind, just before he scorched the flesh and blood from her bones. She was a human woman with a short hair cut and a pair of gauntlets. In addition, she had a pair of glowing synthetic wings. Most interestingly however was the fact that the woman was staring at the daemon with eyes that spoke of cold fury and promises of suffering.
The Skulltaker relished in her gaze, rather than wilt under it like most would. The Skulltaker was a herald to Khorne, a being who was always in a different stage of anger. Nothing can truly pacify his ire, and this trait extended to all his daemons. Just as well, Daemons of chaos very much enjoyed inspiring the emotions of which they were based on. The Skulltaker was no different.
Compared to all the weakling Pandoras and Limiters that fled from his presence in fear and despair, this single infuriated woman was like a beacon to him.
The Skulltaker watched as the woman used her wings to fly into the sky, well above the reach of the raging juggernaut that sought to impale and crush her. The juggernaut charged straight into the space that the flying Pandora had once occupied, leaving a crater in the ground he impacted. The daemon of flesh and steel roared in fury as its target escaped its reach, its eyes glowing a baleful red color.
The Pandora responded by opening fire upon the Juggernaut.
Lances of bright yellow energy smashed against the Juggernaut's armor, actually leaving scorch marks and dents across its blond plating. The ground exploded violently as the Pandora poured fire into the daemonic mount. The Juggernaut of Khorne bellowed in pain as a few of the lances actually managed to get past its armor and hurt it.
The Skulltaker wasted no time, and hurled his hellblade at the Pandora with as much power as he could manage, while still being accurate. The Pandora was forced to halt her on-slot and cover herself up with her power fists as she saw the hellblade hurdling toward her. A foolish mistake. The hellblade was a sword forged from the very depths of the warp itself. It's blade burned to the very touch, and-
The daemon's thoughts were cut short when the hell blade passed through the Pandora, and the woman herself seemed to fade away into near non-existence!
The Skulltaker quickly destabilized his body and phased forward, just barely evading the trio of energy beams to slam into his position. The daemon snarled at the cowardly trick and quickly retrieved his sword from the ground. The moment he got the blade firmly in hand, he spun around to block a double hammer fist from the flying Pandora. The ground shattered beneath their feet under the stress, but the Skulltaker was unperturbed. Using his unholy might, he pushed the frail little girl away. Super powers or no, he was still an immortal, multi-millennium old, daemon, while his opponent was but a simple child. No amount of power would offset the raw ability difference between the two.
The Pandora slid back, balancing herself on her feet while glaring at the daemon with anger and frustration. Apparently she didn't realize he'd be as tough as he was, but still figured she had a chance to win. The Skulltaker admired such courage and self-confidence, but he'd destroy her all the same.
*BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM*
Both combatants looked to the source of the noise and were both treated to a sight that would emotionally scar a lesser being.
The Skulltaker's juggernaut was thundering forward in a murderous rage, its armor clearly damaged and penetrated in several places. The mount of Khorne was roaring in a primal fury that struck fear into the hearts of all listeners. The beast was not only furious, but on a rampage. And it's sole source of rage was a cut little girl with wings.
The Pandora turned to fire another volley of lasers at the creature of pure evil, but suddenly found the herald of Khorne directly in her face. She nearly released a squeak of surprise, wondering how the creature before her had moved so fast.
She brought her arms up to block the barrage of sword blows the Skulltaker sent against her. She swung a claw at the daemon's hip, but the daemon countered with an underhand sword stroke to her palm, knocking the attack away. The daemon counter-attacked with a swift kick to the chest, which sent her skidding back a few feet. The Skulltaker took a single step forward and made a powerful overhead sword stroke. Chiffon Fairchild could only block by covering herself with both hands. The hellblade light on fire, glowing a bright yellow at edges and showing khornate runes in the center.
She was smashed into the ground by the power of the blow.
Suddenly, the Skulltaker phased off to the side. She was briefly confused until she saw the daemon's pet monster bearing down on her, roaring with such fury that its eyes and breath both released flames. The Juggernaut attempted to headbutt the frail Pandora, being sure to use cleaver-like blade it called a horn. Suddenly the woman disappeared from beneath the raging juggernaut, just before its horn impacted with her chest.
The Juggernaut raised its head and bellowed in ire, looking for where its prey had fled.
The Skulltaker moved from his previous position to avoid even more energy beams as they streaked toward him. The herald of khorne was getting annoyed now. As long as she had those wings, there was nothing to stop her from simply staying up there and firing at the two of them. He could try throwing his sword again, but even as skilled as he was, he didn't like his chances of fighting the Pandora barehanded. So the daemon was forced to phase and dodge back and forth, evading all the impacting energy beams, even deflecting a few with his hellblade. His juggernaut simply paced back and forth, watching her with hateful eyes. It was clear that the woman saw the Skulltaker as the real threat, not the beast, and was delegating all her attention to him. Then something odd happened.
A streak of pink lightning barely missed her, instead blowing a hole into the side of a genetics building.
The Skulltaker frowned, already knowing whose work this was. The only thing that could've been was warp lightning, and only the favored followers and daemons of Tzeentch could use it. Since the Skulltaker knew for certain that no new daemons had appeared in this world, there was only a single being it could've been.
The Tzeetchian herald.
"Do my eyes decieve me? Do you falter in the face of a mortal child?"
Hovering overhead, standing on a flaming disk with eyes, was the 4 armed mutant that was a Tzeentch herald. A spell book in one hand, a staff in one hand, a ball of warp fire building in one hand, and a lightening dancing across the fingers of the last hand. The Skulltaker glared at the lesser herald, daring it to further irritate him.
Before either of the daemons could speak any further, a barrage of energy beams started to saturate the area. Dozens of beams came for the Skulltaker, causing the daemon to continue dodging and blocking with his sword at near imperceptible speeds. The Tzeentchian simply waved its staff in front of him, creating a miniature void shield. The lances of energy dissipated calmly as they hit the shield, leaving the Herald of Tzeentch unscathed.
Chiffon was getting desperate. She had expended too much energy fighting the red devil-looking daemon. Now there were two of them, and the second one seemed to specialize at range and defense. It was the polar opposite to the creature who she had just been fighting, who relished so much in close combat that the closest he had to a ranged attack was throwing his sword. If they both attacked her at once, she would die for certain.
So she didn't allow them the chance.
Unleashing her stigmata to their fullest extent, she flew toward the daemon on the burning disk at top speed, hoping that it was a lot less skilled in combat than its larger and muscular counterpart. The herald, despite having a beak of all things for a mouth, somehow managed to make a devious smile. The Herald reared back its head, flames of the warp building in the back of its throat. The breath of chaos changed forms at random, becoming that of an acidic smog, a spew of poisonous liquid, or alternatively a raging fire, all depending on how the daemon felt upon the moment they casted it.
Chiffon's eyes widened and she instinctively banked right.
She was lucky, as a gout of unnatural flames erupted from the daemons throat, which would've assuredly ensnared her had she maintained her coarse. The daemon seemed to notice that its attack had missed, and turned its head to face her, maintaining its gout of flame. She flew backward, quickly getting out of range of the attack, but sending more of her own beams to keep him from going on the offensive. The Herald hastily raised its void shield again, grunting in annoyance that such a young and inexperienced mortal was giving it such trouble.
The moment the beams relented, the Herald unleashed a barrage of attacks on the fledgling. Flaming balls of blue fire, bolts of colorful lightening, and another gout blood red flames were hurled at the woman. She responded to this on-slot by using her illusion turn, disappearing under the magical barrage being directed to her.
She reappeared behind the Skulltaker.
Four energy beams lanced out at once, but the Skulltaker was already moving. Daemons couldn't truly be taken by surprise, as they were always aware of their surroundings. If they didn't move to intercept in time, than it was simply because they had a lagging reaction, which the herald of Khorne had no such thing to worry about.
He phased out of the way of the attack and to the side, his blade arcing for her throat.
She blocked with her gauntlet, but the Skulltaker didn't stop there. He punched at her gut with his free hand. She barely managed to stop the blow, if only barely, with her own free hand. The Skulltaker didn't stop there either. He grabbed the Pandora's gauntleted arm and yanked forward, driving his knee into her gut.
Chiffon's eyes bulged as she felt her ribs shatter from the attack.
The Skulltaker released her wrist in favor of grabbing her throat and lifted her off the ground. Without hesitation, he immediately slammed her into the dirt as hard as he possibly could. Finally, made a single sword stroke, removing her legs from her body. The Skulltaker ignored the piercing shriek she released, to deep into his hateful assault to halt now. He would enjoy ending this one as much as he could. She had wounded his mount, and evaded his blade, not truly by skill, but by flying into the sky and attacking from out of reach. It was cowardly on too many levels to list. He assumed that she had thought to blast him at a distance that she figured he couldn't dodge at. That mistake would cost her everything.
The Skulltaker cut through her arms at the shoulders, leaving her as a limbless torso.
Yet despite all that, she was still conscious. She was bearing through the intense pain like no other. He had only seen this behavior in that of space marines, and perhaps few of the more zealous of imperial commissars. She was either no stranger to having limbs removed, or she had a grim fortitude about her on level with that of the super soldiers he had come to respect. He simply went with the later, and assumed she had lost limbs before.
The Skulltaker grabbed the woman by her hair, lifting her into the sky, uttering the 8-words of sacrifice.
The woman's body violently combusted, causing her to scream in pain. The fire quickly began to burn away her flesh, muscles, and blood, in seconds, ending her screams almost immediately. All that remained of her was a burning skeleton.
A quick flick of the wrist and the Skulltaker was holding nothing but her skull, having broken off the rest of the unnecessary bones.
Her skull belonged to Khorne now.