Corruption Within

Corruption Within

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[1x1][Full] The journey of destroying corruption within yourself.

6,327 readers have visited Corruption Within since Ken Shiro created it.

Introduction

The land of Reinos is full of everything you would expect from a land with such diversity in its citizens. With the mountain tops controlled by giants and the caves below occupied by dwarfs, forests for elves of all kinds and the cities containing mankind. Every part of the land houses a different race. With alliances and pacts being forged the entire realm stands on the brink of war. Only a spark is needed to ignite war, and that is exactly what happened.

Within a month each leader of every alliance we murdered, kicking off the hellish war. It did not take long for the strongest to quickly take advantages, and the weak and peaceful to suffer at their hands. After several months of war the Elves, Dwarfs and Naga all begin to face extinction.

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Orthello and Tohopka stood before the castle's main door before an elf ran swiftly towards Tohopka and he spoke quickly. Tohopka's head jerked up quickly at attention but before he could shout out an order, Usha appeared before him. "They already know that I am here." Orthello looked up at Usha. "You do not look to be in a good mood, mother." "Is Aiyana ready?" she asked. "I am more than ready." I said as I stepped out, my skin and eyes were normal. Aya stepped out with me as well and she smiled kindly. "It is nice to see you again Usha." Usha hissed lightly at Aya. Aya smirked lightly. "Is that really any way to greet your granddaughter?" I blinked in surprised and I looked at Usha then at Aya then back at Usha. Granddaughter?! Usha rolled her eyes. "It was already bad enough that I had to live in your mind then your daughter's for her whole life." Usha hissed. Aya nod her head. "But you did take care of her." Usha rolled her eyes then her eyes widen in surprise. Aya had hugged her. "I have missed you grammy. I really hope that you return to your place and all the wrongs you have done and that have been used against you are righted. Balance will always be restored. I know because you will fight to ensure it. It is who you are grammy." Usha stood rigid but it seemed that her body relaxed in Aya's embrace and she slowly hugged Aiyana back. I suppose that I have missed you as well." she admitted before she stood up straight and he looked at me. "Aiyana, it is time to go. Your mate awaits you. Your real mate." I looked at Usha but when she said 'real', my heart surged. Atlas, my Atlas. I nod my head. "I am ready." Usha nod her head and she turned and started heading towards the shrine. Orthello, Aya, Tohopka and myself followed Usha until we made it to the shrine. I stopped and I looked over at my mother with a slightly sadden look on my face. Aya smiled softly and she pulled me into a strong embrace. "Come visit me from time to time, okay?" I nod my head, holding back tears. Usha placed her hand upon the stone. I stood next to the shrine along with Orthello. Tohopka and Aya waved as the area began to glow. "Goodbye, mother." I whispered before we disappeared.

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I woke quickly, sitting up straight in the bed and looking around the room. I felt her... She was back. I was tempted to wake Ajax but he looked to peaceful sleeping with Zed and Seb that I could not bare to wake him. So I carefully slid out of bed and pulled the blanket over him and kissed his forehead. I closed the door quietly and almost broke into a full sprint, heading directly for the linking shrine. Nearly bowling over several guards that were fighting off sleep as I went, as I broke into the shrine room I stood frozen in the doorway, looking down at the several figures that appeared. Usha, who I didn't know had left again, Orthello who seemed pleased with himself. Aiyana was the last to enter but I almost did not recognise her. She carried herself differently, she always had pride in her step, but now there was a different kind of reassurance to her. I waited until our eyes locked and I couldn't force myself to move until I saw her reaction to my presence. My worst fears quickly left me as I saw in her the same excitement and exhilaration I felt within me. I sprinted down the steps, taking several at a time, the others were smart and quick enough to step aside as I ran to Aiyana. Without word or gesture I scooped her into my arms, lifting her high up, then keeping her held up in my arms drew her fully into me. My head muzzeled against her stomach and I used every part of me to fight off tears of joy. I don't know how long I stood in silence simply holding her but there were only a few words I could find were I did attempt to speak. "Aiyana..... My Aiyana."

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Usha moved quickly as we returned back to Renios. I could only glace across flat land before Usha swallowed myself and Orthello whole before we sinked into the ground. She quickly moved to the nearest shrine and she turned the dials quickly. I frowned lightly at Usha's impatience but inside I was excited to be reunited with Atlas and my son. When the portal opened, Usha walked through then Orthello and lastly, me. The portal closed behind me and I looked up. I instantly recognized that I was back at Sabrina's castle but my eyes quickly fell on Atlas. At first, my eyes held doubt but when I felt the warmth that used to radiated from Atlas whenever he laid eyes upon me, I knew that the real Atlas was back. Usha and Orthello moved to leave as Atlas sprinted towards me. I smiled happily and I ran into Atlas's arm. I smiled happily as tears of joy stream down my face as I place a hand on either side of his face. "Atlas, my Atlas. Welcome back. For real this time." I said softly. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he lowered me until we were leveled and I kissed him deeply, so deeply that I could feel a shiver run up and down my spine. Atlas... my Atlas. I broke the kiss and I looked into Atlas's eyes, studying him deeply as I placed a hand on his check. "I see..." Thank you, Tempos.

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The tears overflowed from my eyes and I felt like I never wanted to let my arms fall from around her. She spoke beautiful words with meaning so deep that only we could understand, I felt the shiver run up her spine and it seemed to pass into me as we kept looking deeper and deeper into each others eyes. "And I see you." The trust was there was something within her eyes that I had never seen before but felt like it was always their, hidden from view, where the eye dose not see. I lifted a hand to her cheek and mirrored hers on mine. It felt like an eternity we stood looking into each others eyes and to my mind it still wasn't long enough, but what finally disturbed us was the only thing that was welcome to.

Ajax stood in the door way with Zed and Seb along side him, a hand rubbing the sleep from his eyes. I turned slightly keeping Aiyana held up in my arm so we could both see him. Another silence like before as we smiled up at him, I held out an arm for him and he quickly came running down the stair, all traces of sleep gone replaced by joy and he literally dove from the bottom steps into my waiting arm. I pulled him into our embrace, gentle rocking my family back and forth in our first real embrace. Despite him not really knowing I like to believe he knew there was a change in his parents and the change was good. I only stopped rocking as I felt Seb jump up onto my shoulder and move onto Aiyana and Zed begin circling us closely, letting his tail and side rub against my legs. I lowered us all to the ground until I had one of them on each knee and move my arm to bring Zed into the embrace. Kota had also joined us at some point and Zed remained silent to his presence feeling the emotion on the moment.

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Just as I thought the reunion could not get any better, the presence of my son told me otherwise. I smiled happily as he ran into Atlas's arm and I hugged them both as close to me as I could. Seb joined, chirping happily and Zed's purr sounded as loud as his roar. I felt Kota pressed his head against my back and I smiled as everyone enjoyed the embrace and presence of such strong bond and love. I looked down at Ajax and I kissed his head gently before I looked back up at Atlas. "Let us enjoy being a family today." I said, softly.

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Just as I thought the reunion could not get any better, the presence of my son told me otherwise. I smiled happily as he ran into Atlas's arm and I hugged them both as close to me as I could. Seb joined, chirping happily and Zed's purr sounded as loud as his roar. I felt Kota pressed his head against my back and I smiled as everyone enjoyed the embrace and presence of such strong bond and love. I looked down at Ajax and I kissed his head gently before I looked back up at Atlas. "Let us enjoy being a family today." I said, softly.

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"We will always be family, no matter what." The smiled dimmed a tiny bit. "But there are important things that need be shared with everyone, the meeting will be within a few hours." My smile brightened again and I kissed her forehead. "I think you should go rest and enjoy a moments peace, I doubt we will find much in the near future." I stood up helping them to their feet and patting Ajax back and moving him closer to Aiyana. "Why don't you go with your mother and wash up? We all have a big day coming." He smiled eagerly and took Aiyanas hand in his leading her off nearly before I could get another quick kiss in. Seb and kota followed behind them, only Zed stayed. I crouched down and rubbed his head with both hands. "It's good to see you boy." There was a life in Zed that had not been seen in years, my lack of emotion had sadly affected him as well as me. But all was right now, that was until Tryndamiere appeared beside us and Zed let out a low growl at his ghostly form, baring fangs. I sighed a little, and kept a hand on Zeds head, reassuring him. "Yes?" "As sweet as that was I believe its time the world knew there was a real god of war back in this world. I need the prayers and belief of everyone if we are to gain enough power to fight this corruption." He was right, and I suppose he had given me my reunion uninterrupted. This meeting was going to be full of shocking news and I knew it would not all come from me. "Dose Sephanie know of your.... Elevation?" He raised a hand to his chin in thought. "No, not exactly, she would not have felt Tempos death as we were off world, she would the presence of the god of war but not that it is me." A dark smile grew on his face. "I can not wait for her to find out."

The hours passed quickly and before I knew it we were already gathering for the meeting. Sabrina took her place at the head of the council table, and the other members who were within the city slowly filtered in. Sabrina used a series of spells and crystals so that those not within range of the city could still be part of the meeting. Abook and several other smaller members sat in empty chairs as ethereal figures. An extra couple of rows of chairs had been set up to accommodate everyone that Sabrina decided needed to be kept informed.

It took less than an hour for everyone to arrive, as soon as Aiyana say beside me I took her hand in mine and when the room grew naturally silent Sabrina stood and spoke. "Thank you all for attending, we have several pieces of important information that you all need to hear, some grand some not so but important regardless. First I would like to introduce Leesha Paper and Arlen Bales." She waved her hand and they both stepped forward and bowed/curtsied. "They are friends of Atlas and my late husband that have agreed to come and help with the corruption as best they can. As far as we know they are the best suited among us to fight this kind of enemy as they have faced similar all their lives." She looked at both Arlen and Leesha in turn and bowed, probing everyone else to do the same." Leesha stepped forward and spoke. "Thank you all, I hope with all my heart we are able to help combat this evil you face, but you have my word that even should our warriors and methods prove lacking we will not abandon you and strive to help in all ways possible." She bowed again stepped back with Arlen and Sabrina continued, nodding her head in thanks. "Next I believe Atlas has some news of the utmost importance."

I had dreaded telling this news but it needed to be done. I stood up and took a moment to gather my thoughts. "Tempos is dead." I let my words float on the air for a long while, the shocked silence felt most heartily by the Giants present. "He forfeit his life in the most honourable of ways and will be remembered always." I paused, struggling with my words slightly, knowing what came next would be just as big a shock to the others. "He did not die without needlessly or without a plan. While Tempos may be gone, we have a new god of War, Blood and Fire." Everyone seemed to lean forward in anticipation, some already guessing who it was and I already knew everyone to be wrong. "The new god of war is..... is...." Tryndamiere shot forth from me. "ME!" He stood centre room and doing his best to look as godly as possible, but failing for the most part and only looking the smug bastard. The silence that followed passed quicker than expected but was not broken by shouts or denial but by a loud clattering of metal on marble. Pantheon stood bare chest, his armor torn off and thrown to the floor. He quickly began tearing away at the rest of his armor, throwing it heavily to the floor. Finally his sword was drawn and thrown at Tryndamieres feet. Then noise that Pantheon made will live with me forever, the snarling growl that burned hotter than any fire except the one in his eyes. But there was more to it than that, in a single sound he gave of unbelievable anger but also pain and sorrow so deep only a few among us even began to understand. His firey eyes were locked with Tryndamieres wide smiling ones, it was Pantheon that eventually broke off and stormed from the room, his foot hitting the doors so hard they nearly broke from there hinges. It wasn't until Pantheon left that the room truly erupted into shouts and cries, everyone trying to make their point or argument heard. This went of for several minutes until my fist slammed into the table, making the room echo then fall silent. "There is not argument here. No one asked for this, not even Tryndamiere. But this is where we find ourselves now, and whether you like it or not he is potentially one of our most powerful weapons, but that weapon needs what once fed all the gods. Our prayers. If the people believe in the god of war again and send him their prayers and wishes he will grow in power. This is not speculation or opinion, this is a fact and one we must all get used to fast." I returned to my seat, having said my piece and wishing to say no more for now. Tryndamiere decided to remain out for the moment but at least moved from the center of the table and moved to stand beside Usha and from what I could tell do what he normally dose when near her.

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I held Atlas's hand gently as we listened to Sabrina and our new allies. I could hear pleased mummers from those around me and I smiled lightly, happy to hear that the allies that Atlas and Sabrina sought for were a success. When Sabrina mentioned that Atlas would speak next, I could sense a feeling of dread and hesitation from him. I blinked in curiosity before I looked up to listen to him but nothing could prepare me for what was said. My eyes widen in surprise and I looked over at Tryndamiere quickly. Him? Of all beings, why would Tempos choose Tryndamiere to be the God of War, Blood and Fire? I glanced over at Usha, who looked to have a slightly unamused look on her face. I glanced over at Sehanine and saw that she had fallen to her knees with her hands covering her face. I could clearly tell that not only was she devastated by the lost of Tempos but she seemed to be overwhelmed by something else as well. I could not go into much thought before I heard the clatter of armor falling to the floor. I turned and looked over at Pantheon and my eyes was filled with a look of sorrow. I turned my head away as the noise that left Pantheon's mouth, sent a rattling chill to my bones. Even after Pantheon left, I could not lift my head and the noise of the cries and shouts were mute to my ears as I heard Tryndamiere's voice in my head. "Pantheon, I remember you well. I remember driving those brands down your throat over and over again. I must admit I was impressed before when you survived the first round of brands, but to now learn your survived the rest. I do not know whether you are just too stupid to know when to die or if your will is truly that strong. Tell me dose it hurt to breath? To swallow? To even live must cause too much pain to live with, after all wounds that deep never really heal do they?" I completely understood where Pantheon's pain and anger was coming from. My head swiftly jerked towards Atlas when he slammed his fist on the table and said what most of us did not want but needed to hear. I looked down and I frowned lightly. To convince everyone to pray to Tryndamiere would not be easy by any means. Tryndamiere did not do anything to earn everyone's prayers but fueling his power was needed if we hoped to stand a chance against The Corruption.

When Tryndamiere moved over to Usha, she did not pay him any mind or attention. She could hear the mummers of distaste and disapproval but soon she rolled her eyes and stood up. "I will need prayers as well." She looked at everyone. "I know that I have not done much to earn your prayers but when it comes to your future and the future of Reinos, I believe we can all agree that we wish to see a future without The Corruption's rule in both the heavens and the land." She paused lightly and she glanced over at me for a brief second before she continued. "I do not asked that you just pray to myself and Tryndamiere. Whatever you pray for whether it is to seek help, answers, guidance, comfort or whatever. Pray." She turned her back to everyone and she looked over at Sabrina, Arlen and Leesha before she glanced up at the ceiling, looking beyond. "I believe that you mortals know that gods do not come down to ask for help but with the situation that we are in, know that we are asking for your help, not for our egos.." She turned her head towards Tryndamiere with a dark glare before she looked back up at the ceiling. "..or our show of power but because we are your last real line of defense. Should we fail in our duty as gods to protect and guide you mortals against The Corruption, it is because you mortals did not do your part." she said, her voice growing dark as her eyes scanned the room. "We are not asking for much but what we are asking for can provide what you mortals so desperately need right now whether you know it or not." She stood silently for a minute, her eyes meeting everyone's eyes before she sat down, looking ahead before her eyes fell on Sabrina. "Now would be the time for us to come up with plans and strategies on how you mortals can hold off The Corruption here on the lands while myself and the chosen ones do what we need to fight The Corruption in the heavens."

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I understood what Usha spoke of and had certain objections to what she said but I already knew of a handful of people within the room that would voice them for me. I had a more personal problem rattling my mind, the same I am sure Aiyana had. Pantheon. I had been foolish to think that anyone would have more a problem with Tryndamiere than myself or Aiyana, but pantheon. He was more pious than most our shamans. He was a devout believer and follower of Tempos, so to hear he was dead, but died so that one of his personal greatest enemies could live again and as his god was too much. My face contorted without realising as I tried to imagine what he must be feeling. I could not remain here now, not without doing something, anything to help Pantheon through this. My first thought would be to drag Tryndamiere to him and make him apologise for everything, but I already knew it would be false and not even wanted by any of us. I squirmed in my seat until I could stand it no longer, kissing the back of Aiyanas hand lightly and talking quietly to her. "I can not leave him like this." I knew she would understand. I was several places outside the room before I heard it and smiled.

A loud crackling slam, louder than mine before silenced the room. Sabrinas hands lay flat upon the table, small sparks still escaping from her fingers. I have suffered your attitude while we were guests on a different world, but I will not suffer them here. You contradict yourself god of death." Her eyes taking on a serious look that locked between Usha and Sephanie. "You keep saying 'mortals' 'you' and 'we', as if you are not every bit as responsible if not more so for out current situation than we 'mortals'." She finally let her eyes move from Usha and scan the room around her. "Yes, the corruption is of our making and yes, we have not been as pious as we once were or should have been." Some looked down in shame. "However, let us set the pieces right if we are going to take jabs at each other." She had stood at this point and turned fully towards Usha and Sephanie. "'Should we fail in our duty as gods to protect and guide you mortals'" She spoke quoting Usha. "You failed that the moment you were cast from the heavens." Her eyes to Sephanie. "And you failed thrice over when you cast her out, did not replace her and again when you failed to contain the consequences of the previous actions." She slowly began moving around the room. "The gods have already failed, and while I will accept help from any source willing to offer it, I no longer see you as gods for you are not more one than I am. 'you mortals did not do your part'" Again she quoted Usha, "I concede we did not do our part and pray. But remind me, what have you done lately that has been worthy of prayer? The last time any of you had any kind of direct influence was when you" She pointed at Usha. "Decided to try and destroy us all while we were in the middle or the greatest war of our age. But lets put that aside, and go back before that shall we? How about my favourite way you gods influence our lives on a regular basis. Your chosen 'Champions'. Or should we call them the cursed? How many times have you gods forced a part of yourself on one of us just so you can make them fight to the death in the name of 'honour' and 'pride'." She looked at Aiyana and Atlas's empty seat. "How much suffering have the endured in their lives for your entertainment?"

She circled the room several times as she listed off several more injustices of the gods before finally stopping before her seat. "So no, you are not gods. You are us now, and until this is over and you prove yourself worthy, you will always remain one of us." She slowly sat back down expecting another round of chatter but was surprised to hear it remain quiet, she let the quiet lengthen for a time before speaking again. "Now, did anyone else have anything to mention before we continue with our war council?" She gave Aiyana a side long glace, half expecting her to say something.

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I noticed Atlas's squirming in his chair and I exhaled lightly. I was worried about Pantheon. I was about to stand up but feeling Atlas kiss the back of my hand, I relaxed and not my head lightly. Please do what you must for Pantheon. My voice echoed softly in Atlas' head as he left, My eyes followed Atlas with a soft, yet worried gaze before they quick snap over in the direction of the loud slam. I listened to Sabrina quietly and sat still. My body leaned forward, elbows rested on the table and my fingers interlaced in front of my face and I stared ahead but listened to everything quietly, my mind soaking every word in and trying to figure out what to do next.

Usha rolled her eyes lightly at Sabrina. "You've suffered nothing mortal." She turned fold her arms across her chest and she listened to Sabrina with an unamused look and her gaze would occasionally drift off as if she was noticeably bored. When Sabrina finished, Usha looked at Sabrina and she smirked lightly. "What is in the past is in the past and nothing we can do now will fix what has happened. As for the mortals chosen that suffered during the games, that has nothing to do with me." Her eyes slowly moved over to Sehanine and she glared at her sister. "Those were just the gods playing their games. Treating their humans like pawns and continuing to further suppress me." Sehanine's head and shoulders were low but feeling her sister's gaze, they seem to lower even more than before. Usha looked back at Sabrina and she rolled her eyes. "As for the war, I had no intentions on destroying you all, well, not all of you but you mortals were in my way." She leaned forward and she opened her mouth but slowly closed it when I stood up.

I stood up slowly, my hands on the table and my head down. "Enough. Speaking on these matters will get us nowhere." I lifted my head slowly, my eyes held a strong and determine gaze. "We are here to work together; gods, mortals, everyone. We will set aside our differences because what is at stake right now is worth more than just our lives. Whatever beef, grudges or indifference that you have right now, shut it in the back of your mind! Now! I no longer have the tolerance for it and neither should anyone else because none of that matters right now!" I glanced around the room before I stood up straight and looked ahead. "The Corruption can control the weak-minded easily. The animals will be the first of his command when he begins his attack. Everyone will need to be prepared. We have already lost our family, The Suns, to the masses of The Corruption power over the large weak-minded beasts and that display of strength was not even a quarter of The Corruption's strength. The sightings and encounter of The Corruption's beasts were just mere tests. When we prepare for this war, we must focus on enabling a strong defense. Fear, anger, greed, lust, insecurity, hatred, all of that and more are fuels for The Corruption. Should your mind become what The Corruptions seeks in power, you too will fall to The Corruption and I fear that you will lose control and turn on your brothers and sisters during this battle and force us to make a decision that we do not wish to make." I lowered my head slightly but picked it up just as quickly. "It is as Usha has said, myself and Atlas will go to the heavens to the heart of The Corruption and try to end its hold to power for we all know what is at stake should we fail."

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The talk of past events, betrayals and grudges had opened old wounds long forgotten in Sabrina. Her eyes were ablaze as they stared hard as Usha and remained so as she slowly turned towards Aiyana. There was a great temper seething beneath the surface and only those that knew her well enough could see it, but all could hear it as she spoke in a low tone to Aiyana. "Then I suggest you and yours..." She remarked with her head towards Usha and Sehanine. "And conduct yourself outside the presence of us mere mortals." Her eyes remained ablaze as she lent back and high in her chair, looking forward at nothing waiting for those to excuse themselves." The whole room was silent once again, though this silence was more awkward, like the room itself was holding its breath waiting for permission to continue.

I managed to catch up with Pantheon just as he passed through the gates separating the palace and city. I moved to his side and we moved on without a word for a while. His breathing still ragged and full of anger, so we walked and walked, before I knew it he had left the city completely and were stalking past the newly made fields and pastures. His pace slowed as did his breathing to a more relaxed or at least a calmer state. "I wonder if we live to see this cycle again, will it still be the same? Will our mountains crumble like so many man made cities and castles of ages past?" He did not look at me and his eyes and movements told me he was listening. We found an old carcass of a once might tree to sit upon. "I am not the most learned of people but I know that our past works in cycles, one war begets another, one civilisation destroys another and so on. There are no constants in this world or any other save one; Change always comes. Whether its at the tip of a sword, lick of flame of the tongue of some great king, wizard or god. It all passes." I twitched my head as I felt Tryndamiere try and come forth. He had no words to say here that either of us wanted to hear. "Gods die and new ones are born and chosen, who is to say how long one will last?" I finally turned to look at Pantheon. "Once this is all over, why don't we do what great warriors always threaten to do? Storm the heavens and take justice for ourselves?" That finally got a reaction from him, as his head turned to mine and the smallest of smiles shone from the corner of his mouth. A tiny nod was given and was all I needed, clapping a hand onto his shoulder and we both turned back towards the rising sun.

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I saw Sabrina's eyes take on a look that I had never seen before and I did not understand it completely until I heard the tone of her voice. I was hurt that she wished for myself to be excused as well. I wanted to go to her and soothe her anger but I knew now would not be the best time to do so. I nod my head lightly. Still hurt and feeling disappointed in myself for not being able to suppress the tension in the room. I knew that it was never a good idea for Usha and Sabrina to be in the same room together. They never got along and tension always build up between them. I turned and I walked out of the room, followed by a shameful Sabrina, an unamused Usha and a calm Orthello.

Once out of the room and down the hall, the room seem to be able to breathe but there was still an air of tension in the room. Abook's ethereal figure glanced over at Bengali then back at Sabrina. Wayra ethereal figure glanced over at Nata's ethereal figure and she glanced over at Abook's figure before they all looked back at Sabrina, waiting for her to speak. Even with them being in their respective locations, they could all feel the tension in the air and their uneasiness showed as well as the others in the room. Hector exhaled lightly and he rubbed his temples with his index fingers and he shook his head lightly. "Oh boy..." he mumbled lightly under his breath with a deep sigh.

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Sabrina had let her eyes drop after the others had left and slowed her breathing to calm herself, it took a minute or two but her head finally rose again the fire had dimmed in her eyes and her voice had returned to normal once again. "I apologise to you all, that was a poor way to conduct myself and shant let it happen again." Her posture seemed more relaxed now. "That being said I meant what I said. We may be fighting a war together but they will be fighting a different battle all together, while they fight for victory, we will be fighting for survival. And while the obvious may be doing it for the sake of all, others who will not be named have ulterior motives that will not align with us beyond the war." She scanned the room to see if anyone objected. "To that end they have no need to know the intricate details of what we plan for our defence and if opportunity presents itself...." She turned her head looking to Arlen and Leehsa. "Our offence." A small smile on her lips at that, which was mirrored by a few within the room.

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My feet carried me through the halls, up the winding stairway and to the balcony. I sat down in a chair and I exhaled deeply in frustration. "Was that necessary?" Usha shrugged lightly. "I said what needed to be said." I stood up and hissed angrily. "What needed to be said?!" Usha glared at me. "I will not soften my words for mortal ears! I am in need of gaining enough power to defeat The Corruption! If I cannot return to my throne to weaken and to put the source of The Corruption back from the darkness from which it came then yours! And everyone else's fight will be in vain! If I am unable then any semblance of hope for survival or anything will be non-existence! Life on the land of Renios as we know it, will be gone! Gone!" I sat back down with a hiss and a soft snarl before I closed my eyes and placed a hand on my forehead. I glanced over at Sehanine and I spoke. "What of you? What can you do to help?" Sehanine's eyes never left the ground. "I am useless to you or any mortal on these lands." Usha, Orthello and myself looked at Sehanine and all of our eyes held a look of pity and sorrow for her. She had fallen low. Lower than even a fallen goddess like Usha. Usha frowned lightly at her sister. "How much left do you have? Sehanine shook her head sadly. Not much more, I'm afraid. I cannot receive the powers from prayers. My eyes widen in surprise. "But I thought-" Usha shook her head. "The way that she was ripped from the heavens so suddenly, from the high power she held to now...her powers only continues to dwindle until she becomes next to nothing. She looked at Sehanine, her face now held a slight frown. Have you taken your champion?" Sehanine shook her head. Usha nod her head lightly. "Its probably best to do so right now. Sehanine hesitated before she nod her head slowly. I looked over at Usha then at Orthello. "What does she mean?" Orthello forced a sad smile. "She means what is necessary for everyone's survival. There is no use for anyone to be selfish anymore. We are all fighting for a common goal." I looked at everyone then I leaned back in my chair in frustration. What did Orthello mean?

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I sat with Pantheon a while, talking little but saying more with our silence. We eventually parted ways as we reentered the city later in the day, His mood had improved somewhat though I knew it would take more than words and several turns of the moon to see any sight of the old Pantheon again. A piece of myself was shattered knowing that we would not truly be brothers again until Tryndamiere was gone for good. I thought to go see Ajax but he was undoubtedly having fun with his friends, something I did not wish to interrupt, Aiyana was most likely in private talks with Usha and the others while Sabrina still busy with council matters as I had not seen any of the others as I had made my back toward the palace. I let myself wonder and soon found myself in a most unexpected room. Picars hidden study. I paced around the room, inspecting all the artworks, tapestry's, running my finger along the rows of books relevant to the gods and more specifically Tempos. Several heavily locked cases showing off various weapons that proved ineffective against the essence of a god but still extremely powerful and dangerous in their own rights. Looking around there was probably enough magic, curses, and chaos within this room to bring down an empire. Shame we could use none against the corruption, they were weapons of evil and would only serve the corruptions purpose.

I had taken a seat in what used to be my chair before the large desk that dominated one side of the room, I remembered sitting here with the others listing closely as Picar told us of missions and tasks we were given. A great commander, the greatest I had known, to take nothing away from Sabrina but were he still here now I feel the corruption would be hiding from us not the other way around. But we should be grateful to have Sabrina, she understood war almost as well as the Giants but also had the clarity to know peace and what can bring about both. I was so lost in my memories of Picar that I nearly did not notice Tryndamiere moving around the desk and about to take a seat in Picars chair. My head shot up and that was a look in my eyes as I spoke slowly and deadly calm to him. "Touch that seat and your reign of God of War will be shorter than you had hoped." It was one of the very few times he had heard a threat directed at him that he knew could be fulfilled. After a moments pause he decided to think better of it and perched on the tables edge and looked down at me with inquisitive eyes, I could feel him probing at my mind and allowed his the knowledge he desired, my memories of Picar.

After a while Tryndamiere let out a long whistle. "You all did some fucked up shit didn't ya?! I mean I've done my fair share of bad and evil but that guy knew his stuff." I shook my head gentle. "You only see the necessary evil that was done, the sacrifice of a single life to save hundreds, sometimes thousands and each on sacrificed died with hope in their hearts. More than you can say for any of your victims." He let out a low laugh. "True, but at least they knew what was coming when I was there. I maybe have killed them, but at least I left their souls alone." I could not respond to that because he was right, and I had felt similar the first time I'd seen it. I suddenly wished I had Aiyana in my arms, I needed the comfort of her with me. I had forgotten how daunting some emotions could be.

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We were silent for long moments. Soon Sehanine left the balcony in search of her champion, Ujarak. Usha looked over at Orthello then at me. "Let us speak." "Of what?" I asked. "Of what is to happen when re return to the heavens. I would not worry too much of what would be happening on the land of Reinos. The mortal, Sabrina, while annoying and a bit of a bitch, she is knowledgeable and capable of being able to protect herself and those around her." I nod my head slowly. "Your right." Usha nod her head and she walked over to me. "Ofcourse I am. Now, listen carefully....this is what needs to happen when we reach the heavens." I listened carefully to Usha as she explained her process to extract The Corruption's power and put the corrupted souls where they belonged. This is the most important part. You cannot get caught by The Corruption. You must not die. If you die..." Usha took my hand and she looked deep into my eyes. ..the world ends. Everyone you know and love; your friends,
your mate, your son...they will all die a death very much like The Suns of Tempos but worst. Aiyana, I know I shouldn't ask this of you but when you fight The Corruption in the heavens do what you always do, fight smart. Your intelligence always surprise me."
She siled lightly before she stood up and walked away. Orthello looked over at me and he smiled kindly before he followed after Usha.

I sat quietly, my eyes widen in surprise at Usha. She told me her plan and what I needed to do and she seem to be concerned for me. This surprised me greatly. I had never known Usha to care about anyone but herself. Sure the sake of the world was at hand but Usha has changed quite a but since her return back with Atlas, Tryndamiere and Tempos and her return from visiting my mother. I could not help but to wonder what made her change. If only we shared the same vessel I would know what was going on in her mind but for the first time in a long time, I could not understand her actions and concerns. I blinked when I sensed a feeling of need from Atlas and I stood up and walked down the staircase and followed Atlas's energy to Picar's study. I opened the door slowly and I looked at Atlas before I looked over at Tryndamiere then back at Atlas. "Is something wrong, my love?" I asked softly as I walked over to Atlas and place a hand on his shoulder.

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When Aiyana entered and put her hand on my shoulder I felt a small amount of relief at her presence. I reached up and put my hand over hers, going to rest my head against her stomach but stopped and looked at Tryndamiere and motioned with my head for him to leave. His dark smile had never left as he stood and spoke. "You know I never gave a shit of your memories before I came along, now I have something very interesting to look into." His ghostly self within into me and I felt him dive deep into my memories. I finally looked up at Aiyana and did my best to put on a smile. "Nothing but memories trying to haunt me." My smile became a slight more genuine. "Though in a strange way I am grateful for the fear the past brings. I would take all the fear, dread and horror the world and Corruption can bring if it meant I could feel the love for you I had once forgotten." I lifted her hand in mine and kissed her palm, nuzzling it against my cheek and feeling the comfort of her touch. I put an arm around her waist and gentle pulled her onto my lap, letting myself relax fully into the chair that I had always found too soft. However with Aiyana upon my lap, leaning against me, we sunk deep into the chair and I felt my eyes become heavy so I let them slowly being to close. "What I would give for the woes of today to be just another horror of the past, so that we might remain her forever."

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I watched Tryndamiere return to Atlas before I looked down at Atlas. I listened to him quietly and closed my eyes softly. "The love once forgotten..." I said softly before I opened my eyes and let him pull me into his lap. I shook my head slowly before I looked up at Atlas. "Nothing. Horrors of the past makes people change. Some for better but most for worst." He looked around lightly, studying Picar's study before I looked down, placing a hand lightly over my heart. "I am still upset, Atlas. Five years was much too long of a time to be away from my love, only to know that once we were reunited the love from you was fake and forced." I exhaled sadly. "During those five years, I always wondered if you would come back. Come search for me and our son. And I always wondered if I would ever find the bravery to leave our son and go off in search of you but we couldn't and I hate to admitted but I didn't even if we could, we wouldn't have. We were selfish. Even after everything that we went through, the god's tournament, the great war, even after all of that we were still selfish with ourselves and our love. I thought that we would have matured much more by now...but.." I lowered my ears sadly and I reached into my shirt and pulled out the necklace that Atlas gave me. "Do you remember the day when you gave this to me. Do you remember what you said?" I asked. I closed my eyes, holding back tears. "Atlas...please...never forget our love...please..."

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My eyes opened up again looking at my mothers necklace in her hand, I reached up and closed her hand around it. "Taken from the only women I thought may have loved me, to the only women I ever wish to love. That you have already given me so much more than I could ever wish for. Love, happiness, content and future worth fighting for. Those are more precious to me than any worldly possession." I said reciting my words from what seemed a lifetime ago. "I stand by those words.... They are also the reason I could not come back in all those years. I had failed you and been unworthy of such love, but I still had something I could do, I could still fight for you. But fighting with such pain in my heart was impossible, so I decided I would watch over you from afar, keep the darkness of the world at bay while you and our child lived happily." I looked up into her eyes. "The love my have been forgotten or forced before, but it never left me. It was always there, giving reason for my heart to beat on, and if my heart has been darkened by my past then..." A light crept up between us, the forgotten marks on my body sending a shimmer up through my skin until they reached my neck and began retracing a faded a previously invisible mark. In a few short seconds Aiyanas Wrath was once again whole upon my neck, shining brighter than ever before. "Perhaps this will prove that it exists stronger than ever." The light dimmed slightly but still laid a perfect glow on her features. "I am yours, for as long as you will have me." I leaned in and rested my forehead against hers, my voice lowering to barely above a whisper. "And no matter your choice, I will always fight for you and our son."

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"Indeed but we did not ever live happily. We lived with an emptiness that only you could fill. No one and nothing else could." I let out a soft sigh as I looked down. I did not want to repeat the same mistake that I made last time. I did not want Atlas to leave again and feel that emptiness again. I looked back at Atlas as I recognized the familiar glow of his markings. I hesitated slightly but his last sentence caused me to slowly let my head rest against his as well and I exhaled deeply as if I had been holding my breath for eternity. "Thank you, Atlas. That is all I needed to hear." I whispered back before a placed a hand on his cheek and kissed him softly. "Thank you."

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I returned her kiss and finally felt as if all is as it should be. Our love was there once again and I prayed it was whole. A serious look crossed my face as I thought about the future, we had half a year before the Corruption would attack. If it kept to its word which I very much doubted.

I kissed her forehead so she could not see the look on my face as I drew into myself to speak with Tryndamiere "What would I have to give you, to have you sleep for a turn of the moon?" "Hmmm, normally I would enjoy this time of power, but as it turns out there is something I want. Something you can give. It seems there are fragments within you of Tempos, traces of the essence and residual power he had granted you from those blessings, they would bolster my power significantly as the new god of war. Alas it seems a final joke of Tempos was to make them unattainable without certain.... requirements. So I will give you your thirty days, if you accept me fully as the new god of war, that includes praying to, worshipping, offerings and all manner of things befitting my new station." He felt the simmer and anger within me rising at his implications. "Oh don't give me that shit, its not like you get nothing else out of it, pray to me and I will return your blessings to you... all of them." That made my anger die, they would be invaluable in the fight to come, especially if the cost was only my pride, a thing that I wish was already gone for what it had already cost me. "Dea....." "Oh, and I want a day alone with Usha." Though I could not see him, I could feel his sinister smile, a low growl from my throat. "Deal."

I returned to the waking world and looked down at Aiyana still on my lap wrapped in my arms. "I know you will have objections to this, as will everyone else, but I need this... I want to go back to woods, I want us to go back. I want to be a real family, me, you and Ajax and all the animals. I want us to live in loving peace for at least a single turn of the moon before it comes crashing down on us." I shifted slightly so we could see each others eyes. "I know we must train hard but I'd rather know what we are fighting for firsthand. What do you say?"

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My eyes widen in surprise at Atlas's request. Indeed myself and everyone else would feel that our training was of more importance but I understood what Atlas wanted for I wanted that as well. A single turn of the moon, to be a real family. Something both of us have talked and perhaps even dreamed about but we never made such promises come true. I placed a hand on Atlas's cheek and I smiled softly. "I would love nothing more than for all of us to experience what it would be like to be a real and loving family. When can we get started?" I asked, my excitement rising only slightly for I worried that something would surely prevent this from happening and I did not want to get my hopes up until it would surely proven itself to be a reality.

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The smile came unbidden to my face and I held her close. "The day after tomorrow we will set out, I have a promise to keep first to give us complete freedom to be a family." I kissed her forehead and moved to stand us both up. "I am sure you have preparations to make, I suspect my time over the next few hours will be spent getting chewed out by Sabrina." I said with another smile, the excitement in me barely being contained. I made my way out of the study and was surprised when I passed the first window to see the sun already begging to rise, I sighed a little and started towards Sabrina's chambers knowing she would be up already.

I waited outside her door for a minute trying to find the words to say. Just as I raised my hand to knock at her door it smoothly swung open on its own. Revealing Sabrina sitting on a sofa with a piece of parchment in her hand, her eyes scanning it quickly. "Your footfalls have ever been distinct Atlas...." She then raised her head and smiled softly at me. "and loud." She motioned with her hand for me to sit opposite her on a match sofa. "What troubles you so early in the day?" I moved and sat at her request. "I am troubled because I know what I am about to ask might cause strife between us." She slowly put the parchment down and put her full attention upon me. "I certainly hope not..." For one of the first times I could remember I heard a small about of trepidation in her voice and decided it was best to be open and honest with her. "I am taking Aiyana and Ajax and leaving for a turn." She feel silent for a moment, her eyes staying locked on mine and I could tell at the looks she was thinking intensely on all the consequences that would come from us leaving now. The silence seemed to stretch for hours until she eventually spoke. "No." My head dropped. "No. I am sorry Atlas, but we can not afford this distraction now of all times. From what I have been told Aiyana needs more training to fully control her abilities and as much as I hate to admit it we need Tryndamiere to fully come to terms with his new position, something only Usha and Sephanine can help with. Again I am sorry Atlas." Another silence was eventually broken as a deep laugh filed the room and Tryndamiere slowly rose up out of me and sat beside me, still laughing at Sabrina. "And what is so funny ghost?" "I find it funny that you don't understand. He may has said 'ask' but he never was." I felt Sabrinas gaze move back to me, my head remaining low staring at the ground. "I mean to leave in two days." Without nothing more I could think to stay and slowly stood and unable to bring myself to meet her gaze slowly began stepping from the room. "Should you leave this city Atlas, there will be consequences." I was not sure if it was meant as a threat but it would not change my mind regardless. She shouted something else as I closed the door behind me and made my way to my room to find Ajax.

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Re: Corruption Within

Bumping this up since its a little further down on my list than I would have liked

Re: Corruption Within

Alright. I think I put up my character. Shall we start?

Corruption Within

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