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    Oaths to be Mended

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    Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:23 am

    Time: Late Night
    Date: September 25, 0006

    Thinking, he had been spending a lot of time doing that. Whether he was wrapping his cold talons around a sinner's throat, or patrolling the outer district, Mortis was given plenty of time to think since the he had been visited a few nights ago by the wayward AI. His brother was mad at him, but it was not about what he could not remember... Or so KARR had suggested. Part of him wondered what made the talking, automated vehicle so sure about that. What did he know about Judge Fear that he did not?

    Mortis had been around his brother for centuries, he of all people should know him the best out of anyone, sinner, machine, or undead; who walked upon this accursed rock. Or so he would like to think...

    He had wiped so much, so many memories about his brothers, about himself, that now he was not so certain. He remembered their home, he remembered purging it and aiding in the development of their necropolis. Their dark dimension made into reality, through their just and devoted hands. He remembered they had to retake their badges to find Death after he had gone missing for a long while during his adventure with a newly acquired dimension jump. he remembered the events that followed after, having to visit the Mega City and their numerous trials to try and purge it of the overflowing sin that it barely contained. Memories that he could not help but find were not complete. He could tell there were patches that were cut out of them, areas that once housed something that he had deemed to be too risky to retain.

    They were numerous, some wide and expansive, others were small snippets. Though the widest by far were the ones that were within the memories he held of their home. Century long jumps between memories revealed their presence, the Judge's history choppy and cut to pieces.

    Though it was Fear who suffered the most because of it. The one who had ensured he stayed in one piece when he literally fell into this dimension through a portal, who had kept him safe from harm when he was still regaining his strength. The one who had granted him his peace when he had sought solace out in the grasslands, to gather his thoughts and decide to purge his vices, his agony, his weaknesses.

    It was an action committed with good intentions, but paved a way to hell instead. Though, was that not how these things went?

    "SSsss..."

    Now, Mortis was stalking about the ghettos, his wandering with purpose aside from sentencing the iniquitous. Not that it stopped the living he came across from scrambling out of his path, the pavement cracking beneath his feet to give way to the writhing, pale masses of maggots that spontaneously wriggled from where he stepped. Nausea and sickness supernatural both drove away and weakened those who stayed out on the streets to see just what was coming their way. While Judge Mortis could be considered just as terrifying as his brother Fear, he lacked that certain showmanship that sent chills of terror down the spines of all who saw darkness begin to advance down their street.

    Walking as if being lead by a trail only he could detect, the ghoul navigated the quickly empty streets of the Outer District, seeking one form among thousands, a single soul that belonged to a mere handful. Only half here, the rest lost to the void. Once he got close enough however, the trail become more noticeable. Dead bodies, their faces contorted into an eternal expression of horror, lay sparsely on the pavement. Some retaining a very familiar imprint that only steel jaws could give.

    For a small moment Mortis paused to admire the work of his brother before moving on. These were fresh, blood still trickling freely from their forms and heat still leaving their skin. Yes, he was very near. Up ahead the street was nearly as dark as the void, streetlamps having been doused of their secure glow and replaced with a suffocating shade. "Judge Fear," Mortis hissed into the chilly night air, approaching the inky black mass of shadow. Though as he grow closer, his pace also grew slower, cautious. "...May I have a word with you?" He hesitantly requested, coming to a stop at the edge of the void.

    For a long moment there was silence.

    "...Brother?"

    The breath longer of hesitation, the Dark Judge shifting his footing slightly as he stood at the edge of Fear's aura. He waited for what seemed like an eternity, not for the other, but for himself. What if he was right and Fear held no inclination to speak with him? He could see him as a traitor, one, the only one among them, who had committed such a heinous crime against their oath and bond. Though the latter Mortis could not comprehend beyond the word itself.

    Still, they were linked. So long as they were linked, they were sworn to look out for each other, to protect and aid in their duties. Certainly he could simply speak across their mental link, but as of late, the undead lawman had decided it was not a sufficient means of discussing this matter. He needed to see him, to talk face to face. Thus, Mortis stared long into the abyss, a low hiss escaping him as he stepped forward and entered the impenetrable dark of Fear's domain.

    "Brother, I mussst sspeak with you." He called out into the darkness, unable to see and yet able to deduce well enough where he was. Or so he hoped. Again and again he called out to him, bleating like a lamb in a lion's den.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Fear on Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:30 pm

    It went the same as it always did; a flash, a scream, and then silence. Exhilaration of the hunt, gratification of a kill. Rinse and repeat for what was to be an eternity of good service, the same old faithful spirit to bring comfort when even time itself began to lose its count. Except it wasn't the same as it always was; a flash, a scream, silence, and sometimes code. No thrill, no satisfaction. Just a meaningless purpose being flogged like the dead horse it was. Just a dead-end job in some backwater, dead-end dimension. Just irony being irony.

    Fitting.

    "Another death? Again...?"

    "That isss correct, Mr. Zuckermann. I warned you about carelesssssly wandering around at night."

    "Yeah, but, I just got back, y'know? Are you really going to send me down there and then hover in this area for another seven days just to sentence me again? Y'know, that's kinda insane, no offense..."

    "Well, Mr. Zuckermann, you could have developed sssome common sssenssse during your ssstint and moved out of the Outer Dissstrict, thereby rendering thisss fateful meeting unnecesssssary and sssparing usss both the inconvenience, but it ssseemsss that you've yet to grasssp the concept of thinking outssside the box. I've found you, Mr. Zuckermann. You know the drill."

    "Yeah, yeah... 'The crime isss life, the sssentence is death'. Ugh... can you just get on with it? You're seriously putting a wrinkle in my plans, Judge."

    Entitled little sod, wasn't he? A flash, no scream, silence, and code. Seven days were now fresh on the clock, and then this entirely absurd routine could start anew. That's what it had become: a vapid, all around asinine routine. How could anyone derive pleasure from something so monotonous and predictable...? Why, one would have to be a complete sheep to -

    "Brother, I mussst sspeak with you."

    Oh.

    Should he have had a functional nose, Judge Fear would have noted something rotten entering his icy domain and crinkled it. And should he have had functional eyes, he would have noted something foul infringing upon his gloomy territory and narrowed them. He had neither of these things, however; just his dulled, detached otherworldly senses. The ghoul shifted his listless gaze toward the honourable Judge Mortis' decrepit silhouette and could hardly contain his enthusiasm. "Brother," hissed a dispassionate Judge Fear. His unnatural bass was enough to rattle the soul, though it served little in masking his annoyance. "You are quite a waysss from your usssual hauntsss, and I do not take kindly to the maggotsss ferried by your ssstepsss. Ssstate your busssinessss and intentionsss. We are in the midssst of purging, after all." As dreadfully lackluster as it was.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:18 pm

    "Well, Mr. Zuckermann, you could have developed sssome common sssenssse during your ssstint and moved out of the Outer Dissstrict, thereby rendering thisss fateful meeting unnecesssssary and sssparing usss both the inconvenience, but it ssseemsss that you've yet to grasssp the concept of thinking outssside the box. I've found you, Mr. Zuckermann. You know the drill."

    "Yeah, yeah... 'The crime isss life, the sssentence is death'. Ugh... can you just get on with it? You're seriously putting a wrinkle in my plans, Judge."

    There he was, over that way. Muffled voices grasped what remained of Mortis' senses in the mass of shadow, and he shambled forward to it like one would follow a guiding light. There was a flash on the horizon, albeit partially obscured by the fog, and his steps became more purposed. He could sense little beyond the chilling veil of his making, but something was roiling within that mind of his.

    Something, wile Mortis could not exactly pinpoint what or identify it, could discern it was not all that welcoming to his presence. To be expected, he thought. Fear had not been one to graciously accept his presence, and now that their auras were so close together, pressing to the point of clashing against the other's element... Well, his annoyance was warranted. Though the memories Mortis held within him still balked at any of this being normal, about any of this following with their oath. In that, it could be said that their interaction was unnatural. "Apologiesss, Judge Fear." The sheep-skulled Judge quietly hissed, hesitating to move any closer than the several feet between them.

    Several moments ticked by after Fear had issued his irritable demand, silent save for the few minute, anxious hisses that escaped Mortis' snout.

    "It isss about... usss." He finally gravelled into the void, two pinpricks of dull red focusing upon what he could make of Fear's helmet. "We are brothersss bound by oath, and yet... You are sssuffering, and I remember usss being ssomething... different. We were not alwaysss ssso disstant from one another. I remember timess when we worked ssside by ssside." After his ponderance Mortis stilled once more, his gaze cast down to the fetid maggots that writhed at his feet. Lately it had been hard to speak,  voicing his thoughts a chore if only due to his conflict.

    He had intended to make himself more lawful, to become more fit to Judge in the eyes of his brothers and their laws... Yet in doing so it only drove a stake into their oaths, their bond.

    "A bond..." Mortis hissed to himself, not entirely aware he had said it out loud. though his bass gravel grew louder as he repeated it. "We had... a bond." One that he wanted to get back, though he knew about as much as how to get it back as he knew what the driving force beneath that bond felt like. Which, unfortunately was very little, if nothing. A clawed hand raised to his head and yellowed talons scraped over bone thoughtfully, wracking his mind to organize itself, to make some sense of what he wanted to say.

    "Did I...? D-did I betray it? Betray usss?" As stupid as that question sounded to him, it still took effort to draw out of his skeletal maw. Effort to try and be concise in the face of one who may or may not just see him as a traitor, one who was not fit to be their brother any longer. One who may see him as an enemy that they merely tolerate the presence of.

    Tolerate...

    There was something famiilar about that word, but the Judge could not put a talon on it. Claws flexed and dug shallow ruts into the bone of his head as he found himself perplexed with this odd feeling of déjà vu. "SSss..."

    Why was it familiar?
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Fear on Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:37 pm

    "It isss about... usss."

    "Of courssse it isss, of courssse it isss." Bitter words from an equally bitter soul, and yet Judge Fear did not wish to elaborate upon them further. He simply granted his brother continued audience within this murky shroud and was satisfied in being the quiet observer. That's how his role typically went, wasn't it? The lieutenant that wasn't given much use or thought, instead placed in the back until it was time to be fodder? A running gag?

    Well, now it was Judge Mortis' turn.

    The helmeted ghoul struggled to contain his incredulity after having listened to his brother's hesitant words. "Tch! Only now do you sssee the consssequencesss? You, the sssupposssedly mossst calculating of the four? You, the intellectual powerhoussse?" Could it be, dear brother, that you had erred? But a petty man Judge Fear was not, at least not to someone whom had accompanied his side all these centuries, and he thought to humour that empty sheep skull. "Uncertainty, regret, guilt," he rasped, otherworldly eyes shining in the unnatural dark. "I know them intimately asss if a lover, be it from the ssshaky utterancesss upon their meek breath... the sssickly pallor of their haunted featuresss... or the overbearing weight that ssstoopsss their otherwissse proud ssshouldersss... I sssmell them plaguing the sssinful asss I sssmell them now." Do you see any lingering sinners nearby, Judge Mortis?

    A cold light gently filtered into the shadows from the world outside, its soft glows weaving through the yielding darkness. He need only to gesture it aside and demand its obedience. Soon the dilapidated structures of the Outer District took shape and colour, the writhing umbra retreating back into the Dark Judge's abyssal-like shade. No longer concealed, the undead fiend stood tall before his brother as if he were an undulating phantasm, a thick mist swirling by his feet and wisps of shadow coiling off his toothy pauldrons. The darkness was his element, lest the honourable Judge Mortis forget.

    "Betrayal, mm... What a heavy, ugly word unfit for thossse of a righteousss calling." Nevertheless, Judge Fear considered his brother's words and he considered them gravely.

    Seconds ticked by... entire minutes, before he finally rasped, "You may possssesssss flawsss like the ressst of usss, Judge Mortisss, but you are no oath-breaker. I cannot, in good conssscience, damn you without alssso damning myssself." To entertain the very notion would be hypocritical, let alone unthinkable. The melodic rattling of chains echoed in the distance between them. "We are brothersss bound by oath, yesss. And we have a bond, yesss; though it hasss sssuffered, much like itsss ownersss." Why, however? Why had the brothers gone their separate paths? Yet another ugly word, 'separate', yet it was no less demanding of an answer. Judge Fear did not wilt before it, nor in his next choice of words. "I am afraid, Judge Mortisss, that thisss... world hasss altered usss, and we have grown apart through our adaptationsss. You, who chossse to run. And I, who chossse to embrace. The truth isss, my brother, we are pitted againssst a tasssk ssso Sssisssyphean that it makesss Mega City-One ssseem like child'sss play. Look around you..." Rotten hands motioned to their neglected surroundings. To the buildings, to the street, to the dead bodies stiffening upon it... "How long have we purged, Judge Mortisss? How long have we been out here, sssentencing sssinner after sssinner, and yet there isss no progresssss...? Doesss that not evoke reasssson for alarm in that ssscheming mind of yoursss? It doesss mine." As for his suffering...

    "I... have made missstakesss," confessed the ghoul, softly. And he did not admit this lightly. A gangrenous hand rested itself upon the Dark Judge's iron helm, rigid fingers perhaps harbouring the grinning visage's personal shame. This too he did not admit lightly. "In my zeal to rid thisss world of life and once again make usss relevant, I lossst my way... I have faltered off the virtuousss path and fear that I can no longer return. I... may not want to."

    Enough.

    He had said too much, a trait shared and unwanted.

    Judge Fear bid his brother away with a dismissive urge of his wrist. "Now go," he commanded, turning his back. "You have what you sssought to collect. There isss work to be done and we ssslave beneath an eternal massster." Time was as every much cruel to the dead as it was to the living.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:38 pm

    Fear's bass thundered in his ears, and Mortis' form shrank at the sound. Not from his tone, the ghoul's bitterness was warranted as much as the stinging ire that was held against him and his actions. The Judge's spine curled, and what bent it was gravity, the unabashed truth in Fear's words. It had been a month since he had adapted, since he had rehabilitated himself for their just purpose to be spread across this iniquitous dimension... And only now did he see the damages. "Y-Yesss..." He stammered, at once struggling to compose himself and attempting to figure why he had grown to be so... timid? could that be the right word? There was another distressed hiss and the ghoul once again mustered the courage to speak up.

    "At the time, and overlong afterward, it ssseemed the proper choice." He gravelled, the hand that did not occupy his bony skull coming to rest upon his belt. Though now he was not sure certain it was indeed the proper choice at all. His gaze tilted up to match Fear's otherworldly gaze, the empath managing to cut through the haze of his mind and to the heart of the matter. His tail gave an agitated flick before pressing itself against the back of his thigh, curling against rotted leather. However, the ghoul refused to deny the presence of what the other described within his being. Though he could not rightly put a definition to them, there was something lurking within his ribs and the cavity of his skull. "It isss imposssible to not feel them, Fear. You have been crippled through my actionsss, I drove you away when we ssshould be ssstaying together."

    They were the only two Dark Judges upon this accursed rock, they were alone with the criminal and unlawful. Turning against each other would only serve to be a detriment than a boon.

    "Betrayal, mm... What a heavy, ugly word unfit for thossse of a righteousss calling."

    "Sssss...sss..." Mortis' posture remained broken even as the shadows flitted away, dismissed by their master and sent to heel at his feet. For a moment he wondered if the other would unleash those horrors upon him, if he would prove his suspicions correct and cut him down as a traitor. Seconds ticked by into minutes, knowing fully well that Fear was assessing and preparing his judgement. Yet, even with that possible threat looming over him, Mortis remained where he was. There was no point in running from a hunter such as Fear, a predator that could easily track and capture him should he be so foolish as to turn tail and flee out of cowardice.

    Though another thought deduced that the fellow lieutenant, his brother, would not make his fears come to life as he did for the sinful that lay resting in the street and waited in the Pool to return. He would listen, he would let him remain. He had to, right?

    Long minutes ticked by, and Fear came to his ultimatum upon what he thought of his brother. He was neither damned to be executed, nor was he innocent. At this, Mortis tilted his skull, broken from his trepidation for the time being. "It hasss not been broken?" he rasped, confused. "What do you mean that you mussst damn yourssself if you damn me? You have done nothing wrong." Or at least, he could not remember Fear doing any true wrong. He grew silent as Fear rumbled on, stating that the world had changed them, that it had set them with a Sisyphean task that could never be accomplished. He pondered upon what the ghoul meant by that Mortis had chose to run but he chose to embrace... What had Mortis run from? He knew he had removed his vices, what he had deemed to be weaknesses to better devote himself to their cause.

    But what exactly had those been?

    "How long have we purged, Mortisss? How long have we been out here, sssentencing sssinner after sssinner, and yet there isss no progresssss...? Doesss that not evoke reasssson for alarm in that ssscheming mind of yoursss? It doesss mine."

    Again, while Mortis hated to admit, he was starting to ponder the validity of their cause within this dimension. It was not the first time either. "I have quessstioned thisss before, the validity of our caussse. I have been thinking, perhapsss there isss sssome way to purge thiss world that we have not yet consssidered, but I cannot sssee the way to our goal." There was another shaky hiss, and Mortis withdrew his rotted talons from his head, letting them hang limply at his side. Defeat was always hard to admit, the refused it for years while purging within the walls of the Mega-City, and for some time they had thought they could possibly win in this prison as well. "But there hasss to be a reassson I did thisss to myssself. Sssome sssliver of hope to be gained if I could jussst focusss, if I could remember." Though as much as he wanted to sound convinced in his own words, even that was an effort that he could not bring himself to do. Instead, the superfiend merely sounded lost.

    His attention turned to the fellow Judge as he watched his dead hand come to rest upon the brow of his helmet. A confession spoken softly, but carrying with it a great weight. Mistakes, was he talking about his decision to go native? Had he gone too far in his own crusade to bring this place to justice? There was another distraught hiss as Mortis listened,  a confession made that he...

    He may no longer wish to be a part of their cause.

    "Fear..."

    His talons removed themselves from the sides of belt pouch and the ghoul found himself hesitantly reaching forward. "Fear, I--" he was cut off but a curt command and dismissive gesture, the other turning his back to him. Though the action was simple, something about it brought a sort of ache to him. Dull yet stabbing within his breast, the ghoul's outstretched hand curled and fell away, flexing into a loose fist at his side.

    Seconds ticked by, and mortis' tail dutifully kept count of each with every agitated flick and lash that it gave. "No." He gravelled, louder than he had intended, it sounded like a demand. "I have not come here jussst for that." He hissed. A judgement and confession was a mere start to what needed to be done between them. Clawed, rotten feet hesitantly stepped forward despite the turmoil in his mind; several feet diminishing between them with every step until Mortis stepped past his brother and came to stand in front of him. Perhaps if Fear could see it, he may notice the slight tremors that made the other's uniform shudder.

    "You had sssaid you cannot sssenssse the world around you. We have both become dissstant from each other when we ssshould be... closser. I-I want to mend thisss." He managed to say, attempting to stand a little taller than he did prior.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Fear on Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:15 pm

    "No."

    Such a profound word, 'no'. So simple, so absolute. So... powerful. 'No' compelled Judge Fear to halt dead in his tracks, the monstrous undead seemingly incapable of breaking free. Why... "No?" he reiterated, slowly retraining his predatory gaze upon the festering shoulders of his brother. There it remained until Judge Mortis had the courage to pivot and face him, the two super-friends at last matching eye-to-eye. Tremors or not, timidness or not, respect between equals must be granted. The biting frost attributed by Judge Fear's asphyxiating presence ceded as he let his brother speak unhindered.

    "I have not come here jussst for that. You had sssaid you cannot sssenssse the world around you. We have both become dissstant from each other when we ssshould be... closser. I-I want to mend thisss."

    "Mm..." Another low thrum of pensive thought. What to say and just how much...

    He should start with the truth, perhaps. Or even the beginning, for the truth was as every harsh as their relentless profession and might require a more tactful approach. Not that Judge Fear had ever been one for much tact, though it was never too late to teach an old Judge new tricks.

    "I am perfectly cognizant that asss the lesss underssstood brother, none of you were ever truly aware of what I represssent and how I represssent it," he hissed. This was of course putting it very mildly and in simplistic terms, but Judge Mortis was exceptionally bright - usually. "I am an empath," the Dark Judge continued, starting with the most obvious, "and an empath isss only asss good asss their empathic abilitiesss. My realm belongsss to that of fear, an emotion. Take my empathy away from me and I can no longer better ssserve our goalsss; I can no longer wield fear itssself with sssatisssfactory resssultsss. I have mantrapsss, yesss. And I have incendiary devicesss and padlocksss and chainsss. None of thessse thingsss, however, carry one percent of the sssignificance and efficiency that my empathic abilitiesss bring. I am esssentially ussselessss, Judge Mortisss." A sad, but expected, pitfall of specializing in a very misunderstood niche. "What ssshall I be called now? Judge Mantrap? Judge Bang? Judge Chainsss?"

    The above had been the easy explanation. Now for the grittier topics; the one regarding their oath shall suffice. "Am I not here, ssstanding before you and patiently entertaining your audience?" Judge Fear rasped. He grumbled once, letting unspoken words rumble deep within his throat. Tact, alas. He must remember tact. "If there wasss no oath, or even a broken one asss you may fear, then I would be having nothing to do with you. But there isss one, and it ssshall sssurvive irregardlessssss of our individual failingsss. We are ssstill Judgesss, we are ssstill brothersss, and we are ssstill bound to our eternal dutiesss. I am determined to keep thingsss thisss way."

    "What do you mean that you mussst damn yourssself if you damn me? You have done nothing wrong."

    Ah, now this right here was admittedly harder to answer. The ghoul did not wither before the challenge.

    "It meansss exactly what it sssoundsss like," Judge Fear retorted, his scoff tinny. Pardon him, dear brother, for his temper had been tested in that moment. He lapsed into a momentarily silence as a better handle kept his more candid thoughts in check. "If I blame you for having run off assss you did, warping yourssself for a goal you thought permissssible, then I am no better than Judge Death. Becaussse the truth isss, Judge Mortisss, I alssso did the sssame thing, yet I did not run. Asss I sssaid, I embraced it. I willingly embraced the change, realized the futility of thisss world, and thought that I could sssomehow - and ssstupidly ssso - bessst it. Sssuch isss the arrogance of four men who ssstruck a deal with two witchesss in the fessstering sssewer sssyssstemsss of Deadworld, thinking that they themssselvesss are more sssuperior than the forcesss that be." Tut tut, temper. Anger, the ghoul found, was a stubborn devil and had been one of the emotions that simply would not go quietly into the icy night with all the others. As a result, it was mildly comforting.

    But a terrible companion nevertheless and Judge Fear abruptly set it to the frost of his brother's impassive aura. "I've done plenty wrong," he rasped, without fear of judgement or backlash. If Judge Mortis found him unfit, so be it. Retirement was since long overdue. "And you know it asss well, Judge Mortisss. I know you do, becaussse it isss perhapsss the one thing you have yet to forget."

    The one black-eye on Judge Fear's record that was somehow more glaring than all of Judge Death's.

    His anger may be currently entombed in ice, but that did little for his bitterness. "You did thisss for a reassson, yesss; though the reassson you did it for isss not asss virtuousss asss you may believe. You cannot remember becaussse you went into your own mind, into your own memoriesss, and butchered what dissspleasssed you the mossst. Sssuch a processsss when accomplisssshed with unssskilled handsss isss foolisssh. You are undoubtedly realizing thisss now." Along with, of course, the damage. But as said before, Judge Fear was not a petty man, no matter how tempting. It was unnecessary to rub Judge Mortis' bony snout into the mess he was observant about. Nevertheless, the Dark Judge had another hard truth for his brother. "You will be unable to fix yourssself, and no amount of focusss or hope will sssuddenly enable you to reverssse the damage causssed," he revealed. A tired sigh, if only just a small one. "If I had known what you were planning upon sssetting out into the wildernessssss..." You know what they say: hindsight is 20/20.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:54 pm

    No, he was not leaving so easily, brother. Even with this booming reiteration, how his gaze fastened itself upon Mortis' own, the other refused to falter. Though he could do little about the shivers that were currently plaguing his host. He had expected the other to be blunt and to the point, perhaps even bitingly so given how bitter he was about everything that had occurred. Instead... It appeared Fear was going for something more reserved.

    He usually did not take this long to say anything, so he had to be thinking.

    What he said next sounded restrained, his true feelings on the matter bound and tied as he attempted to explain his nature to the less experienced of their duo. Though, as Mortis had suspected, he had been crippled by his actions. Not only was he made senseless, but also unable to properly sentence those he found guilty. Her could no longer weild his natural element, and thus was reduced to fighting the iniquitous with his secondary devices only. "Thisss wass why you consssidered my actionsss reckless, no doubt." Mortis gravelled, regret lacing his sibilant words. It would be as if Fear had somehow managed to take away his powers of decay, he reasoned, glancing down at his own rotted talons. "No, you cannot be any of thossse alternativess. I had thought it wasss a limited realm that I had encumbered, but thisss... I have crippled you beyond purpossse." With that realization, a flood of horror flowed through him, not only had he changed himself completely, he had managed to butcher his only surviving brother.

    Yet he entertained his presence. Why? Even as the other grumbled below his breath, tinny words too muffled by his great helm to be discerned from mere rumbling and growls, the other could not help but wonder. Even with their oath, this should be considered a form of treason, disabling a fellow Judge without due reason. However, the Judge had said himself, he wanted to keep things this way, he wanted them to keep their oath and their bond. For that, while Mortis was confused exactly as to why, he still found himself thankful that the other was still willing to at least humor him.

    "I thank you for that." He replied quietly. "I would rather we keep to our oathsss, our bonds." Else Mortis likely would have never braved the trek out to face his, well, Fear. Although, there was something that he had not anticipated.

    His brother encountered the same conundrum, but instead decided to choose a different path, an embracing path to attempt to best this dimension's vile laws. Even with Fear's rising temper, it left Mortis to wonder what may have come should he have done the same as his brother, if he had decided to simply embrace this world instead of try and run away from his vices. But that was the thing, were not vices something that distracted one from their duties? Even here, they still had some semblance of that, although... It was quickly waning. They both knew they would not be able to purge this place like they could Deadworld, like they had during their attempted Necropolis upon the Mega City. This dimension, this Gamma-X... It was an entirely different breed of dimension.

    "Ssss..." He had been foolish. He had been reckless. He had failed to see ahead to the future for the express purpose of fulfilling duties that no longer held a purpose, that could no longer be completed.

    "I've done plenty wrong, and you know it asss well, Judge Mortisss. I know you do, becaussse it isss perhapsss the one thing you have yet to forget."

    The scaly sinner, that was who he was speaking of.

    "You grew closssse to him for the sssake of our goal. You made your sacrifice for a reassson and ssstill have the plansss associated with them to fulfill." Mortis reasoned. Fear had taken Kev under his umbral wing for the purpose of their goals, their mission. Unless... He too was admitting he fell victim to this place, how it warped the mind. Mortis knew he was close the green sinner, he knew that Kev was also close to him... but at the same time it too would be hypocritical of him to pass judgement upon Fear when this was all he had done. When their laws were pale and held no purpose.

    "I cannot passs judgement upon you for sssomething that iss out of your control." he hissed, glancing down at the pavement for a moment. If Fear thought to retire from his work, Mortis would have to follow suit. If two could not purge this entire planet, one would be just as stuck but with twice the burden as the both of them ever did. Death had done far worse to them all, and he did not have the wiles of a prison-like dimension to fall back upon. He was not forced to purge in a place where the living never truly die, he never had to find an alternative to their ways by blending with the populace.

    Well, at one point he did, but that was so brief as to be insignificant. Running around in the Cursed Earth with a couple of killers, participating in pugilism for the sake of attaining nuclear weapons was nothing compared to their work to lay low and keep from being found out too soon... Which may have gone smoother should someone have chosen an accomplice who was less chatty.

    However, his interest was truly pique when Fear had mentioned that his adaption was not for the same virtuous reason as he so believed. How could that be so? He had changed for the sake of their cause, their duties... right? Once again however, his brother's words from that fateful night still rang within his mind, his voice still as thunderous as it was a month prior.

    It wassss not duty that compelled you to flee my gaze; it wasss fear. You are no better than the witch-girl and her jealousssy.

    "Fear and jealousssy..." Mortis repeated, his tone growing distant. Suddenly he had an interest to sit down somewhere, just to sit and think. "That wasss what you sssaid when I had returned. But over what... I.. I cannot fathom. I cannot remember." And this was the reason that fear now was no longer able to carry out his duties... Why he was crippled beyond use aside from his auxillary gear that he kept on hand. Gear that could be stripped away from him should he be caught off guard. "I realize thisss now, yesss. And I wissh to find sssome way that you can be returned to your full ability. You cannot be forever incapable of utilizing your abilitiesss." A hand came up to palm over the smooth surface of his skull as fear went on, saying that he had no way of fixing the damage done to himself, that he was unable to reverse anything and everything that he had done.

    "If there isss no way for me to reverssse thisss, how do we resstore you to your full ssstrength?" His bass graveling voice started to grow faster with each word, until it seemed rise into a full panic. "How do we fix thiss if what I had done isss directly linked to your crippled ssstate?! We cannot die, thisss cannot be reversssed, and now that you sssay that you are are incapable of utilizing your sskillsss, I am unsssure if the accursssed vehicle wasss even right about a sssingle thing it sssaid!" He rasped, exasperated. Now did he decide to shamble over to the curb, squatting himself down and taking a seat upon the pavement with his legs left to splay out into the road. rotted talons rose to cup the edges of his jaw, red pinpricks jittering as they studied the cracks in the asphalt as if they somehow held some secret answer that he could possibly read.

    "What can we do?"
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Fear on Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:41 pm

    A low, rumbling chuckle came from the mysterious confines of his blackened helm. "I wasss removed of purpossse the very moment I emerged from that grave," he answered, perhaps finding something... humourous about their given situation. "We were already crippled, Judge Mortisss; thisss isss sssimply much more recent." Upon hearing his brother's gratitude, Judge Fear quickly cast it aside. "Do not thank me for sssomething that isss expected of usss. I would hold you to the sssame, ssshould our posssitionsss be reversssed." There was a pause. A pause and then, "But you are welcome, I sssuppossse. An expectation isss not a certainty."

    "You grew closssse to him for the sssake of our goal. You made your sacrifice for a reassson and ssstill have the plansss associated with them to fulfill. I cannot passs judgement upon you for sssomething that iss out of your control."

    And for the longest time since having initially considered their oath, Judge Fear grew deathly silent.

    There were many, many things wrong with the above sentences. Enough for a seasoned Judge to thoroughly rip apart and come to one logical conclusion all Judges feared: the forfeiture of their badge. Judge Mortis was one of those seasoned Judges, and he knew very well their laws just as all good Judges did. To not pass judgement on a failing Judge... "No," Judge Fear objected, his voice resonating through the lifeless streets and alleyways. "That isss unacceptable, Judge Mortisss. You will judge me, for to refrain from disssciplining a defective Judge isss to hand in your badge yourssself." And his brother deserved far better than something so disgraceful. "I will not pretend that my goalsss were noble and my executionsss of them were perfect - that isss far from the truth. At firssst, yesss. Yesss, I convinced myssself that going native wasss necesssssary in essstablissshing a sssecure footing within the populace. Gaining sssocietal worth hasss made it difficult for the more rowdy dissssentersss to openly oppossse usss. In thisss, I ssssucceeded. But that doesss not excusssse my actionsss, nor my crisssisss of judicial faith. Never, Judge Mortisss, hasss the sssituation ever been out of my control."

    It was true that Judge Fear could have salvaged the deteriorating circumstance and emerged on top, but he had asked questions. Little seeds of doubt that started so innocently as: why? And when a Judge begins to ask questions... when a Judge begins to enjoy something that was not meant for them... when a Judge no longer sees reason in administering the law... They became a detriment to the team, a rogue player, and as according to true Deadworld fashion they were to be terminated.

    No office work. No entertaining a Long Walk.

    Nothing.

    Again and again, his brother insisted on returning the ineffective Judge Fear to his optimum state. Again and again, Judge Mortis struggled to grasp the ugly reality of his brother's tired words. Otherworldly eyes rested upon the troubled soul, shadows at their weakest.

    "It isss rather sssimple," hissed Judge Fear. "Don't."

    Of course, this was hardly a satisfactory answer and someone like Judge Mortis would reasonably expect something with more substance; something to sink his decrepit claws into; something that didn't leave him feeling so hopeless. Very well, brother, very well. For you and the purpose of your interrogation, he will remain ever forthright. "I have... alwaysss been the weakessst link," Judge Fear rasped, quietly. "Judge Fire hasss alwaysss been deathly effective, and you are usssually never far behind hisss ssscorched footssstepsss. Asss for Judge Death, who ssseemsss to have the leassst of our giftsss? He isss the leader and we do not quessstion him asss sssuch. Therefore, that leavesss me to habitually come in lassst. I needn't regale you with how easssy it had been for Dredd to render me inoperable, nor how effortlesssss it isss to negate my powersss. You've ssseen it for yourssself, Judge Mortisss, right here and now." Why deny it further?

    An unheard sigh escaped him, the once-proud broadness of his encumbered shoulders now weighed heavy by the very decorative weapons that struck terror in the average sinner. Uncertainty, regret, guilt... Judge Fear never did say that he smelled them solely from Judge Mortis.

    "Do not fix it. Prior to all of thisss nonsssenssse, you believed yourssself wholly lawful. It would be ssselfisssh of me to sssay that I wasssn't happy for you - I wasss. All Judgesss ssshould ssstrive for a more lawful ssstate of being." Though maybe not all of them wanted to achieve it, let alone continuously work toward it. Judge Fear belonged to the latter and he wanted his brother to know it. He had belonged there for quite some time... "I sssuppossse you could sssay that the very nature of empathy pavesss way for the foundation of corruption, but that would only paint me in an even weaker light and prove itssself an excussse. Ssso, it would be better if I ssstated that I can no longer make judicial decisssionsss of sssound body and mind. I know we did not call Judge Death'sss actsss into quessstion, be it becaussse of hisss importance or out of fear of retaliation, and I am not asssking for a sssimilar hypocritical pardon. I am asssking for sssomething he ssshould have, and that, Judge Mortisss, isss impartial judgement. The besss thing you can do isss to carry out our goal and remain asss virtuousss asss you can. If anyone can remain dutiful, it isss you. And though I have faltered and proven myssself inept, gladly will I make thessse sssame missstakesss again and again if it meansss that one good Judge managesss to pull through."

    After all, what good was fodder if not to ensure the continued survival of the more useful?
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:35 am

    "What?" Of course this place made them weak upon their first few steps, but as they stayed they grew stronger, they regained their abilities. Even if their laws had been deemed null and void, it had been by this dimension's insufferable laws instead of anything they had done. This crippling was different, this had the potential to stay this way for the rest of their days upon this blasted rock, until either the deity grew bored of maintaining this pocket of space and time, or someone found a means to destroy them.

    "Thisss dimensssion and what hass happened between usss are two very different thingsss, Fear." Mortis pointed out, stepping forward. The few feet that had been between them diminished, a few breaths separating the two Judges now. They were brothers, they were bound by oath and bond, if Fear was so daft as to think that this was a fine outcome to remain between them--!

    "No,"

    "No?" Mortis parroted, surprised. Still, he silently listened as Fear went on... So he thought the nobility in his goals were merely pretend? But that did not make any sense, he had made ties for the sake of keeping dissenters from intervening before their plans were carried out. He had been the one to mold Kev to their purposes, to convince him that he would make a fine addition to their schemes. "What do you mean?" He hissed, pondering. "Thiss place makess everyone we ssseek to purge eternal, to come acrosss temptationsss and think to entertain them isss a given. Even Fire or Death would have had a crississs like you and I have had. What of my actionsss, Fear? I have crippled you in my rassshness!"

    How was Fear going to protect himself if he could not sense his surroundings?

    How were they going to work as a unit when one of their only two surviving members could function?

    "We are made to act asss a unit, Fear. We are all that are left of usss on thiss planet, in thisss dimensssion. In order for usss to sssurvive certain permissssionsss musst be granted." He urged, one of his rotten claws coming to rest upon Fear's shoulder. "If thisss place will be asss ssstubborn asss we believe it will be in keeping uss from purging the iniquitousss, in making our lawsss obsssolete... We...we mussst focusss on keeping each other in one piece." Fear had said himself that to purge every sign of life upon this rock was impossible, that their task would never be complete no matter how long they worked at it. And if they had managed it, what then?

    Centuries of inactivity, unable to fully rest but damned to an existence of nothing? Would this place even become like Deadworld should they manage the impossible and clear it completely of sin?

    Yet... Fear once again stated it would be a lost cause.

    Don't fix it, he said, there was no point in preserving a weak link, he said. His claw slid down from his brother's plated shoulder, shocked to silence as the other went on. He saw him and Fire to be the most effective, and him the weakest portion of their team... As much as fear may believe it to be true, Mortis could not help but shake his head.

    No.

    "Do not fix it."

    No.

    "...it would be better if I ssstated that I can no longer make judicial decisssionsss of sssound body and mind."

    No!

    Was Fear even listening to himself?! from his place on the curb, his skull whipped about to stare back up at the other with such force that there was an audible snap! The rest of his body turned about to face him again as he rose to his feet, glowing red pinpricks focused upon his brother and only growing brighter with ever word that he uttered. "Sssss!" again they flared, and Mortis swiftly devoured the distance between them with supernatural speed. "Ssssilence! That isss not true and you know it! You are not fodder, you are not sssome martyr for othersss to ssstand on!" He so adamantly snarled. as is to prove his point, both of his rotten  hand flashed up to grasp either side of his brother's helm, his grip firm yet leaving no mark upon the other's visage.

    "Gaze, and tell me what you sssee." At once, the barrier in front of Mortis' mind, the icy, impenetrable wall of frost that refused all feeling and emotion, toppled. Like a marionette with its strings cut, it fell and became useless, leaving the other's mind completely open to the other. What the other allowed him to see was all that he could manage to remember, and some that he kept from the spillover Fear had granted him.

    First was Mortis' arrival to this accursed dimension, and the very first person who came across him while he was wallowing about in the swamps. Who had told him to stay in one place, who had been so dutiful as to come and retrieve him from the bog before anything could prematurely end his exploration? Certainly it was not the frogs and alligators.

    Who had already set up a base of operations upon their first few days, though simple as it was, to which they could retreat and master their skills? Last he checked, the owner of that place was rather tall, dark, and bat-winged.

    His deals with Zs'skayr were next, the ghostly fiend who introduced them to the deadly space mineral Corrodium and made a deal with Fear in order to supply him with the highly toxic material.

    Their outings into the Mire, to behead a bloody red Queen in order to the spare the kingdom of a sickly white Queen, who had been the one who advised what to do, ensured that a certain overeager sheep-skulled Judge did not manage to get himself into trouble before their trip was over? Who had summoned a sea beast from the depths,  commanded an army of the dead, and lent their talents in umbrakenesis when necessary? Certainly not any of the sinners in the party they had been stuck with.

    And guess who's abilities were the most low-key of them all. That which could slip into the minds of others and gain necessary information, bend the will of others and twist them to their own needs and goals. Mortis certainly could not, his rotten grippers lacked the surgeon's finesse in twisting emotions and manipulating the will. Every witnessed example of Fear's talents were put on display for him to see, to remember since he had so suddenly forgot.

    And who, lastly, had made sure that his brother had stayed hidden, learning and listening from the shadows until he had grown powerful enough to purge side-by-side, until they could work as one cohesive unit?

    Fear.

    Judge Fear.

    Not Judge Chains, or Judge Bang, or Judge Mantraps. Still Mortis remained attached to the other, his mind open and unguarded. Outside of the mental review of what Fear had been, albeit upon this rock, Mortis' sockets remained fixed upon the other's ocularia, pinpricks of red burning fiercely within them. He kept Fear's head staring straight at him, and he staring right back.

    Though, if he really wanted his verdict on the matter... "If you are unfit for duty because of your losssess, ssso am I ass I cannot remember all that I likely need to make a proper judgement. However, what I can tell isss that you are ill. I am ill from the apparent butchery I did to my mental facilitiesss and it wass passsed onto you. The only lawful thing for me to decide... Iss to put the both of usss on sssick leave." Came his gravelled hiss, tense as he continued to stare into the other's many eyes. "Until thisss hass been remedied, until you are capable of your prior ability and function, we are both unfit for duty. That isss my judgement."

    That said, Mortis removed his talons from the other's helm, his hands quivering as he stepped away. The glow in his eye sockets flickered and began to simmer down to their usual dull embers, the towering Judge stepping back a bit more until he back rested against the brick wall of the dilapidated building behind them.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Fear on Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:17 am

    "And are they necessssarily different?" Judge Fear let his brother contemplate the question for a handful of silent moments, adding, "Upon arriving here, we were sssubject to what the localsss call 'flattening'; everything we owned, from our abilitiesss to even our inhuman ssstrength, had been reduced to zero. And though we have regained thessse traitsss, our purpossse wasss jussst asss meaninglessssss then assss it isss now. We are ssstill crippled, Judge Mortisss, one way or another. Attaining our might had jussst been a dissstraction in the interim." A short-term goal serving as busywork before facing their true objective and its plethora of challenges.

    "What do you mean? [...] What of my actionsss, Fear? I have crippled you in my rassshness!"

    Questions, questions, questions.

    The helmeted fiend knew better than to point out the glaring relation between his brother and K.A.R.R., and he thankfully kept his observation mum. "And what of your actionsss?" he asked, tone level. "Though I do not agree with your choice and I have ssstupidly lowered my defensssesss to non-judicial partiesss, I can find jussstification in your reasssoning. There had been a time where I wasss quite livid and found immensssse disssstasssste in my mouth, and for that, brother, I do humbly apologize. It wasss wrong of me to confide in othersss when thisss matter ssshould have been kept private." A mistake Judge Fear would not be quick to repeat. But it seemed that the honourable Judge Mortis was... struggling with something? Naturally, naturally. This heart-to-heart chat wasn't exactly an upbeat conversation. It was quite bleak, to be perfectly frank. As with the hazy darkness and bitter frost he so preferred, all manners of bleak things were of little discomfort to the Dark Judge. It was when those bleak things turned upon him that the fiend began to hesitate. His thoughts were interrupted when an icy, rot-covered hand rested itself upon one of his grinning pauldrons. How... comrade-like of his brother.

    They were made to act like a unit... Yes, Judge Fear supposed that was correct. Militarized personnel operated far better when moving as a single, coordinated entity. But that was the rub, wasn't it? If a unit were to perform at maximum capacity, should there not be a distinguished level of trust? When they were four, there had been respect and, admittedly, fear. Fear of Death, that is. Fear of Death and of the Sisters that continuously doted on him. To cross Death was to evoke the Sisters' ire, and... perhaps... the unraveling of immortality.

    Loyalty could only go so far while under the threat of excruciating punishment left to the imagination of two very sadistic witches. Witches, mind, that had originally been deemed unlawful by the pre-Death judicial regime. Funny, that.

    SNAP!

    "Sssss! Ssssilence! that isss not true and you know it! You are not fodder, you are not sssome martyr for othersss to ssstand on!"

    Ahh... righteous anger. In true dispassionate fashion, Judge Fear neither submitted nor outright defied his brother's advance. Why? It would only escalate things further, perhaps incite something truly irreparable between them. So he stood there, listening in silence until it was fitting to contribute. The fiend drew upon an ancient memory that neither of them had discarded. "And what of the Judgesss we helped purge?" he calmly inquired. Surely, Judge Mortis had not forgotten about them. "Were they not fodder, brother? Were they not martyrsss for Death'sss endlesssss crusssade? Mm... The only reassson we did not join their countlessss ranksss isss becaussse we were either too blind in our idolization of Death or too frightened to dare ssspeak out. And need I remind you how quick Death hasss been in the passst to cut hisss losssesss?" Limbo ought to ring a striking bell. Ah, but what was this? Judge Fear found himself unable to glance away as both of Judge Mortis' festering mitts kept his helmeted head squarely in place. An odd gesture.

    ...Gaze? Pardon him for scoffing yet again.

    "That isss not how it worksss, I'm afraid." Though if his brother really wanted a spook, then by all means... reach up with one of those rancid digits and peel back the hinged visor. It was guaranteed to be a shock to the system.

    But that wasn't what his brother had meant at all. Far from it, in fact! For the first time in a good long while, Judge Mortis lowered his impenetrable wall of mental fortitude and peppered the helmeted fiend with memory after memory. And they were good ones, too. Recollections that were as every much interesting as they were... enjoyable. Ahh... finding his brother in that contemptible bog, the excursion concluding with both Judge Mortis and K.A.R.R. bickering like little schoolchildren. Oh, and that aggravating quest to rid the Kingdom of White from the Red Queen's influence! So many shenanigans, so many flaring tempers. It had truly been a right mess, though not bereft of its amusing patches. The imagery of turning Amalan upon his knee never failed to get a round of low chuckling out of the undead lawman.  

    Ah, but that was enough tomfoolery. The point of this entire exercise was to showcase just how useful Judge Fear could really be, though it was dreadfully hard to shelve his cynicism. Diverse his powers may be, yes. But they would have never come to light if neither had found themselves marooned upon Portal Breach. Judge Death would have never given him the chance to expand his wings and fly.

    Such was the existence of a lowly lieutenant who was not named Fire or Mortis.

    "If you are unfit for duty because of your losssess, ssso am I ass I cannot remember all that I likely need to make a proper judgement. However, what I can tell isss that you are ill. I am ill from the apparent butchery I did to my mental facilitiesss and it wass passsed onto you. The only lawful thing for me to decide... Iss to put the both of usss on sssick leave. Until thisss hass been remedied, until you are capable of your prior ability and function, we are both unfit for duty. That isss my judgement."

    Oh...

    Stunned into an eerie quiet, Judge Fear could only stare. And stare, and stare, and stare, until - "Ha ha... Ha ha ha. Ha ha HA!" Until he erupted with sudden laughter, the grave thundering in his voice nearly deafening. "Sssick leave? Sssick leave!?" Judge Fear hissed, this time his incredulity stemming from good-natured roots. "You jessst, brother, you jessst! For we cannot become sssick, oh no... A sssicknessss of the sssoul perhapsss, but what Judge, living or otherwissse, relinquisssshesss judicial dissscretion to malaissse?" Then he grew still... his otherworldly sights drawn to some invisible horizon known only to himself. "But, I sssuppossse you are right," he admitted, deliberately. "We are indeed not functioning to the level our badgesss demand of usss, and perhapsss I have become too... pesssimissstic asss of late." It happened to all good souls, one way or another. How to correct this behaviour, however? Perchance it was best to start with his brother's questions, yes... The ones Judge Fear had not answered. Let's start with his 'gaze'.

    "Hmm... Well, I sssee a sssheep-ssskulled nitwit who didn't even sssucceed in managing to ssself-lobotomize himssself." Ah, a classic blunt response from the helmeted Judge. But if there was any maliciousness in there... "Which isss good, becaussse it meansss there isss a way to reverssse your condition." One would only be chasing their own tail for eternity.

    Judge Fear approached his brother with several rigid steps, his many chains jingling. "There isss... hope, I think. You've done a very good job hacking yourssself to rugged bitsss, but it'sss asss you've sssaid: you're no geniusss with thingsss of a more inherently psssychic nature. Ha ha, that isss my realm." And it felt incredibly good to be better at something his brothers were not. Rusty cogs turned and cobwebs furled around them. "I know of a technique - a powerful one. It isss not without itsss drawbacksss and the extent of your damage isss sssevere, but I believe that it can be performed. How do you feel, Judge Mortisss, about a little bout of psssychic sssurgery?"

    Sounded like a barrel of fun, didn't it?
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:37 pm

    Indeed, this place did flatten them of their abilities, their strength and power until they had been able to earn it all back. Their purpose however, was still just as meaningless as it was the day they had arrived upon this dimension, it only took them the amount of time that it did to get their power back to realize fully where exactly they were and what fate had in store for them. "...In thisss, I sssee your point." Mortis hissed receding from his earlier frustration. "But we did not induce it upon each other, was what I had meant. the lawsss of a dimenssssion differ greatly than the whimss of another'sss mind." A mind that had greatly underestimated the impact that they would have upon another.

    Yes, the ghoul sounded much like KARR with his questioning, but all the same, it was a glaring detail that he could not help but note. Though, it appeared Fear was vulnerable to much more than his own actions. Here, there was regret, albeit over something other than his decision to attempt to wipe himself of emotion and impure thought. "Ssshould I have known how ssussceptible you could truly be... I would have been far more vigilant." Certainly, he could kill off the green sinner, rid his brother of the vexing life that he had exposed himself to, but what would that gain? He would simply come back, and the two as far as he could see, were close to the point of nearly being linked as Anderson and Death had been. "If you had not confided, I would have not known that you were dissabled, nor would that sstubborn machine of yoursss have come to find me." Mortis pointed out. In fact, he doubted anyone would have come to intervene or attempt to prove him wrong.

    After all, who among the few that Judge Fear considered his friends thought they could stand up to the might of a Master of Decay? Kev, for all that his brother had trained him to be, lacked the confidence and perhaps the gall, to seek him out and try to instill sense into his skull. As for the other, the cybertronian who was oddly fascinated with them both? He could not say.

    Still, he could not help but find that small matter fascinating, how many flocked to Fear yet cowered in the presence of Mortis... Then again, of their duo, he was always the more serious one, rigid in his ways.

    Though it appeared he softened in the presence of his brother. It was something that Mortis found to be oddly natural, yet he was not all that pleased with himself in how Fear kept pointing out the flaws in his judgement. How he should be, according to his brother, willing to simply strike him down as an excrescence to their laws and ways. certainly he could see the reasoning behind it. He had done what Death likely should have been condemned for, he got close to a sinner to the point where he lacked the drive to sentence him outright, instead deciding to kill the alien on his own terms.

    No one was allowed to simply decide when they would get their trial. The law did not bend, it did not sway to the whims of the criminal and iniquitous. But all the same, did their law truly apply to this realm, a place where the dead simply returned until they no longer wished to live? They could purge all they wished, and not a single dent would be made in the teeming millions that infested this planet. Because this place was not a world, it was not a natural universe like their home or the Mega City... They were trapped in a giant battery, a fuel cell for a ravenous god.

    What of the others, Fear added. What of those countless hundreds, thousands that had been purged by thier just hands... "They are dead, they have been dead. They no longer matter upon thisss world, Fear. We have long sssince freed ourssselvess from Death'sss regime with having been dragged here by the portalsss and our lawsss made usseless." The sheep-skulled Judge hissed, "Even then, it isss doubtful either he or Fire will join usss." Though he would be lying if he said that he did not retain some amount of loyalty for their missing leader. Centuries of being a subordinate were hard to break, after all. Not that it was easy to do, not after knowing that Fear had been sent to limbo and the rest went back to purging at their chief's beck and call.

    "That isss not how it worksss, I'm afraid."

    Oh, he had no intent of scaring you, brother.

    Though the other was cynical about just how useful he could be, it was becasue he managed to get out from under Death's thumb that he managed to find his true potential. That was something to be valued, was it not? Something to rub in the face of the others should Death or Fire manage to come to this dimension and think to make him a pushover. Fear's silence though amused at all the other had to show him, at first made the ghoul think he had finally managed to break the other out of his pessimistic spiel. Perhaps now he could finally see that he was indeed a core member of their group, a Judge who deserved his place among their diminished ranks.

    What he received, as he stood against the brick building wall... was laughter?

    "Sssick leave? Sssick leave!?"

    "For now, yesss. Once we are both back to our former ssselvesss, I can make a better assesssment regarding your judgement, and you regarding mine." He sternly gravelled. It was only fair to the both of them, and it was the most lawful way he could discern to treat this matter. Even if Fear decided to laugh and dismiss the notion that the dead could get truly sick, Mortis still believed it to be the best path. Their illnesses of the soul had far more serious consequences than a mere bellyache or fever. Thankfully, Fear saw some truth to it as well, or so the ghoul thought.

    It was hard to tell when the other kept grinning as he did.

    Mortis' skull tilted, leaning forward some from where he remained propped up against the wall. "If I wiped everything, I would not be able to carry out jusstice upon the living and it would get in the way of our judicial oath. Certain memoriesss had to be retained, desspite what they held within them." he admitted as Fear deduced that his lobotomy skills were less than satisfactory. His snout perked at his brother's addition to his statement, there was indeed a way that this all could be reversed.

    Psychic Surgery

    Admittedly, Mortis wanted to jump right at the offer, stick his bleached skull right into Fear's awaiting hands and let him repair what happened, to fix all the damage that had been done and restore him to his old self. His unlawful self, a vigilant mind reminded him. What vices he had sought to purge would resurface with them, that which he thought to bury would come back and plague him again... But if he did not, Fear would be forever impaired, unable to utilize his abilities as he used to. "Ssss..." For minutes the undead Judge debated the offer, his tail flicking against worn brick to clack and clatter hollowly.

    Though, if he did go through with it, Fear would not let him fall back upon them, would he? Another thoughtful hiss, and Mortis turned his attention back to the fellow Judge. Whatever Fear had in store for him should his vices inevitably resurface and his sins brought to light... He had to trust him to make the right decision, the just decision. He would do the same for Fear should their positions be switched. "Yesss, I am open to thisss route." He finally hissed. "You have sssaid it would be a taxing processs, we need to find a proper place to ssstay firssst sso asss to not be caught off guard or gather unwanted attention." Some place secluded, a place where they would not have to deal with outside noise or an overabundance of distractions... His gaze tilted in the direction of the grasslands, and a sort of energy raced through his mind, anxious, anticipating. "Out there, where our old basse of operationsss usssed to be. That will be the besst place. It isss away from the city'sss teeming populace, and thusss away from posssible disstraction or interruption." Mortis offered, looking back to the other.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Fear on Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:05 pm

    "Vigilance?" As much as the honourable Judge Mortis endeavoured to forever remain loyal to the law, he too refused to acknowledge the true culprit of their individual decay. "Your tenacity isss admirable," Judge Fear rasped, all too knowing, "but even we, brother, are not imperviousss to the very ssshortcomingsss inherent in all men and women. Though sssusssceptible to emotionsss asss I may be, you are neverthelesssss plagued by the sssame illnesssss: humanity." Didn't his skull-wearing brother find it strange that Judge Fear continuously avoided the biggest question of all? Again, the helmeted ghoul shook his head. "While our bodiesss may have transsscended the mortal realm, our sssoulsss, Judge Mortisss, are ssstill very much flawed. Ssshould I have realized how sssusssceptible you were to emotion, I would have remained far more vigilant in my own dealingsss. Alasss, jussst asss the ssserpent consssumesss itsss own tail, we are doomed to chassse a forever unrealissstic ideal."

    In regards to confiding in non-judicial parties... that was partially a certain green alien's fault. Another rumbling chuckle, another ironic situation that was equal parts humourous and irritating. "Like I sssaid, Judge Mortisss; I refussse to cower. Though, to be fair, I wasss alssso willing to accept my fate and allow thingsss to run their proper courssse." After all, could his brother's condition last an eternity? Judge Fear's common sense was inclined to believe otherwise.

    "They are dead, they have been dead. They no longer matter upon thisss world, Fear."

    "But the argument ssstill remainsss, doesss it not?" Judge Fear had thought about this for a long time - a very long time. And after ruminating decades upon decades of years by his lonesome, his thoughts sometimes the only comfort in meaningless eternity, the undead fiend had achieved what he felt to be a personal form of enlightenment. It was only natural that a hardened Judge would quickly cast such disagreeable pondering aside, fearful of what the implications may bring to previously unquestioned stability. Judge Mortis should already know that his brother had a record of growing tired with Death's status quo.

    He hissed, "We are Judgesss, brother; and we, by that nature, are expendable. Why do you think it wasss an honour to sssussspend a fallen Judge'sss badge for all to sssee on the memorial wall? You could sssay that it wasss to raissse morale and to motivate the sssurviving force in doing better, lessst they sssuffer an identical fate. Death isss a perfectly good inssstigator, I agree. But it wasss more than that..." Always was it more than that, and Judge Fear wanted his brother to get it in that thick skull of his that neither of them, no matter how useful or powerful they are, were incapable of being slaughtered for the cause. "Fodder, brother, fodder. Lieutenantsss or not, it wasss mere circumssstance that we were permitted to continue exisssting and the ressst were not. Judge Death hasss alwaysss had fickle whimsss; let their deathsss ssserve asss a harrowing reminder that we could have ssshared in their plight, be it a hundred yearsss from now or a thousssand."

    Never let it be said that 'bully boy' was synonymous with 'bootlicker'.

    "For now, yesss. Once we are both back to our former ssselvesss, I can make a better assesssment regarding your judgement, and you regarding mine."

    It was if a great weight had removed itself from Judge Fear's shoulders. "Mm... that isss all I can ever asssk of a fellow Judge." Anything - anything - to avoid the levels of hypocrisy associated with their Chief Judge. Being punished for his transgressions was simply the right thing to do. But there shall be more of this later, not now. There were other, more pressing matters to first resolve.

    "It isss indeed a taxing processss," he nodded rigidly, the worn bones in his neck cracking, "but to ussse the farmhoussse?" Judge Fear's hesitation had merit. And as he looked to the south, memories churning, his disagreement became more and more justified. "I do not believe it to be a good location for the procedure; it isss a tainted place, haunted by both ressstlesssss ssspiritsss and the lingering remnantsss of our own aurasss. No, we will require a location unsssullied by the damned." Too much had transpired at the withering farmstead to make it suitable for their needs. "If protection isss a concern, I sssuggessst we employ K.A.R.R. to keep watch during," Judge Fear advised. "Asss a machine, I cannot readily detect hisss thoughtsss while in thisss ssstate of mind. He alssso boassstsss an incredible amount of firepower, and hisss plethora of sssensssorsss can detect what we may not. The risssk of being blindsssided isss minimal ssso long asss he isss there." It was a lot of trust to place in a non-judicial party, but the fiend thought highly of that two-toned, incessant robo-baby.

    Speaking of which, K.A.R.R. was probably besides himself with patting his back for a job well done... Ugh, the level of that automobile's pride could be most grating at times.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:28 am

    Humanity... The one thing he had sought the most distance from. Though he hardly could know what that could impact him with anymore, Judge Mortis knew he had discerned it to be unlawful, an insidious taint upon their sense of judgement and law. It promoted bias, it made them doubt their purpose and gave way to unlawful tendencies. Much like what Fear was experiencing, and what Mortis had sought to run from. However... Even without it, the ghoul had begun to doubt whether his choice was correct, whether or not their laws truly held purpose in this accursed realm.

    Perhaps he had failed to remove it fully after all?

    "You embraced it and I ran, yesss. However, one thing ssstill ssstickss out to me. You had called me jealousss, why? I do not underssstand how you believe your own dealingss had sssent me on thisss path." He had remembered it had something to do with his own vices, but so far as those were forgotten, he could not truly figure what had happened. As for being susceptible... "It mussst have been sssomething that developed from my decade ssstuck in limbo with Fire." He reasoned, the flaming skeleton of their group was always quite flamboyant, his passions running as hot as the flames he wielded.

    "Ssss.." Alas, it seemed his brother was rather stubborn about his position. Having been held under their leader's heel so long, submitted to be the one who always managed to get caught first, running headlong at the enemy. While Mortis still held his conviction to their duties and place within their small group, he had never dealt with the misfortune that Fear had to suffer through for so long. Purging at Death's side for a long while made him feel nigh impervious, ahead of the game as he and their leader tended to remain in action the longest.

    To hang memorial badges was a tradition of the past, for who could truly die when one was already dead? Still, he refused to argue and held his festering tongue. Fear, for all that he submitted himself to upon this rock, was correct. Death had routinely put himself before them, he made exceptions where there should have been none. The man had been as fickle as they come and laughed as he embraced his capricious nature. It made one start to question whether or not their chief was really worth following. "...You are correct." Mortis admitted, a small sigh escaping him. "Ssshould we have not followed in our leader'sss footsstepss, we would have become like the millionsss we had put to lawful ressst." After their transformation, they just became more resilient fodder for Death to throw at Dredd and anything else that thought to get in his way.

    Not that it made it any less difficult to come to grips with.

    His snout tilted downward for a moment as he considered it all, glancing up only as his fellow Judge agreed that their judgement upon each other would be the best means of treating this entire clusterdrokk. though it appeared the farmhouse was no longer a viable option despite how removed it was from society. "I sssee..." His attempt at mending his weaknesses upon that tainted ground likely did little to aid the situation regarding their psychic signature either. "Where ssshall we conduct the procedure then?" he gravelled, pushing himself away from his brick leaning post to stand to his full height. Should KARR have to keep watch over them, it would be a welcome addition. The last thing they needed was someone getting the drop on them in the middle of Fear restoring the both of them.

    Again, a smart idea coming from their resident underdog of the group.
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Fear on Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:02 pm

    "You had called me jealousss, why?"

    Alas, dear brother, it had not been a result of you spending time in Limbo with Judge Fire.

    A pensive click escaped the Dark Judge's helm; he knew better than to reveal the truth so crudely. "Asss I sssaid, Judge Mortisss," began the fiend, "we are not exactly immune to the vicesss that plague all sssinnersss. If you wisssh to find the anssswer, know that it will require a sssteadfassst heart and mind. You will not be able to run from the truth yet a sssecond time." And thus concluded Judge Fear's cryptic warning. Should his brother prod and provoke, thinking to wheedle more out from that iron trap, he would sadly be left unsatisfied. Pleased with Judge Mortis' concurrence regarding the hundreds of thousands of Deadworld Judges purged by their virtuous hands, the matter was laid to rest and no longer mentioned. There was little the dead of old could achieve to remedy the Dark Judges' predicament.

    "The procedure mussst be conducted where it isss tranquil; negative aurasss will only deteriorate the sssituation, perhapsss even opening a gateway for the more nefariousss ssspiritual entitiesss to worm their way into your vessssel." Imagine it, brother: a hellish demon with all of your otherworldly, just powers at its wretched disposal. Or, better yet, an ancient god thinking to cause a spot of bother.

    Sounded quite fun, didn't it?

    Thinking, the ghoul silently perused a mental checklist for all the viable locations he had the fortune of crossing during his journeys into the untamed wilderness. No temples... no abandoned settlements... no caves or open fields... Oh, here's one. "There isss a place," he hissed, eyes shifting to the westward wind. "A sssmall cemetery that hasss long sssince been relieved of civilized interference. It isss a good sssix hoursss by vehicle, thirteen if by foot. The terrain isss rugged enough to deter any unwanted follower. We could be there by dawn or early afternoon." Again, Judge Fear thought. And again, Judge Fear strove to consider the myriad of possible complications or issues that could arise, relevant or tangential. It was a nigh impossible labour, yet he considered whatever he could manage all the same. "Hmm... I would asssk that we hold off on your procedure for a week, to prepare oursselvesss for the monumental tasssk ahead," the fiend rasped. "For once we ssstart, there isss no going back. Are you accepting of thisss fact, Judge Mortisss?" Are you prepared to face what scared you the most?
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    Re: Oaths to be Mended

    Post by Mortis on Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:42 pm

    A steadfast mind and heart... A small, albeit agreeing hiss pressed itself from between Mortis' teeth. Though Fear did not elaborate specifically what exactly he had thought to lock away from himself, it was evident that it carried similar weight as his brother's own vices. "Very well." Mortis rasped after a silent moment, the cogs in his mind turning as to what could possibly have been torn away from himself. Something that required him to be strong, to be steadfast... Something that would not be able to be reverted back a second time. "I would not think of putting you through thisss a ssecond time." Mortis replied, though even with his word given, a promise woven into his sibilant voice, he could not help but start to feel somewhat hesitant.

    What would happen if what he had purged from his mind was far worse than he initially believed?

    Again his tail flicked and curled against the back of his thigh. It was a risk, yes. He could become reverted back into a mindset that would be completely useless for their cause, to carry out their laws and doctrines... Albeit outmoded from what Fear had been telling him and the numerous examples he had come across while purging. Though, he could not help but wonder, given Fear's initial approval of his change, his adaption during their conversation. Could it have really all been merely pessimism? Fear had never been one to lie or misconstrue, although he certainly has his moments of believing he is the more useless and weak member of their group. Another quiet, pensive his escaped him, and the fellow Judge's thundering voice interrupted his thoughts.

    Negative auras, nefarious entities, possibly losing his vessel to some wayward demon or old god. Immediately his thoughts returned to what Fear had told him once, of the demonic presence in Lochlann. Even if the vehicle were to accompany them, he doubted the machine would be able to detect a demon's ethereal aura outside of what it wanted to project. "Perhapsss we sshould make usse of wardsss ass well." Mortis offered thoughtfully, "We both know of one that might delight at the prosspect of interfering." Should Fear be too focused upon his task to prevent such a possession, all their efforts would go lopsided in more ways than one.

    Not to mention the sheep-skulled Judge had little idea of what state he may endure while under his brother's diligent psychic mending. To suffer that fate may be worse than anything he may have butchered out of his mental facilities. Still, for the sake of Fear's own spirit, he must brave it.

    A cemetery was proposed to be their place of work, old and abandoned of any visitors or upkeep. "Yess, thisss will do." He agreed, resting his claws upon his belt. His tail began to unfurl from around his pant leg as Fear explained on, the trek being thirteen hours by foot and requiring a week of preparation.

    Oh, it was not only for his brother to prepare, but for himself as well...

    At this, Mortis glanced down to the cracked pavement at his feet, along with the teeming maggots that writhed out of the cracks. A week would allow for plenty of thought, and perhaps a moment of panic. The latter was what the ghoul feared more. A moment of panic, a slip in his diligence and steadfastness upon the matter, and he worried that perhaps everything would go back to what it had been for the past month. Near silence, distance, a bitter chill between both parties while Fear suffered the brunt of it all.

    A moment longer of silence, and Mortis came to his ultimatum. "I accept thisss fact, Fear." Mortis replied, "However, I assk that perhapsss... I ssstay clossse during our wait."

    Just a precaution to any demons he may still have slinking about the depths of his mind.

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