Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Better the Devil You Know...

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    Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Fear on Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:45 pm

    Time: Night
    Date: April 15th, 0004



    ...than the Devil you don't.

    Not wanting to throw caution to the wind and follow in their brother's rash footsteps, Judge Fear had debriefed both K.A.R.R. and Judge Mortis about the peculiar specifics of an anonymous helper. They, like him, had seen it wise to travel in numbers and to work smarter as opposed to harder. It will do no good giving away their element of surprise, however. That is why the armoured Dark Judge, the message's intended recipient, will be traveling alone further into the vast, rusted confines of what could only be Portal Breach's Tech Dome. He made sure to quietly leave his companions behind and wasted no time venturing past the expansive field of obsolete parts and discarded refuse, feet making nary a sound upon the sand's silky grains. Like a shadow the lanky ghoul slipped into the decrepit building with little to no difficulty, where he clung to the darkness and its hazy obscurity.

    Of course he was largely unaware that such defensive measures were ultimately futile given whom he was dealing with, but this also worked in both favours. For whatever reason and one uncertain even to the likes of himself, Judge Fear detected an incredible amount of life energy somewhere within the Tech Dome. No doubt this was his supposed informat, but he will simply have to see.

    For now and wanting nothing more than to drive his hand straight through whoever sought to bring his demise, the Dark Judge made his way to the heart of this defunct facility and thought it time to announce his arrival.

    "I am here," he hissed, voice echoing throughout the numerous abandoned halls and chambers. "Ssshow yourssself ssso we may begin thessse talksss."
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Prixlezub on Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:17 am

    Good, he came alone. Within the dark recesses of the Tech-Dome, something stirred. Undetectable to the naked eye and living senses it shifted, a scent of rotting flesh and acidic fluids reaching his nostrils. Footsteps and the creak of the hangar door being pushed aside, the ghoul had made his way within the ruined Tech-Dome, a facility that once bustled with activity both honest and malicious all at once. The one who awaited Judge Fear sat within the bowels of the factory, a mass of black tendrils that licked at the air, their form obscure yet hinting a familiar shape.

    How long ago was it that the prince had been awaiting another at this facility? An encounter that had razed the dome to its foundations and engulfed it in merciless fire. Now he returned, but would it be fair to call it a return to the scene of a past crime, or merely arriving in the anticipation of a new goal? For now, the massive, cloaked being considered it the latter. How could this place be the scene of a prior crime when all evidence to be used vanished with each refresh and reset? Such idle thoughts were pushed away as the ghoul managed to walk into the lower chamber, a place lined with rows upon rows of assembly lines that ceaselessly toiled under a non-existent master and their insane order. Constantly they built down here in the darkness, only to melt it all down the moment it was completed. As Judge Fear entered, one of many furnaces flared with hungry tongues of yellow flame, licking greedily at the freshly created automatons that were so generously offered.

    As the gates closed however, a set of eyes burned through the suffocating dark. Six burning coals stared down at the Judge attentively, unblinking. "Greetings, Judge Fear." He rumbled, perhaps even if the ghoul could not recognize himself, the booming rumble of his host's voice may be familiar. "Undoubtedly you have received my message, and given your haste, the directions were not too vague. Very good." As he stated this, the mass of black smoke-like tendrils shifted once more, the mass towering above until it nearly touched the ceiling of the factory.

    "Now then, I wish to inform you of an upstart, one you may recognize from the sanctuary. A boy who ingests metals and lacks a wit, though I doubt from his inexperience on this world alone is where it originates." He reported evenly. "Of course you may wonder how this should be of your concern, given his newly arrived status. Alas, he has the work of an ally aiding him, conveniently enough." Perhaps the Dark Judge would be able to tell just who was helping the metal-ingesting boy, if he cared to guess.
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Fear on Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:44 am

    ??? wrote:"Greetings, Judge Fear."

    Such brightness, such life!

    Immediately upon stepping forth into the facility's core did Judge Fear recoil, frail arms drawn over his helm. "Sss...!" Of what sorcery was this!? Unable to withstand the intensity of the one before him, the Dark Judge slithered back into the protective darkness and dared not forsake his cover. Even then, the messenger's essence was simply overpowering to the point of staggering disgust. That voice, however... It was indeed familiar and the ghoul chanced a modest peek into the blinding radiance.

    "Prixlezub," he hissed, sounding both intrigued and agonized. So it had been the demon who had wished for an audience? If the last encounter with a demon had been anything to go by, Judge Fear kept his wits about him and pooled his mental fortifications together. "Your messsssage wasss received jussst fine, yesss. I find your choice of location to be ssstrange, however." A wise choice, but a choice that nevertheless had the ghoul's vigilance. That was all the undead fiend could respond before the demon's great aura was too much, Judge Fear once more hissing in the shadows. So much life... so much sin! It was futile to think that he could purge such a force alone, forcing the ghoul to listen as Prixlezub's mighty voice rumbled. "You ssspeak of Xavier, the sssinner who drank quicksssilver," the Dark Judge answered from the safety of his cover. So it had been that fool who wished to destroy a Judge of the law? Pathetic!

    This could not go unpunished and the ghoul desired nothing more than the boy's warm blood upon his hands. "Yesss, how convenient of you to know of thisss information and to know that the boy hasss an ally..." Judge Fear was not obtuse; he could deduce from the demon's words and tone alone that Prixlezub had a significant claw in Xavier's affairs.

    "Why do you wisssh to aid me," Judge Fear requested to know. If the demon was "helping" Xavier and at the same time double-crossing him, what was the stop Prixlezub to doing the same with the Dark Judge?
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Prixlezub on Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:33 am

    Yes, avert your gaze from the light of a thousand suns!

    "Correct." Came the demon's rumbling reply. In that same instant, the very tendrils that surrounded the massive demon were rebuked from his form, washing over the factory's interior like an ebon tidal wave. The gale that accompanied it was enough to ruffle the ghoul's cape and rattle the smaller parts from their places upon the assembly lines to the concrete floor, which in turn soon after the energy's passing lay dead. Every machine, from manufacturing arm to welder, conveyor belts and computer alike within the facility... Silent. Only the crackle of the furnaces eating away at the remaining parts they were recently fed filled the room, now illuminated by a visage of burning crimson and snapping flames.

    Despite such a display, the demon prince was unable to access the ghoul's mind even if he were interested. Sadly, while Judge Fear could hold some tokens of knowledge that he did not yet possess, the demon simply did not function that way. "Perhaps it is strange, but no more than you deciding to take residence aside the acreage of a cattle farmer." Prixlezub replied evenly. Apparently this creature could detect life as well, for it soon recoiled into what shadows remained in the glow of the prince's fiery mane. Regardless of his discomfort, the ghoul was still able to reply quickly and accurately. "The very same." He commented, a reply to both of the ghouls' remarks.

    Indeed, Judge Fear was quick to catch on to the demon's path in this whole event. Just as he thought, the undead lawman was no fool when he wished to be, despite appearances in the Sanctuary. After all, what good were lawmen if they were not one step ahead of the criminals they sought to catch? "Consider this a means to a rewarding end." He replied, smoke curling from his maw with every word. "The boy is a key to a door, while I aid him it is no more than a nudge one would give fodder to the butcher's block. In his death, a greater opportunity opens for you." An opportunity for what, however? "You remember Miss Savardin, yes? What if I told you that in following the boy's death a window of opportunity opened, brief but easily taken advantage for one who has the skill and ambition." Think, Judge Fear, what have you learned the most during your time here? What curse of this insufferable world has vexed you time and time again to the point of near madness, obstructing your law, your doctrine of death...

    "I could give you this means, all I require of you is to follow through and slaughter Xavier." Prixlezub rumbled finally before falling silent. What did Judge fear say to this proposal, if the prince's blinding presence was not pounding away on his mind already to where the ache impaired his thought.
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Fear on Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:54 am

    What was the energy that just passed his person...?

    "The farm isss but the firssst ssstep of many," Judge Fear evenly replied, fingers curling. That was all the demon needed to be aware of, however, and that was the extent of the ghoul's comfort. Now, why Xavier? Why was the demon focusing on an otherwise insignificant small-fry?

    It turns out that the boy was but the first step of many for Prixlezub's ambitions, and ones that had the potential to prove most... fruitful. Liking what he was hearing but still cautious, the Dark Judge found the strength to leave his cover and face the demon one-to-one. It was an uncomfortable experience, the demon's seemingly endless life glaring, but the armoured ghoul stayed his ground and did not yield. "Correction, you think to ussse me asss a meansss to an end," the Dark Judge hissed. A pawn for yet another demon, although this one sought the end of two wicked lives instead of one. How peculiar... Prixlezub wished for Xavier's death, which was a noble and just cause as the boy was insolent. But to hear that he also wanted the ghost-child's as well? Her crime for tolerating and mingling with life was punishable by death yet again, but what was the demon's stake in all of this?

    These two sinners were on Prixlezub's chopping block, although he had no real reason to target them out of sheer boredom or entertainment. No, there had to be an even greater objective for all of this. Perhaps the demon thought to...? "Hmm... Your proposssal isss certainly one that I cannot passss," Judge Fear stated. The ghoul was obligated to end all life and these two sinners, ghost or not, had been slated to die. This was his reason to go after the sinners, however. "Before I agree to anything further, I require more information. Mainly the finer detailsss of your ssscheme and why you truly ssseek their deathsss."

    Could it be that Prixlezub wanted the biggest prize out of the bunch? If so, Judge Fear was all the more willing to be an instrument of death provided nothing else was demanded of him.
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Prixlezub on Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:14 pm

    The first step of many, hm? The prince could figure what the next steps could be, but now was not the time nor the place. There were more important matters at hand besides farms, like the ghoul's quickness to assume the prince wished to use him.

    The demon gave a small plume of smoke from his grill, a small amused grin cracking his otherwise stern features. "Is that truly correct? I can sense you are unlike the brainless liches and raised corpses, cautious and intelligent regarding your goals. To demote you to a mere pawn is wasteful, I would rather consider this a mutual agreement where we both get what we desire." Prixlezub replied, his calm tone unfazed by the ghoul's hiss. Yes, the prince wished to end two lives instead of one, and while the boy was the simpler of the two to bring to his demise the ghost woman required a little more finesse. As for what came next however, the prince's grin faded back to a straight line.

    Of course, the Judge would ask for the finer details and even went so far as to request an alibi for killing the two. Very well, the prince could enlighten Judge Fear to a few details of his plan. "You are indeed entitled to more than my mere insinuation given earlier. I am sure you are well aware of the ways of death on this plane, in that it is fleeting in its behavior as life is to the worlds we have all been removed from. In death, there is a week long period of their absence before they return from the Pool of Souls, and if one is ambitious they can use that absence to their advantage." He explained, the ghoul need not hear more in order to get the inclination of what the prince had in mind. "The boy's form could be used to suit our goal, but sadly I am unable to assume it as are you. Otherwise I would gladly masquerade as him to get closer to the ghost woman. However, I can provide something so you may be able to assume fluidity in your form. A small device, no bigger than a wristwatch." The prince offered with a gesture of his claw.

    A device that can warp shapes, make one appear young or old, strong or frail... Perhaps even allow the dead to walk inconspicuously among the living.

    "Once Xavier is dead, I will give you this device so you may take his place while he is absent from this world. Afterwards, all you must do is act as him and gain Ms. Savardin's trust to ensure her demise." A simple if not effective means of assassination, should everything fall into place accordingly. However to think that perhaps the prince had any other interests aside from the ghost woman's death was of course sensible given the ghoul had no prior knowledge of the demon's relationship with her. What to reveal and what to keep privy to himself only? A thoughtful rumble later, the prince replied. "The ghost woman has grown to be insufferably dense and none seem to be able to mend her stupidity since she has grown close to the Mar boy. If she is killed it will undoubtedly hurt the boy, enough so perhaps that he will come out of hiding to seek vengeance." Of course, this was but speculation and there was always another means of catching the long eared fool. "Or, if the boy is so cowardly as to not wish to take vengeance upon one who may have killed his love, one could always masquerade as her to lure him out of hiding. Regardless, I merely wish to see them both suffer for their foolishness." He stated finally.

    Although, what the biggest prize to the demon would be may not exactly equate to that of what Judge Fear thought the prize to necessarily pertain to.
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Fear on Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:45 pm

    Unlike the brainless liches and raised corpses... If Judge Fear could visibly sneer, he surely would have. "A mutual agreement, yesss," was the Dark Judge's rather dry response. He was no idiot when it concerned those who knew an immortal tool when chanced upon. To have the ghoul in one's pocket could be incredibly productive, just as Gotham's Scarecrow had managed to coerced Judge Death into doing what the sinner had wanted. And to think, this was their glorious leader who had so easily been bullied.

    "I am aware that sssinnersss are given yet another chance to commit crime," the ghoul answered, "and I am aware ssseldom will learn from their experience in death." A sorry state of affairs, but what was this? Judge Fear heard the demon's words and he heard them well, each and every single syllable meticulously dissected. So then, Prixlezub was offering a chance for the Dark Judge to not only purge Xavier but to also assume the boy's form during that week in order to end the ghost-child's existence as well? "...I sssee." It was certainly a determined goal, although Judge Fear wondered if it could truly be performed without a hitch. Still, what would the demon gain from such underhanded ambition? Was there something either the boy or girl possessed that Prixlezub thought to take? Maybe and maybe not, for the demon's subsequent words were masked in rhetoric. Once more the ghoul pondered this scheme, attempting to observe all angles and not just one.

    Ah, how satisfying it would be to end both Xavier's and Nyreena's lives...
    But, at the same time, it was sensible to be cautious when dealing with demons...

    If Judge Fear was away enacting Prixlezub's wishes, then what will become of the ghoul's allies and current base of operations? Already the demon knew were the Dark Judge resided and that was currently... undesirable. He severely doubted that K.A.R.R., Judge Mortis, and the cultists would be able to fend off the demon should it fancy Prixlezub's interests. "I accept your proposssition and will bring both Xavier and Nyreena to their deathsss, but I have ssstipulationsss to make." They were rather humble, given what Judge Fear could demand for. "I asssk that you leave out my alliesss and our collective place of resssidence, and that you do not double-crossss me before, during, and after. You honour thessse thingsss, and I will proceed with your plan without further quessstion," the Dark Judge hissed.

    It begged to be asked why the demon couldn't simply masquerade as Xavier and do the deed himself, but perhaps this is what demons simply liked to do: have others perform on their infernal behalf.

    Whatever the reason was, Judge Fear knew two sinners who desperately needed to be put down.
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Prixlezub on Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:23 pm

    Good, as the demon though, Judge Fear knew of this strange phenomena that occurred after one's demise. It made things all the easier for him to realize when the meat of his plan was explained, an understanding hiss filling the stale air. While the demon was partial to his rhetoric it was not so that it had left the ghoul out on everything, but just enough to give the demon something to ponder without worrying about whose hands it fell into. After all, what good was a story if one spoiled the ending right at the beginning?

    Despite the small amount of mystery left to the undead lawman, he knew better than to refuse such a profitable deal. After all, one would have to be a fool to not accept a juicy proposal such as this one. However, there were some terms on the ghoul's own end, as was expected. "Very well, I shall leave your residence and allies be, but only so long as they do not cross me and my allies either." He rumbled thoughtfully. "Otherwise I will honor these terms." With that, the deed was done. Judge Fear had agreed to his terms, and the demon prince to theirs.

    "I thank you for taking audience with me this evening, Judge Fear. Unless you have any further questions, I believe our business here has concluded." Prixlezub rumbled evenly. "I will await to see to results of your work." No doubt they would be interesting to see, given the ghoul's reputation.
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Fear on Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:45 pm

    Excellent, the demon was going to leave the Dark Judge's companions and base of operations alone. "They will have no reassson to double-crossss the likesss of you," Judge Fear reassured. Not for this agreement, anyway. And as for further questions or concerns - "Jussst one: I want a few mementosss from the bodiesss. Nothing persssonal, I sssimply would like a few tokensss from thisss crowning accomplissshment." Other than that, the Dark Judge needed very little and their meeting together had thus fulfilled its purpose. Back to the humble farm it was.

    "And I yoursss. You know where to find me once your plansss are ready," the ghoul hissed in return. Finished and having nothing else to say, the Dark Judge took his leave of this strange place and did not look back.

    Judge Fear had a few sinners to skin.
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    Re: Better the Devil You Know...

    Post by Prixlezub on Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:17 am

    Of course the allies of the Dark Judge would more than likely not double cross the likes of him, but filling in the holes where they need be is always a necessity in negotiations. The massive demon nodded at the ghoul's reply agreeably, listening on as they apparently had one last question, a detail to negotiate for their part of the agreement. So, the ghoul was fond of trophies, was he not? "You may do as you wish with their bodies." He replied evenly.

    The prince had no reason to interfere with such a simple request, both Nyreena and Xavier hardly the types of denizens that the demon would consider to be worthy targets to face himself. To deny the undead his trophy when he held no interest in them himself would be a petty decision.

    The final details of their agreement made, it was time that both of them went their separate ways. "Farewell, Judge Fear." He rumbled as the ghoul left. Once he was gone from the dome, Prixlezub's own form began to fade until nothing but the burning points of his six eyes remained, and they too soon extinguished from view within the dead blackness of the factory. Other than the inactivity of the once bustling assembly line, it was like neither of them had ever met in this dilapidated structure, surrounded by sand.

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