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 Fall of Pride

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PostSubject: Fall of Pride   Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:35 pm

Ever since his encounter with Fragment as his possession by the yellow eyed man. Jack had been rather paranoid. If not weakened by the entire experience. He felt weighted like a large hammer, Little purpose to himself. Once again he embarked on the desolate march from Iskra’s lands to the Diablos lake. His mind filled with questions and the lack of answers to them. It was insane. Everything in his world was falling around him, the pressure of being him was just too much. Crushed by the shame of defeats by Iskra. The idea of having to deal with her in the Amnesiac state she was. Really it was all becoming too much for him to deal with. He longed for the days when he could simply have been a force of destruction to be reckoned with. Now he felt like a relic of the past, good for nothing but knowledge and dishing out knowledge to those who asked for it. An old demon whose very existence was shattered into bits. Fragments. Amusing. He walked on, heading back towards his place in hell. He had orders to give. Concerning Serra, concerning Iskra. He had to leave everything for awhile if he was going to find himself.

The march across Terra took a long time, but the march across the underworld took even longer. Plagued by the thoughts and feelings of the man behind the door. The yellow eyed demon could feel his confliction, could feel this fragmentation within the mind of Jack and it strangely let lose some feelings of concern about the demon of Pride. But he never spoke, didn’t attempt to possess. Maybe the yellow eyed man had figured that he had pushed his host too far. Jack as it was was teetering on the edge of becoming what had been. Fragment. A creature within his own mind driven mad by, well he didn’t quite know what had driven fragment to that point. But whatever i was, he felt just as he had when hew as standing at the end of the door on the library. At the edge of some great abyss that he wasn’t going to be able to control. A sea he wasn’t going to be able to swim in. The cracks in his mind were getting ever deeper, and there was nothing he could do to stem that flow. The corridor was tearing itself apart.

Jack managed to make it to the Seat of Pride, the majority of his servants were topside, which would make things infinitely easier in the long run. Jack moved inside and approached his throne room. This had been the place were it had all began. His coveting of that throne room. His coveting of everything that had been Jowan’s the first betrayal. The first genocide. Memories flowed back to him but they seemed far away. Distant. L;ke memories that had belonged to someone else. He approached his table within the Seat of Pride and took out two sheets of paper and a jar. With a dagger he slashed open his palm allowing the blood to slosh out within. With a quill, Jack dipped it in his own blood and began to write the first of his letters. The one that concerned Iskra.

“ Dearest Iskra,
If you are capable of reading this then obviously I was right and you are indeed a fast learner. You will probably wonder just why I am writing this to you instead of merely coming to speak. But the truth is, I have no stomach for it. Or the heart. I have things that must be done. Things that I cannot involve you in. Ever since before we met, something happened to me that began to accelerate everything at a rate which I had not encountered before. Perhaps you felt it as well? Do you not find that our development in the past year is somewhat suspect? Why is it that only in this past year have we grown such strength? Unfortunately with me, strength has not been the only thing that had increased. As you are aware, my mind is shared with a demon behind a door. For the longest time the connection between us two has been growing stronger, before. He could only take my body whilst I was on the throes of death. Now, I fear that it has gotten worse. He can take me during consciousness. I am unstable. Fragmented.

Things are beginning to fall apart within my mind, and soon I fear I shall fall to madness. For this reason I am leaving to deal with some unfinished business. Likely this shall either kill me, or if I succeed. It will break my mind. Regardless. It is unlikely you will ever see me again. I am sorry. I am proud of you. In my death or madness. I leave you with half of my basic army excluding my officers. The temple of Obstinacy and the knowledge within are yours.

-Jack”

With that letter finished, he signed it at the bottom and then pressed it shut in an envelope. Writing Iskras name on the back. Next would come his second letter, it would be written rather meticulously.

“ Dearest Sera,
If you are reading this then you have successful defeated the gauntlet and proved yourself worthy for the task ahead. The reason I was not there to oversee your test is simple. As you saw in that morning with Iskra, I am. Unstable. For a long time my mind has been shared with a powerful primordial demon of madness. And slowly but surely, that connection between us growing stronger, and the borders that separate them growing weaker, crumbling away underneath my feet. In this state, I am not fit to lead. Nor am i fit to be around you. I am leaving to try and resolve these issues. I will not lie. This will likely result in my death. And you will probably never see me again. But, this is probably better for you.

To this end. I leave you half of my demonic army, the other half will go to Iskra. My officers and servants will remain with you. You are to be my Steward. You will rule over my lands and my people till my return, if indeed I do return. If you do fail the gauntlet. Then this task will fall to Iskra. I shall ensure Jonah is aware of the details. Do not try to find me.

-Jack”.

EXP:1168
PWC:1082( LoM)

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PostSubject: Re: Fall of Pride   Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:14 pm

With both letters in hand, Jack gave them to the remaining demons, giving his final orders to Jonah, to run Sera through the Gauntlet. And to ensure she took her oaths. If she was to fail in any of these things. Then all would go to Iskra to act as Steward. The voice from the man behind the door filled his mind. [i] What are you doing? Giving everything that you worked for up? What because we’re struggling for dominance in this body? And they think I’m mad! What about little Sera how is she going to feel when she finds this out. That’s IF she finds this out”. Jack shrugged. “ This body is mine, it will be mine or no others. I will leave you nothing if you manage to overcome me, as for Sera. It was my corruption that made her feel as she did. Fragment was correct. I should not feel as I do . She is better off this way”. There was laughter inside his mind but he could tell it was tinged with anger. But there was that question that he could tell the man behind the door was just dying to ask. Just what was Jack going to do? The answer was simple, Jack was going to finish what he had started. Jack was going to kill the Glutton. Even if it killed him, the moment he thought this, he knew that the man behind the door was beginning to struggle for dominance. He had built up an army looking for help in defeating the power of tis thing and now he was about to throw himself at it single headedly. It was a suicide mission if there had ever been one. But Jack was oddly unafraid. He had a plan. He was going to lure that Glutton to the plae where he would be powerless. The Court of Madness and then, finally realization dawned upon the man behind the door as to just what Jack’s plan was going to be.

And he laughed. But Jack didn’t, he just took off once more into the wastelands of externus. And kept going. His plan was to reach the cave network, he knew that the glutton had for some time been using that as a base of operations, so if he got here then he would no doubt encounter hunger thralls. Those of which would be a clear indication of how close he was getting to the Glutton, of course he was aware that the Glutton was not the only monster in those caverns. And for that reason he was going to have to be careful.

EXP:452
PWC:443

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PostSubject: Re: Fall of Pride   Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:00 pm

When Jack reached the entrance to the caverns he felt a slight moment of hesitation, but then again go in or stay out, he was going to be collapsing into madness anyways. May as well do it protecting- no. May as well do it destroying something. If he was going to go out then he was going to go out as an Oni. Killing till the last moment, a surge of Pride within him sent the man with yellow eyes stumbling back in the game of influence. Something that made Jack, albeit briefly. Smile. Thoughts of Sera filled his mind, just what was she going to do now that he was gone? I would be easy for her he concluded. Return to that village, attempt to return to heaven, either one would be a happier life than he had left for her. Of course that’s assuming she failed the gauntlet. If she succeeded. Well then the weight of evil was going to be upon her. Just as it had once been upon Jack. It was a tale that was destined to end badly if he had stayed, Oni and Kami could never have worked together in harmony. Best he free her from her addiction now by ending it all without giving her that one last night.

His thoughts were interrupted however, as his descend was halted by the murmurings of a group. No, it was not murmurings. It was the sound of shuffling. Of scratching. Hunger thralls were ahead of him now, he was careful, slowing his pace to a crawl. If the hunger thralls saw him then he was going to have problems getting the glutton. But then again he didn’t really have much to lose at this stage, be as well going all out now an annihilating everything he could here with the power of Pride. He transformed, changing into the humanoid form with the phantasmal aura surrounding him. He rushed in moving at incredible speeds towards his enemy. There would be death. The hunger thralls turned as they heard his approach, but by the time they heard it he was already among them. His arm changed from the normal skinned arm into the dark scaled dragon arm granted to him by the Blood Mage in these very underground tunnels. The claws of the arm sliced through flesh bone and cartilage of the thralls.

More came from behind him, dark energy moving through his body channelled into his fist as he turned, slamming it into the chest of another hunger thrall. The body providing little to no resistance against the power of the Lord of pride. As he cut through them his mouth moved chanting out a spell that would aid him in restoring his strength for the oncoming fights. The moment he finished it the air filled with a red mist that came from every single on of the hunger thralls standing around him. Blood emptying from their veins and arteries. Covering Jack and being taken into his body. It was restoring, but even as it was he could feel the taint of hunger upon them. And knew that he had to slew this abomination, once and for all. Knowing ultimately that if he survived then he would have one more abomination left to kill.

Himself.

Jack rushed through the tunnels. The hunger thralls had been there and had seen him, had tried to devour them but had ended up being devoured themselves. But that meant that the Glutton knew that he was there, and it knew that he was coming for it. The glutton was a creature of hunger and whilst Jack would have liked to have snuck up on him. This was just another method of attracting the glutton to his trap. The glutton was a monster that sought to devour all that was before it. Particularly the strong, it knew Jack in its twisted mind and it knew his strength. He would be appearing on its radar as one huge Christmas dinner, and would no doubt be speeding towards him, even as he sped towards the court of madness.

it was within sight there, the collapsed building that seemed to have fallen under the earth. Past the flows of lava he ran, there was that itching again. It was getting close. The glutton. He could feel the taint of the Glutton getting closer, pressing upon him like the weight of the world. He threw himself quickly through the doors of the court of madness. He tumbled through the doors, the weight of the glutton was off, the court of madness was both protecting ,and infecting him. The whispers in his mind slowly began to intensify getting worse and worse. He could feel those borders crumbling away every second that he spent in there. It was not easy to hold on.

EXP: 875
PWC:808


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PostSubject: Re: Fall of Pride   Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:33 pm

Jack waited there, he had crawled to a corner of the dark building, illuminated only light by the orange glow of lava that surrounded the outside of the building. His mind right now was a mess, the part of him that was wanting to fight. The part of him that knew he was going to die if he didn’t pull it together was attempting to salvage his sanity from inside his mind. But with the borders thinned out so much by the connection between him and the madness demon, the infection of insanity was getting into him all too easily. He saw things in this place. Things that weren’t really. Sera crucified on a wall. Iskra laughing manically over his corpse. Hunger thralls staring at him with dead eyes. He closed his eyes, knowing they weren’t real, just figments created by his insanity. He had to fight them, had to drag himself back from those dregs. The shadow in the doorway, the laughter. His eyes snapped open, the images gone. For now. “ Ah, I see you lured me back here then Jack, I must thank you”. . The power of the court must have already taken hold on him as well. The glutton was normally a monster a creature with no soul or personality consumed by his own hunger. But in this place of madness. Hunger, Pride, fear. All other attributes were overridden by the infecting madness. Suppressing them and their effects.

Here in this place of madness. The Lord of Gluttony. And the Lord of Pride. Could speak once as equals. “ I do not relish being the monster that I am, and having to escape you and the Lord of Fear last time by leaving this place was not of my own choice. But I think that life as a mindless monster is preferable to death...at least for our kind, wouldn’t you agree Jack?”. The Lord of Pride positioned himself against the wall, using it to balance his eight and then pushing himself up from the sitting position. “ It all really depends on just how long you spend in here....”. Jack grinned. A chuckle coming from his mouth. Then a fit of laughter. He didn’t want to laugh, he shouldn’t want to laugh.It was this place. The face of the Glutton had an expression of concern upon it.

“ What is wrong with you Lord of Pride...you...”.

Jack opened his eyes, and visible now were specs of yellow dancing around that crimson halo. The Glutton stepped forward, hand on his sword. “ I see, so you are being taken by madness...”. Jack laughed again. “ Its this place....you know, Ceila explained it to me...there’s a shadow of an ancient madness demon looming over this place...the reason we can’t use our powers, the reason that you aren’t a monster here...its because everything else is being suppressed by the infection...hehehehe...”. The glutton raised an eyebrow. “ Infection, what infection?”. Jack let out a resounding laughter that filled the stone halls.

“ The infection of madness of course, when in this place it crawls into your head, starts to change you slowly but surely...And with the amount of time you’ve spent in here...it won’t be long before it gets you....either I kill you or keep you here long enough for the madness to consume you....either way...I win... “

The Lord of Gluttony seemed to be weighing up his options at this point. Was it better to live life as a beast, or as a drooling monster filled with constant shame? Before he had become a Glutton the demon that was to become it, had been one that was on the road to Pride, and Pride and Madness were directly opposed. Could he live his life in shame? No, better to be an all powerful monster. “ I am afraid I cannot allow that Jack”. The Glutton turned to leave the court and its spell. But Jack raised up his hands and a wall of fire consumed the entrance. “ No....I cannot allow you to leave....we both..die here...”. The Glutton was silent for a few moments facing the flames, the warmth of them on his face. His hands shot down to his sword, taking it in a double grip he rushed at Jack, letting out his battle roar. The last time Jack had faced the Glutton in this place, the Glutton had the advantage i that he was a far better swordsman, Jack had the advantage however in numbers, having the leader of fear Jonah with him. But this time it was one on one and Jack had to rely on his own martial skills because his other powers were blocked out. Thankfully since their last encounter he had the chance to work on those, including his ability at martial arts and the sword. Jack met the sword of the Glutton with a block from his Augmented arm, the strength of the Glutton was impressive, but in Jack’s transformed state, the strength and power of his draconian arm gave him the slightest edge, enough to stop the blade in its tracks and with one quick tug pull it aside. But the Glutton was experience. He moved with his blade rather than allow it to be yanked out of his hands. Throwing his body in the same direction and moving into a roll. Jack’s grip broken. He prepared for a strike back, which came next. The Lord of Gluttony moved from the roll into a sweeping forward slash, it was quick, speedy. Lacking the sheer power of the previous strike, but with the Glutton’s natural strength it would still be enough to sheer an un-armoured opponent, reaping them like a scythe through wheat. Jack managed to jump back. His increased dexterity on top of the transformation helping with the avoidance. The Glutton smirked. “ you’ve gotten better, you might not even need the fear demon this time”. Jack’s own Pride bolstered, but it was instantly pushed back down by the madness forcing itself upon their bodies.

EXP: 1112
PWC:1005

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PostSubject: Re: Fall of Pride   Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:54 pm

It was hard continuing to fight, every second Jack was beginning to see things that weren’t really there, he had too keep bringing up his pride in an attempt to stave off the madness. Those others who were not of madness didn’t know how to deal with the insanity that infected them, he and the Glutton would be reduced to mindless wrecks of drool and self harm if they were to become demons of madness, not that this would have been a bad thing in the broader sense of the world. In fact things would probably go a lot more smoothly with both he and the Glutton trapped in a box of their own minds. They clashed together again, Jack looked down at the Glutton who was pushing against him. “ One thing I don’t understand Jack, I’ve spent longer in here than you have over a longer period of time, why is it that you are being effected thusly?...you aren’t so weak willed are you?”. Jack pushed back. Should he tell him about the man behind the door? No probably better not to. Jack ignored him, striking out with a foot and pushing the glutton back a few steps. He threw himself forwards.

But it was a faint. A trap. The glutton turned his blade and...Jack felt something akin to a punch. The glutton far too near him for comfort. Warm blood spilling down his shirt. The glutton whispered in his ear. “ I’m sorry Jack. But I refuse to die here...”. Sword withdrawn, the glutton kicked him off the blades edge. He began to breathe heavily, each one laboured, painful. The Glutton was looking up at him. Waiting for him to die. But he held onto his pride. That last slither of it keeping the man behind the door at bay. Let me out Jack. Jack shook his head, refusing to release the power of the demon. “...its ...mine”. Jack spoke through encrusted lips. The Glutton looked at him. Confused. Perhaps, but you’ll have no chance to reclaim it if you let us die here...I can defeat this Glutton, your powers are restricted by the madness of this place, mine however are free to be unleashed....I can overwhelm him with our magic....Jack...release me”.. He thought, they were going to die here anyways. And perhaps the pride of defeating the glutton would be enough to chain the man behind the door again. Unlikely but not impossible. With that. He released the wall of pride upon the path. And Jack’s eyes went yellow. The Glutton continued looking down and shook his head as he saw the full change. “ I pity you Lord of Pride....may you find more honour in Sheol than you would living as a beast of madness”. He plunged his sword down once again into Jack’s body. But that was the man behind the doors plan. The yellow eyed demon was capable of taking far more damage than Jack was, madness made him almost semi impervious to pain. And when the sword came in, he gripped it so that it could not be with drawn. Trapping the glutton there for those vital few seconds. Seconds enough to allow Jacks blood to ignite with black fire. Seconds enough for those fires to reach out and begin to consume everything in the localised area. The court of madness. The Glutton. The Cavern. The last thing to be heard before it exploded outwards. Was the laughter of the madness demon. Jubilant at his own success.

The sphere of hellfire consumed everything within 150 feet, the force of it enough to collapse the court of madness.. Fulfilling Jack’s plan at destroying it when the Glutton had been defeated. It was enough to collapse the cavern area they were in, rocks tumbling down around the area. Lava reacting violently all around them. And then in that chaos. There was pride. The man behind the door had at this stage, accepted death. So, without even needing Jack to do so, he moved back. Jack, we did it...but....we’re dying Jack was silent on the inside, but the silence was merely a confirmation of this horrible truth. Do you mind if I...share this with you? Jack allowed it, too weak to reply to anything. He took on the strength of the man behind the door. Pushing aside the debris of the court of madness from atop him. He slowly began to crawl over it and out towards the lava. “ Knew...this was a one way trip..”. He whispered. The man behind the door laughed weakly. And I told you , you were an idiot. Jack nodded. Probably right. But here they were. One eye red, the other yellow. Both seeing the same things, The end of the world. Well. At least for them.

The cavern was still collapsing. And here was Jack, pushing himself into a sitting position on the shores of the sea of lava. “ Looks...familiar doesn’t it?”. The man behind the door silently agreed with that logic. The wings of the sparrow. Other books in the man behind the doors memory. Even that one book in Jack’s library. Jack, the corridor. Its collapsing. If I don’t go back now, you’ll be stuck with me forever”. Jack thought about that for a moment, the pain was intense. Almost enough that he couldn’t think clearly. But he let out a laugh, albeit with some effort. “ Forever...is the next few minutes...besides...when we go to Sheol together...at least...if we’re confined to the one body...we might have company in that darkness...”. The man behind the door let out his own laugh. [i] Sheol?...with you? How thrilling...I look forward to company in the dark”. For Jack now. Entering the darkness didn’t seem to be so bad anymore. Death was a welcome release. It was what he was leaving behind that was painful. Sera. Iskra. Jonah, Ceila. So many unfulfilled dreams. He’d never remembered what had happened before the dawn. As his vision began to fade. And the sound of the lava roaring got louder. The words of the man behind the door cradled Jack into that eternal sleep.

“ Who you were back then doesn’t matter. Who you were now...is what you’ll be remembered for”.

EXP:1163
PWC: 1044

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