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 End of Jungalore: Final Chapter 
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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
Twelve steps. Precisely twelve steps Eiryk took outside of the palace before five assassins made the drop on him.

"Eiryk Advento, you are being charged with conspiracy against the Assassin's Guild. Come quietly with us, please."

Eiryk's grin grew, "So Scorpio just wants me gone now, is that it? Why don't we just take a dance then, shall we?"

"Have it your way..."

Each drew blades and bows, and activated within themselves the shadow virus laying dormant. Surrounded by dark shadows they rushed towards Eiryk. He himself made a rush towards them, and as they leapt at him, he made to slide under them, drawing Excalibur in the process and easily ending one's life mid-air.

"So, about that oath you once held..." Excalibur spoke.

"Sorry, but a soul can change over thousands of years. As can ideals."

"Perfectly logical." The blade replied. But they had little time to continue the conversation. Eiryk made to run for the current guild's location, climbing up the side of one building and opting to travel by rooftop. Of course, this route would be much more dangerous. In fact, by the third building, five more assassins got to him.

"Advento! Stop running and come with us, don't make us have to spill your blood. You've now committed high treason AND murder."

"Says the murderers under a man who has committed the highest of treason."

Once more Eiryk was being rushed. This time he opted to take to the air, spinning on the tip of Excalibur's blade and going airborne, landing with his knees on either shoulder of one assailant and stabbing his blade through the back of said assailant, also skewering a second assassin in the process and then flipping backwards to his feet. Already three lay dead at his hands, and only seven stood in his way towards what he was about to do.

"Seize him! Take him alive or dead if you must!" One assassin shouted.

Three took to fighting Eiryk hand-to-hand with the aid of the shadow virus. Of course, he had a reach advantage with Excalibur in one hand and the retractable blade in his other. He took to defensively blocking his back with his sword, and his left hand would deflect the frontal attacks as he made motions to dodge. He then made a grapple of one and launched the retractable blade with it focused on the neck of the assassin. Dead, instantaneously.

"What are you all doing? Let's just attack him at once!" The commanding assassin bellowed, as the four others now joined the fray. This would be too much for him to handle on his own. Luckily, he wasn't alone.

"By the order of Queen Philena Taltanis, cease your quarrel!" A Meridian guard and three others had climbed onto the rooftops and caught the attention of the assassins.

"Guards of Selk! This man is accused of high treason and murder, having spilled the blood of four of our comrades. He is to be-"

"Released." The helmed guard stated. That was when the man removed his helmet to reveal himself.

"Izraf!? I thought I sent you to Tal-Ari!"

"I knew you would be a bit too short-sighted to handle things here. In any case, he is to be released."

"Izraf, you have a warrant for your assassination..." The assassin stated plainly to the Meridian, "Dare you fight us?"

"Well, let's just say your guild is bound to cause problems in the future."

Still using his hammer, Izraf made a rush for the assassin standing in front of Eiryk, swinging his hammer down. Eiryk wrestled from a grapple from behind as the assassin in front leapt out of harm's way, only to be stabbed in the air with Eiryk landing on the hammer. Izraf began to lift the hammer and Eiryk vaulted from the launch and took a dive downwards, impaling a second assassin on Excalibur.

"So, did you make it to our lady?" Izraf asked.

"Hastily," Excalibur began, "She is likely already out of the town."

"Good... All we need to do is get to the church, then."

"The church?" Eiryk asked, "Why there?"

"That will be where we find the ones who will aid in this fight against the assassins."

The four remaining assassins still had their viruses active, and no doubt were using poisoned weaponry. Eiryk himself knew they wanted but one thing by now, and he knew he had to stop Scorpio, and end the other eleven disciples of the brotherhood.

"So... We can't discuss this in a civilized manner, can we?" Eiryk jested at the four remaining assassins as they all faced an opponent. Everyone was intent on facing at least someone, and keen on picking up any one singular body motion. One made their first move against a meridian guard and would have got the better of him if not for his shield. What that assassin didn't count on was how painful a blow to the jaw with the edge of said shield would be, as it sent the hooded assailant reeling and created the perfect opportunity to become an ornament for the man's spear.

Seeing the battle was lost, the commanding assassin threw down a flash bomb and disappeared with his two remaining comrades.

The guards secured a safe passage through the streets as the two of them made for the church.

"Cassius is already there." Izraf commented, "You are lucky I arrived when I did."

"I'd like to think I was handling myself alright." Eiryk commented.

"But you can't just keep living from one battle to the next. Take a break, man."

"Fair point, but we can't exactly afford that luxury." Eiryk grumbled along with his stomach.

"Speaking of... You're human, aren't you? As in, you have hunger and sleep requirements again, yes?"

"Yes, I suppose that means I need to eat..."

"Relax, we'll have something when we arrive. Any preferences?"

"I feel like I haven't had a glass of milk in forever. I'd also love to have some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches." He said with a mild enthusiasm. Izraf laughed at this.

"Come now Eiryk, we have a shortage of food in the area... But I'm sure we can at least manage a glass of milk and grilled cheese on whole wheat buns."

Eiryk grimmaced, "Well, I'd prefer white bread and the ham... No matter, it sounds delicious."

Within a short matter of time, the two of them along with the three guards were inside the church. Godot welcomed the two of them openly as the group was preparing... Something. Eiryk got his meal, along with Izraf's beef tenderloin, but during the course of the meal, Eiryk kept getting distracted by the constant sorting of ammo boxes and test firing of guns.

"Are the demon hunters preparing for something?"

Godot smiled, "Your rebellion, of course! After all, being a subsidiary of the church, we have overheard your ideas for a new order of guild."

"An eye in every nook and cranny, right?" Izraf asked.

"But the church is losing influence." Godot stated, "So getting informants around is difficult. Not that we really care for our association with them, it's more that the church influence has become a hindrance rather than a blessing."

"Is this where I come in, then?" Eiryk asked, finishing off his sandwich.

"Yes, we have a common goal, see... Libra is the head priestess of the church in the region, and a high ranking assassin. She's trying to spread the influence of the guild in Avalon. We need our demon hunters to be able to freely roam so that we can conduct investigations alongside the guard."

Izraf entered into the explanation, "See, while we do have archers, us Meridians are more suited to melee combat. We need to get some ranged fighters in our ranks. Godot can provide those, but the guild is strangling us so they can force a rebellion against Queen Philena and her son."

"So you basically want me to off the head priestess in Avalon..."

"... and that will off the strangling of our people. Do that and you will have a fighting force capable of ending the rule of Scorpio."

"And the other ten zodiacal assassins?" Eiryk asked about.

"Well, that will be something we could possibly assist in." Godot added in, "Right Izraf?"

"Yes... In fact, taking out Scorpio will be a service to the queen and her country. We'd owe you a life debt. We already do, in fact."

Eiryk nodded, "Then I, too, am off to Avalon. It is good discussing business with you."

"Oh, and Eiryk, Izraf..." Godot began, pointing to Eiryk in particular, "Let's call you Noxiel from now on. Don't let your real name get out."

"Understood." Izraf agreed.

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
"I saw the bones poke out from his flesh, like so many bloodied fangs not three days ago and now look at him." the head trainer sighed as he stared across the training field where the initiate Ashigaru were going through their final challenge. "He's not even supposed to be out of the healers until a week from now and just look at him go."

Dodging a wooden staff with ease, Yemhelch ducked low and struck the man with the wooden shield with his own wooden weapon in the chest with enough force to topple him over. The man fell back onto the dirt with a breakfall and yelled 'One Point!'.

"50 points in one 10 minutes." the referee intoned, raising the black flag. "That's enough, both of you. Stand down."

With a polite bow to his sparring partner, Yemhelch returned the wooden staves he was using to the instructor.

"It seems there's nothing more for me to teach you." the instructor smiled as he greeted Yemhelch as he walked off the dirt ring. "I can't really give you a fancy ol' scroll, but you've got what it takes to be a splendid Ashigaru. Keep honing your skills and I'm sure you can surpass yourself someday."

"Thank you, Majima-sensei." Yemhelch replied, again with a polite nod. "So, I shall."

"Though, you really should be resting." he finished.

"The healers here are the finest I've seen yet. I'll be fine."

"Ha, so they are. You should go pick up your new gear from the Dojo. Pass my regards to Kyouko, will you?"

"I will. Thank you again for your hard work so far."

---

"... and that's what we found so far. Something has damaged the very fabric of magic in the world." the seer finished. "It's not perceptible now, but the gaps and voids are there, and they are slowly growing larger."

"No wonder you wanted to keep this information secret." Hiroko shook her head. "Bad enough we have a monster problem, but without magic, our healers wouldn't..."

Hiroko fell silent, then shook her head to banish these uncomfortable thoughts. If the constant use of healing magic was causing a strain on Will, she had to find a way to get her people to use alternate, scientific means of healing. Overcome with concern, she paced around the pagoda, carefully planning her next move.

"We'll have to start using science, and not just use healing spells for the more minor matters..."

"Aye, it's as you say."

"Please keep what we've discussed here a secret - but work on your own to promote the uses of non-magical healing and the research into it."

"It wont be easy, Lady Hiroko. Two of the largest centers of learning in the world are lost. Whatever codexes may have survived the two disasters are most likely worth their weight in gold."

"We'll find a way."

"Indeed we will. Then, by your leave..."

The healers and the seer bowed to her and left. Hiroko sat down on the comfortable, padded chair and rubbed her temples, trying to process this new threat to humanity at large. The end of magic? Could such a thing be possible?

---

"Did you like the little upgrade we did for your tanto, Yemhelch-kun?" Ryouko smiled as she watched him inspect the set of blades arrayed before him.

"Saying I like these wouldn't be enough." he mumbled as he looked at the twin wakizashi and tanto set. "No, these are magnificent. The heft of these grips have been triple-woven to absorb moisture from the palm of the hand... in fact, the whole scabbard's been folded into itself to provide a solid-steel handguard. Judging by the weight of the blade, it's been readjusted by adding a lead counterweight to the base of the blade. The taper's perfect, too. The blades have been sharpened to a razor edge, then hardened and tempered by sootfire to be even more resistant to breakage than before. You really know what you're doing."

"That's why I'm the Daimyo's personal armorer, heh heh." Ryouko grinned. "Usually, I wouldn't go all out for a newbie, but I was watching that day, you know. When you saved this country from going to a shitstorm of sengoku-era mass infighting. Hiroko-sama told me to go all out when customizing your weapons for you."

"The court case, huh?"

"Yeap. You basically called out the inquisition AND the necromancers on your ass. Maxing out some equipment's the least I could do for you. Dunno why you're still alive, though. I figure you've gotten pretty good at dropping those assassins and dark knights they send after you..."

"The end of the world helped somewhat."

"Seems like you're gonna be doing alright. Anyway, the light cuirass is standard for new Ashigaru. You can wear it under your clothes, too."

"Ah, so it works like that."

"And that's that! You should totally go try your new weapons out on those pesky monsters that keep attacking the town walls nowadays."

"I just might do that." Yemhelch nodded, slipping both the wakizashi and tanto into their scabbards.

As he stepped out of the Pagoda's armory, he saw two familiar faces...

-

"Oissu, Mikkael, Kazeko." Yemhelch waved. "Where ya two off to?"

"For an audience with Lady Hiroko. Mikkael wants to go to Avalon, because he thinks he remyembers something about them. I kinda wanna tag along too, nya? Wannya to see this mystic city for myaself..."

"Want me to come along?" Yemhelch grinned. "You owe me a free meal, ya know."

Mikkael stared at him, confusion evident in his expression. Coming to his rescue, Kazeko quickly intervened. "A-anyway, if you want to travel, you can join us. That's alright, right?"

".... I guess." the meridian nodded quietly.

"Awesome! It'll be just like old time!"

Mikkael shifted on his feet nervously, as he tried to remember... drawing nothing but a blank.

-

They were shown to the Daimyo's meeting room and asked to wait. Hiroko emerged from the back after a few minutes. Her skin seemed pale, and her countenance brightened somewhat as she saw her friends.

"Hiroko-sama, Mikkael almost remembered Avalon." Kazeko explained. "At least, he through he knew."

"In time, your amnesia will fade." Hiroko replied gently. "But if you visit Avalon, perhaps you may find something able to jog your memories even further."

"So, Lady Hiroko, I've come to ask permission to escort Mikkael. Yemhelch wants to join us as well. These lands are more dangerous now, and it'd be foolish to travel alone."

"A wise choice, permission granted." Hiroko smiled. "Actually... it was you who discovered Avalon, wasn't it?"

Mikkael looked nervous, but nodded. "At least, that's what the people here tell me."

"Then, if the stories of it surviving the cataclysm untainted are true, there would be books and scrolls of old, and those written by those who came in from the fall of Vex Vinas, correct?"

"... I suppose so?"

"Then, I have a Quest for the three of you." Hiroko smiled. "The three of you are to enter Avalon, then find whatever scrolls, books and codexes in the matters of medical arts, and bring copies of them back."

"The healers are being pushed too hard, aren't they?" Kazeko nodded.

"Indeed. The knowledge of the healing arts must be preserved."

"I hear you had some fine equipment crafted for me." Yemhelch smiled. "And besides, the healers here saved my life. This is the least I could do for you all, lady Hiroko."

After bowing politely, the three left the Pagoda.

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Post Re: End of Jungalore: Final Chapter
After meeting Cassius and finishing the discussion of what was to transpire, both Izraf and Eiryk called on a carriage to get them to Avalon. Cassius chose to stay behind and keep things in order for Godot as he would be planning for a total upheaval of the Selkie regime.

"That place is bound to fall..." Eiryk quietly spoke to Izraf during the carriage ride, "The Meridians will likely be settling in Avalon. I just, I can see it, and I guarantee it."

"It makes sense." Izraf commented back, "After all, it was her late lover that founded Avalon once again, wasn't it? And despite the raid on Vex Vinas, he was the one who let the homeless live there."

"Exactly. But more than that, I believe it's bound to fall with the fall of the assassins. I can hardly see any guilds surviving in the future, except maybe the knights."

"Well, we certainly will see, won't we?"

Upon arrival at Avalon, the two of them met with Philena's own carriage, and young Hydra. To think between when they departed Selk for the pyramids, he was but a youngling, swimming in a pool of water, but after three months of traversing the desert, meeting Cassius, and even hearing of the events at Cyndar during that time, he had already grown to walk on his own two feet. Even Philena praised her son for his skill in helping out the Meridian soldiers with sharpening their blades. Truly though, the boy was the spitting image of both his father and mother, but more his father. He had the pale blue tone of his father's scales, and the sky blue of his mother's eyes, but also the sharp teeth of his father, pearly white as they were on the older Meridian. He even had the dorsal fin going down his head appendage much like Mikkael.

"Isn't that a little dangerous for a child?" Eiryk asked the queen.

"Meridian children are trained from a young age in whatever skills or crafts they desire..." She began to say, "... but ultimately, our males are often drafted quite young to assist in military affairs. It seems some clans have yet to drop such traditions, but I allowed it. I thought he could use a skill like that."

"Besides, I'm descended from the great Mikkael! If I ever meet Dad again, I want him to be proud." The young Meridian exclaimed, chipper in his tone.

Eiryk smiled as they began to walk through the town. The group eventually making their way to the local adventurer's association office. After all, Eiryk had to formally establish his guild.

"Your guild needs a name, and that one is quite long and specific." The elderly man at the counter noted. "You sure you want to name it such?"

"A fair point. What would you recommend?"

"Well, yours is an odd guild. No focus, no adventuring inclinations, not even a particular racial restriction." The man spoke, trying to come up with some sort of idea, "You only have a symbol, yes?"

"I have one in mind... A cross, but not like the crosses of the church. No no no... I want a cross with arrow points at the end, and from the points a circle to encompass the cross. Then, it has to be like an X rather than a lower case T."

"Hmmm... So like this?" The man asked, quickly illustrating the design Eiryk had in mind. Eiryk agreed and began to make some slight adjustments.

"So with this basic design, I would also like the four directions to represent something. Going clockwise from the north, the north is to represent the wisdom to guide one another, the east to represent the spirit within that drives one another forward, the south to represent the purity of character to make the right decisions as a community, and the west to represent the prosperity we each bring to one another."

"Then I recommend your north section to have a bright, shining star, the east to have a flame, the south to have three people close to one another, and the west to have a fruit-bearing tree."

"I like the sound of that." Eiryk stated. They tried a few different designs of each of these decisions and then decided upon a final set.

"With this design in mind," the worker finally coming to a conclusion, "What about..."

Eiryk agreed on its name. He finally signed off the papers, paid the dues and fees, and in the next thirty minutes obtained his guild leader's crest, made from a small plate of silver, with the golden guild symbol added on top.

"So, you have your guild then?" Philena asked as he stepped away from the counter, "What is it called?"

"The Paragon's Order."

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