Libro Arcanum Mortis

Fiction detailing the ongoing events on the Homeline and numerous parallel Worldlines.

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Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:38 pm

Ur-Arcana II – 2009
Current Affairs: Shadow conflicts between hidden Magical forces dominate this worldline. Magic is secret but utilised by groups incognito to avoid widespread panic.
Divergence Point: 1133 AD the Dragons Eclipse triggers an increase in Global Mana levels and supernatural incidents.

Worldline Data.
TL:
8 Mana Level: Low (Normal too High in places)
Quantum: 4 Infinity Class: Z6* Centrum Zone: Inaccessible. * Sheldrake Research permissions granted under Infinity oversight
Dutchtown, The City of Sanctuary – New York State.
Ruthy looked heavenward, the moon covered by charcoal black clouds meant that its was another cold, wet evening in later March, in New York State. Two hours of mixed martial arts had merely added more aches to her back, and she exerted every ounce of her will to stop from digging into her Pad Thai noodles before she reached her motel room.

Ensuring the annexes main door clicked shut she plodded up the stairs, it wasn’t until she reached her corridor than her sixth senses kicked in!

She was three meters from her door when the effect materialised, the air inside her room expanded with ionised compression, the rooms outer wall separating it from the corridor buckled as a horizontal bar of lightning tearing straight through it allowing the bottled thunder to erupt outward and slam her into the corridor wall.

She watched through squinted eyes and gritted teeth, head turned, and right arm raised to shield her face, her arms and chest stung as charms shattered with the ferocity of the mystical forces. Forces which washed over her, tore plaster from filthy walls and blew the corridor windows into clouds of shards.

Ruth Campbell stopped holding her breath, now she really ached balefully she looked down at the crumpled carton of noodles, contents sprayed down the stairs “Motherfucker!”

Her senses flared again, it wasn’t a magical boobytrap, her assassin was here in person from within the shattered gloom of her room she saw movement and power, lots of power building again ‘Shit’ she thought, her charms were gone, her own defences unlikely to shield her from that kind of power.

She braced herself, as a second thunder strike rolled from her would be killers’ shadowy gestures, tearing hungrily across the motel room and impacted against an invisible force.

Opening her eyes she noted a new figure had appeared in the corridor looking into the ruined doorway of her room, the figure wasted no time, right hand was maintaining some kind of wall of force blocking the evoked electrical nightmare whilst their left hand stabbed forwards releasing some form of bolt.
The would-be assassin grunted as several heavy thuds crashed into them, she watched as the lightning storm drained away as the attacker vanished, leaving small motes of static charge playing across metal surfaces.

Painfully Ruthy pushed herself to her feet and checked herself for injuries, miraculously she had escaped relatively unscathed, satisfied she turned her attention to her mysterious rescuer.

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Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:48 am

The Darklands – Present
Current Affairs: One cycle before high season..
Divergence Point: An inter-dimensional sub-realm linking Argo 3 and Yrth.

Worldline Data. TL: 3 Mana Level: Normal
Quantum: 4 to 5 Infinity Class: R2 Centrum Zone: Inaccessible.

The Broken Ring.
The Darkness permeated everything, there was a thick clawing quality to it almost tangible that hungrily consumed their lights beyond two yards from their caravan.

Hate was too strong a word for Luther’s feelings as to the Darklands, however dislike or distain was fairly accurate an interdimensional wasteland that lay between Argo and Yrth and Infinity’s only reliable way of accessing the latter. The fact that from portal to portal it involved 3 leagues of travel on foot through hostile terrain in almost pitched darkness surrounded by nocturnal monsters with no modern technology reliably working was undoubtably a compelling reason for his distaste.

Still it was a pay check and his employer MythTech Inc paid well, he surveyed the scene according to the last marker stone they were less than a league from Argo side, making their way across the Broken Ring this concentric area made up of a blasted jagged landscape.
Fortunately, prior travellers had worked a road through the treacherous terrain, caravans were frequent at this time it was one lunar cycle before High Season where the predatory fauna of the Darklands entering their two cycle mating season, The Patrol and White Star had tried to continue routes during this time however they’d paid for every yard in blood, every league swarmed with predators in such a frenzy they forgot their usual fear of light.

It was one of the two annual periods where travel grew too perilous the other being Shard Storm Season where some form of mysterious hurricane like swell swept in from the outside and blasted the landscape with dimensional energies whilst whipping up razor sharp particles from The Broken Ring.

Of course, there were other times, being as the Darklands connected to the Quantum Sargasso called Yrth a Worldline periodically ravaged by Banestorms the pocket dimension was often subject to sandstorms and magically induced weather patterns.

The trip usually took 6 hours to a day end to end, the caravans consisted of 2 to 3 escorted heavily fortified wagons pulled by Giant Scarab Beetles, the creatures eight foot long were as tough as small tanks, fairly docile if fed and largely impervious to magical energies.

White Star Trading plied the route, contracted by Infinity to safely escort Patrol, Paralabs or Sheldrake personnel in addition to their own merchants to the Trading Posts and clandestine bases on Yrth whilst bringing said personnel, interesting trade goods or research materials back.

Magically versed personnel, notably security was provided by Mythtech Incorporated a joint Homeline/Ranoc venture. Whereabouts Infinity was obsessive about maintaining the Secret and very mistrustful of Magic, it still had to deal with it and try as it might there were inevitably times where it couldn’t avoid the Secret being compromised, especially where magic or psionics were involved!

One such instance was on the Magical Worldline of Ranoc where an enterprising Merchant happened upon a visiting Homeline Entrepreneur and before they knew it, said Merchant had deduced the Secret and entered into a partnership with said Entrepreneur and MythTech Inc was born.

The businesses Main Office based on Infinities colony world Galileo (as it wasn’t permitted on Homeline), whilst its main centre of business was in the City of Rul on Ranoc, provided magical and occult support services to Infinity and provided a home for waifs and strays from fantastic Worldlines. Which was infinitely better than exiling valuable personnel to Coventry…

Neither Infinity nor Homeline governments were happy with its existence and its surreptitious recruitment of personnel, however it was another of those necessary evils especially in light of growing encounters with fantastic Worldlines, which they couldn’t always close down…

Luther watched as the wagons alchemistic lanterns swayed amidst of growing dust laden wind, he lowered his goggles and pulled his scarf up over his face, he noted Folkes, le Cogneur a Yrthian born warrior do the same whilst looking skyward. She raised her flechette wheelgun and switched on its light beam, their dwarven companion Kilmak did the same whilst Luther and the other guards followed suite.

The beams struggled to penetrate the perpetual gloom, however at their edges they noted the ghostly rag like winged creatures ‘Darkwings’ one of the Darklands worst creatures, drawn to body heat and able to drain a man to the point of cold induced death.

Each guard fired a volley, the wheelguns were purely mechanical with no chemical munitions, a large wound spring mechanism released a high velocity volley of alchemically infused flechettes each flaring with a burst of light once fired.

The loathsome creatures flittered in agitation and aversion before shrinking back into the darkness.

It was a further 5 hours having left the Broken Ring, clearing the River Rings bridge of Black Eels, stopping for a sandstorm to pass in the Hill Ring, cautiously traversing the Web Ring bridges whilst culling some of its small car size spiders fortunately once inside the Inner Rings their small arms regained functionality, before they arrived at the relative safety of the Central Circle.

Here White Star had set up a small fortified guard post build around the portal, guarded by three meter tall enchanted constructs, the Central Ring was largely spared the worst of High or Storm Seasons ferocity however the small castle keep was still a solid stone fortification.

As they approached listening to the distant shouts of the Billets, another of the Darklands wildlife, small jet black creatures that appeared to be a cross between a chihuahua and a mink Largely harmless although possessing a nasty little warning nip if provoked, their most unusual trait was their ability to imitate a single person’s voice and phrase.

Once they had the phrase they repeated the it continually although they were known to latch onto a new one occasionally, although they could be regarded as another Darklands pest they were of interest to both Infinities Paralabs Parachronozoologists and Sheldrake researchers as they seemed to be able to find voices and phrases from any number of people from a multitude of worlds. Suggesting that they either possessed some form of Cliodynamic clairvoyance or the interdimensional space around The Darklands eavesdropped on other Worldlines and the Billets were able to hear the transmissions.

As always Luther breathed a sigh of relief as they passed through the Posts outer gates and into its courtyard, powerful motion sensing searchlights swept the surrounding gloomy terrain, its construct sentries ever watchful.

The caravan leader a stalwart veteran called Medea Thais, an Argo native clambered down from the lead wagon, patted its beetle and headed into the main building, denoted by the large White Star emblem above the door. The building sat to the left of the large three-meter-tall by four meter wide archway, the portal itself currently sealed by two significant oak doors.

A short while later the Posts master Mírë Hlolth stepped out gregariously conversing in Ancient Greek with Thais who for her part feigned impatience, Luther smiled both were long time friends.

Hlolth stepped to the stone framework of the gate and its keystone, tracing a series of Yrthian characters etched deeply into the stone, in response a faint light shone between the gates, to Luther’s sixth senses Oz particles surged with its alignment.
Satisfied the Post Master dialled a combination into a safe type combination set on top of a large mechanism, a serious of heavy metal movements ended with the gates slowly swinging open allowing the caravan to pass through.

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Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:00 am

Argo 3 - The Pindus Mountain Range, Thrace, Greece - Spring 824AD
The villa was both an ancient engineering and architectural marvel, constructed around the ledge of a mountain in the Hellenic Times.
The mercenary stood within the stepped gardens on the slopes to the rear of the house, looking around he examined the aged stone altars on the patios, each drenched with new blood.

Sacrifices were a common part of Greek Lore, as with many things in the Infinite Worlds the old ways often turned out to hold unpleasant truth, his attention was drawn to the large paved area beside the villa the air distorting , he watched as momentarily a vacuum formed and an object resembling a huge copper bell filled the space.

The hag appeared beside him, dressed in her wolfskin shawl, her skin so scarred and aged as to completely conceal her origin, her hands and mouth glistening with the blood she’d spilt for Lycaon.

The an aperture appeared on the bells surface, opened and its passengers disembarked, the first was a well manicured but hard featured man clad in a razor sharp Armani suit, the second and third 7 foot tall Cyclopopedian bodyguards, it was the fourth who was the alpha power in the equation, subservient to the suit but never the less the power.

The suit stopped surveying the scene with visible distain, his eyes hard and analysing the hag
“I hope that your rituals are not bordering upon excess” he challenged
The Hag snarled, “If you want your precious bolt hole opened before others realise then we must amass sufficient power quickly!”
The man’s face did not seem convinced, instead he turned to the mercenary “Mr Rook, I trust your stay has been reasonable?”
The mercenary nodded “I can’t complain, although the local customs take some getting used too!” he replied
He nodded “Good, walk with me Mr Rook” with that Rook fell in beside the suit as they descended a flight of stone steps leading to the front of the villa and onto a curved balcony carved from the slope that descended before it, this overlooked a breath taking but terrifying drop down the mountainside, the cyclops remained, however the stone creature slowly plodded after them.

Rook waited for the suit to speak, always let the client lead.

“Do you know who I represent Mr Rook?” asked the suit, slight alarm rang through his head, however they’d holed him up with some psychotic witch for the past week, so if they’d wanted him dead!
“I have a good idea” he replied
The suit nodded appreciatively “I understand that your people are well versed in high end inter-dimensional conflict and super normal threats!”
“That’s correct” he replied
“Good, we await an artifact from this Worlds Ural Mountains, we have a team there, who are waiting out a storm, once this is complete the object will be brought here and we can commence, we will be travelling South to Crete. Once there We’ll need your people to engage a particularly powerful entity to allow us to gain entry to an ancient site!”
“Logistically how powerful are we talking?” inquired Rook
The suit smiled “Legendary in scale, reputedly one of the Cthonic Beasts” he replied calmly
Rook merely pursed his lips and whistled, this was going to be interesting “And what of Infinity?”
The suits smile widened “Oh their token presence here will be of no consequence and they haven’t the first concept of what we plan!”

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Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:09 pm

Argo 3, The Kairatos River, south west of Heraklion – Spring 824AD
The Worldline Argo was a brave new world full of hidden places, domains and places hidden, whilst its Mana levels were at a height that its clandestine visitors usually avoided, the price they had discovered was too great to ignore.

The subterranean ruins was no different, entering from the Astral Plane the team had followed intricate instructions which upon the ordained time had triggered a mechanism which had revolved a 5000 year old circular stone sigil within the buried temples floor.

Once the thunderous grinding had finished it revealed a passageway descending deep into hidden bowels, they had little time, its guardians would quickly intercede.

They descended into the void, passing through vertical passages crafted only through the use of Mysteries, until they reached precarious ledges, moving rapidly they thanked the Decans that nothing laired down here and awaited them.

Although the huge bestial skeletons lining the ledge and adjoining passageways gave them grim pause for thought.

Finally arriving they found the scripture’d chamber and the altar.

The offering stone had been hewn into a barrel like shape, its round top deeply routed into a geomantic grid, producing the potion the team lead intoned arcane words and the ritual began by the pouring of the draught onto those very lines.

Several leagues away in Heraklion the earth trembled, and panic started to spread among Abu Hafs Andalusian Muladis forces whilst the cities subjugated Hellenics looked to the Heavens for a sign.

In Knossos forces surreptitiously waited offshore as the Emirate Guards to the Ancient Minoan Acropolis reacted in bewilderment as ancient stone mechanisms within the palace’s foundations rumbled to life.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Argo 3, The Ancient Minoan Temple of Knossos – Spring 824AD
From the top of sand dunes at the base of the ancient palaces ruined walls Amru al-Allam watched a wind suddenly pick up and bluster through the wild beds of ‘Ladys Bedstraw’, his attention turned back to the beach below, the sand churning and groaning like some buried titan were awakening.

The Greek wilderness was an exceptionally dangerous place, it had more than its fair share of monsters, true horrors of legend. Amru heeded the warnings of his parents that the ancient lands of Crete held as many monsters as the sands of Arabia, the Emirates guardsman kept from wandering into wilder places.

Although now Amru wished he’d heeded his wife’s warnings, he and the rest of the sentries watched the shapes move through the fields of wild grass , then he saw the hound, it stood upon a large overgrown slab of stone which rose from the long grass, marking the ridge of the hill where it began its descent down to the temple.

It was a terror, a huge hound with three heads, its drool burned and sizzled as it dropped upon the stone slab, the Cerberus Hound and its kin edged toward the Arabians hungrily, each of its heads snarling.

A horrendous groan and splitting of stone drew their attention and leaving the tasty morsels they lunged over the ridge and down the dunes, the guardsman shouted over the roar as deep trenches opened beneath the sand dunes.

The ancient temple had changed, it had raised up and then opened out, revealing a steep stone ramp leading down into a subterranean complex unseen for millennia.

From his vantage point on his command vessel Rook subvocalized ‘Go’, his officers immediately deploying, two dozen rigid raiders powered onto the beach, scores of men rapidly disembarked and surged up the sand toward the ramp.

All sorts men, inhuman giants, and robots, all of them originating from a large ship moored out in the bay, as the assault began the force was immediately attacked by a pack of monstrous three headed dogs.

Amru squinted in the darkness his eyes widening as he heard the snarls of the monstrous dogs, flaming arrows arched into the air bringing Allah’s light and revealing an army of devils in black, covering the beach.

Across the dune line and the palace walls the Muladis guardsmen began to die, silent death reached out from snipers in the rigid raiders
حفظ الله لي (Allah Save Me) breathed Amru in horror as his friend Isaam shuddered, struck by some invisible enemy great gouts of blood erupting from his back, before he had even fallen something took his head from his shoulders.

Amru turned to run but his breath was sucked from his body as the 7.62 round punched through his back and exited his breastplate cleanly.

<Sentries clear> reported the Sniper Commander, Rook did not take his attention away from his digital battle plan

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Re: Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:34 am

Ur-Arcana II – 2009
Current Affairs: Shadow conflicts between hidden Magical forces dominate this worldline. Magic is secret but utilised by groups incognito to avoid widespread panic.
Divergence Point: 1133 AD the Dragons Eclipse triggers an increase in Global Mana levels and supernatural incidents.

Worldline Data. TL: 8 Mana Level: Low (Normal too High in places)
Quantum: 4 Infinity Class: Z6* Centrum Zone: Inaccessible. * Sheldrake Research permissions granted under Infinity oversight
The Lower East Side, The City of Sanctuary – New York State.
The apartment a modest low rent two room affair, took up the second floor above an electrical repair shop, its was old but comfortable and a real fire provided them with comforting warmth and banished the dank fog outside.

Ruthy sat nursing her second hot toddy, her charms were doing their work having healed her injuries, the vantage of Ur-Arcana’s ambient Mana levels was that they worked quickly.
Having gratefully devoured two bowls of beef stew she sat back and breathed out, her mysterious rescuer sat across the room at the dining table, a woman in her later twenties, who had not uttered a word since.

Something about her mannerisms told Ruthy she was definitely off-world, nothing physical just something about her. Once she had regained her senses after the attack Ruthy had called her local contact who for some unimaginable reason had directed her to this address to meet in what was singularly the most dangerous part of Sanctuary.

Their host was a woman by the name of Coraline or Cory, who ambled around in the corner kitchen before leaning back against the wall nursing her glass of red wine.
Ruthy looked out the window overlooking the high street, in Sanctuary the Lower East Side had a very unsavoury if not bloody reputation, it hadn’t always been so, but according to the locals in the past 20 years it had become virtually lawless after dark.

To those who knew the truth it had become home to vagrant supernatural forces, no one was entirely sure why but even Sanctuary’s largest Catholic Church The Dove hadn’t protected the area. She watched as figures flittered from door to door, either trying to elude or hide in the fog.
To her aware senses she noticed wisps of colour or energy to some, denoting power or inhuman nature.

The three women each caught in their own reverie jumped at a knock on the door, Cory sprang into action as her rescuers eyes narrowed, Ruthy noted the swirls of cobalt blue energy enshroud her hands, even her craft looked different.

He heard Cory talk around the door chain before closing the door unlatching it and letting the visitors in.

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Re: Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:56 pm

Ranoc – 1632
Current Affairs: The elder race kingdoms attempt to maintain peace whilst the new human kingdoms display technological dominance with matchlock firearms and the Elven Kingdoms attempt to dominate commerce.

Divergence Point: Phanerozoic Eon – Elemental forces cause Ranoc Earths continental landmasses to form differently; mana levels evolve at high levels and evolution is magically divergent as a result.

Worldline Data. TL: 3(4)+2 Mana Level: Normal (High and Very High in places)
Quantum: 6 Infinity Class: Z6* Centrum Zone: Zone Red
* Sheldrake Research permissions granted under Infinity oversight.
The Kalstein District, The City of Rul, North West Cost of Aedes The Settled Lands.
The offices of Markel and Altar, Guild Brokerage stood at the top of Frosten Hill, the highest point pf Rul’s commercial district, they stood in the renowned Holchstar Square.

The cities architecture was reminiscent of earthly Nordic Romantic with baroque features, it was picturesque and its charm accentuated by its roofs and streets being carpeted by snow all year round.

From her vantage point of her fourth floor oriel window, Lady Kirkegaarde sat watching human, gnome and foxen children play upon the frozen pond which sat at the centre of Holchstar square, whilst listening to Madam Pedersen.

She liked Lady Pedersen, a portly wixen dressed in fur lined finery, a widow for a number of years who despite this was also cheerful, well meaning if not a little mischievous.

Smiling she stood picking up a pair if silver tongs and placed another sweet pastry on Lady Pedersen’s plate from the patisserie tower, she nodded at the latest bit of gossip, smirking as Pedersen’s cat whiskers and feline nose twitching conspiratorially, whilst pouring her more cinnamon Tea.

Madame Petersen however was no fool, her late husband had left her a comfortable sum but she liked her finery’s and treats and loved to indulge her seven cubs and thirteen grandcubs, so she was here for her monthly review of her funds and consider her next guild investment.

Such was the way of trade in Aedes, the Guilds ran commercial activities and investments had to made to them, the sensible way of navigating the Guilds complex and bewildering codes was via a broker of which Market and Altar was renowned and Lady Kirkegaarde one of the best.

They neared their time, their meetings were as much an opportunity for chat and gossip however Serena Kirkegaarde knew her client well and the latter quarter of an hour was business, having reviewed the safest guild prospects for the coming season, she outlined her recommendations and Madame Pedersen clapped her hands giggling like a schoolgirl.

The hour approached and Serena’s temple throbbed, she winced as someone walked across her grave, Madame Pedersen looked up frowning, the animalistic humanoid Wixen far outnumbered humans on Ranoc, especially in the Cold North and were sensitive magic.

She looked at the source of the magical annoyance, her antique ethersphere, a dark emerald oval set within a polished willow wood carriage housing, for the first time in over four decades the emerald was awake with swirling mists, Serena’s face grew dark.

Madame Pendersen looked concerned, Serena smiled disarmingly, assuring her that all was well before wishing her a good day at the door, once the sweet Lady had left she turned her face full of rage glaring balefully at the swirling green ether.


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Re: Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:26 am

Argo 3, Heraklion – Spring 824AD
As they were wont to do the fires of rebellion had spread quickly, it was late evening as explosions echoed from the direction of Ammoudara Beach in nearby Dermatas Bay, seemed to light a powder keg as the Emirates Saracen guard flooded from the old Grecian bastions lining the city, Cretans took to the streets.

At first this was cautious curiosity, however the mood soon turned to fear then anger, the Cretans had strained under Byzantium then Saracen rule, rumours flew like embers that the Byzantines were returning one oppressor seeking to reclaim the last Hellenic island from another.

Before long Cretans were rioting, however there Saracen overlords were quick to retaliate, blood began to line the cobbled streets of Heraklion.

****
The Library of Athena - Eastern District, Heraklion, Argo 3 - Homeline Date 2024, Local Date Spring 824AD
The library’s reading room was situated on its third floor looking out onto the Eastern Districts main avenue, sat at the reading table Sophocles Rosseas shuddered as a sudden wave of nausea struck him, he gulped back vomit, his head was spinning, his vision swimming he looked around seeing a wave of air lift the dust from the wooden floor.

He started as he noted their assistant Tryfon had collapsed amongst the scroll stands, he turned back to his research fellow Professor Poole had slumped onto the table, disorientated his attention darted to the open balcony doors as a thunderous bang shook the night.
‘What the hell is going on?’ his thoughts racing
He rounded the table, staggering as another nauseous dizzy spell passed over him, he checked Poole’s pulse, he exhaled in relief she was breathing.
“Christabell, Christabell its Sophocles, can you hear me!”
His gentle inquiry was greeted by a small groan as Christabell Poole or Chrissy to her Transworld colleagues began to come round, as she groggily lifted her head from the desk he winced her forehead bearing a nasty bruise and sticky blood running from both nostrils.
“What happened?” she grumbled
“I am unsure” replied Sophocles “Stay there, don’t move I need to check Tryfon”
The ill effects passing the researcher quickly made his way across the ready room, the assistant unresponsive to his voice he gently rolled the young man onto this side and started.

The once young man had changed or been changed, his tanned face now had bovine features including two small horns and his legs had contorted into those of a bull, checking his pulse Sophocles grimaced whatever had happened to Tryfon had proved fatal.

Unsteadily Chrissy was now on her feet “Is he alright” she croaked
“I’m afraid not, he has passed” replied Sophocles heavily, crossing his chest as he stood “What is this?”, he added
Chrissy composed herself, wiping the nosebleed away she looked around, as if following something in the air “The Mana Levels risen, dramatically”
“To the uninitiated what does that mean” he replied
“I’m not sure, Argo already had healthy mana but it’s climbed exponentially the very air is electric with it!” he noted that the British Museum Scholar and Mage was still watching something unseen.

Another loud bang thundered from the coast “Sounds like trouble afoot, I’ll contact Home” she added “You get hold of security”

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Libro Arcanum Mortis

Post by arcanus » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:33 pm

Ammoudara Beach, Heraklion, Argo 3 - Homeline Date 2024, Local Date Spring 824AD
The Hollow Corps forces surged up the incline of the beach, organised into squad formations they went to ground as a flock of winged terrors erupted from a window high up in the newly revealed temple front.

Airborne combat drones opened fire, the harpies tearing into the machines and descending upon the squad lines, each squads’ mercenary soldiers were supplemented by nine-foot-tall dog faced gorilla like creatures and combat walker armour, the latter carrying heavy weapons.

The blood beasts were genengineered bioborgs, unrestricted by such trivial rules as The Secret.
The Corps quartermasters had purchased several thousand embryos, each fitted with control technologies and engineered to relish combat they were perfect blunt instrument warforms, these were Gen I’s low bestial IQ relying on tooth, claw and 200lb medieval weapons.

The beasts railed against their handler’s sub-audio commands and electo-shock controls, grabbing several harpies from the air and tearing them apart.

Rook watched dispassionately their ferocity was well worth the cost and their strength unbelievable, although he noted a harpy get the better of one beast, blinding it and then tearing its throat out before being put down by half a dozen battle rifles.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ammoudara Beach, Heraklion, Argo 3
Hollow Corps Sergeant Ujvári Tolfa cast an experienced eye across the chaos of battle, looking through the explosions of sand and munitions, winged monsters fighting giants and the dead and dying.

He looked each of his squad in the eye “Keep it tight” he rumbled as the first squads to mount the incline and access to the temple scattered, the ground erupting and ebon black giant scorpions emerged, each the size of a small tank and striking as fast as a cobra.

His squad’s walker set up covering fire, incendiary tracer rounds tearing through the harpy flocks, their two Blood Beasts snarling in frustration as their handler kept them to heel and moving forwards. As the previous squads remained engaged with the scorpions Tolfa’s unit cleared the path with high explosive anti-armour munitions.

The mercenaries surged through the temples entrance and into its ancient and newly reopened passages, clearing areas as they proceeded, the next form of resistance met them in the form of ogre sized chimerical creatures resembling monstrous satyrs, with various animal features.
The creatures were incredibly tough, sustaining enormous levels of high calibre firepower and tearing into the mercs.
The aged walls and alcoves dormant for millennia, glyphs and mosaics long predating Aristotle and Plato were illuminated and shaken by the cacophony of gunfire, worn clay hued stone floors resounded with the clatter of shell casings.

An ogre sized satyr with leonine features, tore into the mercs ranks in front of Tolfa, three heavily augmented soldiers were ripped apart without slowing its advance, a fourths head bitten from his shoulders.
Tolfa brought his Light Machine Gun to bear and fired at point blank range, blasting its goat like legs out from under it, before the terror could scramble back up, he fired a mini grenade into its head. Cybernetically detonating it and finally blowing its head from its shoulders.

His audio filters cut out the pandemonium of gunfire and screams, the unit sergeants reported their progress via the battle network to the Master Sergeant <”Tolfa, repeat your position?”>Tolfa relayed his position
<” Primaries?”> enquired the Master Sergeant, curtly
<” Giant Beast men”> he replied in his thick polish accent <”Each tougher than Kargan trolls”>
He gestured to his troops, pointing the way, each reacquired target and let loose hell, super-dense rounds blasting into the creatures ranks as they advanced towards a large ornate archway, each adorned by a Grecian warrior statue some ten meters in height.

Other teams had managed to circumvent the beats whilst his were in the centre of the fight, the rival squads forming beachheads around alternate doorways into the inner sanctums, Tolfa snarled, each team had a pending bonus for the most advanced, winner takes all.
Either his squad been unlucky and met the main body of the resistance or they had been a bit slow on the uptake.

An earth-shattering bellow resounded through the temple, cutting through the Hollow Corps down to the bone, some of the most hardened men in the business soiled their pants, fear and panic gripped them.
The bestial satyrs withdrew literally vanishing into the shadows, allowing Tolfa’s unit to reach the archway, other units had pressed forward entering the inner sanctums eager for the finder’s bonus. The sanctum was shrouded in complete inky darkness, the more hesitant squads threw in flares as shrill screams and panic broke the momentary lull, switching to his night goggles what he saw before him made the veteran of multiple tours across worlds blanch in terror.

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