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Devil in the details

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INV ONLY Devil in the details

Post by drazukeloski July 11th 2024, 7:58 am

It had been a week or so since the long night. By the end of it, Artificer was sure of about only one thing. The cleanup was a disgusting pain in the ass. Stray wendigoes still in the city, vampire cabals emboldened by their successful hunts during the long night, active infestations of them still skulking about the city. Not to mention the easily impressionable humans starting cults. He was at his wit's end with those.

The old dodge, still covered in scratches from that night, made it's way down the dimply lit streets, the slight bronze shine of his mask visible through the shattered window on the driver's side. He suddenly swerves into the parking lot of an old abandoned mall, pulling into one of the parking spots. With a click, the car door opens...before falling off and hitting the floor with a metallic thud. Mauled mask stared at the door for a few moments, the dark lenses of his mask just as blank as his expression underneath it. Finally, he stands up with a grumble, stowing the keys in his pocket.

He makes his way around to the trunk of the vehicle, carefully pulling it open. Out of it, he pulls the remington 870 and slings it over his shoulder. He then sticks a ziplock bag of shells with runes carved drawn onto them into his coat pocket. Next comes the 1911 pistol, which he holsters on his hip. A few magazines are placed in a separate coat pocket that's easy to reach. The final tool? A bat covered in runes. Outside of that, all his usual mystical objects, cards and chalk and the like, were already on his person.

With everything needed now gathered, he crossed the parking lot, making his way through the broken mall doors. It was mostly dark within, but the occasional functioning light would flicker, shedding color upon the mess within. The mall was already abandoned previously, but the mess made during the long night certainly didn't help. As he got further in, chanting in one of the rooms towards the center of the mall became more audible. Artificer had to take in a deep breath to stop a scream of sheer exasperation and anger. It was Latin. Fucking Latin.

His thoughts were running a million miles a minute, primarily an internal monologue about how simple it would be to not summon demons and how people were still somehow choosing to do it anyways. His footsteps became more hurried as he got closer. The eyes under his mask widen as he turns the corner to find that the room, an old empty clothing store, was in fact not lit by a dim light. No. Four cloaked individuals were standing around an actively open portal, chanting. They hadn't noticed him yet on account of the noises that the portal was emitting.

Taking a moment to observe, Mauled Mask's stomach sunk. The ritual was halfway done. Whatever was on the other side was already on it's way. He had to move fast. Without delay, he moves towards the cultists. One goes flying across the room with a metallic ding and a kinetic pulse as he blindsides the man with that baseball bat, sending him straight through the drywall. As the next one turns about, Artificer swings his bat at knee level. The kinetic pulse causes the man to get his legs knocked out from under him as he flipped three times before hitting the floor. Right at that moment, one of the two remaining cultists manages to pull him into a headlock, while the other approaches with a dagger. Artificer swings his head, the back of that metal mask breaking the nose of the cultist behind him, breaking off the headlock. His arm reaches back to grab the cultist by the shirt as he stumbles backwards, roughly flinging him so that he staggers between him and the knife wielding cultist. Then, with a swing of his bat, the man is sent flying, taking the other cultist down with him as they hit eachother, rolling across the floor like discarded bottles afterwards.

With all the cultists down, Artificer pulls a stick of chalk out of his pocket. "You bastards really mucked it the fuck up this time." He states to the unconscious heap of demon summoners as he hurriedly begins to draw a formula of runes on the ground in a circle around the portal. Not only did he have to be fast, the formula would also have to be more complex than he'd ever worked with before if he wanted it to succeed. No errors, no misdrawn runes, precise exact terms with no technicalities. It was like drawing a lawyer contract in gibberish on a floor.

It takes about 10 minutes, which he was luckily given due to the ritual being partially unfinished. Once it's done, he makes his way back to the doorway of the room and takes up his shotgun, carefully aiming it at the maw of the portal. Would it help? If the seal didn't hold, unlikely. But it was better than nothing.
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INV ONLY Re: Devil in the details

Post by Tiʼamat July 11th 2024, 4:56 pm

Since time began there have been entities that have overseen or manipulated the cosmos. Entities responsible for some of its grandest creations, and its most horrific tragedies. Some of those entities possessed to physical body or interacted as certain forms of life came to possess; instead they found something they were adept at and in pursuing that to their fullest contributed to the cycle of Creation.

One such being was know for their proclivity toward Change. The most common and expedient means of that change being the destruction of what already existed. Some ascribe their actions to the inevitability of time and respect its role in the endless cycle of life and death. Others reviled it for its indiscriminate, merciless, and tireless hand in tragedies the universe over. Whatever they thought, and whoever they were, none of it mattered.

A star burning out of fuel? A little nudge kicked off the fireworks.

Two blackholes on their way to colliding in a billion years? Why wait? A million years was good enough. Just help them on their way.

Planet full of lifeforms on the verge of tearing itself apart? Too bad. Time for it to go.

None of it was performed out of malice. Circumstances were ripe for change. For destruction. When thiings fell apart something, even long after the fact, came of it.

Well, until Entropy got its fondest wish and everything fell apart and was so distributed it couldn't form anything new. That was fine too though. Then they'd destroy Creation itself and start over.

It wasn't a job or a duty; not even a hobby or something to pass the time. Annihilation was just what They did. Every second of every day for every eon, Age after Age.

Until today.

Somehow, some creature had divined Their Name. It was enough for them to Summon Them to a ball of dirty overwise unremarkable to Them -- just another flea-infested planet. One that found a way to conjure Them to their mess. Not that They wanted to go.

If Humans wanted their planet blown up there was no need to Summon Them; they could have just loudly demanded it, it would have been done free of cost -- not that there were financial exchanges among Primordials.

Abrutply, Ti'amat found herself crammed into a little itty bitty space in some cave. The Portal had erupted and filled with smoke that coalesced into a serpentine form twisted in upon itself taking up every inch of the sealed space. A bright red, reptilian eye stared out at the interior of the shop. More to the point, it had fixed on the Artificer the instant it sprang into being.

The chalk inscriptions had glowed brightly from her springing into existence as she sought to take up more space than the Artificer allowed.

A low growl shook the ceiling tiles.

The serpentine scales began to move and the massive being began to shrink and unravel in the confied space. In its place stood a slender, muscular, and obsidian dragoon with sharp frills, spikes, and spines. The dragon stood on its hind legs with its claws pressed against the invisible wall separating them. Its wings curled about its body to fit the confines, unwilling to shrink to a degree that wouldn't suit her pride.

"Mote!" The dragon's voice shook the interior of the shop. Well the hells was an 'inside voice?' "You dare summon me here and confine me like a pet? Release me before I devour your planet!"

Ti'amat had known nothing of English or Earth before then, but the summoning magic had provided certain contextual information; the sort of details needed for two parties to strike a deal. It did not, however, provide details as to why they were summoned or what the summoners wanted.
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INV ONLY Re: Devil in the details

Post by drazukeloski July 16th 2024, 10:55 am

Artificer stood there, his shotgun poised to....open fire in a relatively pointless endeavor if his seals failed. But he wasn't going to go out without any form of fight. He could feel it in his mind. The seals struggling to properly contain what was on the other side of that portal, the strength of those eldritch seals being pushed to their very limit. It was giving him a headache.

Suddenly, the headache begins dulling as the entity on the other side of that portal begins adjusting it's size and energy to fit it's current space. Part of him couldn't believe that the seal held up. But he remained vigilant as the demon addressed him. His gaze darts about as dust falls from the ceiling due to the volume of the demon's voice.

Now there was nothing to do but talk, he supposed. Cautiously lowing the shotgun, he makes his way back into the room, coming to stand just in front of the seal's barrier line. "Not that it's any consolation, but I didn't summon you." He gestures to the incapacitated cultists on the floor. "They did. I'm here to clean up their mess. Their mess being well..." He gestures to the dragon before him. "You. Though I'm sure you don't want to be this mess." Confident in his seals, for now, he crosses his arms after slinging that shotgun over his shoulder. "It seems we're both faced with a conundrum. That conundrum being the fact that you're here, and you should not be here. But because the shitfucks here got their ritual interrupted, you don't have a portal back." He sighs. "And I can't let you roam free because you said it yourself. You'll consume my planet. Which would be a nuisance since I live here." He pauses for a moment to dig about in his satchel. "Don't know why I bothered checking, but I don't have the means to kill you either." He looks up to meet the creature's eyes. "That only leaves one option. You're not gonna like it but...." He waves a hand dismissively. "Think of it as an extended vacation from whatever duties you harbor."

Taking the chalk from his jacket, he'd begin adding onto the seal once again. "This'll take a minute. Thank you for your nonconsensenting patience."
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INV ONLY Re: Devil in the details

Post by Tiʼamat July 16th 2024, 6:00 pm

A deep growl accompanied the Artificer likening the beast to a 'mess.' Its red eyes shone brightly in the otherwise drab store in a forgotten shopping center. Who summoned Ti'amat didn't matter in the end; she was there and it was their mess to correct before she became ravenously hungry.

That the creature before her made some sense kept her from a tireless tongue lashing the likes of which might make the Artificer's ears bleed before it was over. This thing recognized she didn't want to be there, and apparently he didn't want her to be there. Their interests seemed aligned.

Whose fault was it the ritual had been interrupted again? The Artificer's observation begged the question, and the Artificer seemed the only one present to account for it.

A bark of laughter that may have sounded more like a roar followed the creature saying they hadn't the means to kill her. "A pest kill me? Next you will claim to possess the power to snuff out the stars." Ti'amat's head reared back in another laugh. She'd been alive so long the very concept of not being alive was simply unfathomable.

Then the thing suggested they had an idea that she wouldn't like. She already didn't like it and the mote hadn't even done anything yet.

As soon as he bent over with chalk in hand, Ti'amat's claw struck. A thunder crack filled the chamber. The vibrations alone were worthy of note, but the Artificer might feel something far firmer than that take hold of him. Reptilian digits sought to snare the man's coat and haul him up against the invisible barrier separating the two of them; she'd lift his small figure so she didn't need to bend her neck so much to peer into his defiant eyes. Meanwhile, the runes of the circle glowed a bright, hot white.

"It's too late to alter the deal, speck. Make your demand. Tell me to kill your greatest foe. Once our pact is fulfilled I will be released from this shell, and gladly away from your ball of dust. But," her voice deepened as her snout lowered so that her large, red eyes could fill more of his vision, "if you do not make your demand before your runes burn out, and I am trapped here, I will take my time dismantling your mount of dirt piece by piece." The glowing runes did show the faintest sign of wearing away as though the elements were sweeping the chalk into the void.

There was more to it, of course. The Artificer could pose any criteria he wanted for the pact. The 'demon,' on the other hand, was under no obligation to explain the rules of this exchange. By all means, leave it blank and open to interpretation. So many mortals that managed to conjure great powers were ignorant of the particulars of the deals they struck; often to inglorious and terrible ends.
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INV ONLY Re: Devil in the details

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