Devils in the Woodlands

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Devils in the Woodlands

Post by Nethuama on Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:23 am

-[Dawn of Entropy.] It had played for all the underground to see. For those days and hours, the Siege of Nexxian City was broadcasted live to the unsavory world. Initially Ashcroft sought to document this spectacle under mere curiosity. Alyssa was the only member to have directly interacted with one of the major players; an average man of great built by the name of King Bradley. Who he was, whether dead or alive, mattered little as their meeting had been prematurely cancelled. Scouts lurking in safety behind the walls of Nexxian had managed to transmit their findings; messages spoke of superior figures synonymous with both Bradley and another simply referred to as Hohenhiem.

That message was soon cut before further details came, the Celesin hastily jamming foreign radio access. It became apparent that this man would not be delivering the drugs they continued to withhold from the numerous patrons. All this was certainly confusing, even as he watched from the heavens, so to speak. Why not give their property back before throwing yourself into conflict? However, it was not until those subtle hints of downfall arose that the Hunter rapidly shared the television frequency. A fluctuating picture sold to the highest bidder, of course. Sycophantic and crude, living vicariously in the face of true wars. But how? Utilizing an archaic camera apparatus, Ebon circled about the fray, filming from an uncinematic bird’s eye view. The now disgusting amalgamation of man-turned-computer Marionetteo did what he could to provide a proper view of those memorable moments.
 
Although there was only so much one could view in such basic resolution, the wealthy audience witnessed an event that changed history: the death of the army’s generals. Ashcroft, especially, was intrigued by whom had dealt the final blow, an individual he knew all too well. Khooey… It was amusing, having seeing this other side of her. Such an act only made him yearn for their hypothetical reuniting, ending in so many ways but each one more tragic than the next. Despite being a prominent target, she was still a mere tool to finding those like her but greater. Again, this was only reverie; reality being those remaining of Bradley’s forces were ultimately considered thieves. Accountability was passed to who or what took the reins of what remained of the once vast army, of course. Possibly unknowingly as their blitz seemed nigh-immediate, as if the aforementioned shipment had found itself in their march. Regardless, Ashcroft’s eyes followed their retreat through the outskirts until they vanished beneath the canopy of a boarding forest. One could almost hear the fists of disappointment echo through the lands, including Frost whose language did not expand beyond cawk.

While attending to other matters, swarms of Marionetteo’s drones explored through the forests. Launched from a hidden terminal miles from the shore and far beyond the now destroyed World Market, relaying information down their lines and then across the Vasten waters. It was possible those remaining forces of the deceased Bradley had camouflaged themselves from the many forms of satellites, including Ashcroft’s own. His were far less advanced than those from, as per example, the Dorian. They served their purpose hitherto, yet now resorting a more direct method of surveillance under such circumstances. They floated upon the waves of terrestrial magnetism, systems powered by rudimentary Claire batteries that served many a purpose beyond their main function. As energy passed through the Anilite structures, dimensional forces would be channeled through each particle, further enhancing it but remained otherwise harmless.

Wahwahwahwah… Innocuous displacement of the atmosphere created a jarring but faint cry through the pillars of wood, a sound overshadowed in horror when one had a closer look at these machines. Heads of various animals ranging from domesticated to wild hung from the drone’s body via swiveling arm, their mouths agape as meta-sensory cameras reached forth at different lengths and diameters. Their shining eyes were replaced by flash lenses extending a half inch from their sockets. Although used to resourcefully protect the equipment, the very sight of their twisted expressions and knitted flesh brought a minor psychological affect. This was to ward those from approaching them through their paths, but would it work with those they were searching for? They dared to take on the many factions without fear, so it was expected these to be viewed simply as an interloping oddity.

Months had passed before progress had been made. Through the thicket their great camp was finally sighted, the last of the alchemist army. A pig, so to speak, maneuvered through the trees, thirty feet from its lush floor as it attempted to get closer, the clicking of focusing its lens mingled with the droning of its radar. Through what vantage point it had achieved, it hovered there in a slight sway as its engines equalized as best it could. Kishkish… In brief flashes, pandimensionally charged particles bathed the area in harmless pulses in front of it. A series of black-and-white stills displaying their very auric signature poured through, compressed and sent instantaneously to those nearest to it. Each was approximately a mile away from one another. Carrying the image across invisible tethers, they would repeat this process until it reached the terminal, cataloging their findings before sending it to Felpyre.

Ashcroft knew they still resided in the forest, determined to seek their location across the seemingly endless horizon of trees dividing the great factions and cities. The rim was properly monitored, knowing that their possible move from cover would only compromise their survival. However, the Hunter was looking only to retrieve his lost pallets, gallons Ifriti Black worth of funding revenue left to the hands of others. Anyways, that literal pig-headed drone soon tried to move closer, strafing through the trees in a closing spiral formation. Kishkishkish-clickclickclick… Every twenty feet, it stopped momentarily to take more pictures whilst signaling others of its current location. Its goal was to travel a close enough distance to perhaps allow a clearer identification, but their flashes and presence alone became a mild beacon to those of supermundane senses. Who knew how they would react to these encroaching machines? Their discovery was an inevitability, especially having stole from the wrong person.


Last edited by Nethuama on Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:15 am; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Devils in the Woodlands

Post by TheHomunculi on Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:00 am

It had been a hard few months for this militia. There had been far too many battles and deaths within the military force that had brought Nexxian City to its knees. The Iron Infantry had been divided up by captains who had killed one another for dominance over the entirety of the militia. The Chimera soldiers had been kept on tight leashes. And of course the Alchemists had been hard at work to provide for more of their army and teach the newer soldiers how to transmute as well as continue their work. Things had been thrown in chaos with the deaths of not only King Bradley but also the man who had made it all possible. Van Hohenheim. The man whose souls had made up this army. The man's philosopher's stone had been massive one with a soul count so large that it had seemed to go on forever. Hohenheim had divided up the souls into fragments for his students to use.

He had been the creator. Their master. Their God. Even Bradley had adhered to the man's authority over them all despite being the more militaristic compared to the master. In the end, it had all been for nothing. Hohenheim was dead. Bradley was dead. And the army that had been there had been smashed to bits and pieces. but one thing had been decided unanimously among the entire remnant.

They had to leave Nexxian behind. They had to leave the mountains that they had drained of resources. They had needed to abandon their base underground in an attempt to survive. They had not known when the Celesin, Dorian, and Nexxian forces would converge on them. It could have been any day. But regardless, they were outmanned and outgunned on all sides. So they ran like the dogs they were. And that had been when the in-fighting had began.

The alchemists who were in charge of manufacturing not only the weapons but also the food source and even the soldiers themselves had thought to make themselves in charge. The captains of the Iron Infantry had thought differently considering it was their main fighting force that comprised most of the army. Might before right. The alchemists had thought to hold the remaining souls hostage to cease any more production on an army. The chimera-human hybrids had also thought to mention themselves as candidates for rule. Even the Homunculus who had been far older and more dangerous had demanded leadership over them all. But the envious one was not Bradley. He would never be the military leader that Bradley had. Needless to say things had escalated and death had been on all sides before the matter was put aside. Survival was what mattered here. And escaping the fate of their brothers and sisters that had died at the city.

They ran. Ran for the forested area that was beyond Nexxian's border. The underground city had been drained clean of all weapons, medicine, and food. Buildings had been burned. And their thralls had also been taken as well for further experimentation. Needless to say, moving an army of any size was bound to be slow. And yet somehow they had made it through. The forested area was taken and a base of operations was set up by the assemblage of captains. The leader for this remnant had kept a firm grip on the leaders and the men under their commands. Once more another facility had been constructed underground. While the satellites above owned by the various factions of Sanctum might have tracked their movements into that forest, it was likely that they were going to be lost when the tunnels were constructed and the army disappeared one soldier at a time. How far they could have gone was anybody's guess. Maybe they travelled miles to get away from the madness and failure that was Nexxian City. Or perhaps they had just gotten lost when escaping Nexxian and the dangers that lied there.

If the satellites had been tracking their presence then it was more than likely that it would be known just how large the army was. They had many a great soldier as well as thralls who were being used. The photos that were taken by these pigs would show an odd sight within that forest. Trees that had been cut down and gravel that had been cleared away for more proper pavement to be made. The trees had been used to make barriers approximately 30 yards away from the fence. The trees had been cut down and transmuted to be in the form of sharp spiked edges.

A large chain link fence had been constructed and seemed to expand quite a ways to form a perimeter of some sort. There were a number of men and women who were positioned behind that chain link fence who were carrying boxes. The clothing on them was eerily similar to one another. But unlike the humans who were carrying weapons while dressed in paramilitary attire, these humans wore what almost looked like matching jumpsuits. A grey sweater and grey pants that were likely a few sizes too large for the people, but alas they were wearing it. The soldiers were positioned not only on the ground but also on a platform that was overlooking the "facility" that had been constructed when they had first arrived at the forest and made it this far. The grey clothed thralls were busy with handling what looked like boxes of food. Perhaps a foraging party had been sent out. Or there was a farm nearby that had been drained dry? Who knew really?

The first of the pigs who got too close would find itself.....jumped on. Twenty feet in height it might have been floating but something would leap upward and land atop of it. The sheer weight behind the creature downed the drone in second as it might just look up to see what had caused it to crash. A grey fox sat atop of it, just gazing down at it with an almost curious expression. The fox would just stare before, all too frightening, the corner of its mouth seemed to edge upward in what might be considered a smile. A smile that seemed almost predatory as it would push down on the pig with enough weight to start to crack and break through the 'skin' of this thing until it broke under the pressure. That paw would push through until it came out the other end and the drone was no longer able to function. The fox's head would throw back as a howl escaped through its fangs after this was done.

The warning had been sent. They had been found.
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Re: Devils in the Woodlands

Post by Nethuama on Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:14 am

-[Dawn of Entropy.] Awareness had, expectantly, fallen unto mutuality; the subject to whom discovered the interloping machine being quite the strangest. An animal beyond any other is what one would describe, not a sniper nor armed scout had spotted the levitating eye of Our Nostrum. But it did little to hide itself from the world, its flashing lenses and mechanical humming apparent to even the most mundane of people. When it came to these gravity-defying machines, there was no sophisticated protocol to their behavior. Purely they were designated as retrievers of information. Their sole purpose was to survey the areas programmed into their system, marking whatever was deemed interesting by the now gluttonous Marionetteo. Being an unknown fort amidst the dividing thicket drew attention already, but the readings themselves piqued the interest even if danger lurked about.  

These drones were easy to manufacture and required a small moiety in their resources to produce many. Under Ashcroft’s notoriety, they rapidly became recognized by some of the many factions upon the immense planet. Their survivability was limited depending on the region they wished to establish surveillance, often shot down by Black Sun and Celesin forces the Hunter sought most to observe. Nexxian were somewhat laxed in the face of these flying intruders, possibly viewing them more as target practice than a security threat. As for the neutral World Market lying north of them, these drones were more common than Ashcroft’s street urchins sneaking about the derelict infrastructures. The children employed by the puppet master would even interact with these machines –  their reflections staring back at them as they reported in what words they could string together. Janus’s shop was watched by both, thus explaining their prompt advance upon the sector. But were these young spies punished like the adults under Ashcroft’s dime? Hardly, as they were easily dismissed, yet would walked away merely unrewarded; majority of them were poor and used these rewards to feed both themselves and family. Their lack of maturity did not allow them to weigh the prospect of their failure, learning only that completion earns what is wanted.

Regardless, they managed to succeed in nearly every task, albeit being a very small one that even children could rival or surpass in some circumstances. And it was here that it served its worth before and expected but unlikely decommission. Clickclickclickclick… Slowing down, the pig-faced aerial drone slowed its sideways paths, beginning to ascend before suddenly there was a signature charging forth. The bearings heard faintly from beneath its engines’ humming rose to life as it attempted to turn its focus upon whatever approached. But it was too late, sighted through the live-feed as an unidentifiable blur… Then suddenly there was a great pressure upon its top, the creature’s trajectory causing it to uncontrollably veer to in the same direction. Wee-ooo! Wee-ooo! Internal sensors chirped wildly as it lost equilibrium, casted into the face of a large white oak in a nigh-echoing crash. Indeed, a test of the nimble and otherworldly vulpinesque creature’s footing, the drone would ricochet from the tree to the forest floor. There it parted the earth, skidding approximately four feet until it stopped, sparks shooting from disconnections and damage.
 
The creature, whether it was still on top or around the camera, it found itself staring into the lenses. Their meeting of eyes was short as its paw came pressing down, cracking the glass until its impaling limb brought complete static. As it laid there seemingly destroyed, something triggered within at the crescendo of the fox’s cry. Beep, beep, beep… The sound intensified, their intermittence becoming shorter and shorter between until a second passed and… Boom! If it’s crash did not raise initial attention alongside the creature’s call, the four foot explosion surely would. What birds remained despite the prior sounds fled immediately, twittering loudly of their ‘oh shit moment’ in a great fleeing bird symphony. It mattered not if the unnaturally strong fox fled or not, Marionetteo had been watching once that first illuminating pulse raised a literal alarm on his side. So, there the man-turned-system sat, naked upon an extra-large throne of archaic circuitry, sweaty rolls of sun-deprived flesh hanging like dough over what was considered armrests. Centered directly in his chamber, he was surrounded by walls of computers and proportionally appropriate fans. Each one having several cables extending forth into plugs integrated into his body, swaying with each movement like his excessive body fat (about seven feet from the metal floor they hung). Scar tissue held the outlets in place, staple-riddled incision lines stretching inches from the visible implants. Some of the wounds were slightly discolored, possibly symptoms of rejection or devices newly cradled by insulting lipids. The stench was overwhelming, especially to those with a heightened sense of smell, but at least there was accommodations for the help.    

Occupying the space around this monster of a man were attractive and well-groomed slaves, all three nearly as naked as he. Chained to the base of his seat, they wore only snuggly padded shock collars and a needed rudimentary gasmask. Two were tasked with the daily and sometimes hourly cleaning of Marionetteo; soaping and brushing the foul-smelling yeasty build up beneath the folds. Although less glamorous than the girl ordered to directly serve the abhorrent man, the pair were not obligated to pleasure him. A notable few women perished beneath the heavy slab of a stomach, and unbeknownst to the current she was to be the next accidental victim. Many vomited at first as he lifted his stomach with what strength he had, making the mistake of raising their masks too far above their lips. After all, he preferred the worst of sexual performances for those unfortunate to not clean. At first he showed some courtesy to this woman as well, beckoning her with a snap and point before the aforementioned lift. Horror was evident in her body language, hesitantly crawling into the cave in reluctant search. Her stomach wrenching, her hands barely touching the sickeningly moist skin. For the most part her efforts were ignored but expected, staring to the screens with eyelids kept open through dull metal hooks – each distorted image passing along the glossy surface of his orbs, dancing into obscurity with every periodic saline drip.

It was over once the alarm in his chambers would sound, dropping the inescapable mass of flesh onto the woman. She began to struggle, her screams muffled beneath the rippling flesh, pushing to no avail as she was unfortunately sucked into the pocket. Clickclackclickclickclackclack… Her fight for air went unnoticed, that arm that had once elevated the very fat now stretched to a mess of levered keys much like a type-writer. Still disregarding his slave’s deteriorating status, he scratched beneath his glorious gynecomastic breasts, huffing as he hurried to establish communication with he and the infamous Hunter. The moment those sausages he called fingers finished, the screen would flicker into activity. In half a second, the resolution stabilized and there stood Ashcroft without his mask. Before the Ari’ni had the opportunity to question the meaning of their chat, Marionetteo would speak. As if the breath was taken from his lungs, he huffed out almost every word, “We… Found…,’ Taking one final lungful of oxygen, he let loose the final word, “Them but I… L-lost… contact with Piggy… Oh-eighty-two….” Ashcroft simply shook his head, smiling regardless as the man attempted to regain his composure, witnessing the overly obese computer snatching the respirator dangling beside him. During their conversation, that unlucky slave’s desperate movements slowly drifted into lethargy, her fellow sisters in chains watching her slowly go limp. They paused their duties, silently observing until the victim no longer moved, the rest of her lifeless body leaning against his massive thighs. She was dead. Instead of interrupting the person who could very well ask them to do the same, they went about their business.

After their momentary meeting of one another’s gaze, they cried to themselves, shaking at what had just occurred before them. Marionetteo finally took notice of the pair of legs poking out from over his fat. “Hey,” He said to the corpse, slapping at this belly to see if she were alive or perhaps to tell her she was doing a terrible job. After a few heys fell into silence, he summoned a great breath and yelled to the guards outside. Now it was their job to pull her body from the abyss that was between his legs, hauled off for other more horrendous uses.

“Once tha’ otha’s appeah, patsch meh’through. I’d lak’ a personal interaction,” That smirk now locked to his frightening visage, he waited after the blobby picture of Marionetteo flickered into black. But he did not wait long as the seemingly countless closed in on the camp’s location –  One by one they emerged from the thicket and to the exterior five minutes after the vulpine’s call to readiness. From every flank they came into sight, hovering at varying altitudes yet there was no image captured. They swayed idly in place, having stopped a respectable amount of yards from the walls even as they watched over it. As their presence grew to a congregation of devastating numbers, they would abruptly act almost in unison. Fum! Fum! Fum! Spotlights flashed to life from the lenses, innocuous energy surging forth to the ground in blinding conical pillars. They moved their sights onto whoever scampered above ground be it fleeing or preparing, but the drones did no more.

Eeeeee! The collective screech of microphones blasted through the region, stopping as quickly as it had sounded once the Hunter’s venomous southern drawl came seething unto the ears of Bradley’s remaining forces, “Sahlutashens dehmoh’alized forces o’ tha o’stensible King Bradleh an’ Hohenhaim,” His voice, although scratching to the sense, did carry an almost cordial tone. Anyone intelligent enough could envision the shit-eating grin he spoke through. “Ya’ll mai’ be askin’ yo’selves ‘Shiet, whai awh these machines surroundin’ ow complechs?’ Causin’ all kinds o’ ruckus, huh?” There was a pause, as if waiting for a response despite its rhetorical nature, but of course he continued – Seeking to enlighten those ignorant to Bradley’s former agendas, “Yo’ thievin’ fohmah leadah, Bradleh, had stohlen uh large quantity o’ somethin’ very important ta me; glass bottles o’ liquid black lak’ phitch.”

Ashcroft’s voice soon dropped, losing its jovial tenor for a more professional approach, “Now ah em a very forgivin’ indivijul, seekin’ onlay retrieval o’ what iz ma’ine,” Words notwithstanding, he would preemptive initiate the deployment of the more aggressive drones. From mechanical racks inside the terminal, a cluster ranging between a hundred and hundred fifty flickered online. Cliiiick! Detached, they levitated until each was properly engaged, waiting for their mechanical brethren.

Promptly they sped forth through the metal tunnels, eventually exiting through doors hidden from the outside - having began the process of opening just prior to their awakening, spewing out like a warm of locusts. Unlike the surveillance drones, these were armored and significantly larger in both camera apparatus and body. Tucked beneath metal blocks on both sides were two high-caliber barrels suspended by a track. Being at approximately three feet in length, these weapons were to be activated; the barrels slide forward, subsequently allowing room for the Clairetech device to drop down and lock in. Although not quite as effective in some circumstances, they were used to limit the risks and death of the Vanguard Corps. Like the others, its sensory equipment relied on the makeshift protection from the skulls of once living subjects. However, these were much more horrific; skulls with their dying flesh sewn into twisted expressions. Man and woman with their bodiless heads hanging blow, jaws opened beyond the hinges as lenses lie clustered in the mouthful. It was unknown who these people once were or who they were associated with, knowing only that their purpose after death was no more dignified than suffocating beneath Marionetteo’s fold.  

Ashcroft wasted no breath to address his ultimatum as measures were set in place, “An’ seein’ az both Bradleh an’ Hohenhaim had met uh premature demise,” Now the tone shifted again, exhibiting a half-assed compassion to the deceased lords of the army, yet a means to Segway his true reasoning, “I will give ya’ll until tha’ mo’ violent machines arrive ta present what ah em speakin’ of.” The war drones rushed through the trees, the screaming of their engines, maneuvering through and below the boughs of trees. Animals drinking at a babbling river suddenly froze, ears perking as their heads following until the cries of bulky anti-grav systems would burst from the tree line. Of course, they began to flee, only to be drenched by the water pushed aside from the outward pressure. And like that, they vanished into the other side, nearing the slivered army’s location faster than the others. “Whoevah stands as ya’ll superior, beh it council ow man, you will take this responsibility,” He did not know who or what took command of the remaining, seeing them only disappear into the forest they resided in now. Ashcroft wished to expedite the process through charisma rather than through bloodshed, “An’ I presume frum ya’ll curren’ state, ya’ll don’ want fuhtha’ conflict, lak’ mos’ certainly maiself so le’s try’ta avoid unnecessary casualties.” Possibly he was correct, he did not know. What was on his mind was, as said, retrieval of what was rightfully his. He did not care if all perished under the many salvos but felt it was easier taking the initially firm diplomatic avenue.
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