/simu/ - Simulacrum

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File: 1658693404436-0.jpeg (135.32 KB, 1800x883, Concentus City - 2.jpeg)

File: 1658693404436-1.jpeg (1.22 MB, 1920x2495, Paragon Maximus.jpeg)

File: 1658693404436-2.jpeg (2.8 MB, 3177x4129, Paragon Magnus.jpeg)

File: 1658693404436-3.jpeg (1.38 MB, 1920x2495, Paragon Primus.jpeg)

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>Location: Alteria - Prism World

>The dimension of Alteria is a unique dimension existing in a different phase state - and separate from that of the main universe.

>As a separate dimension in another world, Alteria is home to the planet Machina - its analogue to Earth.

>Machina is a large, technologically advanced "hypercity" of a world - filled with various technological devices and equipment powered by mana. The capital city of Machina is called Concentus.

>As the capital city of the entire planet, Concentus is home to an entire race of beings, very similar to humans. These human adjacent beings are called the Formiacs, and the best among them are chosen to become Paragons - technomagical warriors and hunters, trained to fight off the supernatural monsters native to their dimension.

>Monsters like the beings terrorizing the planet right now.

>Date: February 28th, 2017 [Relative to Earth]
>Time: 10:00 AM [Relative to Earth, Sanctuary City]
>Location: Machina - Concentus City

"Move! More of them are coming!"

>A group of Paragons quickly glide through the large mechanistic structures that make up the refinement district of the city. Large power lines of mana and magical energy are strewn out across the structural apparatus, pumping vast quantities of magical energy and mana particles through the city. As the leylines of magic are sustained by the technological masterworks, the Paragons continue their movement patterns.

"Primus! Prepare the distortion incantation! The creature are magnifying!"

>The leader of the trio of Paragons, a bulky armored figure clad in red, aims a mana powered rifle at various light figures converging on their location. As the figures are hit by the supernatural bullets, they're blasted into miniature chunks, quickly reforming into more copies of themselves.

>The gold clad armored figure begins making a series of quick hand gestures, consolidating magical energy stored in their body - as they then unleash a massive fractal distortion that captures the swarm of figures - enveloping most of them and wrapping them into nothingness, leaving normal space in their wake.

"That should hold the majority of them! I'll need a few minutes to charge another distortion field!"

>The third and final figure, draped in sapphire blue armor with a hood and a cape, states:

"…So where did you send them, Primus? We're running out of options."

>Scowling behind his helmet, Primus then says:

"If you needed to know, Magnus. I've created a region of null space that can hold them together for now. Pocket dimension of sorts. But if they destabilize and cause a chain reaction, the energy release they generate will-"

"Rip open the fissure and set them loose again, we're aware."

>The leader in red armor states, as all three figures converge on their destination.

"…Of course, Maximus. But I trust your judgment in having me use the majority of my energy to slow them down."


File: 1658694444876-0.jpeg (303.87 KB, 1920x968, Central Tendency.jpeg)

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File: 1658694444876-4.jpeg (117.12 KB, 1240x1748, Monarch Lucien.jpeg)

>As the three Paragons quickly fly towards their destination, it becomes visible to their eyes - Central Tendency.

>As their main base of operations, the large megastructure serves as a command and information hub for all the Paragons in Concentus City - as well as a relay station for the numerous smaller bases of operations, for Paragons all over the planet of Machina.

>Protected by a relatively stable forcefield, the base is currently under attack by various swarms of humanoid energy beings - each attempting to breach the forcefield.

"Magnus! Help the Praetorian Guard with the combat maneuvers around the perimeter! Primus! Go assist the Casters with their field projection! That forcefield needs to hold if we're going to have enough time to enact our plan!"

>Both Magnus and Primus nod as they quickly fly in opposite directions - proceeding to help both classes of Paragon with defensive maneuvers.

>Maximus himself then barrels through the forcefield with his magical powers - passing harmlessly through the forcefield as the energy beings continue to punch away at its structure.

>Landing at the foot of Central Tendency's interior buildings, Maximus finds himself face to face with a figure in a hood, a robe and an ornate mask, arcane marks carefully etched into the material of the mask.

"Monarch Lucien."

>Maximus then kneels on one foot before the founder of Machinan society - and the first Paragon of the planet.

"The entire planet has come under siege from these creatures. Even now, the entire Paragon organization is spread out thin - all over the planet. We're running out of manpower to handle the situation, and we can't even destroy any of the creatures."

>Maximus feels a knot in his stomach as he continues speaking:

"Even now, the Casters can only contain them temporarily. Not even Primus has found a way to destroy-"

"Calm yourself, Maximus. I did not summon you to bear witnesses to your burgeoning despair."

>The Monarch then holds out his hand, summoning a bright white light and a bright technomagical staff. Looking up, Maximus then says in astonishment.

"…The Staff of Mendicants. Here?! Monarch! The staff is the most sacred of our founding artifacts-"

"I am well aware of the nature of my own creations, Maximus. For hundreds of years I have guarded our planet, have I not? Am I not the one who inscribed the sacred principles of our society into our foundational text!"

>Maximus looks down on the floor, still kneeling.

"….Yes, father."


File: 1658695442718-0.jpeg (387.39 KB, 1920x1080, Central Tendency Interior.jpeg)

File: 1658695442718-1.jpeg (117.12 KB, 1240x1748, Monarch Lucien.jpeg)

File: 1658695442718-2.jpeg (1.22 MB, 1920x2495, Paragon Maximus.jpeg)

>The Monarch then lowers his staff, tapping it against the floor as a bright white light shimmers and jettisons outward.

"Then you know better than to question my judgment, in your decades of service to me, my son. Now rise, for we have matters to attend to."

>Maximus slowly rises to his feet, confused by the Monarch's statements.

"….Matters more important than the horde of energy vampires harming our planet?!"

>Raising his staff once again, the Monarch states:

"You still refuse to understand, my son. The creatures you see are merely moths to a flame."

>As the Monarch slowly walks into the large ceremonial structure of Central Tendency, Maximus slowly walks in behind him, energy rifle holstered to his back.

"The creatures have no base pattern of movement, and merely attack everything they see! They are a blight on our planet!"

>As both figures walk past the large stone monuments to Paragons that have fallen in battle, the Monarch then states:

"And yet, the creatures appear to ignore all natural wildlife and vegetation. The rivers are peaceful, the deserts, serene. Nearly all non technomagical areas of Machina have been left untouched. Yet you have never thought to ponder the simple question of 'why?."

>Stunned, Maximus looks down at his hand, his mind racing as he then responds.

"…I thought it not of any concern. The people of Machina are the sole aim of our protection as Paragons! They are who we serve!"

>Tapping the staff again, the Monarch generates another faint pulse of white light - coursing through the interior of Central Tendency, as he states.

"The people are not your concern, Maximus. They are pretext and nothing more. We exist to protect another. The quarry of our enemies."

>Stunned, Maximus's kneejerk response is to say:

"And what quarry is that father?! Listen to yourself! The absurdities you speak are antithetical to our principles as Paragons! To our duties!"

>Scowling behind his mask, the Monarch then reaches the end of the corridor - coming to a large, mechanistic room. He then states:

"Are you prepared to know the truth, my son?"


File: 1658696310264-0.jpeg (387.39 KB, 1920x1080, Central Tendency Interior.jpeg)

File: 1658696310264-1.jpeg (1.22 MB, 1920x2495, Paragon Maximus.jpeg)

File: 1658696310264-2.jpeg (117.12 KB, 1240x1748, Monarch Lucien.jpeg)

File: 1658696310264-3.jpg (148.36 KB, 1244x700, Thaumia.jpg)

>Holding back a feeling of anger and frustration, Maximus then says through gritted teeth:

"If you insist, father. But know this. Nothing you say could ever turn me away from the vow I have taken to defend this city, and this planet - from all supernatural threats."

>Craning his head to the side slightly, the Monarch then says:

"Really? Not even the knowledge that you exist as an artificial weapon of my own making?"

>A harsh silence then fills the air, as the weight of the revelation is felt by Maximus.

"….W-What?! Your jests are obscene, father! In what manner is this a comical occasion-"

"You were created from a combination of my genetic code, and advanced nanotechnology - grafted onto a magitek energy generator. You absorb ambient energy from the environment and convert it into magical energy for operation."

>Maximus begins mentally unravel ever so slowly at the thought, struggling to maintain his composure.

"No…Nononononono. I exist of my own choosing and my own free will! I chose to become a Paragon in your footsteps! All the Paragons on the planet did as well! You chose to become a Paragon to help people!"

"I became a Paragon to help defend my people from the forces that seek to destroy us. Even now, they intrude on our doorstep. You were created to help assist in the illusion - to protect us."

>Unable to bear the weight of the words being said, Maximus moves backwards, removing his rifle from the back of his armor.

"You start making sense right now, father! Or I'll assume you've been compromised by those body stealing energy vampires!"

>Arms slightly trembling at the thought of attacking his father, Maximus continues to feel thoughts swirl across his mind.

>Feeling slight sympathy for the man, the Monarch then states.

"Why don't I just show you, exactly who I am."

>Tapping the large metallic doors towering high into the air, the Monarch watches as they open slowly - revealing a radiant purple and pink light - and revealing an open gateway to a massive sight.

>Maximus's eyes widen in genuine shock, as he begins to stammer.

"W-What is this?!?!"

>The world beyond the doors is a large, lush fantasy like world with hundreds of hovering areas - each housing traditional fantasy oriented structures like castles and colosseums. Various bright lights swirl around the area, as more traditional looking magicians move around in the air.

>Turning back towards Maximus, the Monarch then says:

"This is Thaumia - the world constructed by ancient magicians. Magicians from the true world. As such, I am one of them - a Thaumian. All of this…."

>Waving a hand up in the air, the Monarch then causes the building's structure to shift around revealing a transparent look at the world outside.

"…..This is all a decoy. The city. The planet. Even the entire dimension. All a result of the greatest of our Thaumaturgic spells. A mechanism to keep our enemies distracted - unable to find us. However now…."

>Shaking his head in dejection, the Monarch says:

"The ruse has gone on long enough. The energy vampires you speak of, are the Specters. They are manifestations of…our mistakes. The souls that we have created for the sole purpose of sustaining us."


File: 1658697089838-0.jpeg (1.22 MB, 1920x2495, Paragon Maximus.jpeg)

File: 1658697089838-1.jpeg (117.12 KB, 1240x1748, Monarch Lucien.jpeg)

File: 1658697089838-2.png (724.71 KB, 1000x563, Barbatos - 4.png)

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File: 1658697089838-4.jpeg (1.38 MB, 1920x2495, Paragon Primus.jpeg)

>Maximus keeps his energy rifle trained on his "father", now asking even more questions.

"…And us? The Paragons?!"

>The Monarch elaborates further:

"Artificial magitek supersoldiers, designed to serve as the perfect enforcement arm of our society. We used you to quell the chaos threatening to find our society and disturb the balance of our world. You were always meant to serve as a buffer - a means of keeping the rest of existence at bay. You were never meant to have any purpose beyond maintaining our safety."

>Maximus them screams and begins firing a series of energy volleys and blaster shots at the Monarch - which are deflected by a now visible mana forcefield.

"Come now, you must realize that all of your weapons and abilities were bestowed to you for a reason. They are powerful, but exploitable as per our design."

>Holding a hand up in the air, the Monarch now begins to exert telekinetic force, through magic, beginning to choke Maximus slowly.

"Do not be afraid, my son. You have served your purpose well. You, and the rest of this infernal reality. But now your usefulness has come to an end. Be assured, you will be remembered in the halls of Thaumian society and history, for your contributions to our continued success."

>As the Monarch continues to choke Maximus into near unconsciousness - a blast of energy rips apart the front door to Central Tendency. As the hallway's entrance is blown wide open, a figure in large black armor slowly walks through.

"As expected, the conniving rat scours away to another corner. Hmmph. How many dimensions does this make it, Lucien? Five? Ten?"

>Being held up by each hand, is the deceased body of a Paragon - both Magnus and Primus, dead by the armored man's own hands.

>As he tosses them down to the floor, mana leaks out of their bodies, as mechanical whirring sounds can also be heard - similar to gears in a system, confirming Maximus's worst fears.


>Maximus then falls to the ground, unconscious, as the Monarch backs away.

"No…No! You should not be here, demon! We have excised you from our world for your treachery! You shall not return!"


File: 1658697646385-0.jpeg (22.26 KB, 601x301, Barbatos - 3.jpeg)

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File: 1658697646385-2.jpeg (117.12 KB, 1240x1748, Monarch Lucien.jpeg)

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>A sense of irate frustration rushing over the man, he then shouts:

"I will not be denied my revenge, sorcerer! I will have your head, and those of all Thaumians! For what you have done to me…and more importantly."

>The armored figure holds his arm out, generating a massive pulse of magical energy which ruptures the very fabric of the world around him.

"…What you have done to them! My brothers and sisters! All dead, because of you and your people's greed!"

>In that moment, swarms of Specters fly into the large technological building, all taking rank and file behind the figure, as he stands in place - revealing the truth of his words.

>The Monarch then slowly walks backwards toward the portal, stating:

"Iblis! You do not have to do this! Revenge is not the solution to your predicament! There are various roads to salvation-"

"Stay your tongue, worm! My name is Barbatos, and I will not stop, until every last Thaumian has begged me for mercy, the same mercy denied to the rest of my kind!"

>Quickly, the Monarch then utters a series of incantations, making hand gestures with significant precision - as he turns around and casts a massive glowing sigil over the open doors to the magical world beyond.

"No! Stop him!"

>Barbatos instructs the hoard of Specters behind him, as they begin flying towards the Thaumian sorcerer. As he continues muttering, he then says out loud:

"I am truly sorry for what we have done, Iblis. I bear the burden of our collective sins in this moment, and may you find forgiveness for our transgressions in the afterlife."

>Glowing brightly, the Monarch then explodes in a massive amount of energy - releasing the centuries of stockpiled magical power he has stored for this moment.


>Barbatos barely has enough time to reach, as the bright light rapidly envelops the entirety of Central Tendency - as the doorway to the magical world is sealed once again.

>The explosion picks up in size and scope, a bright white light expanding across the entirety of the pocket dimension - rupturing it completely and entirely - as well as destroying it from the inside out in a blinding flash of light and energy.


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>Location: Transient Space - Between Dimensions
>Time: 11:00 AM [Relative to Earth]

>As Barbatos and a select few of the remaining Specters materialize in the construct of a palace he's created in the middle of null space, Barbatos angrily strikes a nearby pillar. The pillar immediately crumbles into dust, falling down on the ground. As he does so, he then turns back to the Specters, saying:

"Worry not. We still have one more card to play, in this long and drawn out crusade. The Thaumians will know our vengeance and pain. They cannot hide from us forever."

>Looking off into the void, he then elaborates.

"After you were all destroyed, I still remember the plans the Thaumians had. Should they ever be forced into a pocket dimension for their transgressions against the Gods - they left artifacts all over the Earth. Artifacts capable of opening a portal back to the planet, if they were acquired and brought together."

>Giving a light chuckle, Barbatos then turns his attention back to the Specters as he states:

"Even in hiding, their desperation to reclaim their original world remains all too strong. I will use that against them, and bring them the defeat they have so vehemently tried to avoid. There is no escape for them. Soon, the Thaumians will have their reckoning, and soon they will experience our revenge placed upon them!"


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>Date: March 1st, 2017
>Time: 10:00 AM [Relative to Earth]
>Location: The Axiom - Nexus of Magic

…."Mentem fractam corrige, animam reficiens, quae residet"….

>Isaac continues speaking an incantation from memory, his eyes briefly glowing gold as he rapidly cycles a series of large dimensional prisms around him. As the prisms cycle around his body, they form a set of large frames - screens in appearance.

>The structures are large mental maps, representations of Isaac's psyche - which form large familiar scenes from his mind. Various flashes of his past are seen on the screens - numerous magical battles against supernatural creatures. The various appearances of his father figure Jehuty, as well as one more screen with two shadowy silhouettes that he can't quite make out on the screens.

"….No….Come on! I have to be able to remember something about them!"

>As Isaac continues straining, the fractals begin to coalesce the pictures more clearly - until the images of two human figures appear on the screen, a man and a woman.

>The man with black hair, wears an ornate dark blue sorcerer robe with glowing blue eyes and an arcane marking on his face.

>The woman has luscious red hair, fiery in nature with wisps of smoke and flame slowly emanating from said hair periodically. She has a set of magitek goggles on her forehead with glowing red eyes.

>Then as quickly as the projections of his psyche appear, they shatter into nonexistence, causing Isaac to quickly move back in his chair. Sighing he then rubs his eyelids, thinking:

{"Well, at least I know what they look like now. Mom….Dad…."}


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>Blinking, Isaac then thinks to himself again:

{"No, I can't focus on that. I need to prepare for my final exam as Sorcerer Supreme. Hopefully no major problems occur during that time. I can't afford to have my attention being dispersed across various different situations."}

>Standing up from behind his desk in his study den, Isaac then walks around the desk and out of the room. Now walking into the hallway, he makes his way to the living room, thinking about his next objective all the while.

{"The Observatory Deck mentioned a series of stray leyline signals the other day. All of them detected around the structural underpinnings of the Earth's core. they've been dormant for as long as I can remember using the Observatory Deck. So why are they appearing now?"}

>As he reaches the living room, Isaac surveys the area, finding it about how he left it. Various magical fountains sprout forth with different beverages that they magically produce. Miniature trees spread out across the room, giving the area a more vacation oriented aesthetic. The large magical TV on the wall is nearly the size of the wall, and broadcasts content from Earth in parallel to Earth's passage of time - currently showing the news from Sanctuary City as the last watched channel in the living room.

"I guess Stephanie hasn't been here in a while."

>Silent for a moment, Isaac then says out loud:

"Stephanie! Honey! Are you here?"

>Isaac then patiently waits for an answer.


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>A few moments of silence pass, with no response. Suddenly, a voice appears directly behind Isaac.

"You called for me, Isaac?"

>Various colorful liquid streams run down Stephanie's fingers and onto her arm, slowly fading out of existence. Stephanie looks at Isaac for a moment, before looking back at her hand.

"I was experimenting with some more spells. Some of them can get pretty messy, as you can see."

>With the liquid now completely gone, Stephanie looks back at Isaac again.

"Anyway. What's up?"


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>Isaac looks at Stephanie's hand for a moment, before he looks back at her. Looking directly at her face, he then says:

"….I was thinking about what you said the other day and…"

>Feeling his face turn red slightly, he scratches his chin as he then says:

"…I think I'm ready. I've been putting it off for a year now anyways, but yeah I think it's time."

>Isaac gives Stephanie a sheepish and weak smile before he says:

"Oh there's more besides that. But I felt you should know."


File: 1658710092480.jpg (73.67 KB, 464x344, Stephanie - 39.jpg)

>Stephanie's heart almost skips a beat, and she immediately brings her hand to her mouth trying to prevent herself from giggling in nervous excitement.

>Unable to stop herself, the lights in the room begin to flicker wildly for as long as she giggles, before she finally manages to stop herself.

"W-What. Uh.."

>She coughs.

"Jeez, Isaac. You can't just drop that on me so suddenly and casually like that."

"What e-else? Is something going on?"


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File: 1658710547501-3.jpg (49.7 KB, 852x480, Hologram Earth Map.jpg)

>Isaac crosses his arms and looks up at the ceiling for a moment.

"Nothing much….Just….."

>Looking to the side, slightly away from Stephanie, Isaac quickly says:

"I finally ended up extracting most of the obscured memories from my psyche and finally got a clear look at what my parents looked like."

>Looking back at Stephanie, he then says:

"Oh and there's a new signal from the Observation Deck. It's signaling for five different energy signatures. Given how long they were dormant for before manifesting, they're likely artifacts. The Axiom's also detected some interference in the leylines of the planet - nothing huge, but it looks like somebody's started using them."

>Isaac makes a gesture with his hand, and the Axiom shifts around them both - bringing them to the Observation Deck with the giant holographic monitor and large window mirror staring into the abyss beyond the Axiom's walls.

"Right there."

>Isaac then snaps his fingers and makes a specific gesture - demonstrating mastery over the Observation Deck's controls and leading to the production of a holographic Earth display before them. Five bright lights blink on the holographic display as Isaac says:

"Rough calculations given mana recording, but it's possible that the artifacts combined have an energy output powerful enough to breach dimensional barriers. Given the Axiom's proximity to Earth in its current phase state - it's a possibility we have to consider."

>Isaac looks back at Stephanie from the holographic controls, where his hands rest.

"I could prep the Axiom to shift its current phase - bring us further out of synch with the main universe, but it's your call Stephanie. Do we investigate this close and personal, or keep a distance and just push as far away from this as possible?"

>Isaac looks at Stephanie, waiting for her response.


File: 1658711205702.png (441.19 KB, 900x900, Stephanie - 417.png)

"I don't really see the need to make a change. There's nothing on Earth that can breach through the Axiom's natural barriers. Let alone locate it."

>Stephanie crosses her leg and shifts her weight slightly, leaning one hand against the deck's apparently solid holographic controls.

"Just keep it as is and we'll see what happens."


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>Isaac looks back at the hologram for a moment, thinking to himself.

{"That's strange. Why do I feel like I've seen this situation before….."}

>His brow furrows as he thinks more intently.

{"Wait a minute….Did I……"}

>Suddenly, Isaac's eyes widen.

"That's it!"

>Making another gesture with his hand, Isaac materializes a glowing, golden light in front of his hands. The light then soon dematerializes, revealing a bright and ornate tome with an arcane marking on the front.

"It's been a while since I looked at it."

>The bright blue tome with intricate white markings and a bright red ribbon - the Tome of Thoth. A gift to Isaac from his adoptive father, the Egyptian God of Knowledge. Without a moment's notice, Isaac carefully takes the red ribbon and flicks it around - it responding to his thoughts as it flips open the book.

>The Tome of Thoth begins rapidly flipping through its own pages at blinding speeds - stopping precisely at the section titled:

"History of the Thaumians."

>Isaac squints his eyes slightly as he reads over the highlighted section carefully.

"Yeah, this was it. An offshoot of humanity that initially communed with the primordial emanations of magic, native to Earth. They used the power of magic to enhance themselves and forcefully evolve as a people. Kept growing stronger in power and strength - until they were forced into a separate reality to escape the wrath of the Gods."

>Placing his finger over the highlighted section's final few lines, he states:

"….To ensure their ability to return to the Earth, in the event that the threat of the Gods had passed, the Thaumians created a secondary mechanism of reintegration. They constructed five artifacts and placed them around the world, wherein said artifacts if accumulated - would generate enough magical energy to create a beacon. A beacon strong enough to bring the Thaumians back to the Earth - from which they originally sprung."

>Looking back at Stephanie, Isaac says:

"Somebody knows about the Thaumians and they have the magical power to activate their artifacts. I figured they were ancient history by now. But if someone's found a way to commune with the artifacts and reactivate them? Then we could be dealing with an entire magical civilization trying to take over the Earth!"


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>Stephanie taps her finger against the controls, her nail making an audible tapping noise.

"The existence of the Thaumians isn't really a secret. Everyone at the recent conclave seemed to be aware that they existed at some point. But nobody there seemed like they knew much more than that."

>Turning to look at Isaac, Stephanie says:

"Are there any other large groups I'm missing? The number of practitioners has dropped dramatically in the last century, but the conclave was still only a handful of the more social mages."

>Looking back at the observation deck's projection, she thinks out loud:

"The books say that the Thaumians didn't get along with other groups for the most part. So I can't imagine there'd be that many people wanting to invite them back."


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>Isaac looks back at the tome, stating:

"Not much more than what you've already mentioned. I doubt they would've shared what they knew in any regard. Unfortunate. If only people could cooperate - instead of subjugate…"

>Sighing again, Isaac then closes the tome and teleports it back to its personal sub-space. Looking back at Stephanie, he then states:

"We're going to have to deal with the artifact myself. No offense to the conclave of clandestine mages - but I don't trust them with that kind of power. What's left of them anyways."

>Isaac then makes another gesture with his hand, as a golden ring of light forms around the center of his body. After a moment, it splits off into two golden rings that move up and down his body - displacing an ornate white sorcerer outfit over him. Complete with gold trimming and mask, the outfit is Isaac's Sorcerer Supreme attire.

>After manifesting his attire, Isaac's voice distorts slightly due to the effect of the artifacts that comprise his outfit. Looking at Stephanie, he then says:

"Calling me 'Doctor' after all this time must feel funny, I bet. Probably why you refuse to call me that even now. Dumb title, I know, but Aiden's is more or less the same, right?"

>Making a tracing gesture with his right finger, Doctor creates a series of golden sparks that trail across the air, creating a customized spell effect.

"Unique binding spell. For anyone we may find there. Ready, Crepido?"


File: 1658714325504.jpg (73.35 KB, 850x655, Steph287.jpg)

Stephanie makes a slight wincing expression at the mention of Isaac and Aiden having similar names.

"Eh… his rolls off the tongue a little better. So I'll stick to calling you Bumblebee. Or maybe Doofus."

>Streams of blue particles suddenly fly out from behind Stephanie - quickly wrapping and twisting around her, transforming her clothing.

>The particles vanish once finished, with Stephanie now wearing her robes.

"Oh. And I wouldn't worry too much about those mages. They aren't all that bad. I liked the rift's guardian."

"Anyway. Lead the way. Doofus."


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>Date: March 1st, 2017
>Time: 10:30 AM
>Location: North Africa - Sahara Desert

>The vast expanses of desert sands litter the expanse of Northern Africa for miles. In a region of the continent that's been battered with intense heat and sunlight - a ripple of space-time appears. Doctor walks through the ripple, looking around as the heat immediately comes over his body.

{"Always disliked intense weather, but hey. Not my call."}

>Snapping his fingers, Doctor then generates a soft pulse of golden light - creating a temperature differential around him and the nearby area. In this energy field, the ambient temperature of the area has dropped to room temperature in a building.

>Looking back at the distortion, he waits for Crepido to come out, before saying:

"Didn't want to handle the heat, so hopefully this helps."

>Turning his attention back towards the distance of the Sahara desert - towards a large chasm, Doctor says:

"We've got company, I'm guessing the word got out quickly."


>In the distance, various figures in ornate armor, masks and hoods carry around large blocks - each inscribed with a unique, arcane symbol. The figures continue working, moving around and carefully moving objects physically.

>The figures can be heard speaking an indistinct and unrecognizable language, before one of the armored figures holds up their hand - remotely moving all of the magical blocks with telekinesis.


>The figure continues speaking, again in an unknown and indecipherable language - the blocks now forming a large circular disc in the air - directly above the large mass of sand before the group. The blocks then start spinning rapidly, as a large glyph forms in the air above - a mana charged rune beginning to glow brightly.


>Noting the phenomenon going on in the distance, Doctor then says:

"Well, that's about what I expected. The artifact's signature is powerful enough for sufficiently powerful magicians to detect. Anything to say before we go interrupt their ritual?"

>Doctor says, waiting for Crepido to respond.


File: 1658766780340.jpg (151.67 KB, 850x930, 1539998346642.jpg)

>Crepido shrugs.

"If you're looking for a witty catchphrase or something insightful I don't have anything for you."

>She begins walking towards the figures and their massive disc, apparently unbothered by the desert heat.


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>The lead armored figure, focusing on the summoning ritual holds up another hand, stating:


>Looking behind themselves, the armored figure then nods, as their fellow armored figures quickly jump up into the air - flying towards the newcomers.

>Flying towards Doctor and Crepido, a few of the armored figures make a series of hand gestures, firing off massive blasts of magical energy at them.

>At the same time, the remaining armored figures teleport around Doctor and Crepido, creating aftereffects and mirages of themselves - as they perform a large summoning spell.


>A glowing orange surge of mana appears, as a massive mechanical dragon with energy wings manifests. Focusing his attention on Doctor and Crepido, the massive, 2 story tall being unleashes a massive surge of mana fire at the sorcerers without hesitation.


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>Doctor reacts almost immediately, making a series of hand gestures that generate a massive surge of glowing golden light. The mana shield resists the first barrages of magical energy - redirecting it towards the aerial armored figures - who quickly move out of the way.

"Crepido. One of us is going to have to deal with the summoner. We can't let them get away with the artifact!"

>Making a careful hand gesture, Doctor then summons his bladed staff in a pillar of golden light. Without notice, he then remotely grabs the energy barrier of his creation and restructures it into a golden light spear construct - aiming it at one of the armored figures, tossing it at them and striking them in the chest.

>Telepathically, he says to Crepido:

{"I've read about this armor before. This is Thaumian Infiltration armor. Magitek. But the Thaumians shouldn't be here yet, that was the entire point of their failsafe."}

>Doctor then quickly deflects more mana blasts from the infiltrators as the Magitek Dragon continues spewing fire at them.

{"Whoever's behind this is probably recruiting humans on Earth, just don't know how, or why."}


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>After listening to everything Isaac has to say, Crepido says out loud:

"I'll take care of the summoner."

>Without another word she makes a swiping motion towards the ground beneath the cloaked figures. Seconds later a wave of water materializes out from under the sand and sweeps at their feet, knocking them off balance.

>Still controlling the wave, Crepido moves her body with it - curving it into the air and raining it down on top of them.


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>Doctor nods at Crepido as he looks back at the large magitek dragon. The dragon then begins flying towards Doctor, spewing even more bouts of fire as its sharp metallic claws rapidly come into view. Sweeping away the fire with the force of his staff strike - the air displacement shoves the magitek dragon off balance slightly - just enough for Doctor's bladed staff to strike against the claws of the dragon.

>Large sparks fly as the dragon is catapulted away a few dozen feet - scraping across the sand.

"You're tough alright. But not very bright from what I can gather."

>The dragon then flaps its energy wings again, negating the force of gravity and its own inertia to begin flying backwards at Doctor with surprising speed.

"Uh oh."

>Planting his staff down, Doctor then leaps up into the air with surprising speed and strength - slashing overhead at the dragon's armored hide - stabbing deep into its machinery and wiring before landing a few meters in front of it.

"Just one more!"

>Quickly turning around, faster than the dragon can react, Doctor slashes at the dragon with his bladed staff - glowing a bright golden light at the edge of the blade itself. The strike leaves the dragon's core exposed as it reacts instinctively and in pain as well.

>As the damage to the wiring builds up in the dragon, causing it to destabilize quickly, Doctor then says:

"Always wanted to fight a dragon. Well, a real one that is. But you'll have to do for now."

>Snapping his fingers, Doctor then generates a concentrated pulse of golden light that flies straight through the exposed opening of the dragon's chest - and then explodes into a mass of golden flames - burning up the dragon entirely.

>As chunks of damaged and singed magitek plating crash on the ground - parts of the debris field crash on the infiltrator warriors, knocking them unconscious just as they stabilized their footing after Crepido's water surge.

>Looking back at Crepido, Doctor says:

"Well, you better hurry and stop the summoner. They're about to call down a leyline storm - you know what that means."


File: 1658770665867.png (319.23 KB, 488x557, Steph680.png)

"I've got it. I was just getting the others out of the way first."

>Crepido turns her attention towards the summoner. She makes another swiping motion with her hand - this time stretching out a pair of tendrils made of sand.

>They grab a hold of the summoner, wrapping around their arms and pulling them back and to the ground. The sand begins filling over them, partially burying them to hold them in place.


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>The summoner infiltrator is surprised by the movement, looking around while struggling to free themselves of the binds and restraints.


>As the infiltrator is still restrained by the sand, Doctor slowly walks towards the figure, while flanked by Crepido at his side.

"Give me a moment."

>Doctor then mutters a whisper quiet spell underneath his mask, raising up his hand, then closing it into a fist while he does so. After he finishes, he then waits to hear the infiltrator speak.

"Indignant trogolodyte! My master will grind you beneath his foot like the worm you are!"

>Doctor acts confused, saying:

"You're speaking gibberish. I don't understand a word you're saying."

>Laughing, the infiltrator then says:

"Too idiotic to consider alternatives then? Master Barbatos will have no problems defeating you. Even now, the ritual is nearly complete! Once the artifact is recovered, he will be one step closer towards delivering us to the promised land!"

>Suddenly, Doctor responds to the infiltrator's remarks.

"Barbatos is your leader? I figured a demon was a bit too out there for a random sorcerer patrol job, but apparently not."

>Looking at Crepido, he then says:

"Let's dig up the artifact and leave before his boss can get here."

>Realizing his mistake, the infiltrator then continues struggling against his restraints, shouting angrily at Doctor and Crepido.

"Insubordinate buffoons! You will not cost my master his work! Not after all these years!"

>Doctor then snaps his fingers, as his bladed staff remotely smacks the infiltrator on the back of the head with the blunt side of its blade - knocking them out.


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>Doctor then turns his attention to the large structure of cubes - holding his hand out and telekinetically flipping them around rapidly until they shatter into each other rapidly.

>While this occurs, Doctor telekinetically lowers the debris back to the ground, slowly - as the large magical sigil slowly fades away.

>Then, Doctor closes his eyes behind his mask and places his hands together - fingers pointing upward as his palms connect.

"Give me a moment."

>Separating his hands, Doctor then places them outwards, causing the ground to tremor with immense force as he quickly drags a massive artifact out from deep within the ground. As the tremors continue, Doctor then looks out in front of him with his eyes open.

"…..There it is."

>A bright blue hue slowly radiates from the chasm in the middle of the ground - as the artifact appears. The artifact is a large, mechanical structure with glowing blue portions. As it's situated in the air through a stasis spell, Doctor then steps backwards.

"….The Anima Planaris. That's what the Mask of Ma'at is telling me. This is definitely the artifact."

>At that moment, a large bolt of magical energy strikes down - straight towards Doctor, who moves backwards at surprising speeds.


>Quickly flipping backwards with Crepido, he then looks up, seeing the cause of the blast. A figure in a large black armor with bright white accents - and ten unique glowing rings on his fingers.

"I'm going to guess you're Barbatos?"


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>The figure in armor cranes his head to the side, chuckling softly.

"I see you're the sorcerers responsible for this disruption."

>Noting the artifact behind him, he continues.

"Yet, I should also congratulate you, for doing my job for me."

>Immediately, Barbatos uses a ring on his finger, glowing with a radiant glowing light.

>The artifact behind Barbatos suddenly gets slowly folded inside of the fabric of space-time itself.

"Oh no you don't!"

>Doctor makes a gesture with his hands, creating a counter-pressure of energy in the form of golden sparks.

>The Sorcerer Supreme also constructs a dimensional prism around the artifact - similar in nature to the prism he created much earlier - buffering against the displacement of the artifact, and keeping it stable in place.

"The artifact's not going with you. I still haven't learned your name yet. Your real name."

>Barbatos then gives a scoff of annoyance, before activating another ring on his finger - cyan colored. As the ring glows bright with a cyan light, the relative temperature of the desert area begins to drop, rapidly. Ice plates form on top of the sand itself, as the air begins to rapidly condense hail storms.

"You aren't worth my time, magician. I have more personal matters to attend to, a conflict far greater than you could ever truly understand."

"Try me."

>Doctor says, as he makes another gesture, generating a barrier of bright red and orange light around him and Crepido - a heat field that warms up the ambient temperature of the area.

>The heat field then rapidly spirals into massive, supernatural flames - fighting back against the effects of the cooling temperature and ice, surprising even Barbatos himself.

"How can a mere magician have that much magical power? Mere magecraft is nothing compared to the might of the Spectral Rings!"


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>Just like earlier the sand begins to shift and move, this time below the artifact. Guiding the sands, Crepido makes a swiping motion - causing several tendrils to shoot out and wrap around it, pulling it into the Earth.

"You have a limited view on magic, Barbatos."

>The sands shift and move as the artifact is pushed towards Crepido, before finally opening up again behind her. The artifact floats into the air, and then locks in place, guarded by her.

>She lowers her voice and says:

"I'll try to restrain him while you figure out how to disable those rings."

>Once more the sand shoots outwards, now wrapping around Barbatos's arms and legs in an attempt to pull him into the sand.


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>Doctor nods as he turns his attention back towards Barbatos. Now levitating in the air, with a copy of the fire spell surrounding him, he begins circling the air around Barbatos, manifesting a flurry of mystical bladed weapons at his location. The swarm of enchanted bladed weapons crashes down on Barbatos from a massive number of golden portals manifested in the air.

"It's as the Sorceress said, Barbatos. There's a lot about magic you don't seem to be aware of."

>As the weapon flurry reaches Barbatos, his armor is immediately fractured and damaged by the attacks - causing him to move backwards, using his rings to defend himself.

"Ack! You magicial jesters and your parlor tricks! I will have your corpse as a trophy!"

>Holding out his hand, Barbatos activates the same golden ring as before, generating his own golden ports that absorb and redirect the blades towards Doctor.

"Good strategy. Not enough though, I'm afraid."

>As the weapons reach Doctor, they automatically halt and begin circling around him - forming a massive weapon brigade, serving as a makeshift shield of sorts.


>Barbatos looks on in annoyance, before activating another ring on his finger.

>The ring he activates glows blue with a radiant light, as he telekinetically levitates sand from the ground - and converts it into sharp diamond spikes - aiming them directly at Doctor.

"Also impressive, but as I said before…."

>As the spikes converge on his location, Doctor makes a series of hand gestures - creating a series of remote gold sparks that appear around the diamond shards.

>Then in that moment, the shards convert into butterflies that flutter away harmlessly into the sky.

"There's a lot about magical forces you aren't demonstrating. I'm guessing that leads to a lack of instruction."

>Barbatos mutters and grinds his teeth as he says:

"What would you know about magical power?! You're just another charlatan pretending to be a God! I'm not standing by and accepting this mockery to my power! My existence!"


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>As Barbatos stares angry daggers behind his helmet at Doctor, who remains hovering in the sky, the weather of the desert suddenly darkens slightly.

>Remaining standing in mid-air, Doctor carefully assesses his opponent, before revealing his inferences.

"You've not cast a single spell this entire time. Even your lackeys had the skill to do that. I can tell because of your lack of hand gestures."

>Doctor then hovers around in place, moving quickly to the side, while still maintaining his stance.

"Neither have you performed any incantations, channeling techniques. All you're using are those rings. Which tells me that they're powerful artifacts."

>In his mind, Doctor thinks:

{"And they're the only source of your power. Stephanie was right. We have to disable them."}

>Barbatos clenches his hand into a fist, the anger bubbling up slowly to the surface as he has another outburst:

"Power is power at the end of the day! It does not matter the source, only the application! And I will use that power how I choose!"

>Doctor, still surrounded by his arsenal of magical bladed weaponry, states:

"Very big talk for a clear novice in the arcane and mystic arts! If you really were as powerful as you claimed, you'd have been able to defeat a pair of 'mere magicians', as you said before."

>Doctor then thinks to himself:

{"I just need to know which ring is fueling the others. Once I have that, I should be able to use the Axiomatic blade to strike it and rupture the whole set useless."}


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>The majority of Barbatos's rings begin glowing with their own unique light. Red, blue, gold, orange, silver and more colors light up the knuckles of Barbatos's gloves.

>All except one. The ring on his right middle finger. That ring remains dull and without light - signaling to Doctor the connection involved.

{"That must be it! The conduit ring that channels magical energy to the rest! It's the only way he can use magic without any form of spell casting!"}

>Doctor then takes to the sky, flying at rapid speeds as he avoids the immediate spatial combustions of flame that barely miss his body.

>He avoids giant ice spikes, generated by the same sub-zero temperatures as before.

>Narrowly evades time distortion attacks, as well as raw electromagnetic energy blasts with red light.

>A massive strew of raw magitek circuitry expands from Barbatos's black ring, with a white outline. Condensed into a massive ball, the raw circuitry is tossed at Doctor, who slices through it easily with his supernatural and mystical swords.

{"That must be how his infiltrators got their magitek. Makes way more sense than them somehow constructing it, if they're not Thaumians that is."}

>Doctor then begins wraping in and out of space-time with careful precision, leaving decoys in the form of energy duplicates, until he disappears out of reality entirely.

"Where are you?! Show yourself you coward!"

>Barbatos says, spinning around and smacking the air with an aggressive motion.

"A warrior is nothing without his courage! So demonstrate yours, if you a man capable of any strength!"

>A disembodied voice then speaks from behind Barbatos, saying:

"What do you think I'm about to do?"

>Before Barbatos can react, Doctor materializes a few feet away from him, along with his conjured swords. As the swords begin to remotely stab into Barbatos's armor, Doctor grabs a few of the remaining swords - slashing at Barbatos with them even further.


>With all of the swords lodged in Barbatos's armor, and his hands exposed, Doctor manifests his signature double bladed sword and spins it around. Flipping in the air towards Barbatos's right hand, the figure struggles to react in time.


>Before Barbatos can free his body of the swords, Doctor makes his move - striking the 10th and final ring on his finger. As Doctor's bladed staff connects with the ring, it creates a feedback loop - instinctively drawing all of the energy away from the other rings and consolidating the magical energy back with itself.


>A large energy vortex of various mana particles and magical lights then swarms around the armored figure, before moving directly into the 10th ring - draining the other rings of their color and light.

"No……My only chance….."


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>Now weakened, the armored figure can only look up as the rings are telekinetically removed from his hands. Afterwards, Doctor dematerializes the swords as Barbatos falls to the ground on both knees. Panting, he then says:

"….No. Not again. I can't be helpless again….Not after…All of the pain."

>The armor protecting Barbatos then fades away slowly into dust, as the athletic form of a young man in ancient clothing kneels before Doctor. The man has long, luscious locks of dark black hair - and blood red eyes. He's slightly androgynous in appearance, while still leaning towards masculine, accentuating a level of beauty rivaled only by the Gods.

>Narrowing his eyes behind his mask, Doctor then says:

"…..You seem familiar. I'm not sure why-"

>Doctor then feels his eyes open wide, as his supernatural Mask of Ma'at divinates the proper information to him.

"….Iblis? The Djinn?"

>Iblis's eyes look upward at Doctor, his despair immediately turning to hate. He then lunges at Doctor, only for the latter to chop at his neck with swift precision and accuracy - sending him hurtling down to the ground, unconscious.

>Looking at the 10 rings slowly hovering in his hands and moving in sequence around each other, Doctor then sighs.

"…..We're going to have our hands full now."

>Doctor then looks at Crepido, saying:

"Hey, I think I've figured out who's been wanting the artifacts….And I think I know why."

>The Sorcerer Supreme then slowly walks back to his partner, still guarding the artifact, while he continues to hold the 10 rings above his hand carefully.


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>Date: March 3rd, 2017
>Time: 9:00 AM [Relative To Earth]
>Location: ?????

>Iblis wakes up in a haze, as his eyes slowly focus on the view in front of him. Rising to his feet, he immediately looks down at his fingers and sees them normal as always. However, they lack the 10 rings he wore prior to his defeat.

"Blast! Curse it all!"

>Punching his fist down reflexively into the ground, he's startled to find that his fist goes through the ground, only now realizing that he was punching sand - on a beach.

"What? Have I been transported without my knowledge?"

>Looking upward from his hand, Iblis realizes that he is now stuck on a beach with crashing waves and a peaceful environment. The soft rays of the sun shine down on him, as he makes his way towards the beach.

>After a few seconds of walking, Iblis arrives to find a chair already waiting for him there, despite being certain it wasn't there prior.

"Are my eyes deceiving me? Or is this area magically inclined?"

>Silent for a moment, Iblis then sits down on the chair and closes his eyes. Thinking about the past, memories start racing through his mind as he says to himself:

"I can't let go. I just can't….I'm still too weak to get my revenge for all of you….I'm sorry…"

>As Iblis then opens his eyes, he looks over to find a table - that wasn't there before either.

>Confused, he looks more carefully to find a note suddenly sitting on said table. Picking it up, he reads its contents.

["If you're tired of being sorry, then why don't you help undo your mistakes? Talk to us when you've cooled down, and you're ready to be cooperative, Iblis. Just ring the bell when you're made up your mind."]

>Iblis instinctively sneers in disgust and anger at the statement.

"Bell? What bell? I am not some mere pet -"

>Then, he suddenly notices the bell now situated on the table beside the note - as well as a buffet tray of food.

>Silent for a moment, Iblis sighs in resignation before saying:

"….At least the accommodations are nice."

>Staring off into the distance at the beach before him, he then sighs once more before saying:

"Alright then. I'll accept your terms, sorcerers. For now that is."

>Iblis then picks up some food from the buffet with a manifested plate and begins eating while thinking about his own situation again now.


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>Date: March 3rd, 2017
>Time: 9:00 AM [Relative To Earth]
>Location: The Axiom - Nexus of Magic

>Iblis and the large island structure with an infinite ocean - is viewable from the large, palm sized disc in Isaac's hand. After looking over Iblis's new situation for a moment longer, he then says:

"Well, at least he's calmed down now."

>Closing the mechanical lid of the Babylon Disc, Isaac then places it on the table in front of him - and then looks next to him at Stephanie. Sighing, he then ruffles his long hair slightly, fixing it up and stylizing it partially as he says:

"It's a certainty now. The Thaumians are still around, and they're definitely planning to make a return. I'm just not sure why now?"

>Isaac leans forward, placing his hands together as he's now focused on contemplative thought again.

"…..This had to come up now, of all times. Right when I'm this close to figuring out what happened to my parents! Damnit. Why now?!"

>Isaac then sighs again as he rubs his eyelids in frustration and resignation, before saying to Stephanie:

"….No. That doesn't matter right now. What does matter, is what I said to you earlier, Stephanie."

>Isaac stares at her for a moment, forming another weak smile as he then leans in and gives her a meaningful kiss.

"You matter so much more, than any of this. I'm not losing sight of that either, honey. I promise."


File: 1658786234600.jpg (73.67 KB, 464x344, Stephanie - 39.jpg)

>Stephanie simply blushes, then gives Isaac a hug.

"I know you mean that, Bumblebee."


File: 1658786563898-0.jpg (53.81 KB, 600x600, Isaac - 23.jpg)

File: 1658786563898-1.gif (1.4 MB, 480x320, Babylon Disc - 2.gif)

File: 1658786563898-2.jpg (737.68 KB, 2560x1600, Sanctum - 7.jpg)

>Isaac looks at Stephanie once more, then says:

"I always do. We'll deal with the stuff with Iblis later on."

>He then stands up and helps Stephanie up:

"But for now? We need a break anyways. You've earned it."

>Isaac then walks out of the room with Stephanie - leaving the Babylon Disc on the table for now.

[The End]

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