S M The boys (and girl) are back in town.

Sigmund Vrell

Cosmic Brain
Level 3
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Sigmund was, at first, pleased with how his day was going. He had taken Sutor to be nothing more than Victor and Suwako driving the same body, but he had clearly misunderstood fusion on a fundamental level. A chance to guide the amalgam in a more righteous direction than either of her constituents wasn’t one that the cultist was going to turn down, even if he suspected that her offer to talk faith was simply to sweeten the deal. However, his enthusiasm was quickly quashed when he took a few steps out into their new world.

“Gods…” he gasped, raising the Manic Codex over his head as a makeshift sunshade. The high priest peeked out from under the cover of his impromptu parasol, looking up at the ball of furious light in the sky. “And I thought the Abyss was bad…”

“You alright, high priest?” Agate asked, the crippled scout dangling over Amethyst’s shoulder. The muscular woman let out a little sound of concern as she glanced down at the scion.

“He’s right, you look like you’ve never seen the sun before.”

“Don’t be absurd.” Sigmund replied. “I’ve seen the sun… hrmm... half-a-dozen times?”

“That’s more times than me.” Opal groaned, crouched in the shadow of the ship. They had the hood of their robes pulled over their head, attempting to hide within the deep cowl. “I hate the sun. It’s a big stupid ball of gas and it thinks it’s better than me.”

“Nice city though.” Amethyst noted, letting out a little whistle as she gazed up at the towering walls. “You going to come see it willingly, or do I have to carry you too?”

“Amy, they’re not going to respond to that.” Agate said quietly before craning his neck over at the shaman. “Opal, I didn’t realise you were going to let a little celestial body make you its bitch.”

The masked cultist grumbled quietly before slowly rising to their feet. Taking a deep breath, they rushed across the rather short span between the shelter of the shade and the small shadow cast by Sigmund’s tome.

“Skooch over.” They sighed, one hand taking a hold of their side of the book while the other fumbled in their robes. After a moment, Opal produced a large rock from within their vestments and hurled it furiously into the sky with a triumphant “Eat it, asshole!”

The assorted cultists chuckled at their friend’s antics, but deep down the cold-accustomed group shared the sentiment. Along with the rest of the Inverxian immigrants, the followers of Gal’skap made their way from the ship to the great city before them, gazing up in awe at the sheer size of it.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.” Sigmund muttered, amazed, lowering the Codex as he was swallowed up by the immense shadow cast by city walls.

“It’s pretty big.” Sutor agreed, nodding along and stroking her chin thoughtfully. “I mean, I could go bigger, but…”

Sigmund raised a hand to cut her off, rubbing his eyes. “You’re incorrigible.”

“Oh man, you look just like your dad…” The fusion said, breaking out into a fit of laughter before abruptly stopping, an expression of deep thought washing over their face. “Hmm… Now that I think about it... “

“Is something the matter?” The cultist asked, suddenly concerned.

“It’s nothing.” Sutor said, snapping out of her contemplative expression. “But if you see any giant pig men, please run.”

“Oh, of course, sure thing.” Sigmund said, raising an eyebrow. “Any elaboration on that or…?”

“Maybe when you’re older, kiddo.” The taller woman chuckled, ruffling the scion’s hair.

“I’m twent-“

“Ah-ah-ah.” Sutor cut him off, raising a finger. “You might be an adult but, like Cho, you refuse to become a man.”

“What was that?” The earthbender asked, shooting a look over his shoulder.

“I said ‘YOU REFUSE TO-“

“SOOOO, let’s see this city, huh?” Sigmund cut in, nervously waving his comrades towards the gates.
 

Victor Wolfe

Level 4
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Mesa Roja
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Faction
Babylonia
Following the high priest into the city Sutor was unsettlingly quiet. The warmth of the sand beneath the soles of their boots, the oppressive gaze of the sun, a lone city as an artificial oasis in the desert, a beacon of order in the chaos. It was all so nostalgic. A warm smile spread across the goddesses face as they wandered through the winding streets of the city passing small peddlers stalls selling jewellery, draperies and from the heavenly aroma in the air, spices and cooked meat of some description, the exotic scent causing the parties mouth to water.

“Ok Sigmund, change of plan, we take the city after we eat. That smell is almost as divine as I, and besides, a good chance to observe the locals.”

Before the high priest could respond, the fusion rushed over to a stall and ordered three trays, each with meat and spices on sticks, passing one each to Flavia and Sigmund respectively as the trio found a seat at an outdoor bench. They drew attention from wandering eyes, their unique styles of dark clothing and almost full-body coverings being of particular interest.

“You know, master, I have a question.” The assassin's apprentice leaned forward between bites of her kebab.

“I feel as if you have more than one, but I am in an open mood, so ask away” Sutor replied with a coy wink. Sigmund rolled his eyes resisting an audible groan.

“Why do you eat? I wouldn’t think a goddess would require sustenance.” Leaning back Sutor spun the skewer around their finger-like they would a dagger as they seemed deep in thought.

“Because it’s fun.” They replied with a shrug as his student stared, a disbelieving, puzzled look on their face.

“Ok, I might be a deity, but I still have a human side, I feel everything. Every nice flavour, the feel of the sun on my skin, the rubbing of skin on skin. I am experiencing all of this stuff for the first time. Sure those two had these experiences but it's different. Now imagine that human need for entertainment and fun but in an immortal body. That’s what I am, I want to experience everything!” Sutor turned to Sigmund with a surprisingly warm smile.

“Although there are certain things that we have experienced that I am certain we would both rather not experience again. Death is interesting isn’t it, my cultist comrade. All that pain and suffering, then it stops, and the coldness of the void hits as the warmth of life leaves you. Assuming you even have the time to feel the pain. Now Sigmund, imagine that, over and over again over years. Never-ending, always coming back, no matter how hard they get put down, no rest and no meeting their maker. And there you might be able to understand all that low key angst that my edgy father tries to hide with humour.” Sutor giggled a little as they finished their meal.

“I don’t know the exact circumstances, but I can’t say I’m not sympathetic to Victor’s plight. It must have been frustrating to be denied his glorious end time and time again. That said, the possibility to pursue your goals without death as an obstacle is priceless. The Vrells fought long and hard for an imperfect version of what you are describing.” Sigmund responded, choosing his words carefully.

“It is never really about a glorious end with Victor, no matter how glorious the death he will always view it as a failure. It's a setback, the thought that he could spend tens of thousands of years watching countless comrades move on and fade and still never achieve his goals is an endless source of existential dread. He fears a reality where he has literally seen it all before and nothing brings a thrill anymore. Hehehe, such human worries. He finds out he can’t die and all he worries about is possible boredom.” Sutor sighed as they stood up and dusted themselves off before heading deeper into the city.

The empress led the way cutting through the crowds with the grace of a dancer, a light pat or push to allow their more frail allies to follow. Turning to Sigmund with a smirk “see, no need to take the quieter side paths, this is a piece of… Fuck!” Sutor found themselves on the floor staring at the sun in the sky, they had not noticed the light but quick pounding of feet, nor the crowd starting to open up ahead of them when a tall but lithe stranger ran into the fusion, knocking them off balance.

“Ow! Watch where you are going! Kid?” Favia rushed over to help, Sigmund also grabbing an arm, although much less urgent and clearly trying to conceal a smile as the pair helped the fusion to their feet.

The stranger was wearing white robes with blue trim, a strange metallic bracer on each arm, although on the ground they appeared tall, over six foot to be exact. There was something oddly familiar about the person in front of them. Unlike the many villagers around them, this person felt different, not a part of the collective hive mind but an individual. Sutor leaned forward trying to get a better look at the face under the white hood, the stranger recoiling and looking down.

“Oh come on, good sir! You barged into me, I would merely like to know your face, after all, I might have gotten hurt and who will I go to to pay the medical bills?”

“Something tells me you will heal up just fine.” The stranger replied in an unusually familiar voice, almost like someone they knew that had picked up a strange foreign accent after a few years.

“Hmm, just who are you? You sound almost like you are familiar with little old me, and in my opinion that makes it all the ruder that you won’t show your face!” Sutor started to get annoyed as they started to walk towards the still down stranger, a drip of sweat from inside their hood dropping onto the stone path.

“I do know that you have really beautiful eyes miss.” Sutor recoiled a little, their face turning slightly red as the back of their hand came up to their face

“Ohohoho! Of course I do, boy, but thank you for noticing, why they are quite… and he is gone” In the brief moment of distraction the stranger had rolled into a sprinter start and launched himself into the crowd, darting out of sight.

Sigmund smacked a closed fist against an open palm his small smile from before turning into a look of horror. Then deep thought, and then a mix of concern and joy, a full gambit of emotions. He had figured out where he had heard the voice before. Not wanting to give away the surprise to the assassins, however, he decided to keep his mouth shut.

The trio made their way to the palace, the large stone structure casting an imposing shadow over the trio as they took the view in, the stairway to the palace surprisingly quiet. “Hm, maybe the leadership here isn’t as bad as the last ones, I don’t even think I would need to remodel this much! It’s like a proper Neo-Babylonian palace! No elven architecture to be seen! This is what you call moving up in the world my comrades!” Sutor squealed with glee as they reached the summit of the hill.

The palace gate was closed, two burly bearded guardsmen standing in front of each of the large doors adding to the intimidating aura the palace gave off. Sutor stalked forward a warm smile on their face.

“Gentleman, would you be so kind as to open the gate? We have an urgent meeting with your Ruler? Very important and I am sure they would not be happy if we were late.” The guard looked down his nose at the fusion, letting out a snort as he ignored the party for a solid minute, looking over to his fellow guard with a chuckle.

“So you have a meeting with the king? Funny that, because he isn’t here right now. Guess it could not have been that important, come back tomorrow and join the end of the line. You might get an appointment!” The guards chuckled.

With a stomp of their foot, Sutor’s warm smile turned into a threatening scowl. “Ok listen here Mr Guardsmen, I have two kinds of gold to offer, one of them is much less fun than the other, so for the better one, how much to get us into that throne room?”

The guard stared Sutor down with a deadpan expression. “There isn’t an amount you could offer that would betray our loyalty.”

Almost spitting the words he added, “so better get to that less fun option eh?” He readied his spear as Sutors hand drifted to the left side, grasping for a blade, only to find nothing. The other guard seemed to perk up and rushed over to his comrade as Sutor backed away, a look of dread across their face.

“He stole them, my babies!” walking back over to Sigmund and Flavia she put a hand over each of their shoulders and forcefully turned them towards the city.

“Sigmund, I need advice, theoretically, how much of this city could I get away with levelling with Ki blasts to find my daggers again? Just a hypothetical, because…” The ground started to tremble beneath their feet as pebbles started to rise.

“I need those back, what if someone is using the wrong techniques, what if someone is using them to cut beef or turkey rather than people?! The horror!” Sigmund stared at the fusion.

“Summon them back”

The trembling stopped.

“Oh… But I really want to kill the brat that stole them” Sutor whined

“You can do that without levelling a city, and you can do it much easier once we control the city.” Sigmund, cool, calm and collected as always, turned to the guards who were now rushing towards the pair.

“We are so sorry, we didn’t recognise the badges! You can wait inside, the King should be back shortly.”

Going quiet the god-empress looked at their lion pin badge, the ruby eyes shining in the sun. It couldn’t be, could it? Shaking away the hope, they lead the trio inside as they awaited the King of this land.
 
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